WikiConference UK 2012/Community reflections

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AGM: Elections (Candidate statements · Candidate questions)ResolutionsMinutes
Miscellaneous: 2012 Annual ReportUK Wikimedian of the Year 2012Community reflections

This page is designed to capture feedback of WikiConference UK 2012 and the associated AGM of Wikimedia UK. There are two sections: One for stories or accounts, and one for short comments.

Office Comments

Wikimedia UK office team had a meeting to brainstorm the WikiConference 2012. We had ideas of what went well on the day and what could be improved. Below we are sharing our observations with you.

There is also a feedback form so you can share your opinions with us.

What went well

  • The event had a positive feel, community was engaged in the event
  • Jobs were shared between volunteers and staff
  • There was a variety of talks, which a lot of the members of the community commented on as being very positive element of the day
  • Some controversial interesting speakers
  • Venue
quaint, prestigious, knowledge-oriented
possibility of the tour integrated into the agenda
London - easier to get good speakers
Presence of the Science Museum’s event manager

What didn’t go well/drawbacks of the venue

  • Lighting in the room. Dark, so some videos are not of good quality
  • Catering - feeling it was not value for money
  • Lack of webcasting - internet was not strong enough to sustain this
  • London is expensive for people to come, venues tend to be pricier too
  • Time keeping could be improved

What is needed for next year is an attractive,prestigious venue possibly with breakout rooms to encourage workshops and participation (provided large enough audience). We would like to know what kind of venue the community would see ideal for this kind of event.

What do you think would encourage more people to attend? One of our ideas was to expand the conference into a bigger event, perhaps over a weekend, to include more social events. Any ideas are welcome as long as they guarantee value for money.

We were also thinking that important speakers would attract attendance. This can often be easier to organise if the event is held in London.

Comments on office comments

Wasn't sure where to stick my responses to the above so I've gone for this. Here's some thoughts:

  • I agree that location can be a play-off between ease of access and cost.
  • I agree that London could also make it easier to attract impressive speakers. A case in point is Richard Sennett who I think someone at WMUK should contact at an earlish stage for 2013.
  • I wouldn't go all the way with the need for it to be prestigious. We certainly want people to feel good about going to the event, but this can be achieved with somewhere a bit quirky. How about a nice music venue? You may be able to get somewhere quite cheap if you promise we'll be out by 17:30 so they can start setting up for the evening's performance.
  • The size of the event seemed just right to me... but I'm not going to argue against someone trying something different.
  • Expanding the event over a whole weekend could work... I would do that before having lots of parallel streams. The event gave a good idea of the breadth of the things that Wikimedians are interested in but that was only because I was able to see everything!
  • If you did it over two days in London the cost of accommodation would start to be an issue. This year we had some people making offers of accommodation a few days before hand. If those people could make such offers at an earlier stage that would help people working out if they can afford to go.

Yaris678 (talk) 16:53, 28 May 2012 (UTC)


  • Great relief that it went so smoothly and that the beer in the pub afterwards tasted so nice! Jon Davies WMUK (talk) 13:14, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I really, really enjoyed the diverse presentations on Saturday. Short, sharp delivery is perfect for raising awareness and flagging up issues. Would have liked just a few more minutes available for questions, but I understand the time constraints. Next year do the AGM by email, and let's have the whole meeting for presentations :P --RexxS (talk) 16:46, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Is that legal? Don't we want to the whites of their eyes (the Trustees)? LoopZilla (talk) 19:08, 14 May 2012 (UTC)
Very interesting question! As a member of the community, I'd like to see the voting switched to electronic voting with STV (or similar), I think. We'd then have a system that people could use for votes on anything - but then, I'm not sure how feasible it is... Richard Symonds (talk) 12:08, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
It's certainly legal to allow advance electronic voting, though as LZ notes having a physical meeting is (probably! IANAL) a requirement - so proxy votes submitted electronically, votes on the day cast on paper (ballot paper issued contingent on not having previously voted, of course), would work as a system. The practical issue would be making it reliable & secure, and ensuring there was a quick counting mechanism available on the day to bring the two together. Andrew Gray (talk) 12:28, 15 May 2012 (UTC)
  • A fantastic experience. I've never been to a WikiConference before. Been to a few WikiMeets, which I have enjoyed... but this was a much bigger thing. Well worth getting up at 5:40 for! It was good to hear so many interesting talks and to discuss things with so many interesting people. I got some good feedback on my talk about DiffDeck. I also enjoyed the whole voting thing. More of the same next year! Yaris678 (talk) 17:33, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I hate to be the fly in the ointment, but I think people should read 2012 Activity Plan/WikiConference UK 2012 before they comment here. Then pick their jaws up from the floor and check that they didn't miss a decimal point. We spent £2,592.00 just to hire the room for the day. And another £1,228.52 on the "catering", which consisted of a few cups of tea and some crappy sandwhiches. That is an astonishing amount of money, and a shameful waste of charity funds considering we could have had both at a much more sensible price, or even free, had we gone elsewhere. In fact, we could have all dined in the Science Museum's cafe (and probably invited the entire museum staff to join us) for considerably less than we spent on the catering. I was otherwise very impressed, and very much enjoyed the day (though breakout rooms would have been nice, and I was a little disappointed with the turnout), not least because it's nice to see so many people from all over the country all in one place, but the price overshadows it. Harry Mitchell | Penny for your thoughts? 19:51, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I can't really put that catering figure into perspective without knowing how many attended. I think about 50 signed up but perhaps more attended than that? --User:Bodnotbod (not signed in)
  • I agree with Harry. Having been familiar with organising events at GLAM institutions, it is no surprise that the catering was so expensive - we are being charged at a corporate rate in circumstances where the caterers - a private contractor - has a lock-in contract which does not permit any alternatives. Sometimes when we have negotiated a gift of the venue we have still been constrained to take on the catering. In my naivete I had imagined that the venue was this sort of donation in kind from the Science Museum. Let us learn from the experience and make sure that more suitable arrangements are made next year.Leutha (talk) 10:04, 18 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Ooff. If people fancy doing it in Manchester next year I can suggest a couple of nice venues that are a lot more reasonably priced. Yaris678 (talk) 14:01, 20 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I agree that wasn't cheap. I used to do a fair number of bookings for events for the Government (before I moved up a couple of grades) and certainly the best value places in London I found was the academic venues. There's usually a couple of Academic Venue Shows at the Emirates each year - it might be worthwhile having someone go along to that with a vague idea of what you're looking for and you could find you'll be able to host it a lot chaeper. Outside London, I've found that the two best places we've ever hosted venues in terms of location and value for money were Birmingham and York. The Park Inn in York and the Macdonald Burlington in Birmingham were always good value, although the Holiday Inn in Birmingham sometimes was cheaper for single day events. One note - never ever use the Queens Hotel in Leeds, the breakout rooms are dotted all over the hotel and you'll have delegates lost wandering all over the place. We used it twice, dreadful both times. Miyagawa (talk) 13:20, 11 June 2012 (UTC)