Jump to content


From Wikimania 2012 • Washington, D.C., USA

How was Wikimania 2012 for you? What was amazing, what was annoying? Help Wikimania evolve: present your positive and negative reviews here, please, and any other ideas/suggestions for the Wikimania 2013 team. Feel free to add more sections.

Please sign your comments.

See also: Suggestions

General comments

Yes, we doubled number of attendees this year, which is quite impressive. I'm glad you enjoyed the congress, it was a BIG work. :) --OrsolyaVirág (talk) 18:48, 22 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


Program structure

General overview of the program.

  • More discussions where the audience is really involved! Also, when organizing a panel - make it a panel discussion rather than a short series of presentations. Going to a Wikimania session should be more than watching a video. Lodewijk (talk) 14:56, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Agree. There was often not much time to discuss things properly. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • This was also a complaint made last year, with four presentations often being squeezed into 90 minute periods in 2011, giving 22.5 minutes per presentation. Looking at the schedule for this year, I've noticed that in some cases four presentations were squashed into eighty minute sessions, giving only 20 minutes per presentation (during submissions the standard time was supposed to be 25 minutes?) - too little time to have a meaningful presentation and a follow-up discussion/Q&A. I think the default time for each presentation should be 30 minutes (so three in a 90 minute session), with the presenter given the discretion to decide how that time should be used depending on the topic e.g. twenty minutes of presentation then ten minutes for questions, ten minutes of introduction then twenty minutes of discussion, or fifteen minutes for both. Ways to achieve this include extra conference day (most ideal), more tracks (less ideal), and fewer acceptances (least ideal). CT Cooper · talk 12:15, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The sessions were too short for 3 presentations. On most professional conferences you have a 20/10 time frame, which means 20 mins of presentation + 10 mins of discussion. So, there should have been more tracks (or one more day) to allow for proper discussion after the presentation. --Thogo (talk) 09:15, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Disappointed there was not more on content, but then there weren't all that many content people there that I could see. I realize an international conference gives difficulties, but also opportunuities here. Johnbod (talk) 11:19, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Too many presentations by WMF staff and by familiar faces. Nobody should have more than one session in the main conference and new speakers should be favoured over those who have presented at previous Wikimanias. HJ Mitchell (talk) 21:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • We'd like to think it didn't, but this often (not always) trades off with quality. I'd love for Wikimania to be a place for different people to speak but I'd also like it to remain a conference where I'd bother going to more than 1-2 sessions. Protonk (talk) 04:35, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Also, it quickly became apparent that some of the side rooms were not big enough, though I was impressed that some sessions were moved to a bigger room the next day. HJ Mitchell (talk) 21:55, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • It would have been great if the conference had fewer simultaneous sessions (although understandably, this would lead to either a longer (more expensive) main conference, or less submissions accepted). -- Chuq (talk) 06:24, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I would have liked to have attended workshops or something more participatory. I found such things independently but it was not built into the program. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:32, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Sessions quality

  • #Pre-conference shows that poor communication with presenters affected sessions quality.
  • Peer review of the general interest presentations in advance would have been helpful. See also [1]--Gmaxwell (talk) 21:22, 15 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Yeah... This was the case last year in some submissions as well. I think some talks get accepted partially due to the provokative nature of the title/abstract. Protonk (talk) 23:35, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • The only problem with that is that many people don't/can't finalize their presentations to the last minute - I still remember reading certain comments on Facebook with presenters admitting that they hadn't done their slides yet (just a few days before the conference). However, a voluntary peer process is not a bad idea and would probably be utilized well if it was known that going through such a process would increase the changes of having a submission accepted. I personally do think that presentations that give multiple points of view are better, though I would see firm rules on this to be instruction creep, and in general I and other editors I have spoken to are against the creation of a presentation vetting bureaucracy that would turn Wikimania into a political party style scripted event.
    • On the matter of the friendly space policy and content control in general, I don't think the way the Jimbo presentation was handled was ideal e.g. not even posting an edited version of the presentation seemed little other than punitive and was not helpful for those that weren't there. I also don't think it should be left to the chapters/local organizers to decide what content is or isn't appropriate at Wikimania, and I'm concerned on which direction such a precedent could go in the future e.g. if Wikimania is hosted in a country with a strong anti-LGBT culture. The obvious answer is for the community to have an intelligent adult discussion on the issue, and put together some guidelines to be applied to every Wikimania. In my opinion, a line has to be drawn between making Wikimania accessible to as many people/cultures as possible but respecting the culture of the Wikimedia movement itself, and allowing open discussion of the controversial content of some projects. Clear and factual content warnings seem to fit such a balance in my view. CT Cooper · talk 13:31, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • "many people don't/can't finalize their presentations to the last minute"; sadly, some presenters didn't even know about being accepted (or not) till the last minute; but yes, this is something to work on, presenters usually (often?) don't take their job very seriously I think. Nemo 09:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • Indeed, the handling of that Jimbo presentation was "not ideal". I've not seen so much of an overreaction on any conference. This should have been handled much more professionally. Even if (from an American perspective) the images shown where maybe inappropriate, from the perspective of many other people they were not. So please just put a "DO NOT CLICK IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SEE <<WHATEVER THE PROBLEM IS (naked people in this case, I guess)>>" disclaimer to it and have it available for those who don't care! --Thogo (talk) 09:10, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
        • I agree; it wasn't appropriate to show those images without warning, but once the warning has been given, people should be allowed to make an adult decision as to whether they want to view it. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
        • If this is the point, I have to say that I'm somewhat disappointed that the "friendly space policy" has been turned into what seems the opposite of what it was supposed, becoming a way to police presenters for the sake of the public moral. There was no need to use this policy as justification. --Nemo 06:05, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
          • I paid little attention to this policy when it appeared, since it seemed to be common sense - harassment and bullying would not be permitted. The decision to use the policy in this way is understandably going to be viewed with cynicism, particular towards the idea of leaving it to chapters to decide these things. As written the policy stretches the definition of harassment to blanket include "[displaying] sexual images in public spaces" effectivly meaning such activity is "harassment" even with forewarning and even with consent on those viewing it. I don't think this policy as written is compatible with the culture of Wikimedia projects on allowing sexual content, nor does it really follow the concept of controversial policies being subject to consensus, or at least some scrutiny by a third-party. CT Cooper · talk 12:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


How sessions have been placed in tracks and slots.

  • Slots mostly didn't make any sense, similar sessions failed to be grouped together: they were assigned to a track depending on the expected audience (rather than specific topic) and pseudo-randomly assigned to a numbered slot of that track, each slot not having any other internal coherence or possibility for good interaction/dialogue between the sessions in it.
  • I also was wondering about how to understand the tracks. Sometimes I felt like two talks in the same field were simultaneous and I wondered why the schedule was designed to put talks in a single interest concurrently rather than consecutively. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:35, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Handling of failed submissions

  • I was a little bemused by the contrast with the calm language of the e-mail saying "We regret to inform you that your submission, School articles on Wikipedia: A case study of notability practices across languages, has not been accepted." and the practice of people going around stamping submissions with a big red X saying "This is a rejected submission for Wikimania 2012". While I know someone will see this as being a little thin skinned, this was rather insensitive and could be interpreted as a message that the submission was rubbish - which is particularity problematic for any new(ish) users making submissions. The term "rejected" does carry a particular stigma, and "failed" or "not accepted" would have been a better choices, although I would personally question the need for such templates at all - isn't categorization sufficient? It was in 2011. CT Cooper · talk 22:26, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • I don't want to be cruel but the message on the page isn't for the submitter but for an interested attendee who needs to know in as clear terms as possible whether or not this submission will be in the program. I don't feel anything is to be gained by watering down the language. Further, all submissions are rejected because there isn't room. None of them because they are shit. Protonk (talk) 23:08, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • Sorry, I'm not following. How is using terms such as "failed" or "not accepted" any more difficult to understand? Intention is all well and good, but that doesn't change the fact that the submitter will still read the message being posted, and there was no problem with confusion in 2011. If submissions were rejected only because there wasn't room then they would just be put in a hat and picked out at random, but that is not how it is done. CT Cooper · talk 23:27, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
        • Every conference rejects submissions based on constraints. An accepted submission necessarily displaces some other potentially worthy submission. As for the wording, I don't think that particular change is worth arguing. "Not accepted" is probably fine. but I want to push back against any general softening of the language on the submission page itself (beyond that change). Protonk (talk) 23:38, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • There should be consideration for those attendees that need an accepted presentation in order to attend (to get leave approved, for instance). Make it an extra thematic pillar like "academic's corner", in a small room. The Unconference is a less suitable slot, many people were on their way home by then. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Submission results also seemed to be a factor in deciding scholarships, even though failed submissions could still be presented in the unconference this year, the presence of which adds to the argument that describing such presentations as "rejected" was not appropriate. From the above, perhaps the notice should have said something like: "This submission has not been accepted for presentation during the conference. However, it may still be presented in the unconference sessions." CT Cooper · talk 12:54, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
One of my submissions was marked as rejected straightaway. I realise that it had registered only two attendees and probably did not appeal to the jury, so it was a reject ab initio.
Another submission was in the shortlisted category with some 7-8 interested attendees and had secured 5.9 points overall, being on the border of acceptance. In fact, a Wikimedian from Israel with a similar rating had his presentation accepted and also received late news of scholarship, but he regretted the opportunity as it was too late for him to make to the conference. My friend Aude guided me to fill this form on the condition that this submission is waitlisted. I neither received any acknowledgement of the receipt of the filled form nor any further information about non-acceptance of this submission. Hindustanilanguage (talk) 05:29, 26 July 2012 (UTC).[reply]
My only submission, Submissions/School articles on Wikipedia: A case study of notability practices across languages, was marked as rejected early on with a score of 5.7 - so by the look of it only a narrow band of scores were waitlisted. Personally, I'm actually somewhat happy that I wasn't put on a waiting list, as it would have left my attendance in limbo, while rejection allowed me to pull the plug and focus on 2013 earlier on. If there is going to be a waiting list it should be short-term while the schedule is being developed, with those on it receiving a definite answer either way in good time before the conference - preferably before scholarships are finalized. To be fair there was a record number of submissions this year and those reviewing them may have been somewhat overwhelmed, but leaving some submissions undecided right up to and through the conference is not a good idea. CT Cooper · talk 10:35, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Program Committee

  • The number of submissions went through the roof this year, which the increased number of tracks couldn't fully compensate for, resulting in a huge amount of competition for slots among those that gave submissions. I personally felt that the submission review process cracked under the strain, and while I expect the number of submissions and participants to drop next year as it won't be in the US, some overhaul would be sensible. It does frustrate me slightly that there were complaints over quality again this year, despite some very good submissions (putting aside my own) being rejected. Looking at Schedule/Submission review and comparing it to wm2011:Schedule/Submission review there did seem to be more disagreement this year - with some submissions even having both reject and strong accept votes. The first problem here is the lack of any clear criteria on what should be accepted - one needs to developed, preferably by the consensus of those interested. Also, while I must emphasize that I'm not going after any individual, I think the method of choosing panellists (i.e. the Program Committee) needs reviewing. Currently they seem to just appear from mid-air - the process, or at least reasons for selection, should be made clear to the community. I think the best panel for selecting submissions for a Wikimedia conference would be one composed of Wikimedians who have an established record of contributing to at least one, preferably more, Wikimedia projects or chapters, who are clearly part of the community, and so will have a good understanding of what is expected at such a conference, with panel representing a fair mix of different areas. I don't think conference organizers should be on the panel, since they probably have more than enough to do as it is, and I am far from convinced that people should be appointed solely on grounds of being academics - since it is not clear they will have the appropriate knowledge or experience necessary. Finally, appropriate checks should be made to ensure all panellists have the time required for such a role - both this year and last year some panellists didn't review all presentations, some none at all, the former potentially giving an (dis)advantage to submissions further down the page. CT Cooper · talk 23:03, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • "there did seem to be more disagreement this year - with some submissions even having both reject and strong accept votes" One could also interpret disagreement on submission review as a good sign. Not all of those submissions last year could've unambiguously agreed with every single reviewer given a thorough review (even the accepted ones). Protonk (talk) 23:49, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • I agree that having a bunch of yes men or woman wouldn't be helpful, and some disagreement (such as weak accept vs. weak reject) is inevitable and sometimes desirable, but having both reject and strong accept votes cast on the same presentation in multiple cases is not a good sign in my opinion, and having some kind of criteria to work around would give all members on the panel something to work with and result in any disagreement being around interpretation rather than what they personally believe the conference should host - which appears to vary wildly. Also, without any public discussion on more divisive presentations by the panel, it is difficult to say if this was due to one or more parties getting the wrong end of the stick of a presentation's content, rather than a genuine difference in opinion on what presentations should be accepted or not. CT Cooper · talk 20:29, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Board Q&A

I do not think we have the right format... In the past years, before we had an ED, we used to have a session with board sitting at the table and people going one after the other to a microphone to ask questions. Of course, this format had three inconveniences: long duration; not always the most important questions asked; trolls could be there.
Now, the questions can be put in a box before the Q&A. A WMF staff select the questions to ask. Board answers. This allow saving times and preselecting the questions the board feel like answering.
Problem is that this session bears next to no interest whatsoever (I am bolding on purpose). People get out of it feeling they did not learn much and were slightly tricked. I truely think it is not the right format. Practically, I also noticed that most people have next to no idea what individual board members think on a specific point. It would be nice to use this year to rethink of another way to feature the board during Wikimania. Anthere (talk) 09:15, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I think having the Board panel is important; it's really the one time of the year people actually have a chance to talk to the Board. IIRC we sometimes had the ED participate in the panel, which IMO makes it more useful because Board members can simply turn questions over to her as appropriate. I also didn't like the index card format as I noted here, it just felt artificially restricted, and made the session feel like a passive exercise as opposed to an opportunity for genuine interaction.--Eloquence (talk) 20:52, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Submitting questions in advance for review deters trolling, but made it feel very artificial. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:06, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    I think that the card index format is a good format, but it suffered in this instance from way too little time. We used it in the Finance Meeting for the Board Q&A and it was good to see the board actually expand on real problems and difficult questions without having to second guess what X or Z might have been thinking just because they were X and Z, or allowed people to ask questions they may not have asked otherwise. Grouping the questions in advance prevents redundancy in the questions asked too. However, the board had what? 20 minutes? That's just not enough. If we want Wikimedians to have any kind of interaction/insight with the board, then at least an hour for the Q&A would be a good start. Also you could have index card for half of that and twitter/live questions for the rest of that, for example. Notafish (talk) 23:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. Too little time. Too many participants. Most people I've spoken with expected some kind of open discussion. But how to realize with 800 people in the plenum? Perhaps a panel discussion with a moderator and a mixed panel of board members, staff and others would be more interesting/informative. --Lyzzy (talk) 19:39, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Whatever happens it is absolutely a bad idea to have an open-mic question period with an audience of >500 people. That's an invitation to bitch, grandstand or otherwise waste everyone's time. Protonk (talk) 04:39, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Side program

New York City Weekend

  • We weren't able to see some of the landmarks (Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn, Intrepid Museum, etc) due to tightly planned schedules. But overall the even was good, and User:Pharos and his team did quite a good job! Rehman (talk) 00:56, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Absolutely brilliant; thank you to Richard and the NYC chapter for putting this on. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:08, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Thanks for the leadership of Richard. We visited several interesting places in NYC, and this event provide me an opportunity to make many international wikipedian fridens and to cooperate with contributors from different language and projects, so I think it is very meaningful! --Shujenchang (talk) 15:00, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Had a great time - thanks Richard! As a first time attendee it really helped that some faces were already familiar by the time I got the conference itself! -- Chuq (talk) 06:27, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • This pre-conference tour model was awesome. Perhaps 50 people came to NYC for a few days before the conference and we all became acquainted with each other. When the conference started, many of us already knew many of the attendees and had time to start making connections between each other and with new people we were meeting at the main conference. Having this extra time with a small group at the beginning made everything else about the conference much more efficient. user:Pharos is awesome for coordinating this. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:38, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]



Please note: AdaCamp DC was not a project sponsored by Wikimedia DC or Wikimania.

  • I was unable to attend Wikimania so allowing AdaCamp attendees to attend the Opening Reception allowed those of us who couldn't stay to network with our wikimedia colleagues.
  • I had a great time at AdaCamp, but felt that the atmosphere could have been more inclusive toward a wider diversity of identities and experiences that intersect with the experiences of womanhood. My experience there was as follows: Many of the women I met greeted me with the expectation that I had a job, had a job in the tech world, and had a college education ("Where do you work?" "What did you study?"). I have a job in the tech world, and I have a college education. I also come from a working class community of color where working in tech and having a college education is a privilege. I feel very connected to my community and my racial and ethnic background, and due to the unfortunate intersection of class and education with race I felt very excluded hearing those assumptions being made. How can AdaCamp be more inclusive in the future toward women who experience identity or experiential intersectionality that are underrepresented within the itself underrepresented woman tech world? I send my respect to AdaCamp organizers, who worked their butts off with such a positive and passionate mission in mind while organizing this. I know that the camp is in its beginnings and that many issues will present themselves and be ironed out in different ways as the camp itself evolves, and I have faith in the women running it that it will evolve at the rate of their strong passion and drive. I put forth my experience with the intention of positive criticism. Thank you! Eekiv (talk) 20:19, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • A shame it was invitation only. The way to promote diversity is to engage as many people as possible, not just a chosen few. At least in my opinion. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:15, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Hi! It actually wasn't invitation only, there is an application process, however! You can learn more here. SarahStierch (talk) 23:57, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, and the application process wasn't too onerous. They let me in and my main contribution to the tech feminist cause is to call out stupid people on the Internet. :-) —Tom Morris (talk) 10:29, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Not strongly-enough promoted during the event, thus under-attended and petered out around lunchtime. Should be held before the final plenary and group photo. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 01:24, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • We need a better way to arrange unconference sessions. In previous unconferences I've been to, we've literally used a wall where we tape up pieces of paper we've written session titles on, or a white-board, and I find this so much more usable than the etherpad(?) that was used for Wikimania. I arrived and was looking around for "the wall". Someone had to tell me that it was being done online and where it was. Even when I found the etherpad, it was so much less usable and flexible than physical pages. Fluffernutter (talk) 21:48, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • +1. I didn't attend but I know that not having a wall to look at on a unconference day would have driven me mad - yes technology is wonderful, but having the most up-to-date version on a website that I and probably plenty of other people have never used or are otherwise not familiar with is not a good idea. CT Cooper · talk 11:47, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • +2. I never found the online wall! I attended but found little going on in the way of actual groups. A wasted opportunity. Johnbod (talk) 11:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • this unconference had a heavy emphasis on the "un". I had no idea where folks were meeting up or when. I also wasn't quite clear on the point of the final quasi closing at 5PM. Good to get people together and boot them out at the right time. But otherwise seemed odd. Protonk (talk) 23:27, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I confess that I mostly used the "unconference" day to touch base with many people I'd not yet had time to speak with, and to have small-group (or one-on-one) discussions on various topics, particularly those I'd missed out on during the conference proper. I strongly sense that was what many other people were doing as well. From that perspective, the lack of a firm schedule was not really an issue for me. An idea for future sessions would be setting up a "video room" to watch the videos of presentations/panels one missed during the conference proper. Risker (talk) 02:15, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • If you intend to spend the first two hours of the unconference with having some guy talk to the audience about what an unconference is, please notify participants about it beforehand so they can spend that time more productively. --Tgr (talk) 20:36, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • While I know this may be a controversial suggestion with those that like unconference events: barring significantly better organization and promotion of Wikimania unconference event, I think it would better use of time to simply have a fourth day of sessions, meaning less good ones would have been rejected to start with. I note that there wasn't one in 2011, and one hasn't been planned for 2013. CT Cooper · talk 12:05, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • A 10:00 start after a party that went on til past midnight wasn't realistic. There was much that could have been done that wasn't due to the issues raised above. However, I found it to be the most interesting day because I spent it in the Continental Ballroom having a series of fascinating discussions. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Another problem is having no idea if people who are attending will be all techies or not and if it will be too techy for us non-techies. Discouraged me from going. So a little better description of who is likely to do what would help. Maybe make a half day as fourth day? Carolmooredc (talk) 14:27, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I and several others who have commented here had a great time not attending the unconference sessions and participating instead in various discussions in the ballroom. I confess I left right after lunch as nothing on the schedule looked all that interesting and it was my last chance to see the sights in DC. I would have liked to see an even more informal format, say a stage in one of the larger rooms where folks sign up on the fly to give more or less impromptu 10 minute talks and/or Q&A sessions. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:55, 31 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The unconference was great; the time hanging out with the attendees who stayed after most had left was awesome. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:40, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Other meetups and meetings

  • The Women's Luncheon on Saturday was something I was very much looking forward to, but it fell short of my expectations. I was enjoying bonding with the women at my table, asking the speakers about their presentations and hoping to form some more solid relationships with veteran and new Wikipedians alike. Being required to sit back quietly while 125+ women each stood up to introduce themselves felt like a waste of an opportunity to build a stronger female editing community. Knowing that the women are passionate about sharing was good, but wouldn't have been more to the purpose to encourage networking so all the women in attendance would be more inclined to stay active and recruit knowing there was a pool of support they could personally draw upon? Samarista (talk) 17 July 2012 (UTC)
  • The meetups were not well announced, not even the registration and help desks knew where they were, and what they were about. One of the sponsor's parties required pre-registration, and I have no idea when that took place. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The concert at the Austrian embassy was poor: no chance to mingle with fellow Wikipedians, no refreshments (not even for sale) and the music wasn't as advertised (no Mozart!). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:24, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the GLAM night out; a great opportunity for networking. Would have liked to have seen the less formal things like wikiproject meetups better integrated into the program. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:27, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Lack of info on meetups also my biggest complaint; twitter feed not enough for those who couldn't access and it wasn't used much anyway. Need to make sure Projects know they can have Meetups and then have a bigger board (not just small white boards) perhaps organized by broad category (Sciences, Arts, History, Politics, etc) with a dozen empty pouches where people can put announcements of appropriate size with details for interested parties to pick up (plus glue a permanent one in there). Carolmooredc (talk) 13:35, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Tours could have been better promoted and organized. They were basically only listed on a somewhat obscure wiki page. Ideally, attendees should have been signing up in advance directly on the Wikimania registration page. It also would have been useful if some of the volunteers were tasked with leading out-of-towners from the venue to the tour site, so they didn't have to find their own way there. Dominic (talk) 14:02, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1. Use a real professional tour guides who know what they are doing. Make sure to tell people in advance that they need to bring id or passport. If transportation for tours is needed - prepare it in advance (if people register in the website, you know numbers). Deror avi (talk) 16:05, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I didn't even know these existed... Zellfaze (talk) 17:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I didn't attend Wikimania 2012, but I did ironically know about the tours because I kept a close eye on what was happening on this wiki - although I didn't see them to almost the last minute and I agree that they should have been more highly promoted. Having a dedicated day for tours as was done in 2011 (after the conference) worked really well in my opinion and perhaps this format should be brought back. CT Cooper · talk 11:38, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • There were tours? Oh... I made my own tours, as I thought there were no tours organized. --Thogo (talk) 09:20, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I went to the Capitol & Archives tour but was unable to get into either because of inadequate info on the website. There was no mention of a 20 minute queue at the Capitol, or the need to throw away your packed lunch at 10.15 am. The confusion over where to go for the archives is covered on the tours talk page. I gave up after that, though I did what was apparently the same Capitol tour later. Johnbod (talk) 11:26, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


Google Opening Reception

  • The Library of Congress was a stunning location and the food, too, was fantastic. Definitely one of the conference highlights for me. Regards, Rock drum (talkcontribs) 21:58, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Splendid. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The place was incredible and full of meaning. A really nice choice. Marcio De Assis (talk) 17:02, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • An incredible venue and a great opportunity to mingle, with superb catering. However, the speeches were completely inaudible from a large part of the venue, due to poor acoustics/ public-address speaker location. This led to many people continuing to talk, rendering the speeches inaudible, even where speakers were located. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:42, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The courtesy bus to the hotel near Dupont Circle drove past the front door of the Hostel - why could it not stop there? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 21:42, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Great location, great food. Unfortunately bad accoustics, but it was poor inconvenience compared to the great opportunity of being there Anthere (talk) 08:30, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1. Thank you Mr Google! Johnbod (talk) 11:49, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Overall enjoyed this, and it was of course a fantastic venue. However, after a long day of sightseeing, my feet were killing me, and so my number one complaint was that there was no place to sit down! There was also considerable confusion (and long lines) at the entryway, as to which door that people with or without badges were supposed to enter. I got there early, but due to the lines and confusion, by the time I got inside, there wasn't time to see any of the side events. Regarding the speeches, I was able to hear them (barely) because by sheer chance I was standing right next to the area with the podium, but I could tell that most of the attendees couldn't hear a thing. Better would have been if we had some tables and chairs, both for comfort, and for a more structured listening environment. --Elonka (talk) 18:14, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • What Pigsonthewing and Anthere said. The venue was amazing, and I'm not one to sniff at free drinks and food (although slightly more vegetarian nibbles would have bene nice), but the acoustics were terrible. I think Jimmy may have realised this, hence his very abbreviated speech (I presume it was a speech, I couldn't hear a word of it). —Tom Morris (talk) 00:38, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'm very honor and happy to see Jimmy Wales in the Opening Reception and took a photo with him. --Shujenchang (talk) 15:02, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • What an amazing event - it was a privilege to attend - well done! Minor problem: The acoustics as mentioned above. -- Chuq (talk) 06:30, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I had no idea the Library was such a stunning architectural treasure. Wonderful venue despite the acoustics. Beeblebrox (talk) 22:58, 31 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Closing Party

  • Free bar wooooo
  • Although I'm sure my complaints are relatively obscure, I didn't enjoy this party as much as I could have. The space was very crowded and there wasn't much variety in vegetarian food options. It seemed the kind of party most would enjoy however. Zellfaze (talk) 17:15, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The timing between the end of the group photo and the start of this event was a bit awkward. Not only because those of us who weren't in a walkable ho(s)tel had to burn up three or four hours before there was somewhere we could go, but because a party that begins at 9pm feels like a very, very late start for those of us who are perhaps not as young as we used to be. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:25, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I really enjoyed the party but the venue was problematic. Very crowded and relatively loud. Can we have one Wikimania with a planned "party" event where I don't have to shout myself hoarse to talk to someone? Protonk (talk) 23:10, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Nothing wrong with that party, IMO. I enjoyed it. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Good party. Good food. Good music. Anthere (talk)
  • I skipped the party, as it was starting much too late in the night. --Thogo (talk) 09:24, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Too loud and crowded. Since I couldn't talk or listen to anybody, the music wasn't that good and there was nothing else to do, I left after eating and playing one game of table soccer. --Nikerabbit (talk) 14:51, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Nice venue and free beer. In an ideal world we would have had the place to ourselves and it would have been quieter. Also agree w/Fluffy that the gap between the photo and the party was a bit awkward. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:33, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Free bar was great of course, pool tables and such were nice. But if I am not mistaken, the place was not "just to ourselves" (there was a Wikimania marked section), which makes it more difficult to just walk up to someone and go: "How are you?" out of the blue to mingle. So my advice for next year: definitely a privatized environment, with quiet(er) places for conversations. notafish (talk) 23:22, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Lots of fun, and the free bar was handy. The relative lack of vegetarian food was an issue, but otherwise it was lots of fun. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:40, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • On the one hand a great location, indeed. On the other, much too noisy to talk to people. Ziko (talk) 17:08, 22 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Great venue - I expect the games made it a very popular location for a a group with a high geek quota such as ourselves! -- Chuq (talk) 06:31, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • One idea that was raised by someone I spoke to was a "quiet room", where people can get away from the hubub, maybe charge some devices, and generally decompress for a few minutes. The elevator lobby on the 4th floor of the Marvin Center turned out to be very good for this, but I only know that because someone I know, who knew someone, etc happened to venture up there and discover it.
  • excellent choice. It accomodated well our number. Provided plenty of rooms and places to socialize. Was at walkable distance. Not too cold.
  • wonderful venue, but the air-condition could have been better, especially in the 300+x-rooms. In some sessions it was so incredibly hot in these rooms that you couldn't concentrate on the talk. --Thogo (talk) 09:26, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Generally excellent, but agree quiet room and air-con points. Johnbod (talk) 11:48, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • On the contrary, I was freezing often, especially during the hackathons in the big ballroom.
  • Great venue. Nice to have almost everything under one roof. Could have been more clearly signposted, as the building had multiple entrances. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:38, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Myself and some other editors thought it would have been awesome had there been editing rooms. I know some of the AFC editors including myself had to go wherever we could find space (301, the bottom cafeteria), and that made it a bit more interesting. People were crashing random rooms that weren't being used, just to get away from it all. Cots, anyone? Ktr101 (talk) 02:34, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Ditto everything above, except probably better to plan for more people in general, and larger attendance at workshops, even if costs more. Missed a couple sessions cause too crowded and I need to sit. Carolmooredc (talk) 13:55, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


Evaluation and rethinking of the process is going on at m:Wikimania/Scholarships.
  • Badly selected (prople who should have gotten visa, did not, and people who did get it should not have). Slowly done - too slow - slowed everything else (programme). People who got it got it too late to get a visa, too late to ask for vecation times and could not come. Deror avi (talk) 16:18, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • What happened to the scholarships/money which were not rewarded/spent? In previous years there has apparently been a waiting list for those given initial refusal, with at least one person I know getting a full scholarship in 2011 at the last minute with the money left over. I presumed this had been abandoned this year due to the lateness of the results and the fact that the refusal letter stated with finality that "you will not receive a Wikimedia Foundation scholarship". CT Cooper · talk 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree that scholarship process should begin early. Scholarship application should be accepted starting in October and closed in January, with results announced in February. --AutoGyro (talk) 17:20, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • On the whole I think scholarship organization has gone downhill since last year with the main problem by far being with the timing, which is the source of most of the problems noted. That fact that Wikimania was in mid-July this year compared to early-August last year, combined with the launch and closure of scholarship applications being early-January and late-January last year respectively, compared to mid-January and mid-February this year respectively, effectively meant a month had been lost before the process had even began. The original deadline set of 31 March or earlier was clearly unrealistic given that the reviewing time ended-up being the same as last year at two months, and as a result the decisions did not came out, after two push backs, until twenty days after the original deadline. The scholarship process needs to begin much earlier to allow the recipients to book reasonably priced flights and more efficiently use the scholarship budget (a complaint from 2011), and by the same token, allow those who are refused a scholarship at least some chance of putting together enough money to come. I would suggest starting the scholarships for 2013 in late 2012, such as by opening applications in early September, closing late November, and then releasing results at the end of January. If a turn around time of less than two months is desired, then more scholarship reviewers should be hired - I'm sure there are volunteers in the community happy to take this role. CT Cooper · talk 20:25, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • +1, but adding the need to allow time to arrange visas. How many people were unable to attend because their visas did not come through in time? Certainly some. Johnbod (talk) 11:47, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Even after scholarships had been announced, there seemed to be a lot of problems with making bookings e.t.c. Again, more volunteers might be helpful here. CT Cooper · talk 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The decision to have chapter scholarships and Foudation scholarships as part of one application was sensible, and I hope that stays. CT Cooper · talk 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • While I'm pleased that there was clear clarification this year that those that tick the box to accept a partial scholarship will only get a partial scholarship, there is still less information available than desirable in my opinion. It needs to be made clearer that the criteria is not the only factors used in deciding how scholarships are decided, for instance from observations I have made, those that have previously attended Wikimania have little to no chance of getting a scholarship (even if they are from outside Europe or North America). Perhaps the criteria should be amended to also negatively weight previous attendance at something between 10% and 20%. CT Cooper · talk 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • While the yearly graphs are welcome, and while I recognize that with the nature of the process that not everything can be public - more transparency would be welcome. I did like the suggestion at Talk:Scholarships#Breakup and details of Scholarships awarded to list those that received a scholarship, to allow users to find out for themselves what it takes to get a scholarship and to get more details on how it breaks down per country. As I stated in the thread, this has effectively already happened for UK recipients. CT Cooper · talk 21:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • As brought-up last year, there is a huge gulf between all almost all expenses paid full scholarship and a small dent off the cost of a long-haul flight partial scholarship. I will re-iterate last years suggestion that it would be a fairer distribution of the weight of costs to have the partial scholarship set at a percentage of travel costs which could be at 100% (so only accommodation, registration e.t.c. has to paid for), or more realistically at something like 50%. Alternatively, the partial scholarships could just cover accommodation and registration (which has a logic to it as partial scholarship recipients are normally also assigned a place in the dorms, but do have to pay), with travel costs left to the recipients to pay - although I don't think that would be as fair. If the cap is kept it would make more sense to have it in dollars given the ongoing crisis with the euro, the fact that cheques from the Foundation are in dollars, and that dollars remains the primary international reserve currency. The amount should also go up a bit every year to take into account inflation. CT Cooper · talk 20:25, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • It was unclear what the process was for applicants in countries with strong chapters. It seems they were automatically deferred to the chapter, which is fair enough, but this could have been made clear to the applicants. HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:46, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The arrangement between WMF funding and chapter funding wasn't well publicised initially. As a result some people applied for both WMF scholarships and separate chapters scholarships simultaneously - then having to pull out from one if accepted by the other. Overall though, it is great to see so many people - who would otherwise not have had the means to attend - be able to attend Wikimania! -- Chuq (talk) 06:45, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • The selection for me was quite "interesting". I know some people whose contribution is very visible and impressive globally but did not get any scholarship and I'm wondering how could that happen? Could someone share the score sheet? --OrsolyaVirág (talk) 18:41, 22 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • It is clear that contributions was not always dominating in the selection process in practice. Two reasons for that would be my observation that if a user previously attended Wikimania and/or previously got a scholarship, then there chances of getting another were significantly reduced. Also, for this year, scholarship selection and distribution were divided up between contingents/regions, and as a result (somewhat intentionally) there are varying standards from area to area. I asked last year if user's could request their own score, and the answer was no on grounds that it wouldn't mean anything without other scores - although curiosity is reason enough to receive them in my view. Also, even a list of numbers without names wouldn't be useless, by showing the range of scores given. CT Cooper · talk 23:16, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • You're right that the list of scores etc. can be useful, but even without names it could allow you to recognize people in some cases, it depends on how it is. I'm not sure it's worth the effort if it's not already available in some format (but I suppose it is). --Nemo 06:05, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
        • If only the totalled-up score per person was released, I can't see it as being possible to recognize individuals unless you were in position to see the list of scores with the names. On the whole, if its a choice between this and releasing a list of recipients, I think the latter would be more useful. CT Cooper · talk 11:45, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • I assume you mean media? I did google alerts on it and not much, but it was generally favorable - and concerned about fewer editors. (All the journalists who use it and want it high quality for their own purposes??) Controversy always attracts media. Hong Kong organizers probably can come up with some good ideas; or may not have to....??? Carolmooredc (talk) 14:00, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]





  • Some of the smaller rooms had too few power sockets, (early on at least). Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 01:19, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I really liked how power was available at each of the tables in the big rooms via extension leads - that's a big improvement on other (non-Wikimania) conferences that I've attended. Really good move. :-) Mike Peel (talk) 02:43, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Too few power sockets in the small rooms, and none in the main Auditorium. The Grad Ball room and the 3rd floor Auditorium were great. Deror avi (talk) 16:57, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Had to run to the other side of the third floor of GWU to find power. Laptop ended up dying and I had to restart the stuff I was doing for work. Definitely not enough power. Zellfaze (talk) 17:17, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Each presentation room should have a minimum of one outlet per five seats. Ideally, it should be even more than that. It's known to the organizers every year that they will be hosting a device-heavy crowd, for days (and sometimes even individual sessions) that run longer than the battery life of most laptops/tablets and some phones. Power strips are cheap and it always puzzles me why they're not provided in an abundance that corresponds to the known demographics (device-o-graphics?) of our attendees. The ballroom's power-strip-per-table strategy was much better than the presentation rooms themselves. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:18, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • too few sockets. Anthere (talk)
  • During the hackathons I was happy that there were so many sockets, but during the conference those were removed everywhere except from the ballroom. --Nikerabbit (talk) 14:59, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I liked how all the tables on the third floor were already wired with power strips in the larger room on the 3rd floor. --Elonka (talk) 18:16, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Plenty of power (not that I needed it that often!) If you need to charge more than once every 24 hours, then I recommend using a smartphone or tablet which lasts a bit longer :) -- Chuq (talk) 06:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • More buffets. Box lunches too much for some; not enough, or right kind of food, for others. I liked them myself. Gobble gobble. Carolmooredc (talk) 14:02, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Everything was great except that the only tea was Lipton's. Tea is cheap and it makes people happy and alert. Commit a bit more budget to a bit more tea. Coffee was as good as can be expected. I had vegetarian friends who were continually confused but found their way. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:43, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Quality and quantity

  • Food at Hackathon (self-service of hot meals and veg) was much better then the lunch packs during the main event. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 01:31, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Food at hackathon - realy good. Rest - not so good. Hated the boxes. Wanted more then one cooky and could not get one. Wanted more vegetebales and got bored with the bread. Only the barbaque day was sufficient. Deror avi (talk) 16:46, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Food supply was uneven. On BBQ day, by the time I got through the line they were flat out of veggie burgers. None to be had, anywhere in the building, sorry but too bad, according to the catering staff. A lunch of beans and cornbread was not quite the satisfying meal I'd hoped for. On the other hand, on Sunday there were literally hundreds of food boxes left uneaten when I left the building around 5pm. It can be tricky to hit the sweet spot between "ran out of food" and "throwing away food", but I'd much rather see there be a bit too much (which could perhaps be donated afterward?) than not enough. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:05, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Didn't like the food at the conference (except Hackathon). Bread, bread, bread, old bread, that is. Everything cold, no spices. Didn't dare to take the vegan option as I thought that the amount of vegan boxes might match the attending vegans. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • the food during the WCA was good; The food at the Google party was good. Some restaurants were good. Breakfast at the hotel was good. The lunch box at the venue was just... not. Not. I appreciated there were plenty of drinks hot and cold nearly all around the day. Anthere (talk)
  • Didn't like the lunch boxes. No preview what is inside, and I don't like chips as food. The included cookie was tasty but there wasn't one in Sunday! One day I arrived around 1pm and the food was already almost finished. --Nikerabbit (talk) 14:59, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Personally, I liked the boxed lunches. I found them better than the boxes I normally see in such conferences, and I especially liked the ones with the salads. It's rare to see a boxed lunch with a full Cobb salad with fresh ingredients. That was excellent. --Elonka (talk) 18:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Hot food during the main conference would have been nice. I liked the bagels provided in the breaks but the catering staff kept taking the toaster away! HJ Mitchell (talk) 22:57, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The boxed food was alright–not bad, but not great–but the major concern again was the lack of marking of vegetarian food. Sometimes it's obvious, but simply putting a 'V' sticker or sign next to food that's suitable for vegetarian reduces confusion and unfortunate surprise. The bagels were very nice compared to the shockingly crap bagels we get in Britain. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:43, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The lunch boxes were of good quality, although one might wonder how chips belong to a meal. The problem was that the amount of food was fixed; on some days I would have liked to eat a bit more, on others less. Certainly a lot of waste. But I suppose there were economical reasons for the boxes. Ziko (talk) 17:33, 22 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • A rather different opinion about lunch boxes: As the other people say, the quality of the food in the lunch boxes was not astounding, but it definitely wasn't bad. And it is not a bad solution for a conference that was so huge - quickly grabbing a lunch box is rather better than standing in a long line. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:36, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • It was very good that there were bagels, cheese spread and jam available most of the time. It is a very convenient way to get a snack any time. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:51, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I didn't mind the sandwiches (I loved the roast beef one on Saturday), but I know a few of us were a bit surprised to have seen Chinese food during lunch at the final day of the hackathon. Ktr101 (talk) 02:44, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I thought the snacks/lunches were fine, perhaps a bit more variety each day would have been nice but the food was tasty. I can understand how it would have been difficult for those with specific dietary needs (vegan, gluten free, etc) but then again they may have been handled separately. -- Chuq (talk) 07:12, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Variety and diversity

Including vegetarian options etc.

  • There were vegetarian options, but they weren't clearly marked (I ended up checking each day with the caterers) - it would have been good if they'd been clearly marked with the classic green 'V'. Mike Peel (talk) 02:34, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • There were not enough salads (not vegeterian ones), the vegeterian food was not properly labled (the vegan food was), and the stuff did not know what is vegeterian or not (the salads were not always vegeterian, and sandwiches which had appeared vegeterian were not). Deror avi (talk) 16:45, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Definitely needed more labelling on the food stuffs. Vegetarian options were not labeled. Vegan stuff was way out of the way. Looked like there wasn't much variety in the way of vegan stuff, seemed mostly salad. Vegetarian options were quite tasty though once I found them. Zellfaze (talk) 17:19, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'd recommend having signs that communicate to non-vegans and non-vegetarians to please chose a non-vegan or non-vegetarian meal if that's what they chose in their registration. While in line I had to recommend fellow line-goers who were not vegan against eating the vegan baked goods due to the fact that there was a small quantity in total. That said, I'm sure there were people who eat meat or other animal products who would have enjoyed a meal without meat or with no animal products at all. More vegetarian and vegan options?
    • On a note more related to environment, Wikimedia might want to consider shifting down it's proportion of food products containing meat and other animal products. I'd like to be able to truly represent the progressive culture of Wikimedia with what we eat (and how we eat it--see notes on disposable cutlery). The global environmental crisis is real and requires a radical departure from the status quo of consumerist consumptive habits. Eekiv (talk) 14:27, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      This is routinely done by WM-DE. --Nemo 09:00, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I expected more fresh fruit and juices, instead of muffins and soft drinks. Marcio De Assis (talk) 17:10, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Noticeable lack of gluten-free options at lunch. With gluten allergies and Celiac becoming more prominent, I was disappointed when a fellow attendee couldn't eat lunch because of gluten sensitivity. Bokehmon (talk) 16:18, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • As mentioned above, vegetarian options clearly marked and some more fresh juice would be nice. American soft drinks tend to be much, much sweeter than the equivalent brands in Europe (in a bar in DC, I had a glass of lemonade so sweet and sugary, I felt slightly sick afterwards), so something less sweet and fizzy would be nice. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:47, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • About marking the food: I was involved in organizing the food for Wikimania 2011. The food in 2011 was hardly labeled at all and the catering people had to explain everything to everyone (I remember how I ran around the beach party labeling everything manually at the last minute). So one of the important lessons of 2011 was that all the food must be clearly labeled. The 2012 team learned this lesson well and almost everything in 2012 was labeled quite clearly; definitely much better than in 2011. Vegan food was labeled explicitly, which was very good. A clearer mark saying "vegetarian" would be good, though. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • When I came home, I was excited to have something other than soda and orange juice. The tea was alright, but I would have loved to have had milk and juice, as well as more fruit and other things. Ktr101 (talk) 02:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Far too much disposable plastic cutlery, crockery, wrappings, etc. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 01:20, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I noticed that the plastic cups we were using had been made from recycled materials, and were recyclable. I think the same might have been true for the plastic cutlery/dishes. Each room in the venue had numerous recycling cans, where we could sort our refuse into them to be recycled. Water was dispensed into cups from a large container, rather than everyone being served in individual trash water bottles. Perhaps there's still work to do on making the conference environmentally-perfect, but I think there was progress made this year. The boxed lunches, while a neat idea and helpful for not having to wait in line, did seem a bit heavy on all the individual packaging. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:46, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • I think the packaging for the boxes was labeled as being environmentally friendly, so I didn't feel the need to recycle everything. I did like having fresh lunches individually wrapped, although I wasn't sure that the wrapping itself was biodegradable. Ktr101 (talk) 02:50, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I thought it was much better on the recycling front than the last conference. Protonk (talk) 23:22, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Three thoughts for the future:
    • Encourage Wikimania-goers to bring their own reusable silverware, cups/mugs and plates if possible. A life hack that's much simpler than it seems.
    • Perhaps a travel-cutlery set as part of the bag, which can be reused the entire conference? The problem being that many people aren't going to get those little knives and forks back on the plane! -- Chuq (talk) 04:06, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • IF at future Wikimanias we have disposable cutlery, may they be biodegradable (and from sustainable and non-controversial crops). Recycling is better than trash but the recycling process is still an unfortunate polluter--at least biodegradable objects go back to and enrich the earth!
    • This all said, each host city/country is subject to it's own capacities and resources toward waste reduction and disposal. Might Wikimedia consider organizing working teams in each host city/country that dedicate themselves toward reducing the event's environmental footprint? Eekiv (talk) 14:00, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Poor performance here. I was able to obtain my visa without the invitation letter, but I almost wasn't let on the plane due to the lack of an invitation. IMO, invitations should have been automatically generated and send within 2-3 days of the submission.-- 12:28, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I wanted Tanvir from Bangladesh! Not having him at the conference was probably the worst part about the conference. He was unable to get a visa in a timely manner. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:45, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]


Agreed - not very good to under-order. Apparently this was because of the conference organisers, who didn't collect gender information?
+1, though I can understand the desire not to be left with boxes of unwanted t-shirts. It was an experiment and hopefully the results will inform ordering for next year. HJ Mitchell (talk) 23:03, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • This may be because I think women's-cut shirts are not provided in as wide a variety of sizes, and the ones that are available are quite small (for example, a women's-cut 2X - the biggest size they had iirc- corresponds to something like a men's large). Though this isn't a choice the Shop people made, I don't think - it's just very difficult to get any of the t-shirt producing companies to do women's-cut shirts in larger sizes. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:35, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Maybe in some cases, but personally I chose the men's shirt because I just didn't like the very different design on the women's shirt, and I saw several females wearing the men's shirt who could have easily fit into the women's ones. -- TaraInDC (talk) 15:17, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Other for sale items

  • Bought package of all wikimedia project buttons and several metal pins. Very cool. A smaller size wiki water bottle would be good for more frequent use in backpacks, etc. Sell extra inexpensive tote bags people can use more at home, at grocery store, etc for advertising purposes (even strong plastic ones). Wikipedia patches people can sew onto visors, pants or jackets would be cool. Also WIKIMANIA 2013 dated buttons always popular. Carolmooredc (talk) 14:42, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • It will be a great idea to also incorporate internationally compatible power supply socket blocks (even better, with/and USB multi-pin-out chargers!) as an item in the wikimedia shops. I found many people running around for stores (and ending up buying rather expensive ones too), having missed / forgotten a US compatible power plug for their gadgets. How very nice it would be, to keep a Wikipedia logo on a power block! --Viswaprabha (talk) 23:51, 28 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • One thing I missed that was on badges last year but not this year was language-project affiliation, rather than just project. "Fluffernutter / Wikipedia" doesn't provide as much information to someone reading my badge as "Fluffernutter / en.wikipedia" would have. Perhaps I could have specified this info when I registered but I missed it, but I saw very, very few badges with this info, so it must not have just been me. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:09, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1. Weren't we all agreed on this on the wm2011 feedback page? Also what if we had an option for tiny flags with country of origin in the corners (feature creep!)? Protonk (talk) 23:21, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1. As for me, I finally used a thick black marker to jot it down myself! Many followed it seems. Viswaprabha (talk) 23:53, 28 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • +1. Johnbod (talk) 11:43, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I have a good look at the badges with the photos on Commons, and there was room for more info without cluttering them. I agree that project-language affiliation is potentially important information given the number of language Wikipedias and should be brought back. Perhaps, as I believe was suggested last year, language skills should also be provided in the babel format (which is the most understood in the Wikimedia world) e.g. en-N, de-1. CT Cooper · talk 13:10, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Really liked the format of the badges - large enough to easily read and does not flip over. The text on them was somewhat random, though - I wish the organizers of the next Wikipedia would provide some sort of preview, instead of providing you with a number of form fields and leaving it to your imagination exactly which and how will be displayed on the badge. --Tgr (talk) 20:45, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • format and hanging system was good; Anthere (talk)
  • The hanging system was good, though it would have been nice to have a bit more info on someone's badge. For example: "Elonka, EN administrator. Interested in dispute resolution, cryptography, and medieval history." --Elonka (talk) 18:20, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The badges themselves were great, but which combination of name/username/project(s)/chapter was displayed seemed very random. HJ Mitchell (talk) 23:08, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I have no complaints about the badges, but the major issue a lot of us had was the fact that the badges were so low, you had to bend over to look at the person's stomach just to see who they were. It was a bit awkward, to say the least. Ktr101 (talk) 02:54, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Including language/country really good. Optional area of interest/wikproject really good to help find likeminded people. Bigger letters needed; pin on option good for those who like to display their tshirt messages. Carolmooredc (talk) 14:07, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Can we please, please start making the text on badges a lot larger, and the lanyards a lot smaller? "hello, new person, let me squint at your boobs to work out who you are" is an awkward situation for everyone involved.

Printed program



  • HI-DC is one of the best hostels there IMO. Good selection. Rehman (talk) 01:00, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Agree. Staff very welcoming and volunteer-led guided walks a bonus. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 01:22, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Loved the staff, loved the location, loved the guests. Wonder choice, and probably where I'll stay next time I go to DC for a few days actually. Zellfaze (talk) 17:21, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I stayed at the William Penn hostel 5 blocks east of the Capitol building. It's a lovely, clean place if you enjoy hostels on the quieter side. Eekiv (talk) 20:23, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Much under the Gdansk Accomodation, but acceptable nonetheless.-- 12:26, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Breakfast was even better than later in the hotels where I stayed! Ziko (talk) 17:37, 22 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Except for being checked out twice before I left on Sunday, and the errant addition of someone at 1:45 in the morning on Friday to a bed which had someone occupying it (which had to do with the first checkout, I think), I enjoyed it. The "second checkout" occurred when I told them that I would be leaving Sunday, so they pulled my top sheets, but removed nothing else. The woman at the front desk Saturday morning responded to me saying I had been checked out at least once by saying, "It happens, it happens," and then did something where my sheet vanished. Other than that, I didn't mind it all that much, except for the funky internet. Ktr101 (talk) 03:00, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • State Plaza very good. Friendly staff, and kitchens in every room. Disabled-accessible!
  • A wider variety of hotels options would have been good. There was quite a jump between $35/night hostels and $149/night hotels! A hotel closer to $70/night would have been good. Mike Peel (talk) 02:35, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Yes, the hotel prices killed me and were the reason I ended up having to bring a car and book a hotel in Virginia and commute to the venue, instead. I know Foggy Bottom is an expensive area, and I know walkability is very important to WM accommodations, but was there literally nothing that wasn't a hostel and also didn't cost almost $200/night after tax? Perhaps it's worthwhile in the future to look into finding at least one inexpensive hotel, even if farther away, and shuttling people from it to the venue daily (or providing a guide for using public transport from it to the venue). I would live with the inconvenience of having to spend a weekend on the shuttle's schedule in exchange for not having to pay so much. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:40, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I was surprised not to see the Hotel Lombardy [2] on a list of hotels convenient to the Wikimania venue. It was about 2 blocks across the street from GWU making for a 3 minute walk, and offered very good accommodations for a relatively good rate (probably because I booked well in advance). JordanB (talk) 14:07, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • I booked Hotel Lombardy too almost three months in advance. It was a really nice hotel with a fair rate. Marcio De Assis (talk) 17:15, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Another Lombardy customer here. It was a great hotel, but not over the top (three star) and great location. My average per-night cost (by booking the "no cancellation allowed" rate) was about $140 including taxes and fees, the nights of July 13th and 14th were the cheapest at ~$95 each! -- Chuq (talk) 04:22, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • State Plaza was great. Booked directly though the hotel website - which was cheaper than the conference website. This should not have been the case. Booking should have been done through the conference website and allowed two people who want to share a room book together. Deror avi (talk) 16:50, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Since I wound up staying in both the State Plaza and the DuPont one, I have to say I'm really not sure why DuPont was chosen as the main one; not only was it more expensive and a good distance from the venue, but it also just wasn't a very good hotel. Bathrooms didn't have real doors (and what they did have could slice the top of one's foot off) or bathtubs, rooms lacked a useful refrigerator or any kitchen stuff, pillows weren't very nice, windows didn't open... State plaza was not only cheaper and closer, but it also had far more actually useful things like doors and stoves and tables, even if it didn't have so many fancy-looking doodads everywhere. -— Isarra 17:17, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Absolutely loved my junior suite at the State Plaza. Spotlessly clean, and a full kitchen so I could make my own meals, which I'm sure saved a ton of money as I didn't have to pay restaurant prices. I would have no hesitation staying there again, with one exception, and that was the distance from the Metro. It was very convenient for the conference though. --Elonka (talk) 18:23, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Other accommodations

  • Couchsurfing: Future Wikimania-goers might consider joining Couchsufing, a global network of travelers and hosts that operates under a "pay it forward" philosophy. For travelers, Couchsurfing provides the opportunity to either stay at the home of a local person or simply meet up with them. Either way, Couchsurfing gives travelers a unique opportunity to learn about where they are staying through a local perspective. If you consider this option please note that you will be expected to provide thoughtful details about yourself while creating your profile and that you should expect the same from others. If you have any questions please contact me via the same username on English Wikipedia. Cheers! Eekiv (talk) 13:41, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]



  • Poor communication from the Wikimania team to chapters and volunteers.
  • Lots of information missing on the website (directions to places, the fact that there was breakfast and where it was). Deror avi (talk) 16:54, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • No communication whatsoever with presenters. I had no idea if I was to be using my own laptop, forced to use the venue's laptop or even when I was presenting (w/o looking at the schedule). Protonk (talk) 23:15, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The website was not at all good (strangely this is entirely typical of RL Wikimedia!). It gave a strong impression that little or nothing had been added or updated in the period from 3 months to 3 days before the start of the conference. Very typically, this page remains uncategorized (one of 45 uncategorized pages today). No attendee list, which is really poor! Tours info inadequate or inaccurate. I'm still hearing rumours of things that were online that I looked for & failed to find, like unconference planning. Equally one advertised speaker (his proposal merged into another) had decided not to attend long before. No recent changes tab on the menu, which is important for what should be a fast-moving site. Johnbod (talk) 11:41, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • There was an attendees list, located at Template:Attendees, the same place as previously - the main difference being that it was hidden under "About us" for some reason, while last year it was at the top of the sidebar. On the Wikimania 2013 wiki, its under "Participation". I personally found the list to be very incomplete in 2011, and it may have been even worse this year. CT Cooper · talk 19:36, 21 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • That page, which I had found, contains ?about 90 100% certain people, including just one identifying as from the UK. The probables are 16 people, including just one UK person, who didn't in fact come. Incomplete would be putting it very mildly, surely? But it doesn't pretend to be an attendee list, and it isn't. But the organizers most certainly had one. If privacy was an issue then questions should be asked in the ID badge section to find those who want to remain undercover. I see this page has now been categorized anyway (& it's no doubt a bit late for the 43 that remain uncategorized). Johnbod (talk) 16:39, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
        • It may be a poor attendance list, but it is still acts as one unless something comes along which is better. I am in favour of releasing a list of scholarship recipients, so it is logical that I am also in favour of releasing a complete attendees list from the organizes. If it was done on username by default, and there was an option to opt-out, then I don't see the problem. CT Cooper · talk 22:51, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
          • Indeed, why don't we have an official list of scholarship recipients? Most chapters do publish them. It seems the minimum, given the benefit they receive, 1) for the sake of transparency and to publicly thank the scholarship issuer making the scholarships visible (currently it's a black box), 2) to allow the community to take the biggest advantage of their presence (talking with them etc.), which requires knowing they are at Wikimania. --Nemo 06:05, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
          • As a scholarship recipient I'm rather disinclined to see my name automatically added to a list. I'm also really unsure as to the utility of a list of attendees in general. Who cares? What would we do with it? What would've been done with a WM 2011 attendee list? Also, it's generally considered bad form to release a list of conference attendees. Everyone comes to a conference for different reasons and expects different levels of engagement from other people. If I saw you at wikimania and didn't give you my username or my email, perhaps it is because I didn't want to. Throwing up a complete attendance list eliminates this distinction. Protonk (talk) 04:48, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
                  • Amazed by this frankly. The utility is you know who's there. The conference was far too big to have any reasonable expectation of running into most people, and wikipedians have many online friends & contacts whose appearance they don't know, & they may not have contacts in common. I was still hearing at the unconference of people I'd dealt with & would really like to have met who were there. It's not my experience that lists are considered "bad form" at all (maybe you're thinking of speed dating!). What the others say below - especially if you get a scholarship from either WMF or a chapter you should have good rreasons for objecting to at least your username being public. Johnbod (talk) 11:46, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
            • As a scholarship recipient you should also allow for a distinction/"discrimination" given that you've been positively distinguished/discriminated by allowing you to come, which is a privilege. ;-) Anyway, if you want to talk with someone and not give your username or email, you'd still be able to, the list is not going to be linked to identikits or records of the private talks; moreover, I never mentioned email (nor full name of course). As I said, chapters do this and it's not been a problem of any sort. --Nemo 06:20, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
            • Considered bad form by who? The current self sign-up attendees list is so incomplete its borderline useless. I think a simple list by username (not e-mails, possibly names by an opt-in) should be released for the records, with option of an opt-out entirely on registration (the list could say "There were X number of anonymous attendees"). This would give people far more information on who they would expect to meet at the conference (something which I would have found very useful in 2011), and allow precise figures to be made avaliable on how many attended, something which is currently lacking for 2012 and some previous events. The same could be done for scholarship recipients (again with an opt-out) - and I actually think the case for releasing these is stronger since donors to chapters and the Foundation should have more information on where their money is going in the scholarships budget, and it would be useful for those scrutinising the process and future applications to see how selection is distributed. CT Cooper · talk 11:59, 26 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I was not informed about my talk having been accepted from the waiting list. I had some stress trying to figure out when I will have time to prepare it, and finally finished it the last night before my presentation day. That also means I could not rehearse it with anyone. Seriously, how could this happen? All in all I have a positive feeling about the conference, but this one annoyed me a lot. --Nikerabbit (talk) 15:11, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

During the conference

  • No way to reliably contact everyone in the venue. PA system didn't stretch to every room
  • "Gong" was not strong enough. Need PA to get people back into sessions during the breaks. Deror avi (talk) 16:55, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    There was a gong? I never heard it once the entire time I was there, so it definitely needed to be a lot louder. Many times I happened to glance at my watch and realized that I'd been chatting with someone halfway through into the next session I'd intended to go to, because there seemed to be no notification that break time was ending. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:11, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    There was no PA or gong in 2011 either as far as I'm aware, and unfortunately unless there is already one pre-installed at the venue of choice, future conferences may also have to do with out it - I don't know if a mobile one would be viable for a large venue. In 2011, while I did turn-up to one session late due to mistiming things, I did manage without it for the most part with a good watch - however having the mini-booklet for the program was essential. CT Cooper · talk 13:01, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • With so many people attending we need a way to find someone in that crowd of which you only know the name but not the face. --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • communication during the conference was very poor. Schedule were changed .... on the wiki page... but not anywhere else, resulting in missing sessions. This assumed that people just have to connect themselves to the wiki page regularly to be informed. Poor move ! Not everyone comes with a laptop (which is a bad idea to socialize anyway). Not everyone come with a smartphone. The wifi was there, but not super great. And as soon as we left the venue, non americans were no more connected due to the very expensive costs of roaming. This should be improved. Perhaps with a day beginning with reminder of main points of the day and change of schedule. Perhaps with a big panel as in Taiwan with the program summary plus changes. Perhaps with more paper signs. Dunno. But could have been better. Anthere (talk) 09:21, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • +1, maintaining a visible, large wall copy of the schedule during the conference, in addition to the online schedule, should be in the checklist for every Wikimania. Communication during the conference about schedule changes was confusing, e.g. "All sessions scheduled to be in Betts are now in Amphitheatre and vice versa" - OK, based on what schedule? It turned out that the online schedule had actually been updated, leading to avoidable confusion among people trying to get to their session.--Eloquence (talk) 20:36, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • No attendee list! I mean, really! Room changes rather messily handled. The web site was generally not good (see previous section). Johnbod (talk) 11:29, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


After the conference

  • It was a bit chaotic before we decided on what was going on in the morning (half of the Education meetup ended up in the main room after being told we all had to meet there, even though we said we were going ahead immediately). Ktr101 (talk) 03:03, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Program announced videos would be at http://www.youtube.com/user/WikimediaDC and photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/wikimediadc but nothing relevant at either spot. Obviously stuff happens. There is a link on top of wikimania2012.wikimedia.org to Commons photos. But nothing about whether there will be workshop/other program videos available. I am sure others also have lots they'd like to catch, so info on where and when would be a big help! Thanks. Carolmooredc (talk) 14:12, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    I also came for information about conference videos. I do not mind that they are not here, but information about when they will be would be nice. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:30, 2 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    Typically schedules have not been respected. I've been told they're still being edited by the recording crew and they'll be uploaded (hopefully as they are, directly on archive.org, without further editing) after that. --Nemo 09:18, 5 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    Lack of communication on this has been irritating. I left a comment on the youtube channel three weeks ago. No reply. Instead they upload some chamber music to the channel. Please communicate when and where the recorded presentations can be expected! --Dschwen (talk) 18:12, 10 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    Where: it will be announced, check on wiki and wikimania-l. When: they don't know, it's useless to ask. I've been struggling for Wikimania videos for years now, so I know that I must be happy and grateful if they come out in less than a year. --Nemo 18:53, 10 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    The video company we hired is processing the videos now. September is a reasonable guess for when we'll get them online, but it's just an estimate. Hopefully sooner and hope not any later. Cheers. Aude (talk) 21:45, 10 August 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Personal service and behaviour of the team

  • Impeccable. Well done! Mike Peel (talk) 02:39, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Very helpful and knowledgeable. JordanB (talk) 14:06, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Great team. Sessions moderators were great. Asked great questions themselves. Help desk staff (especialy Lisa and Danny) - incredibly helpful. Deror avi (talk) 16:51, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Very impressed w/ the work overall. Protonk (talk) 23:16, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Very good, thanks to all! --Pgallert (talk) 08:56, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Very good indeed. They did a huge amount of work in a polite and nice way. Marcio De Assis (talk) 17:19, 18 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • they were great and very helpful. The only thing I thought a bit odd compared to other years is that they were much less visible (in the sense they were less put at the front). I remember in particular Wikimania in Boston or Taipei ? where every half day started with a common gathering in one big room and the team presenting us information about the day. Other years, there was the selection of best pictures. Or signatures on a banner. Or destruction of big wikiballs. Or presentation of community video during the final party. It made Wikimania look less than a regular conference and more like a friend funny gathering. I liked it. It created opportunities to talk with other "groups" to bond. And this is typically carried upon by the organizing team. And by the end of the three days, we knew exactly who was in the team. Putting the name of the team members on a powerpoint slide is not the same than putting bodies and face on stage. If only because a name is not telling much to most participants. The guy may be famous on the English wikipedia, he is not known by others. Putting names on screen is nice to "recognise" the work done by someone. But putting the body on stage is best to get to know, recognise, love, someone. This year looked more plain than others to me even if I had a great time because the team was less visible. I hope that next year team will imagine a "special" thing that will make it so that Wikimania is not only a conference but a meeting primarily. Anthere (talk) 08:55, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • They were all excellent, but Lisa particularly so because I don't think she moved from the helpdesk for the entire conference. HJ Mitchell (talk) 23:20, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Glad to see lots of great volunteers since I felt guilty I didn't!!! Carolmooredc (talk) 14:14, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]



  • Lots of great sights!


Things that are not the organization team's fault...

I also disagree with all three of these. It's a wonderful city, nothing to complain about. -- 08:32, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

  • I loved the city. It was beautiful. Buildings were nice. Museums were cool. People were friendly. Anthere (talk)
  • Great city, & compact relative to the great number of museums & sights it has. Probably the best US choice, even if all US cities were possible. Johnbod (talk) 11:34, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • I actually really like DC. I've been to various other American cities (Boston and San Francisco) and it's very calm and most people I met were friendly and helpful. I've had bad experiences in San Francisco with people being rude and aggressive, but in DC there didn't seem to be any such attitude. I only heard someone shouting "asshole" at another driver once, for instance. In NYC or London, that kind of thing is quite a bit more frequent. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:51, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Having lived there this past spring, I can help address some of these complaints. The homeless are either very aggressive, or very kind. It really depends on whom you see. The grocery stores are expensive because things in Washington are more expensive (well, outside of Anacostia, that I know of). The people are pretty kind because they know they're ambassadors of the nation, but you will get some of those who are not friendly, but that's just any city. Honestly, it's one of the nicest cities I've been to. Ktr101 (talk) 03:23, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Metro is bloody expensive, and the places picked for drinks were often too far from the venue, out near the hostel instead. 01:12, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Kudos for having SmarTrip cards available at the hostel! It would be fantastic if this became the standard approach with travel at Wikimania - making sure that public transport can be used, with the least amount of complications. Mike Peel (talk) 02:37, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Too expensive. Badly marked (where are the bus stops) Deror avi (talk) 16:52, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Not much that can be done about this, but I had several problems with the buses. One day one of the circulator buses never showed up, we waited 40 minutes before finding another bus. Additionally one of the circulator buses broke down while I was on it on Sunday. Zellfaze (talk) 17:33, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • City Bikeshare is AWESOME!!! I did a 3-day rental for $15 and got around way quicker and cheaper than I could have with the metro or the bus (I did both at first, and thought the city was huge...until I hopped on a bike)! Riding in the heat was also nice, as I'd take a slow pace and enjoy the extra breeze.Eekiv (talk) 20:26, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The city is actually pretty easy to get around. The Circulator worked great, although I didn't try any other DC buses. The metro is pretty damn good... and, really, expensive? It's pretty competitively priced in my experience (that said, I commute to London, so what do I know?!). The cabs were pretty cheap if you share with two or three other people, although one cab driver didn't seem to know where GWU was so had to look it up on Google Maps. This is why cab drivers need to take The Knowledge. Heh. —Tom Morris (talk) 00:54, 20 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The Metro did experience a recent price hike, but it didn't actually affect any of the fares that the average Wikimedian would have experienced. Honestly, we were lucky in that we weren't in Georgetown, so I think we really lucked out there. Additionally, we were within the grid system (imagine having it at American University, which is far from the city), so it was extremely easy to navigate compared to other cities of similar size. The best part about the city, is it is also very walkable, so I think we also lucked out in that right. Ktr101 (talk) 03:27, 24 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Three sharing a cab from the IH to the GWU was only about a dollar or so more than three metro rides. I'm surprised that people didn't get together and do this more often - door to door too. I think there's is a misconception that all Wikimania goers are young, fit walkers. Oddly enough, all the walking seemed to do something good for my arthritis, although I kept holding people up when walking with a group. A van from the IH to the venue and back at peak times might have been a good idea. --Kudpung (talk) 08:32, 31 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • Future Wikimanias might want to invest in cheap RFID tags, to assist with tracking down the many, many lost items! Nathan (talk) 00:24, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • We need a better way of communicating with each other, and finding each other, during the conference rather than emails or twitter. A message board (either physical, or a digitial on-wiki page) that was in active use by attendees would have been really useful. Mike Peel (talk) 02:38, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • This +1 Zellfaze (talk) 17:35, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Oh goodness, please let's do this. IRC, which seemed to be the main method this time around, is at best an ad-hoc solution which at only works for the small percentage of attendees who use it, when it works at all (I'm looking at YOU, weak wifi signal!). A noticeboard or mailbox system where people could leave messages (either a literal "board" or an online one) would be wonderful. Fluffernutter (talk) 19:14, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • This is sort of random: I wish I would have set up and bookmarked a bunch of sandboxes with sample content on various types of wikis. There were many times someone showed me some tip or method or gadget I haven' t been aware of by grabbing a random page editing, previewing, canceling. And now I am trying to recall the wiki text they used to do the awesome things I saw. BirgitteSB (talk) 23:15, 16 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]


  • I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth but this is two wikimanias in a row where I've brought my laptop in a messenger bag and been forced to do something with the conference bag. More generally there was too much crap in the packet. I don't need a dozen slips of glossy paper to get lost, crumpled or otherwise fill up my bag before I decide which ones actually matter. Protonk (talk) 01:21, 17 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • I suggest a tote bag as a giveaway, which can be used as a shopping bag, can contain other swag, but can also be easily folded away. Messenger bags are indeed a bit common and bulky. The old cotton Wikipedia tote bags were actually not bad in terms of production quality, although a nicer design would certainly be welcome.--Eloquence (talk) 20:48, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • I quite like the messenger bag, and I don't mind the paper in the bag; some of it was useful or interesting and the rest goes in the bin. Would have been nice to have had more swag (WP/WM/WMF swag or stuff from sponsors) in the bags though. HJ Mitchell (talk) 23:32, 19 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • The large bag that was given was nmot immediately useful to me. This doesn't mean, however, that it's completely useless - at one conference that I attended I received a bag that I still use as my daily backpack. Maybe people can select the type of bag they want during the registration. A foldable bag, like the one that the Hong Kong team gave to the participants on the last can be a good idea, too. --Amir E. Aharoni (talk) 12:49, 23 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
  • Loved free buttons and stickers. Choice of bags is good. An inexpensive backpack like one I own (medium weight cloth, only one outside pocket, drawstring arm holds) is an option if you can find a producer. I liked messenger bag this time but next time probably would like a foldable one for extra stuff to put in this years. Also, a heavier weight folder with pockets or one big pocket good for holding conference and other collected papers for those who didn't bring one in their luggage. Or at least a nice big envelope. Carolmooredc (talk) 14:23, 25 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Lessons from other conferences

Things we should (have) learn(t) from previous Wikimanias, other ideas from similar conferences. See also wm2011:Feedback, wm2010:Monsters and critics; help consolidate Wikimania organization learnings in the m:Wikimania Handbook.