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Wikimania Lounge

Wikimania 2007 Taipei :: a Globe in Accord

This page is currently a draft, and undergoing progressive revisions as ideas are added and refined. Feel free to edit this page directly or comment on talk page. The original was copied from this original.

Proposal for Wikimania Lounge

With two Wikimanias under our belt, we have a chance for Wikimania 2007 to provide unprecedented interaction among participants, and also involve those who cannot make a long/expensive trip to Taipei. Wikimania has always emphasized a “conference track” which has provided good structured setting for community discussion, but there is a missed opportunity with so many from around the world to converse with and educate each other.

We propose a Wikimania Lounge that will serve as a laboratory for attendees to discover new multimedia experiences to aid content creation for Wikimedia projects, and to interact with Wikimedians around the globe in virtual space, using audio, video and other techniques.

The Wikimania Lounge Would be open 24 hours, allowing folks to stay up without constraints to collaborate, experiment and interact with new media content. We envision three main areas of focus:

Community Building and Interaction

Computers (via sponsorships from technology companies) could make up a dozen or so preconfigured workstations for attendees to edit and work, while wireless Internet and desks with power-ports can host user supplied laptops. If possible a free flow of coffee, drinks and snacks will encourage people “hang out” and serve as a locus of community activity. Computers can be dedicated to run IRC and audio/video chat software to allow Wikimedians from all over to interact with attendees. (See Stickam and Ventrilo for other “team talk” applications).

If planned well ahead of time, we can have regional meetups in different continents/cities to coincide with Wikimania hours, and have them videoconference in and interact with attendees.

Content Creation and Training

During the conference hours, the Lounge can host morning and afternoon tutorial sessions about content creation for Wikimedia Commons and other projects. But in general, the area is meant for experimentation and production. Volunteer staffers will be around to help, but self-guided tutorials will be encouraged. Some projects might include training attendees in recording and editing spoken audio for Wikimedia Commons; shooting and lighting techniques for better photography; compressing and uploading multimedia content.

A more advanced possiblity might be to generate good digital content for Wikisource, by having folks bring original works to be digitized by photography, scanning or optical character recognition. People from Archive.org, Library of Congress or Google Libraries project may be able to help in this regard.

One might imagine many "stations" ready for doing digitizing, audio recording or photography. There can be wallcharts with 1-2-3 directions for folks to experiment. Or trainers can help walk people through it. Facilities might include:

  • Desktop studio light table, for "product photography" of small objects. Photos to be uploaded to Commons.
  • Audio recording booth with shotgun directional microphone for people to do readings.
  • Video shooting and editing station for filming demonstrations
  • Flatbed or drum scanner for digitizing artwork or printed matter
  • Rotating platform for doing 360 degree photo or video "walkarounds" of objects

News and Conference Reporting

Since October 2006, Wikipedia Weekly has become an audio forum for community news, and we propose to setup a newsroom to cover the many activities and people at Wikimania. What better chance to interview Wikipedians from all over the world, and to have them tell their stories, and to share experiences from across the dozens of different language communities. In addition to the raw audio/video feeds of conference sessions, Wikipedia Weekly can also serve as a hub for summarizing them and also supporting discussions afterwards.

Other benefits of the Wikimania Lounge

  • Provides a rich environment for press/media to observe and record the community in action.
  • Skills transfer (ie. training) for folks in various language communities
  • Significant fundraising opportunities and in-kind donations
  • Showcase open source solutions, in addition to widely used commercial solutions, for all above tasks


  • Wikipedia Weekly volunteer staff
  • Free Culture Spaces reps

Wikimania Coverage

In addition to a Wikimania Lounge, outlined above, it would be possible for Wikipedia Weekly volunteers to provide additional coverage of the gathering. This would involve a shortened episode (between twenty and forty minutes in duration) for each day of the conference, which would be edited overnight and made available online before the commencement of the next day's activities.

An important feature of Wikipedia Weekly's coverage of the conference would be the input of a wide range of Wikimedians. Such involvement might include:

  • Non-trivial input by attendees that had not previously been involved with the Wikipedia Weekly podcast. If combined with the Wikimania Lounge and/or editing facilities, attendees could record, edit and submit original content to the podcast which would be posted online for public attention. This may form part of the main podcast, or be posted as additional content, either at Commons or at WikipediaWeekly.com.
  • Soundbite-style interviews with a large number of conference attendees. This could involve asking a single question to a number of people each day and interspersing their answers throughout the main podcast, or having well known (and not-so well known) Wikimedians introduce themselves briefly, and the projects that they're involved in, to listeners.
  • Brief excerpts of original audio produced in the Wikimania Lounge, such as audio recordings of Featured content or Commons/Wikisource materials.

Some more general features of the podcast might include:

  • Brief conversations with speakers, including audio excerpts from their respective presentations. This would provide an effective summary of the day's content and a chance for speakers to address non-attendees directly.
  • Live conversations with a larger number of participants than would ordinarily be possible. Episode Two of Wikipedia Weekly demonstrated this idea, as Andrew was able to hold an interview with half a dozen people without any of the bandwidth or latency concerns that would ordinarily hinder internet communications. Combined with a muted room (ideally free from echo) and, optionally, a small set of cheap microphones provided either by the Foundation or Wikimania sponsors, a large number of people could easily engage in a roundtable discussion moderated by the Wikipedia Weekly crew.
  • Direct conversations with listeners. Using the "Skypecast" feature of Skype, or alternative communication software such as Ventrilo or Asterisk (PBX), listeners could directly participate in the aforementioned roundtable discussion. The conversation could easily be moderated to maintain a high signal-to-noise ratio, and potentially streamed live and made available for download later. (See also Topic:VoIP at Wikiversity)


  • Andrew Lih en:User:Fuzheado -- Based in Beijing, China. Helped with Wikimania 2005/2006, involved with Wikipedia Weekly, writing book about Wikipedia currently.
  • Cormac Lawler v:User:Cormaggio - will be at WM07, have been to previous two also. Not technically minded but v. interested in getting an engaging and interactive system in place for this year...
  • David Still en:User:Daveydweeb -- Living in Canberra, Australia. Participant in the Wikipedia Weekly podcast since 2006, experienced with audio post-processing for podcasting purposes. Attendance dependent on scholarship response.
  • Liam Wyatt en:User:Witty lama -- Australian based in Sweden. Panelist in Wikipedia Weekly.
  • SJ en:User:Sj -- American based in Boston.
  • Elizabeth Stark en:User:Estark -- American based in the started party.

Add more folks here... from Wikiversity, Wikicast

Sponsorship Opportunities

  • Local firms
    • Acer (computers, technology)
    • Chunghua Telecom (bandwidth)
  • Technology (general)
    • Apple Computer (audio/video software, workstations)
    • Sun Microsystems
    • Microsoft
    • Google
    • Yahoo
  • Innovative firms
    • FON (Wifi access)
  • Open source/content
    • TBD