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Chapters Village/Feedback

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is a collection of feedback about the Chapters Village. Some of you filled in the paper forms at Wikimania, others completed the online form.

The online version of the feedback form included three more questions, namely

  • How were you involved in the Chapters' Village?
  • Were you aware of the Meet-Ups and Speed Geeking sessions during the breaks?
  • How can we better integrate these extra sessions in the overall programme?

Altogether, 27 people completed the online form and 29 people handed back the paper version of the feedback form. Thanks to everyone who participated!


Generally, the idea of having a Chapters' Village as a central point to meet/contact/exchange information (e.g. on chapters' work) and chat was liked by the majority of people participating in the survey. The location chosen seemed perfect in the sense that it was centrally located, but almost everyone noted that the heat and climate was hard to bear. Additionally, the lack of tables/space for eating and taking in meals was criticised. Quite a few people were bothered by the overlap between the session schedules and attending the Chapters' Village/Meet-Up sessions during the breaks. Smaller chapters with fewer staff could not attend to their tables at all times. It was suggested that the Chapters' Village and the Meet-Ups should be included in the general Wikimania programme and be promoted more actively in advance. Except two people, everyone agreed that the Chapters' Village should continue at future Wikimanias: More participating chapters and affiliates were wished for as well as more activities in the Chapters' Village.

We will take all this feedback into account when talking to the Wikimania 2014 organising team. We'd love to take the Chapters' Village to the next level in London and are already in touch with Ed and James about it.

How were you involved in the Chapters' Village?

  • "My chapter hosted a table there." - 2/3 of survey participants
  • "I visited the chapters village as a guest." - 1/3 of survey participants

What did you like most about the Chapters' Village?

General remarks

  • the whole idea of advertizing the chapters to the community is a great one!
  • the idea is great, I like the information service
  • very nice idea and I hope it gets better and better
  • the idea itself, the videos
  • branding was really good
  • constant presence
  • to talk with people organising interesting events
  • the big TV was great
  • very informative and friendly
  • the understatement
  • that it was movement oriented
  • the food from different countries

Point of contact/exchange/information

  • it’s very nice to have a chance to talk to Wikimedians around the world and get to know the work they have done to promote the movement
  • to see the national elements of each chapter
  • meet everyone in real life (not behind a computer or nickname), to know what they do and want to do, to know how can I do or create new projects
  • everything - a chance to meet, chat and make new friends and find out about the chapters
  • the interaction with different chapters from around the world
  • everyone can talk about anything with the Villages people, it felt good to me. I now understand more about Wikimedia projects, especially Wikidata. This is an important project for Wikimedia and I will contribute my edits to Wikidata, WP etc.
  • sharing experiences with other chapters
  • I have learned about many things
  • many good staff
  • I loved the wonderful volunteers
  • stories and new friends
  • each chapter has individual presentation at their table, that is what I liked most. Lots of thought has been put into each presentation.
  • to talk to people from various chapters, see who works where
  • to meet many people and to talk to them
  • the WikiAir project by WMIL (postcards with awesome aerial photos by actual Wikipedians)
  • it makes finding people from a given country/region easier
  • enjoyed the exchange with all Wikimedians, it helped to create contact between people who never meet before
  • a place to meet and to make friends
  • great opportunity to showcase our country, culture and chapter
  • fixed point for people to get into contact with our chapter
  • a centre for my delegation
  • nice with a sort of village pump
  • it was on a very central place - so nobody could miss us
  • it was a very good opportunity to exchange ideas: people knew that they'll find us at this booth during the whole Wikimania
  • it provided a focus for meetings during the breaks
  • I liked this "one, central" place where people could come together and talk about projects of their interest
  • It was at the center of the conference, everybody was at least once in the chapters village.
  • It was good that it was located where the lunch and the breaks took place.

Concept of Chapters' Village

  • seeing the other chapters' exhibits and being made aware of the projects they're doing
  • good way to present the chapters, also a nice opportunity to get in touch with the other chapters and see what they present
  • to show how chapters are all on the same side
  • It's easy way to identify people at the conference even with the badge, the chapters village makes it easier! When people have organisational matters that need to talk to the chapters, at least somebody must be there. Say UK's biscuits and Israel's waterguns, simple but easy way to attract people to talk.
  • a chance to educate other Wikimedians from around the world about what our chapter is doing
  • the idea was nice
  • the concept: because it offers a chance to advert what chapters do during the whole time of Wikimania. It's also a place where we have enough time to discuss (unlike during the presentations). Central location, good idea to organize meals at the same place.
  • impressions of the diversity of Wikipedia around the world
  • introducing and spreading to others what those chapter had been working for the past year, to give people insight about how the things are going with Wikimedia movement on a global scale.
  • the possibility to explore chapters various activities and get a "face" on chapters


  • it was very intimate, the environment is very friendly
  • Chapters Village friendly, kind and happy
  • a more friendly, human face to all our movement friends
  • good cheer
  • atmosphere, and the idea of show and tell

Give-aways/information material

  • free cookies, lots of advertising material
  • stickers, wiki stuff
  • the goodies
  • souvenirs
  • give-aways & goodies we can bring back to local community to prove I was really there at Wikimania
  • the souvenirs offered were useful
  • the stickers “I am interested in” were very helpful
  • annual reports, souvenirs, stationary and published items from different chapters around the world
  • occasion to see other's chapters' promotion materials
  • the sticker to put on yourself about what to talk about


  • the quick meeting sessions, they were very interesting

What did you NOT like about the Chapters Village?

General remarks

  • The fact that it overlapped with too many interesting talks during the main event.
  • It provided a focus for meetings during the breaks ;-). More seriously, it lead to some clumping.
  • The lack of 'break' with all these events and activities people were suddenly expected to attend. Puts too much pressure on active conference attendees.
  • The separation between the important (WMF) tables in the auditorium and the unimportant (chapters) tables in the heat left me with a bad taste
  • By principle, the chapters village competes against the informal meetups etc. during breaks, which are the most valuable part of Wikimania. It made my experience of this Wikimania even more stressful than the earlier ones. Obviously this is less a problem for chapters with a lot of staff who can just delegate those to man the booth while the others have their meetings.
  • Wikimania organisers basically ignored it.

Chapters presentation

  • I was expecting to see more chapters present
  • not all chapters had a stand -it can be more creative
  • not all chapters were there, just a few bigger ones
  • upcoming chapters were not given presence at the village
  • too small in the sense of chapters presence and lack of information about it. Where was the festive feeling?
  • there were only a few chapters participating
  • not enough chapters who did not bring items from their country/region - the world is a bg place, we need more!
  • there is not an Arabic chapter
  • the first day our table was taken/not existent. We decided to leave it at that and rather be a "floating" chapter, using the breaks to roam around and talk to people and network without a fixed table. For small chapters without a lot of information material and staff to take shifts hosting the table all the time not having a table didn't make a huge difference anyhow.
  • too messy, sometimes it was not clear which table belong to which chapter
  • amateuristic impression
  • low participation, narrow country representation
  • the lack of number of chapters and activities
  • that it was non-existent during lunch
  • most of the tables became empty after the first day when people understood it not really worth the time
  • screen was used most of the time by WMDE, showing schedules time after time instead of showing the chapters' work. The Chapters Schedule was even more famous then the Wikimania schedule.


  • it was very crowded and hot
  • it was too hot, it shouldn’t be outside but inside
  • not outdoors while a hot summer
  • the place! - in the sun, not indoors
  • a bit sweaty
  • too much sun
  • in the middle of the most crowded area, hard to chat
  • I did not like that the tables were outside, too much sun and too much wind
  • that it was outside in the sun, it was too hot
  • the heat (location)
  • The place wasn't very nice - too hot under glassy roof, and very chaotic organisation.
  • Could not play music
  • It was under a glass dome which just made the heat worse... Also the double use as catering area did not help the arrangements.
  • not so good that it got extremely hot, and that during lunch it became so crowded that it became hard for people to find the chapters' tables.
  • Outside and so very hot!

Organisational aspects

  • clean organisation. If you didn’t know why the tables and what people were doing there, it would be very difficult to get for yourself
  • no multimedia files
  • too long, clashes with presentations
  • it took us all the space where people were supposed to have lunch
  • space and organisation, no chapters but communities
  • people using the booths for lunch and leaving the trash there
  • also it was a bit troublesome that all information materials had to be removed at closing time.
  • May be two days is bit short? May be some preparation days in preconference? (and the Bank of China tower in the logo :)
  • One thing I know is that after 2 days of pre-conference, people asked what about the tables to eat and they would like to keep that - that's given to chapters village afterwards. But it doesn't matter, people find their place to eat anyway.
  • everything related to the logistic: no power, no air-conditioning, ...
  • no power, no presentation walls to put posters on

Were you aware of the Meet-Ups and Speed Geeking sessions during the breaks?

yes: A little less than 2/3 of those who participated in the online survey no: A little more than a third of those who participated in the online survey

How can we better integrate these extra sessions in the overall programme?

General remarks

  • to arrange the meet-ups directly in the village
  • have "exchange programs" where chapters have to have someone from a different chapter's table?
  • Meet-up should be in the same area of the village, allowing people to jump from meet-up to a table, or to host the meet-up around the chapters tables, what will attract more people to join them.
  • Improve the logistics


  • more publicity on the big screen
  • more announcements at the start of each day, maybe after keynote (if there is in the Wikimania London)
  • more propaganda for those activities, perhaps with flyers on the tables
  • maybe print them in the official program of Wikimania or post them more prominently on the wikimania schedule online
  • There was a problem with finding out about the sessions. Simple blackboard or magnetic board with information where and when to meet would help a lot... It should be placed near food tables ;-) The other problem was to mange to collect food and join meeting on time due to very long queues
  • It does make sense, certainly, but the problem is in advertising those sessions. For me, I heard nothing about them for the whole conference. It maybe not always possible to attend, but I'd like to see what was going on.
  • schedule should be send by email to all the people registered to the conference


  • I wasn't at the sessions at all. I could imagine people could be quite tired after a session, and at the breaks they may just want to grab a drink and just have a small chat with people, maybe not another extra session. During breaks I could see lots of people hanging out in the food area drinking and having a little bit of sunshine. But you guys are the only people who know the showup rate. If you think not many people show up at the sessions, maybe you have to consider making chapters village another track in the schedule, having sessions the whole day, not (only) during breaks.
  • Doing them in the breaks was fine.
  • Don't. Breaks are breaks. If you want to have more program, extend the duration of the conference.
  • Focus on better quality sessions instead of breaking the breaks. During the hacking days something like this makes more sense, but then it should be more focused.
  • They should be part of the regular program, preferably as warm-up sessions right after lunch when everyone is too tired to attend a "real" session anyway... could have two benefits that way.
  • Perhaps we should cancel afternoon sessions and rather make the chapter village an afternoon thing as an official program.
  • Link sessions stronger to the programme. At the programme sessions I attended, the meet-ups were only mentioned once. Also because of the crowded situation in the central square it was not always clear if/when/where a meet up was taking place.
  • as not all people may want to eat at the breaks, and the breaks are generally long, so it's certainly great to have sessions during the breaks (well, we can bring our food there at most!).
  • no extra sessions during breaks!!! I need that time for networking!
  • It is okay to have it within the breaks. But the acoustic conditions should be better!
  • Time should be set for the meet-ups in the schedule and not part of the break.
  • Maybe open sessions when chapters could fill in with these activities?

Should we organise a Chapters Village again at Wikimania 2014?

One person was indifferent, another person did not give an answer to that question. Everyone else agrees that we should have a Chapters' Village at Wikimania in 2014.

Do you have any ideas to improve next year’s Chapters Village?

Chapters presentation

  • perhaps more kind of activities
  • social activities
  • more of a festival feeling
  • ask for chapters and projects inside Wikipedia to bring materials and published items
  • incorporate communities (not only the village but to anything better than 2013)
  • I would like to learn more about the countries than just having the chapters to present themselves
  • find a way for smaller chapters to be there, maybe with stands that work without people there all the times
  • "upcoming chapters" should be given an opportunity as well
  • I would like to see more chapters participating
  • ideally, every major chapter should have a booth
  • Have a shared/joint presentation by all chapters about what chapters are/can do
  • Have clear office hours/surgeries where new chapters can talk to 'experts' about chapter development.
  • Stronger link to AffCom and other affiliates.
  • have a mic to share around the chapters for them to do some impromtu talk about their chapter, it seems some chapters' tables are a bit silent.
  • use the screen to do more fun things introducing what the chapters have done (if there's such a thing in Barbican).
  • I would like to see more creative activities (that's your job!), and higher country representation. It maybe also nice to offer some voice in the village for geographical areas without strong chapters to represent, like Africa and the Middle East. The chapters village should be a place where all Wikimedians from around the world meet and share their work, their progress, and their experiences with Wikimania attendees. We should know through the village how are the things going out with Wikimedia around the world, and it's critical to have a representation for developing countries that we don't know much about, rather than first-world countries.
  • More chapters onboard
  • More aligned strategy on why it is there and what your aim is. To meet people? To show what you do?
  • Perhaps have more chapters involved - each chapter should present a booth


  • perhaps do it indoors
  • put the chapters village indoors
  • do it in a place where everyone don’t dies from the heat
  • air conditioning
  • indoors
  • We may use the village for night session, with wikimedia thematic like glam or education but with beer and cheese!
  • Host it in area that is habitable for northern Europeans
  • Find a location close to the heart of events, but not in the middle of lunchtime traffic.
  • Devote more space for it. In particular, it was somewhat hard to see where one chapter stopped and the next started.
  • Provide enough alternative space for people sitting, talking, eating, hacking ;-).
  • I would propose it be held in a space like the secondary ballroom at Wikimania 2012 (with the opportunity for each chapter to show things on smaller screens).

Organisational aspects

  • tea and coffee would be great
  • just advertize it better on-site
  • contests
  • make a plenary session, maybe 2 hours
  • a notice board to announce what subject you want to talk about
  • Perhaps parallel screens if they will be without sound? I only caught a video from two chapters while I was in the square.
  • More food
  • It must be a half day concert and not a full day thing. That way small chapters don't have to assemble and disassemble in order to attend sessions.
  • Have a place to put up posters etc.
  • Try to arrange it during a time where there are no talks on the schedule (difficult, I know!!)
  • have a mic to share around the chapters for them to do some impromtu talk about their chapter, it seems some chapters' tables are a bit silent.
  • use the screen to do more fun things introducing what the chapters have done (if there's such a thing in Barbican).
  • Don't schedule meetings during the breaks.
  • make it one day only, more focused and/or hacking days.
  • ... maybe not so dependent on staff (for those who don't have that many people as staff)
  • Air conditioning (indoor)
  • Nice tables
  • Power
  • Video projector/TV