From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

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General Comments

  • It would be great if there was a volunteer assigned to each media/news/press team that covers the conference. Not all media followed conference policies and confronting them about this became awkward. Participants wound up walking alongside them for awhile to do this function - but that seems like a more appropriate task for media/press volunteers. This may seem tedious, but would help make attendees more comfortable about random video cameras appearing from the sky in the middle of a lunch conversation. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]


Program structure

  • Don't know if this is the right section, but anyways... some events for less-involved Wikimedians and passersby may have been a good idea (and for next year I'll suggest that). A lot of the sections were complicated, even for active Wikimedians, and I doubt many of the committee got much out of it at all. If we're trying to attract new editors, let's have a chance for them to participate if they want to (if they're in the area)! Maybe Edit Wikipedia booths or sessions for newbies.Crisco 1492 (talk) 11:38, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • My feeling about the program was that I'm missing introductory sessions about stuff. I am involved in some areas of the movement, in which I am an expert, and I wanted to use Wikimania to learn about new stuff. For example, an introduction session about Wikidata (rather the advanced lectures I attended) in which I could finally get an explanation about how it works, what is it good for, where can I find how to use it, etc. The same goes about commons, OTRS, and Wikivoyage. תומר א. (talk) 08:58, 7 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Sessions quality


Dev Camp/Hackathon

  • Once additional equipment was purchased - things were fine. However, initially there was a shortage of good wi-fi and outlets. Also, have the break-out room across the courtyard rather than in the same building was a bit inconvenient, but not too troublesome. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Chapters Village

  • This whole idea was fantastic! However, having it outside was almost a fatal flaw. It was simply way too uncomfortable to have the type of conversations this setup would most likely lead to. This really should be indoors in the future. Many tables had to move indoors due to heat, and that added some confusion to what would otherwise have been a fantastic addition to Wikimania. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • I really hope to see this idea repeated at future Wikimanias. However, doing it outside in the elements was probably not the best idea, I didn't mind the heat so much but what would have happened if it had rained? Lankiveil (talk) 14:21, 28 September 2013 (UTC).[reply]
  • We have gathered all feedback (from paper and online forms) an written a short summary: "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."
    --Nicole Ebber (WMDE) (talk) 16:39, 5 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]
    I agree with all the points here ^ but would like to add that it would be wise to set the expectations with the participating chapters in advance: what should chapters bring? How should the tables be structured? What are they supposed to present? Should the "booth" be occupied at all times? (my personal opinion regarding the last question is that it will be just as fine to hold the chapters village just in the first day. תומר א. (talk) 09:02, 7 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

The venue

A/V in session rooms
the audio/video setup in the program rooms had a lot of room for improvement. Many rooms had too few and fault microphones that made it hard to participate in the sessions. Other rooms had projectors that were buggy and inaccessible to the volunteers to fix. Almost none of the rooms had adaptors for people without a VGA hookup, leading people to fend for themselves.
  • WAY too much time spent outside. It is true that it was equally as hot in DC - but you also were not forced to get food, walk between buildings, and attend the Chapters Village outside. For some folks with health condition, this was a miserable thing. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • It felt odd how spread out the rooms were. I suspect this was to utilize auditoriums, but for example the meetup rooms were rather far away (out of wifi range) and looked identical to rooms that wound up being used by participants for ad-hoc meetings and such. It seemed strange not having two workshop rooms in the same building (maybe two were?). --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • The whole ticket to get back into the JCA was confusing and seemed rather silly given everyone was already wearing conference name badges. It was introduced as a strange concept, and that impression never seemed to go away. I imagine this was some strange venue request, but it did become something of a joke as there was very little logic behind it - or the logic was never explained. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Indeed I agree that given the terribly hot and humid weather, it was a bad idea to have people constantly moving between buildings. This also prevented people to move between presentations within the same time slot. תומר א. (talk) 09:06, 7 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Logistics e.g., wifi, A-V, catering, etc

Closing party
Having the party an hour away and basically only accessible by bus or long taxi ride was a very bad idea. Combining this with the fact that food was not available for vegetarians and most of the attendees meant that there were lots of hungry people. No food + alcohol + a long bus ride also meant that several people were vomited on during the return trip (!). This could have been avoided if the venue was in a more accessible place with other food and transportation options.
I'll echo this - the party was unfortunately very poorly organised and overall was pretty terrible. There is nothing worse than queueing for half an hour only to be told you're not actually queueing for anything... Also, getting the bus back was a nightmare, as it meant a 45 minute wait and a lack of organisation which meant a lot of people were aimlessly walking around the carpark looking for a bus that wasn't actually there yet. (Also, being vomited on isn't fun :( ) Foxj (talk) 23:29, 14 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Having the party an hour away and basically only accessible by bus or long taxi ride Unfortunately it is the only option if you want to have a beach party, which I personally wanted. Good beaches are rarely located near conference venues. rz (talk) 10:28, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The closing party had clearly had not been thought through and the location, timing and did not appear to be a venue for hosting beach party type events. OrenBochman (talk) 12:49, 16 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
In both parties, the space was too small for the amount of people attending. The line of people looking for food in the Sky100 was endless and tedious. At the beach, there was no alternative for those who did not want to dance, and many people ended up going to the rocks, where there was no light, looking for a quiet place to talk. --Banfield (talk) 22:41, 17 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I quote everyone. I didn't mind the beach party, having a swim was good but:
  • there was no light.
  • the place for eating and dancing was way too small.
  • the food was way not adeguate for the number of people there. We actually ate sandwich bread with nothing inside (!).
  • it's OK to have music for those who want to dance, but a lot of people didn't. they didn't want to, and there was not space for that.

Aubrey (talk) 14:03, 18 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Opening party
  • The venue and view were amazing! Free drinks is always a plus as well. However, I think if I had not given up and gotten a taxi - I would still be near Sky 100 looking for the transportation back from the event. The exit was a bit confusing and there was no signage or accessible information explaining how to get back to the hotels. I am still not sure if the shuttles were there at the end as everyone I thought to ask about it later eventually just took taxis back. --Varnent (talk)(COI) 03:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Overall, the opening party was rather acceptable, but: a) I arrived to the party at 7 PM and there was no more food, except for some cheese; b) No music (!); c) The organizers kicked us out at 8:30 PM. Mahadeva (talk) 15:53, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Could have been handled much better. When catering for several hundred people, it's much better to overestimate the number of guests coming rather than underestimate. Particularly when the venue is so far away. Crisco 1492 (talk) 11:40, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Besides two the two events in which food run out early, the catering was set up to so that people were queueing for 15 minutes or more - time better spent chatting and making new connections. DC & Haifa both solved this issue nicely by offering more access to food. I recommend in the future that experience as well as price be considered when choosing catering for the main and special events. OrenBochman (talk) 12:45, 16 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • In addition to above comments, I felt very less options for vegetarians. Arguably one could say that there was veggie food everyday, but compared to the variety and quantity available on non-veg food, it was nothing. One thing organisers need to bear in mind that veggie food is still favoured by non-vegetarians and is shared as well, while non-vegetarian food is not shared by vegetarians, so while planning, quantity needs to be adjusted accordingly. Hope London takes care of this.--Dsvyas (talk) 20:33, 19 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • I'll echo Dsvyas, and add that 2 tables to access food were not enough for +1000 people. Lines were long and boring. Also, there were not enough tables and seats for eating. -- 12:50, 26 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • Labelling could have been much better. Sharihareswara (WMF) (talk) 23:14, 27 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • All food was chinese food. It is always nice to try new things, but it's much better to have something to revert to in case you can't find anything to eat. It is not fun to skip the main meal of the day, few days in a row. תומר א. (talk) 09:13, 7 October 2013 (UTC)[reply]


  • Mostly this was pretty well done - it's made harder obviously since, for most if not all of the volunteers, English is a second language. Really good job here, except for the organisation and staffing of the closing party which was terrible. Overall great job though. Foxj (talk) 23:30, 14 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  • I mostly echo Fox, but I had an issue when arriving: none of the volunteers knew that the 8th was Dev camp, which I had not intended on going to (not being technical minded myself), and I found myself being rushed to the bus and being dropped in Polytechnic a bare 4 hours after touching down in HK. The committee should be better organised, and at least know the general schedule. Also, I heard numerous editors were told to head to Polytechnic from the airport after session hours, leading to them being stuck at the MTR and ultimately taking a taxi to the dorms. Something like that is not good. Crisco 1492 (talk) 11:45, 15 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]


Suggestions for Next Year