In 2010, WikiSym will be colocated with the Wikimania conference; see (external link) for more.

General questions

What is Wikimania?

Wikimania is an annual conference organized by the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that operates a number of wiki-based projects, most notably Wikipedia. Since the first conference in Frankfurt, Germany in 2005, Wikimania has been held each summer in a different country: the United States in 2006, Taiwan in 2007, Egypt in 2008, Argentina in 2009, and now Poland in 2010.

How is Wikimania similar to and different from WikiSym?

The two conferences have a shared orientation towards wikis and open collaboration, with both giving much focus to Wikipedia but also branching out to many related projects and issues. However, they are quite different in terms of their size, scope, structure, and motivation. Wikimania is first and foremost a community event, run by and for members of all Wikimedia projects across the world. Topics are largely related to Wikimedia and other projects in the free culture and open access movements.

In contrast, WikiSym is primarily an academic conference intended for the presentation of research related to wikis and open collaboration. Wikimania is also much larger conference than WikiSym and extends far beyond academic research. With over 600 attendees, most of whom are Wikimedia contributors, Wikimania has adopted different kinds of tracks and session formats than WikiSym.

Is Wikimania an academic conference?

Many Wikimedians are interested in research about their projects, and there is an academic/scientific track for scholars to present their findings. However, this is only one part of the conference: at Wikimania 2009, for example, 17 out of the 83 sessions were in the academic track. Unlike WikiSym, the Wikimania academic track does not review full papers and does not publish conference proceedings – although video recordings and slidedecks are generally made available online.

What else happens at Wikimania?

In addition to academic presentations, Wikimania features presentations and panel discussions on community issues (such as the copyright license migration or the Board of Trustees election) as well as topics related to outreach, education, and long-term/strategic planning. Presentations about local versions of Wikimedia projects (like the Portuguese or Arabic Wikipedias) are a regular topic, and especially so for the local language. While most sessions are about Wikimedia-based projects, topics about other free culture, open education, or collaborative content projects are welcome.

Wikimania has a strong tradition of “lightning talks”, sessions in which anyone can speak for a few minutes on any topic. The conference also has a strong technical track in which developers present and discuss new software, usually intended to make wiki projects more usable or functional.

What kinds of people attend Wikimania? Would I be welcome there?

Wikimania primarily attracts contributors, administrators, and developers from the Wikimedia community. However, the conference is open to all, and many non-Wikimedians – including those from academia, journalism, industry, government, software development, and free culture projects – both attend and present. All WikiSym attendees will be especially welcome at Wikimania.

Logistics questions

What exactly is ‘co-location’?

In our case, it means that Wikisym and Wikimania will occur in the same city, with Wikimania following Wikisym. WikiSym will be from 7-9 July, and Wikimania will be from 9-11 July. There will be a single day of overlap on the 9th, intended for attendees of both conferences to meet and discuss topics of mutual interest.

Will the two conferences be at the same location?

Other than the overlap day on the 9th, no. Wikisym will be held at the Dom Muzyka, while Wikimania will be at the Polish Maritime Museum. However, the two venues are only about a ten minute walk from each other.

Will the two conferences be offering shared or discounted registration? What about accommodation?

At this time our plan is to offer separate registration for each conference. However, we are working now to coordinate housing registrations so that attendees of both conferences can book a single hotel for the week.

Other questions

Why are Wikimania and WikiSym being co-located this year?

The main motivations for co-location are to minimize costs and maximize convenience, both for the organizers and for attendees. WikiSym and Wikimania are both international conferences that attract many of the same people. This way, only one plane ticket is needed to attend both events.

What is the relationship between the Wikimedia Foundation and WikiSym? Is Wikimania or the Foundation taking over WikiSym?

WikiSym has always been and will remain an autonomous academic conference, distinct from Wikimania. WikiSym is not sponsored by the Wikimedia Foundation (though it is sponsored by the John Ernest Foundation and the Association for Computing Machinery.) The program and symposium committees, which are respectively responsible for reviewing submissions and organizing the conference, are comprised of independent experts from academia and industry.