The informal language poll for postings about Wikimania is closed. English got 5 votes, German got 3 votes, so now it is English.
Day 3, some important talks, a closing statement, creepy people with guns,
Shabbat: Okay, I had to take the shuttle because I didn't trust the public buses, but at the venue itself everything was mostly normal.
Creepy people with guns: I am not too fond of guns in a civil settings. Especially not when worn openly by people in civil clothing, who wear big sunglasses, act a bit like drunk and try to high-five me for no apparent reason. Who were these guys? And what were the doing at the venue?
Talks: Interestingly, on day three I saw the worst, the strangest, the most enigmatic, and the most important talk. The worst (won't give a name): some guy, mainly reading banalities from a 10-year-old en-User page and saying "we should think about it." Strangest: several guys from en who actually did say mostly interesting things about notability, living people, commerce and what Wikipedia hast lost, but without any regard for their audience. Unknown abbreviations all the time, internal en-jokes, obvious zero-preparation, and a lot of emphasis on things that are good for other audiences but for any experienced Wikipedian plainly trivial. Could have been interesing.
Enigmatic talk: Stu talking about fundraising and how it should be divided between Foundation and chapters. There was a (public!) letter by the Board of Trustees of WMF at the beginning of the conference, which most of the people in the room hadn't read yet. For some reasons Stu (or anybody else) was not able to tell what is actually written in this letter, but gave long explanations why this is not so important, and why the Board wrote what could not be talked about in this room. So we had a phantom discussion based on information most people in the room didn't have and were not able to gather from the other ones.
Important talk: Brandon Harris (who I may consider as proxy of Sue Gardner with less wikipolitical implications) talking about Wikipedia as social network and why it will never be like facebook. Said a lot of important and meaningful things about gratitude and empathy, and how Wikipedia should center on its community. Otherwise in some time we'll have a lost, dusty desert city of information. But still, this will be centered on a common goal and collaborative work, not on Farmville. I'm really looking forward until this talk is on the youtube-channel, and right now can only give a link to the slides: Identity, Reputation, and Gratitude.pdf
Deutsche Bahn: Seems to be underestimated in its attempts to build a new image of Germany in the world. Met two people whose impression of Germany was shattered after their first train in Germany was more than half an hour late.
Beach party: Epic. I have seen Wikipedians dance. (Almost) all Wikipedians.
No time for shopping: The most exotic thing I bought was flavored water with peach taste.
German: Quite a lot of Germans there (thank you, Wikimedia Deutschland, Österreich und Schweiz!), but even more amazing: you talk to an Israeli and he is fluent in German, to a Dutch and she can of course knows the language, somebody from South Africa who has no problems communicating in German, somebody from Slovak Wikipedia who lives in Dortmund; somebody from Greece who works at the Universität Oldenburg. I was glad for everybody who would talk English to me :-)
Jerusalem: definitely worth its own post. What a city. I guess for the first time in my life I was in a group of Wikipedians and thought "wow, we actually belong to the most normal down-to-earth-people around here." And, a bit reassuring for normal people like me, even the hyperperfectionists of Wikimedia Israel had slight problems to coordinate 250 people in 5 buses.
Wikisource/Wiktionary/Wikiquote: Nobody there, no talks about them. As far as I heard, actually because nobody offered a talk or applied for a scholarship.
Closing ceremony with Jimmy: too much glamour for me. Did not attend.
Real man user paper: but they still can have technical problems. Thanks, Sebastian (W) for the new pen!
El Al: Boring. While I had an intensive personal interrogation coming from Berlin this was just a strict routine. But the nightlife at Tel Aviv airport is amazing. But still: this was the first airport security control ever that could stop some determined person. All the others seem more like charades where everybody pretends it could help, so that everybody feels a bit better in case somethings happens.
Awesome: Wikimedia Israel. So so so so.