English translation of this blogpost. Deshalb liebe deutsche Leser, gibt es zwar ein paar neue Fotos, aber keinen neuen Text.
No Happiness No Glamour: In my application for a scholarshop (thanks, WM Deutschland for the possibility to attend this conference!) I did write: Because my presentation: "The strange tale of Chiara Ohoven and German work ethics" will rock the conference. And, what can I say, even as humble as I am, I did make good on this promise. What a discussion: intense, emotional but fair, on topic, and for the rest of day several compliments for this presentation. Even though moderating the discussion felt like riding a wild bull.
Here a the slides in their final form: (Chiara Ohoven and hard working German man. Around 40 to 50 people in the room I would guess.
Woow: What an organization. Nearly perfect. From now on all my parties and events will be organized by Wikimedia Israel. Maybe we can have the next Chapter meeting of Wikimedia Deutschland in Haifa? I have seen dancing Wikipedians, Israel, land of wonders. And they even had enough forethought to include somtimes a small glitch, so the rest of us normal people don't feel too bad about our normality.
Hotel: to tell you something about my fascinating Mount Carmel hotel - every day the room is cleaned in another fashion, and it is always a surprise in which way the bed is made, where my water bottles stand, and where they put the remote control. Visiting the bathroom it was the first time in many years that I have seen a toilet with no water-saving-functionality. Here, inmidst of dry stones and desert where there is no rain whatsoever in several months. On the other hand, I'm really thing about skipping some sessions to use the wonderful swimming-pool of the hotel in which it is actually possible to swim.
Israel/Palastine-conflict: should be mentioned. And even though Haifa seems to be the most unlikely place in Israel to anything to do with it, it still is there. On the other hand, I still have to fly back with El Al, so maybe I should wait for Germany to write about it ;-)
The Mayor of Haifa: don't know why, but I did actually read the greeting of the mayor Yona Yahav and I was actually touched. Read like he had written it himself and like it was even written for this audience and opportunity. He said some introductory words at the beginning of the party, and again, probably for the first time in my life that such a speech got honest applause from non-politicans.
Great accomplishment, small glitch: Wifi Worked all conference, but was slow. The longest time of yesterdays morning session I was occupied staring at the progress bar of my 30 MB presentation download. After the first failed attempt this was for me highly energetic and cost a lot of nerves, but is rather boring to blog about.
So I can tell a bit what others were experiencing: the Dorms are three mountains away, and it is only possible to reach them by bus. While one dorm seems to be new and stylish and air-conditioned, the other seem to be more reminiscent of Eastern block old school dorms, with bare lightbulbs, plain stone walls and the old kind of israeli powerplugs that don't work with some European electronics.
If you ever wanted to know: while the Wikipedia meetup Stockholm is twice a months and consists of talking and drinking, the Americans and Indians seem to have a real agenda, presentations etc - but almost no meetups, because nobody will attend them for fun.
Agenda and presentations: yes, even the offical program was worth attending. My personal highlight: Ory Amitays Teaching the Humanities in a Wiki Environment. Amitay just knows a lot about wikis and how to use them in a university classroom, still is enthusiastic, but without being naive or superficial. At the end I was just happy and did remember why I like Wikis in general and esspecially Wikipedia so much. Everyone who tries to talk to teachers about Wikis and Wikipedia should watch this presentation to get some inspiration. Also nice: Frank Schulenburg about the public policy initiative and Sue Gardner opening talk.
The not-so-great-presentations where still worthwhile but would have probably been better as a printed text than spoken words - there are better ways to communicate large chunks of complicated text than to read them aloud from your own powerpoint-slide in smallprint. These talks were an israeli teacher who teaches others teachers to use Wikipedia, a Wikipedian from Croatia who said something about categories, and a Wikipedian from Spain(?) who talkes about how much different Wikipedias talk about the country where their language is spoken natively. The Board of Trustees Question and Answer was nice, because afterwards I did recognize every boardmember in the hallways, not so nice, because with 9 boardmembers on a panel I can't remember who said what.
Pictures and Video: Does anybody know where the most pictures actually are? Flickr or commons or somewhere else? As far as I have seen all presentations were taped on video, so look at the Youtube-Channel, maybe they will be there some day.
The Gap: I did have a presentation which basically (and of course over-dramatized) said, that all Wikipedians are grumpy old educated man, sitting in a library, and thinking that fun and glamour is not serious enough for Wikipedia. Now Sue Gardner holds a talk full of love and kittens and mobile internet and communication and I am thinking: but the dust? the books? the seriousness? I understand why Sue and foundation want in the direction they are heading, and I think most of it, is really necessary - but if the foundation is not very careful, I see a big emotional and cultural conflict between the values of the article-writing community and the Foundation.
Numbers: interesting how much the Foundation seems to be focused on number and evalutation. "Monthly meetrics meeting" is such an amazing word, and to actually say "article quality improved by 140%" shows some serious beief in the magic of numbers. And although numbers tell at least a third of the truth, this is more than no truth at all, and the no-evaluation-at-all method Wikipedia employs way to often.
Mobile: one of the topics where I am not sure, if they foundation is headed in the right direction. Yes, they are right, mobile usage in general is increasing, and right now it is nearly impossible to contribute to Wikipedia in a mobile environment. But even when it is easy technically: mobile environment still means normally: lost of distractions, not much time, far away from any resources. I'm not sure, if it is possible to contribute meaningful through a mobile interface, just because of the circumstances where these interfaces are normally used.
Israel: Peaceful talks during Lunch, where the really nice old lady just tells happily, that her parents are from Berlin, and arrived at Israel in January 1940. As a German I have problems to just talk on, but don't want to use the Holocaust as a small-talk-lunch-topic neither.
Coffee: always there, always hot. It takes some time to get used to the mix-hot-water-and-powder form it has at the venue, but one can drink it, it has coffeine and is hot.
Beach: Seems to be dangerous: some Wikimanias seem to have already bad sunburns, people who live here tell happily stories of tourists who burned themselves straight into hospital.
Wikimania 2012: The people from Washington seem to get more nervous by the hour, because in Washington everybody will remember how great Haifa was. Also: i think I have an idea for a presentation in Washington: free licenses are product and enabler of the exploitation of turbocapitalism.