Wikimedia Foundation's first Wikimania convention held in Germany

Monday, August 8, 2005

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Jimbo Wales being interviewed by Stephanie Keppler of 3sat television, one of several journalist teams at Wikimania

On Thursday, August 4 Wikimedia opened its doors to the first ever Wikimania Conference, a five-day event put together by the Wikimedia Foundation.

The event, held in the Haus der Jugend in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, featured discussion and interaction on all Wikimedia projects, including its well known Wikipedia project, an online encyclopedia which touts figures of millions of articles in over 150 languages.

Wikimania expressed that its purpose as a conference was to get wikimedians to meet each other face to face, to provide several workshops and talks on all aspects of Wikimedia sites, and to introduce Wikimedia and its projects to the press.

Wikimania, with a core organisation team of eight people and a staff of 23, drew in more than 100 members of press and 70 speakers, and at least 350 delegates from 52 countries were at the conference on Saturday, August 6. Among delegates, nine from developing countries were sponsored their travel and accommodation costs by Open Source Initiative.

Users not directly at the conference were encouraged to listen in through Freematrix Radio's online broadcasts, which at the highest point drew 37 concurrent listeners. Users could also connect with the conference via Internet Relay Chat, and interact with people physically present.

One of Sundays's speakers was Richard Stallman, one of the leading lights of the Free Software movement. Ward Cunningham, inventor of the wiki, held a keynote about the past and future of wikis on Saturday morning. On Friday evening there was a keynote speech on wikis and politics as well as a panel discussion with the Foundation Board.

Jimbo Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, was himself present, and gave a speech based on his concept of Ten Things That Want To Be Free. Wales found himself swamped by press attention on the Saturday after a misquote in a Reuters article seemed to suggest that he believed Wikipedia may need to be locked from editing. Wales later issued a statement clarifying that this is not the case.

The conference was described by many as a professional, occasionally "laid back", but worthwhile event.


This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.