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Internal:Postmortem

From Wikimania

Postmortem discussion of the conference, the day after (sometime on the 8th).

Welcome desk

- couldn't answer several questions.  just didn't know. 
 hadn't asked or thought about everything before.

+ communication was no problem.  people were willing to help; did things    
 immediately without asking much.

Tech/Registration

- too much last-minute crap kept happening.
- checkin system:  should have been better planned and discussed.
--  should have clarified "5-7" as conference dates to avoid overstays.
- changed our minds on a few things (del and austin)
- six methods of payment: too much!  money order; but discourage it...

= visitors: 486 db records.  382 were admitted, not including press.  
  Includes single-day passes.  62 were speakers.


Press

- some false reports; no idea how to stop this.
- recording - broadcasting, etc; elian had no idea what would be going on.  recording wa
- press release on the last day would have been important. 
-- [NB: other reports?  a list of them?]
= 80 journalists were in the system; 120 came by, in all 
+ radio stations, news agencies; kurt and jimbo gave Countless interviews.
+ coordinatoin of journalists with interview partners went very well.


Programme

- edit wars!  coordination not consistent enough
- some last-minute changes (3 cancellations)
- too few people.   two 'assigned' volunteers who didn't come; 
 key volunteers (andrew l.) asked to do many other things.
- website?   webmaster needed!!!  better coordination of blogs, etc.
- Could have used better stats.  #s of press/other in each room; 
 global notification when speakers arrive.

Dealing with speakers :

- OTRS was very hard.  Broke down 3 days before WM without notice...
- had some issues with marking spekaers as registered...
- organizing ticketing with registration: important

Organization of programme sections : some was last-minute.

+ timing went pretty well.
+ panels with third-party moderators were good
- programme : this makes the conference.  we were very late for it.  
 mistake to think you can invite speakers and some will say no... 
 at some point one must say "here is the timetable, call for papers"
- get people to submit more information with content.
- handling form timetables, etc.   sending invitations, waiting lists. 
 some speakers had too little time.
- Program evolution... starting with a full 'draft' program then changing it?  
-- specific timeslots for short presentations?
- Don't be in a room for an hour talking; makes things difficult.  
 get outsiders involved.

A/V et al

- Cameras, etc. --  not enough people.   
  Two more people would really have helped.
- Speakers -- didn't inquire after their wishes; 
  wishes often came at the last minute.  
- Some computers didn't work with the hookup - one in particular (ascander?) 
- Not enough hand-held mikes... only put one in the middle of the big room 
   the afternoon of the first day.  
- Didn't make a list of what was in each box;  
   cables missing in the inventory; only hda 4-5, not 12
- For video - needed a spot to illuminate the spekaer.
  didn't know it was needed in time; showed up suddenly, too late.  
  think about whether to do this and how.  The guys with the small cameras 
  still have a licensing issue... presentation licenses weren't clarified.
- For audio streaming - didn't start the first day; not put up quickly.
- Zedler promotion (could have used it as a noticeboard???)

Operations

- In general too late with too many things the day before;
= not too too too late; everything came just in time, but it worked
- would need one more person in general org'n; were supposed to be 3, 
   but lost elian to the press, completely on some days.
- the gartenhaus was sometimes a mess; people wandering in and out, 
   too much noise and too many things lying about.  
--  A second room needed only for conference stuff... (gear) 
- needed an interview room for the whole conf.  
- needed more telephones (that can call out); at  least two & a dedicated fax.  

Volunteers

- needed a real v. coordinator.
- needed someone just handling press questions in the ops room; 
 someone else just handling normal questions -- 2d tier for info 
 beyond the welcome desk and info for other organizers

Jimbo, on life as a speaker

- love to have a walk-around mike.  Not available; 
 didn't know one was there; Ross M had one making JW jealous
- Schedule : sessions didn't have enough breaks.  
 A gap between sessions would have been necessary.  
- Streams usership was low but not promoted.  Making a big deal 
 about it would be useful and helpful. 
- press scheduling was overwhelming.  had to go on strike on Sunday.
- Last idea : from 2 other conferences, TED Global and GEL :: 
 no multiple tracks, everyone in one room?  Short talks; 3-10-18min; 
 organized thematically.  That's neat because... everyone has a shared 
 experience.  (And if you run over, everyone runs over).
- TIMER -- counting down... clearly.

More operations

- on [pre]-reg.  takes more synching.
- two db interfaces -- one for anyone, without changing anything, for stats
- meal and room development worked really well
- press - more than one dedicated person useful.  welcome desk for the press.
- we've been dealing with cool speakers.  even the big ones.
- More on speakers -- were handled on a one-to-one basis.  
 There were troubles with money and funding.
- OSI issues:
-- a few people paid for conf frees before the decision, 
 never asked for anything, and we never gave it back.

Budget issues.

- Never clear when we moved from the "here is what we think things will cost" 
 to the "here is our current budget".
- A sponsorship coordinator : helpful
- Accounts - need to be generated much earlier.
- There were internal budgets; $20k for speakers, etc.
- Speakers extending their stay and meals; costs money.  
 We cut our first reservation (300 beds) by half.  
 150 beds was still more than we had specifically.
- Helpers: how much we spend on them
- Scholarships: how much we spend on them
-: Application process:  Give explanations about how to ask for a discount; 
 have a real application process.

Gnomes

- Give more info about this too; background, etc.  Have info on the helper field.
- Hand out documents (Staff book, more maps)
- Technical coordination : have logistics person to do room planning, 
 mikes where, when, for how many?
- Have name-cards for speakers... 
- Technical : had a list 2 months ago;  More computers?
- Volunteers handled badly.

Following up

-  Thanks ; to speakers and attendees.  
  Include note about feedback, proceedings, etc.
- Follow-up email lists.

Other problems & comments

-- No kiosks.  poor accessibility for printing.
-- More information
-- Thanks, shout-outs to sponsors and OSI and more.
-- General communication.  Too much one-on--one or locked email threads; 


letting people help

standard way of letting people help register, help monitor entry to rooms, "grab they key" for time-monitoring or trip-scheduling or room clean-up or poster/trivia-helping.
accepting more volunteers. (5 speaker volunteers, 1 dedicated OSI & hacking-days handler, another helper to monitor email and site-updates constantly, a few web-designers, a set of designated bloggers and press-clippers)