Virtual Wikimania 2021: Finding your way around

Wikimania is the largest gathering of people around the world that support and contribute to Wikimedia projects, including Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, and others.

A big part of Wikimania is getting to enjoy the small interactions, hallway conversations, group meetings, and impromptu meetups, in addition to the formal conference program. This all happens organically when we meet face-to-face. 

The Core Organizing Team wants participants to get the full Wikimania experience, even though the event will be taking place online. In choosing the platforms we’ll be using we had to balance our desire – as organisers – to prioritise and use free and open source software with the need to ensure a safe, welcoming and easy to use platform or venue. Where we could not use free and open source software we have taken steps to protect participant privacy and data by negotiating bespoke agreements. All these platforms have been used by the movement before. You can read more about privacy on the platforms in this blog post.

Where will Wikimania take place?

Together, we chose a platform with all of the functionalities required to make this event as fun, lively and informative as possible. We took into consideration needs around audio and video, chat, Q&A, polling, whiteboards, tech support, and presentation functions. At the same time ensuring we can support multilingual participation. All of this while creating a safe environment through straightforward enforcement of the Friendly Space Policy (FSP). 

The platform we are using as the virtual event platform is called Remo. Wikimania will be the second time the Wikimedia movement has used it. The first being the 2020 Hackathon, when it worked well and received favorable reviews from participants.

Remo as a virtual event platform. Ok. What is it?

Remo is a Virtual Event Platform that enables participants to be fully immersed in the event. 

Watch this short overview video to get an idea of how Remo works.

The Remo space for Wikimania will be structured like a conference. From virtual buildings in the online venue, to smaller rooms for individual chats. 

Imagine tables, chairs, rooms on different floors etc where the virtual you can move around in, bump into old friends and more.

  • Conference venue – the Remo venue consists of buildings with multiple floors. Each building will host a track (a group of presentations) complete with its own programming throughout the day. There is a track for sessions created by affiliates and one for sessions created by individuals – each with its own building.
  • Plenary – the central space where all of the keynote speakers and event entertainment will take place. Programming in other buildings will stop and the stream from the plenary will be shown across venues when something takes place in the Plenary.
  • Tables – Tables are spaces for you to have audio and video conversations outside of the scheduled program. One of the buildings will exclusively serve as a social networking space for participants. There will be group “tables” or private “table” settings in the social and networking space.
  • Chat – there will be various ways of chatting with participants: 1 to 1, in a small group, or publicly within the Wikimedia Remo venue.

Buildings

Each of the tracks of Wikimania will essentially be a building in Remo. Here are the buildings that will be part of the venue and what will be hosted within each. 

All plenary sessions and sessions in Buildings 2 and 3 will be supported by audio translations to seven languages. (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish and German. We did not want to limit the content available at Wikimania because of the amount of translations available so have created additional space for content where it may only be available in a single language in the other buildings. 

  • Building 1
    • All plenary sessions (keynotes etc.). Audio will be translated from English to Arabic, Chinese, French,  German, Russian and Spanish (and vice versa).
    • This is the building where the community village is housed. The community village serves as a place for movement groups and organizations to have a “table” to connect with other community members.
    • The Wikimedia Foundation will also have a few tables for teams that are hosting one. 
  • Building 2
    • This building is for content created by the Movement Groups & Affiliates.
    • Audio will be translated from English to Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish (and vice versa).
  • Building 3
    • This building is content created by Individuals & Collectives.
    • Audio will be translated from English to Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Russian and Spanish (and vice versa).
  • Building 4
    • This is an extension of the Movement Groups & Affiliate Track.
    • Simultaneous audio translation not available.
  • Building 5
    • This is an extension of the Individuals & Collective Track .
    • Simultaneous audio translation not available.
  • Building 6
    • The “Unconference” track is completely led and organised by the participants of Wikimania.
    • Unconference sessions are hosted here and are limited to 20 participants at one of the 20 “tables”.
    • Simultaneous audio translation not available.

Read our next blog post to learn more about the platforms that will be used for Wikimania 2021 and what we’re doing to create a safe environment for participants.

What if I’m having technical issues as a participant?

During the event

  • Technical support helpdesk (Problems with the Remo platform): Remo Helpdesk
  • Event program questions and support: COT/WMF Helpdesk
    • The help desk will be available throughout the event schedule and a Telegram group will also be available for questions outside of the event times.

Before the event

For questions before Wikimania starts: please see the Wikimania Core Organizing Team General Office Hours in the weeks leading up to Wikimania.