This summer, I will have my largest event line-up around a single theme. None of which will be technical! It will begin on June 25th with RecentChangesCamp (RoCoCo, to give it a French flavor) in Montreal. I first attended that event the last time it was in Montreal and again last year in Portland. It’s the gathering of wiki enthusiasts, developers, and pretty much anyone who cares to attend (it’s free). The entire event is based around the concept of Open Space, which means you cannot really know what to expect. Both times I attended, it had a strong local feel, even though the event moves around.
Next in line is WikiSym, which will be held in Gdańsk (Poland) on July 7-9th. I also attended it twice (Montreal in 2007, Porto 2008). I missed last year’s in Orlando due to a schedule conflict. WikiSym is an ACM conference, making it the most expensive wiki conference in the world (still fair, by other standards). Unlike the other ones which are more community-driven, this one is from the academic world (you know it when they refer to you as a practitioner). Most of the presentations are actually paper presentations. Because of that, attending the actual presentations is not so valuable as the entire content is provided as you get there. It’s much better to spend time chatting with everyone in the now-tradition Open Space. It really is a once per year opportunity to get everyone who spent years studying various topics around wikis from all over the world. Local audience is almost absent, except for the fact that the event tends to go to places where there is a non-null scientific wiki community.
Final stop will be WikiMania, at the exact same location as the previous one until July 11th. I really don’t know what to expect there. I never attended the official WikiMedia conference. However, it has a fantastic website with tons of relevant information for attendees. It probably has something to do with it being an open wiki and being attended by Wikipedia contributors.
I will next head toward Barcelona for a mandatory TikiFest. However, I don’t really consider this to be in the line-up as it’s mostly about meeting with friends.
That is three events on wikis and collaboration. Wikis being the simplest database that could possibly work, what could require 8-9 days on a single topic? It turns out the technology does not really matter. Just like software, writing is not hard. Getting many people to do it together is a much bigger challenge. Organizing the content alone to suit the needs of a community is challenging. Because the structure is so simple, it puts a lot of pressure on humans to link it all together, navigate the content and find the information they are looking for.