Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation hosts Wikimania, a conference for people involved in Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikinews, and other associated Wiki projects. And for 2015, Cape Town hopes to be the host city – which would make it only the second African city to host the event, since it started in 2005.
The conference lets people discuss topics ranging from the technical running of Wiki projects, to open source content and free information. There are also volunteer training courses, which will equip future Wikipedia editors with the right skills to ensure quality entries on the world’s most-used free encyclopaedia. It’s hosted on a different continent each year, and so far it’s been held in Germany, the US (twice), Taiwan, Egypt, Argentina, Poland, Israel, Hong Kong, and this year’s conference will be hosted in the UK.
Despite having various seminar tracks and speakers, the conference has never had an outright theme, rather adapting to what is currently happening in the world of Wiki. That said, the 2015 conference which Cape Town is bidding to host, will have a focus. Speaking to HumanIPO, Cape Town bid leader Douglas Scott hopes that hosting the conference in the Mother City will raise awareness of Wikipedia in Africa. Not only among the people who need to access it, but also those who edit it. There are not enough topics on African subjects, and those that are there are not of a high quality.
“The conference will create awareness with the intended vision of increasing the quantity as well as the quality of articles on African topics”, he said.
Sadly, there’s not much more that can be done by the public. The bidding process for Wikimania 2015 opened in December 2013, and the bidding cities will have until 1 March 2014 to submit their applications. After that it comes down to question and answer sessions, meeting with bidders, and a winner will be announced on the 15th of April.