A Wikidot Convention in 2010


Wikidot has been going since 2006 and with the release of pro and pro+ plans has become a mature product with a user base of about 330,000 and an active forum and community. On 18 March I started a poll and discussion on the forum about whether in theory there would be interest in running a wikidot convention during 2010 to enable us to swap ideas, and hints&tips, hear from the developers about future developments, perhaps have some sessions on specific subjects and also to socialise. My post and the comments that came immediately after the poll went live are below:

The poll is still open and the results so far are shown below - and there are far more than I expected!

The results show that almost 95% of those who responded think that, in principle, the concept of a wikidot convention in 2010 is a good idea. But I focused particularly on those who said that they might be interested depending on where it is and it was that aspect that got me thinking.

A physical convention - expensive and will exclude people

By managing and using wikidot wikis we are promoting collaboration with users wherever they are. We are not really in the business of promoting something that requires people to physically meet, probably at high cost in terms of money and time. By holding a physical convention somewhere we will certainly exclude some people who would wish to attend. I really don't think we should do that.

Virtual Convention - a possible alternative?

So I have started investigating something which is much closer to the online collaboration model which we use. And that is to hold a convention in a virtual world. The one that most people have heard of even if they haven't used it is Second Life. In late 2008 IBM ran a convention on Second Life and saved over $300,000 dollars compared to a physical convention. Other organisations are now doing it and many educational organisations are now using it for online seminars.

Using a virtual world like Second Life is not a game: it is a serious way to bring wikidot users from around the world together for an event at lower cost, at greater environmental benefit and in a modern web2.0 way.

I have signed up for Second Life and will shortly start to use it and actively explore how we could use it for a convention in 2010 lasting perhaps 1 or 2 days (or portions of that time to catch all time-zones). I don't yet know if this will be achievable, but I do think it is much more inclusive and potentially more likely to success than a physical convention.

I will report back here on a regular basis as the idea develops (or doesn't). You are very welcome to add your comments and suggestions into the forum.

Rob Elliott

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