Project:Calendar/How to schedule an event

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Here are instructions and general best practices for organizing successful community meetings and events.

General Event Suggestions[edit]

For events of all types, here are a few suggestions to help schedule a successful event.

1. Pick a topic

This can be difficult to figure out, especially around technical topics. "Is this interesting to others?" can be difficult to discern. If you would like some help in getting feedback on an idea, please contact Technical Collaboration. We can help provide a friendly and informal alternative perspective on your topic.

2. Promote outside the normal channels

Event hosts are always encouraged to promote their event with the traditional wiki methods, but don't just leave it at that. Many people use tools outside of talk pages and IRC to discover and learn. Look to external channels, such as local meet-ups, social media, and related events, to encourage participation.

3. Follow up after the event

Following through after an event can be just as important as proper preparation. After the event, be sure your videos are uploaded and slides are available. If you're using the MediaWiki YouTube channel Chris Koerner can help trimming any unwanted footage (like setup) from the beginning or end. If your video contains multiple topics, think about adding timestamps in the description or even consider breaking up the video into separate, section-specific videos.

Once published, videos can enhance documentation. Add links on wiki pages, such as in “See Also” where relevant. When adding video to YouTube, and especially Commons, be sure to categorize the video appropriate for easier discovery.

Additional Suggestions[edit]

  1. Want to host a videoconference? Send an email request to Quim Gil, Guillaume Paumier, and Rachel Farrand. They will schedule a Hangout-on-air connected to the MediaWiki Google+ page. Your recording will also be saved to the MediaWiki YouTube account.
  2. If you have an idea for a tech talk or meet-up, the WMF offices are available to host the event in the evening. Please add your ideas at the bottom of this page and email Rachel Farrand and Quim Gil.
  3. Upload any free materials used in presentations to Wikimedia Commons. Categorize them properly under e.g. Category:Wikimedia_presentations. Provide a link in your communications.
  4. Contact Rachel Farrand for help publicizing your event. See also Promotion.
  5. If you are running your event with help from WMF please show up 30 min in advance of your meeting to make sure everything works.
    1. If you are going to share your screen, increase the font size of your browser or terminal.
  6. Link your entry in the calendar to the video, IRC log, or blog post of the event.
  7. For specific types of events see Specific Events for more detail.

After the event[edit]

  1. Upload any free materials used in presentations to Wikimedia Commons. Categorize them properly under e.g. Category:Wikimedia_presentations.
  2. Follow through on any action items or off-line discussions that were brought up during your event.
  3. Thank those who attended your event. This can be with a note on their talk page, a barnstar, or a private message.
    1. Remind people who attended of the next meeting (if reoccurring) or of other related events in the near future.
  4. Ask participants for feedback or suggestions. This can help make future events more successful.


Once the event is prepared and scheduled, community outreach and promotion are important for success. Event hosts are encouraged to consider all of the possible venues described below.

For one-time events, promotion is important for a well-attended event. Hosts have one chance to promote the event before it happens. For reoccurring events, it's also important to continuously promote and remind people to attend. People get busy and can easily forget a frequent event.

It is recommended that hosts consider promotion not at as a one-time event, but something that is continuous. Letting potential audiences know of your event, and reminding them as the event approaches will lead to better attendance.

  • Rachel Farrand and Chris Koerner can distribute the announcement through Tech News. Send them your short text, URLs, and optional free image.
  • If you would like your event publicized on MediaWiki social media channels, contact Rachel Farrand and Chris Koerner. Send them your short text, URLs, and optional free image.
  • Wikimedia Foundation staff can also create an invitation in the Wikimedia Foundation Engineering calendar (visible to employees only) and send an invitation to the engineering-l mailing list, which most WMF engineers subscribe to.
  • Rachel Farrand generally sends an announcement to wikitech-l mailing list, otherwise the speaker is in charge of sending announcements on wiki pages, mailing lists, and other channels of your choice.
  • After the event or meeting, consider writing a post for the Wikimedia blog.

Specific events[edit]

There are many larger events scheduled throughout the year. Be sure to add new events to the existing list.

RFC discussions[edit]

  • As part of the Requests For Comment process, create a Phabricator ticket, and when you think it's ready for discussion add a comment requesting discussion.
  • The Architecture committee determines the agenda for an IRC office hour for RFC discussion.
  • An Architecture committee member sends announcement to wikitech-l/development mailing lists.
  • Add meeting to Project:Calendar.
  • Reserve the #wikimedia-officeconnect IRC channel during meeting time, see m:IRC office hours.
    • People use m:Meetbot during the discussion on IRC to organize the RFC discussion.
  • After the IRC discussion add a link to Meetbot's summary (example) in the RFC's Phabricator task, and optionally the RFC's page on (in the {{RFC}} extrastatus parameter).

Tech talks[edit]

Tech talks are short presentations with community question and answer sessions. They are usually under an hour in length and focus on a specific technical topic. See Tech talks for previous talks, and nominate new talks.

If you are preparing a Tech talk, here are some useful guidelines for a successful event.

Checklist for Speakers[edit]

  1. Think of your topic.
  2. Decide on a title for your talk. Keep it simple and clearly understood.
  3. Create a publishable summary for your talk.
  4. Decide on a talk length. Do you want to do 20 minutes of talking with 10 minutes for questions? Do you want to do 45 minutes of talking with 15 minutes of questions?
  5. Decide which individual people should be personally invited to your talk, decide which groups of people (mailing lists, teams, etc) should be invited to your talk.
  6. Announce your talk or work with Rachel Farrand to announce your talk. If you are announcing your own talk follow "Tech talk set-up instructions" below.
  7. Create your slides.
  8. Rehearse your slides to make sure you are not going to be rushed or go over time.
  9. Show up (in person or to the Google hangout) 30 minutes before the talk starting time to make sure audio/video equipment and screen sharing is working.
  10. Do your talk and have fun!
  11. Upload your slides to Wikimedia Commons!

Remote Participation during tech talks[edit]

  • If you have people who you know will be attending a specific tech talk, you can invite them directly to the Google hangout. They can unmute themselves and ask questions directly to the speaker.
  • Make sure to designate an IRC channel (instructions in "Tech talk set-up instructions") for your talk. Make sure to assign someone who is not the speaker to monitor questions on IRC and ask them during the talk.
  • Indicate at the beginning of your talk whether you would like questions to be asked at any time that they come up, when you pause for questions, or all at the end. Each speaker will have a different preference.
  • We have tried in the past to allow people to ask questions on the Google+ MediaWiki page but it never was used successfully.


  • Ideally we will have at least one tech talk each month. When there are lots of topics and speakers we can have many tech talks. Anyone can volunteer to hold a tech talk or nominate a specific topic.
  • Speakers from outside of the Wikimedia Foundation are welcome and encouraged.

Tech talk set-up instructions[edit]

  1. Find a topic and a willing presenter
  2. Find a date and time that works for the presenter. Reserve a conference room (R31, R37, R67 or the 6th Floor Collab space) at WMF beginning at least 15 minutes before the tech talk starts through the end of the tech talk.
  3. When using the collab space, submit support request ticket to WMF Office IT:
  4. Get a tech talk title and a paragraph+ summary or abstract of the tech talk/information about the presenter(s) to publicize.
  5. Using the MediaWiki YouTube Account create a Hangouts On Air with YouTube Live broadcast for the date and time of the tech talk. Invite presenters to the on air broadcast.
  6. Create a named event on TimeAndDate with the correct time in UTC to distribute internationally
  7. Add the tech talk to Project:Calendar and include a links to the Google Hangouts On Air broadcast and the TimeAndDate event.
  8. Reserve the #wikimedia-officeconnect IRC channel for questions.
  9. Add the tech talk to the WMF engineering calendar. Include IRC details and YouTube link.
  10. Email engineering, wmfsf and wikitech-l with details about the tech talk. This should include your TimeAndDate link, a link to follow along on YouTube, a link to join the live hangout, a description of the tech talk/presenters, the meeting room. If the tech talk will be taking place in one of the collab spaces, also send a heads up to wmfsf@.
  11. Tweet from the MediaWiki twitter account about the tech talk
  12. Create a Facebook post about the tech talk on MediaWiki's Facebook page
  13. Add speakers, project members & IT support to to calendar invite
  14. Reply to your previous email on wikitech-l and wmfsf and send reminders out about the tech talk: 1 week in advance, 1 day in advance and 15 min in advance or whatever you think makes the most sense for your tech talk.

Day-of instructions[edit]

  1. Arrive to the meeting room and/or hangout 15 minuets before the tech talk starts. Ask the presenter to do the same.
  2. Double check that your google plus youtube and hangout links are working properly.
  3. Double check that your microphone and speakers are working properly
  4. Make a plan with the presenter before you go live. Who will watch IRC for questions? Who will introduce the tech talk? Who will regularly check the google+ page in case anyone has trouble joining?
  5. Change topic in IRC channel and announce meeting in IRC channel at least 5 min in advance.
  6. After the meeting

IRC office hours[edit]

To schedule time in the #wikimedia-office channel for an IRC meeting, please see IRC office hours on Meta.


WMF has a physical event space which opened in 2015. We are often willing to hold meetups as long as the content in relevant to our work.

Official San Francisco meetup Group:


Find a comprehensive documentation for organizers on the page Hackathons and its sub-pages, including an improved timeline and handbook for organizers.

MediaWiki Developer Summit / Architecture Summit[edit]

Further Resources[edit]

Meetings of Wikimedians: See e.g. en:Wikipedia:Meetup and de:Wikipedia:Treffen_der_Wikipedianer.