Project:Calendar/How to schedule an event

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This page is outdated. Google+ does not exist anymore; individuals have other responsibilites; Project:Calendar is unused these days. Do not rely on information being up to date here.

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-office connect 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 presentations for members of community that create better understanding about technical topics related to Wikimedia projects. Tech talks are usually under an hour in length and focus on a specific technical topic.

Tech talks come in a variety of formats.

Wikimedia monthly technical talks[edit]

Wikimedia Monthly Technical Talk(30 min - 1 hour): These talks occur monthly (depending on speaker availability). They are scheduled in coordination with Wikimedia hosts and A/V staff. Wikimedia Technical talks usually take place live, are recorded and posted publicly. The talks can also be recorded ahead of time to accommodate speaker availability.

Wikimedia Monthly Tech Talks usually include a live question and answer period. However, speakers can arrange to collect questions and post answers at a later time.

Wikimedia Monthly Tech Talks are open to all members of the technical community. Speakers can be staff or volunteer contributors.

Recorded technical talks and videos[edit]

(Any length -- though a shorter format works well for these). These talks and videos are recorded for broadcast over the MediaWiki Youtube channel and can cover a wide range of technical topics.

Recorded technical talks and videos are produced by individual contributors. See:

Other Tech Talks[edit]

While the supported monthly technical talks and pre-recorded talks are most common, individuals should not feel limited by these formats. If you have an idea for a talk outside the monthly schedule, a panel or a brownbag, a series of lightning talks, or other formats, please propose one!

Who can propose or deliver a tech talk?[edit]

Anyone who has technical knowledge they would like to share with the Wikimedia technical community is invited to propose a tech talk.

Anyone who wants to know more about a particular technical topic related to Wikimedia projects can propose a tech talk.

Speakers from outside of the Wikimedia Foundation are welcome and encouraged.

How to propose a tech talk[edit]

To propose a tech talk, Complete and submit this Phabricator task.

Include the following information in your subtask:

  1. Title for your talk. Keep it simple and clearly understood.
  2. Publishable summary for your talk. two to three sentences about what your talk will cover.
  3. What is the length of your talk? Is it a long form talk (30 min - 1 hour) or a Lightning Talk (5-10 min)

Next steps[edit]

Once you have submitted your proposal, you'll be contacted with any questions about your talk and information about scheduling your talk.

Preparing for your tech talk[edit]

  1. Who is your audience? Before preparing your talk, it can be helpful to compile a list of individuals or groups who you think would benefit from your talk. Who will you personally invite? What mailing lists and groups will you announce your talk to?
  2. Announce your talk to your audience. Follow Tech talk set-up instructions below for more details.
  3. Create your slidedeck.
  4. Rehearse your slides to make sure you are not going to be rushed or go over time.
  5. Show up (in person or to the Google hangout) 15 minutes before the talk starting time to make sure audio/video equipment and screen sharing is working.
  6. Do your talk and have fun!
  7. Upload your slides to Wikimedia Commons!

Remote Participation during tech talks[edit]

  • If you have people who you know will be attending a live tech talk, you can invite them directly to the Google hangout. They can un-mute 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.

Tech talk set-up instructions[edit]

Please note: Every person from the Wikimedia technical community, volunteers and staff members, is welcome to propose a talk. Monthly tech talks are typically organized and supported by WMF staff, so that speakers can concentrate on creating and giving their talks without having to do extra planning. The notes for organizers may have some details specific to that workflow. If you would prefer to prepare and organize your own tech talk, you are welcome to.

For speakers[edit]

  1. Potential speakers propose their tech talk by completing and submitting this Phabricator subtask.
  2. Tech talk organizers will contact the speaker and work together to find a date and time that works for the speaker.

For organizers[edit]

  1. Confirm the title and description / summary (about a paragraph explaining what the talk is about) is appropriate. Tech talk organizers will use this when publicizing the tech talk.
  2. Reserve a meeting time at least 15 minutes before the tech talk starts through the end of the tech talk. If you are in a physical location like an event venue or office, make sure to
  3. Organizers should file a ticket with the WMF A/V group to create a Hangouts On Air with YouTube Live on the MediaWiki channel for broadcast for the date and time of the tech talk.
  4. Invite speakers to the Hangouts On Air broadcast.
  5. Create a named event on TimeAndDate with the correct time in UTC to distribute internationally
  6. Add the tech talk to Project:Calendar and include a links to the Google Hangouts On Air broadcast and the TimeAndDate event.
  7. Reserve the #wikimedia-office connect IRC channel for questions.
  8. Add the tech talk to the WMF engineering calendar. Include IRC details and YouTube link.
  9. Email product-all and tech-all, 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@.
  10. Tweet from the MediaWiki twitter account about the tech talk
  11. Create a Facebook post about the tech talk on MediaWiki's Facebook page
  12. Add speakers, project members & IT support to to calendar invite
  13. Reply to your previous email on product-all, tech-all, 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 Youtube and hangout links are working properly.
  3. If you are screen sharing, test to make sure this works ahead of time
  4. Double check that your microphone and speakers are working properly
  5. Make a plan with the presenter before you go live. Who will watch IRC and the Youtube stream for questions? Who will introduce the tech talk?
  6. Change topic in IRC channel and announce meeting in IRC channel at least 5 min in advance.

After the Tech Talk[edit]

  1. move the Tech talk in m:IRC office hours, add a link to the meeting log (example, scroll down)
  2. put the IRC log in the linked wiki page
  3. check that the presentation video appears in MediaWiki's YouTube channel.
  4. upload any slides or supporting materials to commons: Category:MediaWiki_tech_talks
  5. update Tech talks with a link to the presentation video on YouTube and slides on commons
  6. move information about tech talk from upcoming to past
  7. send out thank you to speakers and a reminder about the next month's talk

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 small physical event space at its current offices. We are often willing to hold meetups of up to 50 people, 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.

Further Resources[edit]

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