2008-07-31 15:40:56 UTC
with Kaihsu Tai (User:Kaishu).
All in all it was a very promising meeting. They are keen to help because
they believe in the project more than because they are looking to get out
anything particular out of it, which is the ideal situation really (which is
not to say that they weren't also excited by the probably press coverage).
They were not quite ready to commit definitely yet but they seemed very keen
and they expect to be able to give me a definite answer by mid-September.
They understand how much work it is to run a conference of this size due to
their contacts with the Berkman Centre at Harvard (something User:SJ who ran
the Harvard bid had expanded on to me in a very useful chat on the phone
last night) and seem prepared to put in a fairly significant amount of
effort themselves (starting with costing accommodation for us over the next
few weeks and beginning to draw up a budget). The suggestion was raised at
the meeting of partnering with other university departments which should
increase the amount the university could help us financially. This is
something I will be investigating over the next few weeks. They have
suggested several other potential sponsors which I shall be updating the bid
page with and contacting in turn if no one else volunteers to.
It is really looking like we could potentially present a pretty damn
compelling bid. From going through three years of conference abstracts last
night I got the firm impression that the Harvard/Berkman bid was the most
interesting of those three years, and the OII potentially offers a very
similar flavour of conference.
So this is now serious. Unless there's strong opposition in the next 24
hours I'll be removing all mention of UK bids other than Oxford since I
don't get the impression they're going anywhere. Even if the OII decided
this would not be feasible for them I do not see there being a better UK bid
at this point in time than Oxford.
We also need to start assigning people to clear, definite roles and to start
drawing up a timetable working backwards from the conference date to begin
to get an idea of when things need to be done by. (Both suggestions of SJ.)
As a first step it would be good to get a list of people who are prepared to
put some time into this. It would be particularly useful if some of the
"Wiki celebrities" on this list (or at least people who are well known on
en.wiki) would sign up to help since I imagine their name will carry more
weight with the bidding panel than mine.
We have a lot of work ahead of us if we're going to make this happen, but
it's far from impossible.