Blog/Phased Out

From Wikimania

Out of Phase

I'm not always out of step with everyone else, you know. But here I am, it's two thirty in the Canberra morning, everyone in Boston is breaking for lunch, it's winter cold and I've got the heater on, and I can see on the video feed that people there are dressed quite differently (well, they aren't in their pyjamas, for one thing). I'm also in a different hemisphere in just about every way.

But short of actually being there, the online coverage is cool. My wife says my travel budget for the year is pretty well used up, so I'm not there. It's more convenient than squeezing myself into a seat in the back of the airbus and crossing the Pacific, I guess. Not as much fun.

I'm listening to the question period of Brewster Kahle's "Universal Access to All Knowledge" now. And watching Brewster in a little window in the corner as he dances with cameramen and gives incredibly literate and inspiring answers to deep and heartfelt questions.

That's cool. I'm also able to spot a few wikidentities, especially if I blow the window up.

I came in yesterday, Canberra's Saturday morning to Boston's Friday afternoon, and discovered that I'd missed all the live streams for the day. Guess maybe I shouldn't have had breakfast and answered my emails and stuff. I hunted around and found Jimbo's keynote address on the Archives page and listened to that. Inspiring words, and there was even a bit that I found especially interesting, which I carefully transcribed. Everyone should listen to the entire hour-long speech, by the way. Jimbo's a great speaker and sorta fills you up with enthusiasm for whatever he happens to be talking about, which always seems to be some amazing project for the good of humanity in general.

The bit I was interested in had to do with making Wikipedia a better experience for non-Wikipedians, because I've found that there's often an abrasive interface between the old hands who know all the guidelines and policies because they basically wrote the book, and "outsiders" who try to help but get thrown off balance by all the jargon and wikiways. Some punk nerd kid with a wikiyear and admin status under his belt gives them a hard time because they aren't doing things the right way and throws them a block to shut them up while they learn how to do things according to the MoS. Yeah, way to attract normal people.

I looked at Recent Changes and was uh, impressed. On WP, it's Niagara Falls, and no one person can possibly keep up. Here, it's slow as treacle dripping from the can, and there's not a lot happening. This may be an artifact of the phenomenom I mentioned in my previous entry, where all the people who are supposed to be updating and transcribing and commentating are busy doing other things, like actually running the show, making sure people get to the right places, have lunch, have wireless access and so on, and they just don't have time to sit down and update. Maybe there's a team of transcribers hard at work somewhere and it's just not filtering onto the wiki.

But what's appearing is all good.

I thought this blog section would be running hot. I guess it is, in a way, because there are any number of bloggers who are posting links, and so I can go cruise external blogsites and share the experience that way.

I hung around on the IRC channel for a while in my afternoon/Boston's early morning. A bit of action, including a Sydneysider who was, like me, wishing he was there. Brion came on and posted links to his funny photos collection. Others talked about drugstores and dorms and hotel rooms (You at the marriot? Ooooh lovely, you go to all the swanky hotels) and all the usual IRC banter.

In a way, this site is more than I can handle. When things are happening, there are two video streams, not to mention all the other stuff, and there's no way I can keep up with everything. On the other hand, there's a lag in updates because the updaters are busy doing actual real-life things. I guess that after the event finishes all the transcripts and archived video will be put up.

Anyway, I'm grateful for what is being made available. And I get to keep all the comforts of home and my high speed internet and ready availability of coffee. On the other hand, as I know from my frenzied attendance at conventions around the globe, it's nothing like the same as actually being there and sharing space with some famous names.

Maybe next year... -- Skyring