Jump to content

Blog/The Strange Case of Two Policemen and a Wikimaniac in the Night

From Wikimania

Dror Kamir, embedded reporter

My third Wikimania day started with a kind of apocaliptic concern that the world has come to its end. The night was so hot that I thought it was finally happening, and sinners like me are going to pay the price. It's my first time in Massachusets, but I presume this kind of weather is not typical, considering that The Boston Globe had a weather report on its front page. At one point during the night I tried to lie outside on the grass, but I was bitten by mosquitoes. The mosquitoes here are as stoic and polite as the people. They do their job quickly and go away without leaving much damage. The itches didn't last long, and yet I decided not to take any more chances. I went back to my room and went to sleep with the door wide open and the ventilator at full speed. The sweet sleep took over me, but not for long - at 3am I woke up to the voice of two policemen who wanted to know who I was. I believe Yosofun has already described this incident in his blog, and I have to confess - I'm the one who caused this problem. Seeing a stranger lying in the dorms with the door open made the policemen wonder who I was. I cooperated fully and explained the whole issue to their full stisfaction. They were very polite and efficient, and suggested that coming from Tel Aviv I must be used to this kind of weather. "Not to this kind of weather", I said, "It rarely gets so hot and humid even in Tel Aviv". They sighed, and said that at least it was safer here than in Tel Aviv. I nodded my head in order to avoid a long talk about the Middle East (it is important, but there was nothing they could do about it, nor could I).

As the grand event approaches more and more people are gathering in the dorms and around Harvard Law School. Today I have met two guys from Seatle and a girl from Hong Kong. SJ introduced Nicholas and I to a New York Times reporter who came to cover the event. That was during breakfast and I tried to eat quietly without interrupting SJ's interview - I was a bit afraid that I was still affected by the heat and might say nonsence. Eventually he turned to Nicholas and to me and asked a few questions. I hope we did okay, but then again, any publicity is a good publicity... Hopefully.

I was tempted to go to the Hacking Days, but eventually gave it up as I wished to join the sight seeing tour of Boston at 13:00. I will have plenty of Wikimania activity tomorrow anyway. Actually, I have already had quite a lot of what I was hoping for. The best part of such a gathering is meeting the people behind the keyboards. A virtual community, such as Wikipedia writers, editors and programmers, has a lot of advantages: it discards the bias of physical appearance and limitations, it crosses political boundaries, it allows you to phrase ideas and messages more carfully using online resources, yet to get immediate responses. Nevertheless, meeting the people in flesh is irreplaceable, and discussing ideas face to face has an impact that on-line messages can never have. To be honest, this face-to-face talks were my main motivation for coming here.