Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

11 Aug 2011, 16:58 p.m.

From Rush To Hush

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2011 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

I have been travelling so much in the past month that my nap today included a travel anxiety dream where I accidentally got on a plane back home in the middle of a conference and then had to consult Richard Feynman for help getting back.

Back from Oregon and Israel (CLS, OSCON, and Wikimania). Getting used to the look of Leonard's face again. I'm almost over the hours of search and interrogation El Al put me through before they'd let me onto airplanes.

From this week's Wikipedia Signpost, one editor writes: "Currently I am drafting the article on modes of carry for firearms, although I may not get around to finishing it for a while. That's OK -- Wikipedia is forever. We've got time." An outlook for the Long Now, and one I am trying to remember.


11 Aug 2011, 21:46 p.m.

Ugh. I might mention this the next time my boss starts talking about how much more efficient Israeli security is than American. I mean, it probably is, if you're very obviously an Ashkenazi Jew.

I don't know if I've ever shared my revelation - not a unique one, nor a particularly insightful one, but one that rocked my mind when it came to me - that Wikipedia is essentially immortal. Unless its utility disappears somehow, which currently seems nearly impossible, or the entire technological world as we know it shifts completely off its axis, it will continue, because it's open-source and no one owns it and no one controls it. That's kind of amazing to me. I take it for granted (because I use it twenty times a day) but when I really stop and think about it, I find it hard to think of any human accomplishment in history more important. But perhaps I am just thinking about the immortality of the crab...

12 Aug 2011, 2:36 a.m.

I've got to agree with the person who said that Israel was a bad choice for an international conference, but I don't know that the US would be a better one.

14 Aug 2011, 7:09 a.m.

Yeah, I was also baffled as to the choice of Israel for this conference, considering the sheer number of lefties that congregate in the FLOSS community. But the community is somewhat skewed white and male (the very least profiled group). I'm sickened and saddened by all you went through and hope the Wikicommunity will consider this when picking conference locations. Access -- and access with the lowest threat of humiliation -- matters!

14 Aug 2011, 7:10 a.m.

That was me. Btw.

14 Aug 2011, 7:57 a.m.

To quote

"Wikimania is organized by local volunteer teams in the conference location, with support from international volunteers and from the Wikimedia Foundation. The location for future conferences is chosen by an international volunteer jury of community members, who review location bids that are submitted by teams from different locations."

Haifa beat Montreal, NYC, and Toronto.

And yes, the jury considers this stuff in criteria for choosing future locations. Next year's conference is in Washington, DC, and that'll be difficult (in terms of visas) for many people. Of course many conferences have to deal with these sorts of problems. Indian GNOME contributor Chandni Verma, if I understand correctly, was refused a visa to attend the GNOME summit in Berlin this year. In contrast, I have not heard that Israel actually denied any Wikimedia community member a visa to enter the country.