Well, I am back from two long flights from Europe, home from my fourth Wikimania. It was the first one entirely funded from my own bat, too, if I recall correctly. I remember back in 2007 when I first considered going to Wikimania in Taipei. I only really dared because I had recently spent a stint in Beijing studying Chinese, and it seemed like it was going to be rare for Wikimania to be even remotely in my neck of the woods. (Which has held true.)
And since then, I was kinda hooked. It was that first Wikimania that really made me feel “wow, these are my people!” It was after that that I started this blog, too.
Now considering my recent spinning down within Wikimedia I wondered if I should go to this Wikimania. But the chance to see so many of my wiki friends once again was irresistible. So I decided to take my own “farewell tour”. And I got to see nearly everyone I looked for. One notable exception was Dror, the Israeli “ambassador”. Wikimedia Israel will host the next Wikimania but I don’t think I will be there. Oh well. Another time, Dror! You were missed!
I preceded this Wikimania with a brief trip in Europe, spending 1 day in Germany, 3 in the Netherlands and 4 in Denmark. It helped to reduce the effect of the crazy “ZOMG foreign countries!” overreaction brought on by jet-lag and excitement.
This Wikimania was marked, unlike the others, with some trepidation in the lead-up, caused by late organisation of the registration and accommodation. Well, I’ve made my complaints. At the end I can say the annoying parts will fade away, and what will remain are the warm conversations, interesting presentations and crowded cobblestones of ul. Długa.
I was still lucky to meet some familiar names for the first time: Millosh. Nemo bis. Dvortygirl (well I did not formally meet you, but it was nice to hear your lightning talk!). Philippe. Cbrown1023. (!!) Ragesoss. (!!!) Ariel Glenn. And that is just the ones I remember who conveniently listed themselves as attendees. Oh and Kartika, the Indonesian award winner who friended me on Facebook. :) If I listed all the people I was happy to meet again I would certainly leave off names I did not intend.
It’s funny what people remember of you. A Polish guy (sorry I have forgotten your name) came up to me to thank me for writing about the WMPL wiki-expedition idea.
And when I met my roommate, Beatriz from Argentina, she initially did not know who I was. “I used to be the president of Wikimedia Australia,” I said as background. “Oh… you made a video for us!” she said, remembering a short video I made, at Patricio’s request, for Wikimedia Argentina’s first general meeting as an official chapter (I believe). We were both chapters recognised around the same time. Now I have no idea where that video is but I am sure it was short, cheap and cheerful. It makes me happy to think what an easy thing it was for me to do and that people might still remember me by it two or more years later.
Patricio also gave me a birthday present, a book of short stories by Jorge Luis Borges, including La biblioteca de Babel. (Of course, Spanish Wikipedia administrators are known as librarians, which is endlessly charming.) According to what en.wp says about it, it looks like a story I will enjoy very much.
…Just as soon as I learn Spanish. On my flight from Frankfurt to Bangkok I thought, with renewed enthusiasm: I should learn Spanish. But, I am pretty sure that decisions made on cross-continent flights, as with those made while drunk, can’t be held against one. So, we’ll see. :)
First, some other reports:
- The Signpost lists a bunch
- Adam Hyde from FLOSS Manuals, who spoke at a number of things, wrote a report (part one at least)
- A Linux Server Security blog has a number of posts, starting with this one
- A blog called Touchpoints by Matthew Sanders has a post called Wikimania 2009 and where have all the intellectuals gone? and one called Redesigning Wikipedia #1 (complete with a detailed mock-up).
So…Friday. Videos have not been pushed to Commons yet, but you can find the raw OGGs here.
No keynotes to start this day. I started with Wikimedia Australia’s VP Liam Wyatt on Wikimedia & Museums – why we need each other and what we can do about it. It was a kind of presentation of the outcomes of GLAM-WIKI (see also the GLAM-WIKI Recommendations on Meta).
Unfortunately I had to skip out of that early as I had agreed to moderate the panel Authorship, Licenses, and the Wiki Borg with Shun-ling Chen, Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Adam Hyde. Now these are some interesting people. Adam Hyde as I mentioned above is the FLOSS Manuals founder. Melanie is a researcher at the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam, and has worked with Creative Commons Netherlands and France (well actually she founded it!). Shun-ling is studying at Harvard Law School, and has worked with Creative Commons Taiwan (she was also a law clerk at WMF). So they are a terribly knowledgeable bunch who daren’t be contained in a mere 60 minute panel. It would have been more appropriate if they had 60 minutes each :) And they packed so many ideas into their prepared bits that I am afraid the audience was a bit stunned. More digestion time is required!
From left to right: me, Damien Finol (Venezuela), Alice Wiegand (Germany), Thomas de Souza Buckup (Brazil), Enrique Chaparro (Argentina) [Manuel Schneider (Switzerland) is not pictured, as he came after this photo was taken]
Next up was my panel on Wikimedia chapters! (You may or may not be able to view the video here. blip.tv is being a bit strange.) As I has been discovering, there were lots of chapter people at Wikimania. People interested in creating groups around Catalan, Ladigo (sp??), as well as people from India and Iran. Some highlights:
- Damien is on ChapCom which helps new chapters get started, but he also spoke about the difficulties in even trying to organise a meet-up in Venezuela.
- Thomas spoke about the limbo that Wikimedia Brazil is now in, as it decided not to form a legal body. (For some background, see their presentation at the April 2009 chapters meeting, and the translation of their statement of principles.)
- Manuel (who actually lives in Germany, but in practice is physically closer to the Swiss goings-on) talked about the difficulty of a chapter that has multiple languages and no single language project to “own”. And right now their board has no single common language, which I find an amusing kind of nightmare to think about. :)
After the panel, whew… it was time for lunch. No, wait, I mean another meeting! Wikimania brainstorming.
Thankyou Twitter. Yes folks, season names are location-specific. Kindly use months. </rant> Anyway that is a very minor nit-pick. The discussion was interesting but not what you’d call comprehensive, and I am not sure any conclusions were collectively reached, except that Wikimania is generally kind of AWESOME.
Last up, I decided to take a punt on lonely “Madres de Plaza de Mayo” on the third floor. Although there was tough competition (I would have happily attended 3 of the other 4 streams at the time) because one session had one of my favourite words: wikiproject. That was Martin Walker’s WikiProjects: Improving Wikipedia by organising and assessing articles. I wrote about page view stats being used in article assessments in August 2008 so I was interested to see if this talk was about that kind of thing.
Now I figured out that Martin Walker was User:Walkerma. His name seemed familiar to me but I didn’t really know why. He has spoken at Wikimania before and was on Wikipedia Weekly... hmm, and also left me a nice comment once. :) Anyway as far as I can tell he pretty much runs the “Wikipedia 0.5/1.0” project and the chemistry wikiproject, as well as doing plenty of actual editing and holding down a day job to boot. So I guess he’s too busy actually doing stuff to tell the world about it most of the time. :)
So his talk was about the wikiproject assessment schemes, which you will see littered all over talk pages of articles on English Wikipedia. Articles are assessed within wikiproject on importance (which is relative to the wikiproject topic) and quality (which is more or less the same across the entire wiki). Bots collect all these stats and collate them into huge numbers of shiny tables, categories and logs.
And all these stats are conveniently provided for the “1.0” project (some kind of print form), as well as being collated back for the people actually doing the wikiproject work. People love stats, and they can be excellent motivators as well as actually incredibly useful in identifying what the most important or urgent work is (if you have many stubs, it should be more urgent to work on the topics which are deemed “more important”). And recently the page views have been incorporated into these stats somehow I believe (not sure if this is across the board?).
Now one thing I still didn’t get straight is which came first, the wikiproject assessments, or the “1.0” bot… but I guess it doesn’t matter, since it is a rousing success all round. :)
I think it’s a really excellent example of the kind of ecosystem that has been allowed to grow on top of the MediaWiki platform. Sometimes it is frustrating that we have to perform so many functions manually, but maybe that just means we don’t have the right bots written yet. ;) It’s useful, non-intrusive, easy to use, and USEFUL! Ticks every box I can think of.
Martin also had some interesting stats about how the scheme has grown, both across English Wikipedia and some other language editions. I will have to wait to see his slides to get them.
Last for the day was Frank Schulenberg with Best practice documentation – preventing to ‘reinvent the wheel’ in public outreach. Frank is the Head of Public Outreach at WMF. I know he has been working recently on ‘the Bookshelf’ I am not really sure if the Best practices documentation is part of the Bookshelf or separate, but he was talking about this, and the idea of having a FLOSS Manuals-style “booksprint” to get a bunch of it written. Booksprints are fun, and it sounds like a great way to get it out of the way… I am still a bit wary about how well they live on after the event, but I suppose it can’t be any worse than if it never gets written in the first place!
But then REALLY last was the closing party! In Argentinian fashion, it ran from 10pm to 4.30am, and that does include the meal. :) Very strange for an Australian to eat at 10pm. I could get used to it, mind… especially with the siesta beforehand.
It was good fun, although I did observe by about 2am that the dance floor was mostly filled with locals, and many of the foreigners were standing on the pavement still having conversations, where at least you could be heard.
Whew. Well done teams… you did an awesome job!
First up on Thursday was Jimmy Wales’ keynote, State of the Wiki
This was much better than the previous day’s, and better than the average Jimmy keynote from what I recall. Like many others, Jimmy was banging the strategy drum. I intend to write about it more detail in a later post. One thing neat about it, is that while I was micro-blogging about it, my workmate came online (during her evening) and I pointed her to the streaming video. She watched it with me and we commented back and forth over Gmail chat. Really cool. :)
The first regular session was a strange kind of “panel” with Andrew Lih and Erik Zachte, Interpreting Wikipedia’s Demographic Decline: Implications for an Emergent Community – video
It did not quite match the title (it was much more focused on the article count than contributors), but interesting nonetheless. I didn’t find Andrew’s slides online yet, but I will look out for them when they are. One nice slide had “different generations” of English Wikipedia acronyms and terms (first-gen only had IAR, NOR and NPOV – latest has stuff like “semi approved flagged revs” or something…) He also commented that “wikis are good for collaborating on articles, but for policy they just tend to creep like ivy”.
At lunch there was a strategy planning meeting, which unfortunately did not get to the point of much discussion, because there was rather a lot to explain and clarify. Nonetheless I am pondering the idea of creating some kind of general-public strategy-related event in Melbourne.
Next up was a complementary pair of academic presentations by Chitu Okoli and Benjamin Mako Hill (Advisory Board member and blogger). I recall in previous years not getting a lot from the academic track and learning to avoid it, because the presenters didn’t adapt their material for the Wikimedian audience and instead acted as if they were at any academic conference. It’s quite a different audience so I was happy that these two were not this way.
First was Chitu Okoli, From the Academy to the Wiki: Practical Applications of Scholarly Research on Wikipedia – video. He is a Canadian scholar and was talking about a project he has been funded for, to undertake a comprehensive peer review of research on Wikipedia. The four most common areas of research he had found were: reliability, semantic web, social capital theory, medical applications. Of these, I guess that “semantic web” (this probably includes NLP research?) is of the least interest to Wikipedians, since it is kind of a nice side benefit rather than a direct aim of the project. In the next month or two, he will also be posting to wiki-research-l to ask what research questions are of interest now. I was happy to see it get a plug; I wish it was more widely used. There is a bunch of Research information on meta, but it is hard to tell how up to date it is.
Next up was Mako, The State of Wikimedia Scholarship: 2008-2009 – video – he also helpfully already wikified his notes. There were some papers here I really have to go and hunt down, like the one modelling RFA and the one analysing how ArbCom works. There was also one about a redesign of the edit box aiming to improve accessibility for users using screen readers. And seemingly this research was never pushed back to the MediaWiki dev team which is… a giant shame!
After afternoon tea my time got sucked into discussions, and I didn’t see any sessions. But no worries, because it’s all on video. :D
For dinner I met up with about a dozen other women for a ‘Wikichix’ dinner. I spent some time talking to Beatrice about what it was like living as an expat in Buenos Aires. (Among other things, Beatrice is the author of many of the excellent Wikimania photos on Flickr.) I also found out that Aude will be coming to Sydney in October for the FOSS4G conference! That is very awesome.
I retired quite early to continue my insatiable quest for sleep (I think unexpected heat + mad conference did me in). Thus endeth day 2.
Wikimania…where it’s all happening! Coming to you from unseasonably warm Buenos Aires, Argentina.
I really love Wikimania. This is my third time after Taipei and Alexandria. It is definitely the conference with the highest proportion of attendees who might know me despite not having met me. I really like meeting Wikimedians in real life. Wikimania is definitely something that sustains my continuing wiki involvement.
So yesterday was day 0, AKA the start of the codeathon. My micro-notes start there. I went along and did my usual mix of coding, lobbying and exchanging ideas. There was a welcome dinner in the evening and, well, the company was a better welcome than the food. :) But BA is notoriously not vegetarian friendly, it seems. Trying to ensure that foods with ham, fish or chicken in them are not classed as sin carne is not an easy task.
Today was the first main day, and it opened with a keynote by Richard Stallman. I was disappointed that he used (abused?) his keynote position to air his favourite nitpicks about particular Wikipedia disputes he has been involved in or made aware of. I mean, licensing change, anyone? And to then shout down with a microphone audience questioners is just cringe-worthy.
The venues: the keynotes are in a theatre around the corner from the main venue, Centro Cultural General San Martín. CCGSM is very good: four floors. The basement “cave” is where the codeathon is. The first floor has heaps of couches and chairs and is really excellent for casual conversation. It is not too noisy and there is really a lot of room. The rooms themselves have lots of chairs, and a couple of them are set up with simultanous interpretation, which is really something magical. (I wonder if it is hard, if the interpreters are not familiar with wikis or software…)
Oh… and there is streaming video!
The schwag: conference bag, t-shirt, 2x stickers, and a really gorgeous notebook! With a bilingual survey in the back, no less. I think the Argentinians have had a designer on board. I really love the graphics (like the one above).
I spent too much time gabbing and missed most of the DBpedia talk. I did manage to see all of the Wikipedia survey results talk. Upside: All the reports should be released by November 2009, and all the anonymised data some time after that. Jan Philipp Schmidt apologised that the data release was taking so long, but said they had been expecting around 5,000 responses, not 175,000 (in fact that is just the valid responses, there were around 310,000 in total). I sincerely hope that results from the survey can be fed back into technical and social improvements on Wikipedia and the other projects.
During lunch we had a chapters meeting – more like a meet & greet for anyone vaguely interested in chapters. It got quite a big turnout, maybe 30 or more in the end, and the group was so diverse that it was not really possible to have a detailed discussion. There were people interested in setting up chapters from India and Canada, as well as the Brazilians and a Catalan guy, a number of WMF Board members and a staffer, and a number of people I recognised from the April chapters meeting in Berlin (which I never blogged about…….. hmm) or before. In other words, “old guard”! And funnily enough there were no Argentinians in the room! I think they were all a tad busy. :)
There are lots of interesting questions facing the chapters collective at the moment, not least being the very definition of “what is a chapter?”. I am sure many of the recurring issues will come up during the panel on Wikimedia chapters I am moderating on Friday.
After lunch, I checked out Tools for Supporting Deliberation on Project-Level Issues by a PhD student called Travis Kriplean. He’s a pretty high energy and interesting seeming guy. Hopefully he and Werdna will do some hob-nobbing and come up with some more innovations for LiquidThreads (ie MediaWiki discussion pages that don’t suck).
Now after this I got sidelined into more discussions for about two hours and missed a bunch of talks! No matter, that is what Wikimania is for. I caught the end of Jennifer Riggs’ What can Wikimedia learn from the Red Cross and other large volunteer-driven organizations?, where she was talking about how we need to identify other entry points for people to become involved, besides just moving up the editing food chain. And the final session for the day was Florence (also my roommate :)) talking about Improving collaboration.
After some more chatting, I eschewed a tango workshop to head out with a few folks to try and find an early dinner (7.30pm that is). We lost half the group up one street, but then found some others coming out of another restaurant. In the end I ate with Jack Herrick (also on identi.ca) and Nicole from WikiHow, and Roan of MediaWiki API fame. We had a good talk over dinner (despite more troubles with sin carne) and now I am keen to have a look at the tech innovations WikiHow is working with.
And so… I am skipping out on the Wikia party and conserving my energy for a big day tomorrow.
It also occurs to me that I brought my flip video and have not yet pulled it out. So if there is some thing you might be interested in that I could make a short video of (probably not an entire session), write a comment and I will work on it if possible :)
- Adam Hyde (of FLOSS Manuals – we did an Inkscape SVG workshop together at Wikimania)
- Yaron Koren (was also a speaker)
- F™ blog (Arabic)
- Will Ward (from the Arab Media Society)
This session had two parts. In the first, Aphaia talked about the challenges in “official translation” (translating foundationwiki & official information, esp. for community elections, also Commons documentation and POTY information; software translation would have been covered by Gerard), and Arria talked about her experience in the informal “content translation”: where contributors create or improve articles by translating articles from other language projects.
This is undoubtedly a huge kind of undercurrent of activity within Wikimedia. There are no estimates anywhere about how much of this kind of work is done, how it is carried out, what role it tends to play in a young vs older project, how such material is treated by other project contributors, etc etc….
Open Translation Tools (google cache) was an event held in Zagreb, Croatia in December 2007. It was all about open source translation tools and just completely and utterly the kind of event that we (Wikimedia) should have had a presence at. We are probably – are there any other contenders? – the largest informal translation network and community on the web. Or ever in existence? There is no doubt that “the wiki way” of translating permanently unfinished works is a new era for the world of translation.
And yet we are hampered by poor tools that lead to awkward methodology relying on manual maintenance. No wonder we can’t keep track of what we’re doing.
Anyway, Arria surveyed some of Wikimedia’s “underground translators” to find out what they do, how they do it and why. I love surveys :) so here’s some of my favourite charts cherry-picked from her presentation. I think there were around 50-60 respondents in total. (Full set of questions is on meta)
How do you choose the articles you translate? Most people use more than one method, and while “by interest” is unsurprisingly high, the cumulative popularity of the other reasons is good to see — that’s the “altruism bug” that Wikipedians get, where you suddenly find yourself researching and writing articles on topics you have never had an interest in, just because someone listed it on a TODO list somewhere, and you like helping tick things off. :)
Have you ever translated text in images? Nearly half said “yes” which is great. I hope all translators are aware of the excellent SVG Translate tool, which hides all the scary image-file part of the translating.
Have you translated at your real life job? About a third said yes, which is not too surprising — multilingual people are just so useful. :) It’s not clear how many of those are people employed as translators, although I’m guessing not nearly as many (if, in fact, any).
Surveying people: fun, easy, interesting and useful! Try it today. :)
Arria also showed off the Cross Lingual Wiki Engine demo screencast of TikiWiki. (It is mentioned here that they aim to extend this capability to Twiki and MediaWiki too, although I don’t know of any work that’s been done for it for MW.)
Looking to the future, I was very pleased to read this week that a MediaWiki extension called Translate is being developed. I think this will be basically for the “official translation” side of things.
Some useful links for further exploration:
- Open Translation Tools toolbox
- wiki-translation.com links
- opentranslation mailing list
- (ETA) Multilingualism and the Commons (from the 2008 iSummit)
At the start of Wikimania I checked into my hotel room and wondered who my roommate would be. Within a couple of hours I found out – it was Samia from Cairo, who is a Professor of Weaving in the Artifacts and Oriental Traditions in Helwan University. She had a poster in the Wikimania poster sessions (which were sadly few and far away, from the main people area at least). She gave me a flier of her poster and started telling me enthusiastically about her idea: that Wikimedia could somehow form a database of information on historical textiles and weaving.
She told me about how she had visited museums around the world with blatantly incorrectly-labelled items (e.g. confusing embroidery and tapestry), many errors in identification and naming of various aspects of weaving. She had tried to get the museums to correct their displays but so far without luck. She had taken dozens of photographs of their works to correctly identify them herself.
She had been browsing Wikipedia and seen a notice about Wikimania registration, and decided to submit a talk to try and gather support for her idea. The program organisers advised her to submit her idea as a poster, so she did. On the Wednesday before Wikimania started her family drove with her from Cairo to Alexandria (when I met her she was saying goodbye to them in the hotel lobby).
She’s never edited Wikipedia. She just saw the notice and thought it would be an audience where she could gather some support for her idea, her dream. Now how cool is that?
Over the three days of Wikimania she went around to lots of sessions, talking to people, being introduced to others. I thought her idea might be best implemented as an en/ar WikiProject. She spoke to Cormac who thought her idea might be best suited to Wikiversity. Florence thought maybe Wikibooks + Commons for the images. Raoul Weiler sought her out to discuss — well, I’m not sure. Probably museumy stuff.
I hope that something will come from this. I hope that Samia will take up editing Wikipedia and that Wikimedia will embrace her ideas, in one form or another. I’m so pleased I was lucky enough to have Samia as a roommate. I look forward to meeting her again, one day, for a personal tour of Cairo at least. :)
…well, far more fun than profit :)
And now, a brief interlude from Liam Wyatt: you can work for him!
The Dictionary of Sydney is hiring.
If you are based in Sydney and have experience in multimedia researching, especially within a historical context, then I encourage you to look into a new job being offered by the Dictionary of Sydney.
The Dictionary is an online history project covering the whole Sydney basin. To find out more about the project, visit: http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/
For the full details of the position, visit: http://positions.usyd.edu.au/ and search for position reference: 134833
There are two categories on Wikimedia Commons for Wikimania-related content:
(I’m guessing eventually these will be merged together)
Slides from my Inkscape SVG workshop with Adam Hyde of FLOSS Manuals. It went quite well, despite being scheduled against Jimmy and the fact that virtually no one brought a laptop with them. In fact, we had so many attendees they had to bring in more chairs. :)
I have tons to blog about, but I thought I would quickly relay that Wikimedia Commons has now reached three million files. :) We’re still working out what we think the 3 millionth file was. Maybe this metro station.
I could have missed it, but the 2008 Wikimania schedule has been published.
There’s some great looking talks, including one by the new Board member “Wing” (Ting Chen), called Keep the Community Open while Wikipedia matures. Some interesting ones by third parties too (LibraryThing, Open Street Maps). But I am most looking forward to seeing the talks by the local Wikipedians.
Woo, oggly goodness: ftp://memphis.iis.sinica.edu.tw/wikimania2007_DV_ogg/
Finally, the wider community can participate…
I started a page on meta so people can annotate and match up the files and sessions: Wikimania 2007 videocasts. Probably definition list is not the best format for it, but I’m sure someone will fix it if they figure out a better method.
Thankyou Chris for the heads-up.
- Freebase commits to 3-monthly database dumps. Congrats, Freebase – this decision combined with your copyright policy makes you officially cool in the free culture world. My previous concerns are assuaged. Let’s do great things.
(go kiwi accents. direct link)
- Has anyone ever seen Semapedia out and about in the real world?
- WMF Advisory Board member Teemu is giving a talk at the Helsinki Media Conference called Wikimedia – Media for All.
- Wikimania 2009 will be in Buenos Aires. Congrats to Wikimedia Argentina. I am happy that this beautiful artwork will serve a purpose!
Grab bag of links, some of them are not new but just new to me.
- GPS mapping court case n Singapore. ‘‘The central issue in the case is to what extent Virtual Map used SLA’s maps in creating its own maps.’‘ Could be a bad harbinger for friends such as Open Street Map (CC-BY-SA).
- Inkscape ‘about’ screen contests – awesome combination of coders and artists. Pity there’s no decent sized gallery.
- Interview with the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party. Quote:
In short, you cannot stop file sharing with any less than undoing digital communications and/or monitoring all of it. The Internet was created as the world’s largest copying machine, as the makers of Steal This Film II put it so succinctly. File sharing happens simply because it is possible, as sharing knowledge and culture has always been, although with different media.
What really upsets me, though, is how politicians are humming along with the copyright industry’s every demand. The industry lobby is just doing their job, basically: demanding better conditions for their industry, at the expense of other parts of society. It is the politicians which have failed abysmally at understanding the big picture of their demands.
- BitNami ‘easy install’ MediaWiki package. Tempting. Anyone tried it?
- PublicDomainReprints.org. (For Wikisource they say ‘‘Take a look at PediaPress as an alternative.’‘ Since it’s all free content there’s nothing actually stopping them doing this as well, is there?)
- Some pretty MW skins. I assume they’re GPL?
And from the mailing lists:
- Interesting discussion on wikisource-l about different language Wikisources’ attitudes to scanned-texts-as-references.
- Excellent State of technology: 2007 summary by Domas Mituzas
- WMF staff update by Sue
- Looks like Wikimania 2009 bids are now closed.
- Bogotá (Colombia, South America)
- Toronto (Ontario, Canada)
- Kathmandu (Kathmandu, Nepal)
- Buenos Aires (Argentina, South America)
- Brisbane (Queensland, Australia)
- Karlsruhe (Germany, Europe)
Toronto has 16 people signed up on its bid page as organisers, although it’s hard to tell how committed they really are. Buenos Aires has Wikimedia Argentina behind it, which should be good for organisational reasons. Argentinians also seem to love open source so it would be a good fit. Whoever wins, the North Americans will be happy, since although Toronto would be a lot cheaper airfare than Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires would still be in the realm of reasonableness, and other costs such as accommodation could be expected to be lower. Whichever way it goes, they both look like competent bids, so best of luck.
PS, if you use del.icio.us, please feel free to share me interesting links. :)