I've long held that we should model the Wikimedia Developer Summit (née Architecture Summit) after Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) meetings. I've had a hard time communicating how that can really work in part because we have so little institutional knowledge about how the IETF works. Let's build that institutional knowledge beyond just me.
The next meeting is IETF 94 in Yokohama, Japan. Dates: November 1-6, 2015. It isn't necessary to attend the whole thing to get the benefit of going, and it's quite frequent for people to only attend a day or two.
I did some poking around on the IETF website, and it reminded me of both how dated my knowledge of the IETF is (I wasn't able to find things that used to know the tricks for), how much things have improved (they've modernized a number of things) and how old school it still is. The challenges they face should be very, very familiar to people who live in our world.
This video is a fantastic introduction to IETF meetings: Youtube: Top 10 Things to Know Before Your First IETF Meeting. The short video (<7 min) really gives you a good intro for what a newcomer should expect out of a typical IETF meeting. The advice they give could have easily applied just as easily in 1996 as it (hopefully) does today, and I wish I had the benefit of something that well-presented before my first meeting.
Jari Arkko (IETF Chair) wrote up a great summary of IETF 93 which happened in July of this year. It may be worth a skim to see what current meetings are like (the videos in that summary could just as easily been from a Wikimedia Hackathon as from an IETF meeting)
A lot of material at IETF is deeply technical, such that I would have a hard time keeping up with a lot of it myself (despite having been to 15-20 of these). That said, some of the work about meeting logistics, such as RFC 6640. RFC 6640 is basically "How to build a travel FAQ for IETF meetings", and it's a fantastic checklist of things to look out for when setting up a big meeting in a new place.
An example of something the Wikimedia movement should consider participating in seriously is the proposed Human Rights Protocol Considerations Research Group (hrpc). To quote that proposed charter "This research has two major aims: 1) to expose the relation between protocols and human rights, with a focus on the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly, and 2) to propose guidelines to protect the Internet as a human-rights enabling environment in future protocol development, in a manner similar to the work done for Privacy Considerations in RFC 6973". That's an example of important work that is frequently given the short shrift because most participants are sent by for-profit employers, who are often exclusively motivated by the bottom line, but that's an area that we can take a wider view.