Wikimedia Foundation

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About the Foundation[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) is a non-profit organization registered in the USA, hosting websites known as the "Wikimedia projects", including Wikipedia and Wikinews, as well as this website, Meta-Wiki. The Wikimedia Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. Since January 2008, the Wikimedia Foundation has its office in San Francisco, USA. Its former headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida was closed on January 31, 2008. Official information about the Foundation may be found at the Foundation website: wikimediafoundation.org.

Board of trustees[edit]

The Wikimedia Board of Trustees manages the foundation and supervises the disposition and solicitation of donations. The Board is the ultimate corporate authority for the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. (article IV, sec. 1 of the Wikimedia Foundation bylaws) and currently consists of ten Trustees:

  • Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair (term until December 2013)
  • Phoebe Ayers, Vice Chair (term until July 2015)
  • Bishakha Datta (term until December 2014)
  • Samuel Klein (term until July 2015)
  • Patricio Lorente (term until July 2014)
  • María Sefidari (term until July 2015)
  • Ana Toni (term until December 2014)
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder (term until December 2013)
  • Stu West (term until December 2013)
  • Alice Wiegand (term until July 2014)

See also the history of the Board of Trustees and a chart illustrating Board seats over time. The Board was substantially restructured in April 2008. If you are not familiar with these changes yet, please review the following pages:

The Wikimedia board manual provides an overview of the role of the Board and its duties. The Foundation wiki holds lists of its past and upcoming meetings (with minutes), and its resolutions.

Organization[edit]

Channels of discussion[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is managed thanks to the use of:

  • Meta-Wiki for discussion and organisation of all public issues. This wiki is entirely public and editable by everyone and is also multilingual.
  • wikimediafoundation.org is the official website of the Foundation. This wiki is entirely public, but editing access is only granted to trusted members of the community. We try to translate pages in several languages. Feedback about this website may be offered here on Meta-Wiki at the Foundation wiki feedback page.
  • wikimedia-l is a public mailing list for the community to discuss topics related to the Foundation and its projects.
  • internal-l is a non public mailing list, with access restricted to board members and officers.
  • private-l is another private mailing list that was also used to discuss technical issues among the Foundation.
  • OTRS is a ticketing system that is used by Wikimedia Foundation staff and volunteers to handle emails from the public.
  • IRC is for real-time chat with other Wikimedians, located on the freenode network (irc.freenode.net).

What do we spend money on[edit]

See our annual reports, monthly reports and financial reports.

Where does the money come from[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is operated and run using monies raised with fundraising and other donations. For more information, please see the donations page.

Wikimedia affiliates[edit]

In acknowledgement of the diversity of groups contributing to our movement, the Board of Trustees approves recognition of the following models of affiliation with the Wikimedia movement. Affiliates may change from one affiliation status to another, and should prioritize cooperation with one another without hierarchy. If you wish to start an affiliate or are looking for more information about affiliation, you may want to contact the Affiliations Committee.

Movement partners[edit]

Movement partners are like-minded organizations that actively support the Wikimedia movement’s work. They are listed publicly and granted limited use of the marks for publicity indicating their support of and collaboration with Wikimedia. Movement partners are not yet being recognized by Wikimedia. More information on future recognition may be obtained from the Affiliations Committee.

National or Sub-national chapters[edit]

National or Sub-national chapters are incorporated independent non-profits representing the Wikimedia movement and supporting movement work globally, focused within a geography. Chapters or national/sub-national organizations use a name clearly linking them to Wikimedia and are granted use of Wikimedia trademarks for their work, publicity, and fundraising.

Thematic organizations[edit]

Thematic organizations are incorporated independent non-profits representing the Wikimedia movement and supporting work focused on a specific theme, topic, subject or issue within or across countries and regions. Thematic or focused organizations use a name clearly linking them to Wikimedia and are granted use of Wikimedia trademarks for their work, publicity and fundraising.

User groups[edit]

User groups are open membership groups with an established contact person and history of projects, designed to be easy to form. User groups may or may not choose to incorporate and are granted limited use of the Wikimedia marks for publicity related to events and projects.

Wikimedia coordination and projects[edit]

Project coordination[edit]

Wikimedia Meta-Wiki (this wiki) is a website about the Wikimedia Foundation's projects and coordination.

Main Wikimedia projects[edit]

Projects of the Wikimedia Foundation (read more...)

Some project history[edit]

History[edit]

The early history of Wikipedia was characterized by much chaos and well-meaning strangeness. Wikipedia Governance was conducted, effectively, by Jimmy Wales (Jimbo) alone, with the assistance of mailing list participants.

The broader mandate of the expanding projects being considered, led to a suggestion in a wikien-l message by Sheldon Rampton:

I think we should go further still and shoot for the ultimate goal of creating "Wikimedia." That's media with an "m." It would use Wiki-style rules to enable public participation in the creation and editing of all kinds of media: encyclopedias and other reference works, current news, books, fiction, music, video etc. Like current broadcast media, it would have differentiated "channels" and "programs," each with self-selecting audiences. Unlike current media, however, the audience would also be actively involved in creating its own programming, instead of merely passively watching it.

The "wikimedia.org" domain name was purchased by mav in waiting for a Wikipedia/Wikimedia non-profit to come into existence to own it.

On June 20, 2003, Jimmy Wales - who had been operating Wikipedia under the aegis of his company Bomis - announced the creation of the Wikimedia Foundation which was to serve as the parent, non-profit, organization of Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, and other freely licensed wiki projects subsequently added to the "Wikimedia family". See also the Wikipedia article on Wikimedia: w:Wikimedia Foundation.

The first board of trustees was composed of 5 people, Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell, Michael Davis, Angela Beesley and Florence Devouard. In 2006, Tim and Angela left the board, whilst Erik Möller, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Kat Walsh and Oscar van Dillen joined it. In October, Florence Devouard became the chair of the board, in replacement of Jimmy Wales. Governance, originally pretty much relying on Jimbo, evolved over the years toward a more community based approach. The first employees joined the organization in 2005, Danny Wool and Brion Vibber.

The organization took a new turn in summer 2007, when Sue Gardner was hired to serve as interim ED. At that point, the staff is made of about 10 people, most in Florida's office and others located in UK, Germany and Netherlands. Most of the committees set up in January 2006 are at this point inactive and abandoned.

Other links[edit]