Wikimedia Foundation/Annual Report/2010-2011/New Tools
New Tools for the Knowledge Trade 
Making it all possible: technology
All of the Foundation’s technology initiatives can be boiled down to one goal — reducing the barriers to sharing knowledge.
But this is challenging. Just consider the scope of our work: The number of articles in the English version of Wikipedia alone passed 3.5 million in 2010, and the number of media files on Wikimedia Commons reached 10 million early in 2011. Also over the past year, we logged our one-billionth edit.
Hosting and supporting this content in over 280 languages requires a massive ongoing effort by our tech staff and community volunteers. That includes improving our MediaWiki software, the platform running Wikimedia’s sites. This past year we added the “ResourceLoader” system to speed up page-loading times; plus the new “UploadWizard,” which makes contributing media files easier; and developed the “Article Feedback Tool,” to engage Wikipedia readers in quality assessment.
Another major focus during the year was improving our collaboration with Wikimedia volunteers. We hired a volunteer development coordinator, and a “bugmeister” tasked with managing the myriad suggestions for software improvements and fixes that come from the community. A huge effort was also made to reduce the code review backlog. Previously, volunteer developers had to wait a long time, sometimes years, before their work was accepted, because so few staff were available to attack the backlog. And for the fifth time, the Foundation took part in the “Google Summer of Code,” where six students worked on improvements and new features for MediaWiki.
A new, much more powerful data center was built out in Virginia over the past year, to keep pace with the rapid growth envisioned in our five-year plan.
Since Wikipedia appeared in 2001, the web has dramatically changed, including the widespread adoption of Web 2.0 technologies and the rise of social networking sites. User expectations are now very different. During our Usability Initiative, many people told us our editing interface was confusing and difficult to use. This may also be related to another serious issue confronting our community — the decline in the number of active editors working on our projects.
We are therefore working on multiple levels to update and improve our editing interface and recruit more volunteers to participate in our projects in the years going forward.
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