Wikimedia Foundation/Communications/Communicating about the Wikimedia Foundation

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jimmy Wales speaking at Wikimania 2019

The Wikimedia Foundation Communications department has put together some guidelines on writing or talking about the Wikimedia Foundation and our work. It is meant to be used by any representatives of the Wikimedia Foundation (staff, contractors, Board, etc.) when communicating about the Wikimedia Foundation or our work. These guidelines were written to help remove barriers for participation for external audiences and reduce frequent points of confusion for internal audiences. As a result, the Communications department recommends representatives of the Wikimedia Foundation consider these guidelines for all communications.

This is a living document, and will change over time—so your input is welcome and appreciated!

Talking about Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

Official Wikimedia Foundation logo

Official description[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects. The Wikimedia Foundation operates the technology behind Wikipedia and related sites, supports the global volunteer communities that make Wikipedia possible, and raises funds to support the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation does not control editorial content on Wikipedia or any other Wikimedia projects. That is up to a global movement of volunteers, more than 200,000 of whom edit Wikipedia on a given month. Based in San Francisco, California, the Wikimedia Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charity that is funded primarily through donations and grants.

Alternative description[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is the nonprofit organization that supports Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects, and our mission of free knowledge for every single person. We help bring new knowledge to people around the world, lower barriers to participation, and make it easier for everyone to share what they know. We do this by keeping the Wikimedia projects fast, secure, and available to all, protecting the values and policies that allow free knowledge projects like Wikipedia to thrive, building new features and tools to make it easy to read, edit, and share from the Wikimedia sites, and by supporting the communities of volunteers who make the projects possible.

Short-hand description[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia and other free knowledge projects.

Use of "Wikimedia Foundation" (Hint: Do not use "WMF")[edit]

In general, you should always use "Wikimedia Foundation" in your first reference, and shorten to "Foundation" when possible to do so later.

However, avoid shortening to "Foundation" when discussing two Foundations. For example, a discussion around a grant from the Wales Foundation to the Wikimedia Foundation can be confusing if you later refer to one as just, "the Foundation".

Avoid using "WMF" to describe the Wikimedia Foundation. A possible exception is if you have introduced the acronym, but even then, it can cause problems for translators as the letters do not exist in all languages and are often left in English, which can confuse the reader. Another exception is when use of the acronym is the best technical solution (such as usage in CSS style names, in staff user names, etc.).

Staff structure[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation's staff structure is:

  • Departments
    • Teams
      • Sub-teams


Wikimedia terminology[edit]

For consistency, please use these wordings and stylization when referencing these items. Always avoid use of acronyms or abbreviations.

If communicating in a language other than English, please refer to the proper spelling as determined by that project's community.

Wikimedia project structure[edit]

Official logos of Wikimedia projects
  • Wikimedia projects
    • Content projects
    • Outreach and administration projects
    • Technical and development projects
    • Private Wikimedia administration wikis

Wikimedia content projects[edit]

Name Short description Not Notes
Wikibooks Free textbooks and manuals
Wikidata Free knowledge base
Wikimedia Commons Free media repository Acceptable after first use: Commons
Wikinews Free-content news Wikitribune
Wikipedia The free encyclopedia
Wikiquote Collection of quotations
Wikisource Free-content library
Wikispecies Free directory of species
Wikiversity Free learning materials and activities
Wikivoyage Free travel guide WikiVoyage, Wikitravel
Wiktionary Free dictionary and thesaurus Wikitionary

Wikimedia outreach and administration projects[edit]

Name Short description Not Notes
Meta-Wiki Wikimedia projects coordination Meta
Wikimedia Incubator For language versions in development
Wikimedia Mailservices Wikimedia mailing lists
Wikimedia Outreach Wikimedia outreach coordination
Wikistats Wikimedia statistics

Wikimedia technical and development projects[edit]

Name Short description Not Notes
MediaWiki Free wiki software Mediawiki, Media wiki For documentation, discussion, and development of the MediaWiki software, MediaWiki, MediaWiki Wiki
Test Wikipedia For testing software changes
Wikitech Wikimedia technical documentation
Wikimedia Cloud Services Hosting environment for community managed software projects, tools, and data analysis Labs, Tool Labs, Wikimedia Labs
Wikimedia Phabricator Bug tracker for MediaWiki Bugzilla

Private Wikimedia administration wikis[edit]

Name Short description Not Notes
Board Wiki For Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees
Collab Wiki For use by Wikimedia Foundation in collaboratively developing private content
Internal Wiki No longer used, but still referenced, wiki used internally between Wikimedia Foundation and community leaders
Office Wiki For Wikimedia Foundation personnel and Board of Trustees

Wikimedia Foundation entities[edit]

Wikimedia movement entities[edit]

Common terms[edit]

For consistency, please use these wordings when referencing these terms. Always avoid use of acronyms or abbreviations.

  • Wiki page
    • Not: wiki, wiki wiki
    • Acceptable alternatives: page, wikipage, wiki-page, wiki article (when referring to a page in the main article namespace)
  • Wikimedia projects
    • Acceptable alternatives: Wikimedia wiki projects, Wikimedia sites, Wikimedia wiki sites
    • Not: Wikimedia programs
  • Wikimedia movement
    • Short description: The totality of people, activities and values which revolve around Wikimedia sites and projects.
  • Wikimedia communities
    • Short description: The volunteers, donors, staff, and readers who actively support or engage with the Wikimedia movement.
  • Wikimedians
    • Short description: People (including staff) in the broad community of Wikimedia Foundation projects, including Wikipedians but also contributors to Wikisource, Wikibooks, etc.
    • Not: Wiki(m/p)edians
  • Wikipedians
    • Short description: Only used specifically to refer to contributors to the Wikipedia project. Only rarely is this the correct term.
    • Not: Wiki(p/m)edians


As of May 2022, these are the official statistics used in communications from the organization:

  • More than 58 million articles across all Wikipedias[1]
  • Wikipedia is available in more than 300 languages[1]
  • More than 300,000 editors contribute to the Wikimedia projects every month[2]
  • More than 250,000 editors contribute to Wikipedia every month[2]
  • About 70,000 volunteer editors contribute to Wikipedia every month (5 edits or more)[2]
  • Wikipedia is viewed more than 22 billion times every month[2]
  • Wikimedia sites are accessed by more than one billion unique devices every month[2]
  • More than 73 million registered Wikipedia user accounts[1]
  • Wikipedia is viewed 6,000 times every second[2]
  • More than 82 million media files on Wikimedia Commons[3]


Can be used in case you need a citation, or to update the statistics section.

  1. a b c List of Wikipedias - Meta-Wiki
  2. a b c d e f Not yet available in v2 of Wikistats
  3. Statistics for Wikimedia Commons


For consistency and international accessibility, these formatting guidelines should be followed.

Numbers and percentages[edit]

  • Generally speaking, write numeric digits (10) rather than spelling out the numbers (ten).
  • When writing about very large numbers (millions, billions, even trillions), you can express these numbers with a numeral and a word. For example, 1.6 million people.
  • When referring to amounts of money in cents or greater than 1 million, use numerals (and appropriate currency symbol if applicable) followed by words: 5 cents or $2.7 million. For amounts of money less than 1 million, use the appropriate currency sign: $17.


  • Always use the full, four-digit year.
  • In general, it is best to format as "Day Month Year", but "Month Day, Year" is acceptable. Avoid using full numerical based dates (1 March 2030 instead of 03/01/2030) as the number order is not always clear.
  • For the fiscal year, it is best to use "July 2017–June 2018 fiscal year" when possible and "2017–2018 fiscal year" for shorter uses. It is also good to include months in fiscal quarters to avoid confusion, "2017–2018 fiscal third quarter (January 2018–March 2018)" or "January 2018–March 2018 quarter" for shorter uses.


Use the percent sign.

Abbreviations and acronyms[edit]

Abbreviations and acronyms often confuse readers. Avoid them whenever possible. If an acronym is necessary for future reference, spell the full word and follow with the acronym in parentheses on the first reference. For example, Wikimedia UK (WMUK) or Fiscal Year (FY).

Cultural slang[edit]

  • Avoid terms like 101 or Brown bag meeting which are not inclusive, as these terms are not understood outside of your culture.

Personal titles[edit]

Don’t capitalize personal titles in sentences unless they precede a name. For example:

  • The director got approval, or Director Lopez got approval.

Whenever possible, keep titles gender neutral. For example:

  • Firefighter instead of fireman
  • Chairperson instead of chairman


Bulleted lists[edit]

Capitalize the first word of every bullet. Don’t use semicolons after points in a bulleted list. Include a period at the end of the bullet only if that point is a complete sentence. For example:

When you go to the store, please buy:
  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Naan chips

When you leave the house:

  • Please buy apples, bananas, and naan chips.
  • Fill the car with gas.


Capitalize the first word after a colon, only if what follows is a complete sentence. For example:

  • I have several favorite foods: apples, bananas, and naan chips.
  • I have several favorite foods: Apples were my first favorite snack, but naan chips are a rising star in my life.


We use the serial comma (sometimes called the Oxford comma). In a list of three or more, include a comma before the conjunction. For example: Please buy apples, bananas, and naan chips.


When offsetting a phrase with dashes you should use the longer em dash (—) without spaces. It should look like this:

  • Another "planet" was detected—but it was later found to be a moon of Saturn.

You can get this by:

Use the en dash (–) to convey a range of numbers, like pp. 42–87. You can get this by:

  • Option + - on Macs.
  • ALT + 0150 on Windows.


These quotations are correctly punctuated:

  • "Would you like a banana?" he asked.
  • "I hate bananas," she said. "You know I hate bananas."
  • He paused before saying "bananas are not something people should hate."


Sentences should always be separated by a single space. Never two spaces.


Avoid using the slash / symbol. Replace it with words or commas as appropriate.


  • Emojis are rarely used for formal communications and should be avoided.
  • Different cultures interpret symbols in different ways. In particular:
    • 👌 (the OK gesture) is offensive in many cultures, especially in South America.
    • 👍 (the thumbs up gesture) is offensive in other countries.
    • 😂 represents crying from pain among Arabic speakers, rather than crying from laughter.
  • Emojis are inconsistent for viewers, because of fonts and software overrides.
    • For example, someone wrote, "If I had a 🧞 I would love to have [...]". That emoji was intended to be the genie emoji, however... (1) they typed (and intended) the "Apple" version, (2) I saw the "Twitter" version which I couldn't understand, (3) when I copy & pasted the text into Google Chat to ask, we both saw the "Google" version.
  • Some readers will not see certain emojis at all, especially if the emoji is a newer addition to the unicode library or they do not have newer fonts installed. See File:Emoji flag display problem.jpg for an example of how flag emojis might appear to some readers.