Talk:Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2023-2024

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Scope of plan[edit]

Will the plan be limited to Product & Technology? Will the plan also cover other departments? Ad Huikeshoven (talk) 08:59, 24 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi @Ad Huikeshoven good to see you. We met briefly at a previous Wikimania. Yes, it will cover the work of the entire Wikimedia Foundation. We are still working to create the draft but as per Maryana's one year message we expect it to be led by the needs of the product and technology departments. Selena (our Chief Product & Tech Officer) has shared the product portfolios (referred to as buckets) here in a very draft format and you can also look at some of the draft external trends here.
We'll keep adding more information on this page as build a fuller draft. मयूर Mayur Paul (WMF) (talk) 12:03, 28 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ad Huikeshoven Courtesy ping to note the full draft is now live here. Thanks, मयूर Mayur Paul (WMF) (talk) 09:49, 22 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Experiences[edit]

The second bullet of Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2023-2024/Goals/Infrastructure § Bucket: Wiki Experiences, Ensure we continuously improve the experience of volunteer editors and editors with extended rights (inclusive of admins, stewards, patrollers, and moderators of all kinds, also known as functionaries). needs to be rewritten. Only one of the groups mentioned are functionaries. AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 23:30, 19 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi, AntiCompositeNumber. I considered that as well and checked: that does not seem to be a globally agreed distinction. While EnWP has a page that separates out roles, not every community has such robust governance systems; since at least 2014, it has been defined differently here, for one example. It is explicitly defined in the Movement Strategy Recommendations as "useright roles with access to non-public information". The Foundation has trended towards that definition since around that time. Not all moderators and patrollers have access to non-public information of course, but admins, stewards, and some other moderators do. Since the term is being used more generally in considering tool development, do you think it's enough source of confusion to require greater specificity as to how the term is being defined? --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 11:42, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mdennis (WMF) it may be worth noting that this could cause a very broad definition with the onset of IP masking, which would put many more people with access to non-public info (in the form of IP addresses which would no longer be public). That might be intended (or, at least, not disrupt the meaning the WMF is trending towards).
However, I know the conversations I've been part of in the MCDC side of things that this is one of the terms that is causing major confusion whenever it pops up because of the clash of opinions. In this particular case, because it looks intended to actually mean a scope beyond "those with non-public info access", I'm wondering whether the term "moderators", as has been used, could be requisitioned. At least in the English language, it traditionally has not been used on-wiki, and so could be used as the catch-all term? Might well be problems with the idea - just a thought! Nosebagbear (talk) 15:54, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for bringing this up, @AntiCompositeNumber and @Nosebagbear! We have been struggling with the right terminology here, and you are touching on some of the difficulties. We're trying to refer to the types of users who do the sort of work on the wikis that is the non-content-creation work -- all the behind-the-scenes patrolling, deleting, blocking, reverting, template-creating, abuse-filtering, etc that makes the wikis work (but is not "editing content" in the usual sense). The thing is that we haven't found the word that is broadly recognized as referring to those groups. We tried "moderators", but as Nosebagbear says, it's not really been used in the wiki world, so people don't know what we mean. And so we ended up making the long list of "editors with extended rights (inclusive of admins, stewards, patrollers, and moderators of all kinds, also known as functionaries)". Even that isn't perfect because as AntiCompositeNumber says, not all those people are functionaries, and there are many non-functionaries who do important "moderation" work, with things like patrolling. So, to sum it all up, we could definitely use recommendations on how to describe this set of users. MMiller (WMF) (talk) 03:47, 21 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In addition to "people don't know what we mean" by "moderators," I would add that some Wikimedians also have very strong reactions to the word "moderator" itself. Alternatives are definitely welcome, although we're unlikely to find one word that satisfies everyone. Guillaume (WMF) (talk) 12:20, 21 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Chiming in to say that "editors with advanced rights" was the most inclusive term I could come up with, intending to give those working on possible projects a broad remit. The purpose of that is to enable impactful work in the coming year, as we also do research to establish metrics with communities and a more comprehensive view of what "improvements" can concretely mean. I'd aim for inclusive for this coming year, and in future years we likely would revise and get more specific as we develop greater clarity around shared metrics. SDeckelmann-WMF (talk) 17:05, 21 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Redefining a term in a manner contradictory to how it is used by the community is confusing at best, and implies a lack of knowledge of community roles/processes at worst. AntiCompositeNumber (talk) 20:09, 27 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This might be improved by focusing on roles and tasks rather than [users]. Each contributors takes on a range of roles in a given day, year, editing career (and the easier it is to do such work, the more readily people will pick up the slack when one of these roles needs doing). Editing, refactoring, review, moderation, mediation, meta-moderation; template design, interface editing, gadget development, bot development. All are related to reading + editing, and directly influence it in some way; all are areas where interfaces that make the work more efficient will have warm ripple effects. The role of someone engaging in these things doesn't mean that they do it for a long time; and none of these require access to private information. [though en:wp functionary work includes mediation + meta-moderation] –SJ talk  18:57, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Driven by both on-wiki policy barriers (e.g. Wikipedia notability policies)"[edit]

The text then states This year, the Foundation is proposing to work with communities to jointly address the editor retention challenge through social and technical interventions. On the technical side (and the social side of the technical side), I've seen some discussion of this in mailing lists over the last few months.

However, is the WMF considering social solutions to this - what forms have been thrown out as ideas, even if they haven't progressed to speccing implementation plans yet?

The projects have reacted poorly to suggestions in the field of WMF engaging on notability in the past, so more clarity would be good. Nosebagbear (talk) 10:40, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, @Nosebagbear! We're still formulating some thoughts on this and will be engaging with folks in African communities to design any intervention together. However, I can definitively answer that we're *not* planning to engage on notability policies themselves, but rather to do a better job of describing and explaining existing notability policies for newer editors who may not have a clear understanding of them. Hope that helps! RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 14:02, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tah muchly for the clarification :) Nosebagbear (talk) 15:48, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Skeptical that fundraising is actually in trouble[edit]

Wikimedia Foundation fundraising from late November through early January, 2017-2022

The financial model on which the Wikimedia movement has relied for most of its historic growth (banner fundraising) is reaching some limits.

I'm not sure I believe that. According to the Fundraising Team, "the 2022 campaign ran for 6 days longer and readers were shown nearly 50% more banner impressions than in 2021, but we raised $10M less than in 2021. While increasing the length of the campaign did help recuperate some revenue, it was not able to make up for the full reduction in revenue from running lower performing messages." My understanding is that the messages are lower performing because they are more honest and less hyperbolic, in response to longstanding community concerns. I appreciate that tremendously and am quite grateful for it. I understand the effect it has on fundraising, but focusing on the first week of the campaign ignores the unexpected strengths of the new messaging throughout the bulk.

Looking at https://frdata.wikimedia.org/yeardata-day-vs-sum.csv, there seems to be no reason to believe that the campaign was actually run for 6 additional days. [Edit: the earlier years must have been suspended on Christmas week?] However, it showed completely unprecedented strength on December 22nd-26th, and ended the final three days better than any year in the past decade other than 2019.

I suggest that if the campaign (in blue) had been run from November 15 through January 6, it would have made more than 10% over last year (in green). Sandizer (talk) 18:14, 20 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi @Sandizer The graph shows dollar amounts rather than donation rates and there is a lot of unseen context and variables - e.g. campaigns being taken down for a day or two, impression limiting, performance of banners used, one-off donations, etc in different years. There are multiple factors in our current context that are contributing to the Foundation not planning to continue growth from fundraising at the same rate from the past decade.
The banner model that has fueled the historic growth in fundraising relies on high volumes of Wikipedia readers. Broader external trends are changing and we are seeing declines in readership, particularly in key fundraising countries.
The instability of the global economic outlook is also contributing to fundraising uncertainty. While running longer campaigns can help recuperate some additional revenue, we’ve found that typically the first few banners a reader sees are the most important. The donation rate declines (trend 3 here) by showing readers more and more banners. Longer campaigns also have tradeoffs in the disruption to our community of readers, donors, and volunteers. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 11:26, 22 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Monthly pageviews of the English Wikipedia from the US and UK, 2017 through early 2023
@MeganHernandez (WMF): thank you. I do see the direct readership decline you mentioned, and I hope it has leveled off. I want to ask you about that in relation to this:
Donation Totals by Sources, millions of dollars [1][2][3][4]
Fiscal
Year
Banners
(desktop and mobile)
Email campaign Recurring donations Gifts
(major and chapter)
Other
FY1819 43.9 29.2 8.6 23.6 7.6
FY1920 45.5 30.7 14.9 20.2 12.7
FY2021 57.3 35.3 20.4 30.4 11.1
FY2122 58.0 38.3 26.6 32.4 16.1
Is it fair to say that banner revenue was increasing while US and UK enwiki pageviews were declining?
More importantly, if you had to make a rough estimate of how much more starting the annual banner campaign in mid-November instead of the beginning of December would raise using the lower performing messaging, what's your guess as to how much more that would collect? Sandizer (talk) 15:10, 22 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The totals above were from all fundraising campaigns across various countries and language wikis with multiple variables each year. In the annual plan, we have noted declining pageviews as one of several factors that went into the revenue targets for the year ahead, as well as an uncertain global economic outlook and campaigns that have been heavily optimized with more visible tradeoffs. We will have a clearer picture of the exact shape and timing for the English campaigns as we get closer to Q2, and will continue to provide updates as we go on the fundraising meta page. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 14:46, 24 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks again. There's clearly a lot of uncertainty around future prospects, and I do look forward to the updates. Sandizer (talk) 20:20, 25 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Budget cuts?[edit]

The Finances section includes this: "Based on projections, we need to reduce expenses by approximately $8 million in the 2023−2024 budget compared to our current run rate." At the end of the 2021/2022 fiscal year, WMF had $239 million in net assets, **not** including more than $100 million in its endowment fund. That compares to expenses of $146 million in that fiscal year, and projected expenses of $168 million in the 2022/2023 fiscal year. If revenues stay flat at $155 million (the amount for 2021/2022), that would be a decrease in net assets of $13 million, reducing the net assets to $226. That doesn't seem like any reason to for **layoffs**. John Broughton (talk) 04:06, 25 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your comment. The Foundation has a policy (see here) to hold a target of 18 months of funds of working capital in reserve and no less than 12 months. We keep these funds available to draw upon if needed in the event of unexpected changes to our financial situation, so that we can support the long-term sustainability of the organisation. The funds are not intended to be used for ongoing operating expenses. That said, we are actively looking at responsible use of the reserve for one-time, non-recurring expenses, and may ask the board for approval to use a small amount of the reserve next year. This is a standard best practice for large non-profit organisations. You can also learn more by reading our investment policy, which is publicly available here. JBaldwin (WMF) (talk) 15:25, 27 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have a point of clarification regarding the Wikimedia Endowment - which is covered in more detail in the annual plan. The Wikimedia Endowment is a fund separate from the Wikimedia Foundation. As a financial endowment, its principal (or "corpus") value is intended to be kept intact forever, while a portion of the fund may be spent each year on grants to ensure that the Wikimedia projects stay relevant. CVirtue (WMF) (talk) 16:01, 27 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Is there any information on what conditions might trigger use of the Endowment for operational expenses? Is there a plan to eventually transition (in whole or in part) from donations to capital income from the endowment? 2601:647:5701:39B0:F6CC:5DC3:30FB:AE90
Thank you for your question. The Wikimedia Endowment is, first and foremost, an investment fund. That means that donations to the Endowment are invested in financial markets. A portion of the gains from those investments is reinvested to grow the Endowment over time, and a portion of the fund can be used as funding for Wikimedia projects and the free knowledge movement. The Board of the Wikimedia Endowment decides how the funds are allocated. Generally speaking, as the corpus of an endowment fund grows, there may be more investment income to grant towards the purpose of the fund.
As detailed in the Finances section of the plan, we anticipate funding from the Endowment to supplement the Foundation’s other revenue next year and in following years. This funding is dependent on investment returns and the discretion of the Endowment board. It’s unlikely that the Endowment will generate sufficient investment returns to provide all of the revenue needed to run the Foundation for the foreseeable future. CVirtue (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 4 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Our approach for the future[edit]

For the second consecutive year, the Wikimedia Foundation is anchoring its annual plan in the movement's strategy to advance equity. Equity is a noble goal, and I'm sure very few of us would condone discrimination or inequity. However, equity comes from how you go about your business (e.g. not just hiring in the U.S.) rather than being the reason for the WMF's existence. Perhaps there should be at least a passing mention of the WMF's actual purpose, as mentioned so clearly in every fundraising banner: facilitating the storage and dissemination of knowledge by supporting projects such as the wikipedias and their communities. Certes (talk) 09:31, 25 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I see the Foundation's actual purpose as being a bit more nuanced than that and resonate strongly to our published mission: "The mission of the Wikimedia Foundation is to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally." Effective and global dissemination is important but so is empowering and engaging people everywhere. My emphasis on the first part of the mission - empowering and engaging people - is probably a natural tie in to my role at the Foundation, which has always been people-focused. So much of the work of my teams is based in equity - for example, providing safety to people who face different and disparate challenges in participation because of where they live or who they are. --Maggie Dennis (WMF) (talk) 14:56, 25 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Image missing; CEE[edit]

Done @RAdimer-WMF: in regards to:

I don't find any pdf file at the link; c:File:Grantee_partners'_intended_programming_and_impact_Report,_2022,_CEECA_Regional_Learning_Session_(English_version).pdf.
Any hint? -- Omotecho (talk) 06:06, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Omotecho: there was a typo in the link (that I accidentally introduced). I just fixed the link; you can find the file at File:Grantee partners’ intended programming and impact Report, 2022, CEECA Regional Learning Session (English version).pdf. Guillaume (WMF) (talk) 11:46, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Guillaume (WMF):, yes, confirmed, and thank you for very crisp follow-up. Regards, --Omotecho (talk) 14:26, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Search & Content - Goals 2030 versus 2024[edit]

Altruism versus egocentrism

In the Update from 2022 there are two new major concerns : social platforms and AI.

  • Personality-driven experiences on social platforms :

These flatter egocentrism. But our project is fundamentally altruist. So how can we make it more seducing and socially rewarding for people ?

  • The explosion of sophisticated AI:

Ironically, thus our project is based on secondary resources, we are at high risk to become the first "raw data" provider for systems which will reinterpret, rewrite, summarize our content, giving to the public a more comprehensible, easy to understand and pretty to see content.

How will the Wikimedia contributors be motivated for just being a factory of free content ?

What is our task ?

From the initial Strategy 2030 plan to the Annual Plan/2023-2024 we shifted from "becoming by 2030 the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge" to “what does the world need from us now?” .

We know since a couple of months that becoming "the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge" may be extremely attractive for all the AI system, but not so much for human beings, especially our volunteers.

So which is the additional value that we can add to Wikimedia in order that human beings feel confortable, happy and proud to participate to our projects ?

It's not only about “what does the world need from us now?”, because perhaps that, what the world needs (free raw data) is, what will kill us (no more volunteers).

Interactivity I believe we should search for more interactivity in our movement. -> Building a safe and easy to use permanent internal video conference platform would allow people to chat, share, inform, train, propose mutualised talks and courses, etc... And that's perhaps what we need now as a movement : a global space where we could communicate in real time. Participating to the Wikimedia movement would give the volunteers a plus with a wide range of interactions.

Building common tools with collective intelligence -> If we need common tools, as for patrollers for example, instead of building our project in our corner, perhaps we could elaborate it collectively, with a lot of inputs, and build a free tool that work and can be adapted to different contexts but also provide information that can be shared and evaluated, to track faster the violations of the Code and the UPE, etc... Waltercolor (talk) 11:03, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your thoughts on this, @Waltercolor. I think a lot about your question about contributor motivation. One of the big threats that generative AI poses, in my opinion, is that it risks making contributing to human-created knowledge stores like ours less intrinsically motivating. I believe the Community Insights survey is coming out soon, and I think there will be a lot to explore in this area - what motivates people to contribute to our projects, how much do they feel they belong / are making a difference, and do they see themselves contributing in the future? Lots of interesting information to think on together! RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 21:05, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks a lot @RWeissburg (WMF) for your answer. Yes it's unclear at the moment if there is room in the future for both comfortable machine generated content use and altruist participation to a complex knowledge sharing project. Waltercolor (talk) 13:10, 11 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Building analytics and machine learning[edit]

Thirty percent of the total staff at the Wikimedia Foundation are working on goals regarding Building analytics and machine learning. This is a huge amount of people who are working on such topics. How many people will work on developing Machine Learning solutions. I read the goals of the bucket Signals & Data Services and I think they are important and I support them. I have not found the word machine learning at this page. It is still a draft and so changes could happen after I sign this edit. It is from my point of view especially important to set a focus to describing data structures. If the data structures are clear it is easier to develop new analytics and easier to understand the existing ones. I hope describing the data structures will be sucessful. It was a goal in the past as far as I know too. There I showed interest in the topic and was interested in supporting it but I have not received an notice when it actually started. What advantages regarding clear data structures do you expect for the Administration department. I am interested in understanding the data sources and structures involved in the filing of the Form 990 and the financial statement of the Wikimedia Foundation. Hogü-456 (talk) 20:24, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have a similar opinion. I think it is not good idea to label the biggest sector in the budget breakdown as "Building analytics and ML", something like "Infrastructure and data engineering" would be better, machine learning probably represents a very small amount of that sector. In my experience with machine learning it is overrated, in a simple google search we can find articles like this with the same opinion, it can be a powerful tool in some specific applications, but I don't see a very good application in Wikimedia Movement. I am curious about how much is planned to be spent in machine learning and what lead to the conclusion that is a good investment. And I also want to recall that many volunteers also contribute with analytics, creating tools in Toolforge and other spaces and making data researches, I am one of those volunteers and I sometimes feel like WMF do not pay attention to our work and see analytics as a job only for employees. Maybe part of what is been planned for analytics can be done by volunteers and the lack of communication and coordination with volunteers is blocking that collaboration. Danilo.mac talk 17:55, 29 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Hogü-456 thank you for your comments and voicing your support for this important area of work. Machine Learning is part of the work of the Signals and Data Services bucket, which provides capabilities related to ML to volunteers and Foundation staff. A way to think about this in the context of the draft Annual Plan and funding is that the team is providing services and support to other buckets. For example, ML work supports aspects of Growth for the Suggested Edits feature (in WikiExperiences bucket), and the team supports work to prototype and investigate ML-powered interfaces that fall within the scope of our Future Audiences bucket. The team may also provide support for metrics, depending on whether or not one or more metrics requires their support. ML work at the Foundation was part of the Scoring Team starting in 2017, and the Machine Learning team has been part of the Foundation since 2020. SDeckelmann-WMF (talk) 19:22, 2 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Hogü-456 and @Danilo.mac I understand from your comments that you and other volunteers would like to contribute to this work - and have already done so! - but you would appreciate better coordination and communication from the Foundation. Parts of our plan for this year specifically aim to make data more accessible to volunteers, both through better documentation and making more datasets available. Making data more accessible is important to improving our shared understanding of Wikimedia projects and communities – there are far more research and analysis questions than we could ever address with only staff!
And learning from volunteers and community members is critical. The Research team, for instance, works with external researchers and volunteers, and Product and Technology teams gather insights and analysis from community members and volunteer-created tools. But as we start our work for the next fiscal year, what communication methods or venues would be helpful for keeping you updated and opening up more opportunities for collaboration? KZimmerman (WMF) (talk) 04:20, 4 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@KZimmerman (WMF): The collaboration I am talking about is on discover how to use the data we have to give editors the best tools and researches (tables and graphs, not academic research) that make the editors work easier and more impactful. That work is not a specific job of research team, analytics team or volunteers, it is a job that everyone can work but where there is not enough coordination and communication between volunteers and WMF teams about what each one is doing and why. For example, I talked a little about my experience doing some tools and researches for ptwiki here, I decided by myself to do that because I thought what I was developing would be more useful for the community than it in fact was, and that not happens only with volunteers, some tools developed by WMF teams also have not the impact that was expected. It wold be good to discuss the ideas before spend a lot of time develop then, and discuss why some tools are not being used as was expected in order to learn and rethink the plan for new tools, but there is not a space where we can see and comment about what each one is doing, where I can show what I am working on and see if other people have been work in similar project and exchange experience, that is the lack of communication I was talking about. Danilo.mac talk 22:09, 4 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for the additional details @Danilo.mac! I will share your thoughts with some of the Product Managers at the Foundation - perhaps we can think of a better solution for collaborating and learning from what has been tried in the past. KZimmerman (WMF) (talk) 23:01, 17 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It is great to hear that you are interested in participation of volunteers. In the next days I plan to discover the pages about analytics on Mediawiki.org, meta.wikimedia.org and Wikitech and afterwards I can tell you more what I miss at the moment. From my point of view it is at the moment complicated to be involved in that are. I am interested in Spreadsheet functions and I wrote a script to convert Spreadsheetfunctions into source code and I am interested in expanding this script and I am looking for real use cases for it. From my point of view it is important to reduce the barriers for doing analytics. It is important to protect personal data and so analytics driven by personal data should be not done. Hogü-456 (talk) 21:57, 5 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you @Hogü-456 - please let me know what found in your explorations or what you hoped to find but did not. The fact that you listed 3 locations to search indicates a need for improving our information structure. I agree that it is important to reduce the barriers for doing analysis while continuing to protect personal data. KZimmerman (WMF) (talk) 23:07, 17 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

broken link to[edit]

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grantee_partners%27_intended_programming_and_impact_Report,_2022,_SA_Regional_Learning_Session_presentation_(English_version).pdf Zblace (talk) 20:41, 26 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@Zblace: Thank you for the note. Several links were broken because they had curly apostrophes in the file names. I believe I have fixed them all, but let me know if you find any others! Guillaume (WMF) (talk) 13:06, 27 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Which Wikimania is included into this plan?[edit]

Wrt “Travel and Events is increasing this year because Wikimania is returning to a primarily in-person event in August 2024, which represents a significant portion of that budget.”: Wikimania 2023 will be in August this year, so should be part of this AP. It's as well the first primarily in-person event of that size after the pandemic has started. So is this a typo? Or do you include Wikimania 2024 which is planned for July (not this AP) or June (this AP) 2024? With a Wikimania 2024 in June, even two conferences would fall into this AP from July 2023 to June 2024. Or do I overlook something? Maybe you can clarify here. Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 12:53, 28 April 2023 (UTC) PS: “12% of our budget = Special:MyLanguage/Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan/2023-2024/Finances#Short-term Revenue: Digital fundraising1.3 million” seems to be missing some wiki-markup.Reply[reply]

@DerHexer: I think it's a typo and should be August 2023 but let me check on that. Regarding your PS, I've fixed a few outdated translations that were using the old tvar, but I don't see where you see missing translation markup. Which language are you seeing this in? Never mind, I see the problem. Fixing now, thank you! Guillaume (WMF) (talk) 13:27, 28 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks as well! :) —DerHexer (Talk) 13:28, 28 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@DerHexer, good catch and thanks. You're right that we're returning to in person Wikimania in August 2023, and I'll make that update shortly.
More broadly though, the costs for Wikimania tend to fall across fiscal years, so in each annual plan the Foundation typically budgets some costs for the Wikimania in August of that plan's year (so for the FY 23-24 annual plan, there is some budget for Wikimania 2023 in Singapore) as well as resources to begin planning the Wikimania that will take place the following fiscal year (in this case, Wikimania 2024). KStineRowe (WMF) (talk) 18:49, 28 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yeah, I guessed so. My staff me makes Wikimania scholarship budgets for German scholars, and knows budgets for the German-language WikiCon. ;) Best, —DerHexer (Talk) 19:25, 28 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

China[edit]

The growing influence of China in the world is an external trend we must take into consideration, IMO. Joalpe (talk) 21:20, 28 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, Joao. I'd be curious to hear how you see it impacting the work you're doing in Brazil / GLAM, or how you see it influencing in the movement more broadly. RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 23:05, 3 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi, @RWeissburg (WMF). Thanks for getting back to me. I think the growing influence of China in the world impacts the movement quite broadly. Our movement has emerged in a post-Cold War context, in which the United States were the sole global power. Now, we must thrive in a different geopolitical context, in which bipolarity or multipolarity is a new scenario for our movement. In our case, the Brazilian and Chinese governments have strengthening ties in many areas, including technology support; there are more and more opportunities for connecting with social organizations in China than there used to be. The relationship of Wikimedia with China was just recently a topic during the multi-stakeholder negotiations and our outreach activities about the internet regulation bill proposal, and we don't have a compelling framing of our relationship with China that is understandable by local stakeholders that are inclined to align with our mission, IMO; there is an expectation of massive funding opportunities (including for tech projects) funded by the Chinese government in Brazil, and because of the way the relationship between Wikimedia and this government has evolved it creates uncertainty over whether or not these funding opportunities will be available for Wikimedia-related proposals. I know the Wikimedia-China case is complex and I am not suggesting any short-term decision, yet if we want to move forward in a changing geopolitical system we might want to tackle this seemingly intractable issue and consider that possibly: the growing influence of China in the world might be an external trend for our movement, and the WMF particularly, that might progressively reshape how we do our work and are able to fulfill our mission. Joalpe (talk) 12:55, 4 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Environment[edit]

I'd like to see a plan for quickly moving to offsetting all or most of Wikimedia's energy consumption. It pains me hugely that Wikimedia sees itself as a bright star of the future while most of the servers are in Texas and Virginia and powered by burning coal and natural gas.

There's been a lot of discussion about this, but not a lot of progress. And I understand that: it's hard to dictate to a data center provider what energy it's going to use, they will have complicated contracts to provide guaranteed supply and coal is reliable. I don't blame them for that. We should start offsetting that consumption at source by providing solar panels in Texas and Virginia to deserving organizations. It could be as simple as just phoning up every library in Texas and Virginia and asking if we could donate to them a free solar panel? That would counterbalance the energy Wikimedia's servers use.

Bottom line: I'd like to see something done before the year is out. Maybe not the most cheapest way, but a plan that offsets-at the source location-the bulk of Wikimedia's energy consumption so that we can say that less coal and gas is being burned. Let's actually get something done fast so we can move into the future. What renewable energy needs right now is the funding to scale it out and make it go mass-market. The WMF could absolutely help with that. Blythwood (talk) 21:39, 29 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi @Blythwood, we have been publishing an annual environmental sustainability report for the past 5 years that shows that there has been progress in this regard; the report covering 2022 that was recently published shows that 74% of our total data center electricity usage is already covered by renewable energy sources (up from 68% in 2021, and less than 10% in 2018), and all but one of our data center vendors, including our latest new small data center location opened in late 2021 in Marseille, are covering 100% of their energy usage with renewable energy purchases. The remaining vendor is also making ongoing progress towards its goal of 100% renewable energy through individual projects at a scale of 3 orders of magnitude greater than our total electricity consumption. I would also like to highlight our Internal Carbon Fund, started this year, that will see $50 per ton WMF CO2 emissions (or US$147,750 in the upcoming fiscal year) reinvested to support movement-led sustainability campaigns and projects, and therefore also enable community initiatives where the Wikimedia Foundation is not very well positioned to undertake them. -- Mark Bergsma (WMF) (talk) 14:29, 3 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's great, thanks! I had assumed there hadn't been change on the Meta servers page I linked to. Thanks for the reply and more up-to-date information! Blythwood (talk) 20:17, 3 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Funding cuts[edit]

I see the plan includes funding and over the last months some roles have gone unfulfilled while contractor and staff members are being terminated. I know these tough times what I cant fathom is that the Grants:Programs/Wikimedia Alliances Fund is still giving grants to third parties while the purpose of donors donation was to support the movements activities. While nothing deserves to be cut, surely funds going to external project not having a direct on the impact should have been the first to have been put on hold, especially new applications. Gnangarra (talk) 13:15, 30 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Gnangarra - funding to the Alliances Fund is being reduced this year, though as you note we are continuing to fund it. The purpose of the fund is "to support mission-aligned organizations that work in regions and communities that are underrepresented in our movement," with the express purpose of helping to grow our movement. Specifically, we look for organizations that partner with nascent and / or existing communities so that their work is amplified. We believe this is important to not only support our existing communities, but bring new entrants in. Given that we are growing the General Support Funds / community funds, this feels like an important area to continue to focus on in order to achieve our movement strategy goal of knowledge equity. RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 22:41, 30 April 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions received off-wiki[edit]

Question: What is the state of Movement Strategy in this annual plan?

Answer: For the second consecutive year, the Wikimedia Foundation is anchoring its annual plan in the movement's strategy to advance equity. Our intention is to connect the Foundation's work even more deeply with the Movement Strategy Recommendations in order to make even deeper progress towards the 2030 Strategic Direction. We are coordinating Movement Strategy implementation more centrally through the office of the CEO, with special emphasis on supporting the success of the Movement Charter. You can read more here. KStineRowe (WMF) (talk) 15:01, 5 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Question: How are budget savings being approached and how many roles in the Foundation have been affected?

Answer: The financial model on which the Wikimedia movement has relied for most of its historic growth (banner fundraising) is reaching some limits. We are making internal budget cuts involving both non-personnel and personnel expenses to make sure we have a more sustainable trajectory in expenses for the coming few years. Despite these budget pressures, we will grow overall funding to movement partners, including expanding grants to: take into account global inflationary costs, support newcomers to the movement, and increase funding for conferences and movement events. Based on projections, we need to reduce expenses by approximately $8 million in the 2023−2024 budget compared to our current run rate. We focused first on preserving funding to grants and movement support and funding inflationary increases in several core operating areas like data centers. Then we worked to identify reductions in non-staffing expense categories like professional services, legal fees, and subscriptions. However, it became necessary to consider staffing expenses, which affected some vacant/unfilled roles and about 5% of occupied roles. KStineRowe (WMF) (talk) 15:02, 5 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Question: Are movement-facing teams disproportionately affected by the budget savings?

Answer: No. The teams most affected are back-office functions like human resources & finance. There was some consolidation of community facing roles into one team, which allowed us to streamline some communications and facilitation functions.KStineRowe (WMF) (talk) 15:03, 5 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Beautiful and concise overview.[edit]

Thank you for the added clarity, transparency, and wiki-nature of sharing this and the drafts leading up to it. Taking a moment to honor a few things that seem particularly welcome and helpful for the planning of the rest of the movement:

  • Grants (still underfunded compared to other equity work, imo) increased faster than the overall budget.
  • Technology had more-detailed objectives and roadmap, and a productive discussion outside of this broader last-step discussion of the annual plan.
  • Executive comp was shared and placed it in context, not just as a side effect of government requirements.
  • The executive summary of the budget was particularly clear, broken down across both departments and goals.
  • The timeline for feedback was longer [thanks to sharing drafts while in progress], and there was an explicit period in which feedback would inform the final plan (in contrast to many years when drafts have not changed, and feedback has been mainly informational, or to inform future years' plans).

SJ talk  19:24, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Collaboration in planning with other parts of the movement[edit]

The primary thing missing from this plan is any indication it was developed in consultation or conversation with other large movement centers which have their own plans (chapters and other affiliates with multi-year roadmaps; large community initiatives involving person-years & bot-decades of work).

WMF plans naturally overlap with other wikimedia plans, as we all share goals related to our overarching strategy. Affiliates share goals of outreach, equity, messaging, filling gaps in coverage, partnerships, and (small) grantmaking, &c. Editor groups share goals of expanding knowledge, filling gaps, translating, automating, teaching, bulk importing and preserving partner archives, GLAM integration and support, &c. Some of these groups were solicited for feedback, and we all saw notices that this plan was in progress and open to comment, but there is no mention or cross-referencing of the work of other organized groups with explicit plans. Examples such as Wikimedia Deutschland, Wikimedia Sverige,Wikidata, Wiki Education, and Art & Feminism all bear directly on some aspects of this plan.

WMF work has tended to be impactful where it backs, connects, and facilitates work across the movement; and efficient where it builds on or delegates to existing efforts without recreating something similar from scratch. I encourage future plans to directly reference other planning efforts, deeplink into sections of those plans where WMF sees a role for its own work, and explicitly invite feedback from other large movement organizations and groups as peers in planning and movement-support. (This is in addition to inviting feedback from individuals as peers in ideation, which has been done warmly and well this year.) And, outside of the annual-plan-finalization season, I hope that the lead planners can coordinate planning schedules for next year, so that major movement centers can avoid duplicating the work of surveying, forecasting, and mutual feedback, and synchronize updates of expectations and focus.

Ψ∞, –SJ talk  20:19, 9 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks, SJ. I always appreciate your contributions in these forums.
The part of your comment that most resonates with me is that “WMF work has tended to be impactful where it backs, connects, and facilitates work across the movement.” I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the “collective impact” framework that identifies the need for a “backbone organization” in any successful large-scale social movement. As articulated in this model, the backbone facilitates, supports, sometimes advises, often collects and synthesizes data, and ultimately makes it easier for the rest of the entities to do their work and coordinate. I shared a version of this model with the Board of Trustees and the MCDC in New York in March when we talked about roles and responsibilities in the movement (with the Education work as a case study). All this to say, I agree wholeheartedly with this statement and I see us shifting in this direction.
AND, I will add that a lot of ongoing consultation with movement entities has been happening if not explicitly laid out here. For example, the Community Programs team works closely with WikiEd to understand their plans and goals, and has sometimes had the opportunity to join in on their strategy conversations and Board meetings (as they did a few months ago). The Community Resources team works closely with Art + Feminism to understand their long-term priorities and uses this to inform their planning for the year. You’ll see in the Knowledge Equity section of the plan the priorities that have been identified for each region and each thematic area - those came from regular, ongoing conversations with affiliates, user groups, and members of the movement (though rarely under the guise of “joint planning” - usually just as part of day-to-day work. What I’m hearing from you is that we could and should continue to do this, and that we might want to do this even more intentionally and perhaps more explicitly.
One of my goals in my new role is to support our teams, particularly (but not only) the community-facing ones, to engage in authentic, continuous communication with our movement. If done right, I think that is more effective than carving out time that is “joint planning” vs. the rest of the year that is not joint planning. I realize this requires a level of trust - that all the conversations we have throughout the year are leading both entities to consider each other as they plan. The keys to making it work, I think, are the Authentic and the Continuous parts.
Curious how this lands for you? RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 00:19, 12 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub not part of the Northern and Western Europe region[edit]

Hello, I wish to clarify that the Wikimedia Language Diversity Hub is not part of the Northern and Western Europe region. Instead, it is part of the thematic goals under Culture and Heritage. Thanks! Shahadusadik (talk) 16:26, 16 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks! Well noted, and we'll make that change. RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 20:19, 16 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Update: Change made. Thanks for flagging this! RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 13:44, 17 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Executive compensation growth[edit]

salaries were set using an established third party compensation survey that benchmarks to median base salaries (e.g. 50th percentile) of similar roles across different industries in a specific geography, in this case the United States. This means that these salaries are in the middle of the range for executive salaries for similar positions.

  1. If this is indeed an industry-wide standard, doesn't it necessarily lead to run-away, unbridled increases, as companies add each other's increases into their own? There are no limits to increases if a majority of organizations do this, are there?
  2. Does the Board of Trustees believe that the intrinsic attractiveness of working in the Wikimedia C-suite is merely proportional to the median of peer companies?
  3. Wouldn't it be better to have a fixed ratio between median and executive salaries, make sure they at least increase as much as inflation, and tie additional raises for all to increases in fundraising? Sandizer (talk) 19:02, 18 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for your questions @Sandizer:
  1. So, the benefit of having benchmarks, of looking at a compensation survey that tracks compensation across time is that the Wikimedia Foundation can look at compensation in context of all factors, instead of at a single point. Executive salaries are set with benchmarks to median base salaries (e.g. 50th percentile) of similar roles across different industries in a specific geography, in this case the United States. This means that these salaries are in the middle of the range for executive salaries for similar positions.
  2. I can offer only my thoughts on the matter: mostly people join the organisation if they believe in the Mission, as in a lot of cases joining Wikimedia C-suite comes with less compensation relative to other opportunities, and more visibility and responsibilities. So I think that “intrinsic attractiveness” lies in some personal angles for people (well, of course, sometimes it can be a career opportunity in that, though the salary is lower, being a head of the department might be worth it).
  3. Executive salaries are set based on a number of variables, including as you quoted median base salaries for similar roles and geographies, and the Wikimedia Foundation also considers things like a candidate’s skillset and experience and the scope of the role, to ensure that compensation levels are appropriate. These compensation levels are all outlined in the Compensation Principles section of this year’s annual plan. Additionally, the Wikimedia Foundation reviews the need for inflation increases across all staff levels on an annual basis. As I mentioned at the last CAC meeting, salaries are not tied to fundraising. You can find more information and the notes and recording for that meeting here --NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 21:03, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@NTymkiv (WMF): I appreciate the response but 1 and 3 are answers to completely different questions than I asked. Just because a method of determining executive compensation is an industry standard does not necessarily mean it is a good idea, and I believe there is abundant evidence that it has been proven to be a very bad idea, e.g., [5]. However, I see that this process is apparently mandated by the IRS. So, what I really want to know is, could the Board use a fixed ratio between leadership and median compensation even if you agreed with me that the conventional way is terrible because it leads to an out-of-control upwards spiral over time? Sandizer (talk) 05:19, 26 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Questions raised at Arabic Wikipedia[edit]

Some questions and notes from the Arabic Wikipedia Village pump (Briefly):

  • There is satisfaction with the general directions of the new annual plan and the proposed changes.
  • Why there's lack of interest in the Middle East region, specifically the Arab countries? This is despite the existence of several active user groups in these countries, and it is also possible to achieve good donations if focusing on these regions. Especially since some Arab countries have become world leaders in several fields. When looking at the plan, we find that the focus is on European countries and North America.
  • Also, does WMF seek, in its employment policy, to promote the Global North/South point? Can we know, for example, the number of employees in WMF whose mother tongue is Arabic? The goal of this question is to emphasize that the presence of Arab employees is very important. For example, after a number of colleagues joined WMF as employees, it helped inform the community more about WMF events/programs..etc, and strengthened the presence and role of Arab groups.

Thank you --Alaa :)..! 20:54, 19 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi @علاء , thanks for your comments and questions, and I’m glad you like the direction of this year’s annual plan! Regarding the geographic focus of the annual plan, the Foundation is actually focused on a regional approach where we are tailoring goals to each region and you can read about our goals for the MENA region here. We do not have an explicit focus on North America and Europe, but instead have key priorities for each region of the world that we invite feedback on during the planning process. In terms of our approach to employment, you may enjoy this recent Diff post about where we recruit and hire (there is an Arabic translation in the works!). We also don’t have an official count about the number of employees who speak Arabic, as staff join and depart the Foundation on a regular basis. Best regards :)  MYacoubCriner-WMF (talk) 19:40, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comments after close of feedback period[edit]

Editor retention challenge[edit]

Hello, I commend the proposition to be working with the communities jointly to address some of the social and technical editor retention challenge. I would be interrested to know who I can contact at the Foundation to talk about this. Best, Eva Martin (WMDE) (talk) 15:12, 22 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi @Eva Martin (WMDE), would love to get your input / thoughts here! @Asaf (WMF) just put forward a proposal to share some thinking and proposals at the CEE regional meeting in Tbilisi in September, and we hope to use other regional meetings to connect with community on this topic as well. You can also reach out to @VThamaini (WMF) and @Dndubane (WMF) for more information on how to engage! RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 16:21, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Tagging @DNdubane (WMF) correctly this time! RWeissburg (WMF) (talk) 16:22, 23 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you for your answer @RWeissburg (WMF)! Eva Martin (WMDE) (talk) 07:34, 24 May 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki average salaries, outsourced services costs, administrative expenses, general operating expenses, etc.[edit]

I think it would be helpful if, in the interests of transparency and open knowledge, the powers that be at Wikimedia would share some basic data re: the costs of doing business with those interested in providing financial support. I think that it would also be enlightening for those not intimately engaged in the world of high end technology to gain a better understanding of what some specific competitive salaries actually are in this day and age. Given the global nature of the enterprise, one might think Wiki could also share some knowledgeable geographically and/or socioeconomic comparisons as well; i.e. Bangalore vs. Cupertino, England vs. the Philippines, etc… 2603:9000:9A00:1279:E01E:9FB7:C2E6:69C9 21:00, 3 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for your question. You can read about our compensation principles and global guidelines for staff benefits in our most recent annual plan. The plan also discusses ways we're reducing expenses in response to increasing financial instability in the global economy. Finally, if you'd like further information about our approach to global staff management and compensation, we've written blog posts about our approach to compensation for a global workforce and  global guidelines on Diff. KStineRowe (WMF) (talk) 13:31, 7 December 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We need more interactive content: we are doing it wrong[edit]

Nearly one year ago, the Graphs extension was disabled from all wikis, because there was a security issue that should be solved (task T334940). A wide team from the WMF worked on a solution for some weeks, but after Northern Hemisphere spring ended, summer came, then the monsoon season, and now it is again summer in the Southern Hemisphere... and Graphs are still disabled. All the solutions proposed have been dismissed, but every two months there's a proposal to make a new roadmap to solve the issue. We have plenty of roadmaps, but no vehicle to reach our destination.


Seven years ago, we were discussing our Strategy for 2030. We used thousands of volunteer hours, thousands of staff hours and millions of dollars to build a really well-balanced strategy. There we concluded that "By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge". We also made some recommendations to improve the User Experience (Movement Strategy/Recommendations/Improve User Experience) and claimed that we wanted to Innovate in Free Knowledge (Movement Strategy/Recommendations/Innovate in Free Knowledge). Well, the situation is now worse than it was seven years ago, let me give some examples:

  • Graph extension is used in thousands of pages, some of them highly relevant, as COVID or Climate Change information. There are thousands of graphs broken now, and the only partial solution give is loading these graphs as images, instead of promoting an interactive solution.
  • Meanwhile, a place like Our World in Data has been publishing data and interactive content with a compatible license for years. (Remember, "By 2030, Wikimedia will become the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge"). Trying to add this data and graphs to Wikimedia projects has been done by WikiMed, and it is technically possible, but still blocked to deploy (task T303853).
  • Wolfram Alpha is like a light year ahead us on giving interactive solutions to knowledge questions, even the silliest ones (https://www.wolframalpha.com/input?i=how+many+oranges+fit+in+the+Earth%3F). We have good technical articles about a lot of things, but sometimes "becoming the essential infrastructure of the ecosystem of free knowledge" needs to provide solutions to exact problems, like the answer to an equation, and how to solve it. That's also "free knowledge".
  • Brilliant (https://brilliant.org/) is brilliant if you want to learn lots of things, like geometry or programming. Way better than Wikipedia. But... you need to pay for it. How could we even try if we can't add anything interactive to our platforms?
  • We can build interactive timelines using Wikidata, but we can't embed them at Wikipedia. Weird, because I can do it in any external page. Hopefully, Histropedia will do it better. http://histropedia.com/
  • We could have something very special: inline links in video and audio subtitles. We used to have them, but the new video infrastructure doesn't allow it. Imagine a world where you can watch a video and link a link in the subtitles just to know more about that.
  • ...

The list can go on an on ("which phase the moon is today?"), but I think that the idea is clear. We could have interactive content, but we are going in the opposite direction, and every year we are further from our goal, because other platforms are doing it better, way better. And this seems like some wild ideas, but then I read the 2023-2024 annual plan section called "Wiki Experiences" and it looks like we should be going there. But we aren't.

I'm sorry if this message feels bitter. My experience in the last years is that we are now further of what we need that we were before, even if many chapters and volunteers are trying to overturn it.

Thank to everyone who have been trying. Theklan (talk) 11:09, 23 January 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]

About Experienced/Established editors[edit]

In this plan I read "Therefore, this year, we are prioritizing established editors (including those with extended rights, like admins, stewards, patrollers, and moderators of all kinds, also known as functionaries) over newcomers, to ensure that they have the right tools for the critical work they do every day to expand and improve quality content, as well as manage community processes." I've been a volunteer at en.wikipedia for over 20 years; I hope that establishes my qualifications as an "experienced/established editor". While I am also an admin at en.wikipedia, I can't help but wonder if I were not an admin would you still be developing tools I could use as a content contributor? I fear that far too often you overlook experienced content editors in these plans -- who aren't always vocal about their needs -- over the needs of functionaries -- who are not only vocal but in regular contact with Foundation staff. -- Llywrch (talk) 16:55, 27 February 2024 (UTC)Reply[reply]