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With Abraham Taherivand first transitioning into the interim Executive Director role in late 2016 and then quickly being appointed Executive Director by the WMDE Board in early 2017, a smooth leadership transition was ensured. As a result, the organization was able to remain focused on its program work and was supported by WMDE’s new Executive Director to continue and further develop its programs as outlined in the Annual Plan 2017.

Since then, Wikimedia Deutschland has been thriving under the leadership of the new Executive Director. With support from the Board and enthusiastic participation from staff, much thought and effort was put into improving WMDE’s planning process and culture. We implemented changes aimed at increasing our ability to constantly learn from our work, the work of our communities and the environments we operate in. The planning process now has several new steps for review, analysis, and discussion. We added an environmental and stakeholder analysis, from which opportunities and threats are derived and goals are developed and prioritized. While the planning process still serves to plan resources and activities for the upcoming year, the planning horizon has been widened to multiple years. At multiple points, we created opportunities for face-to-face discussion with WMDE Board and communities.

Our quarterly reporting, originally a set of forms submitted to the WMDE Board, is now used as an ongoing, year round opportunity for a lively joint review of goals and objectives, and collegial input. In the process, people identify areas of collaboration and mutually aligned activities. All this has created a work climate in which people feel heard, advised and responsible, while able to learn and iterate their work. In general, cooperation between WMDE Board, Executive Director and staff has moved towards a more collaborative work modus, with many feedback points, joint initiatives, yet with a clear division of labor.

In the first six months, the organization made major strides in many areas, including:

  • We finally filled key positions, including three departmental heads: Software Development; Education, Science and Culture; and Fundraising.
  • With new leadership in the Finance and Central Services Team we began streamlining and updating mission-critical internal systems and processes supporting personnel and accounting.
  • The board passed a resolution outlining concrete steps aimed at assuring the long-term financial stability of the organization.
  • Program teams and the WMDE Partnerships and Development Team collaboratively grew and strengthened key partnerships supporting WMDE’s goals, and securing external funding.
  • The WMDE International and Event Teams completed the three-year engagement to run the Wikimedia Conference with a successful event driving the movement strategy process and involving a larger diversity of movement leaders than ever before. The final report covering all three years is currently being put together, with learnings that will inform the design of future conferences, which WMDE intends to continue to host.
  • The International Team made key human resources available to the WMF to provide leadership and coordination for the movement strategy process. WMDE had been a long time advocate for conducting a strategy process and for developing a framework for the future of our movement. As a major partner, supporter and beneficiary of the broader Wikimedia movement, we have always been eager to help shape such comprehensive processes. In early 2017, we gladly accepted the Wikimedia Foundation’s invitation to step up and take a leading role in the design and implementation of the current movement strategy process. We made available human resources from our international relations team to liaise between the process and the movement's affiliates, committees and other organized groups. By stepping up to the plate, we take on greater responsibility for the whole movement and particularly contribute to making the strategy process a success.
  • WMDE Board, staff (Cycle 1, Cycle 2), membership and communities (Cycle 1, Cycle 2, Cycle 3) also participated in the movement strategy process and provided input on the five themes. WMDE will continue to participate and support the process.
  • We expanded our membership development activities to include new inclusive, fun and participatory formats and activities at the June membership assembly (the most highly attended to date) and regional mailings on policy issues. These activities are designed to increase member engagement.

Metrics Overview – All Programs[edit]

Shared Metrics[edit]

Shared Metrics
Program Number of participants Number of newly registered users Content pages created or improved
Annual target (estimated) Progress until 06/2017 Annual target (estimated) Progress until 06/2017 Annual target (estimated) Progress until 06/2017
Program 1: New Volunteers 70 (1) 750 319 does not apply
Program 2: Volunteer Support 5,000 2,815 1,300 823 150,000 596,378 (2)
Program 3: Software Development 430 599 8,400 4,114 (3) 5.0M 2.69M (4)
Program 4: Advocacy 3,400 420 (5) does not apply does not apply
Program 5: Institutions and their Content 700 181 20 7,800 1,057 (6)
Other (e.g. Wikimedia Conference, WMDE members’ assemblies) 400 430 25 does not apply
Total all programs 9,000 4,445 10,495 5,256 ~5.16M ~3.29M

Table notes:

1) Program 1 focuses mainly on online campaigning. The landing pages of the campaigns in Q1/Q2 received more than 47k page impressions to date.

2) Based on analysis via Glamorous and Petscan tools and project documentations from supported volunteer projects.

3) Increase in Wikidata contributors (January - May 2017)

4) Increase in Wikidata items (January - June 2017)

5) Additionally, > 32k correct license attributions in German and English were generated via the Attribution Generator tool so far. More than 11k people provided complete answers in our new Digital-O-Mat tool.

6) Most major events in Program 5 (e.g. GLAM on Tour stations, Coding da Vinci hackathon) are scheduled for Q3/Q4.

Grantee-defined Metrics[edit]

Our set of grantee-defined measures was selected from the objectives and their indicators in the 2017 WMDE Annual Plan (see also the respective objectives & targets below). For each of our five main programs we selected one of the indicators as our grantee-defined measure. These measures are central for monitoring the progress of each respective program. Nevertheless, the additional objectives and targets shown in the program sections below present a more complete picture of our work.

Grantee-defined Metrics
Measure Target Progress Explanation
Monthly increase of de:wp editors with 10+ edits In at least four months in 2017 the increase reaches or surpasses the respective 2016 figures. Target may not be reached.

From January –May 2017 the monthly ‘new editors’ figures were lower than the respective 2016 figures. The overall declining trend was not slowed down or stopped.

Note: As of writing of this report, ‘new editors’ data for June 2017 was not yet available on Wikistats.
Number of data uses from Wikidata in Wikimedia projects (--> ‘entity usage’) Baseline 12/2016:

282.3 Mio.

Targets are set on a quarterly basis.

Entity usage by 06/2016:

329.1 Mio.

(+16.5%, target was ~320 Mio.)

In Q1 and Q2, the growth in this measure has exceeded the estimated quarterly targets.
Number of uses of new media items (resulting from 2017 GLAM cooperations) in the Wikimedia projects 5,000 616 new files / 368 uses This measure applies to dedicated GLAM cooperations. The majority of these events  (e.g. GLAM on Tour stations, Coding da Vinci hackathon) are scheduled for Q3/Q4.

We are not counting the new media items and file uses that result from volunteer projects supported by WMDE in 2017 (for these, see shared metrics table above)

Usefulness of WMDE volunteer support services No target Usefulness rating for WMDE volunteer support services:


(mean value; scale 0-10)


Scale: ‘0 - not useful at all’ to ‘10 - very useful’

Survey question:

‘How useful for your project was the support you received?’

Data collected via a continuous feedback survey system for capturing volunteer feedback (‘support barometer’ / Förderbarometer) which was newly developed and launched in February 2017.

First results for the period of March-May 2017 were analyzed and published in June.

Participation: n=140 feedbacks in total (response rate: 38%)

Policy processes influenced by WMDE (qualitative) No target Important policy processes influenced:
  • Publishing a comprehensive statement on a draft bill reforming the exceptions and limitations in the German copyright code (bill titled ‘Copyright and Knowledge Society law’ (UrhWissG)) - and directly discussing it with a leading department of the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.
  • Contributing to more than 20 amendments to the EU copyright reform, more than 15 of which were actually tabled by different Members of the European Parliament (MEPs); also recruiting, through 2 rounds of mass mailings to our members, 20+ volunteer lobbyists to help with contacting MEPs.
  • Supporting the campaign against mandatory upload filters for platforms with user-generated content (e.g.  stopthecensorshipmachine.net), inter alia by hosting 2 different events (in-house and at re:publica 2017) on the topic.
  • Field testing the new Digital-O-Mat tool in the run-up to the state elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), leading to >22,000 page views, >11,500 complete answers and intensive exchange with the political parties about digital issues; WMDE’s  main topics addressed through the tool: NRW state rules on Public Domain content held by public heritage institutions and Open Educational Resources.
  • Joining the ‘declaration for freedom of opinion’ in order to oppose the first draft of the new ‘Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz’ (aka ‘Facebook law’) and discussing community-based mechanisms of fighting hate crimes with a state secretary and two members of the federal parliament.

Telling Your Program Stories – All Programs[edit]

Program 1: New Volunteers – Attract and Retain New Volunteers for Wikimedia Projects[edit]

WikiMedia Video Tracking tool
WikiMedia Video Tracking tool
1. banner campaign
1. banner campaign

Continuously sinking numbers of editors in the German-language Wikipedia are threatening the vitality and the diversity of the community and the quality of its content. Wikimedia Deutschland takes this threat very seriously, and will continue to test ways of attracting new volunteers, and to study which kinds of support are effective in retaining them on the path to becoming active editors.

The program team continued to work according to the concept outlined in the annual plan, while adding a fifth banner campaign to the four planned ones: the first one, in January, piggybacked on the thank-you banner of the annual donation drive; the second one took place in mid-April, the third one is planned for July, number four in the fall, and the final campaign will again be connected to the thank-you banners of the annual fundraiser. The approach is to use the short periods in between to review and analyze results and learn from them. The team created a portal (in German), which outlines and records all steps and results of our activities, enables feedback from the community, and helps to coordinate activities with the community. The team will present several workshops reporting on our activities at the Learning Days of Wikimania, a poster session, and a session as part of the main program, and will soon publish learning patterns on volunteer recruitment.

Early on, the team discovered that integrating videos into Wikimedia Commons is difficult for a number of browsers, and that standard tracking of click-through-rates and -paths that happens on other platforms does not work through Commons. Wikimedia mailing lists have frequently seen the request to address this issue, beyond WMDE's current use case. After checking the complexity of the task, the team came to the conclusion that the programming of a tool to enable tracking video views in Commons is doable, and engaged a contractor to program the Wikimedia Video Tracking Tool (Commons video-clicks) for all movement communities to benefit. The tool is close to completion.

The first campaign promoted the onboarding videos and tutorials we had prepared to boost motivation and to explain how editing Wikipedia works. The banner received 20,000 clicks on the ‘join us’ button and the linked page on participation was visited 3,200 times. These are almost five times the number of visits that the thank-you banner received in the previous year. People clicked 375 times on the button to create an account, after having visited the video page. A qualitative study consisting of user interviews found that the videos had a positive impact on viewers. The videos were distributed by community members through integration in over 40 Wikipedia pages. Part of the videos were made available with English subtitles, too, and actively promoted towards the broader Wikimedia movement.

Other learnings from the qualitative study:

  • Many people still think that Wikipedia somehow runs itself. They are not aware that they could participate and not aware of sinking contributor numbers.
  • Support is not searched for generally, but is needed where and when people are editing at any given time. Therefore, help pages and offers need to be widely distributed across the platform.
  • Newbies are not necessarily interested in becoming part of a community.
  • A casual tone in the videos tends to turn off older users, on the other hand, a matter-of-factly approach is less attractive for younger people. Therefore, we should have offers utilizing both styles.

2. banner campaign
2. banner campaign

Step on the guided tour for new editors
Step on the guided tour for new editors
Steps on the guided tour for new editors

Learnings were incorporated into the planning for the second campaign, which took place as planned in April. This campaign had the matter-of-fact style, as opposed to the casual style of the first one. For the first time, Guided Tours were offered to a selected group of users. Also for the first time, we were able to actually track how many people register as a result of viewing a banner, and how many edits they provide subsequently, for example after participating in the guided tours. As a result of the 2nd campaign, 319 individuals registered new accounts. Concurrently, the team and community members provided well received newbie courses and a members’ workshop at the WMDE General Member Assembly in May. We also improved in-house tracking of results. Results and learnings from campaign #2 include:

  • We missed the target of achieving 600 new accounts. However, an additional 300 individuals, who already had accounts, logged in through the landing page. This was unexpected, and may point to opportunities around reviving ‘dormant’ accounts.
  • We randomly displayed guided tours (which had been a long standing wish of the community, unrelated to campaign activities) for users. These seem to have no impact on subsequent editing behavior.
  • We were unable to adjust the reach and banner rate because we did not have real time tracking yet. Live monitoring is a function we would like to have available for the next two campaigns to improve their efficiency and impact.
  • A comparison of the first two campaigns does not give us reliable knowledge yet about which style (casual/matter-of fact) is more successful.
  • 5 out of 319 new users did 10 edits or more. This information can serve as a baseline on what to expect as the outcome of such a campaign and we are able to assess upcoming campaigns.
  • A campaign resulting in several hundred new accounts was unable to stop the trend of sinking editor numbers.

In summary, the team gathered many learnings around planning and running banner campaigns for recruiting new contributors, as well as around creating promotional onboarding offerings. However, the actual inflow of new contributors has not improved yet - on the contrary, the decrease is even larger than in respective periods of previous years.

In response, in order to be able to test a larger variety of formats and stylistic approaches, we added the fifth campaign and will continue to learn, report back to and coordinate with the community. We aim to find out if an increase in the overall number of active editors is something that can be achieved, and over what period of time.

Are Online Campaigns Really a Way to Increase Active Editors?

Screenshot from the first campaign to win new editors
Screenshot from the first campaign to win new editors

The first two banner campaigns generated substantial interaction and new accounts registered. However, the number of new editors contributing to the German language Wikipedia keeps declining. With 319 registrations as a result of the second campaign, one would expect at least a slight visible effect on the number of April/May new editors. But there is none. In fact, the decline of new editors appears to be even steeper than in recent years.

This brings up a set of new questions.

After all, we did get hundreds of people to create a new account. And we know for a fact that there are hundreds of new accounts created in the German language Wikipedia every month, regardless of our campaigns. So, have we been motivating people that would have created an account anyway? Are we cannibalizing the group of usual suspects? Or did we in fact reach an entirely new group, and the new editor numbers would have plummeted even more drastically without the banners?

This is just one group of new questions that result from our practical work. The banner campaigns are to us literal “learning-by-doing”. They enable us to try diverse approaches and make sense of actual observations, some puzzling and some that we can adapt to right away (such as developing a new tool to track video views on Wikimedia Commons).

Another group of questions is not so new, and relates to the aspect of on-boarding, or rather, keeping new editors engaged up to their 10th edit and beyond. What happens after registration, and while people try their first edits? Do our videos and on-boarding activities move the needle? What are the actual barriers that people face? Which of them are social and what are the technical barriers? This latter is one of the questions we discussed as part of planning our approaches for 2018.

We expect many more new questions as well as insights during the course of this year and beyond. The team is looking forward to sharing approaches and practical efforts with others in the Wikimedia movement who are worried about declining editor numbers in the mature Wikipedias. We are preparing a workshop on the topic at Wikimania 2017 which could be a starting point not only for conversations about gaining new editors, but for collective action.

Measure Target Progress Explanation
In the course of 2017, the monthly increase of de:wp editors with ten+ edits (and thus passing the ‘new editor threshold’) reaches or surpasses the monthly increase of the respective 2016 months. In at least four months in 2017 the increase reaches or surpasses the respective 2016 figures. Target may not be reached.
Between January - May 2017 the monthly ‘new editors’ figures were lower than the respective 2016 figures. The overall declining trend was not slowed down or stopped.

From the 319 new registrations resulting from the 2nd campaign only five contributors reached the 10th edit threshold (as of May 29th). However, further monitoring is needed as the reaching the 10th edit threshold may take longer than the reporting period.

Note: As of writing of this report, ‘new editors’ data for June 2017 was not yet available on Wikistats.

Program 2: Volunteer Support – Support Volunteers in Wikimedia Projects[edit]

During the first half of 2017, as always, our volunteers and their projects took advantage of a large number and great variety of support provided by WMDE. Unlike the numbers of active editors, the numbers of active Wikimedians applying for support, and the number of resulting projects is continuously on the rise. This included activities such as

  • The WikiCon (German-speaking volunteer conference) kick-off and subsequent planning;
  • A successful Wiki Loves Earth 2017 with 1061 participants and a record number of 24162 image uploads — for the first time in cooperation with the German Commission for UNESCO, which is also going to support the upcoming Wiki Loves Monuments 2017 competition;
  • A workshop on election data with 40 participants representing Wikipedia, Wikidata, OKLabs, OpenStreetMap and other volunteers in Ulm;
  • Several GLAM-on-Tour stations including a special around music and musical instruments, Wiki Loves Music. Overall, interest in these formats, both by volunteers and hosting institutions, is increasing;
  • A new local hub in Berlin, named WikiBär, and further regular activities by a second Berlin-based group, WikiWedding, founded in 2016. The latter group is based in the Berlin working class district of Wedding, and meets in a local neighborhood center;
  • Awarding 28 volunteers with full or partial scholarships to attend Wikimania 2017 in Montreal.

Support barometer feedback, single support services
Support barometer feedback, single support services

We conducted a community workshop (these are the annual workshops we do with community members to review and improve our support processes and guidelines) which also focused on movement strategy this year. We began actively promoting our support programs in the sister projects to reach out to additional active volunteers and make them aware of the support programs.

In terms of the objective around projects that support non-German speaking volunteers, we logged a total of seven projects or project developments in the first two quarters, including:

  • Wikipedia for Peace 2017 Berlin — a community project to increase and improve the Wikipedia content on social movements, justice and peace, organized by Wikimedia Deutschland and Service Civil International. The project is organized as a workcamp, where people from different backgrounds come together for about two weeks to write and edit content about topics related to peace on Wikipedia. The event in Berlin in July brings together 15 participants from many different countries.
  • We are currently developing a new model for an international exchange project with the Federal Institute for Foreign Relations (ifa).

The AdminCon of the German-language Wikipedia took place in Salzburg, Austria, this February. The well-organized meeting was attended by 51 admins and experienced editors who worked hard to resolve all the topics on the agenda. The meeting was another illustration of how face-to-face interaction can quickly resolve issues, distribute tasks and plan for further action: For example a lightning talk on the lack of jurors for writing competitions quickly led to several new candidates for the jury. Wikimedia Deutschland supported this meeting with covering travel and accommodation.

Support barometer feedback, project support
Support barometer feedback, project support

We continued our dialogue with like-minded civil society organizations and associations  around the topic of civic engagement in the digital realm in Germany. In January, together with our partners, staff testified to a subcommittee of the German parliament about the forms of digital engagement and the projects Wikimedia supports. Very little is currently known about forms of engagement, and digital volunteers, such as Wikipedians, receive very little public recognition. A workshop in June with over 20 participants — key activists, digital volunteers, advocates and scholars — helped to identify areas of research, advocacy and joint action for the next few years. Next step will be the publication of a white paper together with our allies.

Wikimedia Commons brochure (English)
Wikimedia Commons brochure (English)

The WMDE volunteer support team engaged with volunteer supporters from other chapters at Wikimedia Conference in March. There was a session on community events, as well as a meeting of the Volunteer Support Network, at which communication avenues and further joint activities for the 2nd half of the year were agreed upon. We would like to see this network, which started with the German-speaking chapters, continue to grow further beyond central Europe and include other interested affiliates in order to reflect the diversity of the movement. WMDE’s team is looking forward to continued exchange and peer learning among volunteer supporting staff, leading to an increasing professionalisation and improvement of this work.

As a new feedback tool, we developed and implemented the support barometer (‘Förderbarometer’), a continuous feedback survey system. This tool measures the level of volunteer satisfaction with WMDE’s support programs, by asking all volunteers who have received support a series of questions around the usefulness of supports, and allowing them to rate on a scale of 0-10. They are also able to leave suggestions on improvements. The results for March-May, submitted by 38% of the people who were asked to complete the survey, are encouraging for our support team: the average rating for usefulness is 9.49, and the average satisfaction rate is 9.42, with 10 being the highest number. In the cases of more comprehensive project support with a higher level of consultation by the support team, the ratings are even more positive (usefulness: 9.61; satisfaction: 9.57). The feedback provided pointed to a number of steps and offerings in the support process that were not obvious or well communicated enough, as well as few suggestions around changes. The team is working to incorporate the suggestions and has already updated its help pages.

Finally, we updated and developed new materials for potential Wikipedians, in particular the popular ‘cheat sheets’ that provide quick overviews on four topics: authoring new articles, editing existing articles, editing from mobile devices and communicating in Wikipedia. Likewise, the introductory brochures about Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons have been revised and updated, the latter is now also available in English, while the translation of the former is in the works.

The Wikipedia Hotline ‘0800-Wikipedia’: An Experiment

Wikipedia and its community in Germany offer a diversity of support mechanisms for new and experienced community members. This includes numerous help pages, resources, and now also the videos and tutorials produced by our team working on Program 1. Since 2004, the Volunteer Response Team has been assisting community members and the Wikimedia movement with technical and legal questions in writing. WMDE has been supporting this team for many years.
At a community workshop organized by WMDE in early 2016, a volunteer proposed to complement these offerings with a personal, telefone-based support service, where volunteers respond to calls and walk callers through to a solution of their issue on Wikipedia. This could be especially helpful for newer volunteers, and for them to be assisted as they navigate across technical and social hurdles.

At WMDE we discussed the merits of this idea and decided to support it as an experiment to diversify the help options. We then had to clarify a few logistical matters, such as how to set up a toll-free 800-line, and how to forward calls from the 800-line to the phone of the volunteer providing the service. In January of 2017, the service was started, available via the ‘contact’ link in the sidebar of each Wikipedia page, with a volunteer staffing the line each Thursday night. Since then, each session received between 2-5 calls, some of which took up to 45 minutes.  

Topics that come up in the calls include issues well known to the Wikipedia Support Team, such as:

  • How do I find the main author of an article and how do I contact her or him?
  • How do I make specific changes?
  • Why are my edits not immediately visible? [note: due to flagged revisions extension]
  • How do I remove biased statements about specific people?
  • Is this a notable subject for a Wikipedia article?

Preliminary learnings:

  • In terms of content, the hotline mainly served to improve the skills and understanding of callers around editing Wikipedia. Occasionally, articles were improved right away during the call.
  • For a pilot project such as this one, staff has to be available to support volunteers more than usual with project management and coordination in order to ensure a smooth project run. For a promising pilot project, such additional resources might well be worth investing.
  • Connecting such a program to other, existing support programs (e.g. Volunteer Response Team) should be done at the beginning of new projects and be continually assured through its duration.

The volunteers are committed to continuing the experiment through this year, and share learnings with WMDE and the movement.

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation
Through increased awareness and accessibility of our support services, the number of individuals active in projects who apply for support rises (baseline: total at Q3 2016 compared to Q3 2017). No target

In 2017 we will increase the number of volunteers who know about and get access to WMDE support and project funding.

On track

Number of individuals applying for support: 263 (Total until Q2 2017; + 6% vs. Baseline)


Total until Q2 2016: 247
Unique count

‘Individuals applying for support’ includes organizers of volunteer group activities as well as volunteers applying for individual grants (e.g. technical support, literature stipends etc.).

WMDE supports at least three projects benefitting major non-German speaking user populations (e.g. refugees). At least three supported volunteer projects

On track 5 supported / 2 planned volunteer projects to date
Current/ past projects:
  • metacollect (Meeting between refugee orgs and other NPOs)
  • Wikipedia spielt (Wikipedia plays…): Let's Play - International games evening #refugeeswelcome

Planned/ in development:

  • Wikivoyage/ Wikipedia project: workshops and writing contest regarding Italy & Berlin

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation
100 % of volunteer support applications receive a final response within three weeks of submitting a complete proposal. 100 % final response within three weeks
On track Q1-Q2: 99% final response within three weeks
Baseline Q1-Q4 2016: 99% final response within three weeks
Project support for Wiki Loves Earth 2017 took more time due to the complex nature of the project.

This target is aimed at quick and unbureaucratic processing of support applications submitted by volunteers. We track this on a quarterly basis to ensure our application processes stay efficient.

To continuously improve support services, WMDE surveys all applicants and project leaders, assessing the usefulness of services and gathering suggestions for improvement. Results will be published quarterly and will inform the further development of support services that is done jointly with the community. No target/ ‘usefulness measure’ was newly set up in early 2017 On track

Usefulness rating for WMDE volunteer support services: 9.49 (mean value; scale 0-10)

Scale: ‘0 - not useful at all’ to ‘10 - very useful’

Survey question:

‘How useful do you rate the support you received for your project?’

Data collected via a newly developed continuous survey system (‘support barometer’ / Förderbarometer) to systematically capture feedback of volunteers receiving support by WMDE. The support barometer was developed and launched in February 2017. First results for the period of March-May 2017 were analyzed and published in June.

Participation: n=140 feedbacks in total (response rate: 38%)

In order to effectively shape our project collaboration with volunteers, WMDE continues the development of guidelines for support services together with the supported community members. Agreed guidelines and other resources are published until Q3 2017. On track

Q2: Community workshop conducted regarding documentation/ evaluation of collaborative volunteer projects
Guidelines to be drafted and reviewed with our communities in Q3.

Program 3: Software Development – Expand Wikidata and Further Develop MediaWiki[edit]

Wikidata Metrics
Metric 12/2016




editors (1+/ 30 days) 16,729 17,510 +5% still growing, clearly positive
active editors (5+/ 30 days) 7,240 7,610 +5% still growing, clearly positive
very active editors (100+/ 30 days) 1,250 1,380 +10% still growing, clearly positive
new active editors (passing 10th edit threshold) 735

(average per month, 01-12/2016)


(average per month, 01-05/2017)

+12% stable
Metric 12/2016




pages 26.04M 28.98M +11% steadily growing, clearly positive
items 24.67M 27.36M +11% steadily growing, clearly positive
items with referenced statements 15.52M

(~63% of total items, data by December 26)


(~65% of total items, data by June 26)

+13% steadily growing, share increasing, clearly positive
edits (total) 422.80M 510.30M +21% steadily growing, clearly positive
statements (total) 127.50M 161.3M +27% steadily growing, clearly positive
statements referenced to Wikipedia 30.97M

(~24% of total, data by December 26)


(~22% of total, data by June 26)

+11% still growing, share is decreasing, positive
statements referenced to other sources 34.41M

(~27% of total, data by December 26)


(~32% of total, data by June 26)

+48% massively growing and share is increasing too
Metric 12/2015


Change Comment
# of entity usages from Wikidata in Wikimedia projects 282.30M 329.1M +16% steadily growing, clearly positive

Wikidata statements with a non-Wikimedia reference vs. statements with a Wikimedia reference (% of total, Jan 2015 - June 2017)
Wikidata statements with a non-Wikimedia reference vs. statements with a Wikimedia reference (% of total, Jan 2015 - June 2017)

In 2017, the WMDE Software Development Department continues to work on processes and activities already established in 2016 such as increasing the use of Wikidata in movement projects, routine collaboration with the WMF Tech teams and addressing community software development priorities through the Technical Wishes Project. The goals for 2017 were (1) continuing to assure the technical and social sustainability of Wikidata (software and community) as the central, structured knowledge data base for the Wikimedia movement and beyond, (2) continuing to increase the reach of Wikidata into the Wikimedia projects, and (3) continuing the development of MediaWiki jointly with the Wikimedia communities and the Wikimedia Foundation.

These are huge tasks that require multi-year engagement, funding, and partnerships with important movement actors and external partners. WMDE and WMF secured substantial external funding for Wikidata, aimed at supporting the development of Wikidata as a backbone for the Wikimedia sister projects Wikimedia Commons and Wiktionary. This meant that in 2016, work on Wiktionary began and was intensified for Wikimedia Commons, a project which had already gotten preliminary support since 2013. It kept WMDE Software Development busy throughout the first half of 2017. The department’s participation at the Wikimedia Developer Summit in January enabled the team to make important technical decisions together with volunteers and the WMF regarding MediaWiki developments, technical wishlist projects and the future of the Wikidata query service. Working with partners and in close collaboration with the Wikimedia movement continues to shape all our software projects. 

In terms of assuring the technical and social sustainability of Wikidata, we have good news: to date, Wikidata has reached almost 30,000,000 items, 500,000,000 edits and the number of contributors is still growing. These numbers together with the other positively developing KPIs show Wikidata is alive and doing very well. Still, such growth also brings risks regarding data quality: A high number of items alone does not mean that all items have the proper information or even information listed at all in their statements. Growing the project while ensuring that data quality remains stable or improves is one of the big challenges for Wikidata and has been a major focus of our work for the sustainability of the project.

Constantly maintaining the software, improving it and incrementally developing new features and tools are important components of the technical groundwork to ensure such sustainability. This entails research, experiments with the user interface, collaboration with the community and maintenance of existing features. In the past months for example, the team improved the keyboard navigability of the user interface. All this work resulted in important learnings at the technical level. In order for as many people as possible to use our projects and products, the WMDE Software Development Team needs to ensure that functions are compatible with different software versions and visible on mobile devices and screen readers for visually impaired people.

At the technical level, one of the highlights in 2017 so far has been the overhaul of constraint checks. These are checks that enable us to find data that does not conform to Wikidata standards and enable a more efficient way to fight vandalism. Constraint checks had been created by the community as a tool for quality assurance early on, and the Wikidata Development Team was able to provide support for this function in order to make it easier to use, increase its visibility and further improve it. This is a big step for quality assurance in Wikidata.

Sometimes Cats are Mayors, but Usually They Are Not

Mayor Stubbs
Mayor Stubbs
Data quality in Wikidata has been an important item on the agenda of the Wikidata Development Team as well as the Wikidata community for quite some time now. As described in previous APG reports, data quality in Wikidata is a very complex issue.

In general, Wikidata was set up with few rules and restrictions. The world is too complex for us to decide in advance which kind of information can or cannot be entered in Wikidata. This early guiding principle of Wikidata has remained valid until today and the Wikidata Development Team has worked very carefully to follow it. Instead of deciding on specific rules for data quality themselves, our team members created tools that enable users to make decisions independently. Users are encouraged, enabled and even responsible to implement expectations for data quality themselves. 

The team, together with researchers, in 2016 focused on better understanding what data quality means for the Wikidata community and on establishing dashboards for quality measurement (e.g. data about statements, references or items. The first half of 2017 saw the roll out of specific features that help the community increase data quality. The most exciting new feature deployed are constraint checks that affect the information included in the statements of a particular item. For example, Berlin (item) is a city (statement) and located in the country of Germany (statement). It concerns information such as the property of an item, which describes the data value of a statement and can be thought of as a category of data. These properties, when paired with values, form a statement.

Example of a simple statement consisting of one property-value pair
Example of a simple statement consisting of one property-value pair

With constraint checks, this information is now flagged when it contains possibly erroneous information that goes against shared understandings of how the world works, for example the understanding that, for the same person, a date of birth should come before a date of death (unless they are a time traveler).

From the property constraints portal:

“Property constraints are rules on properties that specify how properties should be used. The Wikidata model itself is very flexible: nothing stops you from adding universe (Q1) as head of government (P6). However, a constraint on the property can tell you that a head of government (P6) is usually a human. Constraints are hints, not firm restrictions, and are meant as a help or guidance to the editor. They can have exceptions: for example, the town of Talkeetna (Q668224) elected the cat Stubbs (Q7627362) as mayor.” (Source: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Help:Property_constraints_portal)

These constraints are decided upon by the Wikidata users. A number of constraints have already been put into place such as:

A full list of currently available constraints can be found on the property constraints portal, a place that serves as a discussion platform for the establishment of new constraints or the amendment of existing ones by the community.

Prior to these constraint checks, constraint reports were available on Wikidata, but hard to find and use. With constraint checks, information on constraint violations for items is directly available in the item statement, first now as a gadget that needs to be enabled, later available as a standard feature for everyone. The constraint checks will alert a user to possible constraint violations such as this one for the item ‘Berlin’ or for the item ‘Douglas Adams’.

It is then up to the user to decide whether or not to change the information available in the statement. The constraint checks will never change information automatically, as this would violate Wikidata’s principles. In general, this feature presents a big step for quality assurance in Wikidata because it makes it easier for users to find inconsistencies in the data and correct them, if necessary.

Wikimedia Loves Documentation

To assure the technical sustainability of Wikidata, or any long-term software project, documentation is crucial. Without proper technical documentation of software development processes, it is really hard for new developers working on old pieces of software to understand some of the underlying principles used for writing this particular piece of software. Without help pages about Wikidata and how to edit and reuse it, it is hard for newcomers to understand how the project works, make edits and feel included in the community. Really everyone, editors as well as developers, needs documentation. Currently, some documentation exists about MediaWiki and Wikidata, however, it needs to be improved and updated, and the content in many cases needs to be reorganized to be accessible.

WMDE staff decided to work on this issue in collaboration with the volunteers (Wikidata editors, volunteer developers) who are the first users of documentation. The team will support the community members in improving the documentation, both technical (about specific features of the software) and for beginners (how to edit Wikidata, how to use its main tools). WMDE staff organized a documentation sprint during the Wikimedia hackathon in Vienna in May 2017. During this event, anyone who wanted to improve documentation was welcome and WMDE staff provided some suggestions of tasks to do, organized small workshops on specific topics (how to illustrate documentation, how to make content translatable), and accompanied the participants on their projects. After the events, volunteers continued the efforts started during the documentations sprint.

Making Documentation a First-class Citizen

For the Wikimedia Hackathon in Vienna, the WMDE Software Development Team wanted to try something new: one track exclusively reserved for documentation. This sprint focussed on several topics, including Wikidata help pages for beginners, and the process to install Wikibase. The rationale behind this new format was to support the community members in improving the documentation. But secondly, WMDE staff also wanted to see whether they could appeal to a new target group and bring new people into the movement who are interested in contributing technical knowledge. The documentation sprint was therefore not designed for software developers but for technical writers to participate. It was organized as a separate track throughout the entire hackathon, with a separate work space and program. And it worked! Around 20 people participated, both newcomers and regular Wikidata editors, who brought with them a technical interest in contributing to Wikidata. The turnout was much larger than expected and to our surprise, the motivation of the attendees to write was huge! During the two day event, the following improvements were made:

  • Update the Wikidata main page and make the list of suggested tasks more visible
  • Update some help pages with new information (for example Wikidata:Sources)
  • Update the documentation about the Query Service
  • Create documentation about the constraint checks
  • Update the step-by-step process about how to install Wikibase

For the WMDE Software Development team, the event provided a positive signal and an important learning that people are interested in working on this topic. Such sprints do provide incentives for people to engage in this rather unglamorous part of software development. It is an important part of making software development more inclusive and processes easier to understand, thus enabling more people to contribute to Wikidata and other Wikimedia projects. As a result, planning for the next documentation sprint has already begun: at the Wikimania hackathon in Montreal, a new documentation sprint will be organized by WMDE staff, as per request from the WMF.

Wikidata Loves Data Partnerships

Working with partners is an integral part of ensuring the sustainability of Wikidata. Specifically data partnerships are key. Several new institutions have been expressing interest, while we are continuing to build on ongoing partnerships such as the UNESCO collaboration with John Cummings as Wikimedian in Residence and the support of Wikimedia UK. Such data partnerships are generally either about donating new datasets to Wikidata or using the existing data in a new way. At the Wikimedia Conference, WMDE staff and John Cummings presented the workflow and documentation around the UNESCO data donation such as the data import guide and the data import hub. All of these materials aim to make it easier for people to collaborate on importing datasets, pool their knowledge and start discussions around new data partnerships. These materials were created in 2016 based on the conclusion that more and more institutions are interested in donating data to Wikidata, but that we have to make sure that these donations are desired, the data will be maintained, and that it is of high quality. Working together with other organizations such as Wikimedia CH or Open Knowledge is key for this, as we cannot know everything about every region or knowledge domain.

In general, the process of engaging in data partnerships can only be successful if the community is involved from beginning to end - possibly even to the point where WMDE involvement is reduced to a minimum - which is an approach WMDE staff will further be looking at in 2018. Recently, the International Olympic Committee and Swiss Railroad have registered their interest in engaging with Wikidata for a new data donations. Organizations such as schema.org and Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, on the other hand, want to use the existing data for old and new projects. WMDE staff and Wikidata community members are working with these organizations and institutions to prepare potential new data partnerships. One new data partnership that is just hot off the press is with beaTunes, an application for the Mac that lets you build playlists for your music collection. It uses Wikidata in various ways to enrich the application (see this blog post.) In order to explain how Wikidata works to interested institutions, companies, organizations and individuals who are interested in adding data to Wikidata, a new video was created and an international blog post published.

This video is made for institutions, companies, organizations and individuals who are interested in adding data to Wikidata

Wikidata loves Wiktionary

Wikidata loves Wiktionary
visualization of the Lexeme data model
visualization of the Lexeme data model

To have an impact on our second program goal  - to increase the reach of Wikidata into the Wikimedia projects - the Wikidata Development Team has been focusing many efforts on supporting Wiktionary in the first half of 2017. So far, Wiktionary has been the main repository for all data related to words and language. But the way Wiktionary is set up makes it hard to re-use, and the information is not machine readable.

This leads to a lot of use-cases for Wiktionary’s data not being realized and prevents Wiktionary from reaching its full potential. In response, the Wikidata team started working on the integration of lexicographical data into Wikidata. So far, only two entity types exist in Wikidata: item for concepts like people, buildings, movies etc. and properties that are used to describe those concepts. These entity types provide the basic structure for Wikidata to model the world with. The first step towards supporting lexicographical data and Wiktionary in Wikidata is a new entity type called lexeme. It will enable Wikidata to store information that is currently available in Wiktionary and make it machine-readable.

For this project, the objective is to assure the ability to store lexicographical data in a structured manner and the storage of first lexicographical data in Wikidata by the end of 2017. In order to achieve this, WMDE staff conducted user research with Wiktionary editors, rolled out automated sitelinks for the main namespace of Wiktionary, and wrote down the technical data model for the new entity type lexeme. The publication of the data model was an important milestone for the first half of 2017. The data model of WikibaseLexeme describes the structure of the data that is handled as "Lexemes" in Wikibase, such as words and phrases. It is the conceptual foundation on which a prototype can be build.

To show some possibilities of this data model and to illustrate where the project is heading, the team has provided a few data modelling examples. But this is just the starting point: there are many other possible examples and the community will be free to organize the data as it sees fit. The properties and items used to model these examples are up to the editors to decide on.

The team is currently working to create a lexeme prototype and a demoable lexeme page in time for Wikimania, so that community members have a first opportunity to try it out and give feedback. In order to meet this deadline, staff had to embrace a change of plans for this prototype: instead of providing a demo version that already stores data properly, the demo version will first be a user interface which does not yet store actual data. WMDE staff simply did not have enough time to program a more complex demo version, but in the end this decision turned out to be quite beneficial: such a prototype focusing on the user interface will allow developers to make faster changes based on the feedback gathered at Wikimania.

What You Can Do when Wiktionary Data Is Integrated into Wikidata

by Lydia Pintscher

Storing lexicographical data in a machine-readable form in Wikidata will make a number of interesting use cases possible. Here are some of them:

Dictionary applications

The lexicographical data can be used to build dictionaries that can then be used to look up word definitions in one language or also translations of words into another language. It can also be used to build special-purpose dictionaries like a rhyme dictionary or dictionaries for special topics like art. The data can also be used to build thesauri and synonym dictionaries. Existing tools and projects that could make use of it include the online dictionary Leo (dict.leo.org) or Beolingus (dict.tu-chemnitz.de).

Linguistic research

Researchers can use the structured data to learn more about how our languages evolve over time, social classes and more. Then we can answer questions like “Did this class of words change its meaning over time in the same direction?”. Existing research that could make use of it includes analyzing lexical distances between Europe's languages (originally mapping).

Automated translation

In order to build automated translation tools one needs to have a lot of understanding of the source and target language. Machine-readable lexicographical data is one important building block of that. It is especially important for small languages who don’t have a lot or any digital tools supporting them currently. Existing tools that could make use of it include Appertium.

To summarize, there are a lot of opportunities ahead of us for Wiktionary, when we embrace support through structured data for the project. We can significantly increase its reach and impact while at the same time supporting the work of our editors much more than before.

A change of plan happened with regards to Arbitrary Access for Wiktionary, a feature that was unexpectedly requested by the English Wiktionary community. Arbitrary Access is a technical feature that would enable the English Wiktionary to get access to the full Wikidata database and integrate information from the database into Wiktionary via lists, tables, templates and more. This interest goes to show that the English Wiktionary community is very supportive of our ongoing efforts to further integrate Wikidata and Wiktionary. This high level of interest in Wikidata for Wiktionary comes a bit as a surprise. In response to this very positive development, WMDE staff changed priorities to accommodate this request. This new feature will allow the Wiktionary community to experiment with integrating more of the existing non-lexicographical data.

Wikidata loves Wikimedia sister projects

In addition to the ongoing work on Wiktionary, the Wikidata Development Team worked on removing barriers to ensure that the usage of data from Wikidata continues to increase in Wikipedia. Main accomplishments included the publication of a new click-dummy to allow editing of Wikidata’s data directly from Wikipedia, expanded roll-out of indexing ArticlePlaceholder pages on Welsh Wikipedia in order to make these pages discoverable by search engines, improving usage tracking of Wikidata on sister projects and experimenting with ways to make writing and editing queries to Wikidata easier.

The Technical Wishes Project Loves Community Surveys

Technical Wishes Project logo
Technical Wishes Project logo
WMDE staff presenting at WMCON17 on bringing collaborative approaches from software development into other partnerships
WMDE staff presenting at WMCON17 on bringing collaborative approaches from software development into other partnerships

For the third goal in this program, WMDE set out to continue development of MediaWiki jointly with the Wikimedia communities and the Wikimedia Foundation, so that volunteers are able to utilize the software effectively. The team conducted the next round of the German-speaking Community Technical Wishlist, now for the third time. From the end of May until early July, 450 German-speaking participants collected, discussed and prioritized technical wishes. More than twice the number of people participated and the page views for our project page tripled (38,855 impressions/views) compared to the last wishlist. A total of 188 valid wishes were submitted. This includes technical wishes in categories such as reading, search, and editing,  but also maintenance, sister projects and social.

For the first time, there was a special slot reserved for volunteer software developers who could submit their own software projects. The top-voted project will then get developer support from WMDE. This new category was added in order to provide more support to already existing tools in the Wikimedia projects, and help volunteer developers to bring these tools to the next level. It recognizes the many volunteer developers in the movement who are building tools that are very useful for people’s work in the Wikimedia projects, and shows that the Technical Wishes team values this work greatly.

The team provided a variety of support mechanisms during the submission of wishes. An accompanying workshop series, called Tech on Tour 2017, was organized in five different cities parallel to the start of the survey, in order to further strengthen collaboration with the community and provide real-life support for participating in the survey. Two WMDE staff members were on-site for these workshops, with a third software developer as a tech joker in the online hangout. A total of 44 Wikipedia users participated and WMDE staff helped attendees to formulate and sharpen descriptions of wishes to be submitted.  For the first time, one Tech on Tour station also took place outside Germany, in Vienna, organized in cooperation with WMAT.

One of the most important goals for the Technical Wishes Project team is to make the entire project more accessible and diverse. This starts with the diversity among the group of participants and the accessibility of the survey: the more diverse the group of participants, the more diverse is the range of wishes submitted. New features and tools are created that are usable on a wider variety of platforms and language versions. As a result, the technical wishes prioritized and implemented satisfy a wider spectrum of needs in the community,  make a more diverse group of people happy with their user experience, and retain them as long-term users in our projects.

Making the German-speaking Community Technical Wishlist Survey More Accessible

Making the Wishlist More Accessible - Simplified Logic Model
Making the Wishlist More Accessible - Simplified Logic Model

The team had set the goal to make the technical wishlist more inclusive and encourage more people, including non-techy people, to participate in this year’s technical wishes survey. This clearly worked: the participation rate more than doubled as many new community members participated in the submission, discussion and prioritization of wishes. How did that happen?

For the first time on the German-speaking Community Wishlist survey, a banner ran on the German language Wikipedia which was displayed to all logged-in users and was not limited to a particular user group (displayed to 30-50% of all logged-in users). The banner called on these users to participate in the survey. Since the banner was not only shown to established users, as was done in the international technical wishes survey, our survey drew a wider spectrum of participants. Many of these new participants were less experienced Wikipedia users, as could be concluded from the increased number of questions, comments and wishes submitted. Many new participants possessed little knowledge about the structure of Wikipedia and did not always fully understand who holds what responsibility for the different technical tasks and roles.

Banner for submitting new wishes
 Banner for submitting new wishes
Banner for voting on submitted wishes
Banner for voting on submitted wishes
Working with such a large group of new 'wishers' was a bit of challenge. More support was needed for people submitting projects to the wishlist. Besides using an improved template for the submission of wishes, help pages and organizing Tech on Tour, having experienced Wikipedians participate was key: Similar to 2013 and 2015, many experienced volunteers accompanied the survey actively with guidance and support. This goes to show that the collaborative character of the technical wishlist is not limited to the creation of a prioritized list, but also involves a collaborative effort to prepare as many meaningful and comprehensible wishes as possible for the final voting.

Due to the large number of technical wishes submitted, WMDE staff decided to conclude the banner run earlier than planned, after only two days. A significant numbers of wishes had been submitted at that point and in an effort to keep the list of wishes manageable and readable for all involved, the banner run was stopped. Still, a much larger and more diverse group of people than ever before had been reached and had contributed to the wishlist survey. This positive development is also reflected in the voting, which concluded the survey. The number one wish on the German language Wikipedia received a total of 85 votes - only about 10 votes less than the number one wish on the International Wishlist Survey back in 2016 and more than double the number of votes for the number one wish on the German Community Wishlist in 2015. It goes to show that there is a broad base of community support in Wikipedia for the new survey.

Taken together with all the other positive developments, the new round of the German Community Technical Wishlist survey presented a great success for the Technical Wishes project team. The team will spend the next months analyzing the submitted wishes and drawing conclusions as to whether the intended impact - having a wider variety of technical wishes submitted -  was achieved as a result of this survey.

In addition to technical wishes survey, the Technical Wishes Project team also continued to work on implementing and further developing wishes from past surveys. The following projects significantly progressed over the first half of 2017:

Update on Technical Wishes

Newly implemented wishes

Wish #9 of the German-speaking Technical Wishes Survey was adding tables to PDFs. As a first step, the WMDE team added a notice about the omission of PDFs to the article PDF download page. As an outcome of the wm2017:Hackathon the WMDE team came up with a proposal to allow tables in PDFs through a browser-based rendering service. The tasks to fulfil the wish were shared between WMDE and WMF teams: The WMF Services team is providing and maintaining the Electron PDF render service. The WMDE team wrote the extension that provides access to that service. Further, the WMF Reading team took over the responsibility for the long term maintenance and planning of PDF rendering. As of February 2nd 2017, the extension is available on dewiki, meta and mediawiki.org.
Improving the current handling of edit conflicts was wish #1 on the 2015 German Technical Wishes Survey. After multiple iteration rounds with the German-speaking and the international communities, the WMDE team has been working on the "TwoColConflict extension" since October 2016. As of May 10, 2017 the "two column edit conflict" view is provided as a beta feature on all wikis and is currently used by >18k users.

Currently in the pipeline

The AdvancedSearch feature aims to enhance Special:Search by an advanced parameters form and to improve the way how to configure namespaces. The advanced parameter form shows already existing search options such as "intitle" or "incategory" that are currently only listed on help pages. The project had been kicked-off by a workshop series on advanced search in Germany in autumn 2016. The AdvancedSearch feature will be developed as a Mediawiki extension and be provided as a beta feature in 2017.
Showing text changes within a text chunk when moving that chunk was wish #2 of the German-speaking Technical Wishes Survey in 2015. Diff code is highly complicated and extremely challenging to work on. After several months, the C++ based solution for the wikitext based diff view is almost done. In addition, WMF is currently working on visual diffs, to enable a non-wikitext based diff view in visual editor. With the visual diff, changes in moved paragraphs can be highlighted, too.
In many cases, locally uploaded files should be moved to Wikimedia Commons, so that they can be used in all Wikimedia projects. The current transfer process is complicated and files cannot be moved correctly including their complete version history and information about who moved the file. When moving files to Wikimedia Commons, all data should be kept intact, therefore a new functionality needs to be implemented. After an investigation phase and conversations with users in 2016, the WMDE team is now working on the two Mediawiki extensions FileImporter and FileExporter to allow the correct transfer from local files to Commons.

Continued developments

The RevisionSlider allows editors to navigate and compare revisions and to view edit summaries on diff pages. WMDE's Technical Wishes team developed the RevisionSlider based on a prototype by the WMF Community Tech team. It has become a default feature for all users on all wikis as of May 2017, with less than 450 users having it disabled!
Some great feedback the team received for the RevisionSlider on MediaWiki.org:

“Today is the first time that the Revision Slider showed up when I was looking at a revision history on my home Wikipedia, en. It is great! It works perfectly. The instructions overlay was helpful although the tool is so well-designed that it is almost self-explanatory. The RevisionSlider is delightful precisely because of those nice end points in yellow and blue. The slider moves smoothly, and supports some of the accessibility features that I have enabled in my browser due to my minor vision issues. This tool is actually better than those that I have seen for similar purposes offered on for-profit websites. The German Wikipedia developers and UI designers who created this tool did an EXCELLENT job! Thank you for taking care of us so well. I just noticed that you are taking care of ALL of, as this is a RTL accessible extension!”

When implementing these technical wishes and rolling out new software, the WMDE team constantly deals with issues of diversity and accessibility. One particular challenge is developing software for a variety of different languages: while the majority of worldwide languages read from left to right, a number of languages read the opposite way (e.g. Arabic, Hebrew, Farsi). For these right-to-left languages, particular changes have to be made to the software in order for new features to function properly. Starting back in 2016, WMDE staff had developed a very productive collaboration with members of the Arabic and Hebrew communities in order to test some functionality of the wishes as a beta function for their language versions. This was requested by the communities themselves and the WMDE staff consider this an important step to enable a worldwide availability of the wishlist products. The team has integrated such consultation into their testing routines. In order to find solutions to other accessibility challenges, an accessibility task force was set up together with staff members and volunteer developers at the Wikimedia hackathon in Vienna. Through such collaborative task forces we hope to address accessibility issues for the various features and increase the diversity of platforms on which these features run smoothly, reaching a larger group of users.

Outlook: What’s next

Logo WikidataCon
Logo WikidataCon

Looking forward to the second half of 2017, the WMDE Software Development Teams will continue to work towards the goals and objectives outlined above. For the Technical Wishes Project Team, this means analyzing the 2017 technical wishes survey results, conducting additional feedback rounds for the top wishes and continuing work on projects such as “Advanced Search”, “Show changes when moving text chunks”, “Correctly moving files from Wikipedia to Commons”, RevisionSlider and TwoColConflict, with possible availability as beta feature or deployment in the fall.

While much programming work lies ahead for the Wikidata Team, a special highlight will be the organization of the first Wikidata Conference in October of 2017. The planning for the conference is already in full swing, with the recruiting of volunteers for the program and scholarship committees successfully concluded and registration as well as scholarship application open. Volunteers are currently building the program of the conference. So far, the response to the event has been nothing but positive. Organizing the task planning, budget and visa process was quite a challenge for such a new conference, but after much planning and a few changes to the agenda, the organizing process is running smoothly now. The team is looking forward to an inspiring, productive and fun conference.

Note: The Wikimedia Foundation now directly supports the core maintenance of Wikidata through direct payments based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between WMF and WMDE. The MOU requires that WMDE submit an annual plan with goals, objectives and budget in the first quarter of each for the WMF fiscal year starting July 1st. The MOU also states that in addition to quarterly check-ins submitted to WMF Engineering, the APG reports will serve as the reporting mechanism for Wikidata. As a result, the goals (1) and (2) plus their objectives are structured along the lines of the goals and objectives updated in the Wikidata business case. In the tables, we have placed the related older APG Proposal objectives alongside the related WMF objectives.

Objective APG Objective WMF Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation/Outlook
The quality and quantity of data in Wikidata as well the health of the community continue to develop positively based on the key performance indicators for content, usage, community and quality.

For figures on Wikidata KPIs please refer to the Wikidata Metrics table above.

Improve the usability of Wikidata
  • Implemented and deployed an API and gadget for constraint checks making it easier to find issues in the data
  • Researched migration to OOUI framework to be more in line with the rest of the Wikimedia projects and improved our input widgets (e.g. preview in the CommonsMedia suggester)-
  • Did first experiments with vue.js in Wikibase to work towards a more user friendly, and maintainable UI
  • Improved the keyboard navigability of the user interface.
  • Did groundwork to improve the property suggester in order to make it easier to add new data
  • Improved the input widget for links to files on Commons (now shows previews)
  • Created new datatype for linking to geoshapes on Wikimedia Commons.
  • Adapted to Wikimedia’s color palette.

Status: on track

Next quarter:

  • Research how and why people are editing Wikidata
  • User testing to figure out how to improve our input widgets
  • Graduate the constraint checks UI integration from gadget to extension
  • Experiment more with vue.js and make a plan for further steps
Improve the documentation around Wikidata
  • Organized an event to support the community in order to improve documentation and help pages for regular users at the upcoming Wikimedia hackathon in Vienna (Q1)
  • Improved documentation with the community at Wikimedia hackathon (Q2)

Status: on track

Next quarter:

  • Improving documentation with the community at Wikimania hackathon
Keep the community involved, happy and connected
  • Worked on organizing WikidataCon (program, scholarships, venue, sponsoring, etc), an event built for and by the Wikidata community for Wikidata’s 5th birthday.

Status: on track

Next quarter:

  • Organize WikidataCon (support community processes, build the program, make sure people have the possibility to attend)
Jointly with the Wikidata Community, WMDE supports a minimum of one institution to contribute to and to use Wikidata, publishes related success stories and motivates additional institutions beyond 2017 to contribute to Wikidata. Document data partnerships
  • Presentation of Data Donation documentation and data import hub at Wikimedia conference (with John Cummings.
  • Received three proposals for data imports since the Wikimedia Conference.
  • Preparation of potential donations: International Olympic Committee, SBB / Swiss Railroad, HU Berlin, Computerspielemuseum
  • Presenting Wikidata to new groups of potential editors: Berliner Comic Symposium, GLAM workshop, Versus
  • Work on political framework for data donations: Datensummit / Bundesregierung, Wahlsalon event with Bundeswahlleiter et al.

Status: on track

Next quarter:

  • two or more stories about successful partnerships

Objective APG Objective WMF Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation/Outlook
The usage of data from Wikidata by sister projects continues to increase, according to the key performance indicators for usage and community.

For figures on ‘entity usage’ please refer to the Wikidata Metrics table above

Allow editing of Wikidata’s data directly from Wikipedia
  • Iterated on click-dummy based on community feedback.
  • Published next click-dummy to get a new round of feedback from the community.

Status: slightly behind

Make ArticlePlaceholder pages discoverable by search engines in order to help small Wikipedias grow their reach
  • Expanded roll-out on Welsh Wikipedia.
  • Did a successful trial run on Welsh Wikipedia.

Status: on track

Next quarter:

  • Enable search engine indexing on more wikis that already have the ArticlePlaceholder
  • Roll out ArticlePlaceholder on more wikis depending on community demand
Make using Wikidata data on the other Wikimedia wikis easier
  • Got a better overview of usage of Wikidata data on Wikimedia projects
  • Worked on allowing more fine-grained usage tracking

Status: slightly behind

Next quarter:

  • Make a plan for “Magic Infoboxes”
  • Gain further insights into usage of Wikidata data on Wikimedia projects
Automated creation/update of list articles based on queries to Wikidata
  • Experimented with different ways to make it easier to write and edit queries - specifically query templates.
  • Improved the documentation.

Status: slightly behind

Next quarter:

  • Experiment with building a query builder that editors can use to build queries that will update list articles automatically
WMDE, jointly with the Commons community, develops a plan for the migration of unstructured Commons data.

Note: Due to a grant of the Sloan Foundation awarded to the WMF for bringing structured data to Commons with the help of Wikidata, WMDE goals and objectives were changed. Tasks are now shared between WMF and WMDE.

Provide structured data support for multimedia files to Wikimedia Commons.
  • Created and rolled out federation test system to get feedback from community (needs final tweaks still before announcement)
  • Planned out detailed work on Multi Content Revisions to lay technical groundwork for structured data on Commons
  • Created new data type for linking to geoshape and tabular data pages on Commons

Status: slightly behind

Next quarter:

  • Implement Multi Content Revision-aware storage layer services for loading revisions and updating pages, initially using the old db schema
  • Finalize MCR database schema
  • Plan and schedule schema migration
By the end of 2017, the ability to store lexicographical data in a structured manner in Wikidata is assured and first lexicographical data is stored in Wikidata. Support for storing lexicographical data in order to support Wiktionary
  • Worked on the Lexeme prototype in order to let the community try it out.
  • Worked on creating a demoable Lexeme page for Wikimania
  • Prepared and rolled out automated sitelinks for the main namespace of Wiktionary (with the Cognate extension)
  • Enabled sitelinks via Wikidata for the other namespaces of Wiktionary
  • Published and documented the data model specifications and provided examples for community discussion
  • Did user research with Wiktionary editors.

Status: on track

Next quarter:

  • Enable Arbitrary Access for English Wiktionary to allow them to play around with more of the already existing non-lexicographical data
  • Demo the current state of support for lexicographical data at Wikimania to get feedback
  • Plan further roadmap based on that feedback
  • Work on persistent storage and API for lexicographical data

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation/Outlook
The WMDE Software Development Department continuously implements solutions to user requests based on the ‘technical wishlist’, utilizing periodic feedback iterations. At least 200 editors engage in voting on/ discussing the upcoming 2017 wish list.

Minimum eight feedback iterations around new features with at least 80 participants in total (online & offline)

On track

450 editors engaged in voting on/discussing the 2017 wish list.

Feedback iterations 2017: 5 online, 5 offline (2016: 10 total)

Technical Wishes implemented 2017: 2 (2016:5)
In Q3, the most popular of the more than 180 valid wishes submitted in the wishlist survey will be screened and tested for ease of implementation.

Implemented wishes in Q1-Q2 2017:

  1. Tables in PDFs, available to all Wikis
  2. TwoColConflict (alternative two-column view for the edit conflict resolution page), as beta feature in all Wikis, and currently used by >18k users.

Furthermore, the RevisionSlider became a default feature for all users on all wikis, with only <450 feature disables by users (in relation to the >70k active users for which this feature is available).

By the end of 2017, WMDE tests, evaluates and publishes a variety of support formats for volunteer developers. At least 2 support formats are tested, evaluated and published until end of 2017.
On track

MediaWiki hackathon session with 20 volunteer developers, exploring existing barriers for proper onboarding in MediaWiki development.

Special slot reserved for volunteer software developers in the 2017 technical wishlist survey
Q3: Establishing an IRC Office Hour for volunteer developers and a Wikimania Hackathon workshop for Mediawiki newcomers

Program 4: Advocacy – Strengthen Legal and Political Conditions for Free Knowledge[edit]

During the first quarter of the year, EU copyright reform continued to be at the core of our political work. The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU) in Brussels, supported through WMDE, recorded several successes while participating in the drafting process of the EU parliament copyright reform. These successes have yet to be confirmed by the European Council to become law. Other areas of activity included the reform of exceptions and limitations in German copyright law, education and open data at the German federal and state level, first tests at involving our membership in supporting our political work in Brussels, as well as intensified work with our partners around German membership in the Open Government Partnership.

Digitalomat Logo
Digitalomat Logo
Digital Policy Reader (German only)
Digital Policy Reader (German only)

The “Wahl-O-Mat” for digital issues (Digital-O-Mat) was primarily initiated and supported by WMDE. This tool first went live and was tested for the state elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen in May. It allows a voter to select their own opinion on eight crucial issues related to digital policy such as Open Data, Museums, Education, Government Data, Public Access to Broadband, and more. Then the tool allows to compare one’s own opinion profile with those of all major political parties (those with realistic chances to win seats in the next regional or federal parliament) in order to identify which of the parties running is closest to one’s own opinion. The tool was curated together with a group of partners including inter alia Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, Digitale Gesellschaft, Free Software Foundation Europe and Chaos Computer Club and will be scaled up to be used for the federal elections this fall, with launch for this federal edition planned for mid August.In cooperation with iRights international, and supported by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), WMDE published the Digital Policy Reader just in time for the re:publica conference in Berlin, one of the world's largest conferences on digital culture and the Internet. The reader provides an introduction to the policy field, and includes articles on basic topics such as net neutrality, cybersecurity, big data, the internet of things and many more. The reader was distributed in a printed version directly to 200 selected opinion leaders and requested by a number of people after our presentation at the re:publica conference. An electronic version is available on the WMDE website. We are currently looking for an Open Access publisher to print a second edition to be then also available via regular book shops.

The Open Education Alliance (Bündnis Freie Bildung) continued its advocacy work in the first six months, with WMDE providing substantial backbone support, which enabled us to increase the alliance’s visibility and output.

To prepare for the upcoming federal elections in Germany, WMDE and the Open Education Alliance are working together on a number of approaches, including the Digital-O-Mat mentioned above or the preparation of policy recommendations for the political parties in charge post-election. We will again develop election touchstones around free knowledge. These are not lists of demands, but sets of questions along with the answers provided by the parties. They are published to help voters better understand party positions, estimate how the party, if elected, will govern in relation to the issue, and to then make informed decisions accordingly.

We have started to distribute mailings via email to the WMDE membership in order to mobilize our members to actively participate in our political work around EU copyright reform. The idea is to recruit people to join what some call the ‘Content Liberation Front’, in another wording: To become a ‘liquid lobbyist’, meaning volunteer supporters to assist staff in specific advocacy activities such as contacting members of parliament, collecting ideas or disseminating information and calls for input. In return, we offer interesting insights into the work in Brussels and Berlin, personal collaboration with our political team and the opportunity to jointly shape the future of free knowledge. By the end of the second quarter, this approach has shown some promise, with a group of 25-30 active members who have already begun their activities.

Bursting the Brussels Bubble:

by Dimitar Dimitrov

WMDE Policy Advisor Dimitar Dimitrov presenting on the EU copyright reform at Wikimedia Conference in March, 2017
WMDE Policy Advisor Dimitar Dimitrov presenting on the EU copyright reform at Wikimedia Conference in March, 2017

The Wikimedia community unites and revolves around gathering and editing free knowledge and then making it available to the entire world. We know that it is the legislative framework that defines which parts of human knowledge we are allowed to share, and which we are not. We have learned over the years that legislative change can either endanger or support our mission to bring free content to the world to benefit education, science, culture and democracy.

Council Contact Map FKAGEU
Council Contact Map FKAGEU
But advocacy work takes time and consistency. In Europe, we are tackling this through a one-of-a-kind inter-chapter working group created in 2013, to lead and coordinate our public policy initiatives. This working group, now known as the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU (FKAGEU), is very actively engaging in the ongoing process of EU copyright reform - which has the potential to either endanger or support free knowledge.
Group photo during the Big Fat Brussels Meeting VI in Brussels, April 2017
Group photo during the Big Fat Brussels Meeting VI in Brussels, April 2017

The European Union has a complex and multilayered legislative process and it is important to speak to as many of its member states as early as possible in the process. This is why, next to talking to the European Commission and the European Parliament, both conveniently located in Brussels, we have also taken up the endeavour of contacting national ministries. As taking a stance while legislation is still being drafted in Brussels requires a lot of insider knowledge, our Brussels team had drafted a guide that explains which issues are crucial to us and why. This has then been localised by 20 national chapters or user groups and submitted in their name to their national governments. In some of the countries these letters started a conversation between volunteer Wikimedians and their government representatives about what copyright should look like.

This is a geographical coverage in the EU that matches or tops the one of campaigns run by organizations like Greenpeace, the WWF or Amnesty International with a fraction of the invested resources. It couldn’t have happened without the local groups of volunteers, who can contribute local context and credibility to such conversations. Likewise, it would be impossible, especially for smaller volunteer organizations by themselves to follow-up on such specific processes and gather the necessary knowledge in order to know when to get in touch and what to speak about. To further facilitate the process, we coordinated with Creative Commons within the Communia Association to keep track of deadlines and gather national government contacts across Europe.

EU Member States have now reached the next phase: They have begun to discuss compromises to the EU copyright reform in an attempt to find a common position. We will make use of this opportunity to follow-up with a new round of letters and personal meetings across Europe.

Further information: Progress report for the FKAGEU

Learnings from our policy work

The experience of the first half of 2017 continues to confirm that policy work takes a lot of time and perseverance, and that, due to the inherent opportunistic nature of activities, this field defies some of the standard planning and evaluation practices. This can be demonstrated by the target we set around the number of policy positions: Windows of opportunity for encouraging third parties to issue policy positions may or may not occur - and this is outside our sphere of influence. However, fewer third party policy positions at the end of the year do not automatically reflect on a failure to achieve our overall policy goals, as we have taken advantage of numerous other opportunities that had not been foreseen when we wrote objectives in the fall of 2016.

Building capacity and visibility is crucial. A meta page is being developed as the central platform for information and networking around public policy work in Germany. At WMDE headquarters in Berlin, we have deepened cross-departmental coordination with the colleagues from Volunteer Support and from Education/Science/Culture teams. Our Public Policy Team has slowly been growing, through the addition of work study positions and more staff in Berlin. In Brussels, with the help of a grant from Open Society Foundations, we are adding a Policy Advisor position to help steer through the hot phase of the copyright reform. Having additional staff has been hugely impactful, as we have been able to increase the frequency of communications and other political outputs, and shorten our reaction time when opportunities arise. There is still plenty of room to grow here, as it would be desirable to be monitoring net policy events more thoroughly, and to be more active and visible in a number of sub-arenas (for example, in policy periodicals, and at conferences) without compromising the quality of communications. This learning - essentially, that planning policy work means assuring readiness for the unplannable - is currently incorporated into WMDE’s planning for 2018 and beyond.

Working in cooperation and collaboration with partners and allies serves WMDE well to create connections, take advantage of synergies and to ultimately have a higher impact on the policy issues that matter. A steady presence at conferences and in publications helps to show that WMDE is engaged, has consistent policy positions, and is available as an active partner.

WMDE has increasingly served as the backbone for the Open Education Alliance (Bündnis Freie Bildung) since the summer 2016. This has helped to sustain the work and increase the outputs and the visibility of this group. However, at the same time the Open Education Alliance is still highly dependent on the commitments of individuals, rather than institutions, and when these individuals become otherwise occupied or change jobs, the continuity of partner input is compromised. Nevertheless, operating with partners around issuing political statements and election tools is more powerful than operating on our own, even if it takes more work. WMDE is committed to continuing the active support of the BFB through 2017 and then re-evaluate this activity.

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation
WMDE influences a minimum of ten relevant political decision-makers who previously did not have positive positions regarding free knowledge. 10 relevant political decision-makers have been influenced by end of Q4
Behind target Statements of interest/ intent by new relevant decision makers Q1-Q2: 2
With WMDE’s involvement, the federal state of Berlin has started to make Open Data the default in its public administration.

ESA, the European Space Agency, finally issued a general guideline for publishing all own images under CC-BY-SA license. This great achievement is based on long-standing lobbying and consulting by WMDE, starting back in 2012.

It is unlikely to reach the full target by the end of the year.

WMDE’s political network includes a high level, responsible decision-maker from each interest group that we have identified as relevant. By the end of 2017, our network covers each identified interest group On track Coverage of identified interest groups: 22 of 34
‘High level, responsible decision-maker’ covers staff at the level of executive, director, manager and upwards with decision-making power (qualified contacts, who know Wikimedia and its political positions)

Our mapping of relevant interest groups is still ongoing and we will add additional stakeholder groups until the end of the year. We are confident to reach a full coverage of all relevant interest groups by the end of 2017.

WMDE reviews the premises of its political positions covering the policy areas of education, science and culture, and expands on the respective arguments through publication of at least two statements or studies. At least two statements or studies published until end of Q4. On track

Statements/ position papers/ studies published: 5

Review of our policy positions is nearly complete.

Together with other Wikimedia chapters:

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation
WMDE successfully influences the development of essential policies and laws related to the re-use of content without permission (“Open by default”) which, as a result, will benefit collaboration in the Wikimedia movement. Successfully influenced cases (qualitative).
On track

Important cases in Q1-Q2: >5, for details please see explanation

Publishing of a comprehensive statement on a draft of the ‘Copyright and Knowledge Society law’ (UrhWissG)  - and directly discussing it with the German Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

Contributing to 20 requests for change for the EU copyright reform, of which more than 15 were actually submitted by different members of the European Parliament.

Supporting the campaign against mandatory upload filters for platforms with user-generated content (e.g.  stopthecensorshipmachine.net)

Field testing the new Digital-O-Mat tool in the run-up to the state elections in Nordrhein-Westfalen (NRW), leading to >22,000 page views, >11,500 complete answers and intensive exchange with the political parties about digital issues.

Joining the ‘declaration for freedom of opinion’ in order to oppose the first draft of the new ‘Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz’ (aka ‘Facebook law’) and discussing community-based mechanisms of fighting hate crimes with a state secretary and two members of parliament.

WMDE begins to work with at least five key institutions on the reform and development of their policies, regulations and procedures so that they favor free knowledge. Work with at least five institutions has started. On track By Q2, work with 3 key institutions has started
Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz): Started planning a first content liberation project which could potentially set the future standard for this important cultural heritage institution, which used to be rather reluctant towards free knowledge practices.

Berlin Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Public Enterprises: Contributing to a administrative regulation on Open Data in Berlin’s public administration. German public-service television broadcaster ZDF: Consulting with members of the ZDF television board and representatives of the federal states about opening the ZDF’s archives for free knowledge projects.

Program 5: Institutions and Their Content – Together with Communities, Liberate Content Through Cooperation with Institutions [edit]

The cultural hackathon Coding Da Vinci takes place again this year, this time in the fall, with two separate events in Hamburg and in Berlin. The team of partners has gained additional institutional partners, such as the German Committee for Heritage Protection (Deutsches Nationalkommittee für Denkmalschutz). WMDE this year has taken over the implementation of the Berlin event, while a local group in Hamburg organizes and conducts their event with consultation from the team of partners. We are also adding a new component this year, based on learnings from previous years: A ‘Prepare your Data’ two-part workshop for institutional partners, assuring that data sets are in a condition that allows for frictionless processing, including uploading to Commons. This activity is supported by a small grant from the state’s media literacy program.

Members of the WMDE Education, Science and Culture Team worked on the concepts for the information, consultation and training packages. Starting with information, we developed and improved upon a set of brochures and handouts to offer to specific kinds of institutions. The number of institutions, which were informed, consulted or received trainings through WMDE, rose to about 40. In preparing packages for institutions of education, we are focusing on topics of strategic importance to WMDE, such as Wikimedia projects, free licenses and free content. We want to make sure that we create viable connections between institutions and Wikimedia volunteers and projects. This focus allows us to coordinate WMDE’s offerings with the OER related resources being created by partners as part of the federally funded Central OER Office.

The first round of the Open Science Fellows Program was successfully concluded in March. It provided us and our partners with many learnings and much potential for impact. For the next round (2017/18) the program expanded in terms of partnerships and funding, resulting in up to 20 fellow positions, four new scientific partners, new mentors, a new funder, and a three year commitment from our co-founding partner Stifterverband. The call for proposals for round 2 was issued in June.

Open Science Fellows Program – Why and How WMDE Dabbles in Open Science

So why does Wikimedia Deutschland engage in science? The mission of our organization has always gone beyond supporting the Wikimedia projects and compels us to promote equal access to Open and Free Knowledge in all its forms.

We think that through Open Science, more people can benefit from the insights of scientific research. If research in all its phases is practiced openly, scientists can share data with each other and science is thus improved. If a variety of societal players have access to Open Science, research will become more socially relevant. And ultimately, the Wikimedia projects will benefit by incorporating more knowledge, and be utilized as tools to disseminate scientific knowledge. Wikidata, for example, is increasingly valued by scientists from all disciplines as a tool to openly organize and connect data sets used for research.

So, a few years ago, we asked ourselves: If we want society to have more access to and participation in science and research, what is the best way for our organization to contribute to opening science? After talking to many people from many different institutions and disciplines, we found that scientists at the early stage of their career are the most eager, interested and at times already comfortable with using methods and tools of Open Science. However, they encounter institutional barriers as well as concerns and discouragement from established colleagues.  

Based on these findings, our team started developing a theory of change: what if we supported young scientists in learning about and using Open Science tools and methods, could they then in turn serve as change makers with their seasoned colleagues and institutions? We decided to find out.

We identified a partner: the Stifterverband, the German Association of Science Funders,  and jointly developed a fellowship program model, that includes financial support through a small stipend, joint learning, and one-on-one mentoring throughout the fellowship period.  We identified five mentors, people with their own strong experience in practising Open Science. And we set up a logic model and designed an evaluation plan to rigorously test our assumptions.

For the pilot year (2016/17) we selected 10 fellows from nearly 80 applications and followed them through a year of doing their work, in their discipline, with their individual Open Science approach. The fellows documented their experience in blog posts and reports, met regularly with their mentors, came together for exchange and joint learning. At the concluding event in March of 2017, each presented their project, and how they used Open Science to make it better.

Simplified Logic Model Open Science Fellows Program
Simplified Logic Model Open Science Fellows Program

At the end of their fellowship, participants reported that:

  • 90% valued the program as highly useful for their understanding of open science, and 80% as highly useful for their research
  • 9 out of 10 significantly increased their knowledge about Open Science tools and methods
  • A majority now regularly uses practices in the areas of Open Methodology, Open Source, Open Data and Open Access
  • All fellows increased their knowledge of the Wikimedia projects, and six out of ten have become active in one or more projects, incl. Wikipedia, Wikiversity, Commons, Wikibooks and Wikidata.

We learned that the mentoring component was the most important and useful for fellows, and also that there is a need for increasing the offerings of joint workshops as that would deepen and broaden learnings for the fellows. Many of the fellows communicated about their experience in a variety of situations in and outside of their institutions. This was encouraging sign that they assumed their role as ambassadors of Open Science. Some of them reported that they had been able to excite others in their institutions through showing them the possibilities of open science. All fellows were excited about becoming part of an alumni network, which we hope might be the beginning of an open science community that will grow with new fellows, mentors and allies each year.

They also published the ‘Berlin Call to Action’, a statement with concrete recommendations for institutions around realizing the potential of open science. The Call to Action was distributed to various political and institutional decision-makers such as the members of the German Rectors' Conference, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Science Policy Speakers of the parliamentary groups on federal and state level.

The promising evaluation results of the pilot allowed us to solidify the partnership with the Stifterverband, to gain new partners and to carefully scale up the model for 2017/18. This year, the call for applications went out for 20 slots, with five additional mentors, and extra support through the Volkswagen Foundation, one of the major funders of young scientists and their projects in Germany. We are excited to grow the Open Science community, and deepen our learnings, especially around what works in the mdi-term to change institutions, their policies and practices from the bottom up.

Video Open Science Fellows Program

We are pleased to share more about this program at Wikimania 2017: “Bringing Science and Wikimedia together through people: Wikipedia Ambassadors, Open Science Fellows, Wikimedians in residence – what’s next?”

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation
Through cooperation with GLAM institutions and with volunteers, data sets are made available for Wikimedia projects, and new media files are re-used a minimum 5,000 times in the Wikimedia projects by the end of 2017. By the end of 2017:

Media items are used a minimum 5,000 times in Wikimedia projects.

On track

Use of new media items from GLAM-cooperations:

368 times (616 new files)

This measure applies to dedicated GLAM cooperations. The majority of these events (e.g. GLAM on Tour stations, Coding da Vinci hackathon) are scheduled for Q3/Q4.

Here we are not counting the new media items and file uses that result from volunteer projects supported by WMDE in 2017 (for this, pls. check the shared metrics table at the top).

Experiences from these cooperations are shared in published success stories, in order to encourage additional institutions to contribute content for Wikimedia projects. At least 3 success stories are published until end of Q4.
In progress
Success stories are planned for Q3/Q4.

Objective Target Progress (until Q2/2017) Explanation
At least six cultural and memory institutions take advantage of our consultation, information and educational services. 6 cultural and memory institutions are consulted by the end of 2017.
On track 3 cultural and memory institutions are consulted by end of Q2.
15 representatives of different museums of the umbrella organization ‘Landschaftverband Rheinland (LVR)’ took part in a © © Change Your Mind workshop at the LandesMuseum Bonn.  

7 GLAM institutions took part in the © © Change Your Mind workshop in Hamburg.

19 GLAM institutions took part in the information meeting for the Coding da Vinci 2017 hackathon.

Jointly with volunteers, WMDE develops and tests the implementation of one new resource each for the fields of science and educational institutions. 2 new resources are tested by the end of 2017.

Slightly behind
Initially it was planned to utilize two OER camps in Q2 to gather input from the science and educational communities and to start resource development. This was not fully possible, due to staff illnesses and low participation rates. Nevertheless, there still is time to develop and test the new formats in Q3/Q4.
80% of scientific institutions that host fellows as part of the pilot phase Open Science Fellows Program implement further steps towards Open Science (seminars, research projects, publications, and working groups) within six months. Within six month after end of the program:

80% of the scientific institutions implement further steps

On track

In 4 of 10 (40%) of the scientific institutions which were hosting our fellows, further activities towards Open Science were implemented.

We made the very positive observation that in the aftermath of the program our fellows also reached out to scientific institutions other than their own:

3 further initiatives (seminars, guest lectures) took place at additional scientific institutions.

Learning and Sharing with the Wikimedia Movement[edit]

Wikimedia Conference: Share, Learn, Collaborate!
We once again organized and hosted the Wikimedia Conference, which is key to Wikimedia Deutschland’s efforts to support the movement
We once again organized and hosted the Wikimedia Conference, which is key to Wikimedia Deutschland’s efforts to support the movement

In 2017, Wikimedia Deutschland once again organized and hosted the Wikimedia Conference (WMCON), the annual meeting of all Wikimedia organizations and groups as well as the movement’s decision making bodies. The WMCON serves as the central time and space to discuss the future of the Wikimedia movement – in terms of collaboration, structures and organizational development. And the conference is the opportunity for movement organizations to share experiences and to learn from each other.

WMCON is key to Wikimedia Deutschland’s efforts to support the movement. The design of the event aims to increase the impact of the movement through international collaboration – not just at the conference, but before and after as well. Since WMDE started organizing this conference with a long-term perspective in 2015, we have shaped the event to be a productive, fun and outcome-oriented forum for the movement.

We have published a report about the recent Wikimedia Conference, a more detailed report about our learnings and experiences from organizing this conference three years in a row will be published this fall, but we are eager to share two highlights in advance:

In 2017, the number of attendees was increased: Invitations were sent to 150 additional Wikimedians. This served to increase representation and the diversity of voices in the Wikimedia Movement Strategy Process, which was covered in a dedicated track on the program. More participants from Emerging Communities were able to represent their regions and their specific perspectives.

Inviting more people from regions and groups that have been less present or visible at previous events led to participants feeling that they are part of something even bigger, more global and more diverse than ever before
Inviting more people from regions and groups that have been less present or visible at previous events led to participants feeling that they are part of something even bigger, more global and more diverse than ever before

This was also a game changer for the atmosphere of the conference: Since the majority of chapters and user groups represent regions of the so-called “Global North”, participation had previously been unbalanced. Inviting more people from regions and groups that have been less present or visible at previous events led to participants feeling that they are part of something even bigger, more global and more diverse than ever before. We should consider the positive effects of this expansion – which have been reported by several participants in the survey and in many in-person conversations – when designing future movement events. Our key take-away is that adding more voices leads to stronger cohesion within the Wikimedia movement.

Looking back over the last years, we acknowledge another learning: Fostering international collaboration among Wikimedia affiliates remains a challenge. Despite having a dedicated Program and Engagement Coordinator who is doing much supportive follow-up work, trying to connect people between conferences, it is very difficult to engage WMCON participants – experienced and inexperienced – to follow up on topics and initiatives.

Fostering international collaboration among Wikimedia affiliates is a challenge – and is not as easy as it might look on our conference photos
Fostering international collaboration among Wikimedia affiliates is a challenge – and is not as easy as it might look on our conference photos

Many volunteers naturally concentrate their time and efforts on project-based, local activities. It is difficult for them to find time and motivation to work on “meta” topics they take home from WMCON. Staff of Wikimedia affiliates on the other hand might have a stronger motivation for working with their international colleagues, and many wish they could spend more time on issues that affect the movement. However, they too rarely have time and budgets to commit “on top” of their daily work.

This is a structural weakness of our movement, which compromises its members’ ability to fully act as movement: International collaboration is not budgeted in the affiliates’ annual plans, with APGs focussing on affiliates’ local or regional work. The structure of the funding program, and the preferences of the Funds Dissemination Committee tend to support the introvert, local aspect of organizations, rather than their role as a equal players in the global movement. To date there has not been a funding mechanism that supports cross-affiliate collaboration – other than the WMCON. But as the only supporting mechanism, a once a year event will not be fully effective as a driver for collaboration.

Our teams at WMDE are looking forward to continuously supporting and shaping the conference in coming years, and contributing to a connected, equitable and effective movement in this manner. After the movement strategy has taken shape, structure, infrastructure and resource decisions that support the further development of collaboration among affiliates will hopefully follow. We are sure that WMCON and other movement events will play a crucial part in assuring our collective impact in the years to come.

Further information and links

Financial Information[edit]

Table 1: WMDE Revenues

Please note: Exchange rate used throughout the APG 16-17 process is 1€ = 1.115$

WMDE Revenue 2017
Revenue source EUR USD
Budgeted Actual Q1 Actual Q2 Actual total Budgeted Actual Q1 Actual Q2 Actual total % budget received Explanation to variances from budget and large budget items
Donations 2,500,000 143,174 2,366,880 2,510,054 2,787,500 159,639 2,639,071 2,798,710 100%
APG 279,198 81,433 58,166 139,599 311,306 90,798 64,855 155,653 50%
WMF Wikidata MoU 1,200,000 600,000 667,169 1,267,169 1,338,000 669,000 743,893 1,412,893 106% WMDE received additional WMF funding for an increase in staff resources as amendment to the MoU.
Membership fees 2,166,163 1,358,009 688,571 2,046,580 2,415,272 1,514,180 767,757 2,281,937 94%
Fundraising management overhead 30,417 18,774 0 18,774 33,915 20,933 0 20,933 62%
Google grant for Wikidata 437,500 437,500 0 437,500 487,813 487,813 0 487,813 100%
Other revenues 41,000 2,680 36,336 39,016 45,715 2,988 40,515 43,503 95%
PEG 145,365 151,066 0 151,066 162,082 168,439 0 168,439 104% Due to enlargement of the WMCON, grant size was increased with some payments still due for the second half of 2017.
Total revenue 6,799,643 2,792,636 3,817,122 6,609,758 7,581,603 3,113,789 4,256,091 7,369,880 97%

Table 2: WMDE Expenses, Budgeted vs. Actual, by Quarter

Please note: Exchange rate used throughout the APG 16-17 process is 1€ = 1.115$

WMDE Expenses 2017
Program/Department EUR USD
Budgeted Actual Q1 Actual Q2 Actual total Budgeted Actual Q1 Actual Q2 Actual total % budget spent Explanation to variances from budget and large budget items
Program expenses 3,646,025 586,621 641,083 1,227,704 4,065,317 654,082 714,808 1,368,890 34%
Program 1: New Volunteers 312,872 30,268 31,022 61,290 348,852 33,749 34,590 68,338 20%
1.1: Increase the number of volunteers active in Wikipedia through an online campaign which motivates the highest possible number of Wikipedia readers to engage as active editors. Nonpersonnel expenses 84,905 2,893 9,661 12,554 94,669 3,226 10,772 13,998 15% Higher expenses are expected in Q3/Q4
Personnel expenses 227,967 27,375 21,361 48,736 254,183 30,523 23,818 54,341 21% Activities required fewer resources than planned. Higher expenses are expected in Q3/Q4.
Program 2: Volunteer Support 855,293 134,433 168,507 302,940 953,652 149,893 187,885 337,778 35%
2.1: Continue volunteer support services and facilitate access to support, including for volunteers active in Wikipedia’s sister projects. Nonpersonnel expenses 552,349 43,213 89,661 132,874 615,869 48,182 99,972 148,155 24% This budget item reflects the volunteer grant fund. Large volunteer projects such as the WikiCon are planned for the second half of 2017.
Personnel expenses 288,204 89,498 67,912 157,410 321,348 99,790 75,722 175,512 55%
2.2: Further develop volunteer support services to improve the program’s contribution to the viability and quality of Wikimedia projects. Nonpersonnel expenses 1,349 0 7,056 7,056 1,504 0 7,867 7,867 523% Higher than budgeted travel and accommodation expenses for additional participants at the community workshop on movement strategy.
Personnel expenses 13,391 1,722 3,878 5,600 14,931 1,920 4,324 6,244 42%
Program 3: Software Development 1,690,460 305,302 281,790 587,092 1,884,862 340,412 314,196 654,608 35% Underspending due to unfilled positions
3.1: Continue to assure the technical and social sustainability of Wikidata (software and community) as the central, structured knowledge data base for the Wikimedia movement and beyond. Nonpersonnel expenses 125,635 20,244 20,780 41,024 140,083 22,572 23,170 45,742 33%
Personnel expenses 463,014 83,037 71,901 154,938 516,260 92,587 80,170 172,756 33%
3.2: Continue to increase the reach of Wikidata into the Wikimedia projects. Nonpersonnel expenses 90,635 15,773 16,614 32,387 101,058 17,587 18,525 36,112 36%
Personnel expenses 480,831 92,193 68,948 161,141 536,126 102,795 76,877 179,672 34% Resources were partially re-allocated to 3.1.
3.3: Continue development of MediaWiki jointly with the Wikimedia Communities and the Wikimedia Foundation, so that volunteers are able to utilize the software effectively. This work includes the focus on community technical needs, sustained quality assurance and strengthened connections with Wikimedia communities internationally. Nonpersonnel expenses 44,135 2,519 10,949 13,468 49,211 2,809 12,208 15,017 31%
Personnel expenses 486,210 91,536 92,598 184,134 542,124 102,063 103,247 205,309 38%
Program 4: Advocacy 445,923 65,387 98,693 164,080 497,204 72,907 110,043 182,949 37%
4.1: The political environment affecting the Wikimedia Movement becomes increasingly benevolent, and thus helps to promote movement goals around free knowledge. Nonpersonnel expenses 93,379 3,451 27,574 31,025 104,118 3,848 30,745 34,593 33%
Personnel expenses 182,476 40,237 41,034 81,271 203,461 44,864 45,753 90,617 45%
4.2: The legal and policy conditions for free knowledge have been improved. Nonpersonnel expenses 55,439 5,661 16,248 21,909 61,814 6,312 18,117 24,429 40%
Personnel expenses 114,629 16,038 13,837 29,875 127,811 17,882 15,428 33,311 26%
Program 5: Institutions and their Content 341,477 51,231 61,071 112,302 380,747 57,123 68,094 125,217 33%
5.1: In order to provide access to content, work with communities to enter into cooperations and sustainable partnerships with cultural and memory institutions. Nonpersonnel expenses 27,582 110 7,968 8,078 30,754 123 8,884 9,007 29% Higher expenses expected for Q3/Q4 due to major projects scheduled for the second half of the year
Personnel expenses 68,548 6,105 7,631 13,736 76,431 6,807 8,509 15,316 20% Higher expenses expected for Q3/Q4 due to major projects and hiring of additional staff scheduled for the second half of the year.
5.2: Improve our existing resources around information and consultation for cultural and memory institutions, and develop, based on needs, similar resources for the educational and science fields, so they are enabled to generate and make available open content. Nonpersonnel expenses 76,061 5,787 5,133 10,920 84,808 6,453 5,723 12,176 14% Majority of expenses for new materials and resources shifted to Q3/Q4.
Personnel expenses 169,286 39,229 40,339 79,568 188,754 43,740 44,978 88,718 47%
Program support expenses 875,416 249,111 237,980 487,091 976,089 277,759 265,348 543,106 56%
Education, Science and Culture Nonpersonnel expenses 8,000 0 0 0 8,920 0 0 0 0% Resources were shifted to direct program expenses.
Personnel expenses 15,480 218 261 479 17,260 243 291 534 3%
Volunteer Support Nonpersonnel expenses 33,500 0 0 0 37,353 0 0 0 0% Resources were shifted to direct program expenses.
Personnel expenses 21,267 0 516 516 23,713 0 575 575 2%
Communication Nonpersonnel expenses 182,500 7,259 50,727 57,986 203,488 8,094 56,561 64,654 32%
Personnel expenses 157,448 22,407 26,890 49,297 175,555 24,984 29,982 54,966 31%
Event Management Nonpersonnel expenses 16,761 3,377 7,925 11,302 18,689 3,765 8,836 12,602 67%
Personnel expenses 127,315 21,948 18,418 40,366 141,956 24,472 20,536 45,008 32%
International Nonpersonnel expenses 117,367 142,916 64,871 207,787 130,864 159,351 72,331 231,683 177% Includes the majority of expenses for the WMCON. Size and budget of WMCON was increased significantly.
Personnel expenses 47,911 12,310 33,635 45,945 53,421 13,726 37,503 51,229 96%
Partnerships and Development Nonpersonnel expenses 9,873 680 2,075 2,755 11,008 758 2,314 3,072 28%
Personnel expenses 137,994 37,996 32,662 70,658 153,863 42,366 36,418 78,784 51%
Indirect expenses 2,144,878 485,959 486,271 972,230 2,391,539 541,844 542,192 1,084,036 45%
Office of the ED, Board of Directors Nonpersonnel expenses 150,100 20,591 29,225 49,816 167,362 22,959 32,586 55,545 33%
Personnel expenses 272,973 60,569 61,276 121,845 304,365 67,534 68,323 135,857 45%
Finance Nonpersonnel expenses 29,339 7,451 7,897 15,348 32,713 8,308 8,805 17,113 52%
Personnel expenses 179,086 43,231 44,440 87,671 199,681 48,203 49,551 97,753 49%
IT Nonpersonnel expenses 182,613 24,903 33,762 58,665 203,613 27,767 37,645 65,411 32%
Personnel expenses 115,902 24,740 23,478 48,218 129,231 27,585 26,178 53,763 42%
Operations Nonpersonnel expenses 811,954 180,659 148,924 329,583 905,329 201,435 166,050 367,485 41% This includes expenses for office, office rent, HR, fundraising, membership communications, event support.
Personnel expenses 402,911 123,815 137,269 261,084 449,246 138,054 153,055 291,109 65%
Total program and associated expenses 6,666,319 1,321,691 1,365,334 2,687,025 7,432,945 1,473,685 1,522,347 2,996,033 40%
Risk liquidity 133,326 0 0 0 148,658 0 0 0 0%
Total annual expenses (incl. risk liquidity) 6,799,645 1,321,691 1,365,334 2,687,025 7,581,603 1,473,685 1,522,347 2,996,033 40%


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