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2016 update: I am a former Wikimedia Foundation trustee, but please assume that any edits or statements I make are as a community member, and not in any official capacity whatsoever.

Hello! My name is Phoebe Ayers. I am a long-time editor in English Wikipedia, Commons, Wikidata, WikiVoyage and elsewhere. I am also a long-time participant in Wikimedia Foundation governance, as well as community events (including most of the Wikimanias) and outreach to educators and librarians.

By day, I'm an academic reference librarian in the science and engineering library at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. I used to live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and Seattle before that.

I love many things about Wikimedia and the Wikimedia projects, but the things that are most important to me are our shared values of consensus, accuracy and fact-finding, and boldly editing things that need to change; and our internationalism and multilingualism. I am proud to know amazing Wikimedians from all of the world: our community is extraordinary.

Wikimania 2015
At Wikimania 2013, Board Q&A
at Wikimania 2006.
By fuzheado, used with permission

Talk to me: leave a message | phoebe dot ayers at gmail dot com

Things I do or have done


Community member and governance

  • editor on en:wp since August 2003; also editor of Commons and Wikidata, and a smattering of edits in non-English Wikipedias
  • 2008-2009: writer for the English Wikipedia Signpost
  • 2009: maintainer of the List Summary Service for Foundation-l (since renamed to Wikimedia-l)
  • 2007ish-2015: organizer of events for the San Francisco Bay meetup group and mailing list admin
  • 2016--: Organizer of Wikimedia New England group events and various events at MIT (and mailing list admin / unofficial community contact); 2019--, official contact for the group
  • I have assisted with community-driven and hosted editathons in cultural institutions, libraries, and professional conferences all over the US (and a few globally), on a wide range of topics.
  • 2006-2007: I was a member of the now-defunct Special Projects Committee
  • 2010-2012 and 2013-2015: I served on the Board of Trustees for the Wikimedia Foundation twice: as an elected member and a chapter-selected member

Researcher, educator and GLAM

  • I'm interested in and participate in Wikipedia and wiki research. I presented a short paper at Wikimania 2005; completed a literature review of ongoing research that was presented at ASIST'06; and helped with a hugely successful research BoF at Wikimania '06. I was involved with WikiSym (now OpenSym), running the conference in 2010.
  • I am very interested in library and librarian participation in Wikipedia, and have done many things (including developing workshops, writing white papers, giving trainings and talks, and participating in invited meetings) around this topic.
  • I've been involved in the WikiCite community 2017-2019, including assisting with conference planning and steering committee work to a small degree in 2018-19; I've also modeled various types of works in Wikidata as WikiCite hackathon projects.
  • Finally, I give general presentations about wikis and Wikipedia to various groups, particularly to librarians but also Wikipedian gatherings. Most commonly, I talk about about librarian and library participation in Wikipedia; an overview of how the projects work; and thoughts on Wikipedia's future and strategy. Most recent keynotes: WikiCite 2018; Wikiday 2019 in NYC. I am happy to share slides, notes, and thoughts on what works for public audiences & what doesn't.
  • I've helped out with other various outreach activities, including Wikipedia Library activities, etc.

Conferences and events

  • I've been to all of the Wikimanias but one, as of 2019. I also worked on many of them:
  • I'm also (2019) vice-chair of the Wikimania committee, which picks the location and gives guidance to the conference; I've been involved with this group in various capacities for many years, including being on the bid selection committee for Wikimania 2007 and Wikimania 2008, and moderating (chairing) the bid jury for Wikimania 2009 and Wikimania 2010.

Other events:

  • I was a volunteer with both WikiSym (2007 & 2008) and Recent Changes Camp (2008); and was chair of WikiSym 2010 (co-located with Wikimania 2010)
  • I helped run WikiConference North America in 2016
  • I have had the privilege of going to Wikimedia events and meetups all over the world.


  • With Charles Matthews and Ben Yates, I am the author of the book How Wikipedia Works, published by No Starch Press in September 2008. Find out more at How Wikipedia Works.

Ten years later, the book is both out of date, and still disturbingly accurate. It is, of course, released under a free license.

Eastern Phoebe

Some things I care about:

  • Community governance
  • Meetups
  • free content
  • good references

A few pages of interest

Things that are always welcome: coffee, good ideas, enthusiasm