Wikimedia Foundation 2011–12 Annual Report
- Wikimedia Foundation
- 149 New Montgomery Street
- San Francisco, CA 94105 USA
The Voice of the World
HALF A BILLION PEOPLE use Wikipedia and our other free knowledge projects. Today, Wikipedia is the FIFTH MOST-VISITED website in the world.
All of the other top-40 websites are private sector companies; we are the only non-profit on the list.
Each month, we generate 19 BILLION PAGE VIEWS to more than 23 million articles in 285 LANGUAGES. More than 80,000 volunteer editors regularly contribute content to Wikipedia and its sister projects.
The Wikimedia Foundation’s 125 employees support our community of editors and manage the software and technical infrastructure of our projects.
Wikipedia belongs to everyone and it’s funded by over a million donors from every part of the world.
The Wikimedia Foundation is supported the same way Wikipedia is written: with millions of small contributions. That keeps us independent and able to deliver what readers need and want from Wikipedia. Which is exactly as it should be.
Financial contributions 2011–12
A total of 1,130,700 people donated the equivalent of more than $30 million US dollars in over 80 currencies.
Volunteer contributions 2011–12
Individual contributors made 139.4 million edits, added 3.3 million Wikipedia articles, and uploaded 2.9 million images, audio files and video files.
Total cash expenditures in 2011-12
in US dollars
Global collaboration starts with a thriving community of volunteers and a streamlined platform that makes contributing to our projects faster and easier. The Foundation works with our community to better understand the challenges our volunteers face in making a project like Wikipedia. Through research initiatives, simplified software, and broad outreach, we're working to increase the size of our editing community and to support the long-term growth of our projects.
The Foundation began developing a visual editor in 2011–12; it will launch in 2012–13. Our research tells us that the need to learn wiki markup is a substantial barrier for people who might otherwise edit Wikipedia, and so the visual editor will eliminate the need for it, making the editing experience much easier and more natural.
Wikipedia Education Program
In 2011–12, at more than 100 universities in 25 countries, professors assigned their students to develop and improve Wikipedia articles as part of their coursework. Instead of writing essays that would have been read by only a few people and then forgotten, these students made Wikipedia better for readers around the world. The professors say teaching Wikipedia editing skills is a good way for students to gain topic expertise, to improve their information-processing abilities, and to become more conscientious world citizens.
Editor engagement projects encourage participation in the Wikipedia community. They include work aimed at keeping existing editors, as well as engaging new contributors.
This year we launched the Article Feedback Tool (AFT), a new way to involve Wikipedia readers and encourage contributions. AFT helps editors improve articles based on reader comments and provides a low-barrier way for readers to join our community. We also developed new Page Curation software to help the volunteer editors who each day check thousands of new articles for quality. It includes the New Pages Feed, an overview of newly created pages annotated with information that helps to assess them more efficiently.
With our Editor Engagement Experiments, we seek ways to attract and retain new Wikipedia editors through small, rapid improvements. We use a data-driven approach, deploying trial versions of features, measuring their effectiveness at engaging and retaining contributors, and then iterating based on the results. Recent projects include new types of notifications on the site and redesigning core experiences like account registration.
The Foundation focused this year on meeting the next generation of global Internet users where they are accessing our projects: on their mobile phones. That means supporting the thousands of different devices in use today. We want to deliver free knowledge to all the world’s mobile devices, from the most basic mobile phones to the latest smart phones and tablets. We’re partnering with global telecommunications operators and redeveloping our mobile platforms with an eye to the next billion users.
Mobile devices now allow hundreds of millions of people around the world access to the Internet, but the cost of mobile data remains a significant obstacle for many who would benefit most from that access. Under an initiative called Wikipedia Zero, the Foundation is making deals with global telecommunications operators, particularly in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, to offer Wikipedia for free to their subscribers. So far, operators in 28 countries with a total of 205 million customers have signed up. Wikipedia Zero aims to significantly expand in 2012–13.
In 2011–12 the Foundation continued developing our mobile web offering, launching a new mobile site, better device detection software and an Android app. Future mobile apps are in development. In April 2012 we exceeded 2 billion monthly page views to the Wikipedia mobile site, which represents an increase of 187 percent over the previous year. As of June 2012 the mobile site attracted 2.1 billion page views, about 12 percent of all page views for Wikipedia. Mobile traffic is growing even faster in Portuguese (primarily Brazil, from 5 million to 24.9 million); in Arabic (from 2 million to 11.4 million); and in Turkish (from 1.3 million to 8.1 million).
A dedicated team at the Foundation is working with our global community to ensure that Wikipedia and its sister projects are able to support hundreds of languages. This year we developed interfaces for non-Latin scripts (such as Hindi), and right-to-left scripts (such as Arabic), user interfaces for language tools like the Universal Language Selector and the Translate extension, and a collaborative, on-wiki translation system for our projects.
Our global community of volunteers is rapidly changing, much in the same way our projects continue to evolve. The Foundation is working with our chapters, affiliates and volunteers to develop new ways to bring resources and technology to bear on the big ideas in our community. We're also testing new theories and concepts relating to the challenges our community faces, and bringing new data and insights to our technical and programmatic work.
Launched in October 2011, the new Wikimedia Labs are opening up access to our site infrastructure as widely as possible. In this cloud computing environment, volunteer operations engineers can work with an exact replica of the live server system, and thus contribute directly to improving the computing and networking infrastructure of a top-5 website. Like the source code of our MediaWiki software, we have published our complete server configuration files (minus sensitive data like passwords), enabling other sites on the Internet to learn from the solutions that Wikimedia engineers have found over the years to handle a gigantic amount of traffic on a shoestring budget.
FDC and Grantmaking
Launched in March 2012, the volunteer-driven Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) helps the Foundation make decisions about how to effectively allocate funds inside the Wikimedia movement, with the goal of helping the movement achieve its mission, vision and strategy. Via this new process, eligible entities in the Wikimedia movement submit funding requests, which are publicly posted and reviewed by the FDC for strategic fit and potential impact. The FDC is a team of seven volunteers from seven countries and eight Wikimedia projects, speaking 13 languages, and with long track records in the Wikimedia movement, including governance at five chapters. Through the FDC process, nearly $10 million will be distributed during the 2012–13 fiscal year. The Foundation also supports an active smaller grants program that distributes funds to individuals and groups. In 2011–12, 54 grants totaling over $1.1 million were distributed to 39 organizations and projects supporting the Wikimedia mission. The launch of the FDC is a big step forward for the Wikimedia movement in devolving power to volunteers, and increasing transparency, collaboration and accountability.
In 2011–12, our servers handled more than 6,000 page requests per second. Since 2001, they have been faithfully storing every single edit to the projects — a total of 1.7 billion. Every year we are supporting thousands of updates and bug fixes for the open source MediaWiki software. The world relies on this critical infrastructure and our team works 24/7 to keep it running at peak performance.
The vast content of Wikipedia and its sister projects used to be stored in only one primary data center in Florida, and served to the world with the assistance of a single caching center. To better protect more than a decade of work by Wikipedia editors, and to enable our half billion readers to access it faster and more reliably, we have been building out a second primary data center in Virginia, bringing the total number of servers to 800 in this fiscal year.
This year the Operations team at the Foundation achieved 99.98 percent up-time for our readers with a fraction of the staff of any other top web property (up-time for editors was 99.88 percent).
Legal and Community Advocacy
I’m a volunteer. No one pays me. But helping edit Wikipedia has become my life’s work. Even though I’m not in the classroom, I’m still doing what I care about most: helping a new generation of students learn, in the language I love.
— Poongothai Balasubramanian, Wikipedian
Wikipedia’s victory was getting the rules — and importantly, the rules for making rules — right, and trusting that the process would lead to substance.
— Ethan Zuckerman, researcher and entrepreneur
And I tell myself every time I contribute to Wikipedia, I’m building a library. I’m able, from my couch, to build a library every day of the year.
— Andrea Zanni, Wikipedian
Wikipedia is perhaps one of the few truly global endeavors that really brings together people from all races, religions, nationalities, points of view.
— Alfonso Luna, donor
I still maintain that this Wikipedia project made a world of difference in being able to write well. And unlike a term paper, which is thrown away at the end of the semester, all the work that goes into a Wikipedia article continues to help people even after the class ends.
— Karl Whalen, student
"Das größte Werk der Menschen" ("The Greatest Work of Human Beings")
— Headline in Die Zeit, Germany’s largest weekly newspaper, on an article about Wikipedia, January 2011
For me, Wikipedia underscores an evolutionary lesson: We’ve always gotten farther as a species collaborating than going it alone.
— Mariette DiChristina, science journalist
It’s not just about getting something working for next week, it’s about keeping Wikipedia healthy for the next decade, for the next generation.
— Ryan Kaldari, Wikimedia Foundation developer
This is my wish and one of my dreams and many peoples dreams to make a real change in the world, to make a difference in the world. I think Wikipedia gave me this chance to make a huge difference in this world. It’s like an investment for your future, for your children’s future.
— Ravan Jaafar, Wikipedian
This was the year the free knowledge movement found its voice.
For nearly 12 years, we’ve been building a world where information is freely available for people everywhere. In 2011–12, for the first time, we felt that world was seriously under threat. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) were pieces of proposed legislation in the US that might have seriously damaged the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia.
That’s why in January 2012, more than 1,800 Wikipedians made a collective decision to black out Wikipedia for 24 hours in order to raise awareness about SOPA and PIPA. The protest was a huge success: more than eight million people used our look-up tool to find their elected representatives, millions more made their voices heard on social media, and thousands of journalists published news stories. The bills were dropped.
We hesitated before we blacked out the site, because we know how important Wikipedia is to people, and we didn’t want to lightly take it away from them. Plus we didn’t want to squander the goodwill that people feel for the site. Readers trust Wikipedia because they know that, despite our faults, our heart is in the right place. We’re not trying to sell a product or a point of view: we just want to provide useful, neutral, reliable information.
We may never do anything like the anti-SOPA/PIPA protests again. We don’t consider ourselves to be political, and we’re not an advocacy organization. But we’re proud that when it really mattered, we spoke up. We believe January 2012 was when Wikipedia found its public voice, speaking up for those who write and read Wikipedia — and for the ability of ordinary people to share and learn together.
Beyond SOPA and PIPA, in 2011–12 the Foundation focused on its core priorities: improving quality, increasing participation, expanding our reach, stabilizing our infrastructure and supporting innovation. We expanded some of our most successful programs, including the Wikipedia Education program, and we launched Wikipedia Zero. We made significant steps forward developing new features like Wikipedia’s visual editor, the article feedback tool, and new interfaces and apps serving a rapidly growing audience of mobile users.
We’ve got more great work ahead in 2012–13.
We want to thank our donors. The fact that you pay the costs of the site keeps us independent of outside influence, and able to deliver exactly what you want and need from Wikipedia. As it should be.
And we want to thank the people who create Wikipedia — writing it, taking photographs for it, copyediting, working to resolve disagreements, fighting vandalism, creating code, responding to reader questions, and all the other tasks involved.
You’re making information freely available for a half-billion people around the world, and they — and we — are grateful. Thank you for everything you do.
Sue Gardner, Executive Director
Kat Walsh, Chair, Board of Trustees
The Wikimedia Foundation operates 11 free knowledge projects managed and built by a community of over 100,000 active volunteers.
Wikipedia® Free encyclopedia
The free encyclopedia containing more than 23 million articles in 285 languages. The most comprehensive and widely used reference work humans have ever compiled. More than 74,000 active volunteers contribute every month.
Wikimedia Commons® Shared media repository
A repository of almost 15 million freely usable images, sound and video files, serving both Wikimedia’s projects and countless other educational and informational needs.
MediaWiki® Open-source wiki software
The leading open-source wiki software on the Internet which acts as the backbone for all of the Wikimedia Foundation’s wikis and thousands of other wiki communities.
Wikispecies® Dictionary of species
Wikibooks® Free textbooks and manuals
Wikinews® Free content news source
Wikiquote® Collection of free quotations
Wiktionary® Dictionary and thesaurus
Meta-wiki™ Project coordination
Wikiversity® Free learning tools
Wikisource® Free source documents
All financial data is reported in US dollars unless otherwise noted.
|Support and revenues|
|Donations and contributions||35,067|
|In-kind equipment donation||965|
|In-kind service revenue||297|
|Other income, net||666|
|Investment income, net||44|
|Release of restrictions on temporarily restricted net assets||1,441|
|Salaries and wages||11,749|
|Awards and grants||2,107|
|In-kind service expenses||297|
|Travel and conferences||1,533|
|Depreciation and amortization||1,889|
|Increase in unrestricted net assets||9,219|
|Temporarily restricted net assets|
|Release of restrictions on temporarily restricted net assets||(1,441)|
|Increase in temporarily restricted net assets||1,518|
|Increase in net assets||10,737|
|Assets||Liabilities & Net Assets|
|Cash and cash equivalents||21,797||Liabilities|
|Contributions receivable||3,084||Accounts payable||745|
|Accounts receivable||495||Accrued expenses||1,034|
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||1,257||Other liabilities||205|
|Total current assets||30,233||Total liabilities||2,278|
|Property, plant, and equipment, net||5,168||Net Assets|
|Nonconcurrent portion of contributions receivable||1,806||Unrestricted net assets||29,991|
|Temporarily restricted net assets||4,938|
|Total net assets||34,929|
|Total assets||37,207||Total liabilities and net assets||37,207|
Board of Trustees
Kat Walsh, Chair
Jan-Bart de Vreede, Vice Chair
Stu West, Treasurer
Bishakha Datta, Secretary
Jimmy Wales, Founder
Phoebe Ayers (through July 2012)
Ting Chen (Chair through July 2012)
Arne Klempert (through July 2012)
Benjamin Mako Hill
Gayle Karen Young
The Wikimedia Foundation benefits from its unique global community of volunteer editors and financial contributors. We thrive due to the vital support we receive from this community.
$1 million +
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
$100,000 – $999,999
Peter Baldwin & Lisbet Rausing
William & Flora Hewlett Foundation
Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
Brin Wojcicki Foundation
$25,000 – $99,999
Andy & Consuelo Fund
Boris and Inara Teterev Foundation
Google Matching Gifts
Microsoft Matching Gifts
Shor Family Foundation
Two Sigma Investments LLC
Yardi Systems, Inc.
$5,000 – $24,999
Academy Place Foundation
Bijan & Soraya Amin Foundation
Eric Anderson Foundation
Apple Matching Gifts Program
JoeBen Bevirt & Jennifer Barchas
Fong Tat Chong
CNC Repair & Sales
Pat & Eva Condon Foundation Fund
Elbaz Family Foundation
David & Amy Fulton Foundation
Fund for Second Nature at the Bessemer Trust
Geisel Family Foundation
Goldman Sachs Philanthropy Foundation
Arlene & Arnold Goldstein Family Foundation
Jose Luis Gonzalez Rodriguez
DW Gore Family Foundation
Grace Jones Richardson Trust
Graphics Press, LLC
Marc Haas & Helen Hotze Haas Charitable Foundation
Mark Heising & Elizabeth Simons
Jose Luis Infiesta Valls
Wong Ka Wai
Mark & Candace Leonard
De Long Stanislawski & Co.
Richard Lounsbery Foundation
Joseph K. McLaughlin
National Christian Foundation
National Combined Federal Campaigns
Network For Good
New York Community Trust
Newsmax Media Inc.
Kevin O' Shea
Henrik Orsted Administration
Nicholas Palevsky Fund
Frank & Denise Quattrone Foundation
Santa Barbara Foundation
Schaible Seidletz Foundation
Skowronski Family Foundation
John Templeton Foundation
Robert L Vick
Charles & TC Vollum
Peter Wheeler & Elizabeth Munro
King & Linda Won
$1,000 – $4,999
Mohammed Zaman Akil
Alpine School District Technology Dept.
Konrad Alt & Maureen Kennedy
American Endowment Foundation
Appleby Charitable Trust
Kevin Connor Arpe
Austin Community Foundation
Bailey Family Foundation
Roger J Bamford
Bank of America Matching Gifts Program
Frances & Benjamin Benenson Foundation, Inc.
Jules Bernstein & Linda Lipsett
Kasi & Jayashree Bhaskar
Boulder Labs Inc
Broyhill Family Foundation
Caremed Health Corporation
Chevron Humankind Matching Gift Program
Mary Beth Cody
Conger Family Foundation
Lenore C Cooney
Carl de Marcken
John De Palma
Pierre de Saab
Paolo De Santis
DRB Systems Incorporated
Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation
Lawrence H. & Elizabeth S. Dunlap Foundation
William B Edwards
Energy Income Partners LLC
Esolutions First LLC
Ira Fay & Ruth Kaplan
Fieldstead and Company
First National Bank
Bruce Ford Brown Charitable Trust
Mark Frohnmayer Advised Fund
Richard L. Garwin
Green Bicycle Fund
Mary Beth Guard
Jose M Guzman Ibarra
Luis Armando Guzman Luna
Sue Ann Hamm
Hewlett Packard Company Foundation
Timothy T. Hilton
David S. Howe Foundation
William H Hurt Foundation
IJzerlo Holding B.V.
Lawrence W. Inlow Foundation
Intergrid Mideast Group LLC Kliakhandler
Elizabeth Ireland Graves Foundation
Robert E. Jordan
Kleinschmidt Family Foundation
Donald & Jill Knuth
Keen Yung Kong
Koss Family Fund
Mr. & Mrs. Glenn H. Landis
Michiel le Roux
Leslie Family Foundation
Nicholas & Diane Lovejoy
Shashikiran M S
Merrill Family Charitable Foundation, Inc.
Metropolitan Arts Partnership
Metz Family Foundation
J Michael Miller
James Millis Jr. Donor Advised Fund
Milner Family Foundation
Dr. L. David Mirkin
Norma & Randy Moore
Rodman W. Moorhead III
National Instruments Matching Gifts
Nord Family Foundation
Oracle Corporate Matching Gifts Program
C E Patterson
Peil Charitable Trust
James & Michelle Pretlow
Prickett, Jones & Elliott, P.A.
Qualcomm Matching Gift Program
E. Randol & Pamela Schoenberg
Vivekanand Rau & Farzaneh Abhari
Thomas Rosato Foundation
Royce Family Foundation
Sawa Family Charitable Fund
Saye Family Fund
Brian & Cynthia Scanlan
Semantic Arts Inc
Snyder White Oaks Foundation of Delaware
Jim & Debby Stein Sharpe
Tarbell Family Foundation
Jacob Taylor & Jean Park
Dr. Chris Uhlik & Kathryn Baganoff
Willie van der Vorm
Gregor van Egdom
Frans van Schaik
Irene & Richard Van Slyke
Varian Partners In Giving Program
Paul Von Kuster
Adam J. Weissman Foundation
Wikimedia Foundation Staff
B. Douglas Wood
Yahoo Employee Funds Matching Gifts Program
Yee Family Foundation
ZBI Employee Allocated Gift Fund
Zen Profits LLC
The content contained in this publication is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License v3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) unless otherwise stated. The trademarks and logos of the Wikimedia Foundation and any other organization are not included under the terms of this Creative Commons license. The Wikimedia Foundation trademarks and logos are usually pending trademark registration or are registered trademarks of the Wikimedia Foundation. For more information, please see our Trademark Policy page, http://www.wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Trademark_Policy or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Annual_Report for a PDF or wiki-hosted version of the 2011–12 Annual Report, as well as localized language editions in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Design by David Peters, EXBROOK
Editorial consultant, David Weir