Wikimedia Foundation 2012–13 Annual Report
- Wikimedia Foundation
- 149 New Montgomery Street
- San Francisco, CA 94105 USA
Ten years of sharing and learning
In 2013 the Wikimedia Foundation celebrated a decade of supporting Wikipedia, its sister projects, and a global community of tens of thousands of volunteer contributors. The free knowledge contributed by our community is accessed by over half a billion readers every month, in more than 280 languages. It takes a movement to make something this extraordinary happen. To celebrate our tenth year, we wanted to share some of the passionate voices of the people who make it happen.
The Wikimedia Foundation is supported the same way Wikipedia is written: with millions of 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 2012–13
More than two million people donated the equivalent of more than US$50 million in more than 82 currencies.
Volunteer contributions 2012–13
Individual contributors made 160.2 million edits, added 4.9 million Wikipedia articles, and uploaded 4.3 million images, audio files and video files.
Total cash expenditures in 2012–13
in US dollars
Some of the people who make it happen
In a world filled with halfhearted tweets, self-serving status updates and a painfully pessimistic news media — Wikipedia is a refreshingly selfless take on something we all take for granted.
— Chelsea, donor, Ohio, United States
I am a 17 year-old boy staying with a single mother, sister and a brother not forgetting my cousin and her child. We stay in a small shack with no one working, surviving with only R1100 (US$100) supporting grant in each and every month. When I pass my grade 12 I want to do BSc Degree in Geology and work here in South Africa. Wikipedia can be very useful to me in such a way that when I am doing my assignments and projects I just go to Wikipedia and it provides every information I need. Every term my marks are improving because of the information that I get on Wikipedia.
The learners of Sinenjongo High School from Joe Slovo Park, South Africa sent a letter to the region’s mobile carriers to urge them to make Wikipedia freely accessible via mobile phones. The letter has kicked off an online movement to increase the visibility and growth of Wikipedia Zero throughout Africa.
The purpose of the Wikivoyage Association is to promote education and knowledge of all countries and regions in the world, as well as understanding among nations. We’re very excited about the launch of Wikivoyage as a Wikimedia project, and about the future role of the Association in supporting the Wikivoyage community through its programs.
— Stefan Fussan, Chairman of the board, Wikivoyage Association
The Foundation’s newest project, Wikivoyage, set sail in 2013, bringing a thriving community of free knowledge travel writers to the Wikimedia community. Also supported by the Wikivoyage Association, Wikivoyage’s mission is to build a free, multilingual and worldwide travel guide that anyone can edit.
Connecting people and ideas is a critical component for many projects, and grantees recognize that community engagement and active collaboration is key for a project’s success.
— Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants, Wikimedia Foundation
In 2012–13 the Foundation created a new program team focused on making grants to individuals, groups and organizations working on building community and growing content on Wikimedia projects, as well as related open knowledge projects.
Freedom of speech and access to information are core Wikimedia values. These values can be compromised by surveillance: editors and readers understandably are less willing to write and inform themselves as honestly and freely. Put simply, “rights of privacy are necessary for intellectual freedom.”
— Geoff Brigham, General Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation
In June 2013 the Foundation reaffirmed its commitment to protecting the privacy of its users in the midst of allegations that the Internet’s largest companies were compelled to collaborate with the PRISM program of the U.S. Government’s National Security Agency. The Foundation has never collaborated to share private information under these programs, and in response to the issue launched a consultation with the Wikimedia community to hear views and feedback on the issue.
Almost everybody who contributes to Wikipedia does so completely for free. No one makes money on Wikipedia's millions of articles and images. And yet, it works. Wikipedia keeps growing, and it keeps getting better.
Wikipedia editors are people of every age and every walk of life: businessmen, artists, housewives, students. They come from all over the world. They share one thing in common: they love learning, and they love sharing what they've learned.
— Gereon, Writer and translator, Germany
Wikipedia is a very useful website especially for us students. For me as an individual it has helped me a lot for my school assignments, projects, research and many more that I can go further and make mention of. Honestly speaking, my marks at school have increased from good to excellent because of Wikipedia. This is the exact reason me and my fellow classmates wrote a letter of plea that would allow free access to Wikipedia.
With the help from Wikipedia, great change could be seen in the world as a whole.
Wikipedia Zero aims to make our projects’ free knowledge accessible at no cost to hundreds of millions of mobile phone users, particularly in the Global South. Partnering with over 23 mobile carriers, the program provides Wikipedia access to over 280 million mobile customers in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Consistent with the DNA of Wikipedia, it is critical to employ imagery and symbols that are sensitive to many cultures, while conveying complex concepts, some of which might be uncommon to the rest of the Web 2.0 world.
— Vibha Bamba, Interaction Designer, Wikimedia Foundation
On Wikipedia, you've got to present a balanced view in your article. You can't be biased, and you can only use reliable sources. Wikipedia helps people get to the truth of things.
I can appreciate this. I'm a father, and a grandfather. I hope Wikipedia will give my children and grandchildren a chance to use what they've learned, and to make this world a better one.
— Tony “Tony the marine” Santiago, retired U.S. Marine Corps, Arizona, United States
Anyone with a computer can edit, but with over 15 percent of our users accessing Wikipedia on mobile devices and growing, the Wikimedia Foundation had to do more to let anyone with Internet access contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. For this reason, we’ve just released a new feature: editing for mobile.
— Juliusz Gonera, Software Engineer, Wikimedia Foundation
With the continuous rise of mobile access as a primary means of accessing the Internet, the Foundation’s software developers have made strides in bringing the core Wikipedia contributing functions to mobile platforms. In 2013 the Foundation debuted mobile Wikipedia editing and photo uploading, with more functions in development.
If you follow the news, you probably remember reading about the Arab spring. For young people like me and my friends, it was the beginning of a new era. As momentous events happened, we were obsessed with the news, following up second by second. We were checking our phones, Facebook, Twitter.
And I was writing on Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia because it's impartial; it's the best source for up-to-date information from a neutral point of view. I looked at CNN, Al Jazeera and the BBC, searching for the most reliable sources. Then I added updates in real time.
— Ravan Jaafar Altaie, Telecom Engineer, Iraq
If only my grandfather could have seen Wikipedia, he would have loved it. He considered the center of the world to be our little village in northern Italy, Esino Lario. And after the second world war, he started collecting Esino’s local history — documents and archives dating all the way back to the 14th century, even some incredible photos of the mountains nearby and the whole Lake Como area.
Today, I’m carrying on his life work and his passion for recording local history and heritage. The difference is I have a tool my grandfather did not — Wikipedia.
It’s important to have women participate in MediaWiki, Wikipedia, and open source projects in general because their perspectives are important — and not just women, but men and women of color as well. The absence of these perspectives affects the type of articles that get deleted, promoted, and even created.
One of the most stimulating aspects of this entire experience is the chance to help people convert knowledge into images that make that knowledge more comprehensible, and then to ensure the accessibility of those images by making them freely available.
— David Gómez Fontanills, Wikimedian, Barcelona, Spain
This position is perfect for me. It combines my academic passion for history, archives, open source advocacy and technology. I see my role as a facilitator, helping to bridge the gap between those who have the content and those who have the technical skills to make that information accessible to the whole world.
— Michael Barera, Wikipedian in Residence
In January 2013, Michael Barera was appointed the first-ever Wikipedian in Residence at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Since 2010 more than 50 residencies have been created at galleries, libraries, and museums around the world.
I've always wanted to learn more about my family’s roots, but it's tough. If you look at the map or ask the United Nations, my country doesn't exist. Somaliland isn't recognized by many international bodies. But when you read about Somaliland on Wikipedia, it's so amazing and detailed. I feel I'm represented. I can study history, politics, geography, even folktales and myths. I learned so much about my own community, just from reading Wikipedia.
— Amina, donor, Nairobi
It is the goal of Wikidata to collect the world’s complex knowledge in a structured manner so that anybody can benefit from it. Whether that’s readers of Wikipedia who are able to be up to date about certain facts or engineers who can use this data to create new products that improve the way we access knowledge.
— Denny Vrandečić, Wikidata Project Director, Wikimedia Deutschland
Launched in 2013, Wikidata is the Wikimedia community’s effort to create an open, free, and massive database of any form of cataloged, digital information. The project will have a profound impact on how Wikipedia and its sister projects organize and share information across languages and topic areas.
This assignment is very good and more suitable to our time, because our generation doesn’t use papers like a more traditional assignment. My knowledge is published for all the world.
— Walaa, student, Giza, Egypt
The global education team oversees the Foundation’s fast-growing Wikipedia Education Program, a global initiative aimed at incorporating Wikipedia editing directly into academic curricula.
I saw that somebody tagged me on a picture on Facebook, so I said well maybe it’s a picture from the conference. And it was a picture of a newspaper, a New York Times newspaper, that had my pictures on the page.
I started thinking... well, if I didn't use Creative Commons licenses, or if I didn't release the pictures for the public domain, my pictures wouldn't have been published in one of the most important newspapers in the whole world. I think that was a life-changing experience for me.
— Juan Ignacio Iglesias, Programmer, Argentina
Ultimately, the Wikimedia Foundation represents a path-breaking example of what an NGO can achieve in the Internet era. Working with relatively meagre resources and committed to a funding model based on mass private donations as opposed to large institutional grants, the organization continues, through an innovative application of new technologies, to have a deep and abiding impact on the lives of millions around the world.
In late 2012 Global Journal placed the Wikimedia Foundation as the number two NGO in the world, in the company of exceptional nonprofits and NGOs. The Foundation ranked number one in 2011. This is the second year the Journal has published the ranking.
One of the things that's surprised me most about my involvement with Wikipedia is the sense of community. It's an attitude of creativity and collaboration I’ve experienced nowhere else. If one person wants to start something, other people will jump onto it and say, “I can help you with this.”
— Q Miceli, Vegan baker, New Jersey, United States
We are creating software that will let users load, edit and save Wikipedia articles visually, bypassing the existing system that requires our users learn “wikitext,” a complex markup code. Instead, the articles they’re editing will look the same as when they’re reading them, and any changes they make will be obvious in their effects before they press save — just like writing a document in a word processor.
— James Forrester, Product Manager, VisualEditor, Wikimedia Foundation
VisualEditor, the Foundation’s flagship software project, was introduced in beta status on many of the largest language Wikipedia projects in 2013. Developers have reviewed and addressed over 1500 bugs and issues to enhance and improve the software, a major effort to simplify the editing interface for Wikipedia and increase the overall size of the editing community.
It is hard to imagine that in 2003, Wikipedia was still running on just two servers — which I used to administer myself in the beginning. Ten years later, the Foundation continues to fulfill that role of supporting Wikipedia with a stable and trusted infrastructure. It’s possible thanks to the trust of our millions of donors, the hard work of its staff, the thoughtful oversight enacted by my fellow Board of Trustees members and last but not least the many thousands of volunteers who not only manage and build our projects, but also take an active part in the governance of the Foundation.
— Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia
In 2003 Jimmy Wales created the Wikimedia Foundation in St. Petersburg, Florida to provide a long-term, sustainable future for Wikipedia and its rapidly growing sister projects. Now based in downtown San Francisco, the Foundation has over 170 employees, and provides technological, programmatic, financial, and legal support and guidance to the international Wikimedia community.