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Wikimedia Foundation Report, January 2011

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Wikipedians preparing for a celebratory kite flight in Dhaka, Bangladesh
Attendees at the West Coast Wikicon make the "W" sign
Jimmy Wales and Cherie Blair cutting a 10th anniversary cake
Sue Gardner and Jay Walsh give away prizes at the San Francisco party, in front of a real-time recent changes feed
Wikipedia swag, unpacked
Celebrations in Jakarta
Lennart Guldbrandsson speaks at the Stockholm event
Attendees of the Tel Aviv celebration and exhibit
Mumbai Wikipedians pose in front of a fortunately historical Wikipedia logo
Uruguay celebrations
Two of many, many cakes (Cologne)
The eating is about to begin in Iceland
An intimate get-together in Hanoi
The glamorous party in Milan
Wikipedians in Vicenza spreading the word
Lots of work got done, at the Amsterdam hackathon
No cake left behind (Berlin)
To ten more years of being bold.

[Only December data is available as of February 10, 2011]

Global unique visitors:
395 million (-3.7% compared to previous month / +14% compared to previous year)
comScore data for December, all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release January data later in February
Page requests:
13.9 billion (-6.7% compared to previous month / + 22.9% compared to previous year)
(Wikimedia Foundation data for December, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia mobile)
Report Card for December 2010: http://stats.wikimedia.org/reportcard/



[Only December data is available as of February 10, 2011]

Operating revenue for December: USD 8.0MM vs plan of 9.9MM.
Operating revenue year-to-date December: USD 18.1MM vs plan of 15.1MM.

The successful 2010 fundraising campaign has resulted in the Wikimedia Foundation exceeding its revenue targets year-to-date. Revenue above does not reflect amounts expected to be received from chapters: that revenue will be reflected once payments are received.

Operating expenses for December: USD 1.7MM vs plan of 1.8MM
Operating expenses year-to-date: December: USD 7.7MM vs plan of 10.0MM

The Wikimedia Foundation is under-spent for December primarily due to timing of capital expenditures and internet hosting, as well as under-spending in staffing costs (a decision was made early in the year to bias towards hiring slowly and well, rather than prioritizing speed). Major data center purchases that occurred in January will make up for much of this underspend.

Cash and investments as of December 2010 totaled $22.8MM (approximately 13 months of expenses).



10th Anniversary


On January 15, 2011, Wikipedia was 10 years old, an event that was heard around the wikis and celebrated around the globe. The Wikimedia Foundation supported chapters, volunteers, and other groups hosting celebrations in self-organizing events, spreading the good news, and generally marking this a once-in-a-movement historic event.

Celebrations everywhere

More than 400 celebrations were logged at http://ten.wikipedia.org/. Many took place on or around January 15, with more planned for later in the year. Photo gallery can be found here:


The celebrations included wiki-conferences, photo walks, casual meet-ups, dance parties, pub nights and kite flying. Wikimedia Foundation staff and board members travelled to support a variety of events, including: Ting Chen in Nairobi, Jimmy Wales and Jan-Bart de Vreede in London, Bishakha Datta in Kolkata, Phoebe Ayers in San Francisco, Frank Schulenburg in Budapest, and Barry Newstead and Moka Pantages in Mumbai. Many celebrations included an airing of a special message from Jimmy Wales produced by WMF for the Wikipedia community:


On January 15, Bay Area Wikimedians staged an all-day conference featuring speakers Ward Cunningham and Kevin Kelly. The Wikimedia Foundation supported that event by staging a party for roughly 250 guests that same evening.

Barry Newstead spoke at the Wikipedia 10 celebration in Mumbai. He also spoke at three events in Pune, India: a TEDxPUNE event for school children, a meeting of public administrators in Pune, and the official Wikimedia community event.

T-Shirts and buttons for the mission

The Wikimedia Foundation shipped more than 80 Wikipedia 10 celebration kits to support volunteer-organized events all over the world. Each included 50 custom-themed T-shirts, buttons, and stickers. This was an important pilot for the Wikimedia movement: new data about customs, logistics, and postal services for a wide range of nations has been gathered, and new processes for soliciting orders from chapters or other groups for timely delivery have been developed.

Collaborative design

With the help of San Francisco graphic designer David Peters, WMF produced a simple design scheme to help celebrate Wikipedia 10. The Wikipedia 10 design concept was at the center of event-related merchandise, and was further localized and developed by dozens of local Wikipedia groups in the form of icons, banners, cakes, and other products.


New Wikimedia Foundation Fellowships


Lennart Guldbrandsson began a six-month fellowship during which he will work on the Bookshelf Project (public outreach resources and many languages) and the Account Creation Improvement Project (exploring ways to engage more people to become editors after making a Wikimedia project account). The full announcement can be found at:


Liam Wyatt began a 12-month fellowship to build the capacity of the Wikimedia community to undertake partnerships with cultural institutions known as GLAMs (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums), following his pioneering work in this area:


Achal Prabhala began a four-month fellowship focused on the role of oral citations as a source for Wikimedia projects. He will be conducting field research in rural South Africa and India with Wikipedians and non-Wikipedians across three languages - he plans to explore ways to compensate for the lack of written source material in many local languages. The full announcement can be found at:


Maryana Pinchuk's fellowship has been extended for an additional 12 months, so that she can coordinate the writing of histories of several more Wikipedias. She and fellow Victoria Doronina will soon be releasing their history of the Russian Wikipedia in both Russian and English on Meta and on the Russian Wikipedia. See the previous announcement:


Movement Roles Workshop


The Movement Roles project is a project of the WMF Board of Trustees supported by contractors Austin Hair and Jon Huggett acting as facilitators. Its goal is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of different entities, groups, and people working to support the international Wikimedia movement. It is working on recommendations for the development of Wikimedia as a global network of organizations.

The working group held an in-person meeting in Frankfurt on January 29 and 30. The meeting reviewed suggestions from the past few months, identified areas of agreement and disagreement, and proposed ideas to provoke discussion in the broader community. Work will continue on Meta and is open to input and participation from all.


The group drafted a matrix of organizational roles and responsibilities:


The next in-person meeting of the group will be the day before the March chapters meeting in Berlin.



As in previous months, details of our technology activities in the month of January 2011 can be found in the tech blog:


Highlights below:

General Engineering


MediaWiki 1.17

MediaWiki 1.17 is the upcoming release of the MediaWiki software. We plan to deploy MediaWiki 1.17 to Wikimedia Foundation sites on February 8th. We are still working through the code review queue (revisions, graph) and fixing some integration issues. The major noticeable feature of this deployment will be Resource Loader, which will enable the release of the second iteration of Article Feedback sometime afterwards. We are also dark-launching the improved category collation code that Aryeh Gregor wrote back in August, and will enable this feature shortly after the 1.17 launch. Some new extensions will also wait until after the dust settles from the 1.17 launch.



Data Center

In January, we finally placed orders for most of the equipment for the Ashburn VA Data Center. We expect to be slightly over budget on this order as we have decided to order extra high-availability storage hardware for backups. Starting in February, teams of Ops engineers will be working to rack these new machines. We plan to post a link to a live video feed of our enclosure where you can see the work in progress.

Media Storage

Since December, we have been working with a contract engineer to create a new extensible Media Storage Architecture, and are now at the point of testing on a single machine. As the new Upload Wizard is coming closer to production-quality release, we are trying to anticipate a substantial increase in media contributions.


We signed a deal with Watchmouse, a global website and application performance monitoring company. The community can expect us to broaden the public information we make available on performance of our wikis around the world.

Virtualization Cluster

We continued to work on creating an environment to deploy temporary machines for testing and experimentation, for use by WMF staff and volunteers working on important projects (as capacity allows). WMF Ops Engineer Ryan Lane announced the release of the OpenStackManager extension for MediaWiki, which interacts with OpenStack, an open source toolset for cloud computing. There was a bit of a setback, however, with some missing features in OpenStack testing, so we are waiting for the next OpenStack release before deploying this. We have a little more hardware to configure as well.



Threaded Discussions - Liquid Threads

A formal evaluation of LiquidThreads, a new discussion system for talk pages, is underway. This includes its UI, code and database architecture. We are modifying the design to incorporate input from several community discussions as well as from our engineering staff. We plan to consolidate all of our documentation on these discussions on mediawiki.org in the next month.

Other Features

Tomasz Finc began work with two new engineering contracts on offline content projects. Tomasz blogged about it here:


Research and Strategy


Wikipedia's 10th anniversary saw several scholarly outlets call for experts and researchers to join Wikipedia and help "overcome the prejudices against Wikipedia in academic circles" [1-2]. To this aim, Dario Taraborelli, in collaboration with Daniel Mietchen and Panagiota Alevizou from the Wikimedia Research Committee, designed a survey to better understand the barriers to expert participation in Wikimedia projects [3]. The pilot phase started in December and ended in January and the official launch of the survey is due on February 8, 2011.

On January 10, 2011, Dario Taraborelli published, in collaboration with Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia and Moritz Stefaner, an interactive visualization of the 200 longest Article for Deletion discussions in the history of Wikipedia [4], introducing scholarly research on the functioning and impact of AfD discussions to a broader audience.

Research continued on the Article feedback study and Dario Taraborelli joined Howie Fung in analyzing the early data, with new results to be published later this month.

Members of the Research Committee continued the discussion on subject recruitment guidelines for Wikimedia research projects in collaboration with WMF staff [5]. The committee also started to explore possible venues for a research panel, with the goal of discussing research directions of strategic importance to the Wikipedia community at a major social computing conference.

Howie Fung, Diederik van Liere and Erik Moeller continued review of first data from the Editor Trends Study [6] conducted by Diederik van Liere. The study is an in-depth quantitative analysis of major trends in Wikipedia editing communities, and will be published on StrategyWiki in February. Howie and Erik also continued work on the Product Whitepaper, a comprehensive assessment of product development priorities in strategic context. [7]

[1] http://chronicle.com/article/article-content/125899/
[2] http://www.jmir.org/2011/1/e14/
[3] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_Committee/Areas_of_interest/Expert_involvement/2011_survey
[4] http://notabilia.net
[5] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research_Committee/Areas_of_interest/Subject_recruitment_processes
[6] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study
[7] http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Product_Whitepaper



Fundraising Team


The fundraising team wrapped up the successful 2010 fundraising campaign in January. The team ran contribution banners that asked people to get involved with Wikipedia by starting to edit. These banners were later replaced by banners that highlighted Wikipedia's 10 year anniversary.

The team spent the rest of January beginning an in-depth retrospective on the testing and operations of the 2010 fundraiser.

Public Policy Initiative


The Public Policy Initiative Team kicked off the new year with a two-day train-the-trainer session in San Francisco prior to the start of the spring semester. A group of current ambassadors were trained as trainers to prepare them to lead five two-day regional ambassador trainings in various US locations: San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Baton Rouge, and Indianapolis. As a result, the number of Wikipedia Ambassadors is growing rapidly, and about 46 % of them female. With the goal of globalizing the program, Wikipedia community observers from Sweden, Israel, Germany, and Brazil attended the train-the-trainer session and the San Francisco ambassador training. Sage Ross spoke about the Public Policy Initiative at the Wikipedia 10th anniversary celebration in Washington D.C.

Global Development



  • We began pursuing partnerships with computer manufacturers and other education agencies to aid in the distribution of the offline materials upon completion. Meanwhile, milestones were accomplished by the Wikimedia community:
    • The community neared completion of new releases of the "Wikipedia 1.0" project and Wikipedia for Schools, two article selection projects in the English language Wikipedia that select the most applicable and high-quality subset of articles. Other language communities also actively contributed to the development of offline content, including Tamil.
    • Community distribution began of the Wikipedia for Schools English version, using the Kiwix offline reader, throughout Kenya.

Global Development Research

  • Completed a first draft of the English version of the Wikipedia editor survey;
  • Created a mobile strategic plan for current and next fiscal year with engineering, including a detailed timeline for different phases of mobile research beginning with ethnographic research and survey in key markets to UX testing;
  • Started work on the readership survey, working with vendors to conduct a household survey in key countries;
  • Worked with engineering team to conduct analytics for global development, including the creation of a monthly report card that focuses on India.

Grantmaking and Wikimania Scholarships

  • Funded 13 new grants in December and January, nine of which were in support of Wikipedia 10 celebrations;
  • Met our budget for grantmaking in 2010-11 at the end of January;
  • Held an open call for Wikimania 2011 scholarship applications throughout January and then closed the call on January 31, 2011.

Brazil Catalyst Project


Kul Takanao Wadhwa and Jessie Wild spent the last half of January in Brazil, with these goals:

  • Raising awareness of Wikimedia projects and Wikimedia's presence in Brazil;
  • Finding productive partnerships for WM initiatives in Brazil;
  • Introducing the Brazilian community members to different organizations;
  • Better understanding what WM presence in Brazil could and should look like going forward.

They met with universities, community members, student organizations, government officials, and potential tech partners. The trip was very productive, and a full set of details including the agenda and materials utilized can be found here:


Progress on the Brazil Catalyst Project work included:

India Catalyst Project


Barry Newstead and Moka Pantages spent one week in India to attend Wikipedia 10 celebrations, meet with community, stakeholders, NGO and government officials, and conducted fact-finding meetings with associated organizations.

Highlights from the trip included:

  • Barry attended Wikipedia 10 celebrations in Mumbai at VJTI and in Pune at the Symbiosis Institute. Moka joined Wikimedians in Bangalore;
  • Barry met with some members of the newly formed Indian chapter, Sunil Abraham of the Centre for Internet and Society, and Achal Prabhala, Wikimedia Advisory Board member;
  • Barry, Moka and Arjuna from the India chapter had an introductory discussion with Nokia Research;
  • Barry and Moka traveled to Mumbai to meet with a group of students and educators at IIT-Mumbai, as well as to visit Reliance Telecommunications for introductory discussions on their mobile strategy and tour their operations center and data center;
  • After Mumbai, Barry and Moka traveled to Delhi met with Bishakha Datta, Hari Prasad Nadig from the Wikimedia India chapter, and contracted legal counsel to attend a round table discussion with local NGOs and officials working in similar areas as the Wikimedia Foundation;
  • Barry and Moka met with Google India's communications and legal teams in Gurgaon;
  • Moka stayed behind and conducted additional meetings with community members, as well as press and communications organizations in India, Hong Kong and Seoul;
  • In Hong Kong, Moka met with Chinese Wikipedians from Hong Kong, as well as a group of five who traveled from neighboring Macau;
  • In Seoul, Moka met with a group of 16 Korean Wikipedians. This meeting kicked-off a group initiative to continue regular meetings to begin the chapter creation process.



Since Wikipedia's inception, journalists and other cultural commentators have struggled to assess its societal impact, often criticizing the content as inaccurate, or the model as one that cannot work. As the 10th anniversary approached, the international media seized the opportunity to reassess: this resulted in hundreds of stories around the world that were overwhelmingly positive. The media coverage painted a picture of Wikipedia as a successful educational endeavor serving more than 400 million people. Its volunteer and non-profit nature were recognized and celebrated.

January 4-6 NYC Media Tour with Jimmy Wales

  • Jimmy was interviewed by six media outlets, including the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

January 9-12 NY Media Tour with Sue Gardner

  • Sue was interviewed by 10 media outlets, including an off-the-record lunch with the New York Times, which prompted the "Gender Gap" story January 30.

January 12 Media Call

  • Both Sue and Jimmy participated in an hour-long media call with 15 journalists including the Associated Press, Al Jazeera and ReadWriteWeb.

Highlights included:

  • Cover stories for BusinessWeek and the Economist
  • Front page of the New York Times
  • Substantial pieces by Time magazine, La Tercera, the Washington Post, Wired, Agence-France-Press, Origó, Hong Kong Economic Times, Associate Press, Spiegel, The Guardian, Chronicle of Higher Education, El País, NPR, Times of India, PC world (macedonian edition), LA Times, The Hindu, The Atlantic and the Huffington Post, La Repubblica.

Links to coverage:

Other links and information for January 2011:

Press releases issued in January 2011:

Media contact through January 2011:

Blog posts through January 2011:

For lots of detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited Wikipedia Signpost editions for January 2011:

Human Resources


A large percentage of the staff in San Francisco was out for at least a week with the "WikiPlague", a variant of the RSV virus that we seem to have caught at the 10th Anniversary Party.

We made solid progress in recruiting over January and posted and boarded all of the positions we wanted to. We engaged two new recruiting firms, and are starting to see results from them. HR also conducted a hiring and onboarding process overhaul.

We started tracking metrics for new hires and the Wikimedia Foundation as a whole, and will start compiling anonymized data regarding diversity and other internal characteristics so that we stay mission-aligned.

The fellowship engagements have prompted the formalizing of the Fellowship program and other alternative employment options at the Wikimedia Foundation, and initiated a conversation that is currently ongoing.

We have decided on an HRM software called OrangeHRM, which is an open source project. More news on this in February as we start engaging with them.

New Hires

  • Maryana Pinchuk, Research Fellow (Community) – Temp Full Time


  • James Alexander, Community Associate (Community) – Temp Full Time
  • Ryan Faulkner, Data Analyst (Tech) – Temp Full Time
  • Mark Hershberger, Bugmeister (Tech) – Temp Full Time

New Openings Posted

  • Data Analytics Engineer (Tech)
  • Fundraiser Data Analyst (Community)
  • Development Associate (Community)
  • Volunteer Development Coordinator (Community)
  • Community Department Research Fellow (Community)
  • Performance Engineer (Tech)
  • Operations Engineer (Tech)
  • Software Developer – Features (Tech)

Openings Still Posted

  • Head of Community Fellowship Program
  • Senior QA Engineer
  • Software Developer (Mobile)

Contracts Completed

  • Keegan Peterzell, Community Associate
  • Dan Rosenthal, Community Associate
  • Alexander Zariv, Community Associate
  • Pete Forsyth, Public Outreach Officer

Total Employee Count

Plan: 81
Actual: 60

Remaining Open Positions to fiscal year end: 31

Job Openings - http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Job_openings

Real-time feed for HR updates: http://identi.ca/wikimediaatwork or http://twitter.com/wikimediaatwork

Finance and Administration

  • Submitted draft of the 2009 Form 990 tax return to KPMG;
  • Identified a firm for sellers permits, sales tax, etc. related to the planned Wikimedia merchandising webstore;
  • Worked with attorneys regarding residency certificates needed to receive Telefonica licensing payments (certificates should arrive in February);
  • Worked with KPMG regarding India entity and proposed legal structure.

Visitors and Guests

  1. Edward Erhar (User:The_ed17) (Online Ambassadors, who support professors and students via online means such as IRC and Wikipedia talk pages)
  2. Lennart Gulbrandsson (Bookshelf and Account Creation Improvement Project)
  3. Nevio Carlos de Alarcao (Wikimedia Brazil)
  4. Achim Raschka (Wikimedia Germany)
  5. Dan Vaks (Wikimedia Israel)
  6. Federico Rampini (US Bureau Chief for one of Italy's top daily papers, La Repubblica)
  7. Brent Barnum (Trivad)
  8. Hans Lim (Trivad)
  9. Gabriel Mugar (User:Gabrielm199) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassador Train-the-Trainer event)
  10. PJ Tabit (User:Pjthepiano) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassador Train-the-Trainer event)
  11. Chanitra Bishop (User:Etlib) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassador Train-the-Trainer event)
  12. Rob Pongsajapan (User:Pongr) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassador Train-the-Trainer event)
  13. Dominic Grifo (User:AMDomG) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassador Train-the-Trainer event)
  14. Derrick Coetzee (User:Dcoetzee) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  15. Dominic McDevitt-Parks (User:Dominic, formerly User:Dmcdevit) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  16. Mike Cline (User:Mike Cline) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  17. David Lee (User:bibliomaniac15) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  18. Joni Spigler (User:Saudade7) (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  19. Christopher Cheney (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  20. David Guz (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  21. Matt Senate (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  22. Jodi Wilson (Wikipedia Campus Ambassors Training)
  23. Honor Gunday (Paymentwall)
  24. Brian Roth (Paymentwall)
  25. Jonathan Zittrain, Elizabeth Stark and 17 students from the Stanford Cyberlaw Class
  26. Ward Cunningham (Advisory Board)
  27. Corey O'Brien (OMP Consultant)
  28. Frank O'Brien (OMP Consultant)
  29. Steve Geer (OMP Consultant)
  30. Ken Berger (President and CEO of Charity Navigator)
  31. Christine Herring (Arabic production called 'On the Road in America')
  32. Arthur Honegger (Swiss public TV)
  33. Amar Ashar (Berkman Center at Harvard)
  34. Madeline Stranionis (Watershed)
  35. Karen Valby (Fast Company)
  36. Mimi Zhang (Penn State University)
  37. Sarah Novotny (Blue Gecko)
  38. Martin Schulz (Yale Computer Science Department)