Wikimedia Foundation Report, July 2011
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Data and trends
- Global unique visitors for June: 399 million (−2.9% compared to May; +5.3% compared to previous year)
- Global unique visitors for July: 393 million (−1.5% compared to June; +9.2% compared to previous year)
- (comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects)
- Page requests for June:
- 14.6 billion (−3.3% compared with May; −0.1% compared to previous year)
- Page requests for July
- 14.1 billion (−3.5% compared with June; +1.2% compared to previous year)
- Report Card for June 2011: The report card is undergoing a redesign as a more fully featured dashboard.
(Financial information is only available for June 2011 at the time of this report.)
- Operating revenue for June: US$1.6M vs plan of $0.2M
- Operating revenue for year-to-date June: $24.1M vs plan of $20.4M
Monthly revenue is over plan due primarily to revenue sharing from local chapters and Omidyar grant timing. Year-to-date exceeds overall plan.
- Operating expenses for June: $2.2M vs plan of $1.7M
- Operating expenses year-to-date June: $18.8M vs plan of $20.4M
Expenses for the month are higher primarily due to CapEx, internet hosting, outside contract services, legal fees and travel expenses offset by lower personnel-related expenses due to slower hiring.
Expenses year-to-date are under primarily due to timing of internet hosting, CapEx for data center, personnel-related expenses due to slower hiring, meetings & conferences partially offset by awards & grants, legal fees, PayPal fees, CapEx for IT support, outside contract services, recruiting fees, and travel.
Cash and investments as of June 2011 totaled $17.9M (approximately 7.6 months of expenses based on the 2011–12 plan).
Global Education Program launched after successful Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit
In July, the Public Policy Initiative started wrapping up with the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit. The Summit was held in Boston on July 7–9 and brought together 120–150 U.S. and international professors, students, Wikipedia ambassadors and Wikimedia staff members. The participants discussed the results of the Public Policy Initiative and shared their experiences and best practices in using Wikipedia in the classroom. Highlights of the Educational Summit include a keynote talk from Sue Gardner, an opening address by the 10th Archivist of the United States (David Ferriero), workshops led by Wikipedians and campus ambassadors, a seminar on public speaking by Rod Dunican, and the expressed gratitude from Liz Allison from the Stanton Foundation, who attended several sessions.
Also in July, the Foundation launched the Global Education Program, funded not by a restricted grant, but out of the Wikimedia Foundation operating budget. Its purpose is to support the Foundation's strategic goals of growing the number of active Wikimedia editors and improving the quality of information we offer, by persuading professors to assign article-writing as classwork using the model developed in the Public Policy Initiative. Its work will start this fall, and its priorities in the coming year will be India and Brazil, with a lesser emphasis on a number of other countries. Whereas the Public Policy Initiative had a narrow topical focus, the new Global Education Program will encourage participation from all disciplines.
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation renews $3 million commitment to Wikimedia
On July 11, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a philanthropic grantmaking institution that supports science, technology and economic institutions, announced that it was awarding a grant of US$3M to the Wikimedia Foundation. This is the second grant of this amount awarded to the Wikimedia Foundation from the Sloan Foundation’s Universal Access to Knowledge component of its Digital Information Technology program. The Sloan Foundation’s first grant of $3 million, awarded from 2008 through 2010, is the largest single grant ever received by the Wikimedia Foundation. Funds will support Wikimedia's strategic plan that focuses on increasing quality, the number and demographic diversity of its editors, and reaching more readers.
Article Feedback Tool rolled out to the entire English Wikipedia
The Article Feedback Tool, which allows Wikipedia's readers to rate the quality of articles in several aspects, completed its deployment to the entire English Wikipedia in July. While work is ongoing on the next version of the tool, a survey already showed that more than 90% of users find the ratings useful, and that the vast majority of raters were previously only readers of Wikipedia. Tests of an invitation to edit that was displayed after completion of the rating process indicate huge potential for the feedback tool to successfully convert passive readers into active contributors to Wikipedia. Research showed that the ratings can provide a reasonable level of assessment in the Completeness and Trustworthy (formerly “Well-Sourced”) dimensions. Also, the Article Feedback Tool could help surface problematic articles in real time, as well as articles that may qualify for increased visibility.
A detailed report of the Tech Department's activities for July 2011 can be found at:
Major engineering news in July include:
- Ongoing data replication from our primary Florida data center to our new Virginia data center;
- The deployment of the Article Feedback feature to all articles on the English Wikipedia, and the deployment of MoodBar;
- The successful implementation of a MySQL-based parser cache on Wikimedia wikis;
- Mid-term evaluation of our Summer of Code projects.
- Florida Data Center — 74 new servers were purchased to increase the capacity of our Apache cluster. Network maintenance was also performed to install a new router and replace a core switch. A number of servers were upgraded, and automated with puppet.
- Virginia Data Center — Full network connectivity was set up and the 7 wiki database clusters have now been replicated to our new servers in Virginia. We have also standardized the puppet configuration and enabled LVM snapshots. About 20 other databases (of tools like OTRS, CiviCRM, Bugzilla, WordPress and RT) have been replicated as well.
- HTTPS — HTTPS was enabled on a private production wiki and testwiki to test functionality and uncover bugs. Protocol-relative URLs were enabled on testwiki for community testing before rolling out to all projects (read more).
- Data Dumps — The June and July runs of the English Wikipedia dump were completed, and the August run is underway. Chinese Wikipedia dumps have also been fixed.
- Visual editor — Trevor Parscal continued to work on the front-end of the visual editor and rich text rendering; he was joined by Inez Korczynski, a developer from Wikia, who are also interested in the visual editor. Neil Kandalgaonkar worked on real-time collaboration, concurrent editing and dived into the inner workings of Etherpad.
- Article feedback — Roan Kattouw completed the UDP logger (for clicktracking metrics) and deployed it to production. The Article feedback feature was incrementally rolled out to all articles on the English Wikipedia, and the Product research team continued to analyze its impact (see "Highlights" section).
- UploadWizard — Ian Baker joined the team and started to work on the UploadStash back-end. Jeroen De Dauw started to extend the UploadWizard code base to support customized campaigns, like the Wiki Loves Monuments contest. Neil Kandalgaonkar refactored some libraries to better support Ian and Jeroen's work, and committed some fixes to reduce categorization and licensing mistakes.
- ResourceLoader — Roan Kattouw and Timo Tijhof started to work on global gadgets and a gadget manager. The back-end for loading gadgets remotely from another wiki now works, although it is limited to database loading within the same server farm; an API back-end is in the works.
- MobileFrontend — Patrick Reilly focused on proper caching support, as well as device detection optimization. Mobile device recognition on Wikimedia sites is now done server-side at the squid level, which results in faster redirect for mobile users, and better recognition of devices.
- 2011 Fundraiser — Ryan Kaldari modified CentralNotice to allow the logging of changes to banners and campaigns. Katie Horn fixed an issue with the script that handles determining whether or not credit card donations flagged as 'pending' have been approved or not. The server was successfully puppetized and upgraded by Peter Youngmeister and Arthur Richards. Arthur also set up advanced monitoring through Ganglia.
- Wikipedia version tools — GSoC student Yuvaraj Pandian continued to port User:CBM's WP 1.0 bot to a MediaWiki extension, and nearly achieved feature parity with it by implementing article selection filtering based on project, quality, importance and category. Mentored by Arthur Richards, Yuvaraj also implemented the ability to save lists of filtered articles.
- Code review management — Work continued to review commits to the MediaWiki code; MediaWiki 1.18 was re-branched to reduce the backlog faster. In July, Wikimedia Foundation engineering staff and contractors also attended a Code review workshop; the goal was to share experience and practices on the general review process, as well as security and performance.
- Disk-backed object cache — To improve the MySQL-based version of this system, Domas Mituzas suggested to split the cache into several tables, which Tim Starling implemented in MediaWiki. The system was then deployed on July 11th and the cache has been filling up since then, thus increasing the parser cache hit ratio from about 30% to 80%.
- Wikimedia Report Card 2.0 — The team incorporated key metrics into the Report card such as editors by geography, page views and gender breakdown of editors. Nimish Gautam worked on the infrastructure and analytics for editor by geography. Sam Reed implemented a generic CSV importer, and looked at how to use the Google API to automatically draw data into the Report card from Google Spreadsheets.
- Bug management — Mark Hershberger continued to conduct bug triage sessions on IRC, some of which were focused on MediaWiki 1.18 blockers, thumbnails issues, caching and operations-related requests. With Sumana Harihareswara, he cleaned up default assignees in bugzilla in order for assignments to be more meaningful.
- Summer of Code 2011 — 7 out of 8 students made it through the mid-term evaluation, and continue to work on their projects (read more).
Research and strategy
We analyzed data generated by new editor retention features (Moodbar, WikiLove) and by the global deployment of the Article Feedback tool (see also "Highlights" section), with a focus on the volume of feedback generated and their effect on user registration and participation . We released and documented the first open datasets from the feature development program  and worked towards the standardization of research data, code and query libraries produced by WMF. Testing of a number of open data platforms is currently underway. We worked in collaboration with the Summer of Research program to identify possible intersections between community research and the retention feature program in the Tech department.
Research Committee activity
We analyzed data from the Expert Participation survey and prepared preliminary results to be presented at Wikimania 2011 . We evaluated several new requests of support from external researchers.
In collaboration with the Signpost, we launched the first issue of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter , a monthly newsletter covering recent research updates on Wikimedia projects and integrated in the new Wikimedia Research Index.
We reported the awarding of an Open Society Foundations grant to support RCom member Daniel Mietchen as a new Wikimedian in Residence on Open Science.  Daniel's initial activity focused on finalizing the open access/open data policy for the Foundation .
July saw the first complete month of the Wikimedia Summer of Research, with all eight researchers from around the globe in San Francisco. Highlights from several areas of research were published on Meta and in the English Wikipedia Signpost. You can read our blogs and view photos here: http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/07/07/wikimedia-summer-research-update/
- Reader relations and support
We responded to 45 queries from readers or editors requesting assistance and began communicating with the Arbitration Committee on English Wikipedia about ways to address some of that community's wishes. Maggie, our Community Laison, held a well-received brown-bag discussion at the San Francisco office on Wikiculture. She has put more work into developing an “Answers” system which would allow us to organize requests for information from staff, feeding it back to the community where necessary, into the developing FAQ, or setting it aside when requiring direct feedback from staff. She has also begun conducting self-assessment interviews with WikiProjects to help determine best practices and working on a Webinar that will help bring in (and monitor!) responders to the AFT (Article Feedback Tool) invitation.
- OTRS analysis
In July, we ran a survey for OTRS agents and received 107 responses; the results will be released to the OTRS team very soon. Analysis is ongoing, and will inform a series of IRC Town Hall style meetings to be held after Wikimania.
- Account Creation Improvement Project wrap-up
Lennart completed the first version of his Account Creation Improvement report  which he is presenting at Wikimania. High-quality tests showed that this version of account creation page  can increase the number of newcomers who make 1 edit by 15% on an average day. In addition, by increasing the number of new Wikipedians who make 5 edits from 6.12% to 7.02% on an average day, we gain 9 editors per day.
The fundraising team continued weekly one hour messaging tests throughout July. Test results can be seen on our newly remodeled meta page . The Storytellers are interviewing several volunteers and are preparing to gather a variety of material at Wikimania to run volunteer appeals during the annual fundraiser. This year, the fundraiser will rely as much as possible on voices of many different members of our community.
We also started with our chapters testing, mostly testing connectivity and metrics. In July we tested UK, Sweden and Hungary and posted results .
The Production Coordinator (PC) Team worked on enhancing landing pages and donation templates and has kick-started the localization projects that will provide a more tailored donation experience for our future donors. More information is located on the collab wiki . At the end of July our team welcomed Charles Barr and Jon Soby as PCs throughout the Fundraiser 2011.
- Major gifts and foundations
Two fundraising trips were made to meet with major donors and foundations in New York and Boston (PPI Higher Education Summit) this month. We submitted eight initial funding applications to foundations in the month of July.
Public Policy Initiative
In July, the PPI team successfully facilitated the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit in Boston (see "Highlights" section). Summit attendees saw the initial research results by PPI's researcher Amy Roth, covering achievements of both the overall project and article quality metrics. Finally, the PPI team celebrated all of the hard work of the professors, students, ambassadors, and Wikipedia Teaching Fellows with an Awards Ceremony and a party.
- Summer of Research
The Wikimedia Summer of Research team continued looking into critical questions addressing community health and analytics. Their work was documented on Meta and highlights from three of their research sprints (covering the topics of new users and help requests, edits to trending articles, and workload of vandal-fighters/new page patrollers) appeared in the Signpost .
- WikiHistories Project
The WikiHistories fellows continued their research on different non-English Wikipedia communities, traveling to meet with and interview Wikipedians from around the world. They published two blog posts on the Foundation blog, one on the Armenian  and one on the Turkish Wikipedia .
Global development highlights
- New Mobile Partnership Manager, Amit Kapoor, joins the Global Development Team
- Launch of the Global Education Program after the successful Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit
- Barry and Jessie's visit to Brazil
Grants awarded and executed
- Wikimedia Estonia re-purposing of previous grant money approved
- Wikimedia New York City re-purposing of previous grant money approved
- Fundraising Agreements: Completed chapters 2011–12 fundraising agreements signed with Wikimedia Austria, Wikimedia Germany and Wikimedia UK. This is in addition to Wikimedia Australia, Wikimedia Hungary, Wikimedia Sweden and Wikimedia Ukraine, which signed their FR agreement last month.
- WMF and chapter raised amounts for June 
- Chapters Agreements: Reviewing final requested changes in agreement with Israel and Canada chapters. For updates please check .
- Full documentation of the trip of Barry, Jessie and Carol to Brazil (which was actually completed at the end of June):
- Work has begun in conjunction with the Community Department to think through what sets of research and analysis could and should be done on the Portuguese Wikipedia to better inform how to best support the Brazilian community going forward.
- Work has begun in conjunction with the Community Department - plus research and interviews with external experts - to think through a methodology and fellowship program. The goal of the integrated work is a "changing and self awareness" process, which will foster a healthier and growing, both in terms of raw numbers and in terms of individual capacities, Wikipedia and Wikimedia community in Brazil.
- Brazil office logistics: Received and reviewed lawyers' opinion on office legal structure and definition of a "country manager" role
Mobile strategy and business development
We have a new member on our mobile team: Amit Kapoor just joined the Wikimedia Foundation to manage mobile partnerships.
The Mobile Strategy Group is developing a new partnership pipeline focused on building out a worldwide program focused on mobile operators.
Results from the Editor Survey are available on the Wikimedia blog at http://blog.wikimedia.org/author/mani/
We finished fielding the Japan Editor Survey, and data from the survey is currently being analyzed.
Readers survey is currently in field. Data collection will be completed next week.
The mobile readers survey is currently being translated with the help of the community: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Wikipedia_Mobile_Readers_Survey_2011
We are working on the user experience report from India and Brazil. We will also be launching the study in the US soon.
- A new version of Kiwix, the software for reading offline Wikipedia, was released after a series of beta testing and concluding the contract (see tech monthly update for more information).
- Two content development projects are highest priority and underway: Spanish Wikipedia and Portuguese Wikipedia for Schools. (An "offline collection" means that the full Wikipedias would be boiled down to only the most essential articles, resulting in a total in the thousands vs. hundreds of thousands, through filters for quality annd importance, and then the article with the most recent "trusted" version ID is selected. See http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Offline_Projects/Content_Development for more information. The reasons for creating these content selections is the high demand we are seeing recently, both informally through more viral demand by one-off school districts and teachers as well as more formally, as we have been talking to a couple different computer manufacturers about offline "Wikipedia for Schools" being pre-installed on the low-cost computers they distribute in areas and in schools that are not as likely to have Internet connections.)
Global Education Program
In July, the Public Policy Initiative started wrapping up with the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit, followed by the launch of the Wikimedia Foundation's Global Education Program (see "Highlights" section).
In addition to the classroom-based model, we are working to support more viral methods of student contributions and organization through a student club approach. For more information, see http://outreach.wikimedia.org/wiki/Student_Organizations/How_to_Start_a_Wikipedian_Student_Organization.
With very little promotional effort, we have already seen much uptake in clubs forming virally throughout the world. (In July, we saw interest and formation occuring throughout India, Mexico, and Kyrgyzstan!)
We have been and are continuing to work on a few different resources in support of the scalable nature of these groups:
- Trademark policy / contracts (working with Legal on a standard agreement)
- Collaborative design guidelines (working with Communications on developing an extensible design system similar to that of Wikipedia 10)
- Clubhouse page templates will help clubs use outreach wiki (or another wiki) to promote their activities and connect with one another
- Hired two new consultants for the India Team:
- Shiju Alex (for Indic Initiatives) & Nitika Tandon (for Participation)
- The Pune pilot is now covering about 1000 students through about 15 teachers. Its major focus is to ensure that we drive quality and support newbies as they get into their first edits.
- Next month we will get the Trust registered and get the office set up.
Initiatives in July focused on preparations for Wikimania in August 2011, as well as the $3million Sloan Foundation grant announcement, and continuing research and planning around the Wikimedia web store (reviewing and developing terms of service and exploring taxation issues).
In July we also began to develop a new visual identity concept for the Wikipedians on campus initiatives - a design project similar to Wikipedia 10.
Storylines through July
- Wikipedia Article feedback tool (July 18)
The July release and launch of the article feedback tool garnered significant media coverage (largely positive), mostly focusing on how the tool aligns with WMF's overall goal of improving article quality and editor recruitment. http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/wikipedia_rolling_out_article_rating_system_-_what.php http://news.techworld.com/personal-tech/3292150/wikimedia-foundation-lets-readers-rate-articles-on-wikipedia
- Sloan Gift
WMF and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced a second grant of $3 million over the course of three years (see "Highlights" section). http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/development/48423-sloan-foundation-backs-wikimedia-another-3-million-times http://www.mediabistro.com/ebooknewser/sloan-foundation-gives-3-million-to-wikipedia_b13378
Other worthwhile reads
Wikipedia Aims Higher, July 11, Insider Higher Ed http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/07/11/wikipedia_seeks_to_build_academic_ties
‘Wikipedian-in-Residence’ Helps Share Smithsonian Archives, July 28, Chronicle of Philanthropy http://philanthropy.com/blogs/social-philanthropy/wikipedian-in-residence-helps-share-smithsonian-archives
The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation renews $3 million commitment to Wikimedia (11 July 2011) http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/July_2011_The_Alfred_P._Sloan_Foundation_renews_$3_million_commitment_to_Wikimedia (see "Highlights" section)
English Wikipedia Signpost
WMF blog posts
- Permanent-position hires
- Jeff Green, Network Ops – Special Projects (Technology)
- Ian Baker, Software Developer (Technology)
- Amit Kapoor, Sr. Manager – Mobile Partnerships (Global Dev)
- Ben Hartshorne, Operations Engineer (Technology)
- LiAnna Davis, Global Program Manager (Global Dev) – converted from grant to perm
- Annie Lin, Ambassador Manager (Global Dev) – converted from grant to perm
- Other position hires
- Shiju Alex, consultant (fills the permanent role of) India Programs Indic Languages (Global Dev)
- Nitika Tandon, consultant (fills the permanent role of) India BOTG (Global Dev)
- Folks accepted, not yet started
- Director of Sustainability (Community) – expected start in Sep.
- Deputy General Counsel (Legal) – expected start in Oct.
- New contractors
- Stephanie Thommen
- Skye Kraft
- Chris Leonello
- Tilman Bayer
- Charles Barr
- Jon Harald Soby
- Igor Kofman
- Alex Graveley
- Niklas Laxstrom
- Contract Extended
- Roan Kattouw
- Andrew Garrett
- Jeroen DeDauw
- Contract Ended
- Veronique Kessler
- Priyanka Dhanda
- Sara Crouse
- Danese Cooper
- Jon Davis
Total employee count:
- Plan: 88
- Filled: 8
- Attrition: 5
- Actual: 77
Remaining open positions to fiscal year end: 40
The HR department has added a lot of capacity in the form of contract recruitiers and screeners, and along with increased effort from the hiring managers this has begun to turn the tide in terms of new hires. We have a very ambitious goal to the end of the year, however, so we'll need to stay focused and engaged to make our target of 40 more hires. The first thing to go when you push this hard is quality, so maintaining a high standard while moving quickly will be a key component of the year's strategy.
We engaged two internal recruiters to aid in screening and interviewing potential candidates. While a majority of this focus will be in technical hiring we have capacity to provide support to all hiring managers looking to fill permanent roles. Additionally, we've signed up for two beta recruiting projects that take advantage of social media platforms to help find internal referrals of talent and leverage new tech based tools for sourcing and refining searches.
- New Postings
- Development Communications Manager (Community Department)
- Software Developer Rich Text Editing (Features)
- Software Developer Frontend
- Software Developer Backend
- Software Developer, Mobile
- Product Manager (Mobile)
- Product Manager (New Editor Engagement)
- Engineering outreach
- Article Feedback Feature
Finance and administration
- Leadership transition. Goodbye celebration for Veronique Kessler. Garfield Byrd joins as new Chief of Finance and Administration on August 3.
- Upgrades to wireless network in San Francisco office to increase stability and performance
- Strong WIPO decision on Wikipedia trademark (which will be useful in future challenges): http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/text.jsp?case=D2011-1031 ("it is inconceivable that the Respondent was not aware of the Trademark WIKIPEDIA and the domain name <wikipedia.org>")
- Drafted explanatory note on use of Article Feedback data. http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Feedback
- Focus on significant contractor agreements relating to fundraising activities.
- Board issues new privacy donor policy. http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Donor_privacy_policy_update_2011
- Number of contracts signed in June: 5
- Number of trademark requests: 10
- approved: 2
- denied: 2
- pending: 6
Visitors and guests
- Peter Kazanjy (TalentBin)
- John Lavey (insurance broker)
- Hai Ton (ThoughtWorks)
- Jonny Leroy (ThoughtWorks)
- Carl Miller (Global Collect)
- Amnon Salim (Global Collect)
- William Pietri (CTO, NeedFeed)
- Alex Gravely (Hackpad)
- Igor Koffman (Hackpad)
- Wikia engineers
- Deborah Bezona (D. Bezona & Company)
- Fabrice Florin (Executive Director, NewsTrust)
- Nate Allen (Epicor)
- Robert Cobb (Epicor)