Wikimedia Foundation Report, June 2011
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Data and Trends
- Global unique visitors for May:
- 411 million (+7.9% compared to April / +5.7% compared to previous year)
- (comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release June data later in July)
- Page requests for May:
- 15.1 billion (+3.1% compared to April / -1% compared to previous year)
- Report Card for May 2011: The report card is currently undergoing a redesign as a more fully-featured dashboard. The current prototype can be seen at: http://project2.wikimedia.org/reportCard/reportcard.html
(Financial information is only available for May 2011 at the time of this report.)
- Operating revenue for May: USD 0.6MM vs plan of USD 1.7MM
- Operating revenue year-to-date May: USD 22.5MM vs plan of USD 20.2MM
Monthly revenue is under primarily due to a foundations grant that was budgeted for May 2011 but will be deferred to the next fiscal year for operating purposes. Year-to-date revenue continues to exceed plan.
- Operating expenses for May: USD 1.4MM vs plan of USD 1.7MM
- Operating expenses year-to-date May:USD 16.6MM vs plan of USD 18.7MM
Expenses for the month are under primarily due to the timing of capex and personnel-related expenses, partially offset by overspending in internet hosting, travel, and conferences. Expenses year-to-date are under also due to the timing of capex and personnel-related expenses, as well as volunteer development. This underspending is partially offset by overspending in awards and scholarships, bank and legal fees, and outside contract services.
Cash and investments as of May 2011 totaled USD 18.7MM (approximately 8.2 months of expenses based on the 2011-12 plan).
2011-12 Annual Plan Approved
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees approved the 2011-12 Annual Plan in its June 28 resolution:
The 2011-12 Plan calls for $28.3 million of spending and $29.5 million of revenues with the reserve at $20.7 million at the end of 2011-12.
The 2011-12 plan calls for us to develop and begin deployment of a Visual Editor to make it easier for new people to edit the projects; to redevelop the mobile platform (including offering new ways to participate via phone, and launching partnerships to enable people to use Wikipedia for free from their phones); to invest further in editor recruitment in India and to begin investment in Brazil, to launch experiments and initiatives aimed at improving editor retention; to launch a Global Education Project designed to recruit editors on campuses in key geographies; to launch the Wikimedia Labs, and to put some cash into internationalization supporting non-Western languages.
By doing this, the Wikimedia Foundation intends to halt the decline in active editors and begin to push the number of editors back up. We will also more than double mobile pageviews. If we achieve both those top-priority goals, we will consider 2011-12 a success.
To get this done, we plan to grow the staff 50% from 78 to 117, and spending will increase 53% to $28.3 million. To pay for that and for the rest of the plan, we will increase revenues 24% to $29.5 million, thereby also putting a small amount of additional cash into our operating reserve.
The plan and Q and A were posted in early July to the Wikimedia Foundation website:
WikiLove deployed on English Wikipedia
On June 30, we enabled the WikiLove extension on the English Wikipedia. WikiLove adds an additional tab to user discussion pages which makes it quick and easy to send notes of appreciation to other users. WikiLove received large international media coverage, much of it inaccurate but well-intentioned. We're analyzing who is using it, what its impact is on social interactions in Wikipedia, and how it can be improved.
A detailed report of the Tech Department's activities for June 2011 can be found at:
Major news this month include:
- the network setup in our new datacenter, that opened the way to new server setup and backups;
- progress on features to encourage and facilitate participation, like the Visual Editor groundwork, and the WikiLove button;
- productive community testing on our now mobile front-end and the Kiwix download manager;
- the release of MediaWiki 1.17.0;
- the first commits by our Summer of Code students;
- major progress on our code review backlog.
- The engineering department continued its growth, and new positions were opened in June. See the summary e-mail: http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2011-June/054097.html
- Erik Möller announced a reorganization of the engineering management team, composed of "Directors" and "Lead Architects": http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikitech-l/2011-June/054040.html
- Virginia datacenter — In June, network setup in eqiad, our facility at Equinix in Ashburn, Virginia, was finished. Two independent transport connections between our two data centers in Tampa and Ashburn were installed, and local IP transit (Internet connectivity) is now available in Ashburn as well. We started replicating our thumb server from ms5 (tampa) to ms1004 (eqiad). All our 48 database servers are now up and running, and database replication was about to start. Several services should come online from eqiad in July.
- HTTPS & IPv6 — Wikimedia sites will be switching to protocol-relative URLs in July, as part of the work to properly support HTTPS.
- Visual editor — Work continued on the front-end of the visual editor, and specifications for accessing the editing surface via the API. We also worked on a demo to integrate MediaWiki and Etherpad.
- Article Feedback — Additional features were added in June, like a dashboard tracking articles receiving low ratings. The community provided feedback and bug reports, and the development team addressed the concerns raised, for example by implementing a user preference to hide the tool. Tooltips were also added to provide more information on the meaning of the star ratings. The team continued to evaluate the data provided by the articles already showing the feature. The incremental roll-out to all articles on the English Wikipedia is planned to be completed by mid-July.
- Mobile Research — In June, we completed our fieldwork in Brazil, consisting of 16 interviews in São Paulo, Salvador and Porto Alegre. We conducted extensive in-home interviews with three kinds of participants: readers of Wikipedia on a mobile phone, potential mobile readers (i.e. who currently use a computer, but could become mobile readers) and editors (primarily of the Portuguese Wikipedia, and to a lesser degree of the English Wikipedia). The team also received about six proposals from US firms in response to our RfP, to conduct research in three cities in the US. The mobile survey is scheduled to be launched at the end of July.
- Mobile site rewrite — We issued a call for testers to help test the prototype in English, Japanese and Hebrew. Next steps include the integration of the extension with our caching architecture, so that we can have the advantages of the mobile device detection database with an acceptable performance.
- Wikipedia version tools — Work continued to port the WP 1.0 bot to a MediaWiki extension. We implemented an assessment template processing feature, and are now working on a WP 1.0 bot replacement feature that will automatically include real-time assessment statistics on project pages. A feature to filter and select articles based on assessment criteria is planned to be added in July.
- Kiwix UX initiative — The next beta of Kiwix was released. Users of Kiwix can now easily download new openZim files right within the interface. We are looking at connecting it to the Collections extension so that anyone can easily download new books collections.
- MediaWiki 1.18 — Thanks to the efforts of the code review team, the backlog of unreviewed commits for MediaWiki 1.18 was drastically reduced in June. A discussion between developers on the wikitech-l list led to a proposal of a "20% policy", according to which every eligible Wikimedia engineer would spend 20% of their time doing service work that directly benefits the rest of the community.
- Academic publications authentication proxy — The goal of this project is to allow selected Wikimedians to access third-party academic publishing sites to help with content verifiability.
- Wikimedia Report Card — We started a development sprint and worked on the back-end infrastructure. The information stored in a database is accessed via a new MediaWiki extension, and the visualization part uses JQplot. The team hopes to demonstrate a prototype for the next report card in early July.
- Summer of Code 2011 — Our eight Summer of Code students continued working on their projects full-time, and all are now committing code. Wikimedia employees and volunteers are mentoring the students. They are preparing for their mid-term evaluations, to take place in mid-July.
Research and Strategy
- -1 to 100 Analysis - We continued the analysis of data produced by the new -1 to 100 features (AFT, WikiLove) prepared guidelines and documentation for the release of datasets to the general public.
- External research - We reviewed and processed several requests for support (endorsement, funding requests, support for subject recruitment, access to private data) that we received from external researchers. All projects seeking or obtaining support will now be filed under the Research project directory.
- Research Committee - We organized and hosted the 5th meeting of Research Committee during which three main developments were discussed:
- the announcement of the Wikimedia Research Index, a project promoted by RCom to facilitate communication and access to research-related resources with the external research community
- problems and a number of proposed solutions for external surveys of WIkipedia editors (including a proposal for an omnibus survey)
- an open data policy for WMF-supported projects
- Open Data Policy - We drafted a policy proposal (currently under discussion) for the publication of research datasets based on public Wikimedia data and containing editor information. We also drafted guidelines for consent forms for Wikimedia-sponsored interviews (in collaboration with the Community and Legal departments)
- Open Knowledge Conference - RCom member Mayo Fuster Morell organized and animated a workshop on current challenges for Wikipedia research at the Open Knowledge Conference.
Summer of Research
The Summer of Research began in earnest in June, with eight researchers from around the world joining the Foundation either locally in San Francisco or remotely. They produced a variety of research sprints throughout the month, which you're encouraged to read and comment on at Meta. Topics ranged from how new editors ask for help to the workload of the editors who patrol new articles.
- Kaggle Data Competition - Community Department researcher Diederik van Liere and Howie Fung launched a Data Competition that invites external researchers to build a predictive model of new editor retention. After 1 week of the competition being launched:
- 1. more than 300 people downloaded the datasets
- 2. 55 teams are participating
- 3. 51 submissions so far
- 4. The best submission has improved our internal benchmarks by more than 40%
- WikiViz 2011 Challenge- To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Wikipedia, WMF and WikiSym jointly launched WikiViz 2011, a data visualization challenge calling for the most insightful visualization of Wikipedia’s impact. The challenge, sponsored by El Mundo and the leading outlets in data visualization (FlowingData, Information Aesthetics, Visualizing.org, Periscopic), spearheads the idea of open licensed visualizations based on open data. Dario Taraborelli organized the challenge with WikiSym chair Felipe Ortega.
- Storytellers - Victor Grigas, Aaron Muszalski, and Matthew Roth joined the Community team in June as Storytellers. They began gathering new effective creative material for the 2011 fundraiser by capturing stories from editors, readers, donors, staff and more.
- Testing - We began weekly testing of fundraising messages and operational processes. We were excited to find new appeals from WMF staff members that perform at the same level as the founder appeal from Jimmy Wales.
- Fundraising Summit - Wikimedia Austria hosted a fundraising summit for chapters and WMF staff to discuss the upcoming fundraising campaign. More than twenty people attended the summit, representing eleven Wikimedia chapters. Topics discussed included the Fundraising Agreement, testing, messaging, CiviCRM, and general fundraising practices.
- Production Coordination - Some of our new Production Coordinators (the staff who will be coding banners and landing pages around the world each day of the fundraiser) were ramped up and trained, and started implementing great improvements such as rewriting and cleaning the codes to the Fundraiser landing pages and banners, as well as setting up automated currency localization. The entire work will be soon documented on the 2011 StyleGuide.
Major Gifts and Foundations
- Completed a report to the Sloan Foundation, concluding our first three-year grant from them.
- Began communications with three new foundation prospects.
- Received gifts from two new major individuals donors.
Public Policy Initiative
- PPI Transition to Global Education - In early June, the PPI team had an off-site to start the discussion of how to best transition and document key PPI activities to the new Global Education team.
- Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit - The team spent the entire month booking travel for all 120 attendees for the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit, dealing with summit details (i.e. hotel, food, venue considerations, agenda, lining up speakers and facilitators).
- Quality Analysis - Amy began pulling PPI project and article quality data and started her initial analysis.
Supporting and helping readers
- We responded to 68 urgent or emergency requests for help from readers or editors, and worked on ways to scale volunteer systems to handle such inquiries.
- Maggie began designing a FAQ for interested parties to answer questions like "What does XYZ do?".
- We put in place the infrastructure to run a test implementation of a system for sending queries to the community liaison for followup (the system will eventually be operated by volunteers, but led by the liaison).
Survey of OTRS - With collaboration from the OTRS administrators, we designed a survey to assess satisfaction among OTRS volunteers and identify areas for additional support. We received about 80 survey responses so far, and will start analysis soon.
New Account Creation Project
The Account Creation Improvement Project had its final weeks during June. It began with a test live on English Wikipedia, with three separate versions of the account creation process, of which two are new, and the old one is used as a control. Preliminary results show some promising directions in which to work.
Fellow Liam Wyatt participated in GLAM outreach activities in the UK, Belarus and Germany. At the invitation of Wikimedia UK Liam participated in meetings and meetups in Edinburgh (with Museums & Galleries Scotland), York (with the National Railway Museum) and London (with Wellcome Trust). He then visited Minsk to deliver the keynote presentation (slides) at the annual conference of EIFL, a consortium of libraries from developing nations (official blog post [translated]). At the invitation of Wikimedia Deutschland he gave a plenary and convened the "Wikipedia lounge", with representatives from seven Chapters, at the 2011 Communicating the Museum conference in Düsseldorf.
Five summer researchers (graduate students from various fields in the humanities) began a three-month project to study the history of selected (non-English) Wikipedia editing communities. After a short training at the beginning of June, they officially started their travel and research. The first blog post from this project appeared at the end of June, with more to come throughout the summer.
- Barry, Jessie and Carolina traveled to Brazil to meet with the community and support the growth of Wikimedia in Brazil.
- The India Education Program launched with the kick-off of the Pune pilot project in early June.
- The Ibero-American Wikimedia summit was held in Buenos Aires with the support of WMF.
Grants Awarded and Executed
- Ibero-American Wikimedia Summit held June 24-26 in Buenos Aires, made possible through a WMF grant.
- Wikipedia Challenges - In cooperation with Google and WMZA, we began planning for a new Wikipedia Challenge in three African languages: isiZulu, Setswana, and Afrikaans.
- Fundraising Agreements - We completed chapters 2011-2012 fundraising agreements signed with WMAU, WMHU, WMSE, WMUA.
- Reporting - We submitted WMF and chapter raised amounts for June.
- Chapters Agreements - We are completing a chapters agreement signed with Norway and are reviewing final requested changes in agreement with the Israel chapter.
- WMF 2010 FR revenue sharing transferred from WMSE. For more updates, kindly check the updated tracker for 2010/2011 FR.
- Wikimedians in Kazakhstan held an inauguration event (June 16th) to celebrate Wikimedian activity in KZ, as well as the mass-upload of a large modern Kazakh encyclopedia to Kazakh Wikisource and Wikipedia. Ting Chen attended and spoke at their event.
- Trademark agreement signed with Wikimedians in Kazakhstan for their event (see above) and general outreach work.
- Trademark agreements signed with Wikimedians in Belarus and Romania for Wiki Loves Monuments 2011.
- Barry Newstead, Jessie Wild and Carolina Rossini (consultant) traveled to Brazil to meet with the community and explore ways to support the growth of the Wikimedia projects in Brazil.
- Community meetups were held in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, allowing Wikimedia community members to share their experiences and discuss future work needed to catalyze community growth.
- Held meetings with organizations (lawyers and executive search firms) who might be able to provide services to WMF in setting up a small team to support the community.
- Met with a few local companies who might be interested in partnerships that would increase the reach of the Wikimedia projects within Brazil.
- Barry and Jessie attended the FISL-12 conference in Porto Alegre. FISL is a national conference for the free and open source software community in Brazil. Barry gave a presentation, and Barry and Jessie gave an interview with TV Software Livre.
- WM India was granted money to produce hardcopies of Bookshelf materials for its upcoming series of Wikipedia Academy events.
Global Education Program in India
- Wikipedia India Education program - The program was rolled out in 4 institutions in Pune, India - College of Engineering, Symbiosis School of Economics, Modern College of Engineering & SNDT Women's University. 13 teachers have signed up and more than 1000 articles will be written by about 500 students (all of whom are newbies.)
- Articles are going to cover engineering, software, economics and media / communication
- Next steps: 1-on-1 meetings with faculty (to determine potential articles), followed by student editing workshops and actual editing.
- Started team building and issued offer letters to the first 2 of the 4 consultants. These two will look after participation and Indic language initiatives.
- Due to procedural delays, the setup of the proposed independent trust is behind schedule.
Mobile Strategy and Business Development
- Research - Mani conducted user experience research in Brazil along with Parul Vora. We conducted interviews in three cities in Brazil: São Paulo, Porto Alegre and Salvador, with mobile readers, potential readers and editors.
- Kul traveled to Europe (Austria, France, Sweden, Russia) to meet with several partners and potential partners for our mobile strategy. We are continuing conversations to secure arrangements that would increase the reach of Wikimedia projects on mobiles. Kul met with members of the Russian Wikimedia community in Moscow where they did some impromptu usability testing of Wikipedia on mobile phones.
We have started sharing research insights from the Editor Survey with the community and others on the blog. Mani is working on a comprehensive research report from the survey.
Communications supported the first Campus Ambassador training in Pune, India, which resulted in positive coverage from publications such as the Times of India, The Hindu and Sakaal Times (a local, indic language newspaper in Pune). Coverage was accurate and supportive of the Global Education Program and overarching Wikimedia Foundation India initiatives.
Major stories and coverage
- The Times of India - Online encyclopedia promotes itself as teaching-learning tool
- Indian Express - Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors Pilot Project to begin in Pune
- Washington Post - Wikipedia adding ‘love’ button
- ReadWriteWeb - Wikipedia is Adding a Love Button Next Week
- The Atlantic - Wikipedia Adds WikiLove Button in Attempt to Stem Criticism
New Permanent Position Hires
- Siko Bouterse, Head of Community Fellowships Program (Community) – Perm FT Employee
- Mark Hershberger – Conversion to Perm FT Employee
New Other Position Hires
- Victor Grigas, Storyteller (Community) – Temp FT
- Matthew Roth, Storyteller (Community) – Temp FT
- Aaron Muszalski, Storyteller (Community) – Temp FT
Summer Fellows (Community) joining Aaron Halfaker
- Stuart Geiger
- Yusuke Matsubara
- Jonathan Morgan
- Fabian Kaelin
- Melanie Kill
- Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia
- Guillaume Paumier
- Sam Reed
- Russ Nelson
- Doreen Strubhar
- Systems Engineer - Data Analytics
- QA Lead
- Product Manager (Analytics)
- Operations Engineer (Networking)
- Director of Sustainability
- Director of Features Engineering
- Director of Community Operations
- Internationalization and Localization Outreach
- Internationalization and Localization Feature Development
- Logging Analysis
- Caging Services
Total Employee Count
- Plan: 92
- Actual: 74
- Attrition: 4
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 18
- Hiring in 2011-12 - The annual plan is finished (yay!) including the staffing plan, so we are all set for a great hiring sprint next year. We have added a lot of firepower in the form of temporary screeners and recruiters; so although this isn't the way we will go forward in the future to handle our staffing, for the next 6-9 months of heavy lifting, we will be relying on contractor support to get the job done.
- Document Redesign - The team did a thorough review of our internal docs and templates to get them up to snuff, and has rolled out a brand new set of clean ones for the staff to use. They are more lightweight and easier to use, so we're pretty happy.
- HR Management Tool - We have had to (reluctantly) abandon our use of OrangeHRM as our internal HR managment tool; the security and development ability is just not up to the professional standards, as we need to keep our data confidential and effectively manage benefits and other personnel data. We have decided on a new product called EPICOR, which has more firepower than we need right now, but will grow with us as we develop the organization. It will certainly help us with recruiting as it has a really nice module that helps track and schedule prospects.
- Hiring Manager Training - We had our first hiring manager training at the end of June in anticipation of the annual review process that takes place at the beginning of each fiscal year. It was a good meeting, and we are looking forward to working with that team in the future.
Finance and Administration
- The 2011-12 annual plan was completed and forwarded to the Board for approval; the plan was approved unanimously.
- Audit timing was set for the 2010-11 audit.
- Wikimania travel bookings are substantially complete.
- Joined EFF brief in Golan v. Holder (along with American Association of Libraries, Association of College and Research Libraries, Association of Research Libraries, and the Internet Archive). See blog post
- Contracts/agreements signed in June : 14
- Trademark requests in June : 13; approved: 5; denied: 4; pending: 4
Visitors and Guests
- Phoebe Ayers (Board member)
- Lydia Mazzie (Senior Manager - New Business Development, Google)
- Udi Manber (VP of Engineering, Google)
- Jeff Cordova (CTO/Co-Founder, GLM)
- Nicole Buckberg (Agile coach)
- Mike Schwartz (Senior Vice-president, Engineering, Wikia)
- Inez Korczyński (Engineering Manager, Wikia)
- Felipe Ortega (Researcher, Project manager at GSyC/Libresoft & Co-coordinator of WikiSym)
- Andrew Maguire (InternMatch)
- Heather Ford (former Advisory Board member for WMF and a CC activist)
- Naomi Norman (Director of Learning, Epic)
- Edo Navot (PhD student, University of Wisconsin)
- Kaliya Hamlin (Personal Data Ecosystem)
- Jason Heidema (TalentBin)
- Peter Kazanjy (TalentBin)
- Chris Yates (Device Anywhere)