Wikimedia Foundation Report, May 2011
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Data and Trends
- Global unique visitors for April:
- 381 million (-4.8% compared to previous month / +1.6% compared to previous year)
- (comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release May data later in June)
- Page requests for April:
- 14.6 billion ( -3.4% compared to previous month / -3.7% compared to previous year)
- (Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia mobile)
- Active Editors for April (>= 5 edits/month)
- 86,912 (-3.1% compared to previous month / -2.6% compared to previous year)
- (Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects except for Wikimedia Commons)
- Report Card for April 2011:
(Financial information is only available for April 2011 at the time of this report.)
- Operating revenue for April: USD 0.2MM vs plan of USD 0.7MM
- Operating revenue year-to-date April: USD 21.9MM vs plan of USD 18.5MM
Monthly revenue under plan primarily due to Omidyar grant payment that is delayed until next month. YTD revenue continues to exceed plan. Another USD 1.3MM is pending from the chapters, and is not reflected in the April financial statements; of that, USD 630K was received and will be recorded in May. Year-to-date revenue continues to exceed plan.
- Operating expenses for April: USD 2.1MM vs plan of USD 1.8MM
- Operating expenses year-to-date April: USD 15.2MM vs plan of USD 17.0MM
Expenses MTD are over due to timing of capex, internet hosting and outside contract services, partially offset by underspending in personnel-related expenses due to slower hiring and underspending on travel and conferences. Expenses YTD are under due to both the timing of capex spending related to the build-out of the data center, as well as to personnel-related expenses, which were under due to slower hiring. Underspending was partially offset by spending in grants, legal costs and outside contract services.
Cash and investments as of April 2011 totaled USD $17.9MM (approximately 10.5 months of expenses).
Public Policy Initiative wraps up
University classes participating in the Public Policy Initiative wrapped up in May. In just two semesters, student editors contributed the equivalent of 5,800 printed pages of new text in the English Wikipedia.
Additionally, the program exposed more than 800 students to Wikipedia editing, supported 33 professors in developing Wikipedia assignments for their classes, and developed a community of 176 ambassadors. The openness and inclusiveness of the ambassador program has proven very successful. The ambassador team is made up of 46% women, and involves both Wikipedians and Non-Wikipedians supporting student assignments.
A more detailed update will be published next month.
India education programs ramp up
The India Program recruited 22 campus ambassadors in Pune to support the India Education Program to be launched in June 2011. This is the first initiative of the India Program, and our first effort to extend the work of the Public Policy Initiative to new geographies. Read more here.
UploadWizard goes default
The UploadWizard, a step-by-step tool to facilitate the upload of files to Wikimedia Commons, was enabled as the default upload system on May 9. Initial feedback shows a majority of users consider it an improvement over the "old" upload form. More than 40,000 files have been uploaded with the Upload Wizard since its beta deployment in December 2010. Read the related blog post.
A detailed report of the Tech Department's activities for May 2011 can be found here.
Major news this month include:
- the Berlin Hackathon, where about 70 developers and engineers met to improve our technical infrastructure;
- the deployment of the Upload Wizard as default uploader on Wikimedia Commons;
- the continued development, deployment and roll-out of the Article feedback tool on the English Wikipedia;
- major progress in reducing our code review backlog.
Berlin Hackathon 2011 — About 70 MediaWiki developers and engineers participated in this event, organized by Wikimedia Deutschland. A lot of coding, bug squashing and discussion happened over these three days, including on the new parser, performance improvement, and infrastructure.
- Virginia Data Center — The delivery of our connectivity incurred additional delays, which has prevented us from bringing services in the new data center live. This also delayed Data Dumps & Backups.
- Router upgrade — Due to multiple ongoing issues on several network devices, we decided to schedule an hour of maintenance on May 24, to upgrade software on nearly all devices, fixing multiple bugs. This operation caused a planned downtime, but appears to have resolved the issues.
- HTTPS & IPv6 — Ryan Lane, Peter Youngmeister and Mark Bergsma have started working on HTTPS and IPv6 support for the wiki platforms. A new test cluster has been set up to serve these protocols, and limited testing on a subset of wikis has commenced.
- Visual editor 0.1 — Neil Kandalgaonkar worked with developers of HackPad (a custom version of real-time collaborative editing software Etherpad) on a proof of concept to integrate Etherpad and MediaWiki. Trevor Parscal continued to work on WikiDom, a storage structure and functionality acting as an intermediate layer between the parser and a visual editor. This work also intersects with the groundwork done on the new parser.
- Article Feedback — Version 3 was deployed to the English Wikipedia on May 9 with new features, like the article feedback dashboard, a summary page showing general rating trends. The experiment was expanded to 100,000 articles, while work continues to address key community requests (e.g. easy ability to hide the tool, a "What's this link") and to make raw data from the tool available.
- Editor retention — Ryan Kaldari and Jan Paul Posma completed the first version of WikiLove 1.0, an extension to encourage praise and virtual gifts between users. Brandon Harris published initial designs for MoodBar 0.1, a feature allowing new users to quickly provide feedback to the community.
- Upload wizard — The Upload wizard, a step-by-step tool to facilitate the upload of files to Wikimedia Commons, was enabled as the default upload system there on May 9. Initial feedback shows a majority of users consider it an improvement over the "old" upload form. More than 40,000 files have been uploaded with the Upload Wizard since its beta deployment in December 2010.
- Mobile Research — Parul Vora and Mani Pande continued their interviews in India, and prepared the parallel study in Brazil and a third study in the US.
- Mobile site rewrite — Patrick Reilly demoed the PHP mobile extension at the Berlin Hackathon and continued to develop the extension, notably by integrating functionality of the WAP platform, and by expanding the device detection list.
- 2011 Fundraiser — Arthur Richards continued to streamline our audit framework to surface missing donation transactions. He also helped run a code sprint that gave the WMF instance of CiviCRM a huge performance increase.
- Kiwix — In Berlin, Ryan Kaldari, Sumana Harihareswara and Emmanuel Engelhart conducted a usability study to improve the user experience of Kiwix, an offline content reader application. We're also wrapping up phase 2 of development, allowing us to release our first version of the integrated downloader.
- Code Review — The group of reviewers was doubled to reverse the trend of increasing unreviewed commits. The backlog of unreviewed commits slated for inclusion in the next 1.18 release is now decreasing.
- Summer of Code 2011 — In May, our eight Summer of Code students learned how MediaWiki works, as software and as a community. On May 23, they started working on their projects full-time.
- Parser —There was a lot of activity and discussion in Berlin around the parser and the general direction we should follow. Brion Vibber consolidated the output around the parser plan, the abstract syntax tree and parser test cases. We generally agreed on keeping the current syntax as intact as possible, to allow for easy and clean migration. A syntax reform, though popular among alternative parser writers, is left to the future.
- Wikimedia Report Card 2.0 — The team laid down the requirements and groundwork of the next version of the Report Card. Erik Zachte's scripts will be modified to enter the data into a database, which can then be accessed with a dedicated API to automatically generate the report card and other charts using a visualization framework.
Research and Strategy
Internal Research Progress
Research continued on the Article Feedback project: after the rollout of the tool to a sample of 100K articles on the English Wikipedia, we monitored the quality and volume of ratings and Call-to-Action responses. We also completed a number of tests to check whether displaying the expertise checkbox affects the number of ratings submitted (it does not).
Research Committee Activity
The 4th meeting of the Wikimedia Research Committee took place on May 19, 2011. During the meeting the Committee proposed creating a new home for Wikimedia research projects (the Wikimedia Research Index), including WMF-run research, research projects by community members and projects by external researchers. Various RCom members participated in the finalization and initial implementation of this proposal, whose official announcement is due this month. We also discussed a new, lightweight procedure to review requests on subject recruitment; a review of open data platforms for Wikimedia projects, and a proposal to match support requests for research projects and openness requirements. An open access and open data policy for WMF research was drafted and it will be presented at the forthcoming Wikimania 2011 conference, pending acceptance.
The Community Department had several important hires this month: a Community Operations Manager (Pats Peña), a Community Liaison (Maggie Dennis), and two Fundraiser Production Coordinator contractors. We also wrapped up recruitment for the Head of Community Fellowship Program position and the Storyteller postion. This month, we finalized contracts for eight summer research fellows, who will be joining us in SF from June until August, and processed grants for five summer research fellows, who will be attending a three-day conference in SF prior to setting off on their grant-related research. The Public Policy Initiative's classes mostly wrapped up in May (see highlights).
Summer of Research
In the first week of the month, Maryana Pinchuk and Steven Walling published the last entry in a blog series about their pre-summer test research. Their findings were titled, "Study Suggests Majority of New English Wikipedians Edit in Good Faith".
Additionally, Maryana, Diederik van Liere, and Steven finished planning for the arrival of the eight summer fellows, and welcomed their first participant at the end of the month -- Aaron Halfaker from the GroupLens research lab at the University of Minnesota.
The Wikimedia Foundation is organizing in collaboration with Kaggle the Wikimedia Participation Challenge. The Wikimedia Participation Challenge is a data prediction competition (similar to the Netflix competition). We have taken a random sample from the August 2010 dump file and asked teams to predict the number of edits in the main namespace by February 1, 2011. The scheduled launch date for the competition is June 16.
The fundraising team posted an in-depth report from the 2010 campaign, which includes main highlights from the fundraiser, as well as comprehensive statistical analysis on key tests on which types of banners and landing pages performed well.
After experimenting with various ways for the Wiki Guide volunteers to protect newbies, James Alexander and Philippe Beaudette decided to focus on identifying the more promising potential Wikipedians. They did intensive looks into various sets of data, including the percentage of contributions by new users that were helpful, and whether subject area edited impacts retention.
Work on a customer service scorecard is progressing; Christine Moellenberndt has been analyzing tickets in various OTRS queues for frequency, resolution, time to close, and a number of other factors, with an eye towards a publicly distributed report. She is looking closely at areas such as recruitment and agent/customer satisfaction.
New Account Creation Project
Fellow Lennart Guldbrandsson worked with Frank Schulenburg and a group of volunteers to complete two new account creation processes, for release at the end of May. Developers in the tech department have completed a tracking system that will allow for A/B testing of the account creation process.
In association with WM-NYC and the NY Public Library, Fellow Liam Wyatt convened GLAMcamp NYC, a cross-disciplinary unconference dedicated to improving relationships with cultural institutions. Across the three days, approximately 30 Wikimedians attended from eight countries as well as 50 culture sector professionals attending a free workshop. Outcomes included improvements to Commons mass upload systems, and documentation of past successful projects. More information here.
Global Development Highlights
- Began Editor Survey data analysis and continued Mobile research.
- Ramped up program work in India with the recruitment of 22 campus ambassadors to support the India Education Program, which will be launched in June 2011.
- Continued preparing Mobile work for primetime by collaborating with the WMF Engineering mobile team and partnering with mobile carriers and manufacturers around the world.
- Started formation of Grant Advisory Committee to support WMF grantmaking activities.
Chapter Relations and Grants
- Asaf Bartov, Head of Global South Relationships, joined WMF at our San Francisco Office.
- Ran a call for volunteers to support our new Grant Advisory Committee.
- Congratulations to Wikimedia Canada for becoming an officially recognized chapter!
- Chapters' collective report
- Published FR raised amounts beginning 2011 here.
- As of May 31, WMF has only received revenue or grants from 6 of 11 chapters who have fundraising agreements with WMF for 2010/11. These payments were due on April 1, 2011. Full status of chapter fulfillment of commitments under the 2010/11 fundraising agreement here.
Grants Awarded and Executed
- Wikimedia Canada Start-up grant approved.
- Grant Advisory Committee being formed .
- GLAMCamp successfully executed in NYC (see above).
- Compiled a chapters overview page on meta, helping chapters provide a glimpse of their activities and partnerships.
- Created a template for 2011/2012 chapter plans (especially the ones signing chapter fundraising agreements with WMF this year).
- Prepared for Barry and Jessie's trip to Brazil. They will be visiting Sao Paulo and speaking at the FISL conference in Porto Alegre.
- Mani and Parul will be visiting Brazil in June to conduct the next phase of Mobile Research.
Global Education Program in India
Commenced outreach to education authorities and faculty for Wikipeda India Education Program in preparation for its launch in India.
- Concluded Campus Ambassador selection (22 out of 70 applicants from Pune selected, and more than 700 enquiries received).
- Frank, Hisham, and Annie arrived in Pune, India, and have been meeting with university professors and community members to move the education program and Ambassador program in India forward.
- One of the India Fellows and community member, Sikreit Tadepalli, joined us for meetings on Wednesday.
- Fellow PJ Tabit, who's served in various leadership roles in the U.S. Wikipedia Ambassador program will be joining us in Pune today.
Community meetups in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and Pune: Hyderabad meeting helped get the community together after months of low activity and hopefully will encourage more regular meetings.
- Worked with KPMG & Trilegal (legal counsel) to finalize legal documents and the corporate structure in India.
- Recommended NCR (Delhi area) as the office location.
- Started process of recruiting India team: job postings for Participation and Indic Initiatives have resulted in more than 100 applications for both initiatives.
Mobile Strategy and Business Development
- Completed field work in India, started analysis of data.
- Planning to do research in Brazil in June 2011.
- Continued to recruit for the Mobile Partner Manager/Senior Manager position. We are still looking for additional candidates.
- Continued negotiations with mutiple Mobile partners to launch pilots of our new Wikipedia Affiliate Partner Program.
- Continued porting of the mobile gateway and testing.
Started analysis of the editor survey and will start sharing results on the foundation/global development blog starting June 10. Our plan is to release a series of blog posts to highlight insights from the survey. We will also share a compendium of the data for researchers and community members to work with.
- Continued advancements on Kiwix, the offline Wikipedia software.
- Performed usability testing of Kiwix at the the Hackathon in Berlin.
Global University Program
Began encouraging the creation of Student Clubs, groups of students at different universities and colleges around the world. The goal is to create a network of students around the world, who can organize relatively informally and virally. For a map of current clubs and interested volunteers, see map.
- Increased communications support for emerging India program activities as WMF staff prepared to kick off Wikipedia India Education Programs, starting with the first campus ambassador training in Pune.
- Continued hiring process for the Movement Communications Manager and Merchandise Manager.
- Continued research and prototyping on a line of volunteer-focused, Wikipedia-oriented apparel. Efforts also continued around refinements to the upcoming Wikimeda storefront.
Major stories and coverage
WP for World Heritage (17 May) Wikimedia Deutschland launched the community-driven "Wikipedia for World Heritage" campaign this month with an aim to have Wikipedia recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Global media coverage followed, focusing on the significance and uniqueness of the action (as well as speculating on the probabilty of the venture), should UNESCO issue the designation:
Bacon lawsuit (and super injunctions) A high profile defamation suit from US hedge fund manager Louis Bacon, which named Wikipedia alongside Wordpress and the Denver Post, received considerable coverage in early May. The case was followed by a round of stories further highlighting the rise in UK 'super injunctions' and included POVs from Jimmy Wales.
Other worthwhile reads:
- Jimmy @ EG8
- "Wikipedia and the death of the expert"
- "Not Twitter's moment, it's Wikipedia's"
- Wikipedia goes to class (Washington Post)
- Critical POV: A Wikipedia Reader
In May 2011 the Wikimedia blog family expanded to include four main sections: Technology, Community, Global Development, and a general 'Highlights' section. Guillaume Paumier led the technical integration of the blogs, which now expand in an effort to increase the number of bloggers from both inside and outside of WMF.
- Pats Peña, Community Dept. Operations Manager (Community) – FT employee
- Asaf Bartov, Head of Global South Relationships (Global Development) – FT employee
- Katie Horn, Software Engineer – Community R&D (Technology) – FT employee
- Maggie Dennis, Community Liaison (Community)
- Welcome, Aaron Halfaker (first of the Summer Fellows to arrive; worked PT in April; FT in May).
- Sumana Harihareswara, Volunteer Dev Coordinator – Technology
- Peter Coombe, Production Coordinator (Community)
- Joseph Seddon, Production Coordinator (Community)
- Andrew Shields, Ops Engineer (Technology)
- Nimish Gautam joins Global Development, effective 5/1/2011
- RFP - Consultant, Indic Languages - India Programs
- RFP - Consultant, Participation - India Programs
- Operations Engineer - Special Projects
- Software Developer Backend (General)
- Software Developer Frontend (General)
- Partner Manager/Senior Manager - Mobile
- Rebecca Handler
Total Employee Count
- Plan: 91
- Attrition: 4
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 19
- Continued to recruit heavily for the remaining openings for 2010-11, tried out some new methods for internal referral, including a beta site called TalentBin that allows us to find potential internal referrals more proactively.
Finance and Administration
- Office Admin wiki and Office IT wiki updated.
- Provided more ergonomic-friendly seating via purchase of stability balls and kneeling chairs.
- Completed cork implementation for "Wall of Love" (donor letters!).
- Completed input to annual plan model; began draft of annual plan presentation.
- Worked with legal to get Wikimania donation letter completed for Wikimania Haifa.
- Draft legal policies were circulated and are open for comment.
- Matt Becker (Harvard Law '13) joined us this summer as a legal intern.
- Improved contract process.
- Continued search for Deputy General Counsel.
- Continued daily support of WMF initiatives (trademark approvals, UDRP challenges, cease and desist letters, contracts & advice).
Visitors and Guests
- Kevin Gorman (student, UC Berkeley)
- Alex Gravely (Hackpad)
- Igor Koffman (Hackpad)
- Hampton Catlin (UK Contractor)
- Reuben Smith (Engineer, WikiHow)
- Ashley Rubin (PhD student, UC Berkeley)
- Doug Spencer (PhD student, UC Berkeley)
- Matt Salganik (Assistant Professor of Sociology at Princeton University)
- Thierry Coudray (WMFR's treasurer)
- David Greenberg (CiviCRM.org- CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Brylie Oxley (Woolman- CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Coleman Watts (Woolman- CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Adam Wight (Giant Rabbit LLC- CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Peter Haight (Giant Rabbit LLC- CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Donald Lobo (CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Micah Lee (Electronic Frontier Foundation- CiviCRM code and test sprint)
- Jeff Gray (ThoughtWorks, SF)