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Wikimedia Foundation Report, October 2010

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Wikimedia developers, tightly packed together for the DC hack-a-ton
  • Wikimedia Foundation projects serve more than 400 million unique visitors
  • Events: Hack-a-Ton in Washington, DC; Inside the Globe event in New York
  • Board meeting in San Francisco
The monthly report card for October 2010 (partial data) can be found at:
Global unique visitors:
408 million (+2.6% compared to previous month, +18.5% compared to previous year)
(comScore data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects)
Page requests:
14.5 billion (no change compared to previous month / +18.6% compared to previous year)
(Wikimedia Foundation data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia mobile)
Note: Page request data now includes all projects (previous months only reported Wikipedia pageviews), including the mobile site. Source data can be found at http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesPageViewsMonthlyAllProjects.htm and http://stats.wikimedia.org/EN/TablesPageViewsMonthlyMobile.htm .
Full community metrics for the month of October are not available as of this writing due to an extended outage of the database dump production server that provides the underlying source data.


Operating revenue for October: $3.2MM vs plan of $750K
Operating revenue year-to-date: $3.6MM vs plan of $1.4MM

The MTD and YTD overages were due to unrestricted gifts including an anonymous $2MM gift and several hundred thousand dollars of revenue related to community gifts as a result of pre-fundraiser testing.

Operating expenses for October: $1.4MM vs plan of $2.0MM
Operating expenses year-to-date: $4.6MM vs plan of $6.5MM

For MTD, underspending was due to: timing of capital expenditures and internet hosting ($180K-capex and internet hosting-amounts were budgeted evenly over 12 months rather than reflecting the timing of the data-center build-out and consequent increased hosting costs), timing of office expansion ($250K-costs incurred in Nov and Dec) and underspending in staff-related costs ($218K-salaries, taxes and benefits due primarily to hiring delays as well as staff development partially offset by immigration expenses). Overspending for the month primarily in travel and conference expenses ($50K).

For YTD, underspending is also due to above items of timing of capex and internet hosting ($1.3MM) and staff-related costs ($0.7MM) as well as outside contract services and volunteer development ($0.2MM combined). Overspending YTD is primarily in travel and conference expenses ($80K) as well as grants and awards ($165K) related to Wikimania scholarships, grant to Wikimania Poland and sponsorship of WikiSym Poland (scholarships were budgeted over 12 months instead of 1 month).

Cash and investments as of October 31 totaled $11.6MM.

Board of Trustees Meeting


In October, the Board of Trustees met in San Francisco. This was the first time the full 10-person board met in San Francisco, and included new board member Phoebe Ayers. The meeting was chaired by our new chair, Ting Chen.

Major agenda items included:

  • Governance Committee update and board member evaluation process: The board was joined by Jim Schwarz, a consultant from BoardSource who is helping with board development work. Major outcomes included (1) extending the terms of appointed "expertise" seats to two years from one year, and (2) a plan to run a self-evaluation process, in which all board members, as well as Sue Gardner, fill out detailed questionnaires assessing the performance of the individual board members. The assessments are meant to allow individual board members to strengthen their performance, as well as provide Ting and the governance committee with a more holistic picture of the board,
  • Chapters, financial controls and movement-wide transparency: The board was joined by staff members Erik, Barry, Veronique and Zack to discuss the legal status of the chapters, current fundraising practices, and the current state of chapters’ reporting mechanisms for both activities and financial reporting. The board passed a resolution that you can read here: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Wikimedia_fundraising_principles . It essentially called for the Wikimedia Foundation to ensure that agreements with chapters for money transfers coming out of the 2010 fundraiser be based in sound legal frameworks and be vetted to ensure they're legally valid, enforceable and responsible. It also called for adherence to donor privacy policies and high standards of transparency and accountability, and it amended the audit committee's charter to add responsibility for ensuring transparency WRT how donations are used by all Wikimedia entities, including chapters.
  • Controversial content: The board was joined by consultants Robert Harris and Dory Carr-Harris. Robert and Dory's observations and recommendations can be read here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/2010_Wikimedia_Study_of_Controversial_Content . To move the work forward, the Board appointed a working group led by Jan-Bart (as group chair), Phoebe and Kat, to work with Robert and Dory to figure out next steps, which will include communications with the Wikimedia community as well as specific discussions with the Commons community and development of a draft specific for the proposed new feature.
  • Movement Roles II: The board was joined by consultant John Huggett, and long-time Wikimedian, Austin Hair. The purpose of the Movement Roles II project is to draft a "Wikimedia Charter" clarifying the roles of different parts of the Wikimedia movement – basically, roles-and-responsibilities among the various organizational entities such as the Wikimedia Foundation, the chapters, and less-official associations such as wikipods, wiki-projects and student groups. The board voted to approve this resolution: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Vote:Movement_Roles_October_2010 . Read more about Movement Roles II here: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Movement_roles_working_group
  • Strategy update and review: At the board meeting, Sue Gardner gave the board a near-final version of the strategy document, which - once finalized - is intended to be published as a booklet which will be given out to chapters, foundations, partners, donors, and anyone else who wants it. The board voted to approve the final text, which means the document itself will be printed as soon as the final design is completed and approved.
  • Community health: The board held a broad discussion, led mainly by Samuel Klein, about community health. This included a discussion about development of a policy prohibiting both on- and off-wiki harassment of Wikimedia project participants, and responding to it it with global locking-out from the projects. Currently, board member Phoebe Ayers is working with Steven Walling to develop the draft policy, and hopes to have a near-final version of the policy available for the board to review in early November.



Critical improvements were made to fundraising infrastructure in preparation for the 2010 fundraising campaign. The features team geared up for a deployment of the new upload wizard for Wikimedia Commons, and continued testing the Article Feedback tool (which enables readers to assign star ratings to articles) on a subset of Wikipedia articles. We've also been aggresively testing new versions of both the ResourceLoader (which will reduce page load times) and Pending Changes in preparation for production deployments this quarter.

We're in the final phase of selecting a new primary data center location in Virginia. The new data center will mitigate our Tampa data center as a single point of failure for all Wikimedia Foundation projects.

The technology department ran a Hack-A-Ton ( http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Hack-A-Ton_DC ) in Washington, DC. This event was a great success for getting our volunteer development community together and squashing lots of bugs.

We also began interviewing for the Director of Technical Operations position, as well as preparing a number of new job openings.

For more information, please read the October engineering update:

Research and Strategy


A new research project, the Editor Trends Study, was launched to better understand patterns of growth and change in Wikipedia's communities. Diederik van Liere was contracted to undertake this study, and its results as well as code will be made available at: http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study

A canonical list of Wikimedia research projects which are underway was launched at: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research/Projects





October included frenetic preparations for the 2010 fundraiser. We picked up the pace of our testing to improve messaging and the efficiency of our forms. The tech team assigned to fundraising solved several critical problems to enable fundraising and testing at a larger scale and higher speed than in years past.



Our Community Fellows studying the Russian Wikipedia completed the first draft of their narrative history of the project. The team has a plan for releasing the history to the Russian and Meta communities soon and have moved on to a new phase of the project involving one-on-one interviews and a Russian community discussion.

Public Outreach


October saw lots of continued activity in the development, pilot and research plans for the new Article Feedback Tool. We began the Public Policy Initiative weekly newsletter, communicating updates on key project and related activities. To help with in-class teaching support, we finalized several brochures (e.g. "Evaluating Wikipedia Article Quality," "Introduction to Free Licenses," "How to Cite References on Wikipedia") and completed two Wikipedia screencast tutorials ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ambassadors/Resources ). We continued travel to universities, participating in workshops, recruiting new professors and checking with our current PPI professors.

The Initiative launched a scaled-up version of its portal on Wikipedia that includes information about all of the different classes whose students are participating in the Public Policy Inititative. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_United_States_Public_Policy

Inside the Globe Event


On October 7th, more than one hundred Wikipedia editors, donors, and readers gathered in New York City for Inside the Globe, a celebration of the dynamic community that has helped build the world’s largest free-knowledge resource. Wikipedia editor and Wikimedia Foundation fellowship recipient Steven Walling presented a talk regarding the identity and culture of the most involved editors, highlighting the motivations and methods behind their amazing accomplishments. Founder Jimmy Wales also spoke about the enormous impact of Wikipedia and the importance of continued support.

Global Development


Capacity building


The new Global Development department continued building capacity (see HR update below). Interviews were held for the positions of Program Assistant, Chapter Development Director, and National Program Director for India.

Offline and Mobile strategy focus


October was spent assessing the state of the offline and mobile work across the communities, and building on the strategic planning task force work in these areas in order to develop a scalable, strategic direction for investment.

  • Offline: We worked on strategy for the Wikimedia movement with a focus on scalability: i.e., how to get the best offline product available to the largest number of people. Some strategic direction is built out at http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Offline

Data Analytics


Mani Pande helped set into motion data analytics and key metric tracking for different geographies and key programs.



Media contact


Through October, WMF reported media contact with Swedish Educational Broadcasting, BBC World, Wired Magazine, MSNBC, BBC Arabic Services, and The Ubyssey. While in India, Barry Newstead and other Wikimedia figures, including Board member Bishakha Datta met with a number of local media, including CIOL.com, Economic Times of India, Hindustan Times, and Asian News International.

For more: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_room/Media_Contact#October_2010

Valuable reads


Ten Year Anniversary


Communications worked on a special global branding design concept for Wikipedia 10 in October, and began work on related merchandise to help celebrate the anniversary. See more at http://ten.wikipedia.org. On a related note, the Wikimedia Foundation has begun to explore the needs and requirements for a Wikimedia merchandise storefront. We also supported the work of the multimedia upload team with coordination of design strategy. Work also kicked off on global communications and media strategy planning for the annual fundraiser and for Wikipedia 10.

Other Communications Topics

Blog posts for October 2010

Major issues and media-interest topics:

Human Resources

Total Employee Count:
Plan: 72, Actual: 61
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 31
Process improvements should speed up the hiring over the rest of the fiscal year.
Real-time feed for HR updates: http://identi.ca/wikimediaatwork or http://twitter.com/wikimediaatwork

In October the Wikimedia Foundation added 2 permanent hires (Jessie Wild - Special Projects Manager, Global Development and Mani Pande - Senior Research Analyst, Global Development) and 4 temporary hires (Christine Mollenberndt - Community Associate, Dan Rosenthal - Community Associate, Ryan Faulkner - Research Analyst, Community Department, and Michelle Paulson - Associate Counsel).

Also in October the following employees left the Wikimedia Foundation; Rand Montoya - Head of Community Gifts, Aradhana Ravindra - Bookshelf Project Manager, and Mike Godwin - General Counsel. An announcement by Sue Gardner regarding Mike Godwin's departure can be found here:


Wikimedia organized an overnight offsite all-hands in Half Moon Bay. Board member Phoebe Ayers gave the opening presentation. We had two days of meetings, with an evening dinner and social events. The venue donated meeting space to us and reduced fees for the rooms; the entire event came in significantly under the established budget.

Following the departure of Mike Godwin, we engaged Alisa Key as interim General Counsel. Alisa has worked with us extensively in the past, and brings a broad-based knowledge of our particular legal challenges. She is working with Michelle Paulson, who has done pro bono legal work for the Wikimedia Foundation; Michelle is running our daily triage and more tactical engagements, and Alisa is overseeing Michelle and determining our interim strategy, as well as taking care of any legal challenges during this interim timeframe.

We opened a General Counsel search this month, working with m|Oppenheim recruiting. The process included a reworking of the job description by Sue, Cyn, Erik and Lisa Grossman, recruiter. We will engage with several candidates in a few rounds of interviewing that will include the C-level team and a few board members. We are regarding this both as a process for finding a GC, and as an opportunity to engage with the legal community.

Finance and Administration




Audited financial statements were approved by the audit committee and published. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/c/cc/FINAL_09_10From_KPMG.pdf

The Question and Answer sheet was also posted on the Foundation wiki at: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/2009-2010_Financial_Statements_Questions_and_Answers



In October, work began on the office expansion to the 6th floor. Admin provided support for the Hack-A-Ton ( http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Hack-A-Ton_DC ) in Washington D.C. and the All-Staff Retreat.

Office IT


A beta help desk ticketing system was launched. There were 186 tickets open during the month, and by the end of the month, 166 were resolved. This system is going to be expanded to include general administration needs as well.

We continued to work on a Google calendar migration and LDAP central authentication. We also created a local Ubuntu repository.

October 2010 Visitors to the San Francisco Office

  1. David Peters (Bolt|Peters)
  2. David Weir
  3. Phoebe Ayers (Board member)
  4. Jimmy Wales (Founder/Board member)
  5. Samuel Klein (Board member)
  6. Jan-Bart de Vreede (Board member)
  7. Kat Walsh (Board member)
  8. Stu West (Board member)
  9. Arne Klempert (Board member)
  10. Matt Halprin (Board member)
  11. Ting Chen (Board member)
  12. Bishakha Datta (Board member)
  13. Jeff Gray, Andrew Clarke, & Cassie Shum (ThoughtWorks)
  14. Jeff Wishnie
  15. Tom Taylor
  16. Craig Newmark (Advisory Board)
  17. Audit Team (KPMG)
  18. Steve Crocker
  19. Jim Schwarz (consultant from BoardSource)
  20. Robert Harris, (consultant for Board Meeting)
  21. Dory Carr-Harris (consultant for Board Meeting)
  22. Jon Huggett (consultant for Board Meeting)
  23. Austin Hair (consultant for Board Meeting/long-time Wikimedian)