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Wikimedia Foundation Report, September 2011

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Global unique visitors for August:
422 million (+7.9% compared with July; +13.7% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release September data later in October)
Page requests for September:
15.8 billion (+5,1% compared with August; +9.0% compared with the previous year)
Report Card for August 2011: The report card is currently undergoing a redesign as a more fully-featured dashboard.



(Financial information is only available for August 2011 at the time of this report.)

Financial information as of August 31, 2011

Revenue: $1,415,075


  • Technology Group: $1,474,075
  • Community/Fundraiser Group: $493,102
  • Global Development Group: $552,953
  • Governance Group: $183,732
  • Finance/Legal/HR/Admin. Group: $921,318

Total Expenses: $3,625,273

Total surplus/(loss): ($2,210,198)

Revenue was ahead of plan at $1.4M due to an increase in donations.

Expenses were below plan at $3.6M actual vs. $4.5M plan. Expenses were below plan due to lower than plan expenditures in Capital Expenditures, Chapter Grants and other activities due to being only two months into the fiscal year.

Cash of $15.5M, which is six months of cash reserves at current spending levels.



Public Policy Initiative and Global Education Program

Logo of the Wikipedia Ambassador Program (which originated as part of the Public Policy Initiative)

In September, the Public Policy Initiative wrapped up after 17 months. Collaboratively, the team created a final report for the Stanton Foundation (awaiting financial summary) and documented achievements, best practices and lessons learned. Other team activities included: Overall project documentation for Chapters Report; last PPI Regional Ambassador trainings throughout the United States; wrapping up the project research components and presenting results on-wiki, in papers and at the end of the month in a final presentation to the rest of the staff at one of the Wikimedia Foundation's brown bag meetings. Additionally, we transitioned specific project activities to the new Global Education Team. With the end of the Public Policy Initiative, the contracts of three team members, Sage Ross, Amy Roth and Mishelle Gonzales, ended by convention. We thank them for their hard work and their commitment to our mission. Sage's, Amy's and Mishelle's involvement in the Public Policy Initiative was key in linking Wikipedia peer production with higher education. We wish them all the very best for their future.

Also in September, the new Global Education Program team worked on preparing the first "Global Education Program Metrics and Activities Meeting" (October 25). This new monthly meeting is targeted at everybody (educators, students, Wikimedia chapters, individual volunteers) who is interested in outreach activities at educational institutions. The meeting aims at ensuring that best practices and lessons learned get shared across different countries. More information:


Ayush Khanna, who joined the Global Education Program team as a half-time contractor at the end of the month, will be in charge of providing quantitative data on our programmatic activities at universities around the globe.

The Global Education Program team also worked on preparing the start of a Wikipedia university initiative in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Supported by Sara Yap, Catalyst Project Associate for the Global Development team, the team embarked on developing a strategy for kicking-off a MENA Education Program in spring 2012.





Jon Harald Søby transitioned into a Fellow position, focused on community translations [1] and long-time research fellows Steven Walling and Maryana Pinchuk transitioned into full time Community Organizer positions to focus 100% on turning around editor decline.

1. http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/09/27/announcing-community-fellow-jon-harald-soby/

Global Development

  • Launch of a research project on Portuguese Wikipedia
  • Preliminary work for launching projects in the MENA region is underway.



A detailed report of the Tech Department's activities for September 2011 can be found at:


Tech Highlights


Apart from progress regarding HTTPS and internationalization/localization (see general "Highlights" section above), September's Tech highlights include:


  • Tampa Data Center — Our new data center contractor in Tampa has finalized the installation of three new racks, which will be used for networking, application serving, caching and data storage. Two racks (72 servers) worth of application servers have also been installed. With each server having 12 CPU cores, this is almost doubling our existing application server capacity. To-date, we have deployed and added 58 (of the 72) new application servers to production capacity.
  • Virginia Data Center — We completed replicating external storage (article texts) data to our new data center in Ashburn, for disaster recovery and usage by eqiad application servers in the future. Preparations are also being made to deploy bits.wikimedia.org in eqiad using Varnish 3.
  • HTTPS — Protocol-relative URLs have been enabled on all sites. SSL termination servers have arrived and are in the process of being installed, to prepare for the full deployment of HTTPS to all wikis.
  • Virtualization test cluster — All services except for DNS are up. The puppet repository has been released in a public repository. We've switched to using git/gerrit for our production puppet process. New instances have been tested building from scratch using puppet.

Features Engineering

  • Article creation and patrol — In response to a request by a majority of English Wikipedia community members to restrict new page creation to autoconfirmed users, discussions are underway to improve the article creation workflow and the user interface for new page patrolling as alternative strategies to cope with the new page creation backlog and reduce high-friction interactions with new users.
  • UploadWizard — A number of bugs were fixed, notably related to the Wiki Loves Monuments campaign and the deployment of protocol-relative URLs to Wikimedia Commons. Work was also done on multi-file selection, AJAX uploading and custom licenses.
  • ResourceLoader — The back-end for .js/.css page search suggestions was completed, and the Gadgets API overhauled. The gadget manager and the AJAX gadget editor are nearing completion: displaying, modifying, saving of gadgets and autocompletion in all form fields is now implemented.
  • Mobile Research — The team continued to work on the report on their field research in India and Brazil. Phone interviews in San Francisco, Chicago and Dallas were completed.
  • MobileFrontend — MobileFrontend was deployed in September and is now the default Wikipedia mobile experience. We've reached out to our various communities to create custom main pages, and are rolling out new ways of viewing Wikimedia projects on mobile. We also migrated our old WAP gateway traffic to MobileFrontend, so that we can serve our users from one place.

Special projects

  • 2011 Fundraiser — Increased logging was added to CentralNotice changes, including interfaces and filters to search and review them. The DonationInterface extension was abstracted and refactored in preparation for supporting a new potential payment processor, GlobalCollect. The team also fixed a number of bugs and added new features.
  • MediaWiki 1.18 — Wikimedia engineers worked together relentlessly in September to ready MediaWiki 1.18 for deployment. They finalized the review of the code, and fixed all the issues they could find. The deployment to Wikimedia sites was split into several phases using the heterogeneous deployment system. Stages 1 and 2 were completed on select wikis without too much trouble. Deployment to all remaining Wikimedia sites is scheduled for October 4th, 2011.
  • Code review management — Even though engineering and code review efforts were focused on MediaWiki 1.18 in September, the backlog of unreviewed commits in trunk still continued to decrease, which means we will be able to release MediaWiki 1.19 fairly rapidly, possibly as soon as December 2011.
  • Wikimedia Report Card 2.0 — The process of statistics generation continued to be automated; summaries for all Wikimedia wikis were also created, using the India report card as a model.
  • Summer of Code 2011 (GSoC) — All seven GSoC students passed. Most projects are in a good shape, even if not totally complete. Work now focuses on getting the students' code reviewed and polished before it can be merged and used on production wikis.


Screenshot from the winning entry of the WikiViz 2011 Data Visualization Challenge. Lines represent readership of different Wikipedia language versions (lower half) from countries (upper half)
  • The Research Committee (RCom) held its sixth meeting and addressed procedures for member turnover, new candidates for RCom, the scope and function of the RCom review process, a proposal for Wikimedians in residence in science/higher education, licensing requirements for WMF-supported projects and the preparation of a WMF data policy. [0]
  • We continued to work on the Open Access initiative, led by Daniel Mietchen. We submitted a response to an EU consultation on Open Access on behalf of WMF. [1] Daniel Mietchen and Dario Taraborelli attended COASP '11 [2] and worked with the Open Access publisher community on a strategy to increase the visibility of OA contents on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. We released a tool (the Wikipedia Cite-o-Meter) to measure citations and media used from scholarly journals across Wikimedia projects. [3]
  • We announced the winner of the WikiViz challenge (co-organized by WikiSym and WMF): Jen Lowe, for her work titled "A Thousand Fibers Connect Us – Wikipedia’s Global Reach" [4]. The awarding ceremony took place at WikiSym 2011 in Mountain View, CA.
  • We published the third issue of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter and presented the project at WikiSym. [5] We continued reviewing support requests from external research teams and testing solutions for open data hosting.
[0] http://etherpad.wikimedia.org/RCom201109
[1] http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Research:Committee/Areas_of_interest/Open-access_policy/EU_Consultation_on_scientific_information_in_the_digital_age&oldid=2888771
[2] http://oaspa.org/coasp/
[3] http://toolserver.org/~dartar/cite-o-meter/
[4] https://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/10/06/a-thousand-fibers-connect-us-wikiviz-winner-visualize-wikipedias-global-reach/
[5] http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Newsletter/2011-09-26


Department highlights

see general "Highlights" section above


Screenshot of the "answers" system
Reader Relations and Support

We responded to 39 requests for assistance from the community and the legal department during the month of September (on average spending around 60 minutes per request, though some are obviously much longer). In addition, Maggie has rolled out a trial of the "answers" system - a system designed for community members to ask questions that they haven't been able to find answers to before. From this, we'll be building out a knowledge bank of frequently asked questions about the Foundation, the communities, and hopefully developing a system that allows users to find the answers themselves in the future.

Philippe was primarily focused on supporting the Image Filter Referendum and data analysis from that. Philippe also supported Siko and Jon in the creation of their translations recruiting system and worked with them to be sure that the back end contact management system worked as designed and coordinated form creation with PeterG.

Christine began the process of transitioning to a data analysis project for Zack, and was on leave to support American Red Cross hurricane relief efforts.

Data Competition

The data competition is over! 96 teams, 193 players and 1019 submissions later we have a winner. We are right now evaluating the models and we will announce the winners on October 15th.

Editor Retention

Maryana and Steven are working on their first project as Community Organizers: running a second round of the template experiment performed by WSoR researchers Stuart Geiger and Aaron Halfaker. They will extend the experiment to all level one warnings delivered via the semi-automated editing tool Huggle, in order to see if changing the content of warning messages (which has remained static since user warnings were first created in 2006) has an impact on the users who receive them. They are also working with community members on exploring ways to extend these A/B testing methods to other areas, such as bots and help spaces.



The fundraising team has been working to integrate with a new payment provider that will allow us to accept many more currencies and local payment methods in different countries. We have been working to create a more global campaign to optimize our donations worldwide.

Weekly fundraising testing continued in September. The team put a lot of effort into designing, building, and testing several new donation form designs to streamline the donation process.

Messaging testing also continued in September. We had already discovered effective programmer, staff and founder messages, but this was our first effective editor appeal. For more details on specific tests, please see our updates on meta.

In September, we also held a focus group to learn more about our donors and why they support the Wikimedia Foundation. A report from this research will be posted in October.

Fundraiser Translations

We made a big leap in translator recruitment for the fundraiser in September. We streamlined the translation coordination pages to make it easier for translators to find new work and focus on quality checking, and we built a signup form and process to easily add recruits to CRM for email campaigns. As a result, 850 new translators were recruited. We now have 1000 translators signed up and are tracking end to end recruitment-translation-quality control for over 50 languages.

Major Gifts and Foundations

We attended a funders' conference sponsored by the Indigo Trust and the Omidyar Network that focused on how to use technology to produce social impact in the developing world. We received a $15,000 grant from the Indigo Trust. Finally, submitted two new proposals for major foundation funding.

Public Policy Initiative


see "Highlights" section above

Fellowship Program


Jon Harald Søby transitioned into a Fellow position, focusing on community translations. Jon's announcement can be viewed here [1]. More metrics for Jon's project are in the Fundraiser Translations update above.

WikiHistories Project

The WikiHistory fellows wrapped up their travel and blogging [2] and submitted their final reports at the end of this month. Their full work, as well as a summary of their findings, will go up on Meta in October.

1. http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/09/27/announcing-community-fellow-jon-harald-soby/

2. http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/09/02/update-on-virtual-community-history-research-spanish-language-wikipedia/

Global Development

Department highlights

Apart from activities regarding the Portuguese Wikipedia and the MENA regions (see general "Highlights" section), Global Developments hightlights include:

  • Ayush Khanna joins the Global Development Team as Data Analyst.
  • Working with chapters to compile program plans for 2011-2012.

Grants Awarded and Executed


Chapter Relations

  • Compiling chapters' plans at [1]
  • Finalizing chapters tracker for 2011/2012 Fundraiser and identifying chapters' FR statuses: [2]
  • Tracking 2011/2012 Fundraiser: [3]

Global South

  • The seTswana Wikipedia Challenge -- a collaboration between Google, Wikimedia Foundation, BITS (Botswana) and Wikimedians in Kenya -- is underway.

Brazil Catalyst [4]

  • Said farewell to our fabulous consultant, Carolina Rossini. (She finished her contract supporting the Brazil Catalyst Project and left her work in great condition for us to continue pushing forward.)
  • Discussions with recruiters and lawyers regarding the logistics of opening an office in Brazil continue: we hope to have a few program employees in place by early next year.
  • Jessie Wild and Barry Newstead will visit Brazil in October to meet with the community and visit universities. http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Brazil_Catalyst_Project/Agenda_October_2011

Research on Portuguese Wikipedia


Officially started a research project on the state of the Portuguese Wikipedia in conjunction with Siko and Fabian from the Community department. We have a qualitative researcher based out of Porto Alegre, Brazil, who is working on contract with us as well. Results can be tracked on the Meta wiki: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Portuguese_Wikipedia_trends_and_behavior

Some preliminary results:

  • Total number of editors has remained fairly constant since 2008.
  • Total number of new editors has also remained fairly constant, and comprises over 50% of the total editors in any given month.
  • According to the Editor Survey, PT-WP is the least satisified of all the language projects based on the WESI score developed by Mani and Ayush.

MENA Catalyst

  • Initiated our efforts to support the growth of the Arabic Wikipedia in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region http://blog.wikimedia.org/2011/10/04/wikimedia-foundation-to-launch-arabic-catalyst/
  • Discussions with the Qatar Foundation intensify, and we are close to announcing a partnership to work with the Arabic Wikipedia community to grow the Arabic Wikipedia.
  • The Qatar Foundation agreed to host a small Arabic Wikipedia Convening in Doha on October 20-21.

Mobile Strategy and Business Development

  • Progressing on several partnership discussions with Indian and Southeast Asian operators to make Wikipedia more widely available on their devices throughout those regions
  • The mobile team is also working on a marketing and technical plan, in collaboration with the engineering department, to provide zero-rated (free data access) to Wikipedia in developing countries.
  • Will post a position for a Mobile Partner Manager (Technical) later this month.

Editor Survey


Started work on the second iteration of the editor survey. Ayush Khanna has also joined the research team (taking the total to 2.5) as a contractor helping support survey and research efforts. Here is the Meta page for the survey: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Research:Wikipedia_Editor_Survey_November_2011/Translation/en

Reader Survey


Have got results from the fieldwork from consultants. We have preliminary data from 16 countries and will be sharing output in October.

Mobile Research


First draft of the report done. Working on the second iteration of the report.

  • Most searches for Wikipedia content start on Google even on the mobile.
  • Search in Indic Wikipedias is very hard.
  • Readers want more multimedia.
  • Editing remains a blind spot for most readers.

Global Education Program


see "Highlights" section above

Student organizations

  • After the first draft of the page creation process was tested, some changes need to be made and a new layout has been created. Testing will continue this month.
  • WMF is reaching out to student groups to send them "welcome packs" containing buttons, stickers, and other Wikipedia merchandise.

India Programs

  • Worked on creating a support ecosystem for students in the Education program - with additional Campus Ambassadors as well as a new layer of Online Ambassadors. (Both got trained last month - including mock Q&As.)
  • Commenced a community-wide collaborative endeavour to develop the Indic languages plan.
  • Initiated meetings with potential mobile partner (manufacturers, carriers & value added service providors).
  • Working on last hiring 2 team members - Communications & Program Support


  • Work was completed on a monograph of activities arond the India Catalyst efforts, set to be released in the next few days.
  • Support for identity and design systems for the Global Education Program kicked off in September.
  • Updates and refinements to the Wikimedia Shop (terms of service, privacy policy, other MOUs with vendors) were finalized in September - launch imminent!
  • We also further developed a speaking platform for Wikimedia stakeholders around editor decline and retention > focussing on our efforts to make Wikipedia more universal.
  • Movement communications has been building out a soon-to-be-released rapid communication tool to share our (and community) progress on edtior recruitement (and how everyone can help).
  • Work continued on the 2010/11 WMF Annual Report, set for release in November 2011.

Global Communications

  • Building on the Communications Committee's commitment to working more collaboratively, members now have access to the Internal wiki. ComCom will work to co-create communications materials and share best practices on the Internal wiki.
  • Global communications worked with Wikimedia Hungary to implement a communications strategy around the Hungarian Wikipedia's 200,000 article milestone. The celebration included digital and traditional media outreach and resulted in good media coverage in the region. An overview of the strategies, tactics and materials are now available on the Internal wiki to guide other volunteers when conducting outreach around article milestones.
  • Drafted communications plan for Wikimedia India's WikiConference to be held in Mumbai in November. The team is now working to secure a pro-bono communications firm to assist with outreach activities.
  • Macedonian Wikipedia conducted light media outreach to celebrate its 50,000 article milestone and Polish Wikipedia celebrated its 10 year anniversary.
  • "Wiki Loves Monuments", a pan-European photo competition, launched, welcomed by an outpouring of positive coverage from media all over Europe. The contest concluded with 165,000 photos submitted.

Storylines through August

Wikipedia's cancer coverage explored

Mostly neutral to positive tone coverage of a study that examined the quality of Wikipedia's articles about cancer topics - declaring it's of high quality, but sometimes difficult to read.



Continuing coverage of Wikipedia's 'gender gap'

CBC's nationally broadcast radio show 'Spark' conducted an interview with Sue Gardner in September focussing on the facts around Wikipedia's gender imbalance. The Atlantic also conducted an interview on the same topic.



Other worthwhile reads


Global media coverage


Polish Wikipedia turns 10


Times of India, India

You can't copy-paste this homework


IT Cafe, Hungary

Hungarian Wikipedia celebrates two hundred thousandth article


Turisver, Portugal

Portuguese Pousadas in Wiki Loves Monuments Portugal


Le Monde, France

Give the French their architectural landscape back


ERR, Russia

15 European countries will participate in Wikipedia photo contest


Diari Andorra, Andorra

Andorra participates in a photo contest to promote the cultural heritage


Wikipedia Signpost


WMF Blog posts


Media Contact



Human Resources


Staff Changes

New Perm Position Hire
  • Laura James, Office Travel Coordinator (Admin)
  • Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel (Legal)
  • Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, Development Director (Community)
  • Michelle Paulson, Legal Associate (Legal)
  • Maryana Pinchuk, Community Organizer (Community)
  • Steven Walling, Community Organizer (Community)
New Contractors
  • Greg DeKoenigsberg
  • Aislinn Dewey
  • Daniela Fiejó
  • Christophe Henner
  • Christopher Johnson (Technology)
  • Jeanie Mayall
  • Santosh Thottingal
  • Susan Walling
New Legal Intern
  • Andrew Alire
Contract Extended
  • Pavel Andreev
  • Tilman Bayer
  • Fabrice Florin
  • Fabian Kaelin
  • Ayush Khanna
  • Yusuke Matsubara
  • Ashok Misra
  • Jonathan Morgan
  • Sam Reed
  • Daniel Phelps
Contract Ended
  • Hampton Catlin
  • Mishelle Gonzales
  • Skye Kraft
  • Sage Ross
  • Amy Roth
New Postings
  • Senior Accountant
  • U.S. Education Program Associate
  • Systems & Operations Engineer
  • XML Dumps Help


Total Employee Count
Plan: 98
Filled: 1
September Attrition: 1
YTD Attrition: 6
Actual: 85

Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 32

Department Updates


The HR team continues to make great strides, particularly in recruiting. Steph Thommen has agreed to a longer term contract. She will be heading up the recruiting effort, in coordination with the hiring managers, C-levels and other contract recruiters and agencies. So far she has been a tremendous help in coordinating and vetting candidates in a timely manner. Steph has a superb background in hiring, management and training, so we are lucky to have her with us. We are also welcoming Jeanie Mayall as a generalist to help us cover some of our areas of need. Jeanie has great experience in immigration, so she can help us keep our visa work on track. She's also got awesome compliance chops, and is helping us with our ongoing HRiS deployment.

The All Hands (All Staff) meeting is right over the horizon, and we've been working hard to get it organized and ready for the team. Thanks to the admin team for their support, in particular Isa Munne and Laura James for travel help and assistance in finding venues and general organizing. We think the All Hands will be super; the emphasis is on our current progress and work towards our strategic goals, and practical work tools for all of us to be as efficient as we can.

When it comes to the All Hands this year, you can't really say the words without thanking Melanie Brown! She has done a fantastic job of cat herding, coordinating, emailing and calling to make this event happen, and we owe her a big round of applause (and probably a cookie) for her efforts. Thanks Mel!!

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

Finance and Administration

  • Completed setting up all the travel for the All Staff Meeting.
  • Completed setting up all the travel for the New Orleans Hack-a-thon.
  • The air conditioner on the sixth floor has been repaired.
  • Laura James has joined us as permanent employee in the Administration Department as our travel specialist.
  • Stats:
September 2011
  1. contracts signed - 20
  2. trademark requests - 2
approved - 2
August 2011
  1. contracts signed in August - 8
  2. trademark requests - 15
approved - 7
denied - 3
pending - 5

Visitors and Guests

  1. Jonathan Good (Cofounder, 1000Memories)
  2. Patrick Kane (WAWD)
  3. James Rucker (Citizen Engagement Laboratory)
  4. Carole Tang (Board Member, Wikimedia Hong Kong)
  5. Kathy Dong (Hiaring + Smith LLP)
  6. Vijay Toke (Hiaring + Smith LLP)
  7. Anne Hiaring (Hiaring + Smith LLP)
  8. Pierre Khawand, People-OnTheGo)
  9. Christophe Bisciglia (Cloudera)
  10. Carrie Olson (MoveOn.org)