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Wikimedia Highlights, October 2013

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Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for October 2013, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Pilot project for free mobile access to Wikipedia via text messages in Kenya

Wikipedia Zero, the program to provide access to Wikipedia on mobile phones free of data charges, became available in Kenya this month. The partnership with mobile provider Airtel also involves a pilot project testing free access to Wikipedia via USSD/SMS. For the first time, this service enables people who cannot afford data-enabled smartphones to read Wikipedia through SMS on low-cost basic phones ("feature phones").

An open letter for free access to Wikipedia

Video about South African students' grassroot efforts to get Wikipedia free on their cellphones

In November 2012, the students of Sinenjongo High School, South Africa wrote an open letter on Facebook, encouraging cellphone carriers to waive data charges for accessing Wikipedia, so they can do their homework. Victor Grigas and filmmaker Charlene Music visited them and asked them to read their open letter on camera, resulting in a short video that was published this October. Help is welcome with the translation, design and promotion of this video and of the longer documentary that will be published about the students' call for the carriers to sign up to the Wikipedia Zero partnership program organized by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Planning the replacement of the Florida data center

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Technical Operations team published a detailed request for proposals (RfP), inviting offers for the location of a new data center in the United States. It will join the existing primary data center in Virginia, and replace the data center in Tampa, Florida. Wikipedia and its sister projects have been hosted in Florida since 2004.

Dario Taraborelli presenting an analysis of trends in active editor numbers

Global unique visitors for September:

506 million (+1.82% compared with August; +6.54% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release October data later in November)

Page requests for October:

27.05 billion (+4.4% compared with September; +36.6% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for September 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

76,959 (+0.76% compared with August / -5.83% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of September 30, 2013
Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of September 30, 2013

(Financial information is only available through September 2013 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date September 30, 2013.

Revenue $7,868,439
Engineering Group $4,046,942
Fundraising Group $825,991
Grantmaking Group $441,816
Programs Group $424,627
Grants $674,032
Governance Group $152,461
Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group $843,218
Finance/HR/Admin Group $1,982,059
Total Expenses $9,391,146
Total deficit ($1,522,707)
  • Revenue for the month of September is $2.46MM versus plan of $0.99MM, approximately $1.47MM or 149% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $7.87MM versus plan of $2.98MM, approximately $4.89MM or 164% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of September is $3.33MM versus plan of $3.48MM, approximately $157K or 5% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, and travel expenses partially offset by higher grants, payment processing fees, and outside contract services.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $9.39MM versus plan of $11.17MM, approximately $1.78MM or 16% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, grants, and travel expenses partially offset by higher payment processing fees.
  • Cash position is $37.77MM as of September 30, 2013.
Video of the monthly Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meeting covering the month of October (November 7, 2013)

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

A video showing motion-tracked finger movements of two pianists playing the same piece. Imported by the OAMI from an open access research paper

Science award for bot that imports multimedia from academic publications to Wikimedia Commons

The Open Access Media Importer Bot (OAMI) searches the database PubMed Central for scholarly papers that include audio and video files as supplementary material. If it finds files that are under a suitable free license, the bot uploads them to Wikimedia Commons. The majority of the material comes from biomedical research papers. The bot has imported over 14,000 multimedia files since 2012; most of them are videos. They form a large part of the around 38,000 video files that currently exist on Wikimedia Commons. Over 700 of the imported files are currently used on Wikimedia projects, on pages that together receive about 3 million page views per month.

On October 21, at an event in Washington, DC (USA) during the annual Open Access Week, User:Daniel Mietchen received an ASAP award for the team behind the OAMI. The "Accelerating Science Award Program" is sponsored by 27 organizations that support open access. Each winner receives US$30,000.

New project encourages African communities to contribute local content to Wikimedia projects

Kumusha Takes Wiki is a new project for supporting people in Africa "to create and contribute freely-licensed information, texts, images and media about their communities (villages, townships, suburbs, inner cities, etc)." It is funded by the Orange Foundation. Photos will be uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, and text will be provided in a form that is suitable for reuse on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects.

"Kumusha" is a word from the Shona language (which is spoken in Zimbabwe and neighboring countries), and means "the place where you come from." The project "Kumusha Takes Wiki" is part of "Activate Africa", a network of projects and initiatives that aim to encourage contribution to Wikimedia projects in Africa, launched at Wikimania 2013.

Third "Iberoconf" summit in Mexico City

Iberocoop is an initiative joining chapters and other groups in the Wikimedia movement from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and Italy. From October 12 to October 15, representatives of these organizations, as well as some board and staff members of the Wikimedia Foundation, came together in Mexico City for Iberoconf 2013, the third such meeting after 2011 (Buenos Aires) and 2012 (Santiago de Chile).

Among the outcomes was the decision to appoint a coordinator for Iberocoop. Carmen Alcázar of Wikimedia Mexico is the first to serve in this role.