Wikimedia chapters/Reports/Wikimedia Deutschland/December 2011 January 2012

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SOPA, the blackout and the consequences[edit]

The SOPA and PIPA bills, which were stopped through the Wikipedia blackout among other things, made feelings run high in January: a week after the blackout, Dr. Günter Krings, deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic parliamentary group, and Ansgar Heveling, the Christian Democratic rapporteur on copyright issues who is on the Committee for Culture and Media, felt compelled to praise the attack on the Internet’s freedom. They justified this mainly citing the spectacular arrest of Kim Schmitz: "The case of Megaupload makes it clear that we have need of a clear, legal framework on the Internet just as is naturally the case in the real world."

The two Christian Democratic politicians, however, did not stop with this variation of the frequently heard claim that the Internet is a lawless area. In the same breath they grouped Wikipedia together with file hosters and "greedy internet criminals." Obviously, they were unaware of the fact that the Wikimedia Foundation, before the protest began, had put forth sophisticated arguments about possible collateral damage of the American laws initiatives for the freedom of the Internet. As an immediate reaction, Wikimedia Germany made it clear to the two authors in a letter that Wikipedia has to be understood as an educational project, which upholds to the last point all copyright laws and conscientiously clarifies rights in order to grant to its subsequent users precisely the freedom which is formulated in the licensing model of the texts and images from Wikipedia.

In regard to future debates concerning Internet governance Yochai Benkler, the keynote speaker at the recent Wikimania in Haifa, stressed in his brilliant analysis of the prominent role that the free online encyclopedia plays: "Wikipedia represents a moral force that no commercial site can ever hope to replicate.”

ACTA: effects on Wikipedia so far hardly assessable[edit]

Since 2008, thetrade agreement ACTA (anti-counterfeiting and trade agreement) has been negotiated, which, among other things, has the aim of harmonizing international standards against infringements of trademarks and copyrights. The negotiations of 39 states until thefinal version final version of the document were so secret that there was virtually no public commentary about it. So far, there has still not been any official impact assessment for the production and dissemination of free knowledge on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation but a post on Meta might serve as a precursor to it. Jan Engelman wrote yesterday in the blog about the background of ACTA and the formation of the protest.

Legal advice in a new team[edit]

Similar to the Wikimedia Foundation, the German Aid Association also receives on a regular basis legal mail, which mostly deals with legal or moral rights issues pertaining to certain content on Wikipedia. When the OTRS team cannot help with explanations of the internal regulations and procedures, this is where our long-standing law firm JBB comes into play. With Ansgar Koreng, author of the study "Censorship on the Internet. The constitutional protection of digital mass communication " who also has a law blog, we now have a new colleague who, together with Jan Engelmann , tries to manage cases as efficiently as possible, especially for our affected authors, who have directly received legal warnings. The e-mail address has been especially set up to receive inquiries from the OTRS team or our community of authors.

Wikipedian in residence before a call for applicants[edit]

A long-planned project will probably come to its implementation: the temporary appointment of a Wikipedian in a museum in order to work there as a consultant, facilitator and as a human interface between the curatorial care of the contents and their accumulation and replication in the international context of Wikimedia projects. We are currently negotiating with four institutions in the city so that there can soon be a call for applicants. For more information, please see our blog soon.



The fourth and final 2011 edition of our free club magazine was published in November during the General Assembly of Wikimedia Germany. The first edition of this year will be published in March 2012. In January, the initial editorial preparation took place. After 11 editions and three years of Wikimedium, we have taken the time to take stock of things. On the one hand, we produce 5,000 copies of our magazine and now nearly have 3,000 copies sent out to subscribers and can look forward to regularly publishing contributions from volunteers. In fact, the ratio of volunteer writers between the Wikimedia projects and the Wikimedia Germany staff in the office is now at about 50:50. On the other hand, we want to increase the circulation to 10,000, making the magazine better and especially making it even easier to participate. Therefore, the Wikimedium should have some layout changes and a clearer structure. In addition, there is now a meeting place for all those interested and all who want to publish something in the Wikimedium directly on Wikipedia. We welcome guest authors!

Of course, Catrin and Michael are still available for inquiries, suggestions for topics and texts via !

Press releases[edit]

Around the end of last year and the beginning of this year, we published four press releases. At the beginning of December, we made an announcement about the winners of the second round of our Idea competition WissensWert. Part of the press-side support of the fundraising campaign was following a report about the interim status of the donations just before Christmas. After the Wikimedia Foundation declared its campaign to be over on January 1st, four days later there was a thank you banner in the German version of Wikipedia and in one of its own press releases there was information about the end of the campaign. The effect of the two time-delayed pulses to the media was an extended period of media coverage. While at the beginning of the first calendar week the end of the international campaign was stressed by news agencies and online and printed newspapers, a second wave of media attention was produced at the end of the week by Wikimedia Germany’s message about the level of donations achieved in Germany with more than 160,000 donations. A selection of reports can be found in the news coverage of Wikimedia Germany.

The Wikimedia Foundation accompanied the 24-hour black-out of English version of Wikipedia on January 18th, offering technical support and press coordination. After the other Wikipedia communities had determined what measures they were going to take just before the planned black-out, Wikimedia Germany issued a press release about the context of protest against SOPA / PIPA. On the eve of January 18th and in the following days, our office’s telephone was constantly ringing on account of inquiries from the press.

All our press releases can be found at:

Press talks / press inquiries[edit]

Numerous press inquiries were processed in December and January. In addition to the aforementioned topics of the Fall 2011 campaign and the press release about SOPA, there was among other more questions about the trial version of the visual editor , which was published by the Wikimedia Foundation. A selection of the resulting media coverage we have also placed in our news coverage.

Informational material[edit]

Especially through the activities of the speaker network (schools, seniors) information broschures such as the Wikipedia-multiplication tables and the information flyer about the project Silver Knowledge are increasingly in demand. In January, we thus had to increase the amount of materials we have on hand. Through our cooperation partner the German Senior League, more than a dozen community colleges have approached us concerning our workshops. In December, we also created a Christmas card that was sent out to club members. Preliminary work began in January for the production of the annual report of Wikimedia Germany for the year 2011. At first we worked on the concept and presentation. We are grateful for the many suggestions! The activity reports from previous years can be found on our website.

Wikipedia book[edit]

On December 15th, there was another reading of “Everything about Wikipedia” and this time in Dortmund. At this point, we would like to thank a local community member who prepared with a lot of commitment the reading and was there to help out the reading. We are planning an additional reading in Leipzig ("Leipzig Reads") in cooperation with the German National Library for the Blind. The event is scheduled for 3/16/2012, start: 6 p.m., place: German Central Library for the Blind (DZB), Gustav-Adolf-Strasse 7 in Leipzig. More information will follow.

The initiative “Wikipedia has to become world cultural heritage”[edit]

Meanwhile, there are now over 67,900 confirmed signatures on the petition page. 2012 is the anniversary of "40 Years of the World Heritage Convention." We plan to transfer the signatures to the UNESCO in an appropriate manner. Sebastian Sooth is the contact person for this.


Wikipedia for schools[edit]

In the Wikipedia for Schools program in December, there were four workshops in schools. This provided information on how to deal with Wikipedia. The results for the year showed that the demand for teacher training has increased significantly and, in this context, Wikipedia is increasingly being perceived in the field of online research. Therefore, we have begun the year 2012 with a focus on teacher training. Since the beginning of the year, we already had 15 inquiries and four workshops have already been held. News of the program is getting around! In January, the planning began for the next speakers workshop in early March. We are looking for speakers for 2012, especially from central Germany! Click here to apply.

University program[edit]

In the summer semester 2012, Wikimedia Germany will launch the "university program" which is about having students from various universities create articles for Wikipedia in the context of seminars. In early December, Elly and Denis met with representatives of four universities to talk about possibly participating in the university program in the summer semester. Shortly thereafter, the training for speakers for the university program took place. In addition, there met on December 17th and 18th ten speakers at an orientation workshop in Cologne. Here, an exemplary schedule was worked out for the semester and a structure to support the representatives of the universities was jointly developed. In early February, representatives of the participating universities will come together to meet up with the speakers in order to begin their work.

Silver Knowledge / TAO[edit]

In December 2011, Wikipedians from Berlin and our project manager Elvira met to discuss Silver Knowledge. Discussions, suggestions and ideas dealt, among other things, with the media coverage of the project and the need for clear and easily understandable material for Wikipedia beginners.

We have agreed to work together with the Anna Seghers Library in Berlin for the first quarter of 2012, agreed. An introductory lecture and two workshops at the library are planned.The collaboration with the Adult Education Association of North Rhine-Westphalia and the German Senior Citizens League has resulted in more requests from community colleges and, for the first time,l senior citizens advisory boards.

In January 2012 Elvira talked with the initiative „SHARE-EXPERIENCE“ in Hannover. The training conducted so far demonstrated the interest of the seniors in Wikipedia. A form of collaboration is planned for the upcoming months.

Elvira also introduced the project “Silver Knowledge” to both representatives of the educational institution „Work and Life“ in Bremen and committed seniors. The opportunity to participate on Wikipedia found a positive response. The first events are planned for the fall.


Fall campaign[edit]

We made good progress going into the new year - the fundraising campaign achieved an impressive result: 3.8 million Euro worth of donations with more than 160,000 donors in just 52 days. Never before has the campaign been so successful and so short. No wonder, then, that the fundraiser we did dominated our work in December and up into the new year. While in November especially different banners of Jimmy adorned the pages of Wikipedia, we succeeded in the second month of the campaign to create a more varied and hopefully more interesting and informative. There were appeals from Brandon Harris and Ryan Kaldari programmers at the Foundation and from Susan Hewitt, one of the authors of the Wikipedia. We were particularly pleased to have the appeal of Katrin Rönicke, a Wikipedia donor. Her text is the first appeal to come from Germany that was just as successful as those professionally written appeals of the Wikimedia Foundation. In addition to Katrin, we received a great deal of support from other authors and donors who wrote personal appeals.

Extensive testing provided us with a sound evaluation and assistance in selecting which appeals would be shown and in improving the page layout and usability. This accompanied us almost daily throughout the course of campaign. Especially with the help of the findings, we managed to leave the valley before Christmas donations in order to launch new text banners with a hugely successful period between the holidays and to end the campaign on January 5 with a thank you banner. As a token of appreciation and a thank you, we arranged on the last day to show all the appeals from our volunteers which were not shown during the campaign.

But not only the testing kept us very busy. A total of 5,000 emails, hundreds of phone calls, letters and faxes with different needs and requests were received by us in the course of the campaign. Not only was there a record for the increase in donations! With the success we had, the demands placed on service have increased. This shows that the fall campaign is also one of the largest Wikimedia publicity campaigns. Through the campaign, we reach not only donors but in general a large number of people interested in Wikipedia who read the appeals. With the help of the appeals and the comprehensive responding to the the incoming tide of emails and phone calls, we were able to clean up some prejudices and misinformation.

We will publish over the next few weeks a detailed analysis and evaluation of the fundraising campaign.

… and afterwards[edit]

In particular, the systematic testing of banners and appeals is the reason for the successful ending of the campaign. Till presented this approach in January at the online fundraising conference „Fundraising 2.0“ in a keynote speech and thus aroused the interest of about 200 listeners. At the same event as a team, we conducted a well-attended workshop on the same topic. The presentation of our campaign was at the center of another presentation by Till on the Information Day of Grün, the software agency that produces the donation software that we use and which it adapted to our needs. Both presentations will soon be available on Commons.

Punctually, at the end of the campaign, Sue Gardner published her proposal for the further development of the Wikimedia movement. In the last several weeks, our office has worked on formulating its opinion and position on the draft created by Sue. Our fundraising team was intensively involved in working on the development of an alternative model through a working group at our office.

And, last but not least, good news at the end: Johannes Schrader, who during the last three months did an internship in the field of fundraising, will remain with us as a project assistant and strengthen the fundraising team.


Community project budget (CPB)[edit]

Just before Christmas, the community project budget committee met in Hanover. Over the course of two days, many exciting applications were presented and discussed. Sebastian Sooth from our office supported the committee at its meeting. In mid-January, the Committee sent its report to the Board, The projects of the 2nd round will be announced shortly.

Community budget[edit]

In December, in a series of meetings with the Museum for Hamburg History heavy support was garnered for the use of QRpedia. This also found resonance with Andy Mabbett from Birmingham, who in the wiki world is one of the most active protagonists of this combining of exhibitions and Wikipedia.

In a reciprocal gesture, Alice Wiegand from the German-speaking support team visited London on January 7th and 8th in order to attend a workshop with English OTRS-learn and to talk about the experiences of the German team.

With the help of the community budget, in January the first meeting of the Wikipedia map Wikipedia map workshop was held in Berlin-Spandau. The cartographers attended the international conference News - Infographics - Maps on January 12th, which was followed by a meeting and on the next day a visit to Wikimedia’s office.

There was plenty of demand for the participation grants which are awarded together with the Wikimedia Foundation. In the meantime, the Wikimedia Foundation and Wikimedia Germany have made their goal more precise: those people will be funded so that they can participate in external, relevant events provided that, in so doing, it can be expected that new authors for Wikipedia will be gained. An overview of the funding already offered can be found in the Meta-Wiki in the category “Participation Grants funded in FY 2011-12“. Since the beginning of the December, Wikimedia has also been giving away email addresses to project workers and it comes as no surprise that the are by far the most popular. But and addresses are also in demand (and, of course, provided).

In December with the technology pool, it became possible to rent technical equipment in order to create content on a new basis. In addition to being able to lend equipment from the inventory of Wikimedia Germany, it is now possible to borrow other devices from the inventory of external lenders, which will be paid for by Wikimedia. Thus, the amount of available technology has been expanded.

Literature stipend[edit]

In January, not only could 13 new grants be offered but we were also able to do the budget and set the goal of the literature stipend. As we had to notice in one case that not every provider of electronic resources would like to work together with Wikimedia, we are working on developing an argument as to why it's good for publishers to make sources accessible to Wikipedia authors. The benefits (e.g. the prominent citation, possibly with links to the much-visited Wikipedia pages), some hold not to be a sufficient compensation for the feared harm that texts might be copied or that competition might result between Wikipedia and commercial database providers.

WissensWert (Worth Knowing)[edit]

In early December, the jury met to assess the WissensWert (Worth Knowing) entries and so Nicole was able to announce the winning projects on December 15th. Five projects in the first half of 2012 will be provided about 5,000 Euros and will be supervised in their implementation by us. The winners come from very different areas as can be seen from the project titles: Open access media importer for Wikimedia Commons,Time travel in OpenStreetMap – or: OSM in the 4th dimension,CC PLAY – play the commons,Open (citizen) science through more pubicly available genotyping andBarrier-free YouTube OER-videos.

The initial project agreementshave been signed and funding has been allocated to the project partners. In the upcoming weeks, the first report will also appear about each respective project status. During our planning for 2012, we will consider how we should proceed with WissensWert, whether we will want to focus on a particular theme or turn WissensWert into a continuous development program. For any questions you may have, Nicole is happy to help out.

Wiki Loves Monuments[edit]

In consultation with the European organization team, Catrin and Micah designed a calendar with our graphic artist showcasing the winning images, which should arrive in the upcoming days at our office.

In recent weeks, Undine has been in charge of sending out the prizes to the winners. Since not all participants had enabled the Wikipedia email function, it has taken a long time to contact all people involved. (All winners who have not yet received any message should please contact Nicole.)

The plans for this year’s competition are already underway at the international level and in Germany there is the first set of organizations interested in supporting the competition as a partner.

Zedler prize 2012[edit]

With the Zedler prize for free knowledge, Wikimedia German distinguishes people, groups and projects that engaged themselves especially for the sake of free knowledge. In detailed discussions with representatives of the community, within our office and with other actors in the field of free knowledge we developed this new concept, which clearly differs from the original article competition. In November, we asked for suggestions for jury members and articles as well as projects for potential winners. The choice of jury members by the Wikipedia community was already decided in early January. All the results can be found on thejury’s project page. By the end of January, suggests were also made for external partners and judges and were collected. It is still not too late to make further suggestions.

For the three categories, article of the year, community project of the year and external (knowledge) project of the year, between 30 and 40 candidate suggestions are made, which are evaluated by the jury by the end of March. There are also some initial thoughts about the context and scope of the awards, which will take place in May in Berlin. We will be seeking soon feedback and requests from community partners in regard to this.

Nicole is the contact person for all matters relating to Zedler. Catrin helps out with contact to partners and external judges.

Women and Wikipedia[edit]

Julia Kloppenburg, who has so far supported us as an office assistant, will serve as a project assistant starting from mid-February will supervise the field of women and Wikipedia.

In December and January, Catrin, Johannes, Julia and Nicole met with Katrin Rönicke in order to gather initial ideas for working towards our goal of having “50% more women participate on the German version of Wikipedia and in the activities of Wikimedia Germany in comparison to the previous year” and to develop measures to achieve this. Katrin, who many of you surely know from the [#Test_19:_test_of_various_appeals banners of our fundraising campaign] , also translated the HuffPost text by Sarah Stierch into German: SOPA Blackout: Why Wikipedia needs Women. Initial inquiries from potential partners (women's initiatives, women's associations, etc.) reached Catrin on account of an article published in the last Wikimedium and she had several preliminary talks in January.

We also plan to participate in WikiWomanCamp in Buenos Aires, and in what form and to what extent and how grants will be awarded -we will clarify all this in the next few weeks.

Tool server[edit]

The tool server admins Daniel Baur and Marlen Caemmerer were in mid-January in the Amsterdam computer center of the tool server and carried out on site a lot of maintenance work and installed the first part of the hardware ordered in December. Unfortunately, on account of a supply shortage not all parts, which are needed for memory expansion, could be installed. Sebastian Sooth took care of the grants from the supporting chapter and the handling of the hardware order.


 In preparation for the long-awaited CommunitySpace in Berlin, in December and January we conducted intensive negotiations with landlords and potential partners. And also to support local work, we continued talking with potential partners. Those interested in having a say on the Community Space area can contact Sebastian Sooth directly.

Wikimedia Conference 2012[edit]

From March 29th through April 1st 2012, Wikimedia Germany for the fourth time will be the host of the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin. At the event, representatives of theinternational Wikimedia chapters will meet to discuss the strategy, cooperation and professionalism of the national agencies and to share experiences. In addition, theBoard of Trustees, the highest decision making body of the Wikimedia Foundation, will meet for its regular session.

Nicole will take over for the third time the organization of the event. Harel Cain of Wikimedia Israel will be responsible for the program coordination and communication with the chapters

We have sent invitations to 41 (!) chapters, created project plans, opened registration and a hostel has already been found. The first questions for presenters and caterers have been written down.

At the conference, there will certainly be chances for interested Wikipedians to meet international guests. All inquiries about the Wikimedia Conference should be sent to Nicole at

Wikipedia Hackathon in San Francisco[edit]

From January 20th through the 23rd in San Francisco, there was a “Hackathon,” that is, a workshop for software developers, where the aim was to work together on new features and to bring interested developers closer to MediaWiki. Daniel Kinzler of Wikimedia Germany took part in the hackathon and used the trip as well to coordinate work on the Wikidata project with the Wikimedia Foundation. So, among other things, he was able to clarify procedures for testing and integrating new software into the Wikimedia landscape. Various details for its implementation were discussed as well.

Daniel has posted a detailed review of the hackathon here in the blog.



As part of the research project, [#RENDER RENDER] Mathias and Angelika participated in a review meeting on January 12th prior to the European Commission in Luxembourg (blog post). There we presented our first drafts of planned support tools for readers and authors of Wikipedia. The presentation slides can be found at commons and Slideshare. The positive assessment on site about the development of the project was later confirmed in a written report. In addition, the reviewers offered suggestions for the further optimization of the cooperation between all partners within the project. The full report is confidential so, unfortunately, it cannot be released by us.

On January 26th and 27th, representatives of all project partners met in Innsbruck (at our partner STI). Anselm and Angelica attended. The main issue here was, of course, the opinion of the review meetings and the resulting tasks. A detailed report on the meeting in Innsbruck and our current work will follow in the upcoming days.

Questions or comments can be sent to or directly to Angelika.

Wikipedia Academy 2012[edit]

In cooperation with the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society Alexander and theFree University Berlin, Wikimedia Germany is holding from June 29th to July 1st 2012 the conference “Wikipedia Academy 2012: Research and Free Knowledge” in Berlin (blog post).

Nicole, Angelika and Denis met on December 12th for the first time with the organizing committee, a group of people from the most different areas of science, experienced organizers of scientific conferences and Wikipedians with a scientific background in order to design the event. This committee is to identify relevant topics, develop appropriate formats for the event and attract potential speakers and bring other partners on board.

On January 17th, we published the call for papers. We invite everyone until March 31st to submit conference-related topics such as Wikipedia analytics, Wikipedia global diversity / gender gap and "research on users of and contributors to Wikipedia."

At the moment, we are putting together an academic program committee that will review the submissions. Nearly 40 people have already confirmed that they will submit papers and the list will be published in the next few days. On February 14th, the organizing committee will meet to decide on the format of the event. For suggestions, proposals of themes and tips relevant to researchers, please email us at


Gerrit Holz, who has been working since May 2009 as a work-study student, will fortunately remain at our office. In his new role as a project assistant, starting from January 1st he will equally look after the literary stipend and the RENDER project. Undine Plumper completed her internship in mid-January at Wikimedia Germany and is now focusing on finishing up her studies. We will keep our fingers crossed! Interns also continue to be sought for work at our association.

In regard to the goals for 2012, which were decided upon by the General Assembly, members of our office held their own workshop on the last weekend in January. In the next few days, we will publish a report about this.