Affiliate-selected Board seats/2019/Nominations/Yuri Astrakhan (yurik)


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Yuri Astrakhan

Wikimedia username:


Questions for all candidates - Questions for this individual candidate that do not apply to other candidates



I believe our primary focus should be wiki content and the support for content contributors, chapters, and user groups, rather than the endless search for the perfect mission statement. It should be the international communities that sets priorities and directs funds distribution via affiliates, not the WMF driving itself and risk slowly becoming an unaccountable and stagnant corporation. I believe my multicultural and engineering background, as well as extensive community work will be a valuable asset for the board.

How can one of the largest websites on the planet be governed by a board with practically no technical expertise? Shouldn’t there be at least someone to help the board with technical questions - e.g. what is possible and how difficult or costly it may be? I would like to bring 20+ years of technical and financial expertise, the 14 years of the wiki volunteering and advocating, and 4 years of WMF employment experience to the board.

Most people donate because they value content, and yet out of the 300 people of WMF staff, only Community tech team of 7 people, or ~2% (!!!) are actually dedicated to addressing community wishes - community that created wiki content in the first place. Other engineering teams make their own plans without referencing the Wishlist survey. I believe every non-maintenance engineering project should in reflect the priorities of the community. If it was the community that built this site and made it a success, shouldn’t the community have more say in what gets done with donations and future direction?

I was born in Russia, lived most of my life in New York, traveled almost non-stop around the world, lived in Europe for several years. I created Multilingual templates and modules project to help smaller wikis concentrate on writing rather than copy/pasting templates. I presented at numerous conferences in Japan, South Africa, Russia, Italy, Mexico, and the USA. I am also heavily involved in OpenStreetMap, helping with multilingual documentation and metadata structuring. I was leading Wikipedia Zero technology for several years, and ran interwiki bot for millions of edits to connect wikis together. In short, most of my work concentrated on multilingual and multicultural aspects of the wikis, and I want to share that experience with the board.


  • Initiated and lead the Maps project that was later voted #1 in importance by the community (2014-17 WMF sr engineer)
  • Developed graphs and charts support for MediaWiki
  • Author of MediaWiki API in 2005 as a volunteer
  • Millions of bot edits as user:YurikBot (mostly interwiki and link alphabet fixes in Cyrillic wikis)
  • Support smaller projects by helping them with multilingual shared templates and modules.
  • Extensive traveling and presenting at the conferences around the world.
  • Working with many wiki communities in many languages, started Schools and Universities project at ru wiki, engaged with wikitravel maps efforts.
  • Financial experience: CTO of a hedgefund 2008-2013



I am eligible for this position because I am a member of the Wikimedia Movement, I am one of the MediaWiki developers, and I was nominated by Wikimedia RU.



Wikimedia RU


During the Wikimedia RU meeting on April 27th, it was proposed to support the candidacy of Yuri Astrakhan (Yurik) in the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees elections. Yuri has been an active MediaWiki platform developer for many years, both as a volunteer and for four years as an employee of Wikimedia Foundation. Even after leaving WMF, Yuri continues to contribute software and expertise to Wikimedia movement and other open source projects. He has a wide range of experience in working with communities in different languages - he was born in Russia, lived in Europe, and has been living in New York for many years. Yuri’s fluency in English will help communicate the wishes of non-English speaking communities to the board of trustees. In the last election, he received the support of more than 70% of voters. Wikimedia RU has decided to supports the nomination of Yuri Astrakhan on behalf of our chapter. — On behalf of Wikimedia RU,

I (in capacity of director of Wikimedia RU and official representative at this elections) hereby confirm that we discussed this topic during the general meeting of the members of Wikimedia RU and that we decided to support the nomination of Yuri. Dr Bug (Vladimir V. Medeyko) 10:16, 30 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong


The Liaisons of Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong unanimously approved to endorse the above user for the following reasons:

  1. Long Time contribution to MediaWiki API, which enables the development of gadgets, tools, and lot more (including Twinkle, etc.)
  2. Tech behind the platform is also one of the cores within the movement
  3. Long time knowledge of the movement since 2005

As the Community Liaison of Wikimedia Community User Group Hong Kong, the Hong Kong User Group endorses this self-nomination.--1233 T / C 13:58, 30 April 2019 (UTC)[reply]