Talk:Wikimedia Foundation website/Archive/2020

Translation in other languages

Hi, how to translate in other languages? I and other volunteers can help translate in Italian. Is there a TranslateWiki page?--Ferdi2005[Mail] 22:17, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

and also please translate in Indonesian because that's my official language --PutriAmalia1991 (talk) 14:19, 19 January 2020 (UTC)

@Ferdi2005 and PutriAmalia1991: We are very interested in expanding to additional languages! However, we need to have a system in place for long-term support of the language to avoid having outdated content in the future. This has been a problem for us before, and we committed on this project to developing methods to prevent that from occurring again. There are legal complexities which limits us in terms of methods, but we are working with people across the movement on this effort. You can visit the Organization communications translators group page on Meta-Wiki for more information on the project and how to apply to join when additional languages are added. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:56, 30 January 2020 (UTC) links to URIs like and which are 500 Internal Server Error. —Justin (koavf)TCM 23:24, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

@Koavf: I am sorry you are having problems with these links. They are working okay for me, can you verify that you are still having problems accessing them? Thank you! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 22:36, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: "500 Internal Server Error If you are the administrator of this website, then please read this web application's log file and/or the web server's log file to find out what went wrong." —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:44, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Why is this a URI redirect rather than a direct link? —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:45, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Those are the links which the platform provides us. I am not sure if that is because the final links could change. However, I know that people outside the organization (colleges, job fairs, etc.) sometimes take and post those links in a way where having a short URL is helpful. I believe it also helps with analytics around the origin of where the job posting info came from, but I could be wrong on that. But in short, I believe it is because the benefits outweigh the potential problems. It is also unlikely to be related to this, as the long URLs would probably not have worked either. My best guess is that they posted it to the website accidentally a tiny bit before the posting went live officially, and you just happened to catch it during that window. It has not happened before to my knowledge, but seems logical to me knowing the systems. I have never personally seen a situation with this platform where the shortlink does not work and the long link does. Can you verify if they are working for you now? If so, I can look into the timeline a bit and see if that is what happened. If they are still not working for you, obviously a different problem. Thank you! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:18, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: Firefox, "500 Internal Server Error If you are the administrator of this website, then please read this web application's log file and/or the web server's log file to find out what went wrong." Brave, redirects to just fine. Firefox, just fine. This is likely due to the many anti-tracking add-ons I have on Firefox and the fact that Brave is fresh out of the box. —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:24, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Interesting! I will let the department who operates the job posting platform and manages that page know about this. This is the first time I have heard anything like this with these links, so need to look into it a bit more. Thank you for letting us know! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:29, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: And thank you for your cordial response, Gregory. I would very much encourage the WMF to rethink using these sort of redirects, as I find them very suspicious and block them by default. If nothing else, you can use the shortened URIs in the very narrow contexts where they are most useful (e.g. a printed flyer at a job fair) but save the proper locations for the links on the Foundation's site. —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:13, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Website full page banner promoting

OPEN LETTER (email archive, 23 April 2020)

Dear Katherine Maher, @Katherine (WMF):,

The WMF home website landing page ( yesterday featured a full-page banner directing all visitors globally to This is a site used for American political lobbying, refer to the email discussion attached.

Could you, or the responsible member of your management team, please explain exactly how this happened?

There is zero doubt that this was a serious operational error, misuse of WMF development time and a misuse of the Wikimedia brand. It is certain that you will agree that the buck stops with the CEO. The decision to use the Foundation's website for American lobbying is in conflict with your not for profit status and is in conflict with the charitable status promoted to donors worldwide.

If the management team and yourself are going to continuing political lobbying and using WMF resources to raise funds for American political organizations which have no agreed relevance to the mission of the Foundation, there must be a published transparent governance review by the WMF board of trustees to examine and agree on this significant operational change to the public Foundation strategy and the terms for the CEO.

Thank you in advance.

Link to Phabricator task to implement the banner:
CC: @Raystorm: as WMF Chair.

Fae -- (talk) 13:22, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

Good letter, . One point, which I think you understand, but may need clarification: there does not appear to be any direct legal problem under U.S. law with the WMF engaging in political activity. Like you, I think that the political sentiment, while laudable, is not clearly connected to the mission statement. I think the WMF does itself and its credibility a disservice with this kind of activity (and especially, by describing a full page ad as a "small banner", as is stated in the ticket you cite). But it's not like the IRS is going to come and revoke the 501(c)(3) status over it. The danger, I believe, is that in pursuing activities like this WMF tends to discredit itself in the eyes of its users and the projects' more discerning readers. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 19:44, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

Here is one response on the email list, on April 24, 2020. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 23:59, 24 April 2020 (UTC)

Unhelpfully written - the 4th, 6th, and 7th sentences are false. Good points raised in discussion on the list. –SJ talk  17:22, 26 April 2020 (UTC) 11:32, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

@Sj: Do you think it's acceptable for the WMF to advocate for political positions entirely unrelated to our mission? --Yair rand (talk) 18:14, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
I think context matters a lot here. There is room for many kinds of effective, impactful advocacy, that advances our mission -- which is not so narrow. Wikimedia is not nearly as visible/audible in the public sphere as we might be, and that doesn't help any of our goals. But any advocacy needs to be effectively explained and targeted. Environmental issues are not inherently more political than the educational issues closest to our work; and they are inlcuded in the Foundation's longer-term plans around sustainability. (as Nemo notes, some wish it would take that much more seriously).
Healthy and encouraging: supporting Earth Day and linking to it and its history. Noting how the WMF considers the environmental impact of its work, is moving towards being carbon neutral or negative, is making its work sustainable. Noting its support for environmental orgs, including invitations of others to support them. Supporting an Earth Day event by participating in it, linking to and related events. Supporting a climate strike, by writing about it and supporting striking staff.
Requiring care: directly linking to the 2020live event, which combined traditional Earth Day celebrations with the planned global climate strike and election year discussions, in a confusing way. More expansive climate strike banners + advocacy -- a fine thing to do if the Foundation sees fit, with a natural connection to other work & warmly requested by a number of community groups, but worth doing well -- bears explicit attention / explanation, including updates to Foundation plans. Putting energy and resources into outreach: multilingual communications, annual reports, op-eds, talks, legal briefs, funded programs. Worth doing, takes persistent communication + a recurring program. [This seems to have happened over the past 6 months with climate/sustainability advocacy: great.]
Harder to do well: Linking to a political action, or a single petition or policy position, or hosting campaign language directly on the WMF site. Linking to a single-country effort as an exemplar of global ones. Should be very closely aligned w/ core work. –SJ talk  14:50, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
On this front: my appreciation to everyone who stood up the Sustainability initiative and the first annual report last December (Lydia,Deb, and all). And thanks @Gnom: for rallying efforts around this for some time. I am encouraged that the WMF has supported two climate strike events in the past year -- that suggests a commitment to sustainability that is likely to guide the plans of future years. If any updates can be shared from the sustainability group, that would be a lovely tie-into the global conversations had last week. –SJ talk  15:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
"Vituperative"? You must be reading the wrong open letter. As for "false", this conflicts with the fact that the WMF have agreed that their actions were not appropriate and accepted responsibility. -- (talk) 08:11, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps I misread your tone; edited my note so as not to be self-fulfilling. But there isn't 'zero doubt', as evidenced by the further discussion; this doesn't conflict with not for profit status, as noted elsewhere; and it is wrong to frame this as 'political lobbying' or 'raising funds for American political orgs', not the apparent intent of either the WMF or of the various non-American organizations that supported the event. –SJ talk  11:32, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
There still seems a disconnect from what you are looking at and the site in question. The banner was to take WMF site viewers to The landing page promotes a voting campaign and, on the landing page, pushes you to download a voting app and to "Text "earthvote" to 56525 now to get started". Of course none of this is relevant to non-Americans, so it's a puzzle as to why the WMF devoted its website globally to this cause when the vast majority of viewers are not the target audience the website is marketing/fundraising to.
This is very straightforwardly a political lobbying campaign, explicitly asking the viewer to lobby Members of Congress. So this could not be clearer as "political lobbying", which you have denied, and explicitly the site's terms includes information about donations over $200 needs to be declared due to FEC regulations, which would not be relevant if the site was not fundraising.
Further, worryingly, the site has very long terms about privacy which includes "The types of information we collect may include your name, email address, social media handles, user names, postal address, phone number, mobile number, friends’ names and emails, and other contact or identifying information you choose to provide."
The app the site is promoting also encourages the viewer to share the names of at least 3 friends. So this is an apparent type of political/fundraising pyramid scheme. Given that your contacts will be shared with unnamed 3rd parties for further fundraising or marketing, including explicitly "Remarketing with Google Analytics and Facebook Custom Audiences, or other remarketing tools", that's a very nasty sting in the tail for viewers that are coming from the public recommendation by the WMF, an organization that is trusted on privacy and the mission to share human knowledge without hijacking your details for unnamed commercial or marketing schemes.
Thanks -- (talk) 10:27, 28 April 2020 (UTC)

I still find it appalling that the WMF, with over 100,000 $ of ExxonMobil stocks and various other anti-environmental activities in its belly, fills its oil-stained mouth of green words. But I guess nobody expects anything but hypocrisy any more from WMF.

That last bit is needlessly offensive; please reconsider. A strange complaint to make, given that the December sustainability report points to how this can be resolved now, and identifies the people to resolve it. Better phrased as "please divest this part of the WMF invesetments, and encourage [investment group] to offer the same for their other clients". –SJ talk  15:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Indeed that sentence was unnecessary, I've struck it. I'm just saying that we should put our house in order before lecturing others. The direction was set, sure, but it's been over three years. Nemo 18:08, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree 100% that the WMF should divest, thanks for continuing to make the point. It's an easy, realizable step that expresses commitment w/o asking anything of others - and can have ripple effects. –SJ talk  02:16, 29 April 2020 (UTC)

I'll just note that the linked website loads resources from a number of third-party domains:

  • Mapbox (,
  • Google (,,,,,,,,,,,,
  • Amazon (
  • Microsoft (
  • Maestro Interactive (,,
  • Facebook (,
  • Snap (, [?]
  • AppNexus Inc (,
  • Adobe Inc (,
  • Michael Jackson (
  • Rock The Vote (
  • Team23 GmbH (

Sending users to such third parties would be forbidden from the Wikimedia wikis per the CentralNotice usage guidelines, but it would be nice if managed to keep high standards of user protection as well. Were users notified of the impending transfer of their personal data to the 12 entities above? Did WMF legal verify the compliance of the target website with EU privacy regulations? (I notice some of those websites don't even have a privacy policy.) Nemo 20:28, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

A good thing for us to be picky about in the future. [And a side-effect of that not being designed by a global web team.] –SJ talk  15:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
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