Wikimedia Forum/Archives/2013-01

Archive This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page.

Requesting an account on

Hi. In an effort to promote faster translations and a more open editing atmosphere, the guidelines for obtaining an account on have recently been slightly re-worked. If you're interested in helping out at, please leave a request at WMFACCOUNT. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:45, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Planet Wikimedia queue

The new additions queue at Planet Wikimedia could do with some love from someone with the necessary access permissions. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:16, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

I got this answer from the developer working on the new version: mutante> Nemo_bis: ok.. i'm just gonna switch to new planet soon and then people can do that themselves by submitting gerrit changes. --Nemo 18:43, 2 January 2013 (UTC)

Organizing discussion spaces on meta

Hi. I've started a discussion at Meta:Babel#Organizing discussion spaces on meta that is related to this page. Comments are welcome there. guillom 14:03, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia employee salaries

Is it true that the average employee salary at Wikipedia/Wikimedia is $64,000?[1] If not, what is it? Is there a published list of salaries by employee, department or director? Nirvana2013 (talk) 22:56, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

If you count the hundred thousands of volunteers, I'm quite sure the average gets lower than that. ;-)
If you mean the Wikimedia Foundation (you added "/Wikimedia" so let me correct the header too), you can find a list of highest wages by digging forms 990 in wmf:Financial reports and wmf:File:Wikimedia_Foundation_Compensation_Practices.pdf has some details on full employes' conditions uncluding (if I remember correctly) how lower than the industry's average WMF's compensations are.
There've also been some "disclosures"/promotion from employees like [2] and in particular [3] or [4], I spare you the mailing lists discussions on the topic. --Nemo 23:17, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks. I, like you, am one of those volunteers. I have been editing Wikipedia and donating to the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) since 2005 (which includes a donation made a few hours ago). It seems WMF is turning into something very different from those early days, for better or worse. From the 2012 accounts; Salaries and wages = $11,749,500[5] and 150 employees[6], which makes the average employee salary $78,000. The directors 2010/11 total combined salaries are $1,000,000; Sue Gardner at $200,000 plus six others in excess of $100,000 each (40 hours/week).[7] Is this right (sounds a lot for a foundation that relies on volunteers and donations)? Jimmy Wales claims to accept no salary or expenses for his 10 hours/week (I find it hard to believe he does not even claim expenses - even I would be happy to grant him this). Nirvana2013 (talk) 23:40, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
I'm not able to judge what's too high or not, but no, your calculation is probably wrong because there are way more people than those 150 getting some form of compensation, the "staff count" includes only fairly-regular employed people. --Nemo 00:06, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Given that we (as donors) are paying for them, it would be nice to see a complete annual breakdown of wages and expenses per employee as one can obtain for government officials. Nirvana2013 (talk) 00:13, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Disclosing employee salaries by name (which you don't actually get for government officials; in most places, you only get the pay grade, not each individual by name) hurts hiring. A lot of good workers don't actually want their neighbors to know exactly how much they're being paid, especially if the answer is "not very much". Higher-paid employees for non-profits are disclosed on the Form 990, but surely you can understand the privacy issues involved in disclosing the amounts on individual people's paychecks. Do you really need to know the receptionist's wage? If it's fifty cents higher or lower than you think it ought to be, are you going to stop donating?
I admit that the median salary level is concerning: $64K is more than 10% below the median income for the county where the WMF offices are, and is approximately half what a decent, mid-career coder can expect to get at a Silicon Valley company. The Silly Valley is only one train ride away. How can they expect to attract and retain decent staff if they're paying so little? WhatamIdoing (talk) 07:19, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
In the UK we now have a pretty open disclosure system for MPs.[8] It was not always this way. As for what is the right level of pay, if you are comparing WMF to commercial market rates then I agree WMF is comparable or as you suggest perhaps slightly below average. I guess we differ on what WMF (or Wikipedia, at least) is/was about. It should not need to compete with private or public sector pay scales; it used to be run solely by willing volunteers. OK, I understand that it may not be sustainable to run WMF solely from unpaid volunteers as, if someone is devoting so much time to the project, they still need to eat. In this example I am sure some agreement can be reached (I believe Jimmy Wales says this was the case with WMF's first full-time employee taken on in 2005; Brion Vibber, a volunteer programmer).[9] Personally as a volunteer myself, when I make a donation I would like to see my funds go into technology (servers, hardware, hosting etc) not wages. In 2005 70% of WMF's budget went to hosting/technology,[10] in 2010 48%[11] and in 2012 30% (if I am reading the annual report correctly, now termed WMF Core). As a comparison Internet Archive allocates 88% of their donations to technology.[12] It seems WMF is in danger of losing sight of where they have come from and what they are. They used to be unique, unlike any other organization in the world, but they run the risk of turning into just another bloated corporation/charity/government organization which serves themselves more than the public. Nirvana2013 (talk) 09:37, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
The amount that goes into hosting and technology seems to be a lot less than 48 or even 30 per cent these days. In the 2010/2011 financial statements for example (page 3), internet hosting expenses ($1.8m) were about 7% of revenue ($24.8m). Andreas JN466 15:28, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Thanks Andreas. Oh dear, it's worse than I thought. Nirvana2013 (talk) 16:36, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
BTW, I am not sure that $64,000 is correct. Simply Hired seems to link mostly to third-parties who are asking for people with Wikipedia editing skills, rather than jobs advertised by WMF.[13] I calculated the average pay in WMF to be roughly $78,000 (see above). Nirvana2013 (talk) 11:45, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Your $78K calculation includes health insurance (typically about a thousand dollars a month per employee), the employer share of Social Security taxes (about 8%), workers' compensation insurance, and several other similar expenses. In other words, unless they have lousy health insurance or have only hired people with no families (because the pay is only enough to eat, and not enough to both rent a family-sized apartment and eat), the average salary is probably a bit less than the reported $64K.
San Francisco is only slightly less expensive than London. Renting the median two-bedroom apartment in San Francisco will require 80% of that average employee's pre-tax income. Another 8% will go to Social Security taxes, and perhaps another 10% will go to state and federal income taxes. That doesn't leave a lot left over for eating, does it? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:35, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
If the payroll and personal expenses were published, we would not need to do this type of guesstimating. Why would you need to have offices in an expensive area, if 99% of your workers (i.e. volunteers) work from home? I manage to pay rent, eat, have fun, go on holiday and donate to WMF on £6,000 ($10,000) income per year. OK, perhaps not all people are as frugal as me so let's be generous and double a WMF salary to £12,000 ($20,000), which matches the UK minimum wage and is more than the federal minimum wage ($15,000, I believe). Nirvana2013 (talk) 18:28, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
The US federal minimum wage for a salaried employee, rather than an hourly wage earner, is about $24K these days, and that does not include the cost of health insurance, employer taxes, etc., which raise that figure by another 50%. More relevantly, the self-sufficiency wage (the income needed for a sizeable part of the population to pay for themselves, rather than relying on government handouts [like free health care through the NHS], private charity [like cheap rent from your parents], or deals that most people can't access [like scrounging food from trash bins: if everyone did it, nobody would put food in the trash in the first place]) is over $30K for a single adult in San Francisco, and over $60K to support two adults and two school-age (6–12 years old) children. And again, that figure is what the employee receives, and does not include payroll taxes, etc., that the employer has to pay and which are properly considered a salary expense in the budgets you're looking at.
IMO employees should be paid enough to support a family, not a wage that make them reliant on charity. The average WMF employee seems to be paid just enough to do that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:25, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
OK, make it $24K then. In the UK an employer is legally obliged to pay the minimum wage, even if an employee agrees/wants to be paid below it. Nirvana2013 (talk) 10:38, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Minimum wage attracts minimum skill. Do you want for the WMF to be run by the least skilled workers available?
  • The federal minimum wage is not enough money for people to raise a family on in California. Why do you want WMF staff members to require charity just to provide food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare for their families? WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:43, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
    • Still not sure you are following my argument. You I presume, like me, work on WMF projects for free. Are you minimum skill? I've found quality charity workers are motivated by a good cause, not money and/or perks. Nirvana2013 (talk) 09:29, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
    • From my experience the minimum wage is enough to get by on without the need to rely on charity from family, friends or the public. Even if WMF decided to pay over this figure, $200K/yr is a long way from the minimum. Nirvana2013 (talk) 09:46, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Are you paying the full cost of healthcare for a family, rather than relying on "free" healthcare paid for by other people's taxes? Are you paying the full, fair market cost of housing for a family? If not, then you're not actually earning enough to support a family without relying on charity.
It is possible for a young, single man in an inexpensive place to "get by" on minimum wage. It is not possible for a person to raise a family in a notoriously expensive city to do so. WhatamIdoing (talk) 22:42, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Let's not forget that the vast majority of those involved with WMF projects (including you, I presume) willingly work for free. This issue has only arisen in the last few years since WMF started paying salaries up to $200K, whilst continuing to solicit funds from the public. If WMF was a private foundation funded solely by a few large donors, then employee pay would have nothing to do with me, you or the public. But WMF is not one of these but a non-profit charitable organization that continually asks for public donations.
Unless I am mistaken the WMF appeal banner is global and seen in all languages and countries. Andreas below quotes a WMF volunteer from a village in Senegal. Is it right that WMF asks money from those in the third-world to help pay salaries of up to $200K in the developed world? If the Senegalese editor was aware of WMF employee remuneration would he/she still be happy donating or even collaborating on the project? The WMF reminds me of some religious institutions that are active in the developing world. The congregation (of which many are poor and destitute) are urged to donate their money and time to the organization, allowing the clerics to enjoy above average salaries, good healthcare and pension plans.
I find it interesting that the latest appeal no longer shows an easy-to-read pie chart of where one's donation is going. Is this because now only 30% of our donations go into hosting/technology, as opposed to 70% back in 2005? The current banner reads like Wikipedia, a top-five internet company, is running solely on 150 staff. This gives a slightly false picture, Wikipedia is running on thousands of willing unpaid editors, administrators and programmers (including 270,000 active users on Wikipedia alone). Nirvana2013 (talk) 09:22, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
The WMF's CEO gets paid less than a third of what the CEOs at major American charities like the American Red Cross, Goodwill Industries, and United Way are paid. I don't think that a low-income donor would object to her being paid so little compared to other major American charities, especially being paid so little compared to organizations whose primary purpose is to help poor people and therefore might find it awkward to have millionaires in charge. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:01, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps comparing WMF's CEO to the "worst offenders" is not a good benchmark.[14] Should we not be aiming to copy best practice, not worst? Just for some further "perspective" the Salvation Army's Commissioner gets a salary of $13,000 (plus housing) for running a $2 billion organization. Nirvana2013 (talk) 18:14, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
The $13,000 figure is from chain letters. The article goes on to explain why it's wrong. Emufarmers (talk) 00:09, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough, on closer inspection there appears to be many errors in the (now outdated) e-mail that started going viral back in 2005. However a quick internet search reveals that there are reliable and up-to-date comparison statistics out there. The Forbes article lists US charities by fundraising efficiency.[15] The Charity Navigator produces many lists including the "10 Highly-Rated Charities with Low Paid CEOs."[16] Back in 2003 (I can't find anything more up-to-date), The UK Salvation Army still rated well on CEO pay at £10,540 ($17,000) per year (plus housing and car) compared to the average CEO pay for UK charities at the time of £79,805 ($130,000).[17] I am sure there are many other tools out there for comparing charity CEO pay and efficiency. My point remains that WMF should be striving to be the best, not just average. Given that 99% of WMF's work is done by volunteers and their appeals/donations are mainly online via Wikipedia (which has 76 million unique visitors per month in the US alone),[18] WMF really should be #1 in terms of efficiency and CEO pay. Nirvana2013 (talk) 08:39, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
And the pope's salary is nothing. The Salvation Army is a church, not a charity. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:14, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
Point taken on hierarchical religious organizations, but The Salvation Army does not report back to Rome and the Pope; they are Methodist. Nirvana2013 (talk) 21:10, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
BTW, my critique of pay on this thread is not personal or aimed solely at the CEO (I am sure Sue Gardner does a great job), but general WMF remuneration and staffing levels. Its just that most comparison tables only list CEO pay. I guess because this data is readily available and serves as a general salary indicator for the organization i.e. no staff member normally gets paid more than the CEO. Nirvana2013 (talk) 09:55, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
For reference, the head of Wikimedia Germany gets a salary of around $120,000 (€90,100) plus an annual bonus that can be up to $31,685 (€23,850), for a maximum total of around $150,000, according to [19]. The Wikimedia UK Chief Executive gets about $100,000 according to [20]. Andreas JN466 15:12, 19 December 2012 (UTC)
I would not want any more than five to get paid more than what we pay our editors - zero. Does anyone know how many employees Berkshire Hathaway has, a company that owns companies that have 270,834 employees? Twenty four. If they only have 24 employees how do we think we need 100? And how about paying the five employees the same salary that Warren Buffet gets? $100,000/year. Surprise surprise. Apteva (talk) 21:28, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Berkshire Hathaway is a bad comparison as it is an investment company rather than a charity that maintains websites. The 270,834 employees of the companies they own actually do most of the work, and that is far more paid employees than anyone is suggesting that we get. The Internet archive is a better benchmark, but they are IT heavy when compared to us, they archive lots of websites but do they have the same issues of investing in software to make their services available to people in multiple languages? I'd suggest that a better comparison would be the other 9 top ten websites. My expectation is that our total costs compare well with them and that we probably spend less than most of the other 99 top 100 websites or even the other 999 top 1,000 websites. Having said that there is a valid point that San Francisco probably isn't the cheapest place for the WMF to have its headquarters, but any relocation is not just a financial choice, we also need the right legal environment. The US has a particular combination of laws about publishing and privacy that allows organisations such as the WMF to operate there. Many if not most other countries don't have the right legal environment to host an organisation such as the WMF. For example pay rates are much lower in China, but China has been known to block WMF sites. WereSpielChequers (talk) 22:04, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
Berkshire Hathaway also likely employs zero IT people, zero janitors, etc. It's easy to have 24 employees if you outsource everything. "Twenty-four employees" is not the same thing as "only 24 people in the world are paid to do our work". WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:26, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Whatever they're paid, it's NOT enough. The amount of hostility they have to deal with from the community is simply staggering. The WMF folks are some of the best people I know. They truly understand that our projects are about people collaborating with other people and about helping each other, not about getting your own way. They are the most helpful people on the project and their dedication to the project is inspiring. No matter how much grief they get—and they get a lot—they always have a kind word and offer a helpful hand. They put in an incredible number of hours both on the job and off. The folks of the WMF are the best that humanity has to offer and I personally think they all deserve a raise—and if I had anything to say about it, they'd get that raise. I sincerely hope that Sue, Jimbo and the board read this because the WMF folks not only deserve our praise, but also our support. Unfortunately, I fear this thread will just turn in to another round of WMF bashing, which is all too common. Our community is no longer trying to help each other, instead we are attacking each other and that is why we are failing. ...sigh. - Hydroxonium (TCV) 22:16, 16 December 2012 (UTC)
    Hear, hear! WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:25, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I've invited Jimmy Wales, Sue Gardner and Brion Vibber to comment on this thread via email and their respective user pages. The intention of this post is not to bash WMF employees (who I am sure do a great job) but raise awareness and spark debate. My apologies if this discussion has already taken place elsewhere or consensus has been reached (if it has, please post link below). Nirvana2013 (talk) 07:31, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Interestingly Wikipedia's 2012 public appeal yellow banner seems to have been removed this morning. Coincidence or is someone listening… Nirvana2013 (talk) 10:43, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Just to let you know that Jimmy Wales has replied to my email. He made me aware of the "Narrowing Focus" 2012–2013 initiative, led by Sue Gardner.[21] Anything that helps WMF get back to its core function (i.e. free knowledge available to all) is welcomed by me. Nirvana2013 (talk) 10:25, 28 December 2012 (UTC)
  • If the community is hostile to an employee, then that employee needs to be immediately fired. They serve us, not the other way around, and if they aren't liked and respected then they really need to go. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:35, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
Ottava, this is a ridiculous assertion, and inclines me to ignore anything you might have to say on the topic. An employee could be doing a fantastic job, meeting the needs of tens of thousands of stakeholders including multiple facets of the Wikimedia community, and yet have a miserable time because 2 or 3 poorly informed, inexperienced, or chronically discontent members of the community have some kind of personal or political beef with them, and make it their mission to bring it up at every opportunity. My understanding of what you wrote is that the employee should be immediately fired if that happens. If you meant something different, you should probably think it through and rephrase so others can better understand you. -Pete F (talk) 13:46, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
It's a common misconception. The WMF exists to support its charitable purpose, which is "education", not "the community". The WMF can legally get rid of the community, or parts of it, at any time, and if "the community" interferes with its charitable/educational purpose, then the WMF has a legal duty to dump the community.
The WMF only supports the community as a means to an end. We are worth supporting only because we create educational content for the WMF. If we stop creating educational content, or if the WMF finds a better way to create that content, then the community can be eliminated. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:58, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
  • "The folks of the WMF are the best that humanity has to offer" This surely has to be a joke. The best employee the WMF ever had was Cary Bass, and it is obvious that no one will ever be able to replace him. The WMF has declined greatly when he left. Ms. Gardner and the rest know that. Ottava Rima (talk) 22:37, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
    Sorry, Hydroxonium, but I have to disagree with you. Blind adherence that the WMF can do no wrong isn't helpful and really is only damaging your own outlook on life. Things should be looked at critically, because it's only that way that the truth of things can be found. While you can support the WMF overall, as I do, criticism of individual employees and actions are appropriate as needed. Silver seren (talk) 05:50, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Some figures and spending examples for reference

Wikimedia Foundation financial development 2003–2013      Support and Revenue      Expenses      Net assets at year-end Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statements
Year Total Support and Revenue Total Expenses Increase in Net Assets Net Assets at End of Year
2003/2004[1] $80,129 $23,463 $56,666 $56,666
2004/2005[1] $379,088 $177,670 $211,418 $268,084
2005/2006[1] $1,508,039 $791,907 $736,132 $1,004,216
2006/2007[2] $2,734,909 $2,077,843 $654,066 $1,658,282
2007/2008[3] $5,032,981 $3,540,724 $3,519,886 $5,178,168
2008/2009[4] $8,658,006 $5,617,236 $3,053,599 $8,231,767
2009/2010[5] $17,979,312 $10,266,793 $6,310,964 $14,542,731
2010/2011[6] $24,785,092 $17,889,794 $9,649,413 $24,192,144
2011/2012[7] $34,800,000 (prelim.) $27,200,000 (prelim.) $7,600,000 (estim.) $31,800,000 (estim.)

Some recent spending examples:

Wikimedia Germany recently approved €18,000 for the Festivalsommer 2013 project, paying travel expenses and photo equipment for German Wikimedians to attend, enjoy and document pop concerts as "accredited photographers" without paying entrance fees [22].

Another project uses €81,000 to enable Wikimedians to take pictures of members of Germany's regional parliaments, and another €81,000 are allocated to a project designed to study paid editing.

Wikimedia UK recently apparently spent £1,335 on business cards, and apparently spends close to £1,000 a head from donations to train Wikimedians as Wikipedia trainers, enabling them to offer their services on a for-profit basis to GLAMs at a daily rate of £500 or so.

Meanwhile, official Wikimedia fundraising testimonials linked from fundraising pages feature this heartwarming tale:

I'm from Agnam-Goly, a Sahelian village in north-eastern Senegal with a population of 3,143 inhabitants. (...) I used Wikipedia the first time in 2007 for educational purposes while I was studying in Cheikh Anta DIOP university of Dakar. At the beginning, I thought like many other students in Dakar that the Wikipedia articles are all completed work to which I can't add anything- I mean a closed system. (...) But by curiosity, I entered the name of my village (Agnam-Goly) within the Wikipedia search tool, and I noticed that the article entitled "Agnam-Goly" does not exist but I can create it. And I said to myself "wow, how come?!". I was so happy to know that I can be part of the system, I mean becoming an active Wikipedia user and contributor.
Well, I started elaborating on the article about Agnam-Goly (...) Then I shared worldwide lots of information about my village: its history, tradition, geography, economic, social organization, myths, beliefs, people, architecture, and culture. As I didn't have a digital camera for my first Wikipedia writings, I said to myself that I can use a drawing which I can scan and share. The first image I used for my village was a diagram of its infrastructures: its school, health clinic, borehole and wells, the central market, the soccer field and the mosques. And that idea works quite good as I do not have a digital camera. But it can be hard to convey every reality of my village through drawing and it is time consuming. So I started saving some money in order to buy a digital camera, which took me four months. I bought a digital camera and took more than one thousand pictures related to my village so that I can share them through Wikimedia commons and use some of them to elaborate on the article about my village.
But what I learnt most from all of that is the fact that the best of the communities is the community of knowledge and sharing and that's what WIKIPEDIA means to me.
PS: I wish I had money to donate to Wikipedia. I hope to do so one day, after all, I made the digital camera possible!

Personally, my feeling is that a gravy train is developing for first-world Wikimedians – or, expressed in the most positive way imaginable, donations are beginning to be used in various ways to compensate first-world Wikimedians for their contributions to Wikimedia projects.

However, this is not what we tell people when we are asking them to donate: we are talking about third-world children and are telling them they have to donate, or Wikimedia will be required to carry advertising. See e.g. Cash call coming: Jimmy Wales' Wikipedia drive to stay ad-free. This even though last year, WMF took more than twelve times what it took in 2006/2007.

See also e.g. the embedded presentations here, and see en:User_talk:Jimbo_Wales/Archive_119#WP:Communicate_OER_paying_over_$40,000_to_User:Peteforsyth's_company and en:Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2012-04-30/Paid_editing about consultants earning tens of thousands of dollars from on-wiki project advocacy and management (in this case however paid through an external grant rather than WMF donations). Andreas JN466 18:25, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

  1. a b c "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statements June 30, 2006, 2205 and 2004" (PDF). Upload, Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  2. "Microsoft Word - {F0900CC7-D37E-4CDF-95E3-B1F38D7DCD03}.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  3. "Microsoft Word - 31935 SFO Wikimedia fs.doc" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  4. "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statements June 30, 2009 and 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  5. "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statments June 30, 2010 and 2009" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  6. "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statements June, 2011 and 2010" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
  7. "Wikimedia Foundation Plan - Final for Website" (PDF). p. 54. Retrieved 2012-11-26. 
The projects, like Wikimedia Germany, are independent organizations. They are not part of the WMF. You've cited the budget from the WMF and the expenses from separate organizations with separate budgets. The business cards and event tickets weren't paid for by the WMF. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:30, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
I believe the fundraiser takings of Wikimedia Germany and WMUK are included in the overall WMF fundraiser revenue figures. Indeed, this year WMUK is getting its budget financed via the FDC. Andreas JN466 18:32, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Proposal - I think the Foundation would do far better if they, say, paid me 100 dollars per article for me to write high quality articles for them. Ottava Rima (talk) 18:39, 17 December 2012 (UTC)
  • There's an effective balance between milking the gravy train and using money to good ends. Companies do tend to cost more money than the uninitiated expect; now I am utterly in agreement that WMF and the chapters should assert new, leaner, models, but when you compare them with other charities they are much less wasteful and significantly less corrupt. Which is a good thing! You are able to scrutineer and put pressure on WM chapters Andreas, could you do this to other charities? Perhaps Wikimedia Germany are wasting money, allowing people to go to pop concerts. Or perhaps those individuals passionately want to improve Wikipedia coverage of that material. I don't think we've quite got the balance right on when to spend money improving content (I prefer the WMUK model which is to help volunteers build skills to provide training and outreach) but if you get your criticism right (and I don't think you are at the moment) you can help bring those models to fruition. --ErrantX (talk) 09:38, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
    • All I am doing is drawing attention to what feels like mismatches between fundraising messages and actual expenditure.
      1. We tell Adama Diop's story, and mention children in Bangalore and San Salvador, but we're not (to my knowledge) buying photo equipment for people in third-world countries, but for people in first-world countries, where density of coverage is already good and in far less need of improvement.
      2. The fundraising testimonials present Wikipedia as an ideal resource for children, "free from bias, banter, commercial interests and risky content", but actual reality (and community policy) is that Wikimedia projects are not for children, and may contain anything up to and including hardcore pornography; and the image filter development project was scrapped earlier this year.
      3. We say we need people to donate so that Wikipedia can remain ad-free, but the fact is that the money is used for organisational expansion (because hosting costs are less than 10% of the budget, and Wikipedia was at no risk of introducing ads five years ago, despite revenue being less than a tenth of what it is now).
    • There's two ways that mismatch can be addressed: by altering the fundraising message, or by altering spending patterns.
    • The bigger issue is that the very structure of the Wikimedia movement is changing: away from unpaid volunteer work to various forms of compensation paid from donations: and as far as I can see, the individual Wikimedians lining up to receive this compensation are not in the third world, but the first. Andreas JN466 14:13, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
      • Well, not to appear callous. Our remit is free and open knowledge, not solving third world poverty. The charity has to spend money where it can be effective in driving those aims. At the moment it appears the focus is on content generation in affluent areas and content access in third world areas. I agree it would be good to see a program to bring some of the grant money to third world individuals such as the one you quote, and would be extremely supportive of any proposal you want to come up with! Your statements seem to imply the WMF and chapters are not focused on the third world at all; but with Wikipedia Zero program and Wikimedia France's work in Africa put lie to that position. All of that said, the bottom line is; if German people have donated to German Wikipedia (which is the funds Wikimedia DE recieve) then it is reasonable to assume they are donating to improve German Wikip/media content. If they wished to donate to third world areas then they could do so. This might include work in third world areas, but not as the main focus. But as I said, when you bring up your proposal to fund third world content creation I will be happy to push for it to be funded, and I wish you luck! --ErrantX (talk) 14:48, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
        • "Our remit is free and open knowledge, not solving third world poverty." Agreed. Through self-education and knowledge people may become aware of other choices and lift themselves out of poverty, but this should remain a possible indirect benefit of access to WMF online projects, rather than a direct aim. Nirvana2013 (talk) 15:09, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
        • I haven't seen any evidence that Wikipedia Zero has cost the WMF millions of dollars in donations spent on staff or technology costs. Has it? And content generation in the third world is actually rather important, because it helps put third-world communities on the global map. Andreas JN466 18:45, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
  • Proposal - I believe that we should stop asking for money from those in the third world, given WMF's burgeoning payroll. In the future run banner appeals on G8 IP addresses only, or stop banner appeals altogether and rely on wealthy philanthropic donors/companies (such as Sergey Brin). Alternatively shrink the payroll. Nirvana2013 (talk) 15:56, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
    • The vast, vast, vast majority of the donations come from the first world. So this would have very little material impact (other than to stop those in the third world with the means and desire to donate from doing so). I'm not sure how it would address your concerns... --ErrantX (talk) 16:01, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
      • Its something at least. Some things make little difference financially, but all the difference ethically. I am not sure anyone can truly alleviate my concerns without going back in a time machine to January 2005, when the terms of the first full-time WMF employee were written, and starting again. BTW I am not proposing to end the option of donating i.e. keep the "Donate to Wikipedia" link on the side bar - even if people earn less than $1/day, they should still be free to donate to WMF if they so choose. It's just the misleading and ill-conceived banner appeals I have a problem with. Nirvana2013 (talk) 16:08, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
    • According to Bloomberg, "For Wikipedia’s current campaign, not every visitor to the world’s largest crowdsourced encyclopedia is being greeted with a plea for donations. The 16-day effort is only targeting eight of the nations where Wikipedia has the biggest user base, said Sue Gardner, chief executive officer of the Wikimedia Foundation, which manages website’s finances. People in those countries tend to give more, she said." the countries mentioned are U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and Switzerland, although the article also says banners would be tested in some other countries as well. I consider refocusing on first-world countries a good move. Andreas JN466 18:31, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
      • Thanks Andreas; sounds like Sue and Jimmy were one step ahead of me. I am glad we are not begging from third world countries. Nirvana2013 (talk) 18:41, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Other concern

My concern about the salaries is slightly different than was stated at the beginning of this section. I don't begrudge a ~$100,000 salary for the directors. I mean, they are heads of a company, so that salary makes sense. But why is Sue Gardner paid around $100,000 more than even them? That's a ridiculous increase and one that doesn't make sense to me. Silver seren (talk) 05:56, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

It's certainly a leap, but it's not a massive wage for CE level. So WMF are probably getting value for money. --ErrantX (talk) 09:31, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. Andreas JN466 14:14, 18 December 2012 (UTC)
How much was the Wikimedia "developer" who was caught plagiarizing and abusing his ops being paid? Obviously, he was the best they could find - someone who had quite a bit of exposure to Wikipedia and plagiarizes and abuses ops just like a regular. Ottava Rima (talk) 15:26, 18 December 2012 (UTC)

Wikimedia UK

I live in the UK. Can someone explain why we need another CEO and yet more staff for a Wikimedia UK, complete with a central London office? I don't understand - we even speak the same language as you guys across the pond; sort of… ;-) I was under the impression that running a global online business, or in this case a free online encyclopedia and media repository, was meant to save money on renting and staffing multiple offices in expensive urban locations. Nirvana2013 (talk) 15:51, 19 December 2012 (UTC)

It's important that our Gibraltar coverage remains strong. 04:00, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Wikimedia UK is a Wikimedia Chapter; the aim is to support local Wikipedians (like yourself!) and to promote Wikimedia in the UK. You can read about the sort of activities they get up to; including meetups, education/outreach and lots of GLAM cultural partnerships. You could ask the same question about the German chapter, who have an even bigger budget and staff (I believe) - and the answer is that they are a success the UK are trying to emulate. The toolserver, for example, has been hugely successful & important. --ErrantX (talk) 15:22, 21 December 2012 (UTC)
Some people in the UK decided to form a chapter. They did, and they affiliated with WMF.
Both these events seem unexceptional - though there are arguments against them as well as for them.
If you wish to join WMUK you can do so for a small (I believe £5) membership fee.
If you believe that WMUK is spending its money unwisely, there is a wiki and a mailing list where you can discuss this. And certainly I would support moving the office to Stamford.
If you wish to discuss the financial arrangements between WMUK and WMF a more focussed question would help.
Rich Farmbrough 13:06 23 December 2012 (GMT).

Problem with Strategy Wiki closure

The strategy wiki ( was closed a few months back, per consensus. But there is a problem with how this was done, which I think is a major problem. I'm not sure exactly what the best solution is, but would love to see ideas.

The problem: some pages on the strategy wiki (for instance, the strategic plan summary) are public-facing; but the big red banner at the top of every page reading "This wiki has been closed per community discussion", while factually correct, is a very confusing thing to say so prominently to people who are not familiar with the movement.

I think this should be fixed. My suggestion would be to remove the banner entirely from articles, but have it show up upon clicking the "view source" tab. Thoughts? Other suggestions? -Pete F (talk) 13:36, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

It is possible to have separate sitenotices for unregistered and registered uses. Ruslik (talk) 16:53, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
A global editnotice is not a bad idea either. --Nemo 17:32, 6 January 2013 (UTC)
Will an editnotice show up when clicking the "view source" tab? If so, your suggestion sounds ideal to me. -Pete F (talk) 20:04, 7 January 2013 (UTC)

Be a Wikimedia fundraising "User Experience" volunteer!

Thank you to everyone who volunteered last year on the Wikimedia fundraising 'User Experience' project. We have talked to many different people in different countries and their feedback has helped us immensely in restructuring our pages. If you haven't heard of it yet, the 'User Experience' project has the goal of understanding the donation experience in different countries (outside the USA) and enhancing the localization of our donation pages.

I am (still) searching for volunteers to spend some time on a Skype chat with me, reviewing their own country's donation pages. It will be done on a 'usability' format (I will ask you to read the text and go through the donation flow) and will be asking your feedback in the meanwhile.

The only pre-requisite is for the volunteer to actually live in the country and to have access to at least one donation method that we offer for that country (mainly credit/debit card, but also real time banking like IDEAL, E-wallets, etc...) so we can do a live test and see if the donation goes through. **All volunteers will be reimbursed of the donations that eventually succeed (and they will be very low amounts, like 1-2 dollars)**

By helping us you are actually helping thousands of people to support our mission of free knowledge across the world. If you are interested (or know of anyone who could be) please email All countries needed (excepting USA)!!


Pats Pena
Global Fundraising Operations Manager, Wikimedia Foundation

Sent using Global message delivery, 21:06, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

Moving Board elections/* pages to Wikimedia Foundation Board elections/*

Hi there. The discussion at Meta:Proposed page moves#Current requests has been open for more than 4 months now and I'd like to push one final request for input before I close the proposal in my capacity as a Meta admin. Current consensus shows that their is consensus in favour of this, but there are 2000+ subpages that would also be moved so this is not just a simple move. Thehelpfulone 15:48, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

Aaron Swartz

[23]... --Nemo 23:44, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

There is now an entry for Arron at en:WP:RIP. Erik has posted an entry on the Wikimedia blog at which has received a number of replies, several people have commented in Wikimedia-l, and many Wikipedians have left memorials on en:user talk:AaronSw. --Pine 19:39, 13 January 2013 (UTC)
This question has been on my mind for the last two days, to the point that I wrote about this on Facebook: what sort of legacy did Aaron Swartz leave? Inasmuch as we should mourn his passing, the discussion will inevitably shift to the question of 'what's next': for me, that question revolves around what we can do to make his life more meaningful, especially outside the community. --Sky Harbor (talk) 01:42, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I hope that the U.S. Department of Justice conducts a thorough and independent review of how his case was handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office for Massachusetts, including a review of any relevant ethical standards, standard legal practices regarding charging and sentencing, and constitutional questions regarding seeking cruel and unusual punishment relative to the alleged crimes and the circumstances in which they were committed. --Pine 02:59, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
While I hope that such a review will be fruitful (and hopefully, it will be vindicating, as we hope it will be and should be), I still think that his work is incomplete, and we should be able to meaningfully continue his legacy. This question has been missing from the discourse surrounding his death: we talk about him dying and the circumstances around his death, but we haven't pondered upon what his death ought to mean. --Sky Harbor (talk) 03:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
I don't know that such a review would vindicate Aaron, but looking at the information that I've seen so far, it seems to me that this case was handled in an unethical and unprofessional manner by the U.S. Attorney's Office. As for what his work ought to mean, I don't exactly understand your question, so can you clarify please? --Pine 03:08, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Simply put, what I want to ask is what is there in life that, now that he's dead, is worthy of continuing in his memory. After all, we share his values and what he stands for. Many of us don't want his death to be meaningless, but we cannot add meaning to his death unless we start to talk about it, which is what I hope we can do as this episode continues to unfold. (And yes, I must agree about how the case was handled unethically.) --Sky Harbor (talk) 03:27, 14 January 2013 (UTC)
Judging by Aaron's actions, I think two causes which Aaron supported and where people can continue to do work in his memory are 1. support public access to court records and 2. support public access to publicly funded research. We do some of those things here on Wikimedia, and there are also many other ways to further those important causes. --Pine 03:41, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

(unindent) Related: <>. --MZMcBride (talk) 04:03, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Q&A website for wikis

Hi all, apologies if this is off-topic here (though I would like to garner attention to this). There is a new proposal for having a Q&A website related to wikis in general. I sincerely hope that everyone seeing this would be interested in it and help by "following" the proposal so that we can work towards the creation of this new Q&A site on the StackExchange network. This new site would allow all sorts of questions related to editing Wikipedia, installing MediaWiki and even help out regarding questions for other wiki software (like DokuWiki). The goal of this site would then provide an alternative platform for people to ask questions (other than the current support desk that we have on and even help new editors of Wikipedia get used to editing the encyclopedia. Thanks for your support in advance! --Hydriz (talk) 10:28, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

See also (Q&A site). --Nemo 11:55, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

Picture of the Year voting round 1 open

Dear Wikimedians,

Wikimedia Commons is happy to announce that the 2012 Picture of the Year competition is now open. We're interested in your opinion as to which images qualify to be the Picture of the Year for 2012. Voting is open to established Wikimedia users who meet the following criteria:

  1. Users must have an account, at any Wikimedia project, which was registered before Tue, 01 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0000}[UTC].
  2. This user account must have more than 75 edits on any single Wikimedia project before Tue, 01 Jan 2013 00:00:00 +0000} [UTC]. Please check your account eligibility at the POTY 2012 Contest Eligibility tool.
  3. Users must vote with an account meeting the above requirements either on Commons or another SUL-related Wikimedia project (for other Wikimedia projects, the account must be attached to the user's Commons account through SUL).

Hundreds of images that have been rated Featured Pictures by the international Wikimedia Commons community in the past year are all entered in this competition. From professional animal and plant shots to breathtaking panoramas and skylines, restorations of historically relevant images, images portraying the world's best architecture, maps, emblems, diagrams created with the most modern technology, and impressive human portraits, Commons features pictures of all flavors.

For your convenience, we have sorted the images into topic categories. Two rounds of voting will be held: In the first round, you can vote for as many images as you like. The first round category winners and the top ten overall will then make it to the final. In the final round, when a limited number of images are left, you must decide on the one image that you want to become the Picture of the Year.

To see the candidate images just go to the POTY 2012 page on Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons celebrates our featured images of 2012 with this contest. Your votes decide the Picture of the Year, so remember to vote in the first round by January 30, 2013.

the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year committee

Delivered by  ono  at 20:16, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I just want to note how happy I am that the voting this year is taking place in January instead of June. :-) Nice work! --MZMcBride (talk) 20:35, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

New project proposal

I've made a proposal of a new wiki project for open source codes, here. I invite wikimedians to edit that page, in order to debate the proposal. Eduardofeld (talk) 21:00, 17 January 2013 (UTC)

Another New Project Proposal

I've made a proposal of a new wiki project for articles that may not fit into an encyclopedia, here. I invite wikipedians to edit that page in order to debate the proposal. All input is welcome! ·Add§hore· Talk/Cont 00:26, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia sites to move to primary data center in Ashburn, Virginia. Read-only mode expected.

(Apologies if this message isn't in your language.) Next week, the Wikimedia Foundation will transition its main technical operations to a new data center in Ashburn, Virginia, USA. This is intended to improve the technical performance and reliability of all Wikimedia sites, including this wiki. There will be some times when the site will be in read-only mode, and there may be full outages; the current target windows for the migration are January 22nd, 23rd and 24th, 2013, from 17:00 to 01:00 UTC (see other timezones on More information is available in the full announcement.

If you would like to stay informed of future technical upgrades, consider becoming a Tech ambassador and joining the ambassadors mailing list. You will be able to help your fellow Wikimedians have a voice in technical discussions and be notified of important decisions.

Thank you for your help and your understanding.

Guillaume Paumier, via the Global message delivery system (wrong page? You can fix it.). 15:30, 19 January 2013 (UTC)

It is absolutely ridiculous!

Russian translate for Virginia is Виргиния, not Вирджиния! Amend it there immediately! 15:16, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

Thanks; I've corrected it. guillom 15:27, 22 January 2013 (UTC)


Where can be placed a request for updating pages like Particularly, according to stats the Japanese link at the mentioned page should be replaced by the Russian one. Artem Korzhimanov (talk) 15:57, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

At template QU TalkQu 16:08, 22 January 2013 (UTC)
Thank you! Artem Korzhimanov (talk) 11:51, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

System time / view time in various Wikipedias

I am seeking to compare revisions from different WP versions and wish to find out which revision came before which. Example: WP fa. seems to be using UTC+0 (even though at this time of year Iran officially uses UTC+3) and for WP fi. UTC+2 is shown (this seems to be consistent with Finland officially using UTC+2).

  • Do some versions use UTC+0 as their default while others don't?
  • What time zone is used in which WP version? Is there a list anywhere about which version uses which system time?
  • Is system time on history pages that same as the time zone given on the recent changes page of the same version?
  • Can I be sure that the time zone that is given on a history page is not dependent on my own IP's time zone?
  • Do some WPs change to summer time and back - while others don't?

Thank you very much in advance for any pointers to pages or for own insights on this matter. -- C.Koltzenburg (talk) 07:20, 26 January 2013 (UTC)

Have you gone to Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-datetime at each of the projects and made sure that your time preferences match? WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:37, 26 January 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, so it seems that only if I log in for each of the versions (maybe with a unified login) I will be able to set a preferable datetime for each of the versions I am studying? Let me test this. -- C.Koltzenburg (talk) 07:18, 27 January 2013 (UTC)
Yes, this seems to have worked, thanks, WhatamIdoing -- C.Koltzenburg (talk) 17:47, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Date formats in various Wikipedias

Asked also at [Wiki-research-l] date formats in various WPs

For my aim of comparing revision date/time from different WP versions it would be great to have the same date format for every version of WP I am looking at. Does anyone know a solution for the Wikipedias that (on Special:Preferences#mw-prefsection-datetime) do not offer the format I consider most useful, namely the format starting with 2013-...? I am seeking a solution that can be chosen and used by a simple user i.e. for a user who has no extra rights in the WP universe. Thanks, -- C.Koltzenburg (talk) 17:47, 27 January 2013 (UTC)

Not sure how you access and query the data. So if it's just about the displaying in the browser I'd try attaching ?lang=xy to the URL (which will change the entire interface language to xy together with the date formatting), but I'd guess that using the API in api.php would provide a more standardized formatting anyway? (I hope this comment makes sense.) --Malyacko (talk) 13:34, 28 January 2013 (UTC)
I like your idea and have tested several instances of applying it (without success so far). Can you, Malyacko, or anyone else, try it out for any history page and let me know how I might make it work? If possible, I would like to do all via URL because this makes the results of my method of data generation more transparent (reproducible) to a wide circle of readers. Thanks, -- C.Koltzenburg (talk) 15:45, 28 January 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Highlights from December 2012

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for December 2012, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement
About · Subscribe/unsubscribe · Distributed via Global message delivery, 08:21, 29 January 2013 (UTC)

Help turn ideas into grants in the new IdeaLab

I apologize if this message is not in your language. Please help translate it.

  • Do you have an idea for a project to improve this community or website?
  • Do you think you could complete your idea if only you had some funding?
  • Do you want to help other people turn their ideas into project plans or grant proposals?

Please join us in the IdeaLab, an incubator for project ideas and Individual Engagement Grant proposals.

The Wikimedia Foundation is seeking new ideas and proposals for Individual Engagement Grants. These grants fund individuals or small groups to complete projects that help improve this community. If interested, please submit a completed proposal by February 15, 2013. Please visit for more information.

Thanks! --Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants, Wikimedia Foundation 20:39, 30 January 2013 (UTC)

Distributed via Global message delivery. (Wrong page? Correct it here.)