Wikimedia Foundation Report, April 2009

ED Report to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, April 2009

  • Covering: April 2009



Milestones from April

  1. Berlin Board and Chapters meeting
  2. Licensing update vote launched
  3. Chief Program Officer hired

Key Priorities for May

  1. Further development of 2009-10 Annual Plan and staff goals
  2. Israeli Wikipedia Academy
  3. Begin hiring for Strategy Plan project
  4. Implement license update

In April, the Wikimedia Foundation sites held steady as the number four most-popular sites in the world, with 320,043,000 global unique visitors, according to comScore Media Metrix.

This Past Month


Chapters Meeting, Board Meeting, & MediaWiki Developers Conference


Many Wikimedia Foundation staff attended the All Chapters meeting, Board meeting, and MediaWiki developers conference in Berlin in early April.

The following people gave workshops: Frank Schulenburg gave a workshop on public outreach; Rand Montoya gave a workshop on fundraising; Erik Moeller gave a workshop on the Chapters Funding Request process, and Mike Godwin gave a workshop on trademarks.

Sue Gardner and James Owen attended the Board of Trustees meeting, which was held concurrent with the All Chapters meeting. Key agenda items at the Board of Trustees meeting included a recap of the 2009-2010 Annual Plan development process and solicitation of Board member feedback; a discussion of Biographies of Living People, approval to proceed with the Strategic Planning project, and a discussion of trademark policy and practices. During the closing session of the All Chapters meeting, the Board and Sue announced the Strategy project, and participated in a general discussion about it.

Concurrent with the All Chapters and Board of Trustees meetings, Wikimedia Germany developer Daniel Kinzler organized a conference for MediaWiki developers. It was attended by Wikimedia Foundation technical staff Brion Vibber, Tomasz Finc, Mark Bergsma, Tim Starling, Trevor Parscal and Arash Boostani. Many volunteer developers from Europe and elsewhere also attended. Among the many productive discussions, the most notable was a decision to integrate maps from OpenStreetMap, a free and open mapping project, in Wikimedia projects. A project to set up a map tile server mirror locally in our Amsterdam hosting cluster is underway, and development is ongoing on a functional inline map display widget.

The Wikimedia Foundation congratulates Wikimedia Germany on successfully organizing a very useful and productive conference.



Fred Vassard began improvements to operations infrastructure such as spam filtering, logging, and status monitoring as well as investigating commercial monitoring options.

After discussion with Manuel Schneider from the OpenZim project, the OpenZim format was identified as a likely target for future offline distributions such as DVD and USB stick versions of Wikipedia. Tomasz Finc will explore integration of OpenZim into the dump process, once the primary issues around database dump reliability are fully addressed.

The Wikimedia Foundation officially opted out of the “Phorm” traffic-scanning targeted-advertising system which is being rolled out by some ISPs in the UK. This may be a largely symbolic measure: it is intended to demonstrates the Wikimedia Foundation's commitment to Internet freedom and privacy for the Wikimedia Foundation's users.

In April, the team began soliciting more active testing for the new mobile gateway at, which is targeted for a full public release later this year.

Other areas of department focus:

  • Tim Starling is preparing an upcoming MediaWiki 1.15 release, which addresses some low-level data storage and installer/upgrade issues.
  • FlaggedRevisions and the new AbuseFilter extension have continued to see maintenance development from contract developers Aaron and Andrew.
  • Kul Wadhwa and Tomasz began assessing a lead on sponsorship of development time and hardware for improved reliability of database dump generation. In the meantime Tomasz will coordinate with external partners on partial or complete Commons/Wikimedia file mirroring.
  • Summer of Code student applications were received and four projects accepted.

The focus of the usability team in April was to review and analyze the findings from the usability study. After the team completed its initial analysis, Naoko Komura released the study's methodology and findings to the public project site. ( The team began to brainstorm solutions to problem areas revealed during the initial data collection, and conducted an environmental scan of available extensions and tools potentially related to usability.

Other Program Activities


On April 12, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a community vote on whether to adopt Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike as the primary license for all eligible GFDL-licensed content. The vote will be concluded in May. (For this purpose, a new MediaWiki software extension, SecurePoll, was developed, which will be refined further as a general-purpose extension for secure elections and polls.) The vote was administered by Software in the Public Interest (SPI), a non-profit organization which aims to help develop and distribute open hardware and software. SPI also administers the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees elections process.

On April 13, the Wikimedia Foundation welcomed Jennifer Riggs as its first-ever Chief Program Officer, and Jennifer began orienting herself to the work and culture of the Foundation. Jennifer comes to Wikimedia from the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter, where, as Manager of Volunteer Resources, she managed the work of more than a thousand volunteers. Prior to the Red Cross, she worked at the California School-Age Consortium and with the Peace Corps. Jennifer's orientation will include numerous informal discussions with Wikimedia volunteers as well as Advisory Board members.

Cary Bass and Sara Crouse worked with Wikimedia volunteers to launch the Wikimania scholarship application process.

The Wikimedia Foundation participated in interviews with KNX/CBS 1070 Radio (Los Angeles, California); National Public Radio (Seattle, Washington); VEJA Magazine (Sao Paulo, Brazil); the Wall Street Journal (San Francisco, California); Les Echos (Paris, France); Gazeta Wyborcza (Warsaw, Poland); Cinco Dias (Madrid, Spain); Creativity Magazine (New York, New York); Symbol Report (Frederick, Maryland); Telephony (Chicago, Illinois); the Associated Press (New York, New York); MediaPost (New York, New York); and the Times newspaper (London, United Kingdom).

Fundraising, Grants, & Partnerships


During April, the Wikimedia Foundation received 922 donations, with a combined total value of USD 78,453. Year-to-date, the Wikimedia Foundation has raised USD 5,491415 in donations from individuals, 37% above the full-year target of USD 4,000,000.

Rebecca Handler organized a trip for herself and Sue Gardner to cultivate current and prospective donors in New York City in mid-May.

Rand Montoya continued planning for the Annual Giving Campaign as well as longer term community giving activities, and began work with Four Kitchens on upgrades to the open source CiviCRM donations database, including improved reporting functionality based on best practices in fundraising.

Finance & Administration


Work continued on the 2009-10 Annual Plan, including planning by all departments. Following Board review and approval of the 2008-09 Form 990 Tax Return, Veronique Kessler filed the return and posted a public copy of the return and an FAQ to the Wikimedia Foundation website ( Veronique also began researching the implications of the Wikimedia Foundation beginning to offer grants to individuals and chapter organizations, and Veronique and Jennifer began creating draft procedures related to approving grants.

Business Development


After several months of negotiations, Business Development executed its first major strategic partnership with a Fortune 500 company. This is a mission-friendly three-year deal with Orange (France Telecom) to integrate Wikipedia content and marks into Orange's web and mobile properties. wmf:Press_releases/Orange_and_Wikimedia_announce_partnership_April_2009

Future developments may include improving mobile functionality, new applications, expansion to IPTV and other platforms.


At the April Board meeting, Sue presented a position paper outlining recommendations for the handling and development of the Foundation's commercially valuable trademarks. The paper was developed by Mike Godwin with co-authors John Slafsky and Nathan Ferguson of the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati. Following its review, the Board requested that Mike take appropriate steps to register and protect the Wikimedia marks, and also develop a strategy, policies and practices, to allow uses by the chapters and community for activities in line with the Wikimedia mission. Following the Board meeting, Mike distributed a first-draft policy to the chapters, and began collecting feedback.