Wikimedia Foundation Report, April 2011


Reach and Participation

Global unique vistors for March:
400 million (+5.4% compared to previous month / +7.9% compared to previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release April data later in May)
NB: Shorter number of days in February is contributing to the month-to-month uptick.
Page requests for March:
15.1 billion (-2.5% compared to previous month / N/A compared to previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia mobile)
Active Editors for March (>=5 edits/month):
89,880 (+3.3% compared to previous month / -3.1% compared to previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects except for Wikimedia Commons)
Report Card for March:



(Financial information is only available for March 2011 at the time of this report.)

Operating revenue for March: USD 1.8MM vs plan of USD 0.7MM
Operating revenue year-to-date March: USD 21.7MM vs plan of USD 17.8MM

Monthly revenue exceeds plan due to the recognition of USD 1.4MM representing chapters revenue share from the annual fundraising campaign. As of May 5, all but USD 24K of the USD 1.4MM has been received. Another USD 1.1MM is pending from the chapters, and is not reflected in the financial statements. Year-to-date revenue continues to exceed plan primarily due to the successful 2010 fundraising campaign, including higher than anticipated revenue contributions from the chapters.

Operating expenses for March: USD 1.2MM vs plan of USD 1.7MM
Operating expenses year-to-date March: USD 13.1MM vs plan of USD 15.2MM

Expenses MTD and YTD are under due to both the timing of capex spending related to the build-out of the data center, as well as to personnel-related expenses, which were under due to slower hiring. Underspending was partially offset by spending in outside contract services and legal costs.

Cash and investments as of March 2011 totaled USD $20.0MM (approximately 12 months of expenses).



Total Employee Count:

Plan: 90
Actual: 69
Attrition: 3
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 24

Employee Diversity:

  • 69 Total Employees (includes people considered international employees)
  • 41% female employees; 4.6% increase from 7/1/10
  • 29% ethnic minorities; 3% increase from 7/1/10
  • 36.2% foreign nationals; 3.8% increase in U.S. hiring from 7/1/10
  • 41% Wikimedians; 1.4% less from 7/1/10
  • 66.7% have lived abroad; 3.3% less from 7/1/10



Annual Plan 2011-12 Development


The Annual Plan development process for the 2011-12 plan is underway. Requests from each department were received in April and the compilation and analysis of the data is in full swing. The overall ask reflected the goals of the strategic plan; we are in the process of refining the initial requests to reflect what we can accomplish given both financial and organizational capacity. Sue Gardner has given an overview to the Board based on the budget requests from the departments. Once the plan is in final draft form in June, it will be provided to the Board for their review and approval in late June.

Editor survey


Our first internally-run survey of editors was executed over a week in April by the Global Development department with support from engineering. The survey sought to get a representative sample of regular editors and was designed to avoid an over-sample of very frequent editors. The survey was run in 22 languages (all translated by the Wikimedia translator community). We received over 5,000 completed surveys out of over 31,000 total views (number of people who saw the banner). This is a very high completion rate. We have begun to analyze the survey, and will share the first results in May. We will also share non-attributable datasets with the community to enable additional analysis.



Detailed info about the Tech Department's activities for April 2011 can be found at:


  • Readied Article Feedback 3.0 and Upload Wizard 1.0 for May deployment
  • Conducted field research in India on mobile projects, and progressed on new mobile platform
  • Worked on budget plan for 2011-2012 fiscal year
  • Prepared for May Berlin Hackathon 2011



Virginia Data Center - We began installing connectivity between our Tampa and Ashburn data centers, which will allow us to fully back up all important data in the new data center. By May, we expect to complete the installation, and have either live replication or daily backups of important data.

Media Storage - In our efforts to improve media storage architecture, we produced a test wiki that pushes new media uploads to our OpenStack Swift cluster, as well as producing pages that fetch from it.

Virtualization Test Cluster - We set up production hardware and completed the initial configuration of the software for the virtualization test cluster, an environment to deploy temporary machines for testing and experimentation. In late April, Ryan Lane gave a keynote about the test cluster at the OpenStack Developer's conference (see slides).

Data Dumps - We worked with Google to setup an account to copy dumps to Google storage. We completed the April run of the English Wikipedia dumps in just over two weeks.



Article Feedback - We implemented the expiration of ratings, as well as an EmailCapture extension, which allows unregistered users who rate an article to leave their e-mail address and later be contacted by the Community department. We started to develop a dashboard that summarizes the highest and lowest rated articles and surfaces general rating trends. We expect to deploy the third phase of the tool in May.

Upload Wizard - We prepared Upload Wizard for its deployment in May by fixing bugs and adding new features. The tool now offers a configurable and localizable license picker, and can recover from errors. Users can abort uploads, and report bugs or feature requests through a simple form.

Editor Survey - We supported the Editor Survey conducted by Global Development, by working to integrate the survey software (LimeSurvey) with MediaWiki, and ensuring the survey was displayed once for every logged in user, and appropriately linked to their user login.



Mobile Research - We interviewed 30 Wikipedia readers and editors in New Delhi and Bangalore to assess mobile user experience and needs.

Mobile Site Rewrite - We developed a PHP MediaWiki extension to replace our Ruby-based mobile gateway, which will be demo-ed at the Berlin Hackathon in May.

General Engineering


MediaWiki 1.17 Release - We announced the beta 1.17 release, and prepared for the final release.

Summer of Code 2011 - We selected 8 students and projects out of 25 proposals for Google Summer of Code. The projects include interface improvements using AJAX, extension release management, and work on Semantic MediaWiki.

Analytics - A/B Testing - We deployed extensions to test and compare different user interface message groups related to the account creation process, in support of the Account Creation Project by the Community Department.

Research and Strategy


Internal Research Progress


On April 16, Dario Taraborelli joined WMF's Strategy Team as a FT Senior Research Analyst, having relocated from the UK [1]. He continued research with Howie Fung on data from phase 2 of the Article Feedback Pilot, focusing on: expertise and its effects on the volume and quality of ratings, and user engagement via call-to-action features. The research on Article Feedback has informed the design and the strategy for the initial roll-out of the AF tool on a larger sample of articles (100K) of the English Wikipedia as well as the design of an Article Feedback dashboard that will display statistics about top and bottom rated articles.

The Strategy Team participated in a number of cross-departmental activities, including: research on the effects of GUI changes for section edit links; preparation for the summer of research program in collaboration with the Community department; review of quantitative analyses from the 2010 Fundraiser team. The Strategy Team started a new initiative to develop and implement a roadmap for a shared infrastructure and guidelines (on data preparation, data analysis, statistical testing and reporting) for quantitative research across WMF departments, eventually to be opened up to the external research community.

Research Committee Activity


The expert participation survey closed on April 15, 2011. The first results will be presented as part of a collaboration with CERN (focusing on wiki participation by physicists) and at Wikimania this summer. A workshop proposal lead by Mayo Fuster Morell on the future of Wikipedia research [2] was submitted to the Open Knowledge Conference 2011 [3]. Daniel Mietchen started a discussion on the mass upload to Commons of scientific images from OA publishers [4].




The Community Department made progress on several community organizing and research projects in April, in addition to doing considerable work on the 2011-12 budget plan. The hiring process continued for several positions including "Head of Community Fellowship Program", "Fundraiser Production Coordinator(s)", "Storyteller" and "Community Liaison". Aaron Halfaker, a PhD candidate who has published extensively on Wikipedia, began working with us part-time and will be joining us full-time on our summer of research. James Alexander (Jamesofur) officially joined us as a Community Fellow and began working with Philippe Beaudette on the WikiGuides project.

Public Policy Initiative


To maximize our "Wikipedia in the classroom" learning before the PPI classes wrap up the spring semester, Annie Lin visited six universities in three states. She met with professors and ambassadors, held focus group sessions with students, and helped to recruit professors for the Fall 2011 semester. In April, the PPI team also selected Simmons College—an all women's undergraduate school in Boston—as the host partner for the first-ever "Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit" to be held July 7, 8, 9. We are in the process of inviting 120 professors, Wikipedia Ambassadors, students, and select international educational representatives.

2.9 million bytes of content were added by PPI students to the article namespace in April -- the equivalent of 1,944 printed pages. This was double the record set in March by PPI editors.

WikiGuides Project


WikiGuides is an experiment by a group of volunteers in focused, targeted mentoring and sheltering of new editors. Collaborating with and providing data to the volunteer guides, we have iterated through several approaches to encouraging the most promising new editors. We continue to revise our approach, and look for new and creative ways to involve people in this process. James Alexander moved to San Francisco to begin his fellowship, and we are thrilled to have him here.

OTRS Analysis


We have begun to create a community scorecard for OTRS, the volunteer-run ticketing system for inquiries. It will include both pure metrics of the number of tickets processed, and qualitative scoring on a representative sample of the tickets processed. Once we are confident with the scorecard, we will publish it and create historical scorecards. We can then determine if we have enough OTRS agents, and what areas we should focus our training efforts.

Account Creation Improvement Project


Lennart continued to iterate through new versions of the account creation process. The tech department finished a new AB testing system that will help determine which account creation process changes make a difference in both registrations and editing.

Summer of Research


In planning for the summer of research project, Maryana Pinchuk, Steven Walling, and others in the department did qualitative sampling of several years of data related to new editors and the quality of their first edits.[1] This research expanded into sampling of hundreds of user talk page interactions, focusing on the tone and type of messages given to new editors in their first 30 days. (The blog post for late April's work was published early in May.[2])

The samples investigated showed a very strong increase in templated warnings from 2007 forward. They also showed that even though vandalism and other undesirable edits have increased over the years, the vast majority of new editors' work is still in good faith, and there is a very large volume in absolute terms of good faith edits by new editors.





The fundraising team finished a report on the 2010 annual fundraiser that will be shared publicly in May. This includes comprehensive statistical analysis on key tests that informed us which types of banners and landing pages performed best. The interview process began for several 2011 fundraiser staff positions.

Global Development


Global Development Highlights

  • Conducted our first internally managed editor survey targeted at active editors. The survey was posted between April 21 and 28, and received over 5,000 completed surveys (an excellent response rate), which are now being analyzed. First results will be shared later in May.
  • Set our India campus program pilot for Pune. A national call for volunteers to serve as Campus Ambassadors generated over 500 applications. The initiative will launch officially in June with university and college partners in Pune.

India Programs

  • Initiated Campus program pilot to encourage Wikipedia contributions in university and college courses in India. The initial pilot will be held in Pune with expectation that the program will expand to other cities later in 2011.
  • Launched Campus Ambassador recruitment drive through Geo/ Central Notices and received an excellent response with ~500 respondents from across India and ~70 from Pune; will be interviewing candidates in May and will create opportunities for participation in the Wikimedia community for all interested applicants.
  • Conducted field visit to Pune to meet with students, teachers, and education authorities to gather inputs and insights to inform the design of the India Campus program:
  • Started engaging the community on how to integrate all those who responded to Campus Ambassador calls as regular editors (for student clubs, for wiki clubs, etc.).
  • Supported discussions within the community for a potential Wikimania 2013 bid from Mumbai / Bombay, and for a relatively more immediate Wikimedia India conference in late 2011.
  • Continued work on legal structure for India program team with outside counsel.
  • Initiated work on program team organzation for India; first 2 of 4 positions posted here:,_Participation_-_India_Programs,_Indic_Initiatives_-_India_Programs

Global Development Research

  • We are working with a partner in India to conduct qualitative research of mobile users to inform our mobile development strategy. In addition, we will be conducting a brief reader survey focused on mobile in late May/early June.
  • New team member: Nimish Gautam is transitioning into a new role as Data Analyst and Researcher in the Global Development team. He will focus on developing more accurate and timely geographic data and analysis of critical metrics. He will also provide analytical capacity to assess program effectiveness and to help WMF better understand opportunities and challenges within the global projects.

Mobile and Offline

  • Worked on recruiting a Mobile Partnerships Manager (or Senior Manager). This process is expected to continue through May.
  • Continued progress in offline work, with constant updates to Kiwix (the open source reader application for offline materials).
  • Increased efforts to measure the scope of distribution for offline Wikipedia. Since focusing on offline projects last November, Kiwix has seen a 97% increase in number of downloads!
  • Wikimedians in Kenya just finished a big distribution effort (Wikipedia for Schools) into some pilot regions throughout Kenya. They are waiting to hear back on use and success before scaling more nationally.
  • Worked on creating a library of offline materials for people to view and download.
  • Worked with volunteers on developing a Spanish version of Wikipedia for Schools

Chapter Relations


Grants approved in April 2011


Wikimania Scholarships

  • Scholarship selections were made for full sponsorship for Wikimania 2011 in Haifa: 70 people from around the world were offered full scholarships, and about 60 were offered partial scholarships.



April was a relatively quiet month for media coverage in communications. Wikimedia Commons hit a major milestone with 10 million media uploads, which received some coverage in tech/free culture blog spaces. A significant feature in the UK Guardian's education supplement highlighted Wikimedia's recent and longstanding efforts to involve Wikimedians in the academic world.

Communications also worked on two important recruitments in April:

Highlighted Media Coverage


Other Worthwhile Reads


Recent Media Contact


Blog Posts through April


Wikipedia Signpost for April 2011


Human Resources


Staff Changes


New Hires

  • Aaron Halfaker, Research Fellow (Community) – Summer Fellow
  • Leslie Harms, Office Assistant (Finance/Admin) – FT Permanent
  • Dario Taraborelli, Sr Research Analyst, Strategy (Product Development) – FT Permanent
  • Patrick Reilly, Senior Software Developer, Mobile (Technology) – FT Permanent
  • Asher Feldman, Performance Engineer (Technology) – FT Permanent


  • Melanie Brown role changed from Office Assistant to Admin Asst – CTCO, CFOO, GC (Finance/Admin)

New Temp/Contractor

  • Isa Munne, Interim HOA

New Postings

  • Deputy General Counsel
  • Product Manager (Features)
  • Software Developer RTE
  • Wikimedia Merchandise Manager

No Contracts Ended

Real-time feed for HR updates: or

Department Updates


In April, we continued to streamline the hiring process and get better outreach of open positions to qualified candidates. We helped the department hiring managers make several hires.

We continued work with the Community Department to unveil a J-1 Student Intern visa program. These programs will allow the Foundation to engage international interns for specific project work that will enable them to obtain real life experience directly related to their education. The HR department has been building the framework to prepare for these programs over the past year. With the framework in place, the Community Department will be rolling out two programs this summer: (1) a History Writing Program (focused on researching the social structure of different Wikipedia communities, with an emphasis on structures that have aided or hindered new editor retention) and (2) a Community Summer Intern Program (focused on understand major editor trend challenges that are affecting the growth and health of the community).

Work continued on the annual strategic plan for the 2011/12 fiscal year with all the departments.

Finance and Administration


Office IT and Administration

  • Office IT: The migration to Google Apps (primarily for email and calendaring) was completed.
  • Administration: Snacks for staff have been improved to reflect cultural diversity. :-)


  • Obtained tax exemption certificate for the state of Virginia, which will allow future capex purchases that are utilized in Virginia to be free of sales tax. Renewed similar certificate in Florida. (Note, California does not extend this benefit to non-profits.)
  • Obtained U.S. taxpayer certificates needed to obtain future payments from Telefonica free of tax witholding.
  • Continued work on the annual plan for 2011-12.
  • Continued focus on site compliance
  • Supported key initiatives, such as India and fundraising agreements
  • Won UDRP case for the domain names and, which were two domain names being used by a cybersquatter in connection with a Wikipedia-related survey scam.

Visitors and Guests

  1. Kathi Fletcher (Shuttleworth Foundation)
  2. Dan Huttenlocher (Cornell University- Computer Sciences)
  3. Sumana Harihareswara (tech contractor from New York City)
  4. Mike Schwartz (Senior Vice-president, Engineering, Wikia)
  5. George Kirkburn (Product Manager, Wikia)
  6. Inez Korczyński (Engineering Manager, Wikia)
  7. Eugene Kim (Principal, Blue Oxen Associates)
  8. Alex Selkirk (Founder & Board Member, The Common Data Project)
  9. Peter Kaminski (SocialText)
  10. Diana Strassmann (Rice University)
  11. Lucky Gunasekara (Chief Innovation Officer, Global Viral Forecasting Initiative)
  12. Lalith Polepeddi (Global Viral Forecasting Initiative)
  13. Kat Walsh (WMF Trustee)
  14. Mitch Muroff (Linden Lab)
  15. Tory Read (Tory Read Studios)
  16. Dr. Bryan Lewis (Kent State)
  17. Alex Graveley (Hackpad)
  18. Erik Olin Wright (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  19. Achim Bode (Engineer, Twoonix)
  20. Andreas Weigend (Lecturer at Stanford University, Director of Social Data Lab)
  21. Quim Gil (Nokia)
  22. Marc Kleinmaier (Nokia)
  23. Forood Houman (Nokia)
  24. Mano Balasubramaniam (Nokia)
  25. Peter Kazanjy (
  26. Anya Shyrokova
  27. Aakash Desai (Product Manager, Mozilla)