Wikimedia Foundation Report, December 2010

Note: As of this report, we no longer align the metrics reporting period with the activity reporting period (that is, if no December data is available yet by the time we create the report, we will include November data). This change allows us to release the monthly reports sooner, instead of waiting for certain metrics (e.g. comScore data) to become available.

Data and Trends edit

Global unique visitors:
411 million (+0.6% compared to previous month / +18.8% compared to previous year)
(comScore data for November, all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release December data later in January)
Page requests:
13.9 billion (-6.7% compared to previous month / + 22.9% compared to previous year)
(Wikimedia Foundation data for December, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia mobile)

Recent community metrics are not available as of this writing due to an extended outage of the database dump production server that provides the underlying source data.

Financials edit

[See the November report for November data. December data will be finalized later in January, and will be included with the January report.]

Highlights edit

2010 fundraising campaign reaches record target edit

Word cloud of stories and comments submitted by 2010 donors

December began with the fundraiser's daily numbers far too low to make our goal by December 31. There was even a question whether we could make the goal by January 15, as we knew we had used up all the easy-to-get donors in our first weeks in November. Our challenge for December was to communicate our authentic urgency to the community. We felt strongly about making our goal as early as possible in order to free the site from fundraising banners as soon as possible.

But instead of going straight to an urgent message from Jimmy Wales or Sue Gardner, we took time to run banners and appeals from Wikipedia editors - most of whom had been featured in the Wikimedia Foundation's videos produced in Gdansk alongside Wikimania 2010. We thought it was important to spend time highlighting the community directly for some portion of the campaign.

Finally, we did return to appeals from Jimmy and experimented with a wide range of approaches to both messaging, graphical treatment, ask amounts, and other variables. We were able to get the numbers back up and get within striking distance of our goal by the last days of December. With a strong end-of-year push, were were able to make our goal by midnight (San Francisco time) on December 31, and "Thank You" banners were launched.

On January 1, we announced the unprecedented success of the 2010 fundraising campaign, and thanked everyone for this extraordinary expression of support:

In just 50 days, the shortest fundraiser in recent Wikimedia history, the Foundation received more than 500,000 individual donation from people living in about 140 countries, reaching its goal of raising $16 million. We received more than twice as many individual donations as in 2009, which garnered 230,000 total contributions.

Public Policy Initiative: First Semester Wrap-Up edit

The first semester of classes assigning Wikipedia improvements as coursework to their students has wrapped up. Participating universities and courses are listed at:

Statistics and additional links are at:

Project staff member Sage Ross contributed a detailed perspective regarding the first semester, and regarding the Wikipedia Ambassadors program launched to support these types of assignments, to the Wikipedia Signpost:

Sage writes: "Overall, 207 students in these classes contributed more than 2 million bytes of new content to articles—an average of more than 10,000 bytes each to articles."

India technology fact-finding trip edit

Danese Cooper among attendees of the Pune meetup

Danese Cooper, Alolita Sharma and Erik Moeller traveled to India for about two weeks of meetings with various groups, organizations, and individuals. The purpose of the trip was to assess technical barriers to growing the India community of Wikimedia contributors and users, and to strengthen relationships with the open source community and the Wikimedia community. The stations of the trip were Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, and Bangalore.

Groups we met with included C-DAC (for internationalization/localization issues), Mishi Choudhary of the Software Freedom Law Center India, the National Informatics Centre, the Ministry of Communications and IT, IIT Mumbai, Symbiosis University, the Pune Linux Users Group, the Pune Working Journalists, Red Hat, Canonical, Intel India, Novell India, Zmanda, Microsoft Research India, IIM Bangalore, plus Wikimedians in all places we visited (including board member Bishakha Datta and Advisory Board member Achal Prabhala), and many other individuals.

Danese Cooper presented a keynote at the conference in Bangalore, and Erik Moeller organized a MediaWiki workshop at the conference. Wikimedia India and local Wikimedians staffed a booth at, and we provided t-shirts to attendees. Danese, Erik and Alolita also gave a talk to an audience of about 300 students at Symbiosis University, and presented (and listened) at the meetups they attended.

The topics covered included:

  • input method issues with Indic languages like Hindi, Kannada and Malayalam (which input methods exist, which are supported at the operating system level, which are currently implemented on Wikipedia using custom JavaScript, etc.)
  • font encoding and rendering issues encountered by the various Indic language Wikimedia projects
  • search indexing of Indic language content
  • offline content deployment strategies, current projects (like the Malayalam Wikipedia CD), potential future projects
  • trends in mobile 2G and 3G, smartphone/feature phone usage
  • how relationships with the groups we met with could be leveraged towards meeting our goals.

As an immediate next step, we are working with the Wikimedians in India to determine how we can best help address remaining internationalization/localization issues.

Director of Technical Operations hired edit

CT Woo was hired as Director of Technical Operations, reporting to our CTO, Danese Cooper. As Director of Technical Ops, his primary responsibility will to help provide for a stable, secure, documented, scalable and responsive systems environment. He'll be working with our small site operations team to assess the current state process of technical projects, short and long term risk to the technical infrastructure and work towards providing solutions and systems for failsafes and redundancy. He will also be a great resource for guidance and mentorship for the operations team. CT Woo joins us from Freshbrain, an educational non-profit, where he was VP of Engineering and IT. He had a long career at Sun Microsystems from 1993-2006, including as IT Director of Operations responsible for 150 staff, and as Software Engineering Director. In addition to English, CT speaks Malay, Indonesian, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Fukien.

Technology edit

See for a full update, highlights are listed below.

Overall Tech Department Updates edit

Data Summit: was rescheduled for Feb 4th in California alongside the O'Reilly Strata Conference (a new conference on "Big Data"), which O'Reilly generously gave us a large discount to. The Data Summit is an invitation-only event which will deal with a) structured data in Wikimedia projects, b) research/analytics and management of Wikimedia's large datasets.

Upcoming Conferences: Members of the Tech Department will be speaking at FOSDEM 2011, Strata 2011 and GNUnify 2011. Danese will be keynoting at a regional FBI conference in Oakland, and at a conference for the State Department in Washington, DC.

Fundraiser: The fundraising engineering team had an eventful December keeping up with the fast-moving requirements of an active Fundraiser in progress. We made modifications to the udp2log system to support multicast, revamped Central Notice authoring to allow non-programmers to create banners (due to increased demands for banner mods in close to real time), and implemented a premium-ordering process.

Operations edit

Data Centers: We negotiated and signed a lease with a co-location facility for hosting our new Virginia Data Center (which was only possible after we'd selected a hardware strategy). We also completed the first phase of our Tampa consolidation.

Data Dumps: We were able to get the failed server to re-spin and we copied all files off to a new replacement server. Attempts to start a new dump failed and we are currently re-writing the software that produces dumps with the intention to have all services back in early January.

Features edit

Article Feedback: Evaluation and re-design work for Phase 2 of this new feature was a major focus of December work, due to planned January deployment (see research section below).

LiquidThreads: Continuing work on user experience of this feature have led to extended discussions (and mock-ups) about how improved discussion systems can help us develop more effective collaboration and a more welcoming culture in Wikimedia projects. We expect to begin prototyping some of these ideas in the next quarter.

General Engineering edit

Improved Analytics: Open Web Analytics servers came online in late December. We will be working in January to evaluate this new tool's performance and future integration possibilities.

Code Review: We are down to 300 remaining open requests in the Code Review Tool. Many of the remaining issues are associated with "FixMe" issues in Bugzilla and will be more difficult to work through.

Research and Strategy edit

Researchers from Cal-IT (University of California, San Diego) and the Persuasive Technology Lab (Stanford University) visited the Wikimedia Foundation to discuss potential research opportunities. More information may be found here:

Work continued on the editor trends study, and Diederik van Liere visited the Wikimedia Foundation offices to discuss preliminary findings.

Erik Moeller has continued research into expert review as an area of product development, and worked to launch an experiment with the Encyclopedia of Life, with much help from Magnus Manske:

Howie Fung has published additional findings from our experiments with article feedback, focusing the analysis on the ratings received to a specific article (about the discovery of arsenic-based life) to help us better understand to what extent reader ratings accurately reflect actual changes in the article:

Dario Taraborelli, now a research consultant with the Wikimedia Foundation, organized the second meeting of the Wikimedia Foundation Research Committee, and helped organize follow-up activity, which includes a survey of the scholarly community and continued work on subject-recruitment procedures for researchers:

Community edit

In addition to coordinating the fundraiser and supporting preparations for the tenth anniversary, the community department developed new Wikimedia fellowship agreements, which will be finalized and announced in January.

Public Policy Initiative edit

In December, work continued on the development of a train-the-trainer program and updates to the second training of campus ambassadors. Research analyst Amy Roth continued her analysis of various quality metrics (self-assessments by the community, expert assessments, reader feedback) to help assess the project's overall impact on content quality.

In December, PPI began exploring ways to institutionalize Wikipedia curriculum use at universities. Annie Lin and Rod Dunican presented to over 40 professors, librarians, and staff for LSU's "Communication Across The Curriculum" department. The CAC group works with over 300 professors at LSU from several different fields of study.

Global Development edit

Grants and related funding edit

We approved and paid grants to the Czech Republic and Indonesia. We approved and paid grants to community members for projects including outreach in India.

See for up-to-date information on grant status, activities and reports.

Offline edit

We worked with engineering to support the development of an extension to the book tool that will enable the creation of collections that can be used with offline readers using the OpenZIM format.

Wikimania Scholarships edit

We finalized Wikimania scholarship application and selection criteria and established new "partial scholarship" opportunities to increase attendance opportunities. The scholarship program is managed by Jessie Wild this year.

Mobile edit

We continued work on researching and developing strategies for mobile with a focus on the needs and opportunities in the Global South, and prepared for a presentation of findings to management and engineering in January.

India planning edit

  • Barry Newstead traveled to Bangalore for interviews with 7 finalist candidates for the National Program Director position. Bishakha Datta and Achal Prabhala were part of the interviewing process throughout, and Erik Moeller and Sue Gardner interviewed two finalist candidates in Delhi.
  • We manually created a new metrics report card for India, working with Erik Zachte on automating the process

Brazil planning edit

  • Carolina Rossini continues to work with the Wikimedia community in Brazil to understand the opportunities for growth of the community and readership; her first interim report has been submitted and is, or will soon be, available on the Brazil Catalyst Project page (which is written in both English and Portuguese) on Meta
  • Kul Wadhwa and Jessie Wild made arrangements for a visit to Brazil in January

Global Development staffing and recruiting edit

  • We continued recruiting for Chapter Development and India National Program Director positions.

Communications edit

During December, Wikimedia spokespeople worked with over more than 100 media outlets, largely in support of pro-active outreach for the Wikimedia fundraiser and the 10th anniversary events. Selected contact with global media oulets: Jyllands-Posten, International Herald Tribune, BBC News Radio and TV, NPR, Sunday Business Post (Ireland), China Daily, Washington Post, and Swiss National TV.

Media widely reported on the early fundraising victories and the coming 10 year celebration.

Aside from pro-active media relations efforts in December, Wikimedia spokespeople around the world tracked the high profile news of the WikiLeaks release of US Diplomatic cables, often responding to and clarifying global coverage that inaccurately connected Wikipedia and Wikileaks. A Wikimedia blog post was drafted as a single reference point for anyone dealing with the confusion:

Media contacts:

Blog posts:

Please also see the detailed weekly news summaries by the Wikipedia Signpost:

10th Anniversary preparations edit

  • had continued activity with over 170 parties in planning stages around the world - at least 5 per continent (except Antarctica in spite of outreach efforts!)
  • WMF sent 10th Anniversary packages with t-shirts and buttons to the community for their celebrations - over 3,000 t-shirts were distributed with over 70 boxes shipped to date.
  • We continued our media relations efforts focused on completing 10-year messaging and outreach to media organizations.
  • We launched a community communications toolkit
  • We completed interviews/discussions with BBC, BusinessWeek, La Fohla, Time Magazine
  • The 10 year anniversary was mentioned in the Economist, NYT Magazine

Communications products edit

  • The WMF Strategic plan main copy-editing drew to a close in December. Final designs have been developed and the report is going through final copy and fact checking before publication.
  • Work on the WMF Annual Report continued as well, however, the majority of design/copy efforts focused on the strategic plan.
  • Communications worked closely with the Community department on prospective special fundraising opportunities through December, laying the groundwork for possible future merchandise-oriented incentives.

Human Resources edit

New Hires

  • Ryan Faulkner, Data Analyst (Communtiy/Fundraising)
  • Joshua VanDavier, Development Associate (Community/Fundraising)
  • CT Woo, Director of Technical Operations (Tech)
  • Alolita Sharma, Engineering Program Manager (Tech)

New Postings

None this month


  • The Wikimedia Foundation holiday party was a great success. We used the leftover funds from the all hands to cover the costs, and had a nice, low-key event at local restuarant Roe. It was great to see Wikimedians out of their normal element, and to meet their friends and family.
  • First white elephant/baby/puppy party was great fun and well attended - this may need to become a quarterly event, sans the elephant part. Including our extended WMF family in our culture is an important part of growth for us, and helps bring balance and integration to our work lives.
  • Fellowship program made some strides in terms of getting standardized formatting for applicant approval. The fellowship prorgram is an important part of our internal HR mission to encourage thought leaders and other researchers in our space to contribute to the Wikimedia cause.
  • The HR Corner wiki page got the start of an overhaul, the beginnings of our service based environment. HR is understaffed and our infrastructure is in need of an overhaul, we are getting close to be ready to push forward on those objectives.
  • Jeff Jones, Office IT Manager departed.
  • Cary Bass, Volunteer Coordinator departed, as announced in August.
Total Employee Count:
Plan: 77, Actual: 64
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 28
Real-time feed for HR updates: or

Finance and Administration edit

Finance edit

The Finance Department compiled the majority of schedules for the Form 990 Tax Return. The Department also began compiling data for January 1099 reporting for independent contractors. Several potential Controller candidates were screened and interviewed. KPMG (audit/tax firm) was consulted on the following issues:

  • India legal entity
  • Webstore and unrelated business income implications
  • Donation giveaways

Administration edit

There was continued preparation of the 6th floor expansion including the kitchen, the mothers' room, furniture, etc. The seating for the remaining teams on the 3rd floor was reorganized. The Administrative staff planned and managed the Staff Holiday party.

Office of the Executive Director edit

Following her media/outreach tour (see previous report), Sue Gardner took a three-week vacation, her first extended vacation since her hiring as Executive Director.

Visitors and Guests to the SF Office edit

  1. Colleen Kessler (freelance videographer)
  2. Peter Adams (Open Web Analytics)
  3. David Peters (ExBrook)
  4. David Weir
  5. Gabriel Alexander (Online donation feedback)
  6. Katherine Beckwith (Online donation feedback)
  7. Jonathan Beckhardt (Online donation feedback)
  8. Kent Bach (Online donation feedback)
  9. Christian Berger (Online donation feedback)
  10. Barak Wouk (Student Visitor - Columbia University)
  11. Dan Martin - (Professor UC Berkeley)
  12. Benjamin Bratton (CAL IT)
  13. Jim Giles (New Scientist)