Wikimedia Foundation Report, February 2011

Global unique visitors for January:
414 million (+4.7% compared to previous month / +13.5% compared to previous year)
(comScore for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release February data later in March)
Page requests for January:
15.2 billion (+8.8% compared to previous month / +21.7% compared to previous year)
Page requests for February:
15.5 billion (+1.9% compared to previous month / +24% compared to previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including Wikipedia mobile)
Report Card for January 2011:



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

Operating revenue for January: USD 1.6MM vs plan of 1.7MM.
Operating revenue year-to-date: USD 19.7MM vs plan of 16.8MM.

The successful 2010 fundraising campaign has resulted in the Wikimedia Foundation exceeding its revenue targets year-to-date, despite lower than planned revenue for the month of January. Revenue for January includes a USD 108K donation from Wikimedia Switzerland.

Operating expenses for January: USD 2.9MM vs plan of 1.8MM.
Operating expenses year-to-date: USD 10.6MM vs plan of 11.8MM.

Expenses are over plan for the month due to data center purchases, which were budgeted over 12 months but occured primarily in January, with some additional spending in subsequent months. The Wikimedia Foundation is underspent year-to-date due to the timing of additional capex spending and Internet hosting, as well as under-spending in staffing costs.

Cash and investments as of January 2011 totaled USD $21.5MM (approximately 13 months of expenses).


Our month-to-month priorities are informed by our five-year plan (click to download PDF version)

Strategic Plan Summary Published


On February 25, we released the summary report of the Wikimedia Foundation's five-year strategic plan. It synthesizes the effort of the collaborative strategic planning process that took place through 2009 and 2010 and involved more than a thousand participants. A wiki version and links to the PDF can be found here:

New General Counsel


In February, Geoff Brigham was announced as the Wikimedia Foundation's new General Counsel, replacing Mike Godwin who left the organization in October. Geoff has been a lawyer for 20 years, including eight years at eBay during its main growth period, which gives him important experience managing the legal challenges and risks inherent in operating a popular site. His work at eBay encompassed North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. He held a variety of positions there, at offices in San Jose, California, Bern, Switzerland and Paris, France: his most recent title was Vice President and Deputy General Counsel.

MediaWiki 1.17 Deployment


After a long wait, we deployed a new version of the MediaWiki software to all our production sites, containing a vast number of small fixes and improvements, and a new subsystem for more efficient delivery of JavaScript and stylesheets, the ResourceLoader.

Deployment was initially problematic because of major performance issues that caused an outage. The problems were investigated, and we decided to try heterogeneous deployment (meaning not all wikis would run the same version of the software). On February 11, a first wave of small wikis were switched to MediaWiki 1.17. On February 16, other small and medium-sized wikis were switched. In retrospect, the issues encountered during deployment were due to the large amount of code changes since the last release (almost 5,500 changes reviewed over 7 months). In the future, MediaWiki release deployments should be smaller and more frequent, reducing deployment pains.

Full list of changes in 1.17:

Data Summit


On February 3-4, 2011, the Foundation organized a Data Summit in Sebastopol, CA, to present and formally discuss Wikimedia data-related issues and ongoing projects [1].

The Data Analytics session (chaired by Rob Lanphier) presented results from the fundraiser's analytics, discussed how WMF is planning to use analytics to support its initiatives, how to address existing gaps in information collection and analysis, and how to meet the needs of different stakeholders (WMF, researchers, the community). Several working groups were established for further progress on analytics functionality focusing on: (1) how to make revision data more accessible via a NoSQL database, (2) defining requirements for session tracking, (3) improving the data dump generation process, (4) addressing privacy issues in light of WMF's privacy policy, (5) defining the requirements for a dedicated data mining infrastructure, and (6) assessing the existing analytics system.

In the Parsers session [3] (chaired by Danese Cooper) a number of demos were presented with examples of how to build and exploit new data structures to provide a better understanding of Wikimedia content. The session also discussed the design of a new parser which would support a standard intermediary format for representing Wikimedia content. WMF expects to continue the discussion on parsers and data structures at the WMDE Developer Meetup, currently scheduled for May 2011.

In the Structured Data session [4] (chaired by Erik Möller), the capabilities of existing structured data systems (such as DBPedia, Freebase, Shortipedia, SMW and other) were reviewed and several questions were formulated on the technical requirements to support and enhance Wikimedia's Structured Data functionality. The discussion started at the Data Summit will continue on wiki-research-l and wikitech-l and open up to all interested parties.

[2] etherpad:DataSummitAnalytics
[3] etherpad:DataSummitParsers
[4] etherpad:DataSummitSMW

Gender Gap Conversations Begin


On January 31, Noam Cohen of the New York Times published a piece about Wikipedia's gender gap (13% of editors responding to the UNU-Merit Survey of 2008 self-identified as female), which prompted dozens of media stories and blog coverage in publications such as the Telegraph, Mother Jones, Discover magazine, Jezebel, the Atlantic, and NPR. It also gave rise to dozens of online comments and conversations from both women and men, including readers, aspiring editors, current editors and lapsed editors. Many women reached out to the Wikimedia Foundation offering their help to fix the problem. As a result, the Wikimedia Foundation created the “gender gap” mailing list, a place for Wikimedians and interested outsiders to talk about strategies for solving the gender gap problem. Since then, a number of initiatives have been undertaken to drive up women's participation in the projects, including the establishment of an Australian group called Women4Wikipedia, the staging of a women editors meet-up in New York, discussions about Wikipedia and gender at Recent Changes Camp 2011 in Boston, and the planning of a women's wiki workshop in Kolkata, India.

In addition, in February, Sue was invited to join the board of the Ada Initiative, a new non-profit aimed at promoting the visibility and participation of women in open-source technology and culture.

Gender Gap community portal:

Related blog posts by Sue Gardner:
Timeline created for the Russian Wikipedia history (click to enlarge)

History of the Russian Wikipedia Published


One of the goals of the Community Department is to build a repository of knowledge about practices and experiences in different Wikimedia languages and projects, to inform both the work of the Wikimedia Foundation and the larger community. For example, what is the experience of a Wikipedia language that never created an Arbitration Committe? How do processes like "speedy deletion" or "featured article candidates" get handled in different languages? How did mass media attention affect the development of our projects?

Within our large multilingual community, a diverse set of strategies to solve similar problems have been attempted. Surfacing the hidden knowledge about these strategies could be immensely valuable. To this end, last year, the Community Department commissioned a first "WikiHistory", a history of the Russian Wikipedia, written by Wikimedia Foundation fellows Marayana Pinchuk and Victoria Dorovina. In February, it was published on Meta and on the Russian Wikipedia:

It generated a considerable amount of interest both on Meta and in the Russian community, where it was the subject of a lot of discussion, which Victoria moderated and Maryana translated and moved to the talk page of the English version. A methods page and discussion summary postscript were also added.

Maryana worked in February to begin recruiting PhD candidates and Wikimedians for a summer project to create at least a few more Wikipedia histories, and to begin faciliating community-led processes for creating project histories.



As always, detailed info about the Tech Department's activities for February 2011 can be found at

Highlights below.



GNUnify 2011 (February 11-12, Pune, India)


This year’s GNUnify Wikimedia track was an opportunity to present the general Wikimedia technical architecture, how to hack MediaWiki, the use of Drupal and CiviCRM at the Wikimedia Foundation, and the current and future state of Wikimedia mobile. An Android prototype of WikiSnaps (a mobile photo upload application) was also developed there. Along with attending the technical tracks, numerous Wikipedians attended and gave presentations on the Schools offline projects, challenges within India, and basics on how to edit. Blog reports about the conference by an attendee:



Data Center Racking Party


By the end of February, nearly all hardware was delivered to the new data center in Virginia. More than 50 pallets of equipment were unboxed, stacked and installed in the 16 racks by a four person team. Almost everything has now been cabled, and we are working on the finishing touches, as well as the initial setup of all devices to make them available for management on the network. In March, configuration of the first clusters of servers and services will begin, while we wait for network transport and transit services to be installed.



Personal Image Filter


Following the 2010 Wikimedia Study of Controversial Content, UI Brandon Harris created mock-ups of a personal image/media filter in partnership with the product strategy team, including initial UI design recommendations. They will be presented to the Board of Trustees controversial content workgroup for further discussion.

Community Feature Prototyping


In February, the Community and Tech departments started a joint experiment in which engineers work even more closely with Community department staff. Developers are “embedded” in the Community department to try out a more agile way to prototype and A/B test features. Trevor Parscal started in this role in February, and will continue in March.

General Engineering




During the Data Summit, Diederik van Liere released and presented the Python toolkit he developed as part as his work on data analytics for the Editor Trends Study. It is now available in SVN at



openZim for Collections


PediaPress has wrapped up their first development push for adding openZim support to the collections extension. We are now collecting bug reports before deploying it to the live site.

Research and Strategy


Internal Research Progress


In February, Dario Taraborelli visited WMF and presented some exploratory analysis of data collected as part of the Article Feedback project [5], with the goal of informing the design of Phase 2 and identifying possible issues in rolling out this functionality globally.

Erik Möller and Howie Fung started drafting a report of the Editor Trends Study [6]. Work also continued on the drafting of the Product Whitepaper [13].

Research Committee Activity


The Wikimedia Research Committee (RCom) held its 3rd meeting on February 25, 2011 [9]. The meeting focused on discussing progress on a number of initiatives run by the RCom, including: subject recruitment procedures [10], the open-access policy for Wikimedia research [11], and the current participation in a survey on barriers to expert participation [12].

The survey on barriers to expert participation in Wikipedia [14] was formally launched on February 9, 2011 and disseminated via a number of social media and scholarly outlets, including PLoS, the Wellcome Trust, Nature Blogs, the Encyclopedia of Life, and the Open Knowledge Foundation among others. The survey is due to close in March with the publication of early results.

Research Outreach Initiatives


Diederik van Liere and Howie Fung started to define the goals, technical requirements and submission procedure for a data challenge to be hosted by Kaggle [7] on behalf of WMF and focusing on statistical models to predict editor participation. The call for contributions will be formally announced in March or April. Winners will have the opportunity of presenting their work at the O'Reilly Strata Conference in New York [8].

Dario Taraborelli, Howie Fung, Erik Zachte and Felipe Ortega (WikiSym '11 general chair) also started organizing a visualization challenge that will run in Q2-Q3 of 2011. The challenge will focus on novel visualisations of a number of datasets from Wikimedia projects that will be released in April 2011. The winners will be announced in September 2011 and invited to present their work at WikiSym '11 (October 3-5, 2011 – Mountain View, CA) [15].




The Community Department made progress on several community organizing and research projects in February.

Wiki Guides Experiment


Philippe Beaudette and James Alexander began a project called "Wiki Guides." This is an experiment designed to organize volunteers to support and protect newbies through their first 100 or more edits.

50 volunteer Guides joined the project and began their work with a discussion of the newbie experience and potential interventions. One of the early pages created by the Wiki Guides project is a place to share stories of what it was like to be a new user:

At the end of the month, each Guide was assigned a list of new users to support. The project will change its tactics and structure weekly to try out new approaches.

New Account Creation Project


Community fellow Lennart Guldbrandsson published the results of an additional account creation survey:

About 9,500 people who had previously created a new account, responded to the survey. As a result, we have a better understanding of what motivates people to create a user account on Wikipedia and what new users' expectations are. Based on the survey results, Lennart started testing the first iterations of improved account creation pages on the English Wikipedia.



The Fundraiser team continued their analysis of the 2010 fundraiser testing experience and their work on a report to the community. Sara Crouse completed new funding proposals.

Public Policy Initiative


The Public Policy Initiative team started to plan the first "Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit", an event to be held in July 2011. The event aims at celebrating the volunteers who participate in Wikimedia's university based program activities, building a community of educators and Wikipedia volunteers, and sharing skills, best practices and success stories. In 2011, the Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit will also be the final event for the Wikimedia Foundation's Public Policy Inititative.

From February 10-13, LiAnna Davis and Amy Roth attended the APSA (American Political Science Association) Teaching and Learning conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They presented a workshop about integrating Wikipedia into the classroom and provided outreach and education at an exhibitor booth. Conference website:

Global Development


Global Development Highlights

  • India Catalyst activities in support of the community accelerated with the appointment of Hisham Mundol as consultant for India Programs ( ); Barry traveled to India to introduce Hisham to communities in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore.
  • Progress on several key GD initiatives (see below for details and links): Brazil Catalyst draft report, Global Education program, Mobile Research and Editor Survey Research
  • Shared draft fundraising agreement with the chapters for discussion and made progress with chapters on getting chapter agreements in place consistently.

Chapter Relations and Grants


No new grants were funded in February.

Brazil Catalyst


For a full update:

  • A draft of the Brazil "Action Plan" was completed with the help of about 20 interviews of Brazilian Wikimedians. Based on the detailed work led by Carolina Rossini, the general macro-actions proposed are:
    • Establish WMF's presence in Brazil and hire a National Program Director.
    • Engage in projects that recruit entirely new sets of readers and editors such as national events, global events, and university partnerships.
    • Establish a new dynamic with the existing community.

India Programs

  • Barry Newstead traveled to India for a brief trip during which he introduced Hisham to the Indian community and chapter, and held community meetings in Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore to introduce and discuss community activities and expectations.
  • Met with chapter in Bangalore to discuss chapter's way forward and its collaboration with the community.
  • Met and conversed with multiple community members, Bishakha Datta, and Achal Prabhala to discuss Foundation activities in India.
  • Reviewed existing information on India programs, and prepared a draft "India Plan" including objectives, key initiatives, time plans, and team structure:
  • Initiated discussions with Foundation staff on key initiatives: campus outreach, research and communications; all to be taken forward and fleshed out in Hisham's upcoming SF visit.

Mobile Strategy


We finalized the schedule and methodology of conducting research to understand mobile user experience in India and Brazil.

Editor Survey 2011


The Wikimedia Foundation is planning a new, comprehensive survey of the Wikipedia editor community. In February, we:

  • Finalized the questionnaire after several iterations.
  • Hired a vendor for programming and cleaning of the survey.
  • Began work with volunteer translators to get the survey translated in several languages.
  • Began work with the engineering team to launch the survey on the website.

We should launch the survey in the last week of March or the first week of April.


  • Worked with community members on the best ways to select high quality and important articles to create article collections. Tech began helping us think about how we can develop tools to assist.
  • Distribution is happening already in several parts of the world. For example, enabled by a grant provided by WMF, a group of Kenyan Wikimedians began uploading prototype offline versions of offline Wikipedia (via DVD & USB sticks) onto computers in schools throughout Kenya. Demand is very high here.

Global University Programs


Frank Schulenburg, Jessie Wild, Rod Dunican and Annie Lin kicked off the strategy planning process for a Wikimedia Global University Program. A preliminary version of their strategy paper can be found on the outreach wiki:

This is still in the planning and discussion phase. At this point, the general recommendations are to

  1. Create a platform for professors from all countries to be able to easily incorporate the editing of Wikipedia in the classroom and,
  2. Empower students to form student groups to facilitate outreach and editing.



February saw a range of media coverage, mostly following up on the global activites around Wikipedia 10 and on the presence of a gender gap within Wikipedia's editor community (see highlights, omitted below). The Foundation distributed a press release in conjunction with up-time monitoring service 'WatchMouse' and finalized design and released the Strategic Plan summary document.

Major Stories and Coverage through February

After its January story about the gender gap, the New York Times set up a special debate portal and invited scholars on the topic to contribute views, and dozens of other outlets followed up on the question, e.g..

Behind the Scenes at Wikipedia.IN

A thoughtful overview of the Wikimedia movement in India and the diversity of activities taking place in all corners of the country. The story features an interview with Jimmy Wales and focuses on work being done to support Indic language projects.

Other worthwhile reads:

Major Announcements and Releases in February 2011


Wikimedia Foundation selects Watchmouse monitoring service (February 9, 2011):

Major Product Releases in February 2011


Wikimedia's Strategic Plan Summary:

Blog during February 2011


During the month of February, WMF's blog highlighted 8 topics:

  • Wikipedia’s gender gap
  • WikiProject Medicine urges medical community to edit.
  • Wikimedia selects Watchmouse for global monitoring services.
  • Welcome Wikimedia’s 30th Global Chapter, Wikimedia España.
  • Wikipedia Contribution Team Plans Events Throughout UK and Beyond.
  • Wikipedia Enters the Sun King’s Court.
  • Sue Gardner joins Ada Initiative advisory board.
  • Wikimedia presents its five-year strategic plan.

All posts for February can be found at:

Media contact through February, 2011


WMF received 15 media contacts from organizations including BBC World Service, ABC Australia, Marie Claire, Times of London, Fast Company, Communications Daily, Read Write Web, NOS Dutch Public Television, The Guardian (UK), Women in Business, Data Center Dynamics, and Visionary Productions "On the road in America".

Human Resources


Staff Changes


New Hires

  • Geoffrey Brigham, General Counsel (Legal) – FT Permanent
  • Jon Davis, Interim Office IT Manager (Finance) – Temp Full Time
  • Tony Le, Controller (Finance) – FT Permanent
  • Janice Tud, HR Generalist (HR) – FT Permanent

New Contractors

  • Hisham Mundol (Global Development)
  • Moushira Elamwray (Global Development)

Extended Contracts

  • Michelle Paulson (Legal) – Temp Full Time
  • Christine Moellenberndt, Community Associate (Community) – Temp Full Time
  • Joshua VanDavier, Development Associate (Community) – Temp Full Time

New Job Postings

  • Senior QA Engineer (Tech)
  • Office Assistant, Travel (Finance/Admin)
  • Major Gifts Associate (Community)
  • Grants & Information Officer (Community)

Contract Ended

  • Deniz Gultekin, Community Associate
  • Tara Harwood, Head of Office Admin
  • Steven Ma, Community Associate



Vital Stats: Total Employee Count

Plan: 81
Actual: 63
Attrition: 3

Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 29

Diversity stats:

  • 63 Total Employees (includes people considered international employees)
  • 42.9% female employees; 6.9% increase from 7/1/10
  • 31.8% ethnic minorities; 5.8% increase from 7/1/10
  • 38.1% foreign nationals; 1.9% increase in U.S. hiring from 7/1/10
  • 42.9% Wikimedians; 0.86% increase from 7/1/10
  • 71.4% have lived abroad; 1.4% increase from 7/1/10

Real-time feed for HR updates: or

New Events


The HR Department has been digging into some exciting work since the new year began. Here's a recap of what we've been working on broken out by function:


We worked on increasing our hiring capacity by adding new recruiting firms and optimizing and streamlining our recruiting pipeline. We also worked very closely with hiring managers to collaboratively rethink the current process and address any challenges we're finding.

HR Documentation

The HR department, with the addition of our new generalist Janice Tud, undertook a documentation project to raise level of awareness regarding process in hiring and staff development.

HR Metrics

HR started tracking diversity stats (see below) to better understand the make up of our culture. We were excited to see that we are well above the average for technology companies in several areas.

We also worked on tracking our capactiy to hire. This information is imperfect, but we are getting closer to understanding our hiring ability. As we get better data we will talk about it in more detail.

Staff Development

Cyn and Daniel attended a seminar at LinkedIn to learn about thier new recruiting funtionality. While the seminar was fairly cheesy and targeted at less tech savvy organizations than ourselves, it was a good learning experience. It may lead to a deeper level of engagement with LinkedIn to help us find the right people for our organization.

HRIS (HR Information System)

The HR team decided on, and began implementation of, a new database to help track and manage personnel information. The software is called OrangeHRM and is an open source project:

The implementation team at OrangeHRM has been great, and we will be ready to launch in March. This will go a long way towards professionalizing our department and providing us with accurate data.

Finance and Administration



  • Mid-year financials were published on the Foundation website at
  • Started planning for the development of the 2011-12 annual financial plan.
  • Built rough forecast of revenue and spending for end of 2010-11 fiscal year; expect to be approximately 5 to 10% underspent at year-end.
  • Continued to work with Marcin to warp up Wikimania Gdansk reporting, funds collections and invoice payment.


  • Departments received individual purchasing cards, which will make the coding and reporting of expenses paid by credit card more efficient.
  • Began searches for interim Head of Office Administration, permanent Travel Assistant and Help Desk associate.
  • Geoff began his orientation, starting to learn the ropes at the Foundation and within the community, and beginning the development of legal strategy and 2011-12 plan inputs.
  • Geoff continues to be supported by Michelle Paulson, associate counsel, who has maintained the legal office since last October.
  • Sue and Geoff met with the staff of the Electronic Frontier Foundation for pizza & discussion.

Visitors and Guests

  1. Manish Shah (Intuit - demo)
  2. Manish Maheshwari (Intuit - demo)
  3. Yohei Murakami (Language Grid Project)
  4. Sonia Eunhai Kim Felix (South Korea) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  5. Florence de Noray (France) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  6. Luisa Scapolla (Italien) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  7. Satsuki Kawada (Singapore) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  8. Gayle Evans (Great Britain) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  9. Clelia Piragibe (Brazil) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  10. Eva Voisin (Honorary Consul Hungary) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  11. Liliane Koziol (Honorary Consul Madagaskar) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  12. Eny Arguelles (MD, USA) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  13. Mary Staunton (Ireland) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  14. Josette Osgood (Honorary Consul Côte d’Ivoire) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  15. Huguette Wildschutz (Luxembourg) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  16. Brigitte Brockmann (Germany) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  17. Martha Hertelendy (USA) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  18. Kathleen Kimura (Great Britain) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  19. Gerlind Rothen (Germany) (PPI consuls wives and honorary consul group)
  20. Latoya Peterson (Community Member - WikiHistories project)
  21. Gina Glantz (Consultant)
  22. Erik Swan (Splunk)
  23. Ward Cunningham (CTO CitizenGlobal)
  24. Jerome Gary (Producer/Director) and 15 person crew (arabic-speaking world 'On the road in America)
  25. Valerie Aurora (Ada Initiative)
  26. Cheol Ryul and Colleague (Korean Wikimedian)
  27. Derrick Coetzee(Wikipedia Campus Ambassadors)