Wikimedia Foundation Report, July 2010

Highlights edit

1) Wikimedia community, staff and board attend Wikimania 2010 in Gdansk, Poland. 70 travel scholarships were awarded to recipients in 39 countries.

2) Beginning of the new fiscal year. New hiring plan underway. First-ever open call for community fellowship and residency applications.

3) Catalyst grants awarded to Wikimedia chapter organizations in nine countries

4) Planning continues for new data center in Virginia

Wikimania 2010 edit

Group photo of participants at Wikimania 2010 in Gdansk, Poland

More than 300 Wikimedians gathered in Gdansk, Poland, for the sixth Wikimania conference. The Wikimedia Foundation awarded 70 travel scholarships to Wikimedians from 39 countries -- greatly expanding on past years' scholarship programs. There were many side meetings in which contributors to fledgling Wikimedia projects shared experiences, encouraged each other, and met with Wikimedia Foundation board and staff, as well as like-minded organizations.

New Wikimedians, new board members, and new staff were welcomed by Wikimania regulars. A great line up of presentations and discussions delved into new and long standing questions about community health, project governance, growth and new technology. Many Wikimedia Foundation staff members gave presentations.

Our communications team carried our first major video production effort focused on capturing the stories of Wikimedians on the sidelines of Wikimania. They interviewed 35 people and the final videos are forthcoming.

Wikimania 2010 program:
Community report in the Wikipedia Signpost:

Data, Trends and Financials edit

The monthly report card for July 2010 can be found at:
Global unique visitors:
360 million (-5% compared to previous month / + 21.9% compared to previous year)
Page requests:
13.1 billion (-6% compared to previous month / + 27.2% compared to previous year)
July 1, 2010 is the beginning of the 2010-11 Financial Year. The Annual Plan can be found at:
Operating Revenue Budget: USD 20.4MM
Operating Expense Budget: USD 20.4MM
Operating revenue for July: USD 160K vs. plan of USD 188K
Operating expenses July: USD1.3MM vs. plan of USD 1.6MM
Unrestricted cash on hand as of mid August: USD 11.0MM

The underspend in July is primarily due to underspending in capital expenditures and internet hosting (those were budgeted evenly over the year but will actually start lower and increase throughout the year) and underspending related to personnel. This was partially offset by overages related to Wikimania funding and WikiSym sponsorship and timing of Wikimania scholarships.

The review of global unique visitors and pageviews shows the normal June/July seasonal drop during sommer months.

Wikimedia Foundation data analyst Erik Zachte has created a series of new reports on revert trends (how frequently are changes undone), which he also presented at Wikimania. The relevant blog post can be found at:

The data, for example for the English language Wikipedia, can be found at:

In coming months, we hope to gain a better understanding of the relationship between revert trends and editing trends: Do revert ratios predict editing activity? We invite the research community to help us in the sensemaking process.

An additional set of reports was prepared by Erik Zachte to capture pageviews and editing activity by country-of-origin:

Particularly noticeable is the relatively high percentage of edits from European countries, as well as the strong correspondence between the percentage of pageviews and the percentage of edits from the Global South, which suggests that scaling our reach in the Global South will also help us to gain more participants in those countries.

Other notes and obervations:

  • It is instructive to review the "movers and shakers" section of page requests, which shows that Indonesian, Korean, and Russian Wikipedia have seen the strongest growth over the last year.
  • A recent data loss issue on the logging server has been fixed. Previously logged pageview data has been corrected based on an estimate of the data loss. Months affected by the data loss are grayed out in the report card.
  • We've received more detailed reports from PediaPress about sales of books using the book tool (compile Wikipedia articles into a printed book), and will share some of this data soon. Highlights: From May through July, PediaPress shipped 1,671 printed books to 981 buyers in 46 countries. 38% of books were sold to Germany and 28% to the United States. The feature was also used to generate approximately 85,000 PDF files per day.

Personnel edit

In July, we added 1 permanent hire (Barry Newstead, Chief Global Development Officer) and 2 temporary employees (Alolita Sharma, Engineering Program Manager, and Arthur Richards, Fundraising Engineer). Stewardship Associate Anya Shyrokova resigned from her position with Wikimedia to attend graduate school.

The hiring of Barry Newstead as Chief Global Development Officer and Zack Exley as Chief Community Officer was announced in June. Please refer to the press release for more information:

Total employee count: Plan: 52, Actual: 48

Remaining open positions in fiscal year: 44

Technology edit

New Data Center edit

We are building out an additional data center location for safe failover in the event that our current primary facility in Tampa, Florida suffers a major downtime. In July, we've been collecting rough bids from hosting vendors we met in our June visit to Ashburn, VA.

We have submitted requirements to a potential major equipment donor and attended meetings to support their consideration of whether to give us machines as an in-kind donation. We have enough budget earmarked to purchase these machines, but are looking for donations so we can repurpose any savings.

Project overview edit

A full overview of projects that the engineering team has been working on through much of July and August can be found at:

Here are some highlights:

  • Resource Loader - Planning and requirements gathering for an enhanced capability to handle JavaScript loading in MediaWiki in support of deployment of new functionality, including the new media upload wizard for Wikimedia Commons.
  • Article Assessment, AKA "Rate This Article" - Requirements gathering for a pilot of this capability, tied to the Public Policy Initiative
  • Pending Changes - Half-way through trial deployment of this feature for the English Wikipedia, which was formerly called "Flagged Revisions".
  • LiquidThreads - A new discussion system. Working on UI redesign, which was presented at Wikimania.
  • Vector Phase V - Final rollout of new default look and feel for Wikimedia properities (already deployed on all of the large sites) scheduled for early September. This change will complete the rollout of the Vector project.

Wikimedians interested in what we are working on should watch the wiki pages mentioned in the tech blog entry.

Visits and planned meetings edit
  • Student contractors - Over the summer, most of our student contractors made visits to the Wikimedia Foundation offices in San Francisco.
  • Hackathon - Planning a 2-day public event to get together the WMF Tech Staff with volunteer engineers for an old-fashioned face-to-face coding sprint. This meeting will be formally announced in September and will take place in October this year on the East Coast of the US.
  • Data Summit - Planning an invitational meeting to discuss plans related to how data is organized, displayed, captured and analyzed on WMF properties. Keeping the invite list small, but interested parties should apply to danese at wikimedia dot org for an invite.

Global Development edit

Overall, the Global Development (GD) team is still very much in its formative stages with the CGDO coming on board in July. We are focused on building the team with active or soon-to-be active searches for key positions including Chapter Development Director, National Program Director for India, Senior Research Analyst, Global Product Merchandise, Movement Communications and Program Assistant.

In July, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees approved the formation of a chapter in India. The Indian team is now moving forward to secure the legal registration of the chapter.

We did make significant progress on the first stage of chapter grant making with grants approved for 9 chapters (Argentina, Switzerland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Czech Republic, Ukraine, New York) and a grant to support the formation of a chapter in South Africa. We have increased our budget available for grants this year. For more information about the grant-making process and the submitted grants and reports, please see the grants page.

The Wikimedia blog ( featured postings from volunteer Liam Wyatt on his internship at the British Museum, updates to the Google translation toolkit, changes to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, the approval of the Indian chapter, the first ever open call for community fellowship and residency applicants, and a summary of a Wikimedia and free culture community event in Germany called Skill Share.

Communications edit

The communication team carried out Foundation's first major video production project. The project interviewed over 35 Wikipedians and is the Foundation first series of videos intended to shed light on the Wikimedia community. The videos will debut in September 2010.

Major issues and media-interest topics:

Gov't edits to Wikipedia articles rattle Canadian politicians (July 29)
Wikipedia tops in customer service (July 20)
Wikipedia bottoms in collecting user-data (July 30)

Media contact through the reporting period:

July 2010

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

Community Department edit

The Community Department launched an "open call" for submissions by people interested in working on community-facing projects. There were almost 2,000 submissions, many very promising, who were and are being evaluated for fellowship and residency positions at the Wikimedia Foundation. The open call brought us in contact with many active Wikimedians outside of the circle of well known voices and many women and candidates from the Global South.

The public policy initiative held several in-person meetings, events and trainings around the country of professors, student volunteers and Wikimedians to build out the organization for the first semester.

Community staff working on the fundraiser established a volunteer fundraising committee of Wikimedians from around the world to help drive the 2010 fundraiser, as well as working through many other preparations for the fundraiser.

Fundraising, Grants and Partnerships edit

During July, the Wikimedia Foundation received 762 donations, with a combined total value of USD 64,292. July is the beginning of the Wikimedia Foundation's fiscal year; this year's Community Give and Major Gifts target is USD 16,500,000. Combined with the USD 3,500,000 goal for Partnerships and Foundation related activiteis brings the total Fundraising related goal for the year to USD 20,000,000.

Legal edit

Mike conducted ongoing work identifying and interviewing legal resources for Wikimedia UK, to support the process of obtaining charitable status.

We've been in contact with both the Apple and Android app stores to ask their assistance in policing trademark-infringing apps. We're also working independently with Apple to conclude a pre-existing legacy agreement and develop a new contractual relationship regarding Wikimedia trademark use in Apple products.

In July we re-engaged a charity-specialist attorney, first to help identify the right path to organizing fundraising and other activities in India, and later to help with other fundraising/chapter issues. We confirmed that there are ongoing structural issues, particularly in Europe, with transferring charitable funds to WMF -- we're looking for holistic, comprehensive ways of resolving these issues.

Visitors and Guests edit

In July, the following people visited the Wikimedia Foundation offices for meetings and talks: Kathy Nicholson, Program Officer with the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Travis Kriplean and Jonathan Morgan, HCI Researchers at the University of Washington, Craig Newmark of Craigslist, and 20 attendees from a conference on direct democracy, most of whom were visiting from Europe.

Executive Blog edit

Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner launched her personal blog in July, starting with two blog posts:

"Why Wikimedia’s new revenue strategy makes me happy"
"If You Have These Five Characteristics Wikimedia Wants to Hire You"