Wikimedia Highlights, March 2012

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for March 2012, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation Highlights

MediaWiki development switching to distributed revision control

The MediaWiki code repository was converted from Subversion to Git (a distributed version control system originally developed by Linus Torvalds and others for the Linux kernel) for the MediaWiki core and for those MediaWiki extensions that are in use on WMF sites. The expected improvements are: A lower barrier for contributing code, avoiding certain technical flaws of Subversion that made life difficult for developers, and getting improvements to users faster.

Presentation at Arabnet, explaining "Why the Arabic world needs a strong Arabic Wikipedia..."

Arabic outreach tour encourages participation in Wikipedia

At the end of March, Barry Newstead and Moushira Elamrawy from the Wikimedia Foundation's Global Development department visited several Arabic language countries (Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon and Egypt). They connected with local Wikipedians and various potential partner institutions interested in helping to enhance the Arabic Wikipedia. The Arabic Language Initiative is a strategic priority.

Design improvements for Wikipedia mobile

The beta version of the mobile Wikipedia site saw several changes to achieve a more professional look and a better user experience. These include changes to the footer, a cleaner design for revealing and hiding sections, and a redesigned full-screen search. An experimental new feature makes it easier to access reference footnotes.

Global unique visitors for February:

476 million (-1.3% compared with January; +25.4% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release March data later in April)

Page requests for March:

17.3 billion (-4.7% compared with February; +13.6% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for February 2012 (>= 5 edits/month):

85,163 (-3.6% compared with January / -1.7% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects except for Wikimedia Commons)

Report Card for February 2012:


(Financial information is only available for February 2012 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the period of July 1, 2011 - February 29, 2012.

Revenue $ 30,198,838
 Technology Group $ 6,623,737
 Community/Fundraiser Group $ 3,042,089
 Global Development Group $ 2,707,697
 Governance Group $ 641,421
 Finance/Legal/HR/Admin Group $ 4,027,709
Total Expenses $ 17,042,652
Total surplus/(loss) $ 13,156,186
  • Revenue for the month is $ 824K vs plan of $ 272K, approximately $ 552K or 203% over plan.
  • Year-to-date is $ 30.2MM vs plan of $ 24.6MM, approximately $ 5.6MM or 21% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month is $ 2.1MM vs plan of $ 2.2MM, approximately $ 49K or 2% lower than plan.
  • Year-to-date is $ 17MM vs plan of $ 18.9MM, approximately $ 1.9MM or 10% lower than plan.
  • Cash position is $ 31.4MM as of February 29, 2012 – approximately 13 months of expenses.
Video of the monthly Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meeting covering the month of March (April 5, 2012)

Other movement highlights

New Wikimedia project: Wikidata

Development has started on Wikidata, the first new Wikimedia project since 2006. Wikidata will be "a free, collaborative, multi-lingual, secondary database, collecting structured data to provide support for Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, the other Wikimedia projects, and well beyond that". The development work is led by the German Wikimedia chapter, which will hand over operation of the project to the Foundation in 2013.

Participants of the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin

Wikimedia Conference sees movement reforms

Around the end of March, 120 representatives from organizations in the Wikimedia movement (Wikimedia chapters, the Board of Trustees, various employees of the Wikimedia Foundation, and several working groups) met in Berlin at the annual global Wikimedia Conference 2012. In the "state of the chapters" presentations, each chapter gave a summary of its activities during the past year (Commons / Meta: day 1, day 2, day 3 / YouTube). The Board of Trustees passed several resolutions concerning fundraising, funds dissemination and models of affiliation with the Wikimedia movement ("movement roles"). The event also saw the adoption of the Berlin Agreement by many chapters, formally initiating the founding of the "Wikimedia Chapters Association", a body that is hoped to lift cooperation between chapters "to a new level".

WikiWomen's History Month

On the occasion of Women's History Month, various events were held online and offline to improve coverage of women on Wikimedia projects. The outcomes include new, improved and featured Wikipedia articles, new images on Commons, and Wikinews stories.

Scientific journal publishes peer-reviewed articles on Wikipedia

The open access journal PLoS Computational Biology has announced that it is starting to publish "Topic Pages" - peer-reviewed texts about specific topics, which are published both in the journal and as a new article on Wikipedia. It is hoped that the Wikipedia versions will be updated and improved by the Wikipedia community. The first example is about circular permutation in proteins.