Wikimedia Highlights, October 2011/lb

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Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for October 2011, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation Highlights

Treffe vun der Arabescher Wikipedia am Mëttleren Osten

Gruppefoto op der Convention vun der Arabescher Wikipedia zu Katar

Barry Newstead, Frank Schulenburg, Moushira Elamrawy and Sara Yap of the Global Development department traveled to the Middle East to meet with Wikipedians in the Arab world and begin the expansion of the Wikipedia Education Program. Adel Iskandar, a professor at Georgetown University who had taught in the Public Policy Initiative (the U.S. Global Education Program pilot), joined the team to meet with professors and Wikipedians in Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan. These meetings will inform the planning of the Arabic Education Program, which will be launched in 2012. Over the course of a 14-day visit to Egypt, Jordan and Qatar, the Wikimedia team connected with local experts, university staff, student groups, and attendees at an Arabic Wikipedia Convening in Doha which was co-hosted by WMF together with the Qatar Computing Research Institute. The convening focused on ways to catalyze high quality growth of the Arabic Wikipedia across the Middle East and North Africa.

MediaWiki 1.18 and HTTPS support deployed

MediaWiki 1.18 was deployed to all Wikimedia wikis in October. Major features of the new version include:

  • Support for gender-specific user pages: In languages that have different words for "User" depending on whether the user is male or female, user pages are denoted by the male or the female version, if the user has specified their gender in their preferences.
  • Better directionality support: MediaWiki 1.18 makes it easier for left-to-right and right-to-left text to coexist on the same page. (Languages affected by this include Hebrew, Arabic, and Persian.)

October also saw the rollout of native HTTPS support to all wikis, so that URLs like work to access the secure version of our sites.

A/B testing to improve editor retention

To improve retention of new Wikipedians, Steven Walling and Maryana Pinchuk from the Community Department collaborated with community members on the English and Portuguese Wikipedia in testing variations in the wording of warning messages. These ready-made messages are used in automated editing tools to alert new users about problems with their edits. A/B testing is used to find out whether more personal, less directives-oriented messages, or a friendlier wording, have an effect on the user's subsequent actions: How often they edit afterwards, whether their subsequent edits are vandalism, whether they contact the more experienced user who issued the warning, and whether that contact is constructive or not.

The tests involved the anti-vandalism tools Huggle and Twinkle, and SDPatrolBot, a bot which warns users when they remove a speedy deletion tag from an article they are working on. Steven and Maryana also started to collaborate with community members to test improvements in the archiving of shared IP talk pages, where many such warning messages to anonymous editors are being left.
ComScore unique visitor growth by region, September 2010 – September 2011

Global unique visitors for September:

455 million (+7.5% compared with August; +14.2% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release October data later in November)

Page requests for October:

16.8 billion (+6.1% compared with September; +15.6% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for September 2011 (>= 5 edits/month):

83,164 (-2.8% compared with August / +1.6% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects except for Wikimedia Commons)

Report Card for September 2011:

The report card is currently undergoing a redesign as a more fully-featured dashboard (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects).


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

Revenue: $ 3,580,474


  • Technology Group: $ 2,169,824
  • Community/Fundraiser Group: $ 754,685
  • Global Development Group: $ 775,647
  • Governance Group: $ 263,091
  • Finance/Legal/HR/Admin. Group: $ 1,416,181

Total Expenses: $ 5,379,428

Total surplus/(loss): ($ 1,798,954)

Revenue was ahead of plan due to Stanton grant of $ 2.8 million and additional donations ahead of plan of $ 427,751.

Expenses were below plan at $ 5.4 million actual vs. $ 6.7 million plan. Expenses were below plan due to lower than plan expenditures in capital expenditures, chapter grants, recruitment cost and other activities due to being only three months into the fiscal year.

Cash of $ 16 million, which is six months of cash reserves at current spending levels.

Aner Héichpunkten vum Mouvement

Wiki Loves Monuments: Winning entry in France
  • "Wiki Loves Monuments" highly successful: Numerous European countries announced their finalists in the "Wiki Loves Monuments" (WLM) contest. During September, participants had been invited to upload photos of their country's cultural heritage to Wikimedia Commons. The event was mostly organized by Wikimedia chapters in the 18 participating countries, and supported by the Foundation's technical work on special features for the upload wizard. The number of new users on Commons more than doubled during September, and almost 170000 files have been uploaded in the contest. The Europe-wide winner is going to be announced in December.
  • German chapter launches "Wikidata" project: Wikimedia Germany has begun hiring for "Wikidata", an ambitious project to develop a central data repository for Wikimedia projects, similar to the role of Wikimedia Commons as a central repository for multimedia files. The first two phases will address Interwiki links, and infoboxes.
  • Italian Wikipedia temporarily shut down in protest of proposed law: On October 4, the Italian Wikipedia community decided to replace all content on the project with a message protesting a bill that was being discussed in the Italian parliament, describing how it would threaten the ability to openly collaborate in the sharing of knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation shared the concerns of the volunteers. On October 6, the project reopened after changes had been made to the bill.
  • GLAM collaborations on the rise in Israel: A member of Wikimedia Israel reported that the country has joined the numerous Wikimedia collaborations worldwide with institutions from the cultural sector (GLAMs - galleries, libraries, archives and museums). A cooperation has started with the country's national museum, and there are plans for a Wikipedian-in-Residence at The National Library of Israel.