Talk:Wikimedia Foundation website

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Traffic statisticsEdit

Alexa statistics have many flaws, but they are one indicator. I see the global Alexa rank for wikimediafoundation.org now floats around 100k, while it used to be a top 10k domain in USA not so many years ago.

A decline does not surprise me given the website has grown more and more distant from the core of the Wikimedia movement's communication to the world, but I admit I did not expect the traffic to drop by order(s) of magnitude. (Some significant traffic has been moved elsewhere, for instance the most important pages for the Wikimedia wikis' registered and unregistered users are now on foundation.wikimedia.org; but some other sources of traffic like blog.wikimedia.org have been folded in the main domain.) I hope Alexa is wrong but I've not seen any data to support such hopes.

What can we do to stop the decline of the website, and possibly even return it to is former (moderate) glory? After such a long neglect, we should all feel a sense of urgency in improving the situation. Presumably it doesn't help to have accessibility issues, broken HTML, scarce i18n support, less languages, slower pages, poor recognisability, broken incoming links and so on, but I wonder if it takes more than fixing technical regressions. Nemo 13:39, 10 July 2019 (UTC)

@Nemo bis: When combined with data on the Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki there does not appear to be a decline. Additionally, traffic to the site has steadily increased since the 30 July 2019 soft launch (which is when the decrease in traffic from pages on that wiki went into effect). Additionally, the site is performing significantly better than the previous site on many regards such as recruitment, partnership awareness, and donations. We will continue to work to improve the site, as we have with this latest design, as we do with all of our active sites. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:50, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

The website keeps floating around position 100k. It would be nice to read a report on the results of this new website, including its volume of traffic, and whether the decline is expected to persist or what. If the decrease in traffic was not a goal of the move to the new website, the post-mortem of the migration should investigate possible remedies. (Was there a post-mortem already? According to Wikimedia Foundation website/2017-2018 update, nothing happened after the "soft launch" of July 2018. It's been a while.) Nemo 21:06, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

Typo in font stackEdit

Great job on the new website, it is certainly quite an improvement. I was experimenting with bringing a more OOUI-based look to it and found a typo in font stack: Seogoe UI instead of Segoe UI. Currently most Windows users have wrong fonts because of it. (Reporting this here because it is a pretty small thing to write a Phabricator task about.) stjn[ru] 16:44, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

@Stjn: Great catch and thank you for the feedback and pointing out this bug. I have gone ahead and submitted a patch to resolve this which should deploy live soon. Thank you! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:50, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

Staff historyEdit

You know, one of the things that I really just miss now, is history.. It's all slick, but it has simply become impossible to have any sort of idea for instance about which employee joined and/or left when, department changes etc.. I fear with the staff and contractors page fully in the new website, that information on meta will be even less up to date going forward (HR definetly doesn't seem to be keeping it up to date).. This hurts the transparency of the organization that we are supposed to be... —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 20:05, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

@TheDJ: I agree that we need a better solution for listing the staff which engage with the community. However, we have seen that just because we can use a channel for something, does not necessarily mean we should. Utilizing the organization website for dozens of things was simply not allowing us to do any of them very well. Hopefully we can work to improve department and team document on Meta-Wiki. The audiences asking for this are community leaders and affiliate staff, so housing this information on channels meant for those groups I think makes more sense and hopefully where we can move toward. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:57, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
"so housing this information on channels meant for those groups"; I respect that, but it was nice if it was actually happening.. I get it, it's hard enough to keep track of the payroll details, revoking people's shell and building access etc... but this is the part that the community is looking at. The public stuff, the transparency, it is important, maybe because of our history more important than anything else in long term stability and sustainability. I get that the general HR employee doesn't understand that, but it's the responsibility of the organization to educate it's employees. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 09:46, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
I should note that the HR folks involved very much agree and have indeed been trained on our value of transparency (training on our values is required for all new hires). This is a matter of resources and not desire. I empathize completely with wanting this to be resolved yesterday, and that on the surface solutions may seem simple. However, any task (even simple ones) come at the cost of another task. And as we grow from 150 to 250 to soon 350 - this is not as simple a task as it once was (years ago updates were done monthly - today they are done almost daily) and we long ago passed the size of most organization's online staff listings. But that does not mean we have given up! My personal hope is that you will start to see some progress on this during this fiscal year. That said, I should note that many teams have already begun work on improving their on-wiki documentation and indeed some have been great at it long before there were even discussions around focusing the organization website. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 20:39, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: Okay, we need a way to have a transparent and manageable system for keeping track of staff. We already list various staff groups on all sorts of pages here on Meta which need to be kept up-to-date. It seems like the clear solution is to have a central staff page here on Meta which is structured in a way that allows the various other pages to pull the same lists from that page. I've started work on a template and module for this, which can make it possible for navboxes (both the general departments one and those for individual departments), department/team galleries, and simple lists to all update from the central staff listing. If we get all the styling nice, perhaps we could redirect the WMF site's staff page to here and push all staff updating work onto the one page.
You mention that the HR folks agree on the value of transparency. I don't suppose there's any chance we could get some data from them? I imagine that they have plenty of records. It would be quite useful if we could get, for example, a historical list/timeline of WMF staff, and maybe also a list of all WMF job descriptions. It doesn't need to be nicely formatted or anything, the data alone would be quite useful. --Yair rand (talk) 04:22, 30 July 2019 (UTC)
@Yair rand: Thank you for the great work on that template. Regarding HR, I would not conflate the issue of information on existing roles with information on data about hundreds of individuals from the past fifteen years maintained across several different systems over the years. :) It is not an area I can speak to, but I can already imagine a number of complexities that request would bring and they are indeed two very different topics. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 16:56, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: Is the data really spread across several different systems? I was under the impression that Talent & Culture had unified all its HR data into the (unfortunately closed-source) Namely setup years ago. In any case, do you happen to know who would be the best person to contact in order to request the data on those areas? --Yair rand (talk) 16:53, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
@Yair rand: Again, not the best person to speak to HR questions, but my understanding is that system unification was for existing employees. However, my main point is that data on existing employees and data on past employees are two very different topics and my past comments on documentation on current employees should not be conflated as comment about information on past employees. Since it is a request to the organization, I would suggest using the Answers system. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 19:58, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
That system appears to be off-wiki, so it's not really usable without causing more of the same problem we're trying to solve... --Yair rand (talk) 19:53, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
+1 to that, TheDJ! I also miss the possibility to follow each change long after it happened. But we're kinda nerdy you and I, resources are limited, and needs are not. I understand the change, but yeah, also would like Comms and HR to know there are sad unicorns on Earth who used to like that particular solution. Last but not least, why are we that transparent, anyway? Tar Lócesilion (queta) 14:06, 18 July 2019 (UTC)
I am periodically (about every 6 months) feeding whole WMF website to archive.org since end of last year. Last crawl has happened this month, but the history between the archival is lost. — regards, Revi 07:26, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

AttributionEdit

The website says that it's licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0, but the pages don't have histories, or any other way to tell who the authors of a page are, afaict. How is one supposed to comply with the license's attribution requirements? --Yair rand (talk) 19:53, 14 August 2019 (UTC)

@Yair rand: The author is Wikimedia Foundation, which is also how the previous version of the site was generally cited on places like English Wikipedia and how Wikimedia Foundation Governance Wiki is generally cited. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 18:11, 26 August 2019 (UTC)

Translation in other languagesEdit

Hi, how to translate in other languages? I and other volunteers can help translate in Italian. Is there a TranslateWiki page?--Ferdi2005[Mail] 22:17, 13 November 2019 (UTC)

and also please translate in Indonesian because that's my official language --PutriAmalia1991 (talk) 14:19, 19 January 2020 (UTC)

@Ferdi2005 and PutriAmalia1991: We are very interested in expanding to additional languages! However, we need to have a system in place for long-term support of the language to avoid having outdated content in the future. This has been a problem for us before, and we committed on this project to developing methods to prevent that from occurring again. There are legal complexities which limits us in terms of methods, but we are working with people across the movement on this effort. You can visit the Organization communications translators group page on Meta-Wiki for more information on the project and how to apply to join when additional languages are added. --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:56, 30 January 2020 (UTC)

Broken linksEdit

https://wikimediafoundation.org/about/jobs/ links to URIs like https://grnh.se/d5acb5a81 and https://grnh.se/343b413f1 which are 500 Internal Server Error. —Justin (koavf)TCM 23:24, 2 February 2020 (UTC)

@Koavf: I am sorry you are having problems with these links. They are working okay for me, can you verify that you are still having problems accessing them? Thank you! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 22:36, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: "500 Internal Server Error If you are the administrator of this website, then please read this web application's log file and/or the web server's log file to find out what went wrong." —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:44, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
Why is this a URI redirect rather than a direct link? —Justin (koavf)TCM 22:45, 4 February 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Those are the links which the platform provides us. I am not sure if that is because the final links could change. However, I know that people outside the organization (colleges, job fairs, etc.) sometimes take and post those links in a way where having a short URL is helpful. I believe it also helps with analytics around the origin of where the job posting info came from, but I could be wrong on that. But in short, I believe it is because the benefits outweigh the potential problems. It is also unlikely to be related to this, as the long URLs would probably not have worked either. My best guess is that they posted it to the website accidentally a tiny bit before the posting went live officially, and you just happened to catch it during that window. It has not happened before to my knowledge, but seems logical to me knowing the systems. I have never personally seen a situation with this platform where the shortlink does not work and the long link does. Can you verify if they are working for you now? If so, I can look into the timeline a bit and see if that is what happened. If they are still not working for you, obviously a different problem. Thank you! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:18, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: Firefox, https://grnh.se/d5acb5a81: "500 Internal Server Error If you are the administrator of this website, then please read this web application's log file and/or the web server's log file to find out what went wrong." Brave, https://grnh.se/d5acb5a81: redirects to https://boards.greenhouse.io/wikimedia/jobs/2034175?gh_src=d5acb5a81 just fine. Firefox, https://boards.greenhouse.io/wikimedia/jobs/2034175?gh_src=d5acb5a81: just fine. This is likely due to the many anti-tracking add-ons I have on Firefox and the fact that Brave is fresh out of the box. —Justin (koavf)TCM 00:24, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@Koavf: Interesting! I will let the department who operates the job posting platform and manages that page know about this. This is the first time I have heard anything like this with these links, so need to look into it a bit more. Thank you for letting us know! --Gregory Varnum (Wikimedia Foundation) [he/him] (talk) 00:29, 5 February 2020 (UTC)
@GVarnum-WMF: And thank you for your cordial response, Gregory. I would very much encourage the WMF to rethink using these sort of redirects, as I find them very suspicious and block them by default. If nothing else, you can use the shortened URIs in the very narrow contexts where they are most useful (e.g. a printed flyer at a job fair) but save the proper locations for the links on the Foundation's site. —Justin (koavf)TCM 03:13, 5 February 2020 (UTC)

Website full page banner promoting EarthdayLive2020.orgEdit

OPEN LETTER (email archive, 23 April 2020)

Dear Katherine Maher, @Katherine (WMF):,

The WMF home website landing page (https://wikimediafoundation.org) yesterday featured a full-page banner directing all visitors globally to https://www.earthdaylive2020.org. This is a site used for American political lobbying, refer to the email discussion attached.

Could you, or the responsible member of your management team, please explain exactly how this happened?

There is zero doubt that this was a serious operational error, misuse of WMF development time and a misuse of the Wikimedia brand. It is certain that you will agree that the buck stops with the CEO. The decision to use the Foundation's website for American lobbying is in conflict with your not for profit status and is in conflict with the charitable status promoted to donors worldwide.

If the management team and yourself are going to continuing political lobbying and using WMF resources to raise funds for American political organizations which have no agreed relevance to the mission of the Foundation, there must be a published transparent governance review by the WMF board of trustees to examine and agree on this significant operational change to the public Foundation strategy and the terms for the CEO.

Thank you in advance.

Link to Phabricator task to implement the banner: https://phabricator.wikimedia.org/T250508
CC: @Raystorm: as WMF Chair.

Fae -- (talk) 13:22, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

Good letter, . One point, which I think you understand, but may need clarification: there does not appear to be any direct legal problem under U.S. law with the WMF engaging in political activity. Like you, I think that the political sentiment, while laudable, is not clearly connected to the mission statement. I think the WMF does itself and its credibility a disservice with this kind of activity (and especially, by describing a full page ad as a "small banner", as is stated in the ticket you cite). But it's not like the IRS is going to come and revoke the 501(c)(3) status over it. The danger, I believe, is that in pursuing activities like this WMF tends to discredit itself in the eyes of its users and the projects' more discerning readers. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 19:44, 23 April 2020 (UTC)

Here is one response on the email list, on April 24, 2020. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 23:59, 24 April 2020 (UTC)

Unhelpfully written - the 4th, 6th, and 7th sentences are false. Good points raised in discussion on the list. –SJ talk  17:22, 26 April 2020 (UTC) 11:32, 27 April 2020 (UTC)

@Sj: Do you think it's acceptable for the WMF to advocate for political positions entirely unrelated to our mission? --Yair rand (talk) 18:14, 26 April 2020 (UTC)
I think context matters a lot here. There is room for many kinds of effective, impactful advocacy, that advances our mission -- which is not so narrow. Wikimedia is not nearly as visible/audible in the public sphere as we might be, and that doesn't help any of our goals. But any advocacy needs to be effectively explained and targeted. Environmental issues are not inherently more political than the educational issues closest to our work; and they are inlcuded in the Foundation's longer-term plans around sustainability. (as Nemo notes, some wish it would take that much more seriously).
Healthy and encouraging: supporting Earth Day and linking to it and its history. Noting how the WMF considers the environmental impact of its work, is moving towards being carbon neutral or negative, is making its work sustainable. Noting its support for environmental orgs, including invitations of others to support them. Supporting an Earth Day event by participating in it, linking to EarthDay.org and related events. Supporting a climate strike, by writing about it and supporting striking staff.
Requiring care: directly linking to the 2020live event, which combined traditional Earth Day celebrations with the planned global climate strike and election year discussions, in a confusing way. More expansive climate strike banners + advocacy -- a fine thing to do if the Foundation sees fit, with a natural connection to other work & warmly requested by a number of community groups, but worth doing well -- bears explicit attention / explanation, including updates to Foundation plans. Putting energy and resources into outreach: multilingual communications, annual reports, op-eds, talks, legal briefs, funded programs. Worth doing, takes persistent communication + a recurring program. [This seems to have happened over the past 6 months with climate/sustainability advocacy: great.]
Harder to do well: Linking to a political action, or a single petition or policy position, or hosting campaign language directly on the WMF site. Linking to a single-country effort as an exemplar of global ones. Should be very closely aligned w/ core work. –SJ talk  14:50, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
On this front: my appreciation to everyone who stood up the Sustainability initiative and the first annual report last December (Lydia,Deb, and all). And thanks @Gnom: for rallying efforts around this for some time. I am encouraged that the WMF has supported two climate strike events in the past year -- that suggests a commitment to sustainability that is likely to guide the plans of future years. If any updates can be shared from the sustainability group, that would be a lovely tie-into the global conversations had last week. –SJ talk  15:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
"Vituperative"? You must be reading the wrong open letter. As for "false", this conflicts with the fact that the WMF have agreed that their actions were not appropriate and accepted responsibility. -- (talk) 08:11, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Perhaps I misread your tone; edited my note so as not to be self-fulfilling. But there isn't 'zero doubt', as evidenced by the further discussion; this doesn't conflict with not for profit status, as noted elsewhere; and it is wrong to frame this as 'political lobbying' or 'raising funds for American political orgs', not the apparent intent of either the WMF or of the various non-American organizations that supported the event. –SJ talk  11:32, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
There still seems a disconnect from what you are looking at and the site in question. The banner was to take WMF site viewers to https://www.earthdaylive2020.org. The landing page promotes a voting campaign and, on the landing page, pushes you to download a voting app and to "Text "earthvote" to 56525 now to get started". Of course none of this is relevant to non-Americans, so it's a puzzle as to why the WMF devoted its website globally to this cause when the vast majority of viewers are not the target audience the website is marketing/fundraising to.
This is very straightforwardly a political lobbying campaign, explicitly asking the viewer to lobby Members of Congress. So this could not be clearer as "political lobbying", which you have denied, and explicitly the site's terms includes information about donations over $200 needs to be declared due to FEC regulations, which would not be relevant if the site was not fundraising.
Further, worryingly, the site has very long terms about privacy which includes "The types of information we collect may include your name, email address, social media handles, user names, postal address, phone number, mobile number, friends’ names and emails, and other contact or identifying information you choose to provide."
The app the site is promoting also encourages the viewer to share the names of at least 3 friends. So this is an apparent type of political/fundraising pyramid scheme. Given that your contacts will be shared with unnamed 3rd parties for further fundraising or marketing, including explicitly "Remarketing with Google Analytics and Facebook Custom Audiences, or other remarketing tools", that's a very nasty sting in the tail for viewers that are coming from the public recommendation by the WMF, an organization that is trusted on privacy and the mission to share human knowledge without hijacking your details for unnamed commercial or marketing schemes.
Thanks -- (talk) 10:27, 28 April 2020 (UTC)

I still find it appalling that the WMF, with over 100,000 $ of ExxonMobil stocks and various other anti-environmental activities in its belly, fills its oil-stained mouth of green words. But I guess nobody expects anything but hypocrisy any more from WMF.

That last bit is needlessly offensive; please reconsider. A strange complaint to make, given that the December sustainability report points to how this can be resolved now, and identifies the people to resolve it. Better phrased as "please divest this part of the WMF invesetments, and encourage [investment group] to offer the same for their other clients". –SJ talk  15:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
Indeed that sentence was unnecessary, I've struck it. I'm just saying that we should put our house in order before lecturing others. The direction was set, sure, but it's been over three years. Nemo 18:08, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
I agree 100% that the WMF should divest, thanks for continuing to make the point. It's an easy, realizable step that expresses commitment w/o asking anything of others - and can have ripple effects. –SJ talk  02:16, 29 April 2020 (UTC)

I'll just note that the linked website loads resources from a number of third-party domains:

  • Mapbox (api.mapbox.com, events.mapbox.com)
  • Google (youtube.com, googlevideo.com, google-analytics.com, fonts.gstatic.com, googletagmanager.com, fonts.googleapis.com, ajax.googleapis.com, static.doubleclick.net, googleads.g.doubleclick.net, maestro-04.firebaseio.com, i.ytimg.com, s.ytimg.com, yt3.ggpht.com)
  • Amazon (s3.amazonaws.com)
  • Microsoft (github.io)
  • Maestro Interactive (maestro.io, insights.maestro.io, api.maestro.io)
  • Facebook (facebook.com, connect.facebook.net)
  • Snap (tr.snapchat.com, [?] sc-static.net)
  • AppNexus Inc (acdn.adnxs.com,ib.adnxs.com)
  • Adobe Inc (use.typekit.net, p.typekit.net)
  • Michael Jackson (unpkg.com)
  • Rock The Vote (register.rockthevote.com)
  • Team23 GmbH (browser-update.org)

Sending users to such third parties would be forbidden from the Wikimedia wikis per the CentralNotice usage guidelines, but it would be nice if wikimediafoundation.org managed to keep high standards of user protection as well. Were users notified of the impending transfer of their personal data to the 12 entities above? Did WMF legal verify the compliance of the target website with EU privacy regulations? (I notice some of those websites don't even have a privacy policy.) Nemo 20:28, 26 April 2020 (UTC)

A good thing for us to be picky about in the future. [And a side-effect of that not being designed by a global web team.] –SJ talk  15:35, 27 April 2020 (UTC)
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