"So do you have anything other than snide remarks to add? ;)"
If you mean, do it myself, no, I'm afraid not, pretty busy. But I see
prospective developers from time to time ask how they can contribute. This
would be something that does not require intimate knowledge of MediaWiki
internals, so I'd say give it a try.
"The person creating it would have to be *very* trusted and their bot code
vetted for security purposes."
I wonder, many developers write applications which will need to run in a
secured environment, so much so that they don't get access to the live
version themselves. They test it on a fake account. Standard practice. Yes,
an audit would be wise.
"We might want to consider putting a bounty on creating a bot that could do
I can't help but notice that our CFO repeatedly feels the urge to spend
money where other options have not been exhausted (or even tried) ;)
Dear Wikimedia Foundation,
My name is Chitu Okoli. I am a professor in information systems (MIS) at
Concordia University in Montréal, and I've been very interested in Wikipedia
for a while. (I am also a light Wikipedian, User:cokoli, since March this
year. In addtion, I've been listening in on foundation-l for a little while
I am currently working on a couple of research projects involving Wikipedia.
Two specific projects involve:
1. Obtaining a scholarly evaluation of the quality of its articles by
comparing Wikipedia articles with those of other encyclopedias; and
2. Mapping the sociological networks of Wikipedians among each other in
their wiki activities, and the effects of these networks on their individual
and group performance in Wikipedia.
I want to apply for grant funding to support my research, and I would love
to arrange this in a way that would translate into free computer equipment
for Wikipedia. For this, I would only need the Wikimedia Foundation's
organizational support and some technical cooperation. I hope it could be a
win-win situation where I could receive assistance for my research (and the
satisfaction of contributing tangibly to what I believe is a worthy cause),
and the Foundation could hopefully get some valuable resources.
I'd like to work together with you to see what options could work best for
mutual benefit. Specifically, let me quote my faculty's grant coordinator,
as he explains quite well the boundaries of what mind be possible:
Also, with regards to buying and sending equipment to Wikipedia, you
should be okay doing that. However, the university may request that the
equipment be returned to the university at the end of the research project
i.e. 3 years from the starting date. So, Wikipedia could use the server
for 3 years, which would obviously help them by saving them the money in
the short term to purchase the equipment and in 3 years from now you may
request from the university that the equipment be donated, sold at a
discount, returned, etc. This would have to be negotiated between
yourself and the Associate Dean and Dean of the business school.
I would suggest first that you contact Wikipedia to ask them to give you a
list of the server equipment that they need to buy, but tell them that the
value cannot exceed say $6000 CDN for example. I say $6,000 because you
may get a maximum of $15,000/yr for 3 years, which you would need to hire
RAs, buy yourself a laptop to travel with, etc. In return, they would
have to send you a letter of support indicating that they will be helping
you to collect the data you need via surveys, etc.
How I would like the Wikimedia foundation to assist me is in two main ways:
1. If my research program seems interesting to you, and/or if you believe
the Foundation could benefit from the equipment that the grant(s) could
provide, please write me an official letter of support indicating that you
are willing to offer me necessary assistance in carrying out my research. I
am certainly NOT asking for financial assistance--rather, I'm trying to help
provide some. (Besides, after listening in on the fundraising banner
discussion, Wikimedia Foundation is the last place I'd go asking for money
:-) Such a letter of support in and of itself would be a great act of
"support" for me--it would be very helpful in helping me obtain a research
grant to continue my research.
2. As far as what actual "support" I would need, for much of my research, I
don't need anyone from the Wikipedia Foundation to actually do anything for
me--I am already working off the Wikipedia database dumps, and the
Wikitech-l provides pretty good technical support. (Thanks Timwi and Brion
Vibber for helping my research assistant, Claudio.)
However, some of the further research I might need to do could need
substantial help from the Wikimedia Foundation. One particular idea I have
in mind would be to conduct a survey of Wikipedians to figure out who they
are, and why they do what they do. I have in mind something very much along
the lines of the "Hacker Survey" that Boston Consulting Group conducted on
SourceForge developers, through the support of the Open Source Developers
Network. (The results are available in PDF at
http://www.bcg.com/opensource/BCGHACKERSURVEY.pdf.) I think the Foundation
could benefit from a similar survey, to better understand who Wikipedians
are. However, if I were to help conduct this survey (I am a social scientist
with special training in conducting accurate surveys), I would need special
access to Wikipedians beyond what a database dump could provide. This is
just an example to show the kind of "support" I would need that could be
mutually beneficial. And of course, I'm trying to get funds from outside to
sponsor this (e.g. I apply for a grant to pay the Foundation for developer
time to help create the surveys).
To be explicit, what I hope to offer the Wikimedia Foundation (subject to
grant award) would be:
1. Free hardware for about three years or so (depending on the grant terms).
2. Consulting/developer fees for specific projects that might require more
time by board members and developers.
Please post your thoughts and comments on this. I'd like you to help make
this a proposal that could help both me and the Wikimedia Foundation.
Chitu Okoli, PhD
Assistant Professor in Management Information Systems
John Molson School of Business
Concordia University, Montréal, Canada
Phone: +1 (514) 848-2424 x2967
--- Marco Krohn <marco.krohn(a)web.de> wrote on Wikipedia-l:
> Following the first link I would like to suggest changing
> two things:
> * there still is a link to Brion Vibbers notebook fund at the very end of the
> page. Don't get me wrong, Brion deserves a lot more money than he probably
> gets through donations, but linking to a page which seems to be outdated
> doesn't look good to me.
The link now goes directly to a PayPal payment form instead of Brion's outdated
notebook fund page. I plan to add other developers in that section as well.
More changes and improvements are also planned for the new WMF website that
Brion is helping us set up.
> * the fundraising page doesn't contain information how much money we are
> aiming for. A potential donator would just see that we have ~20 K$ on our
> account and many probably will think "well, they probably have enough money".
That is because
1) We don't have an approved budget
2) This is not a real fund drive (the message is en.wikipedia specific)
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--- Ashar Voultoiz <thoane(a)altern.org> wrote on Wikipedia-l:
> Why not having a dynamic picture looking like:
> 0$ 30k$ 100K$
> O is provision
> o achieved
> . still needed
Because there is currently no easy way to update such a bar and no way at all
to have those updates in real time. We also need to figure out where the goal
line should be set (hint to board: we need an approved budget).
But that would be an awesome thing to have, yes.
We might want to consider putting a bounty on creating a bot that could do
that. The person creating it would have to be *very* trusted and their bot code
vetted for security purposes (since it would be using account names and
passwords to gather data). But I think it could be done.
-- Daniel Mayer
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Upon reading other people comments, I think that we
might have a dual solution for developers reward,
which could be at the same time
* just a thank you note
* a mean to help them get a job, or just more traffic
on a site they like
* potentially, some money
As suggested in meta, first we could set a page on the
This page would be a list of all developers involved
in wikimedia technical matters (if they want to be
there *of course*).
Each developer name could be along with a short bio
(or link to a personal website), and description of
their most relevant activity in wikimedia as
developers (everyday hardware maintenance, bug
correction, mailing list handling, performance issues,
software development, liaison with board etc...).
Each developer could put here a proeminant link for
donations (paypal system).
=> This would help for developers development
recognition (as many development activities are just
invisible to most editors), and give them opportunity
to advertise this for ousiders. They might also get
some donations from editors who appreciate their
Second, once a year, we could have a couple of special
awards for developers. I was thinking of for example :
* award for hardware maintenance or improvement
* award for software development
* special award to thank a special dedication to some
features recommanded by the board.
These awards could be heavily advertised and of
course, proeminently announced on the
wikimediafoundation website. They might also result in
a little gift (such as money or hardware for example).
Hardware gifts might be gifts offered to the
foundation by hardware corporations.
It might be nice that this is the opportunity to thank
people who put a lot of time in some activities, which
are not very visible.
What do you think ???
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I am Anousak Souphavanh, am the lead for Lao Open Source projects:
OpenOffice, KDE, and phpnuke. My team and I would like to participate in
translating Wikipedia to Lao language. Lao is language of Laos, a landlocked
country located in Southeast Asia. A language that spoken by at least 30
million people within Laos, northeastern Thailand, and southern China. I am
not certain whether there is a request to create Lao Wikipedia or not.
Anyhow, I would like to request to create Lao (lo) Wikipedia. Also, let me
know if I required to have an id/password or not in order submit files, cvs
Thanks in advance.
I would like that all developers (others may
participate as well of course) help setting up a list
to define how development tasks completed could be
This will be followed by a public poll to define how
the rewards would be perceived...
and a private poll for developers to know what their
opinion on the matter is
Please, contribute to
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First, I agree that there is a problem with communication.
Ronny Raschkowan wrote:
> When i talked yesterday on IRC with another wikipedian, we had both the
> same opinion that there's a problem with the communication, and staying
> The problem is that people don't know for example, a feature had been
> enabled or similar (high priority?) news concerning Wikimedia. Also,
> most Wikis aren't up to date: They don't know for example, that it is
> also possible to block logged in people using the IP - Ban interface.
> Another problem is, that Wikis also couldn't know where they have to do
> requests like: Request for Permission, for switching the logo path, for
> queries, for updating a LanguageXX.php.
There are two different type of information here :
* new and sudden information (how to get informed)
* basic day to day information (who to contact, or where to go to have
I think work has definitly to be done on the first (such as warning of a
Not so much on the second, other than regularly pointing out to a couple
of good starting pages.
When I started reorganising the meta main page, I am quite sure very few
could find what was needed.
I think now, they do much more than before. In spite of numerous new
projects, there are far fewer requests on the mailing lists than before
to ask for a new logo, or sysop status. I believe most people now find
the right pages quite well.
Of course, documentation has to be written.
Possibly they don't know there
> are IRC Channels and Mailing Lists, too. I would purpose two possible
> ways to change that, but feel free to purpose other ways :)
> 1) "Reactivating" the Announce-l Mailinglist. As far, as there are a lot
> of changed going on, (creation of language specific wikibooks, quote for
> example), it'd be a good idea to have this ML working, as far as people
> could post the announces there and people interested in the changes
> could suscribe to that list and get informed.
I am really unsure it will be valuable, but am ready for an experiment.
The first announcement list set by Walter did not work, and I think
there are a couple of difficulties to solve, if you want to make it work.
You need the *largest* audience possible, and you need *all* relevant
but *only* relevant information.
1) largest audience : Have everyone REGISTERED to yet another list and
READ the mails
2) largest audience : Have messages TRANSLATED on that mailing list,
BEFORE going on the mailing list
3) Have people THINK of using that list (comment : many still not use
goings-on, but put everything in the huge mess of village-pumps)
4) Have people UNDERSTAND what to post and what not to post (need to
define the goal very well).
Nothing impossible, but... that essentially mean, imho, that such a list
will only will work IF someone is taking the responsibility and
leadership of that solution and really put time in it.
> 2) Creating a new Special page for all wikis (or similar), called
> "Useful_Links" or similar ( I haven't found a good title yet ;) ).
> People could read there where they can found the IRC Chat, where they
> can found specific mailing lists, and where they can post request (for
> permission, logo, query, etc), (Embassies?), etc. As far, people would
> have a good reference page and would fastly find a way where they can
> report a problem to the community, request and communicate within the
> community and with other users.
> These are just ideas how to do that. If you have another idea, feel free
> to add it :).
I suppose most of this is more or less on all developped projects, some
in the FAQ, some in other places. A central place is never a bad idea.
I am glad you are interested by all that Fire :-)
I hold on to my proposal to have a technical feature allowing to post a
message from meta, to all (or part of) wikimedia projects.
I think we should put some more work on meta, such as
1) making a multilingual home page
2) translating the english speaking main page in more languages
3) develop a feature to support more easily multilingualism on one wiki
4) improve flow of information for the whole area of
wikimediafoundation. The information on the main page is now outdated.
During the 8 days of the fund drive we took in an average of 855 dollars a day
for a total of $6850. But the average was trending down toward the end.
The month before the fund drive we averaged $89 a day. So I would say that the
fund drive was a big (but not huge) success.
However, why was the fund drive notice taken off of the English Wikipedia? I
thought we were going to wait until a week after Jimbo's answers were posted on
Slashdot. Since the notice was taken down our daily average plummeted to a
little more than $100 a day.
Could the notice be put back so that most cached pages will have it by the time
we get Slashdotted? Or was there a decision made somewhere that it should be
-- Daniel Mayer
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