I'd like to say a few words regarding our brand new
For those who missed the fun, many contributors have
been working in the past few weeks on our first global
This is the english version, but 5 versions are
and several others are near completion and hopefully
will be done in the next few days/weeks : Ar: De: Es:
Fi: It: and Sv:
The newsletter idea was several times mentionned last
summer on meta. In particular, Angela and I thought it
could be sent to members of the Foundation.
A few weeks ago Jimbo also mentionned he would like to
find a way to better communicate his thoughts and
points of view to the whole community. He pointed out
that his communication was limited by the language
I then suggested we do a quarterly letter to inform
people of Jimbo and the board thoughts and activities,
as well as report what has been going on in the global
Improving the communication within the community and
increasing the visibility of the Foundation activity
to contributors, to readers and to donators is very
important. I think this newsletter is one of those
steps in this direction.
We also wished that this first quaterly letter
coincide both with the 1.000.000 Wikipedia articles
announcement and the 1st trimester of activity of
Angela and I. But the problem was very very short
delays !!! And naturally a huge amount of work to
provide. Not only huge, but definitly requiring a lot
I asked Sj if he could be the coordinator of the
newsletter. I was sure he would do a very good job and
I knew he would love it ;-)
I am extremely glad I did ask him, and he accepted,
because I think Sj made a wonderful job and I would
really like to issue a special thank you note to him
for making this dream come true. I think he has been
devoting many hours on it, with optimism and cheerful
mood. A hand of iron in velvet gloves. I hope he is
very proud because he should be :-)
This newsletter has been set up in an incredible short
time (resulting in a few overlappings between writing
and translating, sorry about that).
Its great design was made by Villy, who probably also
dedicated a month wikipedia-time on it. Dozens of
different people have been contributing to its
content; dozen of editors from many different
languages have been contributing to its translation.
We had a very nice and interesting interview from
Ward. Many editors also helped proofreading, typo
correcting, frame fixing etc... May they all be
5 versions are currently final, and have been
transferred to the wikimediafoundation website and
will be advertised on the local projects.
There is still some work on them to do. More editors
are still working on the other versions and I guess we
will end up withabout 10 fully translated versions
which is really great. Next steps will be to have all
of them adequately set on the foundation website, made
visible on projects, and slowly to work on a pdf or
In all cases, I hope all those who worked on it had
pleasure to do so, and feel proud of the result. I
really thank all of you; it gave me a very warm
feeling to see we could so well and so quickly build
up such a common project (of course, I should not feel
surprised by this, but... still... even after nearly 3
years on wikipedia, I am still regularly amazed :-)).
I think it was an important thing to do, and among
other reasons, I think it was a great way to have
editors from many languages working together on a
common global project. I also hope it will help
smaller projects to feel more involved and drain more
people to get interested in meta activities.
There are some flaws in the letter naturally, I hope
readers will forgive us. There will be some feedback
both on the letter or on its editorial organisation,
or on the content itself to provide. Please do not
hesitate to give us your feedback. Perhaps on
so we can have an even better letter in 3 months.
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>> Thank you for your support. I would like to again
>invite all interested
>> parties (especially developers, but also writers,
>photographers etc.) to
>> add themselves on the above page, so that we can
>together move this
>> project forward after MediaWiki 1.3 has reached a
>stable state. As the
>> above proposal states, I hope that we can also
>implement single sign-on in
>> one fell swoop with the Commons itself, which would
>be one important step
>> to bring the individual Wikimedia projects closer
>>I am still willing to help and aid in this project.
>>However, as things
>>look now, the only help I can offer you is to
>>discontinue any plans I
>>myself have in this direction until you are ready.
>>One time there was just the English Wikipedia, then
>>were made. I have the feeling that I'm like someone
>>wanting to set
>>up another language and getting the answer that it's
>a >good idea, but
>>that in half a year there will be a new software with
>>and the possibility to have an interface adaptable to
>>I just wait for that.
>>It's not that I don't like your plans. I do. And when
>>comes, I'll join in. For now I'll just count my
>>losses. And wonder
>>why you might succeed and I do not. Is it because you
>>developer and I'm not? Because your plans are grand
>>down-to-earth? Because I'm not brazen enough? Anyway,
>André. Pause réflexion. Un vrai leader évite de
>perpétuellement marcher sur les pieds des autres. Il
>leur laisse de la place pour s'exprimer, parfois même
>il s'efface pour laisser les autres s'occuper d'un
>projet qui leur tient à coeur. Il évite de créer des
>rancoeurs :-) Enfin, juste ma triste opinion. ant
C'est bien de voir que tout au moins quelqu'un se souvient de la liste
correcte pour discuter ces sujets. Est-ce que tous les autres oublient
parce que en ce moment Jimbo ne reçoit pas les messages de cette liste-ci ?
Wikipedia has been invited to participate to a french meeting about the use of Internet technologies in sustainable development, which will take place in february 2005, www.tic21.com. I am not sure it will be possible that we indeed participate to the meeting itself, for it is *expensive*. However, external financial support might be an option (sponsorship).
In any cases, the meeting has been advertised in several ways, among which a first newsletter sent in spring 2004.
The first newsletter may be visible here : http://www.tic21.com/intro.php?Page=lettreTIC21.htm
A second newsletter will be send to all participants soon. This newsletter will include a collection of texts written by several implicated actors, such as french administration, french academics, France Telecom, Unesco, Fing, Agora21, local committee 21 etc...
I have been asked to participate to it for Wikipedia.
The organiser of the meeting suggested that I explained how the website www.planetecologie.com and Wikipedia could collaborate together (an idea on which we have been working before summer), and how and if collective intelligence could possibly be useful within sustainable development.
I can obviously stay at the level of short description of Wikipedia, plus add a nice paragraph of fluttery thoughts on how giving free access to information to the largest number of people is indeed a participation to sustainable developement TO MY OPINION... supporting social integration, helping making informed decisions, favoring cultural understanding hence peace, participating democracy, blablabla
However, I would love being *much* more practical, and give REAL examples of our work :
I have distinguished 3 potential directions of interest,
* my pet topic, the ecoregions project
* the brand new wikispecies and the tree of life
* the Gemet
I need help on the last two.
I would love it if I could have a short resume of the current state of wikispecies and tree of life current state of development, and hopes of the editors participating to it. Who would be available to discuss this with me ? on irc or by mail.
Second, I just could not find back the mails sent to the ml (which ml ?) about the Gemet and its integration in wiktionary. I have just no idea what the state of this project is (except that I see it is mentioned on the Gemet page itself...). Again, I would love to know more about this.
I think that mentionning REAL projects, citing facts, pointing out to work already done, will speak more than a thousand words. And I believe it could have much impact on how our implication is seen by some big organisations.
Who can help me ?
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There has apparently been a major misunderstanding over my view
towards local chapters, so I want to go on record as saying I
*strongly* support the idea of Wikimedia having local chapters and I
always have done.
The source of the misunderstanding appears to be an edit by an
stating they did not see the point of local chapters.
Anthere later edited the page to sign this comment as me:
This was most definitely not me and represents the complete opposite
to my view. It was only on reading the logs of the Hindi Wikimedia IRC
channel that I discovered this problem.
I see the existence of Wikimedia chapters as a very positive step and
I will help in any way I can to encourage the growth of these. I hope
to see them in every part of the world. I want one day for no one to
become a member directly of the Foundation because everyone will have
a local chapter they can join. Issues such as the legalities of money
transfer between chapters and the Foundation in certain countries are
problems that we need to work around, but these should in no way
prevent the creation of a chapter in any country with a sufficient
number of interested volunteers. The main reason I went to Berlin in
June was so I could learn more about the process of starting a chapter
since Wikimedia Germany were the first country to do this. I also went
to Paris and observed the beginnings of the French chapter there, and
discussed ESTU with Arno Lagrange when we were in London. I fully
intend to have a UK chapter registered as a charity in this country
later next year.
I have never been opposed to local chapters, and I am upset that
people are under the mistaken impression that I am.
I'll be talking to the BBC tomorrow about Wikipedia, and they're also
interested in stories about Wikipedia outside of US/Europe.
Of the top 20 languages, only Chinese and Japanese are non-European.
However, if anyone can point me to some interesting stories regarding
users in developing countries or how Wikipedia is used in unusual
ways, please let me know.
It would be interesting indeed to see where Wikipedians live, especially for
English, Spanish, ... Wikipedias where we really have no clue where the
contributors come from.
A suggestion: we might add a drop down box to the user preferences screen
where a user can >>optionally<< select his/her country of residence.
I would really like to add info about this to the stats pages. But better
wait till we have a single signon, so that each user is counted only once.
Has anyone nominated Wikipedia for this year's Webbys? I didn't know it costed. Not much, but certainly enough, really.
I can see us submitting Wikipedia to:
Also, can we win a second time in the same category?
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I just wanted to add that I like all of Erik's ideas. One more thing I would
like to see is how much we are earning in subscriptions, so that we can expect
income monthly. Have we passed $1000 a month yet? $5,000?
Donations are still coming in, but not at a very high rate. We can
probably make the $50K goal, but we should still consider how to make our
fundraising campaign more effective.
One as of yet unanswered question is how many subscriptions we will get
because of this campaign, which may well play a substantial role in
supporting us in the long run. However, from cursory checks, the
subscription rate appeared to be fairly low.
I have studied online fundraising campaigns a bit. Here are some quick
thoughts. Some of these things can be done right now, some require
1) Real-time updates. We now do manual updates within regular intervals,
which is good, but real-time updates generate TV-like excitement.
Kuro5hin.org raised $35K in a few days using a realtime-updated progress-
bar shown on every change. (K5 is much, much smaller than we are, but of
course there's the added novelty effect when they did it.) This can be
2) Immediately visible donation comments, increasing the community feel.
3) Progress-meter and PayPal link must be visible on every page, not just
a separate page, i.e. like this:
[==================== ] $50K Last 5 comments
Donate [10 ] [^ EUR] [ via PayPal ] [Go] Keep it coming ..
(You are using a non-proportional email font, right?) Note that this
example includes all the form elements to make a donation with one click,
with a reasonable value prefilled into the entry field. This is essential
- click-through forms result in hesitation and second thoughts, and then
there is the essential laziness of the web surfing process. Also, people
like to click on buttons.
This will take up a fair bit of screen estate, which is annoying, but I
consider it necessary. We can still support turning it off via CSS, but
for the duration of the campaign, we really need to grab people's
For extra funkiness, one could us something like mod_pubsub:
to do actual *real-time* real-time updates, i.e. the bar moves and
comments come in even as you stay on one page. This would probably be best
reserved for a separate fundraising page, though.
4) Make the form/progressbar available to external sites - if we have
real-time updates, we should try to make it reasonably easy to include a
graphical bar + donation form elements in your blog, on your personal
homepage etc. This way we can get the whole blogosphere involved in the
5) Surprises - to keep the campaign exciting, surprises could be unveiled
at certain milestones: articles, images, links, anything. Or maybe a "Meet
the Wikimedians" series where different Wikimedia users are introduced
every $1000. I'm sure we can come up with lots of ideas.
Effectively, the fundraising camapign itself has to be so interesting that
people will want to check it at least once daily, if not multiple times.
This worked very well for the Dean campaign where they had an ongoing blog
that tied directly into the fundraisers.
6) E-mail - the Dean campaign also used a huge list of email addresses for
fundraising alerts. This of course has to be strictly opt-in, but could
have an additional outreach effect.
I'm reluctant to propose other mechanisms used by the Dean campaign, such
as affiliate donation boxes on user pages, because I don't think we should
target the Wikimedia contributor community too much.
We are in the position where the people who *should* support us often
don't know who we are. They may only have a vague idea what Wikipedia is
based on reading Wikipedia articles from various mirrors and occasionally
from our site - they may consider us equivalentto fact-index.com,
thefreedictionary.com etc. They may be just as willing to donate to these
sites as to us.
The people who are most targeted by any fundraising campaign are
unfortunately our regular contributors, because they generate many
pageviews. How to solve this dilemma? Ideas:
* Give signed in users a convenient [hide] link for obnoxious fundraising
* Raise awareness of the Wikipedia brand by
- more strictly enforcing the GFDL
- petitioning Google (first privately, then publicly) to give us better
treatment, since we are the original source
- creating an official Wikimedia affiliate program for mirrors, which
would include some logos etc. to make people more aware that articles are
from Wikipedia -- in return, give member sites easier ways to update their
Real-time stuff of course makes caching harder. However, using Edge Side
Includes (ESI), we should be able to mark-up only the relevant part of the
page as dynamic, and cache the rest.
This Drupal module contains some PHP code on PayPal IPN handling that may
be useful: http://drupal.org/project/paypal_framework
- - - - - - - -
Now, one might make an argument that unobtrusive ads are preferable over
frequent obtrusive donation campaigns. Right now I have no strong opinion
either way, but based on the data available to me, I believe that a high-
profile fundraising campaign could be over fairly quickly with high
One big problem this year is of course that it's a hotly contested US
election, so many Americans have given hundreds of dollars already and
don't have much money to spare for things like Wikimedia. We should
consider this a good thing, because we need to put our donation model to
the test properly, and this is a good opportunity to do so.
Oh, and we of course need to still go for the big money in the form of
institutional grants and corporate donations. The collaborative volunteer
model may not be good enough here - it's fairly meticulous work where it's
often a good idea to have one person on the job. Paying someone a couple
grand to do this properly may provide huge returns that make our $50K
campaign pale in comparison.
Apologies if I've missed previous discussions on these matters - as ever
so often, I'm just throwing ideas out there in the hope of contributing to
finding better solutions.
A final suggestion that Anthere should like: I believe that after the
fundraising campaign, we should do an international poll among Wikimedians
to figure out
- why they donated, if they did
- why they didn't donate, if they didn't
- whether they told anyone else about the campaign