Lots of people are yelling and shouting that the current vision and policy
of the foundation is totally wrong. I would like to invite all these people
and others to think about alternatives. We won't get rid of these ugly
things (everybody agrees upon that, i guess) in the sitenotice without any
serious alternatives. I already asked this in the Dutch Village Pump, I hope
you will bring the question back to all your communities, to the places
where is discussed about the sitenotice. I have myself troubles to come up
with serious alternatives, so I hope you guys have one. And when you have
one, then you can ideed start a discussion about which solution is better. I
look forward to your ideas, and please keep the discussion about how bad the
current solution is for other threads.
Lodewijk / Eia
I'd like to propose the setup of a central, multilingual portal at
outreach.wikimedia.org. Similar to efforts like spreadfirefox.com, the
purpose of this portal would be to allow Wikimedians to come together
and discuss ways to
- inform the general public about Wikimedia projects
- pursue more specific outreach efforts, such as schools, libraries and academia
- maintain a list of speakers about Wikimedia-related topics
- address concerns and questions
- generally think of clever ideas for marketing and promotion.
This portal, like spreadfirefox.com, would emphatically _not_ be aimed
at the general public, but at Wikimedians eager to help raise
awareness and spread ideas. We would make a whitelist of actions that
can be performed without permission (such as offering to visit a
school or university to talk about Wikipedia), and a process for
requesting permissions when needed (such as broader use of the logo or
Requests for permissions would generally go to the ED for now, but
we'd probably want to delegate this to the Marketing subcommittee if
we deem it sufficiently functional. The chapters, in the long run,
could perhaps also give permission for certain uses.
I see a very strong role of the chapters when it comes to coordinating
speakers for events, and other regional actions. While
outreach.wikimedia.org would be a public database of such speakers
where anyone can offer to talk, the chapters would maintain their own
private database of speakers they trust. The interface for third
parties to request a speaker would be, first and foremost, with the
chapters, not with outreach.wikimedia.org.
The advantage of this approach is that we get a large number of
volunteers, but at the same time each chapter can come up with its own
strategy to identify trusted individuals. Insofar as private databases
are maintained for this, sharing code and data across chapters should
of course be encouraged.
Time for some Q&A:
Q: What's a typical outreach effort exactly?
One of the most important feats we must accomplish is getting
traditional institutions of education to understand how our projects
work, and how they can make responsible use of them. Visiting a school
and giving a workshop about Wikipedia is an example.
Q: Why not just use meta.wikimedia.org?
A: Like we don't just use one wiki for educational content, I don't
think it makes sense to have only one wiki for Wikimedia-related
activities and information. Having a dedicated wiki allows us to
promote this effort independently, to structure it in a more
user-friendly way, to monitor changes more systematically, and so on.
It makes it more likely that a dedicated community will arise
specifically for Wikimedia Outreach.
Q: Won't this just encourage random people to abuse our trademarks and
do things in Wikimedia's name?
A: Actually, hopefully it will accomplish the opposite: the
development of a standard framework of pages and policies for people
to pursue activities that are clearly beneficial to us. Things might
be a bit chaotic initially, which is why we should make it clear
(perhaps even in the sitenotice) that everything requires explicit
permission from the ED for now.
Q: What would be the relation between the marketing committee and this effort?
A: In my view, committees are given explicit organizational authority
to act with in their given scope. They are the source of "official"
activities from the Foundation, and as such, they are highly
restricted in terms of membership. But unless and until an effort is
official, there is really no need for it to be limited to a committee.
Q: I still don't see why we should open this up to the chaotic wiki
process -- an organization is not a wiki!
A: There are literally thousands of groups we want to work with in our
global strategy to spread free knowledge. This cannot be handled by a
small committee or the staff of a chapter; it needs the support of a
global community of volunteers. If these volunteers are restrained
clearly in their actions, and must pursue proper processes of
authorization for certain projects, then hopefully, the activities
that result from this will be well coordinated with chapters and the
Peace & Love,
DISCLAIMER: This message does not represent an official position of
the Wikimedia Foundation or its Board of Trustees.
I am wondering for a while now how the Wikimedia-date is being
back-upped. Of course there are many servers around the world, but do
they all have all the Wikimedia data from all the projects? I believe
not? Is there an extern computer (or computers) to which all the
wikimedia data is uploaded, just to be safe? How is this arranged?
This question is asked just out of curiosity :)
In a message dated 1/5/2007 8:25:22 PM Eastern Standard Time,
There is more information of tour at Tour
Page<http://wikimania2007.wikimedia.org/wiki/Tour>in Wikimania 2007
I want to go to ... I want to go to ... hmmm ... I can't figure out which
one. Can you let us know when it is translated.
Yet another year is over. We’ll soon celebrate our 6 years of existence.
Wikipedia has made an amazing transformation, growing from a grassroots
effort to a global resource. A unique community-driven, non-commercial
top 10 website, letting people share their knowledge, culture and
resources with neighbours near and far.
Wikipedia is just one piece of the Wikimedia movement. Other projects
are growing. Wikicommons, our common repository of media documents, has
experienced an amazing growth and celebrated its first million of
documents. WikiSource is a effort aimed at unearthing primary sources to
unlock historical information, further academic research and add
credibility and depth to publicly available information. WikiBooks is
the future of learning – up to date, readily accessible text books that
lets students around the world learn, inside and outside the classroom.
WikiNews, Wiktionary and Wikiquote are all growing, thriving examples of
the power of the community to bring new information to new audiences
The global impact of Wikipedia and the other project opens the door to a
growing set of responsibilities and challenges for the Wikimedia
Foundation and the community behind it.
Year 2007 will be placed under two major priorities: Sustainability and
Two minor priorities will be: Outreach and recognition as a charitable
Whilst there has been no formal “vote” to decide so, it seems to be the
consensus emerging from discussions during the board retreat,
discussions during the board meetings, discussions whilst preparing the
fundraising. So, roughly, it seems these four words, sustainability,
reliability, outreach and recognition, will lead the coming months. It
does not necessarily mean other directions will not be pursued, but we
will really try to push along those lines and I hope very much you will
agree these directions are indeed important and will help.
I want to explain a little bit more about these four directions.
Sustainability for the organization and the projects it support.
Sustainability require a new level of dedication to both organizational
and technological infrastructure.
The board retreat in Frankfurt in October 2006, has revealed deficits at
the organizational levels were a major issue.
The bylaws needed to be fixed, as they did not reflect the reality of
the organization structure. This was done in November. Issue closed.
Board expansion was planned and first step implemented, with the
addition of Oscar, Mindspillage and Jan-Bart. Next step will occur at
the next board members election in june 2007.
An advisory board was set up, future members were suggested by the
community and many contacted. Most of the ones contacted agreed to help
and several of them are already helping the board on various issues.
Angela Beesley, formely board member, has agreed to help chair that
advisory board. More information on this will be provided during January
Committees and workgroups are not working very well (big
understatement). There are many people willing to help, but few
coordinators, and we are losing a lot of time and energy to identify and
channel goodwill. This is a major issue to work on in the coming months,
and of course an issue for which community input (your input) will be
In the past few days, with the discussion over the matching donations
issue, and in the past as well, some ask why volunteers are not involved
more in the Foundation activity. There are various reasons, ranging from
“the Foundation does not communicate sufficiently on its needs” to “the
community does not show enough interest”, as well as “you can not always
count on the availability or willingness of a volunteer to do the job”,
or “a volunteer is not accountable” etc…
There is much to discuss on this list.
Staff. Most of you do not realize that, but the deficit of staff is
really a big issue. Various positions have been envisionned in November
and December, but we are waiting January and the end of the fundraising,
to really discuss that in depth and see what we can do, according to the
cash we have available. We need in particular more developers and more
people working in the office on administrative tasks, as well as divers
experts, which hopefully we could get pro-bono. I must say that it is
unlikely the global community will be involved much in these decisions,
simply because the people working on these tasks on a daily basis are
the ones more likely to know what is needed.
One of the most needed position and likely to be hired soon is an office
manager. We absolutely need to get some of the daily administrative
tasks fully taken in charge, and to relieve ourselves from this burden.
I saw a discussion this morning, stating that there was no need for an
accountant, that this could be done by a volunteer, just as so many
associations do. Now, wake up guys ! We are no more an association
running with 10 000 dollars a year and 10 checks to issue per month. We
are running an organization of over 2 millions dollars, with thousands
of unique donations, purchasing servers per hundred lot, receiving
hundreds of emails per day, legal requests every month. This can not be
done by a volunteer when (if) he has 2 hours free during the week end.
Executive director. The search of an executive director is also one of
our urgent and important tasks. This is currently ongoing.
On financial sustainability, there is a lot to say. This has been a hot
topic in the past few days with the matching donations system. I did not
comment much myself, but I read all the comments made on foundation-l,
offered privately, and the ones in languages I could understand on
village pumps. All I can say is that we hear your feedback and we’ll
take it into account in the next fundraisings. It is likely we’ll have
more fundraisings this year. We also need to get new sources of money to
be able to go on. Hopefully, the new executive director will have
creative ideas on this as well. Setting up an endowment is such a
solution, and a first step for this are the audit results and a suitable
bank (which is under way). Other needs involve making use of our “big”
contacts, setting up an investment strategy and generally managing the
funds. Other directions involve making more “business”, either as
services (datafeed) or products (DVDs). As of today, we simply do not
have the infrastructure to do that.
There is not much to say on the topic right now, but I just wanted to
mention how big an issue it is for the board.
Related to financial sustainability, the audit completed on our first
three years of operations will be a major asset in the future. Such an
audit is essential to get big donations and grants. It required a lot of
effort in the past months, and hopefully the path in front of us is less
steep. We’ll go on getting our financial statements audited every year
and as much as possible, we’ll try to implement the various
recommendations given by the auditors to ensure our organization is as
clean, transparent, fair as the public would like it to be. This will
involve setting up many policies and guidelines at the administrative
level, which will be invisible to you, but important for our long-term
sustainability. I invite you to read again the financial audit document
where a list of suggested procedures to implement is listed.
Sustainability of course also is technical. Decisions in that direction
involve more developers, hiring a chief technical officer, and having a
tech summit to work on mediawiki.
On the legal side, an important and quite urgent topic is related to our
trademarks and domain names. By securing our trademarks, we ensure long
term fruitful use of them, and decrease the risk of abuse by third parties.
Whilst not all our projects or all our languages are not in a “mature”
phase, we believe a major issue on which we must dedicate time, energy
and probably money, is related to reliability. Content quality, not
quantity, is the measure that matters.
I could quickly cite some issues: the non-vandalized version feature.
The reviewed version feature. Guidelines to avoid spamming by small
companies. Guidelines to avoid uncontrolled modifications by PR
agencies. Issue of rampaging external links toward myspace and youtube
:-) Mandatory sources etc…
In most part, it is in community hands, but the Foundation (and the
chapters) can help, either the development of technical features, or
favor contacts between communities and academics/experts etc…
It is regularly discussed. Pushing the envelope on global reach is
critical. We must continue to extend our boundaries in terms of
providing knowledge as well as a voice to those who’ve never had them
before. Not much to say on this issue. I think it a very important
issue, unfortunately often falling behind other more pressing issues.
Hopefully, we’ll find time and energy to work further on this.
This comes from a very simple observation. For many, Wikimedia projects
are web 2.0 websites, similar to other websites such as myspace or
youtubes. People tend to confuse us with commercial projects, even
wikipedians themselves sometimes, who fear we will “sell” the projects
to big companies.
We are not a commercial product. We provide free knowledge (… or
content… or educational content…) for everyone. Our goal is not to make
money. Our purpose is to help humanity be more informed, knowledgeable.
Not only are we confused with commercial companies sometimes, but big
charitable organizations do not recognize us as a charity, which greatly
limit the support we might get from them. I would consider as a goal for
year 2007, to change this.
Note that the blocks are not independent one from another.
To be recognized as an important charity, we must show we are a stable
and solid organization. We must show we are trustworthy as a resource.
And we must show we try to go beyond boundaries of wealth, language and
To be able to reach everyone, we must be organized and relevant.
To be reliable, we need good foundations.
So, we can build the tower with the four blocks. First sustainability.
Second reliability. Third outreach and fourth recognition.
Hopefully, that’s what we will succeed doing in 2007. Together.
Happy New Year
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/What_we_need_the_money_for (what
we need the money for)
* http://fundraising.wikimedia.org/fr (live list of donations)
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikimedia_2006_Mgmt_Letter.pdf (audit)
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikimedia_2006_fs.pdf (financial
* http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolutions (passed resolutions)
* http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Board_retreat (board retreat)
Gatto Nero wrote:
>> you've been subscribed to this list, and truly have no memory of reading
>> communications about the Foundation's issues, I really can't help you
>> with that.
> Maybe you can't help me, but you should be worried about it.
> "Receiving" is one of the most important element of the communication.
> It *is* the most important element.
> A communication which's not received, is a communication which has
> failed. If theres' no receveing, there's no communication. There's one
> of the first things learned by a communicator.
> What you should do is wondering "Why has he not memories of CommComm
> comunication at all?"
I agree that listening and receiving communication is important to the
process. I'm not wondering why you have no memory of hearing
specifically from the Communications Committee - as I indicated, it
hasn't exactly "signed" everything it has input on. I am wondering why
you spoke as if you'd never seen any kind of communication from the
Wikimedia Foundation at all. Considering that Anthere, Brad, Jimbo, and
Erik have all been actively involved in raising and discussing issues on
this list, I don't know whether you've missed that entirely, or you're
looking for Wikimedia's communications to take some other form we
haven't dreamed up yet.
I was going through the Wikibooks study help desk, and a very surprising
offer showed up recently:
"I would like to donate A video taped lecture series on Calculus which
have been converted to dvd format. How do I go about doing this? The
lecturer is willing to send the dvds to an appropriate uploader, but
does not know much about computer programming himself. The lectures were
taped at The University of Missouri - Kansas City.
"Please send any information you have to: micheleforan(a)sbcglobal.net
I find this an incredibly generous offer, and something that supports
both Wikibooks and Wikiversity in a great many ways, although most media
content like this generally is sent to Commons. There are some other
technical issues here involved as well, simply due to the sheer quantity
of material here that is going to be offered, which is one reason why
I'm trying to vet this idea here on Foundation-l.
In addition to trying to figure out just what Wikimedia sister project
this ought to be sent to for further assistance, I would like to know
what the status is right now for storage of large numbers of video
files. I noticed that the [[Commons:Category:Video]] has several video
files listed, although almost all of them are generally very short
clips. This offer as it currently stands could potentially be several
gigabytes of data, which would dwarf the entire video category by itself.
There is also the comparatively minor issue of trying to convert the
files from MPEG format to OGG or other patent-free (or compatable with
the GFDL) formats, but I think we can find some individuals to help out
with that on the various Wikimedia projects. That is not the major
issue at the moment.
I guess this is also a political issue in the sense of wheither the WMF
wants to get into the business of hosting DVD-video length content on
its servers. The costs of doing so I would guess would be rather
substantial for bandwidth costs alone, assuming several individuals are
all trying to download these huge files, which has been an issue raised
in the past. Video files havn't been explicitly restricted from
Wikimedia projects, but then again most of the video that is used is
comparatively small snippets at the moment. Any thoughts or ideas on
this topic are significantly appreciated.
Robert Scott Horning