On Jan 8, 2008 6:19 AM, Brian McNeil <brian.mcneil(a)wikinewsie.org> wrote:
Forgive me if some of this is retreading old ground, but I've over 50
> messages for this list since yesterday. Can we have a rerun (or a January
> run) of the top poster stats? I was 2nd last time and felt embarrassed
> despite having thought most of what I wrote was close to the topic in
Posts in December to Foundation-l
1 Thomas Dalton - 123
2 Anthony - 70
3 Andrew Whitworth - 64
4 David Gerard - 48
5 Florence Devouard - 47
6 Brian McNeil - 43
7 Nathan Awrich - 36
8 Ray Saintonge - 33
T9 GerardM - 32
T9 Mike Godwin - 32
T9 Erik Moeller - 32
phoebe ayers wrote:
> On 10/9/07, David Strauss <david(a)fourkitchens.com> wrote:
>> Cary Bass wrote:
>>> The Jury for Wikimania 2008 bids have met and are pleased to announce
>>> that Wikimania 2008 will be held in Alexandria, Egypt.
>> I'm offended that the desire to have Wikimania hop around the globe
>> (rotation) trumps the egregious history Egypt has with LGBT and other
>> civil rights (local laws). While visitors to Egypt are certainly not at
>> the same risk, I refuse to spend any money in a country that -- as
>> recently as 2004 -- sentenced someone to 17 years of prison and two
>> years of hard labor for posting a personal ad on a gay website. A
>> blogger was imprisoned in 2007 for four years for "insulting Islam and
>> defaming the President of Egypt." Jimmy Wales even attended the
>> Amnesty conference denouncing the censorship. No legal or cultural
>> reforms since give me confidence that the situation has improved.
>> Wikimedia and its projects have an abundance of people from marginalized
>> groups and political advocacy organizations participating at every
>> level. A place that persecutes, censors, and prosecutes such groups
>> under the banner of snuffing out "Satanism" is not a location that
>> affirms the pluralism and intellectual freedom of Wikimedia.
>> People raised these objections early in the bidding process, but I have
> As a jury member, I do not remember any comments from you on this
> subject, David; perhaps I missed them. At any rate, what are you
> trying to accomplish by sending this message after the winner was
> announced, and not before when we were discussing the bids?
Other people raised these objections during the bidding process; I
didn't have to. Even if no one had brought the issue up, everyone on the
voting team should have been aware enough of the problems to them under
consideration without further prompting.
I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Egypt's human rights record
would cripple the bid enough that it wouldn't win.
> Wikimania and Wikimedia are both global in scope, which means that
> while we can condemn censorship and loss of human rights everywhere
So the "condemnation" amounts to docking a modest number of points for
> we must also take into account a global range of values.
What is this supposed to mean? How can we balance condemnation with
> Our projects
> focus specifically on free knowledge, and I expect that will be
> highlighted at the conference.
Even putting gay rights aside, Egypt's record of imprisoning political
and religious dissidents is directly counter to affirming "free knowledge."
(for those not willing to read a long email, just jump at the end of it
to read the 6 proposed values)
I would like to propose to the board to finalize (-> approve) the values
of Wikimedia Foundation.
What is it about ?
It would be a collection of common words or ideas which reflects what is
important to us, as an organization. It comes on top of
* the vision tagline, which is our bold goal
* the mission statements, which describe what the organization is doing
to reach its goal
The values represent the principles we share together
What is the difference with the Wikipedia pillars ?
The values I am talking about are the *organization* (WMF) values, not
the projects values. Obviously, many values will be shared, but not
necessarily all of them. For example, Wikipedia has NPOV as a pillar,
the Wikimedia Foundation does not have NPOV as a pillar.
What is the difference between "vision", "mission" and "values" ?
Imagine you are a WMF staff member, you are at a dinner with your
grand-mother and she asks "so tell me about your job, is it interesting
? do you have to wear a suit ?"
Your answer might be "eh, we want to give access to information to every
one in the world (vision). So, to make that happen, we host some freely
accessible internet web sites where people can add information
(mission). My own job is to make sure we have enough cash to operate, so
I raise money from people and companies (my job). What is real cool is
that I am not the only one doing that, but many volunteers from all over
the world help as well; sometimes it is not easy, because I need to keep
them informed a lot of what I am doing even though they are not my boss.
Also, it is very important to us to stay independant, so I have to find
funds from various sources. It makes things more complicated, but it is
super exciting ! As for the suit, the team is very geek like, very
diverse set, most have already been living in other countries. So, as
long as we are clean and careful not to hurt anyone sensitivities, no
need to wear a suit on a daily basis !" (values)
Why do we need that ?
Some of you would consider that unnecessary. I would respectfully
There are two main reasons we should have these values written down, one
is related to "branding" (public perception of our uniqueness), the
other to "management" (training of our staff members).
It is important that "outsiders" (donors, partners, governments, civil
society...) understand what is important to us, what is welcome and what
is non negotiable.
Donors will give us money more easily if they know what is important to
us, and actually agree with our values.
Potential partners will not lose our valuable time and their valuable
time proposing proprietary software deals if they know it is a
deal-breaker for us.
Wikipedia in particular, currently enjoys very much support because it
is clearly identified as a brand. Other Wikimedia projects are not as
well clearly identified yet (there are still people wondering what
Wikiversity exactly is about for example).
During the past year, the WMF motto has been "we are a non profit", and
still many people think it is a business company. People do not approach
a non-profit and a for-profit in the same way. In any cases, most people
have no idea of the existence of WMF, and when they do think about
organization, they believe we have 10.000 employees somewhere in the
Silicon Valley, and open big round shocked eyes when they learn the truth.
There are also beliefs that, as a web 2.0 company, every one can do
whatever they want on the websites, and no one is responsible. We should
kill such an idea in the egg, and make sure that the common view becomes
that thriving to quality is one of our major motto.
Values are not only what make us stick together, but also general
guidelines for what we want to become, what we are really trying hard to
do, and what we want to be known as specific about us.
Which is also why it is important to management.
The bottom line concept is that the staff is ultimately trying to
achieve the VISION, thanks to operational activity (the MISSION), and
deep respect of the VALUES.
The put it bluntly: no decision should be made that could hurt the
values. Any time a decision is on the plate, the staff and volunteers
should keep in mind "does it go along with our values, or against our
It seems that past and recent discussions show how important it was for
the community that our entire projects be build upon free software,
using free format and free standards. It goes beyond the simple notion
of creating freely-licenced content, as described in the mission
statement. Whilst supporting, defending, developing, the free mouvement
is NOT our goal, nor even within our mission, it seems to be an
important value to most of us. Hence, the very notion of listing our
support to freedom is a VALUE, which has been clarified in a recent
As a value, anytime the staff is thinking of making a deal with a
partner, it should ask himself, "is that all right with the freedom
value" ? If it is not, no deal. Period.
Other values have other impacts. When we talked to Sue last summer
before hiring her, we made super clear that it was super important to us
to hire staff with international awareness (either non US staff, or US
staff having lived outside of the US, or at a minimum, US staff being
multilingual). Sue has been extremely careful to take such guidelines
into account, and all recently hired staff is in one way or another,
respecting these guidelines. Practically, if a staff member was at some
point voicing such opinion that "non US people are jerks", I would
consider that ground for being fired.
Last summer, the board + advisory board brainstormed together over our
values. We further discussed the issue on this list, as well as here:
I have been thinking over it in the past few weeks, and here is the
result of my list.
* Quality of service
Text is rough draft for now
Our community is our biggest asset
We are a community-based organization. We must operate with a mix of
staff members, and of volunteers, working together to achieve our mission.
We support community-led collaborative projects, and must respect the
work and the ideas of our community. We must listen and take into
account our communities in any decisions taken to achieve our mission.
Commitment to openness and diversity
Though US-based, the organization is international in its nature. Our
board of trustees, staff members, and volunteers are involved without
discrimination based on their religion, political beliefs, sexual
preferences, nationalities etc... Not only do we accept diversity, but
we actually look forward to it.
Quality of service is a priority
We will try our best to give access to high quality Wikimedia project
content 24 hours a day and 7 days, as well as provide access to
regularly updated, user-friendly, and free dumps of Wikimedia project
To insure world-wide, unrestricted, dissemination of knowledge, we do
not enter into exclusive partnerships, with regards to access to our
content or use of our trademarks.
We make extra efforts to use only free software on our own servers, and
to support open and patent-free media formats that are viewable and
editable with free software.
We must communicate Wikimedia Foundation information in a transparent,
thorough and timely manner, to our communities and more generally, to
As a non-profit, we mostly depend on gifts to operate (donations,
grants, sponsorship etc...). It is very important to us to ensure our
organization stays free of influence in the way it operates. For this
reason, we strictly follow a donation policy, reserve the right to
refuse donations from a limited number of sources, and try to multiply
the number of sources.
are they comments at this point ?
Sorry for the verrrry long email :-)
Our IT manager, Rob Halsell, came over to San Francisco this weekend
to set up the phones in the new Wikimedia Foundation offices. We're
switching to an open source telephony solution based on Asterisk.
Obviously, every phone system needs "on hold" music.
So far, we are using "The RfA Candidate's Song" by User:Bucketsofg. If
you want to shoot to international fame by having your own
Wikipedia-related song used while people are waiting for someone to
answer their call, this is your chance. ;-)
Feel free to add new free content songs to:
(Meta would also be a good place to organize this.)
And no, this post is not indicative of our current priorities. :-)
Things have been quite hectic and busy as we're setting up and
starting to use our new space. We'll continue to update
pictures, and a detailed report of recent Foundation activities will
be forthcoming shortly.
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
You may know that I send regular reports to the Wikimedia board.
Starting this month, I'm going to experiment with sending them here as
Why am I doing this? I generally want the work of the staff to be
visible & transparent to anyone who's interested. I don't see a really
compelling reason _not_ to send the reports to foundation-l, and I'm
assuming people here will appreciate being kept in the loop.
The arguments against it: It means I'll need to strip out from the
reports anything confidential - but this would mostly just be
information related to individuals, so I don't expect it to be much
work. I am a little leery it will stimulate long time-consuming
conversations with members of the staff, so I'd ask you to try to
respect that the staff needs to spend the majority of its time working,
rather than talking about its work :-) And, I won't be customizing or
reworking the content of the report - which means, for example, that
some links may not be accessible to everyone (e.g., on the office wiki).
I'd like to try this out for a couple of months and see what happens.
Let me know if you find it helpful :-)
Weeks of: December 23 – January 29, 2008
Prepared by: Sue Gardner, Executive Director
Prepared for: Wikimedia Board of Trustees
1. Establishing the new SF headquarters, including orientation of new staff
2. Planning major donor dinner & Wikimedia welcome party (both early March)
3. Financial reporting and audit wrap-up
4. Bits and pieces (Kennisnet, further hires, partnerships, etc.)
1. Davos follow-up
New San Francisco headquarters:
Although it is still very much a work in progress, the San Francisco
office has been up and running since Wednesday, January 23. Most
furniture has been delivered and set up, and the new VOIP phone system
is working, with calls now going to San Francisco rather than St.
Our mailing address:
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 78350,
San Francisco, CA
Our phone number:
415 839 6885
We are planning a welcome-to-San Francisco party for ourselves, likely
at the beginning of March. (The date is not yet locked down.)
Invitations will be sent to board and advisory board members, in case
anyone happens to be in the Bay Area, as well as to the Wikimedia San
Francisco mailing list, our friends at like-minded organizations, etc.
If you have people you would like to see invited, please e-mail me or
add them here http://office.wikimedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Welcome_Party.
* Veronique Kessler will be our new CFOO, starting February 4. Veronique
joins us from the non-profit Jewish Community Center of San Francisco,
where she was Director of Finance and, before that, Controller. Prior to
JCCSF, she has 15 years of managerial/financial experience with a wide
variety of organizations, including Stanford University, brokerage firm
Charles Schwab, the venture capital and investment firm Berkeley
International Capital Corporation, the Walden International Investment
Group, The Fremont Group, Wells Fargo bank, and Deloitte & Touche. She
is a CPA (certified public accountant) with lots of international
experience, who speaks and writes French. Veronique is just returning
from maternity leave and is spending this week wrapping up some work at
the JCCSF: for most of February, she will be with us only three days per
week. Her top priorities, in the beginning, will likely include: 1.,
hiring the fundraiser and the accountant, 2., ensuring the relocation
basics are okay (e.g., payroll is undisrupted, bank accounts set up,
etc.), and 3., getting to know her direct reports, Kul, Cheryl, Erica
and Oleta, and the areas they are responsible for.
* The Foundation has begun advertising to hire a software developer / IT
This is a relatively-junior position, based in the San Francisco office.
The advertisement has been sent to various mailing lists, and will
remain open until February 15. Please feel free to send it around.
* We plan to announce the head of development in February, and the new
accountant in March. For the time being, the position of head of
partnerships is on hold. (You may recall: this is partly a financial
decision and partly a “letting the team shake out before filling the
final position” decision.)
* Recapping the rest of us: Mike Godwin begins work in the San Francisco
office January 30. Jay Walsh, the new head of communications, started
January 10. Kul Takanao Wadhwa, the new head of business development,
started January 3. Erik Möller, deputy director, started December 31.
Erica Ortega and Cheryl Owens (formerly Steffen) have been on the job
as, respectively, office manager and PA, since December 10. Brion Vibber
(CTO) and Cary Bass (Volunteer Coordinator) arrived from St Petersburg
in December. Delphine Menard, Mark Bergsma and Tim Starling continue to
work normally from, respectively, Frankfurt, Eindhoven and Sydney. We
expect to be fully staffed by the end of March.
* We will be having a two-day staff orientation event with facilitator
Pat Hughes, February 11 and 12. You can see the agenda in development,
We've created a postmortem/summary report covering the 2007 fundraiser,
which ran from October 23 to January 3. In total, the fundraiser brought
the Wikimedia Foundation more than 45,000 donations totaling USD
2,112,251.73 (unaudited figures). This includes a contribution of USD
500,000, stock valued at USD 49,768, and a donation of USD 10,000.
The amount raised in the 07-08 fundraiser, compared with 06-07 which
raised just over USD 1 million, overperforms the traffic increase of
that same period. This is likely because the 07-08 fundraiser ran
significantly longer, initially picking up more slowly, but sustaining
donation growth better than the 06-07 fundraiser.
In addition, this fundraiser saw the most significant participation thus
far from the Wikimedia chapters, with active participation from Germany,
Switzerland, France, the Netherlands, and Poland. Wikimedia Germany's
participation enabled it to purchase 15 servers for the Amsterdam
cluster: in the end, the German chapter will contribute to the
Foundation a total of approximately EUR 70K worth of goods and services
(the chapter will retain ownership of any purchased equipment). Also,
the Swiss chapter has made a contribution of CHF 5K. Many thanks to the
The report makes a series of recommendations for the next fundraiser,
including: 1., Change the sitenotice regularly to avoid 'banner
blindness'; 2., continuing to refine the Media-Wiki-based landing page;
3., improve donor thanking; 4., improve reporting and data capture; 5.,
enable recurring donations; 6., encourage community fundraising efforts
with network effects; 7., begin planning earlier. The full report is
Major donor dinner:
As you know, we've been on a tour of potential major donors. We continue
to follow up individually, and are also beginning to plan a dinner,
which will likely take place in early March. It won't be extravagant –
we just want to bring together ten or so interesting philanthropists to
the San Francisco office, to talk about Wikimedia's goals and plans.
The audited 2006-07 financial statements have been released by the audit
committee to the board. Once they are approved, we will release them
publicly. We owe a huge debt of thanks to the staff, particularly Oleta
McHenry, who worked long hours to get the audit completed.
* We announced a partnership with the Collaborative Creativity Group at
UNU-MERIT to conduct the first-ever comprehensive Wikimedia survey.
* We announced a beta program with Kaltura and WikiEducator to allow
users to collaboratively edit video and other forms of rich media.
* We signed the contract launching the PediaPress wiki-to-print project.
* We deployed new parser code that makes wiki syntax more consistent and
* We established peering arrangements with several new networks to
reduce the cost of traffic.
In coming weeks:
* The audited 2006-07 financial statements will be released publicly
once approved by the board.
* The board is also expected to approve the credit card usage policy
January 31. The final two “check cards” were retired last week, and
Foundation credit cards have arrived and are in use by a few staffers.
* As planned, 2007-08 financial statements will be released to the board
February 1. This will include a statement of cash flow, balance sheet,
income statement, overall comparison of budget-to-actuals plus some
detail, and a cash flow projection for the remainder of FY 2007-08. This
package will also include a text summary of the year so far.
* The head of development will be announced in February, and the
accountant in March. We will also soon begin interviewing software
* There will be a two-day staff orientation February 11 and 12.
* We continue to explore consortium options in Amsterdam and have
rescheduled our meeting with Kennisnet for end of February.
* There will be a welcome-to-SF party, and a major donor dinner, in
The St Petersburg office will shut down Thursday, January 31, and at
that point, we will say goodbye to Barbara Brown (office manager), Sandy
Ordonez (head of communications) and Vishal Patel (business
development). Our accountant Oleta McHenry will be with us until the end
of March, and Rob Halsell will remain as server tech out of Tampa. I
want to convey the organization's deep gratitude to the entire staff who
worked for us in St. Petersburg: Barbara, Sandy, Vishal, Oleta, Rob,
Cary and Brion. It was not an easy year: thank you for sticking it out.
We owe you, and we know it :-)
I've just sent this to wikitech-l, but what I'm proposing is a *big*
hammer, so needs lots of due consideration. Please pick holes in the
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Gerard <dgerard(a)gmail.com>
Date: 31 Jan 2008 10:18
Subject: Wikimedia-wide global blocking mechanism?
To: Wikimedia developers <wikitech-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
Discussions on the checkuser list (which is Wikimedia-wide) suggest
that an all-project blocking mechanism would be very useful in keeping
our more persistent vandals from hopping from project to project,
wreaking havoc. This happens quite a bit.
A variant of Wikia's regex block would be a likely candidate for a
One detail it would need (in some coder's Copious Free Time) would be
an option to unblock a globally-blocked IP or range locally. (One use
case would be a local ISP which has several good editors from a small
project, but has open proxies or similar that are a source of
vandalism on many other projects.)
Presumably such a global block would only be available to stewards, on
Before anyone starts coding - what are the devs' thoughts on a global
blocking mechanism? What could go badly wrong?
On 1/31/08, David Gerard <dgerard(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> You do realise the head of the translator committee is banned from
> ja:wp due to personal disagreements? Communities have attacks of
> batshit insane, and that's too much power to hand to one project.
Yes, and did you read my email a little bit more careful? :)
- en.wp lifted ban under pressure of its own community.
- If they didn't do that, they would have to do that after implementing SUL.
- If they knew that their decision would affect all other wikis, they
wouldn't be so crazy to do that.
About en-wpization of the community: This is just an unreasonable
fear. Some of very important en-Wikipedians didn't pass even voting
for adminship on Meta. Policy like this would initiate much more
participation of member of a lot of different Wikimedian projects into
On 1/31/08, Ray Saintonge <saintonge(a)telus.net> wrote:
> A logical extension of Milos' proposal could arise if someone
> persistently insisted on pushing a Serbian POV on hr:wp. The Croatians
> would become very annoyed with this until that individual met one of the
> criteria which Milos suggests. They would block him, and the logical
> consequence would then be that he should also be blocked on sr:wp.
> Somehow, I don't see that this would necessarily be an acceptable result.
sr/hr is not the main issue (usually, the same vandals and trolls are
blocked on both Wikipedias); the main issue are POV pushers on en.wp
who are spreading their own POV on their own, smaller projects; and,
consequently, building heavy POV community; as well as unacceptable
behaviors of some other communities -- which are completely out of the
scope of WM goals.
Lodewijk: All great ideas were unacceptable at the beginning :)))