A week ago, as I found out now, a new association has been found in
New York: "Wiki Med Foundation, Inc." (!). We have the Wikimedia
Foundation, Inc., we have some other Wikimedias, we have MediaWiki...
how is the ordinary man on the street supposed to have the slightest
chance to understand the Wikimedia movement? He even confuses
"Wikimedia" with "Wikileaks"...
I know that that is not the case, but sometimes it even seems that
Wikimedians do want to make the movement a terminogical labyrinth. The
WMF came with a simple scheme for national chapters, with the formula
"Wikimedia X" (with X being the name of the country). I wish something
similar for thematic organizations and Wikimedia user groups, and not
the advice to even avoid the term "Wikimedia". Confusing terms are a
serious barrier for participation, on Wikipedia and in the larger
If I could talk to the wiki folks, just imagine it
Chatting with a chick on IRC
Imagine talking on a talk page, buzzing from a banner
What a neat achievement that would be.
If I could talk to the wiki folks, learn their languages
Maybe take a data dump degree.
I'd study mastodon and diesel, camel case and weasel,
Interwiki, vandal and IP.
I would converse in C++ and Python,
And I would curse in fluent wikify.
If people asked me, can you speak sock puppetry,
I'd say, 'Of coursery, but why?'
If I conferred with our fuzzy friends, man to editor,
Think of the amazing repartee
If I could talk to the wiki folks, fork to the wiki folks,
Diff and rev and link with the wiki folks,
And they could diff and rev and link with me.
If I could speak CC-BY-SA
The advantages any sandbox noob could plainly see!
Discussing worldwide GLAM and drama
With oh so witty llama
That’s a big step forward you’ll agree!
> I'm not quite sure what you mean by multivariate analysis
I mean as in the tests done May 16, September 20, and October 9
reported at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_2012/We_Need_A_Breakthrough
without adjusting the best performing pull-down delivery combined
banner/landing page from the beginning of this month (although I don't
think we will need the one that follows vertical scrolling. It may
produce 30% but that will be nothing if the remaining ~300 appeal
messages are tested, unless they don't fit the lognormal distribution
that they appear to.)
> That would be complex, and could be a disaster...
What are the possible failure modes?
On Dec 28, 2012 9:46 PM, "James Salsman" <jsalsman at gmail.com> wrote:
> How about for the April fundraiser, instead of setting a dollar value
> goal, we agree to use multivariate analysis instead of A/B testing to
> optimize the messaging from volunteer submissions in advance, then run
> the whole thing for a fixed time frame, say three weeks, and then use
> the actual amount raised to decide whether salaries should be
> competitive with area tech firms, whether Fellowships should be
> jettisoned, how much personnel to put into the Education Program and
> engineering, and how much of a reserve to invest, preferably with low
> risk instruments which pay above the rate of inflation?
On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 2:11 PM, James Salsman <jsalsman(a)gmail.com> wrote:
> I mean as in the tests done May 16, September 20, and October 9
> reported at
> without adjusting the best performing pull-down delivery combined
> banner/landing page from the beginning of this month
I obviously cannot speak for what Zack will end up doing but let's talk
shop for a moment on how this would be implemented.
The tests you indicated play banner, landing page impressions, and donation
amount against each other. It appears that everyone saw a collection of
random banners (ie: the test was not bucketed.) Are these the same
variables you want to test?
Regardless of the answer to the above; how do you propose we normalize our
tests across time of day, day of week, and day of month factors - we've
seen evidence that these all play a role. I don't know how many banner
variations we actually have to test but it's likely we won't be able to
test them all at the same time (In fact with the current weighting setup we
can only test 30 banners at a time). Do we just take each group as it
stands -- find the best performers in the group and then test the winners
against each other?
An additional considering is that we have four buckets to play with;
buckets are independent so we could potentially test 120 banners at a time
to four different groups. Presumably if we did this we would want a couple
of control banners in each to normalize with?
An additional something to consider is how long do we have to run these
tests to gain statistical significance? At least a day I'm guessing. Are we
going to account for banner fatigue at all? IE: show banners during only
the first 10 visits like we just did with this most recent campaign?
I'm addressing this question to you because you seem to be the most active trustee in the areas where I checked for trustee activity, and also because you were one of the authors of the “Building a lasting movement” workshop submission to Wikimania 2012. I would also be interested in hearing comments from other trustees.
This information is from April 2012 to present, showing the number of posts and edits by each trustee.
Trustee Meta username Wikimedia-l Meta Combined
Kat Walsh Mindspillage 8 13 21
Jan-Bart de Vreede Jan-Bart 16 47 63
Stu West Stu 0 4 4
Bishakha Datta Bishdatta 30 34 64
Jimmy Wales Jimbo Wales 0 3 3
Ting Chen Wing 0 2 2
Samuel Klein Sj 107 751 858
Matt Halprin Mhalprin 0 5 5
Alice Weigand Lyzzy 12 241 253
Patricio Lorente Patricio.lorente 7 26 33
I would appreciate hearing your comments about these statistics and about trustee activity levels in general. Do each of the trustees demonstrate a strong personal interest in the health and direction of the Foundation and the volunteer community? Do each of the trustees participate actively at Board meetings? Do each of the trustees proactively and regularly communicate with Foundation staff, volunteer contributors, and/or organizations which have significant interactions with the Foundation or the content projects?
Personally, I feel that a vibrant, engaged, and proactive board is important for the health of any public nonprofit organization, and for “building a lasting movement” for the near future and for future generations. I think of Wikipedia as a digital “wonder of the world” and a remarkable work of civilization. I hope that the trustees take a strong personal interest in the health and future of Wikipedia, its sister projects, and the foundation and people that sustain and build them.
> people are not contributing in the English language markets this
> year as opposed to last
What is the evidence for that?
> because of trends when the English Wikipedia's popularity has not
> significantly changed.
English projects per http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/graphs/pageviews
November 2010: 7.6 billion
November 2011: 8.3 billion or +9%
November 2012: 9.6 billion or +15%
Along with my questions about lowered fundraising expectations which
Zack specifically asked to re-post to this list, I would also like
answers to my earlier questions about why multivariate testing can't
be used to measure donations, because all of the multivariate tests
published so far were used to measure donations. There is no doubt in
my mind from the distribution of message performance that if we tested
the remaining volunteer-submitted appeals from 2009-10, we could do
twice as well per day as we did at the beginning of this month, and
not just during these last days of the year when we are probably
sacrificing $7 million to slashed growth rates, jettisoned Fellowships
without community consultation, and salaries pegged well below that of
other Bay Area technology employers.
As for the reserve fund investment, I would like to point out that
investment in securities which are expected to return less than
inflation are a guaranteed risk that the purchasing power of donors'
funds will diminish before they are spent. As far as I can tell from
messages off list at Garfield's request, all reserve investments were
expected to perform below the rate of inflation when they were
> The question this list would need to find agreement on is: should the Uzbek
> Wikipedia be set up in a way that makes access via the HTTPS protocol the
> canonical one?
Certainly. There is already widespread agreement on supporting HTTPS
in the archives, and no question that it should be canonical when ISPs
or governments seek to block the HTTP access. Any government taking
those measures is likely to take other measures which might put
editors using HTTP instead of HTTPS at risk, so it makes abundant
sense to do this if we have any respect for our editors' safety at
I wish that http://22.214.171.124/wiki/Bosh_Sahifa and
https://126.96.36.199/wiki/Bosh_Sahifa would work, too, but the
foundation apparently can't or chooses not to afford separate IP
addresses for each language's Wikipedia.
The Foundation in years past would take advantage of the end of the
annual fundraiser to write a thank you letter to donors which included
other less well funded charity foundations and organization which the
leadership would recommend endorsing. One of those foundations, the
EFF, publishes this page with helpful background information:
One of the reasons that donor response was so strong this year is
because this past January, the Foundation decided to join with the EFF
and others in support of what turned out to be a very popular activism
campaign against the proposed U.S. SOPA/PIPA legislation, primarily in
the interest of the Foundation's legal and office actions staff which
would have been substantially burdened with the task of removing links
to external sites deemed infringing in ex parte court applications had
the legislation become law. Can you imagine what would happen if the
Foundation decided to support more than just their own staff and take
action to support the nearly one fifth of long time editors who toil
in near-poverty or impoverished conditions by with an activism
campaign based on Chart 4 of
Another thing I want to point out, because I just noticed it. The
recent years' yields on bond funds has been slightly higher than
equity (stock) mutual funds, but with only a very small fraction of
I'm not sure what the current thinking among fiduciaries is on
diversified high grade bond funds is, but the statistical distribution
of those long-term returns looks as if a variety of them for a portion
of the reserves would have a far better risk-to-return ratio than
sticking with certificates of deposit and treasury securities (which
currently pay negative real interest rates, i.e., less than inflation)
as we have been.
On Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 1:08 PM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
>On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 12:18 PM, James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:12 AM, Zack Exley <zexley at wikimedia.org> wrote:
>>> "Maximizing" for us means raising our budget
>>> with as little negative impact on the projects as possible
>> Where do you find that meaning or any suggestion of it in the
>> unanimous resolution of the board of 9 October 2010?
> That is in fact what was meant (evident on the discussion page on Meta):
> the foundation should aim to maximize fundraising efficiency; or support
> raised per unit of fundraising activity.
That appears to be a draft which was never deliberated by or approved
by the Board of Trustees. Is there any reason it should take
precedence over the Board's unanimous resolution to achieve "the
highest possible overall financial support for the Wikimedia movement,
in terms of both financial totals and the number of individuals making
> Maximizing the activity itself - fundraising 24/7/365.2524 - would reduce
> the usefulness of the projects.
I am certainly not suggesting that fundraising occur 24/7, but only
that it follow our established traditional patterns in a manner which
allows us to pay salaries competitive with similar labor performed in
the same area. It is quite clear that relying on "the mission" in lieu
of competitive pay for junior employees does not support the kind of
employee retention and satisfaction which the Foundation has enjoyed
in the past.
On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 1:22 PM, Matthew Roth <mroth at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM, James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com> wrote:
>> During the past year has the ratio of the Foundation's top executive
>> pay to the pay of junior staff and contractors increased by more than
> James, I'm not going to get too far into the other specifics of this really
> (for me) perplexing and troubling thread, but I personally wish this piece
> of your litany would stop....
Matt, the rest of your message had absolutely nothing about the
Foundation's salary ratios in it, but I can understand why it might be
the most troubling for you because of the problems that income
inequality is causing in society in general. There are three times as
many homeless children today as in 1983, a new record high this year:
But how often do we hear about that on the news?
> salaries have been pegged to be somewhere
> between similar non-profits and similar tech companies, understanding that
> our sweet spot is both as a tech company and also as a mission-driven
> change-the-world type of place.
Is this a data-derived conclusion, or was this "sweet spot" which has
resulted in record employee turnover derived without measurement? Can
you find any San Francisco nonprofits with worse employee satisfaction
scores on Glassdoor.com than the Foundation's? I haven't been able to.
> We also have excellent benefits. I was recently married and my wife will be
> joining my health insurance on January 1 because it is more generous than
> hers (she works at an emergency room in the premier hospital in the area).
As someone who believes that Canadian style single payer health care
is the only reasonable option for the U.S. at this point, I wonder how
much this desensitizes you and your colleagues. Please see
> this is the most current iteration of a type of thread
> that I find contributes a great deal of stress to my work here. There are a
> number of assumptions that strike me as bad faith and many of them are
> targeted at people I work with (some of them I consider friends), so it is
> very difficult for me to read this
I find it extremely difficult to believe that anyone could think my
proposal that the salaries of Foundation employees be increased so
that none of them are less than 50% of the top executive salary is
made in bad faith or "targeted" towards anyone.
Forwarding on from Wikipedia Announce list. For those who haven't
already seen the thank you banner at the top of English Wikipedia, you
need to be logged out to view it.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Matthew Roth <mroth(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2012 15:46:51 -0800
Subject: [PRESS RELEASE] Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million in
record time during 2012 Wikipedia fundraiser
(This press release is also available online at:
The Wikimedia Foundation raises $25 million in record time during 2012
More than 1.2 million Wikipedia readers donated to keep Wikipedia and
sister sites ad free and free to all
SAN FRANCISCO, December 27, 2012 - The Wikimedia Foundation, the
non-profit that operates Wikipedia and its sister projects, today
announced the successful completion of its ninth annual fundraising
campaign in record time. Wikipedia readers donated $25 million and
once again affirmed the value of the project by guaranteeing that the
online encyclopedia will remain ad-free.
"I'm grateful that the Wikipedia fundraiser was so successful. Our
supporters are wonderful and without them we could not do the job of
delivering free content worldwide," said Sue Gardner, Executive
Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. "We're thrilled to be able to
introduce our readers to the editors around the world who create
Wikipedia and to invite our readers to join in editing."
Donations help the Wikimedia Foundation maintain server
infrastructure, support global projects to increase the number of
editors, improve and simplify the software that supports our projects,
and make Wikipedia accessible globally to billions of people who are
just beginning to access the internet.
More than 1.2 million donors contributed to the 2012 campaign, which
ran on English Wikipedia in 5 countries (United States, Canada, Great
Britain, Australia and New Zealand) for only 9 full days, down from 46
days in 2011. The most successful 24-hour period for donations this
year brought in $2,365,564 million from 145,573 donors. Messages and
formats optimized in this year's campaign will be used in another
short fundraising drive for the rest of the world in April 2013.
Though the fundraiser is an important part of Wikipedia's success,
volunteer contributors are the heart of the world's largest
encyclopedia. To highlight the tens of millions of hours they put into
the projects each year, the Wikimedia Foundation will conduct a thank
you campaign with short videos that showcase some of the roughly
80,000 volunteer editors, photographers and free-knowledge advocates
from around the world who regularly contribute to Wikimedia projects.
The campaign starts on December 27th and runs through the end of the
Meet all the Wikimedians who we're profiling in our thank you campaign
Some of the Wikimedians being profiled:
Mei Jiun Kwek is a botanist from Malaysia who uploads photos to
Wikimedia Commons to accompany her work on crop species in her
country. She encourages researchers to share their material on a
freely licensed database to improve open access to knowledge.
(Video link on Wikimedia Commons:
and on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcGotJ927YM)
Dumisani Ndubane is an electrical engineer from South Africa who
started uploading his circuit analysis class notes to Wikiversity, a
project supporting open educational resources, which did not have much
information in his field at the time. By participating with volunteers
from around the world, Ndubane not only grew to appreciate the value
of collaboration, he helped improve the quality of free tutorials and
(Video link on Wikimedia Commons:
and on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXvhABH-jFs)
Adrianne Wadewitz is a professor from California who uses Wikipedia as
a teaching tool in her classroom and helps her faculty peers to
incorporate digital technology in their teaching and research methods.
She describes a memorable moment when one of her students turned in an
essay largely plagiarized from a Wikipedia article Wadewitz had
(Video link on Wikimedia Commons:
and on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qwZ7jL4xyY)
About the Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that operates
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. According to comScore Media Metrix,
Wikipedia and the other projects operated by the Wikimedia Foundation
receive more than 483 million unique visitors per month, making them
the fifth-most popular web property world-wide (comScore, November
2012). Available in 285 languages, Wikipedia contains more than 24
million articles contributed by a global volunteer community of
roughly 80,000 people. Based in San Francisco, California, the
Wikimedia Foundation is an audited, 501(c)(3) charity that is funded
primarily through donations and grants.
Global Communications Manager
Tel. +1 415-839-6885 x6635
Global Communications Manager
+1.415.839.6885 ext 6635