We know NSA wants Wikipedia data, as Wikipedia is listed in one of the
That slide is about HTTP, and the tech staff are moving the
user/reader base to HTTPS.
As we learn more about the NSA programs, we need to consider vectors
other than HTTP for the NSA to obtain the data they want. And the
userbase needs to be aware of the current risks.
One question from the "Dells are backdored"[sic] thread that is worth
separate consideration is:
Are the Wikimedia transit links encrypted, especially for database replication?
MySQL has replication over SSL, so I assume the answer is Yes.
If not, is this necessary or useful, and feasible ?
However we also need to consider that SSL and other encryption may be
useless against NSA/etc, which means replicating non-public data
should be avoided wherever possible, as it becomes a single point of
Given how public our system is, we don't have a lot of non-public
data, so we might be able to design the architecture so that
information isnt replicated, and also ensure it isnt accessed over
insecure links. I think the only parts of the dataset that are
private & valuable are
* passwords/login cookies,
* checkuser info - IPs and useragents,
* WMF analytics, which includes readers iirc, and
* hidden/deleted edits
* private wikis and mailing lists
Have I missed any?
Are passwords and/or checkuser info replicated?
Is there a data policy on WMF analytics data which prevents it flowing
over insecure links, and limits what is collected and ensures
destruction of the data within reasonable timeframes? i.e. how about
not using cookies to track analytics of readers who are on HTTP
instead of HTTPS?
The private wikis can be restricted to https, depending on the value
of the data on those wikis in the wrong hands. The private mailing
lists will be harder to secure, and at least the English Wikipedia
arbcom list contain a lot of valuable data about contributors.
Regarding hidden/deleted edits, the replication isnt the only source
of this data. All edits are also exposed via Recent Changes
(https/api/etc) as they occur, and the value of these edits is
determined by the fact they are hidden afterwards (e.g. don't appear
in dumps). Is there any way to control who is effectively capturing
all edits via Recent Changes?
to increase accountability and create more opportunities for course
corrections and resourcing adjustments as necessary, Sue's asked me
and Howie Fung to set up a quarterly project evaluation process,
starting with our highest priority initiatives. These are, according
to Sue's narrowing focus recommendations which were approved by the
- Visual Editor
- Mobile (mobile contributions + Wikipedia Zero)
- Editor Engagement (also known as the E2 and E3 teams)
- Funds Dissemination Committe and expanded grant-making capacity
I'm proposing the following initial schedule:
- Editor Engagement Experiments
- Visual Editor
- Mobile (Contribs + Zero)
- Editor Engagement Features (Echo, Flow projects)
- Funds Dissemination Committee
We’ll try doing this on the same day or adjacent to the monthly
metrics meetings , since the team(s) will give a presentation on
their recent progress, which will help set some context that would
otherwise need to be covered in the quarterly review itself. This will
also create open opportunities for feedback and questions.
My goal is to do this in a manner where even though the quarterly
review meetings themselves are internal, the outcomes are captured as
meeting minutes and shared publicly, which is why I'm starting this
discussion on a public list as well. I've created a wiki page here
which we can use to discuss the concept further:
The internal review will, at minimum, include:
Team members and relevant director(s)
So for example, for Visual Editor, the review team would be the Visual
Editor / Parsoid teams, Sue, me, Howie, Terry, and a minute-taker.
I imagine the structure of the review roughly as follows, with a
duration of about 2 1/2 hours divided into 25-30 minute blocks:
- Brief team intro and recap of team's activities through the quarter,
compared with goals
- Drill into goals and targets: Did we achieve what we said we would?
- Review of challenges, blockers and successes
- Discussion of proposed changes (e.g. resourcing, targets) and other
- Buffer time, debriefing
Once again, the primary purpose of these reviews is to create improved
structures for internal accountability, escalation points in cases
where serious changes are necessary, and transparency to the world.
In addition to these priority initiatives, my recommendation would be
to conduct quarterly reviews for any activity that requires more than
a set amount of resources (people/dollars). These additional reviews
may however be conducted in a more lightweight manner and internally
to the departments. We’re slowly getting into that habit in
As we pilot this process, the format of the high priority reviews can
help inform and support reviews across the organization.
Feedback and questions are appreciated.
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
Support Free Knowledge: https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
I can think of a few reasons why we should accept bitcoin:
* It's consistent with our leadership in internet technology
* Our peers like EFF, and Internet archive accept it
* It's secured using the same kinds of encryption we rely on to maintain
* It permits donations from countries that do not have Visa/Mastercard
* It has a fanatically loyal and growing following that is dying to give us
money in that currency
Most imporantly, current technology would permit us to accept bitcoin
without ever *holding* bitcoin.
Companies like BitPay ( https://bitpay.com/) and CoinBase (
https://coinbase.com/) are little different than accepting Visa,
Mastercard, or Paypal. It's now possible for funds received as bitcoins to
be *immediately* converted to USD.
I don't think we should 'make a statement' by accepting bitcoin, I think
the currency is simply at the stage where it would be to our benefit to do
While watching the current changes to Wikimedia France microgrants program
implemented, I was curious to know which Wikimedia entities had similar
funding programs for individuals - how they worked, how we could learn form
Since apparently there was no Meta page for that(tm) (yet!) I went ahead and
I dug my information out of my email archives and FDC proposal forms, so I
could totally have missed some programs - please add the ones you know
Of course, it would be more useful to have more detailed information on
Together with Caroline & Pierre-Selim we threw some ideas on what we
thought was interesting to know about the programs, but that's still very
alpha - please add more ideas!
Looking forward to your thoughts about this!
Have come across a collection of basic college textbooks that appear to be
more or less based on text from Wikipedia. There are 21 of them. The
company claims that they are being used by more than 2 million students.
They are under a CC BY SA license and if you follow the links seen here
http://books.google.ca/books?id=7avpAAAAQBAJ&pg=PA2058 they do eventually
They are being offered for free on amazon.comhttp://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywo…
are being sold for $19.99 on their website. https://www.boundless.com/
So the question is should we have a response? I think this could generate
position press for our movement. Attribution could be better (I would
consider theirs to be borderline). Additionally should we be adding this
textbooks to Wikiversity or Wikibooks to make sure they stay free available?
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
The Wikipedia Open Textbook of Medicine
this is a mail focused on chapters within the European Union but of course
support and participation of any chapter is welcome!
== Preamble ==
Some might have heard about the State Parliament Projects done in Germany
and Austria since 2009:
A bunch of Wikipedians and photographers meet politicians in the
parliament, shoot professional photos, discuss their Wikipedia articles
etc. This way hundreds of free licensed, high quality images have been
made, Wikipedia articles have been improved. In the latest project at
Schwerin (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) we added videos, politicians give a short
introduction about themselves, their position and political focus in German
and in their mother tongue if different from German.
About 20 photographers were able to participate and processes how to work
with the parliament's administration, how to interact with the politicians,
how to efficiently take a lot of photos in a short time and with good
quality have been established.
== Next Level: European Parliament ==
Now we would like to take this to next level: After contacting the European
Parliament I was able to get their approval, the support by the parties and
Unfortunately the date is already in February, 3rd to 7th, as we have to
use the short time gap between budget deliberations and elections. MEPs
only travel to the EP when deliberations are ongoing but then they are also
busy with meetings, as soon as the election preperation starts there won't
be any time for our project within the next 6 months.
Anyway I am sure we can do that - the elections are also a great
opportunity to raise awareness on our material we have in Wikipedia and on
Commons. It is also an excellent opportunity to bring together volunteers
in doing our core work together, maybe we can transfer the idea of
Parliament Projects to other countries. Volunteers get the opportunity to
learn from each other - the EP is a very challenging project, having more
than 700 MEPs to be handled within a few days. And Wikipedia may improve
its articles, also by bringing together volunteers from different EU
countries. Many MEPs have their articles only in a few of the European
languages, some not even in their native language!
== Your Chapter Involved ==
We are looking forward to get volunteers from as many countries as possible
involved in this project. In order to be handle it we need approx. 35
people to help. Obviously the german and austrian photographers are already
waiting for it, from past projects they already know what will go on. But
there is much more to it: We want your volunteers!
Imagine a project where we could bring together volunteers from all 24
language communities in the EU - that is what we are trying!
Therefore we ask you for a favour:
* please forward this invitation to your local community - you can point
them to our project page on Wikimedia Commons:
* does your chapter provide travel support for those volunteers in your
country who want to participate? Please do so. Your chapter pays for the
transportation to / from Strasbourg and the accommodation (around 300 EUR
per person for all 6 nights), we take care of the rest (transportation
hotel - EP, catering etc.)
* does your chapter have photographic equipment we might need? We could use
DSLRs, flash units, background systems, lenses...
* we would like to supply the volunteers with t-shirts or hoodies with
Wikipedia logo or similar - for a unified appearance and to make them
visible as volunteers and Wikimedians. Is your chapter (or the WMF?)
interested in providing 90 shirts / hoodies? (We planned 2 pc. per person
as they will be worn almost one week.)
* everyone who likes this project: state your support on the talk page of
our grant request to the WMF which should cover the general costs of the
project. By this grant request we make sure that each chapter only has to
handle local support and can stay within it's budgeted limits and area of
Thanks for your attention and your support! We are confident that even with
the short time given we will be able to run an awesome project which will
have an impact in so many areas - Wikipedia, Commons, our volunteers,
chapter collaboration, outreach, reader experience...
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Erik Moeller <erik(a)wikimedia.org>
Date: Thu, Dec 12, 2013 at 11:40 PM
Subject: Update on community advocacy & liaison work
To: All Wikimedia Foundation staff & contractors
As many of you know, we recently brought on board a team of community
members to support the development and rollout of mission-critical WMF
projects like VisualEditor and Flow. To-date, this work has been
coordinated by Philippe Beaudette (reporting to James Forrester for
this purpose), with the community liaisons maintaining a dotted-line
reporting relationship to him while being hired by
engineering/product. In addition, the Community Advocacy team has made
available several of its staff members to work and partner on a
day-to-day basis with the liaisons.
What we’ve learned so far includes:
- Community engagement continues to be critical for successful
development and deployment of products with a strong impact on
community interactions. Not all products have such an impact -- e.g.
improvements to the mobile reading experience or mobile apps don’t
affect the experience of content authors directly nearly as much. In
other cases (e.g. VisualEditor) the impact is huge and the
coordination and communication requirements can be very significant.
- We need to start the process as early as possible - community
engagement isn't something that can just be done at the tail end to
support a rollout. Liaison work includes on-wiki participation in
discussions; organizing roundtables, IRC sessions, feedback and
brainstorming pages, etc. The earlier, the better -- this helps
surface likely points of contention, empowering Product Managers to
better understand the high priority needs and wants from the
community, as well as the cost of a change (how difficult will it be
to make the change, and what negative side effects may it have?).
- Product Managers and Community Liaisons need to work closely
together and see each other as being on the same team. While a typical
liaison likely will support multiple projects, just like designers,
liaisons work best when they develop a deep understanding for the
needs of one or two teams and are in active partnership with the
relevant PM. The PM and Community Liaison should be collaborating on a
- There are other classes of community-related work that need to be
appropriately resourced, but are less directly relevant to product
development. This includes: emergency and crisis management and
response, support for policy-related RFCs, training for OTRS agents,
organizing of visits of key functionaries and committees, etc.
- Learning the lessons from the existence of a Community Department,
we don't view "Community" as a function that can be owned, controlled
or managed in a single department -- each department needs to be
supported by community expertise in its day-to-day work, partnering
closely with other team members.
Consistent with that, after careful discussion, we have decided to
create a new leadership function, Director of Community Engagement
(Product), reporting to me (as VP Product) and partnering closely with
Howie and individual Product Managers. The Director of Community
Engagement (Product) will be responsible for managing community
liaisons (staff or contractors) who directly support product
Once this Director is hired and on-boarded, the Community Advocacy
team currently reporting to Philippe will re-focus its energy on some
of the aforementioned non-product matters. The community liaison team
will at that point move to the new Director, and we will staff up as
needed. We will still intersect on projects such as election support
or policy implementation.
I’m not currently considering merging this group with the "Engineering
Community Team" under Sumana Harihareswara’s leadership. That team is
focused on engaging volunteer developers who contribute to MediaWiki,
and while there is some overlap, I consider the goals and workflows to
be pretty distinct. That said, I expect the two teams to work closely
together in practice, with folks like Andre Klapper (Bug Wrangler)
acting at the intersection between the two teams.
I want to thank Geoff, Philippe and the Community Advocacy team for
all their support bootstrapping the liaison team and partnering with
us on key product roll-outs, on very short notice. It’s been
absolutely invaluable. I’m also grateful for the continuation of this
partnership until we fill the new Director-level role, and for help in
the interview and on-boarding process. Finally, thanks for all the
hard work of the community liaisons on a day-to-day basis; no matter
how hot things sometimes can get, we know that we can count on you.
I expect to post the job by early January, and it will likely take us
until at least March/April to fill the position.
Please let me know if you have any questions. :-)
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
The next WMF metrics and activities meeting will take place on Thursday,
January 9, 2014 at 7:00 PM UTC (11 AM PST). Please note that on this
occasion we are holding this meeting on the second Thursday of January, but
we will resume holding the meetings on the first Thursday of each month
The IRC channel is #wikimedia-office on irc.freenode.net and
the meeting will be broadcast as a live YouTube stream.
The current structure of the meeting is:
* Review of key metrics including the monthly report card, but also
specialized reports and analytic
* Review of financials
* Welcoming recent hires
* Brief presentations on recent projects, with a focus on highest priority
* Update and Q&A with the Executive Director, if available
https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Metrics_and_activities_meetings for further
information about how to participate.
We’ll post the video recording publicly after the meeting.
Executive Assistant to the VP of Engineering and Product Development
+1 (415) 839 6885 ext. 6689
More love from our readers for you. Enjoy!
i feel like i have a new brain bolted on. that's the internet in general,
but a few of the gears in there are labeled 'wikipedia'
It beautiful how you can get authentic information on almost everything in
one place.. you guyz are doing a great job
I read a lot of scifi when I was a kid and always dreamed of something like
Wikipedia. Of course, I thought a computer would cover the whole wall so
maybe the dream wasn't exactly prescient.
In a world where 99% of people waste their life on Facebook its great to
have a destination where you can go and learn something.
I also get a great kick out of seeing some hamster-brained celebrity crow
about how inaccurate Wikipedia is because she hasn't bothered to learn how
to use it. "If you don't know how to drive stick shift, don't complain
about the poor machine design."
As with all tireless volunteers, all ya'll inspire me and make me want to
contribute more to my community (read: my city, my state, my country, my
Years ago, I would have to listen to my husband and sister-in-law argue
about who was right ALL THE TIME. Now, they just pull out their phones, and
Wikipedia has all the answers. The bickering has come to an end. Halleluiah!
I cannot remember a day in the last 5 years when I haven't opened a
Wikipedia page at least once.
Thank you! I'm a med student and use your site daily.
There is simply NO REASON to be ignorant about ANYTHING. I've always felt
that, but Wikipedia has made it nearly criminally lazy to be so.
Game changer. No other way to say it. There was a life before Wikipedia,
but it was not nearly as enlightened!!!
I think it is one of mankind's greatest achievements. No joke.
I am old enough to remember encyclopedias. This is lots better.
I use wikipedia every day. I now use it with Siri. I would like it
permanently wired into my brain.
I was a professional technical/scientific translator (German, French,
Spanish to English) and constantly needed information on all sorts of
things in different language. You can pick up a lot by comparing the German
and English articles.
makes my 8 yr old daughter smarter, enriches her, makes her more curious,
more empowered, more relevant to the community, and helps shape her
relationship to technology, seek truth, and develop a deeper understanding
of the world and her day to day life.
Elegant searches for truth nourishes the soul.
We tour cross country and our iPhones read us the Wiki entries on the
histories, demographics and economies of the cities we visit! It's like an
endless podcast of fascination and learning!
I've always found Wikipedia useful but now, sort of out-of-the blue, I'm
helping raise a 14 year old. Do you have any idea how many questions daily
whether homework-related or life-related that adds up to? No, neither do I,
but it's a lot and it's great to be able to have a knowledge resource
against which I can grade my own answers!
Brilliant quick reference source to back up ludicrous arguments!
don't need a brain anymore, I got Wikipedia.
As a father of two school age children, I do not always have the answers to
help them with their homework.........but Wikipedia usually does !!
Your editors are supremely good. Your online concept has rendered the
venerable encyclopedia extinct. You guys are doing a great job - for
humanity. I'm jealous .....
Thanks to Wikipedia, I'm a master of all subjects as long as I have an
active internet connection.
Best thing that ever happened to me since the internet
Director of Online Fundraising
Can nobody stop the URAA Copyright trolls mass deleting perfect fine files
I think it would be the best if _all_ URAA affected files would be kept
until a DMCA take down notice.
But in the case of in the country of origin PD works which are foreign
government works it is needed that the WMF clearly speaks out that such
works could be accepted on Commons even when a written statement of the
foreign government doesn't exist.
See for Canada's crown copyright