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 am very pleased to announce that Wikimedia NYC and Wikimedia DC are
working in collaboration to host the first national Wikimedia conference in
the United States!
Here are the details for the conference:
Dates: Friday, May 30, 2014 - Sunday, June 1, 2014
Location: New York Law School (185 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013)
For more information, please review our official press release below! We
hope you will join us and help us spread the word!
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!
Dear members of the Wikimedia Movement:
In the past weeks, I've taken the decision to resign to my position of
Executive Director of Wikimedia Argentina. This decision was presented to
the Board of the chapter past Saturday and it was accepted.
For personal and professional reasons, I've decided to return to my
country, Chile, in the following weeks and start a new stage of my life.
Two years ago, I was presented with the opportunity of living in Argentina
and working for one of my passions. This was a big challenge for me: I had
to leave my country and my family and work in a foreign country. These last
18 months have been a unique experience and I've learnt a lot, becoming a
better professional and a more mature person. However, at the same time I
feel that I need to move on and continue with new projects and challenges.
Certainly, this has not been an easy decision for me, because I'm very fond
of this work, the people that have participated in our activities and the
projects we worked on and we are still working on.
I leave the Association in a very different position than when I took
office. We have several ongoing projects and we regularized all the delayed
paperwork. We became the first organization from a developing country to
get an Annual Plan Grant via FDC and have been one of the best-graded
chapters in both processes. We are now a reliable and serious organization,
continuing a process of professionalization that can improve our programs,
making them more efficient and more effective. Clearly, this has not been
only due to my work, which is why I thank the Board of the Chapter that
helped me in everything and to María Cruz, which has been a great colleague
My main interest is that Wikimedia Argentina continues to grow, which is
why we have decided that my departure occurs at the end of March. This will
allow us to work calmly to ensure the continuity of the ongoing projects of
Wikimedia Argentina and the transfer of knowledge once the new Executive
Director takes office. In any case, I will continue to participate as a
member and Wikimedia volunteer, once this period expires. By request of our
Board, I will also attend the next Wikimedia Conference, so I will be able
to transmit the experiences of Wikimedia Argentina in the last year.
I appreciate the trust placed in me by the Board and all the members of
Wikimedia Argentina and their support all these months. I'm sure they will
continue the great work we have done lately.
*Osmar Valdebenito G.*
A. C. Wikimedia Argentina
Scholarship applications for Wikimania 2014 in London are now being
accepted. Applications are open until the end of the day UTC on 17 February.
Wikimania 2014 scholarships is an award given to an individual to enable
them to attend Wikimania in London from 6-10 August, 2014.
Only a single type of scholarship will be available from the Wikimedia
Foundation for Wikimania 2014. A Wikimedia Foundation scholarship will
cover the cost of an individual's round-trip travel costs as arranged by
the Wikimedia Foundation travel agency, shared accommodation as arranged
by the Wikimedia Foundation, and registration for Wikimania.
Applicants will be rated using a pre-determined selection process and
selection criteria by the Scholarship Committee, who will determine
which are successful. To learn more about Wikimania 2014 scholarships,
please visit <https://wikimania2014.wikimedia.org/wiki/Scholarships>.
To apply for a scholarship, fill out the application form on
<http://scholarships.wikimedia.org/apply>. It is highly recommended that
applicants review all of the material on the Scholarships page and the
associated FAQ before submitting an application.
If you have any question, please contact
<wikimania-scholarships(a)wikimedia.org> or leave a message on
Chair, Scholarship Committee
Any views or opinions presented in this e-mail are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of any organisation the author is associated with or employed by.
Experience is a good school but the fees are high.
- Heinrich Heine
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