This is a personal note to clarify a some questions that recently came up,
specifically in the context of my role as the incoming ED.
My partner Wil and I are partners in our private lives. We have always both
been extremely independent, and we respect that in each other. That said we
have different roles: I am the Executive Director with responsibilities
towards the Foundation and the movement, and he is an independent community
member with his own voice.
I make my decisions using my own professional judgement in conjunction with
input from the community and staff. I don’t consult Wil on these matters,
ask him to do anything on my behalf or monitor his engagements with the
community. When I speak here, it is in my capacity as an ED.
Wil, on the other hand, has a very strong personal interest in the
community and agreat deal of curiosity about how the Wikimedia
projectswork. It is very important to him that he remains an
able to speak with his own voice and ask his own questions. He does not
take direction from me. He will not work for the WMF or engage with the WMF
I hope this addresses some of the questions and draws distinction between
my role as ED and Wil’s participation as an independent member. If you have
any questions for Wil you can reach him directly. If you have any questions
for me or the WMF, you can get a hold of me by email or on my talk page.
1. Where can I find a response from either the WMF board or WMF
funding/finance to the criticisms of a lack of transparency or the
apparent failure of the project to deliver value for the donor's money
as raised in this blog post?
2. Where can I read an officially recognized report for the outcomes
of this project in terms of value for Wikimedia projects? Obviously we
do not want to rely on second-hand analysis when reports to the WMF
are a requirement for such projects.
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'd be interested in hearing broader community opinions about the
extent to which WMF should sponsor non-profits purely to support work
that Wikimedia benefits from, even if it's not directed towards a
specific goal established in a grant agreement.
This comes up from time to time. One of the few historic precedents
I'm aware of is the $5,000 donation that WMF made to FreeNode in 2006
. But there are of course many other organizations/communities that
the Wikimedia movement is indebted to.
On the software side, we have Ubuntu Linux (itself highly indebted to
Debian) / Apache / MariaDB / PHP / Varnish / ElasticSearch / memcached
/ Puppet / OpenStack / various libraries and many other dependencies ,
infrastructure tools like ganglia, observium, icinga, etc. Some of
these projects have nonprofits that accept and seek sponsorship and
support, some don't.
One could easily expand well beyond the software we depend on
server-side to client-side open source applications used by our
community to create content: stuff like Inkscape, GIMP and LibreOffice
(used for diagrams). And there are other communities we depend on,
So, should we steer clear of this type of sponsorship altogether
because it's a slippery slope, or should we try to come up with
evaluation criteria to consider it on a case-by-case basis (e.g. is
there a trustworthy non-profit that has a track record of
accomplishment and is in actual need of financial support)?
I could imagine a process with a fixed "giving back" annual budget
and a community nominations/review workflow. It'd be work to create
and I don't want to commit to that yet, but I would be interested to
MariaDB specifically invited WMF to become a sponsor, and we're
clearly highly dependent on them. But I don't think it makes sense for
us to just write checks if there's someone who asks for support and
there's a justifiable need. However, if there's broad agreement that
this is something Wikimedia should do more of, then I think it's worth
developing more consistent sponsorship criteria.
 Cf. https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Upstream_projects
VP of Engineering and Product Development, Wikimedia Foundation
----- оригінальне повідомлення -----
Тема: Wikimedia Ukraine's anniversary
Від кого: Levon Azizian <levonazizian(a)bigmir.net>
Копія: Правління Вікімедіа Україна <board(a)wikimedia.in.ua>
Відправлено: 31.05.2014 18:40,
Today, our organization celebrates anniversary - 5 years from the date
Exactly 5 years ago, on May 31, 2009, in Kyiv was held the constituent
meeting, which approved the bylaws and elected its first Board of the new
organization, known as Wikimedia Ukraine.
Our community has gone through a long and difficult path. Birthday of
Wikimedia Ukraine for our community is the third remarkable date this
year. On January 30 was the 10th anniversary of the establishment of
Ukrainian Wikipedia and on May 12 Ukrainian Wikipedia has crossed the
threshold of 500 000 articles.
We want to thank to Wikimedia Foundation Inc. for their help, to our
neighboring communities for fruitful cooperation with us and of course
to our community for their contributions!
Regards, Levon Azizian
The greatest collection of shared knowledge in history. Help Wikipedia,
participate now: http://wikimedia.org/
(CCing wikimedia-l as well, please send any replies to wikitech-l only)
The Wikimedia technical community wants to have another hackathon next year
in Europe. Who will organize it?
Interested parties, check https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Hackathons
We would like to confirm a host by Wikimania, latest.
The same call goes for India and other locations with a good concentration
of Wikimedia contributors and software developers. Come on, step in. We
want to increase our geographical diversity of technical contributors.
Engineering Community Manager @ Wikimedia Foundation
I emailed mobile-l and wikitech-l about this, now I'm moving this
discussion to wikimedia-l. Here's the longer technical thread:
In summary, to show Wikipedia Zero banners for the correct mobile networks,
we are planning once for each cellular-based app session to log two pieces
of data in a specialized logfile, deleting log entries older than 90 days.
1. MCC-MNC <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_country_code> code (format
is ###-##), which denotes the mobile operator
2. Exit (gateway/proxy) IP address
* These data points would not be logged alongside the normal web access
This information could be used to estimate rough demand for Wikipedia in
potential Wikipedia Zero geos, although remediating the out-of-sync IP
addresses on file for existing partners is primary.
wanted to see if there were other thoughts on this approach here on
The next WMF metrics and activities meeting will take place on Thursday,
June 5, 2014 at 6 PM UTC (11 AM PDT). The IRC channel is #wikimedia-office
on irc.freenode.net and the meeting will be broadcast as a live YouTube
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 & Product Development
(This press release is also available online here:
*Airtel Offers Nigerians Free Access to Wikipedia*
- *Customers to Access Multilingual Content Free of Data Charges*
- *Restates Commitment to Educational Development, Youth Empowerment*
*Lagos, Nigeria, Thursday, May 29th, 2014*: Leading telecommunications
services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has announced a strategic partnership
with the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit that operates Wikipedia, to
offer their consumers across the country access to Wikipedia through their
mobile phones free of data charges.
The initiative, which is first of its kind in Nigeria, is dubbed Wikipedia
Zero, and it is aimed at reaching and empowering billions of people around
the world whose access to the Internet is primarily through a mobile
device. Airtel Nigeria subscribers can access Wikipedia free of data
charges at m.wikipedia.org.
With the new partnership, Airtel will help deliver knowledge and
information of Wikipedia to 21 million of new users in the West African
region. Speaking on the new partnership, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel
Nigeria, Maurice Newa, said the initiative is in line with the company’s
corporate vision of becoming Nigeria’s number one Internet Company, saying
the new service will help connect Nigerians with relevant knowledge and
information that will empower them to succeed in their personal and
“We are excited with our partnership with the Wikimedia Foundation and we
will continue to provide innovative solutions that will uplift Nigerians in
line with our brand promise of becoming the most loved brand in the daily
lives of Nigerians,” he said. “At Airtel, we are passionate and committed
to creating solid educational and youth empowerment platforms that will
enrich and transform the lives of telecoms consumers across the country.”
“We commend Airtel Nigeria for taking a leadership role in empowering their
society through information access, and we’re thrilled to partner with
them,” said Carolynne Schloeder, Head of Mobile Partnerships at the
Wikimedia Foundation. “Expanding Wikipedia Zero to the people of Nigeria is
a big step forward for free knowledge in Africa.”
About Bharti Airtel
Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with
operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New
Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers
globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company's product offerings
include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line
services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services
including national & international long distance services to carriers. In
the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile
commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 297 million customers across its
operations at the end of April 2014. To know more please visit,
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 500 million unique visitors per month, making them the fifth-most
popular web property world-wide (comScore, August 2013). Available in 287
languages, Wikipedia contains more than 29 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.
Wikimedia Foundation Press Contact:
Communications, Wikimedia Foundation
+1 415-839-6885 ext 6633 jwalsh(a)wikimedia.org
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