The Wikimedia Foundation Board has unanimously approved the changes to the
Bylaws  during the last Board meeting on January 30, 2019. This will be
covered in the minutes, and the resolution will be published in short order.
This change allows the participation of User Groups  in the
Affiliate-selected Board seats (ASBS) 2019 process . The discussion
about this process should start as soon as possible in order to have these
two seats selected by Wikimania. This is why we are sending this letter
now, before the resolution is published.
There are now over 100 recognized User Groups, covering over 50 countries,
several languages and topics, many of whom represent new and emergent
communities within the Wikimedia movement. The Board believes that the
added perspectives of the User Groups, combined with the voices of Chapters
and Thematic Organizations, will lead to a richer collection of guidance
for our movement. The conversation about how User Groups may participate in
this process has been on for years, it is not a new topic .
Once the facilitators of the Selection process are appointed by the
affiliates, they should work with María Sefidari, who has been chosen by
the Board as the Board liaison for the ASBS process.
Given the potential complexity of organizing a process that now will
include over a hundred user groups, the Wikimedia Foundation is offering
its support to set up infrastructure and help with communications if
requested by the affiliates.
A page for translation can be found at:
On behalf of the Board
antanana / Nataliia Tymkiv
Chair of the Board Governance Committee
*NOTICE: You may have received this message outside of your normal working
hours/days, as I usually can work more as a volunteer during weekend. You
should not feel obligated to answer it during your days off. Thank you in
I'm pleased to announce that Reda Kerbouche, Manavpreet Kaur, and May
Hachem have appointed to the Affiliations Committee as new members. In
addition, two incumbent members -- Kirill Lokshin and Camelia Boban -- have
re-appointed for an additional term. Please join me in welcoming our new
and returning members.
The committee extends its profound gratitude to Tanweer Morshed, who is
stepping down after having served three years on the committee, and to
everyone who participated in the recent selection process, whether by
standing as a candidate or by providing feedback on the applications.
Based on comments that I received on Wikimedia-l, I would like to invite
people to a casual online meetup one hour before the monthly WMF Metrics
and Activities Meeting.
There will be no set agenda. You can come with questions or ideas that you
would like to discuss. Please be willing to listen to questions and ideas
from other Wikimedians.
I will host the meeting with the Zoom software. You can join with software
or by using your phone. If you join by phone then your phone number will be
visible to other participants.
The primary language of the meeting will be English, but if people would
like to communicate in diverse languages then that is okay too. We can
facilitate translation by text chat. Many Wikimedians, myself included, are
multilingual in varying degrees, so we might try to have live
Here is information about how to connect:
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/136978210
Or iPhone one-tap :
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current
Argentina: +54 341 512 2188
Australia: +61 (0) 2 8015 2088 or +61 (0) 8 7150 1149
Canada: +1 647 558 0588
Hong Kong, China: +852 5808 6088
France: +33 (0) 1 8288 0188 or +33 (0) 7 5678 4048
Germany: +49 (0) 30 3080 6188 or +49 (0) 30 5679 5800
Israel: +972 (0) 3 978 6688
Italy: +39 069 480 6488
Japan: +81 (0) 3 4578 1488 or +81 524 564 439
Mexico: +52 229 910 0061 or +52 554 161 4288
Spain: +34 84 368 5025 or +34 91 198 0188
Sweden: +46 (0) 7 6692 0434 or +46 (0) 8 4468 2488
Russia: +7 495 283 9788
United Kingdom: +44 (0) 20 3051 2874 or +44 (0) 20 3695 0088
US: +1 408 638 0986 or +1 646 558 8665
Meeting ID: 136 978 210
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/ekaPibJIy
The first "Wikimedia Café" meetup will be on 30 August 2018, at 17:00 UTC /
Let me emphasize that the environment won't be like this
so please don't feel intimated if you are nervous about public speaking.
(If a conversation feels to me like it is becoming uncivil or intimidating,
then I will ask the debaters to quiet themselves or to move to somewhere
else.) The meeting will generally have an environment that is more like this
I anticipate that few people will come, which is okay. I hope that if you
come then you will enjoy the environment and conversation.
Until next time,
( https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Pine )
The next Research Showcase, “The_Tower_of_Babel.jpg” and “A Warm Welcome,
Not a Cold Start,” will be live-streamed next Wednesday, February 20, 2019,
at 11:30 AM PST/19:30 UTC. The first presentation is about how images are
used across language editions, and the second is about new editors.
YouTube stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jpJIFXwlEg
As usual, you can join the conversation on IRC at #wikimedia-research. You
can also watch our past research showcases here:
This month's presentations:
The_Tower_of_Babel.jpg: Diversity of Visual Encyclopedic Knowledge Across
Wikipedia Language Editions
By Shiqing He (presenting, University of Michigan), Brent Hecht
(presenting, Northwestern University), Allen Yilun Lin (Northwestern
University), Eytan Adar (University of Michigan), ICWSM'18.
Across all Wikipedia language editions, millions of images augment text in
critical ways. This visual encyclopedic knowledge is an important form of
wikiwork for editors, a critical part of reader experience, an emerging
resource for machine learning, and a lens into cultural differences.
However, Wikipedia research--and cross-language edition Wikipedia research
in particular--has thus far been limited to text. In this paper, we assess
the diversity of visual encyclopedic knowledge across 25 language editions
and compare our findings to those reported for textual content. Unlike
text, translation in images is largely unnecessary. Additionally, the
Wikimedia Foundation, through the Wikipedia Commons, has taken steps to
simplify cross-language image sharing. While we may expect that these
factors would reduce image diversity, we find that cross-language image
diversity rivals, and often exceeds, that found in text. We find that
diversity varies between language pairs and content types, but that many
images are unique to different language editions. Our findings have
implications for readers (in what imagery they see), for editors (in
deciding what images to use), for researchers (who study cultural
variations), and for machine learning developers (who use Wikipedia for
A Warm Welcome, Not a Cold Start: Eliciting New Editors' Interests via
By Ramtin Yazdanian (presenting, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne)
Every day, thousands of users sign up as new Wikipedia contributors. Once
joined, these users have to decide which articles to contribute to, which
users to reach out to and learn from or collaborate with, etc. Any such
task is a hard and potentially frustrating one given the sheer size of
Wikipedia. Supporting newcomers in their first steps by recommending
articles they would enjoy editing or editors they would enjoy collaborating
with is thus a promising route toward converting them into long-term
contributors. Standard recommender systems, however, rely on users'
histories of previous interactions with the platform. As such, these
systems cannot make high-quality recommendations to newcomers without any
previous interactions -- the so-called cold-start problem. Our aim is to
address the cold-start problem on Wikipedia by developing a method for
automatically building short questionnaires that, when completed by a newly
registered Wikipedia user, can be used for a variety of purposes, including
article recommendations that can help new editors get started. Our
questionnaires are constructed based on the text of Wikipedia articles as
well as the history of contributions by the already onboarded Wikipedia
editors. We have assessed the quality of our questionnaire-based
recommendations in an offline evaluation using historical data, as well as
an online evaluation with hundreds of real Wikipedia newcomers, concluding
that our method provides cohesive, human-readable questions that perform
well against several baselines. By addressing the cold-start problem, this
work can help with the sustainable growth and maintenance of Wikipedia's
diverse editor community.
Janna Layton (she, her)
Administrative Assistant - Audiences & Technology
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
This is just a courtesy notice that I'm no longer employed by the Wikimedia
Foundation as of the end of the month, but will continue to stay engaged as
a volunteer. I see this as an opportunity, since I'll be free of the
conflict of interest caused by my financial and legal relationship as an
I'm looking forward to rejoining the volunteer community, if you will have
Please contact me through my wiki page [[mw:User:Adamw]], and do drop a
line on my talk page if any of the projects listed there catch your fancy!
One recurring phenomenon we encounter when we present Wikidata to various
audiences, is the enthusiasm with they react to the Wikidata Query Service,
and the possibilities it offers for extracting specific information from
the vast network of linked and structured data contained in Wikidata. This
enthusiasm is not surprising, as the query feature of Wikidata is quite
unique within the landscape of information services available today.
The Wikidata Query Service is powered by SPARQL – a semantic query language
for databases. Unfortunately, for users who are new to Wikimedia platforms,
there is currently little instructional material on how to learn SPARQL for
use in Wikidata. At Wikimedia Israel we believe that a user-friendly
tutorial to Queries/SPARQL will attract new users to engage with Wikidata
and help build a community around the project.
In recent years, Wikimedia Israel has developed online instructional
materials, such as the Wikipedia courseware and the guide for creating
encyclopedic content. We plan to use our experience in this field, and in
collaboration with Wikimedia Deutschland, we intend to develop a website
with a step-by-step tutorial to learn how to use the Wikidata Query
Service. The instructional material will be available in three languages
(Hebrew, Arabic and English) but it will be possible to add the same
instructions in other languages. We are quite confident that having a
tutorial that explains and teaches the Query Service will help expand
Wikidata to new audiences worldwide.
*Executive DirectorWikimedia Israel*
I am delighted to share with you that we have added a Chief Operating
Officer to the Wikimedia Foundation leadership (c-level) team. Today, I'm
excited to introduce you to Janeen Uzzell. Janeen started on January 23rd,
in time for the Foundation's All Hands retreat late last month, and has
since been working out of our office in San Francisco.
Janeen was most recently the head of Women in Technology for GE, where she
worked with GE’s global CEOs to revise practices across their workforce of
300,000 employees, increasing the number of women in technology roles.
Previously, she was GE’s Global Director of External Affairs and Technology
Programs, and before that, she spent 5 years as Director of Healthcare
Programs for GE Africa, based in Accra, Ghana. She also served as the
Director of Global Healthcare Programs, Director of Healthcare Disparity
Programs, and Director of Service Operations for GE.
Janeen has nearly two decades of experience implementing the design and use
of technology to drive impact on global outcomes. She is a people
developer, transformational leader, storyteller, engineer and
self-proclaimed “global citizen” — with a passion for incubation and
impact. She says she is on a mission to use her influence and voice to lead
casual work that changes lives, communities and the world. She has a MBA
from Fairleigh Dickinson University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
The Chief Operating Officer is not a new role for the Foundation, although
we haven't had one recently. As the Foundation has grown in recent years,
I've been talking to both the Board and the c-team about the value of
reinstating the COO role. We all agreed this was an important addition to
the Foundation to help us become more effective.
At the end of 2018, we met Janeen while recruiting for a different
position. After completing the interview process, many people felt as
though she had the skills for the Chief Operating Officer role. While we
generally do not hire before a job is posted, we also do not like to miss
out on opportunities. So, in consultation with and support from the Board
and c-team team, we agreed to create this new role and ask Janeen to join
As the Foundation continues to grow and work to meet the needs of the
Wikimedia communities, Janeen's expertise will be instrumental in helping
the organization continue to meet the needs of our growing and evolving
movement. Please join me in welcoming Janeen to the Foundation and to the
incredible Wikimedia community!
PS. A public announcement has also been posted on our blog:
Katherine Maher (she/her)
Wikimedia Foundation <https://wikimediafoundation.org/>
The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is considering amending the
Wikimedia Foundation Bylaws. Nataliia Tymkiv, Chair of the Board Governance
Committee, is leading this process. She has posted the proposed changes on
Meta for discussion
prior to our vote on them during the Board meeting scheduled for January
23, 2019. We invite you to comment on the proposal's talk page. As usual in
these cases, two weeks are provided for community comment, from December 7
to December 21.
By making the proposed changes to the Bylaws, the Board intends to achieve
*1. Include User Groups in the trustee selection process*
Though User Groups have existed as a model of affiliation within the
Wikimedia movement for a number of years, they have not been included
together with Chapters and Thematic Organizations as participants in
selecting Wikimedia Foundation trustees. There are now over 100 recognized
User Groups, many of which represent emerging communities within the
Wikimedia movement. The Board believes that the perspectives of User Groups
combined with those of Chapters and Thematic Organizations will lead to the
selection of the best trustee candidates.
The Board acknowledges that the ongoing Wikimedia movement strategy process
may result in changes to many aspects of the Wikimedia movement, including
the structure of movement affiliates. As a result, any changes we make now
to the Foundation Bylaws regarding the role of affiliates in the trustee
selection process may need to be modified again in the future, in turn
requiring additional amendments to the Bylaws. However, the Board did not
want to delay providing User Groups with a voice in the upcoming 2019
trustee selection process.
*2. Raise term limits for trustees from two to three consecutive terms*
Term limits for trustees were added to the Bylaws in 2015. At the time,
there was a desire on the Board to bring in new voices and specific
skill-sets needed for the growth and development of Wikimedia projects. The
changes made at that time have resulted in some notable successes in that
regard. The Board remains committed to seeking out new voices, and
providing the community with ample opportunities to promote such voices as
candidates for the Board.
As the Wikimedia movement and the Wikimedia Foundation think forward
further to the future, the Board will need to oversee the Foundation in
setting, following through on, and achieving longer-term goals. The Board
believes it will be better able to fulfill its role if it allows for the
potential of a longer time on the Board for individual trustees who bring
essential expertise and insight to the Board. The possibility of serving
one additional term on the Board also reduces the amount of time the Board
and Foundation staff spend on trustee recruitment and onboarding. Raising
the maximum number of consecutive terms a trustee may serve from two to
three terms achieves these goals, and is also consistent with the practice
of many other boards. Raising the maximum number of terms that can be
served consecutively does not change the fact that the community, including
affiliates, will continue to be able to determine every three years whether
or not to re-elect currently serving trustees or whether to elect new
candidates - just as is the case now.
*3. Reaffirm the Board’s commitment to diversity*
The Wikimedia movement is global, built on a vision of reaching every
single human being and working toward a strategic goal of knowledge equity
for all. The Board believes that it can best serve the Wikimedia Foundation
and the movement by reflecting a wide range of human experiences. We want
to underscore and codify this belief in the Bylaws by adding express
language affirming our commitment to diversity and inclusion of all voices,
throughout our communities - new, older and emerging.
Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board