TL;DR: Today the Wikimedia Foundation published a press release
about the “Wikimedia Enterprise” API project - announcing our first set
of customers, as well as a new self-signup system. This is a significant
milestone because it fulfills several promises we have made to ourselves
and to the movement. There will be a community open meeting on Thursday
23 June @ 1700 UTC as documented on our Meta page. The text of this
email is also published on the talkpage - please centralise any
I am writing today with details of the latest developments in the
“Wikimedia Enterprise” API project. This follows the project’s
community-discussion phase, which began approximately one year ago, focused
on Meta [and also this wikimedia-l thread]. Then, this past October, we
issued a press release announcing that we were “open for business” on the
project’s new site. This wikimedia-l email thread contains the details
of those previous phases.
Now is the third and final major announcement in this journey from
“idea” to “reality”. Today’s press release, and associated story on the
project’s new “news” page, states that:
Two well known organisations will be announced as the first
customers of the project. One is a major social/search corporation
[Google], as our first official paying customer. This also means that the
project is now covering its current operating costs. The other is a
movement partner and nonprofit organization [The Internet Archive] that
will receive access at no cost.
Anyone will be able to sign up for an account and use/access the
service [but not at a commercial scale] for free. Furthermore,
payments for usage above that threshold will be calculated simply and
publicly based on the number of API requests and gigabytes of data used.
(Other free access methods for the dataset continue to exist, as documented
on our Meta FAQ)
The API’s metadata has been expanded to include the beta version of
what we are calling “credibility signals”. This is already public
information (such as pageviews, edit-rates, and page-protection status
changes) packaged within the single data feed to help users make more
informed decisions about when they should refresh their copy of the
dataset. (Emphasis on ‘beta’, as this is not available on all versions of
the product yet.)
This announcement is a significant milestone because it fulfills
several promises we have made to ourselves and to the movement, namely
We have built something that commercial organisations who are
already heavy users of Wikimedia content and Wikimedia Foundation services
are willing to invest in. The pricing is based on estimated usage,
resulting in a more manageable and transparent cost structure. The project
is now covering its current operating expenses. In addition, we requested
and received a public affirmation/support letter from the Board for the
project’s financial operating principles, ensuring that commercial revenue
will only ever be a minority of the total and their oversight for any
future high value contracts.
The nonprofit partner will receive access at no cost, demonstrating
a first practical example of how this project supports the mission of
knowledge access while also providing a new revenue stream.
The ‘trial’ tier of the service is primarily designed to allow
potential customers to determine whether they want to use it in commercial
production environments, but it also allows anyone to see what is
‘in’ the API. Moreover, it will allow volunteers or researchers to access
the service for free at a non-commercial scale. If those people have a
mission-relevant use-case that requires them to continue to use the Enterprise
API above that scale (i.e. that isn’t viable using other
APIs/dumps), we will continue to provide them with free access.
The ‘credibility signals’ concept means that vandalism and errors
should appear less often and/or be removed more quickly in downstream
services such as search engines. [Note, how and when customers incorporate
features is their own decision].
While we are proud to announce these customers, it is important to note
that our market research has identified a significant gap in our
movement’s ability to have Wikimedia knowledge used. The world’s largest
companies are already using Wikimedia; we’re just providing a better
way for them to do so. But for everyone else, it is often too hard and
they do not have the resources (financial, technical, and human) to
incorporate Wikimedia information – even though they want to. In short:
simply providing legally-reusable knowledge is insufficient to enable
reuse for a very large portion of society.
And so, we are focusing a lot of our future product development on this Knowledge
as a Service model - consistent with the Movement Strategy’s “strategic
direction”. This is what OpenFuture.eu’s interview with the
Enterprise team referred to as our attempt at “lowering the playing
field” – a term we quite like.
We are increasingly realising that the future of Wikimedia Enterprise
is much more nuanced than merely “making big tech pay”, but is about
enabling access to the many companies who want to use Wikimedia
knowledge in their own products but currently can’t. These organisations
are willing to pay us to find ways to better support their specific use of
Wikimedia content, both through more accessible technology, contractual
guarantees of service availability, and professional services to help them
make the best use of our content in their systems. As per our enumerated
Principles, all customers get the same product - there are no exclusive
or bespoke features - they only pay for the volume of usage. This will
allow smaller companies to compete and will ensure that Wikimedia knowledge
is more widely available. Our goal is for the future business model of Enterprise
to resemble “many paying a little” rather than “few paying a lot” – an
approach similar to our movement’s “many small donors” fundraising
Still to come later this year will be:
Exploring options to integrate Wikidata in the dataset, which is a
common customer request. We are working closely with Wikimedia-Deutschland
to discuss how to best do this.
Small, and non-U.S. based customers. This is crucial to
demonstrating the Knowledge as a Service value of the project. We already
work with relevant Chapters when we have a potential ‘local’ customer who
has expressed strong interest.
Publishing aggregate revenue/expense data, but only after there’s
enough aggregate financial data collected, over a sufficient period of
time, and with enough customers to be informative.
The “news” page on the Enterprise website itself will be where
future software updates, customer case-studies, etc. will be published.
This ensures that the information is available, while not detracting from
community-focused places like the Diff blog. The first post on that
news page is available today.
In order to not distract from community-focused discussions, and of
course unless there’s something important for the community to know, in the
future we will announce new customers product updates etc. on the project
website’s news page and on Meta rather than on this mailing list etc. - but
we felt it was important to do it this time.
Finally, I would also like to ask you to keep your eyes and ears open
for anyone in your corner of the Wikimedia community who has questions or
concerns about the project. Please ask them to read and comment on our Meta
FAQ, to contact me directly, or to attend the public community open
meeting on Thursday, which is already announced on Meta on the
project’s page & the mainpage calendar.
Sincerely, and on behalf of the Wikimedia Enterprise team,
* Liam Wyatt [Wittylama]*
for *Enterprise,* *Newcomer Experience, & WikiCite*
On Mon, 11 Oct 2021 at 19:01, Liam Wyatt <lwyatt(a)wikimedia.org> wrote:
Dear all, A lot has happened since March when we
Wikimedia Enterprise API
and began community conversations about the project’s development. Now is
an important milestone to give everyone:
1) an update responding to community advice we’ve received; and
2) to describe what is happening next.
The idea of an API for the specific needs of the commercial sector had
been discussed for more than a decade
(both for the purposes of improving user experience, and also to diversify
revenue). The announcement in March introducing the Wikimedia Enterprise
API generated a lot of Wikimedia-community and mainstream-media attention -
most notably in WIRED
Since then, the team has been hard at work building the actual product and
hosting many conversations (regular public meetings and participation in
events including SWAN, Wikimania, EMWCon, Clinic) - as well as a
considerable volume of discussions on our meta talkpage
All of this has generated lots of suggestions, which we have endeavoured to
incorporate and respond to before the actual commercial launch. On
behalf of the whole team, I thank the many many people who have been
willing and able to share constructive feedback with us over these months.
Links to recordings from those meetings/presentations can be found on
our meta homepage:
1. To that end, here are some updates in response to community advice:
WMF Board statement.
Subsequent to the most recent WMF Board of Trustees meeting, a
statement reaffirming their support of the project, and in particular
its operating principles relating to its future revenue, has been
published. You can find the board Statement here
and the Enterprise operating principles on Meta here
Consistent community feedback was that our published principles were good
and sensible, but for such a new and unusual thing in our movement, an
overt statement from the Board of Trustees was requested. This statement
- Revenues of the WMF obtained from commercial activities shall not
surpass 30% of the total planned revenue via all sources (including
donations) in that fiscal year, and no further revenue would be sought
beyond that limit;
- The Board of Trustees will be notified in advance of any large
commercial agreements, giving them time for review - exactly mirroring the
procedure for large gifts;
- Revenue obtained from Wikimedia Enterprise services is under the
oversight and control of procedures for revenue raised by the Wikimedia
Foundation and the revenue will not be earmarked for a specific program.
Each of these things were already noted on-wiki, but they were very
much worthwhile re-stating formally. Equally it bears repeating: the
existing APIs and methods of accessing Wikimedia sites remain. The creation
of this optional commercial service, designed for those with specific high
data-volume demands, does not change the experience (legally or
technically) for anyone else.
Relatedy, and also in response to community suggestions, the formal
contracts which define the legal relationship of the non-profit Wikimedia
Foundation to this commercial activity, have now been published on the
governance wiki and linked from the related section on the project’s
Free technical access for the community.
You will soon be able to access a copy of the Enterprise dataset,
refreshed each fortnight, at the Wikimedia dumps portal
<http://dumps.wikimedia.org/>. Furthermore a ‘daily dump + hourly
diff’ version is also already available, via Wikimedia Cloud Services
to any users of Toolforge, Cloud VPS, or PAWS. Both of these are
provided to anyone, for free (in both ‘gratis’ and ‘libre’ senses of the
word). Importantly, and consistent with community feedback, neither of
these access methods require any special request process to access them,
other than the existing terms of service on those platforms.
Software development updates are published monthly on our page on
(as is the API documentation
and the work is coordinated on our Phabricator board
Next public meeting.
As mentioned, the team has been holding regular public calls. If you
would like to meet with, and ask any questions of, the Enterprise team
(a.k.a. “Office hours”):
Friday October 22 @ 1500 UTC on Zoom
<https://wikimedia.zoom.us/j/88994018553>. If you would like to
arrange a conversation about this project with a group in the community
that you are part of (at a time, language, and meeting-software platform of
your choice), please contact me directly.
2. What is happening next:
The launch of the project’s standalone website, denoting the service as
“open for business”, will take place early next week.
In parallel we will also be announcing the first customers - both from
the commercial and non-profit sectors. We expect this will generate some
attention in the media. Despite our best efforts to be visible across the
wikiverse, reading about the Wikimedia Enterprise API in the media
will probably be the first time that some Wikimedians hear about it - which
might be surprising for them. So, next week, if you see any Wikimedians
asking about this project on community forums, please notify me by email,
on-wiki [as user:LWyatt (WMF) ], and/or direct them to the project FAQ
(currently available in 7 languages).
Once again, thank you to all who have been involved in the development
of, or given feedback to, *Enterprise*. It’s been a long road getting
from there to here...
* Liam Wyatt [Wittylama]*
Program Manager for *Enterprise, WikiCite,* and *Newcomer Experience*
On Tue, 16 Mar 2021 at 17:02, Liam Wyatt <lwyatt-ctr(a)wikimedia.org>
> Dear all,
> Over the last few months, a small team at the Wikimedia Foundation has
> been working on a project that has been discussed by many people in our
> movement for many years: building ‘enterprise grade’ services for the
> high-volume commercial reusers of Wikimedia content. I am pleased to say
> that in a remarkably short amount of time (considering the complexity of
> the issues: technical, strategic, legal, and financial) we now have
> something worthy of showing to the community, and we are asking for your
> feedback. Allow me to introduce you to the Wikimedia Enterprise API project
> – formerly codenamed “okapi”.
> While the general idea for Wikimedia Enterprise predates the current
> movement strategy process, its recommendations identify an enterprise API
> as one possible solution to both “Increase the sustainability of our
> movement” and “Improve User Experience.” That is, to
> simultaneously create a new revenue stream to protect Wikimedia’s
> sustainability, and improve the quality and quantity of Wikimedia content
> available to our many readers who do not visit our websites directly
> (including more consistent attribution). Moreover, it does so in a way that
> is true to our movement’s culture: with open source software, financial
> transparency, non-exclusive contracts or content, no restrictions on
> existing services, and free access for Wikimedia volunteers who need it.
> The team believes we are on target to achieve those goals and so we
> have written a lot of documentation to get your feedback about our progress
> and where it could be further improved before the actual product is
> ‘launched’ in the next few months. We have been helped in this process over
> the last several months by approximately 100 individual volunteers (from
> many corners of the wikiverse) and representatives of affiliate
> organisations who have reviewed our plans and provided invaluable
> direction, pointing out weaknesses and opportunities, or areas lacking
> clarity and documentation in our drafts. Thank you to everyone who has
> shared your time and expertise to help prepare this new initiative.
> A essay describing the “why?” and the “how?” of this project is now on
> Also now published on Meta are an extensive FAQ, operating principles,
> and technical documentation on MediaWiki.org
. You can read these at  
> and  respectively. Much of this documentation is already available
> in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
> The Wikimedia Enterprise team is particularly interested in your
> feedback on how we have designed the checks and balances to this project -
> to ensure it is as successful as possible at achieving those two goals
> described above while staying true to the movement’s values and culture.
> For example: Is everything covered appropriately in the “Principles” list?
> Is the technical documentation on MediaWiki.org
clear? Are the explanations
> in the “FAQ” about free-access for community, or project’s legal structure,
> or the financial transparency (etc.) sufficiently detailed?
> Meet the team and Ask Us Anything:
> The central place to provide written feedback about the project in
> general is on the talkpage of the documentation on Meta at:
> On this Friday (March 19) we will be hosting two “Office hours”
> conversations where anyone can come and give feedback or ask questions:
> 13:00 UTC via Zoom at https://wikimedia.zoom.us/j/95580273732
> 22:00 UTC via Zoom at https://wikimedia.zoom.us/j/92565175760
> (note: this is Saturday in Asia/Oceania)
> Other “office hours” meetings can be arranged on-request on a
> technical platform of your choosing; and we will organise more calls in the
> We will also be attending the next SWAN meetings (on March 21)
> and also the next of the Wikimedia Clinics
> Moreover, we would be very happy to accept any invitation to attend an
> existing group call that would like to discuss this topic (e.g. an
> affiliate’s members’ meeting).
> On behalf of the Wikimedia Enterprise team,
> Peace, Love & Metadata
> -- Liam Wyatt [Wittylama], Wikimedia Enterprise project community
>  https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Enterprise/FAQ
>  https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Enterprise/Principles
>  https://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Enterprise
> *Liam Wyatt [Wittylama]*
> WikiCite <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiCite> Program Manager &
> Enterprise <https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Okapi> Community Liaison
> Wikimedia Foundation