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Mon Jan 19 21:31:31 UTC 2009

the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  The main goals of the
trip were to present a proposal to a potential funder, increase
awareness of Wikipedia as a charity among WEF attendees, and actively
move forward relationships with a few key major donor prospects.  Sue
was also able to meet briefly in Zurich with Board members of the
Swiss chapter.  It was a successful trip, with all major goals met,
and is fully documented in a report to the Board of Trustees,
distributed to foundation-l on February 3.  For further details,
please see that report.


On January 21, Erik Moeller and Mike Godwin published a proposal for
Wikimedia projects to migrate from the GFDL to CC-BY-SA, in order to
achieve greater legal compatibility with existing free educational
content, and to simplify and clarify the obligations of re-users.  The
proposal invites all Wikimedia project contributors who have made at
least 10 edits prior to January 12, 2009, to participate in the
decision of whether to migrate.  The vote will be made through an
implementation of the Board election software, and will be securely
administered by a third party.  The proposal is here The vote is planned
to be held before April.


Earlier in 2008, Michael Snow had asked Sue to begin designing a
heavily community-consultative process for development of a
three-to-five-year strategic plan for Wikimedia.  The goals of the
strategy development process: 1) To develop a better shared
understanding inside Wikimedia regarding where we're collectively
headed, and 2) To enable us to communicate our goals more clearly to
external stakeholders, partners and the general public, so they can
join us in helping reach them.  This would be a highly unusual,
volunteer-centric process, which would pose unique challenges, and
create unique opportunities to innovate.   At the Board meeting in
January, Sue presented an early-stage draft proposal.  The Board
endorsed the work done thus far, and asked Sue to continue evolving
the plan, including beginning to work through timing and resourcing.


During January, the Wikimedia Foundation wrapped up its annual giving
campaign for 2008-09: the most successful and ambitious fundraiser in
Wikimedia's history, with donations more than double the previous

Between the launch of the campaign on November 4, 2008 and its
conclusion on January 9, 2009, a total of 139,124 people contributed
USD 4,967,759.77.   This is particularly notable because of the
current very difficult global economic climate, and is testimony to
the dedication and passion of Wikimedia's many supporters.  The
Wikimedia Foundation is enormously grateful to everyone who
contributed to the success of the fundraiser.

Seven of the international Wikimedia chapters participated in the
campaign, committing to apply 50% of monies received towards
priorities agreed-upon by both organizations.  Wikimedia =C3=96sterreich
(Austria) will contribute USD 6,271; Wikimedia Deutschland (Germany)
will contribute USD 189,486; Wikim=C3=A9dia France will contribute USD
40,252; Wikimedia Hungary will contribute USD 184; Wikimedia Israel
will contribute USD 947; Wikimedia Nederland will contribute USD
10,879.  Wikimedia CH (Switzerland) has already contributed USD
29,173, and Wikimedia Italia, which did not participate in the
fundraiser, has contributed USD 4,550.  (Please note that with the
exception of the figures attributed to Wikimedia CH and Wikimedia
Italia, the amounts listed here are inexact, due to fluctuating
exchange rates and other variables.)

In the month of January, the Wikimedia Foundation received 15,033
donations smaller than USD 10,000, totalling approximately USD
546,434.55. We also received major gifts totalling USD 50,000.

In January, the Mozilla Foundation awarded a grant of USD 100,000 to
the Wikimedia Foundation to help coordinate improvements to the
development of Ogg Theora and related open video technologies.
Mozilla and Wikimedia share a strong commitment to open standards.
Version 3.1 of the Mozilla Firefox web browser will include built-in
support to play audio and video in the open source Ogg Vorbis and Ogg
Theora formats, in which all Wikipedia audio and video is stored.  The
USD 100,000 grant will be used to support the work of long-time
contributors to the Ogg Theora/Vorbis codebase and related tools, such
as libraries for network seeking. The improvements will be made over
the next six months.

In January, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a weekly =E2=80=9CRestricted
Gifts=E2=80=9D meeting bringing together the staff members who work on
mission-related projects that need funding, with the staff members
whose jobs are to secure funding.  The meeting's purpose is to create
an avenue for frequent communication, in order to enable the
revenue-generating staff to speak authoritatively with external
parties about Wikimedia's goals and priorities, and also to provide
feedback to their colleagues from potential funders.


In January, Sue continued pre-interviewing candidates for the position
of Chief Program Officer.  She also invited Board member Kat Walsh and
Board Chair Michael Snow to participate in the hiring interviews,
scheduled for February.

In January, Frank Schulenburg began developing the concept of a
Wikimedia =E2=80=9Cbookshelf=E2=80=9D: a repository of reference materials =
designed to
1) create awareness of the Wikimedia projects and provide basic
information about them, 2) invite people to contribute to the
projects, including information designed to overcome common objections
to participation, and 3) provide information about how to edit the
Wikimedia projects, including tip sheets, how-to's, an annotated
=E2=80=9Canatomy of an article,=E2=80=9D policy summaries, etc.  Some of th=
e material
will be aimed at particular audiences such as schools.  Working with
Jay and others, including a variety of external contractors, Frank
will design and develop the =E2=80=9Cbookshelf=E2=80=9D in English over the=
year.  When complete, it is intended to serve as core instructional
materials, to be translated, adapted and used for multiple purposes by
Wikimedia chapters, individual volunteers, and partner organizations
such as schools.

Frank also created a set of help pages for the PediaPress book
extension, marking the first time the Wikimedia Foundation has
provided educational support for the release of a new MediaWiki
software feature. He began developing a Wikipedia Academy brochure. He
prepared a set of priority questions to be answered from the
(UNU-Merit) Wikimedia General Survey of Contributors and Readers,
began exploring the German  "Mentorenproject" and began gathering
information about best practices in the German =E2=80=9CWiwiwiki=E2=80=9D p=

Also in January, John Broughton=E2=80=99s book =E2=80=9CWikipedia: The Miss=
ing Manual=E2=80=9D
was released for free on the English language Wikipedia, enabling
Wikipedia users around the world to read and edit it. John first
contributed to Wikipedia in August 2005: he is author of the Editor=E2=80=
index to Wikipedia, a comprehensive list of reference pages and links
to useful information and tools for Wikipedia editors.  =E2=80=9CWikipedia:
The Missing Manual=E2=80=9D teaches new users how to contribute to Wikipedi=
and gives practical advice on how to collaborate with others to
improve the free encyclopedia=E2=80=99s content. The book was published by
O=E2=80=99Reilly in January 2008 and can now be found on Wikipedia=E2=80=99=
s help
pages.  The Wikimedia Foundation is grateful to John and to O'Reilly
for this great gift to Wikipedia users.


On January 2, Naoko Komura began work for the Wikimedia Foundation
managing the Stanton usability project. The goal of the project is to
measurably increase the usability of Wikipedia for new contributors by
improving the underlying software on the basis of user behavioral
studies, thereby reducing barriers to participation.  Naoko had worked
for Wikimedia for the prior three months as a contractor shepherding
two important projects: the Wikimedia General Survey of Readers and
Contributors, which was successfully launched and received tens of
thousands of responses in late 2008, and the Wikimania 2008
postmortem.  Prior to joining Wikimedia, Naoko has worked as a Senior
Program Manager and Project Manager for Yahoo! Mail, Postini, and
Cygnus Solutions.  She has an MA in International Development Policy
from Stanford University and an MS in Economics from Kobe University
in Japan.  Naoko is a native speaker of Japanese.

On January 21, Naoko announced that, following a rigorous search
process, the new usability team will be housed at the offices of
Wikia, Inc.  Wikimedia will pay market rent to sublease two Wikia
conference rooms, two blocks from the Wikimedia Foundation. The
deciding factors were proximity to the Wikimedia office, and readiness
of the space for immediate use. This will have the added benefit of
bringing Wikimedia's usability team into contact with Wikia
developers, who have been doing intensive work on Mediawiki usability.
 Wikia, Inc. was co-founded by Wikimedia Foundation board member Jimmy
Wales: Jimmy was not involved in the decision to sublease from Wikia.

Naoko also posted three usability team job openings on the Wikimedia
Foundation website: an interaction designer, a senior software
developer, and a software developer. All will be located in San
Francisco, and are contract positions from February 15, 2009 to April
16, 2010.

In January, Brion Vibber posted a job advertisement on the Wikimedia
Foundation website, seeking a full-time system administrator to help
monitor, maintain, and document the 400+ Linux/Unix servers that
operate Wikipedia and its sister projects. This position will be based
at our San Francisco headquarters, but will work closely with our
remote staff and volunteers.  A full-time system administrator will
let us be more responsive to site issues when they happen, and more
importantly be more proactive about planning for and averting problems
before they affect the folks back home.

=EF=BB=BFThe AbuseFilter extension ( ) by Andrew Garrett, a
Wikimedia contractor, was enabled for testing on
It allows privileged users to set specific controls on user activity
and create automated reactions for certain behaviours.  It can
potentially be used to handle many tasks that are currently performed
by bots, and to improve detection of problematic activity.  A study
last year indicated that a particular filter, if applied in August
2007, would have blocked 60% of all page-move vandalism on English
Wikipedia over the subsequent year, with just five false positives

The Drafts extension by Trevor Parscal ( ) was enabled for
testing on It automatically saves draft copies of
pages the user is working on to the server in regular intervals, to
allow edit recovery in case of browser or system crashes.

In October, the technical team rolled out the =E2=80=9Cwiki to print=E2=80=
=9D feature
enabling users to generate PDF files, OpenDocument word processor
files, and on-demand printed books in one of our smaller sister
projects, Wikibooks.  In January, wiki-to-print was enabled on the
German Wikipedia.  Readers can now compile a wiki-book from any number
of Wikipedia articles, download a PDF or OpenDocument version, or
order a printed version from our technology partner, PediaPress.


On January 2, the Wikimedia Foundation issued a press release
announcing the successful conclusion of its annual giving campaign.

On January 13, the Wikimedia Foundation issued a press release
announcing the appointment of Roger McNamee to the Foundation's
Advisory Board. Roger McNamee is Managing Director and Co-Founder of
Elevation Partners, which invests in media and consumer technology
companies. He is a long-term San Francisco Bay Area resident, a
professional musician, and a prominent Wikipedia supporter.

During the month of January, the Wikimedia Foundation and its
representatives had contact with the following media outlets: the
Reuters TV program =E2=80=9CDavos Today;=E2=80=9D BBC Radio; the German-lan=
guage Swiss
daily paper Neue Z=C3=BCrcher Zeitung; the New York Times; the LA Times;
Italian news magazine Panorama; SWR Radio in Baden Baden, Germany; CBC
Radio in Toronto, Canada; Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia; Dutch
portal; Green 960 AM Radio in San Francisco,
California; technology news site TG Daily; New Delhi magazine SPAN;
news/blog site The Huffington Post; the weekly IT publication Network
World; the Las Vegas Sun; KFOG, an FM rock radio station in San
Francisco, California; the Dutch daily newspaper Nederlands Dagblad;
the Associated Press, and the Canadian daily newspaper the Globe and


In January, the Wikimedia Foundation enriched its employee health
insurance coverage by providing more comprehensive health and dental
coverage and adding vision coverage, while lowering the cost of the
plan.  The Wikimedia Foundation also expanded its business insurance,
while lowering costs.  And, we negotiated a reduction in Paypal fees,
including for amounts received during the online fundraiser.


* Mid-year financial statements will be released
* Chief Program Officer hiring interviews will take place

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