[Foundation-l] (Resend) Report the the Board, December 2008

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Wed Mar 11 20:20:44 UTC 2009

[Resending for archival purposes on Sue's behalf; also fixed typo:
94m->94K --Erik]

Report to the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Covering:               December 2008
Prepared by:            Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation
Prepared for:   Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees


1. The 2008-09 annual fundraising campaign
2. India Wikimedia awareness trip
3. Planning for Davos and the January board meeting
4. Stanton Usability project
5. Bits and pieces: normal fundraising activities, grant proposal
development, etc.



On December 9-15, Jimmy Wales and Sue Gardner visited India.   The
purpose of the trip was to create excitement and interest about
Wikipedia inside India among editors and potential editors, media, and
potential donors.  The Wikimedia Foundation websites are the fourth
most popular web property world-wide, and sixth most-popular in India.
 We were there to accept a gift from the Kerala government of a
Malayalam encyclopedia, which Kerala was releasing under a free
license, as well as to carry out a variety of outreach and media
activities. Jimmy spoke at the Free Software Free Society conference
in Trivandrum; a Wikipedia Academy was staged in Chennai; we met with
representatives of the Knowledge Foundation and with the Centre for
Internet and Society. Jimmy spoke at the Bangalore International
Centre; we received a briefing on the work of the Akshara Foundation,
Pratham Books, Argyham and e-Gov.  We spoke at a private dinner, and
participated in several press conferences. The trip is fully
documented in the Report to the Board: India, which was published to
the board and also on foundation-l. 


At 8:14 PM PST on Wednesday, December 31, the annual giving campaign
hit its USD 6M goal.  It was the most successful and ambitious
fundraiser in Wikimedia's history, with donations more than double the
previous year.  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.

In total, in the month of December, the Wikimedia Foundation received
79,611 donations smaller than USD 10,000, totaling USD 2.8m. We also
received major gifts totaling USD 94K.

Also in December, the Wikimedia Foundation announced a major grant of
USD 890,000 from the U.S.-based Stanton Foundation, for the purpose of
making Wikipedia's writing and editing interface easier to use for
first-time authors.  The grant will be used to fund a project team at
the Wikimedia Foundation's offices in San Francisco.  This is our
second grant from the Stanton Foundation, which earlier gave us USD
262,000 for hardware purchases.   The Wikimedia Foundation announced
the hiring of Naoko Komura to manage the Stanton usability project:
she will begin work on the project January 2.   Because the Wikimedia
Foundation's office is currently at capacity, office manager Daniel
Phelps began a search for a satellite office to house the new
usability team.

The fundraising team continued to develop grant proposals for various
funders.  Sue, Mike and the fundraising team investigated options for
offering tax deductibility for donations originating outside the
United States, including the commissioning of research from an
external firm.


On December 17, Erik Moeller and Mike Godwin posted a first set of
questions and answers related to license migration, here
 The purpose of the FAQ is to describe the Wikimedia Foundation's
position on the license migration issue.  It answers questions such
as: what is this issue about, why would the Wikimedia projects migrate
from the GFDL to CC-BY-SA, what is the history of the issue, and what
are the next steps in the decision-making process.  The Wikimedia
Foundation expects to release a proposal for migration by mid-January,
which the Wikimedia community will later be asked to vote upon.


Frank Schulenburg, Head of Public Outreach, completed his move to the
United States from Germany, and was warmly welcomed by the staff.
Everybody was thrilled to finally have Frank with us in San Francisco.

On December 17, the Wikimedia Foundation staged an all-day meeting
with Patricio Lorente and Carlos Alberto Barcenilla of the Argentina
chapter, and with Phoebe Ayers, a longtime Wikimania organizer near
San Francisco.  The goal of the meeting was to determine roles and
responsibilities for Wikimania 2009 with regards to financial
planning, sponsorships and travel scholarships.  Wikimania 2009 -to be
held August 25-28 in Buenos Aires- will be the first Wikimania in
several years not to have been project-managed by a member of the
staff of the Wikimedia Foundation, hence the desire to clarify
responsibilities.  If Wikimania 2009 planning runs smoothly, we plan
to replicate the 2009 roles-and-responsibilities, with iterations as
desired, for future Wikimanias.

Sue began pre-interviewing candidates for the newly-created position
of Chief Program Officer, as laid out in the 2008-09 annual plan.  The
role of the CPO is to provide leadership to the Wikimedia Foundation's
program staff (currently, Jay, Frank and Cary), and to support and
facilitate the work of the international Wikimedia volunteer
community.    It's an unusual job in a unique organization, which
means the successful candidate could come from a number of different
backgrounds, such as education, the non-profit/NGO world, technology,
digital media, product development, the free culture movement, etc.
In order to allow time for a rich and diverse pool of candidates to
develop, the job was posted on the Wikimedia Foundation website in
September, and also distributed via various lists and networks such as
LinkedIn. Interviews will take place in January and February.


On December 3, the Wikimedia Foundation announced the Stanton grant
(as detailed above). Please see
and http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/StantonGrantQA.

On December 7 and 9, the Wikimedia Foundation issued press releases
related to the blacklisting of one of its articles by a UK-based
internet watchdog group. On December 7, the Wikimedia Foundation
announced that as of December 6, 2008, most Internet users in the
United Kingdom were being denied full access to Wikipedia. Due to
censorship by the UK self-regulatory agency the Internet Watch
Foundation (IWF), most UK residents were rendered unable to edit
Wikipedia, and were denied access to an article in it describing a
32-year-old album by German rock group the Scorpions. Wikipedia
visitors in the UK also reported performance issues accessing the
site.  The Wikimedia Foundation urged the IWF to remove Wikipedia from
its blacklist.  Two days later, following considerable media coverage,
the Wikimedia Foundation issued a press release applauding the IWF's
removal of Wikipedia from its blacklist.

On December 15, the Wikimedia Foundation announced the appointment to
its Advisory Board of Neeru Khosla, co-founder and chair of CK-12, a
non-profit based in Palo Alto, California which is pioneering in the
area of open source textbooks.

During December, the Wikimedia Foundation and its representatives
participated in interviews with the Canadian daily newspaper the Globe
and Mail; the Wall Street Journal; the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation; KGO Radio (San Francisco); KGO ABC TV (San Francisco);
the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper; Computer Weekly magazine;
Laptop magazine; Time Out Bangalore; the New York Times; Wired News;
the Associated Press; the BBC World Service; German news site Heise
Online; CNET (San Francisco); the Financial Times newspaper;
ABCNews.com; Wired News; local New York newspaper The Alcove; NBC
Universal, and NBC Channel 1.

During December, Jay travelled to New York to staff some heavy media
days with Jimmy, and began exploratory talks with several branding


In December, KPMG completed the first draft of the 990 tax return.
The final version is expected to be be filed in April.

WMF continues to explore strategic partnerships (primarily in the
mobile space) which are mission-friendly and have more revenue
potential than other business development activities such as the
live-feed agreements.


Significant work went into improved real-time reporting tools for
donations, such as
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:ContributionStatistics and
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:FundraiserStatistics . The
technical team also began setting up publicly downloadable dumps of
anonymized fundraising contribution data, so that interested
volunteers can study patterns and trends in the data.

Mark & Rob worked to get set up in a new data center in the
Netherlands, largely replacing the sponsored hosting services provided
for three years by Kennisnet.  The Wikimedia Foundation is grateful to
Kennisnet for the significant support they have given us.

Bug #44, opened in August 2004, was finally fixed: the image
namespace, which can also contain sounds, video, uploaded documents
and other files, was renamed to File:, with redirects ensuring that
the old name continues to work.

The Configure extension was enabled for testing on
test.wikipedia.org. When deployed, it will make it easier for users
with limited technical access to perform tasks that can currently only
be performed by sysadmins, reducing the workload of the core
operations team.

Work has begun on an extension for managing and tracking data center
assets, http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Extension:DataCenter , which is
intended to replace the currently used RackTables software.

A brief report on the state of FlaggedRevs deployment, based in part
on a report by Philipp Birken about the German Wikipedia, was
published at: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FlaggedRevs_Report_December_2008

Erik Zachte made significant improvements to the wikistats code to
improve its performance, and it is now running on its own dedicated
machine. Many updated statistics have been posted. (See:
http://infodisiac.com/blog/2008/12/wikistats-is-back/ ). When dumps
are available, statistics can now be generated regularly.


Board Meeting January 9 – 11, 2009
Sue attending World Economic Forum in Davos (Jan. 24 – Feb. 2)

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