[Wikimedia Announcements] November 2010 Wikimedia Foundation Report

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Thu Jan 13 05:02:33 UTC 2011

This version is for email consumption, formatted version is at:

All best,


* 2010 Wikimedia fundraising campaign launches on November 12
* New upload wizard for Wikimedia Commons launches in beta
* Preparations begin for 10th anniversary celebrations with launch of
* Public Policy Initiative launches leaderboard showing results

==Data and Trends==

:The monthly report card for November 2010 (partial data) can be found at:

:Global unique visitors:
:411 million (+0.6% compared to previous month / +18.8% compared to
previous year)
: (comScore data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects)

:Page requests:
:14.9 billion  (+2.8% compared to previous month / +24.5% compared to
previous year)
: (Wikimedia Foundation data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects
including Wikipedia mobile)

Full community metrics for the month of November are not available as
of this writing due to an extended outage of the database dump
production server that provides the underlying source data.


:Operating revenue for November: $6.5MM vs plan of $3.9MM.
:Operating revenue year-to-date November: $10.1MM vs plan of $5.3MM.

Revenue YTD is on or over target in all areas.

:Operating expenses for November:  $1.4MM vs plan of $1.7MM
:Operating expenses year-to-date November: $5.9MM vs  plan of $8.2MM

Underspending MTD is due to: timing of capital expenditures and
internet hosting ($300K- capex and internet hosting-amounts were
budgeted evenly over 12 months rather than reflecting the timing of
the data center build-out and consequent increased hosting costs) and
underspending in staff-related costs ($160K-salaries, taxes and
benefits due primarily to hiring delays as well as staff development
partially offset by recruiting and immigration expenses).
Overspending for the month was primarily in bank fees ($86K), legal
fees ($32K) and travel and conference expenses ($34K).

Underspending YTD is also due to above items of timing of capex and
internet hosting ($1.4MM - these funds will be spent), staff-related
costs ($0.9MM) as well as outside contract services ($0.1MM) and
volunteer development ($0.1MM).  Overspending YTD is primarily in bank
fees ($0.1MM), travel and conference expenses ($0.1MM) as well as in
grants and awards ($0.1MM). Overages in grants and awards were due to
the the Wikimania scholarships, grant to Wikimania Poland and
sponsorship of WikiSym Poland-scholarships being budgeted over 12
months instead of 1 month.  However, by year-end, grants and awards
are expected to be near budget.

Cash and investments as of November 2010 totaled $16.5MM (as of Nov
30, approximately 10 months of expenses)

==Preparations for Wikipedia's 10th anniversary==

We launched ten.wikipedia.org, a dedicated wiki to support community
celebrations of Wikipedia's 10th anniversary on January 15, 2011. We
finalized designs for related merchandise and overall event branding,
and made them available to the community for customization and


We finalized our media outreach plan related to the 10th anniversary
and began contacting long-lead monthly magazines.

Wikimedia Fellow Steven Walling will provide support throughout the
preparations and celebrations, by reaching out to communities, helping
organize the event pages, supporting the distribution of event kits,

== 2010 fundraising campaign launches ==

On November 12, the Wikimedia Foundation "soft-launched" the 2010
fundraising campaign, with an official launch on November 15. It is
the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Wikimedia's history, with a
campaign goal of $16 million.


As always, the fundraiser represents a large, collaborative
undertaking both within the organization (community department staff,
engineering, communications, global development, finance, legal),
between the Wikimedia Foundation and the international Wikimedia
chapter organizations, and with the larger global Wikimedia community.
The 2010 fundraising team had sought deep community and chapter
engagement from the start, and through November, we saw unprecedented
participation from the entire Wikimedia movement in running a
successful campaign.

The following Wikimedia chapters worked directly with the Wikimedia
Foundation and processed funds in their respective countries:
Wikimedia Australia, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy,
Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. This was possible
in part because Wikimedia Foundation had spent time in prior months to
work with chapters in clearing any legal hurdles to directing donors
to them, and putting in place chapter fundraising agreements. The
funds donated to chapters will support program work within their
geographies, but chapters also support the wikimedia Foundation

The engineering team for the fundraiser enabled a successful launch
without any major hiccups. Many improvements had been made leading up
to the launch, and new technology continued to be developed, tested
and deployed through November, with special focus on testing
mechanisms to increase the efficiency of the donation process and
reduce drop-off (for example, by testing a donation form that only
requires a single step to complete a donation, instead of two steps).
The new CentralNotice (banner management) system makes it possible to
manage our now very complex campaign, with geo-targeted banners and an
intense testing schedule.

We got off to a very strong start by using the time-tested "Personal
Appeal" from Jimmy Wales. Traditionally, this has been used later in
the campaign, but was started earlier because of its strong pull and
the ambitious fundraising goal. As expected, donations decayed over
time as highly receptive givers made their donations. The fundraising
team has tested many different approaches to appeals, regularly
increasing donation rates over what was currently running, but not
turning the tide of declining donations overall. We ended November
with a cliffhanger, with some fear that we would not be able to make
our fundraising goal by December 31 and that fundraising banners would
have to be run all the way through the 10th Anniversary on January 15.

The fundraising team worked hard in November to develop messages
written by, and in collaboration with, Wikipedia editors that might be
more effective than the appeal from Jimmy Wales.


Monthly report on engineering activities in November 2010 can be found
at http://techblog.wikimedia.org/2010/12/december-2010-wmf-engineering-update



* '''Data Centers''':  After extended discussions, an anticipated
large-scale donation of equipment for the new data center in Virginia
did not come through, and we began implementation in Virginia
consistent with the original budget. We expect to sign a lease with a
co-location facility in December, and hopefully to begin building in
January.  In Tampa we will be consolidating our servers on to one
* '''Data Dumps''': There was a serious failure of the server that
hosts all data dumps made available through download.wikimedia.org,
causing an outage in both access to existing dumps and in routine
creation of new dumps.  This is a high-priority issue for us, but may
take some time to fix. It affects our ability to generate various
statistics, such as editing activity.


* '''Media Upload Wizard''': A major improvement in the upload
experience, this feature was deployed in Beta as per the terms of the
Ford Foundation grant that funded it. Details:

* '''Pending Changes (Flagged Revisions)''': Phase 2 of this quality
control feature was deployed in November, with improvements to diff
page viewing speed and small user interface improvements.  We are
awaiting feedback from the English Wikipedia community on the future
of this feature. More information:

===General Engineering===

* '''Improved Analytics''': Open Web Analytics modifications to
support integration for Fundraising were completed and will be
deployed once new operations infrastructure is in place.

* '''Code Review''':  In September we had 1400 open issues that had
been open for some time, creating unhappiness in the volunteer
developer community.  We created a staff and volunteer tiger team to
attack the problem.  As of November, 800 requests were remaining.

== Research and Strategy ==

The product strategy team (Howie Fung and Erik Moeller) began drafting
a whitepaper analyzing both the Wikimedia projects in their
environmental context, and current numerical trends with regard to
community health and community development.  The whitepaper further
offers hypotheses as to how different product development priorities
(e.g. focus on rich-text editing, focus on discussion systems, focus
on interaction between new and experienced editors) are likely to help
the Wikimedia movement achieve the strategic priorities identified
through the strategic planning process and most sharply articulated
through the five-year targets established by the Board of Trustees (
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Five-year_targets ).
The paper will be complemented with results from the Editor Trends
Study currently conducted by Diederik van Liere on contract with the
Wikimedia Foundation (
http://strategy.wikimedia.org/wiki/Editor_Trends_Study ).

The working draft of the whitepaper can be found at:

Erik Moeller researched issues around upload of restricted filetypes,
and management of large inflows of multimedia contributions (such as
smartphone uploads). Related initial proposals can be found here:


With the exception of the public policy initiative, the community
department was mainly preoccupied with coordinating 2010 fundraiser
and with supporting the preparation of the 10th anniversary (see
above). The two Russian Wikimedia fellows continued their development
of a history of the Russian Wikipedia.

===Public Policy Initiative===

November started with Frank Schulenburg and Rod Dunican attending the
Open Educational Resources 2011 conference and presenting the Public
Policy Initiative at the Mozilla Drumbeat conference in Barcelona for
learning innovation. While students in classes worked on articles,
Frank created a new tool, the "PPI Leaderboard", to track student
contributions and provide a level of competition between classes. The
leaderboard tracks not just edit counts but also overall quantity of
material added to articles. (Qualitative measures are coming.)

: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_United_States_Public_Policy/Leaderboard

In  November, the PPI team met with Liz Allison of the Stanton
Foundation for the mid-point stagegate meeting. She was very happy
with where the project is to date and at the end of the meeting said,
"This is exactly what we expected from the initiative. This is what we
wanted. Keep going."

==Global Development==

===Grants and related funding===
We contracted with Liam Wyatt to support preparatory work surrounding
the GLAM-WIKI conference in the UK. WMF  also approved and paid grants
to the Argentina chapter. For more information on grant status and
reports, please always consult:


We made further progress on the development of our offline strategy:
namely, to approach those without Internet access primarily through
offline computer-based programs via education channels. In the
developing world, the total number of primary and secondary students
and teachers with access to computers is approximately 550M. See below
for details:



Our team continued work on researching and developing strategies for
mobile with a focus on the needs and opportunities in the Global

We worked with Orange and Telefonica to continue and enhance our
mobile partnerships.

===International visitor===
Siska Doviana from Wikimedia Indonesia visited for the last part of
the month.  She worked on a variety of projects, including documenting
the history of Indonesian chapter, creating a skeleton of an
international visitor program, and providing suggestions for a
potential global campus program.

===India planning===
Barry Newstead, supported by Bishakha Datta and Achal Prabhala,
continued work on the recruiting for India National Program Director.
WMF worked with legal counsel on options regarding the potential setup
of our office in India

===Brazil planning===
Carolina Rossini continues to work with the Wikimedia community in
Brazil to understand the opportunities for growth of the community and
readership; her first interim report has been submitted and is, or
will soon be, available on the Brazil Catalyst Project page (which is
written in both English and Portuguese) on Meta:


Kul Wadhwa and Jessie Wild made arrangements for a visit to Brazil in January.

===Recruiting in Global Development===
Winifred Olliff was recruited as Program Assistant to support the
Chief Global Development Office and the team including work on the
grants process, merchandise management and other GD activity areas. We
continued discussions with candidates regarding Chapter development.

During November, Wikimedia spokespeople worked with over 45 global
media outlets, including: CBC Radio, BBC Radio and TV, Channel One
Russian TV news, Charlie Rose, NPR, Business week, CBS interactive,
Canadian Business Magazine, Slate Magazine, Cinco Dias, and The Daily


Please also see the detailed weekly news summaries by the Wikipedia Signpost:

===Communications products===
* Work continued in November on the refining and editing of the WMF
Strategic Plan document.  Design concepts were finalized and text was
finalized in draft state.
* The WMF Annual Report was supported by an outside design strategist
and journalist/writer.  The report format was streamlined and visual
research for photographs and charts began.
* Through November, communications worked with a design strategist and
WMF merchandise/printing supplier, Social Imprints, to refine a series
of branded Wikipedia merchandise products, and start formulating an
online webstore strategy.

==Human Resources==

New Hires
*Dario Taraborelli, Research Consultant (Tech/Product)
*Winifred Olliff, Program Assistant (Global Development)
*Bryony Jones, Program Assistant (Community)

New postings
*HR Generalist (HR)
*Controller (Finance)
*Data Analyst (Tech)
*Software Developer, Features (Tech)
*Performance Engineer (Tech)


*November was mostly about clean up in preparation for new processes,
the HRM system, and getting ready for the end of the year.  November
and December are slow hiring months, and we will need to get better
processes in place to support the hiring we need in order to make
thoughtful choices about onboarding and good hiring. Since we have
such an ambitious hiring plan, we need better infrastructure to
support that.

*Much movement on the General Counsel front as we ramped up the search
and did several long panel interviews with 10+ candidates, which
netted us some good prospects. We are being thoughtful about the type
of hire we make here, and have gone through an extensive (and at times
exhaustive) search to make just the right match for the rest of our

*Bill Gong, Accounting Manager and Financial Analyst departed.

:Total Employee Count:
:Plan: 76, Actual: 63
:Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 29

Real-time feed for HR updates: http://identi.ca/wikimediaatwork or

==Finance and Administration==


The Finance Team updated the Finance Corner on the Office Wiki with an
updated Purchasing policy as well as updated procedures for
Purchasing, Contracts and Expense Reports.  The Finance Team also
conducted trainings on the new policies and procedures with both new
and existing staff.


Office: The 6th floor build-out for the Community Department was
completed ahead of the rest of the build-out so that they could be
settled to focus their efforts on the Fundraiser.  The general 6th
floor build-out continued.

Office IT: The stability of the wireless network was increased.  Six
laptop models were evaluated for future hardware standardization, and
a presentation was given on Google Apps.

==Office of the Executive Director==

Between November 20 and December 6, Sue Gardner visited Stockholm,
London, Dubai and Delhi. She spoke at three conferences, was
interviewed by 16 journalists, met with about 50 Wikimedians as well
as a few supporters and friends at cultural institutions, and
interviewed candidates for the Wikimedia Program Director for India.
The trip had multiple overlapping goals - to advance awareness of
Wikipedia (particularly during our fundraising season), to encourage
people to try editing, as well as to support chapters and find out a
little more about the challenges and opportunities faced by editors in
the Middle East. On the whole, the trip was successful and we’ll
probably aim to do similar ones in future, building on lessons learned
this time.

==Visitors and Guests to the SF Office==

#Matias Attwell (Terra)
#Cristiano Perozzo (Terra)
#Maximillian Klein (Public Outreach)
#Siska Doviana (Volunteer Global Development)
#Professor David Silver (University of San Francisco (and his daughter Siena))
#Professor Crispin Thurlow (University of Washington (Dept of
Communications) and Professor Irina Gendelman from Saint Martin's
University (Instructional Design)
#Denny Vrandecic
#Anya Shyrokova
#Liz Allison (Stanton Foundation)
#Phoebe Ayers (Board member)

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