[Wikimedia Announcements] December 2010 Wikimedia Foundation Report
erik at wikimedia.org
Fri Jan 14 08:38:29 UTC 2011
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Note: As of this report, we no longer align the metrics reporting
period with the activity reporting period (that is, if no December
data is available yet by the time we create the report, we will
include November data). This change allows us to release the monthly
reports sooner, instead of waiting for certain metrics (e.g. comScore
data) to become available.
Also note that we're shifting to having a content-heavy "highlights"
section at the top, followed by slightly more terse updates on other
activities. This will hopefully give you a better sense of key
accomplishments/milestones. Feedback on how to improve the reports is
==Data and Trends==
:Global unique visitors:
:411 million (+0.6% compared to previous month / +18.8% compared to
: (comScore data for November, all Wikimedia Foundation projects;
comScore will release December data later in January)
:13.9 billion (-6.7% compared to previous month / + 22.9% compared to
: (Wikimedia Foundation data for December, all Wikimedia Foundation
projects including Wikipedia mobile)
Recent community metrics are not available as of this writing due to
an extended outage of the database dump production server that
provides the underlying source data.
[See the November report for November data. December data will be
finalized later in January, and will be included with the January
== Highlights ==
=== 2010 fundraising campaign reaches record target ===
December began with the fundraiser's daily numbers far too low to make
our goal by December 31. There was even a question whether we could
make the goal by January 15, as we knew we had used up all the
easy-to-get donors in our first weeks in November. Our challenge for
December was to communicate our authentic urgency to the community. We
felt strongly about making our goal as early as possible in order to
free the site from fundraising banners as soon as possible.
But instead of going straight to an urgent message from Jimmy Wales or
Sue Gardner, we took time to run banners and appeals from Wikipedia
editors - most of whom had been featured in the Wikimedia Foundation's
videos produced in Gdansk alongside Wikimania 2010. We thought it was
important to spend time highlighting the community directly for some
portion of the campaign.
Finally, we did return to appeals from Jimmy and experimented with a
wide range of approaches to both messaging, graphical treatment, ask
amounts, and other variables. We were able to get the numbers back up
and get within striking distance of our goal by the last days of
December. With a strong end-of-year push, were were able to make our
goal by midnight (San Francisco time) on December 31, and "Thank You"
banners were launched.
On January 1, we announced the unprecedented success of the 2010
fundraising campaign, and thanked everyone for this extraordinary
expression of support:
In just 50 days, the shortest fundraiser in recent Wikimedia history,
the Foundation received more than 500,000 individual donation from
people living in about 140 countries, reaching its goal of raising $16
million. We received more than twice as many individual donations as
in 2009, which garnered 230,000 total contributions.
===Public Policy Initiative: First Semester Wrap-Up ===
The first semester of classes assigning Wikipedia improvements as
coursework to their students has wrapped up. Participating
universities and courses are listed at:
Statistics and additional links are at:
Project staff member Sage Ross contributed a detailed perspective
regarding the first semester, and regarding the Wikipedia Ambassadors
program launched to support these types of assignments, to the
Sage writes: "Overall, 207 students in these classes contributed more
than 2 million bytes of new content to articles—an average of more
than 10,000 bytes each to articles."
===India technology fact-finding trip===
Danese Cooper, Alolita Sharma and Erik Moeller traveled to India for
about two weeks of meetings with various groups, organizations, and
individuals. The purpose of the trip was to assess technical barriers
to growing the India community of Wikimedia contributors and users,
and to strengthen relationships with the open source community and the
Wikimedia community. The stations of the trip were Delhi, Mumbai,
Pune, and Bangalore.
Groups we met with included C-DAC (for
internationalization/localization issues), Mishi Choudhary of the
Software Freedom Law Center India, the National Informatics Centre,
the Ministry of Communications and IT, IIT Mumbai, Symbiosis
University, the Pune Linux Users Group, the Pune Working Journalists,
Red Hat, Canonical, Intel India, Novell India, Zmanda, Microsoft
Research India, IIM Bangalore, plus Wikimedians in all places we
visited (including board member Bishakha Datta and Advisory Board
member Achal Prabhala), and many other individuals.
Danese Cooper presented a keynote at the foss.in conference in
Bangalore, and Erik Moeller organized a MediaWiki workshop at the
conference. Wikimedia India and local Wikimedians staffed a booth at
foss.in, and we provided t-shirts to attendees. Danese, Erik and
Alolita also gave a talk to an audience of about 300 students at
Symbiosis University, and presented (and listened) at the meetups they
The topics covered included:
* input method issues with Indic languages like Hindi, Kannada and
Malayalam (which input methods exist, which are supported at the
operating system level, which are currently implemented on Wikipedia
* font encoding and rendering issues encountered by the various Indic
language Wikimedia projects
* search indexing of Indic language content
* offline content deployment strategies, current projects (like the
Malayalam Wikipedia CD), potential future projects
* trends in mobile 2G and 3G, smartphone/feature phone usage
* how relationships with the groups we met with could be leveraged
towards meeting our goals.
As an immediate next step, we are working with the Wikimedians in
India to determine how we can best help address remaining
=== Director of Technical Operations hired ===
CT Woo was hired as Director of Technical Operations, reporting to our
CTO, Danese Cooper. As Director of Technical Ops, his primary
responsibility will to help provide for a stable, secure, documented,
scalable and responsive systems environment. He'll be working with
our small site operations team to assess the current state process of
technical projects, short and long term risk to the technical
infrastructure and work towards providing solutions and systems for
failsafes and redundancy. He will also be a great resource for
guidance and mentorship for the operations team. CT Woo joins us from
Freshbrain, an educational non-profit, where he was VP of Engineering
and IT. He had a long career at Sun Microsystems from 1993-2006,
including as IT Director of Operations responsible for 150 staff, and
as Software Engineering Director. In addition to English, CT speaks
Malay, Indonesian, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Fukien.
See http://techblog.wikimedia.org/2011/01/wmf-engineering-update/ for
a full update, highlights are listed below.
===Overall Tech Department Updates===
'''Data Summit''': was rescheduled for Feb 4th in California alongside
the O'Reilly Strata Conference (a new conference on "Big Data"), which
O'Reilly generously gave us a large discount to. The Data Summit is
an invitation-only event which will deal with a) structured data in
Wikimedia projects, b) research/analytics and management of
Wikimedia's large datasets.
'''Upcoming Conferences''': Members of the Tech Department will be
speaking at FOSDEM 2011, Strata 2011 and GNUnify 2011. Danese will be
keynoting at a regional FBI conference in Oakland, and at a conference
for the State Department in Washington, DC.
'''Fundraiser''': The fundraising engineering team had an eventful
December keeping up with the fast-moving requirements of an active
Fundraiser in progress. We made modifications to the udp2log system
to support multicast, revamped Central Notice authoring to allow
non-programmers to create banners (due to increased demands for banner
mods in close to real time), and implemented a premium-ordering
'''Data Centers''': We negotiated and signed a lease with a
co-location facility for hosting our new Virginia Data Center (which
was only possible after we'd selected a hardware strategy). We also
completed the first phase of our Tampa consolidation.
'''Data Dumps''': We were able to get the failed server to re-spin and
we copied all files off to a new replacement server. Attempts to
start a new dump failed and we are currently re-writing the software
that produces dumps with the intention to have all services back in
'''Article Feedback''': Evaluation and re-design work for Phase 2 of
this new feature was a major focus of December work, due to planned
January deployment (see research section below).
'''LiquidThreads''': Continuing work on user experience of this
feature have led to extended discussions (and mock-ups) about how
improved discussion systems can help us develop more effective
collaboration and a more welcoming culture in Wikimedia projects. We
expect to begin prototyping some of these ideas in the next quarter.
'''Improved Analytics''': Open Web Analytics servers came online in
late December. We will be working in January to evaluate this new
tool's performance and future integration possibilities.
'''Code Review''': We are down to 300 remaining open requests in the
Code Review Tool. Many of the remaining issues are associated with
"FixMe" issues in Bugzilla and will be more difficult to work through.
== Research and Strategy ==
Researchers from Cal-IT (University of California, San Diego) and the
Persuasive Technology Lab (Stanford University) visited the Wikimedia
Foundation to discuss potential research opportunities. More
information may be found here:
Work continued on the editor trends study, and Diederik van Liere
visited the Wikimedia Foundation offices to discuss preliminary
Erik Moeller has continued research into expert review as an area of
product development, and worked to launch an experiment with the
Encyclopedia of Life, with much help from Magnus Manske:
Howie Fung has published additional findings from our experiments with
article feedback, focusing the analysis on the ratings received to a
specific article (about the discovery of arsenic-based life) to help
us better understand to what extent reader ratings accurately reflect
actual changes in the article:
Dario Taraborelli, now a research consultant with the Wikimedia
Foundation, organized the second meeting of the Wikimedia Foundation
Research Committee, and helped organize follow-up activity, which
includes a survey of the scholarly community and continued work on
subject-recruitment procedures for researchers:
In addition to coordinating the fundraiser and supporting preparations
for the tenth anniversary, the community department developed new
Wikimedia fellowship agreements, which will be finalized and announced
===Public Policy Initiative===
In December, work continued on the development of a train-the-trainer
program and updates to the second training of campus ambassadors.
Research analyst Amy Roth continued her analysis of various quality
metrics (self-assessments by the community, expert assessments, reader
feedback) to help assess the project's overall impact on content
In December, PPI began exploring ways to institutionalize Wikipedia
curriculum use at universities. Annie Lin and Rod Dunican presented to
over 40 professors, librarians, and staff for LSU's "Communication
Across The Curriculum" department. The CAC group works with over 300
professors at LSU from several different fields of study.
===Grants and related funding===
We approved and paid grants to the Czech Republic and Indonesia. We
approved and paid grants to community members for projects including
outreach in India.
See http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:Index for up-to-date
information on grant status, activities and reports.
We worked with engineering to support the development of an extension
to the book tool that will enable the creation of collections that can
be used with offline readers using the OpenZIM format.
We finalized Wikimania scholarship application and selection criteria
and established new "partial scholarship" opportunities to increase
attendance opportunities. The scholarship program is managed by Jessie
Wild this year.
We continued work on researching and developing strategies for mobile
with a focus on the needs and opportunities in the Global South, and
prepared for a presentation of findings to management and engineering
* Barry Newstead traveled to Bangalore for interviews with 7 finalist
candidates for the National Program Director position. Bishakha Datta
and Achal Prabhala were part of the interviewing process throughout,
and Erik Moeller and Sue Gardner interviewed two finalist candidates
* We manually created a new metrics report card for India, working
with Erik Zachte on automating the process
* 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
===Global Development staffing and recruiting===
* We continued recruiting for Chapter Development and India National
Program Director positions.
During December, Wikimedia spokespeople worked with over more than 100
media outlets, largely in support of pro-active outreach for the
Wikimedia fundraiser and the 10th anniversary events. Selected
contact with global media oulets: Jyllands-Posten, International
Herald Tribune, BBC News Radio and TV, NPR, Sunday Business Post
(Ireland), China Daily, Washington Post, and Swiss National TV.
Media widely reported on the early fundraising victories and the
coming 10 year celebration.
Aside from pro-active media relations efforts in December, Wikimedia
spokespeople around the world tracked the high profile news of the
WikiLeaks release of US Diplomatic cables, often responding to and
clarifying global coverage that innacurately connected Wikipedia and
Wikileaks. A Wikimedia blog post was drafted as a single reference
point for anyone dealing with the confusion:
Please also see the detailed weekly news summaries by the Wikipedia Signpost:
===10th Anniversary preparations===
* Ten.wikipedia.org had continued activity with over 170 parties in
planning stages around the world - at least 5 per continent (except
Antartica in spite of outreach efforts!)
* WMF sent 10th Anniversary packages with t-shirts and buttons to the
community for their celebrations - over 3,000 t-shirts were
distributed with over 70 boxes shipped to date.
* We continued our media relations efforts focused on completing
10-year messaging and outreach to media organizations.
* We launched a community communications toolkit
* We completed interviews/discussions with BBC, BusinessWeek, La
Fohla, Time Magazine
* The 10 year anniversary was mentioned in the Economist, NYT Magazine
* The WMF Strategic plan main copy-editing drew to a close in
December. Final designs have been developed and the report is going
through final copy and fact checking before publication.
* Work on the WMF Annual Report continued as well, however, the
majority of design/copy efforts focused on the strategic plan.
* Communications worked closely with the Community department on
prospective special fundraising opportunities through December, laying
the groundwork for possible future merchandise-oriented incentives.
*Ryan Faulkner, Data Analyst (Communtiy/Fundraising)
*Joshua VanDavier, Development Associate (Community/Fundraising)
*CT Woo, Director of Technical Operations (Tech)
*Alolita Sharma, Engineering Program Manager (Tech)
:None this month
*The Wikimedia Foundation holiday party was a great success. We used
the leftover funds from the all hands to cover the costs, and had a
nice, low-key event at local restuarant Roe. It was great to see
Wikimedians out of their normal element, and to meet their friends and
*First white elephant/baby/puppy party was great fun and well attended
- this may need to become a quarterly event, sans the elephant part.
Including our extended WMF family in our culture is an important part
of growth for us, and helps bring balance and integration to our work
*Fellowship program made some strides in terms of getting standardized
formatting for applicant approval. The fellowship prorgram is an
important part of our internal HR mission to encourage thought leaders
and other researchers in our space to contribute to the Wikimedia
*The HR Corner wiki page got the start of an overhaul, the beginnings
of our service based environment. HR is understaffed and our
infrastructure is in need of an overhaul, we are getting close to be
ready to push forward on those objectives.
*Jeff Jones, Office IT Manager departed.
*Cary Bass, Volunteer Coordinator departed, as announced in August.
:Total Employee Count:
:Plan: 77, Actual: 64
:Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 28
: Real-time feed for HR updates: http://identi.ca/wikimediaatwork or
==Finance and Administration==
The Finance Department compiled the majority of schedules for the Form
990 Tax Return. The Department also began compiling data for January
1099 reporting for independent contractors. Several potential
Controller candidates were screened and interviewed. KPMG (audit/tax
firm) was consulted on the following issues:
*India legal entity
*Webstore and unrelated business income implications
There was continued preparation of the 6th floor expansion including
the kitchen, the mothers' room, furniture, etc. The seating for the
remaining teams on the 3rd floor was reorganized. The Administrative
staff planned and managed the Staff Holiday party.
==Office of the Executive Director==
Following her media/outreach tour (see previous report), Sue Gardner
took a three-week vacation, her first extended vacation since her
hiring as Executive Director.
==Visitors and Guests to the SF Office==
#Colleen Kessler (freelance videographer)
#Peter Adams (Open Web Analytics)
#David Peters (ExBrook)
#Gabriel Alexander (Online donation feedback)
#Katherine Beckwith (Online donation feedback)
#Jonathan Beckhardt (Online donation feedback)
#Kent Bach (Online donation feedback)
#Christian Berger (Online donation feedback)
#Barak Wouk (Student Visitor - Columbia University)
#Dan Martin - (Professor UC Berkeley)
#Benjamin Bratton (CAL IT)
#Jim Giles (New Scientist)
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