Wikimedia Foundation Report, August 2011

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Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for July:
393 million (-1.5% compared to June; +9.2% compared to previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release August data later in September)
Page requests for August:
14.2 billion (+1.0% compared to July; +3.1% compared to previous year)
Report Card for July 2011: The Report Card is undergoing a redesign as a more fully-featured dashboard. Current prototype can be found at:


(Financial information is only available for July 2011 at the time of this report.)

Financial information as of July 1, 2011

Revenue: $1,204,031

  • Technology Group: $731,415
  • Community/Fundraiser Group: $250,872
  • Global Development Group: $146,003
  • Governance Group: $64,873
  • Finance/Legal/HR/Admin. Group: $484,462

Total Expenses: $1,677,625
Total surplus/(loss): ($473,594)
Revenue was on plan at $1.2M, including $1M from the second Sloan Foundation grant.
Expenses were below plan at $1.7M actual vs. $2.2M plan.
Cash of $17.1M, which is seven month of cash reserves at current spending levels.



Group photo at Wikimania 2011, Haifa, Israel

From August 4 to August 7, Wikimedians from around the world came together in Haifa, Israel for this year’s annual Wikimania conference, organized by volunteers from Wikimedia Israel.
The first day of the conference saw the keynote of Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner ( ) followed by a Q&A session with the Board of Trustees ( ). Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales concluded the event with his customary “State of the Wiki” address, highlighting the importance of making it easier to edit Wikipedia. He also awarded the first annual “Global Wikipedian of the Year” award to Rauan Kenzhekhanuly of the Kazakh Wikipedia.
Beyond these, the schedule included the following presentations and panels by Wikimedia Foundation staff, fellows and contractors:

Global development
Research and Strategy

The Foundation supported Wikimania participants with 77 full scholarships and 52 partial scholarships (awarded to a diverse group of recipients, selected by a volunteer scholarship review committee), in collaboration with Wikimedia Germany. In addition, various other Wikimedia chapters provided self-administered scholarships.
At Wikimania, the Wikimedia Board of Trustees announced the 2011-2012 Board members and elected officers:

  • Ting Chen, Board Chair
  • Jan-Bart de Vreede, Vice-Chair
  • Stuart West, Treasurer
  • Phoebe Ayers, Secretary
  • Samuel Klein
  • Bishakha Datta
  • Matt Halprin
  • Arne Klempert
  • Kat Walsh
  • Jimmy Wales

Summer of Research wraps up

Presentation of Wikimedia Summer of Research results (August 25, WMF offices)

The Community Department concluded the inaugural Wikimedia Summer of Research program, where eight academics from a variety of fields visited the Foundation from June to August in order to take an intensive look at the dynamics of Wikipedia’s editing community. They employed a variety of qualitative and quantitative methodologies to tackle some of the most pressing questions about current and historic editor trends. Their work was organized as a series of weekly sprints, each devoted to a new topic related to participation in Wikipedia by editors. In particular, they focused on the participation of new editors, from the time they register to how they first contribute and collaborate with existing community members.
In the final weeks the researchers gave a presentation on the findings to staff, released code on public repositories, and documented their work on Meta wiki. A comprehensive summary of the topics covered and the key findings can be found at .


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for August 2011 can be found at:
Department Highlights
  • Technical discussions at Wikimania (see also general “Highlights” section) and adjacent Hacking Days;
  • Progress on HTTPS, and generally better processes in Operations;
  • The kick-off of the Internationalization and localization tools project;
  • New features in UploadWizard, including major work on customized campaigns for the Wiki Loves Monuments event;
  • MediaWiki 1.18 and the new Mobile platform approaching deployment readiness;


  • Tampa Data Center — Mark Bergsma put into production the second router, which means we have now router redundancy in the Tampa network infrastructure. Mark also standardized LVS implementation and puppetized the configuration. Other highlights in August include software upgrade to Squid servers, and upload performance issues (now solved).
  • Virginia Data Center — Asher Feldman deployed the new Mobile Varnish servers in the Eqiad data center. All six LVS servers are ready and two of them are in production now, load-balancing the mobile Varnish servers.
  • HTTPS — Roan Kattouw and Ryan Lane fixed issues that surfaced during the internal testing period. Ryan also set up SSL servers in eqiad, enhancing Varnish to deal with X-Forwarded-For and X-Forwarded-Proto HTTP headers, and making necessary changes to Squid. On August 31st, HTTPS was enabled on and Wikimedia Commons.
  • Virtualization test cluster — The puppet configuration used in the production sites has been split into public and private repositories, and all sensitive information has been moved to the private repository. Gerrit has been configured, and the public puppet configuration will soon be moved into a public repository there. Labs LDAP and SVN LDAP are currently being merged, so that SVN users will more easily have access to Labs.

Features Engineering

  • Visual editor — Trevor Parscal and Inez Korczynski worked on a transaction-based model for the visual editor, where the document is built as a series of events (instead of saving it entirely at every change), which makes it easier to undo actions. Neil Kandalgaonkar continued to work on real-time collaboration and is close to presenting a demo of Etherpad working inside a MediaWiki edit window. Ian Baker investigated and started to work on a chat system to be integrated to the concurrent editing interface, for collaboration and live help.
  • Internationalization and localization tools — Siebrand Mazeland, Niklas Laxström and Gerard Meijssen joined the project in August. Niklas focused on code review for MediaWiki 1.18 regarding internationalization issues; he also introduced more flexible language fallback sequences. Siebrand worked on the product roadmap for 2011-2012, and started to plan hackathons & localization sprints in India in November. The Kiwix offline app was added to, where it can now be localized.
  • Article feedback — Dario Taraborelli analyzed the volume of edits, and couldn’t yet find any statistically significant difference in edits before and after the activation of the feature on English Wikipedia articles. In order to clarify licensing and privacy policies regarding the data, an explanation was published, stating that user feedback data were considered public contributions just like any edit.
  • UploadWizard — Ian Baker worked on the TitleBlacklist API, as well as bug fixes for UploadStash. Jan Gerber added XHR FormData support to UploadWizard, and chunk uploads. Jeroen De Dauw’s code to support customized campaigns was deployed to Wikimedia Commons. Neil reviewed Jeroen’s and Jan’s code, and generally prepared the code for deployment.
  • ResourceLoader — Roan Kattouw and Timo Tijhof got together in late August to do back-end work on Global gadgets. They improved the format for defining gadgets, which will eventually be done via a user interface. Gadget internationalization is now also fully supported.


  • Mobile Research — Mani Pande and Parul Vora continued to synthesize the findings from field research in India and Brazil. They launched user experience research in US with AnswerLab, and have started recruiting readers and editors for ethnographic research to be conducted in San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago.
  • MobileFrontend — Tomasz Finc sent a second call for testers to try out the new mobile platform developed by Patrick Reilly. The MediaWiki community provided code feedback on the wikitech-l list, which was addressed by Patrick. Tomasz called for developers to help fix the last remaining bugs before full deployment, planned for early September.

Special projects

  • 2011 Fundraiser — Ryan Kaldari built views and filters to facilitate reviewing changes to CentralNotice campaigns and banners. Katie Horn added an API to the ContributionTracking extension as well as minor bug fixes to some Drupal/CiviCRM modules. Arthur Richards added a new log parser and made bug fixes to the contribution auditing framework. Jeff Green analyzed the server architecture and began taking strides to increase resiliency and security.

Platform Engineering

  • MediaWiki 1.18 — Code review on MediaWiki 1.18 progressed well in August and should be over by mid September. Gradual deployment to Wikimedia wikis is planned over September, using the newly completed heterogeneous deployment system.
  • Continuous integration — Chad Horohoe continued to set up the virtual machine environment, while the Operations team set up the physical hardware in the Virginia data center. The final server will use Jenkins instead of CruiseControl.
  • Wikitext scripting — Volunteer Victor Vasiliev worked on a MediaWiki extension to embed scripts into pages; this was a result of discussions over the years about replacing ad-hoc template- and ParserFunctions-based logic by a more efficient and powerful solution. Tim Starling discussed the extension with Victor to become more familiar with his work, and researched other alternatives. He wrote a PHP extension embedding a Lua interpreter, and added support for it to the existing Lua MediaWiki extension for backward compatibility.
  • Summer of Code 2011 — In August, the GSoC students finished their projects and students and mentors turned in their final evaluations; all seven remaining students passed. They started to write to the wikitech-l mailing list to summarize what they finished and what still needs to be done.


Research on new features continued with a particular focus on Moodbar, a feature that was deployed in the English Wikipedia at the beginning of this month. We also continued work on Article Feedback and contributed to the wrap-up of the Public Policy Initiative with the collection of data on article quality. We continued the analysis of the data collected in the Expert participation survey (cf. Wikimania section).
Dario Taraborelli attended the DataCite 2011 Summit as an opportunity to identify strategic partnerships on research data preservation and publication. [1]
Members of the Research Committee continued evaluating and supporting research proposals submitted over the last month by external researchers and released the second issue of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter, a monthly overview of Wikimedia research in collaboration with the Wikipedia Signpost. [2] Daniel Mietchen led the drafting of a Wikimedia response to the EU Consultation on scientific information in the digital age. [3]


Department Highlight

Wrapped up Summer of Research with a rich set of results posted on Meta at: (see general “Highlights” section)


Reader Relations and Support

We have implemented and field tested case management systems such as SugarCRM to track issues that are being referred to us, and are pleased with the results we’re seeing. We continue to work closely with both tech and legal to assure that community concerns are met. Average time-to-close on cases is fairly extreme, because they’re very complex – they don’t tend to get to us until all other avenues to resolve them have failed.
From August 15 to August 30, the Foundation held a referendum to gather more input into the development and usage of an opt-in personal image hiding feature, which will allow readers to voluntarily screen particular types of images strictly for their own accounts. Such a feature was requested by the Board of Trustees in June 2011.

Data Competition

There are only three more weeks left in the Kaggle Data competition [1], which challenges data-mining experts to predict the number of edits a Wikipedia editor will make, based on a training dataset. It has already attracted 79 teams, 167 participants and 743 submissions. An exit survey has been prepared and will be sent out once the competition finishes.



In August, the fundraising team attended Wikimania and interviewed nearly 50 Wikimedia contributors. We gathered this material so that we can expand the range of voices and faces that appear (and perform well) in our fundraiser. We are still in the process of interviewing editors, donors, users, and staff. Please send a message to if you’d like to share your story and explain to readers in your own words why donating to Wikimedia is important.
Weekly testing of creative messages also continued in August. Please see our test updates on meta for more information:
We have some hopeful signs that this year we’ll have appeals from editors, donors and others that will perform as well as the traditional “Jimmy Appeal”.
The fundraising team has started with bi-monthly fundraising drills — full days of testing going through the motions of the real Fundraiser. This provides insight on the daily tasks/problems we may have in the FR and helps establish a more productive/sustainable production process.
The Production Coordinator (PC) Team worked on the localization of Landing Pages and automating codes and processes, improving and updating our Fundraising 2011 page [1] and creating new and more technically robust banners and LPs.
In August, our team welcomed Peter Gehres and Alex Zariv as Production Coordinators throughout the Fundraiser 2011.

Major Gifts and Foundations

We submitted two new requests for general support to foundations in the month of August. Also, Jonathan Curiel joined our team as the Development Communications Manager.

Public Policy Initiative

In August, the PPI team was actively involved in three key areas: 1) Documenting the overall Public Policy Initiative and preparing the first draft of the Stanton Foundation report, 2) Planning and facilitating 10 Regional Campus Ambassador trainings throughout the United States, 3) Reporting the research findings of key aspects of the Public Policy Initiative.

Fellowship program

Summer of Research

August was the final month of this project – see “Highlights” section.

WikiHistories Project

The history fellows, who study the virtual community history of different Wikipedia editing communities, wrote several blog posts this month [1], [2], [3], [4], receiving mention in the English Wikipedia Signpost. They will submit their final reports next month, and their findings will appear on Meta.

Global Development

Department Highlights

  • Attendance at Wikimania 2011 (see also general “Highlights” section)
  • Final Report of Editor Survey Complete
  • Asaf Bartov’s Visit to Kenya

Grants Awarded and Executed

Grants awarded:

Chapter Relations

  • Signed chapter agreements with Macau, Chile and Canada. Finalizing agreement with India and South Africa chapters.
  • Finalizing finances for 2010-2011 Fundraising: payments of the second installments received from Germany, UK and France. Full report out soon.
  • Discussing chapter transitional grant agreement [1] with Wikimedia Australia, Wikimedia Austria, Wikimedia Hungary, Wikimedia Sweden, Wikimedia Italy, Wikimedia Switzerland and Wikimedia Netherlands.

Global South

  • Full-day discussion on Global South growth held at Wikimania preconference. Notes here, including much advice applicable to all chapters and future chapters:
  • Asaf Bartov visited Kenya Aug 15th-18th and delivered five public talks on university campuses in Nairobi and Mombasa as well as a tech outreach talk at the Nairobi iHub. He also led a workshop for Kenyan Wikimedians, and visited two potential local partners for Wikimedia in Kenya.
  • Many new contacts with volunteers from communities not currently having chapters were established at Wikimania, including representatives from Thailand, Armenia, Viet Nam, Japan, and Belarus.

Brazil Catalyst [2]

The main steps to move forward in the short term are to,

  1. improve our collective understanding of the structure and work dynamics of the Brazilian contributor community and engage in dialogue with the community (we have one quantitative researcher who is starting to work on this),
  2. focus on outreach projects (specifically the launch of the Global Education Program in Brazil) providing new energy for the community, and,
  3. support community-led initiatives and efforts to form Wikimedia Brazil (Brazilian Chapter) through grants and other support.

We will also continue to work on establishing a WMF presence in Brazil, though that will be a secondary priority for the next 3-6 months.

Mobile Strategy and Business Development

  • Exploring USSD protocol with various partners to bring access to Wikipedia, without cost to end-users, to low end mobile phones in developing countries:

  • Currently working with the tech team on testing our mobile gateway, which will be lauched in limited release in a week.

Editor Survey

The final report of the editor survey has been completed. We’ll continue to blog about the editor survey.

Readers Survey

We have received the datafile and toplines from our vendor, and are analyzing the data.

Mobile Research


  • For the next year, we will focus on tightening up the ability to make offline collections as well as creating simple and clear guides for downloading/distributing content.
  • A new version of Kiwix – an offline reader – launched! We are collecting feedback about the experience now.

Global Education Program

  • Regional ambassadors, supported by WMF staff members, performed Campus Ambassador Trainings in different parts of the U.S. This is the first time that the Campus Ambassador Trainings were organized and led by volunteers. Beginning in September, our new Campus Ambassadors will help about 1,600 students from U.S. universities with their first steps on Wikipedia.
  • Annie and Frank kicked off the the Canada Education Program in Toronto. More than 1,700 students from Canadian universities will start editing Wikipedia this fall semester.
  • More than 600 students from Pune, India, created user accounts on the English Wikipedia and started editing. Overall, the interest in our India Education Program goes far beyond our expectations.

Student organizations

  • Page creation process has been unified and streamlined, and pilot pages are being rolled out to a test group of existing student organizations to prepare for the start of the new school year.
  • Merchandise request process is now developing: students will receive annual welcome packs and will be able to request merchandise through a minigrants program (this will also encourage students to make their events public on Outreach wiki).

India Programs

  • Two new consultants selected – Nitika Tandon (Participation) and Shiju Alex (Indic Initiatives). Nitika has joined and Shiju joins at the end of September.
  • Continued support of proposed WikiConference in Mumbai in November ($40k grant from WMF; Fellowship for organizer; Advisory services).
  • Wikipedia India Education Program pilot in Pune looking good in terms of numbers (>1000 students) but requires intensive effort to provide adequate training, enabling and hand-holding of newbie students. Having said this, check out the following:
    • User: Abhilasha369 started a new article: Robinson Crusoe Economy
    • User: basic.atari is working on the Human capital article
    • User: SaurabhKB is editing Self-organizing list ‎
    • User: Aishani Sharma on Social preferences
    • User: Jinchurikidan has been actively editing the article on Animation studio
    • 12 new Campus Ambassadors selected for the Pune pilot; training expected by September 12
  • Continued progress on legal registration of the proposed independent public trust in India.
  • Initial meetings with major mobile carriers / manufacturers scheduled for next week.


  • Communications conducted support for media outreach, and assistance to the Wikimania planning committee through August 2011
  • Ongoing design planning for new initiatives within the Foundation, including the student clubs branding and identity and global education initiative
  • Work continues on the transfer of monthly reporting and broadcasting functions to the Movement Communications area of our team. New projects are being developed for community-facing outreach – specifically developing new channels for mission-critical information.
  • Work has also kicked off on the 2010/11 WMF Annual Report, set to release in November 2011.

Major announcements

Wikimedia Foundation Announces 2011-2012 Board of Trustees and Elected Officers

Global Communications

  • Conducted first-ever Communications committee (ComCom) meeting at Wikimania. Lasted three hours and discussion focused on re-building a more collaborative culture among participants, as well as sharing best practices and working together on synchronized projects. 20 people attended and Tinu Cherian led a discussion about media outreach in India and what we can learn from his experiences there as a volunteer media spokesperson.
  • Worked with Wikimedia Netherlands to plan media efforts around pan-European Wiki Loves Monuments contest.
  • Preliminary talks with Wikimedia Hungary to help build out a communications plan to celebrate 200,000 article milestone for Hungarian Wikipedia. Working to create best practices and model for future milestone celebrations.

Storylines through August

Wikimania takes Haifa!

Global media coverage

College of Engineering Pune students to co-author Wikipedia-India

Sahitya Parishad to add more Gujarati pages on Wikipedia

Editing Wiki is now part of CoEP’s syllabi

Oral citations to be part of wikipedia entries

Azerbaijanis more active than Armenians on Wikipedia

לכתוב ערך בוויקיפדיה במקום סמינר

Wikipedia editors voting on plan to “shutter” violent and sexual images

Wikipedia founder: Israel-Palestine is heavily debated, but we’re vigilant on neutrality

מנכ”לית ויקיפדיה: יש לנו עקרונות נעלים יותר לגבי מקורות מאשר אתרי מדיה קונבנציונליים

Other worthwhile reads

Wikipedia Signpost

WMF Blog posts

Media Contact

Human Resources

HR continued to gain ground in August, as the external recruiters/screeners started to show impact on the hiring front. We are ahead of plan in terms of prepping for roles at this point, most of the slow down is around candidate quality. This is a different problem from last year where process was most of the hang up, so although it is an issue it is an easier one to address than our challenges from 2009-2010. If you take attrition out of our current data, we are really close to our goal for the month, only 2 behind plan, a significant improvement.
The deployment of our HRIS continued in August, we expect to have a working beta for our data in mid September with a proposed launch date in October. We’d like to speed that up some so we may invest more time in testing than we’d originally planned to get it up and running sooner.
We also started working with a company we connected with via Mitch Kapor called Intern Match. We are in the beta of their site, and their goal is to reach out to students actively for underserved organizations like ours where internships may not be an obvious pathway. The community portion of their site launches soon, so we are excited about that.

Staff Changes

New Perm Position Hires
  • Garfield Byrd, Chief of Finance and Administration (Administration)
  • Jeremy Postlethwaite, Software Developer Back-end (Technology)
  • Jonathan Curiel, Development Communications Manager (Community)
  • Aaron Schulz, Software Developer Back-end (Technology)
New Other Position Hires
  • Niklas Laxström, contractor (fills the permanent role of) SW Developer – Internationalization (Technology)
  • Roan Kattouw, contractor (fills the permanent role of) SW Developer, Back-end (Technology)
  • Siebrand Mazeland, contractor (fills the permanent role of) Product Manager – Localization (Technology)
  • Alex Zariv (contract extended) & Peter Gehres (re-engaged); contractors, (fill the permanent role of) Production Coordinator (Community)
New Contractors
  • Micheal Beattie (re-engaged)
  • Ayush Khanna
  • Tracey Fleming
  • Gerard Meijssen (July)
  • Sara Yap
New Legal Interns
  • Christopher Johnson
  • Laureli Mallek
  • Jason Ross
Contract Extended
  • Chris Leonello
  • Stephanie Thommen
  • Skye Kraft
Contract Ended
  • Andrew Shields
  • Doreen Strubhar
  • Community Summer Research Fellows
    • Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia
    • Richard Stuart Geiger
    • Aaron Halfaker
    • Melanie Kill (July)
    • Yusuke Matsubara
    • Shawn Walker
New Postings
  • RFPs
    • Development and Operations Engineer
    • Global Education Program
    • Portuguese Wikipedia Qualitative Researcher
    • Consultant, Communications – India Programs
    • Consultant, Team Support – India Programs


Total Employee Count:

Plan: 92
Filled: 8
August Attrition: 0
YTD Attrition: 5
Actual: 85

Remaining open positions to fiscal year end: 32

Department Updates

Real-time feed for HR updates: or

Finance and Administration

  • Beginning search for Head of Office Information Technology.
  • Used tenant improvement funds to do upgrades to the third floor break room.


  • Four legal interns are starting for the Fall semester, supporting us on a wide variety of legal issues (working both part-time and full-time for law school credit or educational experience). We are extremely happy to have their support.
  • MarkMonitor – We’ve engaged a domain name monitoring and management company that will allow us to gain control proactively of domain names that contain our project names as well as domain names that are easily confused with our project names. This will help reduce instances of deceptive websites that harm our users such as survey scams, phishing sites, mirror sites, etc.
  • Hiaring Smith – We have engaged this new trademark firm (with a good international network) to help us trim our portfolio of unnecessary fat while developing proactive strategy in regions we are aggressively moving into. The firm itself was just named one of the top 20 firms in CA by the World Trademark Review.
  • Finalized internal legal policies:

Visitors and Guests

  1. Aaron Shaw (Berkman Center for Internet and Society)
  2. Thierry Coudray (board member, Wikimedia France)
  3. Achal Prabhala (WMF Advisory Board Member)
  4. Sarah Stierch (community member, GLAM Wikipedian-in-Residence)
  5. Hai Ton (ThoughtWorks)
  6. Kaitlin Thaney (Digital Science)
  7. Denny Vrandecic (Semantic MediaWiki)
  8. Sizhe Liu (KPMG)
  9. Glenn Turner (Advanced Mobile Notary)
  10. Renata Stasaityte (WMF Audit Committee)
  11. Pernilla Rydmark (.SE Swedish Foundation)
  12. Kristina Alexanderson (.SE Swedish Foundation)
  13. Sam Mankiewicz (CTO, Kiva)

(2011/09/10: Updated to extend Global Education Program section)

Archive notice: This is an archived post from, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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