Wikimedia Foundation Report, January 2012

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Information You are more than welcome to edit the wiki version of this report for the purposes of usefulness, presentation, etc., and to add translations of the “Highlights” excerpts.
Monthly Metrics Meeting February 2, 2012.theora.ogv

Video of the monthly Wikimedia Foundation metrics and activities meeting covering the month of January (February 2, 2012)

Global unique visitors for December:

457 million (-3.7 percent compared with November; +15.6 percent compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release January data later in February)

Page requests for January:

18.0 billion (+10.4 percent compared with December; 16.4 percent compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for December 2011 (>= 5 edits/month):

83,293 (+0.1 percent compared with November; +1.6 percent compared with the previous year)

(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects except for Wikimedia Commons) Report Card for December 2011:

The report card is currently undergoing a redesign as a more fully-featured dashboard (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects).


(Financial information is only available for December 2011 at the time of this report.)
All financial information presented is for the period of July 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011
Revenue: $25.6 million

  • Technology Group: $4,801,082
  • Community/Fundraiser Group: $2,501,444
  • Global Development Group: $2,154,912
  • Governance Group: $464,533
  • Finance/Legal/HR/Admin Group: $2,916,686

Total Expenses: $12,838,657
Total surplus/(loss): $12,784,247
Revenue was ahead of plan due to grants of $2.8 million and additional donations ahead of plan of $2 million.
Expenses for the month is $2.9MM vs plan of $2.6MM, approximately 11% higher than plan. Year-to-date is $12.8MM vs plan of $14.2MM, approximately 10% lower than plan.
Underspending YTD is due to timing of capital expenditures ($989K – budget was spread evenly over 12 months), internet hosting ($64K), volunteer development ($142K), travel and conference expenses ($233K), personnel expenses ($584K), recruiting expenses ($124K), and IT desk equipment ($77K) offset by higher awards and grants ($261K) budget was spread evenly over 12 months), legal and accounting fees ($81K), professional services ($293K), and bank fees ($248K).
Cash of $30.6 million, which is thirteen months of cash reserves at current spending levels and fourteen months of cash per the annual plan.


WMF staff preparing for the anti-SOPA blackout

Foundation supports historic anti-SOPA Wikipedia blackout

On January 18, the community of the English Wikipedia made history with its decision to black out its entire project for 24 hours in protest of two proposed US laws — SOPA and PIPA — that would have seriously damaged the free and open Internet, including Wikipedia. The communities of over 30 other Wikimedia projects supported the protest. Many Foundation staff assisted in the effort, handling the technical side of the blackout as requested by the community, providing code and design, facilitating discussions, contributing legal analysis and handling an unprecedented amount of press coverage.
During the blackout, more than eight million US-based readers used the CongressLookup tool to find their political representatives. A blog post by Sue Gardner received more than 13,000 comments, with the overwhelming majority supporting the blackout. Google News listed over 11,000 media stories about the Wikipedia blackout and the other Internet protests of January 18, and #wikipediablackout was tweeted almost 1 million times. Support for both SOPA and PIPA has since dwindled. Observers expect that they will not become law in their proposed form.

Participants at the San Francisco Hackathon

San Francisco Hackathon

The first San Francisco Hackathon was attended by 92 participants, many of them complete newcomers. They attended training sessions about Wikimedia technology, followed by team work on demo projects which were then presented in a showcase session and judged by a jury. The first prize went to “SMSpedia”, which allows the user to text a page title to a phone number; the user is then called back by the service and can listen to the Wikipedia entry read aloud.

Mobile announcements: Official Android app, and Orange partnership for free Wikipedia access in Africa/Middle East

In the first partnership of its kind, mobile operator Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation will provide more than 70 million Orange customers from 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East (AMEA) with mobile access to Wikipedia — without incurring data usage charges. Also in January, the official Wikipedia Android app was announced. It was installed more than half a million times within the first two weeks.


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for January 2012 can be found at:
Department Highlights

Major news in January include:


  • English Wikipedia anti-SOPA blackout — The engineering team supported this online protest by developing and deploying the blackout code and design, including the CongressLookup extension for helping people find and contact their representative. The Operations team disabled editing during the 24-hour time period, and helped keep other systems up and running, including the temporarily overloaded Wikimedia blog.
  • San Francisco hackathon — More than 90 participants learned and hacked during this outreach-focused developers weekend. The teams of participants demonstrated more than a dozen projects.


  • Data Centers — Work continued on building up the EQIAD datacenter in Virginia. We added new servers and upgraded the database servers with a new chained replication topology and a heartbeat-based replication monitoring. We have also successfully tested the new thumbnail system and the text squid implementation, that we’ll start rolling out fully in February. At the same time, we have retired 40 old servers from our Tampa datacenter, which will be available for donation soon.
  • Wikimedia Labs — To keep up with project growth, we doubled the filesystem storage available and allowed Labs to grow by up to another 30 instances. A number of projects were added or moved to Labs, including incubator, ganglia, deployment-prep, globaleducation, a number of mobile projects, and a bunch more. A number of projects were also created, implemented, and demoed using Labs during the San Francisco hackathon.

Features Engineering

  • Visual editor — Plans for the second phase of the editor project were formulated. The team investigated a possible use of contenteditable to help with input methods and text selections on mobile devices. The parser was also extended with the ability to fetch and expand templates in a parallel and asynchronous fashion. The parser now supports most parts of the English Wikipedia Main Page.
  • Article feedback — The next round of Article Feedback Tool v5 features was developed, including a new feedback page. The teal continued to collect valuable data from the community about the usefulness of comments coming in from each of the three forms launched in December. A survey to get comments from readers about the effectiveness and attractiveness of each design was also launched. The target date for the full feedback page is Feb. 15 for pre-deployment testing on en-labs, then full deployment on Feb. 22.
  • Feedback Dashboard — We implemented a leaderboard of recent top responders on the feedback dashboard. New editor feedback is now added to a dedicated log. When feedback is marked as helpful, that fact is displayed on the feedback dashboard itself. Other than a few other smaller changes, we’re now moving the project into maintenance mode to focus on article creation workflow and mw:New Page Triage.


  • Android Wikipedia App — The Mobile team released the first version of the Wikipedia Android application into the Android Market. In just over three weeks, we’ve had over 900,000 downloads, became the #1 search result for “Wikipedia”, became the #1 trending app, and received a consistent 4/5 stars in the Android Market. We released two minor updates to fix bugs, and are processing user feedback to guide our next version.
  • FeaturedFeeds — We deployed the first version of FeaturedFeeds to production. Wikimedia communities can now make use of these RSS feeds to better surface their content to other applications.

Platform Engineering

  • MediaWiki 1.19 — A new Beta cluster, replicating the production environment, was set up to allow Wikimedians to test upcoming software (including MediaWiki 1.19) on Wikimedia Labs before deployment. A preliminary schedule was drafted, according to which deployment of MediaWiki 1.19 will start on February 13th and complete on March 1st.
  • Volunteer coordination and outreach — In preparation for the San Francisco hackathon, the team prepared training materials and documentation on gadgets and the MediaWiki API. Nine developers got commit access in January, among which seven volunteers.
  • Wikimedia blog maintenance — The new WMBlog plugin (which brings functionality specific to the Wikimedia blog independently of the theme) was deployed in January, as well as tweaks to the theme. Due to the SOPA/PIPA blackout-related traffic, the Operations team moved the blog to a newer, more powerful server and added caching layers (Varnish & Memcached).


  • Daniel Mietchen lead the drafting and submission of a response to the White House RFI on Public Access to Scholarly Publications.
  • The open data consultation we launched in December closed with 100 responses. The results will be published this month.
  • Several Research Committee and community members worked on the English Wikipedia article for the Research Works Act, a proposed bill that would undermine open access mandates for publicly funded research in the US. The bill would affect our research policy as it would make it hard for RCom to enforce any OA and open data requirements for research collaborations. The article made it to DYK on January 15, 2012.
  • Dario Taraborelli gave a podcast interview with Michael Cervieri for the Future Journalism Project, discussing what Wikipedia can do to support data journalism.
  • Dario Taraborelli co-hosted with APS cognitive psychology professor Greta Munger a session on Scientists and Wikipedia at Science Online 2012 in Raleigh, NC (slides).
  • We set up a Wikimedia group on the DataHub, an open data repository powered by CKAN. The repository is for testing purposes but all data deposited will be preserved and migrated once we’ve finalized the configuration of the repository.
  • Mayo Fuster Morell circulated a call for papers calling for contributions on “Academic research into Wikipedia: Beyond English Wikipedia and towards comparative perspectives”. The submission deadline is March 1, 2012.
  • Tilman Bayer led the publication of the first 2012 issue of the Wikimedia Research Newsletter.


Department Highlights
  • Lots of clean up/ wrap up work from the fundraiser; Lots of planning work already done for the 2012 fundraiser
  • 23 fellowship project proposals and suggestions received for the Fellowship program.
  • Community & reader relations team supported SOPA work and fundraising and funds dissemination discussion.
  • Wrapping up template testing pilot project, beginning analysis of results


Editor Retention

  • Other than new community requests to test on the Wikimedia Incubator and Commons, the majority of template A/B tests have been wrapped up. Ryan Faulkner, formerly part of the fundraising team, has joined our group as the Community Research Analyst to further understand template testing results, and the group is now publishing test results on Meta as they come in.[1]
  • The Community Dept. is hosting the first 2012 meet-up of California Wikipedians at the Foundation offices on Saturday, Feb 4 — coinciding with the Board of Trustees meeting. [2]
  • We are planning a series of meet-ups with Brazilian editors in early March to better understand their community and its dynamics, and give those authors a place to voice issues that the Foundation may be able to assist with. [3]
  • Collecting resumes and scheduling preliminary screenings of candidates for the 2012 Community Summer Analysts, whose work will focus on providing working data and actionable recommendations for community change programs. [4]
  • Wrapping up a proof-of-concept analytic project with Odiago, who has provided some insight into authorship questions with big data analysis of our diff data.




  • Gathered all fundraising staff and contractors in San Francisco for the 2011 Fundraiser Retrospective. We recapped accomplishments, and identified pain points and successes in communications and process so that the next fundraiser can be run more smoothly with a leaner team.
  • Began writing the 2011 Fundraiser Report which will be publicly posted in 2012.
  • Held a planning session for the 2012 Fundraiser. Over two days, the team set priorities for this year and focused on mapping out a division of responsibility, communication and tracking processes, ways to improve localization, testing, donor experience, and analytics systems.
  • In conjunction with the Brazilian author meet-ups, we are planning focus groups and storyteller interviews in both Brazil and Argentina.
  • Created a testing calendar to plan out regional tests throughout the year. These tests will focus on the localization of our forms and appeals in different countries.
  • Started our global research on currencies, payment methods and personal information fields to integrate to the regional tests.
  • Began researching new payment methods requested by Wikipedia users during the 2011 fundraiser.

Major Gifts and Foundations

  • Received a 3-year grant from the Teterev Foundation
  • Completed a new grant proposal for our mobile work

Fellowship Program

Program Activities

  • Fellowship recruiting continues – the community generated 23 fellowship project ideas [1] in January and applications have been submitted by candidates from 18 countries. The deadline to apply for this round of fellowships has been extended until February 15th, and review of existing applications is underway.

Fellowship Projects

  • The fundraising translation project report is complete,[2] and Jon Harald Søby hosted a brown bag presentation at WMF to discuss lessons learned. A survey of the fundraiser translators is also in progress, with nearly 300 responses so far. Feedback will be incorporated into future fundraisers as well as an upcoming project to improve the meta translation request process, which is in the planning stages.
  • The Teahouse project has recruited 23 Wikipedians to serve as Teahouse hosts – they’ll be inviting new editors to the space, answering questions, and facilitating discussions during the pilot.[3] Design of the space is in progress.


Community relations


Global Development

Department highlights
  • Communications supports WMF’s blackout on 18 January (see also general “Highlights” section)
  • Mobile: Partnership with Orange was announced on 24 January to supply free access to Wikipedia to more than 70 million customers across 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Arabic-speaking Initaitive: Arabic-speaking Wikipedians met in Tunisia this month beginning a regional outreach effort to create new connections in the Arabic Wikimedia community..
  • India program: Six outreach workshops in January in partnership with the community as part of an effort to increase outreach and improve conversion to editing
  • Education Program: Published program plan for Cairo pilot and new standards for participation in the global education program are put in place
  • The Global Development team midyear report is now available:



Policy Discussions

Wikimedia Grants Approved

Participation Grants Approved

US Cultural Partnerships

  • US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator begins work
  • Preparation has continued for the Wikipedia session and table at the American Association of Museums conference in April. The Wikipedia session will now also be part of the exclusive online conference as well.
  • GLAMcamp DC, which will take place in early February, is in its final stages of preparation. This has included establishing a proposed framework for GLAM:US collaboration, which will be presented at GLAMcamp and finalized as a goal of the event alongside other documentation and tool development.
  • Initial coordination talks have begun with Europeana and others who will be collaborating on GLAM tools over the coming year.
  • There has been ongoing follow-up on leads and expressions of interest from GLAM institutions, as well as consolidation of interested parties and contacts into a single, master list. This streamlining of information will continue at GLAMcamp DC.
  • In February, the US Cultural Partnerships Coordinator will be publishing a number of GLAM-related blog posts for various organizations , including the Center for the Future of Museums, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and the New Media Consortium.


India Programs

Brazil Catalyst

“Wikisampa 11” meetup in São Paulo

  • We have been working hand and hand with the community to hire the Brazil National Program Director. The recruiting process has been innovative in that we have engaged with an unprecedented level of community involvement.
    1. We posted the role in November, and in parallel with an executive search firm which was screening applicants, we asked the Brazilian community to nominate two community members to participate in the interviews with us. They selected two great folks – Everton and Castelo – to interview 10 finalists on a panel with Barry in Sao Paulo.
    2. The next phase for the top 4 finalists was a unique assignment to be done on the wiki: engage the Brazilian community and your fellow candidates on the wiki to address the question of how to grow the PT:WP community? The assignment went well and was a great learning experience for the candidates and for us.
    3. Following the assignment Skype and interviews with Jessie, we brought in a top candidate to SF at the end of the month and are in the final stages of of the process.
  • We are also starting a small Brazil Education Pilot ( in March 2012. We are targeting about 5 professors (one of whom – Juliana – pioneered this program in Brazil in 2011). Contractor Everton Zanella Alvarenga is leading this effort from Sao Paulo.


Arabic Language Initiative

  • Visited Tunisia as part of our outreach regional program, more details are found here: [1]
  • Updated and localized some of our bookshelf material. (Printing is currently in process.)
  • Preparing for upcoming events in Egypt and Jordan
  • Helped develop the Cairo education pilot – see Global Education Program section

Global Education Program

  • Frank Schulenburg published the program plan for the Cairo pilot to start in spring 2012. The document outlines the core design elements as well as the success criteria and the questions the pilot project is supposed to answer:
  • Frank Schulenburg and Annie Lin documented the measures put in place based on the learnings from the pilot project in Pune, India. (More than 10 different actions have been taken in order to immediately apply the learning points to the Cairo pilot. Among others, these include a longer preparation phase, a heavy involvement of the local community of Wikipedians, a strict limit on the number of participating students, and mandatory professor orientations. More differences on )
  • Professors joining the Wikipedia Education Program in the spring 2012 term are finding a new set of participation requirements in place, designed to ensure that all participating professors and students receive adequate support on Wikipedia.
    • These new participation requirements are largely based on the feedback given by members of the English Wikipedia community.
    • The requirements set standards for the maximum number of students per Wikipedia Ambassador and the number of Wikipedians involved in the program, and they require instructors to go through a faculty orientation.
    • Currently, the requirements affect the programs in the U.S., in Canada, and in Egypt during spring 2012, although individual programs may enact stricter requirements as well (for example, the Cairo Pilot will have an even smaller ambassador to student ratio).
    • So far, community reactions to these new requirements have been very positive. More information:

Faculty workshop for the Cairo pilot (more photos on Wikimedia Commons)


  • We announced a partnership with Orange on January 24 — free Wikipedia access (i.e. no mobile data fees) for 70+ million customers across 20 countries in the Middle East and Africa
    • The announcement of the partnership got a lot of positive press attention: 50+ articles including Mashable, GigaOM, Wired UK, and Guardian
    • There is much work ahead to implement these partnerships from a technical and marketing standpoint: helping define how the service is marketed by operators and how we measure it.
  • “Selling in” free Wikipedia continues to be the main objective, and we plan to announce another big partner — and new countries — in Feburary.
  • Project planning on further USSD/SMS testing in Africa with the Praekelt Foundation began.



The Wikipedia blackout is January 2012’s standout story, possibly the story of the year for WMF and Wikipedia, and maybe the most important story in our history. The days before and after January 18, 2012 were almost exclusively focused on supporting WMF’s work around the community mandate to bring about a blackout, including consulting on messaging, design, implementation, community outreach and media relations. January also saw the cap-off of our most successful fundraising campaign ever, and saw the introduction of Matthew Roth to the Communications team as Manager, Global Communications.

Major news

The English Wikipedia as seen by readers during the blackout

Wikipedia blackout (January 18)

Undoubtedly one of the biggest stories in the US and the world in January 2012 was the Internet protests on January 18, which largely centered around the Wikipedia community decision to blackout English Wikipedia internationally for one day. Aside from publishing three separate press releases leading up to and after the blackout, the Communications team worked closely with Jimmy Wales on both advance press interviews and a deluge of interview requests the week of January 16.
In total, WMF responded to over 260 separate media inquiries from around the world. reports over 11,000 media stories on the topic of our blackout and the Internet protests, many of which focused primarily on Wikipedia. Jimmy Wales had over a dozen television appearances, effectively positioning the blackout story as the leading story around the world on January 18. Major newswire stories were syndicated interntaionally and in dozens of languages.
Social media activity around the blackout was extraordinary. Users followed the CongressLookup system and tweeted their Representatives to urge action around SOPA/PIPA. #WikipediaBlackout and #SOPA were trending topics for the day. #wikipediablackout was tweeted almost 1 million times, and SOPA was mentioned 2.3 million times.
Media interest continued well after the week of January 16 and Communications continues to support inquiries. We’re also working on a series of feature stories about the blackout in major magazines and placed OpEd stories in either the New York Times or Washington Post.
Wikimedia’s global network of chapters also fielded dozens of requests in their own regions and languages, further augmenting the world-wide footprint of the blackout. Media coverage was largely positive and supportive of the efforts of Wikipedia’s community. The bill supporters have since withdrawn both SOPA and PIPA, shelving them indefinitely, based largely on a historic level of constituent reaction and Congressional contact in the US.
Meta-wiki consolidation of the major coverage:

(and great quotes about the blackout)

Social media stats:

Wikipedia Signpost:
Orange/WMF partnership for free Wikipedia mobile (January 24)

WMF returned to one of its early business partners in January, announcing a major partnership to make Wikipedia available at no charge to mobile subscribers in dozens of their territories throughout Africa and the Middle East. This was the first major partnership announced regarding WMF’s efforts to dramatically increase access to Wikipedia through mobile channels around the world. Coverage was largely positive and supportive of the effort.

Press releases

Orange and the Wikimedia Foundation partner to offer Wikipedia in Africa and the Middle East at no extra cost, 24 January 2012

Statement from the Wikimedia Foundation regarding developments in Washington on SOPA and PIPA, 20 January 2012

Wikipedia blackout affirms overwhelming support for free and open Internet, 18 January 2012

English Wikipedia to go dark January 18 in opposition to SOPA/PIPA, 16 January 2012

Wikimedia Foundation Rings In New Year With Record-breaking Fundraiser, 2 January 2012

Blog posts

Wikipedia Signpost

Media contact

Human Resources

Staff Changes

New Hires
  • Fabrice Florin, Product Manager – New Editor Engagement (VP of Engineering & Prod Development)
  • Joady Lohr, Director of Human Resources (Human Resources)
  • Christopher McMahon, Quality Assurance Lead Engineer (Engineering)
  • Gayle Karen Young, Chief Talent and Culture Officer (Human Resources)
New Other Roles Filled/Conversion
  • Subhashish Panigrahi, Consultant Community & Program Support (India)
  • Jon Robson, Contractor Software Developer-Mobile (Engineering)
  • Matthew Roth, Global Communications Manager (Global Development)
New Contractors
  • Christian Aistleitner
  • Andreas Engels
  • Andrew Otto
  • Lori Phillips
  • Sarah Stierch
Contract Extended
  • Pavel Andreev
  • Jeroen de Dauw
  • Erek Dyskant
  • Roan Kattouw
  • Niklas Laxstrom
  • Yusuke Matsubara
  • Diederik Van Liere
  • Susan Walling
  • Neil Kandalgoankar
  • Cyn Skyberg
Contract Ended
  • Farhan Chaudhary
  • Aislinn Dewey
  • Tracey Fleming
  • Stacey Merrick
  • Heather O’Malley
  • Neel Punatar
New Postings
  • Senior Software Engineer Frontend
  • Operations Engineer (Labs)
  • Recruiting Engineer
  • Mobile QA


Total Employee Count

Actual: 95
January Plan: 110, January Filled: 7, January Attrition: 2
YTD Filled: 32, YTD Attrition: 11

Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end: 22

Department Updates

Joady Lohr has joined us as the new Director of Human Resources. Joady handles aspects of human resources related to compensation, benefits, policies, etc. and is already an indispensible part of our team. She comes to us with years of experience at IDEO and Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), both of which speak to her experiences working in HR with global organizations.
In recruiting, we are iterating changes to , and hosting a focus group with community members to ensure that the page communicates that we welcome community members applying for roles with the Foundation. Feedback on the page is welcome. We are also rolling out Jobvite as our recruitment and applicant tracking software to streamline our recruiting process.
We have also begun redesigning some of our internal processes, such as onboarding and hiring, including a revision of our hiring contracts and agreements with heavy and wonderful support from Legal.
Real-time feed for HR updates: or

Finance and Administration

Chip Deubner joined our Office IT team and Nathan D’Annibale joined our accounting team.
We are continuing our search for a Head of Office Administration and will begin interviews next week.
Work was completed on an update to conference room R 33 to improve its usability for the Tech team. Our thanks to Leslie for facilitating this project.

  • Like the rest of the WMF office and community, Legal provided strong support to the SOPA/PIPA blackout strategy, including advising the community on the SOPA Initiative page, helping coordinate cross-functional issues, and reviewing various legal issues associated with the blackout. We are now engaged in post-blackout strategy with other departments. Our present thinking is to leverage the positive response following the blackout to support messages that explain and advocate the open and free knowledge movement as it applies to Wikimedia values.
  • Reviewing present privacy policy for possible revision and review with community.
  • Strong support of global development: India and Brazil.
  • Strong daily contract, trademark, community, governance, international, and content-defense support.
  • Stats
    • # contracts signed – 10
    • # trademark requests – 11
      • approved – 4
      • denied – 2
      • approval not needed – 1
      • pending – 4

Visitors and Guests

  1. Daniel Long (Community member)
  2. Wendy Hanamura, Cassie Gruenstein, Merin Mathew, Taylor Hadfield, Andrea Jones, Lili Polastri (Link TV)
  3. Philip Neustrom (LocalWiki)
  4. Julian Nachtigal (pariSoma)
  5. Victor Lobo and two colleagues (ADP)
  6. 30 Harvard/Stanford students for cross dept talk
  7. Steve Devetter (KPMG)
  8. Daniel Kinzler (Wikimedia Germany)
  9. MetaMarkets CEO Mike Driscoll and team, for a brown bag presentation on analytics
  10. Product Design Guild (hosted meet-up)
  11. Derk-Jan Hartman
  12. Various visiting engineering contractors

(2012/03/04: Edited to correct YTD employee stats and add missing Participation Grant)

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

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A so-called “Director of Human Resources” at the Wikimedia Foundation ?!

well, if you have a staff of 100 and no HR you are pretty much in chaos.