Each year, the Wikimedia Foundation summarizes our goals for the year in our Annual Plan. This fiscal year, which kicked off for us in July 2023, we are centering our plans around our Product and Technology work, in service of the broader movement strategy goals to become the essential infrastructure of free knowledge. Our Annual Plan recognizes Wikimedia’s role as a platform for people to contribute on a massive scale, and prioritizes four key goals to meaningfully evolve the work we do and meet the changing world around us. Hundreds of Wikimedians shaped this annual plan both on and off wiki.
How’s the year going so far?
The four key annual plan goals
The annual plan laid out these four key goals:
- EQUITY: Support Knowledge Equity. Strengthen Equity in Decision-Making via Movement governance and Movement Charter. Empower and engage the Movement, support regional strategies and help close knowledge gaps.
- INFRASTRUCTURE: Advance Knowledge as a Service. Improve User Experience on the wikis, especially for established editors. Strengthen metrics and reporting.
- SAFETY & INCLUSION: Protect against growing external threats. Defend our people and projects against disinformation and harmful government regulation. Work across the Movement to Provide for the Safety of Volunteers.
- EFFECTIVENESS: Strengthen our overall performance. Evaluate, Iterate, and Adapt our processes for maximum impact with more limited resources.
Here’s a summary of the Foundation’s progress, broken down by these four goals.
Equity is about closing knowledge gaps and supporting and growing a global movement of contributors and content on the Wikimedia projects. This is not work the Foundation can do alone, and so we’ve been working collaboratively with volunteers on activities to reach this goal.
Wikimania Singapore was a key milestone of our knowledge equity work, and was an opportunity to invite and engage with growing communities in Asia. Hosted by volunteers from East and Southeast Asia & Pacific (ESEAP) in partnership with Foundation staff, Wikimania connected over 2800 Wikimedians virtually and in person from 142 countries- many of whom may not otherwise have had the opportunity to collaborate and learn from each other. Attendees shared their experiences in workshops, lectures, and discussions, participated in photo walks, meetups, library edit-a-thons and city tours, cheered on the Wikimedians of the Year, and celebrated a wikibirthday and wikiwedding at the closing party. More than 90% of attendee survey respondents agreed that they were overall satisfied with the event and that it made them feel like they belonged to the Wikimedia movement.
Another key element of knowledge equity involves taking a regional approach, which enables us to address content gaps, center perspectives that have historically been marginalized, and support local needs. We have partnered with volunteers to coordinate monthly regional calls that strengthen support and collaboration at a local level – examples include Afrika Baraza, Central and Eastern Europe Catch Up, WikiCauserie for French-speaking Wikimedians, and the South Asia community call. We also gathered learnings through funding and attending the volunteer-led regional conferences, as well as thematic conferences like EduWiki Conference, WikiWomen Summit, WikiWomen Camp and the GLAM-Wiki Conference. These calls and convenings have been an opportunity to learn more about regional trends and create opportunities for additional collaboration, such as the Africa New Editors project, which has focused on addressing blockers to participation for new editors in the region, and which aims to double the number of retained new editors in Africa over a 3 month period as compared to a control group.
In addition, we continue to support ongoing governance conversations in the movement about the future of Wikimedia and how to ensure representative and equitable governance. We have supported the Movement Charter Drafting Committee on their work to create a charter for the movement, which you can read more about here on Diff.
Our Infrastructure goal is about improving the user experience on the Wikimedia projects. The bulk of the work so far has been focused on the first of three categories, or “buckets,” called Wiki Experiences. The purpose of this bucket is to efficiently deliver, improve and innovate on wiki experiences that enable the distribution of free knowledge world-wide. We do this by building on our core technology and capabilities, ensuring we continuously improve the experience of volunteer editors, editors with extended rights, and technical contributors, and creating a great experience for our readers.
We staged the first of four targeted interventions this year through overhauling the PageTriage software to modernize it and increase its maintainability into the future. We also introduced or improved a number of features, including:
- Event Discovery: a feature that helps campaign organizers increase the visibility of campaigns they do to encourage content on the Wikimedia projects, and thus contributions on high-impact topics.
- Dark Mode: a longstanding wish from the Community Wishlist that will increase accessibility for both editing and reading Wikipedia.
- Patrolling on the Android app: an expansion of the moderator tools in the app to improve the overall quality of edits made from the app
- Better diff handling for paragraph splits: the #1 wish from the 2022 Community Wishlist survey that allows editors to more easily see when a paragraph spacing was inserted on Wikipedia.
- Watchlist on iOS: this addition to the app gives experienced editors a new way to monitor important Wikipedia articles from their phones.
- Edit Check: improvements to Visual Editor that will guide newcomers to make better edits by automatically warning newer editors when they have added information without a reference, encouraging them to add a reference and notifying them if their reference appears to come from a non-reliable source.
- A more extensive list of features developed in Q1 can be found in this update from CEO Maryana Iskander.
Under Wiki Experiences, we also ramped up our support of technical contributors, dedicating more hours to guidance and code review. For example, the MediaWiki Platform team provided code review for 200 volunteer-submitted patches in Q1. Notably, the number of contributors to MediaWiki core who have submitted more than 5 patches increased 15% when compared to Q1 last year.
Other work from Q1 includes completing research on the history of the Community Wishlist and initiating a refresh of the Community Wishlist process, and not including tasks closed as invalid, the resolution of 331 community-reported Phabricator tasks.
Safety and Inclusion
The Foundation’s safety and inclusion work revolves around defending our people and projects against disinformation and harmful government regulation, and providing for the safety of volunteers. One big body of work was to ensure compliance with the new Digital Services Act, an act that went into effect in August that regulates internet platforms operating in the European Union. Wikipedia was designated a Very Large Online Platform under the Act, subjecting it to additional compliance obligations. We worked to engage regulators and educate them about the Wikipedia model, and also worked to meet our reporting and disclosure obligations by the deadline. We also continued critical advocacy work to raise awareness about Wikipedia as a nonprofit with a unique community-led model when compared to other large internet platforms. We spoke to policymakers and government leaders at several events including the United Nations Human Rights Council, the United Nations General Assembly, and more.
Part of our safety and inclusion work is also about addressing the rising disinformation online and its impact on the Wikimedia projects. To support volunteers, we mapped out initiatives across the ecosystem tackling disinformation on the projects in an Anti-Disinformation Repository and we supported community measures for safety and inclusion by working with the Affiliations Committee, Case Review Committee and Ombuds Commission.
The Effectiveness goal is about improving how we as an organization operate and scale. This year, we are already on track to increase the percentage of our budget that goes to directly supporting Wikimedia’s mission. In concrete terms, this means that, through increasing our internal efficiency around administrative and fundraising costs, we will enable an additional investment of $1.8M into funding for things like grants, feature development, site infrastructure and more.
We will measure our impact on these four goals through four key metrics, which you can learn more about on Meta. This is our first time measuring these metrics around Content, Contributors, Relevance and Effectiveness, and we will share more details around the activities we’ve done and the progress we’ve seen. Our work so far included a significant intervention to support contributors with the PageTriage tool, and resulted in progress on two of our four key metrics for the year: our contributors metric, which we moved the needle on through the PageTriage overhaul, and our effectiveness metric, which we moved toward by improving the percentage of budget going to direct support of Wikimedia’s mission. Our remaining two metrics–content and relevance– remain at baseline. We expect to see progress on these through interventions in the coming months. We are constantly feeding our data back into the process, iterating based on what we’ve been successful at impacting and what we haven’t. We look forward to reporting on more progress throughout the rest of the year.
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