Thinking about annual planning in the Wikimedia Foundation’s Product and Technology department

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I spoke with you all back in November about what I believe is the most pressing question facing the Wikimedia movement: how do we ensure that Wikipedia and all Wikimedia projects are multigenerational? I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to really consider that question and to respond to me directly, and now that I’ve had the chance to spend some time reflecting on your responses, I’ll share what I’ve learned.

First, there is no single reason volunteers contribute. In order to nurture multiple generations of volunteers, we need to better understand the many reasons people contribute their time to our projects. Next, we need to focus on what sets us apart: our ability to provide trustworthy content as disinformation and misinformation proliferate around the internet and on platforms competing for the attention of new generations. This includes ensuring we achieve the mission to assemble and deliver the sum of all human knowledge to the world by expanding our coverage of missing information, which can be caused by inequity, discrimination or bias. Our content needs to also serve and remain vital in a changing internet driven by artificial intelligence and rich experiences. Lastly we need to find ways to sustainably fund our movement by building a shared strategy for our products and revenue so that we can fund this work for the long term.

These ideas will be reflected in the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2024-2025 annual plan, the first portion of which I’m sharing with you today in the form of draft objectives for our product & technology work. Like with last year, our entire annual plan will be centered around the technology needs of our audiences and platforms, and we’d like your feedback to know if we’re focusing on the right problems. These objectives build off ideas we’ve been hearing from community members over the past several months through Talking:2024, on mailing lists and talk pages, and at community events about our product and technology strategy for the year ahead. You can view the full list of draft objectives on Meta-Wiki.

An “objective” is a high level direction that will shape the product and technology projects we take on for the next fiscal year. They’re intentionally broad, represent the direction of our strategy and, importantly, what challenges we’re proposing to prioritize among the many possible focus areas for the upcoming year. We’re sharing this now so community members can help shape our early-stage thinking and before budgets and measurable targets are committed for the year.


One area in which we’d particularly like feedback is our work grouped under the name “Wiki Experiences.” “Wiki Experiences” is about how we efficiently deliver, improve, and innovate how people directly use the wikis, whether as contributors, consumers, or donors. This involves work to support our core technology and capabilities and making sure we can improve the experience of volunteer editors — in particular, editors with extended rights — through better features and tooling, translation services, and platform upgrades.

Here are some reflections from our recent planning discussions, and some questions for all of you to help us refine our ideas:

  1. Volunteering on the Wikimedia projects should feel rewarding. We also think that the experience of online collaboration should be a major part of what keeps volunteers coming back. What does it take for volunteers to find editing rewarding, and to work better together to build trustworthy content?
  2. The trustworthiness of our content is part of Wikimedia’s unique contribution to the world, and what keeps people coming to our platform and using our content. What can we build that will help grow trustworthy content more quickly, but still within the quality guardrails set by communities on each project?
  3. To stay relevant and compete with other large online platforms, Wikimedia needs a new generation of consumers to feel connected to our content. How can we make our content easier to discover and interact with for readers and donors?
  4. In an age where online abuse thrives, we need to make sure our communities, platform, and serving system are protected. We also face evolving compliance obligations, where global policymakers look to shape privacy, identity, and information sharing online. What improvements to our abuse fighting capabilities will help us address these challenges?
  5. MediaWiki, the software platform and interfaces that allow Wikipedia to function, needs ongoing support for the next decade in order to provide creation, moderation, storage, discovery, and consumption of open, multilingual content at scale. What decisions and platform improvements can we make this year to ensure that MediaWiki is sustainable?

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