Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Archive for September, 2011

The Localisation team brings you input methods

Sanskrit Wiktionary with the Chrome browser demonstrates issues for the Localisation team.

This #Wiktionary screen shot shows the first iteration of the language support that will be brought to MediaWiki by the Wikimedia Localisation team. It makes it possible for people with a standard US keyboard to emulate a keyboard appropriate for their language.

Narayam, the MediaWiki extension, was originally conceived by JunaidPV and has been further developed to provide keyboards for many more languages. Particularly the people who use the languages from India will benefit. Many different scripts are in use but many computers do not have an appropriate keyboard for the many different languages.

Now that Narayam is live on some wikis, we will gain the experience necessary before it will go live on other projects and for other languages. When it works well, external tools like the ones shown on the Sanskrit Wiktionary can be phased out as well.

At you will find keyboard methods for many more languages. Please try them out and, when you cannot find a keyboard method for your language, you may discuss within your community if Narayam can be beneficial for your language.


Gerard Meijssen
Internationalization / Localization outreach consultant

New mobile site launched on Wikipedia, soon for sister wikis too.

Thanks to Patrick Reilly, Asher Feldman, many volunteers developers, and lots of testers, we’ve now launched our new Mobile gateway, powered by the MobileFrontend MediaWiki extension. It is enabled on Wikipedia, and will be rolled out to its sister sites gradually.

The launch went very smoothly, and barring any major issue in the next weeks, we’ll take off the beta icon. We’ve learned a ton about WURFL, Varnish, X-Device-Headers, and more in making this launch happen. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below or mail us at

English Wikipedia Main Page

With this change, we’re saying thank you to our Ruby & Hawhaw mobile gateways and retiring them in favor of a simpler php extension. Many thanks to Hampton Caitlin, theDJ, and everyone who has helped run our old gateways over the last couple of years. Combined, the Ruby & Hawhaw gateways have served hundreds of millions of users each month and have been an integral part of our mobile ecosystem.

Moving forward, we’ll be developing MobileFrontend as our primary mobile interface. Our future mobile projects, involving offline, editing, uploads, etc., will all in some way interact with the extension. We’re eager to see more developers working on it, along with getting broader usage of it within the various Wikimedia projects and beyond.

With MobileFrontend, we now have the ability to easily allow not only Wikipedia but our sister projects to have a mobile friendly view. No longer will it just be Wikipedia that has a mobile view.

Here are a couple of examples:

I’m really excited to see how all of the Wikimedia projects embrace mobile as a new way of surfacing amazing freely licensed content.

One area where we could use some help is to create the home pages for these projects. Right now they look like this: Creating these pages is easy and you can find information about how to get started on meta. Once we have a couple more home pages created, we can start to make the mobile view be the default for these projects.

You can learn more about our mobile projects and future work by visiting our Mobile Projects page. If you are a developer and would like to get involved, check out the page detailing our work. And if you just want to say hello or give us some super quick feedback, join us on IRC on freenode in #wikimedia-mobile.

Come help make Wikimedia projects on Mobile better for everyone.


Tomasz Finc
Director of Mobile and Special Projects

Results from first Wikipedia Ambassador survey

The first generation of Wikipedia Ambassadors participated in a survey when the Public Policy Initiative wrapped up this summer. More than 80 respondents (over half of the 2010-2011 Ambassadors!) provided input about their experiences and how to improve the program. Many Wikimedia Foundation blog followers are probably familiar with the Initiative’s development of the Ambassador Program to open Wikipedia to the academic community. Ambassadors come in two flavors: Campus Ambassadors, who provide a face for Wikipedia on university campuses, and Online Ambassadors, who support the new student editors on wiki as they make their first contributions.

The graphs illustrate the Ambassadors’ role and motivations, based on the survey results.
Ambassador Roles 








Ambassador Motivations
While both Campus and Online Ambassadors identified their role as helping newcomers, their motivations diverged. Online Ambassadors were strongly motivated by helping newcomers, and Campus Ambassadors were strongly motivated by increasing Wikipedia credibility and use on university campuses. Both Campus and Online Ambassadors felt responsible first to the students they were working with and second to the Wikipedia community. Ambassadors agreed on the Public Policy Initiative outcomes:

  1. Wikipedia content improved.
  2. Use of Wikipedia as a teaching tool increased.
  3. Ambassadors provided support for college-educated newcomers.
  4. There was an increase of Wikipedia’s credibility among academia.

Through the survey, many Ambassadors shared their most memorable experiences in the program. Some of the highlights include:

  • I showed a student how to check the page view statistics. Hundreds of people had seen his article since he created it. What an immediate impact he had! He was blown away.”
  • For me it was an honor to have a student participant who was also a US Congressman and to help improve his Wikipedia article.”
  • My favorite story is of a non-traditional age student telling me that her son’s 8th grade teacher told the class not to use Wikipedia because it can not be trusted. Our student told her son what she had learned about neutral-voice and verifiability and community scholarship. At the end of the semester her son told her that his middle-school teacher now says it’s okay to use Wikipedia as a place to start looking for information… I sure would like to know what that 8th grader told his teacher about his Mom’s academic Wikipedia experience.”

Check out the pages for the Wikipedia Ambassador Program and Global Education Program to find out more about our program.

Amy Roth
Research Analyst, Public Policy Initiative 

Ushahidi to Track Breaking News Trends on Wikipedia

When news breaks, Wikipedians all over the world–in scores of languages– help news followers understand and filter the news by curating and summarizing it as quickly and as accurately as possible. Editors essentially distill the universe of news down so that readers can quickly understand the bigger picture without having to navigate through a cyclone of articles and headlines. Due to the quick and careful work of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors, readers have an in-depth and comprehensive understanding of breaking news, informed by aggregated information from various trustworthy, international scholarly and media organizations. The end result is dynamic, contextual information in the form of an encyclopedic article. But researchers at the Wikimedia Foundation and Ushahidi wonder: How does an editor decide which sources to include or reject? How do they keep track of rapidly-changing topics happening in other parts of the world, reported in foreign languages? How do editors verify information in crisis scenarios like earthquakes and political unrest situated outside their frame of reference?

As Wikipedia volunteers maintain the integrity of article information during high-pressure situations like breaking news cycles, they do so manually using their personal spheres of reference and Ushahidi has kicked off a new research project to study how this happens. They’re looking at how Wikipedia editors track, evaluate and verify sources on rapidly evolving pages of Wikipedia, the results of which will inform the development of Ushahidi’s Sweeper tool. It’s Ushahidi’s hope that Sweeper could potentially be used by Wikipedia editors to collaboratively make sense of sources rather using separate tracking and verification strategies.

We’re excited to support this research with Ushahidi and look forward to defining new tools and resources to help Wikipedians incorporate the best information possible into the encyclopedias. If you’re interested in learning more, see the WikiSweeper project page for more information or sign up for project updates.

Moka Pantages
Global Communications

Asteroid Shower Helps Propel Hungarian Wikipedia to 200,000 Articles at Warp Speed

Growing at a steady pace of about 100 articles a day, the Hungarian Wikipedia was recently propelled into warp-speed by a shower of 350 articles about asteroids, helping the encyclopedia hit a 200K article milestone this weekend. On Saturday, September 10 at 02:08 UTC the 200,000th article was added to the encyclopedia. Interestingly, the record-breaking article was *not* about asteroids, but about Crankshafts. Contributed by User: Pakos, real-name Ákos Pásztor, the Crankshaft article has been edited more than 40 times by 14 editors. Pakos, also the volunteer editor responsible for the asteroid articles, has a keen interest in astrology, motor sports and topics covering his hometown of Dorog, Hungary.

The eight-year-old encyclopedia is a top-20 encyclopedia among the more than 270 Wikipedia language encyclopedias. Initially founded by user: Grin (Péter Gervai) who, when surfing the internet back in 2003 for information about Hungarian kings, came across English Wikipedia. He started by translating Wikipedia policies and guidelines and later created the first mainspace article on the Hungarian band, Omega.

Today, Hungarian Wikipedia is the largest, most comprehensive encyclopedia in the history of the language. The Big Pallas Encyclopedia, completed in 1897, included 150,000 entries, Révai Encyclopedia, completed in 1935, included 230,000 entries and the Hungarian Great Encyclopedia, completed in 2004, contained about 150,000 entries. Although the work of the editors is impressive, according to volunteer editor and WMHU Executive Vice President, Bence Damokos, there’s still a lot missing. Bence, username bdamokos, mentioned that articles covering basic topics like Oscar-winning movies are still yet to be written. And even Hungarian films like Pál Adrienn, which won the 2011 Hungarian Filmweek Award and was screened at Cannes, strangely has an article in the English Wikipedia but not Hungarian Wikipedia.

Volunteers have planned a celebration and new editor outreach event set for October 1 in the town of Győr. If you’re in that part of the world, plan to join them! We wish the Hungarian Wikipedia well in their quest to invite more people to edit and help drive the enyclopeida to the next milestone.


Moka Pantages

Global Communications

Fundraiser engineering heats up: Sprints 5 & 6 update

The last three weeks have flown by as fundraiser engineering starts to heat up.  Aside from the usual bug fixes and cool new features, we added a new member to the team, made some modifications to our development process and began tackling one of our biggest challenges this year: integrating with a new payment service provider.


  • Jeremy Postlethwaite joined the engineering team and is quickly getting up to speed.
  • We had our first ‘tech showcase’, where we demoed all of the functionality we’ve developed to date*. The showcase provides an opportunity for project stakeholders to see progress in near real time, which allows for better decision making as well as more effective change/risk management. This will be a regular part of our sprint wrap-ups.
  • First production-level test of the RapidHtml system, which is very light-weight solution that allows for quick html-based credit card form development and provides template tokens for dynamic form elements. This was tested during last week’s weekly fundraising test, when we tested the efficacy of collecting the donor’s billing information from the landing page rather than on the credit card form.
  • The Mingle engineering team over at ThoughtWorks Studios invited us to visit and see what the their development cycle is like. Seeing what their processes are like proved valuable. It hammered home that ‘agile development‘ is more about the mindset and values found in the Agile Manifesto than about any specific development practices. We will continue to collaborate with their engineering team to share information/ideas and hope to have the opportunity to do so with other engineering teams in the future.

Sprints 5 & 6 wrap up

  • Increased logging of changes that happen in CentralNotice, including interfaces and filters to search and review those changes.
  • Added an API to ContributionTracking which allows us to bypass the interstitial page that a donor gets sent to prior to donating when they choose to donate via PayPal
  • Began abstracting and refactoring DonationInterface (links to current development branch) in preparation for adding an additional payment provider.
  • Bug fixes to the RapidHtml form delivery system in the DonationInterface extension
  • Bug fixes to our contribution auditing framework (which ensures our contribution records in CiviCRM align with accounting, etc.).
  • Ongoing operations work improving resiliency and reliability of the fundraising architecture.

You can view sprint 5 and sprint 6 in Mingle*, and view our notes from the retrospectives.

Sprint 7 kick-off

For Sprint 7, we are going all-in on integrating with Global Collect, a new payment processor which will allow us to take donations in more currencies and with more region-specific payment methods. Work will continue abstracting/refactoring the DonationInterface extension, as well as building a payment notification listener compatible with Global Collect’s ‘Payment Status Communicator’.

Get involved

If you are interested in getting involved, help smash our open bugs and/or visit us on IRC in #wikimedia-fundraising.

* For access to Mingle, log in with username/password of guest/guest.

Arthur Richards
Fundraiser tech lead

Wikimedia Foundation Report, August 2011

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.

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)

Pan-European Wiki Loves Monuments Contest Receives 15,000 Images From More Than 1,000 Participants and Counting

Congratulations to the 13 European chapters and three independent Wikimedia volunteer groups on their successful launch of the first-ever pan-European Wiki Loves Monuments photography contest. Since its September 1st launch, more than 15,000 images from 1,000 participants have been uploaded to Wikimedia Commons. Participant Basvb from the Netherlands is in the lead with more than 600 images, with Switzerland’s Odrade123 following close behind with 534 images contributed. A special image upload wizard was also created to help optimize the contribution process and organize donated images by country.

Although it seems like the world is imbued with European culture and heritage, images of most of the monuments and important buildings found throughout Europe aren’t freely available on the Internet. This means access to these cultural riches are limited to the few who live within reach. RTVE recently reported that in Spain alone, many of the 13,500 official cultural sites, monuments, buildings, gardens, parks, archaeological sites, etc… have dedicated Wikipedia articles, but only one in five include images. Additional global coverage can be followed here.

Last year, Wiki Loves Monuments was piloted in the Netherlands, culminating in 12,500 freely-licenced images contributed to the Commons. This is an admirable number of donated images, however there’s still a dearth of monuments in the Netherlands still in need of capturing– about 30,000 of the 60,000 designated cultural sites are still waiting to be shared.

Wiki Loves Monuments runs throughout the entire month of September and is organized in independent national contests. Winning images from regional contests will then be submitted to the pan-European jury. Participating partner countries include: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

The contest is supported by international organizations including the Council of Europe, the European Commission, Europeana and Europa Nostra. Prizes, including a full scholarship to Wikimania in Washington, DC, will be awarded to winners mid-December. More information about the contest and how to enter can be found at: or follow the participant leader-board or follow the Twitter hashtag #wikilovesmonuments

Good luck to all of the participants!

Moka Pantages, Global Communications

Findings from the Wikimedia Foundation Summer of Research now available

For the last three months, the Wikimedia Foundation’s Community Department has been busy with our inaugural summer research program. Today, we are happy to share our summary of findings.

We invited eight academics from a variety of fields to join us from June through August, in order to take an intensive look at the dynamics of Wikipedia’s editing community. We organized our work this summer as a series of weekly sprints, each tackling a new topic related to participation in Wikipedia by editors. In particular, we focused on the spectrum of participation related to new editors of Wikipedia, from the time they register to how they first contribute and collaborate with existing community members.

The past months have been a fun, rewarding collaboration with Foundation staff and fellows, community members, and our friends from the academic world who joined us. We hope that our conclusions, as well as the underlying data and open source tools used to produce them, will give the entire Wikimedia movement greater insight into how the volunteer editing community functions and can be better supported. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the researchers who participated in this summer and who worked hard to make it a success.

Our summary of findings is organized topically, but you can see the complete list of individual research sprints, links to media, and other information on our main documentation page on Meta. If you have questions or comments about our findings or the documentation for individual projects, please feel free to make use of the related Talk pages.

Diederik van Liere, Maryana Pinchuk, Steven Walling,
Community Department

P.S. The research team also had the pleasure of presenting their findings to Foundation staff in San Francisco in late August. Below are a few snapshots of that event we’d like to share. These and more from the summer are available on Wikimedia Commons.

Introducing Wikipedia Editor Satisfaction Index

The Wikimedia Foundation is working on new products and global initiatives to increase participation in our projects, specifically Wikipedia. To help inform the development of this work we’ve been researching the trends and patterns of Wikipedia editors, most recently through the Wikipedia Summer of Research initiative and also with data from the 2011 Wikipedia Editors Survey.

While studying editor participation trends, we have hypothesized that acrimony and disagreement in the editing community could be a leading cause of a decrease in project participation. To test this hypothesis as a segment of our analysis of responses to the Editor Survey (report here), we defined the Wikipedia Editor Satisfaction Index (WESI). The WESI is a metric gauging the overall satisfaction of the editing community and interactions/assessments of fellow editors. We used responses to two questions on the survey: how they described their fellow editors (picking from a set of adjectives), and whether they believed community feedback had helped them personally. These responses were weighted, and then normalized to a 0-10 rating.

The results were encouraging. About 47 percent of editors surveyed scored 10/10. In all, about 77 percent of those surveyed scored 7.5 or higher, indicating that the majority of our editing community is very satisfied with their experience on Wikipedia and has a healthy assessment of fellow editors. This is great news – as Wikipedia continues to focus on improving the editing experience, while also making efforts to foster new participation (especially in the Global South), the community’s support is vital.

Distribution of WESI scores across all surveyed Wikipedia editors

In order to understand what factors determine an Editor’s satisfaction with Wikipedia, we performed a multilinear regression1 on the WESI metric. Some interesting findings:

  1. Help is appreciated: Having others from the community add content or correct grammatical mistakes greatly increases the likelihood of an editor reporting a positive experience.
  2. Peer recognition matters a lot more than any other kind of recognition: Editors highly value the respect and recognition of their peers. Editors who received barnstars or any other form of reward from their peers were much more likely to report a higher score. Interestingly, events like having an article featured or promoted to the front page did not have a very significant effect on editor satisfaction.
  3. Explanations for reverts are key: When an edit is reverted, not explaining why has a strong negative impact on editor satisfaction. Similarly, an explanation actually has a strong positive influence on editor satisfaction.

A comparision of WESI scores reveals that women are, on average, less satisfied than men, though not by much – about 5 percent. Although transsexuals/transgenders (marked below as Others) together account for only 0.5 percent of our sample, it’s important to note that their satisfaction scores are significantly lower.

WESI score comparision by Gender

The Editor Survey Report highlights some more findings, but the emerging theme is simple: be nice to each other, and help out where you can!

As we work towards establishing the WESI metric as a standard for understanding the community’s experiences on Wikipedia, we’ll continue to share more findings (and implications) of the Wikipedia Editor Satisfaction Index.

Mani Pande, Head of Global Development Research

Ayush Khanna, Global Development Intern

(This is the eleventh in series of blog posts where we previously shared insights from the April 2011 Editors Survey.)