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Global Development midyear report 2011-12

Please find below the summary part of the mid-year status report from the Wikimedia Foundation’s Global Development department, regarding the 2011-12 annual plan. The full report including the core activity review and priorities for next six months can be accessed on Meta.

Overall, the global development team continues to make progress in building our team, however we are moving more slowly than would be preferred in some areas. I’m happy that we have made a huge amount of progress in Mobile over the past six months. I would like to be further along in deploying pilot programs in India and Brazil as well as in expanding our grants program. The slower than desired pace is a result of our desire to do a better job of working with the communities where we are deeply engaged, a desire to do more upfront consultation and design work, and due to our relatively thinly spread leadership resource (me). We are also actively reflecting on the Pune Pilot and integrating lessons into how we work across the board, not just in the Global Education Project or in India.

WMF Goal #1: Mobile

Woman taking a mobile picture in Bangalore

We are on track to meet our plan for our mobile target of 2 billion page views for 2011/12 and partnerships with mobile operators representing 500 million subscribers. In December 2011, we had 1.534 billion page views to our mobile sites across all Wikipedias as compared with 802 million in June 2011.[1] We have made excellent progress across the organization on mobile over the past six months and are in a fundamentally better place than we were. Our mobile partnerships team has built a pipeline of partnerships with mobile operators around the world that start launching in January. Our current partnership list covers key markets in Latin America, Asia, Middle East and Africa, Turkey and Russia representing over 700 million subscribers. Not every deal will come to fruition, but we are confident that some major ones will and we’ll begin to attract wider interest in partnerships. In most cases, our partners will be offering Wikipedia access for free to their subscribers and we are working on marketing programs that will expand reach.

The Global Development team works closely with engineering on mobile research, product feature decision making and on technical support for partners. Our engineering team has deployed a much-improved mobile gateway and enhanced its functionality, and is working hard to release an Android app, which closes a hole in our portfolio. They are building out our engineering resources to enable continuous improvement of our mobile position. GD/Eng’s mobile research work (we have done two major studies) has helped inform engineering decisions on the product development pathway. Results from the Mobile Readers Survey 2011 are being analyzed, and will be shared soon. Findings from the mobile research work conducted in India and Brazil can be found at Wikipedia Mobile User Research.

WMF Goal #2: Editor growth

Qatar Convening for Arabic Wikipedia October 2011

Progress on editor growth has been more challenging. We are behind in getting pilot initiatives deployed to really understand the potential for direct impact on editor growth. Our primary effort to date has been the Global Education Program including the Pune Pilot in India. While the program in the US and Canada continues to grow, it has had a small and temporary impact on editor numbers. The program has not been oriented toward creating new Wikipedians, but has added almost 2,000 editors during the Fall 2011 semester, more than thrice the number from Spring 2011 (500+).

The Pune Pilot, which we launched in June, has wrapped up, but was a failure. There were a range of problems involving student plagiarism and the program took on too many students with too few support resources to manage the problems that came up. We also taxed the English Wikipedia community in a way that we had not intended and was regrettable. We learned a lot…and are engaged in a thorough review of the pilot with outside help to ensure we capture the lessons and make better and different mistakes in the future.

We did not have the capacity in place to launch other pilot initiatives in the past six months. We slowed down our plans for Brazil to create space to build a strong relationship with the Brazilian community and conduct some research into the current state of PT:WP. Our India program was at full capacity dealing with the Pune Pilot, supporting the Wikiconference India, and basic program setup requirements. Our India team also took some time to strengthen their links to the community and do a better job of getting early community partnership in program work.

An unplanned for opportunity emerged to accelerate catalyst activities in MENA focused on Arabic Wikipedia. It was not in the annual plan to work in MENA this year, but we took the opportunity presented by the interest of the Qatar Computing Research Institute in supporting Wikipedia. They hosted a small workshop where we met with leading Arabic Wikipedians and laid the groundwork for program work in the beginning of 2012.

Global Development core activity review

see full report

Global Development Priorities for the next six months

see full report

 

Barry Newstead

Chief Global Development Officer

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