Wikimedia blog

News from the Wikimedia Foundation and about the Wikimedia movement

Posts by Tilman Bayer

Wikimedia Highlights, May 2014

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Demo video for “ZoomProof”, a tool that will facilitate proofreading work on the Armenian Wikisource – one of the 12 new IEG projects

12 new individual engagement grants

The Foundation’s Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) support projects from individuals or small teams to organize, build, create, research or facilitate something that enhances the work of Wikimedia’s volunteers. The 12 winning grants from the first round of 2014 were announced on May 30.

Test of a message inviting anonymous editors to create an account, displayed after they have made an edit (presentation slide)

Inviting anonymous editors to join the Wikipedia community

On the English, German, French, and Italian Wikipedias, the Foundation’s Growth team conducted two experiments to test user interface changes for encouraging anonymous editors to create an account and join the community of registered users. In the first test, a recommendation to create an account was shown when the user clicks “edit”, and in the second test, the invitation was displayed after the user saved an edit. Preliminary data strongly suggested a positive effect on new registrations.

Overview over the FDC proposals from round 2 (presentation slides)

Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) recommendations announced

In May, the nine-member Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) met for its face-to-face deliberations and published its recommendations to the WMF Board of Trustees on proposals from four organizations (three chapters and the Foundation) on how to spend Wikimedia donation money. The Board will make its decision on these recommendations by 1 July. The Advisory Group to the FDC also met in Frankfurt for their final meeting, to provide the Executive Director of the WMF with a recommendation on whether or not the FDC process (begun in 2012) should continue, and if so, what modifications should be made. They unanimously agreed to recommend to continue the process.

Data and Trends

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Wikimedia Foundation Report, May 2014

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.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for April:

465 million (-6.00% compared with March; -9.92% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release May data later in June)

Page requests for May:

20.654 billion (-0.2% compared with April; -1.6% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for April 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

75,364 (-2.25% compared with March / -7.25% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.
Note: These numbers were recently adjusted to correct a bug involving IPV6 addresses.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):

http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/

(Definitions)

Financials

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of April 30, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of April 30, 2014

(Financial information is only available through April 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date April 30, 2014.

Revenue 49,194,784
Expenses:
 Engineering Group 13,800,658
 Fundraising Group 3,209,299
 Grantmaking Group 1,472,907
 Programs Group 1,493,168
 Grants 4,066,472
 Governance Group 725,565
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 3,256,914
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 5,484,592
Total Expenses 33,509,575
Total surplus (15,685,209)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of April is $8.24MM versus plan of $1.71MM, approximately $6.53MM or 383% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $49.19MM versus plan of $46.76MM, approximately $2.43MM or 5% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of April is $3.19MM versus plan of $4.69MM, approximately $1.50MM or 32% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, FDC grants, and payment processing fees partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and travel expenses related to community convening events.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $33.51MM versus plan of $41.06MM, approximately $7.55MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services.
  • Cash and Investments – $55.6MM as of April 30, 2014.

Demo video for “ZoomProof”, a tool that will facilitate proofreading work on the Armenian Wikisource – one of the 12 new IEG projects

Highlights

12 new individual engagement grants

(more…)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, June 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 6 • June 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Power users and diversity in WikiProjects; the “network of cultures” in multilingual Wikipedia biographies

With contributions by: Taha Yasseri, Maximilian Klein, Piotr Konieczny, Kim Osman, and Tilman Bayer

New book: Global Wikipedia

An edited volume[1] by Pnina Fichman and Noriko Hara from Indiana University, Bloomington was released on May 23, 2014, subtitled “International and Cross-cultural Issues in Online Collaboration”. The book description states that “dozens of books about Wikipedia are available, but they all focus on the English Wikipedia and assume an Anglo-Saxon perspective, while disregarding cultural and language variability or multi-cultural collaborative efforts”. The description claims that this is “the first book to address this gap by focusing attention on the global, multilingual, and multicultural aspects of Wikipedia.” The book contains nine chapters authored by 16 Wikipedia researchers (including a chapter authored by the volume editors). Among the topics covered are international and cross-cultural conflict and collaboration, case studies in the Chinese, Finnish, French, and Greek Wikipedias, and Wikipedia gender gaps in different language sites.

“Interactions of cultures and top people of Wikipedia from ranking of 24 language editions”

Review by Maximilianklein (talk)

The German philosopher Immanuel Kant, born in today’s Russia, is among the small number of cases where the researchers’ method of assigning a historical figure to a national culture based on their birth place fails

This research by Eom et al.[2] is an exploratory data analysis of figures (roughly, “people”) from a mining of date and place of birth and gender in biography articles. Presenting novel ideas based on the infamous Google PageRank algorithm, this paper is a sort of computational history. The methods used are standard – if not a bit dated – compared with more contemporary research using Wikidata. (more…)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, May 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 5 • May 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Overview of research on Wikipedia’s readers; predicting which article you will edit next

With contributions by: Piotr Konieczny, Maximilian Klein and Tilman Bayer

“Wikipedia in the eyes of its beholders: A systematic review of scholarly research on Wikipedia readers and readership”

This paper [1] is another major literature review of the field of Wikipedia studies, brought forward by the authors whose prior work on this topic, titled “The People’s Encyclopedia Under the Gaze of the Sages”[supp 1] was reviewed in this research report in 2012 (“A systematic review of the Wikipedia literature“).

This time the authors focus on a fragment of the larger body of works about Wikipedia, analyzing 99 works published up to June 2011 on the theme of “Wikipedia readership” – in other words focusing on the theme “What do we know about people who read Wikipedia”. The overview focuses less on demographic analysis (since little research has been done in that area), and more on perceptions of Wikipedia by surveyed groups of readers. Their findings include, among other things, a conclusion that “Studies have found that articles generally related to entertainment and sexuality top the list, covering over 40% of visits”, and in more serious topics, it is a common source for health and legal information. They also find that “a very large number of academic in fact have quite positive, if nuanced, perceptions of Wikipedia’s value.” They also observe that the most commonly studied group has been that of students, who offer a convenience sample. The authors finish by identifying a number of contradictory findings and topics in need of further research, and conclude that existing studies have likely overestimated the extent to which Wikipedia’s readers are cautious about the site’s credibility. Finally, the authors offer valuable thoughts in the “implications for the Wikipedia community” section, such suggesting “incorporating one or more of the algorithms for computational estimation of the reliability of Wikipedia articles that have been developed to help address credibility concerns”, similar to the WikiTrust tool.

The authors also published a similar literature review paper summarizing research about the content of Wikipedia, which we hope to cover in the next issue of this research report.

Chinese-language time-zones favor Asian pop and IT topics on Wikipedia

Map of the Chinese-speaking world

A paper[2] presented at the WWW 2014 Companion Conference analyzes the readership patterns of the English and Chinese Wikipedias, with a focus on which types of articles are most popular in the English- or Chinese-language time zones. The authors used all Wikipedia pages which existed under the same name in both languages in the period from 1 June 2012 to 14 October 2012 for their study, coding them through the OpenCalais semantic analysis service with an estimated 2.6% error rate.

The authors find that readers of the English and Chinese Wikipedias from time-zones of high Chinese activity browse different categories of pages. Chinese readers visit English Wikipedia about Asian culture (in particular, Japanese and Korean pop culture) more often, as well as about mobile communications and networking technologies. The authors also find that pages in English are almost ten times as popular as those in Chinese (though their results are not identifying users by nationality directly, rather focusing on time zone analysis).

In this reviewer’s opinion, the study suffers from major methodological problems that are serious enough to cast all the findings in doubt. (more…)

Wikimedia Highlights, April 2014

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for April 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Wikimedia Labs migrated to the new data center

The Wikimedia Labs platform enables volunteers to host software tools to support the community’s work, and to get involved in the technical operations of Wikimedia servers. As part of the Foundation’s ongoing work to reduce reliance on the old data center in Tampa, Florida (USA), Labs was moved to the new data center in Ashburn, Virginia in April, completing several months of work by WMF staff and by volunteers who operate Labs projects. Among the advantages is the switch to a new file system (NFS) which is much more reliable that the one used used for Labs in the old data center (GlusterFS, which had caused most of the Labs failures and downtime in the preceding months). Also, in the new data center, many Labs projects are now using the internal Labs web proxy, which provides several benefits including HTTPS access and increased user data privacy. The Toolserver, the predecessor of the “Tool Labs” part of Wikimedia Labs, is planned to shut down on June 30.

New MediaViewer starts getting released on Wikimedia sites

The Foundation’s multimedia team released Media Viewer v0.2 on 14 pilot sites in April, in preparation for a wider deployment in May. The overall response was favorable, and a growing majority of survey respondents was finding this new multimedia browser useful. The team also developed a set of metrics dashboards to track how often MediaViewer and its various features are used, and how fast it performs over the Internet, as well as local metrics dashboards for selected sites: first results showed a decline in image load time, and suggest that Media Viewer loads faster than the old file description pages.

Lila Tretikov

New Executive Director and Chief Communications Officer

Katherine Maher

In April, preparations took place to welcome the Foundation’s incoming executive director Lila Tretikov, who was announced on May 1. She will succeed Sue Gardner on June 1, who will move into a new role as special adviser. Lila Tretikov was born in the Soviet Union and moved to the United States as a teenager. She has been working for technology companies, primarily in open source, in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 15 years, most recently at SugarCRM.

Also in April, Katherine Maher was announced as the Foundation’s new Chief Communications Officer.

Data and Trends

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Wikimedia Foundation Report, April 2014

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.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for March:

495 million (+4.44% compared with February; -4.33% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release April data later in May)

Page requests for April:

20.697 billion (-1.6% compared with March; -0.6% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for March 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

79,352 (+4.59% compared with February / -2.84% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):

http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/

(Definitions)

Financials

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of March 31, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of March 31, 2014

(Financial information is only available through March 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date March 31, 2014.

Revenue 40,957,259
Expenses:
 Engineering Group 12,358,813
 Fundraising Group 2,989,855
 Grantmaking Group 1,198,163
 Programs Group 1,358,725
 Grants 3,961,161
 Governance Group 582,854
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 2,831,941
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 5,034,754
Total Expenses 30,316,266
Total surplus (10,640,993)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of March is $1.71MM versus plan of $0.01MM, approximately $1.70MM or 29,215% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $40.96MM versus plan of $45.05MM, approximately $4.09MM or 9% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of March is $3.22MM versus plan of $4.57MM, approximately $1.35MM or 30% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, internet hosting, FDC grants, payment processing fees, and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees and outside contract services.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $30.32MM versus plan of $36.37MM, approximately $6.05MM or 17% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services.
  • Cash and Investments – $50.69MM as of March 31, 2014.

Highlights

Wikimedia Labs migrated to the new data center

(more…)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, April 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 4 • April 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Wikipedia predicts flu more accurately than Google; 43% of academics have edited Wikipedia

With contributions by: Piotr Konieczny, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia and Tilman Bayer

Wikipedia Usage Estimates Prevalence of Influenza-Like Illness

Researchers from Harvard Medical School have tested the possibility of predicting the number of seasonal influenza-like illness (ILI) in the U.S. using data about the traffic to a selected number of Wikipedia entries related to influenza.[1]

They compared their models against the prediction of Google Flu Trends (GFT), one of the earliest and most famous web-based tools for predicting the evolution of seasonal influenza disease patterns. Gold standard for comparison were the public data released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The accuracy of GFT is increasingly under question by several authors, culminating in a recent Science commentary piece about the promises and perils of Big Data for prediction of real-world phenomena. The authors start from this observation and submit that Wikipedia searches may be less subject to the biases that affected GFT, and test this hypothesis in the present work. They find that their model is more accurate than GFT, and was able to predict the peak week of the influenza season more often. Another undoubted advantage of Wikipedia compared to GFT, the authors argue, is its public availability, which makes the present model open to public scrutiny.

Survey of academics’ view on Wikipedia and open-access publishing

A study titled “Academic opinions of Wikipedia and open-access publishing”[2] examined academics’ awareness of and attitudes towards Wikipedia and open-access journals for academic publishing through a survey of 120 academics carried out in late 2011 and early 2012. (more…)

Wikimedia Highlights, March 2014

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for March 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Screenshot of a Hovercard (a preview of the article en:Claude Monet displayed in en:Camille Doncieux)

New Beta feature: Hovercards show article previews

Hovercards are brief previews of a Wikipedia article or other wiki page, displayed when the reader hovers over a link to that page. The preview consists of the lead paragraph and first image of the article. Users can enable this feature by logging into their account and clicking the “Beta” link at the top right. Hovercards were inspired by the Navigation popups gadget used by many experienced Wikimedians on the English Wikipedia and elsewhere, and modify the idea to make it more suitable for casual readers.

Typography refresh: A new look for text on Wikimedia sites

At the end of March, an update to the typography on the desktop version of Wikimedia sites was announced. The typography refresh is based on four requirements: 1. Readability, 2. a consistent look across multiple devices, 3. availability of the typefaces across various platforms (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and mobile operating systems), and 4. accessibility (even for those readers with visual impairments).

The most visible change is that headings are now displayed in a serif font instead of a sans-serif font. Among the other modifications: The text color is now a very dark grey instead of pure black, while the background color remained pure white. Also, the body font size was increased.

The changes were scheduled to be rolled out in April, with adjustments based on user feedback.

Sue Gardner discussing the WMF FDC proposal

Draft annual plan published for feedback from the community and the FDC

In March, the Foundation worked to prepare its 2014/15 annual plan for publication in draft form, as a proposal to the FDC (Funds Dissemination Committee). The feedback from the FDC and the community review period (April 1 to April 30) will be taken into account while the plan is being finalized. As part of the FDC proposal, the Foundation published a new comprehensive overview of ongoing, long-term work that WMF staff and contractors are carrying out in support of the Wikimedia projects.

Data and Trends

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Wikimedia Foundation Report, March 2014

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.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for February:

474 million (-4.28% compared with January; -1.83% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release March data later in April)

Page requests for March:

21.042 billion (+0.2% compared with February; -2.3% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for February 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

75,958 (-6.80% compared with January / -2.06% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

Report Card (integrating various statistical data and trends about WMF projects):

http://reportcard.wmflabs.org/

(Definitions)

Financials

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of February 28, 2014

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of February 28, 2014

(Financial information is only available through February 2014 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date February 28, 2014.

Revenue 39,242,310
Expenses:
 Engineering Group 10,750,112
 Fundraising Group 2,739,036
 Grantmaking Group 1,078,075
 Programs Group 1,205,135
 Grants 3,887,562
 Governance Group 469,783
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 2,425,548
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 4,542,676
Total Expenses 27,097,927
Total surplus (12,144,383)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of February is $1.07MM versus plan of $0.01MM, approximately $1.06MM or 18,244% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $39.24MM versus plan of $45.05MM, approximately $5.81MM or 13% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of February is $4.35MM versus plan of $4.41MM, approximately $63K or 1% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, outside contract services, and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees, grants, and payment processing fees.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $27.10MM versus plan of $31.80MM, approximately $4.70MM or 15% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services, grants, and recruiting fees.
  • Cash position is $52.44MM as of February 28, 2014.

Highlights

Screenshot of a Hovercard (a preview of the article en:Claude Monet displayed in en:Camille Doncieux)

New Beta feature: Hovercards show article previews

(more…)

Wikimedia Highlights, February 2014

Information For versions in other languages, please check the wiki version of this report, or add your own translation there!

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for February 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Logo of the new Wiki Education Foundation

Frank Schulenburg named executive director of the new Wiki Education Foundation, which supports Wikipedia courses in the US and Canada

The Wikipedia Education Program, where university students contribute to Wikipedia as a course assignment, began in 2010 as a pilot project run by the Wikimedia Foundation (the “Public Policy Initiative” which focused on the subject of US public policy). Since then, the program has expanded worldwide. In the United States and Canada alone, more than 6,000 students have contributed to Wikipedia as part of the program, adding the equivalent of 36,600 printed pages to Wikipedia and significantly increasing the amount of high-quality content.

The global Wikipedia Education Program will continue to be supported by the Wikimedia Foundation. But in 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation began a process to hand over cooperations with educators and institutions in the US and Canada to a new non-profit organization, the “Wiki Education Foundation“, created in late 2013. In February, the new organization appointed its first executive director: Frank Schulenburg, a long-time German Wikipedian and Commons contributor who left his position as head of the Wikimedia Foundation’s program department for the new job.

Media Viewer (early sketch explaining how it works)

New Media Viewer: A better way to view images

The Multimedia Team invited community members to test a beta version of Media Viewer, a new tool for viewing images and other multimedia content. Currently, when a reader clicks on a thumbnail in an article, they are taken to a separate page showing the image in medium size, surrounded by a lot of text information which can be confusing. Media Viewer shows images in a larger size, as an overlay on the current page.

At the end of February, when the invitation was made, over 12,000 beta testers had already activated Media Viewer as part of the Beta Features program. The rollout of Media Viewer to the first wikis was scheduled for April.

Discussion about disclosure requirements for paid editing, and about the new privacy policy

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Legal Department is drafting a proposed amendment to the Terms of Use to address further undisclosed paid editing. Contributing to the Wikimedia projects to serve the interests of a paying client while concealing the paid affiliation has led to situations that the community considers problematic. The LCA team published a draft for a community discussion. The discussion received significant response, and continued through March 21, 2014.

The department also announced the conclusion of the community consultations about the new Privacy Policy (after discussions that lasted over 8 months), together with the accompanying Data retention guidelines, and the Access to Nonpublic Information Policy, whose consultation lasted over 5 months. These policies will be reviewed by the Board in April 2014.

Data and Trends

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