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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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Wikimedia Foundation Report, February 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.

Contents

Data and Trends

Total Active Editors for Wiktionary, Wikivoyage (reconstituted) and Wikisource, 2002-2013 (from presentation slides)

Global unique visitors for January:

495 million +1.05% compared with December; +1.41% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release February data later in March)

Page requests for February:

21.001 billion (+1.6% compared with January; -3.5% 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 January 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

81,821 (+8.24% compared with December / -2.92% 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 January 31, 2014

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

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

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

Revenue 38,169,215
Expenses:
 Engineering Group 9,278,563
 Fundraising Group 2,535,021
 Grantmaking Group 951,930
 Programs Group 1,044,778
 Grants 2,378,690
 Governance Group 415,129
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 2,057,675
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 4,084,665
Total Expenses 22,746,451
Total surplus (15,422,764)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of January is $3.42MM versus plan of $0.01MM, approximately $3.41MM or 58,335% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $38.17MM versus plan of $45.04MM, approximately $6.87MM or 15% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of January is $3.97MM versus plan of $4.53MM, approximately $559K or 12% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services and payment processing fees.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $22.75MM versus plan of $27.39MM, approximately $4.64MM 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 and recruiting fees.
  • Cash position is $54.67MM as of January 31, 2014.

Highlights

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Luis Villa: “I wanted to be an Internet lawyer”

Around legal circles, the Wikimedia Foundation is often seen as a curiosity. With a fraction of the staff of other top ten websites, the Foundation arguably does more with less. The core of this complex apparatus consists of two indispensable parts − a strong volunteer community and an equally dedicated legal staff.

Luis Villa

As deputy general counsel, Luis Villa is at the forefront of this eclectic mix that combines traditional legal counsel with community advocacy that stretches across 700+ communities. With a year under his belt at the Wikimedia Foundation, he feels that he’s doing what he always wanted to do. “Out of law school I told someone at my summer job that I wanted to be an Internet lawyer,” says Villa. “He basically said there’s no such thing, but now I have that job!”

Luis’ interest in law and technology go as far back as high school, recalling the United States vs. Microsoft court proceedings as a moment that ignited a curiosity in him for politics and technology. Embracing his passions, he pursued a degree in Political Science and Computer Science at Duke University. “When I started studying computer science and political science in 1996, those were two separate things,” Villa explains. “I was interested in political philosophy and I was interested in computers and I didn’t really think the two had much overlap.” It wasn’t until he read Lawrence Lessig’sCode and other Laws of Cyberspace” that he realized how much overlap there was between the two.

His first job was in quality assurance for Ximian, scoping out bugs and figuring out why things were crashing. While at Ximain he worked extensively on the GNOME open source project doing quality assurance − eventually becoming a board member. He went on to work at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society as a “geek in residence” at Harvard. After a comprehensive search into a variety of institutions with a strong intellectual law faculty, he enrolled at Columbia Law School, graduating in 2009. Before working at a law firm, he spent a year at Mozilla, leading the project to revise the Mozilla Public License. Luis later joined Greenberg Traurig, participating heavily in the Google Oracle lawsuit. While at Greenberg he became an outside counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation. With a background well tailored to the Foundation’s goals and needs, Luis eventually made the decision to join the Foundation full-time as deputy general counsel.

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Katherine Maher joins the Wikimedia Foundation as Chief Communications Officer

Katherine Maher

We’re happy to announce that Katherine Maher has joined the Wikimedia Foundation as Chief Communications Officer. She officially stepped into her new role as head of WMF communications on April 14, reporting to the Executive Director.

In her role as CCO, Katherine will work to ensure fast, easy information flow about Wikimedia in multiple languages, both internally within the movement and outside of it. She’ll also work to provide vital communications support to WMF’s various departments and programs, as well as the broader Wikimedia movement.

Katherine comes to us from Washington D.C., where she was most recently Advocacy Director for Access, a global digital rights organization. At Access, she was responsible for media and communications, including communications between the organization and its 350,000 members. She handled urgent global threats to digital rights and participated in the organization’s strategic planning. In addition, she was deeply involved with the production of RightsCon—a conference series convening key stakeholders and influential voices on the issue of preserving a free and open internet that supports digital rights and free expression.

Katherine’s experiences advocating for the rights of ordinary internet users and engaging with a large global community make her an exceptional fit for this new role. We are thrilled to have her aboard.

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation

Taking the stage: How we entered the Brussels Bubble

Big Fat Brussels Meeting April 2013. 1st meeting of EU-Policy Working group

Spring’s here again and we’re calling everyone to a strategy meet-up in Brussels! Join us in constructing our strategies and charming our way into EU policy-makers hearts and minds! Wikimedians along with all Free Knowledge enthusiasts are invited to help figure out our next steps in Europe. Prior knowledge about the Wikiverse or the intricate advocacy system is not necessary – diverse points of view produce better results!

Grouping the activists

At the first first Big Fat Brussels Meeting we discussed the inadequateness of the current copyright framework and focused on making some defining organizational decisions. As a result, a contact person in Brussels was implemented to monitor the EU, provide political intelligence, serve as a go-to point on EU issues within the Wikiverse and build up a network with other locally active organizations.

To establish our thematic focus, we mapped relevant issues (kudos to Anna Lena Schiller) and ran them in a community survey. The final step was to write out – as a group of European Wikimedia Chapters – a Statement of Intent, which was afterwards approved by the respective boards. This was done in London at the Wikimedia UK offices and will perhaps one day be considered the founding document of the Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU. The whole process can be regarded as an effort to define our goals, as well as define those who will help achieve it.

Activating the group

The Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU monitored and analyzed exciting topics like net neutrality and data protection for their possible effects on Wikimedia projects. We were also challenged to appear on stage on a few occasions: We drafted model answers for the European Commission copyright consultation, requested a study on the “economic benefits of the public domain and open licensing to the European economy” and tried to save (+here) the Collective Rights Management Directive in a last minute attempt.
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Insight into Wikimedia Germany – Impressions of a FDC member

A session  from   FDC site visit  to WMDE.

I had the first opportunity to learn about Wikimedia chapters when I participated in the Wikimedia conference in 2011, representing the newly formed Wikimedia India chapter. While  presentations and interactions were useful, the visit to Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE)  chapter office was very helpful, as I had the chance to meet the staff and learn about the chapter’s various activities. After that, as a member  of the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) from 2012, I had the opportunity to learn even more about chapters. Though the initial FDC framework and process was the result of extensive deliberations of FDC Advisory  group supported  by consultants from Bridgespan, some of the gaps became apparent after the first round of FDC deliberations. My major concern was that the process/framework  did not account for the diverse attributes of chapters and relied on impersonal wiki pages for discussions, even when substantive funds are at stake.

When the opportunity to visit WMDE came up, I signed up immediately, as it  gave me the opportunity to meet with the chapter’s leadership and stakeholders in person  - allowing me to better understand their plans and the challenges they face. I, Mike Peel, another FDC Member along with WMF staff team of Anasuya, Garfield and Frank visited WMDE during  Feb 5-7,  2014 in Berlin.

In this report, I would like to highlight my impressions on the chapter programs and their evolution as well as share thoughts on WMDE chapter performance and areas for improvement.

Chapter Structure and Infrastructure

Pavel explaining the  WMDE Events for the year marked on wall calendar

Pavel informed us that the chapter had recently moved into their new facility. He  took us for  a tour of the facility, highlighting the thought process behind the design which allows flexible use of space and also meets the requirements of various stakeholders. The chapter has about 64 full time and part time staff (equivalent to 45 FTE). They are organized into four program teams and one operational/admin team. Each team has appropriate workspaces and computing infrastructure. There was a good number of small meeting rooms and a large conference room. The facility also includes an event room which can accommodate up to 99 participants. The room is used at least two days a week for various chapter programs and its partners. A large calendar on the event room wall has  the details of programs that have been planned till the end of the year, leaving no doubt about the effective use of infrastructure. The event room is designed in such a way that part of it can be used as workspace if required by putting up partitions.

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Wikimedia Highlights, January 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 January 2014, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

New community-centered trademark policy

After a seven-month long community consultation, the Foundation’s legal team concluded work on the new trademark policy. The community discussion, which had more words than The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, resulted in a policy that is unconventional in how it provides liberal use of the Wikimedia marks, while maintaining legal protection. The final policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on February 1, effective immediately.

After one year, Individual Engagement Grants demonstrate potential for impact

Projects from the first round of IEGs

One year after Individual Engagement Grants program was launched in January 2013, the Foundation’s Learning & Evaluation team completed an impact assessment of the projects funded in the first round. One of the projects, The Wikipedia Library, generated $279,000 worth in donations from commercial research database providers, enabling Wikipedia editors to use high quality sources for free. At a grant cost of only $7,500, this represents a 37x return on investment. Another project, on generating publicity in China for Wikipedia, gained 10,000 followers for a new Wikipedia account on social networking site Weibo (25% of whom are women). Applications for the first round of 2014 start in March.

Multimedia vision for 2016, and request for comment on MP4 video

Video explaining the multimedia vision for 2016 ((slides)

The Foundation’s recently formed Multimedia team presented a multimedia vision for 2016. It is a scenario describing possible new tools for collaborating on multimedia on Commons, Wikipedia and other projects. The team invited community feedback on these ideas.

Separately, the multimedia team started a request for comment (RfC) on whether to support video files in the MP4 format on Wikimedia sites, in addition to the existing software support for the free formats Ogg Theora and WebM. Currently, only about 0.2% of the around 20 million files on Commons are videos, and it is assumed that MP4 support would make uploading and viewing videos much easier for many users, especially on some mobile devices that cannot play videos in the existing free formats. However, MP4 is a proprietary format covered by patents. Most users in the RfC preferred not to support MP4, maintaining the current practice of only using free formats.

New search engine

A new search infrastructure is being rolled out out to all Wikimedia wikis. It is based on the existing open-source software “Elasticsearch”, instead of the “Lucene-search” software that was written especially for MediaWiki. “Lucene-search” has worked well on Wikimedia sites for around 8 years, but developed some technical problems in 2013. The new search system for MediaWiki is called “CirrusSearch“. Its search results will reflect page updates much quicker than the old system. The text of templates in an article will now be found too, and some new search options were added. CirrusSearch is first becoming available as an optional Beta feature (see the timeline).

Data and Trends

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Wikimedia Foundation Report, January 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

2013 traffic trends (presentation slides)

Global unique visitors for December:

490 million (-7.98% compared with November; +3.73% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release January data later in February)

Page requests for January:

20.678 billion (+13.2% compared with December; -7.0% 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 December 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

75,441 (+0.99% compared with November / -2.72% 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 December 31, 2013

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of December 31, 2013

(Financial information is only available through December 2013 at the time of this report.)

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date December 31, 2013.

Revenue 34,750,758
Expenses:
 Engineering Group 7,818,380
 Fundraising Group 2,267,144
 Grantmaking Group 838,068
 Programs Group 866,479
 Grants 1,289,803
 Governance Group 377,413
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 1,752,003
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 3,566,318
Total Expenses 18,775,608
Total surplus (15,975,150)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of December is $20.14MM versus plan of $19.61MM, approximately $535K or 3% over plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $34.75MM versus plan of $36.32MM, approximately $1.57MM or 4% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of December is $3.65MM versus plan of $4.43MM, approximately $778K or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $18.78MM versus plan of $22.86MM, approximately $4.08MM or 18% 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 and recruiting fees.
  • Cash position is $55.34MM as of December 31, 2013.

Highlights

New community-centered trademark policy

(more…)