I hope you all had started the year 2009 with a positive note. I have a lot to be hopeful for 2009, but the most exciting thing for me is to launch the long-waited the Wikipedia Usability Initiative. This initiative became reality by the grant from the late Frank Stanton (the president of CBS between 1946 and 1971) through the Stanton Foundation.
The purpose of this initiative is to reduce the barriers for new users in editing Wikipedia and boost the participation in editing Wikipedia. I am currently focusing on bringing in talented minds. On the space front, we had outgrown our current space in the South of Market area of San Francisco, and we were in search of space specifically for this project. I am happy to announce that Wikia has agreed to sublease two of their conference rooms to the Wikimedia Foundation for the project duration (Jan’09-Mar’10). Daniel collected a dozen bids for the space in SOMA, and Wikia matched the best offer. Wikia is only two blocks away from the office of the Wikimedia Foundation, so having a satellite office so close by works great for us.
Wikia has been doing intensive work on the usability front and making the code available to public, so I look forward to collaborating with the Wikia technical and product teams to exchange ideas and learn from their work. The Wikpedia Usability Initiative page where we can exchange ideas and share the status is up. I look forward to your ideas there.
May the force be with us,