December 18, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

#Edit2014: Q&A with the producer

Today the Wikimedia Foundation published #Edit2014. This is the Foundation’s first-ever year-in-review video, a look at how the world used and contributed to Wikipedia in 2014. To learn more about how the project came to be, I interviewed the video’s director and producer, and Wikimedia Foundation storyteller, Victor Grigas (User:VGrigas (WMF)).

Halla Imam: This is the first time the Wikimedia Foundation has ever done a year-in-review. What inspired the Foundation to start this year?

Victor Grigas: So many people around the world use and love Wikipedia, but not everyone knows where it comes from, or how it is supported and maintained. The vast majority of people who read Wikipedia don’t edit or upload. They use it to learn and discover. We wanted to capture that experience, but also highlight how powerful editing can be. As an editor, you are creating all of this knowledge for the public.

So Katherine (the Wikimedia Foundation’s CCO) and I talked in September about maybe doing something like this for the end of this year. My first response was that it sounded great, even though it was a short time period to dream up an entire project and execute it. I said I’d research it. A couple weeks later I decided it was doable, so we pressed go.

“Recording typing sounds with different keyboards” by Victorgrigas, under CC-BY-SA-3.0


HI: It seems like you chose Ebola as the centerpiece story. Was this an obvious choice? Why choose such bad news?

VG: This was an obvious choice. Let me put it this way: 2014 was filled with bad news; I think it was a particularly bad year for global news. We decided to focus on this particular story because this was also something that galvanized the Wikimedia community.

When the Ebola outbreak happened, members of our medical community organized with Translators Without Borders to translate the Wikipedia Ebola virus disease article into more than 50 different languages, including some of those spoken in the affected regions of West Africa. Many of these other Wikipedias had very few articles before, but now they have information about Ebola. The use of Wikipedia to understand Ebola was a story that ended up in The New York Times. By recreating this story visually through reenacting the editing process, we’re highlighting its impact. It’s a news event that happened globally, but also within the Wikimedia community.

HI: Were there controversial moments in 2014 that you felt should not be included in the video?

VG: Not really. There are all kinds of events that happened that have political ramifications. The whole point of Wikimedia is to be neutral about them. We wanted to show the events as events, and not necessarily push for one side or the other. There was one scene in particular where we show the Gaza war from this year. We saw it as a way to showcase Wikipedia’s policies on Neutral Point of View (NPOV), where knowledge on Wikipedia is self-critical. You see the famous [citation needed] tag, and you see the [disputed-discuss] tags, the wall of references, and the articles in English and Arabic and Hebrew. The goal on Wikipedia is to have a wide range of sources to illustrate the knowledge being presented.

“Stickies to brainstorm Edit.2014.” by Victorgrigas, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

HI: Did you worry about finding a balance between positive and negative events to showcase in the video?

VG: Yes. 1,000%. It’s not just positive or negative events, but how they show certain parts of the world. Ideally, it would have been a mix of stories that show the positive and negative everywhere. Unfortunately, this year, we saw a lot of terrible events in places that already are experiencing hardship — like Ebola in West Africa. We realized there was so much bad news in 2014, what’s the good news? Well, we had all these global sporting events, like the FIFA World Cup and the Sochi Winter Olympics, and a lot of very powerful science content too..

HI: Do you think you succeeded in making the video sufficiently international, given the global diversity of Wikimedia’s editors?

VG: We started and ended with an event that felt universal — we get a close up on a comet! That doesn’t really need text or any dialogue, but humanity only has so many of those experiences. I think the video leans towards being understood by people who don’t speak English, but unfortunately they may not understand it entirely. We’d love to make that video in the future.

As a team, we tried to be conscious of world view. I am from the United States, so I have my own inherent bias. I think everyone does. So we tried to make it as wide-ranging as we could, reaching out to as many people as we could, because Wikipedia is truly global and we wanted to represent that. But it is impossible to have one video represent the totality of things that mattered to the world in three minutes. This is a first attempt, and like Wikipedia, we’ll be looking to make this even more balanced for the future.

HI: Other organizations do year-in-review videos. What makes the Wikimedia Foundation’s different?

VG: I think for any video like this, you’re trying to communicate an identity. Wikimedia’s identity is about contributing, sharing, and learning. We don’t have shareholders, we have stakeholders: we have editors, readers, donors, people who want a wide range of information and knowledge. We’re the platform that allows them to contribute that to the world. They want to be able to have access to the knowledge that happened in 2014. We tried to put in as much as we could without sacrificing too much. It’s a balancing act to try and capture the world.

HI: How did you choose Bach as the soundtrack?

VG: It was a bit of a surprise! We needed to score the video with something as a placeholder. I found the Bach on Wikipedia and initially used it as a temporary track, but then everyone who watched it felt like it just sounded right. So we kept it.

We did work with a musician, Andy R. Jordan, to score the section on Ebola. It needed something to convey the gravity of the moment. We used simple sounds and instruments — a cello bow being rubbed against a wooden marimba key. It had a resonance and solemnity that felt appropriate.

HI: Wikipedia relies on Creative Commons and other freely licenced work — was it difficult to find all the imagery you needed using only freely licensed imagery?

VG: One of the first things I realized in researching is that we wouldn’t be able to license footage, because Wikimedia only publishes content that is Creative Commons. So we needed to use media that has been contributed by Wikimedians, and that means we had to be creative. We ultimately found a way around this by telling these stories using screen shots of the Wikipedia articles. In the end, I think it makes the experience stronger, communicating the message of Wikimedia through the experience of Wikipedia itself.

For example, we don’t always have a wealth of visual content about hard news, because although some Wikimedians are photojournalists, most photojournalists are not Wikimedians. Similarly, there’s a disparity among countries: the more industrialized a country is, the more images you’ll find. There’s more internet connectivity, they’ve been online longer, they have more access to cellphones and cameras, and things like that. Less industrialized countries are less well covered.  These disparities did make it more difficult to cover certain world events. For example, the images for Ebola are from an outbreak in what was then Zaire, in 1976. So here’s a call to action: Photographers, freely license and upload your images to Commons! Do it for the world!

HI: Were there any images that were especially challenging to obtain?

VG: Wikimedia Commons has images of just about everything, but sometimes we wanted to show a more personal or nuanced perspective. For example, when it came to the Hong Kong ‘Umbrella protests,’ many of the images were too busy or confusing. So I spent a day on Twitter trying to find photographers in Hong Kong, and asking them if they’d contribute their images to Commons. In the end, I found two who were happy to contribute — a special thanks to them!

Similarly, we know Wikipedia isn’t only used for science, history, and philosophy. Pop culture is very popular, but most pop culture imagery is totally proprietary. We didn’t have the rights to show scenes from TV shows, but we could show the article about the tv show. So while I would have loved to create a montage of popular television programs from around the world, that’s just not the content we typically have on Wikipedia.

HI: What were some of the other roadblocks you face in producing this video?

VG: Well, we worked on a shoestring budget. We’re a non-profit, so that was just something we knew was a constraint early on. But instead of seeing that as a limitation, we looked at it as inspiration to get creative: what can we do to make this happen? Once we did the research, we saw that it was something we could do within our budget.

HI: Filmmaking is a ‘dictatorship,’ but Wikimedia is famous for being a collaborative project. Was this video collaborative?

VG: In some ways! We drew on source material that was highly collaborative — all the images and video and text you see were contributed by people around the world. Most of this content is from Wikimedia Commons. In that way it is collaborative, but it isn’t a collaborative in the sense of being ‘real time.’ It is collaborative in the sense that Wikipedia is — made up of contributions from all over, from many different people and sources.

We’d love to have left it wide open, and had a lot of people weigh in, but we only had a few weeks to get it done. I took input from a lot of individuals I knew personally from across Wikimedia from as many different countries as possible. They say video productions are dictatorships because there needs to be some kind of visual and auditory continuity. You could argue the same thing about Wikipedia, how is it not going to be a huge blend of competing voices? But somehow Wikipedia works.

HI: What is Wiki Loves Monuments?

VG: It’s a photo competition that started in the Netherlands. Now, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, it is the world’s largest photo competition. In the early drafts of this script, we wanted to segue from the point of view of a reader of Wikipedia to an editor, and show the engine of the car — what’s under the hood. We ended up scrapping that approach, but fell in love with the images, so we kept them.

In Wiki Loves Monuments, different countries have an open contest to submit photos to illustrate monuments, buildings, or other landmarks in their country. They’re gorgeous images, and they’re all get judged by an international jury. The contest isn’t over yet, so we picked a few. I reached out to this great guy, Patrick David, a parallax illustrator, who animates images. He volunteered to bring of these images to life, which was fantastic.

HI: Will you produce another video next year? If so, what would you do differently?

VG: I’d like to experiment to see if we could make it an even more collaborative process. I would love to be able to say “Take my idea, my rough concept, my script, my notes, and can you — the plural you — help research this?” Imagine — if making this video were a truly open collaboration like Wikipedia, we have the potential to make something really incredible. You could imagine people all over researching content, weighing in on visuals, and justifying cuts. Would having those discussions in public amplify the efforts? It’d be interesting to find out.

HI: Do you have a favorite moment in the video?

VG: If you watch closely, you’ll notice there are no pans or zooms except for when we click the “Edit” button. That was my favorite part of the video.

HI: Is there anything you learned about Wikimedia or its contributors that you didn’t know before you started?

VG: I learned how many Wikimedians are also on social networks! That proved a great way to reach out to a lot more people. The experience of spending a day reaching out to people on Twitter who might have photos to share — that was really interesting.

Halla Imam
Communications Intern
Wikimedia Foundation

by julietvbarbara88 at December 18, 2014 06:06 AM

The Grant Advisory Committee Wants You

"UnclesamwantyouGAC" by Alleycat80, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

We want you for the GAC!
“UnclesamwantyouGAC” by Alleycat80 (based on public domain image by J. M. Flagg), under CC BY-SA 4.0

How do $1 million in Wikimedia Foundation Project and Event grants get reviewed each year? By a collaboration between the Grant Advisory Committee (GAC) and WMF staff. Project and Event Grants (PEG) fund organizations, groups, and individuals to undertake mission-aligned projects that benefit the Wikimedia movement. Grants typically fund offline organizing of events, community outreach, and partnerships in education and GLAM. From Wiki Loves Monuments to regional conferences to thematic editathons, the PEG program funded 55 projects across 25 countries in the last year. Some exciting projects we’ve funded in the last six months include:

"Praia market potatoes manioc" by Cayambe, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Submission for Wiki Loves Africa
“Praia market potatoes manioc” by Cayambe, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The GAC plays a key role in the grantmaking process. The GAC is a group of volunteer advisors, who support WMF staff in achieving more impactful grantmaking by mentoring grantees to structure better grants and ultimately achieve better projects and outcomes. The committee reviews proposal requests that range in size from USD $500 to $100,000, providing suggestions and constructive criticism about proposals directly to grantees, actively engaging in a back-and-forth discussion. Eventually, GAC members submit their recommendation whether or not to fund the proposal before WMF staff make a final decision.

"Cropped group photo - Cairo 4th conference" by Samir I. Sharbaty, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Cairo education conference
“Cropped group photo – Cairo 4th conference” by Samir I. Sharbaty, under CC BY-SA 3.0

The GAC encapsulates the Wikimedia movement’s spirit – it is volunteer-based, contains members from a multitude of countries, backgrounds and experience in wiki contributions, and is thus able to provide “outside the box” thinking to grantees. Their accumulated experience from reviewing grants across the movement allow them to transfer knowledge and best practices about good project planning, setting goals, and developing metrics.

Personally, being a GAC member enriches my wiki volunteering with a unique bird’s eye view of the many great things which happen across the movement, and provides me with great ideas and innovations that I can translate to my own chapter. Moreover, for every grant I support, I can also read the results in a report (it’s actually more interesting when you helped the initial set up!), which helps me understand what worked and what didn’t, and helps hone my planning and strategic thinking. Those lessons and skills development are invaluable.

"Wikimania 2014 Grant Committees Training (1)" by AWang (WMF), under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikimania 2014 Grant Committees Training
“Wikimania 2014 Grant Committees Training (1)” by AWang (WMF), under CC BY-SA 4.0

Lastly, being a GAC member provides an understanding about the many challenges WMF faces as a charitable organization and a grant provider. It allows a deep appreciation of the dedicated staff that is tasked with helping us, the volunteers, do better in fulfilling the vision of making the sum of all human knowledge available to all.

The GAC is currently recruiting new members through December 30th. Visit the Grant Advisory Committee page on Meta to learn more and if you’re interested in joining, leave a message on the Candidates Page! Please join us!

Ido Ivri, Grant Advisory Committee Member and Board Member, Wikimedia Israel

by wikimediablog at December 18, 2014 05:24 AM

Wiki Loves Earth 2014 winners announced

Wiki Loves Earth, a photo contest of natural monuments, became international for the first time in 2014 and was held in 16 countries. The contest is over now, and after the careful evaluation the international jury is happy to announce the winners.

First prize: Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine | by Dmytro Balkhovitin
“Карпатский 05″ by Balkhovitin, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Wiki Loves Earth is a photo contest of natural monuments, where participants picture protected areas and upload their photos to Wikimedia Commons. The goal of the project is, on one hand, to capture under a free license as many natural monuments and protected areas as possible, and on the other hand, to contribute to environment protection by raising public awareness.

After years of successful Wiki Loves Monuments organisation there was an idea of a similar contest for natural monuments. The idea of Wiki Loves Earth was born in 2012, and it was implemented for the first time in Ukraine, where the contest was held from 15 April to 15 May 2013.

In 2014, Wiki Loves Earth was joined by 15 other countries from four different continents – Europe, Asia, Africa and America. Most of countries organised the contest from 1 May to 31 May 2014, while some countries extended the contest period till 30 June, and Serbia was the last to finish on 15 July. During the contest, over 70,000 pictures were submitted by more than 3,000 participants.

Similarly to Wiki Loves Monuments, Wiki Loves Earth was organised through numerous national contests, coordinated by local volunteers. The national juries then submitted up to 10 pictures to the international stage of the contest. With 16 participating countries, the international jury had to consider a total of 156 candidate pictures.

The international jury was composed of seven photographers, most of whom were experienced in nature photography: Diego Delso (Spain/Germany), Muhammad Mahdi (Tanzania/India), Julián Monge-Nájera (Costa Rica), Susanne Plank (Austria), Esther Solé (Spain), Oleg Zharii (Ukraine) and Wikimedian Wikimk (Macedonia). Their profiles can be found in the jury report. After several weeks of evaluation they have selected the following images:

The first prize goes to the view of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla, Ukraine by Dmytro Balkhovitin. This photo gives an exciting view from the highest point of Ukraine — Hoverla — towards Carpathian National Park, one of the largest in Ukraine. The jury was particularly impressed by the composition of the photo and its lighting with great crepuscular rays.

Second prize: Serra dos Órgãos, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | by Carlos Perez Couto
“Amanhecer no Hercules –“ by Carlos Perez Couto, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The second prize was attributed to the photo of God‘s Finger Rock in the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Brazil. This image by Carlos Perez Couto depicts the best known rock formation in the park, which is also symbol of Brazilian mountaineering and of the entire state of Rio de Janeiro. Breathtaking landscapes are completed with excellent composition that even reminded to one juror of Chinese paintings.


Third prize: Mukri Nature Park, Rapla County, Estonia | by Janno Loide (Amadvr)
“Hommik Mukri rabas” by Amadvr, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

An image of Estonia’s Mukri Nature Park by Janno Loide (Amadvr) was awarded the third place. This original almost monochromatic image represents an autumn fog over the marshes of Estonia. In addition, the jury appreciated the good representation of the red colour of the sky together with high level of detail.


The remaining photos receiving the awards are the following:

"Шаан-Кая в облаках" by Iifar, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Fourth prize: Mount Shaan-Kaya, Yalta Natural Reserve, Crimea, Ukraine | by Oleksandr Chernykh (A4ernyh)
“Шаан-Кая в облаках” by Александр Черных, under CC-BY-SA-3.0


Fifth prize: Mount Krchin, Mavrovo National Park, Republic of Macedonia | by Martin Dimitrievski
“Na Golem Krchin” by MartinDimitrievski, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Sixth prize: Aekingerzand, Drents-Friese Wold National, Netherlands | by Ubrerprutser
“Schapen op het Aekingerzand 1″ by Uberprutser, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Seventh prize: Novyi Svit Sanctuary, Crimea, Ukraine | by Vitaliy Bashkatov (Vian)
“Півострів” by Vian, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Eighth prize: Zuivskyi Regional Landscape Park, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine | by Vitaliy Bashkatov (Vian)
“Ранкова палітра” by Vian, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Ninth prize: Haizer, Djurdjura Massif, Bouira Province, Algeria | by Chettouh Nabil
“Haïzer à Bouira” by Chettouh Nabil, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Tenth prize: Aïn Legradj Cascade, Bordj Bou Arréridj Province, Algeria | by Chettouh Nabil
“Cascade de Aïn Legradj à Bordj Bou Arreredj” by Chettouh Nabil, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Eleventh prize: Mount Kukul, Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast & Carpathian Biosphere Reserve, Zakarpattia Oblast, Ukraine | by Volodymyr Khirash (Хіраш Володимир)
“Зимовий Кукуль” by Хіраш Володимир, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Twelfth prize: Nationalpark Kalkalpen, Upper Austria, Austria | by Isiwal
“NDOÖ 490 Rosenau aHP Rotbuche Zaglbaueralm Stamm” by Isiwal, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-AT

Thirteenth prize: Pool of Cortalet, Aiguamolls de l‘Empordà, Natural Park, Catalonia, Spain | by Mikipons
“Aiguamolls de l’Empordà 2″ by Mikipons, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Fourteenth prize: Ezumakeeg, Lauwersmeer National Park, Netherlands | by Bayke de Vries (Baykedevries)
“Brandganzen Ezumakeeg” by Baykedevries, under CC-BY-SA-3.0-NL

Fifteenth prize: Mount Thaletat, Bouira Province, Algeria | by Chettouh Nabil
“Main du juive à Tikjda” by Chettouh Nabil, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Winners were determined by the 7-person jury. Each participating country could nominate one member to the international jury, although only 5 countries used this right. Two further jury members were added by the international organising team to increase diversity of the jury.

156 nominations were submitted to the international organising team by the national juries of the 16 participating countries. Each country was allowed to submit up to 10 images, but some countries decided to submit less images. Andorra and Spain submitted their images in a double nomination. The jury selected and ranked the photos in several stages by means of a dedicated web tool.

The full report of the international jury, explaining the work of the jury, selection process and presenting the results together with comments of the jury, is available here.

Congratulations to the winners and thank you for everyone who worked on organisation of the contest this year!

Mykola Kozlenko

Wikimedia Ukraine / WLE International team

by yoonahawikimedia at December 18, 2014 05:23 AM

Wikipedia’s first-ever annual video reflects contributions from people around the world

File:Wikipedia Edit 2014.webm

Wikipedia: #Edit2014 tells the story of what you read and edited in 2014. You can also view the video on YouTube and on Vimeo.

Today, the Wikimedia Foundation released its first ever year in review video, chronicling the celebration, pain, fear, resilience, and discovery that came to characterize 2014. More than anything, it celebrates those who come to Wikipedia to learn and understand the complexity of our world, and those who edit and contribute information so that others might do the same.

In watching the video, you embark on a journey through the world and Wikipedia, revisiting what you read and edited this year. From the FIFA World Cup to the Indian general elections, and the Ice Bucket Challenge to Ebola in West Africa, we follow threads of discovery through Wikipedia’s vast constellation of knowledge, finding opportunities to contribute along the way. We venture from Sochi to outer space in less than three minutes.

Wikipedia is among the most popular sites in the world, but the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) is a small non-profit. The video was put together on a shoestring budget, and in less than two months, through the generous collaboration and contributions of Wikimedians and Wikipedia supporters. The Wikimedia Foundation’s storyteller and video producer, Victor Grigas said, “We had to get creative to make this happen, we couldn’t just throw money at it. This video was made with everyday tools: a computer, an internet connection, lots of deep, patient thinking, research and collaboration, and the free content that ordinary people uploaded to Wikipedia.”

Every piece of imagery and video we use was uploaded by you. Wikimedia’s commitment to open access and free information meant we could only use freely licensed photos and videos when producing this video. While the Foundation may have edited the video, contributions came from users around the world.

You will see many amazing freely licensed images in the video — beautiful photographs of monuments, recordings of major world events from citizen journalists. At the same time, you will also see some grainy and dated images — such as those used to illustrate West Africa’s struggle with the deadly Ebola outbreak. The images used to illustrate that segment date back to 1976, from an outbreak in Zaire. Although other, more recent freely licensed images are available, most addressed things such as proper use of personal protective equipment or laboratory facilities, rather than the immediate impact on human lives.

With hundreds of millions of people relying on Wikipedia to learn and understand more about the world around them, the instance of Ebola highlights the immense need for freely licensed images of important world events. We encourage people everywhere to freely license and share images and photographs of the notable people, places, or historic events — and in doing so, help make the sum of all knowledge available to everyone. You can upload your pictures Wikimedia Commons (Wikipedia’s central media repository) under a free license.

While Ebola’s treatment in this video underscores the continuing need for people to contribute freely licensed images, it is also an inspiring true story about collaboration. As the Ebola outbreak raged, devastating the lives of people in numerous countries, Wikimedians looked for ways to contribute. Together with Translators Without Borders and the medical professionals at the WikiProject Med Foundation, volunteers translated the article on Ebola into more than fifty languages, including numerous African languages. In October, The New York Times reported that Wikipedia had emerged as a trusted internet source for Ebola information.

Wikipedia reflects the world around us. With each new event, it changes and grows, accommodating our human triumphs and losses. It is the largest collaborative knowledge project in human history, and it is made possible by even the tiniest of contributions from people around the world. Join us in rediscovering 2014, and consider contributing to Wikipedia’s boundless knowledge.

Together, we edit our common history.

Katherine Maher
Chief Communications Officer
Wikimedia Foundation

by maherwiki at December 18, 2014 05:20 AM

Introducing lead images to Wikipedia’s Android beta app

"Lead images on the Wikipedia Android app" by Deskana (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

“Lead images on the Wikipedia Android app” by Deskana (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Here in the Mobile Apps Team at the Wikimedia Foundation, we’re working to make it easier for the world to experience knowledge on mobile. More and more, users around the world are accessing Wikipedia on the go through their mobile devices, and it’s important that they can easily and quickly get the information they seek.

Especially on the smaller, portable screens of mobile, readers need seamless and intuitive ways to interact with content and learn. With that in mind, for the past few months we’ve been working on a restyling of how the first section of content in articles appears in the Wikipedia app. Our newest feature that we are testing in Android now more prominently displays the most relevant image for the reader at the beginning of each article. We hope that this will help set the context for the reader and naturally lead them into the text to learn more.

In order to build a more functional and compelling mobile experience on the apps, here’s what we’ve done recently:

    • A prominent image from the article is now displayed at the top of each page, including parallax scrolling!
    • Face detection centers on the face of the subject in the image.
    • Images are displayed in a mobile-friendly image viewer panel when selected.
    • A short description about the article from Wikidata is displayed for additional context.
    • The first sentence of the article is available on the initial view.
    • Page issue tags and disambiguation are wrapped up into buttons underneath the page title.

We’ve released this work to our Wikipedia Beta app for Android and hope you’ll check it out! Remember that this is a peek into our ongoing work, and that since this is a beta app the feature is subject to change and, as always, there may be the odd bug while we round our testing off. Meanwhile, we’re diligently working to also bring this to iOS.

Text has always been central to the Wikipedia experience, but as they say: a picture is worth a thousand words. The Wikimedia movement is lucky to have a wealth imagery on our projects, and we’re excited to put it to good use with this new feature.

And, if you’re an engineer with experience building apps and want to join us in building the future of mobile for Wikipedia, we’re hiring!

Dan Garry, Associate Product Manager, Mobile Apps Team, Wikimedia Foundation

by julietvbarbara88 at December 18, 2014 02:13 AM

December 13, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikipedie, nejlepší přítel učitele

Studentky v Káhiře plní svůj školní úkol, píší na Wikipedii

Studentky v Káhiře plní svůj školní úkol, píší na Wikipedii

Se svolením autora přeložil z originálu Vojtěch Dostál.

Michael Gorman, bývalý prezident Americké asociace knihoven, před několika lety napsal, že „učitel, který podporuje užívání Wikipedie, je intelektuální obdobou dietologa, který vám doporučuje stravu založenou na Big Macích s hranolkami“. Jestli je to pravda, pak jsem zřejmě intelektuálním prodejcem rychlého občerstvení.

Jako učitel nejenže podporuji studenty, aby Wikipedii používali, ale také je nabádám, aby ji upravovali a vylepšovali. V akademické obci jsem nicméně v menšině. Mnoho mých kolegů se dívá na Wikipedii s podezřením a despektem, ba často s otevřenou nenávistí. Některé z těchto názorů mých kolegů se dají vysvětlit konzervativností, která v akademických kruzích panuje, nebo jejich nepochopením, jak Wikipedie funguje. Na druhou stranu, některé z jejich pochybností jsou oprávněné. Ačkoliv už v roce 2005 bylo publikováno, že Wikipedie neobsahuje signifikantně více chyb než Encyclopaedia Britannica, a od té doby Wikipedie ještě rostla a zlepšovala se, stále se jednou za čas objeví studie ukazující, že má k dokonalosti daleko.

Nicméně pravé důvody, proč akademici Wikipedii obecně nemají rádi, jsou zakořeněny hlouběji. Zaprvé: akademici mívali v minulosti na tvorbu a šíření vědomostí monopol. Teď znalosti šíří banda digitálních maoistů bez nároku na finanční ohodnocení nebo uznání své práce. Určitě existuje jistá podprahová averze k projektu, jenž tak efektivně poskytuje zadarmo to, za co jsou akademici placeni. Zadruhé, na Wikipedii se žárlí také proto, že je jednou z nejnavštěvovanějších internetových stránek vůbec a o její čtenářské obci si mohou akademici nechat jen zdát. A zatřetí, jak víme, studenti bez skrupulí Wikipedii opisují. Ačkoliv ta samotná plagiátorství nepodporuje, mnoho profesorů ji shledá vinnou pouhou silou asociace.

Přesto by akademici neměli být k Wikipedii tak zatvrzelí. Namísto toho by se měli na její existenci podílet více – jako autoři, editoři a koordinátoři práce svých studentů. Pro všeobecné blaho. Naštěstí se objevují první zářné příklady spolupráce mezi akademickou obcí a Wikipedií. V současné době startují projekty Americké asociace sociologů a Americké psychologické asociace, které své pracovníky i studenty přesvědčují, aby Wikipedii pomáhali rozvíjet.

Ale to nestačí – je celá řádka důvodů, proč by se měla Wikipedie prosazovat na vysokých školách. Takové psaní článku na Wikipedii je vlastně perfektní akademické zadání: vyžaduje syntézu informací, učí, jak správně používat zdroje třetích stran, a je odolná k jakémukoliv plagiátorství (jak mnozí studenti ke svému překvapení zjistili). Wikipedisté jsou k plagiarismu pozornější než mnozí novináři – a navíc bez jakéhokoliv smilování mažou veškeré informace, které nemohou být ověřeny z věrohodného zdroje.

Vyhledání tématu, které ještě není na Wikipedii zpracováno, je také užitečnou lekcí – učí, jak zpracovávat prameny informací a hledat mezery v lidském poznání. Navíc takové zadání, místo aby skončilo po oznámkování ve skartovačce, zústává navždy online a je cenným zdrojem informací pro všechny ostatní. Třeba jen proto, že se z krátkého studentského článku jednou vyvine článek perfektní, se vším všudy. Studenti tak berou zadání s dopadem do reálného světa mnohem vážněji. Navíc jim jejich práci často pohotově zkontrolují wikipedisté, což snižuje práci, kterou musí vykonat vyučující.

A je třeba vzít v úvahu ještě jednu věc. Věřím, že je morální povinností všech těch privilegovaných, kteří mohli studovat vysokou školu, aby pomáhali Wikipedii v jejím růstu a rozvoji. Sdílet znalosti s těmi, kteří ke vzdělání neměli tak snadný přístup, je to nejmenší, co můžeme udělat. Z tohoto etického hlediska je tlak na učitele ještě větší, než na studenty: přeci právě učitelé rozhodují o tom, jak se do psaní Wikipedie zapojí jejich studenti.

Učitelé mají totiž k dispozici obrovský zdroj – stovky hodin intelektuální práce svých studentů, které by byly jinak promarněny na společensky neproduktivní práci, jež se po oznámkování stává irelevantní. Buďme odvážní a udělejme z vylepšování Wikipedie standardní způsob vysokoškolského zadání. Ulehčí nám to život, studentům to dá zajímavou výzvu, a vznikne něco s praktickým dopadem na společnost.

Dariusz Jemielniak je profesorem managementu na Kozminskiho univerzitě v Polsku, aktivní Wikimedián a autor knihy Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia (2014, Stanford University Press).

by Dariusz Jemielniak at December 13, 2014 10:53 AM

December 12, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Tapping into the knowledge of indigenous communities

Tatekulu Hijapendje pondering what to answer.
“Elder IK holder in Otjinene, Namibia” by DanielGCabrero, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Wikipedia has made tremendous progress towards its mission to provide free access to the sum of human knowledge, but indigenous knowledge is largely excluded because the majority of it is not available in writing. Starting from some theoretical considerations, I designed a workshop for the 2014 Participatory Design conference in w:Windhoek to produce and document examples of relevant oral citations. See the detailed workshop description.

In October a small group of Wikipedians traveled to the Namibian village of w:Otjinene to interview elders. The aim of the interview was to directly convert narratives into Wikipedia content with oral citations. We visited the homestead of Tatekulu Festus Hijapendje and his wife Memekulu Olga Muhaindjumba Hijapendje and asked them about traditions, culture and development of the local Herero community. First results are available at Wikipedia:Oral citations experiment/Articles.

Thanks to a Project and Event Grant from the WMF I could invite editors from the region to collect the narratives. Editors wishing to participate had to answer the Call for participation, adopt an article from a list of offers, and improve the article with conventional (written) references. In the village we then planned to ask questions around the ‘blind spots’ in the adopted articles, missing information that no written source could help fill. Now we can present two scenarios for a small set of Wikipedia articles: One restricted to ordinary, written sources, and one that utilizes narratives originating from indigenous knowledge. We hope to be able to dismiss the suspicion by Wikipedia’s editor community that the online encyclopedia has nothing to gain from the inclusion of indigenous knowledge.


The number of applicants was much lower than I had hoped for. From a planned group of twelve participants I could admit only four, one of which cancelled on short notice, and one editor from Ghana could not come because the Namibian authorities did not grant a visa, possibly due to the ongoing Ebola scare.

Down to a group of five, (two participants, the driver and translator, a filmmaker, and me) we traveled 250km into the w:Omaheke Region to collect knowledge from the oral repository of the w:Herero people. On arrival we found that a funeral of an important community member had all but emptied the village on this particular weekend. Only children, the elderly, and some very few inhabitants were around. On top of that, our original plan to attract interviewees by means of a free barbecue was ill-considered, few people had noticed our arrival, and the Hijapendje couple would not have been able to walk over to our accommodation.

Workshop participants in the elders’ homestead. From left: Muhaindjumba Hijapendje, Gereon Koch Kapuire, Festus Hijapendje. From right: Bobby Shabangu, Peter Gallert.
“Workshop on oral tradition being conveyed by local female and male elderly in Otjinene.” by DanielGCabrero, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Convincing Wikipedia editors of the encyclopedic value of oral knowledge repositories has also so far been an uphill battle. This value needs to be discussed in two dimensions. First, the usefulness of narrated content for Wikipedia needs to be established, and second, ‘good’ oral citations need to be distinguished from ‘bad’ ones – as with written sources, by far not everything that could be cited, should be cited.

Gathering oral citations is a learning process, and we are just at the beginning. Because interviewers, literally, do not know what information they want, questions can never be very specific. And even if they are, the answer might not be, for example:

Q: Please tell us when this settlement was founded.
A: (after long deliberation) Many, many years ago.

The resulting narrative might take its own direction, and every once in a while needs to be steered back on course, of course without interrupting the elder. And finally, without a bit of prior insider knowledge about the indigenous community certain answers are impossible to understand, and certain subtleties cannot be captured:

Q: In a Herero family, who is making the monetary decisions?
A: (by the woman) We reach an agreement but the man has the final word.
Q: (out of a suspicion because the man did not say anything) So the woman is in charge of the household but the man is in charge of the money?
A: (by the woman) Yes.
Q: Imagine you only have 500 dollars, from which the school fee could be paid, or from which the car could be repaired. What will be the likely outcome?
A: (by the woman) The man will not know we have 500 dollars. I will have paid the school fees already.


Local community members are much less likely to misinterpret oral information than outside researchers; eventually such interviewing should be done by members of the community. But for now, it requires a great deal of Wikipedia knowledge and experience to make an oral citation stick. Experienced editors need to get the ball rolling, both by collecting oral citations and by participating in the inevitable policy debate. We now understand a bit better of how to collect oral citations, and how to select them for building an encyclopedia. WMF allowing, I will be soon in the village again to gather more.

Peter Gallert, Polytechnic of Namibia

by wikimediablog at December 12, 2014 11:08 PM

Iberoconf 2014: towards a regional perspective

For the Spanish version of this blog post, click here

Iberoconf is the annual meeting for Wikimedia chapters and user groups that are members of the Ibero-American cooperative. The event was held between November 21 and 23 and was made possible through a Project and Events Grant. The purpose of this grant was to develop the Wikimedia movement in Iberoamerica with a specific approach: to strengthen the affiliates’ capacity. This was important to do not only as individual organizations, but as vital parts in the connected through the cooperative’s network.

The program offered participants a series of training workshops in strategic planning, and served as an arena to collaboratively design the approach for programmatic work on GLAM and Education. During their time together, participants were able to revise, visualize and evaluate outcomes from each organization during 2014, and discuss them and design an effective evaluation plan. This international gathering was also the place where Iberocoop affiliates established the vision and mission of the entity.

During Iberoconf 2014, 40 participants were involved in the three-day congress, among which were counted volunteers, chapters or user groups’ representatives, Wikimedia Foundation emissaries and external consultants. The qualitative leap of this Iberoamerican Wikimedia Conference, as compared to earlier editions, is closely related to the maturing stage of the different organizations that took part. This was a crucial part in establishing concrete methodological definitions.

The days were divided in training workshops, presentations on good practice, and cooperative spaces. The workshops included strategic planning, design and evaluation of projects, and metrics. The presentations on good practice allowed chapters and user groups to showcase their results from Education and GLAM programs. In the cooperative spaces, different workshops focused on collaborative creation of a joint mission.

Working together on strategic planning

For the first time in an event of this kind, and lead by external consultants, this gathering adopted a very strong focus on training. The specific goal was to enhance participants’ knowledge in strategic planning, SMART goal-setting and how to choose metrics in planning and reporting. These workshops aimed to improve the regional coordination as far as joint efforts are implied. Iberoconf 2014 also hosted a presentation by Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC), that faced one of its first direct encounters with groups and chapters, as stated by its strategy on community liaison.

Ginevra, from Wikimedia Italy, presenting the results from the program Archeowiki 

“Iberoconf 2014 183 FDR0640″ by Fedaro, under CC BY-SA 4.0

The presentations on good practice enabled a space within Iberoconf to share good results and to learn from one another, through successful activities that have been taking place across the region. Italy, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile and Argentina were the main actors in this part of the conference program.

Four other workshops were given by education specialists and current partners of Wikimedia Argentina. These were focused on the current work of the chapter on Education. Even though these activities are still on a test mode, they are delivering good results and could become innovative practices in the mid term.

Iberoconf 2014 came to a close with a work day that involved all participants. The discussion was dedicated to a collaborative strategic planning that would help design the programmatic work on education and GLAM for the different chapters and user groups in Iberocoop. It was in this last moment of the conference when the sound success of the event was evident to everyone in the room: participants were able to apply in a very efficient way what they learnt in the previous days about strategic planning. The discussion resulted in a much more fine-tuned compass to lead the Iberocoop Wikimedia organizations’ initiatives. The SMART goals are now available for consultation and further discussion on Iberocop’s portal discussion on Meta. You can also find more pictures and the presentations shared at the event on its category in Commons.

Wikimedia Argentina, as organizing team, is very pleased with the results and want to thank everyone that made Iberoconf 2014 possible!

Valentín Muro is Wikimedia Argentina Communication Coordinator

María Cruz is Learning and Evaluation’s Community Liaison at the Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at December 12, 2014 09:18 PM

Global Impact: The Wikipedia Library and Persian Wikipedia

Last month, the Wikipedia Library announced another round of digital resource access partnerships to the Wikimedia community. These partnerships allow experienced editors in the community and from all around the globe to access research materials behind a paywall in order to advance our goal of creating and sharing a summary of all human knowledge.

One of the longest lasting and most useful donation partnerships has been with journal archive JSTOR, which saw significant participation from non-English editors. We have seen even more participation from around the world as JSTOR expanded their donations, most prominently from languages like German, Spanish, French and Persian. We had expected uptake from the larger Wikimedia communities operating in European languages, but the Persian community pleasantly surprised us.

To find out more, we asked one of our most active Persian editors with a JSTOR account, User:4nn1l2, why he finds the Wikipedia Library important to his work:

Distribution of Persian speakers in the Middle East and central Asia.

“Persian Language Location Map1″ by Mani1 , public domain.

Already larger than Arabic, Hebrew, and Turkish Wikipedias, Persian Wikipedia is now the largest Wikipedia of the Middle Eastern languages, and is aspiring to become one of the largest and highest-quality Wikipedias of the world. Like its other Middle Eastern counterparts, Persian Wikipedia has developed mostly around political, religious, and historical topics rather than scientific or medical ones. This may be because Middle East is a fairly small region with a long and rich history. Just consider that Persia, now called Iran, has nearly 2,600 years of recorded history; all three major Abrahamic religions have their origins in the Middle East. Consequently, the humanities play an important role in Persian Wikipedia.

Most of my contributions to Persian Wikipedia are about literature and history of Iran and Islam. The journal Iranian Studies, published by Routledge, is one the most reliable sources concerning that cultural heritage. I had access to this journal through my university library, which was subscribed to Taylor & Francis Online. However, things changed when the international sanctions against Iran expanded and included banking transactions. Subscription fees could not be paid and access to digital libraries became almost impossible one by one. Although there are always some loopholes or backdoors to circumvent the sanctions, the growing difficulties reduced my motivation to work on Wikipedia for free. I found myself always asking fellow Wikipedians who live abroad to send me various individual articles; only God knows how frustrating that was! However, thanks to the Wikipedia Library, I received JSTOR access, which incorporates Iranian Studies; this new access allowed me to continue my work on articles like Kelidar, the longest Persian novel, and the biography of Husayn Va’iz-i Kashifi, a prolific prose-stylist and influential preacher of the Islamic world. I have not nominated them for the Good Article reviews yet, but am going to do so in the near future and try to promote them.

Alexander III of Macedon – “Great” or “Accursed”?

“BattleofIssus333BC-mosaic-detail1″  from the Alexander Mosaic, public domain.

In my opinion, JSTOR access is a must for Persian Wikipedia editors, not just due to the lack of reliable sources in Iran or Afghanistan, but because of the systematic bias and censorship that is so prevalent among books published in these countries. Leaving controversial religious subjects untouched, let me point out my first-hand experience of a historical matter: Iranians (Persians) are so proud of their ancient history that it is nearly impossible to find an academic book about Alexander the Great, or as Iranians call him “Alexander the Accursed,” just because he ousted the Achaemenid Empire from power about 2300 years ago. This is not because of the government, but people themselves who would boycott the publisher that dares to publish such books. I was going to write a thorough article about Alexander the Great, but after facing such a hindrance, I had to content myself with just translating the English Wikipedia article. I’m sure there are lots of other similar, untold and unheard stories. It’s perfectly clear that JSTOR access and the Wikipedia Library can’t be waved like magic wands to solve all the problems, but they can give editors some small tools to begin remedying the situation. These can beneficially provide reliable sources for volunteer editors who devote their time to build a better world by sharing their knowledge.

I even consider the Wikipedia Library a helpful project to counter the systemic bias in English Wikipedia itself. While every river or hill in North America or Europe has its own article, many vital issues concerning developing countries have not been covered. By getting global editors like me free access to rich digital libraries, we will be even more encouraged to write decent articles about our culture and geography in your language.

4nn1l2, Persian Wikipedia editor

by wikimediablog at December 12, 2014 01:47 AM

December 10, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

An experiment in self-organization at the Wikimedia Foundation

Recently, the Wikimedia Foundation’s mobile web engineering team underwent a rapid change, more than doubling the number of engineers on the team within a period of four weeks. While this change was eagerly anticipated, the team size increase had unanticipated impacts on our team process and communication. It quickly became obvious that our new team size was making our usual way of working unsustainable.

In many organizations, the inclination might be to automatically split the team in two. However, the mobile web team operates with agility in mind, embracing the principle that “the best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams” [1]. Rather than telling the team that they would be split up, it was assumed that “If the team is to be trusted with solving the problem of how to build the product, it seems appropriate to trust it with the decision about how to structure itself to do so.” [2]

In this blog post, I will share the challenges that arose when the team grew, and the experiment that we designed to address these challenges.

Big Team Challenges

The team uses a framework called Scrum to coordinate their work and continuously improve. One metric used in scrum is known as the team’s “velocity”, a measure of how much work the team can do within a timeboxed development cycle. Measuring and tracking velocity can provide clues about what is happening on the team. A team may see their velocity decreasing over a couple of development cycles, and discover that a member has other obligations pulling them away from the work that was planned. In the case of the mobile web team, our velocity shot up. While this is “a good problem to have”, we now know that a sharp increase in velocity comes with its own set of challenges. Being observant about changes and trends in velocity can help a team catch problems early and course correct.

As the team prepared onboarding tasks for our new members, we anticipated that it would take the better part of a quarter for new team members to get up to speed. Little did we know that our new team members were actually HUNGRY CODE MONSTERS that would chew through our backlog of work in their first couple of development cycles. While we were rejoicing over our awesome new team members, we also came face to face with a unique and puzzling problem: we ran out of work to do.

By “running out of work to do”, I don’t actually mean that there was nothing for the team to work on. There is always plenty of stuff to work on: code cleanup, low-hanging feature requests, bugs, UI standardization work, helping out other teams, and so on. But as an agile team, our mandate is not just to do whatever work is possible, but to deliver the highest value features to our users at any given point in our development cycle. Working in this way requires a vigilant product owner who is in touch with user needs and always thinking about what the highest priority is at any point in the product life cycle. Under the guidance of our product owner, every two weeks the team meets and carefully considers and plans the work that will deliver the most value for our users. But… there are only so many waking hours in a product owner’s day. With our newly expanded team (lovingly nicknamed “MegaTeam”), the burden of maintaining a well-scoped and prioritized backlog of work suddenly became a lot more challenging, as our pace of working quickly outpaced our capacity to specify the next features to be developed.

Further burden was placed on our tech lead, whose role on our team is to give input on technical considerations of our work so that the team is able to estimate it. More of our tech lead’s time was taken away from coding and diverted towards fleshing out new work. Team members from Design and Analytics also felt the impact. All of a sudden we needed mockups or data analysis at a faster rate than before. The impact of our higher velocity (see sidebar) on our product owner, tech lead, and other team members was one of the first indications that our usual way of working may not be sustainable.

More meetings? Or more freedom…?
A little bit of up-front meeting time every couple of weeks can save hours of waste and confusion. After a one-hour estimation meeting, and a few days later, a short kickoff meeting development cycle, the mobile web team has a two-week uninterrupted stretch of time to focus on the work that they committed to. The one exception is an alternate day fifteen minute standup meeting for the team to coordinate their daily work. This short meeting is a quick and easy way to avoid duplication of effort, help unblock other team members by pointing them to helpful information, and otherwise avoid stepping on each other’s toes. At the end of the cycle, a retrospective meeting allows the team to pause and take stock of how things are going, catching pain points before they turn into dysfunctions, as well as celebrate what went well during the past two weeks. Within these lightweight boundaries, there is room to experiment, innovate, reflect, self-organize, and learn.

Another symptom of our growing pains manifested in our meetings. As a Scrum team, we have a preset schedule of goal-oriented meetings (see sidebar). These meetings are strictly timeboxed to keep the focus tight and the meetings efficient. Where we previously had established a regular and sustainable cadence for planning and working, with our new larger team we were now unable to complete our meeting objectives in the allotted times. When timeboxes run over and planning becomes challenging, it can be another indicator that the state of the team is not sustainable.

As the team became larger, communication overhead also increased. Even with a well-organized issue tracking system, people were still wary of stepping on each other’s toes and not always sure what the right thing to be doing was. Coupling that with the fact that we were working in new territory (Wikidata!) and learning as we went, things began to feel chaotic; not quite emergency status, but, as our Product Owner put it, maybe time for a Pan-pan.

The Experiment

When it started to become obvious where our pain points were, we decided to hold a special retrospective meeting to focus on the issues we were having as a megateam. A retrospective is an opportunity for a team to reflect on what is working well, what is not working well, and what they want to improve, and a practice that the mobile web team does regularly.

For this particular retrospective, we reviewed a list of observations about what had been happening as our team had grown, and did a one-word check-in [3] to get a sense of people’s reactions to the events of the past few weeks. We then spent some time diving deeper into analyzing what had been occurring, and listing possible next steps to mitigate our problems.

One of these possible next steps was to split the team into two teams. In the course of discussion, the notion of a hard split vs a soft split emerged. The hard split would be two different teams with separate work backlogs, planning meetings, and issue tracking. The soft split would keep some parts of our current process intact, like team standups and planning meetings, but introduce a new additional backlog of work that team members could organize around and draw from. We decided to try a soft split as an experiment, and see what the impact would be on our megateam problems. Our theory was that a separate backlog and backlog owner would relieve some of the pressure of having to scope out work at a faster than humanly possible rate, give our fast-working team an alternative stream of work to draw from, and perhaps lessen some of our coordination problems by having two distinct focus areas. We identified a body of work that would comprise our new, second backlog, generally focused on making our codebase easier for new contributors to work on. We captured this work in a new backlog, and designated an owner for the backlog. We set up some working guidelines around the practical aspects of planning and working (e.g. when and how the team would groom and work on the new backlog, who should be involved, and what to do in the case of conflicts between the two backlogs). We set goals and a timeline for trying out this new dual backlog approach, and started our experiment at the beginning of the next development cycle.

What’s Next?

Working in short cycles
By working in short cycles and inspecting and adapting regularly, we create conditions where we can fail and learn quickly, and apply our learnings. Perhaps a feature developed during a two-week sprint has not proven popular with users, or an insurmountable technical problem was discovered while working on a task, revealing that it doesn’t make business sense to continue the work. If an “experiment” fails, it can be hard to feel like you’re throwing work away, but if the time invested is a couple of days during a two-week cycle rather than the hundreds or thousands of hours one might put in to a longer, non-iterative project, the overall risk and investment is much lower.

Our experiment is still in progress and we are learning along the way. We decided to run the experiment over two full development cycles (see sidebar) and revisit it at the beginning of the new year. As we approach Q3, mobile reader engagement features are coming into focus, and we’ve received the call to “double down” on mobile efforts. While we still don’t know if our experiment will be a success and how our work might change in the coming quarter, the mobile web team has already exhibited agility in the face of uncertainty and change, which will surely serve us well in the months to come.

In the meantime, we’ll keep our eye on our current experiment and keep learning from it. Find out what happens next in Part II of The Adventures of MegaTeam, coming in early 2015!

Kristen Lans, WMF Team Practices Group, Mobile Web and App Team ScrumMaster


  1. Beck, Kent; et al. (2001). “Manifesto for Agile Software Development”. Retrieved 14 June 2010.
  2. Cohn, Mike. 2010. Succeeding with Agile: software development using Scrum. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Addison-Wesley, p.188
  3. Derby, Esther, Diana Larsen, and Ken Schwaber. Agile retrospectives: Making good teams great. Raleigh, NC: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2006, p.40

by Guillaume Paumier at December 10, 2014 11:40 PM

Content Translation: Announcing Version 3

Exciting new features are now available in the third version of the Content Translation tool. Development of the new version was recently completed and the newly added features can be used in Wikimedia’s beta environment. To use it, you first need to enable the Content Translation beta-feature in the wiki, then go to the Special Page to select the article to translate. This change in behavior was done in preparation for the activation of Content Translation as a beta-feature on a few selected Wikipedias in early 2015.

The Content Translation user dashboard


Two important features have been included in this phase of development work: a user dashboard, and saving & continuing of unfinished translations.

Users can currently use these two features to monitor only their own work. The dashboard (see image) will display all the published and unpublished articles created by the user. Unpublished articles are translations that the user has not published to the user namespace of the wiki. These articles can be opened from the dashboard and users can continue to translate them. The dashboard is presently in a very early stage of development, and enhancements will be made to enrich the features.

Additionally, the selector for source and target languages and articles has been redesigned. Published articles with excessive amount of unedited machine-translated content are now included in a category so that they can be easily identified.

Languages currently available with Apertium‘s machine translation support are Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish. Users of other languages can also explore the tool after they have enabled the beta-feature. Please remember that this wiki is hosted on Wikimedia’s beta servers and you will need to create a separate account.

Upcoming plans and participation

Development work is currently going on for the fourth version of this tool. During this phase, we will focus our attention on making the translation interface stable and prepare the tool for deployment as a beta-feature in several Wikipedias.

Since the first release in July 2014, we have been guided by the helpful feedback we have continuously received from early users. We look forward to wider participation and more feedback as the tool progresses with new features and is enabled for new languages. Please let us know your views about Content Translation on the Project talk page, or by signing up for user testing sessions. You can also participate in the language quality evaluation survey to help us identify new languages that can be served through the tool.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Wikimedia Foundation, Language Engineering team

by Guillaume Paumier at December 10, 2014 11:24 PM

IEG Selects Exciting New Batch of Experimental Projects to Improve Wikipedia, Wikisource, and Commons



Art and Feminism training in New York.
“ArtAndFeminismNYC-training1″ by Michael Mandiberg, under CC BY-SA 3.0

Today we’re announcing round two of Wikimedia’s 2014 Individual Engagement Grantees.

Individual Engagement Grants (IEG) provide funding to individuals and small teams to take on projects that will have online impact and advance Wikimedia’s strategic priorities. These projects can take on many forms, from building and improving online tools or social processes, to creating new types of partnerships with GLAM organizations or conducting actionable research about Wikimedia content and contributors.

The IEG committee scores two rounds of grant proposals a year according to specified selection criteria. Our volunteer committee is made up of 16 Wikimedians who come from various home wikis and collectively speak 15 languages. Outside of their committee work, members edit, review, and translate content, help govern local chapters, write software, organize off-wiki events and facilitate workshops, work as sysops and bureaucrats, verify copyright and licensing permissions, draft and discuss project policies, and recruit and welcome new users to Wikimedia projects.

In this latest round, a total of 26 eligible proposals were submitted for the committee’s review. We recommended seven projects be funded in total, with 13 grantees selected to receive $98,271 overall.

The projects selected for funding this round are:

  • Art+Feminism Editathon training materials and network building: This project will build on a series of successful 2014 edit-a-thons to develop scalable online infrastructure, including training materials and a network of facilitators, to support the expansion and sustainability of the Art+Feminism movement, aimed at improving Wikipedia’s coverage of notable women in history, art, and beyond. 
  • Automated Notability Detection: This project aims to develop a classification algorithm that can assess likeliness of notability (initially within English Wikipedia) and can be used to support editors’ review of newly created articles.
Viswanadh,B.K, the grantee for the Teluga library project.

Viswanadh,B.K, the grantee for the Telugu library project.
“Viswanadh,B.K”by విశ్వనాధ్.బి.కె., under CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Digitization of Important Libraries Book Catalog in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Through a partnership between the Telugu Wikipedia community and brick-and-mortar libraries in India, this project will endeavour to digitize five library catalogues of Telugu books in order to support Telugu Wikipedians searching for verifiable sources for new article content. 
  • Fundación Joaquín Díaz: This project will see 23,000 sound recordings from the ethnographic archive of the Joaquín Díaz Foundation in Urueña, Spain uploaded to Wikimedia Commons under a free license, and could serve as a potential model for other institutional collaborations.
  • Revision scoring as a service: The grantees of this project will develop machine classification for assessing quality of contributions on multiple language Wikipedias as a publicly queryable API. This service will in turn support the development of new and powerful tools to support editors beyond the English language Wikipedia environment. 
How WikiBrain IEG works.

How WikiBrainTools works.
“WikiBrainIEG”by Shilad, under CC BY-SA 4.0

  • WikiBrainTools: This project seeks to democratize access to Wikipedia-based algorithms across all Wikipedias, and allow Wikimedians to leverage the work of natural language processing researchers to build smarter tools for Wikipedia. In particular, WikiBrainTools will attempt to close the loop between algorithmic researchers who mine Wikipedia to improve computer-derived insight, Wikipedia developers who could be integrating algorithms into their bots and tools, and Wikipedia researchers who could stand to benefit from tools that improve pattern recognition. 
  • WikiProject X: This project will explore and test design solutions for encouraging optimal effectiveness and supporting sustainability and collaboration between groups of contributors within a WikiProject on English Wikipedia.
  • Additionally, one project funded in the last IEG round, Women Scientists Workshop Development, was also approved by WMF for another 6 months of renewed funding to experiment with scaling the model.

Some of the proposals declined by the committee were ultimately seen as being more appropriate candidates for a PEG (Project and Event Grant), which typically funds offline events and outreach; others outlined innovative approaches to solving a problem but appeared too early in their ideation to be realistically executed, were of unclear direct benefit to Wikimedia projects, or did not adequately engage with the target Wikimedia communities they aimed to serve. As some of these proposals continue to develop in response to feedback, they’ll be welcome to return to IEG in future rounds – we love to see ideas grow and change as a result of the community discussion process.

With so many new ideas put forward in this round, we’re seeing a few emerging trends. Just over half (13) of this round’s proposals fell under the “Tools” category, nine fell under “Offline Outreach & Partnerships”, two fell under “Online Community Organizing”, and one fell under “Research.” Many submissions touched upon the idea of micro-edits in one way or another. Using machine learning to assist human decision-making was another common theme, and we’re pleased to see an increasing number of academic researchers proposing new ways to integrate their research into actionable Wikimedia tools and processes. There appears to be an increasing trend towards developing tools through IEG: the number of tools proposals nearly doubled since IEG’s last funding round. Online tools offer the potential for a small team to help many editors and readers, and we’re curious to see what impact this will have over time. We’re grateful for the many volunteers and WMF staff members who offered the committee expert opinions on these tools proposals in particular, as well as all proposals under consideration. 

IEG is a participatory and iterative grantmaking process. Committee members, as well as the broader Wikimedia community, are encouraged to read over grant proposals and leave comments and questions on proposal talk pages in advance of the formal review process. The back-and-forth between applicants, staff and the committee often results in stronger submissions and helps applicants, many of whom have no prior grant-writing experience, compete effectively for funding. Many committee members also serve as advisors for funded projects between funding rounds.

The IEG committee notes that 3 of 7 grants in this round are targeting English Wikipedia, which makes some sense given the large number of readers and contributors to that project. With so many Wikimedia language projects and potential grantees around the world to support, though, we welcome discussion about how the program can increase the diversity of the proposals it receives. We also look forward to reviewing your future submissions – hope to see you in IdeaLab in 2015, as the next round of IEG develops. For now, though, we say congratulations to the successful grantees and encourage you to follow their progress as they begin work in the coming weeks.

Helen Halbert (User:Thepwnco), on behalf of the IEG Committee

by wikimediablog at December 10, 2014 10:31 PM

Using Licenses in an easy (and legal) way

Title page of “Open Content – A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences”
“Cappadocia Balloon Inflating Wikimedia Commons”, by Benh LIEU SONG / design by Markus Büsges, leomaria designbüro, Germany, CC BY-SA 3.0

According to Wikipedia, “all rights reserved” is a phrase that originated in copyright law as a formal requirement for copyright notice.[1] It means that any reuse of copyrighted material can only be granted by the originator themselves. Only after receiving some kind of permission can copyrighted material such as pictures, sounds or videos be used in the context of a blog or other information material.

Over the past ten years, different free license models have been developed to make this situation more user-friendly. They suggest that not “all” but rather “some” rights should be reserved to the originator, giving reusers the opportunity to use, share, combine and spread content without working out agreements with the authors beforehand. Free licenses, e.g. the ones by Creative Commons, grant or exclude different kinds of reusage in the form of standardized license agreements. Within the scope of these licenses users can share copyrighted material as they please.

By using free licenses instead of traditional copyright, users can reach a far wider audience with their works. In times when people first look for information online, this is how it becomes possible to e.g. run the biggest online encyclopedia consisting of copyrighted texts and pictures in a legal way.

Free licenses are an important tool to make knowledge available to all people but not everyone knows how exactly they are to be used. At the conference “Shaping Access”, new guidelines have been presented that approach this topic in a descriptive and comprehensible way.

Planetario de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires,” by  Emmanuel Iarussi / design by Markus Büsges, leomaria designbüro, Germany, CC BY-SA 3.0

Open Content – A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences” is a publication by the German Commission for UNESCO, the North Rhine-Westphalian Library Service Centre and Wikimedia Deutschland. Media attorney Dr. Till Kreutzer elaborates on the advantages of Creative Commons licenses and exemplifies different usage scenarios of the different licenses. This publication is also the first one to go into detail about the newest version of these licenses: version 4.0.

The guide extensively deals with all six license modules of the Creative Commons licenses, the ensuing opportunities as well as questions. The license “Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike,” e.g., allows adaptations of the respective content but it is not always clear what exactly an adaptation is. And how does the license deal with adaptations in the form of remixes or mashups? Kreutzer also talks about what it means to make a piece of work available “publicly” or “privately.” In addition, there is a section about trademarks and moral rights and their relationship to free licenses.

The “NonCommercial” license module also leaves a wide margin for interpretation. It doesn’t follow from the license agreement what exactly has to be understood as “non-commercial” usage.[2] Is it for example commercial or non-commercial when a publicly financed institution incorporates content on their website? This was the subject of a recent legal case in Germany where the Higher Regional Court of North Rhine-Westfalia ruled that the publicly funded Deutschlandradio acted within its rights when it included a picture on its website that was only to be used in non-commercial contexts. The court declared that as an entity of the public sector, Deutschlandradio is inherently not profit-oriented.

Fleur de givre L” by Annick MONNIER / design by Markus Büsges, leomaria designbüro, Germany, CC BY-SA 3.0

Practical tips, e.g. on how to find freely licensed content online or how to attach a license notice, make up the last chapter of “Open Content – A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences.” Thus, the guide is not only a great starting point for creators but also for reusers of content. It is supposed to encourage everyone to make copyrighted material available to the public, to deliberately give up control and to combine freely licensed material in a creative way.

“Open Content – A Practical Guide to Using Creative Commons Licences” is available as full text on Meta-Wiki and PDF. The text itself is licensed under CC-BY. We encourage you to adapt it, to translate it into your language and to share it with the whole Wikimedia movement and beyond. If you have any comment, you can get back to me via katja.ullrich@wikimedia.de or leave a comment on the talk page on Meta. Please feel free to share any new versions of the guide you may create over time with me.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=All_rights_reserved&oldid=614754821
  2. The brochure “Free Knowledge thanks to Creative Commons licenses – Why a non-commercial clause often won’t serve your needs” published by iRights, Creative Commons and Wikimedia Deutschland actually deals with this topic in a very accessible manner.

Katja Ullrich, project manager at Wikimedia Deutschland

by wikimediablog at December 10, 2014 01:03 AM

December 09, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Inaugural Monuments of Spain Challenge completed

Albacete monuments have been added to more than a dozen Wikipedias.
“Pasaje Lodares” by Chowdon, under Public Domain

In October 2014, Wikimedia España ran the Monuments of Spain Challenge. This contest takes profit from our Wiki Loves Monuments experience in order to spread the knowledge of Spanish culture –mainly architectural in this case- around the World.

Spain is a multicultural country, with eight different languages present in the Wikimedia Projects: Aragonese, Asturian, Basque, Extremaduran, Catalan, Galician, Occitan and Castilian Spanish. It is also the cradle of a language with a global presence: Spanish. So we in Wikimedia España felt the need to expose ourselves to a multilingual world, and have tried to make our contest known in 145 languages.

Just saying thanks took some effort
“Nota agradecimiento MoSC” by A. Barra, under CC BY-SA 3.0

Participants in the Challenge were asked to edit –create, translate or expand- articles about monuments. This is an idea we borrowed from Wikimedia Sverige, with some influence of contests by Amical Catalan language group and Welsh Wikipedia. We are very grateful to them, as their experiences helped our team address different issues along the way.

The results of the Challenge have been encouraging. There have been 2079 articles edited, corresponding to approximately 1086 different Wikidata items in 37 languages, from Guarani and Korean to Welsh and Malay. We are particularly proud about the Awadhi and Maithili edits, which are still in the Incubator. All together, 46 people participated in the edits.

The winners were users Alphama in the general category, and Rauletemunoz in the languages of Spain special contest. Alphama completed edits almost entirely in Vietnamese, and Rauletemunoz did so in Catalan. Some editors used seven, nine or even eleven different languages.

We started this endeavor with the best intentions, but little practical knowledge. This has been a rewarding experience, as it improved our organization and helped us learn more about contests, monuments, people, and languages. We have had the help of many people we did not expect to work with, and our knowledge of communities within the Movement has grown too.

This has been just a step and we are willing to take more. We have learned, I said, so the next one will be different. Our goal is still to improve.

User:B25es, Wikimedia España

by wikimediablog at December 09, 2014 04:35 AM

December 05, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Around half of Wikipedia’s medical editors are experts

Half of the editors working on Wikipedia’s 25,000 pages of medical content are qualified medics or other healthcare professionals, providing reassurance about the reliability of the website, according to our newly published research results. Those editors, who are contributing their time for free, are motivated by a belief in the value of Wikipedia, a sense of responsibility to help provide good quality health information, and because they find editing Wikipedia supports their own learning.

Wikipedia is known to be a go-to place for healthcare information for both professionals and the lay public. The first question everyone asks is: but how reliable is it? In a new study, just published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, we took a different approach. We wanted to know more about the people behind the medical pages on Wikipedia, what background do they come from, whether they have specific interests in health and what drives them to contribute to Wikipedia. Because getting health-related content on Wikipedia right is about more than getting the facts correct. It’s about how the information is presented, how topics are covered and what perspectives taken. You can read the paper here: http://www.jmir.org/2014/12/e260

I’m at the beginning of my research career and I’m very proud that my first published paper is on Wikipedia and Wikipedians. I did this study over 8 months as part of my Master’s course in Health Psychology at UCL. The project was with Dr Henry Potts, a senior lecturer at UCL’s Institute of Health Informatics, who is also a long-time Wikipedian as User:Bondegezou.


In the study, we randomly selected a set of health-related articles on Wikipedia and invited people contributing to those pages to complete a questionnaire and a follow-up interview. We received 32 replies from 11 different countries, namely the UK, USA, Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia and Colombia. In that snapshot of time (July-September 2012) the editors of health-related articles were predominantly men (31 out of 32), ranging in age from 12 to 59 years. 21 spoke more than one language.
Reassuringly, 15 were working in a health-related field, which included general medicine, cancer research, health psychology, health education, internal medicine, health advertising, regulatory affairs, pharmaceutical drug discovery, microbiology and medical publishing. The other half of the sample included individuals with particular health interests and students, including medical students.

72% of the sample were long-term contributors with 8 having contributed between 3-5 years, 10 between 5-8 years and 5 over 8 years. 90% contributed to other non-medical Wikipedia pages spanning architecture, astronomy, mythology, languages, history and art.

People edited health-related content on Wikipedia because they wanted to help improve content; they find that editing Wikipedia is a good way to learn about the topics themselves; they feel a sense of responsibility – often a professional responsibility – to ensure accuracy and reliability of health information for the public; they enjoy editing Wikipedia; they think highly of the value of Wikipedia.

"Health-wikipedia motivational model 4 (1)" by Hydra Rain, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The motivational model (click to enlarge)

This process of inter-related value systems which drives contributing behavior is graphically depicted in our motivational model of contribution. This could be seen as Wikipedians internalising the principles of Wikipedia, the site’s Five Pillars, and that’s a key part of the social contract that makes the site work. Maybe there is a link between the idealism of many Wikipedians and the idealism of many in healthcare.

Even though we randomly selected health articles, we encountered the same editor accounts over and over. It became apparent that the core editor community number is small: it currently consists of around 300 people. Although this number is still clearly much larger than would normally be brought together to write a medical textbook!

We also observed the egalitarianism of Wikipedia: everyone has equal right to edit content if their claims are verifiable. While the high proportion of healthcare professionals provides reassurance about the accuracy of content, Wikipedia is a place of verifiability and not authority. Contributions from those who are not healthcare professionals are important too. Wikipedia’s focus on what is said rather than who is saying it has parallels with the peer review process that journal papers go through, a system that is often anonymous. Likewise, the evidence-based medicine movement, that has become dominant in healthcare, has worked hard to put research evidence above expert opinion.

Current state and the future

Plenty of doctors and patients are still wary of Wikipedia’s use in healthcare, but other research has shown that Wikipedia is extensively used by patients, by medical students, by doctors and by health researchers. We would like to see more of those using Wikipedia becoming editors and there are several recent initiatives in that area. The more people are editing, the better Wikipedia gets… although we also have to help new contributors get used to Wikipedia’s rules. That balance, between increasing participation, improving reliability and maintaining the community, is a challenge for health-related editors as it is for Wikipedia in general.

Healthcare research has already seen a big shift to open access publications, journals that are free to read, so researchers and health practitioners are becoming open to the principles of Wikipedia. I believe strongly that everyone in the world deserves access to high quality healthcare information in the language of their choice. Wikipedia is the only viable method to achieve this goal.

Nuša Farič (nfaric@gmail.com; Hydra Rain)

by wikimediablog at December 05, 2014 05:50 PM

Joel Aldor wants to preserve historic Filipino architecture one photo at a time.

This profile is part of a series about history and geography on Wikipedia.

"Inmaculada Concepcion Parish Church, Guiuan, Eastern Samar (Before and After 2013 Typhoon Haiyan)" by Joelaldor, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Inmaculada Concepcion Parish Church, Guiuan, Eastern Samar (Before and After Typhoon Haiyan in 2013)
“Inmaculada Concepcion Parish Church, Guiuan, Eastern Samar (Before and After 2013 Typhoon Haiyan)”by Joel Aldor, under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Spanish colonial buildings in the Philippines have served as bastions of the country’s rich and colorful history and culture. But after the Bohol Earthquake and the deadly onslaught of Typhoon Haiyan, much of Filipino historical architecture threatens to crumble. That’s why a number of volunteers from Wikimedia Philippines have decided to take on a long-term project to photograph and document their country’s architecture on Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons as a means of preservation.

“[The] Philippines is a very culturally rich country but at the same time vulnerable to a lot of threats that would damage and destroy our collective history as manifested in our built heritage sites,” says Joel Aldor, member of Wikimedia Philippines and head of the Philippine Cultural Heritage Mapping Project, who currently resides in Makati.

<a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portrait_of_Joel_Aldor_in_front_of_San_Pablo_Church_Ruins.JPG">"Portrait of Joel Aldor in front of San Pablo Church Ruins"</a> by <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Joelaldor">Joelaldor</a>, under <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en">CC-BY-SA-4.0</a>

Portrait of Joel Aldor in front of San Pablo Church ruins “Portrait of Joel Aldor in front of San Pablo church ruins” by Joel Aldor under CC BY-SA 4.0

Aldor points out that although it’s been a year since Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines,the effects of its onslaught are still strongly felt. For instance, the town of Palo, a historic town in the province of Leyte, well-known for its stately ancestral houses and exemplary Spanish colonial architecture, has been heavily affected by the impact of Typhoon Haiyan. Ancestral houses are currently being demolished to pave way for road widening projects by the national government in preparation for the Papal visit in January 2015.

San Pedro Apostol Parish Church, Loboc, Bohol (before and after the 2013 Bohol Earthquake)
”San Pedro Apostol Parish Church, Loboc, Bohol (Before and After 2013 Bohol Earthquake)” by Joel Aldor, under CC BY-SA 4.0

“A lot has been destroyed by the typhoon. Today a lot of them are barely recognizable,” says Aldor.

The case of towns like Palo that have buildings in danger of destruction, along with a good number of historic towns at risk, inspired a number of Filipino Wikipedians to take a stance in safeguarding their country’s built heritage.

Aldor is an IT project manager by profession, but architecture has been his life-long passion. He has been engaged in heritage documentation around the Philippines since 2008, driving across the Philippines and keeping a photo database of more than 30,000 photos of churches, houses and other architectural details. His recent work has been highlighted with Project Kisame, a comprehensive documentation project on ceiling paintings of colonial churches in Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor, which was funded through a government grant early this year.

San Isidro Labrador Parish Church, Tubigon, Bohol (Before and after the 2013 Bohol Earthquake)“San Isidro Labrador Parish Church, Tubigon, Bohol (Before and After 2013 Bohol Earthquake)” by Joel Aldor under CC BY SA 4.0

He became involved with the Wikimedia movement when Josh Lim, an active chapter member of Wikimedia Philippines, noticed Aldor’s photos of historic church ceilings published under a Creative Commons license, released at that very fateful day of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Bohol. Aldor has expressed his intention to donate all his photos to Wikimedia Commons, and since then has become very involved with Wikimedia Philippines.

“I do believe that Philippine architecture is just as unique as every other Asian architecture. We want to showcase our beautiful masterpieces of art and colonial architecture, which exemplifies a fusion of East Asian and European architecture, and is something that we think every citizen should know.” says Aldor.

“It’s very daunting and so while we’re doing it [we realize] there’s so many towns that didn’t have a definite cultural map up till now,” says Aldor. “We get surprised ourselves when we found some some interesting structures that were not documented for so many years.”

Finding undiscovered historical sites excites Aldor, along with the other project volunteers, which highlights the importance of the chapter’s work. For the next six years of the project, the chapter will focus on building a comprehensive database using mapping standards from the premier universities in the Philippines.

Currently the project team includes 22 certified volunteers who will be mapping a series of Philippine towns that are largely underrepresented in academic textbooks. The team has already plotted out a roadmap for the project up to the year 2020.

"WikiExpedition Santa Ana 007" by  Smart Communications, Inc. under CC BY-SA 4.0

Members of Wikimedia Philippines
“WikiExpedition Santa Ana 007″ by Smart Communications, Inc. under CC BY-SA 4.0

“Next year we will start working to normalize our database and work with data analysts to come up [with] a more sound and robust database that could be reused and distributed across several platforms that could make use of our data in tourism and education,” says Aldor.

By 2016, he wishes to assist the government’s efforts in promoting and preserving his built heritage using Wikimedia platforms and help develop a more data driven policy on both a local and national level.

“We’re coming up with a list of accounts that we’re going to start mapping – focusing on unknown obscure towns that haven’t been properly documented yet,” says Aldor.

Aldor plans on going on a series of WikiExpeditions to map a number of towns as part of the volunteers’ continual training and immersions, such as the last WikiExpedition in Santa Ana, Manila back on September 13th, and another one scheduled on November 29th at the historic town of Sariaya, which has many art deco buildings and grand, stately houses built by wealthy families. According to Aldor, many of the grand houses have survived World War II and a series of fires, but needed protection from an impending road widening project that the Department of Public Works and Highways wants to push forward with.

"Assunta de la Nuestra Sra. Parish Church, Dauis, Bohol (Before and After 2013 Bohol Earthquake)" by Joelaldor, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Assunta de la Nuestra Sra. Parish Church, Dauis, Bohol (Before and After 2013 Bohol Earthquake)
“Assunta de la Nuestra Sra. Parish Church, Dauis, Bohol (Before and After 2013 Bohol Earthquake)” by Joel Aldor, under CC BY-SA 4.0

”So we’re going to map all built heritage sites that we can identify and submit all the cultural mapping data to the national historical commission of the Philippines and will ask them – petition them – to determine and delineate a core buffer zone for the historic center.” says Aldor. “That way the whole district can be protected and any plans on at any infrastructure projects that can impact these structures must have to go through a consultant consultation process, which is something that is never has almost never happened before.”

Although Aldor considers the Wikimedia Philippines chapter to be considerably young, he says its efforts are increasingly being noticed and appreciated by community members. He says he hopes to attend Wikimania in 2016.

“I only knew I can share my knowledge in the best way I know.” says Aldor. “I hope our product can also serve as inspiration for other other movements especially in the global South.”

Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

by wikimediablog at December 05, 2014 01:04 AM

December 03, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Tisková zpráva: Na hvězdárně vystoupí tvůrci Wikipedie

Na Wikipedii hledá informace téměř každý, ale málokdo se už zajímá, odkud pocházejí. I proto mají studenti mnoha škol používání Wikipedie zakázáno, zatímco jiní ji pod dozorem svých vyučujících pomáhají vytvářet. Na brněnské hvězdárně se 29. listopadu sejdou tvůrci české Wikipedie, kteří do ní napsali již přes 300.000 článků, aby více než 150 přihlášeným návštěvníkům umožnili nahlédnout „pod pokličku“ této největší internetové encyklopedie. Připraveno je 15 přednášek, příležitost popovídat si osobně s některým z „wikipedistů“ a pro zástupce brněnských kulturních a vzdělávacích institucí i odborný seminář o možnostech spolupráce s Wikipedií.

„Kdo chce zlepšit české školství, měl by podpořit rozvoj české Wikipedie,“ potvrzuje Jiří Dušek, ředitel Hvězdárny a planetária Brno, která šestý ročník české Wikikonference v Brně hostí. Pořadatelem akce je Wikimedia Česká republika, nezisková organizace zastupující v České republice americkou nadaci Wikimedia Foundation, která Wikipedii provozuje. S půlmiliardou návštěvníků měsíčně je Wikipedie šestou nejnavštěvovanější webovou stránkou na světě a první z nekomerčních – na její chod přispívají sami čtenáři v dobrovolných sbírkách, finančně ji podporují také některé internetové vyhledávače. Encyklopedická hesla píší dobrovolníci z celého světa a úpravy v ní může dělat každý. „Když jsem zjistil, že mí studenti používají Wikipedii, přišlo mi marné jim to zakazovat. Namísto toho jsem do ní začal sám psát, aby tam našli kvalitní obsah,“ vysvětlil svůj postoj profesor Jan Sokol, který přispívá do Wikipedie od roku 2007. Jeho spolupracovník Vojtěch Veselý bude na letošní Wikikonferenci prezentovat nový projekt, ve kterém se snaží zapojit do tvorby Wikipedie seniory.

Na fungování české Wikipedie mají svou zásluhu i Brňané: Na počátku české verze stál brněnský esperantista Miroslav Malovec, který v roce 2002 přeložil úvodní stránku Wikipedie z esperanta do češtiny a vytvořil tak prostor dalším nadšencům, kteří přišli po něm. Dnes má česká Wikipedie sice jen několik stovek aktivních redaktorů, ale různou měrou do ní za celou dobu jejího fungování přispělo 13 tisíc uživatelů. Práci všech autorů lze volně kombinovat díky licenci Creative Commons, jíž se vzdávají části svých autorských práv. Tu představí Lucie Straková z Ústavu práva a technologií Právnické fakulty Masarykovy univerzity. A právě na Masarykově univerzitě je v současnosti v přípravě směrnice, která má zjednodušit přebírání tam vznikajících prezentačních článků a fotografií do Wikipedie. O možnostech propojení akademického světa s Wikipedií promluví Tomáš Mozga, předseda Spolku absolventů a přátel Masarykovy univerzity, který Wikikonferenci spolupořádá.

Wikikonferenci, která letos do Brna zavítá poprvé, lze navštívit bezplatně. Zájemcům je však doporučováno se předem registrovat na www.wikikonference.cz, kde také najdou podrobný program akce. „Na rozdíl od minulých ročníků, které byly více zaměřeny na již aktivní redaktory, je tentokrát program orientován více na zvídavou veřejnost,“ vysvětlil Marek Blahuš z týmu brněnských wikipedistů.

Kontakt: Vojtěch Dostál, tiskový mluvčí spolku Wikimedia ČR, press@wikimedia.cz

Celý text této tiskové zprávy je uvolněn jako volné dílo (public domain). To platí po celém světě. V právních řádech, kde takové uvolnění není ze zákona možné, poskytují autoři komukoliv práva použít toto dílo jakýmkoliv způsobem bez dalších podmínek, ledaže by takové podmínky vyžadoval zákon.

by Marek Blahuš at December 03, 2014 07:19 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Welcome to Phabricator, Wikimedia’s new collaboration platform

Bugs, tasks, boards, and cards for the masses! The Wikimedia Phabricator project workboard, captured right after the Bugzilla migration.

Wikimedia launches a space for collaboration open to all contributors: phabricator.wikimedia.org. Primarily devoted to software development, this platform also welcomes non-technical projects. Wikimedia Phabricator has been available since September for early adopters. Its prime time starts this week, after having incorporated 73,681 reports migrated from Bugzilla, the bug management tool that has served our projects during a decade. Farewell Bugzilla, welcome Phabricator!

As far as we know, we are maintaining the biggest public Phabricator instance in terms of number of tasks filed. Phabricator is a third-party open-source software development platform that we decided to use for project management, bug reporting, design of new features, and (one day not too far away) code review, all in an integrated fashion. Wikimedia Phabricator has already more than 800 users, who are getting their Bugzilla activity automatically assigned. New users can join and claim their Bugzilla history as well.

Main features

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="169" src="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Very_Basics_of_Phabricator.ogg?embedplayer=yes" width="300"></iframe>The Very Basics of Phabricator, a Wikimedia Tech Talk on video.

Phabricator comes with many improvements over Bugzilla:

  • The desktop UI looks contemporary. Most features are mobile-friendly as well. Interacting via email is possible.
  • Users can log in with their Wikimedia (SUL) credentials, and the LDAP access used for Labs and Gerrit is available as well. Email addresses are finally private.
  • Bug reporters, developers, designers, product managers, and other contributors use the same tool to discuss issues, features, and other tasks.
  • Tasks are editable, and can be assigned to multiple projects. In fact, projects are like tags in a flat structure.
  • There are workboards for project planning, and possibility to upload mockups and add notes.
  • Users enjoy auto-saved comments while typing.
  • Users can edit their own comments (with history).
  • There is no mid-air collision when someone adds a comment while you are writing yours.

Known issues

In general, fluent Bugzilla users who are new to Phabricator will need a few days to get used to the different paradigms this tool proposes.

There are some areas that require improvement:

  • Suggestions for duplicates when creating a new task.
  • Even if Phabricator’s search is powered by Elasticsearch, it needs some fine-tuning to get to Bugzilla’s efficiency.
  • Advanced Bugzilla users will also find that some actions take more clicks (assigning blocker/blocking tasks, for instance).

There is a complete list of known issues and we will keep working on them after the launch.

Key features implemented

Wikimedia Phabricator’s homepage, after the Bugzilla migration and reopening.

Phabricator is free software available for anybody. The Wikimedia Phabricator team has worked on key features to adapt it to our projects:

  • Migration script keeping relevant data and metadata, allowing users to claim their activity from different services and unify it in Phabricator.
  • Wikimedia Single User Login.
  • Private tasks accessible to a user group and reporters.
  • Separate file hosting domain.
  • Automatic redirects from old Bugzilla reports to Phabricator tasks.
  • Wikimedia username visible in Phabricator user profile.
  • Custom IRC bot to report activity.
  • Updated interwiki links and wiki templates (e.g. phab:T2001)

Also, we have updated a lot of on-wiki documentation that was related to Bugzilla. Those pages now refer and point to Phabricator.

The Phabricator upstream developers have also implemented many features and bugfixes based on our feedback, and we really appreciate their support with this undertaking.

Bugzilla archived

Existing links to Bugzilla reports are automatically redirected to their equivalent Phabricator tasks. Wikimedia Phabricator already had 1,391 tasks before the migration, and we could not assign to Phabricator tasks the same number as their Bugzilla counterparts. Instead, we are providing a memorable solution: just add 2,000 to a Bugzilla number, and you will get its Phabricator task number, i.e. Bug 123 is T2123.

Users can still check the old Bugzilla instance, now retired in read-only mode. They can log in to check their votes and their saved searches, which we could not migrate.

What comes next

Evan Priestley, Phabricator’s main developer (with black shirt) visiting the Wikimedia Foundation offices in San Francisco. (“Wikimedia Phabricator Meeting – June 2014 – Photo 2″ by Fabrice Florin (WMF), under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

The migration from Bugzilla marks the first step of the migration of the Wikimedia Foundation software development teams (who also need to migrate from Trello and Mingle), and of the Wikidata team at Wikimedia Germany (from Scrumbugz).

The RT migration is underway, coming in a couple weeks. RT is the tool used by the WMF Operations team to handle requests. Expect some thousands of additional tasks coming to Phabricator through this migration.

Code review is the next frontier. The Gerrit Migration Bot has been updated. Diffusion, Phabricator’s code repository browser, is available already now. With Diffusion, developers can import existing repositories, beginning the deprecation of another tool, GitBlit. The migration of the Gerrit code review tool will take more effort and a few months. The actual bottleneck is MediaWiki’s continuous integration system, a tough nut to crack.

Get involved

This is a very exciting project! We welcome your help.

PHP developers are welcome to contribute enhancements and new features upstream. Learn more at Phabricator/Code.

And for Phabricator support and camaraderie, join #wikimedia-devtoolsconnect. See you there!

Quim Gil, Wikimedia Foundation

by Guillaume Paumier at December 03, 2014 06:30 PM

December 02, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation launches year-end contribution campaign to support free knowledge

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back, so there’s no more fitting time for the Wikimedia Foundation to begin its year-end contribution campaign on English Wikipedia. During this time, we ask for contributions to support operating expenses of the Wikimedia sites and global outreach programs and to help keep the largest free knowledge resource accessible to the world.

Like Wikipedia, which is entirely written by a community of individual volunteers, the annual fundraising campaign is overwhelmingly supported by small individual donations averaging $15. It is a unique campaign that relies on the power of individuals to keep knowledge free and accessible for the world.

Together with its sister free knowledge projects like Wikimedia Commons, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world, attracting nearly half a billion unique visitors and more than 20 billion monthly page views each month. Every month roughly 70,000 people edit Wikipedia, collectively creating, improving, and maintaining its more than 33.5 million articles in 287 languages.

This year, hundreds of millions of people turned to Wikipedia to not just understand but also shape the world around them. From articles on national revolutions to feathered dinosaurs and comet landers to football tournaments, the world trusts Wikipedia. Here are just a few ways people used Wikipedia to make a difference:

  • This year the article on the Ebola virus disease on the English-language version of Wikipedia received 17 million visits in one month alone, and remained among the most visited articles on Wikipedia throughout the year. Wikipedians at the WikiProject Med Foundation worked with volunteer translators to make the article on Ebola available in more than 50 languages.
  • This summer more than 2,000 of the volunteer writers, readers, and users of Wikipedia met in London at Wikimania, to share and discuss the future of knowledge. Among them was 17 year old Jack Andraka who, as a high school student, used knowledge found on Wikipedia to develop a new test for pancreatic cancer.
  • This autumn, a group of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors were recognized by Foreign Policy magazine as among the world’s 100 top leading global thinkers for their project, Art+Feminism, designed to advance understanding of the contributions of the world’s female artists and innovators.

The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit that supports Wikipedia, its sister free knowledge projects, and that community of volunteers. Small donations allow the Wikimedia Foundation to cover the costs of operating Wikipedia, including electricity, servers, and staff. These contributions also allow us to invest in improvements to the technology behind Wikipedia, such as this year’s introduction of a free, fast, native Wikipedia app for iOS and Android, and ongoing improvements to Wikipedia’s search functions and speed.

Donations also support Foundation initiatives to bring knowledge to people around the world, such as Wikipedia Zero. Wikipedia Zero is a program that enables people who can’t afford mobile data charges to access or contribute to all knowledge on Wikipedia for free on their mobile phone. An estimated 400 million people now have free access to Wikipedia, thanks to 40 operators in 34 countries. This includes users of MTN in South Africa, which introduced Wikipedia Zero after receiving an open letter from grade 12 students at Sinenjongo High School, in the township of Joe Slovo Park.

As with previous campaigns, users will see different versions of the banners over the course of the month. We are always trying new ways to reach our diverse global audience: This year, our goal is to reach our target more quickly while limiting the total number of banners each reader sees.

The online fundraising campaign aims to raise $20 million in December. The remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding comes from individuals gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from a handful of foundation grants.

We thank all our contributors for their support and our volunteers who help make these campaigns a widely localized and internationalized effort.

To make a donation, click the fundraising appeal on Wikipedia, or go directly to donate.wikimedia.org.

Lisa Gruwell
Chief Revenue Officer

Megan Hernandez
Director of Online Fundraising

by wikimediablog at December 02, 2014 08:47 PM

Wikimedia Deutschland organised Europe’s largest conference on Open Educational Resources

"OERde14 16" by Christopher Schwarzkopf (WMDE), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

OERde14 – the conference on Open Educational Resources in Germany
(“OERde14 16″ by Christopher Schwarzkopf (WMDE), under CC BY-SA 4.0)

Open Educational Resources (OER) have become an important theme for Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE). In September, we organised OERde14, the largest conference on the topic in continental Europe, WMDE’s largest single event in 2014 and a breakthrough for the issue. In this post, I (Sebastian Horndasch of Wikimedia Deutschland’s education and science team) explain what we did and why we did it and how it helped shape the national debate on the issue.

OER in Germany

For explaining why we do what on OER, it is important to know that the education landscape in Germany is very different to that in the US and many other countries. OER has only recently entered the political debate in Germany. Up until one or two years ago, the issue inspired the interest of some grassroot activists but not of mainstream political and social groups – at a time, when the United States were already investing millions in the production of open textbooks. So Germany is quite late on OER. This has two main reasons:

  1. Germany is generally slower than comparable countries in adopting digital technologies. Need examples? We still buy our music on CD, 95 per cent of our books come in print and the decline in printed newspapers that the US has been experiencing for over a decade now has only just started in Germany. No surprise that we are late as well on OER.
  2. Textbooks are drastically cheaper in Germany. For example, the sixth edition of “Principles of Economics” by Gregory Mankiw sold for 303 USD at the time of writing this piece. The German version of that book will cost you 39.95 € (roughly 50 USD). With no tuition fees at universities, prices of textbooks do not constitute a social problem in Germany. And hence there is less pressure to produce alternatives.

But change does happen. Wikipedia showed how open licences and collaborative work can lead to results far superior than proprietary production. Pushed by the European Commission, German lawmakers are starting to discuss the issue. In 2014, the federal state of Berlin was the first German state to adopt an OER strategy.

Wikimedia Deutschland and OER

When I attended Wikimania 2014, I realised how large parts of the Wikimedia community do not view OER as a central issue to be tackled by the movement. At WMDE, we do. The reason for this lies in our basic mission statement. Our full name translates to “Wikimedia Deutschland – association for the promotion of free knowledge”. We believe in the social and moral value of free knowledge. It is our firm belief that in a society where “free” is the default option, there will also be drastically more content in the Wikimedia projects. An open society breeds the framework in which the Wikimedia projects can flourish. So while the main focus of our work is our direct work on the Wikimedia projects, we also work on them indirectly by promoting free knowledge in non-encyclopaedic environments such as culture, science, government data and education. As Open Educational Resources translate the idea of openness to the educational sphere, it made sense for us to make OER an important focus of our work.

There is a lot that an organisation like Wikimedia Deutschland could do on OER. With our limited resources, we decided to do the things where our potential impact could be the largest: Bringing together different stakeholders and developing expertise in order to push free knowledge in education. This resulted in a number of projects and measures:

  • With other organisations such as Creative Commons Deutschland and Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, we formed the first pro-OER coalition in Germany, the Bündnis Freie Bildung. The coalition develops political positions on OER.
  • We participated in a good number of parliamentary and other hearings.[1]
  • We organised a large number of evening events in Berlin on different aspects of OER.
  • And the largest project of all: We organised the OERde14 (and the year before OERde13), the largest conference on Open Educational Resources that has ever happened in Europe.[2]

The conference

In 2013, WMDE organised the first German conference on OER in Berlin. The expectation was to attract 150 participants. 270 came. With amazing positive reviews by the visitors, we decided to do another OER conference in September 2014, the OERde14. This time, the conference was supposed to attract even more people and to shift its focus from being mainly a community event to a more political conference.


Most importantly, we needed external funding. Conferences are expensive and we wanted to keep financial barriers (meaning the registration fee) low in order to allow each and everyone interested in the issue to come and participate. At the same time, it was our goal to seek greater influence on government institutions.

It worked: We were able to win The Federal Agency for Civic Education, a large government agency focusing on political education, as the main sponsor of OERde14. This was important not only for financial reasons but also because this sponsorship meant a significant commitment to the importance of OER by a highly influential player in the educational field.

Further funding came from three other publicly financed institutions, Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg, Technologiestiftung Berlin and Deutscher Bildungsserver.

Setting an agenda

As detailed before, agenda setting was a main goal of the conference. For this reason, we directly invited representatives of all education ministries on state and federal level, as well as members of the federal and state parliaments concerned with education and digitalisation. Many came.

But there was a particular group that we wanted to target. Since January 2014, there has been an ongoing important political process: A working group comprising representatives of state and federal education ministries is drafting political recommendations on OER. The content of this paper might have great influence on OER policies in the years to come. Wikimedia Deutschland is in close contact to group members sympathetic to our cause. We invited the whole working group to the conference and hosted them for a day. This gave us the opportunity to meet with them directly and state our position. The paper of the group is due to be published in December 2014. As one direct result of the meeting, we were approached by the federal ministry of education and science to participate in an OER measure, the details of which are under discussion.

The conference

The conference targeted three main groups:

  • Practitioners such as teachers and professors
  • Policy makers in a broad sense (ministries, institutions, NGOs etc.)
  • Producers of educational materials (publishers, OER initiatives etc.)

To cater to all interests, we set up a programme with seven different tracks. And we decided to make the conference formats as open as possible: Each day consisted both of a curated part and of a BarCamp – an “open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants” according to Wikipedia.

The outcome in short: Two days, 350 visitors, 38 curated sessions and 31 BarCamp sessions. And a highly positive feedback by the visitors: 98 per cent rated the conference as “good” or “very good” and 93 per cent said that they would “most probably” come again in 2015.

The impact: The government finally starts backing OER

The most important (if indirect) impact: In November 2014, the federal government has committed EUR 2 million on OER in 2015 and another EUR 5 million in 2016 and 2017. This is drastically short of the USD 2 billion that the US government wants to spend on OER[3], but it is a promising start. OER has finally evolved from a grass-root issue to receiving government backing. This is an amazing success for the OER movement and for WMDE.

There are of course further impacts. They are harder to quantify for such a broad measure. We had set a number of indicators for success though:

  • We wanted to do the conference with a large and excellent partner. With The Federal Agency for Civic Education, we found that excellent partner.
  • We wanted to significantly increase the number of visitors. We succeeded in this and delivered Europe’s largest conference ever on OER.
  • We wanted to reach a broader public for the topic. With media coverage including Germany’s most watched news programme tagesschau[4], we reached this goal.
  • We wanted to reach decision makers with the conference. This goal was reached. OER now plays a drastically more important role in the political debate, partly thanks to our efforts.
  • We wanted to establish WMDE as a main actor in the field of OER. With the great visibility of the conference, we reached this goal.
  • We wanted the conference to be a catalyst for further initiatives on OER. At this point, it is not possible to say whether we succeeded at this. We will undertake a second online evaluation in January where we will ask participants if any further actions resulted from the conference.

Have a look yourself

To get an idea on the conference, watch the general conference video. It is mainly in German but it does have some English parts:

While most speakers were German natives, we had a number of international guests as well. Here’s a selection of talks and interview from the conference in English:

2015 and beyond

OER will remain an important topic for WMDE. We are planning to increase our work on Bündnis Freie Bildung, the aforementioned pro-OER coalition we founded in 2014. With this, we are also increasing our political advocacy on OER. Beyond that, our planned efforts are dependent on third-party funding and detailed project planning that is currently in the making.

If you are interested in OER in Germany, please contact us! We are happy to discuss our approach, collaborate or just exchange views. Please contact us at bildung@wikimedia.de.

Sebastian Horndasch, Wikimedia Deutschland

  1. With great success: As a result of the parliamentary process we contributed to, Berlin is the first German state to officially introduce OER to the school system, albeit on a low level.
  2. At least we believe so. The other large European OER conference, the OER14 in the UK, did not publish its visitor numbers. We know from visitors though that OERde14 was apparently larger.
  3. http://open-educational-resources.de/wp-content/uploads/sites/4/2014/11/new_nap_commitments_report_092314.pdf
  4. News reports are deleted by tagesschau seven days after they air. It is hence not possible to link to the report itself.

by wikimediablog at December 02, 2014 01:43 AM

December 01, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, November 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 4 • Issue: 11 • November 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Gender gap and skills gap; academic citations on the rise; European food cultures

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

“Mind the skills gap: the role of Internet know-how and gender in differentiated contributions to Wikipedia”

This article[1] contributes to the discussion on gender inequalities on Wikipedia. The authors take a novel approach of looking for answers outside the Wikipedia community, thus also tying their research into the analysis of new editors recruitment, motivations, and barriers to contribute. The authors focus their analysis on the role of Internet experiences and skills, and their lack among certain groups. The authors study whether the level of one’s skills in digital literacy is related to their chance of becoming a Wikipedia editor, by surveying 547 young adults (aged 21–22) – students at a (presumably American) university, the most used convenience sample in academia. The survey was carried out in 2009, with a follow-up wave in 2012. The students were asked about their socioeconomic and demographic background, as well as about their level of digital literacy skills. The authors report that “the average respondent’s confidence in editing Wikipedia is relatively low” but that “about one in eight students had been given an assignment in class at some point either to edit or create a new entry on Wikipedia” – which likely suggests that the (undisclosed by authors) university was one where at least one member of the faculty participated in the Wikipedia:Education Program. The vast majority (99%) of respondents reported having read an entry on Wikipedia, and over a quarter (28%) have had some experience editing it (interestingly, even when controlling for students who were assigned to edit Wikipedia, the former number is still as high as 20%).

Regarding the gender gap issues, women are much less likely to have contributed to Wikipedia than men (21% to 38%), and that becomes even more divergent when controlling for student assignments (13% to 32%). The authors find an indication of gender gap affecting the likelihood of Wikipedia’s contributions: students who are white, economically affluent, male and Internet-experienced are more likely to edit than others. The strongest and statistically significant predictor variables, however, are Internet skills and gender, and regression models show that variables such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, time availability, Internet experience, and confidence in editing Wikipedia are not significant. The authors find that the gender becomes more significant as one’s digital literacy increases. At a low level of Internet skills, the likelihood of one’s contribution to Wikipedia is low, regardless of gender. As one’s skills increase, males became much more likely to contribute, but women fall behind. The authors find that women tend to have lower Internet skills than men, which helps explain a part of the Wikipedia gender gap: to contribute to Wikipedia, one needs to have a certain level of digital literacy, and the digital gap is reducing the number of women who have the required level of skills. The authors crucially admit that “why women, on average, report lower level understanding of Internet-related terms remains a puzzle. Although studies with detailed data about actual skills based on performance tests suggest no gender differences in the observed skills, research that looks at self-rated know-how consistently finds gender variation with real consequences for online behavior”. This suggests that while men and women have, in reality, similar skills, women are much less confident about them, which in turns makes them much less confident about contributing to (or trying to contribute to) Wikipedia. This, however, is a hypothesis to be confirmed by future research. In the end, the authors do feel confident enough to conclude that “gender and Internet skills likely have a relatively mild interaction with each other, reinforcing the gender gap at the high end of the Internet skills spectrum.” In conclusion, this reviewer finds this study to be a highly valuable one, both for the literature on gender gap and online communities, and for the Wikipedia community and WMF efforts to reduce this gap in our environment.

In nutritional articles, academic citations rise while news media citations decrease

A study published in First Monday[2] analyzed the development of the referencing of 45 articles over nine topic groups related to health and nutrition over a period of five years (2007–2011) (unfortunately, the authors are not very clear on which particular articles were analyzed, and tend to use the concepts of an article and topic group in a rather confusing manner). Authors coded for references (3,029 total), information on editing history, and search ranking in Google, Bing and Yahoo! search engines. The study confirmed that Wikipedia articles are highly ranked by all search engines, with Yahoo! actually being even more “Wikipedia-friendly” than Google. The author shows that (as expected) the articles improve in quality (or at least, number and density of references) over time. Crucially, the authors show that the overall percentage of mainstream news media references has decreased, while references to academic publications increased over that time. By the end of the study period, only the article on (or topic group of?) trans fat contained more references to news sources than to academic publications. The authors overall support the description of Wikipedia as a source aiming for reliability, though they are hesitant to call it reliable, pointing out that for example 15% of analyzed references were coded as “outside the main reference type categories or… not be clearly determined”. The authors conclude, commendably, that “Wikipedia needs to be high on the agenda for health communication researchers and practitioners” and that “communications professionals in the health field need to be much more actively involved in ensuring that the content on Wikipedia is reliable and well-sourced with reliable references”.

Wikipedia user session timing compared with other online activities

Comparison of time between user interactions on Wikipedia, AOL and Cyclopath

reviewed by Maximilianklein (talk)

In a recent preprint titled “User Session Identification Based on Strong Regularities in Inter-activity Time”[3], Halfaker and team from the Wikimedia Foudation’s Analytics department and the GroupLens Lab ask whether there is some way we can talk about contributions in terms of “sessions” rather than atomic operations, in all collaborative work online. The researchers would like to answer “yes,” and that a “session” can be defined as the operations conducted until “a good rule-of-thumb inactivity threshold of about 1 hour” is reached, regardless if you’re editing Wikipedia, viewing Wikipedia, rating movies, searching AOL, or playing League of Legends. You may recall that Halfaker and Geiger came to a similar conclusion about “edit sessions” in a 2013 paper, but now the idea is to cement that fact as a universal heuristic across many domains. Opposition to this idea has been that session length thresholds will always be arbitrary, or that a session deviates from completing a task that might extend beyond someone logging off for a night.

Stack Overflow user interactions

To bolster their argument, the authors use empirical data collected from seven datasets to test the hypothesis. The method employed is to take the log-normal time between user events, and then fit a bimodal distribution to the histogram. Once we have a two-humped histogram, we simply find the point which makes half the data “within” session and the other half “between” session.

AOL search data, Cyclopath route-getting requests, and Wikipedia viewing (from the desktop, mobile and apps) seem to fit bimodally. Together their the threshold is in the range of 29 to 115 minutes, but all would not be far off of an hour, say the authors. Yet when it comes to Wikipedia editing, OpenStreetMap editing, and MovieLens reviewing and searching, a bimodal 1-hour fit is good, but can be further explained by a trimodal model. In the case of the first two activities the third category is the wikibreak, and in the latter it is the ease the site make in rating movies in quick succession.

Even trimodally though, “this strategy for identifying session thresholds is not universally suitable for all user-initiated events”. For instance they show League of Legends, which has modal peaks at 5 minutes and one day. As a reviewer this is easy to describe from a player’s perspective. If you play 5 games in a row, which takes 5 minutes queueing between games, and then repeat it daily, you get the histogram seen where the 5 minute peak is about 5 times as tall as the day peak. Stack Overflow does not easily fit into their model at all with a threshold of 335 minutes. The authors claim this is from the high quality edits expected at Stack Overflow.

Overall the authors conclude that one hour seems to suffice as a rule of thumb. But does it? The issue is that a goodness of fit with the bimodal models is not presented. This leaves outliers like Stack Overflow either able to be modeled but not compliant with the one hour rule, when they could just potentially not be describable using the proposed heuristic.


“Wikimedia Movement in European countries as an example of civil participation”

This Polish-language book chapter[4] (with an English abstract) looks at the Wikimedia community as a social movement. In the first subchapter, it argues that the Wikimedia movement is a type of new social movement which is fighting for equal access to free education. The bulk of subsequent subchapters consist of describing the European Wikimedia projects through tables listing whether they exist, estimated size in articles, members, etc., and briefly describing their activities such as involvement in the Wikipedia Loves Monuments initiative or with the GLAM sector. The book chapter is interesting as clearly placing itself in the relatively small body of literature that describe Wikipedia/Wikimedia as a social movement. Unfortunately it is primarily a descriptive rather than an analytical piece, and does not provide any significant theoretical justification for calling the Wikimedia movement a social movement, a weakness amplified by the fact that this work fails to engage with the prior relevant body of Wikipedia research, and is only very loosely connected to the literature on social movements.

Ranking public domain authors using Wikipedia data

This article[5] proposes a way to combine Wikipedia and Online Books Page data, for the purpose of identifying the most notable (important, popular, read) authors whose work is about to enter the public domain, in order to facilitate and prioritize digitization of their works. The following information from the authors’ Wikipedia articles are used: “article length, article age in days, time elapsed since last revision, revision rate during article’s life, article text (200 topic weights derived from a topic model), category count, translation count, redirect count, estimated views per day, presence of translation for the 10 Wikipedias with the most translations, presence of bibliographic identifier (GND, ISNI, LCCN, VIAF), article quality classification (“Good Article” and “Featured Article”), presence of protected classification, indicator for decade of death for decades 1910–1950, and interactions between article age and all features.” The proposed algorithm may be of interest to members of WikiProject Books, WikiProject Libraries, WikiProject Open, and related projects, as a means of generating an importance rating and selecting underdeveloped articles for development.

“Mining cross-cultural relations from Wikipedia – A study of 31 European food cultures”

The authors use[6] Pierre Bourdieu‘s theories to analyze cultural similarities and differences between 31 European countries, by looking at the differences between articles on various national cuisines across 27 different European-language Wikipedias. They find that the existence, quality and links of studied Wikipedia articles can be correlated with data from the European Social Survey on cross-cultural ties between European countries. In addition to expected findings (all cultures are interested in their own cuisine first, then in famous ones such as French cuisine and in those of their neighbours), the article does present some interesting data, for example noting that the articles on Turkish cuisine are relatively well-developed on numerous Wikipedias, which could be explained by long-term and significant in size migration of Turkish people to various European countries, and the resulting interest in Turkish cuisine in those countries. The authors also find that significant differences do exist between different language Wikipedias, as different cuisines can be very differently described on different projects, thus reinforcing the theory that knowledge can be significantly influenced by one’s culture. For Wikipedia editors, this is a reminder that all language editions suffer from significant biases, and that articles in different language editions can be and usually are significantly different.

Dissertation on automatic quality assessment

A recent PhD dissertation[7] by Oliver Ferschke at the Technical University of Darmstadt “shows how natural language processing approaches can be used to assist information quality management on a massive scale” on Wikipedia. As the first main contribution, the author highlights his definition of a “comprehensive article quality model that aims to consolidate both the quality of writing and the quality criteria defined in multiple Wikipedia guidelines and policies into a single model. The model comprises 23 dimensions segmented into the four layers of intrinsic quality, contextual quality, writing quality and organizational quality.” Secondly, the dissertation presents methods for automatically detecting quality flaws (overlapping with previous publications co-authored by Ferschke), and evaluates them on a “novel corpus of Wikipedia articles with neutrality and style flaws”. Thirdly, the dissertation presents “an approach for automatically segmenting and tagging the user contributions on article Talk pages to improve work coordination among Wikipedians. These unstructured discussion pages are not easy to navigate and information is likely to get lost over time in the discussion archives.”

39% of talk page threads contain wrong indentations

Ferschke’s “English Wikipedia Discussions Corpus” (“EWDC”) is used in a paper[8], to be presented at the 28th Pacific Asia Conference on Language, Information and Computing next month. In the paper, his doctoral adviser Irina Gurevych and another author construct an method to detect adjacency pairs (a user comment that responds to another) by analyzing the content, in particular detecting “lexical pairs” (giving the examples “(why, because)” and “(?, yes)”), validated against human annotation. As a side result, they observe that “Incorrect indentation (i.e., indentation that implies a reply-to relation with the wrong post) is quite common in longer discussions in the EWDC. In an analysis of 5 random threads longer than 10 turns each, shown in Table 1, we found that 29 of 74 total turns, or 39%±14pp of an average thread, had indentation that misidentified the turn to which they were a reply.”

Which talk page comment refers to which edit?

Another paper co-authored by Gurevych, titled “Automatically Detecting Corresponding Edit-Turn-Pairs in Wikipedia”[9] uses machine learning to automatically identify talk page comments about a particular article edit.

Other recent publications

A list of other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue – contributions are always welcome for reviewing or summarizing newly published research.

  • “Does the Administrator Community of Polish Wikipedia Shut out New Candidates Because of the Acquaintance Relation?”[10] (cf. earlier coverage of related publications by the same authors: “Decline of adminship candidatures on Polish Wikipedia“, “What it takes to become an admin: Insights from the Polish Wikipedia“, “Predicting admin elections based on social network analysis“)
  • “Development of a semantic data collection tool. : The Wikidata Project as a step towards the semantic web.”[11] (bachelor thesis)
  • “To Use or Not to Use? The Credibility of Wikipedia”[12]
  • “Indexing and Analyzing Wikipedia’s Current Events Portal, the Daily News Summaries by the Crowd”[13] From the abstract: “Wikipedia’s Current Events Portal (WCEP) is a special part of Wikipedia that focuses on daily summaries of news events. …First, we provide descriptive analysis of the collected news events. Second, we compare between the news summaries created by the WCEP crowd and the ones created by professional journalists on the same topics. Finally, we analyze the revision logs of news events over the past 7 years in order to characterize the WCEP crowd and their activities. The results show that WCEP has reached a stable state in terms of the volume of contributions as well as the size of its crowd…”


  1. Hargittai, Eszter; Aaron Shaw (2014-11-04). “Mind the skills gap: the role of Internet know-how and gender in differentiated contributions to Wikipedia“. Information, Communication & Society 0 (0): 1-19. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2014.957711. ISSN 1369-118X.  Closed access
  2. Messner, Marcus; Marcia W. DiStaso, Yan Jin, Shana Meganck, Scott Sherman, Sally Norton (2014-10-29). “Influencing public opinion from corn syrup to obesity: A longitudinal analysis of the references for nutritional entries on Wikipedia“. First Monday 19 (11). ISSN 13960466. 
  3. Halfaker, Aaron; Oliver Keyes, Daniel Kluver, Jacob Thebault-Spieker, Tien Nguyen, Kenneth Shores, Anuradha Uduwage, Morten Warncke-Wang (2014-11-11). “User Session Identification Based on Strong Regularities in Inter-activity Time“. arXiv:1411.2878 [cs]. 
  4. Patryk Korzeniecki: Ruch Wikimediów w państwach europejskich jako przykład aktywności obywatelskiej (Wikimedia Movement in European countries as an example of civil participation). Chapter 6 in: Joachim Osiński, Joanna Zuzanna Popławska (eds.): Oblicza spoleczenstwa obywatelskiego. WARSAW SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS PRESS, WARSAW 2014
  5. Riddell, Allen B. (2014-11-08). “Public Domain Rank: Identifying Notable Individuals with the Wisdom of the Crowd“. arXiv:1411.2180 [cs]. 
  6. Laufer, Paul; Claudia Wagner, Fabian Flöck, Markus Strohmaier (2014-11-17). “Mining cross-cultural relations from Wikipedia – A study of 31 European food cultures“. arXiv:1411.4484 [physics]. 
  7. Ferschke, Oliver (2014-07-15). “The Quality of Content in Open Online Collaboration Platforms: Approaches to NLP-supported Information Quality Management in Wikipedia“. Darmstadt: Technische Universität Darmstadt. 
  8. Emily K. Jamison, Iryna Gurevych: Adjacency Pair Recognition in Wikipedia Discussions using Lexical Pairs. PDF
  9. Johannes Daxenberger and Iryna Gurevych: Automatically Detecting Corresponding Edit-Turn-Pairs in Wikipedia [ http://acl2014.org/acl2014/P14-2/pdf/P14-2031.pdf PDF] Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Short Papers), pages 187–192, Baltimore, Maryland, USA, June 23-25 2014.
  10. Spychała, Justyna; Mateusz Adamczyk, Piotr Turek (2014-06-30). “Does the Administrator Community of Polish Wikipedia Shut out New Candidates Because of the Acquaintance Relation?“. International Journal On Advances in Intelligent Systems 7 (1 and 2): 103-112. ISSN 1942-2679. 
  11. Ubah, Ifeanyichukwu (2013). Development of a semantic data collection tool. : The Wikidata Project as a step towards the semantic web.. http://miun.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?searchId=1&pid=diva2:723753. 
  12. Hilles, Stefanie (2014). “To Use or Not to Use? The Credibility of Wikipedia“. Public Services Quarterly 10 (3): 245-251. doi:10.1080/15228959.2014.931204. ISSN 1522-8959.  Closed access
  13. Tran, Giang Binh; Mohammad Alrifai (2014). “Indexing and Analyzing Wikipedia’s Current Events Portal, the Daily News Summaries by the Crowd”. Proceedings of the Companion Publication of the 23rd International Conference on World Wide Web Companion. WWW Companion ’14. Republic and Canton of Geneva, Switzerland: International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee. pp. 511–516. DOI:10.1145/2567948.2576942. ISBN 978-1-4503-2745-9. http://www.l3s.de/~gtran/publications/websci_www2014.pdf.  (ACM)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 11 • November 2014
This newletter is brought to you by the Wikimedia Research Committee and The Signpost
Subscribe: Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed Email @WikiResearch on Identi.ca WikiResearch on Twitter[archives] [signpost edition] [contribute] [research index]

by wikimediablog at December 01, 2014 05:45 PM

Wikimedia Highlights, October 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 blog for October 2014, covering a selection of activities of the Wikimedia Foundation and other important events from the Wikimedia movement

New “Nearby” function in Wikipedia apps shows articles around you

Screenshot of “Nearby” in the Android app

The mobile Wikipedia apps for Android and iOS added a “Nearby” feature in October. It retrieves a list of Wikipedia articles near the user’s current location and shows their relative distance. A compass arrow points to the direction for each location and updates as one moves. A single tap on an entry opens the article for reading, and a long press opens a map view.

All Wikimedia logos now under a free license

The Wikimedia Foundation’s legal team announced that as of October 24, all Wikimedia logos are freely licensed on Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. In the past, many of the Wikimedia logos on Commons did not carry the CC BY-SA 3.0 license for historic reasons. Beginning in 2013, the legal team conducted an extensive review of their copyright status and worked with many of the logo designers to get a complete history, ending in the re-licensing of the logos.

Using offline Wikipedia to guide tourists in Antarctica

A portrait on the Wikimedia blog decribed how Hans Oleander, a tour guide on expeditions in Antarctica, uses an offline version of Wikipedia with the Kiwix software. It enables him to quickly research facts in an area with no Internet access, to prepare lectures and answer a wide range of questions from tourists about Antarctica.

Presentation slides describing the new Structured Data project

Structured Commons project launches in Berlin

A week-long bootcamp in Berlin joined members of Wikimedia Germany’s Wikidata team and the Foundation’s Multimedia team with community volunteers. They investigated how to structure data on Wikimedia Commons, reusing the same technology as the one developed for Wikidata. Today, information about media files on Wikimedia sites is stored in unstructured formats that cause several issues: for example, file information is hard to search, some of it is only available in English, and it is difficult to edit or re-use files to comply with their license terms. Separately, a file metadata cleanup has been launched, which will help migrate the existing metadata of the more than 24 million files on Commons to structured data.

Wikipedia monument unveiled in Poland

On October 22, a monument honoring Wikipedia editors from all over the world was unveiled in the town of Słubice, Poland. The monument was the idea of Dr. Krzysztof Wojciechowski, the head of Collegium Polonicum, an academic institution located in Słubice. It was created by Mihran Hakobyan, an Armenian artist, and depicts two men and two women holding the Wikipedia puzzle globe. They stand on sheets of paper which, according to Dr. Wojciechowski, represent the culture of print from which we all derive. Wikipedia articles about the monument already exist in over 30 languages.

Free licenses and freedom of panorama now recognized in Russian law

On October 1, the Russian Civil Code saw several changes which are very significant for the promotion of free knowledge, in particular for Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. For examples, the new law directly recognizes free licenses and introduces freedom of panorama (allowing the publication of photos of modern building without having to ask for explicit permission, enabling the participation of Russia in Wiki Loves Monuments). Wikimedia Russia actively participated in the preparation of these changes.

Nobel Peace Center and Wikimedia Norway accompany peace prize announcement with editathon

On October 10, a group of Wikipedians from the Norwegian Wikimedia chapter met at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo to follow the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize and make updates to Wikipedia in real time as the winners — girl’s education activist Malala Yousafzai, of Pakistan, and childhood rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, of India — were made public. The event followed on earlier collaborations between the chapter and the Nobel Peace Center, which is visited by 220,000 people every year.

Logo of Wiki Loves Africa

First ever “Wiki Loves Africa” photo contest focuses on African cuisine

Wiki Loves Africa is a new annual contest where people across Africa contribute photographs, video, and audio to Wikimedia Commons, running for two months (October 1 to November 30). The 2014 contest was about documenting the diverse cuisine across the African continent.

Editorial note: The Wikimedia Foundation has recently changed its organization-wide reports from a monthly to a quarterly publication schedule. Instead of excerpts from the Foundation’s monthly reports, the Wikimedia Highlights now (starting from the October 2014 issue) summarize news about WMF activities from the Wikimedia blog, alongside other movement news.

by wikimediablog at December 01, 2014 05:44 PM

Wikimedia Highlights, August 2014

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

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Lightweight version of VisualEditor becomes available for tablets

In August, a mobile-friendly opt-in version of VisualEditor was launched for users of the mobile site on tablets. Tablet users can now choose to switch from the default editing experience (wikitext editor) to a lightweight version of VisualEditor, which offers some common formatting tools (for bold and italic text, and for adding/editing links and references).

First transparency report on requests for user information and demands for alteration or deletion of content

The Wikimedia Foundation announced the launch of its first ever transparency report, which included two years of data about third-party requests for user information and for the alteration or deletion of Wikimedia content, as well as information on how WMF responded to such requests.

Global metrics for grants

The Grantmaking team introduced Global metrics, a small required set of metrics to be used in grant reporting form (e.g. the “Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia project” as part of a grant project). They are meant to help achieving a a shared understanding of how successful programs are in expanding participation and improving content on Wikimedia projects. The team also launched a new Evaluation portal and a new Project & Event Grants (PEG) portal.

WMF Executive Director Lila Tretikov presenting her Wikimania keynote

Foundation staff report on their work at Wikimania

From August 6 to August 10, around 2000 Wikimedians from around the world came together in London on the occasion of this year’s annual Wikimania conference (see also this month’s movement highlights). The keynote of Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov was titled “Facing the Now” (slides), and the schedule included many other presentations by WMF staff and contractors (frequently captured on video):

Data and Trends

Presentation slides about unique visitor numbers from the metrics meeting

Global unique visitors for July:

413 million (-4.38% compared with June; -16.1% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release August data later in September)

Page requests for August:

21.138 billion (+2.7% compared with July; +15.3% 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 July 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

76,543 (+2.67% compared with June / +1.07% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




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

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

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

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

Revenue 2,977,739
 Engineering Group 1,668,690
 Fundraising Group 244,409
 Grantmaking Group 183,722
 Grants 23,152
 Governance Group 63,301
 Communications Group 91,933
 Legal/Community Advocacy Group 162,117
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 547,811
Total Expenses 2,985,135
Total deficit (-7,396)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month-to-date and year-to-date of July is $2.98MM versus plan of $2.01MM, approximately $0.97MM or 49% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month-to-date and year-to-date of July is $2.99MM versus plan of $3.87MM, approximately $0.88MM or 23% under plan, primarily due to lower legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $48.27MM as of July 31, 2014.

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimania 2014 group photograph


Wikimania 2014, the tenth and so far largest annual global conference of Wikimedians, drew around 2000 Wikimedians from around the world to the Barbican Centre in London, accompanied by satellite events such as the pre-conference hackathon. (See also the schedule and the coverage in the English Wikipedia’s “Signpost” newsletter.)

Video documentary on GLAM activities in the UK

A 20-minute documentary titled “The GLAM-Wiki Revolution” interviewed Wikimedians-in-Residence in various cultural institutions (GLAMs) in the UK, giving an overview of the GLAM project in the country.

“The GLAM-Wiki Revolution”

by wikimediablog at December 01, 2014 08:43 AM

Wikimedia Foundation Report, August 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

Presentation slides about unique visitor numbers from the metrics meeting

Global unique visitors for July:

413 million (-4.38% compared with June; -16.1% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release August data later in September)

Page requests for August:

21.138 billion (+2.7% compared with July; +15.3% 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 July 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

76,543 (+2.67% compared with June / +1.07% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




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

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

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

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

Revenue 2,977,739
 Engineering Group 1,668,690
 Fundraising Group 244,409
 Grantmaking Group 183,722
 Grants 23,152
 Governance Group 63,301
 Communications Group 91,933
 Legal/Community Advocacy Group 162,117
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 547,811
Total Expenses 2,985,135
Total deficit (-7,396)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month-to-date and year-to-date of July is $2.98MM versus plan of $2.01MM, approximately $0.97MM or 49% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month-to-date and year-to-date of July is $2.99MM versus plan of $3.87MM, approximately $0.88MM or 23% under plan, primarily due to lower legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $48.27MM as of July 31, 2014.


Lightweight version of VisualEditor becomes available for tablets

In August, a mobile-friendly opt-in version of VisualEditor was launched for users of the mobile site on tablets. Tablet users can now choose to switch from the default editing experience (wikitext editor) to a lightweight version of VisualEditor, which offers some common formatting tools (for bold and italic text, and for adding/editing links and references).

First transparency report on requests for user information and demands for alteration or deletion of content

The Wikimedia Foundation announced the launch of its first ever transparency report, which included two years of data about third-party requests for user information and for the alteration or deletion of Wikimedia content, as well as information on how WMF responded to such requests.

Global metrics for grants

The Grantmaking team introduced Global metrics, a small required set of metrics to be used in grant reporting form (e.g. the “Number of articles added or improved on Wikimedia project” as part of a grant project). They are meant to help achieving a a shared understanding of how successful programs are in expanding participation and improving content on Wikimedia projects. The team also launched a new Evaluation portal and a new Project & Event Grants (PEG) portal.

WMF Executive Director Lila Tretikov presenting her Wikimania keynote

Foundation staff report on their work at Wikimania

From August 6 to August 10, around 2000 Wikimedians from around the world came together in London on the occasion of this year’s annual Wikimania conference (see also this month’s movement highlights). The keynote of Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov was titled “Facing the Now” (slides), and the schedule included many other presentations by WMF staff and contractors (frequently captured on video):


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for August 2014 can be found at:

Department Highlights

Major news in August includes:


HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) is aimed to improve the speed of Wikimedia sites. We migrated test.wikipedia.org to HHVM in early August and saw very few issues. Giuseppe shared some promising benchmarks. Re-imaging an app server was surprisingly painful, in that Giuseppe and Ori had to perform a number of manual actions to get the server up-and-running, and this sequence of steps was poorly automated. Doing this much manual work per app server isn’t viable.

Mark submitted a series of patches to create a service IP and Varnish back-end for an HHVM app server pool, with Giuseppe and Brandon providing feedback and support. The patch routes requests tagged with a specific cookie to the HHVM back-ends. Tech-savvy editors were invited to opt-in to help with testing by setting the cookie explicitly. The next step after that will be to divert a fraction of general site traffic to those back-ends. The exact date will depend on how many bugs the next round of testing uncovers.

Tim is looking at modifying the profiling feature of LuaSandbox to work with HHVM; it is currently disabled.

Mobile Apps

In August, the Mobile Apps Team focussed on bug fixes for the recently released iOS app and for the Android app, as well as gathering user feedback from Wikimania.

The team also had unstructured time during Wikimania, in which the engineers are free to work on whatever they fancy. This resulted in numerous code quality improvements on both iOS and Android. On iOS, the unstructured time also spawned a preliminary version of the feature “Nearby”, which lists articles about things that are near you, tells you how near they are to you, and points towards them. On Android, the unstructured time spawned a preliminary version of full text search, an improved searching experience which aims to present more relevant results.

Mobile Web

This month the mobile web team, in partnership with the Editing team, launched a mobile-friendly opt-in VisualEditor for users of the mobile site on tablets (see also “Highlights” section). We also began building a Wikidata contribution game in alpha that will allow users to add metadata to the Wikidata database (to start, occupations of people) directly from the Wikipedia article where the information is contained. We hope to graduate this feature to the beta site next month to get more quantitative feedback on its usage and the quality of contributions.


In August, the Flow team created a new read/unread state for Flow notifications, to help users keep track of the active discussion topics that they’re subscribed to. There are now two tabs in the Echo notification dropdown, split between Messages (Flow notifications) and Alerts (all of the other Echo notifications). Flow notifications stay unread until the user clicks on the item and visits the topic page, or marks the item as read in the notifications panel. The dropdown is also scrollable now, and holds the 25 most recent notifications. Another new change — subscribing to a Flow board gives the user a notification when a new topic is created on the board.


In August, the team working on VisualEditor presented at Wikimania 2014, worked with a number of volunteers at the hackathon, adjusted key workflows for template and citation editing, made major progress on Internet Explorer support, and fixed over 40 bugs and tickets.

Users of Internet Explorer 11, who we previously prevented from using VisualEditor due to some major bugs, will now be able to use it. Support for earlier versions of Internet Explorer will be coming shortly. Similarly, tablet users browsing the site’s mobile mode now have the option of using a mobile-specific form of VisualEditor. A greater range of VisualEditor editing tools on tablets, and availability of VisualEditor on phones as well as tablets, is planned for the future.

Improvements and updates were made to a number of interface messages as part of our work with translators to improve the software for all users, and VisualEditor and MediaWiki were improved to support highlighting links to disambiguation pages where a wiki or user wishes to do so. Several performance improvements were made, especially to the system around re-using references and reference lists. We tweaked the link editor’s behaviour based on feedback from users and user testing. The deployed version of the code was updated three times in the regular release cycle (1.24-wmf17, 1.24-wmf18 and 1.24-wmf19).

Presentation slides about SUL finalization

SUL finalization

The SUL finalisation team continues to work on building tools to support the finalisation. There are four ongoing streams of work, and the team is on track to have the majority of the work by the end of September.

The ability to globally rename users was deployed a while ago, and is currently working excellently!

The ability to log in with old, pre-finalisation credentials has been developed so that users are not inadvertently locked out of their accounts. From an engineering standpoint, this form is now fully working on our test environment. Right now the form uses placeholder text; that text needs to be ‘prettified’ so that the users who have been forcibly renamed get the appropriate information on how to proceed after their rename, and more rigorous testing should be done before deployment.

A form to globally merge users has been developed so that users can consolidate their accounts after the finalisation. From an engineering standpoint, this form is now fully working on our test environment. The form needs design improvements and further testing before it can be deployed.

A form to request a rename has been developed so that users who do not have global accounts can request a rename, and also so that the workload on the renamers is reduced. From an engineering standpoint, the form to request a rename has been implemented, and implementation has begun on the form that allows renames to rename users. Once the end-to-end experience has been fully implemented and tested, the form will be ‘prettified’.

Phabricator migration

The project is getting close to Day 1 of a Wikimedia Phabricator production instance. For better overview and tracking, the Wikimedia Phabricator Day 1 project was split into three projects: Day 1 of a Phabricator Production instance in use, Bugzilla migration, and RT migration. Furthermore, the overall schedule was clarified. In the last month, Security/permission related requirements got implemented (granular file permissions and upload defaults, enforcing that policy, making file data inaccessible and not only undiscoverable). In upstream, Mukunda added API to create projects and Chase added support for mailing lists as watching users. Chase worked on and tested the security and data migration logic. Mukunda continued to work on getting the MediaWiki OAuth provider merged into upstream. Chase and Mukunda also worked on the Project Policy Enforcer action for Herald, providing a user-friendly dropdown menu to restrict ticket access when creating the ticket. A separate domain for user content was purchased. Chase also worked on the scripts to export and import data between the systems and support for external users in Phabricator and the related mail setup. Chase and Chad also took a look at setting up Elasticsearch for Phabricator.

MediaWiki core front-end libraries

In August, the work to improve MediaWiki’s core front-end libraries continued on two fronts. The preparation for implementing of the request for comment on refactoring MediaWiki’s skin system continued, with all skins moved out of MediaWiki and into their own repos, cleaning up the old shared skins infrastructure to a better location, and improvements to the ResourceLoader to support the improvements to the skins system. The second prong of work, to create a “MediaWiki” theme for OOjs UI, a toolkit used to compose complex widgets, progressed in collaboration with Design. This work has taken longer than anticipated due to delays in agreeing the complexities of user interactions but is on target to be completed soon, after which the toolkit will switch to this theme for all users. Additionally, work to share code between the OOjs and Mantle efforts continued, with the EventEmitter interface being ready to switch over to a single shared codebase.

Metrics and dashboards standardization

We published a report on mobile trends expanding the data presented at the July 2014 Monthly Metrics meeting. We started work on referral parsing from request log data to study trends in referred traffic over time.

Content API

August was mostly a month of travel and vacation for the service team. We deployed a first prototype of the RESTBase storage and API service in Labs. We also presented on both Parsoid and RESTBase at Wikimania, which was well received.

Later in August, computer science student Hardik Juneja joined the team as a part-time contractor. Working from Mumbai, he dived straight into complex secondary index update algorithms in the Cassandra back-end. At the end of the month, design work resumed, with the goal of making RESTBase easier to extend with additional entry points and bucket types.


Major Gifts and Foundations

  • The Major Gifts & Foundations team received a $500,000 grant from Mary Graham, to support Wikipedia Zero.
  • We are hosting a fundraising event at the New York Public Library in September.

Online Fundraising

  • The online fundraising team ran full-scale campaigns in South Africa and Malaysia. Low-level banner tests continued world-wide throughout August. Emails were sent to previous donors in South Africa and Malaysia. Approximately $1.4 million USD was raised in August through these campaigns (preliminary numbers as donations are still settling).
  • The team prepared translations of fundraising messages into multiple languages for upcoming international banner campaigns. If you would like to help with the translation process, please get involved.
  • We held a presentation session at Wikimania on Wikipedia fundraising A/B testing (video).
  • The Wikimedia Shop was part of the Community Village at Wikimania 2014. The Shop’s presence was successful (a few items sold out!), and it was a great opportunity to connect with the community and grantees. Thank you everyone for the valuable feedback!

Wikimedia shop volunteers and staff at Wikimania

Wikimedia shop volunteers and staff at Wikimania


Department highlights

  • The Wikimedia Foundation Individual Engagement Grants program is accepting proposals for funding new experiments from September 1st to 30th. And this round we’re testing out a new tool for easier proposal-creation!
  • New Evaluation portal launched at Grants:Evaluation
  • New Project & Event Grants (PEG) portal launched at Grants:PEG!
  • Launched the “global metrics,” a small required set of metrics which will be incorporated into each grantmaking reporting form (see also general “Highlights” section). We are experimenting with some topline metrics for grants that will offer some measure of aggregate achievement across our movement. These metrics are not meant to replace, but to complement, each grant and grantee’s individual metrics and measures of success, both qualitative and quantitative.
  • The Education team continues to conduct outreach to education programs and has spoken with 49 program leaders around the world. The team’s goal to contact 49 of the 60 programs by the end of September was met one month ahead of schedule.

Visits and Events

  • Wikimania! See details in each section of the report.
  • WMF staff visited Wikimedia Norge in August to conduct a site visit on behalf of the Grantmaking team. Programs as well as organizational strategy and direction were reviewed.

Annual Plan Grants Program

  • All 2013-2014 Round 1 grantees (except Wikimedia India) have submitted complete Q2 reports on time, and FDC staff has published a summary of financial progress. FDC staff have also reviewed the reports (except Wikimedia UK’s, which was just submitted) and commented on the discussion page of each progress report form.
  • Of 14 potentially eligible organizations, ten have already become eligible to apply for funding in 2014-2015 Round 1. FDC staff will contact other potentially eligible organizations that may intend to apply before the 15 September deadline, by which all organizations must be confirmed as eligible in order to apply.
  • The FDC orientation took place at Wikimania, welcoming four newly appointed members to the FDC. The FDC members also offered an information session and participated in the Committees Training, which included members of the GAC and IEGCom as well. Also at Wikimania, several grantees participated in a Grantee Learning Day alongside many other WMF grantees to share good practice and learning.
  • Revisions to the proposal form for 2014-2015 Round 1 were completed and announced by 1 September for the impending proposal submission date on 1 October 2014.

Grantee highlights from the Q2 progress reports

Photograph taken by volunteers using WMSE’s technology pool

WMNL volunteers collect images in protected areas in the Netherlands

Image collected in a tour of Ben Shemen Youth Village, organized by WMIL

Visit backstage at the Joan Miro Global Challenge, organized by WMCAT

  • Wiki Loves Earth has been a popular program for many grantees this quarter!
  • Amical Wikimedia reports a 54% increase in readership on Catalan Wikipedia over last year.
  • Wikimedia Österreich supported more than 19,000 media file uploads in Q2 (6,534 of them were through Wiki Loves Earth). One image was acknowledged as featured picture by the Commons community, 218 images were designated as quality images by the Commons community and three images were featured pictures on the German language Wikipedia.
  • Through FemWiki, Wikimedia Serbia has been working to increase the number of women who edit Wikipedia in the Serbian language, and to increase both the quality and quantity of articles on gender issues, feminist terminology and biographies of women. WMRS has been working with activists from feminist organizations to editing and has held a series of workshops and debates with prominent organizations on the topic.
  • Wikimedia Sverige ran the Umepedia Challenge (on articles about the Swedish town of Umeå), leading to 600 articles in 46 languages.

Project and Event Grants Program

Wikimedia Mexico and PEG staff discussing chapter plans at Wikimania

Tamil Wikipedia 10th year celebration

Telugu Wikipedia meeting in Vijayada

  • 7 new requests were funded and 5 reports were accepted in August 2014.
  • PEG program staff met with over 50 past, current, and future grantees at Wikimania. We’re excited to support such inspiring folks from around the world!
  • Some Grant Advisory Committee members participated in a cross-grant committee workshop focused on strategic priorities, participatory grantmaking, organizational effectiveness, and impact analysis.

Grants funded in August 2014

  • Wiki Loves Monuments Romania 2014: To support the organization of Wiki Loves Monuments in Romania.
  • AdaCamp 2014: To support AdaCamps in Bangalore and Berlin, promoting women’s participation in open technology and culture.
  • Workshop Facilitator Training: To support a train-the-trainers workshop for edit-a-thon organizers across the United States.
  • Shared Knowledge Annual Plan: To support the Macedonian community’s annual plan, including GLAM, education, photo, and outreach activities.
  • Wikimedia Armenia Annual Plan: To support Wikimedia Armenia’s annual plan, including weekly WikiClubs in seven cities, education and GLAM programs, writing competitions, and participation in movement conferences.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments Colombia 2014: To support the organization of Wiki Loves Monuments in Colombia.
  • Wiki Loves Africa 2014: To support a continental photo competition across Africa with a focus on cuisine. Teams in South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Malawi will promote the contest locally.

Reports accepted in August 2014

  • Tamil Wikipedia 10-Year Celebration: The Tamil Wikipedia community celebrated 10 years of the Tamil Wikipedia with a 2-day meet-up and a year-long writing competition, engaging new and experienced Tamil Wikimedians from around the world.
  • Telugu Wikipedia 10-Year Celebration: The Telugu Wikimedia community celebrated 10 years of the Telugu Wikipedia with training workshops, an article sprint, and celebration event attended by over 400 people.
  • Spanish National Free Software University Contest: Members of Wikimedia Spain helped judge student projects and spread the word about Wikimedia through an edit-a-thon held during the conference.
  • Batak Script: A Batak script font and input method was developed. Let’s put it to use on Wikisource, Wikipedia, and Wikibooks!
  • Wikimedia Conference 2014: Wikimedia Deutschland published their survey results and financials from this year’s Wikimedia Conference.

Individual Engagement Grants Program

  • We’ve launched the round 2 2014 open call for proposals, which runs September 1-30! Communications have gone out to over 500 village pumps as well as via community distribution on mailing lists, and a blog post.
  • IEG proposal forms have been revamped for this new round. A new Probox has been implemented to better handle structured data and include clearer calls to action to invite more community participation and input, some less-useful proposal sections have been removed to save proposers’ time, and Global Metrics have been included. See this example proposal for the new format.
  • We’re beta-testing a new tool to make proposal creation easier! Our new Form Wizard will be tested alongside the old creation-method, and if successful it will replace the old method in future rounds.
  • IEGrantees, committee members and staff gathered at Wikimania in early August to connect both over current projects and future ambitions. The Grantee showcase and IdeaLab mixer were both well-attended and allowed us to connect grantees across projects and programs.
  • At the Wikimania IdeaLab Workshop, we alpha-tested the new Form Wizard and Add-me gadget in real-time with about 30 participants who created 10 Ideas on-wiki. Participant feedback has been incorporated into these tools to improve them in time for the IEG Form Wizard’s launch. Since the workshop, an additional 16 ideas have been created in the IdeaLab between August 10th and September 3rd.

Grantee updates

  • In ongoing efforts to experiment with support-systems that scale, grantees from round 1 2014 participated in the first-ever IEGrantee Hangout. Participants deemed the call useful, and the group plans to meet again once monthly. This cohort of grantees has also offered to help support new proposers in the upcoming open call, and serve as project advisors for the next cohort of grantees.
  • The reimaginging mentorship team blogged about their project this month – we’re excited to see the vision for this experiment coming together, and plans moving forward for a December launch of the space.
  • The Open Access Reader project began work in August. This project will be experimenting with better ways to encourage citation of open access research in Wikipedia.

Travel and Participation Support Program

  • 2 new requests were funded and 2 reports were accepted in August 2014.

Requests awarded in August 2014

  • RashiqAhmad’s participation at the volunteer-run, non-profit 2014 Selenium Conference, where his 2-day workshop and talk will focus on writing automated tests for open source projects, in particular projects for the kiwix project.
  • Himeshi’s participation at GSoC Reunion 2014, where she will actively promote MediaWiki development, while also sharing her experiences as a Google Summer of Code Student and Google Code-In mentor.

Reports accepted in August 2014

Wikimania Scholarships

  • Of the 1170 scholarship applications WMF received, 118 scholarships were offered and 112 of these were formally accepted by the recipients. In August, 97 actually attended Wikimania. Most of the 15 who did not ultimately attend dropped out due to visa rejections.
  • For the first time, Wikimedia scholarship recipients are systematically reporting back on outcomes from their attendance at Wikimania!
  • A survey of scholarship applicants has also been deployed in August, to collect feedback on the scholarships process from the perspective of both rejected and accepted applicants.
  • Data from both the reports and survey will be used as inputs for future improvements to the scholarship system.

Learning and Evaluation

Overall, the month of August was spent in preparation for heavy awareness building and capacity building at Wikimania (see below for training materials for grantees, grant committees), followed by the introduction of the global metrics, a small required set of top-line metrics that will be incorporated into each of the grantmaking reports. See Highlights section above.

Outreach and community support

  • The series Beyond Wikimetrics, hosted by Jonathan Morgan, was completed at the end of August. These three virtual meet-ups intended to give community members more resources to evaluate the online impact of their actions, and are now available online for consultation:
    • Beyond Wikimetrics I: video, presentation, reported 13 viewers during the hangout, and 17 views on Youtube.
    • Beyond Wikimetrics II: video, presentation, reported 8 live viewers during the hangout, and 57 views, 1 like on Youtube.
    • Beyond Wikimetrics III: video, presentation, reported 3 live viewers during the hangout, and 12 views on Youtube.

The series also generated a new information page on the Evaluation portal on Meta, facilitating as well a space where community members, grantees, and program leaders can discuss these resources, ask questions and get guidance.

Jake Orlowitz presenting his lightning talk on Gamestorming Wikipedia

  • Wikimania 2014 was the perfect scene this year to enhance conversation around program evaluation. Different meetings took place to engage in conversations about evaluation:
    • Learning Day. This event was a private session held with grantees and program leaders to share experiences and insights from applying evaluation to different programs. During the day, program leaders had a chance to give lightning talks on different approaches to Wikimedia programs and programs. The group also got to work more on logic models and theories of change, followed by group activity and discussion. The day came to a close with a live IdeaLab mixer and poster session, where program leaders had a chance to showcase their work. Participants in Learning Day completed a pre and post survey so that learning might be assessed. Significant improvement was reported in participant understanding of key terms (Logic Model**, Theory of Change**, Inputs*, Outputs**, Outcomes*; where ** p < .01, * p < .05). These gains were demonstrated to the extent that the majority of workshop participants reporting applied or expert understanding grew from 52 percent at pre- to 85 percent at post-survey time, meeting the 80% post-survey comprehension target. Similar gains were seen in comprehension of the core concepts of evaluation targeted by the workshop activities that day, including: understanding that evaluation is an iterative process, theory of change is a cause and effect chain of outcomes, and logic models are a useful tool for mapping theory of change. At exit, 78% of participants felt mostly (56%) or very (22%) prepared to implement their next steps in evaluating their projects and programs, the majority of which (72%) planned to next complete their visioning and mapping of their program or projects impact goals and theory of change path.
    • Grants committee training: helped to host committee training at Wikimania for a subset of the grants committee members. See materials on Meta for access to the training materials, which include focusing on strategic initiatives, participatory grantmaking, organizational effectiveness, and impact.
    • Growing the Awesome in your Programs session. This open workshop offered program leaders a review of ways to track and report data from programs. The team also offered a Wikimetrics overview, an opportunity for those interested to test their users cohort on the tool
    • Good practices for the evaluation of GLAM-Wiki cooperations. Jaime Anstee joined Beat Estermann and Maarten Brinkerink in a GLAM strategy workshop to co-develop systematic measures for community members engaged in GLAM initiatives.

      The Grantmaking booth

    • Grants, Programs and Learning booth. This space, located in the Community Village and built in cooperation with the larger Grantmaking team, offered a context to have meetings, engage in conversation and reach out to community members who wanted to learn more about the programs operated by the department.
    • The session Human Centered Design for Free Knowledge demonstrated one methodology for approaching problems both within WMF and the movement at large, hosted by Jonathan Morgan and Jessie Wild Sneller from Learning & Evaluation, and Yana Welinder from the WMF Legal team.
  • An overview blog post was published with our team’s learnings from Wikimania London, which reported 1,263 total page views so far. Read here.

Grants programs

  • Travel and Participation Support: Prepared and launched a survey targeting Wikimania 2014 Scholarship applicants to learn more about their motivation for applying to the scholarship, and get their feedback on the overall process.
  • Individual Engagement Grants: Completed the data collection and analysis of the IEG 2014 round 2 participants survey (results to be published soon).

Grants operations and tools

  • Fixed a major bug in payments processing, and other minor bugs in Fluxx to make it more reliable for the Grantmaking internal operations.
  • Developed new gadgets for the IEG and PEG application processes

Grantmaking overall

  • Began forming an initial draft of the Global South User survey, working across the Wikimedia Foundation. These questions will help guide our strategy towards different language communities going forward.
  • Published results from the board governance survey. See results on Meta; next steps to be determined.
  • Launched survey on org effectiveness for organizations with TCC; results coming soon
  • Launched white paper study on participatory grantmaking with The Lafayette Practice

Program Evaluation & Design

  • See above for examples of outreach directly associated with building program leaders evaluation capacity.

The new Evaluation portal on Meta has 6 sections to interact.

  • Looking back a year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation Program Evaluation & Design team started talking about evaluation in the movement. The team made resources available for community members to evaluate their efforts, and are now better organized and easier to find on the Evaluation portal on Meta.
  • We also shared how the redesign happened on the Wikimedia blog, explaining how to engage on the 6 sections. The blog post reported 497 page views thus far. Read the blog post here.
  • First analysis of Wikimania conference through launch of the Wikimania 2014 evaluation survey
  • Hiring for an intern to help in the program evaluation reporting process, to launch in September/October
  • Social Media efforts: Twitter: 96 tweets (287 total), 26 new followers (145 total followers), 224 total engagements (retweets, favorites, replies), 34 URL clicks; Facebook: 14 posts (1 by a non-team member), 562 views, 35 likes, 7 comments; Youtube: 114 views (735 total views); Google+ page 673 post views, 37 profile views, 30 total engagement actions, 18 new followers (87 total followers).
  • Portal Space Metrics: In August, 100 edits were made by 13 non-WMF users to the portal main space (87 edits, 9 users), portal talk pages (8 edits, 7 users) and to Grants:Learning_patterns (238 edits, 20 users, 9 endorsements). For page views, there were 1467 total views of the portal’s main pages Portal landing page (1684) , /News (343), Connect (158), and Grants:Learning_patterns (454).
Upcoming next month

Wikipedia Education Program

Wikipedia Education Program poster session poster for Wikimania 2014.

The Wikipedia Education Program team continues to conduct outreach to education programs and has spoken with 49 program leaders around the world. The team’s goal is to have contacted 49 of the 60 programs by the end of September. The team has met that goal one month ahead of schedule.


Education was a major topic at Wikimania this year with a number of well-attended events, including pre-conference workshops, panel presentations, educator and ambassador trainings, and meet-ups. Read a synopsis of the sessions, with links to documentation, in the education newsletter.

Wikipedia Education Collaborative

The Wikipedia Education Collaborative welcomed 3 new members, all of whom replaced founding members from their country/region. Filip Maljković replaced Ivan Matejić as Serbia’s representative. Mariona Aragay replaced Àlex Hinojo as Catalonia’s representative. Samir El-Sharbaty will represent Egypt.

Plans are underway for our next meeting in Edinburgh, UK, following WMUK’s EduWiki Conference in October.

Arab world programs

  • Professors and Wikimedians in Jordan met to discuss the establishment of a committee to guide the Wikipedia Education Program locally in Jordan. The meeting was hosted at Isra University. The working name for this group is the Wikipedia Education Program Jordan Committee (مجلس برنامج ويكيبيديا للتعليم الاردن).
  • A teacher’s strike in Jordan postponed a workshop scheduled for secondary school teachers in Jordan. The workshop will be held later in September.
  • Summer editing continues through September in Egypt for some student-run Wikipedia Education Program courses. So far, students have added nearly six million bytes of new content to the Arabic Wikipedia since March. Numbers from all terms are posted on the Wikipedia Education Program Dashboard.
  • Representatives from the Wikipedia Education Programs in Egypt and Serbia discussed a potential collaboration between the two countries during Wikimania 2014 in London.


Wikipedia Education Program sticker in Wikimedia red.

Human Resources

In August, HR – soon to be named Talent and Culture – facilitated a strategy offsite meeting with the WMF executive and management teams to talk about iterating strategic direction and processes for the organization. We also have changed our HSA vendor, and supported the organization in that transition. We are migrating from Jobvite to Greenhouse as our job applicant tracking system, and conducted a payroll audit. The 401k investment committee is undertaking review of our 401k vendor, and ongoing work in hiring, immigration, and other core services continues as needed.

HR presentation slides from the metrics meeting

August Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • None (due to Wikimania slow-down)
Conversions (Contractor to Requisition)
  • None (due to Wikimania slow-down)
Requisition Departures
  • Matt Walker
New Interns
  • Clare Lakewood – Legal
New Contractors
  • Hardik Juneja – Engineering
  • Morten Warncke-Wang – Product/Strategy
Contracts Ended
  • Eric Holmes – Legal
  • Roshni Patel – Legal
  • Mark Verstraete – Legal
  • Chuck Roslof – Legal

August Statistics

Total Requisitions Filled
August Actual: 186
August Total Plan: 211
August Filled: 0, Month Attrition: 1
FYTD Filled: 9, FYTD Attrition: 1
FY positions planned: 233

Finance and Administration

  • Completed Wikimedia Norway site visit.
  • Completed modifications to the 6th floor by additing additional meeting and phone rooms.
  • RFP for Investment Advisory Services is still in process with a decision to be announced by September 8, 2014.

Legal and Community Advocacy

During a press conference held by Lila Tretikov, Jimmy Wales, and Geoff Brigham at Wikimania this year, WMF announced its position and response to the recent right to be forgotten notices it had received about Wikimedia webpages that would be censored from Google search results. At the same time, WMF announced the launch of its first ever transparency report, which included two years of data regarding third-party requests for user information and for the alteration or deletion of Wikimedia content, as well as how WMF responded to such requests.

Contract Metrics

  • Submitted : 56
  • Completed : 26

Trademark Metrics

  • Submitted : 10
  • Pending : 5
  • Approval not needed : 4
  • Denied: 1

Domains obtained

getawikipedia.com, getonwikipedia.com, onwikipedia.com (see also blog post), wikipediapagecreators.com, wikjpedia.org, wmfusercontent.org

Coming & Going

  • Eric Holmes (2L from NYU), Mark Verstraete (1L from Harvard), and Chuck Roslof (2L from Harvard) concluded their summer internships with the WMF legal team. We thank them for all of their hard work and wish them the best as they return to law school!

Other Activities


In the slow month of August, the media got up to some monkey businesses. The month started with carry-over stories on the Foundation’s acceptance of Bitcoin and the launch of the new Wikipedia iOS app. At Wikimania, the WMF held a press conference announcing the launch of its first ever transparency report and the Foundation’s position and response to the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the “Right to be Forgotten.” These generated dozens of articles and opinion pieces in the first two days before being overtaken by stories about the so-called “monkey selfie,” a Wikimedia Commons image of a monkey self-portrait that was featured in the transparency report as an example of a declined take-down request. The “monkey selfie” lingered in the news throughout August in the form of parody pieces, legal analyses, and critiques. The end of August closed with the re-emergence of transphobic vandalism from a U.S. Congressional IP address, another ban, and a resultant wave of press coverage.

Major announcements

  • Transparency Report launch and press conference
  • Right to be Forgotten press conference

Major storylines through August

The Wikimedia Foundation accepts Bitcoin

The Wikimedia Foundation began to accept Bitcoins and raised $140,000 in its first week.
Daily Tech (11 August, 2014) [1]
Tech Crunch (07 August, 2014) [2]
Tech News (07 August, 2014) [3]

Transparency Report

The Wikimedia Foundation released its first ever transparency report.
TIME (06 August, 2014) [4]

“Wikipedia’s first transparency report shows it doesn’t give up much to the government”

Washington Post (6 August, 2014) [5]

“Wikipedia Details Government Data Requests”

The New York Times (6 August, 2014) [6]

Right to be Forgotten and Wikipedia

Europe’s controversial ‘Right to be Forgotten’ censors its first Wikipedia page. The Wikimedia Foundation vows to fight the ruling.
The Guardian (06 August, 2014) [7]
Reuters (06 August, 2014) “Wikipedia fights back against Europe’s ‘right to be forgotten’
New York Times (06 August, 2014) “Wikimedia Wants You to Remember the Links Europe Wants You to Forget
Daily Mail (06 August, 2014) [8]
Tech Times (05 August, 2014) [9]
Gizmodo (04 August, 2014) [10]
The Telegraph (04 August, 2014) [11]
BBC News Technology (04 August, 2014) [12]

Monkey selfie

British photographer David Slater asked the Wikimedia Foundation to take down a photo of a monkey which he claims to have rights to – the Foundation holds he does not have rights to the photo because he did not take the picture himself.
BuzzFeed (August 6, 2014) [13]
The New Yorker (08 August, 2014) [14]
NPR (07 August, 2014) [15]
Amateur Photographer (11 August, 2014) [16]
The National Law Review (07 August, 2014) [17]
Gizmodo (06 August, 2014) [18]
Ars Technica (06 August, 2014) [19]
Huffington Post (06 August, 2014) [20]
New Yorker (26 August, 2014) [21]

CATO, Congress and Wikipedia

The CATO Institute, an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington D.C., told lawmakers that Wikipedia should be a tool utilized by members of Congress and their staffs.
The Washington Post (18 August, 2014) [22]
Voice of America (19 August, 2014) [23]
The Hill (18 August, 2014) [24]
CATO Institute (06 August, 2014) [25]

Wikipedia Congress ban

An IP address pertaining to a computer in Congress was banned for 30 days for transphobic vandalism.
Boing boing (22 August, 2014) [26]
NY Daily News (21 August, 2014) [27]
Business Insider (20 August, 2014) [28]
BuzzFeed (21 August, 2014) “Anti-Transgender Wikipedia Edits Appear To Originate On Capitol Hill
National Journal (19 August, 2014) [29]

Other worthwhile reads

See also the August press clippings

Why you probably trust Wikipedia more than the BBC
The Telegraph (12 August, 2014)
Wiki wars: Do Wikipedia’s internal tiffs deter newcomers?
BBC News Technology (05 August, 2014)

Wikimedia blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 16 posts in August 2014. Three posts were multilingual, with translations in Spanish, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, French, and German. Some highlights from the blog include:

Profile of Anne Kingsley, a professor at a community college who has integrated Wikipedia into her curriculum. (August 18, 2014).
New so called ‘open licenses’ fail to meet the basic standards set out by the Freedom Definition and the Open Knowledge Definition (August 07, 2014).
The Wikimedia Foundation releases its first ever transparency report (August 06, 2014).

Media contact

Media contact through August 2014: wmf:Press room/Media Contact#August 2014

Wikipedia Signpost

For detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited newsletter “Wikipedia Signpost” for August 2014:

Communications Design

Began working with the Fundraising team to create donor gifts and envision a new direction for the Wikimedia shop and merchandise.

by wikimediablog at December 01, 2014 08:24 AM

November 26, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Education collaborative members meet in Edinburgh

Collab members in Edinburgh, from left to right: Tighe, David, Fernando, Leigh, Filip (and Shani behind him), Vojtěch, Jami, Floor, Mariona, Reem, Samir, Toni, Kacie and Anna

“Group picture, Edinburgh” by Fedaro, under CC BY-SA 4.0

Wikipedia is built upon diversity. A high quality encyclopedia cannot be achieved unless there are opportunities for everyone in the world to contribute to it and people from different cultures, genders and ages are well-represented in the community. Diversity on Wikipedia was one of the reasons that the Wikipedia Education Program was created. The need was growing to unite the volunteer leader efforts from different countries in a space where they can share their experiences and develop their programs. This was also a reason why the Wikipedia Education Collaborative was created.

In March 2012, Frank Schulenburg, the Wikimedia Foundation’s former Senior Director of Programs, who is now the Executive Director of the Wiki Education Foundation, wanted to gather the hands of individuals who believe that “Wikipedia belongs in education” and would like to help boost the use of Wikipedia as a teaching tool in classrooms. This idea, which was then known as the Wikimedia Education Cooperative, was the seed for a newborn movement.

Prague Kickoff meeting in March 2014


“Education Coop kick-off meeting in Prague 93” by ragesoss, under CC BY-SA 2.0

Today, the Wikipedia Education Collaborative, or Collab, is a group of Wikipedia Education Program leaders from several countries around the world whose aim is to share experiences and and support other education programs to achieve their goals.

In March 2014, the Collab held a kickoff meeting in Prague, where the founding members were able to define what worked well and what needed more work in their programs and to set a list of tasks to work on together within several  focus areas. During its first six months, the Collab began its work and actions were taken to implement what was planned in Prague. Small teams worked on developing the program in different areas, such as improving the Education Newsletter by the communications group, preparing the Education Portal to share available resources by the resources group and developing ways to recognize students, volunteers and program leaders by the recognition group.

 Collab members in Edinburgh discuss their new six-month plan


“Wikipedia Educational Programa – Edimburgo 2014 – Working” by Fedaro, under CC BY-SA 4.0

On November 1st, the Collab members gathered in Edinburgh to review their previous projects and set new targets to complete within six months. The morning session was dedicated to sharing ideas and impressions about the Collab, what they think is a great success and what they learned to avoid in the future.

Collab members spent some time on brainstorming objectives they want the Collab to achieve during the next six months and then voted on the most important ones. Following a short selecting process in which members rearranged, added and deleted some ideas, the group settled on a six-month plan with fixed goals:

  1. Define the Collab’s scope, responsibilities, roles, and membership policies and determine how to implement this.
  2. Identify and develop a set of best practices and feature them on the education portal.
  3. Improve the user experience with the education program extension by better socializing it and supporting its users.
  4. Start a mentoring pilot and evaluate its effectiveness.

In the afternoon session, Collab members were divided into small groups so that every one of them could work on one of the new goals and then the whole group gathered to present what they discussed. The meeting ended with each member heading home with new ideas for their education programs and for the Collab.

Mariona Aragay from Catalonia (Spain), who is a new member of the Collab, believes that the Collab’s diversity is an advantage. “The Collaborative is giving me the chance to know people from different parts of the world, where culture and education are so different from the place I’m from,” says Mariona. “This gives me the opportunity to widen my horizons and implement ideas and resources that are working in education programs in other parts of the world.” Mariona wants to help anyone who wants to start or grow a new education program.

Vojtěch Dostál from Czech Republic is one of the founding members of the Collab. He tries to support the idea as much as he can, and he believes that it will be more productive as more people are more passionate about it. Vojtěch elaborates, “I envision the future of the Collab as an open forum for all education programs in the world, as an idea lab and a workshop for new ideas which cannot be done by a single initiative or chapter alone.”

Education program leaders from different countries devote their time and efforts to the Collab to work together to raise awareness about the value of Wikipedia in Education. Their goal is to see Wikipedia in each classroom and to see students all around the world click the [edit] button.

Samir Elsharbaty, Communications Intern, Wikipedia Education Program, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at November 26, 2014 05:53 PM

November 24, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Photos aside, how else does Wiki Loves Monuments deliver?

The concrete cooperation through Wiki Loves Monuments means a lot! Wikimedia Commons is currently the only open platform where we can work together with dedicated and talented photographers. The work with WLM – and the mere existence of Wikimedia Commons and Wikipedia – means a lot for our work with digital infrastructure K-samsök/SOCH where the linchpin is to create an open and networked access to cultural heritage and museum information.

Lars Lundqvist, Head of new media and cultural heritage data at the National Heritage Board.

The partnership has been very valuable to us. We have received many great new photos of the ships, but also gained new networks and friends.

Anders Näsberg, Brand Web Editor at the National Maritime Museums in Sweden.

Icebreaker Bore, working both on and off wiki as an icebreaker.
“Isbrytaren Bore” by Kristianwhedberg, under CC BY-SA 3.0

A train load of prizes arrived thanks to our cooperation with GLAMs.
“Järnvägsmuseet, Kristianstad – 2013-05-03 – 10″ by Haxpett, under CC BY 4.0

Don’t let a wall of hierarchy stop you.
“Visby ringmur östra delen” by En-cas-de-soleil, under CC BY-SA 3.0

For the past four years, Wikimedia Sverige has organized the photo contest Wiki Loves Monuments in Sweden. Besides getting great photos to showcase Wikipedia and involving many new photographers, we have noticed another benefit from the contest that has received little attention.

What we have come to realize is that the contest is an excellent tool to increase cooperation with GLAM institutions in our country. Inviting GLAMs to be involved in the world’s largest photo contest and include their objects to be photographed is a great icebreaker.

Through the contest, Wikimedia Sverige has deepened its cooperation with a number of central GLAM organizations in several ways. In Sweden, we have mainly worked with three GLAMs: Riksantikvarieämbetet (The National Heritage Board); Statens Maritima Museer (The National Maritime Museums in Sweden); and Arbetslivsmuseernas Samarbetsråd (ArbetSam) (The Council of Working Life Museums). These GLAMs have, amongst other things, the responsibility to collect data and spread awareness about the objects within their respective fields. For example, The National Heritage Board deals with old buildings and ancient monuments, The National Maritime Museums in Sweden with important ships, and ArbetSam with a large number of museums and outdoor collections (such as old trains, mills etc.).

Wikimedia Sverige started working with the National Heritage Board in 2011, and has continued to work closely with them. The Wiki Loves Monuments contest was one of the first major projects we did together, and the National Heritage Board is now one of our most vocal and close supporters in the GLAM sector. This cooperation has been the model from which we built other GLAM relationships.

Before the start of the contest each year, we maintain close contact with the GLAMs, and work on improving the lists and other associated tasks. We strongly believe that having this type of regular interaction has solidified our cooperation.

Each of the GLAMs have provided us with data that we have used to build lists on Wikipedia. This has been the foundation of the cooperation, and has presented the GLAMs with a clear benefit and task. They have all appreciated the fact that their objects are included on Wikipedia and are considered important enough to form the foundation of the worlds largest photo contest. For the Wikimedia movement, it is obviously a great benefit to have complete and updated lists on Wikipedia. The cooperation has also put the spotlight on their work with their databases and licensing their data sets as open data – which is an added value. These are things we will then be able to include on Wikidata in the future.

For most of the contest, the GLAMs have also sponsored the prizes. These are often from their own shops – hence the prizes are very suitable for the photo categories in the contest. Sponsoring prizes is something that their staff has said is a bit easier to find support for in comparison to other tasks. What’s more, GLAM staff have been part of the jury, which is a good way to use their expertise and a task that many experts find rewarding and interesting. Another win-win!

For the last year, the GLAMs have also been actively – and very successfully – involved in the external communication work. Our joint efforts led to more than 30 press mentions about Wiki Loves Monuments in 2014 alone.

Finally, the GLAMs are now involved in Wikimedia Sverige’s applications for external funding as partners or in project reference groups. This involvement has greatly increased our chances of receiving funding for our work, and we have already seen positive outcomes. The fact that we now can pick up the phone, and ask them to join our application on short notice, is possible because of prior cooperation around Wiki Loves Monuments.

So what is needed for this to happen in your country as well?

We have learnt a lot during the last years and here are a few things to remember to form a strong cooperation (of course this list is not comprehensive, and some of it we could do better in practice ourselves):

  • Contact them early. Some of these are big hierarchical organizations that need time to form an opinion. This is especially true the first year you work together.
  • Be clear with them what they can do and what you are hoping for. Communication is the key. Don’t surprise them with new stuff that they haven’t planned for.
  • Report results continuously and at the end. Be sure to let them know that their work matters and that it is visible. E.g. we have great numbers to give them about page/image views and knowing these numbers makes it easy for them to argue internally for why they should work with us. Note: Making sure that the images are being used on Wikipedia will increase these numbers greatly. See if there is volunteer interest or if a contest around writing or adding images to Wikipedia can be organized.

Things we still struggle with

Of course there are still a number of things that we would like to develop further:

  • Reuse of the images. We would love to find ways of helping the GLAMs to use the API to get the WLM photos so that they can reuse them in their own environment. (We have a project focusing on this that is about to take off in 2015.) One example where this is already happening is the website Kringla.nu where cultural heritage images from Wikimedia Commons are embedded (example).
  • Updating the lists. Keeping the lists up to date has proven a bit tricky, as not all GLAMs update the lists themselves or have a RSS feed with the updates in their database.

Have you found Wiki Loves Monuments useful for GLAM cooperations in your country? Have you done something similar? Please share in the comment section below!


John Andersson, Project Manager, Wikimedia Sweden

Axel Pettersson, Project Manager GLAM, Wikimedia Sweden

by yoonahawikimedia at November 24, 2014 11:00 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Šestá česká Wikikonference: Tento víkend se uvidíme v Brně!

Plakát wikikonference. Autor: Dominik Matus

Plakát Wikikonference. Autor: Dominik Matus

Naši brněnští kolegové strávili několik týdnů přípravou Wikikonference, která se bude konat tento víkend, 29. listopadu (v sobotu). Bude to celkem již šestá konference o Wikipedii a první svého druhu v moravské metropoli Brně. Zázemí nám poskytne planetárium na Kraví Hoře.

Díky tomu, že jsme letos přesunuli konferenci do Brna, zvládneme Wikipedii představit i jiné, než pražské komunitě a oslovit zájemce o svět Wiki také na jihu Moravy. V současné době se na akci zaregistrovalo zhruba okolo 150 zájemců. Konferenci naši brněnští kolegové představili také prostřednictvím regionálního tisku, v prostorách různých muzeí, dopravních prostředků a dalších kulturních institucí. 
A na jaký program se lze těšit? Vystoupí zakladatel české Wikipedie, esperantista Miroslav Malovec, který stál v roce 2002 u jejího zrodu. Dalšími mluvčími budou například Lucie Straková (z Ústavu práva a technologií Právnické fakulty MU a z pracovní skupiny Creative Commons Česká republika) či správci internetové Encyklopedie dějin města Brna nebo nového projektu WikiSofia. Představen bude také i workshop Wikiměsto – česká obdoba anglického projektu Wiki Takes, který byl tento rok poprvé uskutečněn v Přibyslavi. Program konference bude na rozdíl od loňských ročníků (zaměřených z velké části již na zkušenější wikipedisty) orientován více na zvídavou veřejnost.
V dopoledních hodinách proběhne paralelně k hlavnímu programu i odborný program pro zástupce kulturních a vzdělávacích institucí, v němž budou představeny praktické příklady dobré spolupráce Wikipedie s institucemi projektu GLAM (galerie, knihovny, archivy a muzea) a účastnící se zástupci nových institucí dostanou příležitost prodiskutovat možnost navázání vlastní spolupráce s Wikipedií. Na tento seminář se již přihlásili zástupci několika z množství oslovených, především brněnských institucí.
Programem provedou návštěvníky moderátoři Miroslav Langer a Jaroslav Zastoupil. Závěr konference pak bude patřit zábavnému wikikvízu o ceny, na kterém si tři dobrovolníci z publika ověří pod dohledem ostatních své znalosti o Wikipedii. Po soutěži bude následovat krátké představení spolku Wikimedia Česká republika a jeho aktivit. Ukážeme, jaké projekty v rámci hnutí Wikimedia vznikají, jak se rozvíjejí a jak obohacují Wikipedii. Poté bude následovat  zlatý hřeb večera – vyhlášení vítězů 3. ročníku českého kola soutěže Wiki miluje památky. 


by Jan Loužek at November 24, 2014 07:18 AM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

UN, Wikimedia New York deliver open, free world maps on GIS Day

For thousands of years, humans have used maps to define, understand and navigate the world in which we live. From cave drawings to star maps to geospatial navigation, maps have been an ever-improving tool for people everywhere. In today’s increasingly connected world, maps play a critical role in areas like humanitarian response to disasters, understanding the spread of disease, and much more. Like any information resource, however, maps vary in terms of accuracy and accessibility.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) believes that accurate, reliable, and easy-to-understand maps should be available to everyone. That is why they’ve partnered with Wikimedia New York City and ReliefWeb to release a collection of more than 200 freely licensed “country-location” maps that are available on Wikimedia Commons and on the ReliefWeb site. In addition, many maps are also featured on Wikipedia country pages.

We are excited to announce this collaboration on GIS Day, which provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. The project is intended to give the humanitarian community and the public access to free, accurate, and attractive maps, wherever they may be.

These maps were originally created as part of OCHA’s focus on information management and geographical visualization, in order to support the coordination of humanitarian partners during the response to an emergency or natural disaster anywhere in the world. OCHA location maps were designed to be embedded into a report or a website, offering essential information, such as main cities and neighbouring countries, while using a sleek and effective design.

Gwi-Yeop Son, Director of OCHA’s Corporate Programmes Division, said that OCHA is pleased to share the maps openly and publicly. “OCHA can now offer Wikipedia’s nearly half a billion readers the ability to study and reuse those maps as they see fit,” she said. This is thanks to the community of volunteers who dedicate time and energy to write, edit, and check entries to ensure information is current and relevant.

Access to accurate, free and reliable maps has implications for a variety of efforts, including combating climate change. The Green Growth Knowledge Platform, a partnership of more than 30 leading organizations that generate, manage and share green-growth knowledge, uses OCHA’s maps to gain geographical context important to understanding a country’s efforts to transition to a green economy. According to Amanda McKee, the Communications and Outreach Officer for the Green Growth Knowledge Platform, “the accurate and up-to-date location maps from OCHA enable us to provide this context on the 193 country dashboards offered on the Green Growth Knowledge Platform.”

Since OCHA first created the location maps, it has made a series of improvements including design updates and new territories. The accessibility of these maps allows any user to publish location maps as is, or edit each element of the content. All the maps are freely licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 unported licence.

Richard Knipel
President, Wikimedia New York City

by himam2014 at November 24, 2014 05:41 AM

November 22, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Winners of the photo contest Wikiviajes por Venezuela 2014


Wikimedia Venezuela organized the photo contest WikiViajes por Venezuela 2014, which ran between April 15 and May 31 with a theme centered on Venezuela’s heritage and identity. The competition focused on photographs of nature, urban landscapes, holiday destinations, typical locations, economic activities, crafts, customs and cuisine that showed the cultural particularities of Venezuela.

More than 14,000 photographs were submitted, which will better illustrate articles on Wikipedia, and especially Wikivoyage the free travel guide that anyone can edit, a project of the Wikimedia Foundation that was launched in early 2013.

Two winners were determined by popular vote, counting the number of “Likes” received on Facebook. The voting took place between October 15 and October 30 via the Facebook photo albums made available to the public. You can find the winners below.

  • 1. First Place
  • 2. Second Place
 El_roedor_mas_grandeChigüire, the biggest rodent.

“El roedor mas grande” by Daniel10ortegaven, under CC BY-SA 3.0

  • 3. Third Place

MEDANOS_DE_CORO_-FALCON_01Médanos de Coro National Park.
“MEDANOS DE CORO -FALCON 01” by Julioreylagarto, under CC BY-SA 3.0

  • 4. Special Award

01_-_Playa_Edo._VargasBeach of Vargas state.
“Playa Edo. Vargas” by Luis Jaimes, under CC BY-SA 3.0

Oscar Costero, Wikimedia Venezuela

by wikimediablog at November 22, 2014 01:12 PM

November 20, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Three Questions and Three Answers as Food for Thought About the Future of Wikipedia

This is an opinion piece by Amos Meron of Wikimedia Israel. All views are the author’s own; discussion is welcome in the comment section of this blog post.

What should Wikipedia (also) be?

Wikipedia prides itself of being the encyclopedia of the 21st century. Except that in the 21st century there are no encyclopedias. Wikipedia has amazingly removed this category from the face of the earth. Since we already are the biggest, most updated, shared and common encyclopedia in the world – and mostly since we are virtually the only one left – this is the time to understand what our future holds. If we settle for the status quo and only try to preserve what we have, we will soon be left behind. If we really want to fulfill our vision and provide every single human being free access to the sum of all knowledge, we should ask ourselves – where is this knowledge?

The knowledge is in books. We should move towards a future where as many of the world’s books as possible are freely licensed and are accessible in a way that allows easy reading, sharing and referencing. We could build a library of an infinite number of shelves with a community to maintain it and even provide reference desk services to the public.

The knowledge is in museums. Today’s museums contain most of the items of humanity and natural history. However, only a fraction of those items are displayed at any given time, the remainder of them stored behind closed doors for a majority of the time. We could create virtual museums with an infinite number of exhibition halls and provide access to every collection in its entirety in new and varied forms. The search capabilities, indexing and interface of the Wikimedia projects must be improved to allow this.

The knowledge is in the academy. The Open Access movement brought a significant change in the amount of academic materials that are freely accessible online. We should take the idea of free academy a few steps further and create an infrastructure not only for free publishing of papers, but also for sharing and crowdsourcing the process of research and peer review. Researchers could publish their results at various stages and receive real-time feedback from others, the entire process being open and accessible to everyone. The platform would support collaborative research where each contribution is documented and appreciated, just like in Wikipedia.

How to get new editors?

It seems that Wikipedia’s major problem in recent years is the decline in the number of new editors. So far, the discussion is focused on removing barriers and obstacles that may stand in the way of someone trying to edit: socially (closed and inflexible community) and technically (visual editor). I completely agree with this discussion and with most of the proposed and implemented solutions. However, I would like to argue something different: our main problem is not with those who tried to edit and were somehow deterred, but with those who have the potential to be great editors but never chose to try. We put our trust to provide “the sum of all knowledge” solely in the hands of the ones who are content with their satisfaction of writing and contributing, and by doing so we neglect many others. I am not suggesting, of course, to pay for editing – this would ruin the voluntary model of the community and may bring content of varied quality. But I do suggest we rethink the incentives of editing Wikipedia.

I would like to focus on the main incentive which I believe is not given adequate attention. I also believe it is the key to a real solution to the editor decline problem. This incentive is the most classic incentive of any creative – credit. Technically, it can be argued that each editor gets full credit for each and every contribution in a completely transparent way. In practice, however, the credit is “behind the scenes” since most readers are not exposed to it or even aware of its existence completely. For media files it is practical to properly present credit and the Foundation’s development teams are implementing measures which help to increase the visibility of this credit – starting with the new media viewer and later further directions for measuring the use of media files, new possibilities to express appreciation and improved views of the credit. For text, however, there is a practical problem in adequate presentation of credit in a way that does not interfere with the continuous reading of the text. Even with the most sophisticated tools (Google Docs, for example) it is impossible to give clear credit for a variety of corrections and small edits.

A possible solution to the credit problem is shifting the emphasis from recognition of individual edits to recognition of the editing activity in general. As Wikipedia grows and its quality improves, the expertise required from an active editor is expanding. Even today, veteran editors who have proven their proficiency in certain subjects are appreciated by other editors and their opinions on these issues weigh more than others’. What I suggest is to formalize this recognition in a way that would transcend the internal community of Wikipedia and would be used to glorify the resumes of its members. Just as academics define titles and grant them to each other based on academic activity, so can Wikipedians define their own hierarchy of knowledge which will be based entirely on editing activity in the Wikimedia projects. As the credibility of Wikipedia grows, so will the public’s esteem to the Wikipedian titles, and vice versa – people will understand that Wikipedia is written (also) by experts.

What are the roles of the movement entities (the Foundation and the chapters)?

Wikipedia is not only a phenomenal knowledge project, it is also a very successful social experiment that implements so many principles – sharing of knowledge, free content, volunteering, crowdsourcing, democracy, long tail and more. Above all, it is something that works in practice despite our instincts telling us it would probably fail. This is the beating heart of the project, or in one word – community. Despite the community’s obstinacy and exclusivity, we cannot and do not want to see a Wikipedia where the community is not its central and dominant ingredient. Therefore, the Foundation is correct to focus on being, first of all, a technical and legal back for the project’s activity and second, the source of improvements and innovation in software and design. This is the professional added value of the Foundation that a volunteer community often cannot provide.

But the Foundation should not stop there. Just as it is leading Wikipedia’s vital design renovation and the initiatives for more advanced software, so too should it be building strategic foundations that go beyond its comfort zone and challenge the entire movement. Thus, it should be implementing ideas like the ones mentioned above – infrastructure for Wikipedia museums or a program for community hierarchy of knowledge. There is no need for a top-down implementations. It is sufficient for the Foundation to introduce the possibilities, and the tools to implement them to the community – and the necessary changes, in the end, will happen by themselves. When the community is growing more closed and stagnant, it is in the hands of the Foundation to challenge the status quo, or the entire project will be left behind.

While the Foundation operates to fulfill the community’s professional needs, the chapters are the earthly representatives of the movement around the world. When strictly online communication is not enough, a chapter’s role is to provide the bridge. In practice, besides arranging community meetings, advocating for changes in legislation, raise awareness for free content and other necessary activities, the chapters should focus on three types of content projects that aim to expand the scope of knowledge in Wikipedia and/or bring new editors:

First, projects with organizations that own the information or collection – these are, among others, galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM). In recent years there has been major progress in promoting collaborations and projects with these institutions, but sometimes through the flux of activity the long-term goal might be forgotten: to bring all the information or collection to Wikipedia (or: “give us everything you have”) and by doing so, focus in our most important added value – providing access to all of it, freely, to the whole world, in every language and at any time. The means to achieve this vision is a technological solution in the form of the above mentioned virtual museums with the chapters’ role being to direct collaborations with the institutions. Possible tools to gain cooperation with the institutions are: providing them with services or solutions for digitization of their content, acting to release it under free license by giving counsel and guidance on these issues, creating tools for measurement and statistics and teaching their staff how to share their content themselves on Wikimedia projects. All of these should be done on a large scale using apt volunteers recruited not necessarily from the Wikipedians. The fulfillment of this goal would obviously benefit the institutions, increasing their importance in the eyes of the public. Our activities in these projects are in the right direction, but we need to start thinking bigger to achieve real impact.

Second, projects with organizations whose members include experts in their field – Many organizations – such as a football club, the Ministry of Agriculture, or the ornithology department of a university – unite people around a certain field of knowledge, whether formally or recreationally. The chapters should identify these organizations and encourage their members to contribute to Wikipedia, whether by editing directly or in other ways (such as joint content ventures). People engaging in a certain field are usually interested in promoting public knowledge of their field, which is another unique incentive for writing. Therefore, the main effort here (except practical guidance) is advocacy about the importance of free knowledge and Wikipedia’s role in providing access to knowledge (or: “Wikipedia is where the people are”). These projects present a tremendous growth opportunity for the chapters.

And finally, projects that are based on people and communities – The chapters should be creative and innovative in different ways to create communities and activities around free knowledge and contribution to Wikimedia projects. Located at the heart of the people in the various countries, the chapters can appeal to new audiences and communities with common denominators, such as a community of common origin, interest, workplace and so on. Such projects hold the greatest potential for the chapters because the social gathering will form around Wikimedia projects and because with these projects the general population may be approached. Many examples of such projects can be found today in various chapters: from content creation competitions such as editing contest or “Wiki Loves Monuments”, to editathons on different topics, all the way to innovative projects for creation and accessibility of content such as WikiAir or MPs voice recording. These types of projects make the most exciting and discussed initiatives in the movement and in order to engage more people we need more innovation!

Amos Meron

Wikimedia Israel

by wikimediablog at November 20, 2014 12:05 AM

November 19, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

10th anniversary of Wikipedia in Asturian

"Logotipu 10 años(svg)" by Denis Soria under CC BY SA-3.0

Logo for the event

“Logotipu 10 años(svg)” by Denis Soria under CC BY-SA 3.0

On September 12th and 13th, the tenth anniversary of Uiquipedia, the Asturian language Wikipedia, was celebrated in the Prince Felipe Auditorium Oviedo in Oviedo, Spain. It was a special event because after ten years, this community is in a process of improvement and setting goals to give the final push to the project.

The event began on Friday the 12th with a welcome by Xuacu Saturio, administrator and technical ambassador of Asturian Wikipedia, who provided a brief review of the past decade. It was followed by a talk titled “Wikipedia: what, who, how,” an approach to how the project is run. This was useful to those present in the studio editing during the rest of the afternoon.

The following day, Saturday, had two premises. First, Asturian Wikipedians were convinced that literature in this language, along with its writers, are pieces of heritage to document in this encyclopedia and to disseminate for public consumption. On the other hand, they wanted to provide a broader perspective of the language, attending more to the linguistic domain. In fact, there was a tribute given to Leonese writer Caitano Bardón (Carrizo, 1881-1924), the author of “Stories in Leonese dialect” who pioneered Asturian-Lionese literature in León.

The act began with the music of Fran Allegre, who continued playing with different traditional instruments from León. Alberto Flecha, expert on Caitano and a fellow native of Carrizo, talked about the writer and gave ​​a short summary of the meaning of his work. Then, in collaboration with the Faceira Association and the literary collective Fame Poetika, several poems from Caitano and other authors were read in Asturian.

The second act of the event consisted of a simple presentation on the WikiProject “Sport in Asturias”, by Denis Soria. He emphasized the need to standardize the linguistic register of Wikipedia itself, as well as the importance of WikiProjects organizing the editing of articles. He went on to summarize the challenges and logical errors in the early years. Soria also discussed the need to address common objectives for the community with the intention of standardizing the image of the encyclopedia, arrange interaction strategies with society, and make it grow in the near future.

Much of the roundtable focused on the role that the media – especially on the Internet – and the work of Wikipedia play in energizing and reinforcing the attitudes of speakers from each territory of the linguistic domain.

There were some very special guests, including David Melendi (Professor of Telematics Engineering Area, University of Oviedo), José Ignacio Suarez (Professor of Musicology at the University of Oviedo and member of Faceira), Nicanor Garcia (computerization of Musel Port Authority, also a member of Faceira), Pablo Rodriguez Guardado (Asturies.com editor), Pelayu Valduvieco (student of Romance Philology at the University of Oviedo and developer of various translation projects), Xuacu Saturio (administrator and technician ambassador in Asturian Wikipedia) and Denis Soria (administrator on Wikipedia). Topics that were addressed included the challenges in encoding and linguistic standardization in the media, and recovery policy pertaining to different territories with presence of native speakers. It was a very fruitful discussion, and arguably the participants left a very high standard, holding the attention of the audience throughout the discussion. After the gathering ended, a series of books were distributed among the attendees, donated by the publishers Asturtoons, Ediciones Trabe, Hércules Ediciones, Librería Cervantes and Ediciones Nobel.

We finished the event with a meet-and-greet meal among all participants, courtesy of the city council, who also gave the auditorium space. The Asturian Wikipedia community expressed thanks for the work and organization by members of Wikimedia Spain, from whom the initiative was conceived and made the anniversary celebration possible. Similarly, they moved the commitment to schedule future activities inside and outside of the tenth anniversary.

Rubén Ojeda,miembro de Wikimedia España

Group photo from the tenth anniversary celebration in Oviedo

“Asistentes aniversario Wikipedia en asturiano” by Montgomery, under CC BY-SA 4.0

by wikimediablog at November 19, 2014 01:24 AM

November 18, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Sailing the South Pacific with a copy of Wikipedia on board: The Goodall Family

This profile is part of a series about Offline Wikipedia.

The Goodall family

“The Goodall family” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Goodall girls using Kiwix aboard the family ship, the Kyrimba.

“The Goodall girls using Kiwix aboard the Kyrimba” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Goodall family aboard the Kyrimba viewing dolphins.

“The Goodall family aboard the Kyrimba viewing dolphins” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Goodall Family going up the river in their dinghy to visit the Nanda Blue Hole, in the island of Espiritu Santo, Vanuatu.

“Visiting the Nanda Blue Hole, in the island of Espiritu Santo (or just ‘Santo’)” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Kyrimba approaches Tanna, Vanuatu after 16 days at sea. The family had departed from from Tarawa, Kiribati.

“The Goodall family aboard the Kyrimba viewing dolphins” by Simon Goodall, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Connecting to Wi-Fi is a daunting task when you spend most of your time at sea. It’s more of a challenge when you’re traveling offline to unfamiliar places, without a reliable and readily available source of knowledge. With Kiwix, however; an open source offline content browser, users are able to access the knowledge base that attempts to compile the sum of all human knowledge. It allows offline reading of Wikipedia in its entirety, even in the most remote parts of the world.

The Goodall family is part of a growing number of Wikipedia users that benefit from Kiwix. The family of five hails from the South American island of Tierra del Fuego and has been sailing across the world for the past year.

Simon Goodall and his wife, Carolina Goodall, have been globe-trotting for quite some time. Their list of adventures include backpacking across Russia, Mongolia and China, experiencing farm life in New Zealand and Australia, and traveling across Argentina in a motor-home. They are also experienced with traveling by water, having delivered yachts between ports along South America and the Caribbean, as well as sailing along Cape Horn to Antarctica.

The family originally intended on sailing to the northern or southern coast of Europe by means of the Caribbean Sea, but eventually decided to sail across the Pacific Ocean. Together, the Goodalls have three children: 10 year-old Sarah, eight-year-old Emma, and 6-year-old Clara. The children have been a part of the couple’s journey in their boat named Kyrimba. Simon Goodall writes, “sailing in the Pacific came as part of a continuum, a stage in life when the girls are the right age to absorb what the world has to offer: cultures, places, ways of life and the ability to travel together as a family.”

“We have learned that these cultures are very much in touch with mother earth. That although they can be considered “simple” in today’s modern world they are much more in touch with the world that supports us and have a wealth of information that in many places is slowly being lost,” writes Simon.

They were first introduced to the Kiwix software through a friend who gave them a copy of Navigatrix, an open source suite of boating applications designed for use on boats at sea.

Since using Kiwix, Simon says he has told other travelers about the offline software and how much it has helped them answer questions right away.

“When speaking about Kiwix/Wikipedia it has been mainly on how many times we have had queries that have been answered on the spot because of this availability of information,” writes Simon.

The family has been chronicling their adventures on their website, and say that using Wikipedia has been an integral part of their journey. With the Kiwix software on board, they’ve been able to use Wikipedia as a reference for culture, art and history. In addition, Wikipedia comes in handy for everyday living, whether it is identifying health risks or browsing the movie database for entertainment.

The Goodalls’ three daughters are currently home-schooled. Simon and Carolina find the offline Wikipedia software to be a useful part of their children’s education. As part of their home-school program, Carolina and her daughters use Wikipedia as a reference point to discuss topics ranging from animal classification systems to ancient civilizations.

Sarah uses Wikipedia in conjunction with her school readings to discover more about subjects that fascinate her in the books that she reads and in real life. She enjoys looking up stories from Greek mythology and fueling her interest in natural medicine by reading about herbs.

Emma also uses Kiwix frequently to identify everything from volcanoes to exotic fish species. In fact, whenever the Goodalls eat fish they have made it a part of their routine to identify the fish before prepping it for consumption.

“With Carolina we have used [Kiwix] to look up specific fish like Wahoo [to] see if it was mentioned for eating raw [either as] sushi [or] sashimi, which it is not really mentioned but we ended up eating it anyway! It’s not like you put a label on the hook that says Tuna or Mackerel only, we would like to eat [them] for sashimi,” writes Simon.

Simon tells us that even repair tasks can be helped with Kiwix as a reference, and the family as a whole enjoys learning about the places they have visited or plan on visiting.

“Let’s ask Kiwix the answer!” has become a part of the Goodalls’ vernacular.

Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern

Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

by yoonahawikimedia at November 18, 2014 03:53 AM

November 17, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Senioři píší Wikipedii – první měsíc kurzů je za námi

Kurz v městské knihovně, fotografie: Jindřich Nosek, CC-BY-SA4.0

Kurz v městské knihovně, fotografie: Jindřich Nosek, CC-BY-SA4.0

Projekt Senioři píší Wikipedii byl už na stránkách tohoto blogu několikrát představen. Nyní nastal čas podat zprávu, kam projekt za necelý půlrok dorazil a jak se bude vyvíjet dál. Kolesa tohoto projektu, jehož cílem je zapojit naše starší spoluobčany do tvorby největší česky psané encyklopedie všech dob, se rozjela v červnu tohoto roku, kdy nám na jeho provoz udělila grant nadace Wikimedia. Přes léto jsme horlivě navazovali kontakty s institucemi, bez nichž bychom takový projekt úspěšně nezorganizovali – se seniorským centrem Elpida a s Městskou knihovnou v Praze. A od konce září jsme na obou místech spustili pravidelné kurzy – a to rovnou ve třech termínech každý týden!

Kurzy vede člen Wikimedia ČR a garant projektu, Vojtěch Veselý. O dosavadním průběhu říká: „Z vedení kurzů mám skvělý pocit. Účastníci jsou velmi pozorní a zaujatí (což je  jiná zkušenost, než mám například s prací s mladými studenty). A osobně i  v e-mailech projevují velký vděk (především za „trpělivost“), což je  nesmírně motivující pro další práci. Největší odměnou pak je, když  vidím, jak mnozí z účastníků editují už sami z domova bez mého vedení.“ A čísla mu dávají za pravdu – podle aplikace EducationProgram, kterou používáme, se do kurzů přihlásilo už 28 „studentů“ – tedy v tomto případě seniorů. Aplikace, která byla původně vytvořena pro studenty, nám velmi dobře poslouží i pro tento program a je díky ní možné třeba v reálném čase sledovat editační aktivitu účastníků.

Nedávno organizátoři projektu odevzdali první oficiální grantovou zprávu. Vojtěch Veselý v ní vyjma úspěchů zmiňuje i výzvy, kterým při vedení projektu musí čelit. Největší výzvou, jak se dalo čekat, je  samotný nábor účastníků. Na letáky či e-maily (newslettery různých  organizací) reaguje jen nepatrný zlomek oslovených. Lepší výsledky má  jen osobní setkávání, to je ale časově i organizačně náročné. A samotná výuka také není jednoduchá záležitost. Ve Wikipedii se to jen hemží „modrým“ textem a to  může být pro mnoho seniorů namáhavé. Vojtěch o tom říká: „Když potřebují jednoduchou nápovědu, nevědí kam kliknout. Nabízených průvodců, nápověd, FAQ,  diskusí apod. je tolik, že si nejsou jistí, kam se obrátit. E-mailová  podpora celkem funguje, ale ta není z dlouhodobého pohledu optimální. A ač zkušenosti s prací na počítači a  internetu mají všichni, některým přeci jen občas činí problémy.

Kurz v městské knihovně, fotografie: Jindřich Nosek, CC-BY-SA4.0

Kurz v městské knihovně, fotografie: Jindřich Nosek, CC-BY-SA4.0

Níže uvádíme přehled kurzů, které v současnosti probíhají a na něž je možno se přihlásit:

  • Kurz v Centru Elpida na Pankráci (Na Strži 40) probíhající v pondělky a středy, a to od 27. října do 12. listopadu (celkem tedy šest setkání), vždy od 17 do 19 hodin. Na tento kurz je dobré se předem registrovat zde, případně telefonicky na čísle 272 701 335 (poznámka: ač se na odkazovaných stránkách ukazuje kurz jako „obsazený“, ve skutečnosti jsou ještě volná místa).
  • Každé úterý od 15 do 17 hodin v Ústřední knihovně Městské knihovny v Praze (Mariánské náměstí 1, počítačová učebna, v suterénu, vedle sálů; více informací zde). První hodina začíná 4. listopadu.
  • Každý čtvrtek od 9 do 11 hodin v pobočce Městské knihovny na Smíchově (Náměstí 14. října 15, počítačová učebna; více informací zde). První hodina začíná 30. října.
  • Připojit se do kurzu je možné i v jeho průběhu, když třeba nestíháte první dvouhodinovku. V tom případě je však dobré dát nám o tom předem vědět na náš e-mail.
  • Pro zájemce o projekt Knihovna umění jsou kurzy cca jednou měsíčně vždy ve středu od 14 do 16 hodin (5. listopadu, 19. listopadu a 3. prosince) v Artotéce Městské knihovny Opatov (Opatovská 14). Je možné přihlásit se také na stránce projektu a sjednat individuální kurz v jiném termínu.

Děkujeme za váš zájem o projekt Senioři píší Wikipedii, probíhající pod záštitou spolku Wikimedia Česká republika a za grantové podpory Wikimedia Foundation. Za partnerství děkujeme Městské knihovně v Praze. Sdílejte informaci o našich kurzech na Facebooku (níže) nebo o něm prostě řekněte svým přátelům:

Kurz v městské knihovně, fotografie: Jindřich Nosek, CC-BY-SA4.0

Kurz v městské knihovně, fotografie: Jindřich Nosek, CC-BY-SA4.0

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by Vojtěch Dostál at November 17, 2014 12:41 PM

November 15, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

How to get the Wikimedia Foundation to fund your international gathering

AdaCamp 2012 attendees

”Adacamp DC attendees 3″ by Adam Novak, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

After the first Wikimania was organized in Frankfurt, Germany in 2005, it was clear that alongside the virtual channels that we rely on every day, Wikimedia community members are in need of physical meeting spaces. They allow to build stronger networks of trust and friendship, share experiences, and create new ideas with peers from all across the globe.

Our international conferences have become more complex. In 2005, 380 participants were brought together; in 2014, attendance numbers grew more than 5 times, as Wikimania was attended by over 2000 people. These gatherings are inspirational and fun, and held alongside the more specialized meetings focused on particular programs and regions.

Some of the complexity stems from getting the conference off the ground. Important questions to keep in mind are: What kind of Wikimedia grants are funding these meetings? What does a successful proposal look like?

Plan: What do you want to achieve?

Planning an international gathering can be broken into three different phases: goals, program and schedule, and evaluation. In the first phase, organizers establish the goals and main themes of the conference. International conferences are expensive and logistics are complicated, so the first question the WMF would want answered is the rationale: Why have this event at all? Why does it need international participation? Is there a demonstrated need for it?

During the programming phase you brainstorm ideas for the specific sessions and activities in the event program. It’s a good idea to survey the prospective participants to learn what they want from the conference. These actions shape the evaluation plan of the conference. It is important to establish goals, design sessions and formats (will there be a talk? a workshop? a brainstorm?) and work on the metrics you’ll use to measure your success.

Galileo Vidoni, organizer of Iberoconf 2014, the international meeting that brings together Wikimedia organizations from Latin America, Spain and Italy says, “We want to showcase the conference as another link in the chain of work that goes on during the year, rather than as an isolated event.” He describes the efforts that have gone into improving the way the success of conferences are measured, and says, “Unlike last year, in 2014 we submitted a more detailed plan, with the metrics we will use to measure our results, against goals. We also highlighted the continuous discussions and agreements developed at Iberoconf 2013.”

Each conference has a different history and hence, different goals. While Iberoconf is heading towards its fourth edition and is already working on programs across chapters, Wiki Indaba in 2014 was the first event of its kind in the region. One of its goals was very simple: bring together experienced Wikipedians from across Africa, to build best practices around outreach, and to form a wider community.

Since travel expenses usually form the highest cost of international gatherings, it is advised to seek deals with travel agencies or airline national offices to get a discounted rate. This is also why it is important to be selective in inviting participants. You not only want people who can demonstrate their activity (online and offline) in the Wikimedia movement, but also those with ability to both contribute their experiences and share the knowledge gained in their local community (also known as multipliers).

Another common topic raised in recent reviews of international gatherings was the preparation for the event. Participants are expected to be prepared for discussions, having read previously any resources available, and leaving the meeting with a clear idea of the opportunities that lie in the future for working together. If you are organizing the event, how will you ensure this is happening as much as possible? Some possible methods are pre-event surveys and SWOT analyses.

Apply: Secure funds and resources for your conference

"Iberoconf 2013 - Foto grupal" by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Iberoconf 2013 group photo
“Iberoconf 2013 – Foto grupal” by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

If you need funding for your event, you should apply for a Project and Event Grant (PEG). The PEG program accepts proposals at any time, but be sure to submit your proposal early. We recommend at least 3 months in advance of the meeting to allow time for review by the Grant Advisory Committee, discussion, and revision, as well as purchasing flights at reasonable rates, if necessary. If you have questions about the process, contact the grants team early on. All of the WMF grants programs aim to increase the reach, participation in, and quality of Wikimedia projects, and grow local free knowledge.

This last goal is, in Galileo’s view, why the community supports Iberocoop — the Ibero-American network of Wikimedian groups that has been organizing the Iberoconf events. Iberocoop is not only an association of neighbouring countries, but it is also sustained by sister languages and a shared culture. He adds: “The international community acknowledges that, and appreciates it. This also represents a challenge for us: to execute Wikimedia programs on a regional level.” The participating countries in Wiki Indaba also have regional similarities: Limitations in access to the Internet and the high use of mobile broadband are two common denominators faced by editors across Africa.

Your international conference doesn’t have to rely solely on PEG funds to become reality. A good example of that is Ada Camp 2014, an initiative that originally started as a big international meeting, and broke into smaller camp-like workshops in different countries. In their recently approved PEG proposal, organizers requested USD 11,480, but the total costs of hosting three camps went up to USD 129,453. The rest was funded by Google, Mozilla and Wikimedia Deutschland, among others.

Execute and measure: How did it go? What did you learn?

"Evaluation Survey WM Conference 2014 final" by Nicole Ebber (WMDE), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Showcase your results! Here, Wikimedia Conference 2014 report
“Evaluation Survey WM Conference 2014 final” by Nicole Ebber (WMDE), under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Once the conference is over, documenting its outcomes and outputs will help you prepare for your final report. Before parting ways, it is also key that participants know how to continue with the project, anywhere they go. Build up strong communication bonds and have a project coordinator to follow up with the outcomes of the conference. Perhaps the greatest service you can do your event participants after the event is to help them following up on ideas and initiatives discussed at the event.

The PEG grant report template has guidelines to help you showcase the conference experience. We recommend collecting feedback during and after the event through surveys to better understand participants’ experiences and discover where improvement is called for. A good example is the Wikimedia Conference 2014 Report, which summarizes participant demographics and impressions from the conference, including favorite sessions.

Good ideas end where they begin: plan how you will evaluate your actions in advance! Find resources and tools on the Evaluation portal to build your indicators of success and write an evaluation plan.

María Cruz, Learning and Evaluation, Wikimedia Foundation

by wikimediablog at November 15, 2014 01:04 AM

November 14, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Apertium and Wikimedia: A collaboration that powers the Content Translation tool

Many readers of this blog know about the Content Translation initiative. This project, developed by the Language Engineering team of the Wikimedia Foundation, brings together machine translation and rich text editing to provide a quick method to create Wikipedia articles by translating them from another language.

Content Translation uses Apertium as its machine translation back-end. Apertium is a freely licensed open source project and was our first choice for this stage of development. The first version of Content Translation focused on the Spanish-Catalan language pair, and one of the reasons for this choice was the maturity of Apertium’s machine translation for those languages.

However, with growing needs to support more language pairs in the newer versions of Content Translation, it became essential that the machine translation continue to be reliable, and that the back-end be stable and up-to-date. To ensure this stability, we needed to use the latest updates released by the Apertium upstream project maintainers, and we needed to use Apertium as a separate service. Prior to this set-up, the Apertium service was being provided from within the Content Translation server (cxserver).

The Content Translation tool is currently hosted on Wikimedia’s beta servers. To set up the independent Apertium service, it was important to use the latest released stable packages from Apertium, but they were not available for the current versions of Ubuntu and Debian. This became a significant blocker, because use of third party package repositories is not recommended for Wikimedia’s server environments.

After discussion with Wikimedia’s Operations team and Apertium project maintainers, it was decided that the Apertium packages would be built for the Wikimedia repository. In addition to the Apertium base packages, individual packages for supporting the language pairs and other service packages were built, tested and included in the Wikimedia repository. Alexandros Kosiaris (from the Wikimedia Operations team), reviewed and merged these packages and the patches for their inclusion in the repository. The Apertium service was then puppetized for easy configuration and management on the Wikimedia beta cluster.

Meanwhile, to make Apertium more accessible for Ubuntu and Debian users, Kartik Mistry (from the Wikimedia Language Engineering team) also started working closely with the Apertium project maintainers, to make sure that the Debian packages were up-to-date in the main repository. Going forward, once the updated packages are included in Ubuntu’s next Long Term Support (LTS) version, we plan to remove these packages from the internal Wikimedia repository.

The Content Translation tool has since been updated and now supports Catalan, Portuguese and Spanish machine translation, using the updated Apertium service through cxserver. We hope our users will benefit from the faster and more reliable translation experience.

We would like to thank Tino Didriksen, Francis Tyers and Kevin Brubeck Unhammer from the Apertium project, and Alexandros Kosiaris and Antoine Musso from the Wikimedia Operations and Release Engineering teams respectively, for their continued support and guidance.

Runa Bhattacharjee, and Kartik Mistry, Wikimedia Language Engineering team

by Guillaume Paumier at November 14, 2014 06:41 PM

India Community Consultation 2014

WMF India Community Consultation 2014 Group Photo
(“India Community Consultation Meet -2014 (Most of the) Participants” by Viswaprabha, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

A group photo of some of the participants of WMF India Community Consultation 2014
(“WMF India Community Consultation (Bangalore, Oct 4th & 5th, 2014) 48″ by Pranayraj1985, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

A little over a month ago, a group of Indian Wikimedians from 15 different language communities gathered in Bangalore to attend the India Community Consultation 2014, the first such consultation at this scale, convened by the Wikimedia Foundation. The meeting had representation of volunteers from the Assamese, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu and Sanskrit language Wikipedia communities. The meeting was attended by six representatives of the Wikimedia India chapter Executive Committee (WMIN EC) as well as three members of the Access to Knowledge Programme of the Centre for Internet and Society (CIS-A2K) and the CIS Executive Director Sunil Abraham. The Wikimedia Foundation was represented by Head of Wikimedia Grants and Global South Partnerships Asaf Bartov, Senior Director of Grantmaking Anasuya Sengupta, Vice-chair of the Board of Trustees Patricio Lorente, Trustee Bishakha Datta and Chief Financial Officer Garfield Byrd.

The aims of this meeting were:

  1. Share views and preferences on the most effective ways to pursue our common vision of creating and sharing free knowledge in India and in the Indian languages (including English) around the world.
  2. Attempt to come to agreement on a roadmap for a future where our resources are better utilized, our volunteers are better served, and progress on our mission is more steadily attained.

This proposed roadmap can become the basis for programmatic activity in India by the different editing communities, the Wikimedia India chapter, CIS-A2K, and the Wikimedia Foundation, and any future Wikimedia User Groups in India, to promote the Wikimedia mission in India.

The Wikimedia Foundation arranged for the travel and stay of all non-local participants, as well as a night stay for all local participants between the first and second day, to ensure that the programme started on time on the second day and to overcome local travel difficulty (morning traffic).

The sessions were facilitated by Mr. Gagan Sethi, an experienced facilitator in the non-profit sector from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. He supported the attendees in visioning and strategizing exercises, and in collecting the ideas budding in the minds of the participants and capturing agreement points during discussions.

This condensed proposed roadmap was compiled by attendee Tito Dutta from the raw minutes on this etherpad. Here are some of the themes discussed:

  • National WikiConferences for geographically disparate communities (e.g. Hindi Wikipedia) (see this presentation by User:Hindustanilanguage).
  • Promoting the sister projects such as Wikisource or Wiktionary in languages where Wikipedia has a vibrant community with good organic growth.
  • Recognition of various movement partners (more plurality and diversity) such as free software groups, Indic language computing organizations, open education groups etc.
  • Easy idea exchange across Indic Wikimedia communities.
  • Cross-border collaborations with neighboring countries for shared languages. (see also current plans for the Bangla Wikipedia anniversary celebrations in India and in Bangladesh)
  • Notability issues and systemic bias as a challenge for English Wikipedia editors from India (especially by non-Indian English Wikipedians who may not understand context)
  • The urgent need to find a new method of measuring contributions other than by edit counts
  • opening up content, digitization, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems. (see also current grant proposal for Tamil OCR, and current grant proposal for Malayalam palm leaf digitization)
  • The special concerns of low-bandwidth readers and editors were brought up, and it was agreed there needs to be more visibility of those issues with WMF Engineering and User Experience teams. Past issues with the deployment of the Universal Language Selector were also mentioned.

There were also discussions on the roles of the Wikimedia India chapter as well as the CIS-A2K programme, the role of communities, individual volunteers, funding via Individual Engagement Grants (IEGs) and Project and Event Grants (PEGs), and the possibilities of institutional partnerships. The sessions benefited from a positive spirit and collegial collaboration, and the participants concluded that the enthusiasm and newfound trust resulting from this community consultation will go a long way in shaping the progress of the Wikimedia movement in India.

Syed Muzammiluddin, Hindi and Urdu Wikipedian (participant)
Asaf Bartov, Head of WMF Grants and Global South Partnerships (convener)

by wikimediablog at November 14, 2014 01:42 AM

November 12, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Chapters Dialogue: Imagine a movement striving for Free Knowledge at full potential

In spring 2013, Wikimedia Deutschland initiated a project called “Chapters Dialogue”. The main aim of the project was to discover the roles, relationships and responsibilities of Wikimedia organisations. After 94 interviews with staff and volunteers from Chapters and the Wikimedia Foundation, Nicole Ebber and Kira Krämer concluded the project with six tough questions. To enable the Wikimedia movement to strive for its mission at full potential, these questions now need to be tackled urgently and with coordinated dedication.

Project lead Nicole Ebber (left) and project manager Kira Krämer (right)
(by Dominic Ernst, CC-by-sa-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Wikimedia is a global movement: the Wikimedia Foundation runs projects like Wikipedia, raises funds and disseminates them among the international communities. Individuals and committees work and fight together to share and create Free Knowledge. Passionate people achieve amazing things. Over the last decade, a huge and complex network of Wikimedians grew, all sharing the same vision: “A world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.” On their way towards changing the world, all these individuals and organisations are exploring new territory.

Wikimedia Chapters are part of the international movement of Free Knowledge enthusiasts. They are crucial stakeholders in our movement, covering a wide range of tasks and responsibilities. They work closely together with the local communities, cover financial and logistical support for projects to further our joint mission, facilitate the exchange of experiences, team up with partners from inside and outside the movement, and lead a whole lot of different programmes in support of the creation, dissemination and curation of Free Knowledge.

Not all is full of wikilove

But besides all that wikilove there is also dispute. Not a single day passes without discussions inside the Wikimedia movement, between the Chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation, the committees, and the communities. These discussions revolve around unclear responsibilities, relationships and roles in the Wikiverse; and they lead to distrust. Plus, there is no common understanding of what is expected from Chapters: What are their tasks, what are their goals, what support do they need and who is in the position to provide this support?

Here at Wikimedia Deutschland, we felt that these are issues that were long overdue and it was time to dig deeper into the meaning of the all-embracing term “the Chapters”. In our view, the movement was lacking a solid foundation of insights of movement structures; an overall groundwork on which to base future plans and decisions. And rather than just setting up another Meta page or mailing list, we went for a structured and coordinated approach, allocated the relevant resources and devoted ourselves to this task from the beginning to the end: In spring 2013, we kicked off a structured assessment of the Chapters’ needs, goals and stories combined with a stakeholder survey, and we called it “Chapters Dialogue”.

A map of Wikimedia

We quickly figured out that what we needed for that project was qualitative research. Instead of crunching numbers we rather needed to uncover, collect and connect all the different stories and experiences. Our goal was to build a “map of Wikimedia”. We hired Kira Krämer who adapted the Design Thinking methodology to the Chapters Dialogue project.

In the course of the project (August 2013-February 2014), Kira interviewed 94 movement representatives – volunteers and staff of the Wikimedia Chapters, the Wikimedia Foundation as well as the Funds Dissemination Committee and the Affiliations Committee. Most interviews were audio recorded and transcribed afterwards; we took photos of the interviewees and documented the journey on our Facebook page.

In the synthesis of the project, we filtered key topics and integrated bits of each interview into this “Wikimedia map”. The art of synthesis lies in paying attention to details and interesting quotes, but keeping the whole picture in mind at the same time. The various stories needed to be condensed into one narrative that could be told to the movement. Our goal was to mirror the movement, to present the whole picture of what it actually is, what people care about and where the trouble spots are.

Insights and questions

Visual Recording of Kira’s presentation at Wikimedia Conference 2014
(by Nicole Ebber, CC-by-sa-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The synthesis of all the interviews resulted in a distillate of the most pressing issues. The findings and insights cover these main areas which have severely influenced the movement as it is today:

  • Passion for Wikimedia
  • Measuring success when exploring new territory
  • Lack of empathy and the persistence of old narratives
  • Organisational structures
  • The gap in leadership
  • Fundraising and funds dissemination

The insights lead to the following conclusions: The global footprint of the Wikimedia projects is huge; we have the potential to change the world. We can be proud of the things that work. But at the moment, we are not striving for Free Knowledge at full potential. None of the presented conflicts can be viewed in isolation, and no solution can be developed without a thorough understanding and frank conversations about the causes in the first place.

We have often been asked for quick recommendations, but consider it highly irresponsible to suggest isolated solutions to any of the described issues. Instead, we have distilled tough questions from the insights that we think need to be addressed as soon and as diligently as possible:

  1. What do we as a movement want to achieve? Do we run a website or foster free knowledge? Why are we doing the things we do, and what for?
  2. How do we define impact when exploring new territory? And how do we measure success?
  3. What is the role of the Wikimedia Foundation?
  4. How do we want to communicate, learn and build empathy? How can we overcome the old narratives and perceptions?
  5. Where does the money come from and where should it go? Should money be the limiting factor when striving for Free Knowledge?
  6. What movement framework or model is best suited to fulfil the Wikimedia mission?

The lack of mutual empathy ran like a golden thread through the interviews and synthesis. Understanding each others’ perspectives is essential for leaving the old narratives behind, for growing the level of trust and for a critical analysis of the given structures.

What’s next?

File:Wikimedia Chapters Dialogue.webmhd.webm

A 30 minutes film summarises the project, its insights and conclusions (subtitles in English available)
(by Dominic Ernst, CC-by-sa-4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Nicole and Kira presented and discussed the insights at different small-scale meetings and bigger conferences, such as Wikimedia Conference 2014 and Wikimania 2014. We have published an extensive dossier (58 pages PDF, 1,24 MB) with a lot of details and insights. Moreover, a 30-minutes movie summarises the project idea, process, insights and conclusions.

This material can now lay the foundation for further research and exchange. There is a huge variety of topics that can be picked up and further developed by different movement groups or entities. The movement needs to figure out who can take ownership, leadership and responsibility for all these burning movement topics. We already see some efforts being made by different groups, for example the new liaison model of the AffCom, the strategy process within the WMF or the collaborative work on defining organisational development and board governance.

But the overall question remains and needs to be answered in a structured and professional approach, with dedication, commitment and clear responsibilities: In which system, model or framework can the Wikimedia movement work strongly and effectively towards its mission in a professional way, yet stay true to its grass roots and maintain its diversity? Imagine a movement that is built on trust, that stands united, and that is capable of leading an open dialogue. A movement with clarity about its impact and roles as well as stability to strive for changing the world. A Wikimedia that balances independence and committed obligations. There is no point in tinkering with the symptoms and finding single-problem solutions, while not challenging the existing structures. We consider answering these questions urgent and essential for the movement to unfold its full potential in the future.

Nicole Ebber, International Affairs, Wikimedia Deutschland

by wikimediablog at November 12, 2014 05:31 PM

The Code to Access – the Key to the Treasure

Our efforts to win support for free content for the Wikiverse

International projects and guests at the GLAM conference “Shaping Access”

The GLAM conference “Shaping Access” (German: “Zugang gestalten”) starts on November 13, 2014 at the Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin.
Picture by David Jacob (david-jacob.de), under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Germany’s largest conference on “cultural and heritage institutions on the Internet” will begin in Berlin tomorrow: “Shaping Access – More Responsibility for Cultural Heritage.” The acronym GLAM – which stands for galleries, libraries, archives and museums – is used internationally to describe activities relating to collaborative work between cultural institutions and online actors. For the fourth time, Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) is one of the partners of the GLAM conference “Shaping Access.” More than 350 guests have already signed up for the conference; last year we had approximately 250 attendees over the two days.

For WMDE, the conference represents an important opportunity to present itself to a group of cultural and heritage institutions as a prospective cooperation partner. In the first part of the program we will discuss “Cultural Heritage 3.0 – Digital Reuse.” This will include three keynote speeches from business (Google, William Patry), government (National Library of Norway, Roger Jøsevold) and civil society (Europeana/Wikimedia, Liam Wyatt), plus a panel discussion featuring five prominent representatives from cultural institutions and the previously mentioned areas. We will present the achievements made so far and discuss how the conditions for the reuse of digital content could be improved. Representing science on the panel is Prof. Kurt Fendt, Director of MIT’s Center for Digital Humanities; representing business is Max Kaiser, Project Coordinator of EUROPEANA Creatives; representing the world’s largest non-profit project on the reuse of digital content is Alice Wiegand, member of the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, the body responsible for Wikipedia; and, last but not least, representing GLAM institutions are Dr. Michael Hollmann from the German Federal Archives and Prof. Johannes Vogel, Director of the Museum für Naturkunde (museum for natural sciences) in Berlin. Jan Engelmann, Executive Director of WMDE, will moderate the discussion. Covering nine exciting international projects, the large exhibition at the Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History) sheds light on the many different aspects of the digital reuse of cultural data and on possible applications in the GLAM sector.

Coder’s delight

The coders are delighted.
Coding da Vinci – Der Kultur-Hackathon” by Open Knowledge Foundation Deutschland, under CC-BY-2.0

One of the main focal points of the exhibition is the programming competition Coding da Vinci, which we held for the first time this year in cooperation with our partners. We wanted to motivate GLAM institutions to make their digitized collections available to programmers and developers under a free license, so that they can link cultural data together and supplement it with data from Wikipedia or geographical data, and thus develop new ways for using the content in small apps, websites or even hardware devices. The most impressive results will be presented at the conference. The curiosity of GLAM institutions to see how others could reapply “their” data was what prompted them to make it available under a free license. Some 325,000 media files from 16 different cultural institutions give us a great deal of possibilities. Photos, paintings, scanned images of objects such as instruments, devices, insects and plants, plus books, maps and databases – all imaginable kinds of media files are waiting to be reused, for example, as part of Wikipedia projects.

The GLAMour of cultural heritage

About half of the 17 applications presented to the “Coding da Vinci” jury were market-ready by the time the award ceremony was held in July. zzZwitscherwecker (ChirpyClock) is very popular as it takes a playful approach to bringing the calls and pictures of birds to a simple app. Verbrannte-und-verbannte.de, on the other hand, rescues from obscurity the authors who were banned by the Nazis by turning the gloomy Nazi list into an interesting starting point for a journey through knowledge. I personally really like the Alt-Berlin app because it puts museum knowledge at my fingertips. It will become part of my everyday reality, as I can go on a stroll through the city and click on links at my current location to see historical facts about present-day places. As part of the programming competition, the Museum für Naturkunde has decided that all its scanned images of insects (15 million creatures) should be freely accessible for reuse under the CC BY license. The Stadtmuseum Berlin has “released” further material for the Alt-Berlin app. A number of GLAM institutions have already agreed to participate in Coding da Vinci in 2015 with new data sets under a free license. We now need to build upon these successes.

Let’s talk about it

We want to use the opportunity provided by the “Shaping Access” conference to get as many cultural institutions as possible on board for Coding da Vinci. These institutions should also be persuaded to allow content from their collections to be freely reused. Media files under free licenses can then be integrated into Wikipedia articles and within Wikidata. We can also reuse the free digitized historical collections for Wikisource. These are just a few of the possible applications within the Wikiverse. Until now, users can only download the content. We will therefore make it a more pressing matter in the coming year to also closely integrate free content into Wikimedia projects. To do so, we have to build up a technical infrastructure and learn to support developers even more strongly as one of our communities. Developers and programmers should be able to use cultural data as an exciting raw material for their new creative products, in order to enable more people to share in our common cultural heritage and to remain true to the idea of Coding da Vinci – cultural data should not simply be confined to the museum, but also be available on smartphones or tablets in the future.

For us, Coding da Vinci means access to free content and the “Shaping Access” conference is the main platform for communicating that very objective, also known as the Code to Access.

File:Vii C 823 -b X.oggtheora.ogv

One of the music videos by the Ethnologisches Museum Berlin which can now be reused.
Video by Andreas Richter, under CC-BY-3.0

Barbara Fischer, Wikimedia Deutschland

by wikimediablog at November 12, 2014 04:36 PM

55 works of iconic Indian writer released on Wikisource under a free licence

Kannada is a language spoken by 40 million people in Karnataka– one of the four southern states of India.The Kannada Wikimedia community, in collaboration with CIS-A2K, are enthusiastic about having almost all of the works of Niranjana re-licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 on the occasion of Kannada Rajyotsava. Niranjana was a prolific Indian author and activist, and wrote more than 60 books over the course of his career. These works will be digitized and made available on Kannada Wikisource, allowing Kannada speakers to freely access the diverse set of works. Niranjana’s works give a rich glimpse into social, political, and cultural history of Karnataka from the 1940s to 1990s; they can be used as a potential resource for creating and improving articles on Kannada Wikipedia.

Niranjana (1924-1992) was the pseudonym of Kulkund Shivarao, a prominent Kannada writer of the 20th century and a leading figure in the Progressive Writers’ Movement in Kannada. His prolific output, across nearly five decades, included novels, short stories, plays, biographies, political commentary, and translations. He was a regular columnist in the Kannada newspapers and magazines. Among his achievements as an editor are Jnana Gangotri, a 7-volume encyclopedia for young people, and a 25-volume compilation of the world’s greatest short stories.

“This is the the single largest and most comprehensive individual collection of a writer to be released under CC-BY-SA 4.0 in any of the Indian languages so far,” says Omshivaprakash.

“KannadaWikipediaWorkshop 010″ by Pavanaja, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

A total of 55 Kannada books by Niranjana are re-licensed. “This is the single largest and most comprehensive individual collection of a writer to be released under CC-BY-SA 4.0 in any of the Indian languages so far,” says Kannada Wikimedian Omshivaprakash. Kannada Wikimedians and CIS-A2K have organized a formal event to celebrate Creative Commons efforts to cultivate free and open knowledge online in Kannada; specifically, Kannada Wikisource. It is important to also acknowledge the great initiative shown by Niranjana’s daughter, Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana, in getting these works released under CC-BY-SA 4.0 licensing.

Dr. Tejaswini Niranjana says, “[Kannada] Wikisource is an excellent free and open knowledge platform for books in Indian languages and I am happy that my father’s works can now be accessed by [all] Kannadigas across the world. Let these writings have innumerable readers. What more could any author want?”

She is determined to release more work under CC licensing, and says, “[I] will be more than glad to get as many Indian works as possible under a free license as this will ensure that a lot of knowledge produced over the past many decades in India can easily be made accessible to the next generation of seekers of knowledge, who are digital natives.”

Tejas Jain, another Kannada Wikimedian, was quick to co-write a blog in Kannada about this content donation. Jain says, “this is a bold step…and will act as motivation for other Kannada writers to release more content under CC-BY-SA 4.0.” He hopes to see “Kannda Wikisource grow as the comprehensive single digital resource for free Kannada books” and address “the fear of loosing the rich print heritage of Kannada to time.”

Tejas Jain “This is a bold step[...]and will act as motivation for other Kannada writers to release more content under CC-BY-SA 4.0″

“Tejas Jain” by Visdaviva , under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Omshivaprakash was surprised to realize that there is no article on such a prominent Kannada writer like Niranjana on English Wikipedia.This led to a Facebook discussion, and User Tito Dutta responded swiftly, but needed help with verifiable resources. Omshivaprakash chipped in with resources and a page on Niranjana (needs your Wiki Love) has now been started on English Wikipedia. While this is not a big achievement, it is a simple example of how the (Indian) English Wikipedians could collaborate with Indic Wikimedians in creating India focused content on English Wikipeida and how social media could be used for off-wiki collaboration by Wikimedians. Incidentally Tito and Omshivaprakash became friends on FB during the WMF’s India Community Consultation 2014 which was held recently in Bangalore.

T. Vishnu Vardhan, Program Director, CIS-A2K

by wikimediablog at November 12, 2014 02:20 AM

November 11, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Excelling students in Be’er Sheva write articles about their city in the Hebrew Wikipedia

For the first time, Wikimedia Israel (WMIL), the education department of the Municipality of Be’er Sheva (the 7th largest city in Israel), and the Ministry of Education have joined forces to establish the innovative Wikipedia in Education project.

“Meeting with the mayor of Be’er Sheva – September 2014 (5)” by Chenspec-WMIL, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

During the past school year, approximately 350 students from ten 9th grade classes for excelling students learned how to write Wikipedia articles focused on geographical, historical and cultural subjects related to the city of Be’er Sheva, a well as articles on leading public figures in the city’s history. The lectures, editing workshops, and tutoring sessions were conducted in the framework of the student’s Hebrew language studies.

Students were divided into groups where they learned how to collect and research credible sources, and acquired academic writing skills. Students toured significant sites in the city, collected research material, and were guided by the chapter’s volunteers and their teachers, who were also tutored in these subjects. Students received lectures and editing workshops by ten volunteers of the Wikipedia community, who came from across the country to support and assist them in this unique project. Thirty new articles were moved to Wikipedia mainspace!

During the month of September, with the conclusion of the first year of the project, the Mayor of Be’er Sheva invited the WMIL volunteers, as well as representatives of both teachers and students to his office in order to thank them and show his appreciation for the project. The Mayor congratulated both students and volunteers, saying that the project constitutes “a perfect example skills utilized and in-depth learning that comes from fascinating subject matters”. The Mayor added that the city of Be’er Sheva was “proud of this project”.

WMIL sees the Wikipedia in Education project as paramount, as well as the recognition it receives from the educational community. We are happy that the students learned and experienced working with Wikipedia, and witnessed the great contribution it can make to their academic career, as well the contribution they can make to Wikipedia in turn. Added to their acquired experience in writing, both students and teachers got to know and experience an important pedagogical tool, and gained skills in the educated use of knowledge.

Together with Be’er Sheva Municipality, we hope to continue to implement the project in the next school year, and to see it established in other parts of the world. For that end, we are happy to share some of our conclusions and work procedures.

Project overview

The project began with a meeting of a steering committee convened by the Be’er Sheva Municipality to green-light the project, and create lesson plans in accordance with material taught in the 9th grade classes participating in the project.

  1. Teachers of the participating classes received a lecture and an editing workshop. An introductory lecture on Wikipedia was held in each of the participating classes.
  2. A project portal was created in the Hebrew Wikipedia.
  3. A list of missing articles was compiled and approved by the community members leading the project.
  4. 12 editing workshops were held for students, facilitated by additional Wikipedians and chapter volunteers. These articles were written as drafts and the students, divided into groups, worked on them together.
  5. The volunteers leading the projects held follow-up meetings with students, according to need.
  6. The drafts were moved into mainspace by the volunteers leading the project.

Main lessons learned

  1. Adjusting lesson plans to current material was crucial: editing in Wikipedia did not come across as just another school chore, and the concurring syllabus made the work easier and more fruitful for both teachers and students.
  2. The teachers in our projects underwent a four-hour lecture on Wikipedia and a short editing workshop. We believe that prepping teachers prior to their work with the students should be more thorough. They are crucial to the project’s success, and it is important that their knowledge of Wikipedia goes beyond the scope of the average user (talk pages, view history, categories, etc.). In our opinion, it is not necessary that teachers learn to edit or write articles.
  3. It is vital to create a schedule and adhere to it. We have not always been on schedule this last year, and consequently have failed to reach our goal of 40 articles. It is important to create a viable schedule for all parties involved – students, teachers and volunteers.
  4. Students’ enthusiasm is vital! Students must feel that they contribute to the expansion of knowledge by writing articles, and that many people will eventually read the content they have created. It is vital that this sentiment is enhanced during the project.
  5. During the project, we asked the teachers to locate students with the potential and will to continue editing in Wikipedia in the future. Some students were identified, and we maintain contact with them. It is preferable that in future, a volunteer is assigned to follow-up and encourage exceptional students.
  6. WMIL plans to hold a gathering of both the students who continued to edit after the workshop, and community volunteers.
  7. Two volunteers led and managed the project, and this proved to be counterproductive. The amount of work to be done during the project is substantial – coordinating with the different schools, editing articles, facilitating the workshops, participating in school activities, moving articles to mainspace, and more. Before projects of the kind are implemented in the future, it is recommended to consider the number of volunteers or staff members needed to lead and facilitate the project. This is a long, complex project, requiring long-term commitment.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Danny Wax and Nimrod Rapaport, who led the project, assisted and supported the students and teachers in all matters, and of course, all our WMIL dedicated volunteers.

Michal Lester - Executive Director Wikimedia Israel

by wikimediablog at November 11, 2014 07:29 AM

The Wikipedia Monument unveiling

When Jimmy Wales launched Wikipedia in 2001, it’s unlikely he imagined that it would become the biggest encyclopedia in human history. Or, that it would be honored with a monument.

Crowds eagerly waited for the Wikipedia monument in Słubice to be unveiled.

“Celebration of the Wikipedia monument in Słubice – unveiling (DerHexer) 05″ by DerHexer, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Notably, the idea for that monument did not come not from the Wikipedians themselves, but from an academic and director of a university.

Dr. Krzysztof Wojciechowski is the the head of Collegium Polonicum, located in Słubice, a small town near the Polish-German border. It is a cross-border academic institution maintained jointly by University Viadrina and the Adam Mickiewicz University. Dr Wojciechowski has always held great respect for Wikipedians and their mission to provide every human being with unlimited access to the sum of human knowledge. He also thought that in times when people seem to reach for almost every opportunity to gain fame, an army of volunteers working anonymously for the greater good is something unique and deserving of recognition. He came up with the idea to erect a monument as a homage to Wikipedians. Słubice, a town where a variety of cultures and languages meet, seemed to be the perfect place to pay respect to this international and multilingual community.

The dream was beautiful, but difficult to bring to reality. It took Mr. Wojciechowski three years to find someone who would support his idea. Finally, it happened to be Tomasz Ciszewicz, the mayor of Słubice who helped bring it to fruition. The city of Słubice supported the creation of the monument with 62,000 PLN (approximately $18,000).

Mihran Hakobyan, the Armenian artist who created the sculpture.

“Celebration of the Wikipedia monument in Słubice – unveiling (DerHexer) 21″ by DerHexer, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Dr. Wojciechowski invited Mihran Hakobyan, an Armenian artist and a former student of Collegium Polonicum, to create the sculpture. The result is astonishing. The monument depicts two men and two women holding the Wikipedia puzzle globe. The characters stand on sheets of paper which, according to Dr. Wojciechowski, represent the culture of print from which we all derive. The globe that they hold is open, as is our mission of gathering human knowledge. As Sebastian Wallroth from Wikimedia Deutschland put it in his speech at the monument’s unveiling ceremony: Wikipedia is a living organism, growing with the knowledge of humanity, struggling with the knowledge and changing with the knowledge (…) Mihran Hakobyan’s sculpture expresses that very well.

The ceremony, but also the preceding preparations, were widely noticed in international media, as the monument is the first of its kind in the world. Aside from the Polish press, the news of the coming unveiling ceremony sailed international waters. Recognizable titles as Der Spiegel and The Independent, and countries including Armenia covered the ceremony. Almost 28,000 titles followed the Associated Press news release.

There was also a lot of excitement within the Wikimedia community itself, as Wikimedians felt deep gratitude and joy that their work was recognized. The Wikimedia Poland association decided that the Wikimedia community should have the chance to express their gratitude for the monument. We came up with the idea of a commemorative book gathering messages written by Wikipedians from all over the world. We only had a few days to collect the thoughts of the Wikimedia community in regards to the initiative, but received a plethora of inputs, including some warm words from Lila Tretikov, the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation and Jimmy “Jimbo” Wales, the founding father of Wikipedia. Also, a note was added from Tomasz Ganicz, the President of the Board of the Wikimedia Polska association, and the Wikipedia article describing the Wikipedia monument, already published in 22 languages. The outcome was printed and presented to Mr. Wojciechowski and mayor Ciszewicz during the ceremony by Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska, of Wikimedia Poland. The ceremony was preceded by a presentation about the role of conflicts in Wikipedia by professor Dariusz Jemielniak, author of the first ever ethnography of the Wikipedia community, called “Common knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia.” There was also a panel discussion about the future of Wikipedia, moderated by Jemielniak, with participation by Garfield Byrd from the Wikimedia Foundation, Sebastian Wallroth from Wikimedia Deutschland and Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska from Wikimedia Poland. The panel participants discussed the gender gap in the Wikipedia community, the role of Wikipedia in protecting the freedom of information on the Internet, and the issues stemming from neutrality and paid editing.

Soon after the discussion, panelists and audience members made their way to the Frankfurt Square, where the long awaited unveiling was about to begin. Mayor Ciszewicz and Mr. Wojciechowski welcomed the gathered guests. The head of Collegium Polonicum said that the fact that an online encyclopedia created by thousands of volunteers from all over the world was credible, and free of plagiarism and lies, is proof that altruistic and peaceful cooperation between people of different languages, cultures, and religions is possible. Then, the representatives of the Wikimedia community were asked to speak.

Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska from Wikimedia Poland said that Wikipedians work anonymously and voluntarily, not hoping for any rewards and certainly not hoping for being honored with monuments. They do it because they believe that by giving people access to free knowledge, they are handing the global community the tools to make the world a better place, by maintaining humankind’s natural curiosity about the world. “I see this beautiful monument created by Mihran Hakobyan as a sign that our readers understand our mission and support it and that Wikipedia has become something important in their lives. That kind of recognition is very motivating,” concluded Szafran-Kozakowska.

In his speech, Sebastian Wallroth from Wikimedia Germany questioned why Wikipedia, of all internet initiatives, as an unfinished project which is and always will be in the process of changing and growing, should have its monument. Furthermore, why should this monument be placed in Słubice? He pointed out that the German word for monument, “Denkmal”, came from Martin Luther who had used it in a meaning of “memory aid” and that this is what the monument should become for the volunteers of free knowledge. “I would appreciate if Wikipedians would meet every year at the “memory aid” to have a short satisfied look at what has been done and then, with an unsatisfied expression, would continue to rake over the wide field of Free Knowledge in front of us,” Wallroth added. He also said that Słubice, a university town essentially situated on a language and a country border, was a perfect place for a monument dedicated to an international project.

Pictured here: Dr. Wojciechowski, Mayor Tomasz Ciszewicz, Garfield Byrd, Dariusz Jemielniak, Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska, and Mihran Hakobyani

“Celebration of the Wikipedia monument in Słubice – unveiling (DerHexer) 19″ by DerHexer, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Garfield Byrd from the Wikimedia Foundation expressed his appreciation for the opportunity to represent the Wikimedia Foundation and its executive director Lila Tretikov. He gave his thanks to Dr.Wojciechowski, the mayor and the artist for their vision in creating a monument that pays tribute to the volunteers who edit Wikipedia. He also expressed thanks to the world of volunteers Wikipedia and the other Wiki projects made possible, as well as the volunteers for participation in this ceremony. After the speeches, mayor Ciszewicz and Mihran Hakobyan unveiled the statue which immediately became the centre of attention.

Was the ceremony successful? In the words of professor Dariusz Jemielniak: “It was a great event! Truly professionally organized, and well-executed. Mr. Wojciechowski has been following his dream for many years, and with the support from the local mayor and authorities made history in a way that will be difficult to match within the Wikimedia movement. I believe that Słubice should become a regular meet-up place for Wikimedians from the CEE region, especially from Poland and Germany, and the local infrastructure (hotels, restaurants, as well as university halls run by people friendly to our movement) make it a perfect focal point. I hope to come back!”

Natalia Szafran-Kozakowska, Wikimedia Poland

Wojciech Pędzich, Wikimedia Poland

by wikimediablog at November 11, 2014 03:33 AM

Wikimedia supports the Lyon Declaration and Access to Knowledge

“WikiReaders at Sinenjongo” by Pamrob3, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Wikimedia Foundation is proud to join the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development which calls for United Nations member states to provide all people the ability to access and share knowledge. After all, this speaks to the ambition of the Wikimedia movement: sharing the sum of all human knowledge to all people around the world.

Wikipedia provides a vast wealth of free knowledge to the world—more than 33 million articles in more than 280 languages—and allows anyone to contribute to or improve this collection. But as a movement that exists largely online, achieving our mission depends on people’s connection to communications infrastructure that is unfortunately not equally available to all.

Our support for the Lyon Declaration is part of our efforts to make Wikipedia available across the digital divide, including several community initiatives to provide offline access to Wikipedia. Starting in 2004, a group of English Wikipedia contributors began curating a collection of the best Wikipedia articles for distribution on CD or DVD, for places where access to the internet is limited or unavailable. Today, the Kiwix project makes it easier to download a compressed version of Wikipedia, enabling distribution through One Laptop Per Child, SOS Children’s Villages, and other programs supporting the use of inexpensive Wikipedia reader devices.

Even when an internet connection is available, it may not be affordable. In many parts of the world mobile phones are more common than desktop computers, but the cost of mobile data can be prohibitively high. To help ensure that those phones can be used to access and participate in knowledge creation we started Wikipedia Zero, offering mobile access to Wikipedia free of charge through commitments from mobile service providers in developing countries. Today, Wikipedia Zero helps extend access to information to more than 400 million users who may otherwise be unable to afford it. It is part of the broader access to knowledge movement to reduce barriers to knowledge, including poverty and limited internet connectivity[1].

We hope that the Lyon Declaration will further advance this movement across the globe. The Declaration urges nations to adopt a development agenda to address the inequality in access to information. This is a monumental challenge, and as the Declaration rightly asserts, it will require cooperation among a community of nations, civil society organizations, and private sector groups. We are happy to be among those groups, along with Wikimedia UK, Wikimedia Italy, and hundreds of other like-minded organizations that share a vision of increased access to knowledge. As part of this community that is working to spread free knowledge, we hope to see a global commitment to provide everyone the opportunity to connect to the internet and share.

Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel
Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel

  1. We discussed this work with Yale ISP fellow BJ Ard in a talk at Wikimania 2014 in London.

by maherwiki at November 11, 2014 01:22 AM

November 08, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Ze setkání Education Collaborative v Edinburghu

Education Collaborative 2014 v plné kráse

Education Collaborative 2014 v plné kráse

Jelikož je víkend, rozhodl jsem se koncipovat oficiální zprávu ze setkání Education Collaborative ve skotském Edinburghu poměrně neoficiálně a neformálně. Spíše než cokoliv jiného, berte to prosím jako zamyšlení nad Global Education programem nadace Wikimedia Foundation a jejím vztahem k našemu projektu Studenti píší Wikipedii. Je to také zpráva o části světa, kde nadace Wikimedia bez vážnějších problémů spolupracuje s pobočkami z celého světa (a pobočky spolupracují i mezi sebou navzájem).

Education Cooperative byla ustavena na začátku roku 2014 z iniciativy Wikimedia Foundation jako seskupení klíčových projektů z celého světa, které navazují spolupráci mezi vysokými školami a Wikipedií. První setkání se odehrálo v Praze za účasti zástupců projektů z Nepálu, Spojených států, Ukrajiny, Česka, Velké Británie, Srbska, Kanady, Izraele, Egypta, Jordánska i Mexika. Od té doby se toho poměrně mnoho změnilo. Vyjma drobné změny v názvu (nyní „Education Collaborative“) se  členové tohoto uskupení mezi sebou dobře znají a rozumí specifikům jednotlivých projektů. A to i přesto, že se někteří členové vyměnili – Rod Dunican, který šéfoval nadačnímu Education programu, odešel za jinými profesními výzvami a na jeho postu ho vystřídala Floor Koudijs. Část původního Rodova týmu navíc z nadace Wikimedia odešla a založila vlastní skupinu – Wiki Education Foundation, jejímž cílem je výhradně podpora amerických a kanadských programů. Floor Koudijs tak na jednu stranu musí budovat nový tým, na stranu druhou má uvolněné ruce a může se soustředit výhradně na globální iniciativu.

Pro mě osobně bylo setkání ve skotském Edinburghu pikantní i tím, že jsem opět na „meeting“ Education Collaborative nemusel cestovat. Na počátku roku jsem se zúčastnil pražského setkání a nyní, když jsem na soukromém studijním pobytu ve Velké Británii, jsem to měl opět do Edinburghu jen hodinu vlakem. Jsem tak pravděpodobně nejlevnějším členem Education Collaborative vůbec :-).

Setkání se odehrálo na pozadí EduWiki konference, jedné z prvních velkých událostí pořádaných Wikimedia UK ve Skotsku. Tak jako v Česku, i ve Velké Británii je velké téma přenášet iniciativy „z hlavního města“ do vzdálenějších měst státu – možná tím spíše, že Skotsko nedávno rozhodlo o své nesamostatnosti a pro Wikimedia UK se otevřela motivace něco se zapojením Skotska do hnutí Wikimedia udělat. Na EduWiki se prezentovaly aktivity britské pobočky v oblasti vzdělávání – mimo jiné spolupráce s profesními organizacemi, ale i waleský „Wikipedian in Residence“.

A co jsme na setkání probírali? Od minulého setkání se podařilo výrazně vylepšit web věnovaný celosvětovému hnutí Education  a dobrým odrazovým můstkem je zejména graficky pojatý seznam zemí zapojujících Wikipedii do výuky. To umožní pracovat členům Education Collaborative v jednotlivých oblastech zájmu. Já se třeba společně se srbským a uruguayským protějškem budu zabývat tím, jak pomáhat (mentorovat) ostatním education programům ve světě. Těch je několik desítek, ale mnohdy by jim pomohla rada či dvě, jak své projekty organizovat či jak například získat grantové finanční prostředky.

Doufejme, že se nám to alespoň trochu podaří a mapa education programů se bude stále více modrat.

by Vojtěch Dostál at November 08, 2014 03:38 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Creative writing using Wikipedia: Suzanne Fox

Suzanne Fox
(“Suzanne Fox” by Suzanne Fox, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

After working on Wall Street for more than a decade, Suzanne Fox decided it was time to follow her calling in creative writing. She left behind writing marketing materials to embark on writing fictional novels. Fox set her mind on writing a literary novel set in 1850s Great Britain, but found it challenging to write prolifically about an era she has never known. That’s when she turned to Wikipedia for inspiration, and found that she could relive some of the past she was looking for.

For Fox, who is now 59 years old, the process of writing a novel begins with an abstract idea of a scene she wants to describe. Then the details of the scene are filled in with descriptions from Wikipedia articles she has read. Fox defines this process as “taking ownership of that place and turning it back into an imaginary place.”

“[Wikipedia] is my go-to starting place for the information that I need for that scene,” says Fox, who now lives in Vero Beach, Florida. “I can also make use of the external links, which is a really helpful thing for me.”

Each of Fox’s characters (depending on the era they are set in) are researched carefully on aspects as simple as how they are going from one place to the other. For instance, she looks up details on carriages that could have assisted transportation during the Victorian era.

“As a writer who wants to write something that feels authentic, and to live inside a character’s head, you’re inevitably living inside not only their head, but their corset, their clothing, you know, their hat, their carriage, their house,” says Fox.

In an attempt to be as historically accurate as possible, Fox has researched the dates of events related to her characters on Wikipedia. Once she was writing about the 1850s and had to reconsider introducing the crinoline petticoat because it was invented after when her book took place.

Growing up in New Jersey and later moving to Manhattan, Fox has always found herself in “a place [with] research opportunities galore.” After graduating with an art history degree from Douglass College, Fox started working for a firm as a marketing writer.

“But at a certain point I realized that this was not really, you know, my soul and I started doing my own writing. I started out writing poetry of all things.” says Fox.

She left her position and pursued a masters degree in poetry at Columbia University. There were three compelling reasons she was drawn to poetry:

“The good thing about poetry not having money attached to it for the most part [is] that there’s no real reason not to be authentic… I think poetry is about a delight in language and kind of about the selection of language and the beauty of the English language. So for that reason also, it was deeply nurturing to me.”

But Fox says she surprised herself by working on a memoir rather than poetry after graduation. After completing her masters, she began to work on her first book, “Home Life: A Journey of Rooms and Recollections” which was published in 1997 and had been inspired by the many houses she had been living in.

As a writer, Fox has found herself acquainted with various time periods that prompt her to read about on Wikipedia. For instance, when she was editing and contributing to a novel about 17th century Ireland, she found herself imagining scenes and reading Wikipedia articles to flesh out the details.

“I think it’s the history, I think it’s the fence of uniqueness in each one that the way people live in places and decorate places, the kind of art form of it, it’s formed the core of all of my writing,” says Fox.

Researching artifacts and events that are no longer contemporary seem easier with Wikipedia now, but Fox says she remembers a time when researching the past wasn’t so easy. She cites “the lack of ability to cite quick facts,” as challenging to her research before Wikipedia.

“With Wikipedia I think, you get the best of both worlds,” Fox explains. On one hand, she appreciates the immediacy of being able to find articles that are easy to comprehend. On the other hand she enjoys bookmarking articles that she wants to refer to later. Her latest reads include: looking up bloomers, reading about John Thompson, Augustus Egg and many other historical figures.

Fox has felt inclined to support Wikipedia financially and makes regular donations to Wikimedia.

“I feel more connected to Wikipedia, thinking of myself as somebody who is a contributor to it,” says Fox. “And there’s a value in that, a reminder that I have power to support something.”

“What spoke to me [was] this incredible resource that I’m benefiting from and it takes money to do this even when it’s something that people are contributing to for free,” says Fox. “[Having] Wikipedia is like having the best reference librarian in the world.”

Profile by Yoona Ha, Communications Intern
Interview by Victor Grigas, Wikimedia Foundation Storyteller

2014-11-07: Edited to correct the place of upbringing and the description of “Home Life”

by wikimediablog at November 08, 2014 06:57 AM

November 07, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Cleaning up file metadata, for humans and robots

A short while after Wikipedia was created in 2001, contributors started to upload pictures to the site to illustrate articles. Over the years, Wikimedians have accumulated over 22 million files on Wikimedia Commons, the central media repository that all Wikimedia sites can pull from. In addition, nearly 2.5 million other files are spread out across hundreds of individual wikis.

MediaWiki, the software platform used for Wikimedia sites, wasn’t originally designed for multimedia content. We’ve made good progress with better upload tools, for example, but the underlying system still very much focuses on text.

On MediaWiki, each file has a file description page that contains all the information (“metadata”) related to the picture: what it depicts, who the author is, what rights and limitations are associated with it, etc. Many wikis have developed templates (reusable bits of wikicode) to organize such file metadata, but a lot of information is still unstructured in plain wikitext.

The Wikimedia Foundation recently launched an initiative to develop a new underlying system for file metadata using the same technology powering Wikidata. This project is still in the early stages, and even when it becomes available, it will take a long time to migrate the existing metadata to structured data.

The goal of the File metadata cleanup drive is to make the migration process for those 24+ million files less tedious, by making sure that robots can process most of the files automatically.

MrMetadata is a dashboard tracking, for each wiki, the proportion of files whose metadata is readable by robots, and listing those that need fixing.

The goal of the File metadata cleanup drive is to make the migration process for those 24+ million files less tedious, by making sure that robots can process most of the files automatically.

Machine-readable data also makes it easier to reuse Wikimedia content consistently with best practices for attribution. Examples of tools that use existing machine-readable data include the stockphoto gadget on Commons, WikiWand and Media Viewer. The PDF generator and offline readers like Kiwix are other tools that will benefit from this effort.

Evolution of the file description page

The upcoming Structured data project aims to build a system where you edit the metadata using a form, you view it in a nice format, and robots can understand the content and links between items.

With structured data, robots will know exactly what field refers to what kind of information. This will make it easier for humans to search and edit metadata.

With Structured data, robots will know exactly what field refers to what kind of information. This will make it easier for humans to search and edit metadata.

Many files on Wikimedia Commons aren’t actually very far from that model. Many files have an “Information template”, a way to organize the different parts of the metadata on the page. Information templates were originally created to display metadata in a consistent manner across files, but they also make it possible to make the information easier to read for robots.

This is achieved by adding machine-readable markers to the HTML code of the templates. Those markers say things like “this bit of text is the description”, and “this bit of text is the author”, etc. and robots can pick these up to understand what humans have written.

This situation is ideal for the migration, because it tells robots exactly how to handle the bits of metadata and which field they belong to.

Current information and license templates can be read by machines if they contain special markers. Robots will be able to migrate many files to structured data automatically if they use those templates.

Current information and license templates can be read by machines if they contain special markers. Robots will be able to migrate many files to structured data automatically if they use those templates.

If the machine-readable markers aren’t present, the robots need to guess which field corresponds to which type of content. This makes it more difficult to read the metadata, and their parsing of the text is less accurate. The good news is that by just adding a few markers to the templates, all the files that use the template will automatically become readable for robots.

If a file contains information and license templates, but they don't have the special markers, it's difficult for robots to migrate it. Fortunately, it's easy to add the special markers.

If a file contains information and license templates, but they don’t have the special markers, it’s difficult for robots to migrate it. Fortunately, it’s easy to add the special markers.

Things become fuzzier for robots when the information isn’t organized with templates. In this case, robots just see a blob of text and have no idea what the metadata is saying. This means that the migration has to be made entirely by human hands.

If the file's metadata only contains wikitext, we need to organize the content by adding an information and a license template manually. Those templates need to contain the special markers.

If the file’s metadata only contains wikitext, we need to organize the content by adding an information and a license template manually. Those templates need to contain the special markers.

Fixing files and templates

Many files across wikis are in one of the latter states that aren’t readable by robots, and about 700,000 files on Commons are missing an information template as well. In order to fix them so they can be easily migrated in the future requires, we need an inventory of files missing machine-readable metadata.

That’s where MrMetadata comes into play. MrMetadata (a wordplay on Machine-Readable Metadata) is a dashboard tracking, for each wiki, the proportion of files that are readable by robots. It also provides an exhaustive list of the “bad” files, so we know which ones to fix.

Each wiki storing images has a dedicated dashboard showing the proportion of files with machine-readable metadata, and providing a list of the files to fix.

Each wiki storing images has a dedicated dashboard showing the proportion of files with machine-readable metadata, and providing a list of the files to fix.

Once the files have been identified, a multilingual how-to explains how to fix the files and the templates. Fixing template is easy: you just add a few machine-readable markers, and you’re done. For example, the English Wikivoyage went from 9% to 70% in just a few weeks. Fixing individual files requires more manual work, but there are tools that make this less tedious.

Get involved

The multilingual how-to provides a step-by-step guide to fixing files and templates. It's currently available in more than a dozen languages.

The multilingual how-to provides a step-by-step guide to fixing files and templates. It’s currently available in more than a dozen languages.

If you’d like to help with this effort, you can look for your wiki on MrMetadata, bookmark the link, and start going through the list. By looking at the files, you’ll be able to determine if if has a template (where you can add markers) or if you need to add the template as well.

If you add markers to the templates, wait a couple of days for MrMetadata to update, so you can see the remaining files missing machine-readable information. The multilingual how-to provides a step-by-step guide to fixing files and templates.

Adding special markers to the templates can improve metadata readability very quickly. The English Wikivoyage went from 9% to 70% of "good" files in just a few weeks.

Adding special markers to the templates can improve metadata readability very quickly. The English Wikivoyage went from 9% to 70% of “good” files in just a few weeks.

The Wikimedia Foundation is starting this cleanup effort, and you’re encouraged to help on Commons and on your wiki. Ultimately, the decisions in the transition to machine-readable templates will be up to you.

I’m going to be available as a resource for volunteers who need support. If you have questions or encounter odd edge cases, you can contact me on IRC (I’m guillom in the #wikimedia channel on freenode), on the cleanup drive’s talk page, on the tech ambassadors mailing list, or via EmailUser.

Starting next week, I’ll also be holding “Cleanup Wednesdays”, with several IRC support sessions during the day to rotate across time zones. The first sessions (listed at IRC office hours) will be happening on Wednesday, November 12 at 18:00 (UTC), and a few hours later on Thursday, November 13 at 04:00 (UTC).

I’m hoping that you’ll join this effort to organize file metadata and make it more readable for robots, in order to make the future transition to structured data as painless as possible for humans.

Guillaume Paumier, Wikimedia Foundation

by Guillaume Paumier at November 07, 2014 11:55 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Dokumentarista Jiří Pálka uvolnil svá videa o české historii i přírodních poměrech

<video class="wp-video-shortcode" controls="controls" height="320" id="video-1430-1" preload="metadata" width="400"><source src="http://blog.wikimedia.cz/wp-content/2014/11/chomutov-cut-1080.mp4?_=1" type="video/mp4">http://blog.wikimedia.cz/wp-content/2014/11/chomutov-cut-1080.mp4</video>

Ukázka z videa o historii Chomutova.
Licence: CC BY SA 4.0, autor: Jiří Pálka (A-video)

Jiří Pálka, český režisér – dokumentarista, uvolnil svá videa o historii českých měst a o geologických poměrech západních Čech. Stalo se tak s asistencí členů Wikimedia ČR, kteří vysvětlili princip a podmínky na české Wikipedii a objasnili licenční a technické požadavky na videomateriály. Díky této spolupráci se v první fázi povedlo nahrát čtyři videa provázející městy Mladou Boleslaví, Chomutovem a Plzní. Videa mají přibližně 20 minut a vysvětlují především historické poměry v daných městech, ale nejen to, také např. zmiňují významné architektonické památky. Dále byla na úložiště Wikimedia Commons darována čtyři videa o geologických poměrech v západních Čechách, v tzv. Česko-bavorském geoparku. Článek Česko-bavorský geopark ještě neexistuje, ale až v blízké budoucnosti vznikne, bude doplněn nádhernými videomateriály o vulkanismu, lázeňství i těžbě nerostů v této cenné geologické oblasti. Veškerá videa naleznou zájemci v kategorii Videos donated by Jiří Pálka. V budoucnu budeme ve spolupráci s Jiřím Pálkou pokračovat.

Spolupráci s jednotlivci, ochotnými darovat své fotografie či videomateriály Wikipedii, považujeme za velmi důležitou. Formálně takové aktivity spadají pod projekt GLAM, pojmenovaný zkratkou slov „Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums“. Na začátku tohoto roku se takto podařilo získat např. rozsáhlý fotografický archiv lékaře Josefa Reischiga (více informací zde). Takové příklady ukazují cestu i ostatním následovníkům a mohou tedy inspirovat další fotografy k uvolnění svých materiálů.

Obecně platí, že nejjednodušší je o uvolnění materiálů pod svobodnou licencí vyjednávat s vlastníky autorských práv. Platí sice, že města, která si výrobu těchto videí od dokumentaristy Jiřího Pálky zadala, mají zájem o jejich použití na Wikipedii, ale je velmi těžké přes magistráty dostat se k původním autorům. Vyjednávat přímo s autorem je pro nás mnohem praktičtější.

Děkujeme Jiřímu Pálkovi za darování videomateriálů pod svobodnou licencí.

by Vojtěch Dostál at November 07, 2014 11:12 AM

November 06, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

50 hours of art in Wikipedia: the Museo Soumaya editathon

Wikipedians arriving with luggage to the museum.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto 17″ by ProtoplasmaKid under CC-BY-SA-4.0

File:Mensaje de Lila Tretikov sobre el editatón de 50 horas en el Museo Soumaya de la Ciudad de México.webm

Opening message by Lila Tretikov, executive director of the WMF.

Héctor Palhares curator; Laura Huerta, curator an Alfonso Miranda, head of the museum.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto 19″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

The Wikipedians received also guided tours to help their editions.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia dos – 6″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Museum staff actively supported throughout the event.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia dos – 4″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Tracking the 50 hours continuous editions.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 6″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Liam Wyatt, long time GLAMer, giving a talk about cultural partnering history in Wikimedia movement.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 5″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

All the talks in English were translated to Spanish.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia dos – 21″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Alfonso Miranda, head of the museum, giving a guided tour through the exhibition about Sophia Loren’s 80th birthday.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 5″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

Talk about Wikimedia and internet in Mexican cultural sector.
”Segundo Editatón Soumaya Abierto – Dia tres – 46″ by ProtoplasmaKid, under CC-BY-SA-4.0

We had the rare chance to visit a museum overnight, as Wikipedians, guided by experts. We definitely never thought we would eat and sleep inside the museum for over two days! This opportunity materialized during the last weekend in September, at Mexico City’s Soumaya Museum in Plaza Carso. The editathon, Soumaya Abierto, 50 horas de arte (“Open Soumaya, 50 hours of Art”), was a 50-hour marathon of continuous Wikipedia editing in several languages, lasting from September 26 -28th. It was longest continuous editathon ever recorded in the movement, with 64 new articles created in several languages, and over 1,100 total edits to the Wikimedia projects were made.

The museum is host to a private collection of over 66,000 pieces, spanning six centuries of art from Mexico and around the world. It’s the only museum in Mexico City open 365 days a year, (from 10am-7pm) and it is free of charge. For this editathon, the museum kept its doors open for Wikipedians and the general public throughout the 50 hours. During the weekend, the museum was attended by 10,342 visitors. Several activities happened during these days, including conferences, guided tours, plays and a special program for us Wikipedians. We also offered intensive workshops for beginners about basic Wikipedia editing. We were honored to share this time with the people working at the museum: the director, curators, researchers and tour guides who stood beside us in the titanic effort of working 50 hours straight, writing and sharing in a unique cultural experience, both in Mexico and the Wikimedia movement.

The editathon required two months of intensive logistical planning between the museum’s staff and the local Wikipedian-in-Residence, Iván Martínez. There were five pre-event workshops and two talks about Wikipedia and its collaborations with cultural institutions. It’s worth noting that these talks were given to staff members who weren’t directly involved with content creation during the event itself.

Friday, September 26th

On Friday afternoon, Wikipedians began arriving at the museum with suitcases, tents, sleeping bags, pillows and blankets. They were ready to start editing! The event started at 6pm with a guided tour of all the halls and permanent collections by Héctor Palhares Meza, curator of the museum.

Shortly before 8pm we had everything ready to go: books, computers, power, internet, coffee, snacks and the excitement we had been storing up since the event was first announced.

The formal inauguration began with a brief speech by Alfonso Miranda Márquez, Director of Museo Soumaya, followed by Iván Martínez, who is also the President of the Wikimedia Mexico (WMMX) chapter. The event unveiled the new design of the museum’s website and we screened a recorded message by Lila Tretikov, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation.

We are so proud to partner with institutions like Museo Soumaya as part of our ongoing relationships with the world’s leading galleries, libraries,archives, and museums [...]. I want to thank the organizers of this event, the incredible team at Wikimedia Mexico. You inspire me with your creativity and commitment. Lila Tretikov, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

At exactly 8pm, Alfonso Miranda marked the official start of the editathon among thunderous applause. We had a long stretch of work ahead of us.

The initial list had approximately 50 new articles and a few more marked for improvements. The museum’s staff had active participation with us during the whole event; researchers, curators, restorers, museographers, tour guides and the museum director himself were with us to teach us, assist us with polishing the text, find reputable sources and even showing us the history, details, and influences of several artists and pieces.

We kept a tally of major edits in a whiteboard. Eight expert WMMX editors kept up with whiteboard duty, and also served as Wikipedia consultants/ teachers to the assistants.

We had hot food and drinks provided to us during the 50 hours, including snacks so we could edit without worrying or stopping. The museum went above and beyond, and offered an additional program for the Wikipedians, including a play, dramatized tours and a special visit to a TV studio (UnoTV), while a team stayed editing the whole time.

Saturday, September 27th

Just after midnight, the Wikipedians who signed up to write about impressionist artists and paintings met for a specialized tour about Impressionism, Monet and Degas. In this tour we learned about the artists and their lives, dates and cultural contexts. On our way down, the guides stayed with us to help us with specific questions and recommended several books to get information from, before helping us with the edits themselves.

Around 2am, we started our sleeping rotation so that there would always be a team editing while the rest slept, bathed, and ate. The tally was updated every hour. The museum staff wore badges in which they specified their areas of expertise in particular artists or artistic movements.

We were seated in six tables roughly grouped by theme, but we were constantly moving, not only to help each other in editing, but to interact, to create new friendships and renew old ones.

The first night shift consisted of four Wikipedians, who kept on editing throughout the night until the next shift slept, bathed and had breakfast. At 8am the smell of hot coffee woke us up and signaled the night shift to go and get some rest.

At 10am we started the first of six workshops we would conduct during the event. We paused the workshop briefly to assist with the videoconference, “Collaboration between Wikimedia and Cultural Institutions” by Jonathan Cardy, GLAM Organizer at Wikimedia UK. Unfortunately, there were several connectivity issues that made simultaneous translation impossible.

The next workshop was given by Herminia Din, from the American Alliance of Museums, about museums and online learning. The Anchorage University academic showed us how the Alliance is developing platforms for online learning with museums and education institutions in the United States. Then came Liam Wyatt, coordinator of cultural alliances at Europeana, who spoke about the history of the collaborations within the GLAM movement.

The guided tours, edits and photographs came one after another: Van Gogh, Gauguin, Camille Claudel, Landecio, José María Velasco, Tintoretto, El Greco, Rubens, Mannerism, Expressionism, Baroque — it all went in through our eyes, out through our fingers, on to our keyboards and then to Wikipedia.

Late at night, the Museum Director, Alfonso Miranda Márquez, guided us on a tour to the temporary exhibition “Sophia Loren México. Ayer, hoy y mañana” (“Sophia Loren in Mexico. Yesterday, today and tomorrow”), finishing off our Saturday with a very pleasant experience learning about the life and work of the diva.

Sunday 28th

In the afternoon, there was a talk about the conservation efforts made by the museum, by Sergio Sandoval Arias and Pilar Leñero Llaca. One of the members of WMMX’s board, Alan Lazalde, also gave a talk about Open Culture and Hacker Culture. Then came Agustín Peña, of the radio station Ibero 90.9; Jorge Martínez Micher, Mexico City Secretary of Culture, and Alfonso Miranda sharing their experiences on internet, digital resources and their own activities in the cultural sector of Mexico.

For Alfonso Mirando, the editathon is “…an effort in joint efforts, cross-discipline teams and, above all, vehement work on building open knowledge. (…) knowledge that is shared in a transparent way, without protagonists, without the idea of, I’m the one who creates [knowledge] and I protect it as mine.”

Even though we were all tired, we never faltered and were ready for the final hours. The teams were alternating between brief visits to the museum and editing. The last part of the editathon was held up mostly by the research and curator staff of the museum, who helped us with fact-checking and style corrections. At 10:01pm everyone present began the countdown, New-Year style, marking the end of the challenge. The museum recognized the most prolific editors with a few gifts and we celebrated with a closing cocktail party.

The interest from galleries, archives, libraries, museums and cultural spaces in Wikimedia projects has increased in these last few years, thanks to the work of the volunteers of the Mexican chapter. Museo Soumaya, part of the Carlos Slim Foundation, has decided to work in alliance with Wikimedia Mexico, and to become a museum that embraces Wikipedia as one of its most important projects. We extend a formal invitation to all Mexican cultural institutions to join us in collaborations with the Wikimedia projects.

Elements of success

  • Surpassing 50 hours of continuous editing. This requires precise control of the edits per hour and preplanning content between Wikipedians and the museum staff.
  • Supportive museum staff during each hour of the event for answering questions.
  • The museum was open to the public for 50 continuous hours. This is not common in Mexico City.
  • Dedicated Wikipedian-in-Residence, first in Mexico and second in Spanish-speaking countries.
  • Pre-event trainings attended by all the staff, not only those who edited during the event.
  • Having a list of articles to create in advance, curated by both Wikipedian-in-residence and staff
  • Compiled resources at a temporary library near to the main area of edition.

Salvador Alcántar, Carmen Alcázar, Iván Martínez

Translation by Andrés Cruz y Corro

Wikimedia Mexico

by wikimediablog at November 06, 2014 02:22 AM

November 05, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

First Wikipedian in Residence in a European University

File:Viquimarató Estudis Catalans.webm

Josep-Anton Fernàndez, academic director of the MA in Catalan Studies, explains motivation for holding Catalan Studies Edit-a-thon.

The Catalan Studies Edit-a-thon closed the first stage of a pioneer collaboration project between Amical Wikimedia and Open University of Catalonia.

The Open University of Catalonia (UOC after its Catalan initials) was a pioneer in on-line education back in the mid-nineties, and has always had a strong inclination to educational innovation. In early March, talks started and an agreement was quickly reached between UOC and Amical Wikimedia to create the first Wikipedian in Residence in a European University, and only the second worldwide after the University of California at Berkeley.

Amical Wikimedia is proud to collaborate with most of the universities in the Catalan-speaking territories, and strongly believes that the future of Wikimedia belongs to education, a field in which we are currently devoting our strongest efforts. We recently produced a memorandum on the work of the Wikipedian in Residence. The Wikipedian in Residence focused on curating the high-quality educational or research materials already produced by UOC on a regular basis under Creative Commons licensing. These materials have been listed so that Wikipedia editors can use them to complete articles or create new ones. Faculty, students, librarians, and administrative staff, have all learned about Wikipedia’s principles and how they apply to the university and their activities. According to Teresa Férriz, UOC project manager and co-creator of Viquilletra, “Wikipedia is an excellent tool to disseminate the knowledge generated within the University, not only by teachers and researchers but also by graduate and postgraduate students. We’re exploring different possibilities, and the Wikipedian in Residence has helped us to answer our first questions.” We aim to continue this collaboration in the next academic year, including new material liberation and curation, seminars with faculty, new wiki educational projects, and Wikipedia workshops with students.

We are very pleased to verify that the perception of Wikipedia among faculty members has dramatically changed, at least among our partners. Those days in which they warned students about “unreliable” contents “that anyone can edit” seem to be long gone. The involvement of associations like Amical Wikimedia helps get us nearer to a future in which Wikipedia and universities become even closer allies.

UOC and Amical Wikimedia have been developing different wiki projects in recent years, particularly several short teaching projects in which students are asked to create or improve articles. UOC also runs Viquilletra, a peer production environment in which students from different high schools share projects and ideas around literature works and authors. Four UOC researchers have been involved in the last three years in a project called wiki4he (wiki for higher education). They aim to analyze the use of Internet open contents, and particularly Wikipedia, for university teaching. They also intend to explore and propose new ways of using these resources in learning processes while learning about attitudes and practices of university faculty on Wikipedia. Eduard Aibar, UOC professor and leader of wiki4he said, “Wikipedia is a major channel for the public communication of science and thus it has become crucial for scientists and researchers from all disciplines to be involved in the improvement of its contents.”[1]

According to Josep-Anton Fernàndez, associate professor of Catalan literature and culture, and academic director of the MA in Catalan Studies at the UOC, who co-organized the Catalan Studies Edit-a-thon, “Collaborating with Amical Wikimedia and the Wikipedia not only allows us to strengthen our academic community through initiatives like the Catalan Studies Edit-a-thon, but also helps us fulfill our role in producing knowledge about Catalan culture and disseminating it worldwide, while reinforcing the interdisciplinary character of our programmes.”

The Catalan Studies Edit-a-thon was a remarkable success, with around 18 editors[2], including faculty members, students, and highly-qualified experts. Participants contributed more than 160 editions to 25 articles, some of them top-rated across all language versions. We expect to use this experience to organize a more ambitious event next year, increasing the number of participants and venues.

Pep Adrian, Wikipedian in Residence at Open University of Catalonia


  1. Good practices in the use of Wikipedia (Catalan)
  2. Results of Catalan Studies Edit-a-thon

by wikimediablog at November 05, 2014 10:34 PM

Wikimedia Russia and Tunguska Electronic Music Society release first freely licensed 3plet album

Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons

Recently, Wikimedia RU and the free music society “Tunguska E. M. S.announced the release of their first mutual album, published in the new digital format 3plet and distributed under the Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0 open licence. The unique album opens with the composition “Paint It Blue Or Say It’s Sad” by EXIT project – the Russian art-stage star.

3plet is a format of digital editing and distributing of musical albums combining the audio recording, visual images (as slideshow) and text. The three components constitute an application that is distributed via App Store and Google Play.

The album itself contains 12 tracks recorded by leading musicians working in the downtempo, chillout, and ambient styles – Oleg Syrenko, Olga Scotland, Aquascape, Argonika, Bigfoot, Electro-Nick, etc. Every track is followed by a picturesque slideshow: the charming depths of space, the images of other worlds, native reserve areas, mysterious natural phenomena, intricate abstract designs. One should especially mention the decoration of Bigfoot’s Tunguska M track, provided by Vitaly Romeyko, a well-known researcher of the Tunguska phenomenon, which was made out of pictures taken during his expeditions to the Tunguska region.

The text component of the album includes some extracts of Wikipedia articles having something in common with the compositions and the “spacelike” mood of the album itself. While listening to the magical music, one can learn about the brightest star in the Universe, the atmosphere of Venus, what vacuum is made of, what the difference is between a solar sail and an ordinary one, whether levitation could be really performed, what makes night so charming to our eyes, as well as the way to reach absolute zero and an euphoric feeling.

In concordance with the name of the album, all its audio, video and textual contents are being distributed under a free license. It is the first release of this kind to happen in Russia. Everybody can view this release – both Android and iOS versions are available. Download it here:

Linar Khalitov, Wikimedia Russia

Notes: Tunguska E.M.S. (Tunguska Electronic Music Society) is a free music community (an independent netlabel) existing in Germany and Russia and distributing its music under Creative Commons Licenses. It includes melodic instrumental and electronic music.

Example tracks

<audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" controls="controls" id="audio-35036-1" preload="none" style="width: 100%; visibility: hidden;"><source src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/EXIT_project_-_Paint_It_Blue_Or_Say_It%60s_Sad.ogg?_=1" type="audio/ogg">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/41/EXIT_project_-_Paint_It_Blue_Or_Say_It%60s_Sad.ogg</audio>

EXIT project – Paint It Blue Or Say It’s Sad

<audio class="wp-audio-shortcode" controls="controls" id="audio-35036-2" preload="none" style="width: 100%; visibility: hidden;"><source src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/ARGONIKA_-_Flight_of_the_Spirit_--_Tunguska_E.M.S._for_Creative_Commons_%28track_6%29.ogg?_=2" type="audio/ogg">https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/90/ARGONIKA_-_Flight_of_the_Spirit_--_Tunguska_E.M.S._for_Creative_Commons_%28track_6%29.ogg</audio>

ARGONIKA – Flight of the Spirit — Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 6)


"Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.14)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 8, pic.9)" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.8)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 3, pic.6)" by tpsdave / David Mark, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.7)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 2, pic.6)" by Public Domain CC0 WikiImages, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.4)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 4, pic.9)" by Public Domain CC0 WikiImages, under CC-Zero 1.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 11, pic.2)" by David Revoy / Blender Foundation, under CC-BY-SA-3.0 "Tunguska E.M.S. for Creative Commons (track 1, pic.1)" by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

by wikimediablog at November 05, 2014 08:45 AM

November 04, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Updates in MediaWiki internationalization reflect changes from CLDR

CLDR, the Common Locale Data Repository project from the Unicode Consortium, provides translated locale-specific information like language names, country names, currency, date/time etc. that can be used in various applications. This library, used across several platforms, is particularly useful in maintaining parity of locale information in internationalized applications. In MediaWiki, the CLDR extension provides localized data and functions that can be used by developers.

The CLDR project constantly updates and maintains this database and publishes it twice a year. The information is periodically reviewed through a submission and vetting process. Individual participants and organisations can contribute during this process to improve and add to the CLDR data. The most recent version of CLDR was released in September 2014.

An important part of the CLDR data are the rules that impact how plurals are handled within the grammar of a language. In CLDR versions 25 and 26, plural rules for several languages were altered. These changes have already been incorporated in MediaWiki, which was still using rules from CLDR version 24.

The affected languages are: Russian (ru), Abkhaz (ab), Avaric (av), Bashkir (ba), Buryat (bxr), Chechen (ce), Crimean Tatar (crh-cyrl), Chuvash (cv), Inguish (inh), Komi-Permyak (koi), Karachay-Balkar (krc), Komi (kv), Lak (lbe), Lezghian (lez), Eastern Mari (mhr), Western Mari (mrj), Yakut (sah), Tatar (tt), Tatar-Cyrillic (tt-cyrl), Tuvinian (tyv), Udmurt (udm), Kalmyk (xal), Prussian (prg), Tagalog (tl), Manx (gv), Mirandese (mwl), Portuguese (pt), Brazilian Portuguese (pt-br), Uyghur (ug), Lower Sorbian (dsb), Upper Sorbian (hsb), Asturian (ast) and Western Frisian (fy).

This change will have very little impact on our users. Translators, however, will have to review the user interface messages that have already been changed to include the updated plural forms. An announcement with the details of the change has also been made. The announcement also includes instructions for updating the translations for the languages mentioned above.

The CLDR MediaWiki extension, which provides convenient abstraction for getting country names, language names etc., has also been upgraded to use CLDR 26. Universal Language Selector and CLDRPluralRuleParser libraries have been upgraded to use latest data as well.

The Wikimedia Foundation is a participating organisation in the CLDR project. Learn more about how you can be part of this effort.

Further reading about CLDR and its use in Wikimedia internationalization projects:

  1. http://laxstrom.name/blag/2014/01/05/mediawiki-i18n-explained-plural/
  2. http://thottingal.in/blog/2014/05/24/parsing-cldr-plural-rules-in-javascript/

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by Guillaume Paumier at November 04, 2014 05:17 PM

Announcing the second version of the Content Translation tool

A few months back, the Language Engineering team of the Wikimedia Foundation announced the availability of the first version of the Content Translation tool, with machine translation support from Spanish to Catalan. The response from the Catalan Wikipedia editors was overwhelming and nearly 200 articles have already been created using the tool.

We have now enabled support for translating across Spanish, Portuguese and Catalan using Apertium as the machine translation back-end system. This extends our Spanish-to-Catalan initial launch.

The Content Translation tool is particularly useful for multilingual editors who can create new articles from corresponding articles in another language. The tool features a minimal rich-text editor with translation tools like dictionaries and machine translation support.

The Content Translation tool car be used to translate articles more easily (here from Spanish to Portuguese). It provides features such as link cards, category adaptation (in development), and a warning to the editor when the text is coming exclusively from machine translation.

The Content Translation tool can be used to translate articles more easily (here from Spanish to Portuguese). It provides features such as link cards, category adaptation (in development), and a warning to the editor when the text is coming exclusively from machine translation.

Development for the second version was completed on September 30, 2014. Due to technical difficulties in the deployment environment, availability of the updated version of the tool was delayed. As a result, the current deployment also includes some of the planned features from the next release, which is scheduled to be complete on November 18, 2014.

Highlights from this version

Some of the features included in this version originated from feedback received from the community, either during usability testing sessions, or as comments and suggestions from our initial users. Editors from the Catalan Wikipedia provided constant feedback after the first release of the tool and also during the recent roundtable.


  1. Automatic adaptation of categories.
  2. Text formatting with a simple toolbar in the Chrome browser. In Firefox, this support is limited only to keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl-B for bold, Ctrl-I for italics).
  3. Bi-directional machine translation support for Spanish and Portuguese
  4. Machine translation support from Catalan to Spanish
  5. Paragraph alignment improvements to better match original and translated sentences.
  6. More accurate detection for the use of Machine Translation suggestions without further corrections, with warnings shown to the user
  7. Redesigned top bar and progress bar.
  8. Numerous bug fixes.

How to Use

To use the tool, users can visit http://en.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/Special:ContentTranslation and make the following selections:

  • source language – the language of the article to translate from. Can be Catalan, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • target language – the language of the article you will be translating into. Can be Catalan, Spanish or Portuguese.
  • article name – the title of the article to translate.

Users can also continue using the tool from the earlier available instance at http://es.wikipedia.beta.wmflabs.org/wiki/Especial:ContentTranslation

After translation, users can publish the translation in their own namespace on the same wiki and can choose to copy the page contents to the real Wikipedia for the target language. Please visit this link for more instructions on how to create and publish a new article.

Feedback and Participation

In the next few weeks, we will be reaching out to the editors from the Catalan, Spanish and Portuguese Wikipedia communities to gather feedback and also work closely to resolve any issues.

Please let us know about your feedback through the project talk page. You can also volunteer for our testing sessions.

Runa Bhattacharjee, Wikimedia Foundation, Language Engineering team

by Guillaume Paumier at November 04, 2014 03:30 PM

A Tale of Two Copyrights: The (im)probable reform in Europe

Since July 2013, Dimitar Dimitrov is Wikimedian in Brussels. In assorted blog posts he talks about his experiences vis-à-vis the EU.

Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1859. First edition. Photography Hablot Knight Browne, Heritage Auctions, Inc. Dallas, Texas. Public Domain

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,it was the spring of hope,it was the winter of despair…
“Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities. With Illustrations by H. K. Browne. London: Chapman and Hall, 1859. First edition. Photography Hablot Knight Browne, Heritage Auctions, Inc. Dallas, Texas. Public Domain

No, this title is not an original. It is largely copied. A derivative work that is legally unproblematic only because Mr. Dickens has been dead long enough. If I were to remix something newer, let’s say if I came up with “Pirates in the Copyright: Disney’s Chest” and included a picture and quotes from that particular work, well, that might get me into all kinds of trouble.

But copyright term lengths and how we deal with remixed content are just two of the fundamental questions we can no longer postpone. Information technology allows for sharing at virtually no cost. That is the positive promise the digital revolution has brought about. We must admit that this is a genuinely good thing and an opportunity for sustainable global development and improvement of people’s lives.

The other tale is more ambiguous. It retells the old story that every revolution brings about a new culture and new economy, but also puts out of business those who cannot adopt.

Position paper on EU Copyright Reform

The Wikimedia movement has read these two tales. We’ve suffered them, we’ve enjoyed them. We’ve experienced the practicalities, patches and peculiarities. We’ve thought, debated and worked with and around these issues for more than a decade now.

Recently, the European Wikimedia Chapters, together with a group of 18 further civil society organisations, published a Position Paper initially drafted by our EU Policy work group to be send to European Commission units responsible for intellectual property. We made four proposals that we’re convinced must be included in any meaningful copyright reform if it is to make anything fit the so-called “digital age”. These four points have one thing in common: they would drastically increase the commons and our ability to share content while leaving economic interests and thus financial profits virtually untouched. These four changes are:

  1. Harmonising copyright legislation, thereby making rules clearly understandable and reducing current legal risk
  2. Enshrining a universal Freedom of Panorama exception guaranteeing the right to use and re-use images taken in public spaces
  3. Clearly stating that publicly funded content must be public domain
  4. Growing the public domain by reducing copyright terms by 20 years (i.e. to the length set out in the currently binding international treaties)

Meanwhile in Brussels…

Even the new European Commission seems to have drawn the political conclusions from realising the inevitability of changing rules that were made with paper presses and horse-drawn carriages in mind. We are hearing that writing an actual reform proposal will take anything from 6-18 months in Brussels. This means that they’re hurrying which can only be interpreted as political pressure, at least for the moment.

After years of postponing tough decisions, the new President of the European Commission, who put copyright reform in his list of top priorities, moved the dossier and unit responsible for it to another directorate. It will no longer fall under the responsibility of the “internal market” (DG Markt), but is now housed by the Directorate-General responsible for the Digital Economy and Society and its Commissioner, the German Günther Oettinger. Overseeing Oettinger’s work will be Vice-President of the Commission Andrus Ansip from Estonia. His role is dedicated to establishing a “digital single market”, which can only mean harmonisation, which in turn is hardly possible without reforming copyright. The new composition of the European Commission and a recent Twitter hearing the Vice-President agreed to participate in give rise to some reasonable expectations that change might indeed be coming.

“Then tell Wind and Fire where to stop, but don’t tell me.”

Opponents of a copyright reform (which include, but are not limited to, publishers) are in fact not against the four points outlined above. The legal re-balancing we are proposing wouldn’t hurt the industry. They are simply against any change whatsoever, out of fear that it might be slippery slope to abolishing copyright. And while it isn’t a real intellectual challenge to argue that lack of change is much more likely to eventually kill copyright, rather than a few sensible updates, this “I will block anything that comes my way” attitude might turn out to be poisonous for reform. The only things law-makers shy away from more than bad law are unsuccessful legislative proposals.

It takes really strong-minded, shrewd and resolute politicians aided by a dedicated civil society to make things happen.

Tell them!

The good news is: optimism should derive from the fact that you can be part of that dedicated civil society that pushes its policy-makers to be resolute.

Wikimedians are working on being represented at the EU level to be part of the conversation when decisions about us and our daily work are made. By providing volunteers and supporters with necessary background knowledge, personal support and infrastructure, we’re trying to involve you in our advocacy activities!

If you prefer starting off solo, you can try contacting one of our European representatives from your region or country and warning them that a copyright reform is coming their way in about a year, while counselling them about digital culture and intellectual property. They are likely to be very busy people who have a hard time keeping track of every issues headed their way ;)

If you are a team player, please don’t hesitate to contact the coordinator from your country (and/or the Brussels project lead) to figure out what you can do together.

Alone or as an organisation you can follow Wikimedia UK’s example and snail mail decision-makers. Their response rate was impressive and snail mails are becoming less common today, showing that you’re willing to make that little bit of extra effort to gain their attention.

If you are not from or living in Europe, but you wish to engage in advocacy activities, there’s plenty to do globally. Please drop us a line and we will find a way to help each other!

Let’s lobby!

Dimitar Dimitrov, Wikimedian

by wikimediablog at November 04, 2014 03:05 PM

November 03, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Foundation Report, June 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 May:

469 million (+0.7% compared with April; -10.2% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release June data later in July)

Page requests for June:

20.217 billion (-0.2% compared with May; -4.4% 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 May 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

80,131 (+6.5% compared with April / -1.9% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




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

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

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

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

Revenue 49,972,461
 Engineering Group 15,308,224
 Fundraising Group 3,392,468
 Grantmaking Group 1,696,721
 Programs Group 1,630,409
 Grants 4,104,348
 Governance Group 909,083
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 4,066,924
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 6,109,383
Total Expenses 37,217,560
Total surplus (12,754,901)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of May is $0.78MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.89MM or 54% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $49.97MM versus plan of $48.40MM, approximately $1.57MM or 3% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of May is $3.71MM versus plan of $4.49MM, approximately $0.78MM or 17% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, and FDC grants partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and travel expenses related to community convening events.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $37.22MM versus plan of $45.55MM, approximately $8.33MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees and outside contract services.
  • Cash and Investments – $53.13MM as of May 31, 2014.


Main Page of the English Wikipedia on the new Android app.

Revamped Wikipedia app for Android, and new optimized view for tablet users

The new Android Wikipedia app was released in June and is now available in the Google Play store. Core features of the app include the ability to save pages for offline reading, a record of your reading history, and the ability to edit either as a logged in user or anonymously. The app is the first mobile platform that allows anonymous editing.

Also, since June 17, users on tablets are now redirected to the new tablet-optimized mobile site; they were previously being sent to the desktop version of all Wikimedia projects. Early data suggests that this change had a positive impact on new user signup and new editor activation numbers.

Media viewer released on all wikis

In June, the multimedia team released Media Viewer v0.2 on all Wikimedia wikis, with over 20 million image views per day on those sites that are tracked. Global feedback was generally positive and helped surface a range of issues, many of which were addressed quickly. Based on this feedback, a number of new features were developed by the team: view images in full resolution, view images in different sizes, show more image information, edit image file pages, as well as easy disable tools for anonymous users and editors.

First impact assessment of FDC grants (APG)

The results of the first impact assessment for Annual Plan Grants (FDC grants) to Wikimedia organiations were published. Based on the reports of the 9 organizations funded in Round 1 of 2012-2013, the report found that organizations had strength in content-related projects, which benefitted from full time staff and consistent partnership:

  • Content development results: 12K articles improved, 168K images on Commons, and 86K other media on Commons
  • Participation improvements (new editors; active editors; retained editors) were not recorded by most organizations. But over 9000 people were touched by the programs associated with the activties of the organizations, and Wikidata (a new Wikimedia project developed by Wikimedia Deutschland) saw 3000 new active editors.

Term of Use amended with transparency requirements for paid editing

The Wikimedia Foundation published a new amendment to the Terms of Use to address disclosure of paid editing.


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for June 2014 can be found at:

Department Highlights

Major news in June include:


Presentation slides about VisualEditor from the Editing team‘s quarterly review

Presentation slides from the Parsoid team’s quarterly review

In June, the VisualEditor team continued to improve this visual tool to edit wiki pages. They provided a way to see the context of links and other items when you edit to make this easier, worked on the performance and stability of the editor so that users could more swiftly and reliably make changes to articles, and made some improvements to features focused on increasing their simplicity and understandability. The editor now shows with a highlight where dragging-and-dropping content will put it, and works for any content, not just for images. The citation and reference tools had some minor adjustments to guide the user on how they operate, based on feedback and user testing. A lot of fixes to issues with windows opening and closing, and especially the link editing tool, were made, alongside the save dialog, categories, the language editing tool, table styling, template display and highlights on selected items. The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for alpha testers, moved towards release, fixing a number of bugs and improving performance. Work to support languages made some significant gains, and work to support Internet Explorer continued. The new visual interface for writing TemplateData (structured template documentation) was enabled on the Catalan and Hebrew Wikipedias.

Work also continued on Parsoid, the parsing system that works behind the scenes of VisualEditor to convert wikitext to annotated HTML, and vice versa. The team continued with ongoing bug fixes and bi-weekly deployments; they notably worked on improving the parsing support for some table-handling edge cases, handling nowiki tags, and making the parsing faster. They also began work on supporting language converter markup.

The Parsoid team added CSS styling to the HTML code to bring Parsoid’s HTML closer to what is produced by the PHP parser (used in MediaWiki). They continued to tweak the CSS based on rendering differences they found, and started work on generating visual diffs between screenshots of content rendered with the two methods. This initial proof-of-concept will serve as the basis of larger scale automated testing and identification of rendering diffs. Last, the LintTrap project (for the detection of broken wikitext) saw good progress and a demo application was made available.

Presentation slides on Flow from the metrics meeting for June

S Page presenting about Flow

Editor engagement

In June, the Flow team finished an architectural rewrite for the interface, to make it easier to update it in the future. The new feature in the latest release is the ability to sort topics on a Flow board. There are now two options for the order that topics appear on the board: you can see the most recently created threads at the top (the default), or the most recently updated threads. This new sorting option makes it easier to find the active conversations on the board.

We’ve also made a few changes to make Flow discussions easier to read, including a font size now consistent with other pages, dropdown menus now easier to read, and the use of the new button style and the WikiGlyphs webfont.

The Growth team completed analysis of its first round of A/B testing of signup invitations for anonymous editors on English, French, German, and Italian Wikipedias. Based on these results, the team prepared a second version to be A/B tested. Additionally, the team released a major refactor of the GuidedTour extension, as well as design enhancements like animations, a new way of drawing guider elements, updated button styles, and more. The team also launched GuidedTours on three new Wikipedias: Arabic, Norwegian, and Bengali.


The Mobile Apps team released the new Android Wikipedia app and it is now available to be downloaded through the Google Play store on Android devices. Core features of the app include the ability to save pages for offline reading, a record of your browsing history, and the ability to edit either as a logged in user or anonymously. The app is the first mobile platform that allows anonymous editing. The app also supports Wikipedia Zero for participating mobile carriers. Additional work done this month includes the start of implementing night mode for the Android app (by popular demand), creating an onboarding experience which is to be refined and deployed in July, and numerous improvements to the edit workflow.

New appearance of the tablet-optimized mobile site.

Early data indicates that the new view on tablets is well accepted among readers – few are switching back to the old view

The Mobile web team finished work on styling the mobile site to provide a better experience for tablet users. As of June 17, users on tablets are now redirected to the new tablet-optimized mobile; they were previously being sent to the desktop version of all Wikimedia projects. Early data suggests that this change had a positive impact on new user signup and new editor activation numbers. The team also continued work on VisualEditor features (the linking and citation dialogs) in preparation for releasing the option to edit via VisualEditor to tablet users in the next three months.

During the last month, the Wikipedia Zero team activated the new code for Wikipedia Zero, by replacing replaces one monolithic piece of software by multiple smaller tools. The JsonConfig extension, which allows a wiki-driven configuration system with data validation, received significant enhancements to make it more general for other use cases.

Additionally, the team enabled lower-quality thumbnails for a live in-house Wikipedia Zero operator configuration, and finished a basic version of Wikipedia Zero for the Android and iOS Wikipedia apps. The team also supported the Wikipedia apps development by improving the network connection management in Android and iOS, and with the Find in page feature for Android.

Wikipedia Zero was launched with Airtel in Bangladesh; this is the third Zero partner in Bangladesh, and the 34th launched partner overall. The team participated in the Wiki Indaba conference, the first event of its kind to be held in Africa. The event, organized by Wikimedia South Africa, brought together community members from Tunisia, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa. The attendees shared experiences and challenges to work in the region and formulated strategies to support and strengthen the movement’s efforts across the continent. The team also met with local operators in South Africa, and operators and handset manufacturers in India.


Presentation slides

The Fundraising Tech team welcomed Elliott Eggleston as software engineer.

Fiscal Year Updates:

  • Recognized by GuideStar as the #2 most efficient nonprofit fundraising effort in the US.
  • Overall we generated $50.5 million in the past fiscal year.

Video message recorded by legacy donor Jim Pacha

Major Gifts and Foundations

Fiscal Year Updates:

  • Major Gifts hit their individual group goals.
  • Major Gifts fundraising events were held in New York City and London.
  • A significant legacy gift was received from Jim Pacha.

Online Fundraising

Fiscal Year Updates:

  • Moved to a year-round continuous-campaign model for banner A/B testing.
  • Launched first experiments with mobile fundraising.
  • This was our first year where we sent out emails to donors in multiple languages.

For Next Fiscal Year:

  • Continue to localize to reach more donors worldwide
  • Expand our mobile fundraising reach
  • Improve infrastructure and analysis
  • Fine tune continuous-campaign model
  • Expand email fundraising


Department highlights
  • In 2013-14, we funded over 200 grants to over 66 countries.

    2013-14 Funding by location

  • 8 new grants were funded in June 2014, and 22 reports were reviewed.
  • The first impact analysis for the Annual Plan Grants program (FDC process) has been completed. The first round of funding (Round 1 2012-2013) of ~$4M resulted in lots of new content on Wikimedia projects (12K articles improved; 168K images on Commons; 86K other media on Commons).
  • The FDC’s recommendations for 2013-2014 Round 2 were approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on 30 June 2014.

Annual Plan Grants (Funds Dissemination Committee)

  • 3 new grants were funded and 12 progress reports were reviewed in June 2014.
  • The FDC’s recommendation for 2013-2014 Round 2 was approved by the WMF Board of Trustees on 30 June 2014. Three grants were approved, to Wikimedia Norge, Wikimédia France and the Centre for Internet and Society. Grant terms begin 1 July 2014.
  • The WMF Board of Trustees is seeking four new members to join the FDC. Those interested in serving have submitted nominations on Meta, and the WMF Board of Trustees will announce the shortlist of candidates in July.
  • FDC staff reviewed Q1 and Q3 progress reports that were submitted at the end of April this month: we can already see that organizations have increased their activity in the new year. Highlights include an impressive increase in program activity across all grantees as well as more targeted approaches to programs. Grantees have already achieved a lot. 792 articles in 92 languages created through Amical’s Culture Challenge, 6,589 uploaded files already supported by Wikimedia Österreich in Q1, 592 new articles created through Wikimedia Norge’s Women’s Day editing workshop, Wikimedia Argentina’s exploration with working with high school students on Wikivoyage, and an exciting partnership between Wikimedia Nederland and the Dutch National Parks. Amical Wikimedia and Wikimédia France are established in new office spaces, and we have welcomed a number of new employees to our Wikimedia community. We hope this will enable increased program activity and results in future quarters. Here are some visual highlights from the Q1 and Q3 reports we reviewed:
  • A beautiful image captured in February using equipment borrowed from Wikimedia CH.

  • EduWiki Learning Day hosted by Wikimedia Serbia, a new Annual Plan grantee.

  • Wikimedia Israel celebrates the 13th Birthday of Wikipedia at a Tel Aviv Meetup.

  • Wikimédia France discovers sports photography is motivating for its volunteers.

Project and Event Grants

Iberoconf 2013

Kolessa Phonograph Cylinders

Volunteer training, Philippine Cultural Heritage Mapping Conference

  • 4 new requests were funded and 10 reports were accepted in June 2014.
  • The Grant Advisory Committee is going through a revamp of its process – stay tuned for improved resources and pages!

Grants funded in June 2014

Reports accepted in June 2014

Travel and Participation Support

  • 1 new request was funded, and there were no reports submitted for review in June 2014.
  • Request funded for Farish C.V.’s participation at the Google I/O 2014 and Google Developers Community Summit 2014, where his talk and demos on “Developing with Wiki” discussed the many opportunities and resources available for developers on Wikipedia and future scopes for Wikipedia from a developer’s perspective.
  • Build is underway on-wiki for the TPS program pages redesign! This first TPS improvement sprint aims to increase usability of this program for more contributors, with a revamped launch in early August.

Individual Engagement Grants

  • 9 IEGrantee projects began work this month (with the remaining three 2014 round 1 selected projects aiming to start in July and August). Visit the project pages on Meta for milestones and updates over the coming months!
  • User-experience surveys are underway for the latest round of IEG proposers and reviewers. We’ll use the findings to improve the experience for future rounds.
  • IdeaLab revamp: We launched version 1 of AddMe, a Javascript Gadget making it easier to endorse and join projects in IdeaLab and other grantmaking entry points. We began developing the Form Wizard, a gadget for easily creating new project and proposal pages. Both gadgets will be implemented on several grantmaking projects on meta-wiki during the coming month, in preparation for live testing at Wikimania in August.
  • The Wikipedia Library’s Arabic book grants pilot: Promotions began on Arabic Wikipedia in June. 5 requests have been received so far, and nine books have been purchased. The team is exploring workarounds for issues with shipping and availability of books for editors in a few key countries, as not all requests have been successfully processed so far.

Learning & Evaluation

We closed out the fiscal year in June by solidifying the tools supporting the Grantmaking team (see tools section below). We are now sitting on the first year of reporting information from our new grantmaking systems (IEG, PEG, and APG) and are ready to collect and synthesize! We have done this for both the first round of IEG grantees and APG grantees, and we are in the process of reviewing the ~35 grant reports submitted through the Project & Event grants program to create a consolidated picture of the progress against our strategic goals via our movement partners funded through grantmaking.

Strategically, we are continuing to see two trends underscored:

1) Grantees are having a tough time measuring outcomes; continued standards, education, and tools for self-evaluation are needed for funded activities.
2) Global South continues to see increases in readership and all editor metrics (1+, 5+, 100+); we should continue to focus our efforts on these priority areas both financially but more importantly with supporting research (e.g., understanding editing motivations and populations).

Grants Programs

Presentation used to onboard new Executive Director to the grantmaking work and strategy

  • For APG, we performed the first impact assessment based on the reports of the 9 organizations funded in Round 1 2012-2013. We found that organizations had strength in content-related projects, which benefitted from full time staff and consistent partnership.
    • Content developed by organizations: 12K articles improved, 168K images on Commons, and 86K other media on Commons
    • Participation improvements (new editors; active editors; retained editors) were not recorded by most organizations, but we saw over 9000 people touched by the programs associated with the activities of the organizations, and 3000 new active editors on Wikidata (a new Wikimedia project developed by Wikimedia Deutschland)
  • For PEG, we performed an exploratory analysis of highly active editors on en.wiki and fr.wiki who are working in priority geographies in Africa.
  • For IEG, we started preparing for a survey that targets all Meta-wiki users who commented on or endorsed an IEG 2014 round 1 proposal in order to understand their motivation of participating in the IEG review process; sent post-review survey to all participants.
  • For Grantmaking in general, we updated the public reporting of overall grantmaking on Meta, including some core statistics around the grants program.
  • For Grantmaking overall, we pulled together a summary of our history and strategic focus areas to help onboard new the new executive director.

Program Evaluation

Metrics brainstorming session at the Wikimedia Conference 2014

Grants Operations and tools

  • Created two new graphs in the internal geo-data dashboard to visualize aggregated editorship data based on location in the global south and global north . See: http://tools.wmflabs.org/grantmaking/geo-data-prototype.html
  • Started experimenting with Dedoose a QDA (Qualitative data Analysis) tool in order to explore the possibilities of using it to analyze grants and program reports in a qualitative manner.
  • Implemented a few new features on Fluxx such as signals, and automated grant agreements, as well as updating programs budgets for the FY 2014-15.
  • IdeaLab revamp is underway! See IEG section above.
  • Fixed a few technical issues by the launch of the micro-grants pilot on the Arabic Wikipedia.


  • What to look forward to in July:
    • First ever evaluation newsletter
    • New Evaluation portal
    • Revamp of IdeaLab
    • Editor survey development for target languages
  • Worked with Analytics and UX departments on the development of a research internship program

Wikipedia Education Program

  • Rod Dunican, Director of the Wikipedia Education Program, announced his departure from the Wikimedia Foundation. His last day was June 30, 2014.
  • Floor Koudijs was appointed the interim Senior Program Manager of the Wikipedia Education Program.
  • Sage Ross has transitioned from the Wikimedia Foundation to the Wiki Education Foundation. He had been the Wikipedia Education Program’s Online Communications contractor.

Global programs

The Wikipedia in Education Project in Uruguay (Proyecto Wikipedia en la Educación)

  • The Wikipedia Education Program team continues to conduct outreach with global program leaders, having spoken with 37 education initiatives around the world.
  • Wikipedia Education Program Manager Tighe Flanagan hosted a metrics hangout for a group of education program leaders, discussing the reasons for tracking numbers and walking through the basics of using the Wikimetrics tool for tracking cohorts of users.
  • The Wikipedia Education Program convened a call with the Education Cooperative to review the work of the action groups (communications, mentoring, resources and recognition) and to start finalizing plans for a Wikimania 2014 panel.

Arab world programs

  • The spring semester ended in Egypt and Jordan, and local volunteers decided to keep the student editing period open through the end of the summer break to allow more time for contributions, especially during the month of Ramadan.
  • The Wikipedia Club at Princess Nora University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, expressed interest in formally being part of the local Wikipedia Education Program. This student run club focuses on translating articles into Arabic and added 30 new articles between March and April this year.


Human Resources

Work this month was focused on conducting an executive retreat with our new Executive Director and team, and also supporting the entire organization in the process of our annual reviews. We have also completed hiring for our recruiting team, and onboarded both our Benefits and Wellness Coordinator and our Recruiting Coordinator.

June Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • Smriti Gupta (Product/Strategy)
  • Jenn Suzuki (HR)
  • Elliott Eggleston (Engineering)
Conversions (Contractor to Requisition)
  • Janet Renteria (F&A)
  • Tighe Flanagan (Grants)
Requisition Departures
  • Rod Dunican (Grants)
  • Leslie Harms (F&A)
  • Kul Wadhwa (Product/Strategy)
New Interns
  • Ralph Torres (F&A)
  • Consuelo Jimenez (F&A)
  • Mark Verstraete (LCA)
New Contractors
  • Shai Nisan (Fundraising)
  • Papaul Tshibamba (Engineering)
  • Neil Kandalgaonkar (Engineering)
Contracts Ended
  • Angelica Tavella
  • Janet Go
  • Anthony Byrd
  • Teresa Cho
  • Ambrosia Lobo

June Statistics

Total Requisitions Filled
June Actual: 178
June Total Plan: 196 (full req#, with stage-gating and out of plan)
June Filled: 5, Month Attrition: 3,
FYTD Filled: 63, FYTD Attrition: 30
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end
18 → reflects 4 total out of plan req#s 193-196 (for finance)

Finance and Administration

  • With the approval of the updated investment policy at the last Board of Trustees meeting, WMF will be sending out an RFP (Request for Proposal) for Investment Advisory Services.
  • Successful site visit to Mexico City to review the proposed venues for Wikimania 2015.
  • Start of upgrades to the 6th floor space, which will include improvements to HVAC, the addition of “phone” rooms and new paint.
  • Receipt of final Wikimania 2013 report from the Hong Kong team and chapter.
  • Approval of the Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan by the Board of Trustees. The approved plan will be published by July 7, 2014.

Legal and Community Advocacy

  • June was a transition month for LCA, with the team refocusing its energies on traditional workflows and new projects after wrapping up work on the new Privacy Policy and Access to Non-Public Information Policy. We anticipate being able to report on these new projects in more detail in the coming months.
  • The Legal team was involved in publishing a new amendment to the Terms of Use to address disclosure of paid editing. The Legal team worked extensively with the community to answer questions and help individual communities (like Commons and MediaWiki) prepare new alternative policies in light of the amendment, like the one on Commons.
  • To protect our trademark portfolio, we worked with outside counsel to obtain withdrawals of third party attempts to register trademarks for a puzzle globe clone logo with the word Milipedia (in Spain), Vidipedia (in Germany), Willipedia (in Germany), Winipedia (in France), and Wikymedia (in the UK).
  • The CA team transitioned responsibility for the Community Liaison (Product) team to Rachel di Cerbo, Director of Community Engagement (Product). CA will now refocus its energies on traditional workflows and building out training methods for OTRS agents.

Contract Metrics

  • Submitted : 20
  • Completed : 26

Trademark Metrics

  • Submitted : 10
  • Approved : 1
  • Pending : 6
  • Approval not needed : 3

Domains Obtained

wikimedia.community, wikimediacommons.community, wikimediacommons.uk, wikimediauk.uk, wikinews.community, wikiversity.community, wiktionary.community

Coming & Going

  • There were no comings and goings this month for LCA.

Other Activities

  • Yana did a panel presentation on the new generic top level domains (such as .wiki) being rolled out by ICANN at the Stanford E-Commerce Conference.
  • The legal team revised the forthcoming WMF staff handbook and worked on making it user-friendly using techniques previously applied to the Wikimedia Trademark Policy.


The biggest Communications stories in June were about paid editing on Wikipedia. WMF announced an amendment to its Terms of Use in the middle of the month, generating significant media coverage about the relationship between Wikipedia and paid editing. This came one week after a pledge by leading US public relations to respect Wikimedia’s terms of use generated numerous press hits. The EU’s right to be forgotten ruling remains in the news, with speculation about what it means for Wikipedia. Wikipedia Zero launched in Rwanda, generating local press. The Product team launched its new Android App, generating coverage in the tech press. Throughout the month, the Communications team worked to finalize its Q1 goals, supported the rollout of the Terms of Use and the Android App, and on preparations for Wikimania.

Major announcements

The communications team supported the launch of the Android app in June.

Major Storylines through June 2014

Right to be Forgotten – Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales says Google EU ruling “won’t work.”
In The Capital (02 June, 2014) [1]
BBC News (01 June, 2014) [2]

Wikipedia Zero and MTN

“MTN gives its customers free access to Wikipedia via Wikipedia Zero”
Inya Rwanda (03 June, 2014) [3]
All Africa (03 June, 2014) [4]

Wikipedia in schools – Israel

Public schools in Israel to integrate Wikipedia into curriculum
Isreal Hayom (10 June, 2014) [5]
Israel National News (10 June, 2014) [6]
JNS (10 June, 2014) [7]

PR firms and Wikipedia

PR firms vow to abide by Wikipedia’s rules
Business Insider (11 June, 2014) [8]
Wall Street Journal (10 June, 2014) [9]
Advertising Age (10 June, 2014) [10]
Harvard Business Review (10 June, 2014) [11]
PR Week (10 June, 2014) [12]
TIME (10 June, 2014) [13]

New Terms of Use

Wikimedia announces changes to terms of use, adds requirement for disclosure of paid contributions
Slate (17 June, 2014) [14]
The Next Web (17 June, 2014) [15]
The Washington Post (17 June, 2014) [16]
Aljazeera America (16 June, 2014) [17]
AD Week (16 June, 2014) [18]
Info Docket (16 June, 2014) [19]
Wall Street Journal (16 June, 2014) [20]

US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) & Wikimedia

“US National Archives to upload all holdings to Wikimedia Commons”
Gigjets (30 June, 2014) [21]
Tech Crunch (30 June, 2014) [22]

Other worthwhile reads

”Women and Wikipedia: Science and engineering’s forgotten labour”
Open democracy (23 May, 2014) [23]
”Fighting censorship in Uzbekistan, one entry at a time”
Radio free Europe, Radio Liberty (17 May, 2014) [24]

See also the June press clippings

WMF Blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 28 posts in June 2014. Five posts were multilingual, with translations in Swedish, Italian, French, Spanish, German, Romanian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic and Algerian Arabic.

Some highlights from the blog include:

Wikimedia Bangladesh completes its local registration after a five-year journey (June 27, 2014).
New and improved Wikipedia app for Android (June 25, 2014).
Wikipedian Ram Joshi has contributed over 6,000 edits to Wikipedia only using his feature phone from his remote village in Nepal (June 24, 2014).
Change to the terms of use (June 16, 2014).
Blog post from Board of Trustee member Bishakha Datta (June 13, 2014).

Media Contact

Media contact through June 2014: wmf:Press room/Media Contact#June 2014

Wikipedia Signpost

For detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited newsletter “Wikipedia Signpost” for June 2014:

Communications Design

We helped the Administration team to make some decisions for the 6th floor reconstruction. Started talking with various teams about swag for Wikimania and the Allhands meeting. We also worked on adding page creation to a new Meta gadget with the IEG team.

by wikimediablog at November 03, 2014 04:36 AM

Wikimedia Highlights, June 2014

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

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

Main Page of the English Wikipedia on the new Android app.

Revamped Wikipedia app for Android, and new optimized view for tablet users

The new Android Wikipedia app was released in June and is now available in the Google Play store. Core features of the app include the ability to save pages for offline reading, a record of your reading history, and the ability to edit either as a logged in user or anonymously. The app is the first mobile platform that allows anonymous editing.

Also, since June 17, users on tablets are now redirected to the new tablet-optimized mobile site; they were previously being sent to the desktop version of all Wikimedia projects. Early data suggests that this change had a positive impact on new user signup and new editor activation numbers.

Media viewer released on all wikis

In June, the multimedia team released Media Viewer v0.2 on all Wikimedia wikis, with over 20 million image views per day on those sites that are tracked. Global feedback was generally positive and helped surface a range of issues, many of which were addressed quickly. Based on this feedback, a number of new features were developed by the team: view images in full resolution, view images in different sizes, show more image information, edit image file pages, as well as easy disable tools for anonymous users and editors.

First impact assessment of FDC grants (APG)

The results of the first impact assessment for Annual Plan Grants (FDC grants) to Wikimedia organiations were published. Based on the reports of the 9 organizations funded in Round 1 of 2012-2013, the report found that organizations had strength in content-related projects, which benefitted from full time staff and consistent partnership:

  • Content development results: 12K articles improved, 168K images on Commons, and 86K other media on Commons
  • Participation improvements (new editors; active editors; retained editors) were not recorded by most organizations. But over 9000 people were touched by the programs associated with the activties of the organizations, and Wikidata (a new Wikimedia project developed by Wikimedia Deutschland) saw 3000 new active editors.

Term of Use amended with transparency requirements for paid editing

The Wikimedia Foundation published a new amendment to the Terms of Use to address disclosure of paid editing.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for May:

469 million (+0.7% compared with April; -10.2% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release June data later in July)

Page requests for June:

20.217 billion (-0.2% compared with May; -4.4% 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 May 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

80,131 (+6.5% compared with April / -1.9% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




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

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

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

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

Revenue 49,972,461
 Engineering Group 15,308,224
 Fundraising Group 3,392,468
 Grantmaking Group 1,696,721
 Programs Group 1,630,409
 Grants 4,104,348
 Governance Group 909,083
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 4,066,924
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 6,109,383
Total Expenses 37,217,560
Total surplus (12,754,901)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of May is $0.78MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.89MM or 54% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $49.97MM versus plan of $48.40MM, approximately $1.57MM or 3% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of May is $3.71MM versus plan of $4.49MM, approximately $0.78MM or 17% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, and FDC grants partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and travel expenses related to community convening events.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $37.22MM versus plan of $45.55MM, approximately $8.33MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees and outside contract services.
  • Cash and Investments – $53.13MM as of May 31, 2014.

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

From left to right: Itzik Edri and Michal Lester of Wikimedia Israel, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees, Rabbi Shai Piron, Israel’s Education Minister
(“Shai Piron-Jan-Bart-Itzik-Michal” by Sasson Tiram, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Israel’s Ministry of Education and Wikimedia Israel agree on initiative to integrate Wikipedia in schools

The Israeli Wikimedia chapter announced an agreement with the country’s education ministry to support the integration of Wikipedia into the ministry’s school curricula in the coming years. Through the planned cooperation, history, geography and science teachers will receive special professional training to instruct students on how to contribute to new or incomplete Wikipedia articles for which information is lacking or inadequate.

Logo of Wiki Indaba 2014
(“Wiki Indaba 2014″ by Thuvack, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Wiki Indaba: Africa’s first regional conference of Wikimedians

During three days in June, more than 35 Wikimedians came together in Johannesburg for the first ever Wiki Indaba Regional Conference. All four regions of Africa were represented by at least one country, with West Africa having the lion’s share.

US National Archives announces plans to upload all of its holdings to Wikimedia Commons

The US National Archives and Record Administration (NARA) announced plans to upload all of its holdings to Commons. NARA hired a Wikimedian-in-Residence in 2011 and had already uploaded over 100,000 images to Commons since then.

by wikimediablog at November 03, 2014 04:32 AM

Wikimedia Foundation Report, July 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 June:

432 million (-7.9% compared with May; -9.1% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release July data later in July)

Page requests for July:

20.583 billion (+1.8% compared with June; +4.4% 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 June 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,549 (-7.0% compared with May / -2.0% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




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

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

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

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

Revenue 51,280,212
 Engineering Group 17,380,695
 Fundraising Group 3,701,090
 Grantmaking Group 1,860,627
 Programs Group 1,766,790
 Grants 5,695,611
 Governance Group 1,254,286
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 5,114,480
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 7,025,451
Total Expenses 43,799,030
Total surplus (7,481,182)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of June is $1.31MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.36MM or 22% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $51.28MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $1.21MM or 2% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of June is $6.58MM versus plan of $4.52MM, approximately $2.06MM or 46% over plan, primarily due to higher legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses offset by lower internet hosting expenses.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $43.80MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $6.27MM or 13% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, overall grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $49.67MM as of June 30, 2014.


Knowledge For Everyone – a short documentary accompanying the petition

Petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones

On July 28, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones, as it is offered in the Wikipedia Zero program. The petition is accompanied by the short documentary film, titled Knowledge for Everyone, about a group of high school students in South Africa who had written an open letter asking the country’s mobile carriers for such access, so that they could use Wikipedia for their schoolwork.

Legal victories in Italy and against paid editing sites

After more than four years, a Rome court dismissed a case against the Wikimedia Foundation, describing Wikipedia as “a service based on the freedom of the users” and setting positive precedent for other claims in Italy. Also in July, the Foundation successfully obtained orders preventing four websites advertising a service of paid editing of articles on Wikipedia from abusing the “Wikipedia” trademark.

Screenshot of new iOS Wikipedia app

New Wikipedia app for iOS mobile devices

In July, the new native iOS Wikipedia app was released, following the successful launch of the Android app in June. The app has the same features as the Android app, including the ability to edit both anonymously and logged in, saved pages for offline reading, and a history of your recently visited pages.

Grants impact analysis

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Grantmaking department published the first set of analyses for an impact review focusing on $4.4M of fully reported grants from the year 2013/14 in its three grants areas: Individual Engagement Grants, Project & Event Grants and Annual Plan Grants.

“Key observations from this first round of impact analyses” (presentation slide)


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for July 2014 can be found at:

Department Highlights

Major news in July include:


HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine) is aimed to improve the speed of Wikimedia sites. The Beta cluster (the testing environment that best simulates our sites) is now running HHVM. The latest MediaWiki-Vagrant and Labs-vagrant (virtual machine environments that make it easier for developers to apply their code to Wikimedia sites) use HHVM by default.

Presentation slides about the iOS app launch

Mobile Apps

In July, the Mobile Apps team launched the new native iOS Wikipedia app, following the successful launch of the Android app in June. The app has the same features as the Android app, including the ability to edit both anonymously and logged in, saved pages for offline reading, and your recently visited pages. The iOS app also contains an onboarding screen which is displayed the first time the app is launched, asking users to sign up. An update to the Android app was released, containing the Android version of the onboarding screen, as well as a a night mode for reading in dark environments, a font size selector, and a references display that makes browsing references easier. Next month, the team plans to continue improvements to page styling, and begin designing a dialogue that displays the first time a user taps edit to help them make their edit successfully.

Mobile Web

This month, the team continued to focus on wrapping up the collaboration with the Editing team to bring VisualEditor to tablet users on the mobile site. We also began working to design and prototype our first new Wikidata contribution stream, which we will build and test with users on the beta site in the coming month.


In July, the Flow team built the ability for users to subscribe to individual Flow discussions, instead of following an entire page of conversations. Subscribing to an individual thread is automatic for users who create or reply to the thread, and users can choose to subscribe (or unsubscribe) by clicking a star icon in the conversation’s header box. Users who are subscribed to a thread receive notifications about any replies or activity in that thread. To support the new subscription/notification system, the team created a new namespace, Topic, which is the new “permalink” URL for discussion threads; when a user clicks on a notification, the target link will be the Topic page, with the new messages highlighted with a color. The team is currently building a new read/unread state for Flow notifications, to help users keep track of the active discussion topics that they’re subscribed to.


In July, the team working on VisualEditor converged the mobile and desktop designs, made it possible to see and edit HTML comments, improved access to re-using citations, and fixed over 120 bugs and tickets. The team also expanded its scope to cover all MediaWiki editing tools as well, as the new Editing Team.

The new design is possible due to the significant progress made in cross-platform support in the interface code. This now provides responsively-sized windows that can work on desktop, tablet and phone with the same code. HTML comments are occasionally used to alert editors to contentious issues without disrupting articles for readers. Making them prominently visible avoids editors accidentally stepping over expected limits. The simple dialog for re-using citations is now available in the toolbar so that it is easier for users to find.

Other improvements include an array of performance fixes targeted at helping mobile users especially. We fixed several minor instances where VisualEditor would corrupt the page. We also installed better monitoring of corruptions if they occur. The mobile version of VisualEditor, currently available for beta testers, moved towards stable release. We fixed some bugs and editing issues, and improving loading performance. Our work to support languages made some significant gains, nearing the completion of a major task to support IME users. The work to support Internet Explorer uncovered some more issues as well as fixes.

SUL finalization

In July, the SUL (single user login) finalisation team worked on developing features to ease the workload that the finalisation will place on the community, and to minimise the impact on those users that are affected. A feature is being developed that allows users to log in with their pre-finalisation credentials, so that everyone who is affected is still able to access their account; this feature is mostly complete from a back-end engineering standpoint but now needs design and product refinement, and will hopefully be completed by late August. A feature to globally rename users in a manner that does not create clashing accounts was completed and deployed. A feature is being developed to allow accounts to be globally merged, so that clashing local-only accounts that were globalised by the finalisation can be consolidated into a single global account; this feature is in the early stages of implementation and no estimate is possible at this time. A feature is being developed to allow local-only account holders to request rename and globalisation before the finalisation, and also feeds these rename requests to the appropriate community processes in a manner that reduces the workload of community; this feature is in the design phase, and will likely be ready for implementation in early August.

Phabricator migration

Phabricator’s “Legalpad” application (a tool to manage trusted users) was set up on a separate server that provides provides Single-User Login authentication with wiki credentials. We implemented the ability to restrict access to tasks in a certain project and worked on initial migration code to import data from Bugzilla reports into Phabricator tasks. We also set up a data backup system for Phabricator, and upgraded the dedicated Phabricator server to Ubuntu Trusty. A more detailed summary email about the status of the Phabricator migration was sent to Wikitech-l.

MediaWiki core front-end libraries

In July, the Request for comment for refactoring MediaWiki’s skin system (which handles the appearance of wiki sites) was re-written and discussed with members of the community and staff. Work on the proposed system is scheduled to begin in August, alongside creating an Agora theme for, and server-side version of, OOjs UI, a toolkit used to compose complex widgets. In addition to the RfC work, a well-attended meeting was held for teams using or considering using OOjs UI, including Editing, Multimedia and Growth. From that meeting, several issues were identified as blockers to increased acceptance of the toolkit. The most prominent blocker is the lack of an Agora theme for OOjs UI at this time. Creating this theme has thus been prioritized and will be completed as soon as possible. The Design team has committed to delivering necessary assets by mid-August. Discussion about changes to OOjs UI also surfaced the desire to be able to create widgets on the server and then bind to them on the client (a feature proposed as part of the skinning RfC). This functionality is thus now planned to be implemented in OOjs UI before the skin refactoring begins.

Presentation slides on mobile readership and contribution trends at the July 31 metrics meeting

Research and Data

This month we completed the documentation for the Active Editor Model, a set of metrics for observing sub-population trends and setting product team goals. We also engaged in further work on the new page views definition. An interim solution for Limited-duration Unique Client Identifiers (LUCIDs) was also developed and passed to the Analytics Engineering team for review.

We analyzed trends in mobile readership and contributions, with a particular focus on the tablet switchover and the release of the native Android app. We found that in the first half of 2014 mobile surpassed desktop in the rate at which new registered users become first-time editors and first-time active editors in many major projects, including the English Wikipedia. An update on mobile trends was presented at the upcoming Monthly Metrics meeting on July 31.


The brand new Services group started design and prototyping work on the storage service (see code) and REST API (see code). The storage service now has early support for bucket creation and multiple bucket types. We decided to configure the storage service as a back-end for the REST API server. This means that all requests will be sent to the REST API, which will then route them to the appropriate storage service without network overhead. This design lets us keep the storage service buckets very general, by adding entry point specific logic in front-end handlers. The interface is still well-defined in terms of HTTP requests, so it remains straightforward to run the storage service as a separate process. We refined the bucket design to allow us to add features very similar to Amazon DynamoDB in a future iteration. There is also an early design for light-weight HTTP transaction support.


  • Fundraising is off to a strong start in the new fiscal year – raising $4.5 million in July.
  • We welcomed Victoria Shchepakina as a new Fundraiser Program Associate. She will focus her efforts on the Wikimedia Shop.
  • We started accepting Bitcoin. See the blog post for the full announcement.
  • A Petition for Free Access to Wikipedia on Cell phones was published. We will be emailing this petition to our donors in order to increase awareness about Wikipedia Zero.

Major Gifts and Foundations

  • The MGF team raised over $2.4 million in July, including $1.25 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
  • Fall fundraising events scheduled for September 22 in NYC and November 6 in San Francisco

Online Fundraising

  • The online fundraising team ran low-level banner tests world-wide, and a full-scale campaign in Japan. Emails were sent to previous donors in the Japan and South Africa. Approximately $2 million USD was raised in July through these campaigns (preliminary numbers as donations are still settling).
  • The team held focus groups with donors in the US, primarly focused on optimizing mobile and email fundraising.
  • The team prepared translations of fundraising messages into multiple languages for upcoming international banner campaigns. If you would like to help with the translation process, please get involved.
  • We are making our mobile banner tests more sophisticated, and ran a very successful one on July 30 which increased donations 3.5 times.



FY 2013-14 first part of grantmaking impact assessment report.

  • Published the first set of analyses for grantmaking impact review (a full assessment will follow)
  • 4 new members are appointed to the Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) by the WMF Board of Trustees: Risker (Anne Clin), Matanya (Matanya Moses), B1mbo (Osmar Valdebenito), and Thuvack (Dumisani Ndubane). Welcome, and congratulations!
  • The Travel and Participation Support program launched a revamp. Besides making workflows more user-friendly and fun, some experimental changes in this revamp aimed at supporting more participants to accomplish Wikimedia’s mission include: broadening the eligibility of event types and offering Wikimedia merchandise as an outreach-tool for participants
  • 110 Wikimania scholarship recipients are headed to London next month, and we can’t wait to learn about the outcomes of their participation.
  • A review of Project and Event Grants which were reported on in 2013-14 was completed. 32 different Wikimedia projects were supported (out of 36 grants), resulting in over 340 events, 10K people involved, 190K photos to Commons, and over 8K articles written. See full report.
  • 2014-2015 Round 1 of the FDC process kicks off, with the initial announcement of eligibility status for all 15 organizations that submitted a Letter of Intent (LOI) for the upcoming round.
  • Several members of the grantmaking team participated in the International Human Rights Funders Group (IHRFG) annual conference in New York City, where we talked about the challenges and opportunities in funding human rights work, and importantly, shared our experiences in participatory grantmaking with the larger field of funders (and wrote the Wikipedia article).
  • Launched new Learning Quarterly newsletter. Sign up to subscribe

In other news, from grantee projects:

the Library is serving 1,940 editors with access to 2,924 free journal accounts worth 1.2 million USD. There is still room to grow as the Library has set its sights to move well beyond English.

  • The results from Wiki Loves Earth are coming in. With the support of a PEG grant, the Macedonian community submitted over 12,000 photos, with 200 already in use in Wikipedia articles!
  • Members of Wikimedia Taiwan have translated the Editing Wikipedia brochure into Chinese — filling a huge gap in resources for our global community.
  • Amical Wikimedia supported as many as 792 articles created through the Catalan Culture challenge in 92 languages.

Visits and Events

Annual Plan Grants Program

Aerial photography supported through WMIL’s WikiAir in 2013
(“HaMakhtesh HaGadol Aerial View” by Amos Meron, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Photo upload supported by WMCH in 2013
“Alte Kirche Witikon” by Conz von Gemmingen, under CC-BY-SA-3.0

Participants in WMRS’ EduWiki Learning Day, featured in their Q1 report
(“EduWiki Learning Day Belgrade 2014 – DM (45) – group photo” by Dominikmatus, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

  • 20 reports reviewed; 6 grants completed; 11 reports submitted; 15 organizations evaluated for eligibility; 4 new committee members appointed
  • The WMF Board of Trustees announces four new appointments to the FDC. Welcome to new members Risker (Anne Clin), Matanya (Matanya Moses), B1mbo (Osmar Valdebenito), and Thuvack (Dumisani Ndubane)! New members were appointed by the board after a selection process including statements from nominees and a public question and answer phase. The terms of the new members will begin 1 August. We thank the departing members for their invaluable contributions to the work of the inaugural FDC: Mike Peel, Arjuna Rao Chavala, Anders Wennersten, and Yuri Perohanych.
  • Organizations receiving grants in 2013-2014 Round 2 were contacted in order to execute grant agreements and send payments. New grant terms started on 1 July, and the first round of progress reports will be due 30 October.
  • Initial eligibility for 15 organizations submitting Letters of Intent for 2014-2015 Round 1 was announced on 18 July 2014. Organizations in the YES IF category will have until 15 July 2014 to meet eligibility gaps and move to the YES category. Organizations in the YES category will be eligible to submit proposals for 2014-2015 Round 1, which will be due on 1 October. As of 30 July, 10 organizations are already deemed eligible to participate!
  • 11 Quarter 2 progress reports for 2013-2014 grants were submitted by 30 July. Second installments of grant funds will be sent to 2013-2014 Round 1 grantees.
  • 11 Quarter 1 progress reports for 2013-2014 grants and 2 Quarter 3 progress reports for 2012-2013 Round 2 grants were reviewed by FDC staff. Some highlights from the Q1 progress reports include:
    • Amical Wikimedia supports as many as 792 articles through the Catalan Culture challenge in 92 languages.
    • Wikimedia Serbia hosts a successful EduWiki conference.
  • 9 impact reports for 2012-2013 grantees were reviewed by FDC staff and 2012-2013 Round 1 grants have now been completed by 8 organizations (including Wikimédia France and Wikimedia Foundation, that submitted impact reports earlier); 2 organizations will need to return underspent grant funds before grants are complete and 1 organization still needs to submit English translations of audited financial statements before its grant is considered complete. Some highlights from the impact reports include:
    • Images gained through WMIL’s WikiAir program show an impressive 9.1% use rate for a group of 1,441 photos, and one of the photos was featured on the President’s greeting card for Rosh Hashanah.
    • WMCH supports the upload of 11,453 pictures, including 437 quality images in 2013.
    • WMAR shares impressive results from the international Mujeres Iberoamericanas contest, which produced 1,227 improved articles and an outstanding retention rate of contributors.
    • WMAT shares a learning pattern about community engagement in photo contests.

Project and Event Grants Program

Editing Wikipedia in Chinese

Mount Korab, Republic of Macedonia (Wiki Loves Earth 2014)
(“Mount Korab, Republic of Macedonia” by Don macedone)

Photos from Afghanistan in the 1960s digitized by WMCZ
(“Afghanistan 1961 woman and girl” by František Řiháček, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

  • 5 new requests were funded, 1 request was declined, and 11 reports were accepted in July 2014.
  • The Grant Advisory Committee has a new look and Workroom. We are currently testing a new review process over the next few months. Feedback is welcome!

Grants funded in July 2014

  • Printing Editing Wikipedia in Chinese: To fund the printing of “Editing Wikipedia” in Chinese for distribution by Wikimedia Taiwan.
  • Wiki Loves Monuments in Ireland 2014: To support the Irish community to organize the country’s first Wiki Loves Monuments.
  • Acitivites in Egypt: To support activities organized by the new Eygptian User Group, including Wiki Loves Monuments, the Wikimedia Education Program, and edit-a-thons.
  • Wiki Loves Monunents in Thailand 2014: To support the new Thai User Group to organize Wiki Loves Monuments.
  • Script Encoding for Nepal: To support a meeting of stakeholders to discuss two Nepali scripts (Prachalit Nepal and Ranjana) with the goal of creating script proposals that will be submitted for review and eventually published in the Unicode Standard. Once they are in the Unicode Standard, they can be used on Wikimedia projects and elsewhere.

Reports accepted in July 2014

Individual Engagement Grants Program

Grantee updates

  • Round 2 2013 grantees are preparing to finish their final reports as the new crop of round 1 2014 grantees begins to pick up steam on their new projects! For example:
    • Keilana published the finalized version of her kit to help others replicate her successful experiments in hosting workshops aimed at countering Wikipedia’s gender gap and other forms of systemic bias. Thanks to verynice.co, for donating their pro-bono design skills to WMF to make this kit shine!
    • Meanwhile, Amanda published her first blog post charting the course ahead for her own gender gap research.
    • As one year of funding for The Wikipedia Library comes to a close, Ocaasi is measuring and reflecting on what’s been accomplished so far and what lies ahead for this growing global program aimed at expanding access to sources for Wikipedia editors around the world. So far, the Library is serving 1,940 editors with access to 2,924 free journal accounts worth 1.2 million USD. At the same time, this month the Arabic Library pilot team pulled metrics from the book pilot’s first month. 11 books have been successfully purchased for Wikipedians so far, but shipping to several countries in the Middle East remains the largest restriction to growth at present.

Reports accepted in July 2014

  • Wikimaps Atlas – Midpoint: Much of the backend infrastructure for the Wikimaps Atlas is now functional, and a website with a front-end making it easy for new users to generate maps is still in the works.
  • The Wikipedia Library – Final report: As The Wikipedia Library’s first year comes to a close, the program is serving 1,940 editors with access to 2,924 free journal accounts worth 1.2 million USD. There is still room to grow as the Library has set its sights to move well-beyond English!

Travel and Participation Support Program

  • 2 new requests were funded and 3 reports were accepted in July 2014.
  • The Travel and Participation Support Program has a new look. At the end of July, we launched a redesign of the program pages, based on analysis conducted on the program’s first 2 years. Besides making workflows more user-friendly and fun, some experimental changes in this revamp aimed at supporting more participants to achieve Wikimedia’s mission include: broadening the eligibility of event types, offering Wikimedia merchandise as an outreach-tool for participants, and bringing Wikimania scholarships under the umbrella of WMF’s TPS administration processes. We’re also piloting the first usage of the new Add-me gadget in program applications, making it easier than ever to endorse someone else’s request for funding.

Requests awarded in July 2014

Reports accepted in July 2014

Wikimania Scholarships

WMF’s Grantmaking team has partnered with Travel & Finance to send 110 volunteer Wikimedians to London via Wikimania Scholarships. Most arrangements have now been made, and scholars are ready to travel! Some changes to the program this year are aimed at bringing Wikimania scholarships in-line with grantmaking’s existing best-practices and processes for funding travel. As part of our commitment to transparency and to help establish a baseline for iterations in future years, we’ve published a list of scholarship recipients, and will be requiring all scholars to submit a short report about their experiences.

Learning and Evaluation

PEG Overview, 2013-14

Grants programs

  • Individual Engagement Grants:
    • Prepared and launched a survey to collect feedback from users involved in proposing and evaluating Round 1 2014 IEG proposals.
  • Project & Event Grants: Conducted impact analysis of all grants reported an during FY2013-14. Hosted a Google hangout to discuss results, which can be found on Meta. Major takeaways:
    • PEG grantees focused on specific goals were able to report back the most success
    • Online writing contests work great: 3 of 36 grants did them, resulting in 60% of total article contributions
    • Grantees receiving over $10K tended to underspend quite significantly (by ~30%)
    • We need a shift into quality of content (e.g., use of photos vs aggregate # of photos)
  • Travel and Participation Support: Helped launch features for the new space! See other section

Grants operations and tools

  • Made some progress on making grants administration work paperless by getting internal approvals electronically using Fluxx; began using Fluxx for the 2014-15 grantmaking year.
  • Ran two qualitative data analysis experiments using Dedoose on grant reports, and education program leaders survey.
  • More than 40 people tuned in for “Beyond Wikimetrics” (video, blog post, resource page) the first of a series of three Wikiresearch webinars focused on teaching Wikimedians how to use technical tools such as MySQL and the MediaWiki API for research purposes. These webinars are intended to teach leaders of mission-aligned projects (grant funded and otherwise) the skills necessary to perform self-evaluation, as well as to provide other community members with the skills necessary to perform exploratory research that could lead to innovative new initiatives.
  • Helped develop and launch a Lua-based infobox for ultimate use in IdeaLab and across grants pages, but first in the Travel and Participation Support Program revamp (see Travel and Participation Support Program section for more details).

Program Evaluation & Design

Infographic created for WMUK’s evaluation

  • Launched Evaluation Pulse 2014, a first-year’s end feedback survey to reassess program leaders’ capacity, as well as learning and resources needs, for evaluation. Are you a project or program leader and/or evaluator who would like to take the survey? Message eval@wikmedia.org to receive an invitation to participate.
  • Launched new Learning Quarterly newsletter. Sign up to subscribe
  • Worked at various stages of consultation on three survey strategies and tool development: Wikimania Exit Survey, Wikimania Hackathon Survey, and a user group survey.
  • Launched the Survey Question Bank with questions developed in partnership with program leaders piloting survey strategies
  • Code cleaning for evaluation portal redesign and templates to assure translatability of pages and links of the redesign plan and mock-ups.
  • Published two new blog posts: Digging for Data: How to Research Beyond Wikimetrics and Wikimedians in Residence: a journey of discovery
  • Hosted virtual meet-ups on Beyond Wikimetrics: Using Databases and APIs for Research with 20 attendees live (4 from the GLEE team) and 66 views (as of 7/29/2014), and Project and Event Grants: an impact review of 2013-14 with 18 attendees live (5 from the GLEE team) (on 7/29/2014).
  • Developed infographic icon sets and will upload to Commons for upcoming in-person meet-up sessions surrounding Wikimania 2014. Preview icons on this WiR infographic.
  • Developed infographic and

    Summative Poster of the Topline Metrics from Evaluation Report (beta), Year 1 Reporting

    for topline metrics poster presentation of ‘Topline: Evaluation Report (beta)’ for Wikimania.

  • Nearing end of contract (8/6/2014) for Wikimetrics features development (Central Auth Cohorts, Tagging, and Delete User)
  • Portal Space Metrics: In July, 1140 edits were made by 24 non-WMF users to the portal main space (1098 edits, 15 users), portal talk pages (3 edits, 1 user) and to Grants:Learning_patterns (39 edits, 8 users). As for page views, there were 1467 total views of the portal’s main pages Portal landing page (450), /News (375), /Tools (73), Library (158), /Parlor 42, and Grants:Learning_patterns (369).
  • The community dialogue around program evaluation closed July 15th, having been promoted broadly. This request for comment was open online from May 15 to July 15, and had a total of 403 page views between its description (209) and talk page (194), with only 6 users contributing feedback. (Due to low responsiveness in terms of edits to the talk page, and a few points of feedback expressing that people did not feel comfortable disagreeing with some of the ideas which had already been posted there, key questions from the dialogue were integrated into the Evaluation Pulse 2014 survey to encourage broader project and program leader feedback. Survey respondents’ anonymized answers will be integrated into the online documentation space after collection.)
  • Posting to social media: 52 posts to Twitter (19 new followers (117 total followers), 528 views, 19 link visits; 15 retweets); 13 Facebook posts (157 members, 498 views, 31 likes, 9 comments); 2 Google+ events for July (70 followers, 26 new followers, 7,780 profile views, 10 +1’s, 13 comments, 5 shares)


  • Started preparing for a Global South user survey by collecting information about the kind of questions to be asked in the survey.

Wikipedia Education Program

As part of the Wiki Learning Project at Tec de Monterrey, faculty and staff are trained in the basics of editing Wikipedia and brainstormed ideas for projects, including improving mathematical graphs and using MediaWiki to collaborate across campuses. July 2014.
(“GrupoJuly3CCM” by Thelmadatter, under CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Anasuya Sengupta outlined the team’s plans in an announcement on 27 June 2014: “As the team goes forward to develop a road map for the future with our community members, Floor Koudijs will be the interim Senior Manager for the Education Program. Initially the team has been assigned different parts of the world in order to create a baseline of educational programs and activities, with Floor responsible for North America, Latin America and Western Europe, Tighe Flanagan for the Arab region and Africa, and Anna Koval for Asia and Eastern Europe.”

Poster on the education team’s work, prepared for Wikimania


Wikipedia Education Collaborative

The Wikipedia Education Collaborative (formerly called the Cooperative) met in teleconference on 11 July 2014. One result of this meeting is an information page about the Collaborative and its purpose. This description will serve as the basis for the Collaborative panel session that will take place in London at Wikimania 2014.

Arab world programs

  • Summer editing continued in Egypt during the month of Ramadan with some additional summer cohorts.
  • Program volunteers in Jordan are considering creating a Wikipedia Education Program Advisory Committee to guide the program locally.


  • The Wikipedia Education Program now has a page on Foundation wiki. It was developed in consult with the WMF’s Communications, Community Advocacy, and Wikipedia Zero teams to support interdepartmental collaboration.
  • The July issue of the education newsletter This Month In Education featured articles from education programs in Macedonia, Mexico, Israel, the Czech Republic, Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimedia UK, as well as updates from Brazil and South Africa.
  • Education portal improvements continue at Outreach:Education. Special attention is being paid to visual contrast — for readability, accessibility and WCAG compliance — as well as to navigation for ease of use. Feedback is welcome at Outreach:Talk:Education.

Human Resources

July was a very busy month for us as we moved through the process of annual reviews, annual compensation increases and cost of living adjustments, and supporting organization-wide discussions on results and implications. We have also decided to move from Jobvite to Greenhouse as our jobs applicant tracking system, so we are planning for that roll-out and implementation. Ongoing work in contract renewals, immigration, and leadership development continued – including continuing the second session, second cohort, of our leadership development program for directors and managers.

July Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • Victoria Shchepakina – Fundraising
  • Emanuela Neagu – HR
  • Kristen Lans – Engineering
  • Joel Sahleen – Engineering
Conversions (Contractor to Requisition)
  • Arlo Breault – Engineering
  • Keegan Peterzell – Product/Strat
  • Nick Wilson – Product/Strat
  • Erica Litrenta – Product/Strat
  • Jessica Robell – Fundraising
Requisition Departures
  • None
New Interns
  • Josephine Gulingan – F&A
  • Segun Aluko (LCA)
New Contractors
  • None
Contracts Ended
  • None

July Statistics

Total Requisitions Filled
July Actual: 187
July Total Plan: 207
July Filled: 9, Month Attrition: 0
FYTD Filled: 9, FYTD Attrition: 0
FY positions planned: 233

Finance and Administration

  • The Wikimedia Foundation RFP for Investment Advisory Services closed July 31, 2014. Final selection is scheduled for August 31, 2014.
  • Net investment returns for Wikimedia Foundation for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014 were $352,237.
  • Completed site visit for Wikimedia Israel.

Legal and Community Advocacy

LCA Report, July 2014

Contract Metrics

  • Submitted : 30
  • Completed : 25

Trademark Metrics

  • Submitted : 18
  • Pending : 11
  • Approval not needed : 7

Domains Obtained

(none in July)

Coming & Going

  • The team said farewell to Roshni Patel, a Georgetown privacy fellow, who had spent over 8 months with the legal team and was pivotal in the privacy policy consultation and roll-out. We wish her luck at Zwillgen in DC!
  • We also said goodbye to Joe Jung, a rising 2L from Harvard law, who completed his summer internship and assisted us with many exciting intellectual property and advocacy issues during his time here.

The Legal, Technological, and Social Barriers to Free Knowledge panel

Other Activities

  • The summer class of Legal Interns organized a panel discussion at WMF, titled Legal, Technological, and Social Barriers to Free Knowledge, including speakers from the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, Google Project Loon, the Wikimedia Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and the Asia Foundation.
  • The Wikimedia Foundation supported the Fair Deal coalition in opposition to copyright-related provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership.
  • With Wikimedia Chile, the Wikimedia Foundation prepared a letter to the Chilean Subsecretaria de Telecomunicationes about Wikipedia Zero.
  • We began discussions with the advocacy advisory group and Commons about taking a stance on non-free “open access” academic publishing licenses.
  • Along with the design team, we participated in an ongoing discussion on refreshing the basic Creative Commons license templates on Commons. We look forward to continuing that discussion at Wikimania.


In July, the media was fascinated by the inner workings of Wikipedia, from bots to bans. An early July report on Sverker Johansson, a Swedish Wikipedian and physicist whose bot “Lsjbot” has created 2.7 million articles, lead to inquiries into whether bots were taking over Wikipedia. The Twitter account @congressedits, tracking anonymous edits from U.S. Congress IPs, spurred a slew of imitations in other nations, including one which found that Russian government IPs were involved in editing the article on the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. This Twitter transparency drew scrutiny to recurring vandalism from the U.S. House of Representatives; a subsequent ban of one particularly vandalous Congressional IP generated significant press tinged with perhaps a little media schadenfreude.

In July, the blog team worked on final preparations for the relaunch of the Wikimedia blog, which took place on July 31. The blog’s new design is responsive, provides better support for multilingual posts, offers blog admins a tool for simple transfering of image licensing information from Wikimedia Commons, and reflects the blog’s evolution over the past years from a venue for WMF staff to share updates about their work to a news platform for the entire movement. The move to third-party hosting enables the WMF Operations team to better focus on their core mission of operating one the world’s most popular websites, and gives the blog team access to dedicated tech support which will also facilitate future updates to the platform.

Major announcements

Wikimania’s 2014 team announces the program for this year’s conference (01 July, 2014)

Major Storylines through July

Anonymous edits by Congress

Twitter bots track articles edited anonymously from Congress IP addresses. Topics include Choco Taco and Horse Head Mask.
The Guardian (18 July, 2014) [1]
Yahoo News (16 July, 2014) [2]
Ars Technica (11 July, 2014) [3]
Engadget (11 July, 2014) [4]
The Washington Post (10 July, 2014) [5]

Ban of Congress IP address

A congress IP address gets banned for 10 days for vandalism.
WIRED UK (28 July, 2014) [6]
TIME (26 July, 2014) [7]
New York Magazine (25 July, 2014) [8]
BBC News Technology (25 July, 2014) [9]
Aljazeera (25 July, 2014) [10]
The Guardian (25 July, 2014) [11]
Newsweek (25 July, 2014) [12]
Ars Technica (24 July, 2014) [13]
Gizmodo (24 July, 2014) [14]

Malaysian flight MH17

Russian state IP edits Wikipedia in an apparent attempt to sway opinion surrounding flight MH17’s crash.
The Telegraph (30 July, 2014) [15]
Tech Times (22 July, 2014) [16]
Global Voices (18 July, 2014) [17]
Slate (18 July, 2014) [18]
The Huffington Post (18 July, 2014) [19]

Sverker Johansson

In Sweden, Sverker Johansson and his bot have created over 2.7 million Wikipedia articles.
Boing Boing (16 July, 2014) [20]
Gizmodo (16 July, 2014) [21]
The Huffington Post (15 July, 2014) [22]
Daily Mail (15 July, 2014) [23]
Popular Science (14 July, 2014) [24]
Wall Street Journal (13 July, 2014) [25]

Other worthwhile reads

”American Canyon man researches, edits Wikipedia”
Times-Herald (07 July, 2014) [26]

See also the July press clippings

WMF Blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 29 posts in July 2014. Two posts were multilingual, with translations in Italian, Spanish and Catalan.

Some highlights from the blog include:

The Wikimedia Foundation successfully obtained orders preventing four websites advertising a service of paid editing of articles on Wikipedia from abusing the “Wikipedia” trademark (July 29, 2014).
Wikimedia launches a petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones (July 28, 2014).
A video recap of Wikimania 2013 (July 22, 2014).
Re-cap of Wiki loves Pride 2014 (July 18, 2014).
The Wikimedia Foundation supports the Fair Deal Coalition in voicing opposition to certain provisions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) (July 09, 2014).

Media contact

Media contact through July 2014: wmf:Press room/Media Contact#July 2014

Wikipedia Signpost

For detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited newsletter “Wikipedia Signpost” for June 2014:

Communications Design

We helped various Foundation teams create graphics and giveaways to help represent themselves at Wikimania, and to show our thanks to the Wikimedians we don’t usually get to see in person. We also worked with Grantmaking to continue improvement of grant application pages and tools.

by wikimediablog at November 03, 2014 04:23 AM

Wikimedia Highlights, July 2014

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

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

File:Knowledge for Everyone.webm

Knowledge For Everyone – a short documentary accompanying the petition

Petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones

On July 28, the Wikimedia Foundation launched a petition for free access to Wikipedia on mobile phones, as it is offered in the Wikipedia Zero program. The petition is accompanied by the short documentary film, titled Knowledge for Everyone, about a group of high school students in South Africa who had written an open letter asking the country’s mobile carriers for such access, so that they could use Wikipedia for their schoolwork.

Legal victories in Italy and against paid editing sites

After more than four years, a Rome court dismissed a case against the Wikimedia Foundation, describing Wikipedia as “a service based on the freedom of the users” and setting positive precedent for other claims in Italy. Also in July, the Foundation successfully obtained orders preventing four websites advertising a service of paid editing of articles on Wikipedia from abusing the “Wikipedia” trademark.

Screenshot of new iOS Wikipedia app

New Wikipedia app for iOS mobile devices

In July, the new native iOS Wikipedia app was released, following the successful launch of the Android app in June. The app has the same features as the Android app, including the ability to edit both anonymously and logged in, saved pages for offline reading, and a history of your recently visited pages.

Grants impact analysis

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Grantmaking department published the first set of analyses for an impact review focusing on $4.4M of fully reported grants from the year 2013/14 in its three grants areas: Individual Engagement Grants, Project & Event Grants and Annual Plan Grants.

“Key observations from this first round of impact analyses” (presentation slide)

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for June:

432 million (-7.9% compared with May; -9.1% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects, not including mobile devices; comScore will release July data later in July)

Page requests for July:

20.583 billion (+1.8% compared with June; +4.4% 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 June 2014 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,549 (-7.0% compared with May / -2.0% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




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

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

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

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

Revenue 51,280,212
 Engineering Group 17,380,695
 Fundraising Group 3,701,090
 Grantmaking Group 1,860,627
 Programs Group 1,766,790
 Grants 5,695,611
 Governance Group 1,254,286
 Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 5,114,480
 Finance/HR/Admin Group 7,025,451
Total Expenses 43,799,030
Total surplus (7,481,182)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of June is $1.31MM versus plan of $1.67MM, approximately $0.36MM or 22% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $51.28MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $1.21MM or 2% over plan.
  • Expenses for the month of June is $6.58MM versus plan of $4.52MM, approximately $2.06MM or 46% over plan, primarily due to higher legal fees, capital expenditures, grants, outside contract services, personnel expenses, and travel & conference expenses offset by lower internet hosting expenses.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $43.80MM versus plan of $50.07MM, approximately $6.27MM or 13% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, overall grants and travel expenses partially offset by higher legal fees, outside contract services, and conference expenses.
  • Cash and Investments – $49.67MM as of June 30, 2014.

Infographic from Wikimedia UK’s report

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia UK publishes impact analysis of Wikimedian-in-Residence programs

The UK Wikimedia chapter published the result of an impact analysis of Wikimedian-in-Residence programs at British cultural institutions. Among the recommendations of the report is to increase the duration of residencies (residencies should be longer to ensure impact, e.g. 9-12 months for larger organizations) and to have clearer project goals for each residency to improve assessing impact.

First German “culture hackathon”

Organized by Wikimedia Germany together with the German Digital Library, the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and the Service Center Digitization Berlin, the first “Coding da Vinci” culture hackathon took place in Berlin on July 6. The five winning software project include a project linking a list of names of authors ostracized by the Nazis with additional information from Wikipedia and other sources, and an app showing historical paintings from the Stadtmuseum Berlin, which hosted a Wikipedian in Residence in 2012, as illustrations on modern OpenStreetMap maps.

by wikimediablog at November 03, 2014 04:00 AM

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, October 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Wikimedia Research Newsletter Logo.png

Vol: 4 • Issue: 10 • October 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Informed consent and privacy; newsmaking on Wikipedia; Wikipedia and organizational theories

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

Tl;dr: Users, informed consent and privacy policies online

Reviewed by Kim Osman

In new research[1] conducted in light of proposed changes to data protection legislation in the European Union (EU), authors Bart Custers, Simone van der Hof, and Bart Schermer conducted a comparative analysis of social media and user-generated content websites’ privacy policies along with a user survey (N=8,621 in 26 countries) and interviews in 13 different EU countries on awareness, values, and attitudes toward privacy online. The authors state consent regarding personal data use is an important concept and observe, “There is mounting evidence that data subjects do not fully contemplate the consequences and risks of personal data processing.”

Custers, van der Hof and Schermer developed a set of criteria for giving informed consent about the use of personal data including: “Is it clear who is processing the data and who is accountable?” and “Is the information provided understandable?” When existing privacy policies were applied to these criteria, Wikipedia was the worst performing of the sites analyzed and recommends that it makes clear how minors are dealt with and to provide additional clarity around security measures. It also notes that IP addresses may be traced, therefore making “anonymous” Wikipedia users identifiable.

The study did acknowledge issues around self-presentation and identity in different online contexts and the actual need for a site like Wikipedia to have an extensive privacy policy as users afford criteria regarding privacy different value in these different contexts. The authors do note however, “Wikipedia does collect opinions that may be attributable to individuals and that may be considered privacy sensitive.”

This paper is a well-researched summary of the privacy policies of online sites (including major international platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), and although from a European perspective (where data collection practices are arguably more stringent than in other places in the world), it raises important questions about how Wikipedia approaches its privacy policy in terms of informed user consent, and would be useful reading for anyone with an interest in how online practices are shaping approaches to user privacy.

For researchers requiring more information about ethics in online research visit the Association of Internet Researchers’ wiki.


Holocaust articles compared across languages

We tell ourselves that Wikipedia works well for the most part, but that finding consensus might break down on controversial articles. Of all article topics, perhaps none is potentially more fraught than the Holocaust, and that is precisely what Rudolf Den Hartogh has tackled in his Master’s thesis “The future of the Past: A case study on the representation of the Holocaust on Wikipedia”.[2] It is an in-depth compare and contrast analysis of the Holocaust topic in the English, German, and Dutch. Several curious facts come out of this. For instance the average vandalism rate on these articles is 4%, compared with 7% globally – as these articles have been locked at some point, although the Dutch version is no longer protected. Other analyses show edit activity over time, since the articles’ inception. The German version saw the height of its shaping 2 years after it was started in 2004, whereas the English and Dutch articles saw their main spurts 5 and 3 years later respectively. Moreover the author finds “that there does not exist one representation of the Holocaust, but each language version has its own unique account of events and phenomena.” Finally they “found that none of the Holocaust entries under study is rated ‘good quality’,” so we still have not definitively addressed the hardest parts of our encyclopedia.

Semantic role label features for all records, colours are based on event tag in the Lensing Wikipedia dataset.
(“SRL-Full-p40″ by Jasneet.sabharwal, under CC-BY-SA-4.0)

Lensing Wikipedia

A project[3] with this title aims to extract date, location, event and role semantic data from historical English Wikipedia articles. Of course making grand sense of that automatic extraction work requires visualization. Such visualization is difficult on high-dimensional data consisting of e.g. a date, location, multiple events and roles – all at the same time. A short proof of concept “Visualizing Wikipedia using t-SNE” by Jasneet Singh Sabharwal [4] has done just this using a Barnes-Hut simulation variation of the T-distributed stochastic neighbor embedding algorithm. This image shows the closeness of the semantic roles of features found in Wikipedia article text, with colors indicating similar events that articles are describing.

“Infoboxes and cleanup tags: Artifacts of Wikipedia newsmaking”

An article[5] in Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism looks at use and abuse of cleanup tags and infobox elements as conceptual and symbolic tools. Based on ethnographic observations and several interviews, the author provides a lengthy description of the formative first three or so weeks in the 2011 Egyptian Revolution article. It is a valuable study of how articles are developed, and the collaboration and conflicts that are common in high-activity articles. The author provides a valuable observation that “Classification work… is intensely political” and “the editing of Wikipedia articles involves continuous linking and classifying.” The choice of words, categories, article titles, but also specific tags or infoboxes (though a particular example discussed – whether to use Template:Infobox uprising or not – seems to concern a template that does not, in fact, exist) can be quite controversial. The author also puts forth an interesting argument that removal of cleanup tags may give false impressions of stability in articles that are not yet stable; and that infoboxes carry significant, perhaps undue weight, compared to other elements of the article.

Wikipedia’s identity “based on freedom”

This paper[6] looks at Wikipedia through a number of organizational theory lenses, in particular theories of organizational identity. Of particular interest to Wikipedians is one of the aspects analyzed by the editors – identify of the project. The authors state that “the organizational identity at Wikipedia is based on freedom”. Next, they discuss the utopian ideals of freedom (such as “anyone can edit”), as contrasted with the freedom-reducing tendencies of censorship, administrative control, and bureaucratization. The authors argue that the common solution to criticism of Wikipedia, within the community, is concealment and marginalization of said criticism. The authors point to the practical defanging of the Wikipedia:Ignore all rules policy, which has went through a number of meaning shifts, in which it was redefined to be virtually toothless, even though the name remained the same. Another way that freedom is limited is through end-justifies-the-mean utopian vision of “free access [to Wikipedia] for everyone”, replacing the older “anyone can edit” “freedom of editing meaning. Unfortunately, the author’s discussion of “the subjugation of contesting voices” is very short on details and specifics; the authors allude to administrator power abuse, but fail to provide any specific discussion of how it occurs; an example they used of “deleted content” can be interpreted as nothing more sinister then admin ability to delete content that does not meet Wikipedia’s site policies, including uncontroversial content such as spam.

“Copyright or Copyleft? Wikipedia as a Turning Point for Authorship”

This paper[7] touches upon a very interesting yet understudied area: what Wikipedia’s existence means for copyright law. As the authors note, Wikipedia “appears to challenge some of the notions at the heart of copyright law.”

Critique of Wikipedia’s dispute resolution procedures

This paper[8] claims to presents an ethnographic analysis of and a strong critique of Wikipedia’s dispute resolution procedures, and states upfront its goal as “to tease out systemic discrimination or injustice”. The strongly worded abstract is attention-drawing, promising that “A number of flaws will be identified including the ability for vocal minorities to dominate the Wikipedia community consensus”. Unfortunately, while the paper provides a very detailed description of Wikipedia’s dispute resolution scene, it doesn’t seem to present any new data; its critique of “vocal minorities”, for example, is composed of few sentences, and the entire argument is based on, and essentially a repetition of a similar passage in Reagle’s Good Faith Collaboration book. While the paper is well written and presents a number of valid arguments, it does not seem to contribute anything new to our understanding of Wikipedia, being in essence a literature review focused on the topic of dispute resolution on Wikipedia. Which this reviewer finds disappointing, considering that the almost tabloid-style abstract and the introductory section promise ethnographic research, which – like anything else going beyond synthesis of existing, published research – is sadly very much absent from the paper.

Other recent publications

A list of other recent publications that could not be covered in time for this issue – contributions are always welcome for reviewing or summarizing newly published research.

  • “Insights from the Wikipedia Contest (IEEE Contest for Data Mining 2011)”[9] (earlier coverage: “Predicting editor survival: The winners of the Wikipedia Participation Challenge“)
  • “A Piece of My Mind: A Sentiment Analysis Approach for Online Dispute Detection”[10] (constructs a dispute corpus from Wikipedia talk pages)
  • “Extracting Imperatives from Wikipedia Article for Deletion Discussions”[11] (without conclusions or published dataset, apparently)
  • “Use of Wikipedia by Legal Scholars: Implications for Information Literacy”[12]
  • “Guiding Students in Collaborative Writing of Wikipedia Articles – How to Get Beyond the Black Box Practice in Information Literacy Instruction”[13] (received the EdMedia Outstanding Paper Award)
  • “Two Is Bigger (and Better) Than One: the Wikipedia Bitaxonomy Project”[14] (project home page, allowing the live creation of a taxonomy graph for an arbitrary Wikipedia article: http://wibitaxonomy.org )
  • “Analysis of the accuracy and readability of herbal supplement information on Wikipedia”[15]
  • “Maturity Assessment of Wikipedia Medical Articles”[16]
  • “Computer-supported collaborative accounts of major depression: Digital rhetoric on Quora and Wikipedia”[17]


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Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 10 • October 2014
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by wikimediablog at November 03, 2014 02:41 AM

November 02, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Evropská reforma autorského práva a hnutí Wikimedia

Budova Evropské komise

Budova Evropské komise, kde se bude o reformě Autorského práva rozhodovat. Přinese nám svobodu panoramatu, abychom nemuseli pro příště cenzorovat tuto budovu? (foto: Snowdog, Public Domain)

Již dříve jsem na stránkách tohoto blogu zmínil rodící se wiki platformu, která existuje v rámci Evropských institucí. Jejím v současné době nejzajímavějším počinem byl croudsourcing odpovědí k evropské reformě Autorského práva. Evropská komise se zeptala veřejnosti, co si myslí o nadcházející harmonizaci Autorského práva v Evropě a sepsání nové směrnice. Free Knowledge Advocacy