April 16, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Odisha Dibasa 2014: 14 books re-released under CC license

 Guests releasing a kit DVD containing Odia typeface “Odia OT Jagannatha,” offline input tool “TypeOdia,” Odia language dictionaries, open source softwares, offline Odia Wikipedia and Ubuntu package.

Odisha became a separate state in British India on April 1, 1936. Odia, a 2,500 year old language recently gained the status of an Indian classical language. The Odia Wikimedia community celebrated these two occasions on March 29 in Bhubaneswar with a gathering of 70 people. Linguists, scholars and journalists discussed the state of the Odia language in the digital era, initiatives for its development and steps that can be taken to increase accessibility to books and other educational resources. 14 copyrighted books have been re-licensed under the Creative Commons license and the digitization project on Odia WikiSource was formally initiated by an indigenous educational institute, the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS). Professor Udayanath Sahu from Utkal University, The Odisha Review’s editor Dr. Lenin Mohanty, Odisha Bhaskar’s editor Pradosh Pattnaik, Odia language researcher Subrat Prusty, Dr. Madan Mohan Sahu, Allhadmohini Mohanty, Chairman Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa and trust’s secretary Brajamohan Patnaik along with senior members Sarojkanta Choudhury and Shisira Ranjan Dash spoke at the event.

 Group photo of Odia wikimedians participating in the advanced Wikimedia workshop at KIIT University.

Eleven books from Odia writer Dr. Jagannath Mohanty were re-released under Creative Commons Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA 3.0) license by the “Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa” trust,  a trust founded by Dr. Mohanty for the development of the Odia language. Allhadmohini Mohanty formally gave written permission to Odia Wikimedia to release and digitize these books.

The community will be training students and a group of six faculty members at KISS who will coordinate the digitization of these books. “Collaborative efforts and open access to knowledge repositories will enrich our language and culture,” said linguist Padmashree Dr. Debiprasanna Pattanayak as he inagurated the event. Dr. Pattanayak and Odia language researcher Subrat Prusty from the Institute of Odia Studies and Research also re-licensed three books (Two Odia books; “Bhasa O Jatiyata“, “Jati, Jagruti O Pragati” and an English book “Classical Odia”) based on their research on Odia language and cultural influence of the language on other societies under the same license. KISS is going to digitize some of these books and make them available on Odia Wikisource.

An OpenType Odia Unicode font, “Odia OT Jagannatha” designed by Sujata Patel from Odialanguage.com was released under the OFL license. This is the first Odia OpenType font that the community actively tested. A new Odia offline input tool called “TypeOdia” by Wikipedian Manoj Sahukar was also released for public distribution. DVDs containing the font, the input tool, Odia language dictionaries, offline Odia Wikipedia in Kiwix, Wikipedia editing guide, ISCII to Unicode font converter, various free and open source software packages and Ubuntu operating system.

Active Odia Wikipedian and Admin Mrutyunjaya Kar gave the inaugural speech. Subhashish Panigrahi from the Center for Internet and Society read the annual report and vision of Odia Wikipedia. Chief guest Dr. Debiprasanna Pattanayak discussed about the efforts put forth that brought the Odia language as the sixth Indian classical language. A large majority of Odia publications are not available on the internet and readers are devoid of easy accessibility. He further discussed the process of digitization for preserving valuable books that are out of print and the old palm leaf manuscripts. Professor Udayanath Sahu presented on the process, progress and implementation of machine translation project in Utkal University.

Odia wikipedian mrutyunjaya kar and ansuman giri on 30the march 2014.jpgAdvanced Wikimedia workshop at KIIT University.

Experienced Wikimedians conducted an advanced Wikipedia workshop on the second day of event at KIIT University, Bhubaneswar. It was attended by a majority of the existing Wikimedians from the community including new Wikipedians who signed up for the Odia Wikipedia Education Program at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal. Mrutyunjaya Kar presented on WikiData and various tools for linking and accessing information in multiple languages on various Wikimedia projects. Ansuman Giri discussed advanced technical aspects such as the use of various gadgets, proper categorization, how to use subpages, how to auto-list archive pages, customizing WikiLove feature, user rights modification, including how important it is to cite biographies of living persons with secondary sources, etc. Shitikantha Dash discussed copyright and issues regarding uploading images and other media files on Wikimedia Commons. Dr. Subas Chandra Rout presented on “notability, referencing and creating citations for the notable topics.”  Subhashish Panigrahi discussed the work plan for the year, failure of program projects, collective learning and the dos and don’ts of community building.

We hope that more authors will come forward and re-release their books under CC-BY-SA license. The Odia community is excited to see or.wikisource.org go live. A few Wikipedians are even interested in typing their favorite free licensed books to make them available on Wikisource. I believe it’ll be challenging to train the KISS students to type and proof-read the written texts. In the CISA2K’s draft plan, the goal to have the number of editors seems overestimated. The students need to have some knowledge about Wikimedia and how it works in general before they start working. We hope that the books will be digitized properly and in coming days more users will join us in the process as we will have more free books in Odia Wikisource. I appeal to the Odia people to be a part of the Odia Wikimedia community and make Odia Wikisource a successful project, we need all the time you can devote. :-)

Ansuman Giri, Odia Wikipedian


Subhashish Panigrahi, Odia Wikipedian

by Subhashish Panigrahi at April 16, 2014 05:21 AM

April 15, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Supporting innovation beyond the traditional IP regime: Using Wikipedia as a model

Michigan State College of Law Professor Sean Paper responds to comments on his presentation during the “Cultural Production Without IP” panel.

Intellectual property (IP) rights like copyrights, patents and trademarks are given to scientists and authors to reward them for their contributions to the arts and sciences. These exclusive rights allow them to monetize their work. But piracy and the sale of goods that infringe IP rights are steadily increasing. From 2000 to 2007, trade in counterfeit and pirated products increased 7.6% among all globally-traded commodities – and this number excludes all electronic piracy.[1] In the European Union alone, customs agents intercepted almost 40 million infringing articles trying to be imported into the member states in 2012.[2] Yet, despite the profit loss that undoubtedly comes with infringement, scientists and artists continue to create signalling that (1) economic incentives are not the only driving force behind innovation, and (2) laws outside IP are supporting this innovation.

On Sunday, March 30th, the Information Society Project (ISP) [4] at Yale Law School hosted the Innovation Law Beyond IP conference to explore these issues. The event brought together some of the most reputable scholars in IP to discuss how the law can be used to promote innovation outside the context of private IP rights. The discussion centered around the trends of innovation already occurring without IP protection and looked to develop areas of law that can play a positive role in supporting innovation beyond the domain of IP law. Wikimedia Legal Fellow Manprit Brar followed this discussion to think about what lessons can be learned for Wikimedia’s legal work.

Yale Law School Professor Amy Kapczynski opened the conference by framing the discussion of innovation law as having no one focus. She discussed the many alternative areas of law to IP that are used to help sustain and encourage innovation, including:

  • Procurement law – where governments can directly fund innovative work;
  • Tax law – that can provide tax incentives to creative industries;
  • Human capital law – where employment law and antitrust can be used to maximize innovation through the propertization of the “the inputs of innovation – people, their skills, experience, knowledge, professional relationships, creative and entrepreneurial energies, and the potential for innovating;”[5]
  • Regulatory law – using regulatory mandates to force innovation (e.g. by requiring car manufacturers to develop technology that meet certain fuel efficiency standards);
  • Tort law – imposing liability for failing to innovate (e.g. developing testing procedures to ensure products are safe);
  • Contracts law – where parties can contract for innovate work instead of waiting for the future private IP rewards for the final product.

Current IP practices are quickly becoming outdated as the world changes in response to massive technological developments. It is now more important than ever to look to these alternate areas of law to encourage innovation.

Stanford Law Professor Mark Lemley discussed how technology like the Internet is eating away at the artificial scarcity created by IP law. The advent of the Internet significantly reduced the cost of distributing content and expanded the bounds of distribution worldwide to anyone with an Internet connection. The Internet dissolved the separation between the creation of content and the distribution of it by allowing you to do it yourself, rather than forcing you to engage a middle person for distribution. As a result, people are creating and distributing their content at incredible rates – and they are doing this outside of the marketplace and without extensive IP protection. Attempts to maintain this artificial scarcity are prevalent in our society as our legal systems go after file sharers, our schools began to teach kids not to download from the Internet, and our politicians propose legislation to give IP owners greater power over the internet (think SOPA). But, in the end, these efforts are somewhat futile.

So, what motivates people to create content and share it with the world without ensuring their IP rights in the content? What incentives are currently available to encourage people to do this? These are the types of questions that scholars are now considering and applying to determine how the law can be used to support innovation without traditional IP protections. Throughout the conference, one thing was very clear: the role of IP is smaller than once thought compared to other existing infrastructure that allows creators to produce and distribute their work.

Cultural production without using IP as the primary incentive

One of the first panel discussions delved into contributions to culture and the related IP concerns, which is something that doesn’t often factor into the discussion of IP in the US. IP law is not often seen as important to enrich our culture as much as it is seen as a commercial tool to maximize profit. However, an overarching theme found in the research of Sean Pager and Jessica Silbey is that reputational incentives like attribution and integrity are very important to creators. Additionally, it appears copyright is more important at the distribution stage and not during creation. Authors and scientists don’t create with the intention of using IP to make money for themselves, but they will use it afterwards to protect their work.

Michigan State College of Law Professor Sean Pager discussed alternative modes of encouragement within the context of indie films and looked at how these could be used to encourage greater cultural diversity in the film industry. Familiar models used to encourage creation in the indie film industry include copyright, but direct state funding, tax incentives and certain infrastructure support for creating the films are also available. However, all the current models of support involve the use of gatekeepers, which means there are a narrow set of decision makers that all hold their own biases, which may not be the same as those held by society. As a result, the content produced is not as diverse as the society it is meant to serve. Pager suggests the use of distributed models of encouragement dissemination to bypass gatekeepers, which will ultimately result in more diverse content production.

To further explore the motivations behind innovation, Jessica Silbey presented a chapter of her book “Real Accounts from Creators and Innovators: Making Do with an IP Misfit”. For her book, she conducted a study using face to face interviews to determine if current US IP laws actually function “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”[6] Silbey interviewed authors, scientists, engineers, IP lawyers and business executives working in the field to determine what role IP law actually plays in their work. Her results showed a misalignment between the motivations for innovation and the current laws that exist to promote that innovation. Creators of content and inventors are largely concerned with their reputation among their peers and are focused on having their hard work and time valued, which is not a concept protected by IP laws. You won’t get a patent on your new invention just because you worked hard on it. The interviews did confirm that creators want to be able to convert the value of their work into tangible things that can be protected. Future scholarship should look to how IP can support production rather than focusing solely on using it to incentivize creation.

Privacy and innovation: Forever in conflict?

The next round table discussion focused on the link between privacy and innovation. The general thinking surrounding these concepts are that they are in indirect conflict with each other. One perspective is that privacy restrictions should be loosened to provide greater access to information in order to have the freedom to innovate. If personal information is the fuel for the information economy, privacy laws can be seen as barriers to the flow of this information, which hinders innovation. Participants noted the correlation between stronger privacy laws and weaker innovation in the European Union in comparison with the US. The participants were careful to note that this correlation does not necessarily prove a causative relationship between the two.

Participants also discussed how privacy is needed to encourage innovation. Privacy is required to generate trust in online ecosystems and through that trust, innovation can be generated. The round-table discussion touched on issues of commercialized surveillance by information businesses like Google and Facebook that use consumer information to maximize advertising profits. In their discussion, participants noted a possible need for privacy rules to enhance competition and thus innovation. The discussion generally reflected many of the issues recently raised by Wikimedia community members in the debate around the new Wikimedia privacy policy.

Using prizes and grants to stimulate innovation instead of IP


Grants and prizes are now being looked to as alternative methods to IP rights in promoting innovation. Michael Burstein and Fiona Murray explored the governance challenges faced by prize competitions where innovation is being encouraged through direct rewards. The prizes currently awarded to the winners are not seen as substitutes to IP but complement existing IP rights. The researchers focused on the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize (PIAXP) in their study. They found the participants had many motivations aside from the prize money for competing, which included IP rights, but also the reputational benefits from winning as well as the simple desire to compete in a research challenge. Additionally, although the rules of the competition kept changing throughout, participants accepted these changes because they were perceived as legitimate and fair responses to how the competition was progressing. When thinking of ways that prizes can be used by the government to encourage innovation on a wider scale, the government is in a better position to value the innovation needed to ensure the prize is of a sufficient amount. The government has this advantage because they have an informational advantage in sectors such as public health, where innovation is most useful.

As a complement to the discussion of prizes, Bhaven Sampat held an intriguing talk about his paper “The Unexpected Political Economy of Serendipity,” which looks at the innovation that originates from grants. More specifically, his paper focuses on how research under National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants for specific areas leads to advances in other seemingly unrelated fields. His research consisted of connecting NIH grants with medical publications and then connecting those publications with patents and FDA-approved drugs using the Orange Book. Through these connections, Sampat was able to find the link between NIH grants and the commercially available pharmaceuticals created as a result of those grants. Sampat’s findings show that at least 30% of new pharmaceutical drugs seem to result from so-called “serendipitous discoveries.”

This research on medical grants and existing rule regimes governing them can be used to develop regulations to govern prize competitions. Burstein’s and Murray’s research that developing a perfect set of rules is unnecessary suggests it may be more effective to just provide any set of fair rules to garner the participation of innovators but not unnecessarily restrict the outcome of their research to allow for serendipitous discoveries.

Wikimedia Projects as a model of innovation beyond IP

Previously, the dominant theory in IP was that IP rights were needed to promote innovation and that without the protections afforded by IP law, the incentives to create would disappear. In reality, the reverse has happened. There are more books, videos, songs and content in general being produced than ever before. We can just take a look at the growth of projects like Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons to see that. People enjoy creating and sharing their content online and because of the Internet, it is now possible for anyone with at least some talent to make a song or video at minimal cost. The Internet has ultimately unlocked the gatekeepers of creation. Before, if someone wanted to create music that people would hear, they needed a major record label to produce and distribute that music. But now, you can simply use your webcam to record your music and upload a video onto a site like YouTube and potentially reach millions of viewers. That is after all how artists like Justin Bieber, Bo Burnham, and Greyson Chance got their start! In sum, people create because they can, because they want to, because they are interested in it and not because IP laws will allow them to collect royalties 70 years after their death.

The Wikimedia projects can also be said to have unlocked the gatekeepers of creation as they allow anyone to become a volunteer and contribute to the writing of articles and contributing other content. Through the projects, individuals can choose to contribute as much or as little as they wish without having to get approval from a publisher or other middle person in order to distribute that content to the world. The underlying assumption of IP law is that we need to allow people to control what they create or else they won’t create. However, with the existence of things like Creative Commons (CC) licensing, this assumption does not hold. Editors on Wikipedia, for example, contribute original content to the sites under CC BY-SA licensing, which allows anyone to come and adapt their contributions (provided they give appropriate attribution). Essentially, editors relinquish control over their content upon creation – and they are okay with that because they support the mission of the project. The English-language Wikipedia alone has upwards of 4.4 million articles[7] and the encyclopedia is still growing every day.

Many of the conclusions drawn throughout the conference of how innovation occurs without IP can be seen through the way Wikimedia projects function. Creating under a CC license is consistent with the emerging literature that a significant motivator behind innovation is not the idea of holding exclusive IP rights over the product of that innovation. Instead, it is the recognition that comes with innovation that drives creators. All Wikimedia web pages that allow users to edit have a page history that clearly displays all the edits made to the page and the user who made the edit (should they choose to identify themselves).

Sikh pilgrim at the Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) in Amritsar, India

Through CC licensing, the requirement of attribution satisfies the need for recognition and thus encourages people to contribute their content for free for the benefit of others and the expansion of free knowledge for the world. The Wikimedia movement has also already started using prizes and grants to encourage innovation and expand content across several Wikimedia projects. For example, the Wiki Loves Monuments contests encourage the uploading of high resolution photographs of some of the worlds most beautiful monuments. The outcome of projects like this are beautiful images like those selected in the Commons Photos of the Year competition, being freely licensed to the world. The dedicated Wikimedia community is a prime example of how valuable innovation occurs outside of the IP context, proving that IP is not integral to innovation.

IP Law’s future role in innovation

Wikimedia projects function contrary to the economic IP theory that exclusive private rights to IP are needed to encourage creation, showing that current trends of innovation cannot be explained by existing economic models that underlie IP law. Efforts to simplify the motivations for innovation will consistently fail so regulation needs to continuously adapt to the dynamic nature of human innovation. As the scholarship surrounding innovation advances, it will be interesting to see what regimes are developed to encourage further innovation.


Manprit Brar, Legal Fellow

Yana Welinder, Legal Counsel


  1. http://www.jec.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=Files.Serve&File_id=aa0183d4-8ad9-488f-9e38-7150a3bb62be
  2. http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/customs/customs_controls/counterfeit_piracy/statistics/index_en.htm
  3. The ISP is dedicated to developing the scholarship surrounding the impact of “the Internet and new information technologies for law and society, guided by the values of democracy, development and civil liberties.” http://www.yaleisp.org/about/history
  4. http://balkin.blogspot.com/2014/03/human-capital-law.html
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Size_of_Wikipedia
  6. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Clause
  7. Similarly, technologies like the 3D printer have removed the separation between the act of design and the act of manufacturing a product so that you can design and manufacture products yourself.

by Manprit Brar at April 15, 2014 11:29 PM

Wikimedia’s response to the “Heartbleed” security vulnerability


Logo for the Heartbleed bug

On April 7th, a widespread issue in a central component of Internet security (OpenSSL) was disclosed. The vulnerability has now been fixed on all Wikimedia wikis. If you only read Wikipedia without creating an account, nothing is required from you. If you have a user account on any Wikimedia wiki, you will need to re-login the next time you use your account.

The issue, called Heartbleed, would allow attackers to gain access to privileged information on any site running a vulnerable version of that software. Wikis hosted by the Wikimedia Foundation were potentially affected by this vulnerability for several hours after it was disclosed. However, we have no evidence of any actual compromise to our systems or our users’ information, and because of the particular way our servers are configured, it would have been very difficult for an attacker to exploit the vulnerability in order to harvest users’ wiki passwords.

After we were made aware of the issue, we began upgrading all of our systems with patched versions of the software in question. We then began replacing critical user-facing SSL certificates and resetting all user session tokens. See the full timeline of our response below.

All logged-in users send a secret session token with each request to the site. If a nefarious person were able to intercept that token, they could impersonate other users. Resetting the tokens for all users has the benefit of making all users reconnect to our servers using the updated and fixed version of the OpenSSL software, thus removing this potential attack.

We recommend changing your password as a standard precautionary measure, but we do not currently intend to enforce a password change for all users. Again, there has been no evidence that Wikimedia Foundation users were targeted by this attack, but we want all of our users to be as safe as possible.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Greg Grossmeier, on behalf of the WMF Operations and Platform teams

Timeline of Wikimedia’s response

(Times are in UTC)

April 7th:

April 8th:

April 9th:

April 10th:

Frequently Asked Questions

(This section will be expanded as needed.)

  • Why hasn’t the “not valid before” date on your SSL certificate changed if you have already replaced it?
    Our SSL certificate provider keeps the original “not valid before” date (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an “issued on” date) in any replaced certificates. This is not an uncommon practice. Aside from looking at the change to the .pem files linked above in the Timeline, the other way of verifying that the replacement took place is to compare the fingerprint of our new certificate with our previous one.

You can translate this blog post.



Wikimedias Reaktion auf die „Heartbleed“-Sicherheitslücke

Logo des Heartbleed-Bugs

Am 7. April wurde ein schwerwiegender Fehler in einem zentralen Baustein der Internet-Sicherheit (OpenSSL) veröffentlicht. Der Fehler wurde nun auf allen Wikimedia-Wikis behoben. Wenn du lediglich Wikipedia ohne ein Benutzerkonto liest, musst du nichts weiter tun. Wenn du ein Benutzerkonto bei irgendeinem Wikimedia-Wiki hast, musst du dich erneut anmelden, bevor du es wieder benutzen kannst.

Der Fehler, der Heartbleed genannt wird, erlaubte es Angreifern, auf privilegierte Informationen auf jeder beliebigen Webseite zuzugreifen, die die vom Fehler betroffene Versionen dieser Software verwendeten. Wikis, die von der Wikimedia Foundation betrieben werden, waren möglicherweise über mehrere Stunden nach Veröffentlichung der Sicherheitslücke davon betroffen. Allerdings haben wir keine Hinweise darauf, dass unsere Systeme tatsächlich angegriffen wurden, und die Konfiguration unserer Server sollte es Angreifern erschwert haben, durch die Sicherheitslücke Passwörter von Benutzern zu entwenden.

Nachdem wir auf die Sicherheitslücke aufmerksam gemacht wurden, begannen wir damit, all unsere Systeme mit korrigierten Versionen der fraglichen Software auszustatten. Danach fingen wir an, kritische, für den Benutzer sichtbare SSL-Zertifikate auszutauschen und alle Benutzersitzungen zu beenden. (Der vollständige Verlauf ist weiter unten dokumentiert.)

Alle angemeldeten Benutzer senden mit jeder Anfrage an die Seite ein geheimes Session Token. Wenn böswillige Angreifer dieses Token abfangen würden, so könnten sie damit sich als andere Benutzer ausgeben. Dadurch, dass wir alle Session Tokens zurückgesetzt haben, ergibt sich der Vorteil, dass alle Benutzer eine neue Verbindung mit den Servern aufbauen, die die korrigierte Version von OpenSSL verwenden, was diesen potenziellen Angriff unmöglich macht.

Zur Sicherheit empfehlen wir allen Benutzern, ihr Passwort zu ändern, aber zur Zeit haben wir nicht vor, dies zu erzwingen. Nochmal: es gibt keine Hinweise darauf, dass Benutzer der Wikimedia Foundation durch diesen Angriff betroffen sind, aber wir wünschen uns größtmögliche Sicherheit für alle Benutzer.

Vielen Dank für dein Verständnis und deine Geduld.

Greg Grossmeier, im Namen der WMF Operations und Platform Teams

Verlauf der Reaktion durch Wikimedia

(Alle Zeiten in UTC)

7. April:

8. April:

9. April:

10. April:

Häufig gestellte Fragen

(Dieser Abschnitt wird bei Bedarf erweitert.)

  • Warum wurde das „nicht gültig vor“-Datum des SSL-Zertifikats nicht geändert, als es ersetzt wurde?
    Der Aussteller unserer SSL-Zertifikate behält das „nicht gültig vor“-Datum (das manchmal auch fälschlich als „ausgestellt am“-Datum verstanden wird) in allen ersetzten Zertifikaten bei. Dies ist nicht ungewöhnlich. Um zu überprüfen, dass der Wechsel stattgefunden hat, kannst du die Änderung an den .pem-Dateien oben im Verlauf nachvollziehen oder den Fingerabdruck des neuen Zertifikats mit dem des alten vergleichen.


Respuesta de Wikimedia ante la vulnerabilidad de seguridad “Heartbleed”

Logotipo del error Heartbleed

El 7 de abril se reveló un problema generalizado en un componente central de la seguridad en Internet (OpenSSL). Ya hemos remediado esta vulnerabilidad en todos los wikis de Wikimedia. Si usted solo lee Wikipedia sin crear una cuenta, no necesita realizar ninguna acción. Si tiene una cuenta de usuario en cualquier wiki de Wikimedia, tendrá que iniciar una sesión nueva la próxima vez que use su cuenta.

El problema, conocido como Heartbleed, permite a posibles atacantes el acceso a información privilegiada en cualquier sitio que utilizara una versión vulnerable de ese software. Las wikis hospedadas por la Fundación Wikimedia estuvieron expuestas durante varias horas después de darse a conocer este punto débil. Sin embargo, no tenemos ninguna evidencia de que nuestros sistemas o la información sobre nuestros usuarios hayan sido afectados, y, debido a la forma particular en nuestros servidores están configurados, hubiera sido muy difícil que un atacante se aprovechara de la vulnerabilidad con el fin de obtener las contraseñas de los usuarios.

Después de habernos enterado del problema, comenzamos a actualizar todos nuestros sistemas con versiones reparadas del software en cuestión. Después empezamos a sustituir certificados SSL críticos y a reestablecer todas las claves de sesión de usuario. El historial completo de nuestra respuesta se muestra a continuación.

Todos los usuarios registrados envían una señal de sesión secreta con cada solicitud al sitio. Si una persona malintencionada fuera capaz de interceptar esa señal, podría suplantar a otros usuarios. La reposición de las señales para todos los usuarios tiene la ventaja de hacer que todos los usuarios se vuelven a conectar a nuestros servidores utilizando la versión actualizada y fija del software OpenSSL, eliminando así este ataque potencial.

Le recomendamos cambiar su contraseña como medida de precaución estándar, pero no tenemos la intención actualmente de hacerlo obligatorio para todos los usuarios. Reiteramos que no hay evidencia de que los usuarios de la Fundación Wikimedia fueran el blanco de este ataque, pero queremos que todos nuestros usuarios estén lo más seguros posible.

Gracias por su comprensión y paciencia.

Greg Grossmeier, en nombre de los equipos de operaciones y plataforma de la Fundación Wikimedia.

Cronología de la respuesta de Wikimedia.

(Los horarios están en UTC)

7 de abril:

8 de abril:

9 de abril:

10 de abril:

Preguntas frecuentes

(Esta sección se expandirá conforme sea necesario).

  • ¿Por qué no cambia la fecha “no válido antes de” en el certificado SSL si ya lo han reemplazado?
    Nuestro proveedor de certificado SSL conserva la fecha original del “no válido antes de” (al que algunas veces se refiere incorrectamente como fecha de “publicado en”) en cualquier certificado reemplazado. No se trata de una práctica inusual. Además de observar los cambios en los archivos de tipo .pem enlazados en la cronología, se puede también verificar que el reemplazamiento se llevó a cabo comparando la huella digital (fingerprint) del nuevo certificado con el del anterior.


Risposta di Wikimedia alla vulnerabilità “Heartbleed”

Logo per il bug Heartbleed

Il 7 Aprile è stato scoperto un problema in un componente centrale della sicurezza in Internet (OpenSSL). La vulnerabilità è stata ora individuata e risolta su tutti i progetti di Wikimedia. Se consulti semplicemente Wikipedia senza aver creato un account, questo problema non ti riguarda. Se, invece, hai un account su uno qualsiasi dei progetti Wikimedia, avrai bisogno di fare nuovamente il log in la prossima volta che accederai.

La vulnerabilità, denominata Heartbleed, permetteva agli attaccanti di guadagnarsi l’accesso a informazioni privilegiate su qualsiasi sito utilizzasse una versione vulnerabile del software MediaWiki. I progetti wiki della Wikimedia Foundation sono state, pertanto, potenzialmente affette da tale problema per molte ore prima che il bug fosse scoperto. Non abbiamo, tuttavia, prove di nessuna compromissione dei nostri sistemi o delle informazioni utente e per la maniera in cui i nostri server sono configurati, sarebbe stato molto difficile per un attaccante riuscire a servirsi della vulnerabilità fino a compromettere le password degli utenti.

Dopo che ci siamo accorti del bug, abbiamo iniziato da subito l’aggiornamento di tutti i nostri sistemi tramite l’installazione di versioni aggiornate del software in questione. Abbiamo iniziato a sostituire i certificati SSL compromessi e abbiamo resettato i token delle sessioni utenti. Guarda in basso il timeline della nostra risposta alla vulnerabilità.

Tutti gli utenti che hanno effettuato l’accesso inviano un token segreto di sessione contenente le richieste di accesso al sito. Se un malintenzionato fosse capace di intercettare il token, potrebbe benissimo fingere di essere l’utente che ha mandato la richiesta al sito. Resettando tutti i token abbiamo ottenuto il vantaggio di dover far riconnettere tutti gli utenti ai nostri server che nel frattempo erano già stati aggiornati in modo tale da rimuovere la minaccia di un potenziale attacco.

Vi raccomandiamo, comunque, di cambiare la vostra password come misura standard di precauzione in questi casi ma non abbiamo intenzione di forzarvi a farlo. Ancora una volta ripetiamo, sia ben chiaro, che non sono state trovate tracce di alcun attacco contro gli utenti della Wikimedia Foundation. Il motivo che ci spinge a richiedervi di cambiare password è che vogliamo che i nostri utenti siano quanto più possibile al sicuro.

Grazie per la tua comprensione e la tua pazienza.

Greg Grossmeier, a nome del team Operazioni e Piattaforme della WMF.

Cronologia della risposta di Wikimedia

(Ore in UTC)

7 Aprile:

8 Aprile:

9 Aprile:

10 Aprile:

FAQ (Domande Frequenti)

(Questa sezione verrà estesa quanto sarà necessario)

  • Come mai non è cambiata la data del “Valido dal” sul certificato SSL se è vero che l’avete sostituito?
    I provider dei nostri certificati SSL mantengono la data originale del “valido da” (a volte incorretamente chiamata “data di installazione”) su ogni certificato sostituito. Questa non è da considerarsi una pratica insolita. A prescindere dal cambio dei file .pem linkati più su nella cronologia, un altro modo con cui si può verificare l’avvenuta sostituzione è quello di comparare la firma digitale del nuovo certificato con quello vecchio.


Wikimedia’s reactie op het Heartbleed-beveiligingslek

Logo van de Heartbleed bug

Op 7 april is er een groot beveiligingslek blootgelegd in een belangrijk component van de beveiliging van webpagina’s (OpenSSL). Op alle Wikimedia-wiki’s is dit lek inmiddels gedicht. In het geval u Wikipedia slechts, zonder gebruikersaccount, leest dan hoeft u geen actie te ondernemen. Als u op één of meerdere Wikimedia-wiki’s wél een account heeft dan zult u opnieuw in moeten loggen.

Het zogenaamde Heartbleed-lek gaf aanvallers de mogelijkheid vertrouwelijke informatie te benaderen op elke webpagina die een kwetsbare versie van OpenSSL gebruikte. Wiki’s van de Wikimedia Foundation waren tot enkele uren na het bekend worden van het lek kwetsbaar. We hebben echter geen aanwijzingen dat het lek daadwerkelijk misbruikt is om toegang tot onze systemen, of tot gegevens van gebruikers te krijgen. Het zou daarnaast, door onze specifieke serverconfiguratie, voor een aanvaller erg lastig zijn geweest om wachtwoorden van gebruikers te achterhalen.

Nadat we op de hoogte waren gesteld van het probleem zijn we meteen begonnen we met het upgraden van al onze systemen. Vervolgens hebben onze SSL-certificaten vervangen, en hebben we alle sessietokens gereset. Zie ook de volledige tijdlijn van alle de door Wikimedia ondernomen acties hieronder.

Alle ingelogde gebruikers sturen bij ieder verzoek aan de site een sessietoken mee. Als een aanvaller dat token van een gebruiker onderschept, dan kan deze daarmee voor die gebruiker uitgeven. Door het resetten van de sessietokens kan de aanvaller een token niet meer gebruiken. Bij het opnieuw inloggen wordt een versie van OpenSSL gebruikt waar het lek gerepareerd is, zodat deze aanval afgewend wordt.

Wij raden het aan om uw wachtwoord te veranderen als voorzorgsmaatregel, maar wij verplichten het niet dat alle gebruikers hun wachtwoorden veranderen. Er zijn geen sporen gevonden dat gebruikers het slachtoffer zijn geworden van deze bug, maar wij willen dat al onze gebruikers zo veilig als mogelijk zijn.

Dank u voor uw begrip en uw geduld.

Greg Grossmeier, namens de WMF Operations en Platform teams.

Tijdlijn van de door Wikimedia ondernomen acties

(Tijden zijn in UTC)

7 april:

8 april:

9 april:

10 april:

Veelgestelde vragen

(Deze sectie zal uitgebreid worden wanneer nodig is.)

  • Waarom is de “niet geldig vóór”-datum op jullie SSL certificaat niet veranderd als jullie het certificaat al vervangen hebben?
    Onze SSL certificaat-verstrekker houdt de oude “niet geldig vóór”-datum (soms foutief “verstrekt op”-datum genoemd) bij al de vervangen certificaten. Dit is niet ongewoon. Los van het kijken naar de verandering in de .pem bestanden waar naar wordt gelinkt boven de Tijdlijn, kan ook geverifieerd dat de verandering plaats heeft gevonden door de vingerafdruk van het nieuwe certificaat te vergelijken met onze vorige.


Réponse de Wikimédia à la vulnérabilité de sécurité “Heartbleed

Logo pour l’anomalie Heartbleed (le cœur qui saigne).

Le 7 avril a été révélé un problème très répandu dans un composant central (OpenSSL) pour la sécurité sur Internet. La vulnérabilité a maintenant été corrigée sur tous les wikis de Wikimédia. Si vous ne faites que lire Wikimédia sans créer un compte, il n’est pas nécessaire que vous fassiez quoi que ce soit. Si vous avez un compte utilisateur sur un wiki de Wikimédia, vous devrez vous reconnecter la prochaine fois que vous utilisez votre compte.

Le problème, appelé « Heartbleed », pourrait permettre à des attaquants d’avoir accès à des informations privilégiées sur tout site exécutant une version vulnérable de ce logiciel. Les wikis hébergés par la Fondation Wikimédia ont été potentiellement affectés par cette vulnérabilité durant quelques heures après sa découverte. Cependant, nous n’avons aucune évidence d’une compromission effective de nos systèmes ou des informations de nos utilisateurs et, du fait de la façon particulière dont nos serveurs sont configurés, il aurait été très difficile à un attaquant d’exploiter cette vulnérabilité afin de récolter les mots de passe des utilisateurs sur nos wikis.

Dès que nous avons été avisés du problème, nous avons commencé à mettre à jour nos systèmes avec des versions corrigées du logiciel en question. Nous avons commencé à remplacer les certificats SSL critiques exposés à l’utilisateur et à réinitialiser tous les jetons de sessions d’utilisateurs. Consultez le calendrier complet de notre réponse ci-dessus.

Tous les utilisateurs connectés envoient un jeton secret de session avec chacune de leurs requêtes au site. Si une personne malveillante était en mesure d’intercepter ce jeton, elle pourrait se faire passer pour d’autres utilisateurs. La réinitialisation des jetons de tous les utilisateurs a l’avantage de faire se reconnecter tous les utilisateurs à nos serveurs en utilisant la version mise à jour et corrigée du logiciel OpenSSL, ce qui ôte cette attaque potentielle.

Nous recommandons de modifier votre mot de passe en tant que mesure standard de précaution, mais nous ne comptons pas actuellement forcer ce changement pour tous les utilisateurs. À nouveau, il n‘y a pas eu d’évidence que les utilisateurs des serveurs de la Fondation Wikimédia ont été la cible de cette attaque, mais nous voulons que nous utilisateurs soient dans une situation aussi sûre que possible.

Merci pour votre patience et votre compréhension.

Greg Grossmeier, au nom des équipes des opérations et plateforme de la Fondation Wikimédia.

Chronologie de la réponse de Wikimédia

(Les heures sont mentionnées dans le fuseau UTC.)

7 avril :

8 avril :

9 avril :

10 avril :

Foire aux questions

(Cette section sera étendue si nécessaire.)

  • Pourquoi la date « non valide avant » de notre certificat SSL n’a-t-elle pas été changée si vous l’avez déjà remplacée ?
    Notre fournisseur de certificat SSL conserve la date originale « non valide avant » (parfois incorrectement décrite comme la date « publiée le ») dans tout certificat remplacé. Ceci n’est pas une pratique rare. En dehors de la consultation des fichiers .pem liés dans la chronologie ci-dessus, l’autre façon de vérifier que le remplacement a eu lieu est de comparer l’empreinte numérique de notre nouveau certificat avec la précédente.


Звернення Вікімедіа щодо вразливості безпеки через помилку “heartbleed”

Логотип помилки “Heartbleed”

7го квітня була розкрита широко поширена помилка у центральному компоненті інтернет-безпеки (OpenSSL). Вразливість вже виправлена на всіх проектах Вікімедії. Якщо ви тільки читаєте вікіпедію та не маєте аккаунта, від вас нічого не вимагається. Якщо ж ви маєте аккаунт на будь-якому проекті Вікімедії, ви повинні перелогінитись наступного разу, коли використовуватиме свій аккаунт.

Помилка, яка називається “Heartbleed”, дозволяє хакерам отримати доступ до привілейованої інформації будь-якого сайту, який використовує вразливу версію цього програмного забезпечення. Проекти Вікімедії потенціально могли бути вражені цією помилкою кілька годин після того, як вона була знайдена. Однак, в нас немає жодних доказів шкоди нашим системам чи інформації користувачів. І тому, конфігурація наших серверів зробила використовування цієї помилки хакерами для викрадення паролів дуже складним.

Після того, як ми дізналися про помилку, ми почали оновлювати всі системи виправленою версією програмного забезпечення. Потім ми почали заміняти критичні SSL-сертифікати, що контактують з користувачами, та завершили всі сессії користувачів. Дивіться повну хронологію наших дій нижче.

Всі залогінені користувачі надсилають секретний сесійний токен на кожне звернення до сайту. Якщо нечесна людина перехопить цей токен, вона зможе представлятися іншими користувачами. Скидання цих токенів для всіх користувачів гарне тим, що змушує всіх користувачів перепідключатися до наших серверів використовуючи оновлену та виправлену версію програмного забезпечення OpenSSL, що унеможливлює потенціальні атаки.

Ми рекомендуємо змінити ваш пароль як стандартний профілактичний захід, але ми, на данний час, не збираємося змушувати це робити всіх користувачів. Повторюємо, не було ніяких доказів, що користувачі Вікімедії були атаковані, але ми хочемо щоб всі користувачі були настільки захищені, наскільки це можливо.

Дякуємо за розуміння та терпіння.

Грег Гроссмейер, від імені команд операцій та платформ Вікімедії.

Хронологія дій Вікімедії

(Час вказано в UTC)

7 квітня:

8 квітня:

9 квітня:

10 квітня:

Поширені питання

(Цей розділ буде розширений при необхідності.)

  • Чому “не дійсні до” дати на вашому сертифікаті SSL не змінились, якщо ви вже замінили його?
    Наш постачальник SSL-сертифікатів зберігає справжню “не дійсне до” дату (яку іноді плутають з “видається на” датою) на всіх замінених сертифікатах. Це не непоширена практика. Окрім вивчення змін в .pem-файлах, посилання на які є зверху в хронології, інший спосіб впевнитись, що заміна дійсно була – це порівняти відбитки пальців на новому та старому сертифікатах.


Respuesta de Wikimedia a la escalabradura de seguridá “Heartbleed”

Logo del bug Heartbleed

El 7 d’abril revelóse un problema estendíu nun componente central de la seguridá d’Internet (OpenSSL). Yá ta iguada esta escalabradura en toles wikis de Wikimedia. Si sólo llee Wikipedia sin crear nenguna cuenta, nun necesita facer nada. Si tien una cuenta d’usuari en cualquier wiki de Wikimedia, tendrá qu’aniciar una sesión nueva la próxima vez qu’use la so cuenta.

El problema, llamáu Heartbleed, permitiría a unos atacantes ganar accesu a información privilexada en cualquier sitiu qu’execute una versión frañada d’esi software. Les wikis agospiaes pola Fundación Wikimedia tuvieron afeutaes demientres delles hores después de que s’espublizara esti fallu. Sicasí, nun tenemos evidencia nenguna de que los nuestros sistemes o la información de los usuarios pudieran tar comprometíos y, pola forma particular en que tenemos configuraos los nuesos sirvidores, sedría mui difícil pa un atacante esplotar el fallu pa collechar les contraseñes de los usuarios de la wiki.

Después de conocer el problema, principiamos por anovar tolos sistemes con versiones iguáes del software en cuestión. Darréu, empezamos a sustituir los certificaos SSL críticos cara al usuariu y reaniciar tolos pases de sesión d’usuariu. Vea más abaxo un diagrama temporal completu de la nuesa respuesta.

Tolos usuarios rexistraos unvien un pase de sesión secretu con cada solicitú al sitiu. Si una persona fuina pudiera interceptar esi pase, podría suplantar a otros usuarios. El reaniciu de los pases pa tolos usuarios tien la ventaya de facer que tolos usuarios vuelvan a coneutase a los sirvidores usando la versión anovada ya iguada del software OpenSSL, torgando asina esti ataque potencial.

Recomendamos que cambie la contraseña como midida de precaución estándar, pero nesti momentu nun tenemos la intención d’obligar a tolos usuarios a facelo. Insistimos en que nun hai evidencia de que los usuarios de la Fundación Wikimedia fueran blanco d’esti ataque, pero queremos que tolos nuesos usuarios tean lo más seguros posible.

Gracies pola so comprensión y paciencia.

Greg Grossmeier, nel nome de los equipos d’Operaciones y Plataforma de la Fundación Wikimedia.

Diagrama temporal de la respuesta de Wikimedia

(Les hores tan en UTC)

7 d’abril:

8 d’abril:

9 d’abril:

10 d’abril:

Entrugues frecuentes

(Esta sección s’espanderá según se necesite).

  • ¿Por qué nun cambió la data «non válidu antes de» del certificáu SSL si yá lu trocaron?
    El nuesu fornidor de certificáu SSL caltién la data orixinal «non válidu antes de» (incorreutamente llamada dacuando data de «asoleyáu el») en cualquier certificáu trocáu. Esto nun ye una práctica estraña. Amás de mirar el cambiu de los ficheros .pem enllazaos más arriba na cronoloxía, la otra manera de comprobar que tuvo llugar el cambiu ye comparar la buelga dixital del certificáu nuevu cola del anterior.









Greg Grossmeier,代表维基媒体基金会维护及平台团队。









    • 在你们更换了SSL证书后,为什么你们的SSL证书的“生效日期”的具体时间没有更新?

‎Bahasa Indonesia

Tanggapan Wikimedia mengenai kerentanan keamanan “Heartbleed”

Logo untuk bug Heartbleed

Pada tanggal 7 April, isu menyebar mengenai komponen utama dari keamanan internet (OpenSSL) diberitahukan. Kerentanan ini sudah diperbaiki di seluruh wiki milik Wikimedia. Bila Anda hanya membaca Wikipedia tanpa membuat akun pengguna, tidak ada yang dibutuhkan dari Anda. Bila Anda membuat akun pengguna di seluruh wiki milik Wikimedia, Anda harus re-login disaat Anda selanjutnya menggunakan akun pengguna Anda.

Isu utamanya, disebut Heartbleed, memperbolehkan penyerang mendapatkan akses ke informasi khusus di semua situs yang lemah terhadap perangkat lunak tersebut. Wiki yang di host oleh Yayasan Wikimedia memiliki potensial untuk terpengaruh dengan kelemahan ini selama beberapa jam setelah kerentanan ini diberitahukan. Biarpun begitu, kami tidak memiliki bukti bahwa ada ada masalah kepada system kami untuk informasi pengguna, dan dikarenakan server kami memiliki konfigurasi khusus sendiri, akanlah sangat sulit untuk penyerang mengeksploit kerentanan ini untuk mengambil password akun pengguna.

Setelah kami mengetahui adanya isu ini, kami memulai memutakhirkan semua system kami dengan versi patch dari software yang dipermasalahkan. Kami selanjutnya mengganti sertifikat pengguna SSL yang kritikal dengan me-reset ulang semua sesi token. Lihat semua garis waktu respon dibawah.

Semua pengguna yang log-in menerima sesi token rahasia dengan setiap permintaan ke situs. Bila ada orang denga maksud buruk mampu menangkap token tersebut, mereka dapat berpura pura meniru pengguna lain. Me-reset ulang token untuk semua pengguna memiliki keuntungan membuat semua pengguna menghubungkan ulang ke server kami menggunakan perangkat lunak yang sudah dimutakhirkan dan sudah diperbaiki, alhasil menghapus kemungkinan penyerangan ini.

Kami merekomendasikan untuk mengganti password Anda untuk tindakan pencegahan, tetapi kami tidak bermaksud untuk memaksa penggantian password untuk semua pengguna. Sekali lagi, tidak ada bukti pengguna Yayasan Wikimedia menjadi sasaran untuk serangan ini, tetapi kami menginginkan semua pengguna untuk tetap dalam keadaan aman.

Terima kasih untuk kesabaran dan pengertiannya.

Greg Grossmeier, atas nama tim operasi WMF dan tim platform

Garis waktu respon Wikimedia

(waktu menggunakan UTC)

7 April:

8 April:

9 April:

10 April:

Pertanyan yang Sering Diajukan

(Bagian ini akan dikembangkan bila dibutuhkan.)

    • Mengapa “tidak valid sebelumnya” pada penanggalan sertifikat SSL diganti bila kamu (WMF) telah menggantinya?
      Penyedia sertifikat SSL kami tetap menggunakan tanggal “tidak valid sebelumnya” (terkadang salah menunjukan “tanggal” isu) di semua sertifikat yang telah diganti. Ini bukanlah praktek yang tidak umum. Selain dari melihat perubahan pada berkas .pem yang dihubungkan di garis waktu di atas, jalan lain untuk memverifikasi penggantian adalah membandingkan “sidik jari” pada sertifikat baru kami dengan sertifikat yang lama.


Jak reagovala Wikimedia na bezpečnostní riziko “Heartbleed”

Logo pro chybu Heartbleed

Dne 7. dubna byl odhalen rozsáhlý problém v centrální součásti internetové bezpečnosti (OpenSSL). Tato chyba zabezpečení je nyní na všech wikistránkách nadace Wikimedia opravena. Pokud chcete pouze číst Wikipedii bez vytvoření účtu, nemusíte dělat nic. Máte-li uživatelský účet na kterékoli wikistránce nadace Wikimedia, budete se před příštím použitím svého účtu muset znovu přihlásit.

Problém nazvaný Heartbleed by umožnil útočníkům získat přístup k privilegovaným informacím na libovolné stránce běžící ve zranitelné verzi tohoto softwaru. Wikistránky, jejichž hostitelem je nadace Wikimedia, byly potenciálně ovlivněny touto chybou zabezpečení po dobu několika hodin poté, co byla odhalena. Nicméně nemáme žádné důkazy o skutečném ohrožení našich systémů a informací o našich uživatelích, a protože naše servery jsou konfigurovány zvláštním způsobem, bylo by pro útočníka velmi obtížné tuto chybu zabezpečení zneužít ke zcizení uživatelských hesel.

Poté, co jsme o tomto problému byli uvědoměni, začali jsme do všech našich systémů instalovat opravenou verzi daného softwaru. Pak jsme začali nahrazovat ohrožené SSL certifikáty uživatelů a resetovat všechny uživatelské znaky pověření. Podívejte se na časový průběh naší reakce níže.

Všichni přihlášení uživatelé s každým požadavkem na web posílají tajný znak pověření pro relaci. Pokud by někdo byl schopný zachytit tento znak, mohl by se vydávat za jiného uživatele. Resetování znaků pro všechny uživatele má tu výhodu, že se všichni uživatelé musí znovu připojit k našim serverům prostřednictvím aktualizované a opravené verze softwaru OpenSSL, čímž se tento potenciální útok znemožní.

Doporučujeme změnu hesla jako standardní preventivní opatření, ale nemáme v současné době v úmyslu prosazovat změnu hesla pro všechny uživatele. Skutečně neexistuje žádný důkaz, že by se uživatelé stránek nadace Wikimedia stali terčem tohoto útoku, ale chceme jim zajistit co největší bezpečnost.

Děkujeme za vaše porozumění a vaši trpělivost.

Greg Grossmeier, jménem skupin WMF Operations and Platform

Časový průběh reakce Wikimedia

(Časy jsou v UTC)

7. dubna

8. dubna:

9. dubna:

10. dubna:

Často kladené otázky

(Tento oddíl se bude dle potřeby rozšiřovat.)

  • Proč se datum “neplatné před” u vašeho SSL certifikátu nezměnilo, i když jste již změnu provedli?
    Náš poskytovatel certifikátu SSL udržuje původní datum “neplatné před” (někdy nesprávně označované za datum “vydáno”) ve všech změněných certifikátech. To není neobvyklá praxe. Kromě možnosti podívat se na změny v souborech .PEM, na které se odkazuje v časovém průběhu výše, dalším způsobem ověření, že náhrada proběhla, je porovnat otisk našeho nového certifikátu s naším předchozím.


A Wikimédia válasza a “Vérző szív” biztonsági sebezhetőségre

A Vérző szív hiba logója

Április 7-én egy széles körben elterjedt hibát fedeztek fel az OpenSSL internet-biztonsági program egy központi komponensében. A sebezhetőséget javítottuk az összes Wikimédia wikin. Ha a Wikipédiát felhasználói fiók nélkül használod, további teendőd nincs. Ha van felhasználói fiókod bármely Wikimédia wikin, újra be kell jelentkezned, amikor legközelebb használni akarod a fiókot.

A “Vérző szívnek” nevezett hiba kihasználásával a támadók bizalmas információkhoz férhetnek hozzá a szoftver sebezhető változatát futtató weboldalakon. A hiba felfedezését követően a Wikimédia Alapítvány által működtetett wikik néhány óráig ki voltak téve ennek a veszélynek. Ugyanakkor nem találtuk semmi jelét annak, hogy rendszereink vagy a felhasználóink adatai ilyen támadás áldozatává váltak volna, továbbá szervereink speciális konfigurációjának köszönhetően nagyon nehéz lett volna egy támadó számára a sérülékenység kihasználása és a felhasználók wikis jelszavainak megszerzése.

Amikor értesültünk a sebezhetőségről, az összes rendszerünket elkezdtük frissíteni a szóban forgó szoftver javított változatára. Ezután lecseréltük a kritikus, a felhasználók által látható SSL tanúsítványokat, és megszakítottuk az összes munkamenetet. Az események pontos lefolyását lásd lentebb.

Minden bejelentkezett felhasználó böngészője egy titkos tokent (azonosító kódot) küld az oldalnak minden lapletöltéskor. Ha egy rosszindulatú személy megszerezné ezt a tokent, el tudná hitetni az oldallal, hogy ő az adott felhasználó. A tokenek cseréje használhatatlanná teszi az esetlegesen már ellopott tokeneket, és rákényszeríti a felhasználókat, hogy újra bejelentkezzenek, az új, biztonságos OpenSSL szoftvert használva.

Nem áll szándékunkban, hogy minden felhasználót kényszerítsünk jelszavának megváltoztatására, mégis azt javasoljuk, hogy elővigyázatosságból változtasd meg a jelszavadat. Nincs jele annak, hogy a Wikimédia Alapítvány felhasználói ellen támadás irányult volna, de azt szeretnék, ha minden felhasználónk a legnagyobb biztonságban érezhetné magát.

Köszönjük a megértésedet és a türelmedet.

Greg Grossmeier, a WMF üzemeltetési és platform csapatának nevében

A Wikimédia ellenintézkedéseinek pontos menete

(Az időpontok UTC idő szerint értendők)

Április 7:

Április 8:

Április 9:

SSL tanúsítványának cseréje] (ez az utolsó tanúsítvány)

Április 10:

Gyakran Ismételt Kérdések

(Ez a szakasz még bővülhet.)

  • Ha lecseréltétek az SSL tanúsítványokat, miért nem változott a “not valid before” (legkorábbi érvényesség) dátumuk?
    Az SSL-tanúsítvány-szolgáltatónk megőrzi az eredeti “not valid before” dátumot (amit néha tévesen kibocsájtási dátumnak neveznek), ha lecserél egy tanúsítványt. Ez egy bevett szokás. Az eseménysorban lévő linken látható, hogy a .pem fájlok megváltoztak, és akkor is, ha a régi és az új ujjlenyomatot összehasonlítod.

‎Bahasa Melayu

Reaksi wikimedia kepada lemah keselamatan internet yang “Hati berdarah”

Logo for the Heartbleed bug

Pada 7 April, suatu isu luas bangkit bagi keselamatan Internet (OpenSSL) telah diketahui orang. Isu kelemahan ini semakin dibetulkan oleh semua Wikimedia wikis. Jika anda hanya membaca wikipedia tanpa akaun, tidak ada apa yang perlu daripada anda. Jika anda mempunyai akaun pengguna dalam Wikimedia wiki, anda perlu re-login lain kali apabila mengguna akaun anda.

Isu ini dipanggil Heartbleed, membolehkan penyerang internet mendapat akses ke informasi keutamaan dari program komputer yang berversi kurang kekuatan. Pengguna iaitu Wikis, yang ditaja oleh Wikimedia Foundation telah didapati berpotensi untuk dipengaruhi oleh kekurangan tersebut setelah ianya diketahui dalam beberapa jam lalu. Walaupun demikian, pihak kami masih tidak dapat apa bukti dari sistem kami ataupun pengguna kami, dan oleh sebab cara kami memperadukkan server pihak kami, ini telah menyusahkan penyerang-penyerang untuk mendapat seberang kata laluan pengguna wiki.

Setelah tersedar dengan isu tersebut, kami mulai menaik taraf sistem dengan versi program yang dibaiki dalam situasi tertanyaan. Kami bermula dengan pertukaran sijil SSL utama (tingkat pengguna) dan pertukaran semua sessi token. Lihat semua tali masa daripada tindakbalas kami seperti di bawah.

Semua daftar masuk pengguna mengirimkan sessi parameter rahsia yang dikehendaki oleh website tersebut. Jika penjahat dapat menghentikan sessi token itu, ia juga dapat menirukan diri sebagai pengguna lain. Pertukaran sessi token untuk semua pengguna mempunyai kebaikan bagi menghubungkan pengguna dengan memakai versi OpenSSL program yang telah naik taraf dan diperbaiki, tambahan menolakan potensi diserang.

Kami mencadangkan pertukaran kata laluan anda sebagai pencegahan ini, tetapi bukan sekaranglah yang melaksanakan pertukaran kata laluan untuk semua pengguna. Tambahan jua pihak kami tidak mempunyai bukti pengguna Wikimedia Foundation menjadi matlamat diserang, tetapi kami ingin para pengguna kami dalam situasi yang selamat.

Ribuan terima kasih.

Greg Grossmeier, wakil WMF Operation and Platform teams

Tali masa untuk Wikimedia reaksi

(Masa dalam UTC)

7, April

8, April

9, April

10, April

Soalan yang sering ditanya

(Sessi ini akan dipanjangkan masa seperti yang dikehendaki.)

  • Mengapakah ” tidak sah sebelum” tarikh di SSL sijil anda bertukar kalau anda sudah menukarkannya?
    Sijil SSL pemberi kami tidak menukar tarikh asal “tidak sah sebelum” (kadang salah merupakan “tarikh keluar”) di dalam sijil yang tertukar. Ini bukan suatu keadaan luar biasa. Selain itu, pertukaran di .pem fail yang dihubungi dengan tali masa atas, cara lain membuat verifikasi atas gantian ialah perbandingan antara baru dengan yang dulu.

‎Português do Brasil

Resposta da Wikimedia à vulnerabilidade de segurança “Heartbleed”

Logo do bug Heartbleed

Em 7 de abril, foi revelado um problema generalizado em um componente central da segurança na internet (OpenSSL). A vulnerabilidade já foi corrigida em todas as wikis da Wikimedia. Se você apenas lê a Wikipédia sem criar uma conta de usuário, não é necessário que você faça nada. Se você possui uma conta em qualquer uma das wikis, você deve logar-se novamente da próxima vez que acessá-la.

Esse problema, chamado de Heartbleed, permitiria que pessoas mal intencionadas ganhassem acesso à informações privilegiadas em qualquer site que possuísse uma versão vulnerável do programa. Wikis da Fundação Wikimedia estiveram potencialmente afetadas por essa vulnerabilidade por várias horas após a divulgação da falha. Entretanto, não tivemos evidências de nenhum comprometimento em nossos sistemas ou nas informações de nossos usuários, e devido à forma particular como nossos bancos de dados são configurados, seria bem difícil para um hacker explorar a vulnerabilidade com o intuito de adquirir as senhas de usuários das wikis.

Após ficarmos cientes da vulnerabilidade, começamos a atualizar nossos sistemas com versões corrigidas do software em questão. Em seguida, começamos a substituir os certificados SSL críticos e resetamos todos os tokens de sessão dos usuários. Veja o cronograma completo da nossa resposta abaixo.

Todos os usuários logados enviam um token secreto a cada pedido ao site. Se uma pessoa mal-intencionada fosse capaz de intercetar este token, poderia fazer-se passar por esse usuário. Ao resetar todos os tokens, forçamos os usuários a se logarem aos nossos servidores utilizando a versão atualizada e corrigida do software OpenSSL, eliminando assim a possibilidade deste ataque.

Nós recomendamos que você altere sua senha como um ato de precaução, todavia não é nossa pretensão que essa mudança de senha seja para todos os usuários. Novamente, não houve evidência de que os usuários Wikimedia Foundation tenha sido atingidos por esse ataque, mas desejamos que todos os nossos usuários estejam tão seguros quanto possível.

Agradecemos pela sua compreensão e paciência.

Greg Grossmeier, no interesse da equipe de Operações e Plataformas da WMF

Linha do tempo da reposta da Wikimedia

(Os horários estão em UTC)

7 de abril:

8 de abril:

9 de Abril:

10 de Abril:

Perguntas mais frequentes

(Esta secção será expandida conforme necessidade)

  • Porque é que a data “não válido antes de” não mudou no certificado SSL se vocês já o substituíram?
    O nosso provedor de certificados SSL conserva a data original “não válido antes de” (algumas vezes chamado, ainda que incorretamente, de “publicado em”) em qualquer certificado substituído. Não se trata de uma prática incomum. Para além de observar as mudanças nos arquivos .pem linkados acima na linha do tempo, pode-se também verificar que a substituição foi efetivada comparando a assinatura digital (fingerprint) do novo certificado com a do anterior.

‎ Português

Resposta da Wikimedia à vulnerabilidade de segurança “Heartbleed”

Logótipo do erro Heartbleed

A 7 de abril, revelou-se um problema generalizado num componente central da segurança da Internet (OpenSSL). A vulnerabilidade já foi corrigida em todas as wikis da Wikimedia. Se só lê a Wikipédia sem se ter registado, nada lhe é pedido. Se tem uma conta de utilizador numa wiki Wikimedia, vai ser necessário que volte a iniciar sessão na próxima vez que a utilizar.

O problema, denominado Heartbleed, permitia que utilizadores mal intencionados tivessem acesso a dados sensíveis em qualquer site que estivesse a utilizar uma versão vulnerável deste software. As Wikis hospedadas pela Wikimedia estiveram vulneráveis durante várias horas depois da comunicação desta falha. Contudo, não temos qualquer prova de que os nossos sistemas ou os dados dos nossos utilizadores tenham sido afetados, e dada a forma como os nossos servidores estão configurados, teria sido muito difícil explorar esta vulnerabilidade de modo a roubar passwords dos nossos utilizadores.

Depois de termos tido conhecimento desta vulnerabilidade, começámos a atualizar todos os nossos sistemas com versões corrigidas. A seguir, começámos a substituir os certificados SSL críticos e redefinimos todos os tokens de sessão de utilizador. Veja o cronograma da nossa resposta abaixo.

Todos os utilizadores com sessão iniciada enviam um token secreto a cada pedido ao site. Se uma pessoa mal-intencionada fosse capaz de intercetar este token, poderia fazer-se passar por esse utilizador. Ao repor todos os tokens, forçamos os utilizadores a ligarem-se aos nossos servidores utilizando a versão atualizada e corrigida do firmware OpenSSL, eliminando assim a possibilidade deste ataque.

Recomendamos que altere a sua password como forma de precaução padrão, mas não tencionamos impor esta mudança a todos os utilizadores. Novamente, não há nenhum indício que indique que os utilizadores da Fundação Wikimedia tenham sido atacados, mas queremos que todos os nossos utilizadores estejam tão seguros quanto possível.

Obrigado pela sua compreensão e paciência.

Greg Grossmeier, em nome das equipas da WMF Operations and Platform

Cronologia da resposta da Wikimedia

(Os horários estão em UTC)

7 de abril:

8 de abril:

9 de Abril:

10 de Abril:

Perguntas mais frequentes

(Esta secção será expandida caso seja necessário)

  • Porque é que a data “não válido antes de” não mudou no certificado SSL se já o substituíram?
    O nosso provedor de certificados SSL conserva a data original “não válido antes de” (algumas vezes chamado, ainda que incorretamente, “publicado em”) em qualquer certificado substituído. Não se trata de una prática incomum. Para além de observar as mudanças nos ficheiros .pem que têm um link acima, na cronologia, pode-se também verificar que a substituição foi levada a cabo comparando a assinatura digital (fingerprint) do novo certificado com a do anterior.


Обращение Викимедиа по поводу уязвимости безопасности из-за ошибки “heartbleed”

Логотип ошибки Logo for the “Heartbleed”

7го апреля была раскрыта широко распространенная ошибка в центральном компоненте интернет-безопасности (OpenSSL). Уязвимость уже исправлена ​​на всех проектах Викимедиа. Если вы только читаете википедию и не имеете аккаунта, от вас ничего не требуется. Если же ві имеете аккаунт на любом проекте Викимедиа, вы должны перелогиниться в следующий раз, когда будете использовать свой ​​аккаунт.

Ошибка, которая называется “Heartbleed”, позволяет хакерам получить доступ к привилегированной информации любого сайта, который использует уязвимую версию этого программного обеспечения. Проекты Викимедиа потенциально могли быть поражены этой ошибкой несколько часов после того, как она была найдена. Однако, у нас нет никаких доказательств вреда нашим системам или информации пользователей. И поэтому, конфигурация наших серверов сделала использование этой ошибки хакерами для кражи паролей очень сложным.

После того, как мы узнали об ошибке, мы начали обновлять все системы исправленной версией программного обеспечения. Потом мы начали заменять критические SSL-сертификаты, контактирующие с пользователями, и завершили все сессии пользователей. Смотрите полную хронологию наших действий ниже.

Все залогиненые пользователи присылают секретный сессионный токен на каждое обращение к сайту. Если нечестный человек перехватит этот токен, он сможет представляться другими пользователями. Сброс этих токенов для всех пользователей хорош тем, что заставляет всех пользователей переподключаться к нашим серверам используя обновленную и исправленную версию программного обеспечения OpenSSL, что исключает потенциальные атаки.

Мы рекомендуем изменение пароля как стандартную профилактическую меру, но мы, к настоящему времени, не собираемся заставлять это делать всех пользователей. Повторяем, не было никаких доказательств, что пользователи Викимедиа были атакованы, но мы хотим, чтобы все пользователи были настолько защищены, насколько это возможно.

Спасибо за ваше понимание и терпение.

Грег Гроссмейер, от имени команд операций и платформ Викимедии.

Хронология действий Викимедиа

(Время указано в UTC)

7ое апреля:

8ое апреля:

9ое апреля:

10ое апреля:

Часто Задаваемые Вопросы

(Этот раздел будут увеличиваться по мере необходимости.)

  • Почему “не действительны до” даты на вашем сертификате SSL не изменились, если вы уже заменили его?
    Наш поставщик SSL-сертификатов хранит настоящую “не действительны до” дату (которую иногда путают с “выдается на” датой) на всех замененных сертификатах. Это не нераспространённая практика. Кроме изучения изменений в .pem-файлах, ссылки на которые есть сверху в хронологии, другой способ убедиться, что замена действительно была – это сравнить отпечатки пальцев на новом и старом сертификатах.


“இதயகசிவு”-எனும் பாதுகாப்பு பாதிப்பிற்கு விக்கிமீடியாவின் எதிர்ச்செயல்


ஏப்ரல் 7-ம் திகதி ஓப்பன் எஸ்.எஸ்.எல் என்னும் இணைய கருவியில் ஏற்பட்ட பாதுகாப்பு பாதிப்பு, தற்போது விக்கிமீடியாவின் விக்கிகளில் சரிசெய்யப்பட்டுள்ளது. நீங்கள் விக்கிமீடியாவின் கணக்குத் துவங்கியிருந்தால் உங்களுடைய கணக்கில் இருந்து ஒரு முறை வெளியேறி பின் புகுபதிகை செய்யவும். உங்களுக்கான பயனர் கணக்கு இல்லையெனில் எதுவும் செய்யத் தேவையில்லை.

Heartbleed | இதயகசிவு என்னும் இப்பிணக்கு கணக்கு விவரங்களை தவறாக பயன்படுத்த வழிவகை செய்கிறது. விக்கிமீடியாவின் விக்கிகள் இப்பிணக்கிற்கு பல மணி நேரம் ஆளாகி உள்ளனவா என்று தெரியவில்லை. விக்கி திட்டங்களில் கடவுச்சொல் பாதுகாப்பான முறையில் இருந்த போதும், இது நடந்துள்ளது.

இப்பிணக்கை அறிந்தவுடன் விக்கிமீடியா திட்டங்களில் அதற்கான பாதுகாப்பு நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது. தற்போது இணையதளத்திற்கான எஸ். எஸ். எல் மற்றும் பயனர் தகவல் சேர்ப்பான் மாற்றப்பட்டு வருகிறது. முழு நடவடிக்கைக்கான காலக்கோடு கீழே கொடுக்கப்பட்டுள்ளது.

ஒவ்வொரு முறை நீங்கள் ஒரு பக்கத்தினை திறக்கும்போது, அனைத்து புகுபதிகை செய்யப்பட்ட பயனர்களும் தங்களுக்குறிய தகவல் சேர்ப்பானும் அனுப்பப்படும். யாராவது புல்லுருவிகள் இந்த தகவல் சேர்ப்பானை இடைமறித்து தகவல்களை பெற இந்த இதயகசிவு வழு வழிவகை செய்கிறது. இதை தவிர்க்க அனைத்து பயனர்களின் தகவல்களையும் ஒரே நேரத்தில் மாற்ற விக்கிமீடியா நிறுவனம் முடிவு செய்துள்ளது.

முன்கட்ட நடவடிக்கையாக கடவுச்சொற்களை மாற்ற விக்கி பரிந்துரை செய்கிறது. விக்கித்திட்டங்களில் இதனுடைய பாதிப்பு இருப்பதாகத் தெரியவில்லை ஆயினும் விக்கிமீடியா நிறுவனம் பாதுகாப்புகளை அதகரிக்க முடிவெடுத்துள்ளது.

தங்களின் புரிந்துணர்வுக்கும் அமைதிக்கும் நன்றி.

க்ரெக் க்ராஸ்மெயர், விக்கிமீடியா நிறுவனம் சார்ப்பாக

விக்கிமீடியாவி எதிர்ச்செயல் காலக்கோடு

கால நேரம் (ஒ.ச.நே.)

ஏப்ரல் 7:

ஏப்ரல் 8:

ஏப்ரல் 9:

ஏப்ரல் 10:

அடிக்கடி கேட்கப்படும் கேள்விகள்

(இந்தப் பிரிவு தேவைக்கேற்ப விரிவுபடுத்தப்படும்.)

  • ஏற்கனவே எஸ். எஸ். எல் மாற்றப்பட்ட போதும் ஏன் “not valid before” தேதி ஏன் மாற்றப்படவில்லை?
    நமக்கு எஸ். எஸ். எல் வழங்குநர்கள் சில நேரங்களில் “not valid before” திகதி புதிய எஸ். எஸ். எல்-இல் மாற்றப்படவில்லை. இரண்டு எஸ். எஸ். எல்-ற்கும் வித்தியாசத்தை உணர .pem கோப்புகளை பார்க்கலாம் அல்லது இரண்டு எஸ். எஸ். எல் ரேகையையும் ஒப்பிட்டு பார்த்தால் மாற்றம் தெரியவரும்.


위키미디어의 “Heartbleed” 보안 취약성 대응

4월 7일 인터넷 보안의 핵심 요소(OpenSSL)에서 문제가 발견되었습니다. 그 취약성은 이제 모든 위키미디어 위키에서 해결되었습니다. 위키백과 계정을 만들지 않고 단순히 읽기만 한다면 따로 할 일이 없습니다. 어떠한 위키미디어 위키에라도 계정이 있다면 다음에 그 계정을 사용할 때 다시 로그인해야 합니다.

Heartbleed라고 불리는 이 버그는 공격자가 취약성이 있는 그 소프트웨어를 실행하는 사이트에 있는 비공개 정보를 취득할 수 있게 합니다. 위키미디어 재단에서 호스팅하는 위키에서는 이 취약성이 발견되고 몇 시간 동안 일시적으로 공격을 받을 수 있었습니다. 그러나 실제로 재단의 시스템이나 사용자 정보를 공격한 어떠한 증거도 없습니다. 재단 서버가 특별하게 구성되었기 때문에 공격자가 사용자의 위키 비밀번호를 취득하기 위해 그 취약성을 악용하기는 매우 힘들었을 것입니다.

재단에서 이 문제를 발견하고 문제가 있는 소프트웨어를 패치된 버전으로 재단의 모든 시스템을 업그레이드하기 시작했습니다. 그러고나서 중요한 사용자측 SSL 인증서를 대체하고 모든 사용자 세션 토큰을 초기화하기 시작했습니다. 아래에서 재단이 어떻게 대응했는지 그 경과를 보십시오.

모든 로그인한 사용자는 사이트에 요구할 때마다 비밀 세션 토큰을 전송합니다. 악의적인 사람이 그 토큰을 가로챌 수 있다면 다른 사용자를 사칭할 수 있을 것입니다. 모든 사용자의 토큰을 초기화하면 모든 사용자가 갱신되어 수정된 OpenSSL 소프트웨어를 사용해 다시 연결하게 하는 이점이 있으며 이는 잠재적인 공격을 방지합니다.

재단에서는 일반적인 사전 예방 조치로 사용자 비밀번호를 변경할 것을 권하지만 모든 사용자에게 강제로 비밀번호를 변경하게할 의도는 없습니다. 다시 한번 말하지만 위키미디어 재단 사용자가 이 공격의 대상이 되었다는 증거는 없지만 재단에서는 모든 사용자가 되도록 안전하기를 바랍니다.

사용자 여러분이 양해하고 참아주셔서 감사합니다.

WMF 운영 및 플랫폼 팀 Greg Grossmeier

위키미디어 대응 경과

(시간은 UTC)

4월 7일

4월 8일

4월 9일

4월 10일

자주 묻는 질문

(필요하면 추가됩니다.)

  • 사용자 SSL 인증서를 대체했다면 그 인증서의 “이전 무효” 날짜가 바뀌지 않은 이유는?
    재단의 SSL 인증서 제공자는 원래의 “이전 무효” 날짜(“발행” 날짜로 잘못 지칭되기도 함)를 대체 인증서에서도 유지합니다. 이는 특별한 관행이 아닙니다. 위의 경과에서 링크된 .pem 파일의 변화를 보는 외에 대체가 되었음을 확인하는 나머지 방법은 새 인증서의 식별자를 이전의 식별자와 비교하는 것입니다.


Heartbleed 問題へのウィキメディアの対応

Heartbleed bugのロゴマーク







Greg Grossmeier、ウィキメディア財団コンピューターシステム運営ティーム









  • SSL証明書を変えたのに、なぜ「有効日」は変わっていないのですか?

by Greg Grossmeier at April 15, 2014 08:55 PM

Katherine Maher joins the Wikimedia Foundation as Chief Communications Officer

Katherine Maher

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

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

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

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

Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation

by Sue Gardner at April 15, 2014 07:22 PM

Agile and Trello: The planning cycle

This blog series will focus on how the Wikipedia App Team uses Trello for their day to day, week to week, and sprint to sprint development cycle. In its early days, the Wikipedia App was an experimental project that needed flexibility for its evolution. The team looked at a number of tools like Bugzilla, Mingle, and Trello to wrangle our ever-growing to-do list. We found that most imposed a structure that was stifling rather than empowering, cumbersome rather than fun, and was generally overkill for what we needed.

Trello looked attractive as it took no more than a couple of minutes to see its moving parts, was available on multiple platforms, and was simple to customize. We experimented with it and quickly found that we could make it do most of what we wanted.

For those unfamiliar with Trello, it’s a list of lists at its basic level and it functions incredibly well within an Agile framework. Trello uses the concepts of boards, lists, items, and subitems. Boards contain lists which contain items which in turn contain subitems.

Here is how we use it:

Each idea starts out as a narrative or user story on our backlog board. Most of our stories are written in a “As a …, I want to …, So that …” format. This allows us to have a narrative justification for a unit of work rather than a list of technical requirements. Stories begin their life in the “In analysis” column where the product manager (who acts as the product owner) vets the idea with other stakeholders, involves the Design team, and generally incubates the story. Anyone is welcome to add a story to this column.

When the product owner feels that a story has matured enough, they place it in the “ready for prioritization” column with any required design assets. As these stories increase in number, we begin to see the next sprint forming.

Within a couple of days, the team meets and the product manager discusses the theme of the upcoming sprint. A new sprint board is created and the product manager moves the most important 3−5 stories for a deeper analysis by the whole team. The team meets and collectively refines the story cards to have a clear set of acceptance criteria under the checklist column, flags stories that need additional design, and prioritizes them in top down order.

Within a week’s time, the team meets again, but this time their goal is to estimate and do a final pass on each story card. We use a combination of Scrum for Trello and hat.jit.su to facilitate the estimation process. Once all stories have been estimated, the product manager re-prioritizes, checks against our sprint velocity, and the sprint is ready to start.

Thus at any point we have three active boards:

  • Backlog – where all stories start
  • Current Sprint – what developers are working on
  • Next Sprint – what’s coming up next

Next time we’ll see what happens from the developers’ standpoint during a sprint.

Tomasz Finc, Director of Mobile

by Tomasz Finc at April 15, 2014 08:29 AM

In memoriam of Cynthia Ashley-Nelson

Cynthia Ashley-Nelson

Cynthia Ashley-Nelson passed away Friday, April 11th. She was attending the Wikimedia Conference in Berlin as an AffCom member, and on Thursday had participated on her first annual AffCom meeting. The news about her death has surprised and shocked the people at the conference. I realize there are many people who might not be familiar with her, so I wanted to write a few words about the impact she made on those who knew her.

In my role as Board liaison to the Affiliations Committee, I had seen Cindy, as her friends called her, apply to become a member – and ultimately elected to the committee. She had such a solid background, so relevant to the work AffCom does, she was such a strong candidate, it was a no brainer for AffCom to elect her. They were not disappointed. Cindy was participative, incredibly engaged from day one, always looking ahead and trying to improve existing processes and expand AffCom’s role. She had wonderful ideas and a refreshing perspective regarding movement roles and the role of AffCom. One that I especially liked was her desire to implement a thorough Affiliate Development Program, to help guide new affiliates and teach them relevant skills so they could not only be better equipped to survive, but to thrive and have a bigger impact in a shorter period of time.

I got to know Cindy a bit beyond that, for she wanted to test ideas and potential directions in which to take the movement. We would send each other long emails about movement roles and how to move forward with the movement. And as it usually happens, conversations turned from the more formal to the informal, eventually including little snippets of our every day lives, the good things that happened to us and the not so good. When we met for the first time face to face several days ago, we gave each other a big hug. In the session we had during the AffCom meeting she once again showed her passion and commitment to help re-imagine the role of AffCom and how to help new affiliates. At the end of that session, she was confirmed as the new vice-chair of AffCom. That speaks to the impact she made on the committee in such a short time. I think our last interaction was about getting together at some moment during the conference to just hang out and talk. She had a great smile.

As far as we know, Cindy died peacefully and in her sleep. When the tragic news came in on Friday night during dinner, so out of the blue, I was shocked. Literally shocked. She had missed the meeting between AffCom and the Board, which was very surprising, and it hadn’t been possible to contact her, but it didn’t necessarily make one think something bad had occurred. When the Board was notified of what had happened, we wanted to be very respectful of the fact that the priority had to be to contact the next of kin before any kind of public announcement was released. But AffCom had to be told. I had been an AffCom member before joining the Board. Breaking the news to them was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. We went to a room to deal with the shock and the reactions. Nobody wanted to be alone.

This morning after the next of kin had been located and notified, we all got together for breakfast and went together to the venue where a grief counsellor was available. There was a brief but touching tribute at the beginning of the conference. AffCom then prepared a public statement about Cindy’s death. I felt my place was with them, helping them word it. As the schedule was reorganized, I missed the Meet the Board session which was moved to the morning, which I deeply regret, but I did want to be with AffCom in these moments. I want people to know I will be available for anyone who wants to ask me anything about the Board or the movement at the venue. I just couldn’t make it that morning. Before ending this post, I would like to take a moment to thank the people of WMDE, who were incredible in such difficult circumstances and who set up a special room to grieve for her and write in a book of condolences, particularly Pavel, and WMF staff, especially Anasuya, Garfield and Asaf. The support of Board members was deeply appreciated as well, not only by me but by AffCom as well.

This post is perhaps a bit cathartic for me. Cindy, you made an impact in those who knew you and you will be remembered. My thoughts are with the family and friends. Rest in peace.

María Sefidari, WMF Board of Trustees member

  • See Cynthia’s user page on English Wikipedia.
  • Wikimedians have begun to share their memories and condolences about Cynthia on her user talk page.
  • Memorial post by Asaf Bartov, Head of WMF Grants and Global South Partnerships.
  • Announcement by Carlos Colina and Bence Damokos from the Wikimedia Affiliations Committee
  • Wikinews story on the passing of Cynthia Ashley-Nelson.

by Maria Sefidari at April 15, 2014 01:31 AM

April 14, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Remembering Adrianne Wadewitz

Portrait of Adrianne Wadewitz at Wikimania 2012 in Washington, DC.

Each of us on the Wikipedia Education Program team is saddened today by the news of Adrianne Wadewitz’s passing. We know we share this sadness with everyone at the Wikimedia Foundation and so many in the Wikimedia and education communities. Our hearts go out to all of you, her family and friends. Today is a time for mourning and remembering.

Adrianne served as one of the first Campus Ambassadors for the Wikipedia Education Program (then known as the Public Policy Initiative). In this role, she consulted with professors, demonstrated Wikipedia editing and helped students collaborate with Wikipedia community members to successfully write articles. As an Educational Curriculum Advisor to the team, Adrianne blended her unique Wikipedia insight and teaching experience to help us develop Wikipedia assignments, lesson plans and our initial sample syllabus. Her work served as a base for helping university professors throughout the United States, and the world, use Wikipedia effectively in their classes.

Adrianne was also one of the very active voices in the Wikimedia community urging participation and awareness among women to tackle the project’s well-known gender gap. She was an articulate, kind, and energetic face for Wikipedia, and many know that her work helped bring new Wikipedians to the project. The Foundation produced a video exploring Adrianne’s work within the Wikipedia community in 2012.

Many in the Wikimedia community knew her from her exceptional and varied contributions, especially in the areas of gender and 18th-century British literature – in which she received a PhD last year from Indiana University, before becoming a Mellon Digital Scholarship Fellow at Occidental College. Since July of 2004, she had written 36 featured articles (the highest honor for quality on Wikipedia) and started over 100 articles – the latest being on rock climber Steph Davis.

Adrianne touched many lives as she freely shared her knowledge, expertise and passions with Wikipedia, her students, colleagues, friends and family. She will be deeply missed by all of us. Our condolences go out to her family during these very difficult times.

Rod Dunican
Director, Global Education

Wikipedia Education Program

  • See Adrianne’s user page on the English Wikipedia, her Twitter account, her home page and her blog at HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory)
  • Wikipedians have begun to share their memories and condolences about Adrianne on her user talk page.
  • The leadership of the Wiki Education Foundation, where Adrianne was a board member, have also expressed their condolences.
  • Memorial post from HASTAC Co-founder Cathy Davidson.
  • Wikinews story on the passing of Adrianne Wadewitz.

by Rod Dunican at April 14, 2014 11:15 PM

April 12, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A GLAMorous romance

This post is available in 2 languages:
English  • Català


QR codes at Joan Miró Foundation, 2011

One of the most fruitful collaborations between the community of Catalan-speaking Wikipedians and the GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) is taking place at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. Let’s peer into this little love story between GLAMwiki pioneers.

The first rendez-vous occurred in September 2011, when the Foundation was preparing the exhibition “Joan Miró and the Scale of Evasion” using QRpedia to offer the visitors QR codes linking to Wikipedia articles. A wikimarathon followed by a translation campaign was organized by wikiGLAM volunteers in order to assure complete articles translated in several languages for the seventeen most remarkable works in the exhibition. The participation in this first experience consisted mostly of core editors who worked on the initial seventeen articles and created fifty more. All these articles, originally written in Catalan, were completed with a range of two to fifty translations. Their effort resulted in more than 12,000 readings of QR codes during the period of the exhibition.

This was the beginning of a great friendship; the GLAMwiki experiment proved that a community of motivated volunteers and the good predisposition from a welcoming institution could bring good results. However, after this first experience together, the volunteers and the institution each followed their own paths.

Miró Editathon, 2013

The next rendezvous would come two years later, in 2013. Espai 13, a space within the Joan Miró Foundation devoted to exhibit works of young and emerging artists, was celebrating its 35th anniversary. Wikipedia volunteers and the institution thought that this was a good occasion to work together again. They ran another wikimarathon together, the longest organized in Catalonia so far, lasting 35 hours, topped by the coincidence of creating the 400,000th article of Catalan Wikipedia during the event.

This time, core Wikipedia editors mingled with a legion of new users who came from universities and the fine arts scene. They created 121 articles (in Catalan, Spanish, English, and even French) about artists and commissioners involved with Espai 13 during its thirty-five-year history. The romance between Wikipedia and the Joan Miró Foundation made clear steps forward. The names of the viquipedistes were listed in the acknowledgments section of the exhibition, and a plaque was hung in the main room to remember the wikimarathon that created Wikipedia articles for all the featured artists.

The volunteers and the Foundation liked each other and decided to formalize their relationship at the end of 2013. In order to define an action plan, the first action taken was an audit of the contents related to Joan Miró in Wikimedia projects. This plan resulted in the hire of a Wikipedian-in-residence who worked at the Foundation for eight weeks. To increase the knowledge about Joan Miró and his works in different language Wikipedias, this editor dedicated most of the project time to develop materials created by the institution into free licensed publications.

This GLAMwiki collaboration will have its peak on Saturday, May 10th, with the organization of the Joan Miró Global Challenge. This event consists of a 10-hour global sprint (8:00 – 18:00 UTC) to create and expand a selection of ten articles related to Miró. This challenge is inspired by the Catalan Culture Challenge, another online activity open to writers of any language. Volunteers in Barcelona can attend the local wikimarathon at the Joan Miró Foundation, where they will be invited to a guided tour through their warehouse-archive and to edit together. A selection of materials will be made available to the local participants who will also receive a small gift in addition to the gratitude of the Foundation.

Be part of this action to spread all we know about Joan Miró and his works. Join this wikiGLAM love story.

Esther Solé, Wikipedian-in-Residence at Joan Miró Foundation


Un amor GLAMurós

Una de les relacions més fructíferes entre la comunitat viquipedista catalana i les institucions GLAM s’ha esdevingut a la Fundació Joan Miró de Barcelona. Estem davant d’una petita història d’amor entre pioners del GLAMwiki.

Els primers cites van començar el setembre de 2011, quan la Fundació va incloure la tecnologia de la QRpedia a l’exposició “Joan Miró i l’escala de l’evasió”. Per tal que la informació sobre les 17 obres més destacades de l’exposició estigués disponible a la Viquipèdia en diversos idiomes, es va dur a terme una marató d’edicions, seguida d’una campanya de traduccions a diferents idiomes.

D’aquesta experiència, on principalment participaren core editors, es van treballar els 17 articles proposats, se’n van crear aproximadament 50 de nous i es va obrir un ventall de traduccions d’entre 2 i 50 idiomes, que van permetre que durant el temps que l’exposició va estar oberta al públic es registressin més de 12.000 lectures dels codis QR de les cartel·les. Aquest fou l’inici d’una gran amistat, la constatació que amb una comunitat de voluntaris motivats i una bona predisposició per part de la institució acollidora, els projectes GLAMwiki poden donar resultats. Tanmateix, un cop finalitzada l’experiència, cadascú va seguir el seu camí.

El retrobament va tenir lloc dos anys després, ja que l’Espai 13 de la Fundació Joan Miró, un espai expositiu pensat per presentar l’obra d’artistes joves i emergents, celebrava el seu 35è aniversari. Aquesta circumstància ens va semblar una bona ocasió per tornar a treballar junts i, davant la perspectiva d’una exposició commemorativa d’aquest 35è aniversari, es va dur a terme altra marató d’edicions. Aquesta viquimarató ha resultat ser la més llarga fins al moment (35 hores) i on hi va haver la coincidència que es va crear l’article 400.000 de la Viquipèdia en català.

Viquimarató de l’Espai 13 de la Fundació Joan Miró (2013)

En aquest esdeveniment, els core editors de la Viquipèdia en català es van mesclar amb una legió de nous usuaris provinents d’entorns universitaris i de l’àmbit de les belles arts, els quals van crear 121 articles nous —tant en català com en castellà, anglès i fins i tot francès— sobre diversos artistes i comissaris de les exposicions que han tingut lloc a l’Espai 13 al llarg d’aquests 35 anys de trajectòria. A més, l’idil·li entre la Viquipèdia i la Fundació Joan Miró ha fet un clar pas endavant quan els viquipedistes s’han vist mencionats als agraïments del catàleg de la mostra i quan a la primera sala de l’exposició es té un record per la viquimarató que permeté que tots els artistes participants a la mostra tinguessin un article a la Viquipèdia en diversos idiomes.

Ens agradàvem, i a finals de 2013 vam decidir formalitzar la nostra relació. La primera acció que es va dur a terme fou una auditoria de l’estat dels continguts mironians a la Viquipèdia en general, per tal de determinar línies d’actuació. Aquestes es concretaren en la incorporació d’una viquipedista resident a la Fundació, que durant 8 setmanes va treballar en l’obertura dels continguts que es generen a la institució per tal de millorar tant la presència com la qualitat del coneixement sobre Joan Miró i la seva obra que es troba disponible a la Viquipèdia en diversos idiomes. Aquesta tasca tindrà el seu punt culminant el proper 10 de maig, quan es durà a terme la “Joan Miró Global Challenge”, un esdeveniment de caràcter global amb l’objectiu que, entre les 10:00 i les 20:00h (GMT +1), es creïn i s’ampliïn els continguts d’una selecció de 10 articles de temàtica mironiana.

La proposta, inspirada en la Catalan culture challenge, està oberta a viquipedistes d’arreu del món, que estan convidats a participar des de casa seva o a venir presencialment a la Fundació Joan Miró de Barcelona per fer una visita al magatzem-arxiu de la institució i editar plegats. S’ha previst posar a disposició dels participants una col·lecció de materials per poder elaborar còmodament els articles en qüestió, i tots els participants tindran —a més de l’etern agraïment de la Fundació— una petita recompensa.

Us animeu a formar part d’aquesta història d’amor GLAM? Voleu formar part d’aquesta acció per portar Joan Miró i la seva obra arreu del món?

Esther Solé, viquipedista resident de la Fundació Joan Miró

2014-04-12: Edited to shorten a sentence in the English version

by ESM at April 12, 2014 04:59 PM

April 10, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

MediaWiki localization file format changed from PHP to JSON

Translations of MediaWiki’s user interface are now stored in a new file format—JSON. This change won’t have a direct effect on readers and editors of Wikimedia projects, but it makes MediaWiki more robust and open to change and reuse.

MediaWiki is one of the most internationalized open source projects. MediaWiki localization includes translating over 3,000 messages (interface strings) for MediaWiki core and an additional 20,000 messages for MediaWiki extensions and related mobile applications.

User interface messages originally in English and their translations have been historically stored in PHP files along with MediaWiki code. New messages and documentation were added in English and these messages were translated on translatewiki.net to over 300 languages. These translations were then pulled from MediaWiki websites using LocalisationUpdate, an extension MediaWiki sites use to receive translation updates.

So why change the file format?

The motivation to change the file format was driven by the need to provide more security, reduce localization file sizes and support interoperability.

Security: PHP files are executable code, so the risk of malicious code being injected is significant. In contrast, JSON files are only data which minimizes this risk.

Reducing file size: Some of the larger extensions have had multi-megabyte data files. Editing those files was becoming a management nightmare for developers, so these were reduced to one file per language instead of storing all languages in large sized files.

Interoperability: The new format increases interoperability by allowing features like VisualEditor and Universal Language Selector to be decoupled from MediaWiki because it allows using JSON formats without MediaWiki. This was earlier demonstrated for the jquery.18n library. This library, developed by Wikimedia’s Language Engineering team in 2012, had internationalization features that are very similar to what MediaWiki offers, but it was written fully in JavaScript, and stored messages and message translations using JSON format. With LocalisationUpdate’s modernization, MediaWiki localization files are now compatible with those used by jquery.i18n.

An RFC on this topic was compiled and accepted by the developer community. In late 2013, developers from the Language Engineering and VisualEditor teams at Wikimedia collaborated to figure out how MediaWiki could best be able to process messages from JSON files. They wrote a script for converting PHP to JSON, made sure that MediaWiki’s localization cache worked with JSON, updated the LocalisationUpdate extension for JSON support.

Siebrand Mazeland converted all the extensions to the new format. This project was completed in early April 2014, when MediaWiki core switched over to processing JSON, creating the largest MediaWiki patch ever in terms of lines of code. The localization formats are documented in mediawiki.org, and MediaWiki’s general localization guidelines have been updated as well.

As a side effect, code analyzers like Ohloh no longer report skewed numbers for lines of PHP code, making metrics like comment ratio comparable with other projects.

Work is in progress on migrating other localized strings, such as namespace names and MediaWiki magic words. These will be addressed in a future RFC.

This migration project exemplifies collaboration at its best between many MediaWiki engineers contributing to this project. I would like to specially mention Adam Wight, Antoine Musso, David Chan, Ed Sanders, Federico Leva, James Forrester, Jon Robson, Kartik Mistry, Niklas Laxström, Raimond Spekking, Roan Kattouw, Rob Moen, Sam Reed, Santhosh Thottingal, Siebrand Mazeland and Timo Tijhof.

Amir Aharoni, Interim PO and Software Engineer, Wikimedia Language Engineering Team

by Amir E. Aharoni at April 10, 2014 07:31 PM

Europeana Fashion Handbook to Bring Wiki and GLAMs Together

In an effort to improve fashion knowledge on the web, Europeana Fashion has organized a series of edit-a-thons with Wikimedia volunteers and fashion institutions around Europe. The experience and knowledge gained from these events are now compiled in one handbook, The Europeana Fashion Edit-a-thon Handbook for GLAMs.

Fashion Edit-a-thon Logo.png

What is fashion? Fashion is vanity, fashion is business, fashion is art. Fashion can mean many things to many people, but what is certain, is that it has enormous cultural significance. Every item of clothing has its roots in history and carries a symbolic meaning in the present.

2013-05-13 Europeana Fashion Editathon, Centraal Museum Utrecht 39.jpg

An edit-a-thon around fashion in collaboration with Wikimedia Netherlands and Fashion Muse. May 13, 2013. 

Take, for example, the most basic of garments, the T-shirt. It was originally designed as an undergarment in the American army in the early 20th century. In the 1950s it became part of the uniform of rebellious youth culture and was seen on the likes of Marlon Brando and James Dean. Nowadays, the T-shirt is worn everywhere with everything, even under a suit. From underwear, to act of rebellion to formal, fashion objects can be considered artifacts of past and present.

That is why there are public and private institutions collecting fashion. Europeana Fashion aims to bring all these collections together in one online portal and improve knowledge around these collections.

The best way to improve knowledge online is through Wikipedia. It’s open, free and one of the most visited websites. In an effort to get communities and institutions involved, Europeana Fashion hosted multiple Wiki edit-a-thons.

Badge Fashion Editathon.jpg

Fashion badge Edit-a-thon Europeana. Museum of Decorative Arts (Paris), March 22, 2014. 

After setting up seven edit-a-thons in five countries in one year’s time, the project bundled its experiences in a handbook for organizing fashion edit-a-thons. It is directed towards galleries, libraries, archives and museums, or in short: GLAMs. The handbook is available online and open to improvement from the community.

Engaging Fashionistas

Fashion carries with it very relevant cultural, historical and symbolic meaning. However, despite its social significance, fashion’s presence on Wikipedia is not as comprehensive as it should be. This encouraged Europeana Fashion to partner with Wikimedia volunteers in an effort increase fashion knowledge and open multimedia in the Wiki world.

Twenty-two partners from twelve European countries work together on the Europeana Fashion portal. Together, these institutions collect and make available thousands of historical dresses, accessories, photographs, posters, drawings, sketches, videos and fashion catalogues. At the same time, it makes these items findable through Europe’s online cultural hub Europeana. Europeana Fashion invited its partners to make available their collections on Wikimedia Commons and welcomed users to write about their collections. The aim: to enrich and share the knowledge about these objects and improve the existing knowledge about fashion’s history, origins and trajectory on Wikipedia.

A Handbook for GLAMs

The Fashion Edit-a-thon Handbook for GLAMs is a best-practice work, written by members of the Europeana Fashion team and composed of knowledge gained after organizing seven fashion edit-a-thons in Sweden, the Netherlands, Italy, Belgium and Israel.

The handbook primarily compiles what we have learned from running these events. It has been reviewed and amended by the Europeana network and Wikimedia community. It provides an overview of Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Wikimedians, the basics of hosting an edit-a-thon, ways to ensure a successful edit-a-thon, how to measure success, tips for getting content on Wikimedia, event promotion, as well as a suggested day programme, a 3 month preparation agenda and an abundance of relevant links. The final result is a reference guide that any GLAM institution hoping to hold an edit-a-thon can utilize.

2013-05-13 Europeana Fashion Editathon, Centraal Museum Utrecht 36.jpg

Edit-a-thon. Monday, May 13th, 2013. 

Promoting “Open”

Europeana Fashion not only wants to improve knowledge around fashion, it also wants to set an example and influence cultural heritage institutions to open up their collections. Improving cultural heritage knowledge on Wikipedia is an incredibly important aim.

We hope to close the gap between institutions and volunteers in their willingness to learn and change. This handbook, while not exhaustive, is a step towards promoting more collaboration between Wikimedia and fashion institutions (or any GLAM, for that matter).

In an effort to keep the collaboration on-going and beneficial to all we have written in a few questions at the end of the handbook. These are to be answered by any institution who uses it for an edit-a-thon so that everyone can continue to learn from one another. This handbook hopes to become an intermediary to help with GLAM-wiki relationships and lead to more open collaborations.

You can download the Fashion Edit-a-thon handbook here.

Gregory Markus, Project Assistant Europeana Fashion at Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision

by Gregory Markus at April 10, 2014 01:06 PM

April 05, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Through the maze of newcomer developer documentation

This post is a discovery report written by David Wood and slightly edited for publication. It’s part of a series of candid essays written by Google Code-in students, outlining their first steps as members of the Wikimedia technical community. You can write your own.

This discovery essay touches on my general thoughts as I initially started to browse and look into developing for MediaWiki.

I’ve split it into three sections: Setting up, where I cover my experiences while working with pywikibot for a previous Google Code-In task; First Impressions, where I describe my thoughts as I browse the documentation geared towards newcomers; and Developer Hub, where I describe my thoughts as I venture into the actual development articles.

Setting up

Before looking to develop for MediaWiki, I had previously completed a task relating to pywikibot. I found that the mentors were very helpful and available for advice.

However, I did find issue with setting up the development environment for work on pywikibot. It seemed very complex, and at first I did not fully understand what I was required to do. For someone who hasn’t worked on large-scale projects before, such as MediaWiki, I was confused as to why it was required to have so many accounts and things set up beforehand, such as a Gerrit account.

Although I now understand, I feel that a guide explaining to newcomers, not necessarily new to collaboration with git, but to using less known tools such as Gerrit, why they are necessary, would be helpful. And although I understand that in some cases not much can be simplified as setup is complicated, perhaps a more in-depth guide would help as well (keep in mind, this is referring to the guide for installing pywikibot, and the guide for MediaWiki in general may be better).

First impressions: a guided tour for newcomers

Coming from only basic experience with a small project within MediaWiki, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the information and simplicity of it from the How to become a MediaWiki hacker page. There was a lot of information, for example, instead of simply telling the reader that they required knowledge in PHP, MySQL and JavaScript, the guide went on to link them to where they could gain such knowledge.

From there, I went to read A brief history and summary of MediaWiki. This was especially interesting as not only was it a engrossing read, it also helped the user understand the principles under which MediaWiki is developed, such as the fine line between performance and functionality. Such information helps a new user, such as myself, understand the goals behind MediaWiki and the mindset in which I should be working.

Another pleasant surprise was that even the more technical articles, such as Security for Developers, were written in plain English, without a lot of technical language. And even where it got technical, it was explained well. Guides that have a lot of importance, such as this one relating to Security, benefit even more from being simple for newcomers than most, as it’s more likely then that a newcomer would understand and implement what they’ve learnt.

Another note I made was that all the links that would be relevant to newcomers, such as Coding Conventions, were all easily found.

Developer Hub: What next?

My next stop was the Developer Hub, where I found that I wasn’t sure how exactly to proceed. There, unlike the last article, didn’t seem to be a clear path to follow when traversing the article, most likely due to this article not being geared directly towards newcomers to MediaWiki.

This is where I experienced most issue; from here there was no more crutch helping me along. I somewhat expected, as I had seen on other projects, there to be a simple guide for what to do next for newcomers and, unless I couldn’t see it, there wasn’t one. I was left unsure as to what to do next; Should I just start browsing code? Look at feature requests? Or for bugs? I think this is where some guidance would be helpful for newcomers; getting to this point was well documented, but after you’ve set everything up, you’re left wondering what next. Some sort of list of easy bugs, or projects for newcomers to contribute to, would give some guidance as to what type of contributions they should be looking to make next.

I also noted that some information linked from the developer hub, such as an archived roadmap, was out-of-date or marked as only available for historical purposes. While I understand the reasoning behind this, it’s still confusing as these links are still prominent on the page.

In conclusion

While I didn’t install MediaWiki personally, my experiences toward the complexity of setting up things, as detailed in the first part, where from a pywikipediabot perspective, as I come from a python background rather than a PHP background. I would consider however contributing to MediaWiki in the future, if I ever take time to learn PHP, as it not only seems a enjoyable experience, but I appreciate the ideologies behind MediaWiki, to support a community that creates and curates freely reusable knowledge on an open platform.

David Wood
2013 Google Code-in student

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by Guillaume Paumier at April 05, 2014 02:49 PM

A junior developer discovers MediaWiki

This post is a discovery report written by Coder55 and slightly edited for publication. It’s part of a series of candid essays written by Google Code-in students, outlining their first steps as members of the Wikimedia technical community. You can write your own.

I’m a 17-year-old boy from Germany interested in computer science. I write my own little programs in PHP, Python and Java and have even produced some Android apps. I completed a Python course in three days, and now I’m using Python to solve math problems. I heard about Google Code-in on a German news site for young people interested in computer science.

Account creation and language selection

The instructions for Google Code-in students were easy to understand, even for people who aren’t so good in English. After that, I created an account on mediawiki.org. The registration form looked modern; I wanted to take the user name ‘Coder55’, but it was already taken so an account creation error was displayed. The text I typed in for password and email were deleted after the error; maybe it could be saved in a session variable and written into the text fields via JavaScript.

After registering and logging in, I saw many different options in the top line. It was easy to change the language and to read my welcome message. Maybe the button with the text ‘log out’ could be replaced by a logout button with a little picture, to make the top line smaller and even easier to understand.

After that, I changed the language to German and Spanish because I wanted to see how much of the site had been translated. I was quite disappointed that only the top menu was completely translated. The left sidebar was not completely translated, even though many important links can be found there, like one to the Main Page. I was also surprised that the language of the content on the page didn’t change after I changed my language options: if I’m on the Main Page and I change the language to German, I still see the Main Page in English, although the left menu has partially changed to German. This puzzled me until I found out I had to click on ‘Hauptseite’, ‘Página principal’ etc. to see the Main Page in another language.

How to become a MediaWiki hacker

I am really interested in Developing, so the next thing I did was visiting the How to become a MediaWiki hacker page, where I found interesting tutorials that explained how to develop something on the MediaWiki platform. The page was clearly arranged and I really liked it. It clearly separated the required abilities (PHP, MySQL e.g.) and made it easy to see where I needed to learn something and where I already knew enough. The ‘Get started’ part was particularly helpful: I could start quite fast extending MediaWiki.

One thing that was missing for someone like me: example code of a really easy extension. Although all the aspects of developing are explained in detail in the Developing manual, seeing those easy extensions requires to follow several links; it would be really helpful for beginners to include and explain one or two of these examples in the manual.

I had already been programming some little programs in PHP (chat server, forum etc.) so the next thing I did was to study MediaWiki’s coding conventions; they were explained clearly and were easy to understand. The ‘C borrowings’ part was really interesting.

Around MediaWiki: API, bugzilla, git and Wikitech

Unfortunately, I didn’t find the video on the API page very helpful. The pictures were blinking and the voices hard to understand. But the rest of the API documentation was really informative and easy enough to understand.

After that, I looked at the “Development” section of the left sidebar. I visited the Bugzilla overview, and then the actual site. I really liked the idea of Bugzilla, where every developer can see where help is needed. However, if you don’t know specifically, what to look for, the search function in Bugzilla isn’t very helpful[Note 1].

I then clicked on the link called ‘browse repository’. I was positively surprised by what the site looked like. I especially liked the possibility to see which parts of MediaWiki had been just updated. I also took a look at at Wikitech; The Main Page looked really similar to Wikipedia and MediaWiki, so it seemed easy to navigate.

The Pre-Commit Checklist

On the next day, I read about how to install and configure MediaWiki. The documentation was clear and easy to read, but I didn’t understand all of it, probably because I’m more interested in developing than in hosting.

Following this, I looked into more details about developing at the Developer hub. I had already studied the coding conventions, so I started reading the Pre-Commit Checklist.

This checklist contained many questions, but for someone like me who hasn’t already uploaded code there, they are partially not understandable. The part about Testing was clearer for me because it was explained a little bit more. Maybe the questions in the checklist should be written in a little more detail, or some of the difficult words should be converted into links.

I liked having an overview over all conventions at the bottom of the page. I could easily navigate to another convention list, like the coding conventions for JavaScript. These conventions were explained in detail and with clear examples. I especially liked the part about whitespace where many rules have been written clearly and concisely.

In conclusion

MediaWiki is a very interesting platform and although some things are not perfect (e.g. translation or registering form), it is easy to join the community. The most active contributors are accessible on IRC, which makes communication easier. After discovering the technical world of MediaWiki, I’m really interested in getting involved into the community, although that will need to wait until I finish school.

2013 Google Code-in student

  1. Editor’s note: Bugzilla has since been upgraded, and its main page now features common search queries.

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by Guillaume Paumier at April 05, 2014 02:49 PM

Discovering and learning by asking questions

This post is a discovery report written by Vlad John and slightly edited for publication. It’s part of a series of candid essays written by Google Code-in students, outlining their first steps as members of the Wikimedia technical community. You can write your own.

In the past years, I’ve used Wikipedia as often as I’ve used Facebook. I’ve used it for homework or simply for finding something new. When I was first introduced to the Internet world, I always asking myself: how can someone make a site with so many people browsing it? This year, I found the answer at the Google Code-In contest. As I was browsing for a task that suited me, I found an organization called Wikimedia.

While browsing the tasks they offered, I found something that caught my eye. It was a task about editing the wiki. I was so happy that I had finally found a task that suited my tastes that I clicked “Claim Task” before reading what I had to do. But when I read more about specifics of the task… well, it is enough to say that I had no idea how to start. I was supposed to “clean up” the “Raw projects” section of the Possible projects page. I clicked the link to the wiki page I was supposed to edit, and as I started working, I encountered several problems that I will describe in a moment. But thanks to my mentor, Quim Gil, I succeeded in completing the task.

I always wanted to edit a Wiki page, but at first I was afraid. What if I did something wrong? After posting a text file on the Code-in task’s page, I received a comment that said that in the end I’d need to edit the wiki page itself, so I might as well start early. This made sense, so I dove into the unknown territory of editing.

I started by looking at the history of the page to find the things I had to add. That took a while, but in a shorter time that I first thought was necessary, I learned how to find information in earlier edits, how to edit the source code of the page and how to do minor edits on the headings and structure. But this was the easy part.

I just had to copy some names and move them to their appropriate place. However, when it came to reporting bugs, I was indeed lost. I knew from the task I had to use Bugzilla to report bugs and add comments, but I didn’t have the foggiest idea how to do it. That is when I started doing what I had to do in the first place: ask questions.

I realized that the whole point of this exercise was to teach students how to do different things, and the most important thing when learning is to ask questions everywhere: on forums, consult the FAQ or the Manual , or simply search more for the answer. So I began by reading the full Bugzilla guide, but that did not really answer my questions. At least, not until I found the “How to report a bug” guide. This gave me some important information, like what to look for and how a report should look.

But I still had one problem: the guide said a thing and the mentor said something else. So I decided to ask once more on the page of the task. In no time, I received an answer and a model. Apparently, the guide was right about one part of the task, and the mentor was right about another part. So, by combining the answers from these two sources, I managed to find the answer to my problem. Once I knew what I was looking for, and once I asked the right questions, I got the answers I needed.

From there, it was not too hard to start adding and commenting bugs on Bugzilla. The next problem appeared when I had to add the bug reports on the wiki page… I thought I was done the moment I added the bugs on Bugzilla, but again my lack of attention and knowledge got the best of me. So I told myself: If asking the right question gets me the information I need, why not ask again? After all I am here to learn.

So I went back to the task page and put another 2 paragraphs of questions. Indeed, I received the answers that helped me learn something about editing the source of the page. So I dove in once again in the unknown and started the work. After a hard time finding the bug reports again, I was finally done and I completed the task.

After finishing, I realised that a person can learn anything on his or her own, but learning is more effective if a mentor or teacher helps you. Also, a teacher that just tells you what to read and does not explain is less helpful than a teacher that knows how and what to explain, when to do it and speaks to you in a nice way, and by that helping you, like Quim Gil helped me, with explanations and examples, in completing the task.

So, to sum up, if you ever want to learn something about Wikimedia (or other things), the best way is to ask other people, be he or she a mentor like Quim Gil was for me, or a complete stranger on a forum, like StackOverflow, which is an important place for coding and scripting help. Many people say that learning has no shortcuts, but, if questions are not shortcuts, then they sure are a real help in education. Why? Because with questions come information, and with information comes knowledge.

Vlad John
2013 Google Code-in student

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by Guillaume Paumier at April 05, 2014 02:49 PM

A young developer’s story of discovery, perseverance and gratitude

This post is a discovery report written by Jared Flores and slightly edited for publication. It’s part of a series of candid essays written by Google Code-in students, outlining their first steps as members of the Wikimedia technical community. You can write your own.

When I initially heard of the Google Code-In (GCI) challenge, I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my seat. I was a little apprehensive, since the GCI sample tasks used languages such as Java, C++, and Ruby. While I’ve had my share of experience with the languages, I felt my abilities were too limited to compete. Yet, I’ve always had a fiery passion for computer science, and this challenge presented another mountain to conquer. Thus, after having filtered through the hundreds of tasks, I took the first step as a Google Code-In student.

The first task I took on was to design a share button for the Kiwix Android app, an offline Wikipedia reader. Though Kiwix itself wasn’t a sponsoring organization for GCI, it still provided a branch of tasks under the Wikimedia umbrella. With five days on the clock, I researched vigorously and studied the documentation for Android’s share API.

After a few hours of coding, the task seemed to be complete. Reading through the compiler’s documentation, I downloaded all of the listed prerequisites, then launched the Kiwix autogen bash file. But even with all of the required libraries installed, Kiwix still refused to compile. Analyzing the error logs, I encountered permission errors, illegal characters, missing files, and mismatched dependencies. My frustration growing, I even booted Linux from an old installation DVD, and tried compiling there. I continued this crazy cycle of debugging until 2 am. I would have continued longer had my parents not demanded that I sleep. The next morning, I whipped up a quick breakfast, and then rushed directly to my PC. With my mind refreshed, I tried a variety of new approaches, finally reaching a point when Kiwix compiled.

With a newly-found confidence, I decided to continue pursuing more GCI tasks. Since I had thoroughly enjoyed the challenge presented by Kiwix, I initially wanted to hunt down more of their tasks. However, finding that there weren’t many left, I gained interest in Kiwix’s supporting organization: Wikimedia. I navigated to Wikimedia’s GCI information page and began familiarizing myself with the organization’s mission.

“We believe that knowledge should be free for every human being. We prioritize efforts that empower disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, and that help overcome barriers to participation. We believe in mass collaboration, diversity and consensus building to achieve our goals. Wikipedia has become the fifth most-visited site in the world, used by more than 400 million people every month in more than 270 languages.” – About Us: Wikimedia (GCI 2013)

Reading through the last sentence once more, I realized the amazing opportunities that were ahead of me. Whenever I needed to touch up on any given topic, Wikipedia was always one of the top results. Moreover, Wikipedia had become a source of entertainment for me and my friends. We always enjoyed hitting up a random article, then using the given links to find our way to Pokémon, Jesus, or maybe even Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Eager to begin, I chose video editing as my second task for Wikimedia. I began the long endeavor of watching, reviewing, and editing the two forty-five minute clips. Despite the lengthy videos, I was quite amused in seeing the technical difficulties that the Wikimedia team encountered during their Google Hangout. It was also comforting to put human faces behind the Wikimedia mentors of Google Code-In.

As with my first task, the work itself sped by quickly. But also similar to Kiwix, I encountered some difficulties with the “trivial” part of the task. I had never worked with the wiki interface before, so the wiki structure was somewhat foreign. I only had a vague idea of how to create a page. I also didn’t know where to upload files, nor did I know how to create subcategories. Nonetheless, after observing the instructions in Wikipedia’s documentation, I finally managed to upload the videos. Marking the task as complete, I scouted for my third GCI task.

Unbeknownst to me, my third task for Wikimedia would also prove to be the most challenging so far. Since this task required me to modify the code, I requested developer access. With the help of Wikimedia’s instructions, I registered myself as a developer, generated a private key to use with their servers, and proceeded to download the source code.

Though my experience with Git was quite basic, MediaWiki provided an easy to follow documentation, which aided greatly in my efforts to download their repository. As I waited for the download to complete, I quickly set up an Apache server for a testing environment. Configuring the MediaWiki files for my server, I began the installation. Fortunately, MediaWiki’s interface was quite intuitive; the installer performed flawlessly with minimal user input.

“Off to a good start,” I chuckled quietly to myself, a grin spreading across my face. And with that statement I tempted fate and my troubles had begun. Upon opening the code, I realized I couldn’t easily comprehend a single line. I had worked with PHP but the code was more advanced than what I had written before.

Running my fingers through my hair, I sighed in exasperation. I spent the next few hours analyzing the code, trying my best to decipher the functions. Suddenly, patterns began appearing and I began to recognize numerous amounts of functions. I started to tinker with different modules until the code slowly unraveled.

Finally formulating a solution, my fingers moved swiftly across the keyboard, implementing the code with ease. Confident that I had tested my code well, I followed the instructions written in the GCI’s task description, and uploaded my very first patch to Gerrit.

I was surprised at how simple the upload was. But what especially surprised me was the immediate feedback from the mentors. Within a few minutes of the upload, MediaWiki developers were already reviewing the patch, making suggestions for improvement.

Thankful for their helpful input, I worked to implement the changes they suggested. Adding the finishing touches, I was ready to upload another patch. However, I was unsure if I should upload to a new Gerrit, or if I should push to the same patch as before. Unclear about the step I should take, I made the rookie error of uploading to a new Gerrit commit.

My mistake quickly received a corrective response from Aude via the Gerrit comment system. While I initially felt embarrassed, I was also relieved that I didn’t have to work alone. In fact, I was thankful that the MediaWiki collaborators taught me how to do it right.

Checking out the link Aude had given me, I learned to squash the two commits together. However, when I tried to follow Aude’s instructions, I somehow managed to mix someone else’s code with my own. What’s even worse was I already pushed the changes to Gerrit, exposing my blunder publicly.

Had it been any normal day, I would’ve just been calm and tried my best to fix it. But it just so happened to be the Thanksgiving holiday (in the United States). I had to leave in a few minutes for a family dinner and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving my patch in a broken state.

I felt about ready to scream. I abandoned my Gerrit patch, and navigated to the task page, ready to give up. But just as I was about to revoke my claim on the task, I remembered something Quim Gil had told another GCI student:

“They are not mistakes! Only versions that can be improved. Students learn in GCI, and all of us learn every day.”

Remembering this advice, I cleared my mind, ready to do whatever it would take, and learn while I was at it. And like an answer to my prayers, Hoo Man, another developer, posted a comment in Gerrit. He guided me through how I could return to my original patch and send my new improvements through. And more importantly, he motivated me to persevere.

I came into GCI as a passionate, yet undisciplined student. I’m thrilled that in joining this competition, the Wikimedia open source community has already helped me plant the seeds of discipline, perseverance, and collaboration. It’s no coincidence that my hardest task thus far was staged on Thanksgiving. Every year I express gratitude towards friends and family. But this year, Google Code-In and the Wikimedia community have made my gratitude list as well.

Jared Flores
2013 Google Code-in student

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by Guillaume Paumier at April 05, 2014 02:47 PM

April 04, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Migrating Wikimedia Labs to a new Data Center

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce our reliance on our Tampa, Florida data center, we have just moved Wikimedia Labs to EQIAD, the new data center in Ashburn, Virginia. This migration was a multi-month project and involved hard work on the part of dozens of technical volunteers. In addition to reducing our reliance on the Tampa data center, this move should provide quite a few benefits to the users and admins of Wikimedia Labs and Tool Labs.

Migration objectives

We had several objectives for the move:

  1. Upgrade our virtualization infrustructure to use OpenStack Havana;
  2. Minimize project downtime during the move;
  3. Stop relying on nova-network and start using Neutron;
  4. Convert the Labs data storage system from GlusterFS to NFS;
  5. Identify abandoned and disused Labs resources.

Upgrade and Minimize Downtime

Wikimedia Labs uses OpenStack to manage the virtualization back-end. The Tampa Labs install was running a slightly old version of OpenStack, ‘Folsom’. Folsom is more than a year old now, but OpenStack does not provide an in-place upgrade path that doesn’t require considerable downtime, so we’ve been living with Folsom to avoid disrupting existing Labs services.

Similarly, a raw migration of Labs from one set of servers to another would have required extensive downtime, as simply copying all of the data would be the work of days.

The solution to both 1) and 2) was provided by OpenStack’s multi-region support. We built an up-to-date OpenStack install (version ‘havana’) in the Ashburn center and then modified our Labs web interface to access both centers at once. In order to ease the move, Ryan Lane wrote an OpenStack tool that allowed users to simultaneously authenticate in both data centers, and updated the Labs web interface so that both data centers were visible at the same time.

At this point (roughly a month ago), we had two different clouds running: one full and one empty. Because of a shared LDAP back-end, the new cloud already knew about all of our projects and users.

Two clouds, before migration

Then we called on volunteers and project admins for help. In some cases, volunteers built fresh new Labs instances in Ashburn. In other cases, instances were shut down in Tampa and duplicated using a simple copy script run by the Wikimedia Operations team. In either case, project functions were supported in both data centers at once so that services could be switched over quickly and at the convenience of project admins.

Two clouds, during migration

As of today, over 50 projects have been copied to or rebuilt in Ashburn. For those projects with uptime requirements, the outages were generally limited to a few minutes.

Switch to OpenStack Neutron

We currently rely on the ‘nova-network’ service to manage network access between Labs instances. Nova-network is working fine, but OpenStack has introduced a new network service, Neutron, which is intended to replace nova-network. We hoped to adopt Neutron in the Ashburn cloud (largely in order to avoid being stuck using unsupported software), but quickly ran into difficulties. Our current use case (flat DHCP with floating IP addresses) is not currently supported in Neutron, and OpenStack designers seem to be wavering in their decision to deprecate nova-network.

After several days of experimentation, expedience won out and we opted to reproduce the same network setup in Ashburn that we were using in Tampa. We may or may not attempt an in-place switch to Neutron in the future, depending on whether or not nova-network continues to receive upstream support.

Switch to NFS storage

Most Labs projects have shared project-wide volume for storing files and transferring data between instances. In the original Labs setup, these shared volumes used GlusterFS. GlusterFS is easy to administer and designed for use cases similar to ours, but we’ve been plagued with reliability issues: in recent months, the lion’s share of Labs failures and downtime were the result of Gluster problems.

When setting up Tool Labs last year and facing our many issues with GlusterFS, Marc-Andre Pelletier opted to set up a new NFS system to manage shared volumes for the Tool Labs project. This work has paid off with much-improved stability, so we’ve adopted a similar system for all projects in Ashburn.

Again, we largely relied on volunteers and project admins to transfer files between the two systems. Most users were able to copy their data over as needed, scping or rsyncing between Tampa and Ashburn instances. As a hedge against accidental data loss, the old Gluster volumes were also copied over into backup directories in Ashburn using a simple script. The total volume of data copied was around 30 Terabytes; given the many-week migration period, network bandwidth between locations turned out not to be a problem.

Identify and reclaim wasted space

Many Labs projects and instances are set up for temporary experiments, and have a short useful life. The majority of them are cleaned up and deleted after use, but Labs still has a tendency to leak resources as the odd instance is left running without purpose.

We’ve never had a very good system for tracking which projects are or aren’t in current use, so the migration was a good opportunity to clean house. For every project that was actively migrated by staff or volunteers, another project or two simply sat in Tampa, unmentioned and untouched. Some of these projects may yet be useful (or might have users but no administrators), so we need to be very careful about prematurely deleting them.

Projects that were not actively migrated (or noticed, or mentioned) during the migration period have been ‘mothballed’. That means that their storage and VMS were copied to Ashburn, but are left in a shutdown state. These instances will be preserved for several months, pending requests for their revival. Once it’s clear that they’re fully abandoned (in perhaps six months), they will be deleted and the space reused for future projects.


In large part, this migration involved a return to older, more tested technology. I’m still hopeful that in the future Labs will be able to make use of more fundamentally cloud-designed technologies like distributed file shares, Neutron, and (in a perfect world) live instance migration. In the meantime, though, the simple approach of setting up parallel clouds and copying things across has gone quite well.

This migration relied quite heavily on volunteer assistance, and I’ve been quite charmed by how gracious the vast majority of volunteers were about this inconvenience. In many cases, project admins regarded the migration as a positive opportunity to build newer, cleaner projects in Ashburn, and many have expressed high hopes for stability in the new data center. With a bit of luck we’ll prove this optimism justified.

Andrew Bogott, DevOps Engineer

by Andrew Bogott at April 04, 2014 01:06 PM

April 03, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Tech discovery report: What is this Wikitech thing anyway?

This post is a discovery report written by Ashwin Bhumbla and slightly edited for publication. It’s part of a series of candid essays written by Google Code-in students, outlining their first steps as members of the Wikimedia technical community. You can write your own.

I am not the best with computers.

Upon arriving on the MediaWiki and Wikitech home pages, I was instantly lost. For a while, I tried clicking links to see if they would lead to any information as to what the purpose of these communities actually was. However, my searches always led to pages with lines of code that might as well be Latin to me. Now, I’m pretty sure that my confusion was due more to my inexperience than anything, but the pages didn’t help much either.

My first objective was to try to find out the purpose of each site. Both sites had a kind of mission statement on the front page, but that didn’t offer that much information at first. mediawiki.org was slightly easier to figure out; it offered multiple pages on what the purpose of the wiki was and how to join. I was pleased that even though MediaWiki seemed impenetrable, it had pages specifically for new users, helping them become an active part of the community.

Sadly, the same could not be said for Wikitech. I understand that the wiki is a hub for documenting and fixing all bugs related to the MediaWiki software[Note 1], and as a result doesn’t really need to be all that welcoming and user-friendly. And it showed. As a newcomer, I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, or what to do. I understand that the wiki is only for those who have already been initiated into the wiki community, but it would be nice to have some pages dedicated to explaining the site’s layout and how one could contribute to it.

As you can probably tell, I favored MediaWiki over Wikitech when it came time for my research. It is a much more informative and newcomer-friendly wiki. mediawiki.org is for people who are just starting, whereas Wikitech is for people who are already integrated into the community. I would advise anyone who is a newcomer like me not to be turned off by the lack of accessibility of the wikis.

While Wikitech is still a daunting and, in my opinion, not-that-well-organized of a wiki, MediaWiki is a surprising delight to traverse. It has many pages to help you create an account, write extensions properly, and much, much more. MediaWiki did exactly what a wiki should do: it taught me. And more importantly, it taught me useful things, the most important of which is how to edit a wiki page. My previous attempts at editing wiki pages did more harm than good, but with my improved knowledge of the syntax, I can actually help contribute to the numerous wikis I, and many others, frequent every day.

I also liked mediawiki.org’s forum, called “Project:Support desk“, although I had trouble finding it at first. It is as simple as the press of a button to start your new thread. From the looks of other threads, there are many users that are glad to help, and questions are usually answered (or at least attempted to be) in a very short period. Your questions will not go unnoticed. It is a fantastic forum, and although some of the questions might seem advanced for newcomers, just ask any question you might have about MediaWiki, and I’m sure it will get answered.

Ashwin Bhumbla
2013 Google Code-in student

  1. Editor’s note: The Wikitech wiki is actually for documenting Wikimedia’s technical operations and infrastructure, i.e. information on the servers, network, and Wikimedia Labs.

Read in this series:

by Guillaume Paumier at April 03, 2014 04:56 PM

Modernising MediaWiki’s Localisation Update

Interface messages on MediaWiki and its many extensions are translated into more than 350 languages on translatewiki.net. Thousands of translations are created or updated each day. Usually, users of a wiki would have to wait until a new version of MediaWiki or of an extension is released to see these updated translations. However, webmasters can use the LocalisationUpdate extension to fetch and apply these translations daily without having to update the source code.

LocalisationUpdate provides a command line script to fetch updated translations. It can be run manually, but usually it is configured to run automatically using cron jobs. The sequence of events that the script follows is:

  1. Gather a list of all localisation files that are in use on the wiki.
  2. Fetch the latest localisation files from either:
    • an online source code repository, using https, or
    • clones of the repositories in the local file system.
  3. Check whether English strings have changed to skip incompatible updates.
  4. Compare all translations in all languages to find updated and new translations.
  5. Store the translations in separate localisation files.

MediaWiki’s localisation cache will automatically find the new translations via a hook subscribed by the LocalisationUpdate extension.

Until very recently the localisation files existed in PHP format. These are now converted to JSON format. This update required changes to be made in LocalisationUpdate to handle JSON files. Extending the code piecemeal over the years had made the code base tough to maintain. The code has been rewritten with extensibility to support future development as well as to retain adequate support for older MediaWiki versions that use this extension.

The rewrite did not add any new features except support for JSON format. The code for the existing functionality was refactored using modern development patterns such as separation of concerns and dependency injection. Unit tests were added as well.

The configuration format for the update scripts changed, but most webmasters won’t need to change anything, and will be able to use the default settings. Changes will be needed only on sites that for some reason don’t use the default repositories.

New features are being planned for future versions that would optimise LocalisationUpdate to run faster and without any manual configuration. Currently, the client downloads the latest translations for all extensions in all languages and then compares which translations can be updated. By moving some of the complex processing to a separate web service, the client can save bandwidth by downloading only updated messages for specific updated languages used by the reader.

There are still more things to improve in LocalisationUpdate. If you are a developer or a webmaster of a MediaWiki site, please join us in shaping the future of this tool.

Niklas Laxström and Runa Bhattacharjee, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by Runa Bhattacharjee at April 03, 2014 09:41 AM

April 02, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia RU expands Wikipedia Voice intro project to include music

WikiMusic logoRecently, Wikimedia RU (the Russian Wikimedia chapter) successfully launched the Russian version of the “Wikipedia voice intro project” and expanded it to incorporate the “WikiMusic” project. Now it not only covers celebrity voices but also free music – which prior to this had no significant presence in any Wikimedia project.

How did it happen?

The recent launch of the “Wikipedia voice intro project” got extensive coverage in Russian and European press. While the topic was hot, directors of Wikimedia RU achieved an agreement with the chief editor of “Echo of Moscow” radio, Alexei Venediktov, to start a similar joint project in Russia – “WikiVoices“.

It should be mentioned that Echo of Moscow has the largest audience among Moscow radio stations and broadcasts in more than 40 cities in Russia, the United States and Baltic states. It has the highest citation index between all Russian media, exceeding even TV channels. So, we are really happy to start working together with such a partner. According to the agreement, Echo will do the following:

  • ask their guests for short neutral stories about themselves without propaganda, advertising or personal attacks so that they will be suitable for future usage in Wikipedia;
  • search through their archive records (dating back to 1990) and provide us with interesting samples;
  • not only provide us with records of guests who came to their studio but also ask their external correspondents to make such records;
  • publish  photos of their guests under free licenses.
<audio class="kskin" controls="" data-durationhint="72.279750566893" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="Ion_Ivanovici_-_Waves_of_the_Danube_(Zonophone,_1914).oga" data-startoffset="0" id="mwe_player_0" poster="//bits.wikimedia.org/static-1.23wmf20/skins/common/images/icons/fileicon-ogg.png" preload="none" style="width:220px;height:23px"><source data-bandwidth="254011" data-height="0" data-shorttitle="Ogg source" data-title="Original Ogg file (254 kbps)" data-width="0" src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bc/Ion_Ivanovici_-_Waves_of_the_Danube_%28Zonophone%2C_1914%29.oga" type="audio/ogg; codecs="vorbis""></source>Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.</audio>

“Waves of the Danube” waltz.

<audio class="kskin" controls="" data-durationhint="120.72430839002" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="Gypsy_Song_from_Georges_Bizet's_opera_Carmen_(Medeya_Figner,_1910).oga" data-startoffset="0" id="mwe_player_1" poster="//bits.wikimedia.org/static-1.23wmf20/skins/common/images/icons/fileicon-ogg.png" preload="none" style="width:220px;height:23px"><source data-bandwidth="218915" data-height="0" data-shorttitle="Ogg source" data-title="Original Ogg file (219 kbps)" data-width="0" src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/58/Gypsy_Song_from_Georges_Bizet%27s_opera_Carmen_%28Medeya_Figner%2C_1910%29.oga" type="audio/ogg; codecs="vorbis""></source>Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.</audio>

Gypsy song from the opera “Carmen.”

<audio class="kskin" controls="" data-durationhint="238.14385487528" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="The_Lost_Chord_by_Violet_Elliot.oga" data-startoffset="0" id="mwe_player_2" poster="//bits.wikimedia.org/static-1.23wmf20/skins/common/images/icons/fileicon-ogg.png" preload="none" style="width:220px;height:23px"><source data-bandwidth="265830" data-height="0" data-shorttitle="Ogg source" data-title="Original Ogg file (266 kbps)" data-width="0" src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/39/The_Lost_Chord_by_Violet_Elliot.oga" type="audio/ogg; codecs="vorbis""></source>Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.</audio>

“The Lost Chord.”

<audio class="kskin" controls="" data-durationhint="79.210340136054" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="Lunacharskiy_voice.ogg" data-startoffset="0" id="mwe_player_3" poster="//bits.wikimedia.org/static-1.23wmf20/skins/common/images/icons/fileicon-ogg.png" preload="none" style="width:220px;height:23px"><source data-bandwidth="219431" data-height="0" data-shorttitle="Ogg source" data-title="Original Ogg file (219 kbps)" data-width="0" src="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Lunacharskiy_voice.ogg" type="audio/ogg; codecs="vorbis""></source>Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.</audio>

Voice Recording of speech “On the cultural role of the gramophone.”

Echo of Moscow not only agreed to donate such materials but also did a lot for simplification of this process: all records are posted at their official website with information about the person and direct statement of CC-BY-SA license for the records. The log of uploads is prepared in the machine-readable XML format and new records are automatically uploaded to Commons via bots in the free OGG format. At the moment about 40 records were uploaded: now we have voice records of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (with translator), the USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev, journalist Vladimir Pozner and many other famous people.

Fortunately, that’s not the only good news we want to share. While we were announcing the start of WikiVoices project on the, we were heard by the Russian State Archive of Sound Recordings. This archive was founded in 1932 and at the moment has more than 240,00  records. Many catalogs are not available online and many records are not digitized, but the Archive is ready to convert desirable records into the digital format and donate them to us.

This is why Wikimedia RU is asking the local community for requests. We will send these requests to the Archive to gather the required records. At the moment about 15 test recordings have been uploaded to Commons: for example, recording of “Waves of the Danube,” a recording of the “Gipsy Song” from “Carmen,” recording of “The Lost Chord,” a speech of Russian revolutionary Anatoly Lunacharsky and others.

We are happy that the State Fund contacted us and showed its own initiative without any prior communication from our side – it shows that media coverage about new projects (like WikiVoices) not only informs our users and editors but also generates new ideas while attracting new partners.

Wikimedia RU is grateful to our current partners and is looking forward to hearing from other organizations that are ready to promote free knowledge!

Linar Khalitov, Wikimedia Russia

by rubin16 at April 02, 2014 09:38 PM

April 01, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, March 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 3 • March 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

Wikipedians’ “encyclopedic identity” dominates even in Kosovo debates; analysis of “In the news” discussions; user hierarchy mapped

With contributions by: Federico Leva, Scott Hale, Kim Osman, Jonathan Morgan, Piotr Konieczny, Niklas Laxström, Tilman Bayer and James Heilman

Cross-language study of conflict on Wikipedia

Have you wondered about differences in the articles on Crimea in the Russian, Ukrainian, and English versions of Wikipedia? A newly published article entitled “Lost in Translation: Contexts, Computing, Disputing on Wikipedia”[1] doesn’t address Crimea, but nonetheless offers insight into the editing of contentious articles in multiple language editions through a heavy qualitative examination of Wikipedia articles about Kosovo in the Serbian, Croatian, and English editions.

The authors, Pasko Bilic and Luka Bulian from the University of Zagreb, found the main drivers of conflict and consensus were different group identities in relation to the topic (Kosovo) and to Wikipedia in general. Happily, the authors found the dominant identity among users in all three editions was the “encyclopedic identity,” which closely mirrored the rules and policies of Wikipedia (e.g., NPOV) even if the users didn’t cite such policies explicitly. (This echoes the result of a similar study regarding political identities of US editors, see previous coverage: “Being Wikipedian is more important than the political affiliation“.) Other identities were based largely on language and territorial identity. These identities, however, did not sort cleanly into the different language editions: “language and territory [did] not produce coherent and homogeneous wiki communities in any of the language editions.”

The English Wikipedia was seen by many users as providing greater visibility and thus “seem[ed] to offer a forum for both Pro-Serbian and Pro-Albanian viewpoints making it difficult to negotiate a middle path between all of the existing identities and viewpoints.” The Arbitration Committee, present in the English edition but not in the Serbian or Croatian editions, may have helped prevent even greater conflict. Enforcement of its decisions seemed generally to lead to greater caution in the edition process.

In line with previous work showing some users move between language editions, the authors found a significant amount of coordination work between the language editions. One central focus centered around whether other editions would follow the English edition in breaking the article into two separate articles (Republic of Kosovo and Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija).

The social construction of knowledge on English Wikipedia

review by Kim Osman

Another paper by Bilic, published in New Media & Society[2] looks at the logic behind networked societies and the myth perpetuated by media institutions that there is a center of the social world (as opposed to distributed nodes). The paper goes on to investigate the social processes that contribute to the creation of “mediated centers”, by analyzing the talk pages of English Wikipedia’s In The News (ITN) section.

Undertaking an ethnographic content analysis of ITN talk pages from 2004–2012, Bilic found three issues that were disputed among Wikipedians in their efforts to construct a necessarily temporal section of the encyclopedia. First, that editors differentiate between mass media and Wikipedia as a digital encyclopedia, however what constitutes the border between the two is often contested. Second, there was debate between inclusionists and deletionists regarding the criteria for stories making the ITN section. Third, conflict and discussion occurred regarding English Wikipedia’s relevance to a global audience.

The paper provides a good insight into how editors construct the ITN section and how it is positioned on the “thin line between mass media agenda and digital encyclopedia.” It would be interesting to see further research on the tensions between the Wikipedia policies mentioned in the paper (e.g. WP:NOTNEWS, NPOV) and mainstream media trends in light of other studies about Wikipedia’s approach to breaking news coverage.

User hierarchy map: Building Wikipedia’s Org Chart

If you were to make an org chart of English Wikipedia, what would it look like? A recent study[3] presented at the 2014 European Conference on Information Systems examines whether the organizational hierarchy of Wikipedia is as flat and egalitarian as previous research and popular media have claimed in the past. The researchers point out that the degree to which Wikipedia’s actual governance model (and those of other peer production communities) reflect egalitarian principles has seldom been comprehensively examined. Furthermore, a growing body of research has shown that Wikipedia has become increasingly bureaucratic along many dimensions, often in response to new community needs. This suggests that Wikipedia has grown more hierarchical, and less flat, over time.

The researchers develop a taxonomy based on technical user rights and the quality assurance, coordination, and conflict resolution tasks commonly associated with those user rights. They use exploratory factor analysis, least square analysis, and qualitative examination of the user right description pages to distill 19 user rights down to 8 social roles. They assemble these roles into a hierarchy according to their Scope, Granting, Access, and Promotion relationships. For example, in this hierarchy, editors in the Security Force role (checkusers and oversighters) have more power than administrators (sysops and bureaucrats) because being a sysop is an informal prerequisite for checkuser rights, and because oversighters can use the RevisionDelete extension in suppressor mode, blocking access to the content from administrators.

The paper does an excellent job of distilling the complex matrix of technologically mediated power relationships within and across Wikimedia wikis into a relatively simple organizational chart (presented on manuscript page 11). However, other mappings are certainly possible. For example, this analysis excludes the role of bots (and therefore, bot wranglers) within the role ecology. It also does not address the soft power that well-respected veteran community members may wield in some situations.


Extracting machine-readable data from Wiktionary

Yet another research group recognised Wiktionary as a source of «valuable lexical information» and explored conversion of its full content to a machine-readable format, LMF.[4] The UBY tools were used as base, but results are not released, probably being in the works (only English, French and German Wiktionaries are mentioned), and seem unaware of DBpedia’s Wiktionary RDF extraction. Authors find a big obstacle in seemingly innocuous context labels of the kind “archaic term“: this diachronicity would force to split such definitions to separate lexicons by age. Instead, they believe it wouldn’t be hard to map all the formats and tags used by the various Wiktionary editions and unify them, apparently, in a single lexicon. If delivered (and open-sourced), such a map could help the perennial discussion on how to unify Wiktionary data, recently revived by the Wikidata plans.

Wikipedia as a source of proper names in various languages

Another group[5] managed to automatically extract proper names mentioned in articles of Wikipedias in 18 European languages, collating the different transliterations and attributing certain properties like “given name” and “family name” (similar to what Wikidata does, but without using interwiki links). As in the previous work, the conclusion is that LMF is suitable for storing such information, with an extension of the format. The impression is that LMF’s viability is being tested in “real life” to refine said theoretical standard, an effort parallel to Wikidata’s process of organic growth by trial and error.

“Wikipedia and Machine Translation: killing two birds with one stone”

This[6] is a case study about machine aided translation from one language to another. In this case, the researchers made volunteers translate 100 short Computer Science articles from Spanish to Basque Wikipedia, totalling to 50 000 words. They used a rule based machine translation system called Matxin. Volunteers corrected the machine translation output using OmegaT. The machine translation system was adapted by using a collection of Mozilla translations.
Following a long established Apertium practice, the human corrections were used as source for a tool to make them automatically. They claim 10% increase in accuracy with this tool, but do not report the baseline or corpus for which it was measured. Additionally: they translated wikilinks using Wikidata; they noted that markup complicated things; even a not very good machine translation output was still useful for volunteer translators.

“Knowledge Construction in Wikipedia: A Systemic-Constructivist Analysis”

In this study[7] of knowledge construction on Wikipedia, the authors focus on the importance of the social system and social structure in influencing the actions of individuals (Wikipedia editors). They analyze the edit history of the German Wikipedia article on Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant, arguing that it is a case study of “a regularly occurring situation: the development of new knowledge in a large-scale social setting based on inconsistent information under uncertainty.” The author provide an interesting literature review of what they term a “systemic-constructivist” approach, then discuss the evolution of the Wikipedia article through about 1,200 edits, noting the importance of Wikipedia policies, which were often quoted by the editors. The authors also conduced a survey among the editors of the article to obtain additional information. The authors also asked independent experts to review the article; this review concluded that the German Wikipedia article is of high quality. They note that the experts identified some errors, although unfortunately they do not provide details specific enough for the community to address them. They conclude that the Wikipedia editors were not experts in the field of nuclear power plants, yet were able to produce an article that earned favorable reviews from such experts; this, according to the authors, can be explained through the “systemic-constructivist” approach as validating the importance of the social system and structure of Wikipedia, which guided the amateur editors into producing an expert-level product.

Younger librarians more supportive of Wikipedia

A survey[8] of information literacy librarians shows that they provide little Wikipedia instruction, with about 40% of respondents answering that their schools provide no instruction on Wikipedia, and 80%, that they hold no dedicated workshops. Still, the remaining group – 60% which do provide some instruction, and 20% who hold dedicated workshops, suggest that the picture is not so dire, and in fact illuminates an interesting opportunity for reaching out with regards to the Wikipedia Education Programs, which do not usually focus on the libraries instructional programs. Only 3% of respondents indicated that they have students actually edit Wikipedia, and one cited story, about “making edits to lower the quality of an article” and “getting a student blocked”, raises a specter of similar incidents in the past (see e.g. previous Signpost coverage of a prominent case at George Mason University), as well as a question of ethics in education with regards to purposefully engaging in vandalism for educational purposes. Unsurprisingly, there was also a negative correlation between librarian’s age and views on Wikipedia. Although overall majority of respondents were supportive of the idea that librarians need to educate students in digital literacy skills, they were nonetheless opposed to linking Wikipedia from the pages of their institutions.

“Preparing and publishing Wikipedia articles are a good tool to train project management, teamwork and peer reviewed publishing processes in life sciences”

This is the conclusion in the title of a recently published paper from the 2012 “Improving University Teaching” conference[9] by two zoologists from the University of Innsbruck.

“Networked Grounded Theory” analysis of views on the use of Wikipedia in education

A report paper[10] describes how a Greek PhD thesis studied the use of Wikipedia in Education using the network visualization software Gephi. Empirical data was gathered “from interviews and focus group discussions with students and teachers participating in Wikipedia assignments, from online blog posts expressing students’, instructors’, and Wikipedians’ reflections on the topic and from Wikipedia’s community discussion pages” and analyzed in a grounded theory approach (classifying text statements into codes such as “Need for Wiki Literate Professors”, “Valuable Content Added”, “You Are Not Listening & Respecting Us” or “Aggressive Community Editors”). Gephi was used to create a visualization grouping these codes (opinions), and grouping them into “communities”. Eventually, the author arrived at “Community Resistance, Organization of Intervention, Community Benefit, Educational Benefit, and Acculturation Stress [as] the conceptual blocks of theory for interpreting the utilization of a virtual community in education as an acculturation process.”

“Risk factors and control of hospital acquired infections: a comparison between Wikipedia and scientific literature”

This is the title of a paper[11] published in 2013 which analysed Wikipedia content from November of 2010. They looked at 15 articles pertaining to hospital acquired infections (HAIs) of which 8 were B class and the rest were lower. Some of the articles were in this reviewer’s opinion only tangentially related, such as necktie. They looked at how well Wikipedia’s content in 2010 matched the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) topic on HAIs. NICE writes how to-guides for physicians, while Wikipedians are writing an encyclopedia. The conclusions was thus not surprising that Wikipedia is not a good “how to guide” regarding HAIs (as one editor observed in a discussion about the paper at WikiProject Medicine: “We are criticised for (somewhere) mentioning or recommending signs reminding about hand-washing routines, … and for not giving all sorts of detailed guidelines about procedures for the use of catheters and the like by medical staff”). Still, a number of specific errors were also found. Most had already been fixed and this reviewer has corrected the last few.

How a country’s broadband connectivity and Wikipedia coverage are related

In 2011, the Oxford Internet Institute began a project to study the online representation of the Arab world online, via Wikipedia. The first peer-reviewed paper from this research became available in preprint form[12] at the beginning of 2014. As previously observed by these and other researchers, the density of geotagged Wikipedia is highly uneven, and a part of the paper studies its relationship to a country’s population, to the number of broadband internet connections in a geographic area, and to Wikipedia’s country-level usage statistics over time. Among other things, the authors find that “over three quarters of the variation in geotagged articles was explained by the population of the country, the number of fixed broadband connections and the number of edits emanating from that country.” Curiously, the relationship between internet connectivity and Wikipedia coverage was not linear: “those countries with the least and most broadband have more articles than expected, whereas those countries in the middle of the distribution have fewer articles than expected.”


  1. Bilic, Pasko and Bulian, Luka (2014). “Lost in Translation: Contexts, Computing, Disputing on Wikipedia“. iConference 2014. 
  2. Bilic, Pasko (2014). ““Searching for a centre that holds” in the network society: Social construction of knowledge on, and with, English Wikipedia“. New Media & Society. doi:10.1177/1461444814522953. ISSN 1461-4448.  Closed access
  3. Arazy, Ofer; Oded Nov, Felipe Ortega (2014). “The [Wikipedia world is not flat: On the organizational structure of online production communities"]. Twenty Second European Conference on Information Systems. http://oferarazy.com/PDF/ArazyNovOrtega%20WikiRoles%20ECIS2014.pdf. 
  4. Collaborative Tools: From Wiktionary to LMF, for Synchronic and Diachronic Language Data. Chapter written by Thierry DECLERCK, Pirsoka LENDVAI and Karlheinz MÖRTH. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9781118712696.ch12/summary
  5. Global Atlas: Proper Nouns, From Wikipedia to LMF. Chapter written by Gil FRANCOPOULO , Frédéric MARCOUL, David CAUSSE and Grégory PIPARO.
  6. Alegria I., Cabezon U., Fernandez de Betoño U., Labaka G., Mayor A., Sarasola K. and Zubiaga A.: Wikipedia and Machine Translation: killing two birds with one stone. Workshop on ‘Free/open-source language resources for the machine translation of less-resourced languages’ at LREC 2014. https://ixa.si.ehu.es/Ixa/Argitalpenak/Artikuluak/1395737124
  7. Oeberst, Aileen; Iassen Halatchliyski, Joachim Kimmerle, Ulrike Cress (2014-02-21). “Knowledge Construction in Wikipedia: A Systemic-Constructivist Analysis“. Journal of the Learning Sciences. doi:10.1080/10508406.2014.888352. ISSN 1050-8406.  Closed access
  8. Zlatos, Christy (2014-03-12). “Still Not Ready for Prime Time: Academic Librarian Attitudes towards Wikipedia in a Networked Age“. 
  9. Schwerte, Thorsten; Stefan Stolz. “Preparing and publishing Wikipedia articles are a good tool to train project management, teamwork and peer reviewed publishing processes in life sciences”. 2012 Proceedings. Improving University Teaching. The University of British Columbia. http://www.iutconference.com/2014/03/preparing-and-publishing-wikipedia-articles-as-training-tool-in-project-management-teamwork-and-the-peer-review-publishing-process-in-the-life-sciences/. 
  10. Alexios V. Brailas: Networked Grounded Theory. The Qualitative Report 2014 Volume 19, How To Article 3, 1–16 http://www.nova.edu/ssss/QR/QR19/brailas3.pdf
  11. Maggi, Elisa; Luca Magistrelli, Marco Zavattaro, Marta Beggiato, Fabio Maiello, Cristina Naturale, Margherita Ragliani, Marco Varalda, Maria Sofia Viola, Diego Concina, Elias Allara, Fabrizio Faggiano, Avogadro Wikipedia and HAI Group (2013). “Risk factors and control of hospital acquired infections: a comparison between Wikipedia and scientific literature“. Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health 10 (1). ISSN 2282-0930. 
  12. Graham, Mark; Bernie Hogan, Ralph K. Straumann, Ahmed Medhat (2014-01-21). “Uneven Geographies of User-Generated Information: Patterns of Increasing Informational Poverty”. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. http://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2382617.  to appear in Annals of the Association of American Geographers

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 3 • March 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 Tilman Bayer at April 01, 2014 06:57 AM

March 31, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Seeing through the eyes of new technical contributors

Do you remember the first time you contributed to Wikipedia or one of its sister projects?

As we become more involved in the Wikimedia community, and more knowledgeable about its culture, tools and policies, we tend to forget how and why we came to join that community, and what hurdles we had to overcome to get where we are now.

We tend to forget the frustrations we encountered while going through the documentation, or the confusion we experienced when faced with complicated tools and arcane processes. Once we’ve gotten used to them, we have little incentive to improve the system.

It’s incredibly valuable for a community to be reminded of that newcomer experience. Not only does it help identify pain points of newcomers that the community can reduce, but it can also be an eye-opening experience that challenges long-established anti-patterns. This is true whether we’re talking about new editors on a Wikimedia wiki, or new tech contributors who want to improve the software and technical infrastructure.

One goal of the Engineering community team at the Wikimedia Foundation is to facilitate the integration of new tech contributors. We do this through a variety of activities, which include for instance the organization and coordination of mentoring programs, like Google Summer of Code, the Outreach Program for Women and Google Code-in.

Another way to make the first steps of new tech contributors easier is to improve the portals, to make sure the documentation stays up-to-date and to identify where newcomers stumble, get blocked or rage quit.

In order to capture that newcomer experience and use it to improve our pipeline, we’ve asked Google Code-in students to write “discovery reports”, i.e. short candid essays outlining what surprised them during their first steps, whether good or bad.

Their mission, which 13 students chose to accept and completed successfully, was:

  • to explore MediaWiki’s and Wikimedia’s technical world;
  • to write down their feelings, impressions, frustrations, pleasant and unpleasant surprises with the code, community and tools as they explored;
  • to organize their notes into a short candid essay;
  • to create an account on mediawiki.org and post their essay on their user page.

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting a selection of their essays here, slightly edited for publication. We’ve already learned a lot, and I think there’s value in showing them to a wider audience.

If you’re a newcomer to the MediaWiki and Wikimedia technical community, I encourage you to write a discovery report as well. Each contributor’s perspective is different, and each candid essay sheds light on new areas of our community in need of improvement.

Your exploration can focus on a specific area (for instance: setting up a development environment, finding documentation about a specific part of the software, translating the software, etc.) or be more general. Make sure to drop me a note by e-mail or talk page so your essay doesn’t get lost in an obscure corner of the wiki.

If you’re a more experienced member of our community, I hope those discovery reports will be useful to you, and will help us make it easier to welcome and guide new tech contributors.

Guillaume Paumier
Technical communications manager, Wikimedia Foundation

Read in this series:

by Guillaume Paumier at March 31, 2014 05:55 PM

March 28, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia’s Road to Bugzilla 4.4 (How we puppetized, upgraded and moved Bugzilla to another server)

The original publication of this blog post can be found here.

The software behind Wikimedia’s website for tracking software issues and feature requests was recently updated to a newer  version and moved onto a new machine in a different datacenter. Furthermore, proper configuration management for this software was set up. This post explains the technical details and challenges.

Though we currently also evaluate Wikimedia’s project management tools, we will have to stick with our current infrastructure for a while. Among many other tasks, I spent the last few months preparing the upgrade of Wikimedia’s Bugzilla instance from 4.2 to 4.4. Some reasons for upgrading can be found in this Bugzilla comment.

In late November of 2013 I started cleaning up Wikimedia Bugzilla’s custom CSS which was copied about five years ago and not kept in sync. It turned out that 16  out of 22 files could be removed since there was no sufficient difference to upstream’s default CSS code (Bugzilla falls back to loading the default CSS file from /skins/default if no custom CSS file is found in /skins/custom). Less noise and less diffing required for future upgrades. In theory.

After testing these CSS changes on a Wikimedia Labs instance and merging them into our 4.2 production instance, I created numerous patches and put them into Gerrit (Wikimedia’s code review tool) by diffing upstream 4.2 code, upstream 4.4 code and our custom code.

At the same time, Wikimedia’s Technical Operations team wanted to move the Bugzilla server from the kaulen server in our old Tampa datacenter to the zirconium server in our new Ashburn (Eqiad) datacenter. While you’d normally prefer to do only one thing at a time, Daniel Zahn (of Technical Operations) and I decided to create a fresh Bugzilla 4.4 instance from scratch on the new server to see into which problems we would run. During this process Daniel Zahn turned the old setup on kaulen, which was largely manual and had organically grown over the years into a proper Puppet module. For every “missing module” error we ran into we avoided installing anything from Perl’s CPAN in Bugzilla’s /lib folder and ensured we just relied on distribution packages for a much cleaner install. Daniel Zahn installed the needed packages by adding them to puppet code. While doing this we also removed Bugzilla’s Sitemap extension as it created sporadic Search::Sitemap errors when running Bugzilla’s checksetup.pl (plus it’s unmaintained anyway). Furthermore I ran into another runtime error to fix.

After fixing all checksetup.pl issues and having Bugzilla accessible via a web browser, only Bugzilla’s upstream CSS was displayed instead of our custom CSS. Wikimedia’s custom CSS was not offered as an option in the browser, nor could I log into the new Bugzilla (to check which theme is set as default in the admin settings) as the database dump we used for testing predated the creation of my user account.

After Sean Pringle of Technical Operations deployed a more recent Bugzilla database dump I expected further problems due to upstream changes to CSS loading. I was happy to see that I had been wrong: there were no problems with our custom CSS theming anymore. Instead, I ran into problems with our custom “See Also” field changes: Adding and removing such URLs triggered errors and URLs themselves were not displayed (but their corresponding “Remove” checkbox). Thanks to upstream help in #bugzilla on Mozilla IRC I finally found out that Perl’s use base instead of use parent was the culprit.

After creating symlinks to /extensions/WeeklyReport/ to avoid 404 errors for the “Weekly Bug Summary” link in the sidebar (our setup is slightly busted) and after fixing two problems with our cronjobs for whining and data collection we agreed on a date to copy the database, do some maintenance work and switch the DNS entry. This was announced one week in advance by adding a banner to Bugzilla via its announcehtml parameter.

A few hours before the switch on February 12th 2014, Daniel lowered the Time-to-live (TTL) values of the DNS entry of our Bugzilla. When the migration started, I set Bugzilla’s shutdown parameter to make the web UI inaccessible and also the WebService API return a 503 error for the Bingle script that syncs Bugzilla with Wikimedia’s Mingle instance. It was important to make sure that nobody can write anymore to the old database. We updated the IRC channel topic in #wikimedia-tech to tell that Bugzilla is under scheduled maintenance and logged the action in #wikimedia-operations so it got added to Wikimedia’s Server admin log. All in all we had only forgotten two minor things: Our Gerrit integration (a bot adding Gerrit notifications about related patches as comments in Bugzilla) bot was not able to write and got a 503 error back – Chad quickly disabled it. Our Nimsoft watchmouse sent an “ALERT! Bugzilla: Service Temporarily Unavailable” message to the Operations mailing list.

Sean Pringle migrated the old database from db9 in Tampa, to a new database on db1001 in Eqiad. After this was done, Daniel Zahn ran checksetup.pl to apply the scheme upgrades needed for 4.4.

After 30 minutes of testing to make sure everything worked as expected we deployed two more custom patches: Showing common queries on the frontpage and making saved reports work. While having the downtime I also switched off bugmail to do some mass-changes without spamming everybody: I merged some version numbers in the “MediaWiki” product to have a shorter Version dropdown, removed the wikibugs-l watcher account from some bug reports as it is unneeded (set as a global watcher in Bugzilla anyway, hence a potential issue if a ticket was moved to a restricted product like “Security” still triggering public bugmail).

A few minutes before the end of the announced downtime of three hours, Daniel switched DNS so the new Bugzilla on the new server became available to the public. A few hours later, to work around isses for clients not supporting SNI, Daniel changed the order in which Apache loads virtual hosts. This ensures that older clients like Internet Explorer on Microsoft Windows XP will always get to see Bugzilla instead of other miscellaneous web services sharing the same hardware. I had also overlooked a small UI issue that I fixed two days later.

Now that all is done, the result can be seen on bugzilla.wikimedia.org. All steps to upgrade Wikimedia Bugzilla from 4.2 to 4.4 were documented on a wiki page. You can find all of our custom modifications here.

Andre Klapper, bug wrangler for the Wikimedia Foundation


by Andre Klapper at March 28, 2014 06:34 PM

March 27, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Typography refresh: A new look for text on Wikimedia sites

Soon, we’re releasing a small but important update to the typography on the desktop version of Wikimedia sites. All Wikipedia readers and editors will see the change one week from today (Thursday, April 3rd), while other Wikimedia sites will receive the update earlier, on Tuesday, April 1st.

We approached this change to Wikimedia’s default typography with the following requirements in mind:

  1. Readability: Type must be readable and beautiful at all sizes and in as many scripts as possible. Type is also an element which must help differentiate interface elements (such as site navigation) from article content.
  2. Consistency: A consistent visual experience across desktop and mobile devices. A growing proportion of our readers and editors access content on multiple such devices.
  3. Availability: All typefaces we use must be already usable (or made available) on all platforms where Wikimedia projects are present. Any selections must degrade gracefully across devices and platforms (Mac OS X, Windows, Linux, and mobile operating systems).
  4. Accessibility: Wikimedia content must be highly accessible to all, including those with impairments.

What’s changing

Our sites have historically used text styles which present many issues at small sizes and in non-Latin scripts. Most prominently, all body copy and captions were small with tight leading, while font families for body text and headings were set merely to use your browser’s default sans-serif font. This haphazard set of defaults created a lot of readability issues that have not been consistently addressed, until now.

Changes we’re releasing include: increased text size for body content plus headings, specific font family settings for body text, serif headings to help you scan long articles, improved leading and spacing between sections, and other minor updates. In the long run, we may explore delivering a single font stack to all via web fonts. For now, we have opted to release this incremental improvement, which does not require you to download additional fonts and thus will have far less impact on page load times, if any.


An example of old typography (above) and the new (below) on OS X. More comparisons are available on the project FAQ.

How we tested and introduced these changes

These efforts began more than a year ago, with the release of new typography for mobile web browsers. Later, we introduced very similar typography on an opt-in basis, using the new beta features framework that makes experimental new functionality available to those who log in via desktop. During this desktop beta, the new typography was tested by over 14,000 people on the largest Wikipedia communities alone. Thank you to all the community members who participated in the discussion and provided feedback. Your help was invaluable.

Learn more

We have an extensive FAQ available, if you’d like to delve more into our rationale for some changes. If you have additional unanswered questions, please contribute to the associated Talk page, or leave us a comment here.

Vibha Bamba, Senior User Experience Designer

Steven Walling, Product Manager

by Steven Walling at March 27, 2014 05:04 PM

March 26, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Hovercards now available as a Beta Feature on all Wikimedia wikis

File:Hovercards feature in action on a wiki.png

Hovercards presents a summary of an article when you hover a link.

Have you ever quickly looked up an article on Wikipedia, gotten all caught up in the fun of reading, then suddenly realized that three hours had passed and you’re now reading a series of articles about totally different topics? The folks at xkcd certainly have. And now, we’ve got just the feature for you.

Hovercards provides the casual reader with a streamlined browsing experience. Whenever you hover over a link to another article, a short summary of the article and a relevant image is provided to you so you can make the decision about whether you want to read the full article. And, as of today, the feature is live for testing as a Beta Feature on all Wikimedia wikis.

Inspired by the Navigation Popups (NavPopups) gadget used by many of our experienced editors, Hovercards take the idea of NavPopups and modifies it to be suitable to casual readers. The design is minimalistic, presenting only the information which interests casual readers: the lead paragraph and first image of the article they’re interested in browsing to.

To enable Hovercards, simply log in, click the “Beta” link at the top right of your page and tick the box next to Hovercards. As its placement in the Beta tab suggests, the feature is still under active development, so we’d appreciate any feedback you have. You can give us feedback by writing on the talk page of the feature.

We hope you like using Hovercards!

Vibha Bamba, Dan Garry, Prateek Saxena, Nick Wilson
Wikimedia Foundation

by Dan Garry at March 26, 2014 09:16 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Chráněná území ČR očima wikipedistů – výstava v budově Akademie věd

Ploník obecný (autor: Chmee2, licence: CC BY SA 3.0)

Ploník obecný (autor: Chmee2, licence: CC BY SA 3.0)

WikiProjekt Chráněná území se dlouhodobě věnuje popularizaci tématu ochrany přírody v České republice. Jako svou další aktivitu připravil za podpory Wikimedia Česká republika, o.s. a Geofyzikálního ústavu Akademie věd ČR, v.v.i. autorskou výstavu fotografií na téma chráněných území. Na 23 fotografiích volně dostupných na Wikimedia Commons a 4 doprovodných plakátech nabízí výstava možnost, jak se seznámit s jednotlivými chráněnými územími, tak i s problematikou ochrany přírody u nás obecně. Současně budou na místě volně k dispozici pexesa s tématikou ochrany přírody, které účastníci tohoto projektu dříve připravili.

Výstava proběhne v přízemním sále budovy Akademie věd ČR, Národní 3, Praha 1 v termínu od 8. dubna do 30. dubna 2014. Otevřeno je denně pondělí-pátek od 10:00 do 18:00. Vstup zdarma.

Pokud tedy budeme mít cestu kolem, určitě se zastavte!

by Chmee2 at March 26, 2014 11:41 AM

March 21, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Celebrating women and change in IP

Picture of presenters and the audience at WIPLA’s IP Year in Review: Trends and Developments of 2013 conference.

An official holiday in over 25 countries, International Women’s Day was celebrated on March 8th with Wikipedia edit-a-thons focused on expanding articles on women, statements from United Nations organizations, conferences and even a Google Doodle.

In conjunction with the holiday, The Women’s Intellectual Property Lawyers Association (“WIPLA”) hosted a timely panel of impressive female attorneys from some of the most influential organizations in Silicon Valley to discuss the latest developments in intellectual property law. WIPLA’s mission is aligned with the goals of International Women’s Day as the organization focuses on supporting and empowering female lawyers within the often male-dominated intellectual property field, [1]

Intellectual property law is a dynamic field that is constantly changing as courts and lawmakers work their way around new technologies and scientific breakthroughs. The panel discussed an array of the most significant topics in the areas of trademark law, patent law and trade secrets law. One of the women on the panel was Wikimedia’s Legal Counsel, Yana Welinder, who presented on trademark developments. Below are some highlights from the panel’s presentations.

Recent Developments in Trademark Law: ICANN releases new top level domains

Trademark holders are facing new challenges with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ (ICANN) approval of new top level domains. [2] So now, instead of being restricted to only 22 generic top-level domains (gTLDs) like .org or .com, you will be able to register your site with up to an additional 1400 gTLDs like .book, or .ninja, once they are issued. ICANN hopes to enhance competition and communication on the Internet with the introduction of these new gTLDs. But the introduction of 1400 new gTLDs brings with it a greater potential of cybersquatting, forcing trademark holders to buy the gTLDs related to their trademarks, regardless of whether they ever plan to use them.

As a trademark holder, you have the exclusive right to pre-register for a gTLD of your trademark within 30 days after a gTLD launches (known as the “sunrise” period). Unfortunately, you may be unable to purchase a gTLD if your trademark is not a perfect match to the domain requested. You can still purchase the domain name after this period, but you will have to compete with cybersquatters who rush to reserve domain names of famous brands like Wikimedia. Thus, there are no guarantees during this process that you will get your domain name.

If you are unable to purchase the domain name you want, hope is not lost as there are three procedures to retrieve domain names from cybersquatters. The Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) was established by ICANN as a streamlined procedure for domain disputes with a decision delivered within a few months.[3] If an arbitrator determines you meet the 3-part test, she or he can either order the cancellation or transfer of the domain name to you. [4].

UDRP fees can serve as an impediment for retrieving domain names, [5] so ICANN published the Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) procedure in 2013 to provide a more affordable and faster method of retrieving domain names in more clear-cut cases. This process still requires the same 3-part test as the UDRP, however the fees only range from $300-$500 and a determination is made within 3-5 days from the examinations start. [6] The URS procedure does not result in the transfer of a domain name. Instead, the domain name will be rerouted to a URS placeholder page until the end of the registration when the trademark holder will receive the first option to extend the registration period for another year. The URS also has an appeals process that allows the trademark holder to initiate a UDRP after losing a URS procedure.

You can also sue a cybersquatter that registers a domain through a US registrar under the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act as a final resort to retrieve the domain name. This option is less favored because a typical lawsuit will cost significantly more than the ICANN’s procedures and will take years to resolve.

Recent Developments in Biotechnology Patent Law: Isolated DNA cannot be patented

In 2013, the Supreme Court decided Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics (Myriad), a case that will have a huge impact on what biotechnology companies can patent. Myriad Genetics discovered the exact location and sequence of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Patients with mutations in these genes have an increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer. It then obtained patents that gave it the exclusive right to isolate these genes and to create BRCA cDNA. Based on these patents, Myriad Genetics sent letters to entities performing genetic testing for the BRCA genes asserting that testing violates its patents and filed patent infringement suits against these entities. This ultimately led to Myriad Genetics being the only entity to provide BRCA testing. Myriad was a lawsuit brought by doctors, researchers, medical patients and advocacy groups seeking a declaration that the patents are invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

Section 101 of the Patent Act grants patent rights to “whoever invents or discovers any new and useful…composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof…subject to [certain] conditions and requirements.” Previous cases such as Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories and Diamond v. Chakrabarty have noted that an implicit exception to section 101 is that “laws of nature, natural phenomena, and abstract ideas are not patentable.” [7] The Supreme Court distinguished Myriad from previous cases and held that DNA is a product of nature and genes are not patentable just because they have been isolated. The Court did, however, find that the cDNA that Myriad Genetics had synthesized and patented was eligible for patent protection.

The Myriad case has interesting implications in the biotechnology field. The USPTO released a memorandum following the case advising patent applicants and examiners on how claims involving natural products should be examined. In order to be patentable, an invention must be significantly different than a natural product.

Recent Developments in High Technology Patent Law: Transitioning to a first to file system

The America Invents Act (“AIA”) changed the way patents are granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Previously, if two inventors had patent applications pending at the same time, the USPTO would conduct an interference proceeding to determine which inventor was first to invent the subject matter of the patent. Interference proceedings were unique to the United States, as every other country granted patent rights to the first inventor to file for a patent on the subject matter. AIA, which went into effect in 2012, switched the United States over to a first to file system on March 16, 2013 [8].

One potential effect of AIA on the high tech industry that was mentioned in the panel was a change in the way that engineers and patent attorneys interact. Under the first-to-invent system, engineers would generally conceive of an invention and develop it into a product to be sold before consulting an attorney to file for a patent. Under the first-to-file system, attorneys and engineers may have a more collaborative relationship, so that attorneys are able to identify patent rights and file early applications.

Recent Developments in Trade Secret Law: Courts ruling against restraints on trade

One of the common practices for entities with trade secrets is to ask employees to sign a contract with a non-compete provision and a non-disclosure provision. Non-compete provisions require an individuals who have left a company to refrain from employment that would compete with his former employer for a limited time and within a limited geographical region. Non-disclosure provisions prevent individuals from sharing information such as trade secrets.

Contract law with regards to these provisions is governed by state common law. Over the last year, courts in several states have invalidated provisions as an illegal restraint on trade. In UCB Manufacturing, Inc. v. Tris Pharma, Inc., a New Jersey court applying New York law held that a non-disclosure provision was invalid because it was not limited in terms of time, space, or scope. It was vague as to what the former employee was not allowed to disclose. For example, it prohibited him from disclosing “work procedures” and covered information already available to the public, thereby making it difficult for the former employee to continue in his profession. In Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, the Illinois Appellate Court found a non-compete agreement to be invalid for lack of consideration. The employee only worked with the employer for three months prior to resigning, and Illinois courts have required a minimum of two years of continued employment to establish adequate consideration for a non-compete agreement that is so restrictive.

These cases are notable because they show that courts have increasingly been scrutinizing non-compete and non-disclosure provisions and finding in favor of the employee where the employee’s livelihood is at risk.

Changes are still to come

This past year was full of many changes in IP. These new changes, especially in areas of trademark, could impact WMF sites like Wikipedia. As ICANN releases new domain names, WMF will need to figure out how to prevent new cybersquatters from diverting traffic from the Wikimedia sites to sites that do not subscribe to our mission. If another party were to register “wikipedia” with another domain, for example, it could confuse users into thinking the site was run under the same policies and was committed to the same mission of free knowledge as Wikipedia. This could be problematic if the site began using advertising. Users could lose faith in the Wikimedia projects if they think they are now accepting funds from for-profit advertisers. Worse still, a cybersquatter could set up a phishing site using a Wikimedia project name in the domain and steal users’ passwords. So, even if the new domains are never used by WMF to host content, WMF may need to acquire them to prevent our projects from being compromised.

While the trade secret and patent updates may be less relevant to the work of WMF, we hope that this information could be helpful to the volunteers that are writing Wikipedia articles on these topics. The developments in biotech patent law and trade secrets law indicate a general trend towards free knowledge and innovation. Limits on what can be patented gives researchers more freedom to invent and collaborate, as they do not have to seek licenses to work with the biological building blocks of life. There is speculation that the ‘’Myriad’’ decision would apply to other biological compounds as well, such as antibodies. In the area of trade secrets, NDAs and noncompete agreements have the effect of limiting what inventors can do once they leave a job. A trend towards invalidating these agreements will hopefully have a positive impact on research and development of new technologies.

The America Invents Act fully came into effect on March 16, 2013, switching the United States over to a first-to-file system. The Supreme Court decided several important intellectual property cases in 2013, including ‘’Myriad.’’ 2014 is sure to bring further changes as inventors, attorneys and the courts implement these new developments and dedicated Wikipedia editors continue to update articles related to IP in response to these changes.

Roshni Patel, Legal Fellow, Wikimedia Foundation

Manprit Brar, Legal Fellow, Wikimedia Foundation

  1. WIPLA was founded by Laura Peter and Deborah Bailey-Wells in December 2006 in Palo Alto, CA. More information about the organization’s mission can be found on their website.
  2. ICANN is the California non-profit in charge of the operational stability of the Internet and manages the domain name system.
  3. http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/guide/#b
  4. The 3-part test requires you to show: (1) your trademark is identical or confusingly similar to the domain name in question, (2) the current registrant of the domain name does not have any rights in the domain name, and (3) the registrant obtained the domain name and is using it in “bad faith.” http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp/policy
  5. The fees for the UDRP can range from $1500 USD for a single arbitrator to $5000 for a panel of 3 arbitrators.http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/guide/#b
  6. The expedited procedure consists of an initial administrative review within 2 days of submitting a complaint. If the complaint complies with the requirements, the domain name will be locked so it’s content cannot be changed and the domain registrant will have 14 days to respond. An arbitrator will assess the complaint to see if it meets the 3-part test and will decide in favor of the complainant if there is “no genuine issue of material fact.” http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/applicants/urs (See URS Procedure .pdf)
  7. Mayo, 566 U.S. 1289, 1293 (2012).
  8. http://www.uspto.gov/aia_implementation/faqs_first_inventor.jsp

by Manprit Brar at March 21, 2014 09:52 PM

March 20, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Taking the stage: How we entered the Brussels Bubble

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

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

Grouping the activists

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

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

Activating the group

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

Big Fat Brussels Meeting Vol. 2

To keep up the momentum we are planning a second meet-up on the 24th and 25th of April in Brussels. Together with UNESCO we’re organizing an event on cultural heritage and mass digitization to honor World Book and Copyright Day. This will include speakers by the British Library, the European Commission and the European Publishers Federation.

Scientia potentia est (knowledge is power)

The fact that wisdom and knowledge can translate into influence is very visible in the field of advocacy. Only if we’re regularly well-informed about current political climate and demonstrate in-depth knowledge of our core issues, might we one day have the chance to push legislative changes through the system. We’re positive that we have plenty of useful information and expertise going around in the Wikiverse, we just need to network it in a sensible way. Our goal remains giving our movement an active group that promotes the concept of Free Knowledge in legislation and policy. Everyone’s welcome to join!

Dmitar Dimitrov has been a Wikimedian in Brussels since July 2013. In assorted blogposts he talks about his experiences vis-à-vis the EU.

by Dimitar Parvanov at March 20, 2014 08:57 PM

March 19, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

For Rexford Nkansah, Wikipedia represents the future of education for his country

Despite its growing economy, Ghana is not the first place one would associate with technology, but for 20-year-old native Rexford Nkansah, it’s second nature.

Wikipedians attending WikiAfrica’s Open Africa 2014 course in Cape Town in February of 2014. From left: Abel Asrat, Rexford Nkansah, Michael Phoya, Cyriac Gbogou, and Erina Mukuta.

“In Ghana you don’t have hobbies like skiing or going to restaurants,” he says. “So these are the little things I do to keep myself busy.” The youngest of five, Rexford is now spearheading a campaign to form a Wikimedia Chapter in Ghana. “I’m actually considered to be Ghana’s Wikimedia person,” he explains.

He first stumbled upon Wikipedia in 2006, and like many, at first did not realize what made it so special. It wasn’t until five years later that he began contributing himself. “I thought – how can anyone, anywhere on the planet put in anything just like that? So I decided to read about it, to learn the rules for editing, and that’s how it all started.”

A biography on Ashesi University founder Patrick Awuah was his first foray into writing, an article that took him six hours of non-stop work. “I took my time to write it. I sat down, researched, did everything, put it all together, added photos… I just dedicated that time to do it. I said, this guy – I need to do something to say thank you to him, for how he’s helping Ghana grow.”

Nkansah is a passionate web developer, and is keen on emphasizing the value of open source software. “Not all of us have access to credit cards, buying something online is like going a million miles to fetch something,” he says, “so when you get free software, you get happy about it. Because software that is not free… it’s hard to pay for it even if you have the money.”

He hopes that his fellow Ghanians might soon be as passionate about open knowledge as he is – though it might take some convincing. “All most people know how to do is search Google, they get an article, they read it, and they’re gone,” he says. “It’s kind of difficult explaining to them how it all runs,” he adds. “It’s an online encyclopedia, so everyone can contribute. It gets to the point where it’s a time factor. They don’t have connectivity… they have power cuts all over. So time, internet, costs, power problems. Those things hinder people from getting involved.”

However, he sees Wikimedia Commons and Wiki Loves Monuments as a chance to involve those who perhaps wouldn’t have the time to invest in writing and editing content on Wikipedia. “[Ghana] is an arid and desert country. So what I want, what I’m doing right now, is trying to get people who already have photos of their own to upload them onto Wikimedia Commons.”

Wikipedia is more than just a hobby for Nkansah; he sees it as a potential game-changer for education in his home country. “Ghana is ready to work for Wikimedia. It is going to help improve our education system, it is going to make mutual knowledge free and accessible everywhere,” he explains. “We are glad Wikipedia is here and we are going to make sure we take advantage of all its benefits.”

Joe Sutherland, communications volunteer for the Wikimedia Foundation

by Joe Sutherland at March 19, 2014 08:46 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

V Praze se ustavila skupina pro spolupráci Wikipedie s univerzitami

Tento text je překladem oficiální zprávy ze setkání.

Část účastníků na návštěvě v kanceláři Wikimedia ČR (foto Sage Ross, CCBYSA 2.0)

Část účastníků na návštěvě v kanceláři Wikimedia ČR (foto Sage Ross, CCBYSA 2.0)

V Praze se ve dnech 8. a 9. března 2014  uskutečnilo mezinárodní setkání zástupců nadace Wikimedia Foundation a wikimediánů, kteří vedou v různých zemích světa projekty zaměřené na spolupráci s univerzitami. Ustanovená skupina, pracovně tzv. Education Cooperative, diskutovala o budoucnosti Wikipedie ve vzdělávání. Čtrnáct účastníků pocházelo ze všech koutů světa, včetně Nepálu, Spojených států, Ukrajiny, Česka, Velké Británie, Srbska, Kanady, Izraele, Egypta, Jordánska i Mexika. Cílem setkání bylo dát dohromady zkušenosti z rozličných projektů, které spojuje snaha zapojit studenty a učitele do tvorby Wikipedie – a přemýšlet nad způsoby, jak tyto projekty rozšířit do zemí po celém světě.

Sobotní program byl věnován debatě nad tím, co se doposud podařilo a kde je ještě prostor pro zlepšení. Nadační tým Global Education podal informaci, že se podařilo identifikovat více než 60 vzdělávacích wikiprojektů po celém světě, různého typu a v různém stadiu rozvoje. Tato obrovská celosvětová aktivita byla výchozím bodem pro další plánování. Byly probírány nejlepší přístupy k strategickému plánování a vyhodnocování těchto projektů, stejně jako např. dostupnost online návodů a tréninkových nástrojů a brožur a dále stav tzv. rozšíření Education Program, který slouží ke správě kurzů na Wikipedii. Došlo i na úvod do problematiky Wikimetrics při vedení „education“ projektů na Wikipedii. První den tak sloužil jako pojistka, že všichni účastníci mají srovnatelné znalosti o možnostech vedení vzdělávacích programů.

V neděli se pozornost účastníků přesunula na přemýšlení nad budoucími cíli týmu Education Cooperative, který vzniká na bázi spolupráce mezi lídry z jednotlivých zemí za podpory Wikimedia Foundation. Za založením iniciativy stojí snaha cílevědomě podpořit a rozvíjet různé univerzitní wiki-programy po celém světě. Účastníci se shodli na upřednostnění čtyř základních oblastí: komunikace, globální uznání pro programy i jejich účastníky, rozvoj zdrojů (např. brožur a dalších způsobů nápovědy) a přímé koučování a asistence jednotlivým programům. Konkrétními výstupy bylo např. rozhodnutí přepracovat Education Portal, vytvořit jednotný newsletter a pokusit se radit jednotlivým zemím, jak rozvíjet své education projekty. Kooperativa se bude také snažit najít způsob, jak dát nějakou formu oficiálního uznání jednotlivým programům po celém světě a také tisícům studentů, kteří se po celém světě těchto projektů účastní. Nadcházející setkání WikiMania bude ideálním místem pro kontakt kooperativy s širší komunitou Wikipedia a pro diskuzi o nejlepších strategiích, metodách a cílech.

Fotografie ze setkání jsou na této stránce.

Akce se zúčastnil a částečně ji logisticky zajišťoval člen Wikimedia ČR Vojtěch Dostál, na části akce se účastnili i další členové sdružení, zejména Dominik Matus. Oba vedou program Studenti píší Wikipedii. Uskutečnění akce finančně podpořila Wikimedia Foundation, účast druhého z českých účastníků také Wikimedia Česká republika.

by Vojtěch Dostál at March 19, 2014 09:26 AM

March 18, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

MTN South Africa responds to Sinenjongo High School open letter and launches Wikipedia Zero

MTN South Africa’s video response to the open letter written by the 2013 12A class of Sinenjongo High School. The original video was uploaded to YouTube.com and was released under a creative commons license.

Wikipedia Zero is an initiative started by the Wikimedia Foundation to create partnerships with mobile carriers who provide access to Wikipedia free of data charges. On February 14, 2014, MTN South Africa, one of four cellular carriers addressed in an open letter by a class at Sinenjongo High School in South Africa announced via a YouTube video that they would provide access to Wikipedia without data charges via the Opera Mini browser. They are the first South African operator to do so, and the first to answer the Sinenjongo High School students’ plea.

From the video:

“Hi. This is an open letter to the youth of South Africa, and the students of Sinenjongo High School in Cape Town. You recently shared a video asking South Africa’s cellular networks to give their customers free access to Wikipedia. We think this is a wonderful idea. We know that many schoolchildren in this country don’t have access to research material, which can make excelling at school so much more difficult. That’s why MTN is proud to be the first South African cellular network to make Wikipedia free. Free Wikipedia means access to a wealth of knowledge on just about every topic, giving a boost not only to schoolchildren, but to our whole education system of South Africa. We hope that by changing one small thing, we can change everything. To the learners of Sinenjongo High School, who sparked the initiative, we would like to thank you immensely. Thank you.”

As well, the video was published as a response to a NekNomination from Five Roses Tea (a NekNomination being a sort of random-act-of-kindness that evolved from a drinking game in South Africa).

We applaud MTN South Africa for taking a leadership role in support of education. What is a “small thing” to MTN can have huge positive benefits for South African students and ultimately for the whole country. That is corporate social responsibility at its best. We hope MTN’s response will inspire other carriers to embrace their leadership potential as critical ICT providers in support of societal development in their own countries.

Victor Grigas, Storyteller and Video Producer, Wikimedia Foundation Vgrigas (talk)

by Victor Grigas at March 18, 2014 10:23 PM

Wikimedia-RU changes Russian Civil Code

FOP in RussiaOn March 12, 2014, the Federal Law that introduced changes to the prime source of Russian civil law, the Civil Code, was signed. This sign-off brought to life many amendments that Russian members of Wikipedia have been eager to see for a long time.

The main changes relevant to Wikimedia projects are listed below:

  • introduction of free licenses: before license agreements were only in the form of a written agreement; now CC-BY-SA-3.0, which is used by Wikipedia, has a legal basis and Wikipedia editors can defend their own author rights;
  • freedom of panorama: now photos of architectural and urban development objects and objects of garden design in public places can be published under free licenses without consent of architect or designer;
  • now an author can revoke publication of own materials only before such publication actually occurred;
  • libraries now have right to create electronic copies of certain types of works.

These changes are a result of a lot of hard work on behalf of Wikimedia-RU, the local chapter of Wikimedia movement in Russia – proposing, discussing and defending amendments to the Code.

Wikimedia-RU officially started work on changes to the Civil Code in 2009 when the first open letter to the State Duma was published.

In 2010, we sent a detailed list of our proposals to the Codifications Council. The list was a result of real wiki-corroboration: editors published their comments and proposals on the village pump and all ideas were brought together by WM-RU. Afterwards, the list was published on a number of popular websites where it gathered feedback from external users who helped evaluate possible drawbacks of proposals and suggested some additional changes. The Final list of proposals became “a light at the end of the tunnel” for WM-RU.

Changes to the Civil Code went through hundreds of discussions in the State Duma, expert committees, TV programs; WM-ru members even participated in the meeting with Dmitry Medvedev. The proposed liberalization of the law drew heavy critics from the Russian Authors’ Society, media companies and book publishers. The critics tried to minimize effect from innovations, for example, by obligatory state registration of all publications under free licenses: that could result in necessity of state registration of every Wikipedia edit in order to get it officially protected by CC-BY-SA.

Fortunately, proposed changes were mostly approved by the State Duma in February 2014, by the Council of Russian Federation in March 2014, and signed by the President.

What will it give to Wikimedia projects? Starting on 1 October 2014 we will be able to:

  • start review of images, deleted on Commons due to prior absence of freedom of panorama: there were hundreds of such deletion reviews and hundreds were speedily deleted without discussion;
  • transfer thousands of local free images that were restricted from uploading to Commons due to freedom of panorama;
  • conduct contests like “Wiki loves monuments” without threat that all uploaded images will be deleted due to FoP issues;
  • explain the meaning of the free licenses to the authorities based on the existing legislature and promote free information and open data.

We would like to thank all the people and organizations that helped us during this difficult time. We are looking forward to continuing such work in the future.

Linar Khalitov, Wikimedia Russia

by rubin16 at March 18, 2014 06:48 PM

March 17, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikipedia Signpost report: WikiProject Neuroscience

Fast fission brain

Last month, the English Wikipedia community-written newsletter Wikipedia Signpost ran a feature on WikiProject Neuroscience, a project which began in September of 2005. It currently boasts fourteen Featured Articles (FAs) among the 1,700 total articles under its umbrella, including topics like areas of the brain, stimulants and the central nervous system. It counts some highly-qualified editors among their ranks, including no fewer than three PhD holders.

The Signpost spoke to Looie496, Mark viking and Tryptofish, three editors who are active participants in the project. Looie has been a member since 2008 and holds a doctorate in neuroscience. He has more than 22,500 total edits, a large proportion of which have been on articles under this topic. Most of the articles covered by the WikiProject have been primarily his work.

“My first motivation was the poor condition of the article on the hippocampus, the brain area that I worked on,” he said. “I started editing it very tentatively, and then when nothing bad happened, I ended up doing more and more, until eventually the article was completely rewritten.”

Mark Viking is no slouch either. A scientist by trade, his work revolves around theoretical physics — a subject in which he holds a PhD in — and computational neuroscience. Much of his editing has been in the background but he still performs a vital role in the running of the project.

Despite a PhD in biochemistry, Tryptofish considers himself “a sort of second-fiddle” in the running of the project, though he by no means doesn’t contribute. He has been involved with efforts to attract more experts into the project and into the world of Wikipedia editing. “A couple of years ago, the Society for Neuroscience started an initiative to get more of its members to become editors ,” he explained. “A couple of us spoke at their convention. I wish we could get more editors in that way, but most academics either don’t have the time to edit, or only want to make edits about themselves.”

He insists that more editors, particularly students in the field, are needed for the project to continue to be a success. “Some of my happiest editing experiences have been interactions with student editors who decided that editing was fun,” he said. “Too few students stick around after a class is over, and I wish that more of them would.”

For more info on WikiProject Neuroscience, read the full interview on the Signpost.

Report by Joe Sutherland, Wikimedia Foundation communications volunteer


by Joe Sutherland at March 17, 2014 02:39 PM

March 16, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Stovky fotografií Josefa Reischiga nyní k dispozici wikipedistům

Děloha škrkavky dětské (autor: Josef Reischig, licence CCBYSA 3.0)

Děloha škrkavky dětské (autor: Josef Reischig, licence CCBYSA 3.0)

V rodinných archivech leží obrovské množství starších kvalitních fotek, které by pro Wikipedii měly nevyčíslitelnou hodnotu. Náš GLAM tým („GLAM“ je zkratka pro galerie, knihovny (libraries), archivy a muzea) je ochoten všechny zajímavé fotografie zdigitalizovat a nahrát pod svobodnou licencí na úložiště Wikimedia Commons, aby byly k dispozici pro ilustraci největší encyklopedie v dějinách lidstva, Wikipedie. V případě archivu biologa Josefa Reischiga jsme však měli práci mnohem jednodušší: jednalo se o digitální fotografie, a navíc již důkladně katalogizované. Díky ochotě jeho potomků, jmenovitě díky spolupráci s Petrem Reischigem, se povedlo na Wikimedia Commons nahrát velmi rychle 384 souborů.

Docent Josef Reischig se narodil v roce 1945 a vystudoval Přírodovědeckou fakultu UK. Během své vědecké kariéry zaváděl do ČR široké spektrum moderních mikroskopických metod a stal se uznávaným odborníkem v oboru mikroskopie a později také vedoucím Ústavu biologie na Lékařské fakultě Univerzity Karlovy v Plzni. Mimo svou odbornou činnost však na různých mikroskopech fotografoval téměř vše, co mu padlo pod ruku – histologické řezy tkáněmi, cizopasníky, larvy hmyzu, různé druhy vláknitých mikroskopických hub a mnohé další. Tyto fotografie mají vysokou odbornou i estetickou kvalitu a když se naskytla příležitost je uvolnit pro potřeby Wikipedie, neváhali jsme. Během února 2014 probíhala přípravná fáze a v březnu došlo hromadně k nahrání 384 fotografií, které nyní jsou v kategorii Pictures taken by Josef Reischig. Samotný autor se toho bohužel nedožil, zemřel po delší nemoci v roce 2008. Díky popiskům, které jsme měli k dispozici, jsme však dokázali drtivou většinu fotografií správně pojmenovat a zkategorizovat tak, aby je potenciální zájemci snadno nalezli.

Statoblast bochnatky americké, takřka jediný obrázek tohoto typu na Commons (autor: Josef Reischig, licence CC BY SA 3.0)

Statoblast bochnatky americké, takřka jediný obrázek tohoto typu na Commons (autor: Josef Reischig, licence CC BY SA 3.0)

Uvolnění pod svobodnou licencí je šlechetným skutkem dědiců jeho díla. Tato licence zjednodušeně říká, že s fotografiemi si kdokoliv může dělat, co se mu zachce, za podmínek, že uvede autora a zachová licenci. Ve společnosti stále není zvykem fotografie takto průhledně uvolňovat pro veřejné blaho, i když pod podobnými licencemi je např. registrováno veškeré dílo vznikající činností amerických státních úřadů. Kdy se dočkáme legislativy přátelské k svobodnému licencování i v Česku, to je stále otázkou.

Nahrávání fotografií na úložiště Wikimedia Commons probíhalo pomocí programu VicunaUploader, který byl českými wikimediány lokalizován do českého jazyka a je nyní schopen nahrávat fotografie s popisky, které si předpřipravíme např. v excelové tabulce. Už pár dní po nahrátí fotografií jsme byli schopni fotografie zařadit do 12 stránek na anglické Wikipedii, 15 stránek na české Wikipedii a dále do devíti dalších článků v jinojazyčných verzích Wikipedie (říká nám to tento nástroj). Skutečný význam fotografií však vynikne hlavně tehdy, až se s nimi začnou setkávat i ostatní wikipedisté a zjišťovat, že mohou sloužit jako ideální ilustrace pro jejich články.

Vyzýváme a prosíme všechny, kteří disponují fotografickým archivem a mají zájem se o ně podělit se světem, aby se nám ozvali na e-mailovou adresu glam@wikimedia.cz. Nejsme schopni vám za ně zaplatit, ale jsme schopni zajistit digitalizaci a vtisknout jim věčný život na projektech Wikimedia.

Projekt proběhl ve spolupráci dobrovolníků sdružení Wikimedia ČR s Petrem Reischigem, kterému děkujeme za ochotu i technickou podporu.

by Vojtěch Dostál at March 16, 2014 09:59 AM

March 15, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia engineering report, February 2014

Major news in February include:

  • a call for volunteers to test the upcoming multimedia viewer;
  • improvements to VisualEditor’s media and template editors;
  • the launch of the Flow discussion system on two pilot talk pages on the English Wikipedia;
  • the launch of guided tours to 31 more language versions of Wikipedia, including all of the top 10 projects by number of page views;
  • improvements to the tools and process used to deploy code to Wikimedia production sites;
  • the release of the first archive of the entire English Wikipedia with thumbnails, for offline use.

Note: We’re also providing a shorter, simpler and translatable version of this report that does not assume specialized technical knowledge.

Engineering metrics in February:

  • 149 unique committers contributed patchsets of code to MediaWiki.
  • The total number of unresolved commits went from around 1320 to about 1453.
  • About 22 shell requests were processed.


Work with us

Are you looking to work for Wikimedia? We have a lot of hiring coming up, and we really love talking to active community members about these roles.


  • Leila Zia joined the Analytics team as Research Scientist (announcement).
  • Faidon Liambotis was promoted to Principal Operations Engineer (announcement).
  • YuFei Liu joined the UX Design team as Visual Design Intern (announcement).
  • Following changes in the Language engineering team, Amir Aharoni is now the Acting Product Manager, and Runa Bhattacharjee the ScrumMaster (announcement).

Technical Operations

Datacenter RFP

Final negotiations have completed with the 3 remaining data center bids in February, and the Wikimedia Operations team will make a decision in the first week of March. Expect a public announcement soon.

Wikimedia Labs

Labs metrics in February:

  • Number of projects: 129
  • Number of instances: 458
  • Amount of RAM in use (in MBs): 1,812,992
  • Amount of allocated storage (in GBs): 24,540
  • Number of virtual CPUs in use: 906
  • Number of users: 2,714
The Wikimedia Labs infrastructure in the eqiad data center has been deployed with the OpenStack Havana release, and testing completed in February. Labs users will have 2 weeks to migrate their own projects & instances starting in March. During the last two weeks of March, the Wikimedia Operations team will handle the transfer of the remaining instances that have not been migrated by users themselves.

ulsfo redeployment

During a short deployment of our West Coast data center ulsfo in October 2013 several reliability problems were found with some of our network service providers, which forced us to take this site out of service until they could be resolved. We have worked since to improve reliability and increase redundancy of network transit and transport to this site. As of the week of February 3rd ulsfo is in full production usage again, and is now serving traffic for the US west coast, Oceania and large parts of Asia. A blog post is being prepared describing the improvements in user perceived site performance.

eqiad data center capacity expansion

The Wikimedia Foundation has expanded the capacity of its main data center site eqiad in Ashburn, Virginia by 33%. A fourth row of racks has been added, and all power & networking infrastructure has been installed and configured in February. The added rack space is available for new equipment as of February 24th.

Features Engineering

Editor retention: Editing tools


In February, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the stability and performance of the system, and added some new features and simplifications. Media item editing is now much richer, allowing the setting of position, alt text, size (or setting as default size) and type for most kinds of media item. When adding links, redirects and disambiguation pages are now highlighted to help editors select the right link, and changing the format or style of some text was tweaked to make editing clearer and more obvious. Adding and editing template usages is now a little smoother, auto-focussing on parameters and making them clearer to use. Page settings have expanded to set redirects, page indexing and new section edit link options. The extensive work to make insertion of “citation” references based on templates quick, obvious and simple neared completion. The deployed version of the code was updated four times in the regular releases (1.23-wmf13, 1.23-wmf14, 1.23-wmf15 and 1.23-wmf16).


In February, the Parsoid team continued with bug fixes and improved image support. See the deployment page for a summary of deployments and fixed bugs in February.

Part of the team has continued to mentor two Outreach Program for Women (OPW) interns. This program ends mid-March. Others are mentoring a group of students in a Facebook Open Academy project to build a Cassandra storage back-end for the Parsoid round-trip test server.

We have a first version of a Debian package for Parsoid ready. This package is yet to find a home base (repository) from which it can be installed. This will soon make the installation of Parsoid as easy as apt-get install parsoid.

Core Features


This month, Flow was launched on the talk pages of two English Wikipedia WikiProjects that volunteered to be a part of the first trial, WikiProject Breakfast and WikiProject Hampshire. We’ve continued to iterate on the front-end design of the discussion system based on user feedback, releasing a new visual treatment during the trial and starting work on a front-end rewrite for better cross-browser and mobile compatibility (to be released sometime in March). We also spent time making sure Flow integrates better with vital MediaWiki tools and processes (e.g., suppression and checkuser) and improving the handling of permalink URLs.



Slides of the quarterly review.

In February, the Growth team first focused on releasing the new Wikipedia onboarding experience on additional projects. The GettingStarted extension was deployed to 30 Wikipedias, including all of the top 10 projects by number of page views. This marks the first time its task suggestions and guided tours were available outside English projects. The GuidedTour extension was also deployed to those projects (as a dependency of GettingStarted), as well as the Czech Wikipedia and se.wikimedia.org. Late in the month, the team also presented its work at its first Quarterly Review of the 2014 calendar year (see slides and minutes).


Wikipedia Education Program

For the first half of the month, we focused on the current Education Program extension. We fixed many old and new bugs—including a few remaining database-related problems—and improved the UI for editing courses. Also, two Facebook Open Academy students started work on new notifications for the extension. In mid-February the team shifted our focus to creating new software for many kinds of collaborative editing, including, but not limited to, Education Program courses. The first phase of this work, called editor campaigns, is being carried out with the Growth team.


Wikimedia Apps

We’ve worked primarily on enabling wikitext editing, specifically enabling logged-out editing, logged-in editing, logging in and creating accounts.

Mobile web projects

We’ve been working on bringing VisualEditor to tablets (currently in alpha). This is a requirement for redirecting tablets to mobile later on. Specifically, we’ve been working on enabling inspectors, especially the link inspector. We’ve also been fixing a variety of bugs to ensure that the basic editing functionality works as expected.

Wikipedia Zero

During the last month, the team added zero-rating for HTTPS for select carriers in cooperation with the Operations team. In collaboration with the Mobile Apps team, we integrated Wikipedia Zero into the forthcoming rebooted versions of the Android and iOS apps, including API and client-side code for zero-rating detection. We updated the legacy Firefox OS app with bugfixes from January (make spinner background opaque, remove mozmarket.js legacy JS); we also prepared other bugfixes for that app (keep last page browsed on low memory crash, avoid text overlaying <select> dropdwon, ensure ‘X’ clicks stop processing and not send user to Main Page). Discussion with the Operations team and Platform Engineering continued on the ideal portal hosting approach concurrent with sprint planning; portal work is probably deferred until the hosting strategy is formalized. The team also started work on the core API to allow dynamic category pages based on search terms, as well as continuing the discussion on core ResourceLoader features, in support of a proof of concept HTML5 webapp riding atop MobileFrontend. We also started a patch to make contributory features (not just banners and rewritten URLs) present for Wikipedia Zero users on carriers supporting HTTPS zero-rating. Last but not least, Yuri Astrakhan performed extensive analytics work on pageviews and page bandwidth consumption for gzip-capable Wikipedia Zero clients across all Wikipedia Zero-scoped partner pageviews; Yuri also conducted additional analytics work on SMS/USSD data.

Wikipedia Zero (partnerships)

In February, we launched Wikipedia Zero with MTN South Africa (Opera Mini browser only). MTN South Africa responded directly to the kids of Sinenjongo High School with an open letter to the students and the youth of South Africa. They said they agree that Wikipedia could give a boost to their education system, and that offering Wikipedia Zero is a small thing that could change everything (see video on YouTube).
We also launched Wikipedia Zero with Safaricom, the largest operator in Kenya. We now have three partners in Kenya, covering 90% of all mobile subscribers. South Africa is our 23rd country to launch, and Safaricom is our 27th operator partner.
The Mobile Partnerships team attended Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, where we met with existing operator partners, prospective partners and tech companies who want to support the mission. At the conference, our Wikipedia Text pilot with Airtel Kenya and the Praekelt Foundation was nominated as a finalist for the GSMA Global Mobile awards in the education category.

Language Engineering

Language tools

UniversalLanguageSelector was re-enabled with webfonts disabled by default. Research is ongoing to see whether they can and should be re-enabled by default at least for some languages.

More convenient shortcuts were added by Niklas Laxström to the Translate extension.

Kartik Mistry and Amir Aharoni are working on stabilizing the browser tests for all the language extensions and on setting up more robust online staging sites.


Several bugs were fixed in jquery.webfonts.

Language Engineering Communications and Outreach

Runa Bhattacharjee is setting up a Test Case Management System, to facilitate manual testing inside the team and helping volunteer translators test new versions of language tools and report the results.

Content translation

The prototype ContentTranslation server was created in Node.js, mostly by Santhosh Thottingal and David Chan. The server will be responsible for syncing the translations between all the languages, storing translated parallel texts (using Redis) and retrieving caching the results of language tools queries (machine translation, translation memory, dictionaries, segmentation, etc.). Some front-end components for the translation interface were made, mostly by Sucheta Goshal and Amir Aharoni.

Platform Engineering

MediaWiki Core

HipHop deployment

Work is starting back up on this project, with the goal of having at least one production service running on HipHop by the end of the quarter. Tim Starling is working with the HHVM upstream to finish off a compatibility layer for running Zend extensions (ext_zend_compat) under HipHop, with the goal of using it for our Lua module. Ori Livneh is working on packaging and deployment issues, as well as generally wrangling the overall development effort. Aaron Schulz is starting to investigate what is needed for wmferrors support.

Release & QA

Wikimedia development and deployment flowchart

The Release and QA team had their latest quarterly review on February 13. Highlights from the meeting include:

  • We will be hiring two new positions (a QA Automation Engineer and a Test Infrastructure Engineer).
  • We will process through all pain points from the Development and Deployment process review.
  • We will continue performing incremental improvements to the current deployment script (known as “scap”) to better inform future deployment tooling work.
  • We will create a way for tests to create fake/stub data (for use in throw-away/one-off test instances).
  • We will make it so our browser tests are more accurate cross testing and production environments.

Notable progress on things with visuals includes an updated Development and deployment flowchart (opposite), as well as an auto-generated version.

Admin tools development

While this workstream is still officially on hold, the related Global CSS/JS extension to provide per-user global modules was deployed to beta labs for testing. Additionally, patches were contributed by volunteer developers.


This month, almost all LuceneSearch and MWSearch bugs have either been closed as problems that are fixed in CirrusSearch, or moved to the CirrusSearch component. We then prioritized all CirrusSearch bugs. After clearing out any remaining high priority issues, engineering work for an update to the design of the search results page is due to commence on March 10.

Wikimania Scholarships app

The application automatically transitioned from the active scholarship collection period to the review-only period on 2014-02-17. No major issues were reported for February. The back-end features of the application were demoed for the IEG team as part of their information gathering process for implementing a more structured review tool for grants.

Deployment tooling

The month of February saw a lot of work on WMF deployment tooling.

To see a real life example of what it looks like to deploy code on the WMF server cluster, watch this screencast created by Bryan Davis. That shows you what the person deploying the code sees when doing a localization (translations) update. A deployment that includes new changes to the code (e.g. MediaWiki and extensions) on the servers would be different.

The suite of tools that make up the current MediaWiki deployment tooling is continuing to be updated and rewritten in Python. You can see the work of this in the repository’s history.

The updated Development and Deployment Process flowchart is now created using Blockdiag, a Python library for converting text into flow charts. You can see the current draft in the newly-minted Release Engineering repository.

There is now a matrix showing the requirements for deployment tooling for 3 projects (MediaWiki, Parsoid (and related), and ElasticSearch (and related)). This is not a fixed document and will grow/change as more is learned.

Security auditing and response

MediaWiki 1.22.3, 1.21.6, and 1.19.12 security updates were released. We started a review of the Hadoop infrastructure and the Popups extension.

Quality assurance

Quality Assurance

In February, we updated our 3rd-party Jenkins instance to use Jenkins job builder configuration rather than Jenkins templates. Now our 3rd-party Jenkins builds matches the WMF Jenkins build scheme, giving us maximum flexibility for when and how these jobs are run in the future. Also, we laid the groundwork for several significant new test features to be announced in the near future.

Beta cluster

Not much happened on the beta cluster beside the usual maintenance and the platform being used to detect nasty bugs before they land on the production cluster. It is being used successfully for staging various features, bugfixes and extensions as well as for browser tests tracking regressions. Next month will see the beta cluster migrating from the pmtpa datacenter to the eqiad datacenter.

Continuous integration

Two instances in labs have been added as Jenkins slaves. They are equipped with tox and pip to let us tests python software while fetching dependencies from pypi (bug 44443).

Nik Everett made the CirrusSearch browsertests runnable on a labs instance which has elastic search. The job is now triggered from Gerrit and being improved.

The experimental Meetbot instance setup by Antoine back in November has been overhauled and is now maintained by the community in the tools-labs project (thank you Tim Landscheidt).

Several Debian packages are now build automatically via Jenkins thanks to an effort by Carl Fürstenberg https://integration.wikimedia.org/ci/view/Ops-DebGlue/ . It helped packaging Parsoid among others.

Browser testing

Our test coverage of MediaWiki extensions continues to prove itself. In February, using the automated browser tests running against beta labs and test2wiki, we found and fixed several critical errors that would have disrupted production wikis severely if they had been released.



Presentation slides about Media Viewer

In February, the multimedia team continued to focus on Media Viewer v0.2, getting it ready for a wider release next quarter. Gilles Dubuc, Mark Holmquist, Gergő Tisza and Aaron Arcos released a variety of new features, such as: permissions, file usage, pre-loading of images, previews during load and an improved full-screen experience. We also started development on a better ‘Use this file’ panel, including share, embed and download features. Pau Giner designed this panel, as well as a new Zoom feature for next quarter’s v0.3 version of Media Viewer. We invite you to test the latest version (see the testing tips) and share your feedback.

Fabrice Florin managed product development for Media Viewer and prepared the release plan for a gradual deployment of Media Viewer out of beta in coming months, based on the team’s latest development goals. We also hosted an IRC chat to discuss Media Viewer with the rest of the community and plan our next steps together. Lastly, the video RfC we started last month was closed with a community recommendation to not support the proprietary MP4 video format on our sites; as a result, we will only support open video formats like WebM and Ogg in the next version (v0.3) of Media Viewer. For more updates, we invite you to join the multimedia mailing list.

Engineering Community Team

Bug management

Bugzilla got upgraded from version 4.2.7 to 4.4.1, which fixed numerous bugs. Daniel Zahn puppetized Bugzilla and (together with Sean Pringle) moved Wikimedia Bugzilla to a new server. Bugzilla now displays useful queries and personal information on its front page. Its table of duplicates now displays bug resolutions (to identify popular WONTFIXed requests) and priorities as columns. The Bugzilla etiquette was finalized (read the announcement). In Bugzilla’s taxonomy, the MobileFrontend components were restructured and the Windows and MacOS entries in Bugzilla’s “OS” dropdown were reordered to list recent versions first. Andre Klapper refreshed the Annoying little bugs page by adding a section covering common questions and issues of new contributors, based on Google Code-In experience.

Project management tools review

After summarizing community input into consolidated requirements, Andre Klapper and Guillaume Paumier listed the different options mentioned during the consultation process. Those go from keeping the status quo to changing a single tool, to consolidating most tools into one. They also continued to research the main candidates by reading articles and testing demo sites. Once the list of options has been shortened collaboratively, the community RFC will start.

Mentorship programs

The six ongoing FOSS Outreach Program for Women projects all made good progress, and are headed to completion by the end of the program on March 10. For more details, check their dedicated reports:

Getting Facebook Open Academy projects up to speed is becoming even more complex than expected, but we are getting there slowly. All students and mentors met at the kick-off hackathon at Facebook headquarters on February 7−9 (see Marc-André Pelletier’s report).

Wikimedia applied to Google Summer of Code 2014 and we were accepted. We also confirmed our participation in FOSS Outreach Program for Women round 8. We are organizing both programs simultaneously under a common umbrella, as we did last year with great success.

Technical communications

In February, Guillaume Paumier continued to provide ongoing communications support for the engineering staff, and contributed to writing, simplifying, publishing and distributing the weekly technical newsletter. He also edited essays from Google Code-in students for publication on the Wikimedia blog.

Volunteer coordination and outreach

Wikimedia completed its more ambitious participation in FOSDEM (Brussels) with mild success. The Wikis devroom (co-organized with the XWiki and Tiki projects), the Wikimedia stand, and The Wikipedia Stack main track session achieved their basic goals in terms of participation and quality, but at the same time we got many ideas to do better next year. There was more progress on the tech community metrics front, and we now have interesting data gathered around our five key performance indicators: Who contributes code; Gerrit review queue; Code contributors new and gone; Bugzilla response time, and Top contributors.

Architecture and Requests for comment process

We held several architecture meetings to review Requests for Comment on IRC, and continued discussion and implementation of work begun at the architecture summit in January. We also worked on improvements to the architecture guidelines and on a draft of performance guidelines for developers.



We continue to make progress on the Hadoop/Kafka roll-out. We’ve encountered some issues with cross-data center latencies with Varnish-Kafka that we are currently debugging. We are also testing the Kafka-tee component that provides backwards compatibility for udp2log subscribers. Finally, we are finishing a report for the Mobile team on browser breakdowns using Kafka-provided data on Hadoop.


We’ve rolled out some minor changes that make creating dashboards easier and more intuitive.


Work progresses on enhancing Wikimetrics into a more flexible general tool. This month we completed work on a Vagrant deployment environment which will make it easier for the community to work on Wikimetrics. We’ve also made progress on the scheduler, reporting enhancements and a deployment issue.

Data Quality

We’ve fixed the following production issues:

  • Resolved on No sampled-1000 tsv file for 2014-02-06 on stat1002;
  • Wikipedia Zero team investigated ~30% increase of number of lines zero tsvs between 20140218 and 20140220 file;
  • Wikipedia Zero team investigated on light drop in zero requests around 2014-02-08;
  • Data for ULSFO Cache performance prepared for Ops blog post.

Research and Data

Video of the February 2014 Research Showcase

This month, we welcomed Leila Zia as the newest addition to the team. Leila joins the Foundation as a research scientist after completing a PhD in management science and engineering at Stanford University. Her work will initially focus on modeling editor lifecycles to better understand what affects their survival and retention.

We hosted the first public Research and Data showcase, a monthly showcase of research conducted by the team and other researchers in the organization. This month, we presented two studies on Wikipedia article creation trends and on the measurement of mobile browsing sessions. The showcase is hosted at the Wikimedia Foundation and live streamed on YouTube every 3rd Wednesday of the month at 11.30am Pacific Time.

We attended the 17th ACM Conference on Computer-supported cooperative work and Social Computing (CSCW ’14) in Baltimore. Research on Wikipedia and wiki-based collaboration has been a major focus of CSCW in the past, and this year three Wikipedia research papers were presented. We hosted a session to discuss collaboration opportunities for researchers interested in tackling problems of strategic importance for Wikimedia (a detailed CSCW ’14 report will follow on wiki-research-l).

We started creating public documentation for data sources and tools used by the team for research and data analysis and porting docs previously hosted on internal wikis (for example: analytics/geolocation).

We continued to provide ad-hoc support to various teams at the Foundation and worked closely with the Growth and Mobile teams to prepare and review results for their respective quarterly reviews.


The Kiwix project is funded and executed by Wikimedia CH.

For the first time, we have released a ZIM file of the entire Wikipedia in English with all encyclopedic articles and thumbnails (download the 40GB file via torrent). In our announcement, we’ve also explained how we generate those archives and advertised the tools we’ve been working with, like mwoffliner and zimwriterfs. This month, a student also worked on the creation of ZIM files containing TED talks. The internship is now over and was a success; ZIM files will be published soon. Preparation work for our Usability Hackathon has started.


The Wikidata project is funded and executed by Wikimedia Deutschland.

Wikisource now has access to the the data in Wikidata like ISBNs and the date of birth of an author. The Lua interface for Wikidata has been extended significantly to make it more powerful and easier to use. Support for article badges has seen more work and is now missing mostly the user interface part. Loading time of items on Wikidata has been improved drastically. Everyone is asked to provide input for the upcoming redesign of Wikidata’s user interface.


The engineering management team continues to update the Deployments page weekly, providing up-to-date information on the upcoming deployments to Wikimedia sites, as well as the annual goals, listing ongoing and future Wikimedia engineering efforts.

This article was written collaboratively by Wikimedia engineers and managers. See revision history and associated status pages. A wiki version is also available.

by Guillaume Paumier at March 15, 2014 04:08 PM

Wikimedia Participates In EU Copyright Consultation

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European Commission flags

In May of 2013, the European Commission asked the public to answer eighty questions about the future of copyright in the EU. Topics addressed ranged from copyright term length to limitations and exceptions for user-generated content. In each area, a variety of different questions were asked, but many boiled down to “does the current system work?” and “if it doesn’t work, how would you improve it?”

The Wikimedia movement took a two-part approach to answering the questionnaire. In one part, a group of European chapters met to draft a set of responses. This response was submitted to the EC by the chapters, and also made available for community members to edit and submit on their own through FixCopyright.eu.

In the second part, the WMF legal team posted the questionnaire on Meta to gather input from community members. We combined those answers with the work of the European chapters, as well as other related advocacy groups to create a unified response. This was submitted to the EC by the WMF on behalf of the broader WMF community.

The responses were diverse, depending on the subject of the question, but several key themes came up repeatedly:

  • the costs created by copyright laws that are not consistent across the EU, such as those on Freedom of Panorama;
  • the benefits to creativity and creators that would come from stronger copyright exceptions and limitations;
  • opposition to extending the term copyright protection, or extending it to new rights like data mining; and
  • explaining how the publishing of creative works is no longer limited to a handful of people, and how that impacts copyright policy.

We hope the European Commission will take these points to heart as they consider what changes to make in any upcoming copyright law reforms. And we are grateful to everyone who participated in drafting these answers – we look forward to continuing to work together to develop and preserve laws that enable the free knowledge movement.

Luis Villa, Deputy General Counsel, Wikimedia Foundation

by Luis Villa at March 15, 2014 12:19 AM

March 14, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Celebrating Women’s Day, the Wiki way

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Participants editing articles about women in science.

How many Indian women scientists can you name? Go on! Think about this one. Think really hard. How many can you name, now? One? Two? Three?

I wrote this blog post at a co-working space for tech startups in the Southern Indian city of Kochi. I was surrounded by science students. None of them could think of a single woman scientist from India. Pretty shameful, isn’t it? And, there was nobody to burst our sexist bubble, except, Wikipedia. This page lists 15 women scientists from India. While I am grateful for this archive, it is hardly comprehensive. 15 women scientists from a country of 1.2 billion people.

India is currently Asia’s third largest economy and it prides itself on making many ancient discoveries. Given this context, it is unbefitting for us to come up with such a tiny list. (By the way, If you know of a more detailed website on this subject, please send me the link on Twitter – which you can find at the bottom of this page). Could there be women whose contribution to science have slipped out of popular culture?

Wikipedia has organized edit-a-thons for the entire month of March to address these glaring gaps in our knowledge. The goal of these edit-a-thons is to celebrate International’s Women’s Day that fell on March 8. During this month, we would like to enhance the quantity and quality of Wikipedia articles on gender and sexuality and translate English articles into other Indic languages. Anyone can join the celebrations as editors, translators, bloggers, event managers or enthusiasts.

We encourage more South Asian women to use this opportunity- right now 9 out of 10 Wikipedians are men. There are many subjects that may be of interest or value to women that are not covered in traditional encyclopaedias because the majority of knowledge-producers are men. Let us make sure that Wikipedia is diverse and voices from all sections of  society are represented.

We have kick-started the event with weekend edit-a-thons. We will provide specific topics and links to editors to write or expand upon. This month the focus is on women parliamentarians and scientists.

So come on over, put your editing skills to use, make some new friends and last but not the least, learn more about women scientist from India!

- Diksha Madhok, Wikipedian

by Diksha Madhok at March 14, 2014 06:17 PM

March 12, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Vachana Sanchaya: 11th century Kannada literature to enrich Wikisource

Palm leaf manuscript with “vachana” written on it

In the poetry of Kannada (an Indic language), Vachana sahitya is a form of rhythmic writing that evolved in the 11th Century C.E. and flourished in the 12th century, as part of the “Lingayatha” movement. More than 259 Vachanakaras (Vachana writers) have compiled over 11,000 vachanas. 21,000 of these verses which were published in a 15 volume “Samagra Vachana Samputa” by the government of Karnataka have been digitized. Two Wikimedians along with a Kannada linguist and author O. L. Nagabhushana Swamy are involved in the Unicode conversions, corrections and writing preface for these verses. The entire work is now available as a standalone project called “Vachana Sanchaya” and ready to enrich Kannada Wikisource.

This project was started a year ago when Kannada Wikimedian Omshivaprakash was trying to help Professor O.L. Naghabhushana Swamy and Kannada author and publisher Vasudhendra access the vachana (verses) of Vachana Sanchaya. Swamy had trouble using publicly available content on Vachanas since the data was in ASCII standard and searching text was a huge problem. I (Pavithra Hanchagaiah) started to help gather information about vachanas and document it in Unicode by writing scripts for open source software. Further discussions were had to get thousands of vachanas in the form of a database, so that they could be easily searchable with an index. This demanded us to build a platform supporting all these activities, which would help the linguistic researchers, students and members of the general public who have an interest in reading and studying Vachana literature. With this idea, Omshivaprakash started designing the model, and his colleague Devaraju started building it. In the meantime I was running various scripts to fix errors in conversion of ASCII text to Unicode, confirming that the data was ready to consume by the modules developed for concordance. We spent weekends & holidays executing this project from home. With the constant feedback and guidance from Mr. Swamy and Vasudendra, we learned how concordance of text is used by researchers and what would make it easier for them to research on Vachana Sahitya. Omshivaprakash worked on the architecture of the platform, decided the infrastructure requirements – free and open source software technologies were used to keep the platform active while managing the entire project. I provided critical hacks for digitization and gave feedback through suggestions.

Vachana Sanchaya Website Screenshot

Working System

Currently, the system has around 200,000 unique words in its repository. Vachana Sanchaya is meant for research rather than just a repository of text on the web. While you search the words on our system, you can see who has used the word in all Vachanas. To make the research more readable, we highlight the text searched in each Vachana that would be displayed. To repeat the search for a specific Vachanakara (poet) you just need to click on his name on the graph on the results page. We have used MediaWiki’s jquery-ime input tool architecture that helped us provide a feature to directly enter Kannada text in Unicode for searches. So just type, and get results!

Public Response

We are glad to see people accessing vachanas from our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ channels. There have been approximately 500,000 pageviews to our site in the first few months of our platform’s public launch. Interestingly, commonly searched Kannada words like “ಕರ್ಮ”(Karma en:Work/Deed) , “ಸತ್ಯ” (Sathya -en:Truthfulness ) and “ನದಿ” (River) have resulted in quick and easy results.

ಆಂಗೀರಸ, ಪುಲಸ್ತ್ಯ, ಪುಲಹ, ಶಾಂತ,ದಕ್ಷ, ವಸಿಷ್ಠ, ವಾಮದೇವ, ನವಬ್ರಹ್ಮ, ಕೌಶಿಕ, ಶೌನಕ, ಸ್ವಯಂಭು, ಸ್ವಾರೋಚಿಷ, ಉತ್ತಮ, ತಾಮಸ, ರೈವತ, ಚಾಕ್ಷಷ, ವೈವಸ್ವತ, ಸೂರ್ಯಸಾವರ್ಣಿ, ಚಂದ್ರಸಾವರ್ಣಿ, ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಸಾವರ್ಣಿ, ಇಂದ್ರ ಸಾವರ್ಣಿ ಇವರು ಇಪ್ಪತ್ತು ಮಂದಿ ಪ್ರಪಂಚ ನಿರ್ಮಾಣ ಸಹಾಯ[ದ]ವರು. ಹತ್ತೊಂಬತ್ತು ಎಂದರೆ ಪುಣ್ಯನದಿಗಳು. ಅದು ಎಂತೆಂದಡೆ: ಗ್ರಂಥ

Plans for the future

Our system is extensible with respect to adding new feature – we have a review desk for researchers to help us with the review of content. Later we will also be adding required references to Vachanas from various research works that have been done around this literature. The content is available to the public through OpenData API and will be distributed as public domain through Wikisource once the review work is complete. This will open up the system for students, developers, researchers and anyone interested in working around building linguistic tools for Kannada and other Indic languages. This system is meant to evolves around other works rather than having to change and re-invent the wheel for more such projects. Vachana Sahitya will further help us to initiate Natural Language Processing (NLP) projects if more researchers get together to tag the words, glossary etc in the coming days. We can also fulfill the need of various language tools like spelling and grammar checker for users through crowd-sourcing the development. The next projects under the “Kannada Sanchaya” are Sarvagnana Vachanagalu and Dāsa Sanchaya which are in the pipeline with initial phases of work underway. Our idea is to extend this platform from Vyasa to Muddanna and possibly the contemporary literature work available in the public domain.

Pavithra Hanchagaiah and Omshivaprakash HI, Wikimedians from India.

Edited by Subhashish Panigrahi, CIS-A2K.

by Subhashish Panigrahi at March 12, 2014 07:24 PM

March 11, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Viquiprojecte Unió Europea: know your own backyard

Catalan Atlas from 1375

One of the great things about Wikipedia is getting to know people with a variety of academic interests. In the geography department, this means working side-by-side with Wikipedians who know the map of Ancient India like the backs of their hands, others who spend hours creating categories about rivers and lakes in Kazakhstan and those who seem determined to write articles about every single nook and cranny in Uruguay.

Although information on all these far-flung and exotic (from the Catalan perspective) places is a huge asset to Wikipedia, knowing our own geopolitical backyard remains as important as ever. While there is a lot of information on the Catalan Wikipedia for some European countries (like Spain, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands), in many other cases information on European countries is conspicuous for its absence. In an effort to address this issue the European Union Wikiproject was launched on the Catalan Wikipedia.

The aim of the Wikiproject is threefold. First, we seek to create and expand articles on the culture, history, economy and traditions of the EU Member States. Second, we aim to write about the European institutions themselves. Thirdly, we organize and participate in related free knowledge and free data projects. These project often include Wikipedia edit-a-thons on European topics, as well as interviews and photography of European politicians and officials for Commons. Editors were are also sent to take part in the Wiki Loves Parliaments visit to the European Parliament, which brought together several European Wikimedia chapters and was led by Olaf Kosinsky.

Since the Wikiproject began in early 2013, we have created well over 1,000 articles on the EU and its Member States. The Member State on which we focus changes every six months in synch with the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. Because it is such a broad project, there is something for everyone, ranging from space exploration geeks and art lovers to foreign press fans and political enthusiasts. This broad appeal has made it one of the most successful Wikiprojects ever on the Catalan Wikipedia, next to the big push to reach first place on the list of Wikipedias by sample of articles.

Our geopolitical background is one gigantic puzzle with lots of holes in it but, step by step, article by article, Catalan Wikipedians are filling in the pieces.

Author of the text: User:Leptictidium - Amical Wikimedia

by Àlex Hinojo at March 11, 2014 11:46 PM

Wikimedia Bangladesh and Grameenphone arranged a Wikipedia Contributor Day in Dhaka

Participants at the Wikipedia Contributor day organized by Wikimedia Bangladesh and Grameenphone

On Sunday and Monday, 16/17 February 2014, Wikimedia Bangladesh (WMBD) and Grameenphone (a Telenor concern) jointly arranged a two-day long event titled ‘Wikipedia Contributor Day’ with i-Genius students.

Grameenphone/Telenor is a Wikipedia Zero partner. We organized two days of workshops on Bengali Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons. Grameenphone chose the participants from last year’s i-Genius students, which are selected from all over the country through a year-long program conducted by Grameenphone and the daily newspaper Prothom Alo. Usually one i-Genius is selected from every district of Bangladesh.

The goal of the workshops were to introduce Wikipedia (especially Bengali Wikipedia), and show the attendees how to edit the articles and contribute photographs to Wikimedia Commons. Most participants were new to Wikipedia, but at the same time we found several of them were already contributing to Wikipedia. It was very inspiring for us.

Munir Hasan, President of Wikimedia Bangladesh, conducted the introductory session. He said that the chapter is trying to focus on creating new editors and volunteers and this initiative will be helpful to create new Wikimedians.

I (Nurunnaby Chowdhury) and another Bengali Wikipedia sysop and Wikimedia Bangladesh EC member, Nasir Khan, conducted workshops at this two-day event with i-Genius students. Grameenphone Limited provided the event venue, at their corporate headquarters located in Dhaka city. On the event days, another sysop of Bengali Wikipedia, Nahid Sultan, was present and helped the attendees to edit and create new articles and so on.

Altogether, over 53 participants attended on the two days of the workshop. We planned for 70 participants, but some of the i-Genius students could not join due to the exam schedule. A few of the interested attendees had experimented with editing Wikipedia, and they had started asking questions to the organizers even before the event was launched!

The workshop was an all-day event with a lot of fun activities. More than 30 participants attended on the first day. After the introduction session, we divided the participants into several groups and one facilitator was assigned to each of the groups. The facilitator helped their group to create and expand a Wikipedia article by themselves. The participants moved around and made friends with each other and the organizers during the lunch break. During the afternoon session, the participants asked to clarify their doubts about editing. Organizers gave a brief introduction about the Wikimedia Bangladesh chapter, and they conducted sessions on how to add references to a Wikipedia article and how to upload pictures to Commons. On the second day, another 30 students joined this program. During the program we delivered hands-on presentations on how to edit, how to contribute, and how to donate photos to Commons. Moreover, we enriched some articles that seemed incomplete. After the successful completion of the program, all i-Genius students receive certificates and my written book about Bengali Wikipedia. This book was published at the last Ekushey Book Fair in 2013.

There were many interesting and engaging queries from a few of the participants who had already edited articles on Wikipedia. It was nice to discover that some of the participants wanted to connect with the local Wikimedia community. Several participants and the organizers wrote to thank us for conducting the workshop. The event was a success in that it introduced the audience to various ways of getting involved with the Wikimedia movement, thereby changing the perception that the only way to get involved is by writing articles online.

Nurunnaby Chowdhury & Nasir Khan, Wikimedians

by Nasir Khan at March 11, 2014 03:52 AM

March 08, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Costa Rican Wikimedians meet for the first time

This post is available in 2 languages:
Español  • English

This post was contributed by Allan Aguilar (User:Ralgis).

In English

The attendees of the first meeting of users of Wikimedia projects in Costa Rica

Users of Wikimedia projects in Costa Rica met for the first time on March 3, 2014 at San José, the capital city of that country, to discuss the first steps that Wikimedia Costa Rica must take in order to become a Wikimedia chapter recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation. The encuentro was held at the Miguel Obregón Lizano National Library, a state institution that collects and preserves the national bibliographic heritage.

Among the comments and proposals, a draft of bylaws was submitted, and it was determined that in Costa Rica there are many editors, mainly active in Spanish Wikipedia, which are not known to other Costa Rican Wikimedians. Therefore, the main issue addressed was to involve these editors in Wikimedia Costa Rica, and conduct activities for the dissemination of the Wikimedia projects at universities and other educational institutions. A concern was raised about the small amount of Wikimedian women. The desire to contribute to the dissemination and Wikipedia and its sister projects among women professionally engaged in informatics was also expressed.

Other topics were presented and treated, thus organizing the tasks of Wikimedia Costa Rica, including soon a participation in Wiki Loves Earth and Wiki Loves Monuments, and an active collaboration with the Regional Cooperation Initiative for Ibero-America (Iberocoop). Also, this meeting counted on the support of Iberocoop.

Wikimedians from Costa Rica and other regions of Ibero-America feel that this meeting was an important development for Wikimedia Costa Rica and for the dissemination of the Wikimedia projects in the country. Although there remains much to do, surely it will be done with the same enthusiasm as shown at this meetup.

Allan Aguilar
Spokesman for Wikimedia Costa Rica

En Español

Wikimedistas costarricenses se reunieron por primera vez

Los asistentes del primer encuentro de usuarios de los proyectos Wikimedia en Costa Rica

Usuarios de los proyectos Wikimedia en Costa Rica se reunieron por primera vez el 3 de marzo de 2014 en San José, la capital de ese país, para discutir los primeros pasos que Wikimedia Costa Rica debe tomar para convertirse en un capítulo Wikimedia reconocido por la Fundación Wikimedia. El encuentro se realizó en la Biblioteca Nacional Miguel Obregón Lizano, una institución estatal que recopila y conserva el patrimonio bibliográfico nacional.

Entre los comentarios y las propuestas, se presentó un borrador de estatutos y se determinó que en Costa Rica hay muchos editores, principalmente activos en Wikipedia en español, que no son conocidos por otros wikimedistas costarricenses. Por esto, el tema que se trató principalmente fue el de incorporar a estos editores a Wikimedia Costa Rica, y realizar actividades para la difusión de los proyectos Wikimedia en universidades y otras instituciones educativas. También se expresó una preocupación por la poca cantidad de mujeres wikimedistas, y el deseo de aportar con la difusión Wikipedia y sus projectos hermanos entre las mujeres dedicadas profesionalmente a la informática.

Otros temas fueron expuestos y tratados, organizando así los cometidos de Wikimedia Costa Rica, entre ellos una pronta participación en los concursos fotográficos Wiki Loves Earth y Wiki Loves Monuments y una activa colaboración con la Iniciativa de Cooperación Regional para Iberoamérica (Iberocoop). A su vez, este encuentro contó con el apoyo de Iberocoop.

Los wikimedistas costarricenses y de otras regiones de Iberoamérica consideran que esta reunión fue un paso importante para el desarrollo de Wikimedia Costa Rica y para la difusión de los proyectos Wikimedia en el país. Aunque queda mucho por hacer, seguramente se hará con el mismo entusiasmo de este encuentro.

Allan Aguilar
Portavoz de Wikimedia Costa Rica

by Tilman Bayer at March 08, 2014 02:36 AM

March 07, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Introducing Dr. Paola Ricaurte Quijano of Tec de Monterrey, Mexico City Campus

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Paola Ricaurte Quijano

Paola Ricaurte Quijano is a full time professor at the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, Mexico City Campus and an expert on cyberculture, e-politics, digital activism and digital literacies. Her pedagogical philosophy includes having students create academic content that is free and open to the public. Despite her short experience with Wikipedia, she has made uploading Wikipedia articles an integral part of her class.

Ricaurte Quijando began this project two years ago, encouraging her students to create works that not only benefit the student or result in a grade, but also to develop consciousness of “collective intelligence,” or the production of new knowledge for everyone. Equally, she encourages students to not simply be passive consumers of online content, but also to create content in a professional manner.

Ricaurte Quijando gives classes in “Communication and Media Studies, “Communication and Cultural Studies,” “Media Culture and New Media” among others, teaching students from various majors from medicine to communications, asking all to create Wikipedia articles. The classes contain between 20 and 25 students, working in groups of four, which usually results in five or six new articles each semester.

These articles can be on any topic related to Mexico, related to the class or issues related to students’ majors. Most find topics to write about searching Wikipedia in other languages. Examples of uploaded articles include Teoría de dos pasos [1], Elihu Katz [2], and Final Cut Pro (video software) [3].

Writing for Wikipedia is not easy and requires a certain amount of work as well as the development of new abilities, such as seeing the topics from the point of view of the course. This starts with the ability to do research. Often students need to learn how to synthesize information and discriminate among sources of information and sometimes students need to learn how to consult traditional sources of information such as books. All this adds up to a large amount of work. In addition, students must work as a team, develop critical thinking and decide which information is valuable to the article and which is not. Language issues include Wikipedia’s own requirements of a neutral point of view, often requiring students to present more than one point of view without favoring any.

Writing for Wikipedia is an activity that is part of the course material, however from my point of view I see it as an enriching activity that helps generate neutral content and contribute to a network like Wikipedia successfully. At the same time I view it as giving back to my community, because not everybody has knowledge in different languages and their search for information can be cut short because the information appears in languages that they do not understand.

Lizbeth Márquez M., Wiki Borregos


La Dra. Paola Ricaurte Quijano es profesora de cátedra en el Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Ciudad de México y experta en cultura electrónica, activismo político en línea, activismo digital y alfabetización digital. Tiene una política de enseñanza en la que considera que los contenidos producidos por los alumnos sean abiertos y públicos, para que estén al alcance de todos. Ella, a pesar de no tener relación estrecha con Wikipedia, pide como parte de su clase que sus alumnos suban contenido a esta enciclopedia.

Desde hace dos años, Paola ha estado promoviendo en sus alumnos que realicen trabajos que no sean solamente benéficos para la clase o una calificación, sino que se desarrolle una conciencia sobre la inteligencia colectiva, es decir, que se produzca nuevo conocimiento entre todos. A su vez, busca el que los alumnos no solo sean consumidores pasivos de la red, sino que se maneje la producción de contenidos de manera profesional.

Paola ha impartido clases de “Comunicación y Estudio de Medios”, “Comunicación y Estudios Culturales”, “Cultura mediática y nuevos medios”, entre otras, y a pesar de que ha tenido estudiantes desde Medicina hasta Comunicación, a todos por igual les ha pedido realicen esta actividad. Las clases que imparte, en promedio son de 20 o 25 alumnos, creando equipos de cuatro o cinco personas, teniendo de esta manera cinco o seis publicaciones por semestre.

El contenido que pide se publique puede ser de cualquier tipo, promoviendo información sobre México, sobre la clase, o cuestiones asociadas con la carrera de los alumnos, puesto que muchas veces encuentran los artículos que necesitan en otros idiomas. Se han publicado desde artículos estrechamente relacionados con la clase, como el de “Teoría de dos pasos,” hasta aquel artículo sobre “Elihu Katz,” o “Final Cut Pro (video software)”.

Escribir para Wikipedia no es tan simple, requiere de cierto esfuerzo, además de que desarrolla varias competencias, vistas desde la perspectiva del curso. Empezando por la capacidad de investigar, es una de las que más trabajo les cuesta a los estudiantes; muchas veces no se sabe sintetizar información, discriminar las fuentes relevantes, o no se consultan fuentes tradicionales como libros. El trabajo en equipo, desarrollo del pensamiento crítico, en el que se debe saber discernir de la información valiosa y aquella que no lo es. La redacción, además de que debe ser bajo ciertos parámetros, puesto que Wikipedia tiene su propio lenguaje, redacción neutral, presentando los diversos puntos de vista sobre el tema del que se habla, sin tomar postura alguna.

Es una actividad que forma parte del plan de la materia, sin embargo, como estudiante y persona en general, me parece una actividad enriquecedora dado que te ayuda a generar contenido de manera neutral y contribuir a una red como Wikipedia, de manera acertada. A su vez, lo veo como una retribución hacia mi comunidad, puesto que no todos tienen conocimientos en otros idiomas y su búsqueda se trunca cuando la información aparece en otro idioma diferente a español.

Lizbeth Márquez M., Wiki Borregos

by Liz Márquez at March 07, 2014 09:38 PM

Webfonts: Making Wikimedia projects readable for everyone

Wikimedia wikis are available in nearly 300 languages, with some of them having pages with mixed-script content. An example is the page on the writing systems of India on the English Wikipedia. We expect users to be able to view this page in full and not see meaningless squares also known as tofu. These tofu squares represent letters written in the language, but cannot be rendered by the web browser on the reader’s computer. This may happen due to several reasons:

  • The device does not have the font for the particular script;
  • The operating system or the web browser do not support the technology to render the character;
  • The operating system or the browser support the script partially. For instance, due to gradual addition of characters in recent Unicode versions for several scripts, the existing older fonts may not be able to support the new characters.

Fonts for most languages written in the Latin script are widely available on a variety of devices. However, languages written in other scripts often face obstacles when fonts on operating systems are unavailable, outdated, bug-ridden or aesthetically sub-optimal for reading content.

Using Webfonts with MediaWiki

To alleviate these shortcomings, the WebFonts extension was first developed and deployed to some wikis in December 2011. The underlying technology provides the ability to download fonts automatically to the user if they are not present on the reader’s device, similar to how images in web pages are downloaded.

The old WebFonts extension was converted to the jquery.webfonts library, which was included in the Universal Language Selectorthe extension that replaced the old WebFonts extension. Webfonts are applied using the jquery.webfonts library, and on Wikimedia wikis it is configured to use the fonts in the MediaWiki repository. The two important questions we need answered before this can be done are:

  1. Will the user need webfonts?
  2. If yes, which one(s)?

Webfonts are provided when:

  • Users have chosen to use webfonts in their user preference.
  • The font is explicitly selected in CSS.
  • Users viewing content in a particular language do not have the fonts on their local devices, or the devices do not display the characters correctly, and the language has an associated default font that can be used instead. Before the webfonts are downloaded, a test currently known as “tofu detection” is done to ascertain that the local fonts are indeed not usable. The default fonts are chosen by the user community.

Webfonts are not applied:

  • when users choose not to use webfonts, even if there exists a valid reason to use webfonts (see above);
  • in the text edit area of the page, where the user’s preference or browser settings are honored.

See image (below) for a graphical description of the process.

‘Tofu’ Detection

The font to be applied is chosen either by the name of the font-family or as per the language, if the designated font family is not available. For the latter, the default font is at the top of the heap. However, negotiating more complex selection options like font inheritance, and fallback add to the challenge. For projects like Wikimedia, selecting appropriate fonts for inclusion is also of concern. The many challenges include the absence of well-maintained fonts, limited number of freely licensed fonts and rejection of fonts by users for being sub-optimal.

Challenges to Webfonts

Merely serving the webfont is not the only challenge that this technology faces. The complexities are compounded for languages of South and South-East Asia, as well as Ethiopia and few other scripts with nascent internationalization support. Font rendering and support for the scripts vary across operating system platforms. The inconsistency can stem from the technology that is used like the rendering engines, which can display widely different results across browsers and operating systems. Santhosh Thottingal, senior engineer for Wikimedia’s Language Engineering team who has been participating in recent developments to make webfonts more efficient, outlines this in greater detail.

Checkbox in the Universal Language Selector preferences to download webfonts

A major impact is on bandwidth consumption and on page load time due to additional overhead of delivering webfonts for millions of users. A recent fallout of this challenge was the change that was introduced in the Universal Language Selector (ULS) to prevent pages from being loaded slowly, particularly when bandwidth is a premium commodity. A checkbox now allows the users to determine if they would like webfonts to be downloaded.

Implementing Webfonts

Several clever solutions are currently in use to avoid the known challenges. The webfonts are prepared with an aim to create comparatively smaller footprints. For instance, Google’s sfntly tool that uses MicroType Express for compression is used for creating the fonts in EOT format (WOFF being the other widely used webfont format). However, the inherent demands of a script with larger character sets cannot always be overridden efficiently. Caches are used to reduce unnecessary webfonts downloads.

FOUT or Flash Of Unstyled Text is an unavoidable consequence when the browser displays text in dissimilar styling or no text at all, while waiting for the webfonts to load. Different web browsers handle this differently while optimizations are in the making. A possible solution in the near future may be the introduction of the in-development WOFF2 webfonts format that is expected to further reduce font size, improve performance and font load events.

Special fonts like the Autonym font are used in places where known textlike a list of language namesis required to be displayed in multiple scripts. The font carries only the characters that are necessary to display the predefined content.

Additional optimizations at this point are directed towards improving the performance of the JavaScript libraries that are used.


Several technical solutions are being explored within Wikimedia Language Engineering and in collaboration with organizations with similar interests. Wikipedia’s sister project Wikisource attempts to digitize and preserve copyright-expired literature, some of which is written in ancient scripts. In these as well as other cases like accessibility support, webfonts technology allows fonts for special needs to be made available for wider use. The clear goal is to have readable text available for all users irrespective of the language, script, device, platform, bandwidth, content and special needs.

For more information on implementing webfonts in MediaWiki, we encourage you to read and contribute to the technical document on mediawiki.org

Runa Bhattacharjee, Outreach and QA coordinator, Language Engineering, Wikimedia Foundation

by Runa Bhattacharjee at March 07, 2014 12:53 PM

March 06, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Board service: Every board needs a bit of maintenance

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Alice Wiegand

For all the differences among the 40 regional organizations (chapters) and one thematic organization in the Wikimedia movement, there is one feature that is found at all the registered Wikimedia organizations: a volunteer-based supervision and control committee. For the Wikimedia Foundation, it is the Board of Trustees, at Wikimedia France, it is the Conseil d’administration, with Wikimedia Germany, it is the Präsidium, and of course there are a number of other different names. For simplicity, here I use the term “board” for all these bodies.

Enable the board to do its job

We often take for granted that a committee composed of individuals with different expectations, experiences and knowledge can find its way into its tasks just by itself. That it manages them well and effectively, always acting and communicating openly and professionally. But can that really always be assumed? Is it not in fact extremely difficult to come together as a group to figure out individual strengths and weaknesses, and build up trust? Two things that I think are essential for functional boards: a) the ability and willingness to delegate and b) the ability and willingness to accept and promote different positions and constructive confrontation within the board. Both are only possible if the committee has agreed on basic internal rules and procedures and if it accepts that it needs to evolve constantly as a body.

A board needs to keep pace with the organization’s development, to fulfill its oversight obligations at each stage of development of the organization, and at the same time support the organization, promote its development and frame its strategic direction. If the entire board deals with the question of how to become or how to remain able to work, it is running in circles, and tasks are not carried out. What could be more appropriate than to entrust a smaller group with these issues, thereby relieving the entire body immensely?

BGC – a committee in the background

Since 2010 there is such a group in the board of the Wikimedia Foundation: the Board Governance Committee (BGC), whose chairman I have been since joining the Board in 2012. Why am I doing this kind of work? I actually find it fun to deal with policies and the development of processes. I believe that it is generally helpful to have a resource for looking things up, a resource that is understandable for everyone, and I know that the Board of Trustees has not yet reached its own ideal conception of a board. And to this, I can and I want to make a contribution. Even though we publish our annual agenda and the minutes of our meetings on Meta, our work is naturally more in the background and is only known to few people.

The BGC’s purpose is to ensure that the Board fulfills its legal and fiduciary obligations, and that it improves its control function, efficiency and effectiveness. Sounds good, but what does that mean? Traditionally, a BGC takes care of the composition of the board, finding suitable candidates and preparing the appointments. Since the Foundation’s Board only partly consists of appointed board members, and we consider additional areas such as policies and our own evaluation to be as important as the composition of the board, our BGC has an extended scope of tasks. In essence, the Wikimedia Foundation’s BGC takes care of three areas: 1. policies and processes, 2. composition of the board, 3. training and evaluation of the board.

Specifically, this includes – for example – the Board Handbook, the search for new board members like most recently Ana Toni, the support of the community and Wikimedia organizations in the respective selection processes for board members by the Board liaisons or an Elections Committee, the 360-degree feedback for board members and the evaluation of the entire body. The latter is currently taking place in close collaboration with the HR Committee. In the board’s daily business, the BGC is positioned especially well to regularly question processes and threads. From time to time, this includes reminding the Board to concentrate on tasks that nobody else can do. Depending on the size and structure of the organization, this can mean different things. For example, the board of the Wikimedia Foundation does not itself create the annual plan, that’s the job of the ED, in person of Sue Gardner (see the process summary). Our responsibility as the Board is to provide directive input for the annual planning. In contrast, at organizations without full-time employees, the annual plan is created by the board itself. It is important to identify this explicit area of responsibility for each board. Because that is the challenge to face, which should be any Board’s main focus.

Development is not an end in itself

A Board must not only take care of itself – but it may not lose sight of its own development, either. Under the assumption that a Board’s constellation in the wikiverse changes relatively quickly, it must ensure to become able to work effectively within a short time (and continue to be so). The board must develop as the organization does, because only then can it ensure a trusting and fruitful cooperation in the board and – if applicable – between the board and the management. Regularly questioning its own working methods and self-conception is part of this. The trick is to implement the necessary legal or rational procedures and processes, without losing yourself in a cage of rules. A working group, whether it is called BGC or completely different, can provide valuable support – in every board.

I’m looking forward to the Boards Training Workshop in early March in London. We all can learn from each other, we only haven’t yet found the right ways to share our ideas and experiences in this matter.

Alice Wiegand (User:Lyzzy) has been serving on the WMF Board of Trustees since 2012 as a Chapter selected trustee. She has been involved with chapter and movement issues for many years and served on the Board of Wikimedia Deutschland from 2008 to 2011.


Alice Wiegand

Board-Service – Ein wenig Pflege braucht jedes Board

Bei allen Unterschieden zwischen den 40 regionalen Organisationen (Chapter) und einer thematischen Organisation (Thematic Organization) im Wikiversum gibt es ein Merkmal, dass sich bei allen eingetragenen Wikimedia-Organisationen wiederfindet: ein ehrenamtlich tätiges Aufsichts- und Kontrollgremium. Bei der Wikimedia Foundation ist es das Board of Trustees, bei Wikimedia France das Conseil d’administration, bei Wikimedia Deutschland ist es das Präsidium und natürlich gibt es noch eine Reihe weiterer unterschiedlicher Bezeichnungen. Der Einfachheit halber nutze ich hier den kurzen Begriff “Board” für all diese Gremien.

Das Board arbeitsfähig machen

Wir nehmen es so oft als gegeben hin, dass ein Gremium, zusammengesetzt aus Individuen mit unterschiedlichen Erwartungen, Erfahrungen und Kenntnissen, von alleine in seine Aufgaben findet, diese gut und effektiv bewältigt und dabei immer offen und professionell agiert und kommuniziert. Aber kann das wirklich vorausgesetzt werden? Ist es in Wirklichkeit nicht ungemein schwer, als Gruppe zueinander zu finden, individuelle Stärken und Schwächen herauszufinden und Vertrauen aufzubauen? Zwei Dinge sind meiner Meinung nach unabdingbar für funktionsfähige Boards: a) die Fähigkeit und die Bereitschaft zur Delegation und b) die Fähigkeit und Bereitschaft, unterschiedliche Positionen und konstruktive Konfrontation innerhalb des Boards zu ermöglichen und zu fördern. Beides ist nur möglich, wenn das Gremium sich auf grundlegende interne Regeln und Abläufe geeinigt hat und es akzeptiert, dass es sich als Gremium ständig weiterentwickeln muss.

Ein Board muss mit der Entwicklung der Organisation Schritt halten, um seine Aufsichtspflichten in jedem Entwicklungsstadium der Organisation erfüllen zu können und diese gleichzeitig zu stützen, ihre Entwicklung zu fördern und ihre strategische Ausrichtung zu gestalten. Wenn sich das gesamte Board damit beschäftigt, wie es arbeitsfähig wird oder bleibt, beißt sich die Katze in den Schwanz und die eigentlichen Aufgaben bleiben liegen. Was liegt näher, als mit diesen Fragen eine kleinere Gruppe zu beauftragen und so das gesamte Gremium immens zu entlasten?

BGC – ein Komitee im Hintergrund

Seit 2010 gibt es eine solche Gruppe im Board der Wikimedia Foundation, es ist das Board Governance Committees (kurz BGC), dessen Vorsitzende ich seit meiner Aufnahme in das Board 2012 bin. Warum ich gerade das mache? Ich habe tatsächlich Spaß an der Beschäftigung mit Richtlinien und der Entwicklung von Prozessen. Ich glaube, dass es grundsätzlich hilfreich ist, etwas zum Nachschlagen zu haben, was jeder nachvollziehen kann und ich weiß, dass auch das Board der Foundation seine Ideal-Vorstellung eines Boards noch nicht erreicht hat. Und hierbei kann und möchte ich einen Beitrag leisten. Auch wenn wir unsere jährliche Agenda und die Protokolle unserer Treffen auf Meta veröffentlichen, bleibt unsere Arbeit naturgemäß eher im Hintergrund und ist nur wenigen bekannt.

Zweck des BGC ist es sicherzustellen, dass das Board seine rechtlichen und treuhänderischen Verpflichtungen erfüllt, und dass es seine Steuerungsfunktion, Effizienz und Effektivität verbessert. Klingt gut, aber was bedeutet das? Traditionell kümmert sich ein BGC darum, die Zusammensetzung des Boards zu prüfen, geeignete Kandidaten zu finden und die Ernennungen vorzubereiten. Da das Board der Wikimedia Foundation nur zum Teil aus ernannten Board-Mitgliedern besteht und wir weitere Arbeitsfelder wie Richtlinien und unsere eigene Evaluation für ebenso wichtig wie die Zusammensetzung des Boards erachten, ist das Aufgabenspektrum unseres BGCs erweitert. Im Wesentlichen kümmert sich das BGC der Foundation um drei Bereiche: 1. Richtlinien und Prozesse, 2. Zusammensetzung des Boards, 3. Ausbildung und Bewertung des Boards.

Konkret zählen dazu zum Beispiel das Board-Handbuch, die Suche nach neuen Boardmitgliedern wie zuletzt Ana Toni, die Unterstützung von Community und Wikimedia-Organisationen bei den jeweiligen Auswahlprozessen für Board-Mitglieder durch Board-Kontaktpersonen oder eine Arbeitsgruppe Wahlen, das 360-Grad-Feedback für Board-Mitglieder und die Evaluation des gesamten Gremiums. Letztere erfolgt derzeit in enger Zusammenarbeit mit dem HR-Komitee. Im Tagesgeschäft ist es funktionsbedingt vor allem das BGC, das regelmäßig Abläufe und Diskussionsfäden in Frage stellen kann. Dazu zählt von Zeit zu Zeit auch, das Board daran zu erinnern, sich auf das zu konzentrieren, was niemand sonst machen kann. Abhängig von Größe und Struktur der Organisation kann das unterschiedlich sein. So erstellt das Board der Wikimedia Foundation den Jahresplan nicht selbst, das ist Aufgabe der Geschäftsführung, in Person von Sue Gardner (siehe den Überblick über den Planungsprozess). Unsere Aufgabe als Board ist es aber, richtungsweisenden Input für die Jahresplanung zu geben. Bei regionalen Organisationen ohne hauptamtliche Mitarbeiter wird ein Jahresplan im Gegensatz dazu von dessen Board selbst erstellt. Wichtig ist, diesen expliziten Aufgabenbereich eines jeden Boards zu identifizieren. Denn dem muss es sich stellen, und der sollte auch Arbeitsschwerpunkt eines jeden Boards sein.

Weiterentwicklung ist kein Selbstzweck

Ein Board darf sich nicht nur um sich selbst kümmern – es darf aber seine eigene Weiterentwicklung auch nicht aus den Augen verlieren. Unter der Voraussetzung, dass sich die Konstellation eines Boards im Wikiversum relativ schnell ändert, muss es dafür sorgen, in kurzer Zeit arbeitsfähig und effektiv zu werden (und zu bleiben). Das Board muss sich wie die Organisation weiterentwickeln, denn nur so kann es sicherstellen, dass eine vertrauensvolle und befruchtende Zusammenarbeit im Board und – wenn gegeben – zwischen Board und Geschäftsführung stattfindet. Das regelmäßige Hinterfragen der eigenen Arbeitsweisen und des Selbstverständnisses gehört dazu. Die Kunst dabei ist es, die juristisch notwendigen oder vernünftigen Verfahren und Abläufe einzuführen, ohne sich dabei selbst in einem Käfig aus Vorschriften zu verlieren. Eine Arbeitsgruppe, egal ob sie BGC oder ganz anders heißt, kann hierbei wertvolle Unterstützung leisten – in jedem Board.

Ich freue mich auf den Boards Training Workshop Anfang März in London. Wir alle können voneinander lernen, auch wenn wir noch nicht die richtigen Wege gefunden haben, um uns in diesem Sinne auszutauschen.

Alice Wiegand (User:Lyzzy) ist seit 2012 ein von den regionalen Organisationen ausgewähltes Mitglied im Kuratorium der Wikimedia Foundation. Sie beschäftigt sich seit vielen Jahren mit Belangen der regionalen Organisationen und der Bewegung und war Mitglied des Vorstands von Wikimedia Deutschland von 2008 bis 2011.


Alice Wiegand

Servicio de la Junta: cada junta necesita algo de mantenimiento

Debido a todas las diferencias entre las cuarenta organizaciones regionales (capítulos) y una organización temática en el movimiento Wikimedia, existe una característica que se encuentra en todas las organizaciones Wikimedia registradas: un comité de supervisión y control integrado por voluntarios. Para la Fundación Wikimedia, esta se trata de la Junta Directiva; en Wikimedia Francia, se trata del Conseil d’administration; en Wikimedia Alemania, es el Präsidium; y por supuesto que hay una serie de otros nombres diferentes. Para simplificar, aquí utilizo el breve término «Junta» para todos esos órganos.

Permitir que la junta pueda hacer su trabajo

A menudo damos por sentado que un comité integrado por individuos con diferentes expectativas, experiencias y conocimientos, puede encontrar su camino en sus tareas por sí mismo. Eso es lo que gestionan bien y efectivamente, siempre actuando y comunicándose abiertamente y profesionalmente. ¿Pero en verdad puede asumirse que siempre es así? ¿No es en los hechos extremadamente difícil reunirse como grupo para descubrir las fortalezas y debilidades individuales, y construir confianza? Creo que son esenciales dos cosas para las juntas funcionales: a) la aptitud y disposición para delegar y b) la aptitud y disposición para aceptar y promover diferentes posiciones y confrontaciones constructivas dentro de la Junta. Ambas son posibles sólo si el comité acordó reglas internas básicas y procedimientos, y si acepta que necesita evolucionar constantemente como órgano.

Una junta tiene que seguir el ritmo de desarrollo de la organización, para cumplir con sus obligaciones de vigilancia en cada etapa del desarrollo de la organización, y al mismo tiempo apoyar a la organización, promover su desarrollo y el marco de su dirección estratégica. Si toda la junta se ocupa de la cuestión de cómo ser o cómo seguir siendo capaz de trabajar, se está ejecutando en círculos, y las tareas no se llevan a cabo. ¿Qué podría ser más apropiado que que confiara a un grupo más pequeño estos temas, aliviando así el cuerpo entero inmensamente?

BGC – un comité en segundo plano

Desde 2010 existe un grupo como esté en la Junta Directiva de la Fundación Wikimedia Comite de Gobernanza de la Junta(Governance Committee o BGC, en inglés), del cual soy presidente desde que me uní a la Junta en 2012. ¿Porqué hago este tipo de trabajo en particular? Actualmente encuentro divertido lidiar con políticas y desarrollo de procesos. Creo que por lo general es útil contar con un recurso para onservar las cosas, un recurso que sea entendible para todos, y sé que la Junta Directiva todavía no ha alcanzado su propia concepción ideal de una Junta; y para ello, Yo puedo y quiero hacer una contribución. A pesar de que publicamos nuestra agenda anual y las actas de nuestras reuniones en Meta, nuestro trabajo es naturalmente mayor en segundo plano y es conocido por pocas personas.

El propósito del BGC es asegurarse de que la Junta cumpla sus obligaciones legales y fiduciarias, y que mejore su función de control, eficiencia y efectividad. Suena bien, pero ¿qué significa esto? Tradicionalmente, un BGC se encarga de la composición de la Junta, buscando candidatos adecuados y preparando los nombramientos. Ya que la Junta Directiva de la Fundación se compone sólo en parte por miembros designados, consideramos otras áreas como políticas y nuestra propia evaluación tan importantes como la composición de la Junta, nuestro BGC tiene un amplio espectro de tareas. En esencia, El comité de Gobernanza de Junta de la Fundación Wikimedia se ocupa de tres áreas: 1. Políticas y procesos, 2. Composición de la Junta, 3. Capacitación y evaluación de la Junta.

Específicamente, esto incluye – por ejemplo – la Guía de la Junta, la búsqueda de miembros nuevos de la Junta como Ana Toni, la más reciente, el apoyo a la comunidad y a las organizaciones de Wikimedia en sus respectivos procesos de selección de miembros de sus Juntas por los coordinadores de la Junta Directiva o un Comité Electoral, la retroalimentación de 360-grados para miembros de la Junta una evaluación completa. Esta última se está llevando a cabo en colaboración con el Comite de Recursos Humanos. En los asuntos cotidianos de la Junta, el BGC está especialmente bien posicionado para cuestionar procesos y subprocesos. Cada cierto tiempo, esto incluye recordar a la Junta concentrarse en tareas específicas que nadie más puede realizar. Dependiente del tamaño y estructura de la organización, esto puede significar diferentes cosas; por ejemplo, la Junta de la Fundación Wikimedia no crea por si misma el plan anual, que es el trabajo del Director Ejecutivo, Sue Gardner (ver el Resumen del proceso). Nuestra responsabilidad como Junta es proporcionar de información directiva par ala planificación anual. En contraste, en las organizaciones que no tienen empleados a tiempo completo, el plan anual lo realiza la Junta en sí misma. Es importante identificar esta área específica de responsabilidad de cada Junta; debido a que este es el desafío a encarar, que debe ser el foco principal de cualquier Junta.

El desarrollo no es un fin en sí mismo

Una Junta no sólo debe ocuparse de si misma – pero tampoco debe perder e vista su propio desarrollo. Asumiendo que la constelación de una Junta cambia relativamente rápido en el wikiuniverso, debe asegurarse de ser capaz de trabajar de manera efectiva en un lapso corto de tiempo (y continuar siéndolo). La Junta debe desarrollarse como lo hace la organización, porque sólo entonces puede asegurarse un cooperación en confianza y fructífera en la junta – y en su caso – entre la junta y la gerencia. Cuestionar regularmente sus propios métodos de trabajo y su concepción de sí mismo es parte de esto. El truco es poner en práctica los procedimientos y procesos legales o racionales necesarios, sin perderse en una jaula de reglas. Un grupo de trabajo, ya sea que se llame Comite de Gobernanza o tenga un nombre completamente diferente, puede proporcionar un valioso apoyo – en cada junta.

Con miras al próximo Taller de capacitación de juntas a principios de marzo en Londres; todos nosotros podemos aprender de cada uno, aún no hemos encontrado la manera correcta de compartir nuestras ideas y experiencias al respecto.

Alice Wiegand (User:Lyzzy) es parte de la Junta directiva de WMF desde 2012 miembro elegido de un Capítulo. Ella ha estado involucrada en aspectos realacionados con el capítulo y el movimiento por varios años y fue parte de la Junta de Wikimedia Alemania desde el 2008 al 2011.


Alice Wiegand

Conselho de Serviços: Cada conselho precisa de um pouco de manutenção

Para todas as diferenças entre as 40 organizações regionais (capítulos) e um organização temática no movimento Wikimedia, há uma característica que é encontrada em todas as organizações registadas Wikimedia: baseado em um trabalho voluntário supervisão e controle comitê. Para a Fundação Wikimedia, que é o Conselho de Curadores, a Wikimedia França, é o Conseil d’administration com Wikimedia Alemanha, é o Präsidium, e, claro, há uma série de outros nomes diferentes. Para simplificar, aqui eu uso a curto prazo “conselho” para todos esses órgãos.

Ativar o Conselho para fazer o seu trabalho

Nós, muitas vezes, somos um dado adquirido que um comité composto por indivíduos com diferentes expectativas, experiências e conhecimentos, pode encontrar seu caminho em suas tarefas apenas por si mesmo. Isso consegue-se bem e de forma eficaz, agindo sempre e se comunicando abertamente e profissionalmente. Mas isso pode realmente ser sempre assumido? Não, de fato, é extremamente difícil de se unir como um grupo para descobrir os pontos fortes e fracos, e construir a confiança? Duas coisas que eu acho que são essenciais para quadros funcionais: a) a capacidade e a vontade de delegar e b) a capacidade e a vontade de aceitar e promover posições diferentes e confronto construtivo dentro do conselho. Ambos só são possíveis se o comitê concordou com as normas e procedimentos internos básicos, e se ele aceita que ele precisa evoluir constantemente como um corpo.

Um conselho precisa manter o ritmo com o desenvolvimento da organização, para cumprir as suas obrigações de supervisão em cada fase do desenvolvimento da organização, e ao mesmo tempo apoiar a organização, promover o seu desenvolvimento e enquadrar a sua direção estratégica. Se toda a diretoria lida com a questão de como tornar-se ou manter-se como capaz de trabalhar, ele está sendo executado em círculos, e as tarefas não são realizadas. O que poderia ser mais apropriado do que confiar a um grupo menor com estas questões, aliviando, assim, todo o corpo imensamente?

BGC – um comitê em segundo plano

Desde 2010 existe um grupo no conselho da Wikimedia Foundation: o Comitê Gestor da Diretoria (BGC), cujo presidente eu tenho sido desde que ingressei na Câmara em 2012. Por que estou fazendo esse tipo de trabalho, em particular? Eu realmente acho que seja divertido para lidar com políticas e desenvolvimento de processos. Eu acredito que é geralmente útil ter um recurso para olhar as coisas, um recurso que é compreensível para todos, e eu sei que o Conselho de Diretores ainda não atingiu a sua própria concepção ideal de um conselho. E para isso, eu posso e eu quero fazer uma contribuição. Mesmo que nós publiquemos o nosso agenda anual e as minutas de nossas reuniões em Meta, o nosso trabalho é, naturalmente, mais a fundo e só do conhecimento de algumas pessoas.

O propósito da BGC é garantir que o Conselho cumpra suas obrigações legais e fiduciários, e que melhore a sua função de controle, eficiência e eficácia. Parece bom, mas o que isso significa? Tradicionalmente, a BGC cuida da composição do conselho, encontrar candidatos adequados e preparar os compromissos. Desde o Conselho de Administração da Fundação só em parte é composta por membros do conselho nomeados, e consideramos áreas adicionais, tais como as políticas e nossa própria avaliação será tão importante quanto a composição do conselho, a nossa BGC tem um âmbito âmplo de tarefas. Em essência, o BGC da Wikimedia Foundation cuida de três áreas: 1. políticas e processos, 2. composição do conselho, 3. formação e avaliação do conselho.

Especificamente , isso inclui – por exemplo – o Handbook Board, a busca de novos membros do conselho, como mais recentemente Ana Toni, o apoio da comunidade e Wikimedia organizações nos respectivos processos de seleção de conselheiros pelas ligações do Conselho ou uma Comissão de Eleições, o feedback de 360 ​​graus para os membros da diretoria e da avaliação de todo o corpo. Este último está ocorrendo atualmente em estreita colaboração com o HR Comitê. Nos negócios dos conselheiros, o BGC está posicionado especialmente bem para questionar regularmente os processos e threads. De tempos em tempos , isso inclui lembrar o Conselho de se concentrar em tarefas que ninguém mais pode fazer. Dependendo do tamanho e estrutura da organização, isso pode significar coisas diferentes. Por exemplo, o conselho da Wikimedia Foundation em si mesma não criar o plano anual, que é o trabalho da ED, na pessoa de Sue Gardner (veja o resumo do processo). Nossa responsabilidade como o Conselho é fornecer dados diretos para o planejamento anual. Em contraste, as organizações sem empregados em tempo integral, o plano anual é criado pelo próprio conselho. É importante identificar esta área explícita de responsabilidade de cada conselheiro. Porque esse é o desafio a enfrentar, o que deve ser o principal foco de qualquer Conselho.

O desenvolvimento não é um fim em si mesmo

A Diretoria não deve apenas cuidar de si mesmo – mas não pode perder de vista o seu próprio desenvolvimento, tampouco. Sob a hipótese de que a constelação do Conselho de Administração no wikiverse muda de forma relativamente rápida, deve garantir a tornar-se capaz de trabalhar de forma eficaz dentro de um curto espaço de tempo (e continuam a sê-lo). O conselho deve se desenvolver organizadamente, porque só então ele pode garantir uma cooperação confiante e frutuosa no quadro e – se for o caso – entre o conselho e a gestão. Regularmente questionar seus próprios métodos de trabalho e auto-concepção é parte disso. O truque consiste em implementar os procedimentos e processos legais ou racionais necessárias, sem perder-se em uma gaiola de regras. Um grupo de trabalho, se ele é chamado BGC ou completamente diferente, pode dar uma ajuda preciosa – em cada conselho.

Eu estou ansioso para a oficina de capacitação Conselhos Oficina de Treinamento no início de março, em Londres. Todos nós poderemos aprender uns com os outros, só ainda não encontramos o caminho certo para compartilhar nossas idéias e experiências nesta matéria.

“Alice Wiegand (User:Lyzzy) tem vindo a servir no Conselho de Curadores WMF desde 2012 como um capítulo administrador selecionado. Ela esteve envolvida com questões de capítulos e movimento por muitos anos e serviu no Conselho de Wikimedia Deutschland em 2008-2011.”

‎Bahasa Indonesia

Alice Wiegand

Layanan Dewan: Setiap dewan membutuhkan sedikit pemeliharaan

Untuk semua perbedaan diantara 40 organisasi regional (majelis) dan satu organisasi tematik di gerakan Wikimedia, salah satu fiturnya dapat ditemukan di semua organisasi terdaftar Wikimedia: yaitu berdasarkan kesukarelaan komite pengawasan dan pengendalian. Untuk Yayasan Wikimedia, ada Dewan Pengawas, di Wikimedia Perancis, ada Conseil d’administration, di wikimedia Jerman, ada Präsidium, dan tentunya masih banyak lagi dengan nama lain. Untuk kemudahan, kami disini memberikan nama pendek “dewan” untuk semua badan organisasi.

Memudahkan dewan melakukan pekerjaan mereka

Kami juga sering mengetahui bahwa komite terdiri dari individual-individual dengan harapan, pengalaman, dan pengetahuan yang dapat menemukan cara untuk menyelesaikan tugasnya dengan sendirinya. Komite tersebut dapat mengatur diri mereka dengan baik dan efektif, selalu bekerja dan berkomunikasi secara terbuka dan profesional. Namun dapatkah itu selalu dapat diasumsikan? Bukankah pada kenyataannya sangat sulit untuk bekerja bersama-sama dalam tim untuk memahami kekuatan dan kelemahan setiap individual, dan membangun kepercayaan? Dua hal saya pikir sangat penting untuk dewan fungsional; kemampuan dan kerelaan untuk menerima dan mempromosikan setiap posisi dan konfrontasi yang konstruktif secara berbeda di dalam dewan. Keduanya hanya akan terjadi jika komite telah menyetujui peraturan dan prosedur internal yang dasar, dan jika diterima maka akan berevolusi secara konstan sebagai sebuah lembaga.

Dewan perlu menjaga langkah dengan pengembangan organisasi, untuk memenuhi kewajiban pengawasan pada setiap tahap pengembangan organisasi, dan pada waktu yang sama mendukung organisasi, mempromosikan pengembangannya dan kerangangka arah strateginya. Jika seluruh dewan setuju dengan pertanyaan bagaimana untuk menjadi atau bagaimana untuk tetap dapat bekerja, bekerja di dalam lingkaran serta tugas yang tidak dilakukan. Apa yang dapat lebih tepat dari mempercayai kelompok kecil dengan masalah ini, sehingga meringkankan tugas lembaga secara keseluruhan?

BGC – komite yang melatar belakangi

Sejak 2010 terdapat kelompok di lembaga dari Wikimedia Foundation: Board Governance Committee (BGC), di mana saya sebagai ketua telah bergabung dengan dewan sejak 2012. Mengapa saya melakukan pekerjaan ini secara khusus? Saya benar-benar menemukan minat untuk bertransaksi dengan kebijaksanaan dan pengembangan dari proses. Saya percaya bahwa secara umum sangat membantu untuk menemukan sumber daya untuk mencari apapun, sumber daya yang dimengerti oleh semua orang, dan saya tahu bahwa Dewan Pengawas belum mencapai konsep yang ideal untuk dewan. Dan untuk ini, saya dapat dan saya ingin untuk memberikan kontribusi. Walaupun kami telah menerbitkan agenda tahunan dan pertemuan di Meta, pekerjaan kami tentu saja berada di belakang layar dan hanya diketahui oleh beberapa orang saja.

Tujuan BCG ialah untuk menyakinkan bahwa Dewan memenuhi kewajiban pergadaian dan keabsahan, dan meningkatkan fungsi kontrol, efisiensi dan efektivitasnya. Kedengarannya bagus, namun apa artinya? Secara tradisional, BGC mengurus komposisi dari dewan, menemukan kandidat yang tepat dan mempersiapkan pertemuan. Sejak Dewan Foundation hanya sebagian yang terdiri dari anggota dewan tertunjuk, dan kami mempertimbangkan area tambahan seperti kebijakan dan evaluasi kami sendiri menjadi sepenting susunan dewan, BGC kami telah memperluas cakupan tugas. Secara esensial, BGC Wikimedia Foundation mengurusi tiga area: 1. Kebijakan dan proses, 2. Susunan dewan, 3. Pelatiahan dan evaluasi dewan.

Khususnya, hal ini termasuk -contohnya- Buku pegangan anggota Dewan, perekrutan anggota dewan paling terbaru Ana Toni, dukungan komunitas dan organisasi Wikimedia di bagian prosed tertentu untuk anggota dewan perwakilan atau komite pemilihan, 360-degree feedback untuk anggota dewan dan evaluasi seluruh badan organisasi. Yang terakhir saat ini sedang berlangsung kerjasama erat dengan Komite Humas. Dalam tugas dewan sehari-hari, ikut diingatkan bahwa Dewan harus berkonsentrasi pada tugas yang dimana orang lain tak dapat lakukan. Tergantung dari ukuran dan struktur organisasi, ini bisa berarti banyak. Contohnya, Dewan Yayasan Wikimedia sendiri tidak menentukan jadwal tahunan, dikarenakan penentuan tersebut adalah tugas ED, orangnya adalah Sue Gardner (lihat ringkasan proses). Tugas kami sebagai Dewan adalah untuk menyediakan masukan langsung untuk perencanaan tahunan. Sebaliknya, dalam organisasi dengan pegawai tetap, rencana tahunan dilakukan oleh dewan itu sendiri. Sangatlah penting untuk menentukan area tugas untuk tiap dewan. Dikarenakan banyak halangan yang akan dihadapi, yang tentu harus menjadi fokus utama Dewan.

Pengembangan bukanlah tujuan akhir

Dewan tidak boleh hanya mengurus hal ini – tetapi juga tidak hilang sasaran pada pengembangannya sendiri. Dengan asumsi konstelasi Dewan di dunia wiki yang secara relatif terus berganti, diharuskan mampu bekerja secara efektif dalam waktu yang pendek (dan berterusan). Dewan harus berkembang dan bergerak seperti organisasi, dikarenakan hanya dengan ini dapat dipastikan kepercayaan dan hasil dari kerja sama dalam dewan dan -mungkin saja- di antara dewan dan manajemen. Secara reguler mengevaluasi metode pekerjaan sendiri dan pembuatan konsep sendiri adalah bagian dari ini. Triknya adalah untuk menerapkan prosedur dan proses yang legal dan rasional, tanpa kehilangan arah di kungkungan peraturan. Kelompok kerja, terserah apakah itu BGC atau sesuatu yang berbeda sama sekali, dapat memberikan dukungan yang berharga – di setiap kedewanan.

Saya menantikan untuk ikut serta di Lokakarya Pelatihan Dewan diawal maret nanti di London. Kami dapat mempelajari satu sama lainnya, kami hanya belum menemukan jalan yang tepat untuk membagi ide dan pengalaman tentang hal ini.

Alice Wiegand (User:Lyzzy) telah melayani Dewan Pengawas WMF sejak tahun 2012 sebagai anggota Majelis yang dipercaya. Dia telah terlibat dengan majelis dan isu isu organisasi untuk beberapa tahun dan melayani Dewan Wikimedia Jerman dari tahun 2008 sampai pada tahun 2011.

by Alice Wiegand at March 06, 2014 06:49 AM

March 05, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Help Test Media Viewer

Media Viewer lets you browse larger images on Wikimedia sites.

We invite you to try out Media Viewer, a new tool for browsing multimedia content, which is now in beta on Wikipedia and other Wikimedia sites.

Today, viewing images on our sites can be a frustrating experience for casual users: when you click on a thumbnail in an article, you are taken to a separate page where the image is shown in medium size and surrounded with a lot of text information that can be confusing to readers.

Media Viewer aims to improve this viewing experience by showing images in larger size, as an overlay on the current page. To reduce visual clutter, all information is shown below the image, and can be expanded at a click of a button.

This new tool is being developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s multimedia team and we now invite you to try out in beta version. We plan to gradually release this tool in coming months, starting with a few pilot tests, followed by wider deployments in the next quarter.

How it works

With Media Viewer, you can click on any image thumbnail to see it in large size, without visual clutter. You can see the file name and author credits at the bottom of the screen, and view more information in an expandable panel below the image.

You can also expand the image to full screen, for a more immersive experience, or browse through all images in an article or gallery by clicking on the next and previous arrows. The ‘Use this file’ tool will make it easier to share images with your community, add them to articles or download them for your own purposes, with full attribution to contributors.

User response so far suggests that Media Viewer provides a richer multimedia experience, right where users expect it. They tell us they can see the images more clearly, without having to jump to separate pages, and that the interface is more intuitive, offering easy access to images and metadata.

How you can help

Can you help us test Media Viewer in coming weeks? It’s already included in our “Beta Features” program, so you can try it out right away. Now that we’re planning to enable it more widely, your help is even more crucial to uncover issues and bugs we haven’t caught before.

You can test this tool on any Wikimedia site; for example, you can try it out on this test page. To enable Media Viewer, you first need to log in and click on the small ‘Beta’ link next to ‘Preferences’ in your personal menu; then check the box next to ‘Media Viewer’ and click ‘Save’; you will now be able to click on any thumbnail image to see it in the Media Viewer on that site . Before you start, be sure to read these testing tips.

Try out Media Viewer and let us know what you think on this discussion page. If you find any technical bugs, please report them on Bugzilla.

Over 12,000 beta testers have now enabled Media Viewer across wikis around the world. Here is an overview of the feedback they have kindly given us to help improve this tool. Many of their suggestions are now being implemented, as part of our current release plan.

Next steps

The next version of Media Viewer will support video, audio and other file formats.

We are now working on beta version v0.2 of Media Viewer, with a focus on a better user interface, faster image load, more file info and attributions, still images only, as well as improved ‘Use this file’ tools (e.g. share, embed, download). We aim to release this version gradually out of beta, starting with limited tests on a few pilot sites in coming weeks. Based on test results, we plan a wider release of Media Viewer v0.2 next quarter.

The next version v0.3 of Media Viewer will focus on supporting more file formats (e.g. slides, video, audio), as well as zooming on large images and adding plug-ins for developers. For a preview of what we’re considering, check our Media Viewer v0.3 goals and mockups.

In future releases, we also hope to provide a few tools to help users take action on the media they are viewing: for example, a user might want to thank the person who uploaded a file, or report issues about that file. To see how we propose to expand Media Viewer in coming years, check out this multimedia vision for 2016.


If you are a developer, you can learn more about the technology behind Media Viewer on these two extension pages: MultimediaViewer (the front-end code that delivers the main user experience) and CommonsMetadata (the back-end code that delivers the file info to the viewer). In coming weeks, we hope to add a variety of hooks, accessible via the usual mw.hook interface, to allow more customization of behavior in the MultimediaViewer extension through gadgets and other extensions.

For more information about this tool, visit its project overview page; you can also learn more about other multimedia projects we’re working at the Multimedia project hub.


Multimedia Team members: Gilles, Mark, Fabrice, Gergo, and Aaron (left to right)

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the folks who made this project possible, including Gilles Dubuc, Pau Giner, Aaron Arcos, Keegan Peterzell, Brian Wolff, Jared Zimmerman, May Galloway, Bryan Davis, Brion Vibber, Rob Lanphier, Erik Moeller, Howie Fung and Tomasz Finc, to name but a few.

We’re also grateful to all the community members who helped create this feature, through a series of roundtable discussions held by video conference, in person and over IRC. If you would like to participate in future discussions, we invite you to join our multimedia mailing list.

We look forward to more collaborations with you in coming weeks. Your feedback is invaluable for improving Media Viewer, and providing a better experience to our users!

Best regards,

Fabrice Florin, Product Manager
Mark Holmquist, Software Engineer
Gergő Tisza, Software Engineer
on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation’s Multimedia Team

by Fabrice Florin at March 05, 2014 12:14 AM

March 04, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Indian Wikimedia community coordinates Women’s History Month

The Indian Wikimedia community is pleased to invite you to participate in Women’s History Month events, 2014. We started off with a pre-event Wikipedia workshop at Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work, in Mangalore on the 26th of February. We have planned events all through this month. They aim at creating new articles, expanding the existing stubs and translating English articles to various Indic languages.The schedule includes Wikipedia workshops, online edit-a-thons and wikiparties. You could edit articles, translate them, blog about the events or even be an enthusiast. Visit this page to learn more about getting involved.

Real-life Wikipedia workshops will be conducted in different parts of India. Two online edit-a-thons have been planned. The first one on the 8th & 9th of March focuses on women parliamentarians and the second one on the 15th & 16th will be looking to expand the work done during the last year events on women scientists from India. Participants of the Women’s History Month events in India are requested to fill up this opt in form to help the organizers evaluate the quantum and quality of the edits made. Centre for Internet and Society (Access to Knowledge) has extended their support to the Women’s History Month events in India this year.

The Indian events are being conducted as a part of the global event supported by the Wikiwomen’s Collaborative. We look forward to welcoming all participants at this year’s event.

By, Jeph Paul and Netha Hussain, Wikimedians

by Netha Hussain at March 04, 2014 08:21 PM

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Jak správně vést pobočku? Workshop pro radní proběhl v Londýně

Účastníci workshopu v Londýně (autor: Katie Chan, licence: CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Účastníci workshopu v Londýně (autor: Katie Chan, licence: CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Ve dnech 1.-2. března 2014 jsem se zúčastnil zajímavé akce v londýnské centrále Wikimedia UK pořádané ve spolupráci se zkušenými radními z Wikimedia Německo, Rakousko a Polsko. Pod názvem Boards training workshop se skrývala dvoudenní intenzívní lekce všeho, co radní potřebuje vědět a znát, aby správně a efektivně vedl sdružení.

Rada občanského sdružení (podle nového občanského zákoníku spíše „spolku“) je unikátní uskupení volených zástupců sdružení se specifickými pravomocemi a povinnostmi. To se na úvod pokusil objasnit Mike Hudson, specialista na správu neziskových organizací. Padla spousta konkrétních námětů, jak by se vlastně takoví radní měli chovat a čeho by se měli vyvarovat – že by měli přesně vědět, do čeho při vstupu do rady „jdou“, že by měli být poměrně nekompromisně odděleni od „členstva“ a hlavně od zaměstnanců sdružení (a to i v případě, že je radní zároveň zaměstnancem), jak by měli rozhodovat (kolektivně, konsenzem a ne hlasováním), že by se neměli bát spolu nesouhlasit, … Mikeova přednáška byla fundovaným vhledem do fungování rady v neziskovkách a jsem si jist, že výstupy budu prezentovat na některém z příštích setkání české wikikomunity.

V následné diskuzi byla příležitost si vyměnit zkušenosti s ostatními. Česká Wikimedia má pět členů rady; mnoho dalších poboček má klidně 10 i více členů, kteří si rozdělují práci. Nebojí se navíc oslovovat odborníky „zvenčí“, schopné přinést nový pohled na věc. Snad také co nejdříve dospějeme do situace, kdy rada bude činit strategická rozhodnutí a bude se tedy snažit přivést mezi sebe co nejinspirativnější osobnosti s originálními nápady. Diskutovalo se také o financování poboček – emocemi nabité téma v poslední době polarizuje hnutí Wikimedia a je jen dobře, že se o tom na setkání poboček mluvilo, zvláště když byli přítomni i zástupci Nadace a tzv. Komise na rozdělování peněz (FDC).

Setkání proběhlo v prostorách sídla Wikimedia UK, v tzv. Development House v londýnském Islingtonu (autor: Mike Rosenberg, CC BY 2.0)

Setkání proběhlo v prostorách sídla Wikimedia UK, v tzv. Development House v londýnském Islingtonu (autor: Mike Rosenberg, CC BY 2.0)

Druhý den se nesl více v duchu strategického plánování. Kam by rada, potažmo pobočka, potažmo hnutí Wikimedia, měli směřovat? Hlavní slovo dostal odborník a předseda komise FDC, Dariusz Jemelniak, který přednáší o obchodním managementu na Kozminského univerzitě ve Varšavě (jeho přednáška z workshopu je zde), a Jessie Wild, zaměstnankyně Nadace Wikimedia pro oblast vyhodnocování (evaluace) programů. Do popředí postavil strategické uvažování podle tzv. SWOT kritérií – ty v podstatě umožňují vytipovat přednosti a slabosti dané organizace a využít nabízejících se příležitostí či naopak zahlazovat blížící se hrozby. Přednáška otevírala oči v tom, že se soustředila na tzv. doménu, v níž se jako hnutí pohybujeme. Doména je jakési pole působnosti a úzce souvisí s misí našeho hnutí. Projekty, které u nás probíhají, by se měly nést v duchu našich strategických cílů a naší mise. Je přitom nutné podotknout, že je výrazný rozdíl mezi projekty, za nimiž stojí dobrovolníci z vlastní vůle, a projekty, které řídí zaměstnanci – ty druhé by měly být podrobovány daleko přísnějším kritériím.

Poslední přednáška, o tzv. syndromu burn-out, který se projevuje snížením efektivity vytížených osob a zcyničtěním a technokratizací jejich rozhodování, byla už jen letmým připomenutím, že se nic nemá přehánět a po práci má vždy následovat odpočinek, a to i v hnutí Wikimedia.

Moji účast na akci laskavě uhradila pobočka Wikimedia UK. Organizátorům patří obrovské poděkování za dobře odvedenou práci.

by Vojtěch Dostál at March 04, 2014 10:49 AM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Insight into Wikimedia Germany – Impressions of a FDC member

A session  from   FDC site visit  to WMDE.

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

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

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

Chapter Structure and Infrastructure

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

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

Chapter Programs

Chapter priorities  are Community support,  Institutional engagement, Political and legal advocacy and Software development. Community support is provided through various schemes such as literature request, library support, support for events, small meetups and also the large annual event Wikicon. The support is mostly reactive. The chapter had also been successful in liaising with the community, through the efforts of a community coordinator, who is hired from within the community. Thanks to such initiatives, introduction of new technology features in German wikipedia have become smooth. The politics and legal team is spearheading its efforts to be a key contributor to changes to EU member state copyright laws, which in many cases inhibit free sharing of photographs and GLAM resources. The international support  team is helping the movement  by supporting events such as Wikimedia conferenceDiversity Conference and Chapters Dialogue. In the open educational resources spaces, WMDE contributed to developing Wikipedia teaching material  working with a local partner Klicksafe. This was adopted by few state education departments.  The results are  expected to be available by the end of year.

Wikipedia Teaching material in German (Wikipeda Gemeinsam Wissen gestalten)

Theory of Change Model
All the initiatives are based on a well thought out change model called Theory of Change. This theory gives importance to short, medium and long term objectives and their linkages. Indicators are identified for each outcome. Manuel,  the head of evaluation explained that this approach is expected to improve the focus on impact and  outcomes rather than outputs.

Free form discussions
Apart from two days of structured sessions, we had a day of free discussions based on the FDC teams interest in digging into specific areas of interest. I was able to utilize that day to gain better insight into community/ Chapter member relationships, Chapter recognition program, the change model and the priorities for Wikidata. Pavel explained that the long term plan for the chapter is to develop four pillars of funding, with two pillars focused on programs of immediate benefit to Wikimedia projects and the other two pillars focused on long term benefits to the free knowledge movement.

Community and Board interaction

The community meetup and dinner with WMDE board members was another interesting  event where I was able to address questions on the FDC process. I gained better insight into WMDE community and its focus areas and their feedback on the FDC process. I  encouraged them to utilize the opportunity of FDC process session at the Wikimedia conference 2014 so that their input can be helpful for the FDC  process review, due in 3-4 months.


We had a wrap up session with WMDE team, where we exchanged  feedback from the visit. Though three days of visitation could be a disruption to everyday operations, I  was happy to know that WMDE found it useful. I thanked WMDE for its various initiatives and support for the movement – for being an inspiration for several budding chapters. I appreciated their efforts in managing the Wikimania panel discussion on future of Wikipedia  and wanted such initiatives to be continued. I encouraged the WMDE team  to increase their involvement further in shaping the movement. On the evaluation front, I shared the expectation that the programs be explored in such a way so that the results are available at quarterly intervals  so that the change models can be evaluated and improved rapidly. Pavel expressed his happiness about the outcomes of the visit and suggested that the presence of FDC volunteer members had made a  big difference.

I would like to thank the WMDE  Board, Executive Director Pavel and his staff, as well as the community. I also want to thank my FDC colleagues and WMF staff who took an active part in deliberations. Overall I found the site visit  very useful in understanding the WMDE priorities, plans and  challenges.

Arjuna Rao Chavala (User: Arjunaraoc), FDC member

by arjunaraoc at March 04, 2014 12:33 AM

March 01, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Wikimedia Research Newsletter, February 2014

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
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Vol: 4 • Issue: 2 • February 2014 [contribute] [archives] Syndicate the Wikimedia Research Newsletter feed

CSCW ’14 retrospective; the impact of SOPA on deletionism; like-minded editors clustered; Wikipedia stylistic norms as a model for academic writing

With contributions by: David Ludwig, Morten Warncke-Wang, Maximilian Klein, Piotr Konieczny, Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Dario Taraborelli and Tilman Bayer

CSCW ’14 retrospective

The 17th ACM Conference on Computer-supported cooperative work and Social Computing (CSCW ’14) took place this month in Baltimore, Maryland.[supp 1] The conference brought together more than 500 researchers and practitioners from industry and academia presenting research on “the design and use of technologies that affect groups, organizations, communities, and networks.” Research on Wikipedia and wiki-based collaboration has been a major focus of CSCW in the past. This year, three papers on Wikipedia were presented:

Unique editors per quarter in conventional and alternative WikiProjects, 2002-2012

Edits per quarter in conventional and alternative WikiProjects, 2002-2012

Slides from Editing beyond articles[1]

The rise of alt.projects in Wikipedia

Jonathan Morgan from the Wikimedia Foundation and collaborators from the University of Washington[1] analyzed the nature of collaboration in alternative WikiProjects, i.e. projects that the authors identify as not following “the conventional pattern of coordinating a loosely defined range of article creation and curation-related activities within a well defined topic area” (examples of such alternative WikiProjects include the Guild of Copy Editors or WikiProject Dispute Resolution). The authors present an analysis of editing activity by members of these projects that are not focused on topic content editing. The paper also reports data on the number of contributors involved in WikiProjects over time: while the number of editors participating in conventional projects decreased by 51% between 2007 and 2012, participation in alternative projects only declined by 13% in the same period and saw an overall 57% increase in the raw number of contributions.

Categorizing barnstars via Mechanical Turk

Paul Andre and collaborators from Carnegie Mellon University presented a study showing how to effectively crowdsource a complex categorization task by assigning it to users with no prior knowledge or domain expertise.[2] The authors selected a corpus of Wikipedia barnstars and showed how different task designs can produce crowdsourced judgments where Mechanical Turk workers accurately match expert categorization. Expert categorization was obtained by recruiting two Wikipedians with substantial editing activity as independent raters.

Understanding donor behavior through email

A team of researchers from Yahoo! Research, the Qatar Computing Research Institute and UC Berkeley analyzed two months of anonymized email logs to understand the demographics, personal interests and donation behavior of individuals responding to different fundraising campaigns.[3] The results include donation email from the Wikimedia Foundation and indicate that among other campaigns, email from a wikimedia.org domain had the highest score of messages tagged for spam over total messages read, which the authors attribute to spoofing. The paper also indicates that the Wikimedia fundraiser tends to attract slightly more male than female donors.

Clustering Wikipedia editors by their biases

review by User:Maximilianklein

Building on the streams of rating editors by content persistence and algorithmically finding cliques of editors, Nakamura, Suzuki and Ishikawa propose[4] a sophisticated tweak to find like- and disparate-minded editors, and test it against the Japanese Wikipedia. The method works by finding cliques in a weighted graph between all editors of an article and weighting the edges by the agreement or disagreement between editor. To find the agreement between two editors, they iterate through the full edit history and use the content persistence axioms of interpreting edits that are leaving text unchanged as agreement, and deleting text as disagreement. Addressing that leaving text unchanged is not always a strong indication of agreement, they normalize by each action’s frequency of both the source editor and the target editor. That is, the method accounts for the propensity of an editor to change text, and the propensity of editors to have their text changed.

To verify their method, its results are compared to a simplified weighting scheme, random clustering, and human-clustered results on 7 articles in Japanese Wikipedia. In 6 out of 7 articles, the proposed technique beats simplified weighting. An example they present is their detection of pro- and anti-nuclear editors on the Nuclear Power Plant article. An implication of such detection would be a gadget that colours text of an article depending on which editor group wrote it.

Monthly research showcase launched

Video of the February 2014 Research Showcase

The lifetime of deleted articles by year of creation

The Wikimedia Foundation’s Research & Data team announced its first public showcase, a monthly review of work conducted by researchers at the Foundation. Aaron Halfaker presented a study of trends in newcomer article creation across 10 languages with a focus on the English and German Wikipedias (slides). The study indicates that in wikis where anonymous users can create articles, their articles are less likely to be deleted than articles created by newly registered editors. Oliver Keyes presented an analysis of how readers access Wikipedia on mobile devices and reviewed methods to identify the typical duration of a mobile browsing session (slides). The showcase is hosted at the Wikimedia Foundation every 3rd Wednesday of the month and live streamed on YouTube.[supp 2]

Study of AfD debates: Did the SOPA protests mellow deletionists?

Wikipedia’s SOPA blackout

A paper titled “What influences online deliberation? A wikipedia [sic] study”[5] studies rationales used by participants in deletion discussions, in the larger context of democratic online deliberation. The authors reviewed in detail deletion discussions for a total of 229 articles, listed for deletion on three dates, one of them being January 15th, 2012, three days prior to the the English Wikipedia’s global blackout as part of the Wikipedia:SOPA initiative. The authors looked into whether this event would influence rationales of the deletion discussions and their outcome. They also reviewed, in less detail, a number of other deletions from around the time of the SOPA protest. The authors display a good knowledge of relevant literature, including that in the field of Wikipedia studies, presenting an informative literature review section.

Overall, the authors find that the overall quality of the discussions is high, as most of the participants display knowledge of Wikipedia’s policies, particularly on the notability and credibility (or what we would more likely refer to as reliability) of the articles whose deletion is considered. In re, notability far outweighs the second most frequent rationale, credibility (reliability). They confirm that the deletion system works as intended, with decisions made by majority voters.

Interestingly, the authors find that certain topics did tend to trigger more deletion outcomes, said topics being articles about people, for-profit organizations, and definitions. In turn, they observe that “locations or events are more likely to be kept than expected, and articles about nonprofit organizations and media are more likely to be suggested for other options (e.g., merge, redirect, etc.) than expected”. Discussions about people and for-profit organizations were more likely to be unanimous than expected, whereas articles about nonprofit organizations, certain locations, or events were more likely to lead to a non-unanimous discussion. Regarding the SOPA protests’ influence on deletion debates, the authors find a small and short-lived increase in keep decisions following the period of community mobilization and discussion about the issue, and tentatively attribute this to editors being impacted by the idea of internet freedom and consequently allowing free(er) Internet publishing.

The authors sum up those observations, noting that “the community members of Wikipedia have clear standards for judging the acceptability of a biography or commercial organization article; and such standards are missing or less clear when it comes to the topics on location, event, or nonprofit organization … Thus, one suggestion to the Wikipedia community is to make the criteria of judging these topics more clear or specific with examples, so it will alleviate the ambiguity of the situation”. This reviewer, as a participant of a not insignificant number of deletion discussions as well as those about the associated policies, agrees with said statement. With regards to the wider scheme, the authors conclude that the AfD process is an example of “a democratic deliberation process interested in maintaining information quality in Wikipedia”.

Word frequency analysis identifies “four conceptualisations of femininity on Wikipedia”

Girl with Cherries by Ambrogio de Predis (the current lead illustration of the article femininity)

In a linguistics student paper[6] at Lund University, the author reviews the linguistic conceptualisation of femininity on (English) Wikipedia, with regards to whether language used to refer to women differs depending on the type of articles it is used in. Specifically, the author analyzed the use of five lexemes (a term which in the context of this study means words): ladylike, girly, girlish, feminine and womanly. The findings confirm that the usage of those terms in non-accidental. The word feminine, most commonly used of the five studied, correlates primarily to the topics of fashion, sexuality, and to a lesser extent, culture, society and female historical biographies. The second most popular is the word womanly, which in turn correlates with topics of female artists, religion and history. Girlish, the fourth most popular world, correlates most strongly with the biographies of males, as well as with the articles on movies and TV, female entertainers, literature and music. Finally, girly and ladylike, respectively 3rd and 5th in terms of popularity, cluster together and correlate to topics such as movies and TV (animated), Japanese culture, art, tobacco and female athletes. Later, the author also suggests that there is a not insignificant overlap in usage between the cluster for girlish and the combined cluster for girly and ladylike. He concludes that there are three or four different conceptualisations of femininity on Wikipedia, which in more simple terms means, to quote the author, that “people do indeed represent women in different ways when talking about different things [on Wikipedia]“, with “girly and girlish having a somewhat frivolous undertone and womanly, feminine and ladylike being of a more serious and reserved nature”.

The study does suffer from a few issues: a literature review could be more comprehensive (the paper cites only six works, and not a single one of them from the field of Wikipedia studies), and this reviewer did not find sufficient justification for why the author limited himself to the analysis of only 500 occurrences (total) of the five lexemes studied. A further discussion of how the said 500 cases were selected would likely strengthen the paper.

Wikipedia and the development of academic language

Ursula Reutner’s article “Wikipedia und der Wandel der Wissenschaftssprache”[7] discusses Wikipedia’s linguistic norms and style as a case study for the development of academic language.

The article is divided into three main sections. After providing some historical context about Wikipedia and the history of encyclopedias (section 1), the article focuses on linguistic norms in Wikipedia and their relation to linguistic norms in academic language (section 2). Reutner identifies five crucial linguistic norms in Wikipedia: (1) non-personal language such as the avoidance of first- and second-person pronouns, (2) neutral language as expressed in the policy of a “neutral point of view”, (3) avoidance of redundancies, (4) avoidance of unnecessarily complex wording, and (5) focus on simple syntax and the use of short independent clauses. Although Reutner mentions many well-known differences between Wikipedia and traditional forms of academic writing (e.g. the dynamic, collaborative, and partly non-academic character of Wikipedia), she stresses that the policies of Wikipedia largely follow traditional norms of academic writing.

The third section focuses on case studies of Wikipedia articles (mostly fr:Euro and it:Euro) and finds a large variety of norm violations that suggest a gap between linguistic norms and actual style in Wikipedia. Reutner’s examples of biased, clumsy, and long-winded formulations hardly come as a surprise as these quality issues are well-known topics in Wikipedia research[supp 3]. However, Reutner’s analysis is not limited to quality problems but also addresses further interesting features of Wikipedia articles. For example, she points out that Wikipedia differs from many print encyclopedias in Romanic languages such as the Grande Dizionario Enciclopedico (1964) or the Enciclopedia Treccani (2010) through a focus on accessibility as illustrated by the use of copular sentences at the beginning of articles and the repetition of crucial ideas and terms. Furthermore, Reutner argues that Wikipedia differs from other forms of academic writing through narrative elements and a generous use of space.

Reutner’s findings raise general questions regarding the relation between Wikipedia and the development of academic language and her short conclusion makes three suggestions: First, Wikipedia’s policies largely follow traditional norms of academic writing. Second, the digital, collaborative, and partly non-academic character of Wikipedia leads to “emotional and dialogic elements that are surprising in the tradition of encyclopedias“ (p.17). Third, the focus on accessibility follows an Anglo-American tradition of academic writing (even in the Italian and French language versions). Although Reutner’s conclusions seem well-justified, they leave the question open whether Wikipedia reflects or even influences the general development of academic language. For example, one may argue that many of Reutner’s findings are effects of the partly non-academic character of Wikipedia and therefore not representative of the development of academic language. Other linguistic features are arguably effects of collaborative text production and it would be interesting to compare Reutner’s findings with other collaborative and non-collaborative forms of academic writing. Finally, one may worry that some of Reutner’s findings are artifacts of a small and biased sample. For example, Reutner only considers articles (de:Euro, en:Euro, es:Euro, fr:Euro, and it:Euro) that are created by large and diverse author groups but does not discuss more specialized articles that usually only have one or two main authors. However, it is well-known that the style and quality of Wikipedia articles depends on variables such as group size and group composition[supp 4] and diverse forms of collaboration patterns[supp 5]. It would therefore be interesting to discuss Reutner’s linguistic findings in the context of a more diverse sample of Wikipedia articles.


Wikipedia’s assessability

A paper to be presented at the upcoming Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’14)[8] by Forte, Andalibi, Park, and Willever-Farr introduces a vocabulary for “assessable design”. Their framework considers social and technological approaches to information literacy in combination with consumption and production. From interviewing Wikipedians, librarians, and novices about their understanding of Wikipedia articles, the authors identify two important concepts of assessable design: provenance and stewardship. The authors then test these concepts in an experiment, finding that exposing readers to these can have large effects on their assessment of not only articles but Wikipedia as a whole. Considering whether their framework can be generalized to the assessability of content on other informational websites, the authors caution that “Wikipedia is a remarkably conservative resource given its reputation as a renegade reference. Policies surrounding citation defer to well-established publishing processes like scientific peer review and traditional journalism and prohibit the production of personalized content.”

“Finding missing cross-language links in Wikipedia”

This is the title of a paper[9] in the Journal of Information and Data Management. Using a combination of feature extraction and a decision tree classifier, the authors seek to discover missing inter-language links (ILL) between the English and Portuguese Wikipedia editions. The authors hypothesise that there are roughly 165,000 missing ILLs in each of the Wikipedias, but do not appear to take previous research on the overlap of Wikipedia content into consideration.[supp 6] Two novel features are introduced: category linking and ILL transitivity. Performance is evaluated using a dataset of known connected and disconnected articles where the French, Italian, and Spanish Wikipedias are used as intermediate languages for discovering link transitivity. Category linking is identified as a useful way of discovering candidate articles for linking, while link transitivity is the key feature for correctly identifying links. Today, Wikidata‘s central repository of ILLs makes link transitivity mostly a moot problem, but that is not addressed by the authors.

“Spillovers in Networks of User Generated Content”

A discussion paper[10] by economists at the Centre for European Economics Research (ZEW) reports an analysis of content curation and consumption under spikes of attention. The authors analyzed 23 examples of pages that underwent a sudden surge of attention, either because they were featured on the main page of the German Wikipedia, or because of a real-world news event (e.g. earthquakes). The result is that an increased exposure predictably leads to increase of both consumption and curation on neighbouring pages, as measured in terms of page requests (for consumption) and edits (for curation), though the author reports that content generation is small in absolute terms.

New papers on the use of Wikipedia in education, by practitioners

In a Portuguese-language conference paper, Brazilian Wikipedian and professor Juliana Bastos Marques “presents an experience with critical reading and edition of Portuguese Wikipedia articles in the university, in extension activities, conducted at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro State (Unirio), in 2012″, according to the English abstract. In an essay for the sociology journal Contexts,[11] Wikipedian and sociologist (and contributor to other parts of this research newsletter) Piotr Konieczny, who has also made Wikipedia the subject of his own teaching, discusses the benefits of Wikipedia use in academia, citing the view that “a primary reason for academic reservations about Wikipedia is [a] philosophy of knowledge based on the control and management of intellectual capital”.

“World’s largest study on Wikipedia: Better than its reputation”

This is the title of the Helsinki TimesEnglish-language summary of a study of the Finnish Wikipedia‘s reliability, carried out by journalists and published in the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.[12]. Participating researcher Arto Lanamäki explained on the Wiki-research-l mailing list that the superlative referred to the fact that the study had “the biggest sample of articles (134) of all studies that have assessed Wikipedia content quality/credibility.” Not too dissimilar to the approach of the landmark Nature study from 2005, the authors recruited “an university-level researcher with knowledge on the subject matter to be an evaluator” for each article in their sample. As summarized by the Helsinki Times, the result was that “the Finnish Wikipedia is largely error-free. The lack of errors is the area in which Wikipedia clearly got its best score. … No less than 70 per cent of the articles were judged to be good (4) or excellent (5) with respect to lack of errors. According to the indicative evaluation scale a four means that the article has only ‘scattered small errors, no big ones’.” (See also earlier coverage of studies that systematically evaluate the reliability of Wikipedia articles: “Pilot study about Wikipedia’s quality compared to other encyclopedias“, “90% of Wikipedia articles have ‘equivalent or better quality than their Britannica counterparts’ in blind expert review“)


  1. a b Morgan, J. T.; Gilbert, M.; McDonald, D. W.; Zachry, M. (2014). “Editing beyond articles: diversity & dynamics of teamwork in open collaborations”. Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing – CSCW ’14. p. 550. doi:10.1145/2531602.2531654. ISBN 9781450325400.
  2. André, P.; Kittur, A.; Dow, S. P. (2014). “Crowd synthesis: extracting categories and clusters from complex data”. Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing – CSCW ’14. p. 989. doi:10.1145/2531602.2531653. ISBN 9781450325400.
  3. Mejova, Y.; Garimella, V. R. K.; Weber, I.; Dougal, M. C. (2014). “Giving is caring: understanding donation behavior through email”. Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer supported cooperative work & social computing – CSCW ’14. p. 1297. doi:10.1145/2531602.2531611. ISBN 9781450325400.
  4. Nakamura, Akira; Yu Suzuki, and Yoshiharu Ishikawa (November 17, 2013). “Clustering Editors of Wikipedia by Editor’s Biases“. 
  5. Xiao, Lu; Nicole Askin (2014). “What influences online deliberation? A wikipedia study“. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. doi:10.1002/asi.23004. ISSN 2330-1643.  Closed access
  6. Max Bäckström: The conceptualisation of FEMININITY on English Wikipedia http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=24923&postid=4251474
  7. Reutner, Ursula (2013-12-20). “Wikipedia und der Wandel der Wissenschaftssprache”. Romanistik in Geschichte und Gegenwart 19 (2): 231–249.  Closed access
  8. Forte, A., Andalibi, N., Park, T., and Willever-Farr, H. (2014) Designing Information Savvy Societies: An Introduction to Assessability. In: Proceedings of CHI 2014 http://www.andreaforte.net/ForteCHI14Assessability.pdf
  9. Moreira, Carlos Eduardo M.; Viviane P. Moreira (2013-12-09). “Finding Missing Cross-Language Links in Wikipedia“. Journal of Information and Data Management 4 (3): 251. ISSN 21787107. 
  10. Kummer, Michael (2013). “Spillovers in Networks of User Generated Content – Evidence from 23 Natural Experiments on Wikipedia“. ZEW Discussion paper no. 13-098. 
  11. Konieczny, Piotr (2014-02-01). “Rethinking Wikipedia for the Classroom“. Contexts 13 (1): 80-83. doi:10.1177/1536504214522017. ISSN 1536-5042. 
  12. Koistinen, Olavi (2013-11-30). HS selvitti: Näin luotettava Wikipedia on. HS.fi.
Supplementary references:
  1. CSCW ’14 website
  2. Wikimedia Research & Data showcase – February 2014
  3. e.g. Anderka, M., & Stein, B. (2012, April). A breakdown of quality flaws in Wikipedia. In Proceedings of the 2nd Joint WICOW/AIRWeb Workshop on Web Quality (pp. 11-18). ACM. (cf. review: “One in four of articles tagged as flawed, most often for verifiability issues“)
  4. e.g. Arazy, O., Nov, O., Patterson, R., & Yeo, L. (2011). Information quality in Wikipedia: The effects of group composition and task conflict. Journal of Management Information Systems, 27(4), 71-98.
  5. Liu, J., & Ram, S. (2009, December). Who does what: Collaboration patterns in the wikipedia and their impact on data quality. In 19th Workshop on Information Technologies and Systems (pp. 175-180)
  6. Hecht, Brent; Gergle, Darren (2010). “The Tower of Babel Meets Web 2.0: User-Generated Content and Its Applications in a Multilingual Context”. ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. pp. 291–300. http://www-users.cs.umn.edu/~bhecht/publications/bhecht_chi2010_towerofbabel.pdf. 

Wikimedia Research Newsletter
Vol: 4 • Issue: 2 • February 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 Tilman Bayer at March 01, 2014 09:37 PM

Wikimedia Foundation Report, January 2014

Information You are more than welcome to edit the wiki version of this report for the purposes of usefulness, presentation, etc., and to add translations of the “Highlights” excerpts.

Data and Trends

2013 traffic trends (presentation slides)

Global unique visitors for December:

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

Page requests for January:

20.678 billion (+13.2% compared with December; -7.0% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for December 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

75,441 (+0.99% compared with November / -2.72% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of December 31, 2013

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

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

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

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


New community-centered trademark policy

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

After one year, Individual Engagement Grants demonstrate potential for impact

Projects from the first round of IEGs

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

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

Video explaining the multimedia vision for 2016 ((slides)

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

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

New search engine

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


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

Department Highlights

Major news in January include:

Presentation slides on VisualEditor


In January, the VisualEditor team continued their work on improving the stability and performance of this visual editing interface to edit pages on Wikipedia and its sister sites; they also added some new features. You can now edit page settings like whether to display a table of contents or whether to show section edit labels. You can also specify the size of a media file manually, see a list of keyboard shortcuts, and create and edit media galleries using a very basic stand-in editor whilst the final form is being designed. Work also continued on a dialog for quickly adding “citation” references based on templates, more media and page settings, setting content language and right-to-left indicators, and equation editing.

The Parsoid team (developing the program that converts wikitext to annotated HTML, behind the scenes of VisualEditor) did a lot of bug fixing around images, links, references and various other areas. We also mentored students, participated in discussions relating to the architecture of MediaWiki, and started to work on “packaging” Parsoid to make it easier to install.

Maryana Pinchuk presenting about Flow (slides)

Editor engagement

This month, the Core Features team worked on integrating MediaWiki tools for dealing with spam and vandalism (AbuseFilter and Spam Blacklist) into Flow, a new wiki discussion system. We also launched an updated visual design and user interface for Flow, based on the first round of experienced user feedback last month, as well as ongoing user testing with new users. Lastly, we created a script to disable Flow and convert its content, so that we can begin testing Flow on two WikiProjects that volunteered on the English Wikipedia while being able to revert to wikitext if needed.

The Growth team improved the GettingStarted extension, in part to support local configuration for different Wikipedias. The latest version of GettingStarted and GuidedTour will be released in English and 23 other languages in early February. The team also completed several iterations of design and data analysis in support of upcoming work on Wikipedia article creation. We presented new designs for the Draft namespace, and completed a series of remote usability tests. We also finalized and published extensive quantitative analysis of trends in article creation across the largest Wikipedias.

Presentation slides from the quarterly review of the Mobile Web & App team


During the last month, the Wikipedia Zero team worked on supporting secure HTTPS connections for partners in the Zero program, which allows mobile subscribers to access Wikipedia content at no data cost. We also continued to work on a proof-of-concept HTML5 web app for Firefox OS, fixed bugs in the legacy Firefox OS Wikipedia app, and prepared alpha functionality for the integration of Wikipedia Zero with the rebooted Android Wikipedia app. The team also met with the business development team to plan for partners and Wikipedia Zero-related work at large, and conducted tech facilitation to enable partner launches and align approaches with current and future partners.

The Mobile web projects team has been directing much of their attention over the last month at delivering a tablet-friendly mobile experience. We’ve added support for tables of contents, made some design improvements, and have worked towards making VisualEditor work on tablets (in alpha for now). We have also released our overlay UI improvements as well as an improved inline diff view for MobileFrontend into stable. Finally, we have also been working to expand our coverage of browser tests to facilitate quality assurance and help prevent the introduction of bugs and regressions.


Department highlights
  • Anne Gomez joined as the new Product Manager for the Online Fundraising team.
  • As of 12/31/13, the fundraising team has raised a total of $36,689,093.29 this Fiscal Year. Some of these funds may be accounted for in January’s totals.

Major Gifts and Foundations

  • Finalized December Numbers: 2.8 million
  • Sending out Annual reports to Benefactors

Online Fundraising

  • The online fundraising team prepared international banner campaigns to run in February. Messages were translated into multiple languages in preparation for the international campaigns. If you would like to help with the translation process, please get involved.
  • For the latest updates and a brief recap from the December English campaign, please see the updates page on Meta


Department highlights
  • Welcome, Alex Wang, new Project and Event Grants Program Officer.
  • Wikimania Scholarships applications opened in January and are still being accepted until February 17. Thanks to the Wikimedia Scholarship committee for getting these up and running. These scholarships will support community members to come to London this upcoming August.
  • The new Grants homepage consolidates resources under one umbrella, as well as a better articulation of the grantmaking work in which our community engages.
  • IEG Round 1 Impact report is posted. Highlights include a 37x return on investment for The Wikipedia Library, and some potential areas for further study. See overall blog post.
  • Overall for grantmaking, 6 requests were funded, 1 grant was renewed, and 16 reports were accepted or reviewed in January 2014.
  • An improved FDC proposal form for 2013-2014 Round 2 was launched in January 2014 and is available to organizations that submitted Letters of intent for that round.
  • Happy 10th anniversary to the Odia Wikipedia! We are excited to support the growth of the Odia language online through our grant to the CIS India Access To Knowledge program, and proud of our active community in India.

Annual Plan Grants (Funds Dissemination Committee)

  • The FDC Advisory Group is planning its review of the FDC process, scheduled for May 2014 in Germany. The FDC Advisory Group is tasked with providing a recommendation to the WMF Executive Director about improvements to the FDC process, based on assessments and learning.
  • The proposal form has been improved between rounds and was launched for 2013-2014 Round 2 applicants in January, in preparation for the 2013-2014 Round 2 proposal deadline on 1 April 2014. To create a proposal form, organizations that have already submitted Letters of Intent for this round should go to the “proposal form hub page” that was created when their Letters of intent were submitted, and use the proposal creation tool to create a proposal form. Please contact FDCSupport at wikimedia.org with any questions.
  • Annual Plan Grantees receiving grants in 2012-2013 Round 2 submitted progress reports for Q2 (1 October – 31 December 2013) on 30 January 2014. Read Wikimedia Norge’s Q2 progress report or Wikimédia France’s Q2 progress report. We thank WMNO and WMFR for submitting these reports on time and sharing their learning with the larger movement.
  • Eligibility for 2013-2014 Round 2 is underway: all organizations that submitted Letters of Intent for the 2013-2014 Round 2 Annual Plan Grants cycle have until 15 March 2014 to fill any eligibility gaps. Please reach out to FDCsupport at wikimedia.org with questions about eligibility, or the eligibility gaps and potential eligibility gaps outlined in this table.
  • First installments for grants awarded in 2013-2014 Round 1 are being sent, and three grantees have confirmed receipt of the first installments of grant funds in January 2014.
  • Site visits from FDC staff and FDC members to WMDE, WMHU, and WMIN are planned for February.

Project and Event Grants

  • 4 requests were funded and 11 reports were accepted in January 2014.
  • We hired Alex Wang as the new Program Officer for Project and Event Grants. You can read more about her here.

Grants awarded in January 2014

Reports accepted in January 2014

Travel & Participation Support

  • 2 new requests were funded and 2 reports were accepted in January 2014.
  • We’re working with WMF’s Communications Design Manager to recruit a design contractor to help with the TPS redesign
  • A pilot is being planned to experiment with microgrants to contributors on Arabic Wikipedia. This pilot aims to test some assumptions and grantmaking systems at WMF for making small grants to individuals in the Global South, which may feed into TPS or other grants programs.

Requests awarded in January 2014

Reports accepted in January 2014

Siko Bouterse presenting about the impact of round 1 IEGs (slides)

Individual Engagement Grants

Reports accepted in January 2014

3 final reports were accepted in January 2014

Grantmaking Learning and Evaluation

  • Meta-wiki cleanup month, including:
    • Updated all pages to reflect new grants program names
    • Moved all grants program pages to the “Grants:” namespace
    • Created a shiny new Grants homepage
    • The “Grants:” namespace is now part of default search option on meta
  • Completed an impact assessment of IEG Round 1 grant projects (see IEG section).
  • Revamped and deployed suite of surveys for grants programs to better understand their nascent work (see IEG section for those results; FDC results to come in February)
  • Launched work with consultants to look into:
    • Tool for internal grants management (Fluxx)
    • Org effectiveness measures of other movements (TCC)
    • Overall impact of historic Project and Event Grants (Inspire)


Department highlights

Presentation slides about Wikipedia Zero

Wikipedia Zero

  • Wikipedia Text, our USSD/SMS service currently being piloted with Airtel Kenya and the Praekelt Foundation, was shortlisted for the Best Mobile Education Product or Service in the GSMA’s Global Mobile Awards. The winner will be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 25. Wikipedia Text allows users to search Wikipedia and read articles via a series of text messages. For the first time ever, we are bringing Wikipedia’s vast knowledge base to the billions of people who do not yet use mobile internet.
  • Launched our 25th Wikipedia Zero partner: Babilon Mobile in Tajikistan. In January we served 50 million free page views across 22 countries.
  • Adele Vrana was promoted to Partner Manager for Wikipedia Zero in Africa and the Middle East.
  • The Wikipedia Zero team held a two-day offsite to clarify short term priorities and set the context for annual planning.
  • The partner engineering team kicked off development of the Wikipedia Zero partner portal, which will provide centralized resources and self-service implementation features, so we can support more carrier partners.
  • We posted the third Partner Manager position, to head up Asia and Eastern Europe.

LiAnna Davis presenting about the new “Editing Wikipedia” brochure (slides)

Wikipedia Education Program

Global programs
  • We enhanced the learning experience for student editors on English Wikipedia by adding new GuidedTours interactive tutorials to our online student training, and began investigating the possibility of completely converting the trainings into extended GuidedTours.
  • We introduced new features to the Education Program extension to make it easier for users to manage courses and keep track of student editors.
  • Rod Dunican, Director of Global Education, spoke at Saint Mary’s College to a group of professors and librarians about the education program and the benefits of using Wikipedia as a teaching and learning tool.
Arab World program
  • Tighe Flanagan, Arab World education program manager, worked with program leaders in Egypt and Jordan to make sure course pages are up to date and that student usernames are valid in preparation for collecting quantitative measurements of student contributions. While the terms concluded in January, student contributions will be monitored through the end of February as most student contributions have historically occured after the final exam period.

Edward Galvez presenting about the beta evaluation reports (slides)

Program Evaluation and Design

  • In January, the team:
    • continued releasing its beta evaluation reports, publishing four additional report pages on meta covering On-wiki writing contests, GLAM Content Release Partnerships, Wiki Loves Monuments, and other photo upload initiatives
    • initiated support for four survey pilot projects with a handful of program leaders wishing to pilot survey strategies in their programs. These survey pilots will help the team as they begin to build out survey tools and item inventories for, as well as to pilot different surveying strategies with, program leaders needs for technical advice or supports. (Note: This included discussion about and/or technical supports for surveys for a hybrid course/edit-a-thon series program, a chapters Wikimedian in Residence program, a conference evaluation, and a Wikipedia Education Program survey of participating instructors.)
    • hosted a hang-out to overview and highlight results from the first four reports and engage program leaders in dialogue about the reporting process, strategy, findings, and next steps
    • scheduled the next four evaluation hangouts for February and March, and developed and/or coordinated evaluation tools and resources to be released in conjunction with each of these content-specific hangouts
    • prepared a brief update for the February Metrics meeting
  • The team is currently in the process of identifying a contractor to fill the community coordinator vacancy and has begun collecting community input for pre-conference workshop participation and program evaluation content for the upcoming Wikimedia Conference in Berlin.

HR presentation slides

Human Resources

HR is supporting Wikimedia Foundation staffing planning as part of the annual planning process, as well as continuing to support executive searches and a number of staff and organizational transition plans. We conducted a 1-day HR staff retreat to determine priorities for the upcoming year. We have brought on Anna Stillwell in a senior learning and organizational development contractor role, and Monica Breton as an intern. We have identified two Applicant Tracking System vendors that we are testing and are in process of selecting a potential Payroll vendor. We also rolled out a new parental leave program, and are assisting with reporting data to the FDC. W2s (United States tax documents) were distributed to US staff, and we continue to process greencards and H1Bs on the immigration front. We’ve shared initial employee engagement survey data to staff and managers.

Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • Gilles Dubuc, Senior Software Engineer (Engineering)
  • Shahyar Ghobadpour, Software Engineer – Features (Engineering)
  • Charles Salvia, Senior Software Engineer (Engineering)
  • Sam Smith, Software Engineer (Engineering)
  • Alex Wang, Grants Program Officer (Grantmaking)
New Interns
  • Monica Breton (Human Resources)
  • Ambrosia Lobo (Administration)
  • Shaila Nathu (Legal)
New Contractors
  • Melanie Brown (Human Resources)
  • Leslie Carr (Engineering)
  • Prateek Saxena (Engineering)
  • Anna Stillwell (Human Resources)
Contracts Extended
  • Arlo Breault (Engineering)
  • Edward Galvez (Programs)
  • Sucheta Ghoshal (Engineering)
  • Andrew Green (Engineering)
  • Michael Guss (Administration)
  • Limayli Huguet (Administration)
  • Kunal Mehta (Engineering)
  • Janet Renteria (Administration)
  • Yuan Li (Programs)
  • Melanie Brown
  • Leslie Carr
  • Matthew Roth
  • Sarah Stierch
Contracts Ended
  • Rita Chang
  • Akshata Metha
  • Naoko Sakurai-Chang
Department Change
  • Adele Vrana – moved from Finance and Administration to join Programs
New Postings
  • Test Infrastructure Engineer
  • Software Engineer (Mobile) (Android Apps)


Total Requisitions Filled
January Actual: 183
January Total Plan: 162
January Filled: 5, January Attrition: 4
YTD Filled: 34, YTD Attrition: 17
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end

Department Updates

Real-time feed for HR updates

https://identi.ca/wikimediaatwork or https://twitter.com/wikimediaatwork

Finance and Administration

no updates for January 2014

Legal, Community Advocacy, and Communications Department

LCA Report, January 2014

  • The legal team launched a community consultation regarding the Foundation’s first draft of its new Data Retention Guidelines. The consultation is scheduled to close on 14 February 2014. However, the guidelines are intended to be a living document that will be updated and expanded over time to reflect the Foundation’s retention practices. We greatly appreciate the input we received from the community, which has already helped improve the guidelines.
  • The legal team (supported by Community Advocacy) has successfully concluded a seven-month long community consultation on the new trademark policy (see also general “Highlights” section). The community discussion, which had more words than The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, resulted in a policy that is unconventional in how it provides liberal use of the Wikimedia marks while maintaining legal protection. The final policy was approved by the Board of Trustees on February 1, effective immediately.
  • The Board has also approved the legal team’s recommendation to withdraw trademark registration for the Community Logo, based on a 75 day community consultation.
  • The community consultation on the new Privacy Policy draft continued into its 5th month. The community raised many new and interesting points in late December and early January, leading to an extension of the consultation period to ensure that substantive issues were properly addressed. The original close date was scheduled for 15 January 2014 and the current close date is scheduled for 14 February 2014.
  • The community consultation on the new Access to Nonpublic Information Policy draft also continued into its 5th month. We have received a great deal of feedback from the community regarding this complicated and sensitive issue and intend on making a bold recommendation to the Board of Trustees based on this feedback, which would remove the identification requirement from the draft policy.
  • The WMF legal team joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other organizations in a Copyright Week, writing about how Wikipedia shows the value of a vibrant public domain in a guest blog post. This post was later translated and posted by Wikimedia France (“Wikipédia illustre la valeur d’un domaine public vivant“) and Wikimedia Israel (“ויקיפדיה ממחישה לשם מה נחוצה נחלת הכלל“).
  • The legal team continues to participate in discussions about how the Wikimedia community should respond to a request for consultation from the European Commission on potential areas of copyright reform. The EC extended the deadline from February to March, so you now have more time to join in and help us out, if you are interested.
  • Community Advocacy continued its ongoing support of the Trademark and Privacy policy consultations, as well as providing leadership and support (and staff hours) to the community liaison team detailed to work on VisualEditor.
  • Community Advocacy is focusing on using tools to streamline our incredibly diverse workflows, and introduced the beta version of LCA tools, which will streamline the process of executing DMCA takedowns and reporting suspect files to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) as legally mandated.
  • Community Advocacy assisted with the processing and review of applicants for the inter-project Ombudsman commission, with the 2014 team taking seat for their one-year term on February 1st.

Contract Metrics

  • Submitted : 23
  • Completed : 28

Trademark Metrics

  • Submitted : 14
  • Approved: 7
  • Pending : 2
  • Approval not needed : 5

Domains Obtained

vikipedia.com.tr, vikipedi.com.tr, wikibooks.ee, wikidata.ee, wikinews.ee, wikipedia.nu, wikiquote.ee, wikiquotes.com, wikiquotes.org, wikisource.ee, wikiversity.ee, wiktionary.ee

Coming & Going

We are happy to welcome Shaila Nathu, our first new legal intern for the spring semester – Shaila joins us as a second year law student at U.C. Hastings College of the Law.

Other Activities

The minutes and resolutions from the WMF Board of Trustees’ November meeting were published.

Communications Report, January 2014

Cover illustration for the 2012–2013 Annual Report

A very busy first month of the year for Communications. We bid farewell to global comms manager Matthew Roth as he moved on to a new job. The 2012-13 Foundation Annual Report’ was launched, and the team worked through a handful of media stories, including paid editing. Media covered a number of new community initiatives, including the Wiki voice intro project and a wide range of Wikipedia general interest stories.

Major announcements

No major announcements in January.

Major Storylines through December

Checkpoint MediaWiki vulnerability (January 29)

In late January, website security firm Checkpoint.com notified WMF of a vulnerability in the MediaWiki software. WMF engineering quickly addressed the vulnerability and issued a patch to all MediaWiki users. Media were alerted to the discovery once the patch was deployed by Checkpoint, and several mostly neutral stories emerged covering the situation.

Marketwatch (news alert from Checkpoint) [1]
Network World [2]
Linux Today [3]
Threat Post [4]
Wikipedia voice intro project (January 28)

UK Wikipedian Andy Mabbett’s (User:Pigsonthewing) Wikipedia voice intro project (WikiVIP) got major coverage through late January following a blog post by the Wikimedia UK chapter. Predominantly positive coverage largely centered on the high profile participation of comedian/performer Stephen Fry, but also mentioned a list of other celebrities who would lend their voice to the initiative.

Wikimedia UK blog post [5]
Fast Company [6]
Engadget [7]
Telegraph [8]
Google Knowledge graph and WP pageview drop (January 8)

In early to mid January, media took great interest in stories circulating that suggested Google’s Knowledge Graph search results were having a significant impact on Wikipedia’s page views, based on publicly posted PV data from the Foundation. Coverage was largely speculative about the connection of the factors, although the Foundation did point to internal research which suggested Knowledge Graph was not responsible for the observed pageview decline.

Times of India [9]
Daily Dot [10]

Other worthwhile reads

Wikipedia party to expand Sudbury’s presence on the web
CBC Morning, North [11]
Mick Jagger on his memoirs ‘Look it up on Wikipedia’
The Guardian [12]
Wikimedia considers supporting H.264 to boost accessibility, content
Ars Technica [13]
Wikipedia is top source of medical information for doctors
United Press International [14]
Copyright week, using and losing the public domain
Boing Boing [15] &EFF [16]
Wikipedia’s 13th Birthday
Mashable [17]
Wikipedia, What Does Judith Newman Have to Do to Get a Page?
New York Times, original story [18], and follow up [19]

WMF Blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 21 posts in January 2014. Four posts were multilingual, including versions in Odia, French, Ukrainian, and Portuguese.

Some highlights from the blog:

Happy 13th Birthday, Wikipedia! (January 15, 2014)
Wikimedia Ukraine opposes new copyright and telecommunication law’s amendments in Ukraine (January 16, 2014)
Wikipedia Shows the Value of a Vibrant Public Domain (January 14, 2014)
Introduction to the Board of Trustees (January 13, 2014)

Media Contact

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

Wikipedia Signpost

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

Visitors and Guests

Visitors and guests to the WMF office in January 2014:

  1. Matthew Caldwell (Mozilla)
  2. Charles A. Lim (SMART)
  3. Melissa Limcoaco (SMART)
  4. Earl S. Valencia (SMART)
  5. Arash Ghassemi (Union Bank)
  6. Saten Singh (Union Bank)
  7. Rafe Furst (Crowdfunder/Unreasonable Institute)
  8. Bob Kraynak (Cushman Wakefield)
  9. Richard Dimaio (Paywithmybank.com)
  10. Jordan Johnson (Wabash College)
  11. Stephen Fenton Jr (Wabash College)
  12. James Kennedy IV (Wabash College)
  13. Michael Haffner (Wabash College)
  14. Tyler Andrews (Wabash College)
  15. Tyler Trepton (Wabash College)
  16. Ben Bradshaw (Wabash College)
  17. Daniel Craig (Wabash College)
  18. Patrick Kroll (Wabash College)
  19. Patrick Bryant (Wabash College)
  20. Garrett Lynette (Wabash College)
  21. Justin Taylor (Wabash College)
  22. Adam Miller (Wabash College)
  23. Scott Crawford (Wabash College)
  24. James Jeffries (Wabash College)
  25. Tom Hehir (CCS Consulting)
  26. Isabela Bagueros (Twitter)
  27. Sumit Shah (Twitter)
  28. Brendan Corrigan (JP Morgan)
  29. Sebastian Violette (Gemalto)
  30. Jeremie Acemyoun (Gemalto)
  31. Bertrand LeRoux (Gemalto)
  32. Nico Pitney (Huffington Post)
  33. Tim Nichols (Hub)
  34. Ante Ukalovik (Infobip)

by Tilman Bayer at March 01, 2014 09:47 AM

Wikimedia Highlights, January 2014

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

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

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

New community-centered trademark policy

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

After one year, Individual Engagement Grants demonstrate potential for impact

Projects from the first round of IEGs

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

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

Video explaining the multimedia vision for 2016 ((slides)

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

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

New search engine

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

Data and Trends

2013 traffic trends (presentation slides)

Global unique visitors for December:

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

Page requests for January:

20.678 billion (+13.2% compared with December; -7.0% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation content projects including mobile access, but excluding Wikidata and the Wikipedia main portal page.)

Active Registered Editors for December 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

75,441 (+0.99% compared with November / -2.72% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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




Wikimedia Foundation YTD Revenue and Expenses vs Plan as of December 31, 2013

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

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

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

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

Other highlights from the Wikimedia movement

Project to record voices of Wikipedia subject gains support from Stephen Fry and the BBC

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<track data-dir="ltr" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="TimedText:Stephen_Fry_voice.flac.el.srt" kind="subtitles" label="Ελληνικά (el) subtitles" src="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/:Stephen+Fry+voice.flac.el.srt?action=raw&amp;ctype=text/x-srt" srclang="el" type="text/x-srt"></track> <track data-dir="ltr" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="TimedText:Stephen_Fry_voice.flac.en.srt" kind="subtitles" label="English (en) subtitles" src="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/:Stephen+Fry+voice.flac.en.srt?action=raw&amp;ctype=text/x-srt" srclang="en" type="text/x-srt"></track> <track data-dir="ltr" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="TimedText:Stephen_Fry_voice.flac.mt.srt" kind="subtitles" label="Malti (mt) subtitles" src="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/:Stephen+Fry+voice.flac.mt.srt?action=raw&amp;ctype=text/x-srt" srclang="mt" type="text/x-srt"></track> <track data-dir="ltr" data-mwprovider="wikimediacommons" data-mwtitle="TimedText:Stephen_Fry_voice.flac.ru.srt" kind="subtitles" label="русский (ru) subtitles" src="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/:Stephen+Fry+voice.flac.ru.srt?action=raw&amp;ctype=text/x-srt" srclang="ru" type="text/x-srt"></track>Sorry, your browser either has JavaScript disabled or does not have any supported player.
You can download the clip or download a player to play the clip in your browser.</audio>

The voice of Stephen Fry, recorded for the WikiVIP project

The Wikipedia voice intro project (WikiVIP) invites people who are the subject of a Wikipedia article to record a short sample of their voice, which is then uploaded to Commons. The recording allows a Wikipedia reader to hear who the person sounds like, and how the person’s name is pronounced. Founded by UK Wikipedian Andy Mabbett (User:Pigsonthewing), the project gained the support of celebrity Stephen Fry in January. Andy Mabbett is also collaborating with the BBC to provide extracts from its audio archives for WikiVIP. Volunteers identified over 300 such clips at an event in January, which the BBC will upload to Commons – the first time that the organization releases content from its broadcast archive under a free license.

The temporary logo of the Georgian Wikipedia in the colors of the Ukrainian flag

Ukrainian chapter and Wikipedia community protest laws proposed by Ukrainian government

In January, Wikimedia Ukraine protested against several laws proposed by the country’s government (under the since ousted president Viktor Yanukovych). The chapter was concerned that the bill would make it obligatory for hosting providers and/or domain name registrators to block access to websites without a court order under certain conditions, such as claims of copyright infringement. After the law was passed, the Ukrainian Wikipedia decided to protest by blacking out the site for 30 minutes each day. Also in late January, the Georgian Wikipedia temporarily changed its logo to a version involving the colors of the Ukrainian flag, in support of the Ukrainian Euromaidan protests. (Later in February, Wikimedians worldwide would mourn the death of 22-year old Ukrainian Wikipedian Ihor Kostenko – User:Ig2000 -, who was shot by a sniper at a demonstration during the last days of the protests before the fall of the Yanukovych government.)

by Tilman Bayer at March 01, 2014 09:46 AM

Wikimedia Foundation Report, December 2013

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 November:

533 million (+9.95% compared with October; +0.42% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release December data later in January)

Page requests for December:

18.270 billion (-4.0% compared with November; -9.4% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for November 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,803 (-1.33% compared with October / -4.88% 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 November 30, 2013

Wikimedia Foundation YTD Expenses by Functions as of November 30, 2013

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

All financial information presented is for the Month-To-Date and Year-To-Date November 30, 2013.

Revenue 14,609,876
Engineering Group 6,589,458
Fundraising Group 1,439,053
Grantmaking Group 720,055
Programs Group 723,516
Grants 950,624
Governance Group 302,012
Legal/Community Advocacy/Communications Group 1,367,697
Finance/HR/Admin Group 3,029,513
Total Expenses 15,121,928
Total deficit (512,052)
in US dollars
  • Revenue for the month of November is $2.96MM versus plan of $8.83MM, approximately $5.87MM or 66% under plan.
  • Year-to-date revenue is $14.61MM versus plan of $16.71MM, approximately $2.1MM or 13% under plan.
  • Expenses for the month of November is $2.89MM versus plan of $3.73MM, approximately $844K or 23% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, payment processing fees, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services and recruiting expenses.
  • Year-to-date expenses is $15.12MM versus plan of $18.43MM, approximately $3.31MM or 18% under plan, primarily due to lower personnel expenses, capital expenses, internet hosting, legal fees, payment processing fees, staff development expenses, and travel expenses partially offset by higher outside contract services and recruiting fees.
  • Cash position is $38.8MM as of November 30, 2013.


The new “editing Wikipedia” brochure

New brochure explains how to edit Wikipedia

The Education Program team completed work on an entirely new version of the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure (now titled “Editing Wikipedia“). It is also available for translation into other languages.

“Drafts” feature provides a gentler start for Wikipedia articles

In December, the new Draft namespace was launched on the English Wikipedia, as requested by the local community. It gives all users (registered or anonymous) the option to start new articles as a draft, instead of publishing them immediately (which can carry the risk that the new article is nominated for deletion before it can be improved). Drafts are marked by a “Draft:” in the page title, and are not visible to search engines.

Paul Kikuba is leading an IEG project to set up a Wikipedia center in the village of Mbazzi, Uganda

Recipients of Annual Plan Grants (FDC) and Individual Engagements Grants (IEG) announced

In December, 11 Wikimedia organizations were awarded annual plan grants totaling $4.4M, following the recommendations of the volunteer-run Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) in the first round of requests for 2013/2014. The approved amount was lower than the overall requested amount of US$5.94M, affirming the FDC’s guidance to the organizations to be thoughtful about growth.

Also in December, the selection of seven projects for the second round of Individual Engagements grants (IEG) was announced. They focus on activities from outreach to tool-building, all aimed at connecting and supporting the community.

Successful year-end online fundraising campaign

The WMF fundraising team ran the year-end online fundraising campaign in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Roughly $18.7 million USD was raised from more than one million donors in December. During the two weeks when the campaign ran at full capacity, the team created and tested approximately 250 different banners. Banners will be run in other countries and languages throughout 2014.


A detailed report of the Tech Department’s activities for December 2013 can be found at:


Major news in December include:

  • a retrospective on Language Engineering events, including the language summit in Pune, India;
  • the launch of a draft feature on the English Wikipedia, to provide a gentler start for Wikipedia articles.


In December, the VisualEditor team worked to continue the improvements to the stability and performance of this interface that allows users to edit wiki pages visually rather than using wiki markup. Most of the team’s focus was on major new features and fixing bugs. There is now basic support for rich copy-and-paste from external sources into VisualEditor, and a basic tool to insert characters not otherwise available on users’ keyboards. Work also continued on a dialog for quickly adding references using citation templates.

The Parsoid team, which is developing the parsing program that converts wiki markup to annotated HTML (and back) behind the scenes of VisualEditor, continued their relentless work to eliminate bugs and incompatibilities. Problems arose during the migration to node 0.10, the platform that runs Parsoid. The team rolled back the upgrade, investigated and fixed the issue. Testing has also been improved so that similar issues are caught in the future. Last, the team created several requests for comment concerning architectural components of the MediaWiki platform.

Presentation slides from the Growth team

Editor engagement

In December, we enabled Flow to a few selected pages on mediawiki.org (Talk:Flow and Talk:Sandbox) and collected feedback about the features and design to date from the community (read the summary). Throughout the feedback period, we worked on implementing design changes, such as a more compact view of the board and a different interface for topic and post actions, as well as different visualizations of history information, based on the comments of users testing the software.

We also began a straw poll about launching Flow as a beta trial in the discussion spaces of WikiProject Breakfast, WikiProject Hampshire, and WikiProject Video Games on the English Wikipedia. Based on the outcome of these polls, we hope to deploy Flow to those pages in January.

The Growth team spent time working on product development and research for upcoming Wikipedia article creation improvements. First and foremost, the team fulfilled a request from the English Wikipedia community to launch the new Draft namespace there (see also the general “Highlights” section). Pau Giner and others on the team simultaneously began design work on future improvements to drafts functionality, including recruiting for usability testing sessions.

Presentation slides from the mobile apps team


During the last month, the Wikipedia Zero team continued to make it easier to configure partnerships with telecommunications carriers that offer access to Wikipedia at no data cost to their mobile subscribers. They also implemented a global landing page redirector for mobile Wikipedia website access. Last, the team started working on an HTML5 webapp proof of concept as an option for rebooting the Firefox OS app.

The Mobile web projects team has been working on finishing the redesign of the overlays and mobile on-boarding. The “Keep going” feature has been changed to a workflow that asks users to add blue links and includes a tutorial. This is consistent with what we’ve learned about how guiding users helps accomplish more edits, and it fits into more of micro contributory workflow that we want to experiment with. We’ve also worked on an A/B test displaying an edit guider for users signing up from the left nav menu. This is mirroring the edit guider that displays for users signing up through the edit call to action. It also is consistent with the behavior that the desktop site will be displaying to users as a result of the OB6 A/B test.

The mobile apps team added saved pages, article navigation, and language support to the mobile Wikipedia app. During the quarterly planning meeting, it was decided to postpone photo uploads from our market release plan in favor of text editing.


Department Highlights

We completed the Big EN fundraising campaign for the 2013-2014 FY.

Major Gifts and Foundations

  • We received a $1 million grant from Brin Wojcicki Foundation.
  • We raised over $1.5 million in mid-sized gifts from family foundations, donor advised funds, and large individual donations.

Annual Fundraiser

  • The fundraising team ran the year-end online campaign in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Roughly $18.7 million USD was raised from more than one million donors in December (preliminary numbers as donations are still settling). Year-to-date, approximately $32 million has been raised from online fundraising banners. The campaign ran full blast for two weeks. In that time, the team created and tested approximately 250 different banners and sent 2.6 million emails to donors from previous years asking them to give again. The team responded to 15,000 reader emails during the month of December. A full report will be posted publicly in 2014, and we will continue to update the Fundraising page on Meta-Wiki. Banners will be run in other countries and languages throughout 2014.


Department highlights

(See also the general “Highlights” section)

  • The WMF Board of Trustees approved the recommendation of the Funds Dissemination Committee for 2013-2014 Round 1, awarding 11 annual plan grants to the 11 entities applying in this round. The overall request was for $5.94M, and the final approval was for $4.4M, affirming the FDC’s guidance to Wikimedia organizations to be thoughtful about growth.
  • At the end of the second quarter of FY2013-14, ~$6.2M has been distributed in grants spent, 25% to groups or individuals in the global south. Overall, 4% of the total spend has gone directly to individuals, and <1% has gone towards work related to redressing the gender gap. See Grants Quarterly Metrics for breakdown by grants program.
  • Conducted overview analysis of the Travel & Participation Support program. We are excited by the diversity of the program, and launching a discussion to discuss future scope of work.

Presentation slides

Annual Plan Grants (Funds Dissemination Committee)

Project and Event Grants

  • 3 grants were approved and 2 grant reports were accepted in December 2013.

Grants awarded in December 2013

Reports accepted in December 2013

Travel & Participation Support

  • A Scope of Work document is underway, for a phase 1 redesign of Travel and Participation Support program pages. Simplicity, accessibility, and publicity will be key goals of this phase. Complete plans for the redesign and accompanying process changes will begin in January 2014.
  • 3 grants were approved and 2 grant reports were accepted in December 2013.

Requests awarded in December 2013

Reports accepted in December 2013

Individual Engagement Grants

Siko Bouterse presenting about IEG (slides)

Round 2 grantees have been announced. 7 projects were recommended by the IEG committee and approved for funding by WMF, representing a broad range of projects focusing on activities from outreach to tool-building, all aimed at connecting and supporting community. Grantees are trying out new ways of engaging with women and young Wikipedians, fostering participation in Africa, and supporting cartographers, researchers and developers to better engage with projects like Commons, Wikidata, and Wikipedia.

The selected projects for 2013 round 2 are:

  • Wikimaps Atlas, led by Arun Ganesh and Hugo Lopez, funded at $12,500. Hugo and Arun will be building a system to automate the creation of maps in standardized cartographic style using the latest open geographic data. With new workflows and scripts, they aim to make it easier for Wikimedia’s cartographers to generate and update maps for use in Commons, Wikipedia, and beyond.
  • Mbazzi Village writes Wikipedia, led by Paul Kikuba with collaboration from Dan Frendin, funded at $2880. This project is a collaboration between Mbazzi villagers, Wikimedia Sweden, and the Wikimedia Foundation to build a Wikipedia center in Uganda where volunteers can to contribute to Luganda Wikipedia, particularly focusing on articles related to sustainable development.
  • What is about – C’est quoi. A series of communication tools about Wikipedia in Cameroon, led by Marilyn Douala Bell and Iolanda Pensa with collaboration from Michael Epacka, funded at €15,000. The team in Douala, Cameroon will engage local artists to create comics, video, and other materials to raise awareness about Wikipedia and free knowledge.
  • Visual editor gadgets compatibility, led by Eran Roz and Ravid Ziv, funded at $4500. The team aims to map, organize, and surface lists of gadgets used in different language versions of Wikipedia to improve sharing of gadgets across language communities. They’ll also be piloting and documenting an approach for adapting the most-used gadgets for Visual Editor compatibility.
  • Wikidata Toolkit, led by Markus Krötzsch with collaboration from students and researchers at Dresden University of Technology, funded at $30,000. Markus’ team will develop a demonstrator toolkit for loading, querying, and analysing data from Wikidata. The project experiments with ways to give developers, researchers, and Wikimedians easier access to use Wikidata in applications, research, and other projects.
  • Women Scientists Workshop Development, led by Emily Temple-Wood, funded at $9480. Emily is piloting a model of regular, incentivized editing workshops aimed at college-aged women to encourage them to become regular contributors to Wikimedia projects and combat systemic bias with quality content. If the approach is successful, she’ll use lessons learned in order to develop a scalable kit for other groups to use.
  • Generation Wikipedia, led by Emily Temple-Wood and Jake Orlowitz, funded at $20,000 (provisional approval only, until legal dependencies can be satisfied). This project would pilot a week-long summer conference for young Wikipedians and Wikimedians from around the globe to connect, share skills and build leadership and community capacity among our newest generation of editors.

The 10 grantees from Cameroon, Uganda, India, Israel, France, Italy, Germany and the United States will begin their projects in the new year; most will run from January through June 2014. Progress and learning will be shared regularly on their meta-wiki pages.

Complete feedback from the IEG committee and round 2 proposers will be gathered in January 2014, to help us continue to improve the process for everyone. An early learning from round 2 is that we did not have as many proposals as we’d have liked to review, and as such we were not able to scale up the number of grants made beyond the pilot round. For the next round, we intend to try some new ways to publicize the program, and will shorten/simplify the review schedule to avoid losing proposers along the way.

Reports accepted in December 2013

Grantmaking Learning and Evaluation

  • First Employee Study: conducted a light analysis of trends in hiring of first employees by our chapters and thematic organizations. See the full results on Meta-wiki. We found that chapters tend to hire once the administrative work of the group becomes too much to be handled by volunteers or the board, and the first position is either an executive director or an office manager as their first employee. Regardless of job title, all jobs seemed to contain a significant amount of administrative work. Interestingly, we also saw that chapters are hiring sooner following recognition of AffCom than they have in the past.
  • Survey learning resource: Created a survey learning resource for grantees and other community members: Qualtrics. We had two IEGrantees who took advantage of the resource, and one chapter is now experimenting as well.
Usefulness for grantees …

I really enjoyed the fact that the WMF helped us with the Qualtrics software. And it struck me as a very good way to help the wider community: provide software and tools for evaluation, surveys, analytics, whatever.

Aubrey – Individual Engagement Grant grantee, Final Report
  • Overall studies by grant program: Created centralized space for all evaluations by grants program
  • Scholarship scoring system: Worked with the engineering team to develop a tool to rate applications for Wikimania scholarships (which open in January!). Thanks to everyone involved in making that happen! This is very necessary for managing the ~1200 applications that come in and are scored by a global committee.
  • Travel and Participation Support Program: finalized overview study of TPS; see: Grants:TPS/Support/Analysis. We found that 77% of these grantees are new to the grantmaking program, 49% are from the global south, and 30% are women. We are very excited about the diversity of the program and positive feedback of participants, and thankful for the great ideas that emerged from this study. We are looking forward to ongoing discussions around the scope of this program!

Results from the First Employee Study

49% of Travel and Participation Support grantees are from the Global South


Department highlights

Wikipedia Zero

  • Launched Wikipedia Zero in Bangladesh with Grameenphone, resulting in a 50% increase in mobile page views in the country in December. That brings us up to 24 launched operator partners in 22 countries. Our total free page views in December were over 47 million (note: we are missing some operator reporting in Analytics queue).
  • Airtel Kenya Wikipedia via Text pilot in progress, with over 40K unique users so far.
  • Ingrid Flores joined WMF as Partner Manager for Wikipedia Zero. Ingrid brings a wealth of experience in mobile business development and marketing from 12 countries across 4 continents. She is in charge of expanding Wikipedia Zero and increasing usage in Latin America and Asia.
  • Carolynne Schloeder, Director of Mobile Programs, and Taweetham Lim, a Thai Wikimedian, joined our Thai partner dtac for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) day. dtac is equipping computer labs and providing free internet access to schools in rural Thailand. They are promoting Wikipedia to students as part of the CSR program. This is a great model we would like to expand to other partners in conjunction with our local communities.
  • Carolynne spoke at Telenor’s Youth Summit in Oslo. Telenor selected social entrepreneurs from each of their markets for a leadership program in connection with the Nobel Peace Program. The participants had lots of ideas for Wikipedia growth in their home markets, which we are exploring. While in Europe, Carolynne also met with our partner Orange, and joined the Brussels community for a meet-up (thank you Brussels Wikimedians!).
  • Carolynne also presented Wikipedia Zero via Google hangout at an event in Yemen organized by Rashad Al-Khmisy, a local Wikipedian. Judging by the Q&A session, there is interest for the program in Yemen.
  • The dev team implemented a global landing page redirector for mobile Wikipedia website access, added support for staged configuration submittals, enhanced interstitials based on input from the field from Wikipedia Zero markets, amended compression proxies support and added general bug fixes.

Wikipedia Education Program

Global programs

At the mid-point in the fiscal year, December was a time of reflection and evaluation with a focus on strategy and next steps.

  • The Wikipedia Education Program team had a two-day strategy summit to evaluate our overall educational program and Arab World goals and activities.
  • We continued interviewing candidates for the Global Education Program Manager position.
  • Developer Andrew Russell Green and Communications Contractor Sage Ross, in collaboration with the Growth team, began planning for a more flexible suite of software to replace the current Education Program MediaWiki extension.
  • In the English Wikipedia training for students, we added a trial interactive section using GuidedTours to test its usability and potential.

Arab World Program

  • Tighe Flanagan, the Arab World Education Program Manager, took part in the Arabic Web Days Conference organized in Sana’a, Yemen via Google Hangout to talk about the education program in the region. Carolynne Schloeder, Director of Mobile Programs, also took part in via Google Hangout to talk about Wikipedia Zero.
  • The education extension was enabled on the Arabic Wikipedia. Since the current semester is winding down, it will be used for the start of the spring semester in February.


Program Evaluation and Design

The Program Evaluation and Design had a busy month, releasing a new evaluation report, participating in the GLAMout hangout, traveling, and starting our call for surveys with the community.

  • At the beginning of December, we launched our second Program Evaluation report about Editing Workshops. Findings from this ongoing evaluation include poor retention and recruitment successes, but a lot of room for experimenting with workshop program design. Community discussion has been taking place on the talk page, and we encourage your participation.
  • Our Program Evaluation Community Coordinator Sarah Stierch participated in the December GLAMout. GLAMout brings together GLAM professionals and Wikimedia community volunteers active in GLAM, to discuss the latest GLAM-Wiki news and projects. Stierch discussed the Program Evaluation and Design teams evaluations about edit-a-thons and workshops, and how the GLAM-Wiki community can partner with our team to evaluate and develop program design.
    • An outcome of the GLAMout is a new pilot project with Wikimedia DC, who will be working with our team to develop evaluation and design techniques, including survey design, in their upcoming 2014 strategic plan.
    • View the video here.
    • Programs Director Frank Schulenburg visited Wikimedia UK and Wikimedia Switzerland offices alongside representatives from Grantmaking. The goal of Schulenburg’s visit was to answer questions about evaluation and help these two chapters further examine their evaluation goals and programmatic activities.
  • Our interns, Edward Galvez and Yuan Li, have been busy developing methodology research about the value of inputs for Wikimedia programs. This includes extensive research into the dollar value of volunteer work (to implement a program, not make edits), the value of volunteering gained from not contributing to employee benefits, and into the standardization of purchase power of Wikimedia grants across countries. This research work will impact our look at returns on investment, and the value of the work that Wikimedia volunteers put into program implementation. This report will soon be moved to meta, and used for future evaluative work. We’re excited about this research: as far as we know it’s the first of its kind in the Wikimedia movement.
  • We put out a call for surveys to the community (“Have you created or collected surveys for your program implementations?“). This ongoing collection asks that Wikimedians who have developed surveys related to programs send them to our team so we can get a good idea of what and who the community is surveying. This allows us to see how we can support the community, survey-wise. We have been receiving surveys via wiki and email, and so far have collected 21 surveys from 14 chapters, organizations, and individuals. We are providing feedback to program leaders about their surveys, when requested, and will continue to collect surveys as we move into the survey support phase.
  • The team continues to evaluate other programs, with pending evaluation releases about: WIki Loves Monuments, other photo upload initiatives, GLAM content donations, and the Wikipedia Education Program, to be released in January and February.

HR presentation slides

Human Resources

Conducted Executive Director and Chief Communications Officer interviews, hosted the annual holiday gathering’ in coordination with the Administration department, completed benefits open enrollment for United States employees, year-end payroll for US employees was wrapped up, employee engagement survey results are in, though they need to be analyzed and published. Supported the Community Advocacy side of LCA with an FBI training session, and the upcoming employee handbook underwent another round of legal review. Ongoing heavy work in immigration, contractor renewals, hires, and recruiting continued, rolling into 2014.

Staff Changes

New Requisitions Filled
  • Ingrid Flores, Partner Manager (Programs)
  • Jeff “Gage” Gerard, Operations Engineer (Engineering)
  • Nuria Ruiz, Data Engineer (Engineering)
  • Sherah Smith, Software Engineer (Engineering)
  • Moiz Syed, UI Designer (Engineering)
  • David Chan, Software Engineer (Engineering)
  • Marc Ordinas, Software Engineer (Engineering)
New Volunteer
  • Janet Go (Engineering)
New Contractors
  • Manprit Brar (Legal)
  • Ryan Lane (Engineering)
Contracts Extended
  • Antonella Amatulli (Fundraiser)
  • Michael Beattie (Fundraising)
  • KaMan Bhattacharya (Fundraiser)
  • Emily Blanchard (Human Resources)
  • Patrick Earley (Engineering)
  • Andrew Garrett (Engineering)
  • Sandra Hust (Fundraiser)
  • Bryony Jones (Fundraiser)
  • Erica Litrenta (Engineering)
  • Sahar Massachi (Fundraising)
  • Heather McAndrew (Human Resources)
  • Kartik Mistry (Engineering)
  • Keegan Peterzell (Engineering)
  • Kristie Robinson (Fundraiser)
  • Sage Ross (Programs)
  • Sherry Snyder (Engineering)
  • Moriel Schottlender (Engineering)
Contracts Ended
  • Alice DeBois-Froge
  • Joey Hess
  • Stefan Petrea
  • Yuko Sakata
New Postings
  • VP of Engineering
  • Software Engineer- Growth (Features)
  • Software Engineer- VisualEditor (Features)
  • Software Engineer- Languages (Internationalization)
  • Software Engineer (Mobile)
  • QA Automation Engineer (Platform)
  • Software Engineer Data Analytics (Analytics)
  • Full-Stack Developer (Analytics)
  • Operations Security Engineer (Technical Operations)
  • Governance Administrator (Grantmaking)
  • Senior Recruiting Manager (Human Resources)
  • Sr. Operations Engineer (Tech-Ops)
  • Operations Engineer (Tech-Ops)


Total Requisitions Filled
December Actual: 161
December Total Plan: 182
December Filled: 7, Month Attrition: 0
YTD Filled: 29, YTD Attrition: 13
Remaining Open positions to fiscal year end

Department Updates

Real-time feed for HR updates

http://identi.ca/wikimediaatwork or http://twitter.com/wikimediaatwork

Finance and Administration

  • Continuing work on the new design of the sixth floor space. The goal is to optimize the space for both capacity and functionality.
  • With the Grantmaking team, KPMG completed the site work for our grantmaking evaluation. The purpose of the voluntary evaluation is be able to report to the Audit Committee on the status of the WMF grantmaking program from a compliance, controls and best practices perspective. The final report will be presented to the Audit Committee at one of its meetings by KPMG.
  • Working on completing the insurance renewal process. The goal of this renewal cycle is to continue to improve coverage on an incremental basis.
  • For the month of November our investment fund had a market value of $12.8 million. It had an estimated annual return of 3.2% and estimated annual income of $413,863.

Legal, Community Advocacy, and Communications Department

LCA Report, December 2013

  • December has been a busy month highlighted by the public release of the WMF Board’s updated governance handbook, a document prepared through extensive collaboration between the Board of Trustees, the Board Governance Commitee, and the legal team. The handbook incorporates many broadly applicable governance best practices and is publicly available under the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 3.0 license in order to further the Foundation’s commitment to transparency and to serve as a useful resource for the community generally and for other like-minded organizations.
  • December also saw the legal team continue to engage with community consultations on the new draft Privacy Policy and Access to Nonpublic Data Policy. The Privacy and Access to Nonpublic Data Policies discussions have grown to more than 150,000 words – not yet ready for the List of Longest Novels but getting there! Some of the privacy discussion also expanded beyond the Meta talk pages, with the legal team responding on the Foundation blog to an appeal from the German Wikipedian community about data protection.
  • We also continued to deeply engage with the public consultation on the Trademark Policy, which is nearing 50,000 words. In addition, based on a 75 day community consultation on Meta, concluded on December 8th, the legal team recommended to the Board that the Foundation withdraw trademark registration and protection for the Community logo.
  • Feedback has been invaluable in improving both Trademark and Privacy Policies, and so we encourage additional comments before end of the consultation period (January 15th for the Privacy Policy and January 18th for the Trademark Policy).
  • Following a call for input from the European Commission on modernizing European copyright laws to allow greater access to online content, we launched a project to draft a response on Meta. We invite interested community members to collaborate in drafting a response to the Commission’s questionnaire before January 27th. European chapters, led by Dimitar Dimitrov, will also be drafting and submitting a response.

Contract Metrics

  • Submitted : 30
  • Completed : 23

Trademark Metrics

  • Submitted : 10
  • Pending : 7
  • Denied : 2
  • Approval not needed : 1

Domains Obtained

popwikipedia.com, wikibooks.pt, wikidata.pt, wikimedia.com.pt, wikinews.pt, wikiquote.pt, wikisource.pt, wikiversity.pt, wiktionary.pt

Coming & Going

  • We are sad to say farewell to Elaine Wallace, who has been advising the Foundation on a pro-bono basis since April 2013. She will become the general counsel of Benetech, a technology non-profit, so we look forward to continuing to work with her.

Other Activities

  • Community Advocates came together in the office in San Francisco with most of the community liaison team from Product to talk about ongoing and upcoming major product deployments and community engagement.
  • Community Advocacy took part in training related to its work with the emergency email system.

Communications Report, December 2013

December was a relatively quiet month for Communications. The annual fundraising campaign kicked off, accompanied by steady social media and light media/blog traffic through the month. The team was pleased to share the news about WMF ED Sue Gardner’s receipt of the first ever Knight Foundation Innovation Award. A slew of end-of-year media and blog posts around the world covered a range of Wikipedia topics, including most controversial and most-read articles, as well as a round of new ‘listicle’ style posts.

Major announcements

Wikimedia Foundation launches tenth-annual online fundraising campaign (3 December 2013)

The online fundraising campaign aims to raise $20 million, while the remainder of the Wikimedia Foundation’s funding will come from individual gifts given outside the year-end campaign, and from foundation grants.

Major Storylines through December

WMF launches its annual fundraiser (throughout December)

Coverage of this year’s annual fundraiser (largely positive) ran the gamut – from encouragement to donate, lists including WMF as a cause of choice, and praise for Sue Gardner’s donation Thank You letter.

Venture Beat [1]
Digital Nirvana (on Sue’s letter) [2]
Engadget [3]
Network World [4]
Researchers list most significant historical figures, thanks to Wikipedia (10 December 2013)

Author/researchers Skiena and Ward made headlines after publicizing their new book “Who is Bigger?” [5] which lists the most significant figures in history, and leans largely on Wikipedia as a source. With Jesus Christ as the leading figure, mostly favorable coverage spread widely via Christian bloggers and media outlets.

Daily Mail [6]
PS Mag [7]
Christianity Today [8]
Draft feature makes for a gentler start for new Wikipedians (20 December 2013)

A blog post by Pau Giner and Steven Walling outlining a new draft article writing feature for Wikipedia received significant and positive coverage in late December. Coverage highlighted that new users should benefit by building better, new articles that are less likely to be rapidly deleted.

WMF blog post [9]
Wired UK [10]
Engadget [11]
IB Times [12]
TheNextWeb [13]
Vandalism on EN Wikipedia makes news (27 December 2013)

Some briefly visible template vandalism on English Wikipedia caused a flurry of social media and mainstream media coverage speculating that Wikipedia may have begun to offer sponsored content. The vandalism featured a racially charged message about the U.S. president, but was likely visible for less than 30 minutes.

Canada.com [14]
The Atlantic [15]
Wikimedia’s Erik Zachte profiled in Wired magazine (27 December 2013)

The December issue of Wired Magazine features Wikimedia’s own stats guru Erik Zachte in its pages. The lengthy profile discusses Erik’s history with the projects and his motivations and tactics for crunching the Wikimedia project’s numbers.

Wired magazine [16]
WMF’s Sue Gardner receives Knight Foundation Innovation Award (16 December 2013)

Sue Gardner received the first-ever Knight Foundation Innovation Award at a ceremony hosted by CUNY in New York in December. As part of the award, Sue named open government platform startup MuckRock the recipient of a $25,000 grant.

Poynter [17]
Knight Foundation [18]
WMF Blog announcement: Sue Gardner to receive first Knight Innovation Award

Other worthwhile reads

Wikipedia’s Secret Multilingual Workforce
MIT Technology Review [19]
Royal Society appoints a Wikipedian-in-Residence
BoingBoing [20]
Wikipedia to debut at Kolkata Book Fair
Times of India [21]
Israeli Wiki hackers help out ‘the family’ at Hackathon
Times of Israel [22]

WMF Blog posts

Blog.wikimedia.org published 25 posts in December 2013. Seven posts were multilingual, including versions in German, Spanish, Swedish, Chinese, Arabic, and Polish.

Some highlights from the blog:

In legal victory, German court rules Wikimedia Foundation need not proactively check for illegal or inaccurate content (December 2, 2013)
Using social media to engage Wikipedia readers and editors in China (December 4, 2013)
The Winner of Wiki Loves Monuments 2013 Is… (December 10, 2013)

Media Contact

Media contact through December 2013: wmf:Press room/Media Contact#December 2013

Wikipedia Signpost

For lots of detailed coverage and news summaries, see the community-edited newsletter “Wikipedia Signpost” for December 2013:

Visitors and Guests

Visitors and guests to the WMF office in December 2013:

  1. Roselyn Lima (PRN)
  2. Ben Knight (Loomio)
  3. Vivian Maidaborn (Loomio)
  4. Tommy Schroder
  5. Roselyn Lima (PRN)
  6. Brian Noguchi (Lever)
  7. Ana Akhtar (KPMG)
  8. Caitlin Durling (KPMG)
  9. Kathy Reich (Packard Foundation)
  10. Taylor Keep (Vital)
  11. Fangjin Yang (Metamarkets)
  12. Deep Ganguli (Metamarkets)
  13. Cindy Hawley (Gallagher)
  14. David Peters (Exbrook)
  15. Dwight Wilson (Collabriv)
  16. Pam Dannenberg (EK Health)
  17. Bryan Hurren (Facebook/Internet.org)

by Tilman Bayer at March 01, 2014 07:49 AM

February 28, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Call for Individual Engagement Grant proposals: community experiments wanted

IEG barnstar

Do you have an idea for a project that could improve Wikipedia or another Wikimedia community?

The Wikimedia Foundation and the Individual Engagement Grants Committee are seeking proposals for community-led experiments to have online impact in the Wikimedia movement. Individual Engagement Grants support individuals and small teams of Wikimedians to lead projects for 6 months. You can get funding to turn your idea into action with a grant for online community organizing, outreach and partnerships, tool-building, or research. Proposals are due by 31 March 2014.

Past grantees have been testing new ways to encourage women to edit Wikipedia, improve workflows for Wikimedia’s cartographers, raise awareness of Wikipedia in China and Africa, coordinate a global Wikisource strategy, increase free access to reliable sources for Wikipedians, and more. Proposals for up to $30,000 are considered; most grantees are awarded between $300 and $15,000 to support a wide range of activities and expenses, including project management, consultants, materials, and travel.

Grantees say that participating in the program has helped them build confidence and expertise in experimental setup and execution of community projects. As a grantee from the first round put it, “IEG gave me the opportunity to work in a more professional way on projects I really like, and in the end it gave me more expertise and experience and hope that issues can be solved. It offered solutions, and it taught me that solutions can be built, if you work on them.”

What’s new for 2014

The Individual Engagement Grants program is now available in more languages thanks to the efforts of volunteer translators! To celebrate this broader global reach, and in honor of WikiWomen’s history month, we hope you’ll share even more ideas for projects aimed at increasing diversity in the movement.

Ideas for all new projects are always welcome in the IdeaLab, and throughout the month of March, we’ll be hosting proposal clinic Hangouts to help you turn your idea into a grant proposal in real time. Please stop by to say hello, ask a question, or share some advice during these IdeaLab Hangout hours. We look forward to seeing your proposal by March 31st.

Siko Bouterse, Head of Individual Engagement Grants

by Siko Bouterse at February 28, 2014 06:59 PM

Hindsights from a volunteer-run Wikimedia workshop

Participants of the second half of the workshop

Jeph Paul and I (Netha Hussain) conducted a workshop on Wikimedia projects for students at Startup Village, a non-profit business incubator based in Kochi, Kerala, India. The workshop event page can be viewed here.

It was scheduled from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on January 18th. We were told that the participants would mostly be undergraduate students of engineering. So, we planned on talking about the Mediawiki API in the second half of the session. Sandboxes with wikipedia articles were created to demonstrate the editing of the articles. The sandboxes were used by the participants to get familiar with the wiki markup. Prior to the event, a post was created on Startup Village’s blog to introduce the participants to editing.

The event started half an hour later than planned, as most of the participants took longer to make it to the venue. We had slow internet connectivity which affected the pace of the workshop. We found it difficult to demonstrate the examples. The biggest challenge was not a technical one, but connecting with the audience. The content was tailored for an audience with a background in programming. However, the audience turned out to be diverse and largely non technical. Most of the participants did not have a mobile device, so the hands-on session was not as fruitful as was we wanted it to be. We ended up lecturing more and demonstrating less. The workshop was divided into two halves. The first half was an introduction to Wikipedia and the wiki markup. The second half was about using the Mediawiki API with javascript. After the first half, half of the audience left. Though the participants were asked to sign up on the event page, only a few of them did so. Their contact details could not be gathered, making it difficult to track their contributions. We were not prepared to introduce the participants to the opt-in forms of Wikimetrics, the tool used to quantitatively assess the impact of outreach events. So, evaluation was out of the question.

On the brighter side, there were many interesting and engaging queries from few of the participants who had already edited articles on Wikipedia. It was nice to discover that some of the participants wanted to connect with the local Wikimedia community. Some of the participants and the organizers wrote to thank us for conducting the workshop. The event was a success in that it introduced the audience to various ways of getting involved with the Wikimedia movement, thereby changing the perception that the only way to get involved is by writing articles online.

One of the best lessons we learned from the event was that it is very important to know the audience well in advance and to structure the workshop accordingly. The participants seemed to prefer the visual editor over editing the wiki markup.

The workshop was a good learning experience for us. Shortcomings were identified, which is the first step to constructing a better program. Startup Village has invited us to conduct similar workshops in future.

Netha Hussain, Wikimedian

Jeph Paul Alapat, Wikimedian

by Netha Hussain at February 28, 2014 02:13 AM

February 26, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

Journey across Pakistan – Saqib Qayyum

Lulusar-Dudipatsar National Park in Khyber Pakhtunkwa is encircled throughout the year by snow clad peaks

Saqib Qayyum intends to forever alter Pakistan’s tourism reputation via Wikivoyage.

Pakistan is not exactly a leading tourist destination, but for Saqib Qayyum, a young active contributor to one of Wikimedia’s youngest projects – Wikivoyage – it has the potential to be just that.

“Pakistan is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It has an extensive history, rich culture, unique heritage, incredibly diverse landscapes and breathtaking natural beauty,” he says. “But, Pakistan’s image has severely deteriorated over the past few years due to instability in the country and many countries declaring Pakistan as unsafe and dangerous to visit. Foreign tourists stopped visiting and even local people are afraid to travel around the country for recreation and leisure while some simply prefer to spend holidays outside Pakistan.” While abroad in Germany, Greece and Austria, Saqib met fellow European travel enthusiasts. “I’ve been told by fellow travellers that their priority is to explore and see their own country first, and then go anywhere else because they want to invest their money in their own country instead of spending their money abroad and they want to understand who they are and where they come from before going to learn about others.” This perplexed and disheartened Saqib.

“That’s not fair and it really hurts me. Pakistan is home to beautiful, hospitable, generous and peace-loving people, and is a land of spectacular and stunning places, but it lacks good branding. The country deserves to be explored, even by its own people at the very least.” This inspired Saqib to begin something astounding.

In mid-February, Saqib set off on what he calls a “journey consisting of a chain of journeys” to canvas, photograph, and upload the entirety of Pakistan to Wikimedia Commons, and Wikivoyage in an effort to alter Pakistan’s dubious image. Already, Saqib has traveled to the Kirthar National Park in southwest Pakistan, and created its article on Wikivoyage, which surely to be the first of many new additions to the online travel guide.

“I strongly believe a travel guide is something that can motivate travellers to travel to Pakistan and I think Wikivoyage can be a very useful and powerful tool and it can play a very positive role in helping promote the tourism in the country. That’s why I decided to show a unbiased and true image of Pakistan through Wikivoyage. Saqib points to other countries that are deemed dangerous and their equally – if not more – tenuous reputations that have better travel coverage than Pakistan. “There hasn’t been an updated travel guide on Pakistan since 2008,” says Saqib about the travel publisher, Lonely Planet. “And even their website that references Pakistani destinations is now incomplete and out of date,” he laments, “they still publish about more dangerous countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, and many African countries.” Therefore, in a culmination of negative press coverage, and lack of current travel information (aside from the all-too-common travel advisory), Pakistan’s image suffers mercilessly.

Saqib is up for a herculean task. “This is going to be the most ambitious and adventurous expedition for me. I’m planning to travel around Pakistan and visit each and every part of it so I can learn about my country and would able to gather detailed and accurate information for our articles. I know this is a huge task and may take a lot of time but sooner or later, I believe I’ll accomplish my mission.”


The modern mausoleum of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah in the mega-city of Karachi is a major attraction

There is also a competitiveness that motivates Saqib. “Similar South Asian countries such as India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran all have good travel coverage by traditional travel guides whereas Pakistan hasn’t, even though the country is as beautiful and important as those other countries in the region are. Pakistan surely deserves the same equal coverage being enjoyed by all those other countries.” “Frankly,” he confesses, “I’m envious of the coverage of all those countries in travel guides; and especially by the coverage of India both in travel guides as well on Wikipedia, but I hope to at least help Pakistan compete on Wikivoyage through improving the coverage of Pakistan.”

Saqib, who divides his time between Dubai and his hometown of Karachi, began editing Wikipedia back in 2007. Two years later in 2009, he began his attempt at establishing a Wikimedia chapter in Pakistan. Initial interest was great, as noted by the first Wikimeetup in Pakistan that got coverage by the local press (even Jimmy Wales weighed in his approval on its project page), but plans were soon stalled by a depreciation in interest, time and resources. However, in 2012, Saqib managed to regroup with his fellow Wikipedians, and created the Wikimedia User Group Pakistan that works on a variety of different projects, including Urdu language Wikipedia.
“The good news is that currently the group’s membership is growing and we have many new subscribers in our mailing list”. He is anxiously awaiting for The ‘Affcom’ – a nickname for ‘the Affiliations Committee, the Wikimedia Community Committee entrusted with advising the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees on the approval of new movement affiliates,’ as its page on Meta-Wiki states – to officially recognize the Pakistan Wikimedia User Group, with eventual hopes for establishing a chapter . This is encouraging for Wikimedians in Pakistan, hoping to become further integrated within the Wikimedia community.

The fascinating archaeological site of Mohenjo-daro presents the best-preserved ruins of the Indus Valley Civilization, one of the world’s earliest.

To initiate his journey, he started where we all begin – home. “I’ve recently contributed significantly to the Karachi article on Wikivoyage,” which, he notes, is now one of two Pakistani “Guide Status” articles and is a featured article candidate as well, the other being on the ancient ruins of the 5,000-year-old city of Mohenjo-daro (Mohenjo-daro recently made the feature article of Wikivoyage as well). On Wikivoyage, “Guide Status” is analogous to the “Good Article” rating on Wikipedia. Saqib wants this ranking to be abundant on Wikivoyage on articles about Pakistan. “I hope I’ll be able to fill each and every Wikivoyage article about Pakistan with a plethora of useful information, and make them ‘Guide’ status”.
The initiative to document his country will lead him to places even he has never been such as precarious rugged mountainous Balochistan and war-torn dangerous Federally Administered Tribal Areas near Afghanistan. “Pakistan is really a huge country,” he asserts, “I intend to first cover the region of Sindh, which alone is 600km north to south and 450 km from east to west; I’ll visit a few cities and then come back to Karachi, and then again travel to few more places and come back home. This way, Sindh shall be covered in few trips.” Also, Saqib intends to head into the 8,000 metered high snow-clad peaks of Gilgit-Balistan, which is a tourist hotspot for adventurers and is sometimes dubbed as “Heaven on Earth” for its picturesque and breathtaking scenery.

A view of the beautiful Shangrila Lake, a popular tourist resort in northern Pakistan

Of course, despite picturesque surroundings, safety is never to be overlooked while traveling in Pakistan. “I’m very much concerned about the safety,” he confesses. “I’m living in what many people consider a ‘dangerous’ country, but when I went to places like Sri Lanka, which is also considered dangerous from the Western point of view, I found it quite safe. However, countries – both western and non-western – can be unsafe and dangerous for travel and I’m sure Pakistan is not as dangerous as its being depicted by media except few parts of the country. I’m still willing to take this task and do the journey for the sake of accomplishing my mission. I believe nothing can be ever achieved without enthusiasm and dedication.”

Saqib disapproves of Pakistan’s current reputation for safety and security. “Travel advisory sites will say not to travel to a country because they consolidate the relative safety of all regions into one sum class: safe and unsafe”. But Wikivoyage approaches this differently with a “Stay Safe” section that states the safety concerns of each region. Saqib intends to personally edit these sections, showing that these places may actually be safe for tourists, dispelling popular perception of imminent peril.


K2, second highest peak on earth in Gilgit-Baltistan is one of the five “eight-thousanders” in Pakistan

Although Saqib will be traveling alone, he won’t be for the duration of his photographic odyssey. “I’ll be joined by my friends living in some of those areas I travel, well-wishers, and -of course- fellow Wikimedians. I have plans to arrange Wikimedia meet-ups in some of the biggest cities in Pakistan”. His journey has even warranted boarding from the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, permitting him to stay at accommodations across the country- free of charge. And as for transportation, Saqib answers:

“Because most travelers to any country rely on public transportation, so too will I need to rely on public transportation to gain actual knowledge on the quality and network of public transit across the country,” effectively opting out from using his own vehicle to sojourn with. “I want to answer questions like ‘How can I get from one place to another – by bus, by train, or auto-rickshaw?”.

These are some of the questions he intends to answer for future tourists to Pakistan. Tourists, he hopes, make Pakistan their next travel destination very soon.

Michael Guss, Communications Volunteer

by Michael Guss at February 26, 2014 09:32 PM

February 25, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Wikimedia Česká republika se stěhuje do nové kanceláře

Kancelář "předtím"
...a potom

Kancelář "předtím" (autor: Juandev, CC BY SA 3.0) ... a potom (autor: Michal Reiter, CC BY SA 3.0)

Spolek Wikimedia Česká republika sdružuje dobrovolníky, kteří usilují o propagaci a zlepšování české Wikipedie a dalších českojazyčných projektů nadace Wikimedia Foundation. Je také oficiální pobočkou této nadace na území ČR. Ačkoliv je řízen na téměř čistě dobrovolnickém principu,  potřebuje mít kvalitní zázemí jako každá podobná organizace. Takové zázemí jsme nyní nově našli v Konopišťské ulici na Praze 10.

Nové prostory na Praze 10

V předchozích letech spolek sídlil v prostorech Klubu deskových her Paluba v Praze-Smíchově, kde jsme byli vždy vítáni, ale čelili jsme organizačním problémům a nedostatku místa pro předměty v majetku sdružení – knihy, letáky, různé propagační předměty a technické vybavení.  Nabídka Prahy 10, abychom se ucházeli o kancelářské prostory v majetku městské části, proto pro sdružení byla darem z nebes. Poděkování patří zejména zastupitelům městské části Praha 10, kteří s podáním žádosti pomáhali. Smlouva s Úřadem městské části Prahy 10 byla schválena v listopadu 2013.

Kancelář byla zprovozněna ve stylu „Wiki“

Ani po podpisu žádosti práce neskončila, spíše naopak. Nadace Wikimedia Foundation schválila naši žádost o grant Communities, který poskytl finanční prostředky pro rekonstrukci, vybavení a každodenní provoz kanceláře. Samotná práce však zůstala z velké části na dobrovolnících – pražských členech naší pobočky, kteří tak pod dozorem našeho předsedy Michala Reitera na čas vyměnili své laptopy za zednické špachtle a malířské válečky. Ukázalo se tak, že nejen encyklopedické články, ale i celé kanceláře, můžou být úspěšně vybudovány krok po kroku množstvím editorů na principu Wiki. Všem proto patří velký dík. Speciální poděkování pak patří stěhovací firmě Měřička Moving, která zdarma zajistila profesionální převoz kancelářského nábytku. Ten byl z velké části rovněž sponzorským darem a sešel se z různých koutů Prahy od drobných dárců, ale také z depozitáře České spořitelny, která poskytla stoly a židle do zasedací místnosti.

Kancelář se stane středobodem setkávání českých wikipedistů

V kanceláři se od konce ledna 2014 začnou setkávat nejen radní sdružení Wikimedia, ale i ostatní členové a hosté WM ČR. Kancelář podpoří rozvoj českých wiki-komunit, umožní snadné setkávání a porady v přátelském prostředí.

by Vojtěch Dostál at February 25, 2014 09:44 PM

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A word on Facebook’s Open Academy Hackathon

Students working hard on Open Source projects at the Facebook headquarters during the Open Academy hackaton event.

More than 250 students, faculty and mentors met on February 6—9 for the launch event of the Facebook Open Academy program, allowing students from 25 participating universities worldwide to gain academic credit for participating in Open Source development as part of their computer science curricula. The event organized by Facebook at their Palo Alto headquarters allowed the student teams to meet their mentors from the Open Source development groups and sit down for two-and-a-half days of intensive coding and socialization, providing the students with an immersive introduction to the world of distributed development.

I had the opportunity and privilege to participate in that program as a mentor on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation (alongside colleagues and volunteers leading five Wikimedia-related projects). I returned impressed and invigorated by the energy and dedication of the students. The program is often the first taste of “real world” interaction with a development team that those students will get, and I am glad to note that the experience seemed to be an universally positive one.

For most students, the launch event is just the beginning: their work with the teams they have joined will continue throughout their academic session, and the benefits will last even longer as they make contacts in the Open Source world and gain invaluable experience with the sometimes daunting process of contributing to small and large development efforts.

Events like this are a great way to stimulate the Open Source ecosystem. We look forward to joining Facebook again in their future editions of the Open Academy program.

— Marc-André Pelletier, Operations Enginneer, Wikimedia Foundation

by Marc-André Pelletier at February 25, 2014 09:41 PM

Wikipedian Ihor Kostenko dies on the Maidan

This post is available in 2 languages: Українська 7% • English 100%

The original post was published on the Wikimedia Ukraine blog. The English translation can be found further down this page.


На Майдані загинув вікіпедист Ігор Костенко

Ігор Костенко

20 лютого 2014 року під час протистояння у Києві трагічно загинув Ігор Костенко — активний дописувач української Вікіпедії, журналіст, студент-географ.

Ігор Костенко народився 31 грудня 1991 року у селі Зубрець Бучацького району на Тернопільщині. Після закінчення школи вступив до Львівського університету імені Івана Франка, де навчався на 5-му курсі географічного факультету за спеціальністю «Менеджмент організацій». Паралельно з навчанням працював журналістом видання «Спортаналітика».

Ігор був активним дописувачем української Вікіпедії, писав під ім’ям Ig2000. Ігор зареєструвався 23 липня 2011, і вже того ж місяця почав писати перші статті. За два з половиною роки він написав понад 280 статей, зробив понад 1600 редагувань. Мав широке коло енциклопедичних інтересів — писав статті спортивної тематики (футбол, Формула-1), з географії, економіки, а також про історію українського війська. Його стаття про есмінець «Незаможник» українського та радянського флоту першої половини XX століття  була визнана спільнотою як одна з найповніших та отримала статус «доброї статті». Крім цього, він написав і ряд повідомлень про спортивні події до Вікіновин.

Ігор також активно займався просуванням української Вікіпедії в соціальних мережах, через які намагався залучати нових дописувачів. Адміністрував групу дописувачів Української Вікіпедії у Фейсбуку, де постійно розміщував цікавинки про Вікіпедію. В серпні 2013 року запропонував провести Вікіфлешмоб — запросити в певний святковий день якомога більшу кількість українців написати нові статті до Вікіпедії. Вікіфлешмоб пропонувалося провести 30 січня 2014 року до 10-річчя української Вікіпедії, проте через трагічні події в країні його довелося скасувати. Ігор вірив, що флешмоб допоможе поповнити Вікіпедію тисячами нових статей за день та запропонував стратегію його реалізації, однак до його проведення, на жаль, він не дожив…

18 лютого 2014 року разом з іншими львівськими студентами поїхав до Києва на Євромайдан, бо хотів, щоб Україну будували люди з патріотичним духом. 20 лютого під час протистояння на вулиці Інститутській Ігор трагічно загинув: він хоробро пішов уперед зі щитом, але в нього влучили дві кулі, одна з яких — у голову…

Wikipedia-logo-v2-uk-with black mourning ribbon.png

Учора, 23 лютого, Ігоря поховали на рідній Бучаччині. В останню путь його проводжали тисячі людей — як львівських студентів, так і тернополян.

У пам’ять про Ігоря та десятки інших загиблих на Євромайдані на логотипі Вікіпедії з 21 лютого 2014 було вирішено розмістити жалобну стрічку на знак скорботи.
Редактори української Вікіпедії та ГО «Вікімедіа Україна» висловлюють співчуття рідним та близьким загиблого Ігоря Костенка. У Вікіпедії створено сторінку, де можна залишити свої співчуття.

Вічна пам’ять…

Микола Козленко, Вікімедіа Україна


Ihor Kostenko


February 20, 2014, during the protests in Kiev, Ihor Kostenko – an active contributor to the Ukrainian Wikipedia, journalist and geography student – died tragically.

Ihor Kostenko was born December 31, 1991, in the village of Zubrets in the Buchach region of Ternopil. After graduating from high school, he attended Ivan Franko University in Lviv, where he was in his fifth year of study in the department of geography, majoring in Organizational Management. In addition to his studies, he worked as a journalist for the publication “Sports Analysis.”

Ihor was an active contributor to the Ukrainian Wikipedia, writing under the username Ig2000. Ihor registered an account on July 23, 2011, and in just that first month began writing his first articles. In two and a half years, he wrote over 280 articles and made over 1,600 edits. He had a wide range of encyclopedic interests – he wrote articles on sports topics (soccer, Formula One), geography, economics, and the history of the Ukrainian military. His article on the destroyer Nezamozhnyk of the Ukrainian and Soviet navies in the first half of the 20th century was acknowledged for its quality by the community and achieved the status of “Good article.” Additionally, he contributed many updates on sports events to Wikinews.

Ihor was also active in promoting Ukrainian Wikipedia on social media, through which he sought to gain more contributors. He was an administrator of the Ukrainian Wikipedians Facebook page, where he regularly posted interesting facts from Wikipedia. In August 2013 he proposed hosting a Wiki Flashmob – inviting a large group of Ukrainians to participate in a day of article-writing on Wikipedia. The Wiki Flashmob was planned for January 20, 2014, the 10-year anniversary of Ukrainian Wikipedia, but due to the tragic events in the country, the event was cancelled. Ihor believed that the flashmob would help fill Wikipedia with thousands of new articles in the course of a day and proposed a strategy to realize his dream, but unfortunately, he did not live to see it become a reality.

On February 18, 2014, along with other students from Lviv, Ihor came to Kiev to the Euromaidan, because he wanted Ukraine to be led by people with a patriotic spirit. On February 20th, during a protest on Instytutskaya Street, Ihor died tragically: he bravely went ahead with a shield, but he was shot by two bullets, one of which struck him in the head…

Wikipedia-logo-v2-uk-with black mourning ribbon.png

Yesterday, February 23, Ihor was buried in his home village near Buchach. Thousands of people accompanied him on his final journey – both students from Lviv and residents of Ternopil Oblast.

In honor of Ihor and the tens of others who died on the Euromaidan, on February 21, the community decided to modify the logo of the Ukrainian Wikipedia with a black ribbon as a symbol of mourning.

The editors of Ukrainian Wikipedia and Wikimedia Ukraine offer their condolences to the friends and family of Ihor Kostenko. A page has been created on Wikipedia where you can leave your condolences.

Memory eternal…

In the name of the Ukrainian Wikimedia community:
Mykola Kozlenko, Wikimedia Ukraine

by Mykola Kozlenko at February 25, 2014 12:51 AM

February 23, 2014

* Wikimedia Česká republika *

Nepokoje na Ukrajině si vyžádaly život wikipedisty

Následující článek byl převzat z blogu Wikimedie Ukrajina.

Ihor Kostenko, profilová fotografie z portálu VKontakte

Během kyjevských nepokojů, které byly v předchozích dnech přenášeny médii celého světa, ve čtvrtek, dne 20. února 2014 tragicky zahynul Ihor Kostenko – aktivní přispěvatel ukrajinské Wikipedie, žurnalista a student geografie.

Ihor Kostenko se narodil dne 31. prosince 1991 ve vesnici Zubrec v Bučackém rajónu na Ternopilsku. Po dokončení střední školy studoval na Lvovské univerzitě Ivana Franka, kde navštěvoval obor „Management organizací“ na geografické fakultě. Paralelně k tomu pracoval pro deník „Sportanalitika“.

Ihor byl aktivním přispěvatelem ukrajinské Wikipedie, kde působil pod přezdívkou Ig2000. Ihor se zaregistroval dne 23. května 2011, a okamžitě poté začal psát první články. Za dva a půl roku dokázal napsat nad 280 článků a provést 1600 úprav celkem. Měl široký záběr encyklopedických zájmů – věnoval se článkům se sportovní tématikou (fotbal, Formule 1), zeměpisným tématům, ekonomice, a rovněž dějinám ukrajinského vojenství. Jeho stať o torpédoborci Nezamožnik byla oceněna jako dobrý článek. Kromě toho Ihor sepsal také celou řadu zpráv pro sportovní portál Wikizpráv v ukrajinském jazyce.

Ihor se také aktivně věnoval podpoře ukrajinské Wikipedie na sociálních sítích, díky čemuž získal projekt spoustu nových editorů. Spravoval skupinu přispěvatelů ukrajinské Wikipedie na Facebooku, kterou pravidelně zásoboval aktuálními zajímavosti z projektu. V lednu roku 2013 navrhl iniciovat projekt Wikiflashmob – ve kterém mělo jednoho konkrétního dne dojít k rapidnímu rozšíření Wikipedie o nová témata. Wikiflashmob se měl uskutečnit dne 30. ledna 2014, k výročí 10 let od vzniku ukrajinské Wikipedie. Tragická situace na Ukrajině však znemožnila pořádání této akce. Ihor věřil, že flashmob pomůže Wikipedii doplnit o tisíce nových článků za den a také navrhl strategii jeho realizace. Té se však již nedožil…

Změněné logo ukrajinské Wikipedie na památku obětí policejních útoků

Dne 18. února roku 2014 odcestoval spolu s dalšími lvovskými studenty do Kyjeva na protesty Euromajdanu, neboť se domníval, že Ukrajinu mají řídit lidé nadaní vlasteneckým cítěním. Dne 20. února Ihor zemřel během ozbrojených střetů demonstrantů s bezpečnostními složkami na Instituckoj ulici. Přestože před vystřelenými kulkami chránil štítem, byl nakonec dvakrát zasažen. Jedna z vypálených střel ho zasáhla do hlavy. Tomuto zásahu podlehl.

Následujícího dne, 23. února Ihora pochovali v rodné vsi. Na jeho poslední pouti ho provázeli tisíce lidí – jak lvovští kolegové, studenti, tak i kamarádi z Ternopilu.

Na památku Ihora a dalších desítek obětí demonstrací na Euromajdanu byla na logo Wikipedie v ukrajinském jazyce od 21. února přidána černá stužka.

Editoři ukrajinské Wikipedie a neziskové organizace Wikimedie Ukrajina zaslali kondolenční dopis rodině a blízkým Ihora Kostenka. Na ukrajinské Wikipedii byla zřízena stránka, kde mohou editoři zanechat pro Ihora zprávu.

by Aktron at February 23, 2014 11:53 PM

February 21, 2014

- Wikimedia Foundation - (anglicky)

A Proposal for Wikimedia’s New Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines

Shields, circa 1870

Privacy policies play a vital role in protecting the privacy of users. At the Wikimedia Foundation, our Privacy Policy is particularly important to us, because it is a key way we protect our users and reflect their values. It also has a broad impact, because it protects and governs the information of over twenty million registered users and 490 million monthly unique visitors.

Our current Privacy Policy was approved by the Wikimedia Board of Trustees in October 2008 and has not been updated since. Given the growing concern over privacy, especially on the internet, it is important to have an updated policy which reflects both technological advances and the evolving legal issues surrounding new technology.

So, almost eight months ago, we started a conversation with the Wikimedia community about key privacy issues. Based on that conversation, we crafted a new draft Privacy Policy and introduced it to the community for feedback about five months ago. And, thanks to that feedback, we created and discussed Wikimedia’s first Data Retention Guidelines. Today, we are closing the community consultations on the new draft Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines. [1]

The new proposed Privacy Policy will now be presented to the Wikimedia Board of Trustees for review before its next meeting in April 2014. If approved, it will replace the 2008 Privacy Policy.

We would like to thank the many community members who participated in the discussions. The new proposed Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines would not be what they are today without your help. (You can actually see the changes to the drafts in the Policy’s and Guidelines’ wiki revision histories that happened as a result of your feedback!) We received hundreds of questions, comments, and suggestions. In fact, the discussion on the Privacy Policy, along with the related Data Retention Guidelines and Access to Nonpublic Information Policy (whose consultation is also closing today) totaled approximately 195,000 words, making it longer than the Fellowship of the Ring! Together, we have created a transparent Privacy Policy draft that reflects our community’s values.

We’d like to go over some of the ways that our new proposed Privacy Policy differs from our old Privacy Policy (the “2008 Policy”). One thing that has not changed is our goal of collecting as little information as possible, but we have made a wide variety of improvements to strengthen our commitment to users, including:

  • More detail and transparency. Our old Privacy Policy did not provide a great deal of specific information about what kind of data we collected or how we collected and used it. The new proposed Privacy Policy and Data Retention Guidelines explain these points in detail, so that users have a better understanding about their privacy on Wikimedia Projects.
  • The permitted use of different types of technologies. The 2008 Policy covered IP information and cookies. The new proposed Policy, on the other hand, explains how information is collected from mobile devices, tracking pixels, JavaScript, and “locally stored data” technologies, so that we can improve the Projects.
  • Never selling user data. The 2008 Policy doesn’t mention this. While long-term editors and community members understand that selling data is against our ethos, newcomers have no way of knowing how our Projects are different from most other websites unless we tell them. The new proposed Policy spells out that we would never sell or rent their data or use it to sell them anything.
  • New glossary and FAQ. The new proposed Policy includes a glossary that helps users familiarize themselves with wonky technical terms such as API and metadata. It also includes an FAQ to help users understand details about Wikimedia Sites, our privacy practices, and data collection technologies. For example, the FAQ provides examples of the types of technology we use to collect data, and explains to users how they can limit some of the information that is collected about them.
  • Inclusion of new activities. We started new projects and features (like notifications, surveys, and feedback tools) after the adoption of the old Policy, so unsurprisingly the old Policy doesn’t address them. The new proposed Policy explains how notifications are used and how you can opt out as well as how we may use information collected in surveys.
  • Limited data sharing. The old Policy narrowly states that user passwords and cookies shouldn’t be disclosed except as required by law, but doesn’t specify how other data may be shared. The new proposed Policy expressly lists the limited ways in which all data may shared, including with our essential volunteers. It permits providing non-personal data to researchers who can share their findings with our community so that we can understand the Projects and make them better. We have also added a Subpoena FAQ as a resource for users to learn about subpoenas generally and what they can do in the unlikely event their information is subject to a subpoena.
  • Scope of policy. The 2008 Policy states its scope in general terms, which could be confusing or ambiguous. The new proposed Policy explains in detail when the Policy does and doesn’t apply.
  • New Data Retention Guidelines. While not formally part of the new proposed Privacy Policy, for the first time, we have a formal document, drafted in close consultation with engineering, outlining what our data retention practices are and should be. In creating these Guidelines, we tried to be as thorough as possible in specifying how long particular types of personal information will be kept.

The proposed Privacy Policy and the Data Retention Guidelines are the result of an organization-wide effort — staff from many departments helped us create these documents, and we would like to thank everyone who participated. In particular, we would like to thank Erik Möller and the entire engineering team for their continued support and participation throughout this process.

Michelle Paulson, Legal Counsel

Geoff Brigham, General Counsel


  1. Although we are closing the formal community consultation on the Data Retention Guidelines, we welcome community members to continue the discussion. The Guidelines differ from policies in that they do not require approval from the Board to be implemented and can be continually updated and improved. We intend for these Guidelines to evolve and expand as time goes on.

    * So many people helped us on this project. Special thanks go to Toby Negrin, Luis Villa, Dario Taraborelli, Roshni Patel, Megumi Yukie, James Alexander, and Jorge Vargas, without whom these privacy documents and consultations would not have been possible.

by Michelle Paulson at February 21, 2014 09:46 PM

Wikipedia helps immigrants learn Swedish

Some of the SFI students in Värnamo during their introductory Wikipedia workshop.

To start using the Internet as an adult can be hard. In 2013 Wikimedia Sverige decided to reach out to a very underrepresented group of people – immigrants. In Sweden, research has shown that immigrants learning Swedish as a new language are very interested in learning how to use the internet and incorporating that into their education. However, teachers find it tricky to integrate web participation into the curriculum. We figured (surprise surprise) that multilingual Wikipedia would make a great tool for teachers to use! Both to teach the students basic Swedish language skills and to naturally integrate computer use into their education.

We partnered up with GR Utbildning and managed to find external funding from the Internet Infrastructure Foundation (.SE) for a project aiming at changing the current curriculum, one teacher at the time. (We strongly suggest that you look around for funds available in your country too –  feel free to ask us for pointers). We teamed up with three Swedish for Immigrants (SFI) teachers in two different schools and started teaching them about Wikipedia.

In order to work efficiently on Wikipedia, it’s necessary to know the basics of writing. After a discussion with the teachers, we decided focus on students who possessed academic backgrounds. It turned out these students were still more proficient in reading than writing Swedish. We decided that the most suitable way for them to contribute would be to have them translate from Swedish into their respective native languages.

What we liked most about contributing to other versions of Wikipedia was that immigrants who do not yet speak Swedish or English could  still find relevant information about Sweden in Wikipedia articles in their own language. Strangely enough, there hasn’t been an extensive amount of well updated texts covering Sweden in Swahili, Tagalog Somali – or most languages in the world for that matter. This project, we figured, could help change that! The fact that many people in developing countries (through the awesome work of the Wikipedia Zero project) could access this information without cost, thrilled everybody!

We asked volunteers to support us by guiding the students to the right help pages and provide proofreading assistance. We had a fantastic response and created an international list of mentors on Meta. In the future we will guide teachers to this resource, so please add yourself to the list if you are willing to help out!

Over the course of the project, 23 students were involved in creating 23 articles in 12 different languages. On average, each student contributed 384 words of encyclopedic content.

Thanks to the bold teachers, who were not only brave enough to try this but also had to endure a number of surveys and interviews in an effort to gather input from their experiences. Ultimately we were able to identify what they needed help with the most and what they thought worked the best. This knowledge is the foundation for our current work in finalizing a set of instruction pages and assignments to make it as easy as possible for more teachers to use Wikipedia in their teaching.

John Andersson, Project Manager for Wikimedia Sverige. John.Andersson at wikimedia.se

Sara Mörtsell, Education Manager for Wikimedia Sverige. Sara.Mortsell at wikimedia.se

by John Andersson at February 21, 2014 09:29 PM

Wikimedia Highlights, December 2013

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

Highlights from the Wikimedia Foundation Report and the Wikimedia engineering report for December 2013, with a selection of other important events from the Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia Foundation highlights

The new “editing Wikipedia” brochure

New brochure explains how to edit Wikipedia

The Education Program team completed work on an entirely new version of the Welcome to Wikipedia brochure (now titled “Editing Wikipedia“). It is also available for translation into other languages.

“Drafts” feature provides a gentler start for Wikipedia articles

In December, the new Draft namespace was launched on the English Wikipedia, as requested by the local community. It gives all users (registered or anonymous) the option to start new articles as a draft, instead of publishing them immediately (which can carry the risk that the new article is nominated for deletion before it can be improved). Drafts are marked by a “Draft:” in the page title, and are not visible to search engines.

Paul Kikuba is leading an IEG project to set up a Wikipedia center in the village of Mbazzi, Uganda

Recipients of Annual Plan Grants (FDC) and Individual Engagements Grants (IEG) announced

In December, 11 Wikimedia organizations were awarded annual plan grants totaling $4.4M, following the recommendations of the volunteer-run Funds Dissemination Committee (FDC) in the first round of requests for 2013/2014. The approved amount was lower than the overall requested amount of US$5.94M, affirming the FDC’s guidance to the organizations to be thoughtful about growth.

Also in December, the selection of seven projects for the second round of Individual Engagements grants (IEG) was announced. They focus on activities from outreach to tool-building, all aimed at connecting and supporting the community.

Successful year-end online fundraising campaign

The WMF fundraising team ran the year-end online fundraising campaign in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Roughly $18.7 million USD was raised from more than one million donors in December. During the two weeks when the campaign ran at full capacity, the team created and tested approximately 250 different banners. Banners will be run in other countries and languages throughout 2014.

Data and Trends

Global unique visitors for November:

533 million (+9.95% compared with October; +0.42% compared with the previous year)
(comScore data for all Wikimedia Foundation projects; comScore will release December data later in January)

Page requests for December:

18.270 billion (-4.0% compared with November; -9.4% compared with the previous year)
(Server log data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects including mobile access)

Active Registered Editors for November 2013 (>= 5 mainspace edits/month, excluding bots):

74,803 (-1.33% compared with October / -4.88% compared with the previous year)
(Database data, all Wikimedia Foundation projects.)

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