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Wikimedia Foundation

wikimedia foundation, wikimedia foundation address
Wikimedia Foundation, Inc WMF is an American non-profit and charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California It is mostly known for participating in the Wikimedia movement It owns the internet domain names of most movement projects and hosts sites like Wikipedia The foundation was founded in 2003 by Jimmy Wales as a way to fund Wikipedia and its sister projects through non-profit means

As of 2015, the foundation employs over 280 people, with annual revenues in excess of US$75 million Christophe Henner is chairman of the board Katherine Maher is the executive director since March 2016

Contents

  • 1 Goal
  • 2 History
  • 3 Projects and initiatives
    • 31 Wikimedia projects
    • 32 Movement affiliates
    • 33 Wikimania
    • 34 Strategic plan
    • 35 Wikipedia Usability Initiative
    • 36 Public Policy Initiative
  • 4 Technology
    • 41 Hardware
    • 42 Softwаrе
  • 5 Finances
    • 51 In general
    • 52 Grants
    • 53 Financial summary
  • 6 Governance
    • 61 Board of Trustees
    • 62 Advisory board
  • 7 Staff
    • 71 First appointments
    • 72 Employees
  • 8 Disputes and lawsuits
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links
    • 101 Other

Goal

The Wikimedia Foundation has stated its goal is to develop and maintain open content, wiki-based projects and to provide the full contents of those projects to the public free of charge

The Wikimedia Foundation was granted section 501c3 status by the US Internal Revenue Code as a public charity in 2005 Its National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities NTEE code is B60 Adult, Continuing education The foundation's by-laws declare a statement of purpose of collecting and developing educational content and to disseminate it effectively and globally

History

In 2001, Jimmy Wales, an Internet entrepreneur, and Larry Sanger, a philosopher of knowledge and online community organizer, founded Wikipedia and Nupedia as Internet encyclopedias The project was originally funded by Bomis, Wales' for-profit business As Wikipedia's popularity skyrocketed, revenues to fund the project stalled Since Wikipedia was depleting Bomis' resources, Wales and Sanger thought of a charity model to fund the project The Wikimedia Foundation was incorporated in Florida on June 20, 2003 It applied to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to trademark Wikipedia on September 17, 2004 The mark was granted registration status on January 10, 2006 Trademark protection was accorded by Japan on December 16, 2004, and, in the European Union, on January 20, 2005 There were plans to license the use of the Wikipedia trademark for some products, such as books or DVDs

In April 2005, the US Internal Revenue Service approved the foundation as an educational foundation in the category "Adult, Continuing education", meaning all contributions to the foundation are tax-deductible for US federal income tax purposes

On December 11, 2006, the Foundation's board noted that the corporation could not become the membership organization initially planned but never implemented due to an inability to meet the registration requirements of Florida statutory law Accordingly, the by-laws were amended to remove all reference to membership rights and activities The decision to change the bylaws was passed by the board unanimously

On September 25, 2007, the foundation's board gave notice that the operations would be moving to the San Francisco Bay Area Major considerations cited for choosing San Francisco were proximity to like-minded organizations and potential partners, a better talent pool, as well as cheaper and more convenient international travel than is available from St Petersburg, Florida

Lila Tretikov was appointed executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation in May 2014 She resigned in March 2016 Former chief communications officer Katherine Maher was appointed the interim executive director, a position made permanent in June 2016

Projects and initiatives

Wikimedia projects

Main article: Wikimedia projects

In addition to Wikipedia, the foundation operates other wikis that follow the free content model with their main goal being the dissemination of knowledge These include:

Name: Wikibooks
Description: collection of textbooks
Website: wwwwikibooksorg
Name: Wikinews
Description: online newspaper
Website: wwwwikinewsorg
Name: Wikispecies
Description: taxonomic catalogue of species
Website: specieswikimediaorg
Name: Wikidata
Description: knowledge base
Website: wwwwikidataorg
Name: Wikipedia
Description: online encyclopedia
Website: wwwwikipediaorg
Name: Wikiversity
Description: collection of tutorials and courses, while also serving as a hosting point to coordinate research
Website: wwwwikiversityorg
Name: Wikimedia Commons
Description: repository of images, sounds, videos, and general media
Website: commonswikimediaorg
Name: Wikiquote
Description: collection of quotations
Website: wwwwikiquoteorg
Name: Wikivoyage
Description: travel guide
Website: wwwwikivoyageorg
Name: Meta-Wiki
Description: central site to coordinate all Wikimedia projects
Website: metawikimediaorg
Name: Wikisource
Description: digital library
Website: wwwwikisourceorg
Name: Wiktionary
Description: online dictionary and thesaurus
Website: wwwwiktionaryorg

Movement affiliates

Further information: Wikimedia movement

Wikimedia movement affiliates are independent, but formally recognized, groups of people intended to work together to support and contribute to the Wikimedia movement The Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees has approved three active models for movement affiliates: chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups Movement affiliates are intended to organize and engage in activities to support and contribute to the Wikimedia movement, such as regional conferences, outreach, edit-a-thons, hackathons, public relations, public policy advocacy, GLAM engagement, and Wikimania

Recognition of a chapter and thematic organization is approved by the foundation's board Recommendations on recognition of chapters and thematic organizations are made to the foundation's board by an Affiliations Committee, composed of Wikimedia community volunteers The Affiliations Committee approves the recognition of individual user groups While movement affiliates are formally recognized by the Wikimedia Foundation, they are independent of the Wikimedia Foundation, with no legal control of nor responsibility for the Wikimedia projects

The foundation began recognizing chapters in 2004 In 2010, development on additional models began In 2012, the foundation approved, finalized, and adopted the thematic organization and user group recognition models An additional model, movement partners, was also approved but as of 27 October 2015 has not yet been finalized or adopted

Wikimania

Main article: Wikimania

Each year, an international conference called Wikimania brings the people together who are involved in the Wikimedia organizations and projects The first Wikimania was held in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2005 Nowadays, Wikimania is organized by a committee supported usually by the national chapter, in collaboration with the Wikimedia Foundation Wikimania has been held in cities such as Buenos Aires, Cambridge, Haifa, Hong Kong, and London In 2015, Wikimania took place in Mexico City In 2016, Wikimania was held in Esino Lario, Italy

Strategic plan

Play media Video explaining the 2011 Wikimedia Strategic Plan Executive director Katherine Maher, 2016

In response to the growing size and popularity of Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation announced a Strategic Plan to improve and sustain the Wikimedia movement The plan was announced in July 2009, followed by a process of interviews and surveys with people from across the Wikimedia movement, including board of trustees, members of staff and volunteer editors The ongoing plan was intended to be the basis of a five-year plan to further outreach, improve content quality and quality control, and optimising operational areas such as finance and infrastructure

Wikipedia Usability Initiative

In December 2008, the Wikimedia Foundation announced a restricted donation grant of US$890,000 from the Stanton Foundation, to improve Wikipedia's accessibility Later named the Wikipedia Usability Initiative, the grant was used by the Wikimedia Foundation to appoint project-specific staff to the technology department

A series of surveys were conducted throughout 2009 This began with a qualitative environment survey on MediaWiki extensions, followed by a Qualitative Statistical Survey focusing on volume of edits, number of new users, and related statistics In March 2009, a usability and experience study was carried out on new and non-editors of the English Wikipedia The aim was to discover what obstacles participants encountered while editing Wikipedia, ranging from small changes to more complicated syntax such as templates The study recruited 2500 people for in-person laboratory testing via the Wikipedia website, which was filtered down to ten participants The results were collated and used by the technology team to improve Wikipedia's usability The Usability and Experience Study was followed up by the Usability, Experience and Progress Study in September 2009 This study recruited different new and non-editors for in-person trials on a new Wikipedia skin

The initiative ultimately culminated in a new Wikipedia skin named Vector, constructed based on the results of the usability studies This was introduced by default in stages, beginning in May 2010

Public Policy Initiative

In May 2010, the Wikimedia Foundation announced the Public Policy Initiative, following a US$12 million donation by the Stanton Foundation The Initiative was set up to improve articles relating to public policy–related issues As part of the initiative, Wikipedia collaborated with ten universities to help students and professors create and maintain articles relating to public policy Volunteer editors of Wikipedia, known as "ambassadors", provided assistance to students and professors This was either done on campus sites or online

Technology

The foundation employs technology including hardware and software to run its projects

Hardware

Overview of system architecture, October 2015 See server layout diagrams on Meta-Wiki Wikimedia Foundation servers

Wikipedia employed a single server until 2004, when the server setup was expanded into a distributed multitier architecture

In January 2005, the project ran on 39 dedicated servers in Florida This configuration included a single master database server running MySQL, multiple slave database servers, 21 web servers running the Apache HTTP Server, and seven Squid cache servers

Wikimedia currently runs on dedicated clusters of Linux servers mainly Ubuntu As of December 2009, there were 300 in Florida and 44 in Amsterdam The number of servers needed to run the infrastructure has been mostly stable since then: 520 servers are used in the main cluster eqiad as of November 2015

As of 2015, the system still runs on central master database and application servers, but there are several cache layers with various ever-changing technologies, as well as a multitude of subsystems for DNS resolution, load balancing, metrics, monitoring, other system administration etc

Softwаrе

The operation of Wikimedia depends on MediaWiki, a custom-made, free and open-source wiki software platform written in PHP and built upon the MySQL database The software incorporates programming features such as a macro language, variables, a transclusion system for templates, and URL redirection MediaWiki is licensed under the GNU General Public License and it is used by all Wikimedia projects, as well as many other wiki projects Originally, Wikipedia ran on UseModWiki written in Perl by Clifford Adams Phase I, which initially required CamelCase for article hyperlinks; the present double bracket style was incorporated later Starting in January 2002 Phase II, Wikipedia began running on a PHP wiki engine with a MySQL database; this software was custom-made for Wikipedia by Magnus Manske The Phase II software was repeatedly modified to accommodate the exponentially increasing demand In July 2002 Phase III, Wikipedia shifted to the third-generation software, MediaWiki, originally written by Lee Daniel Crocker Several MediaWiki extensions are installed to extend the functionality of MediaWiki software In April 2005, a Lucene extension was added to MediaWiki's built-in search and Wikipedia switched from MySQL to Lucene for searching Currently Lucene Search 21, which is written in Java and based on Lucene library 23, is used Wikimedia Foundation also uses CiviCRM and WordPress

The Foundation published official Wikipedia mobile apps for Android and iOS devices and in March 2015, the apps were updated to include mobile user friendly features

Finances

In general

Financial development of the Wikimedia Foundation in US$, 2003–2015   Support and revenue   Expenses   Net assets at year-end Wikimedia Foundation, Inc Financial Statements

The Wikimedia Foundation relies on public contributions and grants to fund its mission It is exempt from federal income tax and from state income tax It is not a private foundation, and contributions to it qualify as tax-deductible charitable contributions

The continued technical and economic growth of each of the Wikimedia projects is dependent mostly on donations but the Wikimedia Foundation also increases its revenue by alternative means of funding such as grants, sponsorship, services and brand merchandising The Wikimedia OAI-PMH update feed service, targeted primarily at search engines and similar bulk analysis and republishing, has been a source of revenue for several years, but is no longer open to new customers DBpedia was given access to this feed free of charge In July 2014, the Foundation announced it would be accepting Bitcoin donations

Since the end of fiscal year ended 2004, the Foundation's net assets have grown from US$57,000 to US$535 million at the end of fiscal year ended June 30, 2014 Under the leadership of Sue Gardner, who joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2007, the Foundation's staff levels, number of donors and revenue have seen very significant growth

Play media Interview with Garfield Byrd, Chief of Finance and Administration at the Wikimedia Foundation Recorded October 7, 2011

In 2007, Charity Navigator gave Wikimedia an overall rating of three out of four possible stars one out of four in efficiency, which has been criticised Charity Navigator gave three out of four possible stars in overall rating for fiscal years 2008 and 2009 which improved to four-stars in 2010 As of June 2016, the current overall rating had returned down to three stars – dragged down by an 8517 out of 100 for its Financial performance

Grants

Wikimedia Foundation and chapters finance meeting 2012, Paris

In March 2008, the Foundation announced a large donation, at the time its largest donation yet: a three-year, US$3 million grant from the Alfred P Sloan Foundation

In 2009, the Foundation received four grants – the first grant was a US$890,000 Stanton Foundation grant which was aimed to help study and simplify user interface for first-time authors of Wikipedia The second was a US$300,000 Ford Foundation Grant, given in July 2009, for Wikimedia Commons that aimed to improve the interfaces and workflows for multimedia uploading on Wikimedia websites In August 2009, the Foundation received a US$500,000 grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Lastly, in August 2009, the Omidyar Network issued a potential US$2 million in "grant" funding to Wikimedia

In 2010, the Google corporation donated US$2 million to the Foundation Also in 2010, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation pledged a US$800,000 grant and all was funded during 2011

In March 2011, the Alfred P Sloan Foundation authorized another US$3 million grant to continue to develop and maintain the Foundation's mission The grant was to be funded over three years with the first US$1 million funded in July 2011 and the remaining US$2 million was scheduled to be funded in August 2012 and 2013 In August 2011, the Stanton Foundation pledged to fund a US$36 million grant of which US$18 million was funded and the remaining was due to be funded in September 2012 As of 2011, this was the largest grant received by the Wikimedia Foundation to-date In November 2011, the Foundation received a US$500,000 donation from Google co-founder Sergey Brin and his wife

In 2012, the Foundation was awarded a grant of US$125 million from the historians Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin through Charities Aid Foundation, scheduled to be funded in five equal installments The first installment of US$250,000 was received in April 2012 and the remaining were to be funded in December 2012 through 2015 In 2014, the Foundation received the largest single gift in its history, a $5 million unrestricted donation from an anonymous donor supporting $1 million worth of expenses annually for the next five years

In 2015 a grant agreement was reached with the John S and James L Knight Foundation to build a search engine called Knowledge Engine Wikimedia Foundation

Financial summary

Wikimedia financial data through June 2016 financial years run from July 1 to June 30
Fiscal year Revenue Year-over-year ratio
revenue
Expenses Year-over-year ratio
expenses
Net assets Year-over-year ratio
net assets
2003–2004
US$80,129
N/A
US$23,463
N/A
US$56,666
N/A
2004–2005
US$379,088
3731%
US$177,670
6572%
US$268,084
3731%
2005–2006
US$1,508,039
2978%
US$791,907
3457%
US$1,004,216
2746%
2006–2007
US$2,734,909
814%
US$2,077,843
1624%
US$1,658,282
651%
2007–2008
US$5,032,981
840%
US$3,540,724
704%
US$5,178,168
2123%
2008–2009
US$8,658,006
720%
US$5,617,236
586%
US$8,231,767
590%
2009–2010
US$17,979,312
1077%
US$10,266,793
828%
US$14,542,731
767%
2010–2011
US$24,785,092
378%
US$17,889,794
742%
US$24,192,144
663%
2011–2012
US$38,479,665
552%
US$29,260,652
636%
US$34,929,058
444%
2012–2013
US$48,635,408
264%
US$35,704,796
220%
US$45,189,124
294%
2013–2014
US$52,465,287
86%
US$45,900,745
286%
US$53,475,021
183%
2014–2015
US$74,536,375
445%
US$52,596,782
146%
US$77,820,298
455%
2015–2016
US$81,862,724
98%
US$65,947,465
254%
US$91,782,795
179%

Governance

Board of Trustees

Christophe Henner, the current Chairman of the Board

The Board of Trustees has ultimate authority of all the businesses and affairs of the Foundation It is composed of ten members:

  • four who are appointed by the Board itself;
  • three who are selected by the community encompassed by all the different Wikimedia projects;
  • two who are selected by the local chapters and thematic organizations;
  • and one emeritus for the foundation's founder, Jimmy Wales

Three permanent entities support the board on its mission and responsibilities: an executive director, who leads and oversees the operational arm of the foundation; an advisory board composed of individuals selected by the board itself that advise the board on different matters; and standing committees to which the board delegates certain matters while retaining ultimate authority The board has also at times created other orthodox entities to support itself, such as executive secretaries and ad-hoc committees established for specific tasks

The current board comprises Christophe Henner as Chairman and María Sefidari as Vice-Chairman, together with Alice Wiegand, Nataliia Tymkiv, Kelly Battles, Dariusz Jemielniak, Guy Kawasaki, and Jimmy Wales as members at-large There are two vacant seats, most recently occupied by Denny Vrandečić and Arnnon Geshuri

In a high-profile decision of 2015, James Heilman was removed from the board, with little explanation In January 2016, Arnnon Geshuri stepped down from the board following a controversy about an agreement he executed when at Google, violating US anti-trust law The participating companies paid US$415 million in a class action suit on behalf of affected employees

Advisory board

The Advisory Board, according to the Wikimedia Foundation, is an international network of experts who have agreed to give the foundation meaningful help on a regular basis in many different areas, including law, organizational development, technology, policy, and outreach

Staff

First appointments

Play media Staff and workplace at Wikimedia Foundation's San Francisco office

In 2004, the foundation appointed Tim Starling as developer liaison to help improve the MediaWiki software, Daniel Mayer as chief financial officer finance, budgeting, and coordination of fund drives, and Erik Möller as content partnership coordinator In May 2005, the foundation announced seven more official appointments

In January 2006, the foundation created several committees, including the Communication Committee, in an attempt to further organize activities essentially handled by volunteers at that time Starling resigned that month to spend more time on his PhD program

Employees

A workers area at the Wikimedia Foundation's San Francisco headquarters

The foundation's functions were, for the first few years, executed almost entirely by volunteers In 2005, it had only two employees, Danny Wool, a coordinator, and Brion Vibber, a software manager

As of October 4, 2006, the foundation had five paid employees: two programmers, an administrative assistant, a coordinator handling fundraising and grants, and an interim executive director, Brad Patrick, previously the foundation's general counsel Patrick ceased his activity as interim director in January 2007, and then resigned from his position as legal counsel, effective April 1, 2007 He was replaced by Mike Godwin, who served as general counsel and legal coordinator from July 2007 until 2010

In January 2007, Carolyn Doran was named chief operating officer and Sandy Ordonez joined as head of communications Doran began working as a part-time bookkeeper in 2006 after being sent by a temporary agency Doran later left the foundation in July 2007, and Sue Gardner was hired as consultant and special advisor later CEO Doran's departure from the organization was cited by Florence Devouard as one of the reasons the foundation took about seven months to release its fiscal 2007 financial audit

The location of the Wikimedia Foundation's San Francisco headquarters

Danny Wool, officially the grant coordinator but also largely involved in fundraising and business development, resigned in March 2007 He accused Wales of misusing the foundation's funds for recreational purposes, and said that Wales had his Wikimedia credit card taken away in part because of his spending habits, a claim Wales denied In February 2007, the foundation added a new position, chapters coordinator, and hired Delphine Ménard, who had been occupying the position as a volunteer since August 2005 Cary Bass was hired in March 2007 in the position of volunteer coordinator Oleta McHenry was brought in as accountant in May 2007, through a temporary placement agency and made the official full-time accountant in August 2007 In January 2008, the foundation appointed Veronique Kessler as the new chief financial and operating officer, Kul Wadhwa as head of business development, and Jay Walsh as head of communications

By early 2015, the foundation had well over 200 employees

Disputes and lawsuits

Main article: List of litigation involving the Wikimedia Foundation Wikimedia Foundation post-SOPA party, 2012

Many disputes have resulted in litigation while others have not Attorney Matt Zimmerman stated, "Without strong liability protection, it would be difficult for Wikipedia to continue to provide a platform for user-created encyclopedia content"

In December 2011, the Foundation hired Washington, DC lobbyist Dow Lohnes Government Strategies LLC to lobby the United States Congress with regard to "Civil Rights/Civil Liberties" and "Copyright/Patent/Trademark" At the time of the hire the Foundation was concerned specifically about a bill known as the Stop Online Piracy Act

In October 2013, a German Court ruled that the Wikimedia Foundation can be held liable for content added to Wikipedia

In June 2014, a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by Bildkonst Upphovsrätt i Sverige against Wikimedia Sweden

On June 20, 2014, a defamation lawsuit Law Division civil case No L-1400-14 involving Wikipedia editors was filed with the Mercer County Superior Court in New Jersey seeking, inter alia, compensatory and punitive damages

In a March 10, 2015, op-ed for The New York Times, Wales and Tretikov announced the Foundation was filing a lawsuit against the National Security Agency, calling into question its practice of mass surveillance, which they argued infringed the constitutional rights of the Foundation's readers, editors and staff On October 23, 2015, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland dismissed the suit Wikimedia Foundation v NSA on grounds of standing US District Judge T S Ellis III ruled that the plaintiffs could not plausibly prove they were subject to upstream surveillance, and that their argument is riddled with assumptions, speculations and mathematical gymnastics The plaintiffs filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit on February 17, 2016

In February 2016, Lila Tretikov announced her resignation as executive director, as a result of the WMF's controversial Knowledge Engine project and disagreements with the staff

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  3. ^ "Staff and contractors page Wikimedia Foundation website" Wikimedia Foundation Retrieved August 7, 2015 
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  87. ^ "Wikimedia Foundation, Inc Financial Statements June, 2013 and 2012" PDF Wikimedia Foundation Retrieved December 14, 2013 
  88. ^ Walsh, Jay "Board of Trustees Restructure Announcement" Wikimedia Foundation Archived from the original on April 27, 2008 Retrieved April 26, 2008 
  89. ^ "Board of Trustees" Wikimedia Foundation Retrieved 2016-02-06 
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  91. ^ Torsten Kleinz December 29, 2015 "Wikimedia Foundation feuert Vorstandsmitglied" heise online 
  92. ^ Mullin, Joe January 27, 2016 "Wikimedia's newest board appointment steps down amid editor hostility" Ars Technica 
  93. ^ Wikipedia editors revolt, vote “no confidence” in newest board member, ArsTechnica, 2016-01-25
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  110. ^ New Client Registration House of Representatives Lobbying Disclosure December 12, 2011 Archived October 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  111. ^ Masnick, Mike December 14, 2011 "Wikipedia Explains, In Great Detail, How Even An Updated SOPA Hurts The Web & Wikipedia" Techdirt Retrieved January 15, 2012 
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  113. ^ "Angående stämningsansökan från BUS mot offentligkonstse" Wikimedia Sverige Retrieved 2015-10-25 
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  118. ^ Rayman, Noah April 14, 2015 "Saving Wikipedia: Meet Lila Tretikov" Time 
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  123. ^ "Online-Enzyklopädie: Chefin der Wikipedia-Stiftung tritt zurück" Spiegel Online February 26, 2016 

External links

  • Official website
  • Official blog
  • Official site navigation
  • #wikimedia connect Wikimedia on freenode
  • WMF mailing list archives
  • Sheldon Rampton's 2003 post on mailwikipediaorg
  • Wikimedia Foundation 2010–11 Annual Plan, WMF wiki
  • Foundation's financial report, WMF wiki
  • Wikimedia Foundation annual report, WMF wiki
  • The Wikimedia Foundation bylaws, WMF wiki

Other

  • Wikimedia Foundation companies grouped at OpenCorporates
  • The Wikimedia Foundation profile at Charity Navigator, charitynavigatororg
  • Organizational Profile – National Center for Charitable Statistics Urban Institute
  • Wikimedia Foundation on Twitter
  • Florida portal
  • Free and open-source software portal
  • Internet portal
  • San Francisco Bay Area portal
  • United States portal

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