Support Wikimedia Foundation

by Wikimedia Foundation
Support Wikimedia Foundation

This month marked my official one-year anniversary as CEO of the Wikimedia Foundation. Based on some feedback from this list,  I have tried to send a regular update every few months (see JanuaryAprilJuneSeptember). I wanted to send another one today to reflect on my first year, and share upcoming work we have planned at the Foundation. 

Some of you may recall that I prepared for joining Wikimedia with a two-month listening tour that led me to talk to a few hundred volunteers and Foundation staff across 55 countries. This shaped the five puzzles and three priorities that I shared with you when I started. These puzzles continue to guide what I believe are the biggest questions we must answer collectively, especially the question of, “what does the world need from us now?”

I also completed the three priorities I outlined last January: (1) reimagining the Foundation’s annual plan to be more firmly anchored in our movement’s strategic direction; (2) recruiting a capable Chief Product & Technology Officer for the Wikimedia Foundation; and (3) starting to refresh the Foundation’s organizational values to guide our ways of working with each other, and with all of you. 

English Fundraising Campaign

As 2022 came to a close, a Request for Comment (RfC) launched on English Wikipedia to propose changes to the messaging of year-end fundraising banners. The Wikimedia Foundation accepted the guidance provided by the RfC, and established a co-creation page to seek volunteer input on banner messaging from community members. Throughout the fundraising campaign, the Foundation team posted regular updates to this co-creation page. In brief, over 450+ banners were tested during this year’s campaign, and 4.7M of revenue was raised compared to the original 10M goal (a shortfall of $5.3 million). During the first few days, the new banners resulted in about 70% less revenue than on the corresponding days in the prior year. Additional information on the campaign results are posted here. The fundraising team will continue to work with all language communities on banner messaging in the year ahead, and we look forward to building on what we learned in this campaign. 

The RfC raised a much wider range of issues than just fundraising banners. While anticipated revenue shortfalls made this a difficult period for the Foundation, I believe we tried to hear these broader concerns, many of which are shared across communities beyond English Wikipedia. 

One concern was about the very rapid budget growth of the Foundation, which has stabilized in the last year. Given the revenue gap from this year’s English campaign, we are reviewing and lowering our expenditure for the current year. And I anticipate we will have a reduced budget and certainly slower growth next year. We will have more information by April on future financial projections. 

I communicated previously that I have started frank conversations with the Board of Trustees and Foundation staff about what roles the Foundation should grow (like support for technology) and what activities we should hand over to others or stop altogether. Looking ahead, the size of our budget should be driven by what the Foundation should be doing and can actually do well. The 2030 movement strategy provided guidance (and motivated much of our historic growth), but was short on specifics. I await the Movement Charter to provide further clarity, but believe the Foundation may need to make some decisions sooner. 

A second concern was about the Foundation’s responsiveness to editors and other technical contributors. We collectively have to respond to decades of growing technical debt, poor processes for maintaining software, and staying relevant in a world where technology keeps going faster. There is no quick fix to most of our technical challenges. 

That said, our Chief Product and Technology Officer Selena Deckelmann, who comes with experience supporting online communities and collaborating with technical contributors, has made meaningful progress in her first six months. She has shared the following update: 

“We’ve made progress on PageTriage issues raised by New Page Patrollers in an open letter. In the last 120 days, 141 patches have been reviewed through collaboration between the Foundation and the community. There have also been several meetings between community members and staff to talk about the future of PageTriage and the newcomer experience, and there is now work planned in Q4 to update the extension. We continue to engage with Commons as we are making critically needed software upgrades to community prioritized tools. The Foundation’s Wishathon (leading up to the community wishlist kickoff for 2023) involved about 40 staff contributing time over a week in December to deliver 71 patches and 4 wishes granted. We are working with communities to make Vector 2022 the default skin, after 3 years of development work, feedback and continued iteration with wiki communities.” 

In March, Selena will be ready to host forums to share what she thinks are needed improvements to the Foundation’s processes, including technical support and collaborative product development. Beginning next week, the Foundation’s product and technology teams will start posting their planned objectives to solicit input and guidance from contributors. 

And, finally, comments were made in the RfC about the unclear role of Tides in managing the Knowledge Equity Fund. Over the next few months, we will be moving the remainder of the Equity Fund from Tides back into the Foundation. Relatedly, the Wikimedia Endowment has received its 501(c)(3) status from the US Internal Revenue Service. We are in the process of setting up its financial systems and transitioning the Endowment’s funds out of Tides as well. 

Looking Ahead

In my 9-month update, I shared that my top three priorities will remain strategy, leadership and culture. 

On strategy, the Board of Trustees will meet this March in New York to consider a few topics that require taking a multi-year view: 

(1) Wikimedia’s financial model and future projections for revenue streams in online fundraising (which we anticipate will not continue to grow at the same rate), the next phase of the Wikimedia Endowment, and the lessons we have learned so far from Wikimedia Enterprise‘s first year in operation. 

(2) Re-centering the Foundation’s responsibility in supporting the technology needs of the Wikimedia movement by understanding the needs of our contributor communities, as well as emerging topics like machine learning/artificial intelligence and innovations for new audiences. 

(3) Beginning more focused conversations to establish frameworks and principles for understanding the Foundation’s core roles and responsibilities. This is intended to help to provide inputs into the movement charter deliberations and broader movement strategy conversations. 

Members of the Movement Charter Drafting Committee and Wikimedia Endowment Trustees will join in the March discussions, and we will share a report with you after the meeting. 

This strategic planning will happen concurrently to our annual planning cycle. Annual planning is being led this year by the needs of our Product & Technology departments. This will be the first time since about 2015 that these two departments will undertake joint planning. Our intent is to repeat the two-way planning processes we experimented with last year, both on-wiki and off-wiki. Finally, we intend to provide more granular information about the Foundation’s staffing, team structures, and specific budgets as an outcome of these planning efforts. 

On leadership, we have welcomed new Trustees to the Board following the last community-and-affiliate election. I also made a few senior staff appointments: Lisa Gruwell was named Deputy to the CEO alongside her responsibilities as Chief Advancement Officer; Anusha Alikhan became the head of communications at the Wikimedia Foundation; Nadee Gunasena was appointed Chief of Staff; and as of this week, Stephen LaPorte formally begins as the next General Counsel. 

I believe that values and culture will matter the most for any real reset to occur in how the Wikimedia Foundation relates to communities, and vice-versa. This is especially true when trust has to be built and maintained; and when any kind of change has to be catalyzed and sustained. The Board and Foundation tried to model this in how we heard and responded to the request for changes in fundraising banners. And we will continue to spend more time reflecting on what the world and our global communities need from us now. 

I think we are heading more in the right direction and continue to welcome your feedback either on my talk page or at miskander(_AT_) 


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School of Wikimedia Women in Mexico

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In 2015, Wikimedia Mexico presented the Editatona project. This initiative to reduce the gender gap in Wikimedia projects was created by Carmen Alcázar and it’s been replicated over 100 times, as of 2022, in diverse environments both locally and abroad.

Editatona is a feminist version of the edit-a-thons. In Mexico, it’s a separate space where women write about women on Wikipedia. Because of this project, they realized that another twin space was needed, to deepen the conversation about the subjects and questions that arise from the Editatonas. Furthermore, this space is needed to intensively develop skills for women who wish to access the free knowledge domain.

To do this, we colaborated with the Instituto Municipal de Mujeres Regias (Municipal Institute of Regian Women) and the LABNL, organizations from Monterrey and northern Mexico charged with the task of managing the first version of the School of Wikimedia Women, a course that consisted of six two-hour sessions per week, where subjects such as encyclopedic relevance, trusted sources, inclusive language, Wikimedia Commons, Wikidata, article deletion, or how to write and edit a Wikipedia article, among others, were covered. 

This course began on November 3rd and concluded on December 8th, in hybrid modality. Part of the staff of WMMX, as well as guest specialists, facilitated the themes for 20 women who attended the sessions regularly. This produced the conditions to open dialogue and debate about shared information.

As a closing activity, an in-person Editatona was hosted by the LABNL so the participants could apply what they learned at the School of Women, also to get to know one another in person, and strengthen the network of women volunteers in Mexico.

This first version was conceived as a prototype, so that we may develop a new version in 2023 with women from a different city, and make the necessary adjustments to improve on this project, in order to convince more women to approach and compromise with Wikimedia projects.

You may look at more pictures here.

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Coming together on-wiki in solidarity with Ukraine

Institute for Noble Maidens in Kyiv, Ukraine.Institute for Noble Maidens (The October Palace), Kyiv, Ukraine.

The Wikimedia movement’s commitment to provide reliable, verifiable information to the world becomes even more critical in times of crisis. The ongoing invasion of Ukraine has already caused unimaginable pain and suffering and impacted millions. Yet in times of upheaval, from pandemics to political turmoil to natural disasters, Wikimedians come together in the service of our collective mission. People are coming to the Wikimedia projects to learn facts, and Wikimedians around the world are collaborating to share their knowledge.

In addition to the work being done on the Wikimedia projects to document this crisis in 100 languages, people across the movement are hard at work to support the affected communities. In the most wiki way, we are starting a page to coordinate efforts on Meta-Wiki – and your help is needed. Anyone in the movement is encouraged to list their Wikimedia activities related to this crisis or ideas they have to help, so that we can collaborate and support each other where needed.

The Wikimedia Foundation stands in solidarity with the communities–those directly affected in Ukraine and all others who work to protect access to free knowledge. We are also reviewing the potential impacts that this crisis and the corresponding threats of censorship being made by the Russian government could have on the entire movement. We remain committed to sharing information as quickly as we are able, and we look forward to hearing from others across the movement.

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Meet the Wikimedians promoting free knowledge and human rights at RightsCon ’22 this June

RightsCon ’19 conference stage in Tunis, Tunisia. Image by Brahim Guedich, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Wikimedia Foundation is proud this year to support RightsCon for the second time. This global summit, hosted by AccessNow, brings together people from around the world to discuss human rights in the digital age. This year our financial support of the conference as well as our presence at it are both unique. 

The Foundation has contributed funds to RightsCon’s accessibility initiatives and Connectivity Fund. This assistance is closely tied to our movement’s vision of a world in which all people can freely participate in the sum of all knowledge. By providing support to make the conference accessible in more languages, across more devices, and via additional internet connectivity, we help welcome the knowledge and communities that have been excluded by historical structures of power and privilege. Early numbers released by the RightsCon organizers indicate the fund is likely successful in prompting knowledge equity: out of a total of 717 individual applications, 98% came from the Global South, 54% were from women or non-binary people, and 86% featured first-time applicants. 

To make Wikimedia more visible at the event, this year our Global Advocacy and Public Policy team called upon Wikimedians from around the world to partner with us in order to submit proposals for sessions and conversations that we could host and hold together. Not only does the Wikimedia community have unique perspectives and expertise, but editors and other volunteers are also our strongest allies in advocating for laws, policies, and norms that promote and protect free knowledge and Wikimedia projects. RightsCon ’22 will feature ten sessions where Wikipedians are hosts and/or participants, five of which were co-created with our team. Members of our movement will be championing Wikimedia approaches on emerging challenges to a free and open internet, including privacy and surveillance, internet access, inclusion, and internet shutdowns and disruptions.

Below is an overview of the sessions with Wikimedia participation. Foundation staff or Wikimedia volunteers who are interested in attending RightsCon can register for free until 3 June 2022. We hope to see you there!


The five sessions that were submitted with members from the community:
Fighting disinformation in Persian Wikipedia: The good, the bad, the AI

Format: Tech Demo

Presenter: Amir Sarabadani (Wikimedian)

Details: This tech demo covers two tools that members of Persian Wikipedia developed to combat government disinformation campaigns. These tools have made it possible to share and update information on Persian Wikipedia without the fear of persecution. As such, they have become crucial to foster the resilience of Persian Wikipedia and may inspire other groups to bring similar initiatives back to their communities.

Using Wikipedia to advance human rights and democracy, using constructive conflict to create quality articles 

Format: Workshop

Presenters: Luisinia Ferrante (Wikimedia Argentina), Spencer Graves (Wikimedian), Franziska Putz (Wikimedia Foundation)

Details: This workshop will demonstrate how controversy can be a productive force behind “the wisdom of crowds” that makes it possible for websites like Wikipedia to share freely accessible information online. Case studies on Spanish, Chinese, French, and English Wikipedia articles will demonstrate how their development was informed by social, economic, and political debates in each of the contexts they describe as well as by the different perspectives and approaches between volunteer editors. This session will expose participants to the experience of co-creating knowledge about human rights online.

No “right” approach, but many effective ones: Moderation approaches for online information about political processes

Format: Workshop

Presenters: Patricia Díaz-Rubio (Wikimedia Chile), Augustina Del Campo (CELE), Kate Levan (Wikimedia Foundation), Nathan Forrester (Wikimedia Foundation)

Details: This immersive workshop brings together organizations with unique, community-led moderation approaches in order to present participants with case studies on disinformation around electoral processes. Panelists will engage participants in analyzing the issues at hand, discussing challenges to moderating specific content, and will then walk the audience through the moderation process employed in their context. The goal of the session is for the audience to experience how hard the job is, as well as the variety of effective approaches there are to content moderation, debunking the idea that there is a single, perfect process for moderating online spaces. 

How lawmakers in Southeast Asia can safeguard human rights while addressing online disinformation during elections

Format: Panel

Presenters: Rachel Arinii Judhistari (Wikimedia Foundation), Kristina Gadaingan (ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights), Members of Parliament from the Philippines and Thailand

Details: This interactive panel seeks to broaden the discussion about human rights safeguards within internet regulation regimes in Southeast Asia, especially the nuances surrounding online campaigning and the rising threat of disinformation, how they influence political conversations, and also potentially undermine electoral processes. The panel will pose these questions to the members of parliaments, civil society, and platform hosts. It will allow participants to contribute to the free-flowing discussion, and to provide perspectives from their own experiences and contexts as well.

#WikiforHumanRights: Creating and editing human rights content on Wikipedia

Format: Workshop

Presenters: Faisal Da Supremo (Wikimedia Ghana),  Kolawole Oyewole (Wiki Fan Club, and Lagos State University), Iván Martínez (Wikimedia México), Luisina Ferrante (Wikimedia Argentina), Alex Stinson (Wikimedia Foundation)

Details: This workshop will introduce participants to the basic skills needed to create and edit human rights content on Wikipedia. Experienced Wikipedians will teach basic editing skills, share best practices around citing reputable sources, and answer participants’ questions during this interactive session. Participants are encouraged to identify articles on human rights concepts or content that are lacking or need to be bolstered in their linguistic communities before the session. The session will provide open editing time for participants to create or edit content on their selected topics with the assistance of experienced Wikipedians. It will conclude with a review of best practices, an update on the #WikiForHumanRights campaign, and a question and answer period.

In addition, Wikimedians will be hosting and participating in a series of other sessionsWhen you can’t see your city (online): Why you don’t want a country without Freedom of Panorama (FOP)

Format: Lightning Talk

Presenters: Ramzy Muliawan (Wikimedia Indonesia)

Details: This lightning talk examines the freedom of panorama (FOP), and how the absence of this limitation on copyright threatens the implementation of Wikimedia’s 2030 strategy to “provide for safety and inclusion,” especially in countries where Wikimedia communities are emerging. The talk will review the existing freedom of panorama regulations (or lack thereof) in Indonesia, and propose to Wikimedia organizations and communities in Indonesia, as well as other emerging Wikimedia communities and like-minded partners, how to best navigate the muddy waters of the clash between the underdeveloped policy landscape and the ever-changing nature of online efforts to preserve and free knowledge.

The danger of neglecting “non-lucrative” languages

Format: Lightning Talk

Presenters: Anass Sedrati (Wikimedia Morocco)

Details: Having access to information in your mother tongue is a basic human right. Wikimedia projects may be doing well compared to other actors, but how can they be improved as well? Although languages in the digital world are not represented equally, Wikimedia projects have helped to represent more languages online, since the only prerequisites to have a Wikipedia in a particular language is an International Organization for Standardization (ISO) code and an active community. Yet even on Wikipedia projects this process is imperfect. This lightning talk explores the fraught manner in which languages are represented online, and puts forward the argument that more individuals need to be involved in enriching Wikimedia content, and in diversifying the languages that are represented on other platforms.

Regulation for the few or many?

Format: Panel

Presenters: Caroline Greer (TikTok), Konstantinos Komaitis (The New York Times), Rebecca MacKinnon (Wikimedia Foundation), Jillian York (EFF), Eliška Pírková (AccessNow)

Details: This panel will discuss the risks associated with policymakers and legislators around the world crafting legislation with a small subset of large companies in mind. The panelists will discuss the theme using the latest policy development initiatives and practical examples. What is the impact on the broader tech ecosystem of one-size-fits-all laws? How can we ensure equitable policymaking that works for users as well? The session seeks to make recommendations on how the risks can be minimized, and how we can evolve to a more sophisticated model of tech policy- and lawmaking.

Building a digital rights initiative in the Caribbean 

Format: Social Hour

Presenters: Wikimedians of the Caribbean User Group, JAAKLAC initiative, AfroCrowd, Access Now

Details: Social hours are an informal space where participants with common interests can connect and expand a network or coalition. There is no participation limit, so come along!

Empowering Community Content Moderation

Format: Panel

Presenters: Jessica Ashooh (Reddit), Rose Coogan (Github), Allison Davenport (Wikimedia Foundation), Guillaume Rischard (OpenStreetMap Foundation)

Details: The panel will feature policy leadership from a variety of platforms with community content moderation, who will discuss best practices for fostering effective, scalable, and rights-based community content moderation online. Along with touching on the advantages of community moderation, the panel will also discuss challenges with the model, and how policies for digital communication can leave room for individuals to participate in effective self-regulation, collaboration, and good faith moderation of online content.

* Please note that session dates and times might be subject to change. For up-to-date information on these, please check the RightsCon schedule.

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Help protect Afghanistan’s cultural heritage from your laptop!


Since the return of the Taliban, the international community has watched with growing concern the events unfolding across Afghanistan. In addition to the humanitarian situation, the country’s rich cultural heritage is once again in danger. Vandals and thieves will profit of the instability to steal or destroy cultural heritage for a variety of reasons, including personal gain or political motivation. To protect it, we need to work together. With the joined forces of the International Council of Museums (ICOM) and Wikimedia, everybody can help, even from your laptop.

Nowadays, many of the illicit transactions involving cultural heritage happen online on social media or e-commerce platforms. To respond to the emergency in Afghanistan and the migration of these kinds of crimes to online platforms, ICOM and Wikimedia CH have agreed to give the ICOM Red List of Afghanistan Antiquities at Risk maximum visibility, diversify its use online, and to call for contribution to protect the cultural heritage of the country.

This awareness campaign is based on a previous close collaboration to promote the Interational Museumsday in Switzerland and abroad. ICOM had reached out to Wikimedia CH in order to mobilise the Wiki community and Internet users to contribute to the objective to protect Afghan cultural heritage at risk of looting and illicit traffic. 

Wikimedia CH was quickly convinced by these objectives and created a project page and promote this “call to action” in the global Wiki Movement as you read it here on Diff, on the Social Media, in the Wikimedia CH Newsletter, to press contacts, and on the Wikimedia CH website. We also launched a Banner on Wikipedia and informed the Wikimedia Foundation, other Wikimedia affiliates as well as our partners.

On the project page, under the title “How to participate & contribute”, the Wiki community all over the world is invited to get involved. This can be done by creating new articles, updating, amending, or translating existing articles, inserting pictures from Wikimedia Commons or optimizing the presence of these artifacts on Wikidata. If you have knowledge and access to media files and collections depicting objects from categories included in the Red List of ICOM regarding the Afghan Antiquities at risk, that are in public domain or available under a CC-BY-SA license, you can upload them to Wikimedia Commons and make them visible in a dedicated image gallery available there.

With your help, we will significantly increase the chances of citizens and organisations discovering the ICOM Red List when searching for information on a suspicious object they have found for sale, or when researching on the illicit trade more broadly!

Contact for further information 

ICOM: Alexandra Fernández Coego, Head of Communications and Public Relations 
T. +33 784 12 53 56 Fax. +33 1 43 06 78 62,,

Wikimedia CH :  Kerstin Sonnekalb, Outreach & Communication, Mobil: +41 78 813 13 26, /, 

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