By now you are likely aware that the Wikimedia sites suffered from a relatively significant botnet driven DDOS attack on September 6th, taking them offline in several countries throughout the day. This primarily affected Wikipedia access in Europe and the Middle East. We posted a short update of the event on our website.
I would like to thank everyone who stepped up to support the restoration of our projects, including the fast reporting of community members throughout the world and our security and engineering teams who worked long hours to address many complex issues surrounding the attack and our response—the Site Reliability Engineering team in particular.
The Wikimedia Foundation leadership team is proud to work with such talented and dedicated staff and supporters.
“Today, Wikipedia was hit with a malicious attack that has taken it offline in several countries for intermittent periods. The attack is ongoing and our Site Reliability Engineering team is working hard to stop it and restore access to the site.
As one of the world’s most popular sites, Wikipedia sometimes attracts “bad faith” actors. Along with the rest of the web, we operate in an increasingly sophisticated and complex environment where threats are continuously evolving. Because of this, the Wikimedia communities and Wikimedia Foundation have created dedicated systems and staff to regularly monitor and address risks. If a problem occurs, we learn, we improve, and we prepare to be better for next time.
We condemn these sorts of attacks. They’re not just about taking Wikipedia offline. Takedown attacks threaten everyone’s fundamental rights to freely access and share information. We in the Wikimedia movement and Foundation are committed to protecting these rights for everyone.
Right now, we’re continuing to work to restore access wherever you might be reading Wikipedia in the world. We’ll keep you posted.”
Summary: We want your help with a voluntary, OPT-IN design process for movement branding. Please join the in-depth discussion group, or watch for updates on Meta-Wiki.
After 4 months of community consultation, spanning dozens of affiliates, several mailing lists, community conferences, and Meta-Wiki, I am pleased to share a summary of feedback on the proposed 2030 movement brand strategy .
From more than 319 comments, representing 150 individual contributors and 63 affiliates, we assessed 6 major themes in feedback:
Supporting sister projects
Addressing (legal, governmental) risks
Supporting movement growth
The process of change
Please visit our feedback summary page to learn more . You will see examples of comments within each section, along with a rough indication of how many of the comments that we received were related to each theme.
The comments sometimes contradict one another, showing that across our wide movement’s experience, different points of view are common (and a sign of health!). To visualize these tensions, we have created “polarity maps” which are used to help visualize how different arguments coexist in tension with each other.
Ultimately, the comments provided from you all are very thoughtful and useful guidance on what is needed to make our movement’s branding successful. One can read the 6 themes above as “criteria” for assessing branding systems.
I would like to thank the organizers of Iberoconf, Wikipedia Education Summit, and the Wikimedia Summit for inviting us to hold discussions during their sessions. I would also like to thank my colleagues Elena Lappen, Samir Elsharbaty, and Blanca Flores who conducted extensive parts of this consultation. To the hundreds of people, and dozens of affiliates, thank you for reviewing the proposal and offering your perspectives and insights.
Next steps and staying involved
There is considerable support for the brand proposal and general appetite to improve our movement’s branding system. Further, we believe that critical feedback on the proposal offers direct guidance for precisely what branding must do to be successful for our movement. We have shared these insights and our proposed continuance with the Board of Trustees, who approved continuing these efforts.
Acting on community insights, we will be collaborating on formal brand naming, visual identity, and brand system design that will use “Wikipedia” as the central reference point. The resulting system will be OPT-IN for affiliates.
This design process will be guided by a “brand network” – a group of volunteers who would like to continue advising on brand during this consultation. Dozens of people have already volunteered, and we invite you to join the group. We will use a group on Wikimedia Space to host this discussion and the group will be closed to allow candid discussions and room for iterations. EVERYONE IS INVITED TO JOIN . If you do not want to commit to the in-depth, longer term discussions that will be happening within the brand network group, we will still be tracking comments left on the project’s Meta-Wiki page . Furthermore, all important ideas and updates originating from the brand network discussion will be shared publicly to mailing lists and Meta-Wiki.
The development of this proposed identity system will take approximately 6 months. As stated, regular updates will be shared to mailing lists, Wikimedia Space, and Meta-Wiki . Please engage us where you are most comfortable! Once complete, community groups will have the power to decide if/when they opt in to using the new system.
The Wikimedia movement aims to become a platform that serves open knowledge to everyone. We are focusing on building strong and diverse communities that reflect the world, including those that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. In order to better support the growth of this thriving movement, the Wikimedia Foundation is improving the community infrastructure to provide safe spaces and equitable processes for all participants.
As we build strong and diverse communities and as we break down social, political, and technical barriers, a certain limitation emerges: we cannot expect to know everybody in the Wikimedia movement. The Wikimedia Foundation supports the engagement and development of volunteers in many ways, from calls for feedback to scholarships for events or project grants. We must provide equitable support to everyone, with special consideration to new and emerging contributors and underrepresented communities. For that, we need to establish a platform to increase our breadth and depth of knowledge about Wikimedia communities worldwide.
Meet the upcoming Wikimedia movement CRM (an acronym that we are defining as Community Relationship Manager). As of today it is just a plan for a first iteration between now and June 2020. The main goals of this plan are:
Set up a CRM based on CiviCRM software that is accessible to Wikimedia Foundation teams interacting with communities.
Introduce data reflecting the main structures of the movement: affiliates, committees, Wikimedia projects. Goals include: Make it easy to contact committees and keep track of their changes in membership, thus keeping a better record of our collective history. This will pave the road for broader groups to be included and more sophisticated queries.
Whenever possible, offer a registration tool to Wikimedia events, from Wikimania to a small editathon. A next step will be to handle scholarships of these events, offering the committees approving scholarships better infrastructure for fair judgement.
There are many other possible use cases, and we will explore them as time allows. For example:
Offering a form where volunteers can sign up to receive information about projects or programs Provide organizers of training courses and editathons a process to issue certificates of completion and badges for achievements.
Provide the GLAM community and other projects working with partners the possibility to share contacts and relationships with external organizations.
Check our initial plan and share your feedback here. The Community Relations team is leading the development of this CRM program. A top priority for us is to assure that our workflows for storing and handling this information follow best practice standards of security and privacy. We are committed to the transparency of this program. We will keep sharing details about the development of the CRM and its use.
Also, we have just published a job posting for a CRM Specialist (LinkedIn, Twitter), the person who will lead this program. Please help us spread the word about this opportunity, and if you think you may be right for the position, submit your application.
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Content Translation achieved a new milestone, supporting already the creation of 500,000 Wikipedia articles. The Language team has been working during the last year to make the tool more solid, and has plans to expand the use of translation to help more communities to grow.
Wikipedia users can learn about many topics. However, the exact number of topics they can access is very different depending on the language they speak. While English speaking users can access more than 5 million articles, Bengali speakers have access to 75 thousand articles.
Translating articles into new languages is a practice that can help content to propagate more fluently across languages, and reduce this language gap. To facilitate this process, we here at the Wikimedia Foundation developed a content translation tool that helps Wikipedia editors to easily translate articles. Content Translation simplifies translating Wikipedia articles into different languages by automating many of the boring steps of the manual translation process.
In early August, Content Translation reached a new milestone: more than half a million articles were created since the tool was released four years ago, making this a good time to reflect on the impact of the tool and discuss future plans.
A more reliable tool
During the past year, the Language team worked on a new version of the tool. Based on user research and feedback, the plan was to create a more solid version of Content Translation to increase the tool adoption and use.
For the new version we replaced the default editing surface provided by the browser with Visual Editor, which supports rich wiki content in a way that is much more reliable. This required a rewrite most of the translation tools, and we wanted to take this opportunity to review them and provide better guidance for newcomers.
As the new version became more complete it was gradually exposed more prominently during the year, and finally replaced the previous version completely without major regressions. During the year more than 149.000 translations were created, a 23% increase compared to the previous year.
We started conversations with different communities to identify the main blockers before the tool could be provided by default and exposed to more users.
Better collaboration between humans and machines
In addition to the number of articles created, we focused on the quality of the content. The new version improved the guidance provided to newcomers. In particular, a new system was created to encourage users to review and edit the initial machine translation, and approaches based on Artificial Intelligence were explored to improve some automatic steps.
Content Translation provides machine translation as initial content for editors to review and improve. The machine translation is provided as a starting point, and translators are highly encouraged to rewrite the content, in order to eliminate errors and make the translation sound more natural.
The new version incorporates new quality control mechanisms for machine translation. Now the tool encourages translators to review the initial automatic translations on a paragraph basis, keeps in a tracking category those translations published with unmodified content for editors to review, and prevents publishing those which exceed the limits defined. The limits to prevent publishing become more strict for users with previous deleted translations, users ignoring the warnings, and cases where several paragraphs contain unmodified contents. In this way, the limits adapt to reduce potential recurrent misuse of the tool.
In general, our measurements suggest that translations are less likely to be deleted than the articles started from scratch. The survival rate for translations even when those are created by newcomers seems quite good. A recent study shows that a significant percentage of the translations created with the tool survive the community review. Although the survival rate is better for experienced users, it is still very good for newcomers (users that created their account during the last 6 months). For example, only 7.5% of translations created by newcomers in last june were deleted after a month.
In addition, Artificial Intelligence is becoming more present in the tool to make the initial translations better:
We believe that automation with adequate quality control mechanisms makes it easy for translators to create higher quality translations more easily.
Translation has helped already many communities to create new content. However, there are still communities with potential to grow by using translation that have not been using the tool as much.
Content Translation’s Boost initiative is aimed at expanding the use of translation to help more communities grow. By enabling new and more visible ways to contribute by using translation, we expect communities to attract new editors, and expand the knowledge available in their languages.
We identified potential for expanding its use to more contexts that can benefit from translation:
Translation can be used by more wikis. The adoption of Content Translation varies significantly from wiki to wiki, and there are wikis with potential to benefit from using translation more.
Translation can be used in more ways. Currently, Content Translation focuses on creating new articles on desktop. Supporting new kinds of contribution such as expanding existing articles with new sections, or mobile translation enable more opportunities to contribute.
During the next months we will focus on wikis with potential to grow by translation. As a representative set of those wikis we have initially selected Malayalam, Bengali, Tagalog, Javanese, and Mongolian. We’ll be contacting these communities to gauge the interest in the project, and learn about their particular needs to support them better. We expect these and similar communities to benefit as a result. Our specific plans will be heavily influenced by research in the selected communities and their feedback. Please, provide any feedback about this initiative in the discussion page. We are interested in hearing your ideas on how to help communities grow by using translation.
This process wouldn’t have been possible without communities’ participation, and we want to thank each of you for taking the time away from doing your favorite thing on the wikis to comment on our organization’s plan for the next 5 years. This new process, which we implemented for the first time this year, allows us to plan for a longer time frame. It also gives us a more flexible structure for annual planning that allows us to incorporate recommendations from the movement strategy.
Today, we are publishing both the Wikimedia Foundation’s Medium-term Plan and our annual budget and plan for the fiscal year 2019-20. This 2019-20 plan is the first instance in this new planning process, and over the next 5 years, we will continue to create plans that focus on the priorities we identified. We will review the progress towards our annual goals on a quarterly basis, and continue to share these reports publicly.
We hope to continue these conversations and collaboration as we work towards our strategic direction.
Usability improvements: This project will make the mobile visual editor easier to use. The goal is to let contributors stay focused on editing and to feel more confident in the editing tools.
Wikimania: Several members of the Editing Team will be attending Wikimania in August 2019. They will lead a session about mobile editing in the Community Growth space. Talk to them about how editing can be improved.
Talk Pages: In the coming months, the Editing Team will begin improving talk pages and communication on the wikis.
The VisualEditor on mobile project page is a good place to learn more about the projects we are working on. The team wants to talk with you about anything related to editing. If you have something to say or ask, please leave a message at Talk:VisualEditor on mobile.
The Education team at the Wikimedia Foundation have been holding Office Hours for the past 11 months, and have engaged with more than 40 Wikimedians during that time. We’ve enjoyed chatting about topics ranging from the usefulness of Wikiversity to how best to support students who edit on mobile phones. Though Office Hours have been reasonably well attended, we’ve noticed that it may be more useful to slightly restructure this time. From July, we’ll be hosting only one open Office Hours event, while experimenting with a way to deep dive with individuals who need more 1:1 consulting.
While the monthly Office Hours event will remain the same, we are excited to introduce Office Space. Our goal for Office Space is to provide 1:1 consultation to Wikimedians involved in education activities. As a result of Office Space, we hope individuals and groups interested in Wikimedia in education will have better capacity to make their initiatives strong, results oriented and scalable.
Office Hours will be an open platform for The Wikimedia Foundation Education Team to hear from the community, share what we’re doing and answer questions in an open forum where we can learn from each other. The platform provides an opportunity to share your work with others and learn from them, get updates from activities happening around the movement and look for opportunities to collaborate.
Office Space will be a platform where you can schedule a 1:1 consultation with one or more members of the education team. We’re setting aside 4.5 hours of team time a month for ½ hour or 1 hour consultations. This will help you get answers to specific questions, and tap into the various expertise of the Wikimedia Foundation Education Team. We will start hosting Office Space events from the month of August. We will triage incoming requests based on when they were received, and the nature of the request. We hope that through this mechanism our support to the community is fair and productive.
From August, the Education Team will host one Office Hours and one Office Space each month for the Wikimedians involved in education activities or are interested in them. We will be announcing Office Hours events on the Wikimedia Space and will update the Office Hours events and the minutes of meeting there.
You can sign up for a 1:1 Office Space consultation for August by filling out this form.
Today, we are thrilled to share an updated visual design style on the Wikimedia Foundation website (wikimediafoundation.org)!
This updated design was developed by the Wikimedia Foundation’s Product design team. We worked on feedback from Meta-Wiki, emails, Phabricator, and hundreds of conversations paired with user testing with people in the target audiences for the website. We are incredibly appreciative of the great care that team has taken in making strategic, data-led design decisions and really helping us amplify the website’s ability to convey our story to people generally unfamiliar with Wikimedia.
Thank you to the now hundreds of people that have been involved in helping us build a website for the Foundation which we can be proud of!
-greg & the Wikimedia Foundation Communication team
A bit more about the site
How is the site doing?
Since the site’s soft launch in July 2018, traffic has continued to increase. There has also been a significant increase in donations collected via this website. Two key audiences, potential staff and partners, have shared positive feedback on the site’s content and organization, enabling them to find jobs and contact key teams respectively. Additionally, user testing has shown a positive response to the content and overall architecture of the site.
What brought us here
The Wikimedia Foundation Communications department has been collecting feedback on the Foundation’s website since late 2016 and beginning in early 2017 has been working on addressing the backlog of issues related to the website. The original Foundation site, launched in 2004, did not have a clear audience, and as a result was not effectively serving any of the hundreds of uses people saw for it. Maintaining the site’s content beyond English had become a growing problem – leaving visitors with different information, depending on which language they were using, on basic details like our address and executive staff. Additionally, the site had over 17,000 pages – a vast majority of which were either out of date or no longer in use.
In 2017-18, the Communications department ran a “Discovery” process to help inform our decision making. This process included reviews of methods used by other organizations, assessment of our current communication channels, collecting feedback at Wikimania, and interviews with dozens of volunteers, donors, contractors, and staff. The resulting report and recommendations helped identify the objectives and audiences of the website, and were utilized throughout the initial design and development of the new website.
Shortly after the soft launch, the department began working with the Product department’s design team to perform user testing, process feedback collected in the weeks following the soft launch, and collect additional feedback to help us make informed decisions. They helped us collect and process feedback from hundreds of individuals within and outside of the movement.
Based on feedback, they conducted user testing and developed the updated design we deployed this morning. We will continue to use a data and feedback informed decision making in managing the site. Given the external audience nature of the site, it has consistently proven important to take the time to collect feedback and data from a wide variety of sources – including volunteers, press, donors, partner organizations, and readers of the projects.
What comes next
More languages! The Communications department will continue to work on content development and expanding translations to additional languages. If you are interested in our plans for translations, please check out the information shared recently about the Organization communications translators group.
The Communications department will continue to monitor the talk page for the Foundation’s website on Meta-Wiki. Additionally, I will be attending Wikimania in Stockholm and available to chat with folks.
Wikimedia Foundation Readers Web team brings contribution tools to mobile
In early 2018 the trend was clear: more people were accessing Wikipedia from a mobile device than desktop. This helped our team recognize the importance of improving the mobile editing experience in order to provide access to necessary tools for editors – particularly for people where a mobile device is their only device. Seeing that the needs of new editors are different from those of existing editors we decided to break the work up by audience and focus on advanced editors – editors that were familiar with the tools and would benefit from easier access on the mobile web.
We tested our prototype with more than 60 editors. The response to the design was overwhelmingly positive, and included some great suggestions as well as raising some valid concerns. We collected the feedback and integrated it into our final designs.
Based on initial research, past requests from communities, and this prototype feedback, the team decided to focus on the navigation of the site and access to special pages.
We began with introducing the Article/Discussion tabs at the top of the page.
The feature was first released as an opt-in setting on Arabic, Indonesian, and Spanish Wikipedias due to their relatively large populations of existing mobile editors.
These links provide more visibility to the discussions that take place around article creation. Previously a link to the discussion page was a small link at the bottom of the article page.
You can see edits being made by contributors with this mode enabled by selecting the #Advanced mobile edit tag on Recent changes (Example from Spanish Wikipedia).
Recently the team released a second set of features and included additional Wikipedias for testing and feedback (Italian, Japanese, Persian, and Thai).
These new features include:
Article and Discuss tabs at the top of all pages.
An enhanced toolbar (at the top of article and user pages), with a link to page history, and a new menu that contains other useful actions and links such as page information, wikidata item, permalink, what links here, Special:Cite, and more.
An updated main menu with links to Special pages and the Community portal.
Fully featured history pages, formatted for mobile screens.
There are more features to come, including a new user menu, an improved Recent changes page, and other small bug fixes.
We plan to release these features to all wikis in the near future. If you’re an editor on one of the seven listed Wikipedias, you can enable the Advanced mobile contribution setting and try the features out for yourself.
So far the feedback on these features has been positive. The opt-out rate has been very low. This means that the people who have tried it do like and use the improvements. We hope you’ll be one of them too! Try it out and please tell others about these features. If you have any questions you can find out more on the project page. Feedback is welcome.
As you know the Rapid Grants Program has played an important role in helping our communities to grow. The number of grants we have given outgrew by 30% between FY16 -17 to this fiscal year, and they grew by 55% when measured by the total amount disbursed. (See the spending analysis for reference.*)
While communities have valued these flexible funding opportunities, on our part, it hasn’t been easy to measure and track their impact. We, therefore, will be implementing a number of changes in Fiscal Year 19/20, starting August 1, 2019, to sharpen the focus and impact of rapid grants, whilst at the same time maintaining the quick and flexible funding options for community: 1) In the months specified below, we will prioritize support to contests and campaigns which have been an exciting source of growth in editorship, innovative participation and content generation by communities. These months will be solely dedicated to different contests and campaigns throughout the year:
August: only receiving proposals for Wiki Loves Monuments
September: only receiving proposals for Awareness Grants (campaign)
December: only receiving proposals for Wiki Loves Africa
January: only receiving proposals for Art + Feminism (campaign)
March: only receiving proposals for Wiki Loves Earth
2) Outside the months specified above, proposals are welcomed in all other categories: edit-a-thons, contests, photowalks, general promotion campaigns, and video campaigns. For added flexibility, we will also consider proposals outside of these categories, such as software development. However, we will no longer be providing rapid grants for travel support, equipment purchase or meetups. 3) We will evaluate each batch of grants once a month and accept the best proposals in alignment with the Wikimedia Foundation’s medium-term goals.
We will share the evaluation for the Rapid Grants Program that led us to sharpen the focus for the program once the evaluation is completed by September 30, 2019. In addition to these changes, we’ve also considered comments around Wikimedia Foundation Rapid Grants eligibility criteria and have clarified these criteria. Please take the time to re-familiarize yourselves with the Wikimedia Foundation Rapid Grants Guidelines and Criteria page.