News and notes
Wikimedia Foundation fundraising report, Montreal to host 2017 Wikimania
Wikimedia fundraising report
The Wikimedia Foundation has published its 2014–2015 Fundraising Report (mailing-list announcement).
Some key points:
- The Wikimedia Foundation's 2014–2015 fiscal year was "the most successful fundraising cycle in our history", with $75.5 million dollars raised from 4.9 million donations
- This is $22.9 million up on the year prior, and $17 million more than the planned total of $58.5 million that was indicated in the 2014–2015 Annual Plan
- Biggest day for online donations: December 3rd, 2014
- Donations less than $100 account for 74% of total revenue, with the average donation being $15
- 18% of donations are under $10, 35% are in the $10–$30 range
The Foundation has continued to perform exhaustive A/B testing of fundraising messages (1,320 fundraising banners tested in 2014), experimenting with different font sizes, designs and wordings. Judging by the sample banners shown in the report, the "keep Wikipedia online and ad-free" wording, much criticized last year (see March 2015 Signpost op-ed
), seems here to stay.
The Foundation has also surveyed users to assess the perceived intrusiveness of fundraising banners of different sizes as well as users' sentiment towards Wikipedia, and has expanded its email campaign: "Readers submit their email address for future communications when they make a donation and a year later the fundraising team sends an annual reminder to donate." The Foundation sent 5,710,299 such emails, resulting in a total of $8,310,107 raised from 370,205 donations, a 90% increase over 2013–2014.
Major gifts exceeding $1,000 have grown, representing a total of $10,700,000 from 1,397 donations. In 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation also received the largest single gift in its history, "a $5 million unrestricted donation from an anonymous donor that will support $1 million worth of expenses per year, for the next five years".
Social media mentions of the fundraising campaigns have been largely positive or neutral, according to the report, which says that out of 29,457 mentions on Twitter, for example, where the #keepitfree hashtag is used to publicise Wikimedia fundraising campaigns, 44% were positive, 49% were neutral, and 7% were negative.
The report concludes with a reminder that readership is in decline, especially in a number of key fundraising countries, with the rise in mobile readership unable to make up for the rather greater loss in desktop pageviews. In the United States for example, total pageviews are expected to be down by 5% this December compared to December 2014. Another aspect of the widespread shift from desktop to mobile is that mobile readers are generally less likely to donate than desktop readers. AK
Montreal was selected for Wikimania 2017
Wikimania steering committee selects Montreal to host 2017 iteration of conference
The Wikimania Steering Committee's plans for future Wikimanias—the annual conference of the Wikimedia community—have been revealed in an apparent leak by Leung Chung-ming (春卷柯南) to the Wikimedia-l mailing list.
According to Google Documents linked to on the mailing list, Wikimania locations will now be determined based on a three-year rotation. Starting in the first year with Western, Northern, and Southern Europe—specifically excluding Eastern Europe—the second year will feature the United States/Canada, and the third year's conference will be somewhere in the rest of the world. Without apparent irony, the committee implies that fewer areas of the world will now be "ignored" by Wikimania.
The first two, and possibly three, locations have already been determined: Italy, Canada, and South Asia.
First, Wikimania 2016 will be held in Esino Lario, a small village in the Italian Alps. This selection, made last year through the now-deprecated bidding process, was not uncontroversial.
Wikimania 2017: Montreal
Second, the Steering Committee plans to bring Wikimania to Montreal, Canada, in 2017—a choice that appears to have been made by last August without public consultation, transparent planning, or announcement to other potential bidding teams, even though they were "happy to endorse" the location as far back as their August 2015 meeting.
The Montreal team will be led by Marc-André Pelletier (Coren), a former member of the English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee. The draft announcement does not note that he is also a current employee of the Wikimedia Foundation.
The draft announcement says that the committee reviewed several options and talked with "several" community members. These evidently did not include planned bidders Perth, who
have been preparing a bid since at least as late as September 19, or Manila, who have long planned to revive their failed 2016 bid for 2017. Josh Lim (Sky Harbor), an organizer for the latter, wrote to Wikimedia-l that "I am at a loss for words as to how to express my utter disappointment at how this process seems to have been rammed through without any sort of consultation taking place whatsoever, despite assurances made to the contrary ... my faith in the entire Wikimania process at this point is visibly shaken."
Wikimania 2018: South Asia?
Last, the Steering Committee appears to be planning for a Wikimania 2018 in South Asia. Deror Avi—the representative remaining on the Steering Committee from Wikimania 2011 in Haifa, Israel—writes that there are "keen" individuals from South Asia who would like to host the conference, and James Forrester, the chair of the Steering Committee and a Wikimedia Foundation employee, appears ready to select the region in a comment dated August 18. Ellie Young, the Foundation's events manager, is not.
Bidding process changes
A somewhat less controversial change may lie in the move away from the old bidding process. As the Steering Committee notes in a draft message:
The existing bidding process has developed over time. It has become unwieldy and hard work for the community and staff. It demands that people pour a huge amount of effort into building local teams, contracts and institutional relationships only for rejected bids' work to be left unused. A lot of pressure is put on volunteers to try to work on logistics rather than dream about what would make a great programme for our communities. Each year, the jury has to decide on a venue based on what is presented by each group divisively, rather than what we as a community could come together and build.
The process is too short-term, setting out venue[s] much less than two years ahead (often only just more than twelve months in advance). This greatly increases expenses when other similar conferences plan locations out many years ahead. This makes it impossible for us to be strategic about location, prevents us from arranging co-location with like-minded conferences, and it means that some areas of the world are ignored when they could provide great Wikimanias.
Boryana Dineva, WMF VP of Human Resources
- WMF hiring: The WMF has announced that Boryana Dineva will be the new Vice President for Human Resources. She joins the WMF from Tesla Motors. G
- Wikimedia Foundation seeks new board members: The Wikimedia Foundation's new VP of Human Resources, Boryana Dineva, issued a Call for Board nominees on September 26; nominations had to be received by September 30. A separate pdf document indicates that the Foundation seeks to add two board members by the end of 2015. The desired areas of expertise focus on governance (finance, auditing, operations, business models) and diversity (human dynamics & social behavior at scale, online cultures & culture diversity, emerging economics, emerging & global media). AK
- New functionary: Philippe Beaudette (Philippe) was appointed a CheckUser and Oversighter by the Arbitration Committee. Beaudette, an administrator since 2007, recently left the position of Director of Community Advocacy at the WMF. Arbitrators and supporters cited Beaudette's lengthy experience on Wikipedia and with the WMF, where he was one of the most senior employees, having joined the WMF in 2009. Some users expressed concern that the Committee was acting out of process with a quick motion and appointment in less than two days and that Beaudette should be appointed as part of a regular call for candidates. G
- New user-groups: The Affiliations Committee announced the approval of this week's newest Wikimedia movement affiliate, Wikimedia User Group Nigeria. G
- Milestones: The Wikimedia blog discusses the Swedish Wikipedia's recent passing of the 2-million-articles milestone. G
- Beta testing: Some editors are experiencing problems related to the Content Translation beta feature (see previous Signpost coverage). Those who have it enabled are reporting issues with other gadgets, including Twinkle and HotCat. Disabling the beta feature causes the other gadgets to act normally. G
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