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[Wikimedia-l] Re: One Year Update
Thank you so much; I'm impressed by the work you are doing and your
approach. One part of the Wikimedia mission that I hope returns to the fore
in the coming year is defense of copyleft; ensuring that users of Wikimedia
copyrighted content respect the license and share alike.

On Tue, Jan 31, 2023, 4:09 PM Maryana Iskander <>

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> <>
> Hi everyone - 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 January
> <>,
> April
> <>,
> June
> <>,
> September
> <>).
> 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 $24.7M of revenue was raised compared to the original
> $30M 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
> <,_2022:_Wishathon_Update>
> (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
> <,_Chair_of_the_Wikimedia_Foundation_Board_of_Trustees>
> 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
> Maryana
> Maryana Iskander
> Wikimedia Foundation CEO
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