The Foundation announced the acceptance of a $20,000 grant, earmarked for the process of creating copyleft illustrations for use within Wikipedia and elsewhere. The grant was given by entrepreneur Philip Greenspun. The project, coordinated by Brianna Laugher (Pfctdayelise) and Cary Bass (Bastique), will involve a list of needed illustrations, to be compiled on the Meta-Wiki, followed by a period in which users can sign up for an illustration, and upon completion and acceptance, earn the amount offered for that illustration (most will be around US$40 per illustration, with some variation). The grant marks the first foray into paid content creation for the Foundation.
After an update to the sitenotice displayed on all Wikimedia websites, the fundraising totals on November 4-6 were roughly doubled from prior levels. In response to a thread critiquing the banner's design, Board member Erik Möller said,
I think no matter what we put at the top of the page, we'll probably get 20 comments telling us that it's horrible, unprofessional, too professional, too preachy, not preachy enough, too irritating, not irritating enough, too colorful, too gray, too banner-like, not sufficiently banner-like, too familiar, too unfamiliar, [etc.] I'll stop now. Since we put up the new banner, the number of donations per day has more than doubled. Whether this is due to its newness or the new design -- it's clear that we have to make modifications like this to meet our fundraising goals. We need $4.6 million for the FY 2007-2008, and so far we've raised $368,000. We expect that we'll need another fundraiser in 2008 and we also have some major donors interested in contributing for this fundraiser; this one will run into late December. During that time we'll experiment further with the notice, the landing page, etc. Helpful comments are appreciated at Wikipedia:Fundraising redesign.
There are two paths the Foundation could take in its organizational development: 1) Focus, 100%, on hosting Wikipedia and generating enough funding to do so -- rely almost exclusively on ad hoc volunteerism for everything beyond hosting. 2) Build WMF into a mission-driven non-profit that is not merely hosting a website, but distributing knowledge to people world-wide, and reaching out to the global community for participation and content creation. These paths are extremely different. For example, in scenario 1), it would not be necessary to relocate the Foundation from St. Petersburg, Florida to San Francisco, as we've decided to do -- we would surely be able to support basic server hosting without it. On the other hand, becoming a successful and global charity requires access to a different talent pool, the ability to execute program directives, etc. As Jimmy's video should make clear, the Foundation (through its majority-elected Board of Trustees) has chosen path 2) -- we're not merely a webhost; we want to be a new kind of charity: a charity of free knowledge. And this necessitates that we prepare & plan our growth accordingly.
Various updates were made this week to job openings listed for the Wikimedia Foundation. Job listings for the position of Personal Assistant to the Executive Director and Office Manager closed last week. Meanwhile, job openings for the position of Accountant, Head of Development, Head of Communications, and Head of Business Development were scheduled to close on Monday, though the openings still remained on the Wikimedia Foundation's website as of press time.
The office of Chief Financial and Operating Officer is scheduled to close on November 12, while the volunteer position of Treasurer of the Board of Trustees will close on December 1. In an update on Friday, Foundation advisor Sue Gardner noted that the positions of software developers, public outreach and partnerships development will open soon.
A list of all users who have created at least 50 namespace non-redirect pages was compiled this week. The results show bots at the top two positions, with Blofeld of SPECTRE as the top human, with 11,752 articles created (most of which, according to Blofeld of SPECTRE, were geographical stubs). 180 IP addresses or IP ranges had written at least 50 articles, accounting for over 21,000 articles.
Nominations for the December 2007 Arbitration Committee Elections opened this week. As of press time, 21 users had nominated themselves: Cbrown1023, David Fuchs, Deskana, Dreamafter, Durova, Endlessdan, Giano, Hemlock Martinis, Messedrocker, Misza13, Monsieurdl, Moreschi, Newyorkbrad, Physchim62, Pilotguy, Raul654, Ryan Postlethwaite, Shell Kinney, Swatjester, White Cat, and Wizardman.
Of the five current arbitrators, only Raul654 has indicated that he will stand for re-election. Fred Bauder, Mackensen, and Neutrality have all stated that they will not run in the 2007 elections; SimonP has not yet indicated whether he plans to stand for re-election. These five seats will expire in 2007; it has not yet been noted whether any other seats will be added or replaced.