The Wikimedia Foundation announced this week that they have received a $3.6 million grant from the Stanton Foundation. According to the press release from the Foundation, the funding will go to support development of the long-awaited visual editor and other technical improvements including the addition of editing facilities to the new Wikimedia mobile site. The grant can also be put towards any project that "make[s] Wikimedia a friendlier and more understandable environment for new editors".
The Stanton Foundation is a long-time funder of the Wikimedia Foundation, and I am thrilled they're increasing their investment in us. The Stanton Foundation was one of the first institutions to recognize that Wikipedia is a serious educational endeavour that's having a significant impact on people around the world. I will always be grateful to them for taking a risk in first funding us, many years ago."
— Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation
The $1.2 million grant in 2010 from the Stanton Foundation helped fund the Public Policy Initiative and a 2008 grant of $890,000 helped fund usability improvements. This week's $3.6 million donation is the largest ever to have been received by the Wikimedia Foundation.
WMF Chair speaks out on controversial content: Chairman of the Wikimedia Foundation's Board of Trustees Ting Chen issued a letter to the community on foundation-l in response to the image filter referendum. Thanking participants for their input, he acknowledged "significant division inside the Wikimedia community about the potential value and impact of an image hiding feature", noting a "significant minority" in opposition to the measure. Nevertheless, the statement expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo, arguing that "when material on the projects causes grave offence, those offended don't benefit from our work" and "exercising editorial judgment to mitigate that offence is not censorship". He declined to withdraw or alter the Board's previous resolution on the topic, instead charging Foundation staff with continuing community consultation and coming to a solution.
Final findings of editor survey released: The WMF's Head of Global Development Research Mani Pande has announced the release of the fifth and final report on the findings of the 2011 Editor Survey. Raw data from the survey findings is also available for download. Issues addressed include editing activities, demographics, women editors, the editing community, the location and languages of editors, technology and networking, and the institutions of the Wikimedia Foundation itself.
WMF to launch Arabic initiative: In the last month, WMF has been working on plans to support the growth of the Arabic Wikipedia, and will be holding a working session with the Qatar Foundation's computing research institute (QCRI) in Doha on 20 and 21 October. In a blog post, it announced that it will also conduct an IRC hour on Thursday, October 13 2011 at 20:00 UTC in #wikipedia-ar, to listen to community suggestions and respond to any inquiries around the initiative.
Wikipedia’s global reach visualized: The author of the winning entry of WikiViz 2011, Jen Lowe, presented her work, titled “A Thousand Fibers Connect Us – Wikipedia’s Global Reach” at the annual WikiSym conference last week. Launched in July, WikiViz 2011 is a data challenge calling for submissions to visualize the impact of Wikipedia beyond the scope of its own community, using open data.
Steve Jobs' death leads to enormous page views: the article on Steve Jobs in English Wikipedia had 7.4 million page views on October 6, the day after the Apple founder's death. As a point of comparison, the article about Michael Jackson got 5.9 million views two days after he died.
New administrators: No new editors were granted administrator privileges this week, although at the time of writing, Redrose64's request remained open with favourable margins.