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Editors want most funding for technical areas, while widespread ignorance of WMF board elections and chapters persists; voting still live on Commons best picture

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By Jan eissfeldt
"If you donated $100 to the foundation, how would you like the foundation to allocate money for the following?" Editors on average believe that technical issues (four cells on the left, blue to purple) should receive more than 60% of the foundation's financial allocation.

Editors want 60% of Foundation funding put to technical issues

The fifth release of finding from last December's editor survey (see previous Signpost coverage) sheds light on the communities' level of interest and participation in Wikimedia entities, and on how editors feel donated funds should be allocated.

The sample of nearly 7,000 editors believed that 60.5% of Wikimedia Foundation expenditures should go into technical areas, comprising operations (26.7%, blue), stakeholder-specific software improvements targeting new editors (13.6%, red), seasoned contributors (10.4%, green), and Wikipedia's readers (9.8%, violet).

Issues which are widely debated in the ongoing Wikimedia finance reform process, such as investing in community work in the Global South (5.3%) and grants to Wikimedians and other non-profit groups (5.4%), are well behind in participants' priorities.

Is there a Wikimedia chapter in the country where you live? (base: 6,660)

Comparing the findings on Wikimedia entities as such with the finding of the earlier survey from April 2011 points to a persistent lack of interest in getting involved in entity affairs. The number of survey participants who have never voted for the WMF's board of trustees remains close to 90%, and 47% (45% in April 2010) have never heard of the process in which the community picks three of the ten board members. Performance ratings for entities suffered a slight downturn (the foundation received 6.95 out of 10, down from 7.33 in 2010; and the chapters 6.04, down from 6.15), as well as the self-rating of the community (6.75, down from 7.4).

Awareness of chapters' very existence remains low: 45% of the responding users couldn't say if there was a Wikimedia chapter in their country, although the Signpost notes that the proportion of "don't knows" may have been much lower if editors in countries without a national chapter had been excluded.

Commons Picture of the Year: still time to vote in first round

Last year's winner, this photograph of the European Southern Observatory's Paranal Observatory, by ESO Photo Ambassador Yuri Beletsky

Editors are voting on the Commons:Picture of the Year 2011 to choose the best featured photos over the past year in a two-round contest. The annual contest, run by a volunteer committee, is now in its sixth year. Last year's first round covered some 800 files in 17 categories from 2010.

This year, 599 photographs are in the running. All have been selected as featured pictures and have remained on Commons during 2011. While there are still 17 categories, their structure has been slightly modified. Several category descriptions have been expanded, and panoramic nature views is now a category in its own right.

The first round of voting – to determine the 32 candidates with most votes across the categories for the final competition later this year – runs until June 7; every user who has established their account before 1 April 2012 and made more than 75 contributions on a Wikimedia wiki with SUL is eligible to take part.

In brief

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Pie chart visualizing the distribution of the Wikimedia Foundation's total cash expenditures, including all capital purchases, in the 2010/11 fiscal year (from the WMF annual report. Note: This is not directly comparable to the survey results, see comment)

As for the (kind of) obvious question of how the actual spending of the Foundation compares to the survey result (see also [1][2]), the short answer seems to be that it is very difficult to tell, because the tracking of the actual spending uses categories that differ from the options offered by the survey question. See this reply from WMF's data analyst Ayush Khanna (on whose blog post the story is based on) in response to a question for this Signpost story. However, as also pointed out there, there is an overview at m:Wikimedia Foundation/Annual Report/2010-2011/Financials#Where the money goes (see the pie chart on the right) which probably comes closest.

Note that this is not directly comparable to the distribution from the survey, for several reasons including but not limited to the following two:

  • The survey question does not account for administrative or fundraising costs (and vice versa the 2010/11 pie chart does not attempt to guess, for example, how much of the "costs for Foundation staff" in the 18% "Administration" part are due to staff in the tech department).
  • E.g. the "Community" part in the 2010/11 pie chart includes expenses for "improving new technologies to help project editors", which would probably be subsumed in the "technical" part of the survey question options.

It's also worth noting that a substantial part of the money donated for/on Wikimedia projects is not spent by the Foundation, but by the Wikimedia chapters, who may have different ratios of spending on technical/nontechnical areas. (In the first editor survey from April 2011, this question included the options "grantmaking to chapters, individuals" and "support for chapters", resulting in 7% each. After a discussion involving chapters, the options were modified for the second edition of the survey, removing all explicit mentions of chapters.)

Regards, Tbayer (WMF) (talk) 09:21, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

  • "Widespread ignorance" sounds kind of flashy... Anyhow, the juxtaposition of said ignorance with the desire for more spending in technical areas doesn't exactly present a strong, obvious correlation. I'm still wondering why they're talked about in the same section. Killiondude (talk) 07:06, 6 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Core Contest

I don't know if this was announced in Signpost this year, but I hope it is announced prominently next year, as I was unaware that it was going on. -- Ssilvers (talk) 21:14, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I had the same thought. Blue Rasberry (talk) 14:24, 6 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Me too. MathewTownsend (talk) 17:28, 6 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It was mentioned: Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2012-03-12/News and notes#Brief notes -- Theramin (talk) 22:43, 18 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]


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