On January 16, voting for the first round of the 2012 Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year contest will begin. Wikimedia editors with 75 edits on any one project are eligible to vote to select their favorite image featured in 2012.
This year will mark the seventh annual contest, which was originally started by Commons editor Alvesgaspar in late 2006. Since then, editor participation has expanded greatly and the contest has become an important part of the Commons calendar. The last contest was won by Heinrich Pniok, a German volunteer who submitted a photograph taken in Norway.
The 2012 Picture of the Year contest is organized by a small group of volunteers who are responsible for tasks like sorting images from the featured picture process, promoting the event, translating messages, and contacting the contest winners. In addition, a new script has been deployed to improve the voting experience. The tool allows voters to quickly and easily vote for the images of their choice, while checking the eligibility of voters.
Voting in the first round will run from from January 16 to January 30. Eligible editors can vote for as many of the 988 images featured in 2012 as they wish. The second round will start on February 7 to determine the winner among the finalists from the first round.
New WMF grant scheme kicks off
On January 15, the foundation launched its latest grant scheme, called Individual Engagement Grants (IEGs). The program, after going through a consultation period since mid-December 2012, aims primarily to empower individual volunteer grantees or small groups, working on structural and time-intensive problems of the editing communities.
The scheme works on an eight-step process, from applicants learning about the program to assessing whether they are comfortable with the framework, to finally reporting results on Meta. The second step, the application process, is open from January 15 to February 15 in this first round, and at the same time Meta is setting up a volunteer reviewer committee. Its membership is supposed provide feedback on, evaluate and finally make recommendations on the proposals.
Siko Bouterse and other supporting staff will be checking whether submissions fulfil the formal requirements. Community discussions of applications will be open until February 24. The day after, the committee will start considering both the proposals and their related discussions in making its final recommendations until the grantee announcement, scheduled for March 15.
Successful applicants will secure a grant for one of the maximum seven IEG pilots. They will gain access to US$5–30K to fund their efforts for 6–12 months, and are expected to file mid-point reports on Meta by July. A second round is planned to start on August 1. Volunteers interested in participating in the work of the related committee are invited to join it.
Wikimedia Conference Japan 2013: Japanese Wikipedians are preparing this year's Wikimedia conference at the University of Tokyo on February 3. Information on the program, keynote speakers, and conference details is on both the conference website and on Facebook.
Steward elections: On January 15, Meta started its annual steward election proceedings. Candidature submissions for this vital global role are open until January 28, 23:59 (UTC). Community voting is set to begin on February 8, parallel to the reconfirmation process of volunteers already serving in that role.
Milestones: On January 13, Wikispecies—the WMF-supported project aiming at disseminating free knowledge of all known biological species—reached a milestone, with Tetramorium alpestre, its 350,000th entry. At the time of writing, the Italian Wikipedia project was less than two thousand articles short of its millionth entry.