|Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.
|founding||June 20, 2003|
San Francisco , California , United States
|motto||"Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge .."
Translation: "Imagine a world in which every single person can freely participate in the sum of all knowledge. That is our obligation. "
|main emphasis||free content , wiki-based internet projects|
|people||Katherine Maher ( Managing Director )|
|sales||$ 120.1 million (2019)|
|Employees||more than 450 (July 2020)|
The Wikimedia movement is a movement of around 75,000 volunteers and organizations who create both free content and the software for it. It uses wikis to collect, develop and distribute the content . Wikipedia is the best-known project, and the Wikimedia Commons media database is also widely used.
The owner of the internet domains is usually the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF). There are also national non-profit organizations (chapters). You are contractually connected with WMF. The use of the few registered trademarks is regulated. Such a contract is also the basis for how the amounts donated through the websites are divided. In the German-speaking countries, the Chapters have club created as of: Wikimedia Germany e. V., Wikimedia Austria and Wikimedia CH. In 2012, the WMF announced that it would like to recognize thematic associations, looser user groups and some kind of partners in addition to the national associations .
The Wikimedia Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organization acc. United States Internal Revenue Code (26 USC § 501 (c)) under the laws of the American state of Florida . It has no members, only a constitution and a board of trustees.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced the founding on June 20, 2003. With the establishment of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wales and Bomis transferred all rights to names and domains in connection with Wikipedia or its sister projects as well as the servers that had been acquired to date.
The name "Wikimedia" was invented by Sheldon Rampton, American author and operator of SourceWatch (formerly Disinfopedia ).
Board of Trustees
The highest body of the foundation is the Board of Trustees , the Board of Trustees . It consists of three members elected by the community, two representatives chosen by the national organizations (chapters), four members appointed by the board and the founder Jimmy Wales, who is to be confirmed annually by the board. There are also other bodies such as an advisory board and working groups.
Jimmy Wales , founder
María Sefidari , Chair of the Board of Trustees
Katherine Maher , General Manager
- June 2003 - October 2006: Jimmy Wales
- October 2006 - July 2008: Florence Nibart-Devouard
- July 2008 - July 2010: Michael Snow
- July 2010 - July 2012: Ting Chen
- July 2012 - August 2013: Kat Walsh
- August 2013 - July 2015: Jan-Bart de Vreede
- July 2015 - June 2016: Patricio Lorente
- June 2016 - July 2018: Christophe Henner
- since July 2018: María Sefidari
James Heilman, one of three members of the board of trustees elected by the Wikipedia community, was expelled from the board of trustees during a meeting on December 28, 2015, but was re-elected to the board of trustees by the community in 2017.
From December 2007 the managing director of the Wikimedia Foundation was the Canadian journalist Sue Gardner , on July 1, 2014 she was followed by Lila Tretikov , who was followed by Katherine Maher from April 2016 .
The German journalist, author and software developer Erik Möller held the post of deputy director from January 2008 to April 2015.
In the first few years, the work of the Wikimedia Foundation was done almost exclusively by volunteers. In 2005 there were two first permanent employees, a coordinator and a software manager. In 2006 the workforce grew to six people. The foundation continued to expand, creating various new positions such as General Counsel , Chief Operating Officer, Head of Communications, Grant Coordinator, Chapters Coordinator, and Volunteer Coordinator .
In the years that followed, the foundation's workforce grew rapidly. In 2010 there were 35 employees, in May 2011 65 employees. As of November 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation had 147 employees and a number of external employees. According to information on its website, the foundation had over 300 employees in August 2018 and over 350 in December 2019.
The Wikimedia Foundation initially had an office in Saint Petersburg , Florida. In 2007 she moved to San Francisco , where she moved to a larger office building in late 2009. In March 2016, Katherine Maher took over the management.
Wiki Education Foundation
In 2014, a dedicated organization was established for educational programs in the United States and Canada. The Wiki Education Foundation cooperates with universities and colleges and promotes teaching, learning and exploration in connection with the innovative use of Wikipedia and other projects.
National Wikimedia Associations
National Wikimedia associations, referred to as chapters in English , are independent organizations that have been granted the right by the Wikimedia Foundation to appear in their respective countries under the protected name “Wikimedia” and to use the Foundation's other trademarks.
The national associations support Wikimedia projects on site, for example by organizing meetings and workshops or through public relations work. You do not run any projects (such as Wikipedia or Wikiquote) - the Foundation reserves the right to do so. Furthermore, the national associations do not make any changes to the content of Wikipedia or other projects. The administrators elected by the Wikipedians and all other editors provide security in the projects.
On June 13, 2004 in Berlin with the association Wikimedia Germany - Society for the Promotion of Free Knowledge e. V. founded the first national Wikimedia association. The French Wikimédia France followed in October of the same year . On May 14, 2006 the Wikimedia CH - Association for the Promotion of Free Knowledge in Switzerland was founded. The non-profit association Wikimedia Austria - Society for the Promotion of Free Knowledge (WMAT) was finally founded on February 26, 2008.
There are now Wikimedia associations in many other countries, including Italy, Great Britain, Taiwan, Israel and the Netherlands. The so-called Meta-Wiki , which was established as the global organizational platform of Wikimedia, offers an overview of all country organizations .
For legal reasons, the country-specific domains wikipedia.de , wikipedia.at and wikipedia.ch identify the national associations as domain owners, not the Wikimedia Foundation, which is in charge of wikipedia.org . The websites of the three domains mentioned contain country-specific portals for Wikipedia.
In Wikimedia projects, the content is created by volunteers. The texts (and with a few fair use exceptions also media files) are under a free license , usually under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC-BY-SA) license . The MediaWiki software, developed primarily for this purpose, serves as the technical platform for the projects .
In addition to the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, the most important projects include the Wiktionary and Wikibooks dictionary - a project to create free learning materials - and the Wikiquote collection of quotations . Other projects are Wikisource for free texts, the species directory Wikispecies , Wikimedia Commons for images and other multimedia data, Wikinews , a free news source, Wikivoyage , a travel guide, Wikidata , a data collection, and Wikiversity , a platform for collaborative work on scientific projects.
According to ComScore , the Wikimedia projects were viewed by a total of 365 million visitors worldwide in January 2010.
The Wikimedia Foundation has hosted the international Wikimania conference annually since 2005 , designed as a communication forum for organizational officials, community members, scientists and technicians.
To operate the various Wikimedia projects, the Wikimedia Foundation maintains an extensive technical infrastructure in data centers in Ashburn in Virginia , Tampa in Florida (to be closed. Status: summer 2014) and Carrollton in Texas . There are also servers operated by Kennisnet in Amsterdam (Netherlands). A total of around 900 servers are in operation (as of July 2014). In 2008 all servers were converted to Ubuntu 8.04 LTS Server Edition . Wikimedia Germany provided 14 servers for the tool server, half of which is used by the OpenStreetMap project and its integration into Wikipedia and the other half supports the Wikipedia authors with helpers and bots. With the exception of the map server, the tool server was discontinued in 2014 and replaced by Wikimedia Labs .
Conflicts between WMF and Wikipedia authors
The communication and actions of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) have often caused inconsistencies in local communities of Wikipedia authors. So it was very controversial in 2010 within the German-speaking author community - the vote was 50% to 50% - whether to return to the classic web design of Wikipedia, the skin "Monobook", which the WMF did not respond. In 2011, the majority of the English-speaking Wikipedia authors were in favor of creating new articles only for users who have already been active for some time - a decision that WMF initially ignored for overriding strategic reasons, but which was subsequently implemented. Plans and initiatives by the WMF to install a filter mechanism for certain image representations, a so-called "image filter", caused sustained protests from, among others, a clear majority of French and German-speaking Wikipedia authors. The establishment of a new interface for article editing (“ Visual Editor ”) in 2012 also caused considerable controversy . Here, too, the English-speaking community turned against its use. A similar development took place with the introduction of a function for feedback on article quality, the so-called "Article Feedback Tool", in 2013 as well as a WMF proposal to keep videos available as MP4 in addition to the so-called free formats Ogg Theora and WebM . Also in 2013, the Wikimedia Foundation disregarded the request of the author community to initially shut down a function for notifying authors of feedback ("echo"). In July / August 2014, WMF employees pushed a new viewing function for media content (“Media Viewer”), which was clearly rejected by the English and German-speaking author community. This was ignored on the WMF side and, in order to technically enforce this position, the software was adapted so that WMF employees were given higher-level protection or processing rights ("Superprotect") vis-à-vis local administrators elected by the community in order to locally block the " Media Viewer ”. The extent to which such disregard for local opinion-forming processes and their technical implementation is legitimate under duress on the part of WMF remains the subject of disputes, especially in the English and German-speaking Wikipedia author community.
Up until now, Wikimedia has been financed primarily through donations. Most of these were small individual donations from private individuals. Wikimedia receives further support in the form of monetary and material donations from other foundations and companies, including since spring 2005 the search engine and internet portal operator Yahoo . In 2010, Google also made a larger individual donation. Amazon donated $ 1 million to Wikimedia in 2018. In October 2018, philanthropist George Soros donated $ 2 million to WMF. In 2019, Google donated US $ 1.1 million to the Wikimedia Foundation and US $ 2 million to the Wikimedia Endowment.
The Wikimedia Foundation has grown rapidly since it was founded in 2003. The annual income as well as the expenses and the net assets of the foundation increase continuously every year. The following table is based on the Statements of Activities (as of June 30th) in the Wikimedia Foundation Financial Reports.
|year||Total returns||Total effort||Increase in earmarked funds||Currency conversion||Increase in net worth||Year-end net worth|
|2003/2004||$ 80,129||$ 23,463||$ 0||$ 0||$ 56,666||$ 56,666|
|2004/2005||$ 379,088||$ 177,670||$ 10,000||$ 0||$ 211,418||$ 268,084|
|2005/2006||$ 1,508,039||$ 791.907||$ 20,000||$ 0||$ 736,132||$ 1,004,216|
|2006/2007||$ 2,734,909||$ 2,077,843||$ -3,000||$ 0||$ 654,066||$ 1,658,282|
|2007/2008||$ 5,032,981||$ 3,540,724||$ 2,027,629||$ 0||$ 3,519,886||$ 5,178,168|
|2008/2009||$ 8,658,006||$ 5,617,236||$ 12,829||$ 0||$ 3,053,599||$ 8,231,767|
|2009/2010||$ 17,979,312||$ 10,266,793||$ −1,401,555||$ 0||$ 6,310,964||$ 14,542,731|
|2010/2011||$ 24,785,092||$ 17,889,794||$ 2,754,115||$ 0||$ 9,649,413||$ 24,192,144|
|2011/2012||$ 38,479,665||$ 29,260,652||$ 1,517,901||$ 0||$ 10,736,914||$ 34,929,058|
|2012/2013||$ 48,635,408||$ 35,704,796||$ −2,670,546||$ 0||$ 10,260,066||$ 45,189,124|
|2013/2014||$ 52,465,287||$ 45,900,745||$ 1,382,396||$ 338,959||$ 8,285,897||$ 53,475,021|
|2014/2015||$ 75,797,223||$ 52,596,782||$ 2,405,684||$ −1.260.848||$ 24,345,277||$ 77,820,298|
|2015/2016||$ 81,862,724||$ 65,947,465||$ −1,952,762||$ −110.751||$ 13,962,497||$ 91,782,795|
|2016/2017||$ 91,242,418||$ 69,136,758||$ −558.258||$ 339,950||$ 21,547,402||$ 113,330,197|
|2017/2018||$ 104,505,783||$ 81,442,265||$ −1.444.145||$ 251,596||$ 21,619,373||$ 134,949,570|
- Official website of the Wikimedia Foundation (English)
- Profile of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. with basic economic data, history and much more information on the website of the Institute for Media and Communication Policy
- Leonhard Dobusch : Recommendations of the strategy process Wikimedia 2030: How big is the need for renewal at Wikipedia & Co? In: netzpolitik.org . May 18, 2020 (Interview with Nicole Ebber).
- Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Financial Statements 2018 and 2019 (PDF; 350KB). Retrieved July 11, 2020.
- Staff and Contractors , accessed July 11, 2020
- Jimmy Wales: Announcement of the founding of the foundation (e-mail, June 20, 2003).
- Sheldon Rampton: Suggested name Wikimedia. (Email, March 16, 2003)
- Bylaws of the Wikimedia Foundation, Article IV - The Board of Trustees, Section 3 - Selection
- Wikimedia Foundation fires board member. heise.de, December 29, 2015, accessed on April 29, 2019 .
- Why was James Heilman, aka Doc James, removed from the Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation? Accessed August 8, 2019 .
- Katie Chan, Joe Sutherland: Results from the 2017 Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees elections ( English ) Wikimedia Foundation. May 20, 2017. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
- board of trustees to appoint Sue Gardner as managing director
- Sue Gardner : Announcing Erik Moeller as Wikimedia Deputy Director . In: [Foundation-1] . Wikimedia Foundation. December 18, 2007. Retrieved May 12, 2008.
- Foundation: How many employees does Wikimedia have, and what do they do? Wikimedia Foundation, September 2011.
- Staff and Contractors , website of the Wikimedia Foundation, list of employees, accessed on August 12, 2018 (Engl.) Staff and Contractors. Archived from the original on August 12, 2019 ; accessed on January 21, 2020 .
- Staff and Contractors. Archived from the original on December 19, 2019 ; accessed on January 21, 2020 .
- press release
- blog entry
- Patricio Lorente: Executive transition update . WMF Board of Trustees March 10, 2016, accessed April 6, 2016.
- PRESS RELEASE: Frank Schulenburg named executive director of the new Wiki Education Foundation. In: wikiedu.org. May 14, 2014, accessed February 28, 2015 .
- See comScore data on Wikimedia ( Permalink )
- Wikimedia Foundation: Wikimania
- Wikimedia Foundation selects CyrusOne in Dallas as new data center . blog.wikimedia.org, May 5, 2014.
- Kennisnet supports Wikimedia Projects . Wikimedia Foundation Press Release
- Wikimedia Foundation 2014-15 Annual Plan, page 12.
- The Ubuntu Strategy and Wikipedia. In: ikhaya.ubuntuusers.de. October 11, 2008, accessed February 28, 2015 .
- New servers for the tool server and OpenStreetMap
- Wikipedia: Opinion pictures / Standard-Skin Vector or Monobook
- phab: T26527 ( Bugzilla: 24527 )
- Proposal to require autoconfirmed status in order to create articles in the English language Wikipedia
- phab: T32208 ( Bugzilla: 30208 )
- Wikipedia: Image filter
- mw: Article feedback / Version 5
- Wikipedia: Opinion pictures / article feedback
- Torsten Kleinz: "Superprotect": Wikimedia has the last word on Wikipedia. In: heise.de. August 12, 2014, accessed February 28, 2015 .
- Arbitration / Requests / Case / Media Viewer RfC in the English language Wikipedia
- Friedhelm Greis: Superschutz: Wikimedia Foundation forces German users to use media viewers. In: golem.de. August 12, 2014, accessed February 28, 2015 .
- Wikimedia Foundation: Google donates 2 million . In: taz
- That's why Amazon is donating a million dollars to Wikipedia. In: derStandard.de , September 26, 2018, accessed on September 27, 2018.
- George Soros, founder of Open Society Foundations, invests in the future of free and open knowledge Kaitlin Thaney, press release of the Wikimedia Foundation of October 15, 2018, in English, accessed on March 5, 2019
- Google.org donates $ 2 million to Wikipedia's parent org , Techcrunch , January 22, 2019
- Wikimedia Foundation Finance Reports
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2006
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2007
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2007/2008
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2008/2009
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2009/2010
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2010/2011
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2011/2012
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2012/2013
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2014/2015
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2015/16
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2016/17
- wikimedia.org (PDF) 2017/18