Jennifer Riggs has been hired as the new program officer for the Wikimedia Foundation, according to Sue Gardner. Riggs is the first person to hold the newly created "Program Officer" role. She will be responsible for supervising the work of Jay Walsh, who manages public relations and press; Cary Bass, Foundation volunteer coordinator; and Frank Schulenberg, who works on outreach projects. According to Gardner, "as CPO, she is responsible for all non-technical program activities such as volunteer recruitment and public outreach."
Riggs has a background as volunteer coordinator for the American Red Cross Bay Area chapter, and has worked previously in Central America, the Pacific Islands and Togo. Riggs speaks French, Sango and some Spanish.
Commons Picture of the Year finals
The final round of voting has begun for the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2008 competition. There are 51 finalists, many of which were created by Wikimedians. Voting is open through 30 April. Any user registered by 1 January 2009 with at least 200 edits on any Wikimedia project before 12 February is eligible to vote, but unlike in the first round, voters may only vote for a single picture.
The first round, in which eligible voters could vote for as many of the 501 Featured Pictures promoted on Commons in 2008 as they liked, was tallied by category. The top 10% of images from each category were selected as finalists, with most finalists receiving over 100 votes.
The survey, which ran in a central sitenotice in October and November of last year, asked questions about respondants' demographics, editing habits (whether they were a contributor or a reader), why they edited (or not), and whether they donated to the Wikimedia Foundation (or not).
The results posted last week are selected from some of the questions. For instance, the preliminary results found that only 12.8% of contributors are female, and the average age for contributors is 26.8 years. Nearly 20% of contributors claimed either a Masters or PhD degree. Among those who did not contribute to Wikipedia, 25.3% said it was because they did not know how. Finally, the question results released addressed donations to the Wikimedia Foundation; 42% of respondents who didn't donate said it was because "I don't know how to do that", while 19.7% said it was because they didn't know Wikipedia was a non-profit. 33.6% of these responses were from the English Wikipedia, with the next 33% of responses split between the Spanish and German Wikipedias.
According to the Wikimedia Foundation blog post on the survey, the published results don't include responses from the Russian Wikipedia, which was drastically overrepresented in the results; the researchers are working on figuring out why this was the case.
This is the first large-scale survey of Wikipedia readers and contributors. UNU-MERIT, who developed the survey, is a research group that studies technology innovation, including free software and collaboration; Rishab Ghosh, who heads the research sub-group that completed the survey, spoke at Wikimania 2006. There has been talk of running a large-scale survey of readers and contributors for several years, with several volunteers working on a general user survey. However, the effort did not get off the ground until the agreement between the WMF and UNU-MERIT. UNU-MERIT developed a new survey, which was translated by volunteers; when the survey was posted, several contributors on the English Wikipedia felt that it was poorly implemented and that there were flaws in the questions.
The host city for Wikimania 2010 has not yet been chosen; the jury is still deliberating.
Wikia, which selected the GFDL as the default license for its wikis to ensure compatibility with Wikipedia, has started a discussion about the opportunity to switch GFDL wikis to the Creative Commons-Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license, pending the license update decision of Wikimedia. Assuming that Wikipedia changes licenses, it appears that GFDL Wikia wikis will be given the opportunity either to opt-in or opt-out of a license change.