Wikipedia:Wikimedia Foundation

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The Wikimedia Foundation or WMF (a.k.a. the Foundation)—based in San Francisco—is the organization that owns the domain[1] It is an organization that raises money, distributes grants, develops software, deploys software, controls the servers, and does outreach to support Wikimedia projects, including the English Wikipedia. The WMF does not edit Wikipedia content (except for occasional office actions). "The community" (largely volunteer editors) handle content, because if the WMF did take responsibility for content, it would introduce liability issues per Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The organization grew quickly. In 2006, there were five employees and about $2.7 million in revenue. As of 2012, there were approximately 140 employees and a revenue of about $38 million (mostly from donations). As of 2016, there are approximately 280 employees.[2] Many current employees had their start as respected Wikipedia volunteers. The 1 year and 10 months of the former executive director Lila Tretikov's tenure were tumultuous for the organization. She resigned in March 2016.

Software and tech info[edit]

The WMF and volunteers develop software used on the English Wikipedia (and other Wikimedia projects). Even you can become a MediaWiki hacker. See mw:Wikimedia engineering for some of the current priorities and m:Tech/News for news. The WMF is also hiring, see wmf:Work with us. If you have a specific idea about how to develop a new software feature for the English Wikipedia, it could help to find a wiki-colleague or make a friend who has experience. You might find people by posting your ideas at WP:VPI, WP:VPP, WP:VPT, or looking for tech-savvy Wikipedians in Category:Wikipedia bot operators. You might also consider learning how to code yourself or seeing if an Individual Engagement Grant (IEG) could suit you (however IEG's are not just about tech stuff). Getting official development time from the WMF for new ideas is unfortunately difficult because there are many old and good ideas in the works, bugs already logged, and feature requests to existing software already requested.[3]

The grey toolbar on the right of the screen is the curation toolbar.

Rollouts and planned new features[edit]

Organization, programs, and contact[edit]

The WMF suffered significant staff turmoil, turnover among board members, and loss of many long-standing employees in the 1 year and 10 months of User:LilaTretikov's (Lila Tretikov)[5] tenure as executive director (June 2014 to March 2016), as chronicled at by User:GorillaWarfare and others.

Three board trustees are to be elected as community representatives, but there have been periods where three were not serving in 2015 and 2016. (See m:Wikimedia_Foundation_elections_2015/Results for results of the most recent Wikimedia elections.) User:Doc James/James Heilman was voted off of the board in 2015. This related to his communication with staff and interest in making details of the Knowledge Engine public; Andrew Lih/User:Fuzheado of the Wikipedia Weekly later said in March 2016 that "we can now see in retrospect James was very much justified in taking on these issues".[6] (User:Raystorm/María Sefidari) was brought on in place of James. She finished 4th in the previous election and had prior board experience. In 2016, a community-elected member, User:Denny/Denny Vrandečić, resigned.[7] User:Jimbo Wales/Jimmy Wales has the "founder's seat". Three board members(?) are selected by WMF-affiliated chapters and several are appointed(by whom?) for expert knowledge. The WMF has an Advisory Board. See strategy:Task force/Strategy/Plan overview for old community discussion on strategy.

For the most recent minutes of the Board of Trustees, see wmf:Resolutions. For a list of the board's user accounts, see m:Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. The board has a noticeboard as well. If you have a general question for the WMF that is more general than just English Wikipedia, then that can go to (and here are some previous answers). If you have an idea/question about how the WMF supports or could perhaps more effectively support English Wikipedia, feel free to contact Mdennis (WMF) (Maggie Dennis) at her talk page or if you'd rather email her, do so at There are also other ways to contact the WMF.


Members of the Wikipedia community vary in their reactions to WMF initiatives. Many at WP:VisualEditor/Default State RFC criticized the buggy release of the WP:VisualEditor (VE). The community disabled some VE features, in line with consensus, but against WMF wishes.[8] WP:Education Working Group/RfC shows both community support and community skepticism of the value of the WP:Education program. The recent notification features received generally positive feedback. Sometimes, WMF staff provide direct and organized support to volunteer Wikipedians engaged in advancing the Wikimedia mission – more perhaps than the volunteer community might be able to muster. For example, the WMF has helped users that faced legal problems that occurred because of their editing of Wikimedia projects.[9]

ACTRIAL was important because it showed this.


In 2013, Sue Gardner, the then executive director, criticized the existing structure of grantmaking, which she proposed and set up,[10][11] for being too vulnerable to corruption.[12] There are ways to participate in how the money that is donated to the WMF is managed. There is a m:Grant Advisory Committee you can participate in. It is composed of volunteers. There is also a m:Funds Dissemination Committee with elected representatives.


There are about 280 staff members, including employees and individual independent contractors. Staff are generally paid either an hourly wage or a monthly salary. Full-time employees in the US receive employee benefits, including fully paid health insurance. There are no bonuses, no commissions, no profit-sharing, and no stock options or any other types of equity-based compensation.

The compensation for all Board members (which is US $0.00), all officers, all directors, key employees and other highly compensated staff is publicly available through the Form 990 on In the fiscal year ending in June 2012, the highest-paid employee was Sue Gardner, who had a base salary of US $200,000 per year and also received the equivalent of $19,980 in other forms of compensation (mostly in retirement savings and health insurance premiums).

The Wikimedia Foundation usually has some job openings[13] and seeks people who are motivated by the mission.


In general, the Foundation does not provide legal support or legal advice to volunteers. But see for more details because it does maintain a m:Legal and Community Advocacy/Legal Fees Assistance Program for volunteers under certain circumstances.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ It also owns many other domains.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Feature requests are defined as "enhancement" requests to a specific software line in a Bugzilla bug report (see that specified here). A video tutorial is at File:How to file a report in Bugzilla.webm.
  4. ^ "Multimedia/Media Viewer/Release Plan". 
  5. ^ "Online-Enzyklopädie: Chefin der Wikipedia-Stiftung tritt zurück". Spiegel Online. February 26, 2016. 
  6. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2016-03-16/Wikipedia_Weekly. 51 minutes and 53 seconds in.
  7. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2016-04-14/News and notes
  8. ^ "Comments requested before I implement consensus". 
  9. ^ Noam Cohen (9 September 2012). "Travel Site Built on Wiki Ethos Now Bedevils Its Owner". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Wikimedia Foundation (2012-07-11). "Funds Dissemination Committee framework and initial operation". The Executive Director has prepared the framework [...] the Executive Director recommended the formal creation of the FDC 
  11. ^ Sue Gardner (2012-01-05). "Fundraising and Funds Dissemination Recommendations (original version)". Recommendations: Funds Dissemination 
  12. ^ Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2013-10-02/News and notes
  13. ^ "Work with us".