News and notes
Wiki Loves Monuments evaluation sees diminishing returns and increasing cost
The Wikimedia Foundation's first two program evaluations of 2015 have been published on Meta. These examine the annual Wiki Loves Monuments (WLM) and other photo competitions that have been held around the globe, with an eye towards finding what worked and what did not. Although WLM is an international contest, it is organized separately in each country, with separate budgets and contests in each before the winners advance to the global finals. It was first held in the Netherlands in 2010, and the success there encouraged organizers in other countries to join.
The evaluations reveal that in the last three years (2012–14), WLM has possibly fallen victim to its own success and seen diminishing returns: the average total number of uploads has decreased from a high of 6,266 images in 2012 to 2,714 in 2014 even as the average money spent per upload has increased from US37c to 90c. While the total number of images increased from 2012 to 2013, it was less than half that in 2014. The number of images in use on Wikimedia programs has dropped both in total number and percentage, and the cost per used image has gone up from $3.03 in 2012 to $6.31—although this is an improvement on 2013's $6.61. Cost per participant was, on average, about $25. About 1% of the total image uploads were later rated as "quality" or "valued" images.
The users participating skewed heavily towards people who had never edited Wikimedia sites: over the three studied years, about 1,400 current and 14,000 new users participated. The conversion rate into continuing editors, as measured by having at least one edit three months after the competition, is 2.4%. Extending this to twelve months after the competition (for programs that ended before February 2014) shows that the programs netted 16 "active" new editors, or 0.3%—those who made more than five or more edits in the studied period.
The overall data analysis by the WMF suggests that "When planning a photo event, it may be useful to try to balance group size with both new and experienced users to increase use and ensure high quality uploads." For funding, the evaluators recommended that the WMF be "cautious about the investment level" amidst the contest's diminishing returns. E
Foundation staffers modeling Wikipedia Store
t-shirts. The online merchandise portal re-opened this week and is currently giving away free merch to nominated Wikimedians active on the projects.
- Wikipedia store relaunched: The Wikipedia Store completed a relaunch this week and is now again open for online orders. The Wikipedia Store is a small web portal operated by the Wikimedia Foundation through which people may buy merchandise related to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia movement. Proceeds from sales go directly to the Wikimedia Foundation. Summarizing the changes on the Wikimedia blog and the Foundation-l mailing list, fundraising associate (and, alongside other familiar faces from the Foundation, often-time merchandise model) Victoria Shchepakina stated that:
||We closed doors temporarily for a few months to re-think our structure and visual identity ... We kept all the bestsellers and added new and socially responsible items that will promote our mission and remind our supporters of the great work by all the volunteers who build Wikipedia and its sister projects. ... We have also started to collaborate with new vendors, designers and artists with compatible visions to create meaningful merchandise for our users. Soon you will see more creative representations of Wikipedia and its sister projects from these collaborations. These new designs aim to motivate you and people around you, to help spread knowledge through the Wikimedia projects.
- Purchasable highlights include a free-knowledge t-shirt prominently featuring the Creative Commons CC-0 logo, literally plantable pencils ("who says knowledge can’t grow on trees?"), and your correspondent's personal favorite item, the "rabbit hole" t-shirt, featuring a visual depiction of the WikiWalk. In support of the relaunch, a merchandise giveaway allowing Wikimedians to nominate other users for free merch is currently also underway. R
- Language translations: Ever wonder how many language articles there are within the Wikipedia projects as a whole? In a post to the Foundation-l mailing list, meta-Wikipedian and linguaphile Millosh highlighted the breadth and status of language article across the Wikipedia projects, compiled into the meta-wiki article "Names of Wikimedia languages" as part of an effort to encourage translation work within the Wiktionary projects. Clicking through the page leads to a matrix presenting that Wikipedia language project's other-language coverage. For example, contrast the completed coverage of other languages achieved by the English Wikipedia or French Wikipedia, with the spottier coverage of the Arabic Wikipedia or the Hindi Wikipedia, and with the mostly-absent coverage of Kongo Wikipedia or the Yiddish Wikipedia. With 250 languages expressed in 250 other languages there are 62,500 entries in all amongst the Wikipedias; where a complete list of other-language translations is appropriate, like on Wiktionary, this corresponds with a further 250 translated expressions per article, bringing the total to 15,625,000 entries between all of the projects. Inquiries (including on how to help) are directed at the project's talk page. R
- Material from the Wikimedia Foundation's quarterly reviews made available: Minutes and slides have this week been made available from the quarterly reviews (for the period January–March 2015) conducted by the various Foundation departments. As the Signpost reported in March, a quarterly review structure, originally used mainly by the engineering teams, has been extended more broadly across all departments by executive director Lila Tretikov, to better align reporting periods with the Foundation's generally quarterly planning periods. The four summaries that have been made available are for the Community Engagement and Fundraising teams (the fundraising team is currently being consolidated into the new Advancement Department); the Mobile Web, Mobile Apps, and Wikipedia Zero teams; the Parsoid, Services, MediaWiki Core, Tech Ops, Release Engineering, Multimedia, Labs, and Engineering Community teams; the Editing, Collaboration, and Language Engineering teams; the Legal, Finance, HR, and Communications teams; and the Analytics, User Experience, Team Practices and Product Management teams. Of note is the editing team, who responded to community concerns and delayed an A/B test of the VisualEditor for new users on the English Wikipedia, as they did not believe that a new autofilled citations feature was ready for it. In related news, loading times for the VisualEditor against the standard wikitext edit window are now comparable or faster. R and E
- Board of Trustee election voting rules: As report last week in the Signpost, preparations are currently underway for the 2015 Wikimedia Foundation elections. A discussion of interest occurred this week on the Foundation-l mailing list as to whether or not movement staff and contractors not meeting the current editorial requirements for participation in the elections should be extended suffrage. At this stage such a change, were it to occur, would only go into effect before the 2017 election. R
- Scholarship Committee results for Wikimania 2015 announced: 104 people were awarded a travel scholarship to help defer the costs of attendance of this year's iteration of the annual Wikimania, the movement's biggest conference, to be held in Mexico City on July 15-19. 13 were sponsored by Wikimedia Germany; other chapter-supported scholarships will be announced separately by the various chapters at later times. This year's scholarships "involved a major re-design of the application and selection process". Posted highlights include 28% female, 73% from the global south, and 26% previous recipients from Wikimania 2014. R
- Wikimedia Netherlands annual report: Wikimedia Nederland, the movement's Dutch affiliate chapter, have released their annual report covering the year 2014. R
- Wiki-Edu monthly report: The Wiki Education Foundation have released their monthly report for the month of March 2015. R
- English Wiktionary milestone: The English Wiktionary reached 4,000,000 entries this week. The milestone entry was "cundidos", the Spanish past participle for cundir, claimed by creator Type56op9 to be "a particularly uninteresting one". R
- Female Wikipedian mailing list: A new mailing list called Systers Wikipedia, hosted by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, has been created. According to the list's FAQ page "Systers Wikipedia is for women Wikipedians to discuss topics that relate to being a woman and being a Wikipedia editor. We also allow simple how-to questions because some women feel uncomfortable asking these types of questions on forums dominated by men. Another reason this list was set up is to give women editors a refuge from Wikipedia's often hostile editing environment." This comes a few months after a proposal to create a female-only space on Wikipedia (See previous Signpost coverage). G
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