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Archive:Summary of a year- 2007

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Dear all,

Last year, in 4 wishes for year 2007, I indicated that year 07 would have two major priorities (sustainability and reliability) and two minor priorities (outreach and recognition as a charitable organization).

These four priorities have been given a lot of attention, and several successes can be reported.

We successfully were able to collect enough funds to run through the year, whilst retaining our independence;

The websites are running very smoothly, thanks to the dedication of both tech staff and volunteers;

Several new staff members joined us, in particular a new executive director, Sue Gardner and a new general counsel, Mike Godwin; the office is currently relocating to San Francisco;

The Foundation has been continually working to strengthen its system of controls and accountability, with development and implementation over the last year of a whistleblower policy, a code of conduct for staff, a travel approvals and travel reimbursement policy, a gift policy, donor privacy policy, credit card usage policy, standardized templates for separation/severance letters and offer letters, the development of job descriptions for all financial and administrative staff, a new tax receipt process, the development of procedures for purchasing, and the institution of reference/background checking procedures and other forms of due diligence related to hiring;

Communication and public relationships have been much facilitated thanks to Sandy;

Working relationships improved with chapters, with the establishment of requirements and guidelines for creation, approval of several chapters, and signature of several agreements for brand use; The outcome has been greatly facilitated by Delphine Menard;

Mission and vision statements have been revised;

We have successfully survived several legal threats and won a lawsuit, in particular thanks to the OTRS team, Mike, and other lawyers helping us around the world;

Board general activity has improved, with several board meetings held in real life, irc meetings in between, clear agendas, board development, successful elections;

We have held two South African Wikipedia Academies in Johannesburg, to help the development of African languages;

We have won several prices or have been recognized leaders in various areas (eg, technologies pioneers in Davos, Web of the Year in Japan...)

We have held a fabulous Wikimania in Taiwan, with the great help of the Taiwanese team led by Theodonarian;

As part of a joint program, AMS-IX will give Wikimedia a Gigabit Ethernet connection at no cost, which will enable Wikimedia to deliver up to 10,000 requests per second directly to hundreds of other networks, including many major internet service providers;

In spring, a new media licensing policy is introduced, and in winter 2007, the Board passed a resolution meant to seek to respond responsibly to longstanding community concerns about issues of compatibility between the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license;

We signed declarations, joined other associations to help support the development of a movement around educational resources (eg, The Cape Town Open Education Declaration, Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities...);

We participated to several conferences or workshops, clearly labeled as a non-profit in the educational sector (eg, E-learning conference in Lisboa);

With regards to quality, a lot of work has been done related to Biographies of Living People. Efforts done on all Wikipedia paid: for example, according to an analysis commissioned by Stern Magazine, the German Language Wikipedia is better than Brockhaus Online;

The year also held difficult moments. For example, high turn over in the staff led to institutional memory loss, and difficulty to achieve the audit of the fiscal year in reasonable delays. Or we had to absorb the Essjay scandal.
New difficulties in the projects are arising, in particular a certain loss of civility amongst participants, more difficulties to integrate new comers, or cases of cyberstalking of some of our communities participants.
Various projects are still not finalized or even started in spite of being discussed regularly, including Wikicouncil or some much needed software improvements. On-going work include license compatibility, clarification of chapters and WMF relationships.
Last, in fall 2006, when I was elected Chair of Wikimedia Foundation, we switched from a foundator-based organization, to a group-led organization. We are now reaching a new stage of our development, where most of the activities will be taken in charge by a professional staff and the board will have the possibility to more strictly focus on the general strategy and control. This new stage requires an evolution of several of our procedures, to be implemented in 2008. I will try to outline most of these changes and my wishes for year 2008 in 10 wishes for 2008.

Florence Devouard