Wikimedia movement

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Wikimedia movement
Wikimedia Community Logo.svg
Wikimania 2019 Group Photo.jpg
Wikimania 2019 group photograph
TypeInformal organization of individual contributors, chapters, user groups and thematic organizations
FocusFree, open-content, wiki-based Internet projects
Area served

According to the Wikimedia Foundation, the Wikimedia movement is the global community of contributors to the Wikimedia projects.[1][2] This community directly builds and administers the projects; wiki administrators are not employees or agents of the Wikimedia Foundation.[3] Wikimedia movement governance is incomplete by design.[4][third-party source needed] The movement is committed to using open standards and software.[5]

The movement was created around Wikipedia's community, and has since expanded to other projects, including Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata, and volunteer software engineers and developers contributing to MediaWiki. These volunteers are supported by organizations around the world including the Wikimedia Foundation, regional chapters, thematic organizations, and user groups.


The name "Wikimedia", a compound of wiki and media, was coined by American author Sheldon Rampton in a post to the English-language Wikipedia's mailing list in March 2003.[6] This was three months after Wiktionary became the second wiki-based project hosted on Jimmy Wales' platform, and three months before the Wikimedia Foundation was announced and incorporated.[7][8] It is used to refer to the family of Wikimedia projects, as well as to Wikimedians, the community of contributors to them.


Content projects[edit]

As of 2021, Wikimedia's content projects include:

  • Wikipedia, a web-based encyclopedia
  • Wiktionary, a dictionary
  • Wikibooks, educational textbooks
  • Wikinews, news articles
  • Wikiquote, a collection of quotations
  • Wikisource, a library of source texts and documents
  • Wikiversity, educational material
  • Wikivoyage, a travel guide
  • Wikispecies, a taxonomic catalogue of species
  • Wikimedia Commons, a shared repository of media like images, videos and sounds, accessible by the other projects.
  • Wikidata, a shared repository of structured data, accessible by the other projects
  • Wikifunctions, a catalog of functions and source code. It is designed to support Abstract Wikipedia, a language-independent version of Wikipedia using structured data.
  • Meta-Wiki, a place to discuss and coordinate projects and ideas across wikis.

Infrastructure and interface projects[edit]

Other supporting projects in the Wikimedia movement include

  • MediaWiki, the open source platform for the projects
  • Wikitech, a community of developers with a wiki and mailing list
  • Toolforge, a community space for hosting software projects that need access to the cluster
  • Wikimedia cloud services, a space for shared cloud computing, built on OpenStack
  • OTRS, community ticket-tracking for handling email inquiries
  • Kiwix, a community project for offline access to the content projects


Project communities[edit]

The Wikimedia community includes a number of communities devoted to single wikis.

Wikipedia community[edit]

The Wikipedia community is the community of contributors of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia. It consists of editors (or contributors), some operating Wikipedia bots, and administrators. The Arbitration Committee (or ArbCom) is a court of last resort for disputes on Wikipedia.[9]

Meta community[edit]

A multilingual cross-project community developed on the Meta-wiki, where translation and governance discussions happen. A number of other communities and wikis spun out of this, including Outreach and Strategy wikis, and proposals for Commons and Wikidata.

Wikipedians in residence[edit]

Wikipedians in residence are Wikipedians and Wikimedians who collaborate with a cultural institution to help integrate their work into the projects. These can be volunteer or salaried, part- or full-time.

Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) is an American non-profit[10] and charitable organization headquartered in San Francisco, California. It owns the domain names and maintains most of the movement's websites.

WMF was founded in 2003 by Jimmy Wales so that there would be an independent charitable entity responsible for the domains and trademarks, and so that Wikipedia and its sister projects could be funded through non-profit means in the future. Its purpose was "... to empower and engage people around the world to collect and develop educational content under a free license or in the public domain, and to disseminate it effectively and globally."[7][11][12]

According to WMF's 2015 financial statements, in 2015 WMF had a budget of US$72 million, spending US$52 million on its operation, and increasing its reserves to US$82 million.[13] WMF is primarily funded by donations with the average donation being $15.[14]

Wikimedia chapters[edit]

  Wikimedia chapters (blue)
  Wikimedia user groups with a geographic focus (green)

National and regional community groups have incorporated chapters, charitable organizations that support Wikimedia projects and their participants in specified countries and geographical regions. As of 2021 there are 39 chapters.[15] Over time the agreements between chapters and WMF became more formalized.[16]

Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) is the oldest chapter, holding its first meeting in 2004. As of 2016, it had a budget of €20 million.[17][18] Some chapters such as WMDE get some of their funds directly from grants and supporting memberships. Some others get their funds primarily from annual plan grants from WMF. As of 2019, roughly 10% of the WMF budget is distributed in this way to chapters and thematic organizations.[19]

Thematic organizations[edit]

Thematic organizations are charities, similar to chapters, founded to support Wikimedia projects in a subject focal area. As of 2021 there are two such organizations.[19][20][21]

Wikimedia user groups[edit]

There are over 800 language editions of different Wikimedia projects, each with groups of editors working on areas of shared interest. Some have Wikiprojects[22] with their own project pages, membership lists, and open task trackers. Some also register as community user groups[23] in order to participate in movement governance, use community logos outside of the wikis, and receive grants for events and projects. As of 2021, there are over 130 user groups.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Koerner, Jackie; Reagle, Joseph (October 13, 2020). Wikipedia @ 20: Stories of an Incomplete Revolution. MIT Press. p. 273. ISBN 9780262360609. The Wikimedia movement has always been a movement of writers (and curators) rather than readers.
  2. ^ Maher, Katherine (2020-10-15), "22 Capstone: Making History, Building the Future Together", ::Wikipedia @ 20, PubPub, ISBN 978-0-262-53817-6, retrieved 2021-09-06
  3. ^ Kosseff, Jeff (April 15, 2019). The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9781501735790.
  4. ^ Jemielniak, Dariusz (May 14, 2014). Common Knowledge? An Ethnography of Wikipedia. Stanford University Press. p. 151. ISBN 9780804791205.
  5. ^ Proffitt, Merrilee (April 2, 2018). Leveraging Wikipedia: Connecting Communities of Knowledge. American Library Association. p. 13. ISBN 9780838916322.
  6. ^ Rampton, Sheldon (March 16, 2003). "Wikipedia English-language mailing list message". Archived from the original on November 1, 2005. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Jimmy Wales (June 20, 2003). "Announcing Wikimedia Foundation". mail:wikipedia-l. Archived from the original on March 30, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2012.
  8. ^ Florida Department of State, Division of Corporations. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Record Archived 2016-06-18 at the Wayback Machine and Electronic Articles of Incorporation for Wikimedia Foundation Archived 2016-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, filed June 20, 2003
  9. ^ Cohen, Noam (June 7, 2009). "The Wars of Words on Wikipedia's Outskirts". The New York Times. Archived from the original on March 28, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2009.
  10. ^ "GuideStar - WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION, INC". Archived from the original on 2021-01-21. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  11. ^ Neate, Rupert (October 7, 2008). "Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales goes bananas". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on November 10, 2008. Retrieved October 25, 2009. The encyclopedia's huge fan base became such a drain on Bomis's resources that Mr. Wales, and co-founder Larry Sanger, thought of a radical new funding model – charity.
  12. ^ "Bylaws". Wikimedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 2017-02-25. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  13. ^ "WIKIMEDIA FOUNDATION, INC. Financial Statements, June 30, 2015 and 2014" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on January 12, 2016. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  14. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". WikiMedia Foundation. Archived from the original on 22 November 2013. Retrieved 23 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Wikimedia chapters". Archived from the original on 2016-09-17. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  16. ^ "Wikimedia chapters/Creation guide - Meta". Archived from the original on 2016-11-30. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  17. ^ "Wikimedia chapters - Meta". Archived from the original on 2016-09-17. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  18. ^ "Jahresplan 2016 – Wikimedia Deutschland". (in German). 2015-11-28. Archived from the original on 2019-07-05. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  19. ^ a b "Template:APG navigation - Meta". 2016-09-05. Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  20. ^ "Wikimedia movement affiliates/Frequently asked questions - Meta". 2016-09-15. Archived from the original on 2015-12-08. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  21. ^ "Wikimedia thematic organizations".
  22. ^ "WikiProjects - Meta". Retrieved 2021-09-06.
  23. ^ "Wikimedia user groups - Meta". Retrieved 2021-09-06.
  24. ^ "Wikimedia user groups". 2018-11-07. Archived from the original on 2018-11-06. Retrieved 2018-11-07.

External links[edit]