Wikimedia Movement Strategic Plan Summary/The Opportunity

From Strategic Planning

The Opportunity[1]

Wikipedia was founded in 2001 as “an effort to create and distribute a free encyclopedia of the highest possible quality to every single person on the planet.”[2] Less than a decade later, Wikipedia has become the fifth most-visited site in the world, used by more than 400 million people every month.[3] In most of the world, between 20 and 50 percent of Internet users regularly visit Wikipedia.[4]

Monthly unique visitors to all Wikimedia sites, as measured by comScore.

Wikipedia is available in more than 270 languages. Each is a uniquely crafted cultural product; they are not translations or copied versions of each other. There are over 17 million Wikipedia articles across all language versions, and 8.5 million media files in the Wikimedia Commons database. All are available under a free license.

Over time, skepticism about the Wikimedia model of collaborative content creation has evolved into appreciation of Wikipedia as a dependable starting point for research about almost any topic. Expert assessments have continued to find Wikipedia's error rate to be comparable to that of traditional information sources, while its overall breadth, depth, and topicality far exceeds that of any general reference work.[5]

But there is much more we can do.

The future of the Wikimedia movement

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, it is an ideal moment to reflect on our accomplishments and commit to a path forward. Wikimedia is and will remain a decentralized movement comprised of readers, editors, the Wikimedia Foundation and chapters, advisers and like-minded organizations – each playing different formal and informal leadership and support roles. This plan captures our common aspirations and priorities. It articulates the work we will undertake to achieve our shared goals over the next five years, and reflects our collective vision for the future of Wikimedia.

Strategic priorities

The collaborative strategic planning process has culminated in five key priorities for the Wikimedia movement over the next five years, and five critical targets to measure our progress.

Our strategic priorities over the next five years:
Stabilize infrastructure
Increase participation
Improve quality
Increase reach
Encourage innovation
We will know we are succeeding when we reach these critical targets:
Increase the total number of people served to 1 billion
Increase the number of Wikipedia articles we offer to 50 million
Increase the percentage of material assessed as 'high' or 'very high' quality by 25 percent
Increase the number of active editors to 200,000
Double the percentage of female editors to 25 percent and increase the percentage of Global South editors to 37 percent
Where else could I collaboratively write an article with people currently sitting in New York, Islamabad, London, Tokyo, Mogadishu, and Brisbane? I’m not sure how to translate this extremely exciting aspect of the Wikipedia community into actual policies for motivating new users, except to suggest that Wikipedians actively work on improving the diversity of the Wikipedia community. —User:CordeliaNaismith

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  1. For detailed background and context on the strategic plan, see “Background and context,”
  2. From the original vision statement by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Wales, Jimmy. (2005, March 8) Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Message posted to Wikipedia-l, archived at:
  3. According to online audience measurement service comScore, in October 2010 the Wikimedia Foundation sites were the fifth most-visited in the world, with 408 million unique visitors (or UVs). comScore (October 2010) Media Metrix global unique visitor data.
  4. comScore (December 2008) Media Metrix global unique visitor data. International Telecommunications Union. (2008) Estimated Internet users, fixed Internet subscriptions, fixed broadband subscriptions. Retrieved from ITU ICT EYE: In countries throughout North America, Europe and parts of Asia, between 30 percent and 50 percent of all Internet users use Wikimedia projects. Usage rates of more than 20 percent are not unusual in many other regions. Findings were developed with data from comScore and the International Telecommunications Union.
  5. For a broad review of studies and analysis regarding the reliability of Wikipedia, see: Widely referenced studies include: Giles, J. (December 2005) Internet encyclopedias go head to head. Nature 438 (7070): 900–901 doi:10.1038/438900a. Retrieved from: Clauson, KA, Polen, HH, Kamel Boulos, MN, Dzenowagis JH (2008) Scope, completeness, and accuracy of drug information in Wikipedia. Annals of Pharmacotherapy 42 (12): 1814. doi:10.1345/aph.1L474 PMID 19017825. Retrieved from: