Wikimedia Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Wikimedia Foundation Reviews

Updated September 6, 2017
61 reviews

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3.7
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Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher
Katherine Maher
18 Ratings

61 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Some of the perks of a tech company with the mission and values of a non-profit (in 11 reviews)

  • Place that promotes work-life balance (in 5 reviews)

Cons
  • You'd find ex-senior-level employees securing entry to mid-level positions elsewhere (in 3 reviews)

  • Given the importance of and passion behind Wikipedia, moving things forward can mean dealing with more friction than other places (in 9 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Good organizations for junior professionals"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The Wikimedia Foundation is a good place to start your career and learn about professional processes, roles, responsibilities, and how to affect change.

    Good professional development opportunities, though depending on the team.

    Good benefits.

    Cons

    If you are somewhat experience, and have spent two years in the organization, it is hard for you to continue growing. It is very hard to become a manager. Even when the work is needed, and you advocate for it multiple time, you have to be doing 80% of the work before you get the recognition or the budget to grow. Sometimes, you may even be the most appropriate person to carry out a project, but some departments are so siloed that they land on people with less experience or no skills to carry out the job. It may represent a growing area for them, but I think it comes at a cost for people who have been trained for years, and don't get recognized.

    Advice to Management

    Take the time to do a skills and experience assessment to assign projects to employees. This might encourage cross-department collaborations.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Sep 26, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this review. We're glad to hear that your overall experience is a positive one and we will be sure to bring up your feedback to the appropriate... More


  2. Helpful (7)

    "A great mission, egregiously managed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Product in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Product in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Great mission: desire to bring "all the world's knowledge to all the world's people."
    - Passionate employees
    - World travel
    - Ability to work remotely at will
    - Coworkers from around the world to learn from
    - Autonomy

    Cons

    - Democratic to the point that decisionmaking is extremely difficult, slowing down product development
    - Tech (MediaWiki software) is very old-fashioned and inaccessible to would-be volunteers
    - Non-inclusive; if you haven't worked here since the beginning and/or do not have an aggressive personality type, no one will listen to you or take you seriously
    - Management thinks they understand sexism and diversity but make classic sexist and non-inclusive mistakes in hiring practices, promotions, and conflict resolution.
    - Criteria for advancement is not clear and varies vastly from department to department based on that team's management's attention to it. Some people are promoted every year with no previous experience, while others don't even qualify for promotion for several years, even with extensive previous experience in their field.
    - Re-orgs and inner turmoil abound. A lot of energy is spent trying to organize itself, its priorities, it's strategy, etc.
    - Many people in management have never managed before, and it shows. However, they are largely protected, even if they cost the org donors great amounts of money because of their inability to steward those funds and other resources properly
    - Underperformers and people who do not complete projects or show up aren't held accountable
    - If you mention any issues you are marked, and dismissed, unless you are in management or have other status in the movement

    Advice to Management

    Listen to the people low on the totem pole. Give people decision-making power. Make Wikipedia more accessible.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Aug 31, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for your review. We're sorry to hear about some of your experiences during your time at the Wikimedia Foundation, and you bring up some very valuable points of critical feedback... More

  3. "Legal Fellow"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Great exposure to fascinating legal issues and really wonderful people.

    Cons

    None. I really loved it!

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Jun 28, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thanks for sharing your work experience! We're so happy to hear that you loved working with us, and recommend us a place to work. Thank you so much for your contributions as a Legal Fellow. It is... More


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Current employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Incredible benefits - health care, generous PTO, holiday, and sick leave. Flexible work schedules.

    Cons

    Externally, they are very mission driven and conscious of the community which is truly refreshing. However, the internal office culture still needs some work. HR is not the greatest and enables some childish behavior which prohibits basic business operations. Teams operate in silos and overall is not a great collaborative work environment.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Jun 1, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feedback! We're really happy to see that you recommend WMF as a place to work, and that you appreciate the work-life balance benefits we offer... More


  5. Helpful (4)

    "open knowledge at scale is hard"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Mission work is rewarding in general, but at WMF we have the resources to make a huge impact. That's unique. Other stuff is secondary but great as well. There's great potential to change the culture and make it adapt to your unique needs, radically more so than other places. The benefits and people in charge are great, as long as you realize how they have a ton of work and cut them some slack.

    Cons

    There is way way too much drama. I don't deduct any points for this because it's entirely self-inflicted. There are, of course, toxic people that do a lot of damage within their sphere of influence. But I think the drama comes from immature people not fully understanding their rights and power within our awesome organization. Toxic people are everywhere. Some companies spend a ton of money to try and deal with them and at WMF we simply don't have that money. So we rely on the maturity of individuals to draw boundaries and blow whistles when appropriate. So if you're not that kind of person, this isn't the place for you.

    Advice to Management

    Work on cultural orientation. What I said in Pros and Cons is just scratching the surface, and WMF is completely unique. We need to help new and current employees understand this as quickly as possible.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 18, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience, we're really happy to hear that you recommend Wikimedia Foundation as a place to work! You're right that we are a very unique organization in the sense... More


  6. "A happy engineer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Software Engineer
    Current Employee - Software Engineer
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I work in engineering. The people I work with are bright and engaged, an interesting (and, I think, healthy) mix of CS Ph.D. types and people with other backgrounds. People believe in the mission.

    The organization seems very well run, particularly under the current Executive Director.

    Cons

    Team cultures can vary pretty widely, and there are some curmudgeons here and there. Happily, they are not the norm.

    Advice to Management

    The organization is in a good place. Try to remain focused on the mission and not get too caught up in present political concerns. Remember that we serve the communities, not they us.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 18, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for your review! We are fortunate enough to have extremely talented & passionate staff that work towards achieving the Foundations' mission, in which every single human being can... More


  7. "Mission and Caring"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time

    Pros

    Staff are united in sharing free knowledge, fierce in its protection. Staff also care about each other, and are encouraged by management to make be part of any changes.

    Cons

    The shared mission drive can make discussions intense, with lots of opinions that sometimes boil over.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 18, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. We're so happy to see that you recommend Wikimedia Foundation as a place to work! We are fortunate to have extremely talented & passionate staff that... More

  8. "Rewarding and challenging"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Bright and conscientious colleagues. Family friendly. Some of the perks of a tech company with the mission and values of a non-profit. The ability to work for a worldwide recognized brand with a core of social good.

    Cons

    Bureaucracy rears its head. Some staff are entrenched and it can be difficult to collaborate among teams. Wikipedia is a vast, complicated, distributed project with some of the typical nonprofit malaise - inefficiencies, attempts at consensus that can't be reached, and tension between staff and community.

    Advice to Management

    Be bold. A leader needs to lead.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 17, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience working with us. We're so happy to hear that you recommend WMF as a place to work. We're able to achieve our mission thanks to our vital community of... More


  9. Helpful (3)

    "Terrible environment"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Community Advocate and Volunteer Editor in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Community Advocate and Volunteer Editor in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Wikimedia Foundation full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has a lot of potential to do a lot of great work in the World. The mission of sharing information, throughout the world is a lofty and noble goal.

    Cons

    The work atmosphere is terrible. People are mean to each other especially on the volunteer side. No one trusts each other and everyone is always trying to be politically correct at the cost of editors and staff.

    Advice to Management

    You need to pick a side and work towards the goal of building the projects. You spend too much time talking to investors and pandering to those who aren't doing any of the building while completely ignoring the communities or doing exactly the opposite of what the community wants.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 5, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    So sorry to hear about your experience. Was this as a volunteer in the community or an employee? We are addressing civility in the community with new tools for editors, and employee satisfaction is... More


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Going Up"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Smart, friendly people with strong ideals spending the best part of their lives improving access to knowledge. They could be doing something else like making money or selling snake-oil, but instead they have banded together to do their best to improve the world.

    Cons

    Man, is the work tough. The scope and diversity of the communities can be daunting. Feeling productive with such an asynchronies and remote population can be a struggle. However, the pros mentioned above offset that by a large margin.

    Advice to Management

    Better planning of endeavors. More consistency and community engagement with developing 'the next big thing'. Scratch that. Less 'the next big thing' and more incremental improvements along side the communities. We're getting better at this, but not there yet.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Aug 26, 2016 – Recruiting Coordinator

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience! We are fortunate enough to have extremely talented & passionate staff that work together towards achieving the Foundations' mission, in which every... More


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