Wikimedia Foundation Reviews | Glassdoor

Wikimedia Foundation Reviews

Updated May 8, 2017
56 reviews

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3.7
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Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Katherine Maher
Katherine Maher
13 Ratings

56 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. "A happy engineer"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  2. Helpful (1)

    "open knowledge at scale is hard"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  3. "Mission and Caring"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. "Rewarding and challenging"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  6. "Misson driven global organization where you can have real impact"

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

    Pros

    * a truly global organization
    * ambitious, mission driven and wonderful colleagues
    * flexible working hours
    * an open environment and a relatively flat organizational structure

    Cons

    Being based in Europe means often working late in the evening.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 15, 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 great place to work. Being an organization with globally dispersed teams means that ... More


  7. "Doing something good for humanity is priceless"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Operations Engineer in Rome (Italy)
    Current Employee - Senior Operations Engineer in Rome (Italy)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Seriously, the point of my review title. Working every day knowing you're helping everyone around the world use a great, free, uncensored, and mostly balanced source of information and education is priceless.
    You don't end the day feeling you earned a lot of money for some billionare.
    There is a not-so-small bunch of world-class engineers you can work closely with.
    You are given a lot of independence and you will definitely make a difference every day, if you're willing to put in the effort.
    Almost everyone is really passionate and is really on board with the mission.
    A lot of awesome people in the community you will interact with.
    Free-software only is a given, not a consequence.
    Being remoties rocks

    Cons

    At least in my case, crazy work-hours.
    Not everything works flawlessly internally.
    We are constrained in what we can do by obvious budgetary reasons.
    Management has been disastrous for a long time, but it is much better now.

    Advice to Management

    No need to give advice on glassdoor: whenever I have an issue I feel confident I can bring it up without fear of retaliation or anything.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    May 5, 2017 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for posting your review. We're so happy to hear that you enjoy working at Wikimedia Foundation! We're extremely fortunate to work for an incredible mission which has such a positive ... More


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Terrible environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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


  9. Helpful (2)

    "Great, mission-focused nonprofit"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Community Advocate in Aberdeen, Scotland (UK)
    Current Employee - Community Advocate in Aberdeen, Scotland (UK)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Working alongside highly motivated and hard-working people. Plenty of opportunity to grow and engage with departments that aren't your own, and plenty of diverse opinions and ideas across the whole movement.

    Cons

    Can be difficult to properly balance work and life (though efforts are being made to this end).

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Oct 10, 2016 – Talent and Culture

    Thank you so much for posting this review! We offer opportunities to learn and collaborate with staff in all areas of the organization. We are constantly thinking of new ways to engage staff in ... More


  10. Helpful (3)

    "Mixed bag"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    1) Staff largely dedicated to the org's values.
    2) Supports one of the most productive volunteer online communities and owns one of the most popular western online brands, Wikipedia.
    3) Wikipedia is fairly independent of the actual org and will run for years unless Ops breaks down.

    Cons

    1) Technology is rotten to the core relative to what would be needed to move Wikipedia into the mobile area and large parts of the chaotic product team have every incentive to protect the status quo.
    2) The sitting ED, in charge for nearly half a year, has neither the background required nor shown the single-minded determination to deliver the hire of senior executives capable of cleaning up the broken tech foundations.
    3) The org, pressured by declining readership and challenged fundraising, apparently has no desire to focus its restraint resources on fixing the fundamental tech issues and instead branches out into novel pet projects.

    Advice to Management

    Focus, focus, focus - and finally hire a decisive CTO, the role hasn't been filled in nearly 2 years.

    Wikimedia Foundation Response

    Oct 13, 2016 – 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


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Going Up"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • 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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