Wikimedia Foundation layoffs


The Wikimedia Foundation is currently going through layoffs, reducing headcount by about 5%. I am disappointed that no public announcement has been made, rather people are finding out through rumor and backchannels.

In February when I asked whether the WMF was planning layoffs at the "Conversation with the Trustees" event (see on YouTube), the response was that the WMF was anticipating a reduced budget, "slower growth", and that more information would be available in April. My understanding is that the fact ~5% layoffs would happen has been known since at least early March.

Consider the reaction to Mozilla's layoffs from a few years ago; the broader community set up the Mozilla Lifeboat, among other things to help find new jobs for people who were laid off. Who knows if such a thing would happen now given the current economy, but it absolutely won't happen if people don't even know about the layoffs in the first place.

Layoffs also greatly affect the broader Wikimedia volunteer community, whether it's directly in that staff you were working with are no longer employed at the WMF or a project you were contributing to or even depending on now has less resources.

I have much more to say about what the ideal size of the WMF is and how this process unfolded, but I'll save that for another time. For now, just thanks to the WMF staff, both current and past.