Wikimedia's Tretikov Resigns Amid Transparency Concerns

Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov has resigned amid concerns that the foundation was not forthcoming with its community about plans to develop technology described as a search engine connecting content across its properties.

Tretikov's resignation was announced Thursday in an email to the Wikimedia-L mailing group by Patricio Lorente, a member of the Wikimedia Board of Trustees, according to Motherboard. Several community members and editors called on her to step down. Her last day will be March 31, 2016.

The leaked documents appear to show that Wikimedia sought $250,000 to develop what they described as a "knowledge Graph," initially calling it an engine. The documents, and reports, suggested the nonprofit was building a search engine to compete with Google. 

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Wikimedia tried to justify documents through correspondence with reporters and in a blog post. The documents actually describe something very similar to the way that Google, Bing and Yahoo connect objects, persons, places and things on the back end. The documents suggest an internal engine that connects the multiple Wikimedia Foundation sites and not a search engine to compete with Google.

"Despite headlines, we are not trying to compete with other platforms, including Google," VP of product Wes Moran, and Tretikov wrote.

"We have documented longstanding problems with search on Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects," a Wikimedia spokesperson wrote in an email to Search Marketing Daily. "Our aim with the Wikimedia Discovery project is to improve how people find and discover knowledge on the Wikimedia sites. As the first phase of undertaking these improvements, we received a grant to research how people access and interact with Wikimedia content."

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