Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet The Almighty Buck

Wikipedia Founder Releases Personal Appeal 444

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the give-the-gift-of-knowledge dept.
brian0918 writes "In an apparent reply to the low turnout for their fourth quarter fundraiser, Wikipedia founder Jimbo Wales has just released a personal appeal for donations to the Wikimedia Foundation. 'Wikipedia is soon to enter our 6th year online, and I want to take a moment to ask you for your help in continuing our mission. Wikipedia is facing new challenges and encountering new opportunities, and both are going to require major funds.'" The fund drive will run until Friday, January 6th.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Wikipedia Founder Releases Personal Appeal

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:08PM (#14379093)
    I made a genarous donation.

    Then I went back and edited it. Now Wikipedia owes me money!
    • Re:Donate, I did! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Orange Crush (934731)

      I wonder why Wikimedia isn't getting larger donations from big organizations. I know Google has offered support, but I feel they should be donating cash--Wikipedia has high-quality organic search results in tons of queries on Google, I'm sure that's generating quite a bit of ad revenue. Other players making money off Wikipedia's efforts:

      -The other search engines

      -PayPal - This one irritates me--why are they charging transaction fees for Wikimedia donations!? They should waive them or at the VERY least,

      • Re:Donate, I did! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@noSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:06PM (#14379818) Homepage Journal
        Wikimedia's yearly expenses are mere pocket change for any of the players I mentioned.

        Lots of things are "pocket change" to these players. They donate to a lot of causes. What makes Wikipedia so special that they deserve a cut of the pie versus, say, donating to a battered women's shelter, cancer research, or children's home.

        Don't get me wrong, I like Wikipedia. I think it's an interesting experiment. But I think of a hell of a lot of things come first when we're talking about general donation funds.

        Or to put it another way, Wikipedia begging for money is going to put it against a lot of priorities, and Wikipedia is probably going to lose, especially in a big year for natural disasters. They need to find a more self-sustaining model, even perhaps finding some hidden angels who believe in their cause.

      • Re:Donate, I did! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TCM (130219)
        LOL! You don't really think PayPal would do anything that benefits a customer? Nice dream world you have there.

        I'm suprised they don't lock up the donations completely without any reason.

        http://www.paypalsucks.com/ [paypalsucks.com]
  • Google (Score:5, Insightful)

    by u16084 (832406) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:09PM (#14379098)
    Im sure Google will be more than happy to help
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    That was oddly perfect time for some hit pieces in the media, wasn't it?
  • by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:09PM (#14379102) Homepage Journal
    I was always very surprised at how much Wikipedia took in during fund raising drives -- I use Wiki on rare occasions but always felt I should throw them a few bucks.

    The problem, from what I can tell, is that as more people contribute article text, they seem to feel they have less reason to contribute financially -- which may be true.

    I like seeing how Wikis have become more neutral over time, and I think we do have a great need for an information store like Wikipedia, but I don't see how it can sustain itself in the long run (at least for free). They're facing the same dilemma that many not-for-profit information companies are: people seem to have less money today than they did a few years ago. My charitable contributions have gone UP this year, but I spend all my charity dollars locally where I can see them making a difference. I'm not certain if I want to give to Wiki without knowing how the money is used. I don't mind supporting dozens of servers and bandwidth fees, but I don't want to see the founder driving a Porsche.

    Note that I'm not against profitable companies -- I just don't trust not-for-profits with my money. If Wiki became subscriber only, I'd definitely subscribe, but would the quality or quantity of articles drop if the user base dropped from closing it off? For sure.

    Wikipedia, and every other freely available information store, will have to find news ways to generate income. I don't believe they'll add advertisements, but I don't see what other ways they can break even. Maybe offering pay-for-articles for vanity or for advertisement but mark it as such? Just like privately funded libraries were ways for the wealthy to gain immortality, maybe Wiki will offer the "bronze plaques" so the billionaires can get recognition for their "altruism."
    • Considering that nobody's found a solution like what you're describing, perhaps it can't exist in our current economic system.
    • by manavendra (688020) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:22PM (#14379194) Homepage Journal
      I agree. However, I also believe such public-interest systems *have* to be self-sufficient if they are to truly serve the purpose of providing free information to the child in Africa reeling under crushing poverty, or the future generations being able to access unbiased info.

      I'm sure discussions in this domain have happened quite a few times in the past, however, but perhaps with growing penetration/contribution, it maybe be time to look for alternate sources of revenue - for example, the much-used ad-based model?

      Or maybe I'm opening a whole new can of worms here...
    • by Joe Decker (3806) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:32PM (#14379255) Homepage
      I'm not certain if I want to give to Wiki without knowing how the money is used. I don't mind supporting dozens of servers and bandwidth fees, but I don't want to see the founder driving a Porsche.

      There's a budget on-line, a quick read of it shows that the founder isn't paid a salary. Still, I do understand your point, I aim my charitable donations and volunteer work very carefully myself.

      • I've reviewed it.

        My problem is that it is very hard for me to trust the charities to handle my money properly. I've always thought about how charities could detail their money coming in and their money going out, and I came up with a solution. I'm not sure if anyone already has used this solution, so I don't know if its new and unique or already something everyone (but me) knew.

        First, every donation would get a receipt number (say 2006010112321.0005000). The receipt number would contain the amount donate
        • by Joe Decker (3806) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:04PM (#14379453) Homepage
          My problem is that it is very hard for me to trust the charities to handle my money properly. I've always thought about how charities could detail their money coming in and their money going out, and I came up with a solution. I'm not sure if anyone already has used this solution, so I don't know if its new and unique or already something everyone (but me) knew.

          I certainly understand, and in no way wish to dismiss your concern. I don't have any personal contact with Wikipedia save for a few donations of information and cash.

          Speaking for myself, I tend to worry less that the money is not making into Wikipedia's accounts at all because, well, frankly it doesn't seem worth the effort to leave such an obvious paper trail for the IRS to prosecute. The concern that the money for Wikipedia is being subverted to the founder (or whomever) seems likely untrue in part simply because I can "sense" the purchase of a lot of servers in the fact that Wikipedia continues to exist at all, even with it's poor response time the bandwidth being served, with the software being used, well, there's clearly a pile of hardware out there.

          Now, over and above that, is the money being spent "well", even if not in a corrupt manner? Were, say, Wikipedia's server receipts to be published, it might be kinda interesting to argue whether they could have saved a few bucks by using a different vendor and such.

          I'm the Board Treasurer for a non-profit whose size is not all that different than Wikipedias, Impact Bay Area. Obviously my own donations to that organization are something I get the pleasure of feeling very comfortable with. But, despite considering it, I'm doubting that I'll be promoting your idea of publishing every receipt and donation to our board. I expect that that would be, roughly speaking, a half-time position, and that would be (and I'm handwaving here), a ten percent increase in expenditures, and I'm not convinced that's the best use of our resources. Moreover, I'm not sure I'm comfortable making the pay (I'd say salary, but we only have two salaried staff members) of each employee public information, when I've had "day jobs" I have rarely wanted my personal income to be a matter of public record. I'm not saying that these issues couldn't be worked out, I'm saying instead that the problems they might (or might not) solve seem, for our organization, to not be as big as the, problems they create, and it would still be fairly easy to game the system you described by the creation of false receipts for expenditures.

          Again, I'm not trying to get you to donate to WF, the issues of trusting non-profits to spend money with integrity and without waste—they're at the heart of the questions I ask myself when I look at where to put my own money. I myself came to the conclusion that WF looked pretty good when I dug through what I saw... your mileage may vary, and that's totally cool.

        • by AxelBoldt (1490) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:54PM (#14379753) Homepage
          This would allow every person who donated to confirm that their donation was actually listed on the site.

          You can check here [wikimedia.org] whether your donation made it into their account.

      • ...but I don't want to see the founder driving a Porsche.

        He already drives a Ferrari, which he bought before founding Wikipedia. This is definitely not a money-making venture for him.

    • by slashdotnickname (882178) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:42PM (#14379325)
      I like seeing how Wikis have become more neutral over time

      This is going to sound like trolling, but I honestly see the opposite occuring as Wikipedia becomes more popular. As proof, check out the currently (as of Dec 3 2005) disputed articles [wikipedia.org]. The history itself shows a rise in the count.
    • There is a link to the Q1-2006 budget at the top of every English Wikipedia page, detailing the expected needs.
    • Maybe offering pay-for-articles for vanity or for advertisement but mark it as such?

      For the Wikipedia, the vanity press label means death.

    • I suspect that in this you're mistaken. People can and do contribute charitably if they see the need - and, as far as educational charity goes, Wiki's where it's at.

      I also think that Wikipedia does not have a hope of going commercial, for any variant thereof. Basically their stock-in-trade is the casual drive-by good Samaritan. If they went pay-to-subscribe, that would vanish utterly. Compare Britannica's site - they charge, and they provide a service by aggregating the world's most authoritative sources. I
    • I has a look at the wikipedia store the other day to see if they had a DVD copy of wikipedia available for sale, however it appears they only sell t-shirts and other stuff with logos on it. I fail to see how this would not be a good option for people wanting to support them and obtain a great offline reference. They could also sell the (more or less) completed wikibooks on CD as sections.

      I realise they'd need to bring out a new version each year, but it seems to me it would be trivial to create such a produ
  • WikiAds? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prgrmr (568806) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:10PM (#14379104) Journal
    It's only a matter of time. Either Wales is going to have to turn to ads to generate some revenue, or look into getting a grant from a University or the Feds. However, either solution is going to infringe on his desire to present a neutral viewpoint, even if just in principle.
    • By 2007, it will cost several million dollars just to keep Wikipedia running. If Google comes through on its past statement of support, and other companies join in, then Wikipedia probably wouldn't need to go to ads. Some ideas that have been suggested for non-invasive implementation of advertisements would be to only display them for anonymous users (not registered users), or to have a separate site that only hosts high-quality, highly-accurate articles, and make that site ad-based.

    • Newspapers take advertising to support themselves. There is a clear editorial wall between Journalists and AdvertisingSales in a newspaper. Why would it have to be any different at Wikipedia?

      For a really solid read on how journalists take their bias and potential conflicts seriously please read this: Malcom Gladwell's Disclosure Statement [gladwell.com].

      -david
      • Jimbo has stated in the past that there would never be ads on Wikipedia under any circumstances, though - so while it might otherwise be possible to draw a clear line between content and advertising, people would lose a lot of confidence in him and what he says if he decided to implement them after all.

        Besides, other websites manage to go without advertising, too, especially those of non-profit organisations. Thinking about alternatives to donations is a good idea, but so far, it still seems a bit far-fetch
        • Slavemowgli,

          I understand, completely. I started EveryDNS about five years ago and we are now one of the largest free DNS providers in the world (and likely the most reliable). But growing large and being reliable has its downsides too -- and I suspect wikipedia is facing similar issues. Here's how it breaks down: At the core, it's what we call the tragedy of the commons. As EveryDNS has grown and had more and more users around the world relying on our service they seem to pick up a perception that "wow
  • by Winckle (870180) <mark@[ ]ckle.co.uk ['win' in gap]> on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:11PM (#14379115) Homepage
    I gave just 5 pounds last year, but I am about to give what I can, what surprised me most was the christmas card I recieved even though i live in the UK. I had completely forgotten since I made my donation in July. The donation helps keep knowledge free, think just how often you use wikimedia websites.
  • by hahafaha (844574) * <lgrinberg@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:12PM (#14379118)
    Do they just want more money to fund the project, or are they actually in dire need?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Wikipedia has just made rank 25 of all websites on Alexa. There's some costs to replace broken servers, then there's bandwidth, and three employees to pay. The rest of the money will go into new servers, wich are needed due to the ever-increasing popularity. So, the less money they take in, the slower the site will become.
    • Well, this is how it has always been. Almost all of the funds are needed to keep up with the exponentially-increasing traffic [alexa.com] to the site. Without those, the site will just get slower and slower (and slower).
  • by xtal (49134) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:18PM (#14379161)
    I'm sure the partnership with google is a viable mechanism to support Wikipedia into the future. The text only ads aren't overly intrusive and are automatically added based on keyword selections in the page. Seems to be a natural fit. ..in fact, I'd take a guess that rumors of google's involvement are why donations are down.
  • by daVinci1980 (73174) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:19PM (#14379171) Homepage
    Why would a community collaborative project such as Wikipedia even need sponsorship, other than bandwidth fees? (And they don't go through $750K a year in bandwidth fees). There should be little or no administrative overhead, and I've never seen an advertisement for Wikipedia (and don't know a reason why I should expect to).

    While freedom of information is a great goal, it's on of the few that I feel doesn't require large monetary contributions, but rather large intellectual contributions.

    I'll keep giving my money to Child's Play [childsplaycharity.com], The Red Cross [redcross.org], and Doctors without Borders [doctorswit...orders.org].
    • by Joe Decker (3806) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:36PM (#14379281) Homepage
      Why would a community collaborative project such as Wikipedia even need sponsorship, other than bandwidth fees?....

      If you look at the budget, [wikimediafoundation.org] you'll see that the purchase of servers is the biggest line-item.

    • The money is for:
      http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Budget/2005 [wikimediafoundation.org]
      Hardware (they have dozens of caches, apache servers, and DB slaves)
      ~$100,000 a year hosting
      ~$132,000 a year to pay for 2 full-time and 2 part-time employees
      ~$30,000 a year legal expenses...

      There's some serious money needs.
    • "Why would a community collaborative project such as Wikipedia even need sponsorship, other than bandwidth fees?" - see for yourself [wikimediafoundation.org]. Wikimedia has spent roughly $400,000 dollars on hardware this year alone (the inevitable downside of having your traffic double every 4 months). Hosting adds roughly another $100,000 per year to the costs. And that's not counting the tons of other actual expenses that a real life charity (as opposed to some person's hobby on sourceforge) has to deal with - legal fees, banking
    • by kebes (861706) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:45PM (#14379343) Journal
      Wikipedia is one of the most heavily loaded sites on the internet (currently ranked #24 [alexa.com]). Apprently (for instance [wikimedia.org]) they push hundreds of megabytes of data per second.

      Servers are not cheap, and Wikimedia needs lots of them. [wikimedia.org] They list 129 new servers in 2005. Looking at the hardware stats of these servers, they obviously cost many thousands of dollars each (can someone give me more accurate pricing?).

      All of these things are not cheap. Also note that Wikipedia needs more server coordination that many other sites, because the content is dynamic and the database huge. If you're just looking up info, that's fine, the content can be mirrored across many different servers across the world. But when you edit material, there must be a way to propagate those changes quickly. In fact, those of us who edit Wikipedia know that it becomes much slower when you enter edit mode, since all such changes have to go through a central server (as I understand it), rather than just the "closest and faster" server available.

      All of this to say that running Wikipedia is by no means cheap. Yes, they really do need that much money ($100,000/year for servers and bandwidth is pretty cheap when you realize how much they manage to accomplish with it). Hopefully the donations will always be enough to keep up with the demand for this content.

      (P.S.: Yes, some of the servers they use were donated. These donations are also vital to the ongoing success of Wikimedia.)
    • Why would a community collaborative project such as Wikipedia even need sponsorship, other than bandwidth fees? (And they don't go through $750K a year in bandwidth fees). There should be little or no administrative overhead, and I've never seen an advertisement for Wikipedia (and don't know a reason why I should expect to).

      Buying servers. They get an unholy amount of traffic. As a theoretical (Fermi) example: look at how often Wikipedia is updated [wikipedia.org] - everything on that page, as I look at it, is within the s
    • As the other replies point out, Wikimedia certainly needs the money. I contributed money to Wikimedia, as well as Doctors without Borders (and several similar organizations) this year. The real question in my mind is: Which of these organizations will contribute most to the welfare of humanity in the long run? As with the stock market, since I don't know the answer, I diversify to get the best results under uncertainty.
  • by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:20PM (#14379182) Homepage Journal
    In an apparent reply to the low turnout for their fourth quarter fundraiser
    "Apparent" here, meaning "Something I've made up".

    The 2005 Wikimedia Budget says [wikimediafoundation.org]
    Only $160,000 was available at the start of the quarter, creating a budget shortfall of $161,200. A fund drive starting on 1 December was scheduled at the meeting as well. --Daniel Mayer 18:18, 1 October 2005
    Since that fund raising drive is now $50k above the budget shortfall, it's not a shortfall anymore. The present $200k raised in the fund drive is about twice what was raised by the same drive in February last year...

    Now, it's possible that there is now a massive shortfall for 2006/Q1, but if the submitter knows something about that, perhaps he feels like sharing it, rather than just mindlessly speculating.
    • Considering that Wikipedia's traffic has been doubling every four months, and that in a single year it has gone from 35 servers (January 1, 2005) to 165 servers (January 1, 2006) and 0 employees to 4 employees (an executive assistant, a developer, an intern to maintence the servers, and a coordinator for the international meetup) -- comparing bugets from 2005Q1 and 2006Q1 is clearly wrong.
    • "In an apparent reply to the low turnout for their fourth quarter fundraiser

      "Apparent" here, meaning "Something I've made up"."

      "Daniel Mayer, Wikimedia CFO, indicated he hoped it could raise at least US$500,000", so 200 is a low turnout. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_S ignpost/2005-12-26/News_and_notes [wikipedia.org]

      The present $200k raised in the fund drive is about twice what was raised by the same drive in February last year...

      Yes, and we (Wikipedians) get four times the traffic of Fe

  • by Tsar (536185) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:21PM (#14379186) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps he should call well-known philanthropist and First Amendment Center [firstamendmentcenter.org] founder John Seigenthaler [wikipedia.org] and ask him to help spread the word [usatoday.com]!
  • by Jugalator (259273) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:25PM (#14379206) Journal
    Today I had received a letter from Wikimedia Foundation (yes, not an e-mail!) sent by international mail, saying something like "Wikimedia thanks you for your support and wish you pleasant holidays and new beginnings". It was even written in Swedish, where I live. I think that was pretty cool of a non-profit organization. :-)
    • Today I had received a letter from Wikimedia Foundation (yes, not an e-mail!) sent by international mail,

      You mean, they wasted donated money on international postage. You already gave, so they can't really expect a pretty letter to garner increased donations from you. So it's money down a pit.

      To illustrate, say (for example, all my figures here are guesses) postage from them to you costs fifty cents. Now, say they received 1000 donations which they'd like to reply to with holiday well-wishes. That's $50
      • a good chunk of the cost of a new server

        About 98% remains if using an average donation size (your $0.5 stamp for the $30 avg donation).

        I'd be having second thoughts about supporting an organization that plans to waste the money given to them.

        It's called building personal relations. Which other money than the donated could a non-profit organization use? The alternative would be to skip it altogether, and risk further decreasing donations the next fund drive. Would you be willing to take the risk? Sometimes
  • Why fund Wikipedia? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by liangzai (837960) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:26PM (#14379212) Homepage
    TFA says: "Thousands of people, all over the world, from all cultures, working together in harmony to freely share clear, factual, unbiased information"

    At least one culture, namely the Chinese, is permanently excluded from this harmonious collaboration since November 2005. This is because China deems Wikipedia "detrimental to society" (or at least not so unbiased in a few articles).

    This is not Wikipedia's fault, but whenever I try to access Wikipedia from Anonymouse, it says Wikipedia has blocked access from that very anonymizing gateway... hilarious. I really don't have time applying proxies or go throguh SSH accounts in the West.

    I think Wikipedia needs to start distribute its stuff in a decentralized fashion, letting others deliver the stuff through their pipes. And it also should have encryption enabled to circumvent the censorship in the filter regimes.
    • by r3m0t (626466)

      This is not Wikipedia's fault, but whenever I try to access Wikipedia from Anonymouse, it says Wikipedia has blocked access from that very anonymizing gateway... hilarious. I really don't have time applying proxies or go throguh SSH accounts in the West. I think Wikipedia needs to start distribute its stuff in a decentralized fashion, letting others deliver the stuff through their pipes. And it also should have encryption enabled to circumvent the censorship in the filter regimes.

      There are 50 changes a m

    • The reason such anonymizing systems, like Tor [wikipedia.org] are blocked from Wikipedia, is because they can be used by vandals/spammers who have been blocked from editing to continue vandalising [seul.org] the site. It's too bad that such measures have to be taken, but the real solution here is political, not technical. I think your method of using a Freenet-like decentralized system probably won't fly for the same reasons. Vandal fighting would become impossible, and it would become almost impossible to track which contributor add
    • I'm curious. Would Tor [eff.org] and Privoxy [privoxy.org] help in this situation? Locating and downloading the software might be difficult, but installing the pre-configured package [eff.org] for Windows takes less then 5 minutes.
    • I mentioned this on a previous story, but there is a pretty easy way to edit Wikipedia from China. The GFW apparently has 2 types of blocking, and Wikipedia uses the lesser one - all they did was remove it from the DNS servers. Adding

      145.97.39.155 en.wikipedia.org upload.wikimedia.org

      to your /etc/hosts file (or windows/system32/drivers/etc/hosts if you're using Windows) will allow you to access WP without going through a proxy, and therefore to edit articles. Feel free to google 'wikipedia 145.97.39.
  • Well Spent Money (Score:2, Informative)

    by BigDork1001 (683341)
    I've been using Wikipedia a lot lately. Some of it for work related items but mostly because I'm so freakin' bored at work. Nothing like spending five hours reading random articles. Lots of interesting stuff out there. Anyway, I just tossed them $25. Well spent money in my opinion. Whenever I need information on something I will either turn to Google or Wikipedia or both to get the answer I need. It is definitely something that is worth spending a few bucks a year to keep on the net. Hopefully they raise th
  • why we need money (Score:5, Informative)

    by midom (535130) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:31PM (#14379252) Homepage
    Obviously donated money doesn't go to someone's Porsche budget. All expenses are shown in public budget reports. All purchases are shown in purchase reports. All of them can be seen on http://wikimediafoundation.org/ [wikimediafoundation.org] - it's quite transparent there.

    Running a read-only site would be much easier, we could do that with much smaller budget. What money is spent for - supporting collaboration infrastructure. We're running on 100 servers now, all quite cheap and efficient. We're pumping out 500mbps of information now, but we're still doing that low budget. But it all needs to grow and scale, and though software is doing that quite well, resources are needed.

    This is very low-budget operation, comparing to other huge sites. There's no corporate funding, no huge revenue streams. I've seen sites running with same budgets but only 1% of Wikipedia's load. A donation made will go into collaboration infrastructure, rather than being forgotten forever. A donation made may allow thousands of articles to be created, extended and viewed. There is a price for information, but you won't find lower margins ;-)

    • by JeremyALogan (622913) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:14PM (#14379513) Homepage
      What concerns me is the lack of transparancy in some of the budgeted items. On the budget page [wikimedia.org] it lists two things I'm really curious about... "Chapter startup money" and "Domain names". There's no details on either one.
      1. What is this "chapter startup" and why does it need two grand?
      2. Where I do my shopping (GoDaddy) $1500 will buy me 167 domain names. How many does WikiMedia have/need?
      I can't really contest any of the rest of the fees because I lack enough info, but the complete ommision of data regarding these irks me.
      • Re:why we need money (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jon Chatow (25684) * <slashdot@jdforrester.org> on Monday January 02, 2006 @04:33PM (#14380609) Homepage

        Note that that's not a budget, merely a proposed budget - given the significant short-fall in donation income, it will have to be scaled back somewhat (and another donation drive run quite soon). The reason the items aren't split down further is that the money hasn't been spent yet.

        What is this "chapter startup" and why does it need two grand?

        It's money to fund the start-up costs of the local chapters [wikimedia.org] - legal costs, primarily, and capped at US$500 or so per chapter, IIRC; we currently have chapters in Germany, France, Italy, Poland, and Serbia and Montenegro, and are working on founding ones for Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Local chapters work locally as ground-roots organisations, and form tax-friendly donation conduits.

        Where I do my shopping (GoDaddy) $1500 will buy me 167 domain names. How many does WikiMedia have/need?

        The list of domains [wikimedia.org] is quite extensive, which might give you some clue; also, remember that some TLDs and especially SLDs within CCTLDs are (significantly) more expensive than a bog-standard .com would.

        I hope that this answers your questions.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:35PM (#14379278)
    It isn't like Wikipedia is some lame-ass piece of shareware I use twice a year; I use it almost every day, expecially when I'm arguing on Slashdot and need a quick citation. Where else can you reliably go to get the gravitational constant [wikipedia.org], an article on Duverger's law [wikipedia.org], a bio of Robert Johnson [wikipedia.org] or a really cool picture of a dragonfly [wikipedia.org]?
  • Jan 6th? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    The fund drive will run until Friday, January 6th.

    Why do fund drives have a time limit? What, are they going to reject donations on the 7th?
  • by Oldsmobile (930596) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:43PM (#14379332) Journal
    Wikipedia is broken. I'll donate some money if you fix it.

    -End the correction wars
    -Respect different viewpoints
    -Respect expertese
    -End people fucking up good articles
  • by br00tus (528477) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:47PM (#14379352)
    I have been using and writing on Wikipedia a long time, and am unhappy with the way it is run. On Slashdot, many of us know the story of how Linus's lieutenants came to him one day and demanded he relinquish some control of the OS since centralization in him was causing problems.

    One of the highest bodies on Wikipedia is the Arbitration Committee. Originally it was appointed by Jimbo, who I thought made several poor choices. Then last year there was an election to ArbCom, and I think the community made excellent choices to who would go ArbCom. Then in the interim, Jimbo appointed two more arbitrators, one of which I think is of very poor quality. Now he is changing the democratic election of last year, which I think went very well, and is trying to change it so it is more centralized towards himself. I think there are many signs of the problems, but this is just one of them.

    While I think Wikipedia covers science and mathematics articles well, it has many problems when it comes to political matters, the Seigenthaler [slashdot.org] matter yet again just being a sign of the problem. I think Wikipedia should simply acknowledge that a "neutral" standpoint is not realistic with regards to history and politics. Wikipedia should concentrate on scientific articles and the like, and cede articles like George W. Bush to partisan wikis like Demopedia and Wikinfo.

    I'm tired of the Wikipedia mess and am not contributing any money.

  • I'm glad somebody finally released some of this "personal appeal" stuff. I've been needing to get that for ages. I wonder how much it costs?
  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Monday January 02, 2006 @12:59PM (#14379412) Homepage
    I'm not in the slightest bit surprised by Wikipedia's funding crisis-in-the-making. I think what has happened is the John Siegenthaler affair has caused serious examination of exactly what is Wikipedia, and what is the quality of their scholarship?

    A: What's scholarship? What's quality?

    It's time to face some facts. Wikipedia should be no more authoritative as an encyclopedia as Slashdot comments are about technology and current affairs. The basis on which Wikipedia is founded is indistinguishable from the political viewpoint of Anarchism, the idea that without leadership and expertise, a collection of people can be collectively wiser than any individual.

    Actually what you get is a disorganized mess, where the relatively few articles are genuinely good, then there's a large number of articles which may have started well, but have been mediocritized and dismembered after the original author decided to give up trying to revert stuff, and there's a considerable number of factual articles on subjects you've never heard of which are little more than a couple of lines followed by the Wikipedia disclaimer:

    "This article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it."

    What really happens is the article is never expanded, because of the human need to improve something only if that person has a stake in its improvement, and that improvement is recognised. Face it, would you rather take over somebody's half finished, buggy computer program which has no documentation or would you rather start again and do it properly?

    If you flick through Wikipedia using the "Random Article" link, what you find is the mixture of articles that I have mentioned: the great few, the large mediocre and poorly constructed, and the tremendous number of unhelpful half-and-quarter articles which give no information and no citation.

    Even if you do create a great article, there's no stopping any number of morons from turning your well-thought out and considered article with full references into a mishmash of non-sequiturs and out-and-out false statements. Nobody's on your side because as long as the dreaded "NPOV" is observed, no-one could care less about the effort you put in.

    Eventually you give up and accept the entropic effect of thousands of ignoramuses. You relax and realise that you tried your best but no-one gives a shit. A frog is dissected. Pinkerton does not return.

    The problem comes when you want some vital information. Wikipedia is highly rated by Google (which if you think about it, is another anarchistic idea promoted to Internet paradigm) so you go to Wikipedia and you read the article.

    Now the question: Is what I'm reading in the article factually and historically correct? How can I check? Erm. Is the person I must speak to, a scholar, a college geek, an idiot with too much time on his hands, an IP address?

    Ah, but Wikipedia has an answer to this conundrum! If you believe anything that Wikipedia says then "Fool You!". It's your responsibility to check whether all, most or any of the facts are correct. "We cannot help you, we are just facilitators in this great experiment in democratized scholarship"

    I'll believe in democratized scholarship when I believe in democratized rocket science or democratized car mechanics or democratized aircraft piloting.

    It's a nonsense and anyone with an ounce of sense, knows that its a nonsense. And it's a very dangerous nonsense, because in an interconnected world, false information and twisted history leads to conflict. Real conflict, because conflicts and wars are waged because of history.

    You want to know what I find scary about Wikipedia? Read this chapter [online-literature.com] and tell me whether or not someone could have written Comrade Ogilvy into Wikipedia.

    I'll tell you for free, I already know that there are articles on Wikipedia which are largely or completely fictional. Your mission, should you choose to take it, is to work out which ones, because Winston Smith lives and he's speaking into the SpeakWrite and changing history before our very eyes.
    • by pilkul (667659) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:25PM (#14379941)
      Fine, then go back to getting your information from TV or Joe Blow's Random Website instead of Wikipedia and we'll see if you come out ahead. Look, no one's arguing that Wikipedia is as accurate as a scholarly tome or paper encyclopedia, but I don't have time or money to go to the library or buy a book if I'm suddenly hit by curiosity to learn a little about (say) the culture of Nepal, and neither do you I imagine. If you compare Wikipedia to other sources which are equally cheap and convenient, its accuracy is actually quite good.

      Also, people tend to judge Wikipedia by its worst class of articles (those on politics). But if you look at Wikipedia's science articles, they tend to be highly accurate (and the recent Nature analysis bears this out). In my areas of expertise (mathematics and computer science), I rarely see any serious errors on Wikipedia. I imagine this is because nonexperts tend not to dare to edit them, and because there is little controversy.

    • by Myopic (18616) on Monday January 02, 2006 @05:28PM (#14380883)
      counterpoint: i find wikipedia highly useful and accurate. i don't quote it in cites because it isn't authoritative, as you note, and i also read it with an eye for misinformation, which you also note, but neither of those things discredits the mind-boggling quantity of valid information to be gleaned from the articles.

      furthermore, all those "stub" articles are often acceptably informative on their own. often two sentences is all i need.

      finally, your question as to who would bother to put information into Wikipedia, which rhetorically implies that the answer is "nobody", is disingenuous, as it is clearly evident that in fact the answer is "lots of people". i myself have, on a couple rare occasions, started or contributed to articles; and there is apparently a whole subculture of people who do it constantly.

      your beef sounds like the famous quote where Bill Gates asked "who would write software for free?" golly gee, free software could never be as good as software you pay for. only... it is, abstract theories of human behavior be damned. we know that it works, because in fact it exists. in math and computer science they call that "proof by construction", which is proving that something can be built by... building it.
    • Another overblown post about the unreliability and danger of Wikipedia. If Wikipedia doesn't serve your needs, then don't use it. To claim the world is threatened "1984"-style by Wikipedia is pretty stupid. Wikipedia doesn't invade anyone. They don't shoot you, if you fail to use Wikipedia exclusively. Despite claims to the contrary, Wikipedia doesn't rewrite history. Unlike other media, there's no automatic claim that the information is correct. And any information can be disputed.

      And I'm not sure what y

  • use Ads on wikipedia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Danathar (267989) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:01PM (#14379426) Journal
    I would have NO problem with wikipida using google style ads. They are unobtrusive and they could generate a lot of cash to keep the project going.

    Ads are NOT a problem if they are useful and not a pain in the ass.

    Why can't web site developers understand that most people (it seems) are perfectly fine with ads if they are done right?
  • by Millenniumman (924859) on Monday January 02, 2006 @01:35PM (#14379641)
    I donated $0.02. For my comment I wrote: "Here's my two cents."

    I think I'm funny.

  • by OnAutopilot (840291) on Monday January 02, 2006 @02:04PM (#14379808) Homepage

    Whoever runs the back-end servers should write a book on how they are scaling everything and how the back-end architecture has evolved over time.

    In another post it says they run over 100 servers, and do it with a budget equivalent to some sites with 1% of their traffic -- I'd certainly pay money for a book giving me some insight into how they are doing this.

    They could also provide consulting to commercial companies that would assist them in doing the same thing.

  • by rtphokie (518490) on Monday January 02, 2006 @03:26PM (#14380272)
    If wikipedia was the invaluable resource many think it to be, someone would have stepped forward and provided the funds necessary to keep it running. Google or some other entitity would kick in the needed money. But that hasn't happened.

    Why? Because Wikipedia has gotten too big and is having difficulty scaling. Add to that the trust issues that have surfaced recently and it's hard for Wikipedia to succeded in the current environment.
  • by Brushen (938011) on Monday January 02, 2006 @04:02PM (#14380459)
    When you donate to Wikimedia, the non-profit organization that owns Wikipedia, please do not just do it for Wikipedia.

    Do it for Wiktionary, Wikisource, Wikibooks, and Wikimedia Commons. Wikisource aims to be a library of all public domain and GFDL texts, like a wiki Project Gutenberg. Wiktionary is a wiki dictionary and Wikibooks is for educational textbooks.

    Wikimedia Commons, however, is a database for public domain and GFDL images. Like Wikipedia or not, that is where a wiki shines. If you go to the trouble to take a picture of Wikimedia and upload it, odds are it's not going to be vandalism. The entire works of Picasso and Vincent van Gogh, for example, at your fingertips. These are lesser known than Wikipedia, but in the eyes of Wikipedia dissidents, some, especially the last, might be more useful.

    On the subject of accuracy, my high school text book says that the Senate voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and then he was acquitted by the Senate. Unfortunately, in reality, it is the House of Represenatives that votes to impeach. It is made by the company that has distributed all science, math, and history-related books every school I've gone to has ever used, but unfortunately, it cannot be edited.

    Please mod up for Wikimedia.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Monday January 02, 2006 @05:18PM (#14380830) Homepage
    I've donated the last few fund drives - but I'll not be donating in this one or in the forseeable future.

    Why?

    • I've grown tired of subscribing to the Wikipedia I've simply gotten tired of forking over cash every quarter.
    • Wikipedia has gotten to be too much like PBS It seems every time I log on there's a 'beg bar' on the page asking for money.

    Those are the two minor reasons - the big one?

    • The Siegenthaler affair.

      As I read the responses from the Wikimedia Foundation and the community to this issue, a cold chill spread through me. The attempts by the Foundation to dodge responsobility made me nauseated. The numerous 'blame the victim' posts, (why didn't *he* edit it?), were even worse.

      Here was a signal rocket brighter than a Space Shuttle launch that something was wrong - that the wiki principles were failing (I.E. 'errors are invariably caught and fixed within minutes, hours at most', among others), and the powers that be at Wikipedia seemed more interested in spinning the issue away rather than learning, fixing, and moving forward.

      I, and others, have posted numerous times in numerous places about the problems and shortcomings with the 'pedia - but the Sigenthaler affair showed that Thales et al were more interested in their ivory tower principles than in the practical applications thereof. Desite their proud rhetoric, the denizens of and powers that be at the 'pedia turned out to be more interested in anarchy than accuracy.

  • by bigberk (547360) <bigberk@users.pc9.org> on Monday January 02, 2006 @11:49PM (#14382293)
    I looked through their financial reports [wikimediafoundation.org] and was disturbed to see that they are storing nearly $200k in a Paypal account.

    Paypal is NOT a bank. There is tremendous risk in storing such large amounts of capital in Paypal, as the company could go broke or hiccup or otherwise wipe out the balance. Because Paypal is not a bank, AFAIK there is no insurance on deposits there (no FDIC insurance).

    This is never a concern for us people storing a few hundred dollars there, but this is too much money to put at risk. For safety sake, Wikimedia should diversify and hold more cash in real, government insured bank accounts or bonds.

    I'm not saying this because I think Paypal is a scam or anything, but the cash must be held somewhere safer and preferably where it earns interest. Wikimedia could easily negotiate high interest savings with a real bank and collect $8k or more a year from interest alone.

... when fits of creativity run strong, more than one programmer or writer has been known to abandon the desktop for the more spacious floor. -- Fred Brooks

Working...