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The Wikipedia Fundraising Banner: Sad but Untrue

By the Masked Maggot and friends

 

We’ve been amused and bemused watching the reactions to the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) fundraising campaign over the past couple of weeks. Simply and clearly put, here’s why you should think twice about donating:

Wikipedia is written by volunteers. If you want to give someone a gratuity, try to give it to the people who did the work. The WMF does not write the encyclopedia. While a few pennies (just under 6, in fact) of your donated dollar go to the internet hosting, the vast majority goes to providing salaries, travel expenses, and really nice furniture for the rapidly growing staff of what has essentially become a software company. The software produced has been fairly poor, and has been imposed by the foundation on the volunteers, who really wish the foundation wouldn’t do that.

This isn’t at all surprising to those of us who have watched the development of the WMF over the years. Jimmy Wales, who calls himself the “sole founder”, was actually more like a venture capitalist or a rainmaker: the idea, ideals, and architecture were developed on a philosophy listserv where Larry Sanger (don’t let Jimmy hear you call him “co-founder”) led the effort. The encyclopedia project itself was then taken up by avid volunteers from slashdot and usenet. Jimmy realized that he’d alienate the volunteers if he tried to monetize it, but as it turned out he could make a great living out of it by becoming the spiritual leader and taking paid speaking gigs. Recently, he even got a half-million dollars from a foundation dedicated to giving a good humanist aura to Dubai (the Wikipedians aren’t sure what to think about that).

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The Wikimedia Foundation was set up to take over

…continue reading The Wikipedia Fundraising Banner: Sad but Untrue

Selling Wikipedia By The Pound

 

By Delicious Carbuncle

 

See also Cover-up begins in Wikipedia’s Gibraltar scandal and Why there is no end to the Gibraltarpedia scandal – or Jimmy Wales’ silence.

 

It is October 2010. You are watching two middle-aged men give a presentation to CIPR, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations. The men are Andrew Turvey and Steve Virgin. At that time, both are Trustees of Wikimedia UK. The presentation is called “What is your Wikipedia strategy?”. On the screen, an artlessly assembled Powerpoint slide entitled “Contributions as ‘soft’ advertising” poses a question to the assembled PR professionals: Imagine having your client’s name on the Front Page of the world’s fifth website?

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Jump ahead two years to the present day. There has been some bad press about Wikipedia’s Gibraltarpedia project lately, most recently about the number of “did you know” entries about Gibraltar appearing on Wikipedia’s front page. A debate has been raging on Wikipedia for the past month about those DYKs, as they are known. They stopped temporarily when someone first pointed out the flood of Gibraltarpedia DYKs and the involvement of Roger Bamkin (at that time both a WMUK Trustee and a paid consultant to the Government of Gibraltar). Imagine having your client’s name on the world’s fifth most visited website. Now imagine having it there 15 or 20 times a month.

The Billion Pound Product In the 2012 WMUK Annual Report, Roger Bamkin says: Quote: Wikimedia has enabled me to meet some wonderful people and QRpedia has put me into contact with enthusiasts around the world. I remember telling you that “we had a

…continue reading Selling Wikipedia By The Pound