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UER Forum > Journal Index > Av's Bloggy-thing. > Why you shouldn't donate to Wikipedia (Viewed 2971 times)
Why you shouldn't donate to Wikipedia
entry by Avatar-X 
11/22/2010 5:47 PM

Lately, I've been seeing an annoying series of banners on every Wikipedia article, featuring founder Jimmy Wales in a thought-provoking pose, appealing to you to give him a minimum suggested donation of $30.

These ads always bothered me, and I recently decided to do some research to confirm my suspicions. I basically wanted to find out how a site that should have very few expenses needs so many millions.

Here is Wikimedia's financial report from 2008.
http://upload.wiki...ia_20072008_fs.pdf

In 2008, they received 4.4 million in "contributions" and spent 3.5 million. Interestingly, the internet hosting cost was only $537,000. So where did the remaining three million dollars go? A third of it was spent on salaries and wages; another third was spent on "Operating" (whatever that means) and the remaining third was spent on wishy-washy things like "Travel" and "In-Kind Expenses".

So, here's why I believe it is a bad idea to donate to Wikipedia:


  1. All of Wikipedia's content is created at no cost to them. The editors are volunteers. The administrators are volunteers. So, your money won't go to the people that actually make Wikipedia worth visiting.

  2. Instead, your money will go to paying Wales's high salary and allow him to gallavant around the world on your dime.

  3. WikiMedia claims that some of the money goes for paying programmers to maintain the Wiki software. I think there are tons of volunteers that would do this for free, since it is open-source. Paid programmers are not necessary.

  4. You won't actually be "saving" Wikipedia. Wikipedia will never go away, even if they ran out of money.


That last one is the key point for me. Assume that nobody donated to Wikipedia, and the website closed up shop tomorrow. It would probably take less than a week before a big company like Google or Yahoo or Microsoft opens up a copy of Wikipedia, with all the same content. $537,000 in hosting? They can afford that in their sleep. Maybe they'll need to throw some simple ads on the page to make it profitable, but what webpage doesn't have ads these days, anyway?

Simply put: The WikiMedia foundation is expendable. Wikipedia will live on. There's already a ton of sites that mirror every page on Wikipedia, for free.

I know I'm simplifying the issues here, and that the WikiMedia Foundation does a lot of things that can't be easily replicated by Google/etc. I'm just saying, they could probably do the same thing with a lot less money (and a lot less whining for money).



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Avbrand Blog Commenter 

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 |  | 
AvBrand Blog Comment: tamentis (Bertrand)
< Reply # 1 on 12/6/2010 6:36 AM >
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Posted on Forum:
I agree, there is no way in hell they need that much cash. How could they possibly require $300,000 of travel expenses for one single year.. With a little GreaseMonkey you can strip it out pretty easily though, the tag is well marked =)




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AvBrand Blog Comment: Gregory Kohs
< Reply # 2 on 12/16/2010 2:47 PM >
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Posted on Forum:
You may be interested in this information:

http://www.tinyurl.com/WMF-myths




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AvBrand Blog Comment: J.C. Kilmeade
< Reply # 3 on 1/3/2011 3:54 PM >
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Posted on Forum:
Im sorry, but this article makes assumptions as to where the money is going and why you shouldnt donate to wikimedia based on nothing more than a financial report from 2008. This post reads more like poor reasoning and bull to me.




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AvBrand Blog Comment: lyesmith
< Reply # 4 on 1/3/2011 6:15 PM >
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Posted on Forum:
Whats your point? It is donation. If you dont like it than dont pay.

If your problem is that you see a banner on a website that you regularly use than I think you should go to one of those mirrors and presto your problme is solved. But hey why dont you? Why dont you use Google's Knoll instead?

By the way if you actually look at the numbers than it seems to me that they are very reasonable. Compared to any other website that are remotely that popular.




Avatar-X 

Alpha Husky


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yay!

 |  |  | AvBrand
Re: Why you shouldn't donate to Wikipedia
< Reply # 5 on 1/3/2011 11:37 PM >
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Posted on Forum: UER Forum

Im sorry, but this article makes assumptions as to where the money is going and why you shouldnt donate to wikimedia based on nothing more than a financial report from 2008. This post reads more like poor reasoning and bull to me.


*shrug* The 2009 financial report and 2010 one are more of the same, except with even more inflated numbers. The key point to take away from this is that Wikipedia really should only have one expense: Hosting.


Whats your point? It is donation. If you dont like it than dont pay.


Thanks! I wasn't planning on it. But my point is that Wikipedia should treat its donations like gold, and use them for the site, instead of squandering them on other things. I wonder if people would still donate if the banner read "Make a donation to pay Jimmy Wales's salary!"




huskies - such fluff.
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AvBrand Blog Comment: Gregory Kohs
< Reply # 6 on 1/4/2011 5:13 PM >
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Posted on Forum:
The (lyesmith) notion is silly that if we don't like how the Wikimedia Foundation is misspending donations, then we just shouldn't donate. As taxpayers, we should do more than that. The Wikimedia Foundation has been granted 501-c-3 charity status by our government, which not only gives it a tax exemption, but gives all its donors a tax exemption. When our country is trillions of dollars in debt, it is immoral and frankly stupid to let tax-exempt graft continue at this unaccountable organization while we bankrupt our children and grandchildren to Chinese purchases of Treasuries we'll never be able to repay.

Sorry to put it on such a "macro" level, but idiots like lyesmith are how we get to this point of crippling deficits that are going to explode soon -- they just don't give a care.




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AvBrand Blog Comment: Brad
< Reply # 7 on 11/29/2011 8:14 AM >
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Posted on Forum:
I find it funny that you decided to complain about wiki donations because you noticed their banners on their website you are freeloading information from. I Donate every year. Not much, but 10, 20 bucks or so. 300k for travel expenses too much? I spent 7k last year just on myself. Most companies spend 10's of millions, easy. Not all employees work for "free". To think that wikipedia has become so large and popular thanks to a bunch of mocha sipping unemployed people with nothing better to do than work for free is just retarded. Obviously they need to pay money for lawyers, auxiliary personal, executives etc.




Avatar-X 

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 |  |  | AvBrand
Re: Why you shouldn't donate to Wikipedia
< Reply # 8 on 11/30/2011 3:02 AM >
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Posted on Forum: UER Forum
I'm only "freeloading" information that I myself and people like me put on there for free. The people that contribute the information do not get paid.

It's not really relevant how much money you spent on travel -- you are not Wikipedia. My main UER website isn't as big as Wikipedia, obviously, but I take donations to run it (I only ask for the hosting costs, nothing else, and I don't pay myself to run the site), and I've never had to pay myself travel expenses.

If you choose to donate, that is your option. Just be aware what your money is being spent on. If you think it's going towards keeping Wikipedia online, as the banner ads would suggest, you're sorely mistaken.




huskies - such fluff.
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AvBrand Blog Comment: Jim King
< Reply # 9 on 11/28/2012 8:17 PM >
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Posted on Forum:
Brad, please think first before posting. Why do any of them need to travel anywhere? They don't. The people doing the work for free live all over the world, and no one needs to travel to set up the servers. This was all explained by the author - you should try to concentrate and read more carefully in the future.




UER Forum > Journal Index > Av's Bloggy-thing. > Why you shouldn't donate to Wikipedia (Viewed 2971 times)


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