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Wikipedia Donation Campaign Succeeds in Raising Above $6 Million

Discussion in 'News' started by btarunr, Jan 2, 2009.

  1. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    What started off on a low-key as a free online encyclopedia, Wikipedia now stands as an indispensable part of the internet, as one of the most important information resources. Earlier in 2008, the Wikimedia Foundation (the parent organisation behind Wikipedia) found itself in a severe cash deficit that threatened the very existence of the Website. The organisation then sought to go public for help, launching a worldwide donation campaign. Their donation goal was set at US $ 6 million. The organisation kept its operations fairly transparent by providing a break-down of its 2008~09 budget.

    Around the last week of 2008, their donations stood at $3.8 million. Following Christmas, a surge in donations was observed. In a matter of five days since Christmas, not only was the $6 million goal approached at, but also surpassed, which now stands at roughly $6.158 million. Wikipedia is thus saved and will live to see the light of this year.

    Source: TG Daily
  2. moto666 Guest

    Nice To Sea they have the money!
    I'm using it day by day!

    ps: U have two good friend's in the internet Google and Wikipedia! :D

    psps:
    Google (male)
    Wikipedia (female)

    Pobably :) :toast:
  3. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    I support the concept of wiki, but I dont like the way they are running themselves and paying themselves FAT FAT SALARIES for what is essentially a non-profit venture.

    Look at this: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/4/41/FY_2008_09_Annual_Plan.PDF page 13, and page 11.

    3 fundraising staff earning $510,000 incl. expenses is approx $120,000 each, plus $1000 per week expenses each per week.

    4 developers and 1 sys admin, plus a few contracting expenses, $375,000. That's an average of $70,000 for the developers and $100,000 for the admin.

    5 people in Finance/admin costing $1,619,000 (incl. expenses).

    LIke I said, while I support the wiki concept, these people are paying theseselves serious dollar and/or running huge expense accounts. I'm not sure that they will maintain so much private charitable donations when people really understand what the individuals are putting in their pockets; it's hardly charity or non-profit budgeting.
  4. ghost101

    ghost101 New Member

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    Remember lemonadesoda that these are very demanding jobs which require some of the best people in the world. I suspect they could get very good jobs working for the likes of google or microsoft. If you want the best, then you pay for the best. It's difficult for us to judge how well money is being spent.

    Yes you can get cheaper employees, perhaps even free, but can they run one of the largest websites in the world?

    The wikimedia foundation board arent no mugs either (some of which have donated large sums of money)

    http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Press_releases/Neeru_Khosla_to_Become_Wikipedia_Advisor_Dec_2008
    http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Advisory_Board

    I'm sure they are trying to get as much value for money as they can, like every other charity.
  5. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    I disagree entirely.

    If it is a non-profit organisation it needs an entirely different "business model". It should not go paying higher-than-commercial salaries. Either, it needs to operate on part-time goodwill of key individuals, or it needs to have a revenue model to pay these fat salaries. BUT, they cannot just go cap in hand and expect the community to cough up private gifts to pay these fat salaries. It beggars belief!
  6. ghost101

    ghost101 New Member

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    The salaries arent that fat. They are salaries of what you'd expect a decent developer, finance analyst etc. to earn.

    As for expenses, you have no idea what the expenses include? Maybe these jobs require a lot of travelling around the world? Staying in hotels?

    The basic salaries by themselves arent that remarkable.

    These are skilled jobs and a lot of charities pay the going rate for these type of jobs.

    edit:

    A developer earning $70k. Is that really that much for someone with the experience to runa site like wikipedia? I know people taking computer science degrees who expect to earn 50-60k staright out of university, some of who will. The best almost definitely will.
    Rebo&Zooty says thanks.
  7. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    I dont think you read my post very well. I gave them "$1000" a week as expenses.

    If you think the salaries are small and the expenses are higher, then perhaps you need to think why they obfuscated the numbers, rather than ANY COMMERICAL ORGANISATION that would report a detailed breakdown of costs, separated between salaries, expenses, and overheads, for 100% transparency.

    And I certainly hope that all the staff, esp. finance, admin, and programmers, dont have to spend their entire year in hotels. LOL. :roll:

    I think you are really missing the point. The wiki foundation lives on the free contributions made by the community and on the free contributions and gifts made by OTHER charitable organistions, many of them state funded. (Look up the Advisory Board and see who pays their living costs) or who has paid foe the development of much of the software used by wiki).

    What exactly do you mean by decent finance analyst? This is a charity not an investment bank! LOL :roll:
  8. ghost101

    ghost101 New Member

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    I know what you're saying, but you simply won't get people working for $50k a year if they can't live off the money. The only sufficiently qualified people you'd get at lower salaries are rich philanthrapists who don't need the money or people who aren't wealthy but are willing to work for $50k.

    If say I was a developer who could earn $100k at google, but instead work at wikipedia for $50k, I am effectively donating $50k a year to wikipedia (think about this as me working for google and donating $50k a year to wikipedia so that they can hire a $100k a year developer, they are equivalent). People can be good, but that is stretching a bit.

    Also maybe not finance analysts, but accountants etc. I said finance/business analysts because wikipedia is effectively purely about investment as there is no actual tangible product. So it may require a lot of analysis and expertise in that area.

    edit:

    You will find that people who work high up in charities are actually earning a lot less than what they could earn in the private sector.
  9. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Has wikipedia got 100% better in the last year (not talking content, but content management and other services)? If not, then why have budgets doubled comparing next year to last year?

    If those budgets were covered by income (not gifts from the community) then one could argue it's none of our business... BUT, it is. As a charity it faces the same scrutiny from the community as does the public purse of government. Perhaps more so.

    Anyway, I dont want to ambush the thread further. I think we just take a different "business view" of what is going on.
  10. Triprift

    Triprift

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    Good to hear Wiki's a great site and far as im concerned deserved the money it got for being the fine resource it is. Long live Wikipedia. :toast:
  11. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Who cares man. They are making money off of lazy people (like myself). Good for them. I mean if you "donate" money to them you're just essentially paying for the service.

    The real tragedy is the educational system. The libraries, encyclopedias and any traditional way of learning is becoming a dinosaur. The classic way to retrieve information is being neglected because of sites like Wikipedia. I think its a cool site but many people accept anything on it as fact without doing any cross referencing. G-d forbid it goes down one day. I think our educational system would collapse. :laugh:
  12. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    LOL, you are probably right.

    "Who cares?". No I do care. Why? Because I think wikipedia is great. So why the concern? Because anything unsustainable is unsustainable. If their revenue/cost model is one of "charity" then they need to behave like one. If their revenue/cost model is like a commercial enterprise, then likewise, they need to behave like one.

    Wiki is, IMO, in the middle of an identity crisis. It doesnt quite know what it is or what it wants to be.
  13. TheMailMan78

    TheMailMan78 Big Member

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    Well it is a charity. Its a service you don't pay for. If they pay themselves a million dollars an hour it costs you nothing. If people want to give them money as a "thank you" then more power to them.

    Its for a website. In the end no one suffers. It's not like they say its for children starving in Africa.
  14. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly. UNICEF collects millions for its various relief activities, yet its officers roam in expensive cars, paid high, etc.
  15. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    Since its a charity arn't you able to access their financial reports and see what they are doing. Also if they say they were a business they wouldn't be tax exempt. At least thats the rules here in the UK i'm just assuming they are the same/similar in the US.
  16. lemonadesoda

    lemonadesoda

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    Exactly. There is something called corporate governance as well as business and moral ethics. Whether people or organisations apply them is in a sense irrelevant, but it gives us a yardstick as to what we perceive and accept as appropriate behaviour. And we can all be our own judges as to the priorities of what counts.

    Seems like charity and non-profit governance as well as NGO governance as well as government governance are all seriously underdeveloped areas requiring further thought, comment, and change.

    PS. Let TPU governance shine a bright light through these muddy affairs and become a beacon of honour! :pimp:

    Hmm, we need a new "governance brand concept" just like "bio". Theres money to be made... LOL ;) Let me think of a logo.
  17. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    I think I'll have to agree with lemonadesoda. If they go about lining their pockets with gold, they can no longer call themselves non-profit.
  18. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

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    why would anyone donate money to an online encyclopedia? there are all sorts of real encyclopedias online for free that dont want your donations and are more credible.
  19. BrooksyX

    BrooksyX

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    Don't see a point in donating to wikipedia. I have yet to take a class where the teacher/professor allowed wikipedia as a source for a paper or project. They have all specifically banned the use of that website.
  20. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Workaround: Use a Wikipedia article for your homework, rely on its citations (each important statement or sentence is backed by a citation/footnote). Cite the footnotes as sources in your homework. Win.
  21. DrPepper

    DrPepper The Doctor is in the house

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    I doubt I'd ever donate to wikipedia. For example the article quality is to be frank shit. Apart from the chemistry articles there is no formal layout and in the games section they create articles on games that aren't out yet and have plot synopsis that isn't complete etc.
  22. 3870x2

    3870x2

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    I think wikipedia is very well structured, and I have never gotten false information. Everything is cited, and if it isnt, it warns you about missing citations. To my belief, there is no encyclopedia more extensive than wikipedia. Ive never searched for something I couldnt find, not to mention that you shouldt even be citing wikipedia, it has its own citations, that is why they forbid citing it, because legally it is wrongful, being that their information wasnt rightfully theirs in the first place.
  23. rsajan New Member

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    Anti-Asian and non-Neutral

    Much in Wikipedia is false info. Have a look at the large number of articles against India and about 'anti-Christian violence' in India. They are all copy-pasted from Christian sites. There is no neutrality. There is also anti-Asian slant all over, though the site is most used by Asians.

    If you try any neutral editing, a group of Baptists and Catholic Admins gang up against you and Block you. It is all funny.
  24. btarunr

    btarunr Editor & Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Fixed :D

    I've no issues with its neutrality. You're forewarned about an article whose neutrality is disputed.
  25. rsajan New Member

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    No. You try putting up a Neutrality warning in any of the anti-Indian articles; it is immediately edited away by some motivated Admin and if you do it again, you are immediately Blocked. Try questioning the neutrality of any such article and you will need no more citations.

    Many missionary and proselytizer-groups have paid employees to monitor Wiki. The more False stories they plant about Christian agony in Asia, the more donations they can claim from credulous Western donors.

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