Updated 06/19/2021 8:30 AM
Every year, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) launches its compelling
annual fundraising campaign
with the proclamation of upholding the "independence" of Wikipedia.
the impartiality of "the free encyclopedia"
is questioned and a subject of debate on the networks.
What many of its editors object is that it really
It does not specify the money it demands so much
, since in recent years it has obtained record numbers of anonymous donations.
According to its own internal documents, the Wikimedia Foundation
He has pocketed
$ 142 million, $ 34 million more than his
of $ 108 million
WMF's total funding, which has grown by about $ 200 million in the last five years, is now approaching $ 300 million.
In just the first nine months of its current financial year, it has raised $ 142 million, a new annual record, "denounces Andreas Kolbe, former co-editor-in-chief of
, Wikipedia's English-language community newspaper.
Reminder that Wikipedia is swimming in money - more than 10 times what they'd need to run the website.
They're employing over 40 people * just * on fundraising.
Managers get $ 400k salaries.
Their intrusive donation plea banners are downright deceptive.https: //t.co/7iMLNlOsCc
- Hector Martin (@ marcan42) May 31, 2021
The charitable foundation that owns Wikipedia and other open content websites written and curated by unpaid volunteers,
about to reach its ten-year goal of creating a $ 100 million gift, five years earlier.
In January 2016, on Wikipedia's 15th anniversary, its goal was to reach 100 million by 2026. But in just 5 years, the Fund, controlled by an advisory council headed by Jimmy Gales, surpassed the $ 90 million mark
Thus, the projected figure for 5 years from now will be obtained this year.
In just the first nine months of its current financial year, it has raised $ 142 million.
"People take it for granted that it is a sweet little charity that does nothing wrong and is totally harmless,
but none of that is true,
" says Michael Olenick, a researcher at the INSEAD business school who has studied the operation.
Wikipedia was launched in the year on
January 15, 2001
with the promise of providing free knowledge to its users around the world.
The organization is guaranteed to provide its services with a knowledge reserve of
more than 50 million articles in nearly 300 languages.
All Wikipedia Foundation workers.
“Wikipedia became an important part of the world's information infrastructure.
Links, summarizes and organizes various sources of information.
It is not perfect and can also distort our perception of information by damaging shapes.
We all want to guarantee its evolution in a productive way and that it serves the interests of society,
”says Pete Forsyth, an expert in collaborative processes at Wikipedia.
Every year readers are faced with urgent sounding requests for money that last a month.
Fundraising posters displayed repeatedly in North America, Europe and even India
suggest that the WMF is struggling to stay afloat.
revenue increased fifteen times compared to the 2010s, reaching the record now exceeded $ 130 million
in fiscal year 2019/2020," argues Kolbe.
The British newspaper Andrew Orlowski, a columnist for the Daily Telegraph,
is another of the voices that refutes the image of the project that needs the urgent help of user contributions to make ends meet
If you enjoyed my Telegraph column on Wikipedia today, you * must * read this by @Wikiland on Wikipedia's finances.
I also drew on some great work by @michael_olenick published last month - https://t.co/VdFS8CJCH0 https://t.co/etVBNEdF9x
- Andrew Orlowski (@AndrewOrlowski) May 27, 2021
These posters, on display to readers in a pandemic-ravaged Latin America, have created a widespread impression that the
WMF is struggling to stay operational, with messages almost desperate.
“Wikipedia really needs you.
This is the tenth calling we show you.
98% of our readers don't give;
they look the other way ... We humbly ask you not to commit yourself ".
Asking people in Argentina and Uruguay who are struggling with the pandemic to donate money to them right now
when the WMF is swimming in money, it is completely unethical in my opinion.
It's pure selfishness and greed "shoots Kolbe.
In 2001 Jimmy Wales created Wikipedia, the world's first digital encyclopedia
The first person in charge of managing the funds had an impeccable resume, they indicate on the site The Register.
When Carolyn Bothwell Doran
was hired as director, she had a criminal record and was on probation for driving under the influence.
Her criminal history included convictions
for bad check writing, robbery, theft and one count of wounding her boyfriend with a gunshot in the chest.
The most consulted site
The different versions of Wikipedia receive more visits than any website in the world
, which translates into about 23 billion clicks per month.
In addition, it is the first source
where Siri and Alexa look for the answers to the questions of their users and their articles achieve the first results in the boxes of Google
and other search engines.
Every year, the encyclopedia starts asking readers for help.
"In an additional boost to its finances, the WMF is also preparing to embark
on a for-profit venture called Wikimedia Enterprise, selling API
(Application Programming Interface) services to large-scale reusers of its volunteer-generated content at through a newly formed company. Wikimedia, LLC, "emphasizes Kolbe.
“The best way to contribute to their health is to accept their invitation to write, edit and improve their content.
This council has not changed since it was launched 20 years ago, when there was not even an organization that accepted donations,
has a team of around 250 employees and more than 250,000 global volunteers
, as stated by Pat Pena, Director of Payments and Operations for the Wikimedia Foundation, in a post.
The dark side of Wikipedia.
But keeping the encyclopedia online - according to a 2013 estimate by Erik Möller, its vice president of engineering and product development at the time -
is a task the WMF could comfortably handle on $ 10 million a year
"Organizations can sponsor and participate in efforts to improve information. Such as Wiki Women in Red, which seeks to improve the gender balance among those who cover Wikipedia; or" News On Wiki, "a campaign runs to improve Wikipedia's coverage of the local newspapers.
Giving money to an organization can be an easy thing to do, but if your goal is to help Wikipedia, these options can be more effective ways to do it,
"sums up Forsyth.
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