Wikipedia’s donation request drama

Contributors felt the messages were unethical.

“Please don’t scroll past this one-minute read.”

Wikipedia’s donation request drama

If you go to Wikipedia this month, you may be served a mildly urgent-sounding appeal for money that begins something like that.

With 16B monthly visits, most people scroll past these notes without blinking twice. Yet, interestingly, their wording was recently the subject of  intense debate among Wikipedia’s volunteer contributors.

Many felt the message’s original language, which supposedly gave off the impression that Wikipedia was on the verge of utter financial doom, was unethical given the reality of Wikipedia’s strong financial situation, per Slate.

  • The messages are crafted by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which, in the fiscal year 2022 alone, has raised $165.2m across ~13m+ donations.
  • Between 2004 and 2020, the assets on its balance sheet grew from $57k to $180m.

In the end, the foundation and contributors were able to find common ground. In part, one of the notes now reads, “If you can comfortably afford it this year, please join the readers who donate.”

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