Active discussions

"I'm about to shut down"Edit

A February 19 WMF email to donors signed by Jimmy with his photo started with the line is "Sto per chiudere" ("I'm about to shut down"). It seems to say "I'm about to shut down Wikipedia". Not nice. Nemo 06:55, 24 February 2020 (UTC)

Yikes. I hope that was just a mistake in the translation, as opposed to this being sent to everyone in every language. Honesty matters. Anyone know what the original English text was (assuming this was a translation)? --Yair rand (talk) 07:21, 24 February 2020 (UTC)
Sorry for the late reply. The complete phrasing was "sono Jimmy, sto per chiudere. Non te lo chiederò di nuovo." which was a translation of the preheader "this is Jimmy, signing off. I won’t ask again". IIUC, the literal definition of chiudere (independent of context) means "to close" in Italian, but it is a good/correct translation of 'signing-off', so it should have made sense in context, and was reviewed by it-N speakers. But we do acknowledge how it could be misinterpreted. We will keep it in mind for next year. I hope that helps. Quiddity (WMF) (talk) 19:55, 7 May 2020 (UTC)

How do we make the Wikimedia Foundation stop displaying gigantic fundraising banners?Edit

Are there any movements, projects or petitions that actively work towards having all fundraising banners removed or substantially minimised? I am a regular donator, but I strongly dislike that I'm supporting the current business model with my money. Is there anything I can do to help change it? I could stop donating, but that might just make the problem worse. Ornilnas (talk) 06:24, 14 September 2020 (UTC)

The last large-scale protest against the Wikimedia Foundation's advertising model was the Spanish Wikipedia fork of 2005, I think.
If you believe that the Wikimedia Foundation is still a functioning entity with a governance system which works as written in its bylaws, in theory you can try and influence the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to revise the Wikimedia Foundation Annual Plan and substantially decrease both revenues and expenditures, which would hopefully make the WMF staff be less aggressive with their requests for money. Nemo 10:29, 14 September 2020 (UTC)
Thank you, that sounds like the correct procedure ultimately. I will try to "influence" them, but I strongly doubt my individual efforts will have much of a result (especially since I'm only a sporadic contributor to the various Wikis). Are there really no coordinated efforts to effect this influence? I know there must be many other editors/donators like myself out there. (The Spanish fork seems to have largely failed... and at the moment, Wikipedia as a whole works splendidly, apart from a few issues like these banners, so a complete fork seems unrealistic.) Ornilnas (talk) 00:57, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
Usually the WMF management doesn't listen to any organised consensus, only to random individuals pretending to speak for a silent majority. Any coordination would therefore need to be covert.
Slightly ungenerously, some say it's also been historically possible to buy a board seat for about 2 million dollars. If so, more seats might be up for sale soon, but there might have been some inflation in the last few years. Nevertheless, disgruntled donors could join their money pots and then send a frontperson to act as one of those millionaire donors, get a seat on the board and then argue for a less aggressive fundraiser. To be effective, you'd probably need a few such groups gaining multiple seats at a time.
(What above is only slightly sarcastic. Might also be serious. I've yet to decide.) Nemo 14:26, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. With the myriad of lengthy and detailed debates going on about the slightest topics all around Wikipedia and the other Wikis, I'm a little baffled that I can't find any active discussions about this. Judging by your pessimistic tone, I probably don't have a good understanding of how the WMF is structured. There must be some organized process for the consensus of active editors, users, or even donors to influence decisions. Ornilnas (talk) 06:50, 16 September 2020 (UTC)
+1. These banners are really awful. Plus the message, at least in Polish, sounds really bad. tufor (talk) 17:41, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
@Tufor: - We get members of the community to review our translations. If you'd be interested in being a translation reviewer for fundraising let me know. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 20:50, 15 September 2020 (UTC)
@Seddon (WMF): I am afraid that there can be some serious issues with the original texts that were supposed to be translated. But can you please provide me a link/links to these messages? Or you can email me them; I can take a look. tufor (talk) 05:34, 16 September 2020 (UTC)


Have we removed the awful "less than your daily cup of coffee" text from the banner? This has always seemed to me to be elitist, there's really very few people who can afford to spend $5 per day on coffee (including a lot of those who do - but that's another issue).

Rich Farmbrough 02:19 26 December 2020 (GMT).

@Rich Farmbrough: we aren't currently using that line at the moment in our banners. It has come and gone over the last couple of years so I don't want to say it will never return but for now we aren't using it. Seddon (WMF) (talk) 02:44, 30 December 2020 (UTC)
Thanks. Rich Farmbrough 01:48 1 January 2021 (GMT).

Humble but awkward - does that work?Edit

Recently, I visited Wikipedia logged out, and was greeted by the following message:

To all our readers in Australia,
It might be awkward, but please don't scroll past this. This Tuesday, for the 1st time recently, we humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia's independence. ...

I felt that the phrasing wouldn't really appeal to an Australian audience, and maybe that "humble" isn't consistent with an organisation that aims to be the "essential knowledge infrastructure for the 21st century". (The wording of the primary blue message appeared to change partway through the campaign, though I saw humble and awkward ongoing in the red reminder messages.)

Putting aside whether the Foundation should position itself as the overdog or underdog, it does prompt me to think of the following questions:

  • Does the Foundation do A/B/C/D testing of different messages and assess their effectiveness in various markets during the main campaign or just in pre-testing?
  • Has this research been made available? If not, can it?
  • Are the fundraising messages recorded anywhere for the sake of transparency and future reference?
  • Can a campaign code ("They do mean things, but this is only known to those who created them..." [1]) be matched to a particular message, or is it one-to-many?

Cheers, Pelagic (talk) 10:30, 28 December 2020 (UTC)

Questions (from Wikimedia Enterprise discussion)Edit

Liam suggested in a discussion on Talk:Wikimedia_Enterprise where fundraising popped up a couple of times that I post fundraising-related questions here.

First, for context, here is the current status of the WMF fundraising figures, taken from here:

Year Source Revenue Expenses Asset rise Total assets
2019/2020 PDF $ 129,234,327 $ 112,489,397 $ 14,674,300 $ 180,315,725
2018/2019 PDF $ 120,067,266 $ 91,414,010 $ 30,691,855 $ 165,641,425
2017/2018 PDF $ 104,505,783 $ 81,442,265 $ 21,619,373 $ 134,949,570
2016/2017 PDF $ 91,242,418 $ 69,136,758 $ 21,547,402 $ 113,330,197
2015/2016 PDF $ 81,862,724 $ 65,947,465 $ 13,962,497 $ 91,782,795
2014/2015 PDF $ 75,797,223 $ 52,596,782 $ 24,345,277 $ 77,820,298
2013/2014 PDF $ 52,465,287 $ 45,900,745 $ 8,285,897 $ 53,475,021
2012/2013 PDF $ 48,635,408 $ 35,704,796 $ 10,260,066 $ 45,189,124
2011/2012 PDF $ 38,479,665 $ 29,260,652 $ 10,736,914 $ 34,929,058
2010/2011 PDF $ 24,785,092 $ 17,889,794 $ 9,649,413 $ 24,192,144
2009/2010 PDF $ 17,979,312 $ 10,266,793 $ 6,310,964 $ 14,542,731
2008/2009 PDF $ 8,658,006 $ 5,617,236 $ 3,053,599 $ 8,231,767
2007/2008 PDF $ 5,032,981 $ 3,540,724 $ 3,519,886 $ 5,178,168
2006/2007 PDF $ 2,734,909 $ 2,077,843 $ 654,066 $ 1,658,282
2005/2006 PDF $ 1,508,039 $ 791,907 $ 736,132 $ 1,004,216
2004/2005 PDF $ 379,088 $ 177,670 $ 211,418 $ 268,084
2003/2004 PDF $ 80,129 $ 23,463 $ 56,666 $ 56,666

The financial statements also mention that During the year ended June 30, 2016, the Foundation entered into an agreement with the Tides Foundation to establish the Wikimedia Endowment as a Collective Action Fund to act as a permanent safekeeping fund to generate income to ensure a base level of support for the Wikimedia projects in perpetuity. The Endowment is independent from the Foundation. They go on to say that the Foundation [has] provided irrevocable grants ... to the Tides Foundation for the purpose of the Wikimedia Endowment. These amounts are recorded in awards and grants expense. (Source: Financial Statements 2019/2020, p. 14) So as I understand it some of the expenses in the above table are actually profits put into the endowment.

I and I am sure many others would be interested in answers to the following questions:

  1. Originally it was envisaged that it would take ten years to bring the Endowment to $100 million. It was reported in January of this year to stand at $90 million, and was said to be approaching $100 million last month. So the WMF took $50 million more from the donating public than it would have needed to in order to fulfil its publicised plan. Who took that decision?
  2. Why is the fact that you have been trying (and succeeding) to build a $100m endowment in half the originally budgeted time not more prominent in fundraising banners shown to readers? Most small donors give because they see banners, widely perceived as alarming, telling them that money is needed for Wikipedia to "keep thriving", "to stay online", to "protect its independence". They are not told that the Foundation supporting Wikipedia has net assets most recently reported to stand at $180m, along with close to $100m in an Endowment.
  3. One might argue that some of the fundraising messages try to make members of the public, including in last year's fundraising drive in India, feel guilty for not donating – or to shame them into donating – to the Wikimedia Foundation. Is this appropriate, when all content on Wikimedia sites was built by unpaid volunteers who want this content to be available free of charge for everyone?
  4. You have grown your budget more than tenfold over the past ten years, and are planning to grow it further. Clearly, you are spending a lot more money than you did ten years ago. A tenth of the money you are taking now was enough to keep Wikipedia online ten years ago, and it would still be enough today. Why are you not making it more prominent to people what you want the other nine-tenths of the revenue for when you are asking the public to give you their money?
  5. How much money does the WMF actually have right now, expressed as a best estimate of net assets plus Endowment?
  6. The WMF reportedly took $124m (of a planned $125m, revised goal from $108m) in the first six months of this financial year. As you will by now surely have reached your target, will you stop fundraising for the rest of the financial year, and if not, by how much are you planning, or expecting, to exceed your revised goal?
  7. How much of the $124m taken from July to December of last year was due to the Indian fundraising campaign?

I would be very grateful for answers to the above. Many thanks for your help in advance. Regards, --Andreas JN466 20:59, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

Dear Andreas,
Thank you very much for your questions, we will get back to you as soon as possible, here and on talk:Endowment. --JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 09:42, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Thank you, JBrungs (WMF), I look forward to that. Note that I have added a question above (no. 7). --Andreas JN466 09:55, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
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