Wikimedia urban postering campaign

Since this was originally proposed, it has been turned into a general urban-area promotion campaign.

Based on my recent wanderings through the University of Toronto and looking at the United States Wikimedia Chapter proposal, I think we should launch a multilingual campaign, promoting the site on campus across the world.


Walking around Toronto recently, I saw posters remaining from a CBC program called The Greatest Canadian, where viewers could choose who they thought was our country's finest. The show ended a few months ago, but posters for the "candidates" were still stuck, uncovered, on the poles and mail boxes of the University campus.

So, I thought, why not see what Wikimedia has already created as promotion. The stuff I found was fairly amateurish, and frankly would make anyone cast major doubt on the existing legitimacy of the content on the site.


So, I'm leading the charge to design new letter-sized posters to promote our fine projects. All I need is the community to figure out what should go on such a poster, and hopefully translators to translate it into any language. -- user:zanimum

Interested peopleEdit

We at the Icelandic Wikipedia have made posters, available at is:Wikipedia:Auglýsingar, that I could translate to english. We've never actually used them, but they look good and they might be what you're looking for. Contact me on my talk page if you're interested. --Spm 10:30, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

These are nice, but we need more of a creative way to sell the idea of Wikipedia. -- user:zanimum

I'm also in Toronto, and I would be glad to help with any wikimedia promotional campaign around town or universities, such as mine, Waterloo. It is a great resource and everyone should be informed of it. I could also help with the poster design. Just contact me with any ideas or plans. --ErOhead 17:11, 23 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I would love to put up posters around the Harvard and MIT campuses; there are lots of Wikipedia-supporters around here, without a definite center of focus. We could take general posters and modify them with details about the local Wikipedia meetups... +sj+ 01:12, 11 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I think this would be a neat activity for clubs under the auspicious of a Wikimedia chapter to do. The posters could be informational at first, but once enough people are involved in a certain club, could advertise club meetings and activities. Chapters would help pay for the printing cost and local fund drives would put money into the chapters for this. Think global, act local. --Daniel Mayer 17:13, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)


Good to see there's a bunch of interested folks around Wikimedia. You don't know of Wikipedia, you don't know why you'd spend time contributing to it. A person comes up to you, and starts to sell you on the concept. What do they say? Try and keep it bullet points for now, don't try and figure out the exact wording; honestly, no idea is too redundant. -- user:zanimum

Poster alternativeEdit

  • Why are we creating new posters? Why don't we go around with a stencil of [[ and ]] in various sizes and a stencil (or sticker) with the corresponding wikipedia language website and markup existing posters? This would show how many articles are available, and how easy it is to edit a public work.
    • On second thought, it might be simpler to just use a large permanant marker to do the markup by hand, with a sticker to explain what's being done. Something like (in America) " - Edit everything" Wouldn't want to advocate anyone breaking the law or anything like that, but, this would the coolest thing to happen to a billboard ever!
    • Another possiblity, write "This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it." at the bottom after you do your edits, which can include wikifying it, editing the text, or adding art. Cobalty 03:27, 22 Jun 2005 (UTC)
~The reason why we don't go around changing other people's posters, is probably: Because it's considered very bad form to do so, and will give Wikixedia a reputation of being a parasite. Its a very good idea, but in this implementation Í fear it's unusable. Aliter 01:51, 27 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Agreed. Despite creating this project, and investing a fair amount of time in it, I'm also becoming this project's #1 "enemy". Postering is now illegal in Toronto, and so I'll have no part in this personally, and hope that others will abandon this project. First we're cluttering the landscape with posters, then there's suggestions of straight-forward vandalism, enough's enough, I'm out. -- user:zanimum

Correction: Postering is NOT illegal in Toronto. Please see for more information. It is legal only on utility poles and construction hoardings, provided they don't say "Post No Bills". The Supreme Court has already ruled that an outright ban on postering would be an infringement of our right to freedom on expression.

Possible postersEdit

I spent the last four or five hours today writing and designing a series of ads for a postering campaign. See what you like and don't like among them all, and fire comments at will on the talk page. The design is in dynamic black and white, and saved as PDF that I'll upload it a week or two.

If you want to make changes to any of the copy, just edit it like you would with any Wikipedia article, I'll consider the changes and make the appropriate changes on my computer.

If you want to add a new poster, just write it, then make it bold. The more the merrier


Encyclopedia should taste great, but they shouldn't be less filling.
If you want Rice, we've got Rice. Condi that is. Encarta waited until after Secretary Rice entered her current position to bother writing a small ditty on her. Wikipedia, on the other hand, has had a comprehensive article on her since ***********. Why are we #1 in terms of depth? Wikipedia moves at the speed of life.
We told you about Victor Yushenko, before the name meant anything to the world.
Encarta waited until only those following Ukrainian politics cared. No one could ever beat Wikipedia's depth of coverage in current events and issues reach the headlines. That means you can get the whole picture now. Or you can wait three months after Victor became the victor, and read Encarta's take. Which is it going to be?
A six year old Brit found multiple errors in Britannica.
EB won't be able to update the articles for a few more years, when they issue the next print edition. Had those errors been on Wikipedia, he could have corrected them instantly for us. We no longer live in a world that can wait. Why does your encyclopedia?
A six-year-old? Where can I read about that? Seahen 23
05, 2 April 2006 (UTC)
The online revolution that's got Microsoft knocking their knees.
It takes a major threat to get corporation to change their ways. That's why Microsoft's offering Encarta users the chance to give feedback, giving them the illusion of input. Wikipedia, on the other hand, lets you edit any page, any time. If there's an omission or errror, we want to know, now.
Imagine Yahoo and Google fighting for your attention...
Only one website has two multi-billion-dollar courtiers trying to woo it into partnerships. Yahoo lets us borrow their servers for our Asian users, for free. Ask Google Who is Benjamin Franklin, they use us to reply. In real life, this is polygamy. For us, it's a spectacular chance to get you as a reader.
No use for encyclopedias in an Internet world?
Wikipedia, the newly crowned largest encyclopedia in the world, might change that perception. We're up-to-the-minute with the big picture in news stories and on going events. Music? We're top of the charts. Television? You'll be Desperate to be Lost. Sports? We've got the bases covered. Won't find that in Encarta, now will you?
The encyclopedia that's growing faster than your annoying little brother.
In a little under five years, we've written 1,000,000 accurate encyclopedia articles. Sure, there's some regrettable gaps. But a few hundred more of them will be gone by the time you get on the Internet to visit us. Seeing that we're 100% advertising-free, we won't bug you. So many reasons to love us, so few for him.
For the story behind today's news, Wikipedia's it.
Little can beat the newspaper for in-depth coverage of current events. But Wikipedia, the world's largest encyclopedia, is the first source you should turn to, for the history driving the news. No source is as comprehensive, no sources is as current, relevant, and topical, and no source is as dedicated to writing from a neutral point of view.
Wikipedia. Know Everything, For Reals!
You are the one who pesters everyone in sight with your supposed supreme knowledge. You think so high of yourself that you frequently get nose bleeds. You *are* Mr. Know-it-all. Well, now you can back it all up, with actual knowledge! No more being a pretender. Now you'll be the real thing!

U of WEdit

The encyclopedia written by the guy standing at the front of your lecture hall.
Anyone can, and does, edit Wikipedia articles, perhaps even your prof. While the establishment hates to admit it, most of Wikipedia's articles meet or exceed other general and topical encyclopedias. Most major articles have also been edited by professors, or professionals in the field. And Wikipedia is 100% free. Start your research with us.
Your prof got today's lecture notes from us.
Hundreds of major news organizations, books, even court cases and US Government reports on nuclear energy have credited Wikipedia as a source of information. And that's only what we know of. Why not make Wikipedia your source? Start your research with us.

Humour, odd conceptsEdit

The Seven Years War. Enron. The Yangtze River. Quantum mechanics. Big Bird.
No matter where your interests lie, Wikipedia will be there or you with bountiful information on your interests. An ever expanding, quality-made encyclopedia, with the deepest range of content you'd ever hope for.
Only one encyclopedia has critical studies of the Klingon and Elvish languages.
If it's notable and has had an impact on a few thousand people, it's probably in our encyclopedia's domain. That's not to say we lack mainstream topics you'll find in Britannica, World Book, and Encarta. We generally meet or exceed their quality on those subjects. It's just we like to have a little bit of fun at the end of the day.
Two words- Exploding whales.
If Wikipedia's got a scholarly article on topic like that, you can guarantee that they'll have an article on whatever you'd ever want to look for. There are still some notable holes in our content, but we're the insurance that nothing important in the world falls through history's cracks. Sort of a "if we don't have it, you probably don't need it" concept.
Two words- Extreme Ironing.
If Wikipedia's got a scholarly article on topic like that, you can guarantee that they'll have an article on whatever you'd ever want to look for. There are still some notable holes in our content, but we're the insurance that nothing important in the world falls through history's cracks. Sort of a "if we don't have it, you probably don't need it" concept.
Edit this poster.
Any page in the Wikipedia encyclopedia can be edited at whim, meaning mistakes and omissions don't last long here. Recipe for disaster, you might say. If people have taken this headline too literally, you're reading this through a mass of vandalism and "for a good time..." notes. On Wikipedia, two clicks would revert all of that out, restoring the content to its previous form. Posters, not so. Wikipedia. We're better than posters.
We'd show you our editors, but mirrors are a little costly for a postering campaign.
You see, Wikipedia is a website that doesn't sell anything, and it doesn't run ads. As a charitable organization, we don't make much money to waste on mirrors. So we rely on over 30,000 registered and anonymous volunteers to improve our project. So far it's worked; we've got 1 million articles in almost any language. So if you've knowledge to spare, join us. And if you've got an old mirror to spare, thanks but no thanks, that would just make this whole ad obsolete.
We'd give our editors business cards, but it would take forever to type all 30,000 names.
Besides, our volunteer editors are too busy creating the world's largest encyclopedia to get around to doing it themselves. In just over four years, they've created 550,000+ articles on almost every topic under the sun. Most of the articles are quite good too, often surpassing the quality of Britannica and Encarta. Possibly if we hired some monkeys to create the cards, but they'd likely end up typing Shakespeare instead.

"Jimbo sez"Edit

Imagine a world in which every single person on the planet is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That's what we're doing. - Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales, 2004
It may sound like a lofty goal, but creating an encyclopedia anyone can edit also sounded lofty when Wikipedia started in 2001. Four years and more than one million articles later, it's not that hard to believe.
It is my intention to get a copy of Wikipedia to every single person on the planet in their own language. - Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales, 2004
It may sound like a lofty goal, but creating an encyclopedia anyone can edit also sounded lofty when Wikipedia started in 2001. Four years and more than one million articles later, it's not that hard to believe.


The idea is to have something like half the poster for the Wikipedia logo, the next third for something that'll make people look twice, and at the bottom the URL - for a specific topic that specific URL. For example:

  • Languages: "<Logo> in <language name> <URL>". Preferably, use several languages in the same area.
  • Stats: "<Logo> <article count> pages <URL>". Print the number at the time of going to press in a large but fine font, then when putting up the poster, overwrite it with a more accurate number eg. in red. In a prominent spot, you might even keep one up to date for a while by glueing new numberstrips on, eg. until a final strip makes it read "more pages".
  • Look here: "<Logo> topic <URL>". Can be anything short:
    • "ELVIS Costello LIVES"
    • "Whales Explode"
    • "Flightless birds"
    • "Who Shot Liberty Valance"
    • <Name of location>
    • 50 Springfield-s - This is somewhat USA-specific. It's actually 65 at the moment but 50 probably works better.)\
    • Numbers: Either the bare numbers that have pages, or factoids with a prominent number: "49 Olympic Games"
  • Small print: If the posters will usually be seen from one or two meters away, but can be approached, a noticable block of small print, or print that grows smaller after the first word. The trick is to make people be active in reading about Wikipedia for a while.
    • By the time you've read this, Wikipedia probably grew nn pages, nnn words, nnn characters ...
    • This town is described in Wikipedia; this county is described in Wikipedia ... planet ... . - Adopt correct levels for other countries.
    • A is for Aardvark, and Abraham Lincoln, and AC/DC, and ... , and Azimuth, and some nnn.nnn other pages in Wikipedia.

Logo size and hook complexityEdit

Having the logo on half the page, as in the Icelandic posters, is way too much. People who don't know anything about Wikipedia won't recognize it, so it doesn't really add any information. I think the space would be much better spent on some large text. You do need the "hook" line to be big enough to read from across the room, or else a lot of people will miss it.

Now, if we have some alternative eye-catching graphics of some kind, that coordinated with the hook, that would be excellent.

I also like the idea of picking on specific, interesting, and maybe weird facts, especially those of local interest.

Some of the previously proposed posters have very complex hook lines. This means they will have to be written rather small, which is less eye-catching. I would keep them as short as possible, and also make the concepts as bold and clean as possible. I've posted some ideas along these lines below.

I've included some topic-specific ones. I'm thinking they might be good to hang up in particular places. Tech posters around MIT, law posters around Harvard Law, etc. -- Beland 20:38, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Oh yeah, and would recommend just writing "". It's impressive to see the main page on your way in, and it would be great to make people aware that they can contribute in multiple languages. But most importantly, it's short. People have to remember the URL until the next time they fire up their web browser. -- Beland 20:47, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)
What about just printing out the entire article (such as exploding whales) in grayscale, and putting a slogan on top of it (in full black). Saves on printing costs, and it less ambiguous than just 'Exploding Whales'. Daniel () Check out Wikiscope! 18:41, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Simplified suggestionsEdit

(Hit stats from Wikipedia:Awareness statistics.)

More powerful than Microsoft.
Our encyclopedia is larger and faster to update than Encarta, absolutely free, and reviewed by thousands of editors. And you can be a part of it.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Exponential growth.
You can read about it on our site, or you can be a part of it. 80 million hits a day and counting.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Share the law.
Our web site gets over 80 million hits a day. Our readers have lots of questions about the law - history, terminology, and concepts. We have over half a million articles. We can help you, and you can help us.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

How can an encyclopedia be free?
We have over half a million articles free for the taking, edited by thousands of volunteers. Visit us and find out how good it gets.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Do you grok us?
We have technology answers. We have technology questions. We have over 80 million hits a day. Help us help you.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

1912: Sliced bread.
2000: The free encyclopedia.

Find out about bread and half a million other things (literally).

Are you a walking encyclopedia?
We're the electronic version.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Sir Isaac Newton
Tim Berners-Lee
Britney Spears
Yup. We've got that.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Human cloning
Quantum computing
Extreme ironing
Yup. We've got that.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

The sum of human knowledge.
Make sure yours is counted.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Developing knowledge for the developing world.
Our goal is to bring the sum of human knowledge to every person on the planet. For free. Help us help them. You might learn something important along the way.
The free encyclopedia anyone can edit

Location ideasEdit

  • College campuses
  • College libraries
  • Public libraries
  • Busy streets
    • Lamp posts
    • Community bulletin boards
  • Book stores
  • Internet cafes
  • Minority neighborhoods


Maybe we can produce brochures! They'll probably be harder to dismiss than religious tracts, because they deliver a new message. sean 23:08, 2 April 2006 (UTC)