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  1. #1
    SitePoint Guru Webinsane's Avatar
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    Did you donate to Wikipedia? Why not?

    I am confused what to think about Wikipedia. I understand the great idea of helping developing countries and organizing one huge informational web site available for everyone without ads on all languages. I donated first time 4 years ago and again 2 years ago. However, I stopped donating because Wikipedia ranks in front of my web sites even thou IMO my content is better. Well lets say it is more interesting and in some cases shorter and easier to read.

    Should I feel bad for not supporting Wikipedia? Is it OK that one web site controls all the information? Is it ok that small businesses are losing to bigger Walmarts? Please don't get me wrong I love the idea to use my Android Phone to search Wikipedia through applications, but when I am on my computer I tend to alternate search results away from Wikipedia.
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  2. #2
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    Force Flow's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that you understand the primary purpose of wikipedia. The idea behind it is to offer a user-editable encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to. And yes, they do this in languages there is a user demand for, not to "assist in developing countries".

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia

    Wikipedia will rank higher than other sites largely because the amount of traffic that it gets. What particular information do you feel you're/they're competing with?

    Generally, I use wikipedia for quick reference or as an introduction to a new topic--not as a primary source of information. That's exactly how an encyclopedia should be used; online or not.

    As for making donations for wikipedia, no, there's no reason to feel bad about it. Donating is a personal choice, not just for wikipedia, but in general.
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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    If you want to donate to a web site then there are a huge number of sites that are far more worthy of receiving your donation than Wikipedia is.
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  4. #4
    SitePoint Guru Webinsane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Force Flow View Post
    The idea behind it is to offer a user-editable encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to. And yes, they do this in languages there is a user demand for, not to "assist in developing countries".

    Actually helping developing countries use Wikipedia has been the idea behind the donation process. To spread the knowledge. There is video of Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales visiting developing countries:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqODfmEW198
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  5. #5
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    I've got to say, after all the bad publicity last year of Jimmy Wales being a honking great jerk, and all the dreadful things you hear about how many admins and editors treat 'we peons,' I'd think twice about donating.
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  6. #6
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    Donating to site like Wikipedia is not bad option though. The kind of help we contribute must stands well with supporting facts. If we donate then we must get information about how this donation is going to utilized and where. Such transparency increases the scope of donation. If you think your donation is used in right way then thinking to whom you donate must not matter. Also Wikipedia seems to be doing well and very informative at a time. There were occassions Wikipedia has helped gather information when most of other sites failed to output the results for you.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Addict EJ's Avatar
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    Might have donated if I had an income/any money in PayPal.

    Besides, donated last time they had banners up.
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    why not?? because they are already big.. they rank higher almost on any popular kws that can found in a dictionary... they can do advertisement..

  9. #9
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    Have donated before, but not too much!

  10. #10
    Floridiot joebert's Avatar
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    If you've seen the donations banner for any reason other than looking for it to see what all the fuss is about chances are you should be donating something.

    Whether Jimmy Whales is a douche bag and the administrators are one donation away from being homeless or not, most of the time the information you find on Wikipedia is going to make your life easier in some way shape or form.

  11. #11
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    I still haven't decided whether to donate to Wikipaedia or not, although I have to say that I think that are plenty of other charities out there where our money could potentially be better spent.

    However, I do greatly admire admire the work done and the service offered by Wikipaedia.

  12. #12
    SitePoint Addict EJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bogs View Post
    why not?? because they are already big.. they rank higher almost on any popular kws that can found in a dictionary... they can do advertisement..
    The day they start putting up annoying (even slightly), irrelevant ads is the day I stop going there.

    I like it the way it is.

    A moot point, though, considering AdBlock Plus.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by joebert View Post
    Whether Jimmy Whales is a douche bag and the administrators are one donation away from being homeless or not, most of the time the information you find on Wikipedia is going to make your life easier in some way shape or form.
    That's mostly true, but if you feel strongly about their stated goals (the sum of the world's knowledge, for free, to anyone anywhere), and then you look at some of the scandals from last year and how stuff works over there, you'll forgive me if I want to hold them to some pretty high standards.

    If I had fifty bucks to spend on a charity and my goal was to make people in developing countries better connected to the world at large, I'd choose OLPC or the Red Cross or anyone, really. That's just me.
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  14. #14
    om nom nom nom Stomme poes's Avatar
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    I like the idea of wikipedia, and I'll use it the way Force Flow mentioned: quick lookups for something. Some areas I am willing to trust because I can see the quality of the editors (chemistry, medicine (depending), computer science, typography) while other pages I read knowing at least half of it is total bunk.

    So long as 12-year-olds can throw in "Joe is gay!" into any article (which is only annoying really because you know right away that it's just online graffitti) and so long as people with personal agendas, vendettas, or whatever continue to insert either false information or, what I find much much worse, false summaries from real sources (how often have I gone to the study myself only to see, clearly at the bottom, the researchers coming to completely different conclusions than the Wikipedia editor) which are harder to detect. Trying to verify some of the information online doesn't always help: lots of other sites copy content from Wikipedia (and that's fine when they state that, and a date, but often they don't).

    So, I do use it, I used to be a contributing editor there (nowadays I'll still fix typos and grammatical junk under my ip still), but I don't donate and we're actually looking into buying a nice set of paper, edited by pros, modern set of encyclopedias. It's nice to be able to look something up in a book and know that not only was it vetted by a smaller group of people, but with modern internets, they can even have an errata page if you suspect there's an error and you can confirm it.

    I still have a huge Physician's Desk Reference, as well as some books like Hole's Anatomy and an old Taber's medical dictionary which I've used back when I edited Wikipedia. Even though books may (will) have errors, I feel safer using them as my basis for important, everyday facts. For every good editor and good admin over there, there are plenty of people who are determined to make Wikipedia state "The Truth".

    I'm also not donating because I do not like the idea of real journalists using Wikipedia as their main source (why do they do this? All the "real" sources are conveniantly listed at the bottom of the article) and I don't feel that donation is going to improve the value of the articles or help spread the word that Wikipedia is a convenience and not a one-stop for any research of any importance. I donated my time there once, that's it : )

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard masm50's Avatar
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    Whilst I do use Wikipedia, and as a premise it's great - I feel there are plenty of other causes that are in more need of my donations.

    I do fix typos on there when I see them and have added a few technical articles though, which I think is like a donation of my time (especially as cash flow is pretty tight right now).

    I pretty much only donate to Medecins Sans Frontieres recently anyway which I feel is a more worthy cause than a free encyclopedia.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard ryanhellyer's Avatar
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    I would much prefer to see some small ads than the giant honking "DONATE NOW" ad at the top of every page I see on there these days. They say they're not using advertising, but they are! It just happens to be that they advertising their donation service so that they don't need advertising ... which is impossible since they're advertising to ... you get the idea

    I have no intention of donating money to Wikipedia. A website that big can easily cover it's running costs with a few small unobtrusive ads. Donating money to them is a waste of time IMO.

    I think it is far more sensible to donate your time to Wikipedia by editing articles, removing spam links etc.

  17. #17
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    I don't use Wikipedia that much and as such, would not consider donating to them. I do often donate to websites and open source projects that I use regularly.

    It's funny, the last several times I did look at Wikipedia I was looking up some menial trivial information like a celebrity who's in the news or something similar. It was definitely not research for something important.

  18. #18
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    What's the difference between a giant donate banner and a giant ad banner? The fact that some people feel better?

    I also take gripe with the fact that wikipedia seems to rank for every other keyword on the planet, which takes gigantic amounts of traffic from other websites. Yet wikipedia is only a compilation of information. All that traffic would have otherwise gone to the sources, the same ones used by wikipedia. So what happens when wikipedia is "finished" and the "sum of all human knowledge" is there? Other info websites cease to exist because they are useless? Where would wikipedia find its sources?

    Its kind of like, online news is killing offline news, but online news is capable of existing with such small revenue only because it copy-pastes offline news. So what happens when online news finally triumphs?

  19. #19
    SitePoint Guru Webinsane's Avatar
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    My other issue in this post is how easily Google decides to rank Wikipedia over the other web sites. We can even test and compare some random search results to find out if Wikipedia is truly the best solution for number one spot. I understand that this is the trust issue with Google, but it should be re-considered for the future results. There are web developers and content writers that really take their time to make their web sites appealing, accurate and useful.

    This is the main reason why I discontinued donations
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  20. #20
    John 8:24 JREAM's Avatar
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    I prefer something like Kiva, seems much more meaningful.

  21. #21
    SitePoint Guru Webinsane's Avatar
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    Yes! My friend donated through Kiva. She said it was cool experience to follow someone progress.
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  22. #22
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    The cynic in me says that it's only a matter of time before Wikipedia starts selling ads, so no, I haven't donated.

    Also, I'd be more willing to donate if Wikipedia made more of an effort to be more academic in certain respects.

  23. #23
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
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    They don't even need to put up ads to make money.

    Throw a "search the web" search box on the site, point it at Google or Bing, and they'd make far more than their current yearly budget.

    Wikipedia does not need our money, and that site takes from the web and its netizens just as much as it gives back.

    There are much better places to donate.

  24. #24
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    I use Wikipedia and "donate" time editing it. However, there are far better places to give charity to. (i.e. American Cancer Society)

  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Based on these facts from Wikipedia's last financial statement, I see no need to donate to them (numbers in million USD):

    Total income: 8,7
    Total expenses: 5,6
    Cash holdings: 6,2
    Total assets: 8,6

    If Wikipedia can explain to my why it is so vital that I donate money to them, when they have enough cash to operate for a full year without any income whatsoever, I might reconsider.
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