I wanted to take a moment to bring you up to date on the planning of
the 2010-2011 fundraiser, and ask once again for your participation in
the process. Our updated meta pages (http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_2010
) will give you an overview as well. There's a lot of information
here, because we've made huge progress: I hope you'll take the time to
read it and join in the planning for the fundraiser.
There's no doubt about it: the appeal from Jimmy Wales is a strong
message. We've tested it head-to-head against other banners, and the
results  are unequivocal - especially when you also compare its
performance last year and the year before.
But nobody wants to just put Jimmy up on the sites and leave him up
for two months!
So we're issuing a challenge: Find the banner that will beat Jimmy.
Data informed conclusions
Here's the trick:
We have to make our decisions based on the facts, not our instinct.
Please read the summaries below for really important details from our
focus group and survey of past donors.
Wikimedia conducted a focus group of past donors in the New York City
area in September 2010. It's important to note that this was a single
focus group, and in a single city. We'll need to do more to make sure
that results correlate universally. But we came out of it with a few
important take-away points. It's important to realize that these
points reflect ONLY donors - they should not be read as a wider
feeling about mission or strategic direction - they're messaging
points to help us refine and deliver the best messages possible.
** The most powerful image is of Wikipedia as a global community of
people who freely share their knowledge and self-police the product.
For everyone who participated, the idea of a global community of
people sharing knowledge that is accessible to anyone who wants it
free of charge is incredibly powerful. Respondents in this group were
highly unlikely to be editors themselves; most consider themselves
users. They love the idea of the community and want to support it, but
they are reluctant to put themselves out there by being more than a
user and a donor.
** Keeping the projects ad-free is a powerful motivator.
Respondents were unanimous that keeping Wiki[m\p]edia ad free should
be a priority, even if it meant that Wiki[m\p]edia would be
approaching them for money more often. Accepting paid ads could
corrupt the values and discourage the free flow of information.
** Independence is critically important.
These respondents consume a lot of media, and they place a high
premium on the free flow of information. They have little patience
for “sponsored” news or information that excludes other perspectives.
The Wikimedia model of openness and community engagement facilitates
** It’s a cause because it’s a tool.
This may sound a bit like a chicken/egg argument, but it’s actually an
important nuance. These folks use Wikimedia every day for things from
simple curiosities to serious research. So it’s a tool that lets them
get what they need. But it has grown to 17 million articles in 270
languages. Because it has that kind of depth and it reaches so many
people around the world, it’s worth protecting what the community so
successfully built. And that makes it a cause too.
** Growing isn’t always a good thing, when positioning for donors.
Like many tech savvy folks, our respondents are a suspicious lot. The
idea of Wikimedia growing brings up concerns about what Wikimedia
would become, and fears about the path of companies like Facebook.
It’s not just a privacy concern; it’s a concern about what would
happen to the democratic model of Wikimedia inside a growth strategy.
Supporting the organic growth of the community doesn’t raise the same
** Supporters strongly reject any agenda being attached to Wikimedia,
even when that agenda would extend the current offerings.
An agenda implies ownership, and respondents feel pretty strongly that
the community owns Wikipedia. They think of Wikipedia as an organic
thing, not like a typical nonprofit, and any attempt to steer it would
disrupt that. Community support is one of the key values, and not
everyone in the community would support new initiatives.
** There is room to fundraise more aggressively.
Across the board, respondents were surprised that they didn’t have the
opportunity to give to Wikimedia more often. Obviously, there is a
balance and a PBS-style solicitation schedule wouldn’t make sense both
for Wikimedia’s personality and for this audience, but there is much
more space available than we are taking.
** Wikimedia donors are highly suspicious of marketing gimmicks.
Simple, direct messages are likely to work best. Jimmy’s message
worked not so much because he was the founder, but because it was a
simple plea for support delivered authentically.
As we know, that’s something that also needs quantitative testing to
prove. Sometimes donor response in a focus group and donor activity
don’t line up exactly. But, some things already line up with early
tests. The more gimmicky the banner, the less likely it is to drive
donations even if it increases clicks.
Reaction to banners like “572 have donated in New York today” also
raised concerns about privacy – not a good reaction in an already
suspicious audience. Appeals to “keep us growing” or that highlight a
contributor’s work raise earlier concerns about an agenda.
Donor Survey Highlights
Wikimedia produced a random sample of 20,000 individuals from the much
larger number of individuals, from many countries, contributing less
than $1000 between November 1 2009 and June 30 2010. These individuals
were invited to participate in a 29 item (but around 70 question)
survey. 3760 agreed to participate, and the survey was conducted in
August 2010. The participants probably differ from those who declined
in ways that are associated with survey answers. Hence the respondents
do not represent an entirely representative sample of the < $1000
The survey participants are committed to Wiki[p/m]edia, visiting it
frequently. They say that they are very likely to donate again, and
they support all the survey-mentioned reasons for donation. They were
not aware of Wikipedia chapters. A majority of respondents did not
appear greatly concerned about possible threats to Wikipedia’s identity.
About 1/3 of these individuals have edited, though not frequently.
Those who express more support for Wikimedia as a cause appear more
prone to edit. Those who have not contributed in this way say mostly
that they haven’t thought about it--suggesting that they haven’t
really considered the possibility—or that they don’t have time.
Europeans and the highly educated especially stress lack of time.
Some subgroup differences were found within the sample. The likelihood
of writing or editing does vary a bit by subgroup, for example.
Overall, however, responses did not vary greatly by subgroup, whether
“demographic” (nationality, education, sex) or behavioral (e.g.,
degree of on-line activity).
* The full details of the survey can be found at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FR_Donor_survey_report.pdf
* A short overview can be found at http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Donor_survey_report_excerpts.pdf
Chapters will receive the specifics of how we will work with them
through their fundraising contacts which were designated on the
fundraising survey, in order to keep the information communicated here
to the essentials.
We have been testing for ten weeks now, and are really pleased with
the progress that the tech team has made with new tools to support the
fundraiser. Geotargetting appears to work now, and we are currently
testing a 1 step versus 2 step donation process. We will have solid
test results this week, we believe. In all, we believe that we are -
technically and message-wise - in a really good position. We're
working out kinks, definitely, but we're working them out before the
fundraiser starts, so that we can maximize the dollar-earning
potential of every day that we have banners up.
We need you
From the very beginning, Zack charged me with presenting the most
collaborative fundraiser yet. I'm thrilled at the level of
involvement from the community, in everything from banner creation to
testing structure, to design, to actually sitting on our test
fundraisers with us in virtual conferences and being a full
participating member of the team. We're reporting out frequently, and
trying very hard to engage with members of the community. We have
dedicated staff who are outreaching to our various language wikis in
an attempt to get ever more broad participation. I strongly encourage
you to join in the discussions at the meta pages about the
fundraiser: /http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/FR2010. Your involvement
is not just appreciated - it's crucial.
Thanks for sticking through this email - join us in discussion and
help us beat the Jimmy appeal!
 - http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fundraising_2010/Banner_testing#Test_six_
Head of Reader Relations
Imagine a world in which every human being can freely share in
the sum of all knowledge. Help us make it a reality!
Today Wikimedia Foundation Exec. Director Sue Gardner will be in this
week's installment of IRC office hours at 23:00 UTC. As usual, the
format is completely open, so bring any burning questions you might have
to the #wikimedia-office channel on irc.freenode.net. Local times and
instructions for accessing the chat, including for those without an IRC
client, can be found on Meta at
http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/IRC_office_hours. The log of the
discussion will be publicly posted on that page afterwards for those
Wikimedia Foundation Fellow
> Certainly we don't need something like the five names in one sentence
> we currently have for Copernicus: "*Nicolaus Copernicus* (Polish:
> *Miko?aj Kopernik*; German: *Nikolaus Kopernikus*; in his youth,
> *Niclas Koppernigk*; Italian: *Nicol? Copernico*; 19 February 1473
> ? 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance astronomer ...". There's a note on
> his name in the article itself, which lists a further nine variants.
> In reality, of course, all these are just variants on one name, rather
> than "alternative names" in the strict sense of people who've changed
> their name or published under pseudonyms.
> >From the search perspective, of course, we could use "silent"
> redirects (ones not noted in the article text), but some (especially
> latinised names) are essential to have clearly available to the
> reader. Maybe an infobox section would be appropriate here?
> - Andrew Gray
> ? andrew.gray(a)dunelm.org.uk
> Message: 9
> Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 22:56:54 +0100
> From: Carcharoth <carcharothwp(a)googlemail.com>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] Aliases and the MoS?
> To: English Wikipedia <wikien-l(a)lists.wikimedia.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> On Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 10:21 PM, Andrew Gray <andrew.gray(a)dunelm.org.uk> wrote:
>> Maybe an infobox section would be appropriate here?
> Oh, please no. You need to explain the name variants and languages,
> otherwise you get nationalists edit-warring incessantly over it. The
> Copernicus one is a good example. I wouldn't be surprised if there was
> disagreement over whether the German name or Polish name comes first
> in the list. One thing I do find helpful is having the Latin versions
> of names, especially if you happen to be looking at the title pages of
> books published in Latin (way back when). Trying to work out the names
> of publishers and authors can be difficult at times.
Five versions of the name is positively simplex. The
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River_Westbourne manages eleven without
overwhelming the article.
I think it is reassuring to have multiple names up front - people will
come to an article from various redirects so having multiple possible
names in the lede gives our readers reassurance that they are on the
Something different to talk about. I have wondered for some time if it
is really the case that we have not addressed the issue of "alias"
names, where the point may simply be alternate spellings. This is not
particularly important for contemporary names that are already
Romanised. It is certainly matters if you go back several centuries,
given that spelling was not standard.
As far as I can see [[Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies)]] doesn't
cover this ground, while dealing with numerous points in the same
general area of naming. My instinct is that multiple possible spellings,
for example surname variants, should go into a footnote or perhaps be
boxed up, as a way of keeping them from distracting the casual reader.
They are certainly of interest to specialists and scholars, and have a
role to play in making search work.
I get this feeling sometimes that some people are more interested in
building a "community" on Wikipedia rather than helping to construct an
encyclopedia. I tend to think that there is a notion which existed upon
"Always leave something undone. Whenever you write a page, never finish
it. Always leave something obvious to do: an uncompleted sentence, a
question in the text (with a not-too-obscure answer someone can supply),
wikied links that are of interest, requests for help from specific other
Wikipedians, the beginning of a provocative argument that someone simply
must fill in, etc. The purpose of this rule is to encourage others to
keep working on the wiki."
I say this is not readily followed anymore, and I personally disagree
with that tenet, because of the sheer volume of the English Wikipedia
(almost 3.5 million articles) that will always have some sort of
positive article creation rate due to developing and new events that
occur worldwide all the time.
Anyways, I think the reason why we had something like that in there is
so that we could preserve or expand this "community" of editors.
However, that implies that a certain level of drama should always exist,
not to mention that perfection is near-impossible to achieve (though I'm
sure many of us strive to do the best we can to improve the
encyclopedia), and that one's interpretation of an article or topic
being "complete" varies.
That comes to my question regarding whether or not we are here to build
an online community or an online encyclopedia. Should we focus outwards
toward the reading/viewing audience, or should we focus inwards towards
A reminder that Sue Gardner, the Executive Director of the Wikimedia
will be having office hours Today in about 2 hours at 17:00 UTC
(10:00 PDT, 13:00 EDT 19:00 CEST) on IRC in the #wikimedia-office
channel. As usual
the meeting will be an open format so bring your questions and comments!
If you do not have an IRC client, there are two ways you can come chat
using a web browser: First, using the Wikizine chat gateway at
<http://chatwikizine.memebot.com/cgi-bin/cgiirc/irc.cgi>. Type a
nickname, select irc.freenode.net from the top menu and
#wikimedia-office from the following menu, then login to join.
Or, you can access Freenode by going to http://webchat.freenode.net/,
typing in the nickname of your choice and choosing #wikimedia-office as
the channel. You may be prompted to click through a security warning,
which you can click to accept.
I hope to see everyone on IRC!
Associate Community Officer