Even if I agree with you in most of your points, I completely disagree about asking others
to try to amend with press editors the already published interviews. The fact that the
public discourse from the WMF’s front line is imprecise is not new at all, but I don’t
think that it will get solved by asking a newspaper to add community’s refinements over
the statements from the CEO.
Let’s also be cautious with the number of 5000 paid editors. In my opinion they are a
scourge of our editing communities, but if we need to talk knowledgeably about them,
Wikipedia is not only its English version and we should really count them across all
Actiu ds, jul 23, 2022 a 15:16, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466(a)gmail.com> va escriure:
Dear Maryana, Jeff, and all,
Allow me to raise a couple of points with respect to the interview published yesterday in
the San Francisco Examiner, titled "What does the CEO who oversees Wikipedia do? We
I'll quote the relevant passages.
1. "[Q:] You said there’s hundreds of thousands of volunteer editors. So how many
people get paid and are professional editors of Wikipedia? [A:] Wikipedia is written by
volunteers, unpaid people helping the rest of us make sure that we find information on the
internet that is accurate and verified and cited and sourced. There are employees of the
Wikimedia Foundation that provide support to these communities and volunteers, but the
volunteers themselves are not paid staff."
This is a good statement inasmuch as it makes clear that Wikipedia is written and curated
by volunteers, countering the widespread but erroneous assumption that the WMF's paid
staff plays an active role in this. On the other hand, that point had already been made,
and given that this appears to have been a direct question about how many paid and
professional editors of Wikipedia there are, the article would have benefited from a
mention of the thousands of editors who are paid by individuals and organisations (other
than the WMF). There are over 5,000 Wikipedia editors who openly disclose being paid:
To these must be added an unknown number of additional paid editors who operate without
disclosure, or use a different method of disclosure than the one searched for by this URL.
Could this be added to the article, and mentioned in future interviews where this question
2. "[A:] ... We have roughly 600 people scattered across over 40 countries and every
region of the world. ..."
The article would have given a more accurate impression if it had mentioned that well
over half of these are based in the US. Could this info be added, and included in future
3. "[Q:] Why does Wikipedia have banners on its website asking people to give money?
[A:] They’re a small invitation for folks who find value in Wikipedia to chip in and
ensure that this can remain as it is: An enterprise that doesn’t rely on selling you
anything with ads. I’m not incentivizing you to stay longer than you need to stay."
The WMF has never asked for money to ensure that things "can remain" as they
are, or to avoid having to put up ads. It has asked for money to enable exponential growth
of the Wikimedia Foundation – whose salary costs have increased tenfold over the past
decade – and to accumulate vast reserves, which have increased by an even greater
factor over that time period. Last year alone, the Foundation's assets and the
Wikimedia Endowment together grew by about $90 million dollars, a surplus that is almost
the equivalent of one full year's expenses. Seen in this context, I find the answer
given paints a misleading picture, especially given a prior sentence saying that "her
600-employee organization humbly raises funds to keep operating ..." – as though
there were an acute need for donations to keep the WMF going.
I'd love to see the WMF communicate more openly and transparently about the growth of
its organisation and the additional things it is doing, or planning to do, with its
additional funds, and to see more detailed media reporting on Wikimedia's financial
growth. The WMF pattern of growth is really markedly different from that of other
donor-funded organisations that have a more or less stable budget – there is a story here
that is being missed.
For sources see the PDFs linked in the table shown here:
 See the following articles: