Dear Lisa, Megan and all,
The current issue of the Signpost contains an interview about my recent
Daily Dot article on WMF fundraising.
The piece has sparked quite substantial discussion, and there is a pretty
good consensus on the fundraising issue in the comments. Here are
representative excerpts of what people have said:
"I agree with Smallbones that one should raise funds before the situation
becomes dire, but they should be raised *honestly*. Portraying the
situation as dire when it isn't is dishonest and unethical."
"I also feel that the WMF is too pushy with its donation advertising, and I
am far from the only OTRS (VRT) agent who hates December because of some
distinctly distressing emails we get along these lines. I have also talked
to a number of WMF staffers on the topic, though I suspect they'd struggle
to go on the record on the issue, who share the concerns."
"'The WMF is asking [readers in India] for about US $2.00' - the median per
capita annual income in India is $616."
"If I thought it had any chance of passing, I would start an RfC on the
English Wikipedia to ban all fundraising banners"
"I was certaily under the impression that WP was under financial duress
because of the banners."
"I do think the daily dot article raises some fair questions; namely, *why* is
the WMF doing all of this?"
"I find Andreas's point about the (unwarranted) urgency implied by the
language of fundraising banners very compelling (though I think the US
politics tangent is one that's liable to create more heat than light).
Another turn of phrase that stuck out to me in a recent banner was "Show
the volunteers who bring you reliable, neutral information that their work
matters." (example banner
one of those volunteers who has spent hundreds (thousands?) of hours
editing Wikipedia, I was disappointed that WMF would presume to speak for
me in this way."
"I have always found the fundraising banners annoying at best and downright
pandering and hypocritical at worst."
"It is very sad that even in 2020s there are not many promising open
knowledge and free content projects. So please stop criticizing them for
raising funds, rather make them focus on solving issues of Wikimedia
"I've long believed that were the WMF to fire half its staff, the average
volunteer to any project -- the people who contribute content, not those
who regularly interact with the Foundation -- would not notice any
difference. [...] I believe it is a significant cause for resentment
towards Foundation fundraising. (The aggressive fundraising tactics is, of
course, another cause.)"
A contributor to the discussion has pinged you and asked for your comment:
@Lgruwell-WMF <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Lgruwell-WMF> and
(WMF) <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:MeganHernandez_(WMF)>: - it's not
quite obvious who the fundraising leads are, so please feel free to ping
someone who may be more appropriate. If you've got 15 minutes, could you
have a read of the interview
and then the discussions/concerns above. As you can see, while many of us
don't agree with everything claimed by Kolbe, concerns about the aggressive
tone, as well as claims about editors, are common. Your thoughts and
participation would be appreciated
I'm not sure how often you log into Wikipedia, so I thought I would notify
Your participation in the discussion would be welcome.