[Foundation-l] Brainstorming: External links & Funding options

Versageek wiki at versageek.com
Thu Apr 26 04:00:49 UTC 2007

My apologies if this has been suggested before.. but it seems like an
interesting concept..

The issues:

1) The Foundation needs a steady source of income to support it's
operation. Unobtrusive advertising could provide this sort of income, but
many people object to any sort of advertising on WMF wikis.

2) Wikipedia (particularly en.wp) is a prime target for both commercial
links and fancruft links, due to it's high ranking in search engines and the
amount of traffic a link on a Wikipedia page can generate for a linked
   While a portion of these links are clearly commercial spam or
self-promotion(coi), many are in a grey area with regard to both WP:SPAM
and WP:EL criteria and they were probably posted with benign or benevolent

The concept:

1) Create a WMF controlled wiki, to be used only to host 'external links'.
(for the purpose of discussion, we'll call this 'linkswiki')

With this concept, the criteria defined in WP:SPAM and  WP:EL still
apply, we may choose to relax certain aspects of the criteria a bit for
linkswiki based links, but we wouldn't start allowing everything that gets posted.

Then modify the link policy to something like "only 'official sites' and
references/sources allowed on the main wiki article pages" (or some
variation of more restrictive criteria that people can agree upon), all
other 'external links' would be either posted directly to linkswiki or
moved there via bot on a continuous basis. Each encyclopedia page
would have an 'external link' to a corresponding page on the linkswiki.

{insert a healthy amount of tech wizardry and creative thinking here to
maintain the linkswiki directory and make it more useful to our users, this
also requires a functioning SingleUserLogin to be practical. }

2) Enable a modest amount of unobtrusive Google ads (or similar) on

If initial funding is needed to establish the infrastructure for linkswiki,
we could consider a partnership with a for-profit - they provide startup
funding in exchange for a percentage of the advertising income for a
specified period of time.

The end results:  Users who click from the encyclopedia page to the
linkswiki directory get what they expect: links to related things - some
provided by users, others provided by advertising. There are far fewer
linkfarms on encyclopedia pages, and the Foundation gets a steady source of

Obviously, this is a very raw concept.. but I'm interested in hearing what
folks think..

Best regards,

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