[Foundation-l] About rumors...

Anthere Anthere9 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 12 10:21:45 UTC 2007


I was away from my computer for 4 days last week, to participate to a 
conference (LIFT) in Switzerland. During this conference, the organiser 
asked me questions about the financial situation of the projects. I 
answered with plain honesty and unfortunately with some words which 
raised the attention of a blogger in the room.

Never mind that the words were taken out of context, never mind the 
smiles that went with the words, the words were out. Twisted.

So, if some of you have heard that Wikipedia might close in 4 months due 
to financial difficulties, these are the words I am talking about.

For more on the discussion on the matter, please see the blog of Mr 
Guissani. I had a long discussion with him on financial matters on 
friday morning.


I think that summarize things pretty well.



The day the WMF will plan to close Wikipedia for lack of funds, believe 
me, you'll know. Before the press.

Will Wikipedia close in 4 months ? NO. NO. AND NO.



All of our financial statements for year 2004, 2005 and 2006 are public 
and audited. Please find them here: 

We also have a page where we state our needs for the coming 6 months.

(as a reminder, our fiscal year goes from june to june)

TO make it short, we currently have above 1 million (exact figures to 
pick up from Carolyn, perhaps 1,5) in bank, available for use.

Current monthly expenses as of today are about 75 000 dollars.
We had an (optimistic goal) of hardware investment of 1,6 million before 
june. We can expect bandwidth and hosting costs to naturally follow. We 
also need more human help, at least hiring a permanent executive 
director, a CTO and probably more developers.

Just have a look at the page and do count yourself. If you add current 
daily operations + hardware investment + increase in bandwidth + 
increase in hosting + 3 to 5 additional employees, we are already over 
that 1.5 millions that we have in hand.

So, as of today, I think we can quietly say that

"yes, we have about 3-4 months of operations at hand". Not 6 months. Not 
1 year. Not 2 years. Roughly 3-4 months.

If you look at the bottom of this page, 
you'll see that the recommandations of auditors is always to try to have 
6 months of reserve. We are far from it. We have roughly 4 months. 
Having 6 months of reserve is financially wiser.

Did you have a way to know this previously ?
Yes you did. It was listed in the site notice during the full month of 
fundraising. So, there is nothing new to wikipedians. There might be 
something new to press though.



I repeat, we are not going to disappear. We have been in worse state in 
the past. Well, in december 2006, some expenses were delayed, delayed 
till the money from the fundraising was flowing in, and we could pay the 

Someone mentionned image server a few days ago. Image server was planned 
in september hardware quote. But purchase was delayed till december.
Because given our cashflow situation, it would have been unreasonable to 
buy the image servers.

This should not happen. We should not come to the point where we delay 
hardware investment. We should aim to provide the best service, not just 
the service we can afford.

We should not try to pretend we do not need money. We do need more 
money. People at the Foundation are trying to find creative ways to 
collect more, with services (datafeed), royalties from brand use 
(Wikipedia in particular), matching donations etc... but raising the 
money for the projects should not become only the business of 10 or so 
employees. This should be many people concern. Because Wikipedia is not 
the website of a few people, not even the website of the community, it 
is a common good.


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