[Foundation-l] This is not an Advertisement @ pgunn

David Strauss david at fourkitchens.com
Tue Jan 2 07:02:06 UTC 2007

Though I'm glad you're sticking around, I'm sorry to hear your
discontent with current fundraising practices. Unfortunately, Wikipedia
(and other Wikimedia projects) now require significant money to run,
*far* more money than ever before:


Maybe I'm just cynical, but I don't believe in genuine altruism. People,
charities, and companies give money for all sorts of reasons. A few
individuals might get their kicks giving anonymously, but they're not in
the majority. In most cases, the recipient of the donation is
responsible for giving the payload: public recognition that the donor is
a good person, charity, or company. Even the hard-hearted robber barons
of the 19th century eventually succumbed to a need for acceptance by
offsetting their misdeeds with visible, public charity.

The more we limit recognition opportunities, the more we limit potential
donors. I think the limits you suggest will not provide sufficient
support for Wikimedia.

Fortunately, recognition doesn't conflict with the real goal of
Wikimedia: spreading free knowledge. There's no foreseeable slippery
slope to sponsor control of Wikimedia's content. I've worked in
publishing for over seven years, and I have yet to hear an advertiser
comment on content. I'm also on the board of directors for Texas Student
Publications, possibly the largest college media organization in the
world. I've been with Texas Student Publications for three years, and I
have never heard an advertiser request a content change. Finally, *even
if* a sponsor requested a content change, Wikimedia is far more likely
to tell them to buzz off if Wikimedia is financially healthy. The key is
diversity of sponsorship, not restriction of it.

The other side to public matching is encouragement of community
donations. Community donors want to feel good about helping Wikimedia,
and having a visible matching sponsor lets them know that they'll have
twice the effect. I think recognizing the matching sponsor actually
amplifies that effect. Knowing who matches the donation makes it more

But despite my respect for your objection, I don't think anyone owes you
an apology.


James Hare wrote:
> We need to abandon the method of
> let's-brag-about-our-matching-donors-in-the-god-damn-sitenotice as soon as
> possible. It IS possible to thank them, but that's just too damn
> advertisalicious.
> We should also focus more on lobbying the kinds of folk that would not be
> interested in being advertised, like Mr. Anonymo earlier in the fundraiser
> or the UN.
> If anything, do it for poor Improv here. We lost Improv because of money.
> That's pathetic.
> "It's not an advertisement, it's a thank you notice!" In other words... it's
> not the truth :|, it's The Truth! :)
> I am not leaving because my help is needed and I have a 1,000,000,000-year
> contract to serve, but you really need to reconsider ways of getting
> cash-money that don't involve pissing off the entire community. Not to
> mention, that was real shit communication on your part, Wikimedia.
> Let me know when you're ready to apologize.
> On 1/2/07, Walter van Kalken <walter at vankalken.net> wrote:
>> Thanks for all you have done for the projects and good luck in your
>> further endeavours!
>> Waerth
>>> I reply specifically to Brion Vibber's message here:
>> http://mail.wikipedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2006-December/012848.html
>>> I find it very unfortunate that Brion characterises
>>> people like me, who have been on the project for many
>>> years, as being uncaring about our values. I care deeply
>>> about the project, and feel that accepting advertising,
>>> whether it be for brand identity or a specific product,
>>> as unacceptable. The Spanish wikipedia and the many users
>>> who have put userboxen against advertisements (as ironic
>>> as that is) on their userpages should've taught Brion
>>> (and others involved) that the values of the community
>>> *do* have a substantial number of people who will never
>>> accept this kind of thing. After reading some of the other
>>> comments on this list and chatting with a few folks, I
>>> understand that my concerns, while considered, will not be
>>> addressed. To me, Wikipedia (and related projects) are and
>>> must be noncommercial if I am to be involved - it is impossible
>>> to honestly educate with one hand while waving a billboard
>>> with the other.
>>> I greatly regret the wrong turn the community
>>> has made here, for it is not something I will live with and
>>> stay. Y'all may want to keep a close eye on the Spanish
>>> Wikipedia. Goodbye, all. You may do what you wish with my
>>> accounts - I have left a note on my LSS project (to summarise
>>> the foundation lists) that a new project head is needed.
>>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/LSS
>>> If y'all want to see it continue, someone needs to pick up
>>> the ball. Someone should take care of any OTRS replies I get.
>>> It's actually, other than the end, been a pleasure working
>>> with many of you - if any of you want to keep in touch,
>>> I'm just an e-mail or IM away. It reminds me of the last
>>> big social project I was on and how it slowly came to an end
>>> through commercial entanglement after being acquired:
>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NoWonder
>>> Goodbye.
>>> ---
>>> Pat Gunn
>>> mod: csna, bmcm, bmco, cooa, cona, clpd, coom
>>> http://dachte.org
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> foundation-l mailing list
>>> foundation-l at wikimedia.org
>>> http://mail.wikipedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
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