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

Kat Walsh kwalsh at wikimedia.org
Tue Jan 2 08:16:44 UTC 2007

I'm sorry that Pat left, and have told him so; despite our differences
in philosophy I considered him to be a thoughtful person and an asset
to the project.

I'm thankful in particular to Brion, David, and many others who have
posted and elaborated on the position so that I do not have to. I do
believe in free content, not anti-commercial content; I don't think an
ad-supported project is desirable or something I would support, but
not for anticommercialism. I am happy for the writing I have
contributed to be used for any purpose, so long as it remains free;
that's a really powerful idea, and now one that I am happy to support
at an organizational level.

Though I speak only for myself, I think it is fair to say that the
Board knew there would be some people, even many people, upset and
disappointed with the decision; most of us now come from within the
community and are aware of how communities will react even if a call
for community comment does not happen every time. Sometimes doing what
you think is the best decision, considering all the factors, means
making some people unhappy with you.

It's impossible to do anything new and still please everyone all of
the time; changing anything usually means upsetting something that
someone else thought was important, maybe even relied on. It's our
responsibility to keep the projects running according to our stated
goals. Which includes raising enough money to keep the data flowing
and the lights on, and making sure that what we do doesn't conflict
with putting together free-content reference works.

Soliciting matching donations is a popular way of encouraging
contributions from both corporate and individual sources, and one that
we have just now started to use. I believe that thanking our matching
donors is an appropriate expression; while we certainly appreciate the
quiet generosity of our anonymous donor, a gift does not need to be
anonymous to be worth recognition. It is expected courtesy to publicly
acknowledge such large gifts, and doing so by means of a logo or a
namedrop does not change its nature; in 2005 we even thanked Yahoo!
for their donation with a press release trumpeting it.

In addition, the sitenotice drew enough attention to the pledge to
match and the banner that it encouraged more people to donate, soundly
beating the donation totals of the immediately surrounding days. (Not
counting the large entry from our anonymous friend the day before,
well over double.) And now the logo is gone; when the fund drive is
over the banner will be gone also, and we will be left exactly as we
were, with the freedom and neutrality of the projects unharmed. And
that is what I am concerned about.

We could have communicated the decision better. Organization of the
fundraiser has been somewhat shaky, was held back by a few surprise
difficulties, and could certainly be improved; lessons learned for
next time.

Just so this isn't forgotten in the midst of all the argument: thank
you to all of the other donors, also. I've read most of the comments
in the live list (OK, I skipped past the spammy ones), and am
continually amazed by how many people think this is a really fantastic
project worth pouring their time and money into.

Cheers and happy new year.


Wikimedia needs you: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Fundraising
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