[Foundation-l] An article to read

Tomasz Ganicz polimerek at gmail.com
Mon Apr 14 12:18:25 UTC 2008

2008/4/14, Florence Devouard <Anthere9 at yahoo.com>:

> Grumble mumble grumble. This should not happen.
>  WMF website: http://wikimediafoundation.org
>  Then left bar link: "Finance report"
>  It is odd that they are not easy to find. Can you tell us more of what
>  your search experience was ? Did you try to look for them on Wikipedia ?
>   Did you know about the existence of WMF site ? Did you find this site
>  ? Did you realise information was given through links on the left ?
>  Should  more information be proeminently listed on the main page ? Would
>  icons on the main page help ? (perhaps like the bottom bar listing
>  projects at the end of the main page) ?

I was trying recenlty to find out financial information about the
Fundation due to preparing a presentation given at Warsaw Schools of
Economics (http://www.sgh.waw.pl/en/ogolne-en/)

My idea was to find answer to the questions:
*how much Foundation spent in 2004 - 2007 and for what - I needed
information year-by-year, but also cumulativie for 2005-2007
*how much and from what was Fundation income - similarly in the years
2004-2007 both cumulative nad year-by-ear

I just wanted to make a table comparing these numbers with numbers of
articles in Polish and English Wikipedia + number of users and
possition in Alexa ranks.

I think such kind of information is needed not only by my, but by many
people trying to figure out the Foundation's financial effectivness.

For example, I was interested if the proportions of costs of network
bandwith and servers are the same during this time vs. number of
articles in Wikipedia, or they are changing and how. I was also
interested to find out if proportions of the cost of bandwith and
servers  vs. all other costs are going down or up from 2005 till 2007.

I started from "support Foundation" link in Polish Wikipedia, which
pointed me to fundrising subpage on Foundation's website:

There, I found this nice cake-chart of planned spending, and direct
link to 2006 financial report:
Cake-chart was nice for my presentation but financial report not so
much - as it is difficuilt to copy directly from pdf and all these
numbers are not clear to find out what they are all about if you are
not experienced in reading official US financial reports.

So, I switch to Fundation wiki and clicked on




Well.. these pages are really big mess. First go to Finanse report:

Here you can find one screen of  long, boring letter with sentences  like:

""Why the delay?" you might ask. We had originally hoped to post the
statements a few months earlier, but more time was needed at the
Foundation level to review finances and work with our Florida-based

And why did we need more time? It's fairly normal for audits to take
longer to complete than was initially predicted. The Foundation's
projects (and their popularity) grew significantly over the past year,
which meant that spending (number of transactions) increased. That
means there was more work to be done. Also, there had been some
turnover in Foundation staff (e.g., the accountant), which resulted in
some loss of institutional memory that made it harder to do the audit
preparation. So it isn't really all that surprising that the audit was
fairly time-consuming. It's complete, and that's what matters."

which I guess was written due to some criticism on this list, some
time ago, but it is not really usefull if one is looking for exact
numbers, or even might create of picture that something is going

Why not to put here simple table showing  the expenditures and income
of Foundation made in a way that everyone can understand ? + some nice
charts ?

Anyway - if you go through this starting "bla, bla", you find links to
several pdf's with formal documents, which again are difficuilt to
read and retrive the information to the basic questions one may have.
Finally there is "useflul links" of which I found really usefull this


This is really, how it should be done - nice, clear chart and simple
table - what a pitty this is only about the future expences - why not
to do the same with former expences and incomes and put it on the
first page?

OK, so now go to:


Thanks God - no "bla, bla" now, but all these charts like this one:


are not very usefull, and there are too many of them. I guess they are
usefull to investigate trends in indvidual fundrising tendencies, but
this is internal problem of those who organise and maintains
Fundrising - but now, I am looking just for numbers.

So, I  clicked to:


and again were puzzled by 9 charts like this one:


instead of just brief summary - how much exactly 2007 fundrising bring
the money, what was everage donation, what are proportions of
individual donations vs. other methods of fundrising (ie. donations
from companies, grants, other kinds of Foundation's income) etc...

Tomek "Polimerek" Ganicz

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