[Wikimedia-l] Banners are too bright, too long

MZMcBride z at mzmcbride.com
Tue Dec 4 23:04:02 UTC 2012

Nathan wrote:
> The upshot is, vocal Wikimedians on mailing lists hate banners, and are
> quite willing to sternly lecture about their dire consequences! It's left
> to the Foundation, then, to choose between large numbers of donations from
> happy donors and unamused mailing list participants. Tough call.

Sure, when you create a false dichotomy, it's easy to pick a side. That's
the whole point of the construction, right?

There are principles at stake during any fundraiser, just as there are
principles at stake during any user experimentation (which was the point of
my post). Nobody was talking about dire consequences of running banners.
People did point out that the balancing act between annoying readers to
donate and simply annoying readers was not working well and had crossed a

Wikimedia projects are composed of both readers and volunteer editors. It's
bad enough to read Zack talk about "playing around" with site visitors as
though they're simply playthings to be manipulated for money (customers, not
colleagues), but when long-time contributors such as yourself blithely
dismiss legitimate criticism (with a bullshit analogy, no less), I
personally think it's shameful. I think you're better than that.

It's certainly possible to crib some of the anti-SOPA banner code, (further)
increase the level of rhetoric in the donation messages, and raise a lot of
money very quickly. But when you consider doing so while attempting to keep
your principles (such as honesty and integrity) intact, it becomes
substantially more difficult. Such is life.

At least I haven't read any references to a Wikipedia Executive Director
this year. :-)

Zack Exley wrote:
> Tens of thousands of donors have filled out a survey this year after donating.
> We've gotten hardly a handful of complaints. I would have expected a lot.

Can you elaborate on this point? You seem to be saying that you would have
expected a lot of complaints from people who are filling out a voluntary
survey after having willingly donated money to you. Just how many complaints
were you expecting and what might they look like? I'm fascinated to know.


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