[Wikimedia-l] Wikimedia (Foundation) endowment

Milos Rancic millosh at gmail.com
Fri Mar 15 02:08:45 UTC 2013

On Fri, Mar 15, 2013 at 2:51 AM, Erik Moeller <erik at wikimedia.org> wrote:
> On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Last year's financial report shows almost exactly $2.5m for "Internet
>> hosting". I'm not sure quite what that covers
> Only data-center usage (facilities, bandwidth, power). It does not
> include capital expenditures (servers, storage, network gear, etc.;
> budgeted at $1.9M in 2012-13) nor ops engineering staffing, nor of
> course any software engineering staffing or the basics of an
> organizational support structure (management/administration, legal,
> etc.).
> What's a bare minimum amount? It's a hard question to answer, because
> it depends on what you consider an acceptable bare minimum.
> - Is it acceptable for the projects to be without legal defense?
> - Is it acceptable to revert back to a single data center mode of operation?
> - Is it acceptable for ops to just barely be able to keep the lights
> on, with minimal effort dedicated to backups/monitoring/maintenance,
> etc.?
> - Is it acceptable for there to be no software engineers to aid with
> reviewing code contributions, and making improvements to the software?
> and so on.
> WMF has operated in the past without staffing and with very minimal
> staffing, so clearly it's _possible_ to host a high traffic website on
> an absolute shoestring. But I would argue that an endowment, to
> actually be worthwhile, should aim for a significantly higher base
> level of minimal annual operating expenses, more in the order of
> magnitude of $10M+/year, to ensure not only bare survival, but actual
> sustainability of Wikimedia's mission. The "what's the level required
> for bare survival" question is, IMO, only of marginal interest,
> because it is much more desirable, and should be very much possible,
> to raise funds for sustaining our mission in perpetuity.

I like the fact that megalomania is infectious and escalating disease,
which has roots in reality :)

I started to write something like: Come on, it's better to have a bare
minimum than nothing. Then I realized that WMF endowment needs two
year of Mozilla's income. Thus, quite possible for WMF, as well. Not
in two, but yes in five or so years.

More information about the Wikimedia-l mailing list