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Wikipedia Fundraising Campaign Tops $1 Million

Postby IceCube » Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:09 am

Wikipedia, a website that has been built entirely out of the act of sharing knowledge voluntarily, is having a rather successful fundraiser. So much so, it has made the website over 1 million dollars in donations to keep the site running and introduce upgrades.

Originally, the fundraiser was said to have a goal of raising $1.5 million. But according to one editor, a board meeting decided there was actually <a href=http://wikimediafoundation.org/w/index.php?title=Fundraising_FAQ&diff=18359&oldid=18354 target=_blank>no planned goal</a>, despite the current meter having a maximum level of $1.5 million (smaller marks indicate $50,000 while the larger marks indicate $100,000.)

Major <a href=http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Wikimedia_thanks_all_contributors target=_blank>contributors to the campaign</a> include Dell, who gave hardware discounts for the WikiMedia foundation, and <a href=http://www.virginunite.co.uk/virgin_home.phtml target=_blank>Virgin Unite</a>, who promised to match donations.

Other larger contributors include Two Sigma Investments, LLC, Alan Bauer Charitable Gift Fund, The Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Burt and Diana Cutler Family Foundation, Craigslist, Inc., Graphics Press, LLC, The Sims/Mae's Foundation, Inc., The Zephyr Charitable Foundation, Inc., and Mr. William Richley, P.A..

Wikipedia has many interesting plans for the future. All of course require a substantial amount of money. Just to keep the site afloat, they say, costs more than $75,000 a month. Wikipedia's current plan is to greatly expand the WikiMedia project as well. According to the "<a href=http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/What_we_need_the_money_for target=_blank>what we need the money for</a>", some upgrades include $1.6 million in server upgrades. With all their stated goals, it seems the $1 million currently raised isn't enough. Yet at the current rate of donations, this shouldn't pose much of a long term problem.
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Postby eAi » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:34 am

Is it really WikiPedia? You seem to alternate between that and Wikipedia, which is what everyone else calls it.
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Postby Nutty-Slack » Wed Jan 17, 2007 10:49 am

The benevolence of it's contributors may well slope off dramatically as the concept ages, and their expenses become larger (notably, that burgeoning payroll figure).
Who knows though.
They may become another all-dominant (and corrupt) mega corporation?
The Wiki is a bit like a supermarket after all.
Humungous quantities of sub-standard goods all conveniently stacked under one roof!
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Postby curzlgt » Wed Jan 17, 2007 11:59 pm

Nutty-Slack wrote:The Wiki is a bit like a supermarket after all. Humungous quantities of sub-standard goods all conveniently stacked under one roof!


Wikipedia, like a supermarket, is hardly full of "sub-standard" goods.

http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051212/ ... 8900a.html

However, an expert-led investigation carried out by Nature — the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science — suggests that such high-profile examples are the exception rather than the rule.

The exercise revealed numerous errors in both encyclopaedias, but among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not particularly great: the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three.


And thats after just 5 years.... "Authoritative" sources have been at it since Aristotle, Britannica has been around since the mid 1700s....

But really, all that is beside the point. Wikipedia is vastly superior to traditional encyclopedias for 3 reasons.....

1) Debth and bredth.

Wikipedia has 1 million + english entries, and near 4 million overall. Britannica - 80K+, Encarta - A measley 4500 or so.....

Entries in a print encyclopedia are limited by physical space. A Wikipedia entry can drill down to the most minute detail on a topic.

2) cost.

Its free! My mom and dad made payments for like a year when I was a kid just to get me some low end grocery store special deal encycolpedias.

3) Always updating and growing

Perfect collective human knowledge systems should include all the knowledge contained in every person who is alive or dead, and be filtered perfectly with zero subjectivity.......That will never happen, but wikipedia has a better chance at nearing that goal than anything that came before it.

http://www.thelongtail.com/the_long_tai ... ilist.html

December 18, 2005
The Probabilistic Age

Q: Why are people so uncomfortable with Wikipedia? And Google? And, well, that whole blog thing?

A: Because these systems operate on the alien logic of probabilistic statistics, which sacrifices perfection at the microscale for optimization at the macroscale.

Q: Huh?

A: Exactly. Our brains aren't wired to think in terms of statistics and probability. We want to know whether an encyclopedia entry is right or wrong. We want to know that there's a wise hand (ideally human) guiding Google's results. We want to trust what we read.

When professionals--editors, academics, journalists--are running the show, we at least know that it's someone's job to look out for such things as accuracy. But now we're depending more and more on systems where nobody's in charge; the intelligence is simply emergent. These probabilistic systems aren't perfect, but they are statistically optimized to excel over time and large numbers. They're designed to scale, and to improve with size. And a little slop at the microscale is the price of such efficiency at the macroscale.

But how can that be right when it feels so wrong?

There's the rub. This tradeoff is just hard for people to wrap their heads around. There's a reason why we're still debating Darwin. And why Jim Suroweicki's book on Adam Smith's invisible hand is still surprising (and still needed to be written) more than 200 years after the great Scotsman's death. Both market economics and evolution are probabilistic systems, which are simply counterintuitive to our mammalian brains. The fact that a few smart humans figured this out and used that insight to build the foundations of our modern economy, from the stock market to Google, is just evidence that our mental software has evolved faster than our


Not all wikis are that good, but wikipedia is a spectaular starting place for finding information.

Thier monthly budget seems reasonable, payroll about 40% of total monthly budget is a little on the high side for an operation that small. $4K for travel, seems excessive at first glance, though.
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Postby Praxis » Thu Jan 18, 2007 12:29 am

Lets face it, Wiki Rocks & if they need money to keep it going then I'm all for it.
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Postby Nutty-Slack » Thu Jan 18, 2007 2:30 am

@ curzlgt...

Admittedly, the Britannica probably doesn't have detailed breakdowns of every conceivable piece of information relating to 'Star Trek' and it's many spin-offs, or a biography of faded teen-pop-sensation 'Tiffany', entire lists of the episodes from every sitcom ever made etc. etc.

Yes, the Wikipedia is inarguably a great and worthy project for the most part, but the majority of information within is pointless crap - depending on what information you consider to be 'useful'.
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Postby Fartingbob » Thu Jan 18, 2007 6:19 pm

Well for those people looking for a new topic, or some obscure 80's pop star, traditional encyclopedias are a joke. Unless you fancy upgrading the entire collection every year, you cant match the up to date information on wikipedia. And the more popular a topic, the more accurate it is going to be, since more people will be reading, and it only takes 1 to spot a mistake or a spam and edit it out.
Those universities that will give an instant fail to any essay using wikipedia as a source i think should wake up and realise the world is changing, and not be afraid. If the person uses an incorrect source, then bad luck, but dont just blanket fail people for using a source that is pretty much as accurate as any other specialised website or enclyopedia.
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Postby IceCube » Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:31 pm

You can't fire a Wikipedian for inaccurate information. That's why universities hate Wikipedia so much - though they say it's merely because anyone can edit it. So instead, they pay tons of money to these educational institutions instead. The good news, some of this stuff is obtainable online. Though I think, in many respects, it's still a joke because normally someone would have to pay 20 bucks for an article telling you that Holleywood is out of ideas in some cases. :roll: Oh sure, you can find that out for free, but this is from a REPUTABLE source and approved by a committee of scholars! I can only imagine with the added beurocracy what some of the comp sci courses are like when doing mid term papers.
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Postby curzlgt » Sat Jan 20, 2007 9:56 pm

been several years since I was at university. The way I remember, very little of anything from the internet was an exceptable source. less it came from a fee based site like westlaw. Also it depended on the professor and the department alot too. That said, I don't think its because nobody can be fired for inaccurate info. Acidemiics and professors are paid to write the info, and for that to continue they all need to keep scratching eachothers backs, so to speak.

but the majority of information within is pointless crap - depending on what information you consider to be 'useful'.


"Crap" is inherent in all collective info sources. The rare occations that I read a physical ink and paper newspaper, I read the sports, business, national, and every so often the comics ( I miss calvin and hobbs, and the far side, they haven't been the same since :( ) All the rest is crap to me. My mom however, read the local, lifestyles, weather, entertaiment, and ads, the rest is crap to her.

One man's pointless crap is another man's treasured intrest. Thats what makes wikipedia so useful to so many, there is room for limitless information on limitless topics.

I think most wikipedia haters have never really looked closely at the site.
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