If you had visited Wikipedia anytime in the last few months, there’s no doubt you would have seen Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales’ Appeal. And even though a section of the Internet ridiculed Wikipedia for..well..the omnipresence of its founder, it was all for a good cause – To Support Wikipedia. All sorts of gag images were being circulated in Twitter, heck there was even a Chrome extension. Wikipedia and Wikimedia’s other web properties have many loyal users and that came through with more than half a million donating a total of $16 million.
With an overall Alexa Traffic rank of 8 – Wikipedia is the only ad free, user supported website in the top 10. Real time statistics of donations are available here and account for only the online donations. Which is why you see a total figure of under $14 million, the remaining donations came offline. Earlier Wikimedia had announced that it needed a total of $16million to keep operating and was able to achieve that figure in record time. In 2009 it raised a little over 8 million after setting a target of $7.5 million.
The fund raising campaign will continue throughout January 2011 and you can donate here. But things are not all rosy for Wikipedia, the non profit website has faced a fair amount of criticism over the last few years for systemic bias, censorship etc. There is also a rising concern about the authenticity of information – or that’s what the propaganda machinery is claiming anyway. And even though I have written about some of its shortcomings in the past, sites like Wikipedia are for the greater good and because it is a wiki, there isn’t too much sense in pointing fingers at anyone. So if you ever find anything incorrect, by all means feel free to rant about it, but also submit corrections with the necessary citations. There is only so much volunteers and contributors can do.
10 years of Wikipedia
On January 15th, Wikipedia turns 10 and volunteers are organizing events across 15 cities in India. Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Kolkata and Delhi are the prominent ones, but you can find the whole list here (you can volunteer too). Wikipedia is the 4th most popular website in India, and Indic language content has seen some success here.
ET also hints that since Wikimedia has announced plans to open an office in India soon, cities will use this event to strengthen their case for a Wikimedia office. There is already some amount of activity on the various city pages. No harm in a little healthy competition! Some are updated with Agendas et al, while others are chugging along.
So if you’re a Wikipedian go ahead and volunteer. There are plenty of ways to help.