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back to article Wikipedia doesn't need your money - so why does it keep pestering you?

It's that time of year again. As the Christmas lights go up, Wikipedia's donation drive kicks off. Wikipedia claims that the donations are needed to keep the site online. Guilt-tripped journalists including Heather Brooke and Toby Young have contributed to Wikipedia in the belief that donations help fund operating costs. …

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Anonymous Coward

Charities waste money

Look at the RSPCA - they spent £300,000 on a prosecution of a fox-botherer!

Charities pull on the heart strings and plead poverty, yet most of the money doesn't make it into the coal-face, and is wasted on paying for non-jobs and admin waste.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charities waste money

The RSPCA lost my donations when they fought a long legal battle to deprive a daughter of a rightful share of her family's farm. Nowadays my donations go to local charities and groups who do not ask me for anything.

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Re: Charities waste money

The RSPCA spent money in order to prosecute someone over fox hunting? Regardless of your own views on fox hunting, I'd expect the RSPCA to be against it, and so be more surprised if the RSPCA hadn't done that.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charities waste money

Foxes are vermin, just a little down the scale from rats, and carry diseases like rabies. Why should the RSPCA care about them being culled? Just because they look like they might be cuddly? (Hint: don't try it)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charities waste money

"The RSPCA spent money in order to prosecute someone over fox hunting? "

According to the RSPCA interviewee on the Today programme they had gathered enough evidence for a watertight case. The hunting of foxes is illegal in English Law. However the RSPCA decided not to leave the State to bring the case - but decided to do it themselves.

The judge was rather outspoken when he pointed out that they had spent a considerable amount of donated money to achieve a conviction with fines totalling only a few thousand pounds.

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Bronze badge

Re: Charities waste money

With the exception of some big frauds, the vast majority of criminal prosecutions cost far more than the value of the crime. I don't see where the problem is.

As for the RSPCA, their cred goes down the toilet with the royal patronage. Might as well have Gary Glitter as patron of the NSPCC.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charities waste money

... here it is the mink farmers they are always on about.

Minks are, for all intents and purposes nasty, aggressive little creatures as likeable as sewer rats. They do have wonderful fur though. The local "animal rights activists" love to vandalise the fams and release the minks back "into the wild" to live as "nature intended". The minks usually live for about a week before they starve or are eaten by predators, like foxen.

But don't let condemning the little creatures (dislikable though they are) to a brutal and horrible death as nature intended get in the way of activism!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charities waste money

"Just because they look like they might be cuddly? (Hint: don't try it)"

Given your dislike of foxes, is one to surmise you did try it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Charities waste money

> Given your dislike of foxes, is one to surmise you did try it?

Nope, I'm not that daft! I've seen their teeth.

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Happy

Love it or hate it

Wikipedia is still the quickest way to find out about X if you are just casually interested in a topic. Sometimes I'm just curious about something random, but would never spend time finding specialist page(s) or forum(s) and assessing whether the info is any more legitimate than what I can read on Wikipedia within moments.

Also, it's the quickest start point for serious research on Y. Sometimes you just have no idea what to search for or where to search. Sometimes you don't understand all the aspects and angles. Wikipedia gives a good start.

Still, the fundraising issue is disturbing (I did donate, years ago). And, as people mention above, the dominating page 'owners' and deletion of minor topics that are not 'notable' is weird too.

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Re: Love it or hate it

They need to fix the Richard II was king of England, when Clemens VI was pope, and Philip VI was king of France.

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Happy

Google

Be careful if you're googling Heather Brooke!

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Joke

Re: Google

For fucks sake what an idiotic comment. I'm now stuck at work with the irresistible urge to google Heather Brooke :/

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Happy

Re: Google

Tom,

Don't think of pink hippos...

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Bronze badge

Deletion obsession

Wikipedia can be unlimited in size, yet there are far too many 'prominent' editors are more obsessed with deletion based on their own idea of notability than the inclusion of more information.

For example, an event that happened in the last decade in at a university in the UK, which involved the university pushing for the prosecution of some of its own students for holding a protest involving a banner, a whistle and some talking was almost removed from that university's article as this person determined it to be non-notable, even though it had been reported in national newspapers, on TV and had been for several months while it went through the courts...

I used to edit there a lot back in about 2006 but I gave up because of the petty minded bureaucrats.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deletion obsession

sounds more like news rather than true "encyclopaedic" material to me so I'm not surprised there was opposition to its inclusion

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Re: Deletion obsession

Is history not old news? I agree not everything should be put in an article, but to focus on the limitations of a dead tree format when dealing with practically unlimited storage does seem backwards at times.

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Re: Deletion obsession

All content has a cost, the number of editors is declining, the number of pages is increasing, they can't maintain that which they already have. More, and more of their articles are rotting away.

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Meh

Re: Deletion obsession

"the number of editors is declining"

I wonder why that might be...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Deletion obsession

Rotting away - includes dead and vanishing links?

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Re: Deletion obsession

Exactly @ShadowedOne - I racked up like 8,000 edits there but basically stopped entirely because of the bureaucracy.

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Is Toby Young a journalist?

I thought he was one of the seemingly endless supply of right-wing columnists that newspapers use to fill the gap between stories we all read online yesterday.

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good stuff

Good stuff from AO, yet again. One of the few in journalism who tell us important things that we did not know.

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Maybe now...

Maybe now they have enough money they can buy more servers so they don't have to delete so many articles.

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Trollface

Wikipedia has become, heaven forfend, less credible?

This is a shocking development. Surely they'll become more objective and accurate with all that money.

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jke
Paris Hilton

A tax fiddle

I was a volunteer worker for a charity, mostly moving stuff about in my van. I made no charge for this, regarding the running expenses as a donation. Then I found that if I billed the charity for my expenses and made a corresponding donation, the charity would be entitled to claim about 30% extra from the Revenue as gift aid. Volunteers who have legitimate expenses please note.

Paris because this would be obvious to her and because she has been neglected of late due to El Reg being infatuated with Lindsay Lohan

John Edwards

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FAIL

Hate trip.

Sorry, you're wrong.

Any organisation as big as a pie shop has done some dodgy things with money. It would be interesting to see the innards of The Reg laid bare for all, wouldn't it? This doesn't mean that it's above reproach or something, but what about a bit of a reality check here. Name your MORALLY PERFECT INSTITUTION for comparison, pulease. Or your morally perfect person for that matter. I'm waiting...

Bringing in hackneyed questions about Wikipedia's errors is just a red herring. This has been done to death. Reliability: Good but not as perfect as some people expect. If you want to criticise their funding process why turn your article into a FESTIVAL OF RECREATIONAL OUTRAGE. It works with some people who are addicted to this type of entertainment but really, it's not a good look. Just loading up with a general whatever bitch says more about the author than the subject.

Wikipedia remains a great information resource for quick general-purpose articles that are typically more accurate than you'd get from an hours googling and reading. If you want to dig deep you'd go elsewhere but it's usually enough. Maybe not 100% complete and accurate on everything, but hey, have you ever looked at the rest the freakin net!? Just in case you haven't, I can reliably inform you it's loaded, past bursting point, with corporate spin, untested beliefs and plain uninformed crap. Maybe we could have truth competition between El Reg and Wikipedia. I know who I'd back. I've seen a lot of opinionated crud and just plain BS in the Reg (along with a fair bit of good stuff.)

As for donations, it's a great thing that ordinary people contribute both their edits and small amounts of money to maintain, grow and improve it. And to own it. I do, and I don't expect perfection in return. Obviously if you have some kind of religious view that everything should be privately owned by rentseekers then it's obviously bad thing but for the rest of us it's a massive, handy, reliable resource. In this kind of article, The Reg seems to be falling into the conceit of the MSM: "We are the source of knowledge, the punters are clueless."

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Hate trip.

"We are the source of knowledge, the punters are clueless."

Hi Jim. I fear you've completely missed the point of the article. It's not about the accuracy of WP this time.

If The Reg asked readers for donations while making a tidy profit on advertising, then I'd expect some similar sharp poking as well. I can tell you're a fan of WP but I'm afraid that won't stop us being critical of the site.

Merry Christmas all the same.

C.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hate trip.

Oooooo internet forum wars......

Wikipedia has degenerated in to a shit fest of nazi arseholes, who for the most part are just dumb fucks on power trips....

Just shit heads of human beings, who rule their own grubby feifdoms, even way past the point of sanity, being plain rude and ignorant and factually incompetent.

No wonder I hate them and so do lots of other people.....

I have had a gut full of their bullshit.....

"Oooo wikipedia?" - "Yesterdays toilet paper darling, yesterdays toilet paper."

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Black Helicopters

Oh dear... this can only end badly...

The outlaw Jimmy Josey Wales (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outlaw_josey_wales) will be after you now!

Seasons Greetings to El Reg, keep up the good work. You're right up there with Private Eye as required reading.

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Happy

Am I the only

Am I the only person in the Register world who a) finds Wikipedia quite useful/interesting; and b) would rather lob them the occasional fiver to avoid having to see adverts?

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FAIL

A finely crafted smear piece

I see Andrew still hasn't given up on trolling Wikipedia. Let's look at some of the more ridiculous claims in this article:

Claim: Wikipedia is now a powerful lobbying organization; Truth: Wikipedia temporarily contracted 1 guy in DC to keep tabs on SOPA as it was going through Congress.

Claim: Wikipedia is getting millions of dollars from corporate grants and is thus beholden to corporate interests; Truth: None of the grants he cited are from this year and Wikipedia has continually worked towards accepting fewer and fewer grants, especially any with strings attached. Part of that effort is why Wikipedia asks the public for donations.

Claim: Wikipedia has more money than it knows what to do with; Truth: Wikipedia only collects as much money as they have budgeted for each year. The budget and planning process is completely transparent and widely open to public input (probably more so than any other non-profit on earth).

Claim: Part of why Wikipedia participated in the SOPA blackout was due to influence from Google; Truth: The opposite is closer to the truth, as I'm sure anyone involved in the blackout knows. The decision to participate in the SOPA actions wasn't even decided by the Wikimedia Foundation, it was decided by the Wikipedia community.

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Re: A finely crafted smear piece

Wikipedia articles are supposed to be NPOV yet your SOPA article (Kaldari is a paid employee) is anothing but NPOV. It contains a bunch of statements from SOPA detractors which are untrue, and no statements from SOPA advocates refuting the lies. Additionally the SOPA article quotes extensively from Google shill organisations, and links extensively to blogs and articles that are at best speculative. An example wouldf be this from EFF:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/11/whats-blacklist-three-sites-sopa-could-put-risk

where non of the sites mentioned are foreign and non of the sites refuse to take action under a proper DMCA request.

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Trollface

Is that the truth?

Or did you read it on Wikipedia?

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The tone of the email has been discussed to death here already. What I would point out is the inappropriate nature of the implication that staff should be paid while Wikipedia editors are not. I would expect that from Mail Online, not from El Reg. The peer-editing model relies on small, gratis contributions from many, with no obligation or financial target. Reg would be the first to complain if wikipedia has paid editors who were seen to be editing with conflicts of interest. What portion of wikipedia editors complain that they should be paid? I expect it is tiny.

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Meh

THAT'S your list of dodgy spending?

Looks like little smoke and less fire.

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