Wikipedia campaigns for donations, despite beating fundraising goals

emmagarofalo

Posts: 6   +2
Editor's take: Wikipedia, despite ample resources in silo, is asking yet again for more donations. Big-name corporate sponsors and big data deals behind the scenes tarnish the platform's picture-perfect image as the internet's first source for scholars and students alike.

The ubiquitous non-profit online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is once again asking its readers to donate. You've likely seen the banners at the top of each page.

After ten years of fundraising, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) has already achieved its goal of an endowment of $100 million, five years earlier than projected, “a permanent source of funding to ensure Wikipedia thrives for generations to come.” Critics are slamming the platform for not leaning more heavily into what has already been accumulated.

This total includes gifts from mega-giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other huge tech companies, begging the question: why can't more funds be found here? Why ask the readership?

Those playing by the book continually point to what they deem a very suspicious relationship with the Tides Foundation, one of the primary contributors to the $100 million endowment in question. When company events were put on hold due to the pandemic, the money allocated for them was simply transferred over to a "Tides Advocacy" fund.

There's also the announcement of daughter company, Wikipedia, LLC. This new platform will include integrated services, made possible by selling the Wikipedia API to some of the companies mentioned previously. With these new features, users will be able to browse Wikipedia using, say, an Alexa device.

Long-time volunteers with the service have shown concern. The platform's inception is rooted in the free dissemination of information. All of this extra money coming through, they worry, will motivate the wrong people to do things that undermine the spirit of Wikipedia. In 2007, Wikipedia had 11 employees total. Now that number is more than 500, with top managers earning mid-six figures salaries and over 40 people working on fundraising exclusively.

The company is often boastful about the fact that their site runs no ads, aside from this fundraising call to action when the season is upon us. Users in India saw them for the first time last year, causing many in the country to fear for the platform's well-being. These fears are largely unfounded though. In fact, the Wikimedia Endowment and Foundation actually exceeded their fiduciary goals by $17 million so far this year.

Calling upon the users who depend on it to "defend Wikipedia's independence" is a far cry from the monolithic, omniscient voice of reason that long-time Wiki readers hope to hear once more. Having a nest egg for a rainy day is one thing. Siphoning off of the system unnecessarily is another. If "knowledge equity" truly is what they have their sights set on, monetizing the platform is probably not the way to do it. Nothing is crueler than a paywall where, before, there was a bottomless wealth of information to indulge in freely.

Update: The original article has been slightly edited as it implied Wikipedia could be moving toward a for-profit model which the Wikimedia Foundation tells us is incorrect. What this opinion column -- based on this report from the Daily Dot -- is trying to reflect is that the WMF reports healthy financials, however at the same time is growing fundraising tactics that show them as if the Wikipedia project was in dire need of help.

In addition here's a partial statement from the Wikimedia Foundation:

We are thankful to our major donors, many of whom choose to be publicly recognized via our benefactors page. These companies regularly use Wikimedia projects to power their own products and we believe it’s critical to provide ways for those companies to give back to the free knowledge movement. At the same time, the majority of our donations (almost 80%) come from Wikipedia readers with the average donation being $15. This ad-free, reader-funded model was set up intentionally. Because of this model, we are not beholden to any entity for the content we host or the actions we take. Wikipedia will always remain ad-free.

Wikipedia will always be free for everybody. Individuals and commercial organizations alike will continue to have free access to our projects, content and data, all of which is freely-licensed for anyone to use and reuse for any purpose. Wikimedia Enterprise simply offers commercial enterprises an opt-in product that will allow them to more efficiently integrate our content into their services. We have extensive documentation on the product offering. The entire Wikipedia model, including all content and software, remains free for anyone (including big companies) to use and access.

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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,911   +1,110
So, will wikipedia become propaganda? It is already not considered worth of citation in scholarly articles.
I mean, its a good source for finding relevant scholarly articles though. Read the wiki, then go to the citations and read those. Good way to get started on a brand new topic.

Besides, with all the slanted entries they've permitted to remain on that site, they're practically bought already.
Which articles are you referring to?
 

George Keech

Posts: 58   +74
Its become nothing more than a site for the ultra woke,froth at the mouth left winger crowd, to push their confirmation bias world view amongst themselves.
I think Nothing more is pushing it, honestly I use Wikipedia as I feel it is easier to read on a Phone than IMBD for finding out who has been in what. This information alone seems to be non Bias, or even history and science although not 100% reliable doesn't really have a Bias, or at least most of which what I read. I'm not saying I agree with what they are doing you cannot say it is not a useful resource for a great many aspects. At the end of the day I have a rule, Don't 100% believe anything on the internet and always think what the writing has to gain for phrasing it the way it does .
 

Geralt

Posts: 574   +795
Its become nothing more than a site for the ultra woke,froth at the mouth left winger crowd, to push their confirmation bias world view amongst themselves.
Yes, sort of mafias controlling everything there.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 308   +610
I mean, its a good source for finding relevant scholarly articles though. Read the wiki, then go to the citations and read those. Good way to get started on a brand new topic.


Which articles are you referring to?

Short Sellers like to add entries that defame companies they're attacking...
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 2,671   +4,152
"Big-name corporate sponsors and big data deals behind the scenes tarnish the platform's picture-perfect image as the internet's first source for scholars and students alike"

Emma, WTH are you smoking? "scholars" have refuted wikipedia for almost its entire existence, students recive failing grades for not only using wiklipedia but now if they use the links found on wikipedia. Wikipedia is also notorious for having power hungry mods that bend to the will of the Leftists and social media in general, editing articles and omitting details that are considered problematic.

I suppose they have a picture perfect image to the blind, deaf, and dumb, but not many outside of that group think wikipedia is some perfect resource. It's a public database that is vulnerable to the same kind of political activism we se plaguing websites all over the internet these days.
 

Plutoisaplanet

Posts: 529   +788
Fantastic article, I'll have to look into this more... Overall I think Wikipedia is a great source of information, but it's obviously always going to be imperfect.
I mean, its a good source for finding relevant scholarly articles though. Read the wiki, then go to the citations and read those. Good way to get started on a brand new topic.

Which articles are you referring to?
I agree on your first point; I've always used Wikipedia as a secondary source of information so that I could get a starting point on learning something. Ironically though, Wikipedia does not accept primary sources of information, so I guess that would make it a tertiary source of information.

This isn't quite what you were asking, but there are plenty of examples of bias. If you look at left-wing versus right-wing individuals or companies, Wikipedia almost always obscures any controversy or "far-left" labels on left-wing figures, and does the opposite for right-wing figures. Here are some examples off the top of my head, including quotes of the worst criticism or political framing of each from the opening of the articles:

Politicians:

(R) Marjorie Taylor Greene: "far-right conspiracy theorist" and "incendiary and violent" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Taylor_Greene
(R) Ted Cruz: "gave credence to the baseless conspiracy theory that the election was stolen" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz
(L) Bernie Sanders: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders
(L) AOC: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez
(L) Rashida Tlaib: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashida_Tlaib

YouTubers:
(R) Steven Crowder: "racist and homophobic" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Crowder
(L) TYT: "anti-establishment" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Young_Turks

News/Journalism Companies:
(R) The Daily Wire: "promoting misinformation" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Wire
(R) Fox News: "biased" and "state TV" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News
(R) One America News Network: "far-right" and "known for promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_America_News_Network
(L) CNN: "dramatic" and "nonpartisan" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN
(L) Media Matters: "aggressive criticism of conservative journalists" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Matters_for_America
(L) 1619 Project: "sparked controversy" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1619_Project

Note: I do not claim to have an affinity for any of these besides Steven Crowder. I'm not claiming anything above is true or untrue (these are quotes) but I am claiming that the above examples show bias on Wikipedia's part in how it portrays information to the public about each of these. It normalizes every left-wing figure and makes most right-wing figures sound controversial. The exceptions I found were The Heritage Foundation, Ben Shapiro, and Rand Paul.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 488   +373
Fantastic article, I'll have to look into this more... Overall I think Wikipedia is a great source of information, but it's obviously always going to be imperfect.

I agree on your first point; I've always used Wikipedia as a secondary source of information so that I could get a starting point on learning something. Ironically though, Wikipedia does not accept primary sources of information, so I guess that would make it a tertiary source of information.

This isn't quite what you were asking, but there are plenty of examples of bias. If you look at left-wing versus right-wing individuals or companies, Wikipedia almost always obscures any controversy or "far-left" labels on left-wing figures, and does the opposite for right-wing figures. Here are some examples off the top of my head, including quotes of the worst criticism or political framing of each from the opening of the articles:

Politicians:

(R) Marjorie Taylor Greene: "far-right conspiracy theorist" and "incendiary and violent" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Taylor_Greene
(R) Ted Cruz: "gave credence to the baseless conspiracy theory that the election was stolen" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz
(L) Bernie Sanders: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders
(L) AOC: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez
(L) Rashida Tlaib: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashida_Tlaib

YouTubers:
(R) Steven Crowder: "racist and homophobic" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Crowder
(L) TYT: "anti-establishment" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Young_Turks

News/Journalism Companies:
(R) The Daily Wire: "promoting misinformation" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Wire
(R) Fox News: "biased" and "state TV" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News
(R) One America News Network: "far-right" and "known for promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_America_News_Network
(L) CNN: "dramatic" and "nonpartisan" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN
(L) Media Matters: "aggressive criticism of conservative journalists" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Matters_for_America
(L) 1619 Project: "sparked controversy" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1619_Project

Note: I do not claim to have an affinity for any of these besides Steven Crowder. I'm not claiming anything above is true or untrue (these are quotes) but I am claiming that the above examples show bias on Wikipedia's part in how it portrays information to the public about each of these. It normalizes every left-wing figure and makes most right-wing figures sound controversial. The exceptions I found were The Heritage Foundation, Ben Shapiro, and Rand Paul.


I think a lot of the American far right would rather be called "far-right conspiracy theorist" and "incendiary and violent" than "democratic socialist" - Who wants to be a Communist hey??
heh heh
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
So, will wikipedia become propaganda? It is already not considered worth of citation in scholarly articles.
That's an empty argument as it has never been considered a reliable source for science, as more or less anyone can alter the content. It's a great source of random information for consumerism, but never for critical facts.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 448   +586
I have had an uneasy feeling myself for a long while that the money they're getting exceeds what they need. I used to donate a bit around Christmas but I feel like their requests for money are always exaggerated too much.
 

jpuroila

Posts: 372   +225
Wikipedia's image was tarnished a long time ago at least for anyone who has been paying attention. The vast majority of their funding goes not to maintaining the servers and improving their service, but to overpaying various unnecessary directors, sending them to various conferences and other matters of that nature.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,911   +1,110
Fantastic article, I'll have to look into this more... Overall I think Wikipedia is a great source of information, but it's obviously always going to be imperfect.

I agree on your first point; I've always used Wikipedia as a secondary source of information so that I could get a starting point on learning something. Ironically though, Wikipedia does not accept primary sources of information, so I guess that would make it a tertiary source of information.

This isn't quite what you were asking, but there are plenty of examples of bias. If you look at left-wing versus right-wing individuals or companies, Wikipedia almost always obscures any controversy or "far-left" labels on left-wing figures, and does the opposite for right-wing figures. Here are some examples off the top of my head, including quotes of the worst criticism or political framing of each from the opening of the articles:

Politicians:
(R) Marjorie Taylor Greene: "far-right conspiracy theorist" and "incendiary and violent" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marjorie_Taylor_Greene
(R) Ted Cruz: "gave credence to the baseless conspiracy theory that the election was stolen" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Cruz
(L) Bernie Sanders: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernie_Sanders
(L) AOC: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez
(L) Rashida Tlaib: "democratic socialist" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashida_Tlaib

YouTubers:
(R) Steven Crowder: "racist and homophobic" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_Crowder
(L) TYT: "anti-establishment" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Young_Turks

News/Journalism Companies:
(R) The Daily Wire: "promoting misinformation" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Wire
(R) Fox News: "biased" and "state TV" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fox_News
(R) One America News Network: "far-right" and "known for promoting falsehoods and conspiracy theories" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_America_News_Network
(L) CNN: "dramatic" and "nonpartisan" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CNN
(L) Media Matters: "aggressive criticism of conservative journalists" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Media_Matters_for_America
(L) 1619 Project: "sparked controversy" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_1619_Project

Note: I do not claim to have an affinity for any of these besides Steven Crowder. I'm not claiming anything above is true or untrue (these are quotes) but I am claiming that the above examples show bias on Wikipedia's part in how it portrays information to the public about each of these. It normalizes every left-wing figure and makes most right-wing figures sound controversial. The exceptions I found were The Heritage Foundation, Ben Shapiro, and Rand Paul.
How are they slanted? What is being taken out of context in these articles, and what is the proper context?
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,739   +2,054
TechSpot Elite
Which articles are you referring to?
I can give you a perfect example. Lockheed-Martin has been trying to push their F-35 pretty damn hard. Now, anyone who actually understands military aviation knows that it's the biggest turkey since the F-105 Thunderchief.

People who are in the know and say otherwise are, to a man, in a position to gain (monetarily) from being dishonest. The Wikipedia page for the F-35 is alarmingly devoid of important (and public) key facts surrounding the lack of functionality of the aircraft itself.

Here's a glaring example:
The most reliable and unbiased source of information on the F-35 is the Director, Operational Test and Evaluation's Annual Report (DOT&E Report). One would expect that any institution actually dedicated to objective information would get the majority of its information from those pubicly available reports. (Hell, I've read them and I'm not even American!) However, the only time that Wikipedia mentions the DOT&E report is the report from 2012.

Meanwhile, there has been a DOT&E report every year up to 2020 so far and only 2012's report is directly mentioned. There is something in the page that cites the 2019 report as a source (I'm not sure what it is) but that's all there is on the page if you search "DOT&E". The reports from 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 are not mentioned or cited EVEN ONCE.

What most people aren't aware of (because most people aren't aviation enthusiasts and wouldn't understand what they were reading) is that every single one of these reports on the F-35 was absolutely scathing! We're talking hundreds of dangerous software bugs and about ten "Category 1 Deficiencies" (a Category 1 Deficiency is as serious as it gets because it can result in the loss of the aircraft, the pilot or both without pilot error).

The gun on the F-35 still cannot shoot straight (Ars Technica, 2020) but this is not reflected in the Wikipedia page. The F-35 has been significantly whitewashed because an actual objective analysis of it would call it what it is, a failed experiment that continues to line the pockets of Lockheed-Martin at the expense of not only US taxpayers, but the taxpayers of every country that was ignorant or corrupt enough to choose it.

There's a tonne of articles outlining how bad the F-35 is based on the DOT&E reports going back many, many years. Here are just a few:
FlightGlobal (2021): Lockheed Martin F-35 deficiencies: two fewer in 2020, 871 issues remain
FlightGlobal (2020): Lockheed Martin F-35 has 873 deficiencies
FlightGlobal (2019): DOT&E delivers another scathing report on F-35 progress
Defense Daily (2020): DOT&E Report Calls Out Ongoing F-35 Software Deficiencies
Fortune Magazine (2016): Pentagon Report: The F-35 Is Still a Mess
Almost none of this extremely pertinent information is on the Wikipedia page and I know for a fact that it's not because of people not trying. Meanwhile, Lockheed-Martin and the US Air Force have both been touting this thing with meaningless buzzterms like "Unmatched", "Unrivalled", "Game-Changer", etc. while the whole time, the truth of their lies was available to anyone willing to put in the effort to actually find out.

The fact that the sales pitch has been proven to be nothing more than propaganda which is generally ignored is also not mentioned in the Wikipedia page. For something as politically sensitive as a military combat aircraft, this information is not only relevant, but critically important.

To ignore what the US Department of Defense's Director of Testing and Evaluation says about the F-35 is like ignoring what a oncologist says about cancer. This is especially when the directors in question are J. Michael Gilmore and Robert Behler, two men with impeccable credentials.

Someone has paid Wikipedia to obfuscate what an absolute disaster that the F-35 is from a financial, a technological and defensive standpoint. When I read what I read, I knew that Wikipedia had already been compromised. After all, when the the people whose job it is to give an impartial and factual evaluation of a weapons system directly to the US Secretary of Defense say that it's a piece of junk, there's nobody on Earth who can honestly say:
Monty-Python-Argument-Clinic.gif


So, there's one BIG one, something that is significantly impactful for ALL countries in NATO.
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,911   +1,110
The Wikipedia page for the F-35 is alarmingly devoid of important (and public) key facts surrounding the lack of functionality of the aircraft itself....Almost none of this extremely pertinent information is on the Wikipedia page and I know for a fact that it's not because of people not trying....Someone has paid Wikipedia to obfuscate what an absolute disaster that the F-35 is from a financial, a technological and defensive standpoint.
You're suggesting that Wikipedia staff are maintaining - and deliberately maintaining the page with out of date information - the page for the F-35? Instead of a volunteer, like it is for every other page?
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,739   +2,054
TechSpot Elite
You're suggesting that Wikipedia staff are maintaining - and deliberately maintaining the page with out of date information - the page for the F-35? Instead of a volunteer, like it is for every other page?
I'm "suggesting" nothing. I'm outright accusing them of removing the most damning and negative information about the F-35. I ought to know, I was one of the ones who posted said information, cited it properly to the actual DOT&E report (Which at the time was for 2019) only to find it removed less than a week later by Wikipedia itself with no explanation given.

None of the information I've shown you here (assuming you at least bothered to peruse it) was EVER reflected on the page whether it was up-to-date or not. If you read the most recent report (that covers the testing and evaluation over the year 2020), you'll see that again, the Wikipedia page is severely lacking in this publicly-available information. It's not like I'm expecting to see classified information and the fact that this is available to anyone on Earth makes it a very reasonable preposition.
F-35 Report from the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation for 2020

Now the question is, why would they do that? Who benefits from it being removed? To find all answers of this sort, just follow the money because that always leads to the truth. In this case, the most likely culprits would be Lockheed-Martin and/or all of the politicians that they have in their back pocket. Make no mistake, Lockheed-Martin does have politicians in its back pocket, a crap-tonne of them.

I'm not the only one who has had this happen to things that they've put up on the page so something is definitely going on. I stopped trusting Wikipedia when they did this because I know that I followed the correct protocols, used the correct formatting and, most importantly, the information source is (obviously) beyond reproach. I wasn't posting lies or propaganda, I was posting facts that were proven by the Pentagon itself.

That was a very troubling revelation about something that is supposed to promote universal access to information and their recent attempts to suck more money out of people when they already have tonnes would seem to align with their doctoring of the information shown on their page. They didn't even leave a record that I had put it there. For all that anyone can see, it never existed. Not good.
 
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mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,911   +1,110
I'm "suggesting" nothing. I'm outright accusing them of removing the most damning and negative information about the F-35. I ought to know, I was one of the ones who posted said information, cited it properly to the actual DOT&E report (Which at the time was for 2019) only to find it removed less than a week later by Wikipedia itself with no explanation given.

None of the information I've shown you here (assuming you at least bothered to peruse it) was EVER reflected on the page whether it was up-to-date or not. If you read the most recent report (that covers the testing and evaluation over the year 2020), you'll see that again, the Wikipedia page is severely lacking in this publicly-available information. It's not like I'm expecting to see classified information and the fact that this is available to anyone on Earth makes it a very reasonable preposition.
F-35 Report from the Director of Operational Testing and Evaluation for 2020

Now the question is, why would they do that? Who benefits from it being removed? To find all answers of this sort, just follow the money because that always leads to the truth. In this case, the most likely culprits would be Lockheed-Martin and/or all of the politicians that they have in their back pocket. Make no mistake, Lockheed-Martin does have politicians in its back pocket, a crap-tonne of them.

I'm not the only one who has had this happen to things that they've put up on the page so something is definitely going on. I stopped trusting Wikipedia when they did this because I know that I followed the correct protocols, used the correct formatting and, most importantly, the information source is (obviously) beyond reproach. I wasn't posting lies or propaganda, I was posting facts that were proven by the Pentagon itself.

That was a very troubling revelation about something that is supposed to promote universal access to information and their recent attempts to suck more money out of people when they already have tonnes would seem to align with their doctoring of the information shown on their page. They didn't even leave a record that I had put it there. For all that anyone can see, it never existed. Not good.
You realize that it is probably just someone camping on the page, right? Its not difficult to setup email notifications about any change that is made to a page, and it is entirely plausible (if not likely) that LHM has hired PR firms to do exactly this. It is also probably far easier, cheaper, and politically safer to do it this way - why pay Wikipedia when you can pay someone else to do it for less?
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,739   +2,054
TechSpot Elite
You realize that it is probably just someone camping on the page, right? Its not difficult to setup email notifications about any change that is made to a page, and it is entirely plausible (if not likely) that LHM has hired PR firms to do exactly this. It is also probably far easier, cheaper, and politically safer to do it this way - why pay Wikipedia when you can pay someone else to do it for less?
Except that if this were the case, the editing would be recorded and a reason given for the change. What happened was just the removal of the information with no record or reason for it. Only Wikipedia themselves can do that.