If you’re a regular to Wikipedia you might have noticed the donation appeals from founder Jimmy Wales scattered around the page. These images tend to stick out a bit more than your average web ad because the service is not only famous for being free, but free from the usual advertising clutter found on most sites.
The goal of $16 million was an ambitious one, but we are happy to report we now have confirmation that the world’s collective encyclopedia has met its target and will live on for another year. According to Wales more than 500,000 donations were made during the drive with an average size of $22.
"This year is a little more incredible than most because this year we celebrate Wikipedia's tenth anniversary," Wales wrote. "It's so important that we kick the year off just like this: by fully funding the Wikimedia Foundation's budget to support Wikipedia and all the sister projects as we head into the next decade of our work together. This fundraiser had all the ingredients of what we love about Wikimedia projects: people come together, contribute what they have, and together we do something amazing," Wales wrote. He also pointed out that it's not too late to pitch in.
$16 million is a lot of cash but you have to admit, when you consider the bandwidth bill they must be paying each month it doesn’t sound like Wales or anyone at the Wikimedia foundation is squandering resources.
To everyone who donated to Wikimedia and helped the non-profit organization reach its goal to raise $7.5 million, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has a message for you: "Thank you." After you're finished patting yourself on the back, go ahead and reach back into your pocket, because Wales isn't finished soliciting donations.
"As of December 31, 2009, we have reached our campaign goal of $7.5 million USD," Wales wrote on Wikimedia's donation page. "Thank you to all who have donated! Your continued donations will support Wikimedia's long-term operations and growth, cover contingencies, and allow us to fund new projects and activities"
"Today, I am asking you to make a donation to support Wikipedia," Wales continues.
As is often the case with those soliciting donations, Wales' appeal is difficult to avoid. If you've been to Wikipedia lately (and let's face it, the site shows up on just about every Google search), then you've undoubtedly noticed the banner on top of every entry that reads in big, bold letters "Please Read: A personal appeal from Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales."
The donations, says Wales, are necessary to keep the social encyclopedia free of charge and devoid of advertising, though this time around he doesn't mention how much he'd like to raise. Nor does he say if he'll go on to ask for handouts for Wiktionary, Wikiquote, Wikibooks, Wikisource, Wikispecies, and every other Wikimedia project.
Microsoft this week has confirmed that it plans to jettison out of the encyclopedia business and discontinue nearly all of its online Encarta products by October. The sole exception is Encarta Japan, which will run through the end of the year before being retired. In addition, the software giant will also stop selling Student and Encarta Premium software, both of which included the online encyclopedia.
"Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years," Microsoft wrote in a notice on its Encarta website. "However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past. As part of Microsoft's goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today's consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business."
Encarta has been around for over a decade with the latest version having been released in August, 2008. It included over 62,000 articles in the Premium edition and is available in a number of forms and languages, according to Wikipedia. Speaking of which, we imagine there must be quite a bit of celebrating going on among Wikipedia's ranks.
Following a recent false entry in Wikipedia's pages claiming Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Byrd had died after an inaugural luncheon last week, the social encyclopedia is considering clamping down on anonymous user edits, CNet says. Dubbed 'Flagged Revisions,' only registered, trusted users would be able to publish changes immediately. For everyone else, edits would wait in a queue until being approved by one of Wikipedia's trusted editors.
Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is in favor of the idea, saying on his public discussion page "This nonsense would have been 100 percent prevented by Flagged Revisions." And unlike the German version of Wikipedia, which has been using the system since last August, Wales contends that delays would typically be less than 1 week "because we will only be using it on a subset of articles, the boundaries of which can be adjusted over time to manage the backlog."
According to Wales, 60 percent of users who responded to a poll are in favor of the move. Are you? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.