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fundraiser suggestion
now that we have blinking banners, I'm sure we should try out how full-screen banners work, with "click to go to wikipedia".

Domas
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Domas Mituzas wrote:
> now that we have blinking banners, I'm sure we should try out how full-screen
> banners work, with "click to go to wikipedia".

If you could convince the fundraising folks that it would generate enough
money to justify ignoring the complaints, I'm sure it could and would be
implemented. That was the gist of the "Wikipedia Executive Director"
discussion. It doesn't matter if the banners are problematic and against
Wikimedia's principles (like accuracy), if they make enough money, these
concerns can and will be set aside.

The more recent banners speak of "urgent" and "critical" funding needs to
keep Wikipedia ad-free. However, the money to actually keep the site up and
running was raised weeks ago. Misleading readers is acceptable if it can
help Wikimedia reach its goal, right?

It's all about money. Principles are dead.

MZMcBride



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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 8:50 PM, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com> wrote:
> now that we have blinking banners,
> Domas
Oh! Oh! can we have marquees as well... and those flashy "under
construction" gifs??
-Peachey

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Awesome!

How about we add popups?

Seriously, if you're going to do this, just add AdSense...it's a heck of a
lot prettier.

~~~~


On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 1:10 AM, K. Peachey <p858snake@yahoo.com.au> wrote:

> On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 8:50 PM, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > now that we have blinking banners,
> > Domas
> Oh! Oh! can we have marquees as well... and those flashy "under
> construction" gifs??
> -Peachey
>
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 12:12 PM, Mono mium <monomium@gmail.com> wrote:

> Awesome!
>
> How about we add popups?
>
> Seriously, if you're going to do this, just add AdSense...it's a heck of a
> lot prettier.
>
> ~~~~
>
>
> On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 1:10 AM, K. Peachey <p858snake@yahoo.com.au>
> wrote:
>
> > On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 8:50 PM, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com>
> > wrote:
> > > now that we have blinking banners,
> > > Domas
> > Oh! Oh! can we have marquees as well... and those flashy "under
> > construction" gifs??
> > -Peachey
>
>
Firstly, this is probably just an experiment to see if it draws more
donations. If it doesn't, they probably won't use the tactic in the future.

Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they not
try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you should
start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't get
hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.

Third, adverts are turned off for non-logged in users. Try logging in.
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Are you saying that WMF has put itself in a huge dependence relationship
with money? That it could be forced to require third parties' help if
the donations are insufficient? That would be throwing itself into the
lion's den. What was worth risking so much its economical autonomy and
mission?
I hope you're wrong about the situation, Brian.



On 31/12/2010 16:19, Brian J Mingus wrote:
> Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
> something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they not
> try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you should
> start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't get
> hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Banners have been turned off for logged-in users on en.wp (and maybe other projects?) for quite some time now, since well before Christmas holiday break for most people.

-Dan
On Dec 31, 2010, at 2:19 PM, Brian J Mingus wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 12:12 PM, Mono mium <monomium@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Awesome!
>>
>> How about we add popups?
>>
>> Seriously, if you're going to do this, just add AdSense...it's a heck of a
>> lot prettier.
>>
>> ~~~~
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 1:10 AM, K. Peachey <p858snake@yahoo.com.au>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 8:50 PM, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> now that we have blinking banners,
>>>> Domas
>>> Oh! Oh! can we have marquees as well... and those flashy "under
>>> construction" gifs??
>>> -Peachey
>>
>>
> Firstly, this is probably just an experiment to see if it draws more
> donations. If it doesn't, they probably won't use the tactic in the future.
>
> Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
> something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they not
> try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you should
> start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't get
> hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.
>
> Third, adverts are turned off for non-logged in users. Try logging in.
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l


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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
I guess nobody cares if you top post or bottom post here, but it does get
confusing when the two are mixed in the same thread.

I need not imply that the WMF depends on money. It's kind of obvious, isn't
it? The WMF relies primarily on donations from individuals, and to a lesser
extent on large grants from folks like Omidyar. So long as basic principles
like not showing third party adverts are not violated there is no reason to
suspect that the readership of the projects and thus the amount that can be
collected from donations will continue to grow. If individual donations did
decline for some reason WMF would be forced to scale back operations. There
is no reason that they would have to resort to seeking large donations from
extremely wealthy private interests. In the extreme of things we might find
that there is only enough money to pay for servers and bandwidth. That
wouldn't be so bad - it's the way things used to be. Overall I would say
there is little to nothing wrong with the current situation, so I really
don't understand your e-mail. Our "economical autonomy" derives from our
principles of openness and freedom.

- Brian

On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 12:50 PM, Noein <pronoein@gmail.com> wrote:

> Are you saying that WMF has put itself in a huge dependence relationship
> with money? That it could be forced to require third parties' help if
> the donations are insufficient? That would be throwing itself into the
> lion's den. What was worth risking so much its economical autonomy and
> mission?
> I hope you're wrong about the situation, Brian.
>
>
>
> On 31/12/2010 16:19, Brian J Mingus wrote:
> > Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
> > something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they not
> > try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you
> should
> > start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't
> get
> > hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Correction: So long as basic principles like not showing third party adverts
are not violated there is no reason to suspect that the readership of the
projects and thus the amount that can be collected from donations will
*not*continue to grow.

On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 1:01 PM, Brian <Brian.Mingus@colorado.edu> wrote:

> I guess nobody cares if you top post or bottom post here, but it does get
> confusing when the two are mixed in the same thread.
>
> I need not imply that the WMF depends on money. It's kind of obvious, isn't
> it? The WMF relies primarily on donations from individuals, and to a lesser
> extent on large grants from folks like Omidyar. So long as basic principles
> like not showing third party adverts are not violated there is no reason to
> suspect that the readership of the projects and thus the amount that can be
> collected from donations will continue to grow. If individual donations did
> decline for some reason WMF would be forced to scale back operations. There
> is no reason that they would have to resort to seeking large donations from
> extremely wealthy private interests. In the extreme of things we might find
> that there is only enough money to pay for servers and bandwidth. That
> wouldn't be so bad - it's the way things used to be. Overall I would say
> there is little to nothing wrong with the current situation, so I really
> don't understand your e-mail. Our "economical autonomy" derives from our
> principles of openness and freedom.
>
> - Brian
>
> On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 12:50 PM, Noein <pronoein@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Are you saying that WMF has put itself in a huge dependence relationship
>> with money? That it could be forced to require third parties' help if
>> the donations are insufficient? That would be throwing itself into the
>> lion's den. What was worth risking so much its economical autonomy and
>> mission?
>> I hope you're wrong about the situation, Brian.
>>
>>
>>
>> On 31/12/2010 16:19, Brian J Mingus wrote:
>> > Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
>> > something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they
>> not
>> > try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you
>> should
>> > start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't
>> get
>> > hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> foundation-l mailing list
>> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
>> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>>
>
>
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Brian J Mingus wrote:
> I guess nobody cares if you top post or bottom post here, but it does get
> confusing when the two are mixed in the same thread.

I care. You shouldn't be top-posting or bottom-posting. Use inline posting:
https://wiki.toolserver.org/view/Mailing_list_etiquette

Brian J Mingus (also) wrote:
> Firstly, this is probably just an experiment to see if it draws more
> donations. If it doesn't, they probably won't use the tactic in the future.

The issue isn't whether it's a experiment or even whether it's successful.
The issue is one of principles. Animated banner ads aren't acceptable.

> Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
> something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they not
> try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you should
> start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't get
> hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.

This is a false dilemma. The money needed to keep Wikipedia and other
Wikimedia projects running and ad-free for the next year was raised _weeks_
ago. It's against Wikimedia's principles to use obnoxious or misleading ads
to raise money in this manner.

> Third, adverts are turned off for non-logged in users. Try logging in.

As the vast majority of page views are anonymous, this is largely a moot
point. Yes, logging in will suppress the banners on an individual level.
That doesn't make it acceptable to have bad banners for most of the
readership.

MZMcBride



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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
popups, lightboxes, talking jimbos: Fundraising 2011

Happy New Year everyone!

On Fri, Dec 31, 2010 at 1:56 PM, MZMcBride <z@mzmcbride.com> wrote:

> Brian J Mingus wrote:
> > I guess nobody cares if you top post or bottom post here, but it does get
> > confusing when the two are mixed in the same thread.
>
> I care. You shouldn't be top-posting or bottom-posting. Use inline posting:
> https://wiki.toolserver.org/view/Mailing_list_etiquette
>
> Brian J Mingus (also) wrote:
> > Firstly, this is probably just an experiment to see if it draws more
> > donations. If it doesn't, they probably won't use the tactic in the
> future.
>
> The issue isn't whether it's a experiment or even whether it's successful.
> The issue is one of principles. Animated banner ads aren't acceptable.
>
> > Second, if WMF doesn't meet the fundraising goal they will have to cut
> > something from the budget. If it's so very important to you that they not
> > try advertising techniques that are mildly annoying to some users you
> should
> > start by suggesting projects that won't get funded or people that won't
> get
> > hired or servers that won't get bought, etc.
>
> This is a false dilemma. The money needed to keep Wikipedia and other
> Wikimedia projects running and ad-free for the next year was raised _weeks_
> ago. It's against Wikimedia's principles to use obnoxious or misleading ads
> to raise money in this manner.
>
> > Third, adverts are turned off for non-logged in users. Try logging in.
>
> As the vast majority of page views are anonymous, this is largely a moot
> point. Yes, logging in will suppress the banners on an individual level.
> That doesn't make it acceptable to have bad banners for most of the
> readership.
>
> MZMcBride
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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>
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Hi!

> I need not imply that the WMF depends on money.

Or rather, "certain parts of WMF depends on certain amounts of money".

> It's kind of obvious, isn't it?

It is not obvious how much money is "urgent", more urgent than the need to read the article.
It is not obvious how much money is sooooo urgent that it needs to distract me from reading the article by blinking.
It is not obvious how much money is urgent so we could entirely block people from reading the article until they donate.

I want to build Wikipedia so that people can read it.
I for one don't want to build Wikipedia so that it could be used as vehicle of WMF growth - I thought that was supposed to be opposite (I guess my priorities are different from ones declared by strategy project :).

> If individual donations did decline for some reason WMF would be forced to scale back operations.

Which isn't entirely bad. In lots of places, if you don't have money, you become more efficient at what you do or do less.
Having unlimited funding (which is brought by largest advertisement space on the internet) can spoil too early.


> There is no reason that they would have to resort to seeking large donations from
> extremely wealthy private interests.

They already do, don't they?

> In the extreme of things we might find that there is only enough money to pay for servers and bandwidth.
> That wouldn't be so bad - it's the way things used to be.

Exactly, that was how the things were when we were actually growing - when we had to grow our environment to be able to sustain new users.
Now pageviews don't really grow much (the percentage of reach/pageviews is quite flat), we don't have more edits, number of active users is flat.

> Overall I would say there is little to nothing wrong with the current situation, so I really
> don't understand your e-mail.

The major premise of the campaign is "keeping it free" - but it is much larger than previous campaign and involves lots of organization growth.
This campaign target was big enough so fundraising team had to resort to annoying tactics - that also bred countless internet memes - I'm sure there will be Wikipedia article about them.

I don't care about the mess up of titles like "Wikipedia Director" or whatever.
I care that we make the actual service to our users suck, and that ends up our priority, as other departments apparently have no say over what fundraising team does.

Domas
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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Jan 1, 2011 at 9:40 PM, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> It's kind of obvious, isn't it?
>
> It is not obvious how much money is "urgent", more urgent than the need to read the article.
> It is not obvious how much money is sooooo urgent that it needs to distract me from reading the article by blinking.
> It is not obvious how much money is urgent so we could entirely block people from reading the article until they donate.

I think we can equate 'urgent' to 'keeping the sites operational'.
With that in mind we can look at the 2010-11 plan [1] to see how much
money is budgeted for doing that:

$1.8 M (up from $1 M) is budgeted for hosting costs, ie keeping the
servers operational and buying enough internets to feed them with.

$3.3 M (up from $0.96 M) is budgeted for capital expenses, most of
which (though an unspecified proportion) is to fit out a new
datacentre and get more bandwidth for the existing ones. We can count
this as urgent too (making sure the sites remain operational with
growth over the 12 months).

We don't know what proportion of the $9 M budgeted for salaries is for
the tech staff. With projected hirings over 2010-11 (16 new tech staff
for a total of 38), they will make up about 40% of staff (roughly the
same as at present). Not all of these will strictly be necessary for
keeping the sites operational though. Not all the new positions are
specified, but the ones that are range from strongly connected to
keeping the site operational (five new tech operations positions, a
datacentre engineer), to moderately connected (a couple of new
positions relating to MediaWiki development), to not connected at all
(people to work on a database to "track relationships with all
stakeholders including readers, editors, donors, other volunteers,
etc").

Moreover, as much as we all love the current tech staff [2], not all
of their positions are related to keeping the site operational; some
are about expanding functionality.

But let's be generous and say that all the tech staff can be put in
the 'urgent' pile, and that tech salaries will be $3.7 M (41.7% of the
budgeted amount for salaries, assuming here that tech salaries are no
higher or lower than other salaries). Let's also assume that the whole
of capital expenditure will be on tech essential for keeping the sites
operational into the future.

This puts a ceiling on 'urgent' costs at $8.8 M, or 43% of the budget
of $20.4 M. [3]

--
[1] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/foundation/d/dd/2010-11_Wikimedia_Foundation_Annual_Plan_FINAL_FOR_WEBSITE.pdf
[2] http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Staff#Technology
[3] The fundraiser hit $8.8 M on Dec 16. But, subtracting the budgeted
$4 M of non-fundraiser revenue, the fundraiser needed to meet $4.8 M
to cover 'urgent' expenses, a mark it hit on Nov 25.

--
Stephen Bain
stephen.bain@gmail.com

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On 1 January 2011 13:45, Stephen Bain <stephen.bain@gmail.com> wrote:
> This puts a ceiling on 'urgent' costs at $8.8 M, or 43% of the budget
> of $20.4 M. [3]

This is a worthwhile analysis, but you have neglected the numerous
expenses involved in supporting a large organisation. You can't have
an organisation with an $8.8M budget without managers, fundraisers,
HR, legal counsel, etc.. The WMF could trim its budget a lot without
harming basic site function, but not as much as your method suggests.

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 12:54 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 1 January 2011 13:45, Stephen Bain <stephen.bain@gmail.com> wrote:
>> This puts a ceiling on 'urgent' costs at $8.8 M, or 43% of the budget
>> of $20.4 M. [3]
>
> This is a worthwhile analysis, but you have neglected the numerous
> expenses involved in supporting a large organisation. You can't have
> an organisation with an $8.8M budget without managers, fundraisers,
> HR, legal counsel, etc.. The WMF could trim its budget a lot without
> harming basic site function, but not as much as your method suggests.

Sure, I don't attempt to estimate overheads. But that's probably
balanced out by the generous assumptions made, particularly the one
that all tech staff are essential for site operation, when as many as
half of them are mostly about building functionality (eg, all the
people employed in connection with the usability project).

--
Stephen Bain
stephen.bain@gmail.com

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On 1 January 2011 10:40, Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com> wrote:

>> There is no reason that they would have to resort to seeking large donations from
>> extremely wealthy private interests.

> They already do, don't they?


I understand that for the current fundraiser, it was in fact an
explicit goal to seek smaller donations from more people -
specifically to visibly maintain editorial independence for the
projects from the gentle suggestions of any individual large donor.

Of course, if e.g. Microsoft or Google open their chequebooks and give
the Foundation a large untied grant (and both have done so) then we
are most pleased and will happily tell the world that they have done
so and it was very good of them and we are most grateful. But the
point is not to *have* to seek out large donors.

This actually goes against most accepted principles of fundraising,
which follow a Pareto (80:20)-like rule: if your aim is as much money
as possible, seek the large donors, who then recruit the next level of
donors ("I gave $100k, you can give $50k") and so on.

However, the WMF is not like most charities, and just getting as many
bucks as possible by whatever means is not in fact the aim. We
actually have to think about getting the bucks in the *right* way, and
$10 from *lots* of people gets us enough to do our stuff *and* turns
those donors into our co-conspirators on the Mission.


- d.

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
2011/1/1 Domas Mituzas <midom.lists@gmail.com>:
> It is not obvious how much money is "urgent", more urgent than the need to read the article.
> It is not obvious how much money is sooooo urgent that it needs to distract me from reading the article by blinking.
> It is not obvious how much money is urgent so we could entirely block people from reading the article until they donate.

Hi Domas,

happy new year to you and to everyone! :-)

Asking a reader to make a donation is by definition a distraction from
what they came to do. The question has always been, and continues to
be, how we want to balance this distraction away from the utility that
Wikimedia projects provide (i.e. instant access to information), with
the need to raise funds that will not only permit us to maintain, but
increase that utility.

I don't see anything wrong at all with messages that signal increased
urgency as the fundraiser draws to a close. Nor do I see a mildly
animated banner in the last 48 hours of the year (and the fundraiser)
which reminds people about tax-deductible donations and seeks to
energize a final push for the remaining funds towards the goal, as a
violation of the contract between us and our readers.

That being said, I don't want to dismiss or diminish concerns about
where that balance should be. Indeed, the size and graphical
visibility of the banners this year have certainly pushed my own pain
points as to what I consider an acceptable balance. At the same time,
I've had countless conversations in past years with people who didn't
even notice that we were fundraising. To a certain extent, touching
those pain points is necessary to even register with people who have
both the ability and desire to support us.

The fundraising team has continually applied judgment regarding this balance.

- For the first time, banners were completely disabled for registered
users later in the campaign, because there was simply no justification
for a continued aggressive ask from volunteers, who very likely had
already donated if they wanted to. This will likely become standard
practice in future, at least after some initial period in which
everyone sees the banners.

- In spite of the proven effectiveness of the Jimmy appeal, the team
switched away from it for extended periods of time, for example to run
appeals from individual Wikipedia editors, for no other reason than to
reduce "message fatigue" and annoyance, even though these banners
didn't perform as well. More graphic banners were also substituted
with less visually strong ones during parts of the campaign for the
same reason, and different variants were continually tested to
identify "the least annoying message that works".

- We needed to balance our desire to not overuse certain messages with
the goal to end the fundraiser as early as possible. As every year,
we've upheld our commitment to stop running fundraising banners the
moment we're confident that we've made our goal -- and we've done so
more quickly than ever in recent history, as can be seen on
<http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:FundraiserStatistics>.

Needless to say, certain ideas were off the table from the beginning
(including of course interstitials and the like).

To be sure, this year's campaign has certainly pushed the envelope to
meet its ambitious goal. Prior to this year, we didn't really have a
good sense exactly what the ceiling of the fundraiser would be,
because we'd never pushed it as hard was we could before we reached
our goal. This year's experience will help us to establish realistic
targets for next year, which clearly can't represent a similarly
ambitious increase.

And we'll have many long conversations to see which areas _other than_
more aggressive messaging will likely yield substantial increases in
revenue at this point. For example, while we've offered a standard
monthly payment mechanism this year, I haven't yet seen revenue
projections from this, as well as possible scenarios for expansion.
There are various matching gift models that we've never really tried
to scale. And we'll want to understand the successes and failures of
chapter-based fundraising better.

With all that said, I've seen organizations like public broadcasters
go down a road of increasingly aggressive fundraising, to the
detriment of the actual experience of the product. I think we would be
wise to take steps to avoid that, also with an eye to the fact that
management changes over time and principles that aren't stated are
easily ignored. So I am in favor of drawing a line as to what we
consider acceptable and unacceptable fundraising practices. Perhaps
that's a conversation that we can have with the Board, as an extension
of the first set of principles articulated here:
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Resolution:Wikimedia_fundraising_principles

I also think for next year we can and should do more to actually track
annoyance: How many people spend less time on site, or close the page
they're visiting, because of a banner? How many people accidentally
click on the banners without meaning to? Etc. The more hard data we
have, the better we can optimize for a positive experience. There are
other long-standing ideas, such as making it easier to permanently
hide the banners at least after having made a donation, that we should
continue to look into.

> Now pageviews don't really grow much (the percentage of reach/pageviews is quite flat),
> we don't have more edits, number of active users is flat.

According to your own stats as processed by ErikZ, pageviews increased
from 8.9B to 13.7B from March 2008 to November 2010. Perhaps not
staggering relative growth as in the early years, but fairly dramatic
in absolute terms when you consider how many millions of additional
people served it represents. Reach among Internet users also continues
to grow not just in the US and Europe, but also in key growth regions.
For example, reach among Internet users in India has increased from
about 26% to 33.5% over the last year, according to comScore.

So, we are serving more users than ever (more than 410M a month
according to the latest comScore numbers, which if anything are likely
to underestimate the real number). We have a greater responsibility in
the world than ever. The reason to raise $16M is to meet that
responsibility. To meet it, for example, by making sure that we have
reliable, distributed backups of all key data; that we won't disappear
from the net for extended periods of time if Tampa goes down; that we
don't have to rely entirely on the goodwill of a talented database
engineer from Lithuania to deal with MySQL woes.

But Wikimedia Foundation isn't (and has never been) purely a
techno-organization, it's a global educational media organization and
world-wide movement for free knowledge, which critically depends on
technology to get its work done. WMF has to provide and improve that
technology (and recent threads about WYSIWYG and structured data show
the degree of interest that people have in WMF doing a lot more), but
supporting growing communities like the ones in India, networking with
global cultural and educational institutions, supporting Wikimedia
chapter work, providing legal safeguards, etc., are just as much part
of our mission. The 2010-11 budget represents an increase from 38% to
48% in technology spending, but it also represents significant
investments in other programmatic work. And that's a good thing.

I'm incredibly proud, for example, that for the first time in
Wikimedia's history, WMF has facilitated institutional relationships
with leading universities in the US (
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_United_States_Public_Policy/Courses
) to improve article content as part of student assignments, with a
very substantial amount of content already added, and the foundation
for lasting relationships that will boost quality, credibility, and
Wikipedia's continued use in the classroom. ( See also
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedia_Signpost/2010-12-27/Ambassadors
). And this is being funded with a grant, not the core operating
budget. Yes, it's a US-centric program, but it's a start and a model,
and to the extent that we'll invest in related activities out of core
funds, we'll do so with an eye to internationalizing.

I'm proud of our network of chapter organizations for building more
relationships with cultural institutions than ever before, as can be
nicely seen in the timeline on
<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Partnerships>. I was
thrilled to see the report of the multi-university writing competition
organized with WMF financial support by Wikimedia Indonesia, which
greatly boosted editing activity on the Indonesian Wikipedia.
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Grants:WM_ID/Free_Your_Knowledge_Project_2010/Report>.
Similarly, I'm fascinated by the many photo competitions organized by
Wikimedia Czech Republic, including projects like photo-hunts for
scientific and other specialized media
<http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Pictures_of_the_Acquiring_scientific_and_specialized_pictures_grant>.
These are just a few examples of chapter work, of course.

And I'm pleased that we can support chapters and other volunteers with
a growing network of outreach and training resources that can be used
at conferences, booths, workshops, seminars, etc., ranging from "First
steps" guides to a mini-syllabus and screencasts, video invitations to
edit, etc., all cataloged at http://bookshelf.wikimedia.org/ and
created using open source tools.

I'm able to hold in my hand perhaps the first-ever book of
expert-reviewed Wikipedia articles, as described in
<http://blog.wikimedia.org/blog/2010/12/09/encyclopedia-of-life-curates-wikipedias-species-articles/>.
Scaling third party review of Wikimedia content could dramatically
increase the utility of the projects.

On the technology front, in the last year we:
- deployed the first design change across Wikimedia projects in a
very, very long time, based on the first-ever systematic usability
studies of the Wikipedia experience. The changes deployed don't go
nearly far enough, but they are important foundations for future work.
- activated the mobile gateway as default for suitable smartphones,
now serving about 4% of total pageviews;
- developed a completely re-vamped media uploading UI, which is
currently in public testing on Commons;
- began experimentation with OpenWebAnalytics and actively supported
its development;
- deployed a small scale test of reader feedback tools and began
analyzing the results.

Again, that's just a selection, and it's leaving aside improvements to
testing/QA, recent joined efforts to clear the code review backlog,
etc.

All this represents growth in our ability to serve our mission; all
this represents opportunity; and all of it was unlikely to ever happen
with the Wikimedia of yesteryear that could barely keep the lights on.
We're learning and improving as we go along, but there's absolutely no
doubt in my mind that a well-funded free knowledge movement is good
for the planet. Nobody is interested in growing this movement at the
expense of the utility it provides. But grow it we must, and we will.

2010 has seen the Wikimedia movement truly achieve more than it ever
has in its history, and that's in very significant part thanks to its
ability to obtain public support. I'm incredibly grateful that
hundreds of thousands of people believe in the Wikimedia mission. As
David put it, they are becoming co-conspirators in our nefarious goal
to bring free knowledge to every single person.

To a successful and prosperous 2011,
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On 1 January 2011 23:50, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> I don't see anything wrong at all with messages that signal increased
> urgency as the fundraiser draws to a close.

I do. When the fundraiser ends is a choice you make, not something
imposed upon you by external forces. Also, people can continue to
donate after the main campaign finishes. There is no urgency at all.

I agree with the rest of your email, though. The WMF's increased
budget is justified. That money is going on worthwhile things. That
doesn't, however, mean that we should raise that money by whatever
means necessary.

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On 2 January 2011 00:09, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com> wrote:

> I agree with the rest of your email, though. The WMF's increased
> budget is justified. That money is going on worthwhile things. That
> doesn't, however, mean that we should raise that money by whatever
> means necessary.


We are not within a thousand miles of "by whatever means necessary",
even by the standards of other charities. As such, your statement
approaches hyperbole when compared to the real world.


- d.

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On 2 January 2011 00:15, David Gerard <dgerard@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 2 January 2011 00:09, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> I agree with the rest of your email, though. The WMF's increased
>> budget is justified. That money is going on worthwhile things. That
>> doesn't, however, mean that we should raise that money by whatever
>> means necessary.
>
>
> We are not within a thousand miles of "by whatever means necessary",
> even by the standards of other charities. As such, your statement
> approaches hyperbole when compared to the real world.

While we may not have reached such levels this year, the WMF has made
it clear that they consider making the money the main thing.

Philippe, on the fundraising mailing list on 13 December (during the
discussion regarding the "Wikipedia Executive Director" banners) said:
"So yeah, we're doing everything we can to maximize the income."

That is the completely wrong attitude. If we cannot reach our target
with an honest campaign, we should accept that we cannot reach our
target and make do with less money. We should not lie to and mislead
our donors.

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 10:50 AM, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> But Wikimedia Foundation isn't (and has never been) purely a
> techno-organization, it's a global educational media organization and
> world-wide movement for free knowledge, which critically depends on
> technology to get its work done.

And noone would be a subscriber to this list if they did not care
about free knowledge. It's just that seeking donations to fund the
growth of the movement, and the pursuit of its goals, ought to be
carried out by way of messaging that refers to that growth and those
goals, not messaging that, for example, implies that the projects will
go offline or be forced to resort to advertising if the full $16 M
target were not met.

> We have a greater responsibility in
> the world than ever. The reason to raise $16M is to meet that
> responsibility. To meet it, for example, by making sure that we have
> reliable, distributed backups of all key data; that we won't disappear
> from the net for extended periods of time if Tampa goes down; that we
> don't have to rely entirely on the goodwill of a talented database
> engineer from Lithuania to deal with MySQL woes.

Yes, but the new datacentre and the new tech hires represent less than
40% of the new spending planned in 2010-11. This is assuming that the
datacentre and bandwidth upgrades represent the whole increase in
capital expenditure in 2010-11 ($2.3 M), and that as new tech staff
represent 36% of planned hires they will represent an equivalent
proportion of the increased expenditure on salaries ($2.1 M). [1]

They are one of the reasons, but not the only one, to raise $16 M.
They are the reason to raise perhaps a third of that target.

--
[1] Obviously this will not be a correct figure, as I'm sure the tech
staff do not get paid the same on average as all the other staff.
Moreover the order in which the new staff are hired throughout the
year will have some impact on this total. However, not all of the
current/new tech hires are/will be working on anything mission
critical. This suffices as a ballpark figure.

--
Stephen Bain
stephen.bain@gmail.com

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
2011/1/1 Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com>:
> That is the completely wrong attitude. If we cannot reach our target
> with an honest campaign, we should accept that we cannot reach our
> target and make do with less money. We should not lie to and mislead
> our donors.

I fully understand the arguments not to use shorthand like "Wikipedia
Executive Director". It clearly is counter to our desire to be seen as
a movement with multiple supporting organizations, and for Wikipedia
to be understood as a largely self-governing community, and it's of
course Wikipedia-centric. But to suggest that the choice of such
shorthand is tantamount to "lying to and misleading our donors" is,
indeed, irresponsible hyperbole. It's clear that the choice was, in
fact, made to _reduce_ potential confusion of donors about who/what
they're being asked to support.

The different degrees of meaning that we're trying to convey here are
barely noticeable to anyone but Wikimedians themselves, and as such,
the choice of different messaging is just that -- an important choice
about how we want to self-present and ultimately the kind of
understanding of our movement that we want to convey. Every complex
organization/movement has these kinds of conversations, and it helps
to have them without implicitly or explicitly accusing people of
dishonesty or recklessness. Our self-inflicted branding nightmare
(Wikipedia/Wikimedia/MediaWiki etc.) is one that we'll have to
continue to confront.

Similarly, there are few fundraising techniques that are more
conventional than developing a sense of urgency throughout a campaign
(google fundraising and urgency). The whole point of a fundraising
campaign is, yes, to _urge_ as many people as possible to give within
the timeframe during which all messaging and resources are aligned to
receive donations. So the narrative of every reasonably well-executed
fundraising campaign is to build excitement towards a goal, to
emphasize the importance of making a gift today, etc.

Yes, one can do so to an extent that's misleading and problematic.
But, I haven't seen any instance of misleading messaging in our
campaign. Instead in our most "urgent" appeal there were sentences
like: "Not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine, because each
year just enough people support Wikipedia with a small donation." This
is an example of careful and deliberate balance in messaging.
--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> But to suggest that the choice of such
> shorthand is tantamount to "lying to and misleading our donors" is,
> indeed, irresponsible hyperbole. It's clear that the choice was, in
> fact, made to _reduce_ potential confusion of donors about who/what
> they're being asked to support.

Hang on:

On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:20 AM, Philippe Beaudette
<pbeaudette@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> When we get letters saying things like "I'd donate, but only to Wikipedia, not to Wikimedia", it spells out for us that it's possible we could attract more people with the institution of Wikipedia than the institution of Wikimedia.


So wait, why was the choice made?

--
Stephen Bain
stephen.bain@gmail.com

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
2011/1/1 Stephen Bain <stephen.bain@gmail.com>:
> On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>>
>> But to suggest that the choice of such
>> shorthand is tantamount to "lying to and misleading our donors" is,
>> indeed, irresponsible hyperbole. It's clear that the choice was, in
>> fact, made to _reduce_ potential confusion of donors about who/what
>> they're being asked to support.
>
> Hang on:
>
> On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:20 AM, Philippe Beaudette
> <pbeaudette@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>>
>> When we get letters saying things like "I'd donate, but only to Wikipedia, not to Wikimedia", it spells out for us that it's possible we could attract more people with the institution of Wikipedia than the institution of Wikimedia.

See the immediately previous sentence in Philippe's email: "Yes, it'll
come as a shock to all of you <tongue-in-cheek> but there are people
who don't know that Wikimedia is anything more than a mis-spelling of
Wikipedia. </tongue-in-cheek>." He's talking about the exact same
issue.

--
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

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Re: fundraiser suggestion [ In reply to ]
Perhaps you should work on establishing the Wikimedia brand...

On Sat, Jan 1, 2011 at 7:14 PM, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> 2011/1/1 Stephen Bain <stephen.bain@gmail.com>:
> > On Sun, Jan 2, 2011 at 12:56 PM, Erik Moeller <erik@wikimedia.org>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> But to suggest that the choice of such
> >> shorthand is tantamount to "lying to and misleading our donors" is,
> >> indeed, irresponsible hyperbole. It's clear that the choice was, in
> >> fact, made to _reduce_ potential confusion of donors about who/what
> >> they're being asked to support.
> >
> > Hang on:
> >
> > On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 11:20 AM, Philippe Beaudette
> > <pbeaudette@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> >>
> >> When we get letters saying things like "I'd donate, but only to
> Wikipedia, not to Wikimedia", it spells out for us that it's possible we
> could attract more people with the institution of Wikipedia than the
> institution of Wikimedia.
>
> See the immediately previous sentence in Philippe's email: "Yes, it'll
> come as a shock to all of you <tongue-in-cheek> but there are people
> who don't know that Wikimedia is anything more than a mis-spelling of
> Wikipedia. </tongue-in-cheek>." He's talking about the exact same
> issue.
>
> --
> Erik Möller
> Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation
>
> Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate
>
> _______________________________________________
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> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
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>
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