Mailing List Archive

Blink tag jokes are now obsolete.
We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
the occasion should be marked.

--
geni

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 2:59 AM, geni <geniice@gmail.com> wrote:

> We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
> the occasion should be marked.
>
> --
> geni
>
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Login or wait a day?

--
~Keegan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Keegan
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
2011/12/31 geni <geniice@gmail.com>:
> We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
> the occasion should be marked.

They are not blinking in a manner that is even remotely obnoxious. And
they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
English or the local language, like India.

--
Amir Elisha Aharoni · אָמִיר אֱלִישָׁע אַהֲרוֹנִי
http://aharoni.wordpress.com
‪“We're living in pieces,
I want to live in peace.” – T. Moore‬

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 09:00, Keegan Peterzell <keegan.wiki@gmail.com> wrote:
> Login or wait a day?

My understanding is that on any given day we have rather a lot of
users. I'm not sure it is entirely reasonable to expect them all to
log in and that would in any case rather negate the point.

--
geni

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 09:06, Amir E. Aharoni <amir.aharoni@mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:

> They are not blinking in a manner that is even remotely obnoxious.

There is a reason that people tend to talk about static plain-text
options when they talk about acceptable web ads. Something blinking
away at the top of the page is a distraction.

>And
> they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
> useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
> English or the local language, like India.

Except both versions I was getting were in English.


--
geni

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
geni, 31/12/2011 10:22:
>> And
>> they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
>> useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
>> English or the local language, like India.
>
> Except both versions I was getting were in English.

I guess you mean the set of banners about «This is it. Last day to make
a tax-deductible contribution to keep Wikipedia free in 2012» (and
variations[1]).
I'd be interested to know whether Sue was true when she said that donors
don't care much about tax deducibility, but here we have to consider
also the "last [3] day[s]", "pay the bills" and blinking banner effects.

Nemo

[1]
<https://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Special:NoticeTemplate&offset=2339&limit=57>

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Full agreement with geni here. Blinking banners are against the spirit of
the Wikipedia Manual of Style. If this is not clear in the banner
guidelines then this needs to be made explicit.

I would have thought it was common sense that such things were
inappropriate, I am taken aback that we have to spell it out in detailed
guidelines.

I am less sure about the animated graphic, probably not specifically
against the "house style". However if this were a vote, I personally would
be against animated graphics in banners, they are an unsettling distraction.

Fae
--
http://enwp.org/user_talk:fae
Guide to email tags: http://j.mp/faetags
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 12:01, Fae <faenwp@gmail.com> wrote:

> Full agreement with geni here. Blinking banners are against the spirit of
> the Wikipedia Manual of Style. If this is not clear in the banner
> guidelines then this needs to be made explicit.


Indeed. Inspiring people to install AdBlock may not be the best of ideas?


- d.

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM, Amir E. Aharoni <
amir.aharoni@mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:

> 2011/12/31 geni <geniice@gmail.com>:
> > We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
> > the occasion should be marked.
>
> They are not blinking in a manner that is even remotely obnoxious. And
> they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
> useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
> English or the local language, like India.


Actually, no. They are obnoxious in any language and area. Also, the most
widely viewed banners are in English in India.

We see the same blinks with the same pair of eyes as the rest of the world.
Content of the blink-ads, doesn't change what they are.

Regards
Theo
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Hi everyone -

It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all. It's
hard to find the right balance.

We're always trying to find the least annoying banners that make the most
money so that we can run them the shortest possible time.

We reduced the fundraiser from 50 days to 46 this year. Next year we hope
to shave more days off again.

The alternating message banners work really well on the last couple days
because there are two different very effective messages in those days. But
we're always looking for a better way, so maybe next year we won't have to
do alternating messages at all.

Zack

On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:38 AM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> amir.aharoni@mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:
>
> > 2011/12/31 geni <geniice@gmail.com>:
> > > We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
> > > the occasion should be marked.
> >
> > They are not blinking in a manner that is even remotely obnoxious. And
> > they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
> > useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
> > English or the local language, like India.
>
>
> Actually, no. They are obnoxious in any language and area. Also, the most
> widely viewed banners are in English in India.
>
> We see the same blinks with the same pair of eyes as the rest of the world.
> Content of the blink-ads, doesn't change what they are.
>
> Regards
> Theo
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--
Zack Exley
Chief Community Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Hi Zack

I have a questions. I donated in the past, so I saw some donation request
emails also came in. Are there likely to be more emails between now and the
end?

I understand the point about efficiency and maximizing the revenue, but a
heads-up before the team tries something new might also be helpful.

Regards
Theo

On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 8:12 PM, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:

> Hi everyone -
>
> It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
> banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all. It's
> hard to find the right balance.
>
> We're always trying to find the least annoying banners that make the most
> money so that we can run them the shortest possible time.
>
> We reduced the fundraiser from 50 days to 46 this year. Next year we hope
> to shave more days off again.
>
> The alternating message banners work really well on the last couple days
> because there are two different very effective messages in those days. But
> we're always looking for a better way, so maybe next year we won't have to
> do alternating messages at all.
>
> Zack
>
> On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:38 AM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> > amir.aharoni@mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:
> >
> > > 2011/12/31 geni <geniice@gmail.com>:
> > > > We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
> > > > the occasion should be marked.
> > >
> > > They are not blinking in a manner that is even remotely obnoxious. And
> > > they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
> > > useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
> > > English or the local language, like India.
> >
> >
> > Actually, no. They are obnoxious in any language and area. Also, the most
> > widely viewed banners are in English in India.
> >
> > We see the same blinks with the same pair of eyes as the rest of the
> world.
> > Content of the blink-ads, doesn't change what they are.
> >
> > Regards
> > Theo
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Zack Exley
> Chief Community Officer
> Wikimedia Foundation
> _______________________________________________
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> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 14:42, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hi everyone -
>
> It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
> banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all. It's
> hard to find the right balance.

This banner isn't just annoying, it is untrue. You can make a tax
deductible donation tomorrow just as easily as you can make it today.
It will get deducted off next year's taxes, not this year's, but
unless you are trying to reduce your tax bill to zero that makes
absolutely no difference.

It is also misleading to claim that donations are required to keep
Wikipedia free when you've already raised more than enough to cover
core spending. There is no way anything that would be considered
making Wikipedia "unfree" would be done if there were no further
donations. All that would happen is a few non-core programmes would
have to be cut or downsized.

I'm pretty sure I raised both these concerns last year when you ran
similar banners and they were never addressed other than to say that
such banners raise a lot of money (which is the point - they are
misleading people into donating a lot of money). Could you explain how
you justify misleading your donors in this way?

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 14:58, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm pretty sure I raised both these concerns last year when you ran
> similar banners and they were never addressed other than to say that
> such banners raise a lot of money (which is the point - they are
> misleading people into donating a lot of money). Could you explain how
> you justify misleading your donors in this way?


+1


- d.

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Thomas Dalton, 31/12/2011 15:58:
> On 31 December 2011 14:42, Zack Exley<zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> Hi everyone -
>>
>> It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
>> banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all. It's
>> hard to find the right balance.
>
> This banner isn't just annoying, it is untrue. You can make a tax
> deductible donation tomorrow just as easily as you can make it today.
> It will get deducted off next year's taxes, not this year's, but
> unless you are trying to reduce your tax bill to zero that makes
> absolutely no difference.

I'm not familiar with USA deducibility (the WMF legal department doesn't
give advice either ;)
https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Deductibility_of_donations ), so
could you explain this point?
Aren't there annual limits to deductible amounts?
Thanks,
Nemo

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 15:36, Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki@gmail.com> wrote:
> Thomas Dalton, 31/12/2011 15:58:
>> On 31 December 2011 14:42, Zack Exley<zexley@wikimedia.org>  wrote:
>>> Hi everyone -
>>>
>>> It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
>>> banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all. It's
>>> hard to find the right balance.
>>
>> This banner isn't just annoying, it is untrue. You can make a tax
>> deductible donation tomorrow just as easily as you can make it today.
>> It will get deducted off next year's taxes, not this year's, but
>> unless you are trying to reduce your tax bill to zero that makes
>> absolutely no difference.
>
> I'm not familiar with USA deducibility (the WMF legal department doesn't
> give advice either ;)
> https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Deductibility_of_donations ), so
> could you explain this point?
> Aren't there annual limits to deductible amounts?

I'm not particularly familiar with USA tax law either. In the UK, I
believe you are simply limited by your taxable income - you end up
paying negative tax. If there are other limits that apply in the USA,
then my point still stands - unless you are already planning to max
out your limit next year, it makes essentially no difference if you
deduct your donation from this year's taxes or next year's. Whatever
the limits are, I doubt many donors are expecting to be anywhere near
them.

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 14:42, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Hi everyone -
>
> It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
> banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all. It's
> hard to find the right balance.

Not at all. You can always reduce spending.

> We're always trying to find the least annoying banners that make the most
> money so that we can run them the shortest possible time.

You failed.

> The alternating message banners work really well on the last couple days
> because there are two different very effective messages in those days. But
> we're always looking for a better way, so maybe next year we won't have to
> do alternating messages at all.

Or to put it another way you will do whatever you please with the
banner no matter how foolish and there is nothing we can do about it.
Understood. Please understand that we may chose to view things
differently.

--
geni

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
David Gerard wrote:
> On 31 December 2011 12:01, Fae <faenwp@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Full agreement with geni here. Blinking banners are against the spirit of
>> the Wikipedia Manual of Style. If this is not clear in the banner
>> guidelines then this needs to be made explicit.
>
> Indeed. Inspiring people to install AdBlock may not be the best of ideas?

Most ad blocking software (including AdBlock) treats self-promotional ads
(and particularly calls for site fundraising) differently than typical,
commercial banner ads. It's possible to manually filter the fundraising
banners with AdBlock and similar products, though.

More info here:
https://easylist.adblockplus.org/blog/2010/11/16/wikimedia-fundraising-banne
rs

MZMcBride



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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Seriously, get over it.

On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 8:47 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com>wrote:

> On 31 December 2011 15:36, Federico Leva (Nemo) <nemowiki@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> > Thomas Dalton, 31/12/2011 15:58:
> >> On 31 December 2011 14:42, Zack Exley<zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> >>> Hi everyone -
> >>>
> >>> It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in
> the
> >>> banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all.
> It's
> >>> hard to find the right balance.
> >>
> >> This banner isn't just annoying, it is untrue. You can make a tax
> >> deductible donation tomorrow just as easily as you can make it today.
> >> It will get deducted off next year's taxes, not this year's, but
> >> unless you are trying to reduce your tax bill to zero that makes
> >> absolutely no difference.
> >
> > I'm not familiar with USA deducibility (the WMF legal department doesn't
> > give advice either ;)
> > https://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Deductibility_of_donations ), so
> > could you explain this point?
> > Aren't there annual limits to deductible amounts?
>
> I'm not particularly familiar with USA tax law either. In the UK, I
> believe you are simply limited by your taxable income - you end up
> paying negative tax. If there are other limits that apply in the USA,
> then my point still stands - unless you are already planning to max
> out your limit next year, it makes essentially no difference if you
> deduct your donation from this year's taxes or next year's. Whatever
> the limits are, I doubt many donors are expecting to be anywhere near
> them.
>
> _______________________________________________
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> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 17:31, Mono mium <monomium@gmail.com> wrote:
> Seriously, get over it.

That's your attitude to the WMF misleading donors? Being honest when
raising funds in incredibly important.

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Geni - You're being mean. On New Years Eve! Happy New Years!

On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 9:08 AM, geni <geniice@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 31 December 2011 14:42, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> > Hi everyone -
> >
> > It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
> > banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all.
> It's
> > hard to find the right balance.
>
> Not at all. You can always reduce spending.
>
> > We're always trying to find the least annoying banners that make the most
> > money so that we can run them the shortest possible time.
>
> You failed.
>
> > The alternating message banners work really well on the last couple days
> > because there are two different very effective messages in those days.
> But
> > we're always looking for a better way, so maybe next year we won't have
> to
> > do alternating messages at all.
>
> Or to put it another way you will do whatever you please with the
> banner no matter how foolish and there is nothing we can do about it.
> Understood. Please understand that we may chose to view things
> differently.
>
> --
> geni
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
>



--
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Chief Community Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Le 31/12/2011 15:03, Thomas Dalton a écrit :
> Being honest when raising funds in incredibly important.

Probably a misunderstanding.

People getting paid to raise money who only care about getting money,
that's the kind of professionals we need.
Putting them in charge of communication and money relations with the
public was the single best move for our big mission since the creation
of Wikipedia.
It's not that we *need* that much money. The volunteer community is
mature enough to get the project going by itself anyway, with only a
fraction of the budget.
It's just that the being /#5/ in popularity means millions of dollars,
and a few dozen of professionals are in position of claiming them.
Thanks to the work of hundred of thousands volunteers during ten years,
people who believe in money are getting money. That's wonderful! That's
the magic of Wikipedia.

It's amusing that disagreeing people initiate dialogs, as if words were
conveying values. What the professionals say to obtain the money doesn't
matter to them, only the effective result. They're ready to say
anything, and they will.

Please just state what you want to hear so they can continue. Would a
promess be enough? Can we label this as a misunderstanding, a mistake?
Would something completely different and exciting make a good diversion?
Do you really need some hard and transparent justification about how the
money will be spent? Don't worry, they are professionnals, they can make
up some expensive projects too. Besides, asking about their salary is a
convenient invasion of privacity. The law is covering them.

By the way, are you a real threat to them or can you just be intimidated
to shut up? What about being called paranoid, hateful? Would it be
enough to neutralize you?

There are few other options to manage your concern: if you could do them
the favor of being disruptive, they could moderate you and then ban you.
But the best way is the silent way. Hope that it will be forgotten, like
previous years.

You'll have to learn to agree to disagree. You'll see, it's a fabulous
feeling. They want money, they have the power to get it. You are a
powerless volunteer. They have no plan at all to change their course of
action. So feel blissful about it, you should, it's even mandatory. The
show must go on.

Fundation-l is not here to discuss truths about power and money. The WMF
refuse to enter ethical debates about their actions and motivations.

Unless forced.

But hey... Happy new year! What will you change for 2012?


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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
Theo -

We sent the same number of waves of email this year as last year. But we
asked a little less. We asked past donors twice. (Taking out anyone who
donated.)

And we emailed this year's donors and ask them to share our email with a
friend.

That is exactly 9945% fewer emails than any other major non-profit that
relies on donations sends to their donors, which I think is cool.

Zack

On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 6:47 AM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Zack
>
> I have a questions. I donated in the past, so I saw some donation request
> emails also came in. Are there likely to be more emails between now and the
> end?
>
> I understand the point about efficiency and maximizing the revenue, but a
> heads-up before the team tries something new might also be helpful.
>
> Regards
> Theo
>
> On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 8:12 PM, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>
> > Hi everyone -
> >
> > It's a trade off between doing things that might annoy some people in the
> > banners vs. reducing the number of days we need to run banners at all.
> It's
> > hard to find the right balance.
> >
> > We're always trying to find the least annoying banners that make the most
> > money so that we can run them the shortest possible time.
> >
> > We reduced the fundraiser from 50 days to 46 this year. Next year we hope
> > to shave more days off again.
> >
> > The alternating message banners work really well on the last couple days
> > because there are two different very effective messages in those days.
> But
> > we're always looking for a better way, so maybe next year we won't have
> to
> > do alternating messages at all.
> >
> > Zack
> >
> > On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 4:38 AM, Theo10011 <de10011@gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 2:36 PM, Amir E. Aharoni <
> > > amir.aharoni@mail.huji.ac.il> wrote:
> > >
> > > > 2011/12/31 geni <geniice@gmail.com>:
> > > > > We appear to have actual blinking ads. Unfortunate. Still I suppose
> > > > > the occasion should be marked.
> > > >
> > > > They are not blinking in a manner that is even remotely obnoxious.
> And
> > > > they are also used for displaying bilingual messages, which is very
> > > > useful for areas in which you can't be sure whether people prefer
> > > > English or the local language, like India.
> > >
> > >
> > > Actually, no. They are obnoxious in any language and area. Also, the
> most
> > > widely viewed banners are in English in India.
> > >
> > > We see the same blinks with the same pair of eyes as the rest of the
> > world.
> > > Content of the blink-ads, doesn't change what they are.
> > >
> > > Regards
> > > Theo
> > > _______________________________________________
> > > foundation-l mailing list
> > > foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Zack Exley
> > Chief Community Officer
> > Wikimedia Foundation
> > _______________________________________________
> > foundation-l mailing list
> > foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> > Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l
> >
> _______________________________________________
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>



--
Zack Exley
Chief Community Officer
Wikimedia Foundation
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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On 31 December 2011 19:28, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
> Geni - You're being mean.  On New Years Eve!  Happy New Years!

Neither Geni's meanness or the date are relevant to the point he was
making. It certainly seems to be the case that the WMF doesn't
consider reducing expenditure, rather than more aggressive
fundraising, as a solution to not raising as much as you had hoped.
What is it that you won't be able to do if you use non-blinking
banners and therefore don't raise as much money? Is whatever it is
really worth annoying everyone so much?

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
I almost hesitated sending this knowing it's just feeding fuel to a pointless flame. However, having been on the receiving end of debates like this - I'm empathetic to the blight of only hearing from a vocal minority. Plus I think WMF did a reasonably good job with this fundraiser and feel bad just seeing them get beat up over it. :)

My IRL work is almost entirely in nonprofit sector - and like most - I find fundraising a necessary evil we're constantly struggling with. This economic climate has proven particularly challenging and is requiring everyone to think outside the box. Sometimes that means experimenting with previous ideas about things like end-of-year deduction motives. I think it's unfair to say Sue lied - the data is complicated. While 70% of donors say they care about tax deductions, the IRS tells us less than 30% actually take them.

It's very tricky trying to figure out what will motivate someone to donate - be it end-of-year appeals or blinking text. What works for one person tends to piss off five others - and what appeals to those five people sometimes pisses off that one person. When you're asking literally millions of people to consider donating - good luck finding any mix of strategies that everyone likes. By the same token - good luck finding a magic bullet solution that always produces the results you need. Being complacent with just accepting what worked last year is a recipe for disaster. In other words, what was a bad idea last year might not be a bad idea this year.

I see no actual evidence that WMF is more interested in raising money than saving money. Their financials, board minutes and audit notes just don't match up with that accusation (which is thrown at just about every nonprofit at least once a year). They seem to be very interested in growth and capacity building - but those are very common goals for stage-three nonprofits (essentially the "age" the WMF is at). I'd be more worried if they were clamming up or running from potential growth areas (like mobile, India, etc.). That said, if you don't agree, don't donate. I was inspired enough by these actions to donate via a private fund for the first time - which prompted a few other friends to donate as well.

At least 1/4 of my email inbox has donation related content the final week of the year and my poor delivery person fills my snail mailbox full of donation seeking letters. This year was a new pinnacle in crazy ideas - from DVDs to glitter in the envelope - my collection of crazy fundraising ideas grew disproportionately larger this year. :)

Providing feedback on things like the blinking text is very important. Without feedback, development (fundraising) folks are left with just crunched numbers and glares from the accountants. However, there's a line (not that fine actually) between constructive criticism and tactless rants. Fundraisers are people too. :) The WMF staff are not sitting in marble offices somewhere with Wall Street size paychecks, Porsches in the garage and skins so thick bullets bounce off them. Every major nonprofit runs into "cabal" like accusations - but they get old and boring really quick. "Hey - the blinking text was kind of annoying to me and I was surprised to see it. Any idea how others responded or if it will be used again in the future? I'd like to suggest ABC or XYZ as alternative ideas to visually capture attention." Seems much less harsh and more constructive. Some of these emails read like the long-winded equivalent of "your ideas suck - so there!" I think others have also done a fair job of pointing out that we need to be more aware of other cultures. Saying that something universally offends people is very bold and often inconsiderate of other cultures where that may in fact be totally normal. I don't know anyone that's culturally astute enough to speak on behalf of all 7 billion people on Earth.

Sorry if that just re-ignites an already too long debate - but felt like the obvious needed to be stated...after all...it's the holidays! :)

-greg aka varnent

PS. I feel like these listserv discussions sometimes assume we're living in a utopian world where fundraising is easy, every thinks the same way, all cultures are alike (okay - maybe not so utopian after all), outside politics are non-existent, there's world peace and every good volunteer will live forever.


-------
Gregory Varnum
Lead, Aequalitas Project
Lead Administrator, WikiQueer
Founding Principal, VarnEnt
@GregVarnum
fb.com/GregVarnum


On Dec 31, 2011, at 2:51 PM, Thomas Dalton wrote:

> On 31 December 2011 19:28, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> Geni - You're being mean. On New Years Eve! Happy New Years!
>
> Neither Geni's meanness or the date are relevant to the point he was
> making. It certainly seems to be the case that the WMF doesn't
> consider reducing expenditure, rather than more aggressive
> fundraising, as a solution to not raising as much as you had hoped.
> What is it that you won't be able to do if you use non-blinking
> banners and therefore don't raise as much money? Is whatever it is
> really worth annoying everyone so much?
>
> _______________________________________________
> foundation-l mailing list
> foundation-l@lists.wikimedia.org
> Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/foundation-l

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Re: Blink tag jokes are now obsolete. [ In reply to ]
On Sat, Dec 31, 2011 at 11:51 AM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 31 December 2011 19:28, Zack Exley <zexley@wikimedia.org> wrote:
>> Geni - You're being mean.  On New Years Eve!  Happy New Years!
>
> Neither Geni's meanness or the date are relevant to the point he was
> making. It certainly seems to be the case that the WMF doesn't
> consider reducing expenditure, rather than more aggressive
> fundraising, as a solution to not raising as much as you had hoped.
> What is it that you won't be able to do if you use non-blinking
> banners and therefore don't raise as much money? Is whatever it is
> really worth annoying everyone so much?
>

Thomas, I know you're asking rhetorically about what tactics are worth
it to raise money, and I think a back-and-forth about the boundaries
of what's acceptable in the drive is quite useful -- though it would
be great if everyone could stay polite about it.

I don't love the alternating banners either. But I *am* willing to say
what the hell, let's run them for a few hours and see what happens. If
they are not substantively more productive in terms of donations, then
let's kill them. It's not like running them is a decision that we are
stuck with for the rest of time, or even the rest of today. I feel
confident saying that, even though I haven't talked to *anyone* at
fundraising about it, because I know that the whole team is willing to
be incredibly flexible in the service of seeing what works and staying
tasteful. I suspect that those banners raise a great deal of money,
which means that we will meet a very ambitious goal today and won't
continue the fundraiser into January, which is pretty amazing
considering that just two years ago in 2009 we ran the fundraiser for
*20 days* longer than we are this year[1]. Are more days better than
alternating banners? If the answer is "yes", then let's talk about why
(would more days of banners really be less annoying to the readers??).
But I don't think the *first* answer should be "these banners suck, so
let's give up on the budget that we wrote months ago (and a few
people's jobs with it)" -- the right conversation is probably "what
are the boundaries of keeping the fundraiser in line with Wikimedia
culture and taste, while still raising a whole bunch of donations in a
short time?"

But to take your question seriously, if we don't raise to the proposed
budget for this year, a variety of things will happen -- none of which
are directly under the control of the fundraising team. If the
shortfall is a small amount, we cover it out of reserves, which are
deliberately kept large because the mission and raison d'être of the
WMF requires that we must keep the projects online under any
circumstances, including a failed fundraiser. (And we look to next
year's budget to somehow make up the reserves difference). If there's
a larger gap, we start looking for ways to trim -- this is something
Sue would lead in consultation with the board. We could do a few
things. We could not hire people to work on various initiatives,
cutting back on the staffing plan for next year. We could reduce
grants going to individuals, groups and chapters around the world. We
could drop programs. Over the long term, to recover, we could rethink
our funding strategy and more aggressively go after grants, and/or
lengthen the annual fundraiser, and/or rethink the strategic plan and
what we want to do (can we afford to not try to stem the editor
decline, over the long run? Can we afford to not roll out better
software and a visual editor? Can we afford to not try to support the
community? What are the overall costs of belt-tightening?) [2]

The fundraising team is trying to raise money for the most ambitious
Wikimedia budget yet, with a goal that was handed to them -- and they
have done what I think is a fantastic job this year, really making it
more of a community-focused drive than ever before (banners that
aren't just Jimmy!) and doing it in record time.

And, not rhetorically at all, the question of how much to raise is one
of the important questions to face us strategically. We are incredibly
lucky that we have the ability, through our tremendous readership, to
raise a substantial amount of money. We could raise less, certainly,
and we could probably raise more (and there are lots of evil tactics
to raise more that we won't consider). But every annual planning cycle
(it starts up essentially now and goes through the spring) the WMF
staff and board has to consider exactly that question -- what should
we fund, and is any given new idea worth it, given that it represents
donor dollars and fundraiser time? When are we pushing the outer
limits of what we can raise? I encourage everyone to think and talk
about these questions -- it's not a solved problem, but a complicated
and important one.

But all in all -- I hope everyone in our community celebrates the end
of the fundraiser and feels the achievement that we should all be
feeling. Everyone on this list has spent hundreds and hundreds of
hours working on Wikimedia projects, thinking and discussing and
editing and doing the work of making the whole thing happen --
everyone here has an ownership stake in the success of Wikimedia and
has helped make this movement possible. And, we have succeeded:
together we've kept these crazy projects going for ten years,
exceeding anyone's fantasies about how wide-ranging wikis and
reference works could be, and millions of people use our work and
hundreds of thousands of people think it's cool enough to support
financially. Against all odds, together we run one of the most popular
websites in the world and can fuel it entirely on reader donations --
something that still blows minds when I mention it to outsiders. And
we do it with enough finesse and style that we can sit here and have
serious discussions about the <blink> tag as one of our most pressing
fundraising problems. How cool is that???

Happy New Year, everyone,
Phoebe


1. http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:FundraiserStatistics
2. There's even an FAQ about this:
http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/2011-2012_Annual_Plan_Questions_and_Answers#What_will_you_do_if_there_is_a_revenue_shortfall.3F

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