mic_none

Wikipedia:Village pump/Proposals Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump/Proposals

 Policy Technical Proposals Idea lab WMF Miscellaneous 

The proposals section of the village pump is used to offer specific changes for discussion. Before submitting:

Discussions are automatically archived after remaining inactive for nine days.


Wikidata lists[edit]

Should mainspace lists where the contents are pulled from and maintained at Wikidata be allowed or disallowed? Fram (talk) 07:25, 19 September 2022 (UTC) (edited same day at 13.35, see start of discussion section)Reply[reply]

Summary (Fram)[edit]

There are a number of lists where the contents are pulled from Wikidata through Template:wdtable row, with specific subtemplates for different types of content. The result can be seen e.g. here. The Wikipedia-only version of the same list can be seen here. Previous RfCs (see Wikipedia:Wikidata#Appropriate usage in articles have already agreed that "Wikidata should not be linked to within the body of the article except in the manner of hidden comment" and that it is "not appropriate to use Wikidata in article text on English Wikipedia ", but allowing Wikidata in infoboxes and de facto also many in external links templates. Previous lists where not only the contents, but even the entries were Wikidata driven have been disallowed in the mainspace as well.

The new type of lists has a number of disadvantages compared to enwiki-based lists, i.e.

  • it isn't maintainable here but requires going to another website with another interface, making it harder for most people (for the data)
  • requires editing templates or creating new ones for the layout
  • Has issues with e.g. sorting, see for example here where (with the current Wikidata data) sorting on the "opened" column gives a random "Apr 1998" data inbetween the blank dates, and sorts "17 Apr 1968" before 1917 and so on. This example shows also a typical issue with getting data from Wikidata like this, the formatting. Wikidata has "April 1998", so I suppose the "Apr 1998" entry is formatted in a template. This makes it again harder for regular editors to maintain or layout such articles.
  • Similarly, at Talk:List of dams in Saga Prefecture an editor asked to remove the image column from the article, as they were unable to do this under the Wikidata format. This required the creation of a new template, instead of simply editing the article. Fram (talk) 07:41, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • There are other more minor issues, like the name appearing in the list being the Wikidata label, not the enwiki article name, or the sourcing being inadequate (Wikidata items referenced to some Wikipedia version, often outdated (e.g. some of the entries on List of islands of the Isles of Scilly use the 2001 census instead of the 2011 census our articles use, indicating the glacial speed of update Wikidata often has) Fram (talk) 09:03, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • See for example List of learned societies in Australia, with issues from the start (e.g. one entry with the incorrect Wikidata title instead of the correct enwiki title, and entries which don't even belong there like the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association), and then made worse by an editor who probably couldn't figure out how to correctly add an entry[2]. This type of list is not editor-friendly at all. Fram (talk) 12:38, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Summary (MSGJ)[edit]

Thank you for starting this discussion and inviting me to present an alternative viewpoint. First, some background for those who may not be familiar with Wikidata. This Wikimedia sister project, launched in 2012, is designed to hold data for use by Wikipedias and other sister projects. Its use on the English Wikipedia is not at all new - it has been used extensively in infobox templates for many years now - so its use in data tables and lists should not be surprising to Wikipedia editors. I really thought and hoped that the "us and them" attitude towards Wikipedia and Wikidata had diminished over the years.

Being designed for this purpose, Wkidata offers many advantages over conventional wikitext for storing reliable data, including:

  • Numerous constraints which can catch incorrect data, such as incorrect units, a date of death before a date of birth, etc.
  • A very user-friendly interface (almost certainly easier than editing wikitext for new editors). For example, compare how you would update the height of a dam on wikitext version compared with on Wikidata.
  • Ability to use powerful queries to find information.
  • And probably most importantly, improvements to the data by one project will be of benefit to all projects.

All data on Wikidata can (and should) be referenced, just as it is on Wikipedia. All changes can be monitored via RecentChanges (if you have the appropriate option selected).

The use of a template to produce the rows of the table has several advantages, including:

  • The template allows any column to be overridden by locally defined content. For example on List of Welsh mathematicians the "Notes" column is entirely local content.
  • The wikicode to produce rows and columns, which is complex for many editors, is conveniently separated from the content of the table.
  • A column can be added or removed from the table by making a single change to the template, rather than dozens of changes to the wikitext.
  • The pencil icon OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg links straight to where the data is stored.

Finally, a word on the previous discussions about the use of Wikidata on Wikipedia. A table is not classed as "article text" so the prohibition on using Wikidata for article text is not relevant here. And, regarding the linking to Wikidata, the only link is the pencil icon mentioned earlier which is widely used and accepted in infobox templates. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 17:04, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion (Wikidata lists)[edit]

  • @Fram: Two things: this is asking whether they're allowed, not whether they should be allowed. Is this about getting clarity of where past decisions have landed us, or deciding whether they should be allowed? If it's really just asking whether they're allowed, the list of reasons why they're bad seems out of place. If it's asking whether they should be allowed, you may want to edit the initial statement. The other suggestion is sort of dependent on the first, but you may want to separate the summary of where consensus stands from specific arguments about what our policy should be. The latter isn't so much a summary as arguments supporting one outcome. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:00, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Well, it's kind of a double question; are they allowed viz-a-viz the previous RfCs, and should they be allowed or not? I guess the second is more important than the first, as it's not intended as a "you did something that wasn't allowed" but more of a "this is how we'll proceed from now on". I'll change the RfC accordingly. Fram (talk) 13:35, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Initial thoughts (should I be creating my own section per above?): I have mixed feelings about Wikidata lists. On the bad side: technical limitations. Some of the things Fram lists seem like they could be fixable, but for others it's a matter of better integration of Wikidata in Wikipedia (in the sense of editing). The current templates, which send would-be editors to a Wikidata page with no explanation, are a bit clumsy (but, granted, an early step in the process). On the good side: I can see at least two good uses for Wikidata in Wikipedia lists. The first is as a starting point. If you want to make a lists of dams in a given place, that's something Wikidata has data for, and pulling from Wikidata could save a lot of time vs. hunting it down and formatting it yourself. Then you could convert it to wikitext and move on. I don't expect that's very controversial, though. The second case is when Wikidata pulls from databases that are more easily kept up-to-date than a Wikipedia list. We have an awful lot of out-of-date lists, and if it's an appropriate topic, why not let Wikidata gnomes keep it up to date? We just need more sophisticated templates to allow for flexibility in display and for fixing errors without sending someone on a journey to Wikidata. So I guess part of my answer (although per above I'm not sure which question I'm answering) is: yes, at some point these are useful, and I'd encourage people to shift the discussion from a binary yes/no to figuring out (a) in what contexts they're useful, and (b) if the current setup is inadequate, what changes to the interface and/or templates would be needed to ensure we can take advantage of this data in those cases when it's useful? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:23, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks for this very astute comment. I will happily admit that the template can be improved (e.g. sorting on dates which is mentioned earlier), and any suggestions will be much appreciated — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 18:07, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Rhododendrites I agree. If we have concerns about referencing, then use reputatable source checker to confirm them and colour/flag them differently (red = dodgy etc).If we want to see who did the edit change in Wikidata then create a combined history search, if they are coi change the colour.
    WIkidata would be useful for
    • Detecting scam/bankrupt smaller companies/pheonix - they are better setup for receiving feeds from regulators/credit agencies
    • Structured validated data in infoboxes: we could get rid of categories, and instead have a search based on the infobox.
    • Allowing readers to view chnages over time in table data in an article (which would act an an open alternative to statista ) - What were the top 5 exporters of truffle in 1932? Or does Template:Graph:Chart or similar already cater for that?
    • Allowing preferred data formatting in tables to be seperated from validdated data. (Sep rather than Sept, or my bugbear of non date in date fields). Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk)
    Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 02:40, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My understanding from past RFCs is that we continue to be extremely wary of Wikidata, and have limited its use… but that, within those limits, it can be used.
That said, I don’t think we have been very clear as to what exactly those limits ARE. We need to spell them out clearly. Do we have a guideline or policy section covering this? Blueboar (talk) 13:55, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't think its specific use in lists/tables has been put to RfC before. The closer of 2013 discussion wrote "There is a valid point raised that while running text is clearly not suitable for Wikidata use, it might be worth discussing use in tables specifically – but no consensus regarding this has been reached in this discussion." — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 18:09, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would think that this is disallowed per the previous RfC, which stated that it is not appropriate to use Wikidata in article text on English Wikipedia. A list article is still an article. I've actually come across some of these lists before and wondered why they were using {{Wdtable row}} instead of {{Wikidata list}}. The presumable reason is that {{Wikidata list}} produces an error when used in mainspace due to the results of that RfC and others. The use of {{Wdtable row}} in mainspace articles strikes me as a clumsy workaround to skirt consensus. Spicy (talk) 16:31, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, a list is an article but the values in a table are not "article text", which I take to mean prose. Some tables combine values and prose, e.g. List of Welsh mathematicians, and the template will only produce the content for the values and not for the prose. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 18:12, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm of a mind that we shouldn't encourage them, and don't personally use them, but if someone wants to put together say a rather exhausting list of plant species or something, Wikidata may simplify the process. If someone finds a clever way to use them, why stop them? I agree with Rhododendrites that we should focus on where they're best used and how to improve their usage. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 16:54, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I agree with Rhododendrites - tables pulled from Wikidata are suitable for some uses and not from others. Where they are suitable I see no justification for either prohibiting or requiring their use (treat it like ENGVAR or citation styles: either version is acceptable, don't change without both a good reason and consensus). Where they aren't suitable obviously they shouldn't be used, but I hope nobody is advocating for that. We should work on making the integration better so that the problems identified are fixed rather than saying the first version is not perfect so go away and never come back again. I also suggest that developing a set of guidelines about where Wikidata tables are and are not appropriate for use to be a much better use of editors' time than arguing about whether they should or should not be used at all. Thryduulf (talk) 22:30, 19 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In theory, I'm fairly open to tables containing entries from Wikidata. In practice, I'd like to see more working and non-working examples. I think there are a few other language Wikipedias with deeper Wikidata integration, but perhaps I am mistaken and that is all just infoboxes. There are also a lot of things where information is rather fuzzy, making Wikidata difficult to use. It is easy to annotate uncertain dates and debates around them in wikitext; learning how to do that on Wikidata is rather hard and certainly unintuitive for people used to Wikipedia. —Kusma (talk) 08:18, 20 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks for your comment. I am of the opinion that only a clear-cut value can be appropriately used from Wikidata. Anything which requires clarification or explanation should be locally defined. There are a couple of approaches I have used in these cases.
    • For example on List of castles in Ireland#County Clare, the imprecise build date of Ballyhannon Castle is locally specified via |c5=c. [[1490 in Ireland|1490]]<ref>{{harvp|Westropp|1899|p=351}}</ref>
    • And on List of lighthouses in Scotland, I clarified the build date of Southerness Lighthouse by adding a footnote to the value from Wikidata via |c5+={{efn|Built in 1748 but not lit till 1800. Rebuilt in 1844.}}
    — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 16:01, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'll perhaps expand on my rationale later, but fundamentally, I support Wikidata-derived tables being allowed. It all comes down to implementation — if done well, the appearance to readers will be exactly the same as a manually generated article, and the Wikidata-derived one will be far more future-proof. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 06:03, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • The only argument presented by people in favor of using Wikidata continuously (as opposed to using it once to generate a list) seems to be making things easier to keep up to date. But most uses of Module:Wikidata table are timeless: lists of dams, lighthouses, and castles, etc. don't need much updating (other than adding new entries if they are built, which still needs to be done manually in the Wikidata version), so in those cases that argument is not convincing. On the contrary, there's been no refutation to several of Fram's points above which amount to the fact that it will almost always be possible to further optimize such a list with local tweaks because humans are better at this then co. So what's the harm in detaching from Wikidata and letting that be done? I'm not seeing it.
    For the few that aren't timeless (List of Brazilian mathematicians, List of Welsh mathematicians and List of Polish mathematicians seem to be the only ones), there is a slightly better case for using Wikidata, and I haven't come to a strong opinion either way. * Pppery * it has begun... 17:43, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For me it is not only about the creation of the lists, but the future updates and improvements too. I do not expect these lists to stay the same for ever more - I really hope they will be expanded with more information and better references. I believe this is both easier and better in the Wikidata version. Easier, because of the structured environment which lends itself to data import and verification. Better, because the knowledge will be shared among all language Wikipedias. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 19:19, 29 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I would have thought the prohibition applied to lists and tables as well, but if that's not the consensus I would support extending the prohibition to lists and tables. No problem with using Wikidata to initially populate a table or list, of course; the onus is on the editor to make sure it's reliable data as with any edit. The problem of "sneaky vandalism", as I think Fram named it years ago, is real -- changes to Wikidata are not easily visible which means you may not know when your article has been vandalized, and even if it's detected a user who can edit here may be unable or unwilling to learn the quite different interface there. Re Rhododendrites' comment that it would be OK to have a table sourced to live Wikidata, knowing that the gnomes over there would keep it up to date -- I don't think anyone would be OK without outsourcing our table data to, say, Fishbase, for certain tables, so why would we be OK with it with an intermediary? Mike Christie (talk - contribs - library) 22:40, 21 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Sneaky vandalism is a problem that can occur with any type of list. With watchlist integration, while not perfect, I can effectively patrol all changes to data which affect these articles. So I do not really accept that changes on Wikidata are invisible or hard to catcher than on Wikipedia. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 19:23, 29 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    When I last tried "Show Wikidata edits in your watchlist" it added an incredible amount of noise that made the watchlist unusable. Has that changed? Johnuniq (talk) 01:25, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yes, a couple of years ago. WMDE did the work, so it's probably documented at Meta-Wiki. The volume and relevance of notified changes seems to depend on the subjects that you're watching, so I suggest trying it out and seeing what you think for yourself/your own subjects. I feel like volunteer-me gets a surprisingly large number of notifications for Apology (act) and Apologia, but less than I expect for other subjects, like Lymphoma. Most of the changes I see are changes to the linked articles (e.g., someone creating an article at another language's Wikipedia about lymphoma). Whatamidoing (WMF) (talk) 22:32, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It's probably fair to say that there are still too many entries that make it through the filter. I don't need to know when someone changes the Bangladeshi label or adds a sitelink to the Hebrew Wikipedia. Really the only ones needed are those which affect the display of the relevant article, although an option to display all changes might be useful for some editors. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 14:34, 1 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Question, if I wish to change or amend something in a table that uses Wikidata to generate info, would I have to go to Wikidata to make the edit, or can it be done using the edit mode here in WP? Say something simple like a style correction. Blueboar (talk) 01:46, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Taking the eventualist view, with future interface improvements, yes, you'll be able to stay on Wikipedia. Also, it's worth noting that tables generated through Wikidata are less likely to have errors to begin with because there are fewer elements being created manually. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 03:47, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    So your "yes, you'll be able to stay on Wikipedia" is actually a "no". Deciding on the current status of such lists based on what might happen one day, perhaps (Wikidata is 9 years old, so it's not as if such changes happen rapidly) is not a good idea. So, @Blueboar: you indeed have to go to Wikidata to edit the info, Wikipedia edit mode won't help you. And Sdkb, your "less likely to have errors" doesn't seem to make much sense either, the elements are created manually at Wikidata or manually at enwiki, no reason why one would be less likely to have errors (on the one hand, Wikipedia has more editors and thus more vandals: on the other hand, vandalism on Wikidata is much more likely to stay undetected, see e.g. here where it took a full month until someone noticed that the page "Punjabi" had been moved (retitled) to "josh saunders", or here where it took more than a month for someone to notice that "Aaron Ramsey" was moved to "Penalty in the UEL final". Fram (talk) 07:37, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The reason Wikidata-derived tables have fewer errors is that, when you're adding a row through Wikipedia, you need to add both the data and the formatting, and each of those is a potential spot to mess up. I'm sure we've all seen tables that have an extra column used only in one row because someone put an extra "|-". When you're adding information on Wikidata, however, all you have to worry about is the data. And even there, constraint violations can help identify errors that Wikipedia would not have been able to flag, and data imports can help a single experienced editor add large amounts of high-quality information (rather than relying on piecemeal contributions by many different editors, any one of whom might mess up). {{u|Sdkb}}talk 15:26, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's a rather anti-wiki position you take there. "relying on piecemeal contributions by many different editors" is what makes Wikipedia, and excluding these editors from pages is a good argument against Wikidata lists, not for them. (Never mind the countless times experienced editors made completely incorrect or botched mass updates of info on Wikidata of course). Fram (talk) 16:07, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm absolutely a fan of crowdsourced editing or I wouldn't be a Wikipedian. What I'm not for is forcing information that can be more efficiently handled in bulk to be handled piecemeal. That's why I oppose the wholesale deletion of template namespace, and also why I support the use of Wikidata. Neither of those things make me anti-wiki. Regarding the potential for errors in Wikidata imports, that potential exists in normal editing, too. I think the anti-wiki position would be to say that we should prohibit a type of editing entirely just because it's not done properly 100% of the time. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 18:18, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    the wholesale deletion of template namespace Strewth!! Was that actually proposed? When? — GhostInTheMachine talk to me 19:15, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm using it as a hyperbolic analogy here, but there are certainly examples of resistance to template usage for things like census data that I'd say fall at a milder point along the same spectrum. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 20:54, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    And in at least one proposal to implement a list from Wikidata that I examined, the one list of items here would have been replaced with code that got items from dozens of different pages at Wikidata. In other words, the attack surface for vandalism would have been multiplied dozens of times, and manual checking of Wikidata items would have been dozens of times more difficult than looking at wikitext here. Johnuniq (talk) 09:12, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • If I need to go to WD to edit WP… that is a deal breaker for me. So put me down as still opposed. Blueboar (talk) 11:26, 30 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I remain extremely sceptical about the value of using Wikidata directly in articles for anything, although obviously compiling a list/table using Wikidata, and then disassociating it, is completely acceptable. As is using it in project space, and potentially talk pages. It makes editing the content nearly impossible for those not used to Wikidata, and it makes watching the page for changes completely impossible. ETA: For instance, List of Welsh mathematicians, linked above as an example, contains entries with three inline sources for things like date of birth, presumably unnecessary (and if the sources disagree, this should be footnoted), and has abbreviated months, which is not Wikipedia style but can't be edited within the Wikipedia page. The repeated edit links are also obtrusive. Espresso Addict (talk) 05:44, 1 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks for your comments.
    1. MOS:DATES suggests that abbreviated dates like 2 Sep 2001 or Sep 2, 2001 are acceptable in tables. I think the full unabbreviated dates would take up too much space in most tables.
    2. Do you have any suggestions to make the edit links less obtrusive? They are necessary to allow editors to change the values, but are only currently visible to logged in users.
    3. The maximum number of references is set at 3 and could be reduced further.
    — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 14:32, 1 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Sep" as an abbreviation for September looks very odd in UK English, which would appertain to a list of Welsh people. The problem is the lack of easy-to-understand customisation. If I have five sources for a dob, I can choose to include only say no 3 because it is reliable & accessible, or put in two sources because one is highly reliable but not readily accessible, and another less reliable but accessible, &c&c. I have absolutely no idea how to do that within Wikidata, and no desire to have to learn a new and cumbersome editing interface. Also using things like n/a for the death date of a living person feels disrespectful. No clue how to make the edit links less prominent; I dislike them in infoboxes, but there's usually plenty of whitespace there to absorb them. Perhaps if they only showed in edit mode, somehow? And how are logged-out editors supposed to amend things? Espresso Addict (talk) 23:44, 1 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Espresso Addict: absolutely. If you are curating a list/table to such a degree then you will almost certainly want to forgo the convenience of the template and gain the greater flexibility. But 99% of lists are not like this, many of which are a bare list of links without additional information or references. For these, the template can produce a nice looking table with more detail, and is more likely to stay up to date. PS I use "Sep" all the time as an abbreviation for September, and it doesn't look odd to me! — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 15:51, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Unless it can be altered on ENWP without going to Wikidata, I am in line with the previous consensus that wikidata imported content should not be used in article space except under the very limited exceptions. If it can be amended on ENWP and draw through to Wikidata, all my concerns disappear. Keep in mind those exceptions exist precisely because of the issues with Wikidata, chiefly its another project with its own rules and policies, its own admins, far less active users to combat deliberate vandalism, BLP violations etc. Importing lists that include living people is most BLP-watchers nightmare when you have to go to other projects to rectify it. (The same issues exist with imported commons content but at least thats relatively simple to fix). Being able to alter the content as it displays on ENWP, while on ENWP, without having to go to another project would seem to be something the WMF's tech tech could spend some time & cash doing (hint, its not difficult as anyone who has worked with a data warehouse and multiple databases knows) instead of whatever waste of time they are concentrating on. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:22, 1 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Frankly, I read the spirit of the various RFCs on wikidata as being pretty clearly against their use in making articles - so the claim that a table isn't "article text" and so it is fine to make tables from wikidata ... strikes me as very much a rules-lawyering type of statement. I wish that the proponents of wikidata would quit pushing it in such ways - it doesn't help their "cause". Ealdgyth (talk) 13:29, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The past RfCs have explicitly considered Wikidata use in tables and found no consensus on the question, so I'm not sure where you're getting that it goes against their "spirit" other than that you're reading your preferred opinion into them. Your idea of "pushing" can just as easily be flipped: I wish that those who fail to see Wikidata's potential would quit resisting it in such ways. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 15:19, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Its more that we do see the potential ... for abuse. And there needs to be either a strong mitigation or exceptional reason in place to ignore that risk. Which when it comes to wikidata, there rarely is. Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:47, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Particularly for lists that include BLPs, there is potential for BLP violation going unnoticed; a particularly common form of vandalism is to state a living person is dead, or less malevolently, to believe unreliable sources and assume incorrectly that death has occurred. This happens time and time again, and requires careful oversight. Espresso Addict (talk) 22:13, 3 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • No, Wikidata has been repeatedly banned from the body of the article. Every time a Wikidata-activist tries to shove Wikidata into the body of the article there is always consensus against it, they can't even get consensus for infoboxes. That's stuck in no-consensus. It appears that the only way to stop the recurring and disruptive creeping rollout-contrary-to-consensus by Wikidata-enthusiasts is to entirely shut off the calls to Wikidata in Wikitext itself. As long as it's available they just keep cooking up new ways to shove it out unilaterally. Alsee (talk) 06:50, 7 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Additional note: lists [] are articles, and we have established consensus against linking to Wikidata anywhere in the body of the article. All of this content may be immediately deleted from any list or other article as a consensus action, as these tables massively spam Wikidata links. In theory the templates could be revised to eliminate the Wikidata links, however I hope/believe that the wikidata-enthusiasts here would not be so perverse as to advocate a blatantly broken and blatantly harmful result. It would be practically impossible for ANYONE to edit the page via Wikipedia OR Wikidata, as the wikitext contains nothing but jibberish and there would be no pencil link to edit via Wikidata. Alsee (talk) 19:57, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Additional issue: editing of tables like this in Visual Editor is nearly impossible and gives, for the few things it can do, very poor results. I tested this with List of dams in Tochigi Prefecture. Compared to "normal", non-Wikidata lists, here I can only add a new line at the top, not anywhere else in the list, and the result is badly formatted. I don't know if the WD list template can be changed to solve these issues, but if not, I don't think it is acceptable to introduce new things into Wikipedia which are incompatible with Visual Editing (even though I loathe it, it is used by a fair percentage of people and many new editors, and making it impossible for them to edit a type of articles is not anything that should be tolerated). Fram (talk) 10:04, 13 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That could be partially mitigated through proper use of TemplateData. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 14:06, 13 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    How so? My remark about the template is not that an editor won't know that they need to add the wikidata template or add a Qnumber, but that even with that information, you can't produce a good result in VE. Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't think Templatedata can solve or even mitigate the underlying technical issue. Fram (talk) 14:26, 13 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    VisualEditor at this point is capable of doing anything with templates that source editor can do, I believe. Having good TemplateData makes the interface easier for editors. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 17:56, 13 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Have you actually tested this, e.g. with List of dams in Tochigi Prefecture? Try to add e.g. a new dam in the middle of the list, or to move one of the existing entries up or down. TemplateData won't change anything about this functionality. Fram (talk) 18:32, 13 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is a valid point, and I have made a start on creating TemplateData for this template, which can be observed on List of dams in Tochigi Prefecture. I do not know if rows can be added in different places, but I will seek advice on this. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 12:08, 14 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks. Adding entries anywhere in the list is just one of the issues, you e.g. also can't delete the existing ones, and when you add a new line at the top (using the Wikidata template) it only fills the first cell, instead of filling the table as it should (no idea if this list is exhaustive, I stopped testing after this). Templatedata helps at editing the already existing lines (though not removing them or moving them inside the table), but does nothing to make the editing of the table possible. Just tested again at List of dams in Toyama Prefecture, and the new Templatedata is good (e.g. overriding an existing row label), but no solution to the fundamental issue. Fram (talk) 12:47, 14 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Thanks for the interesting discussion. I came here after participating in Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of CryEngine games and Category:Video games by game engine, and I was pointing people to here to see if a bigger discussion could be had. However this discussion is interesting with respect to the deletion discussion, as one suggested solution to prevent information being deleted was actually using WikiData to store the information, and not need categories or lists, and for users who are interested they could pull the data out of Wikidata. I've read with interest everyone's positions, and I agree with user User:Rhododendrites and User:CaptainEek. We should absolutely not force people to use them, but if editors use them appropriately that is also fine. I feel that inboxes and tables are good uses. Perhaps *not* inline text *for the moment* - we need to still make Wikipedia useful to casual editors and this is likely a step too far. However a table in the text is fine. With the original RfC being done in 2013 (as noted above), it is likely a good time to revisit the topic. I think we should use structured data in tables to help WP articles, and the benefit is that using it consistently means that updating information in WikiData updates it on all language Wikipedias (?potentially even other wikis such as WikiVoyage). The downside is single point of failure; however also single point of fixing - this may need other policies e.g. only logged in edits on WikiData. However may be better for consistency than some pages in WP where information on the same topic is markedly different as pages have not all be updated simultaneously. The application to lists for data is something I'm equivocal about. I hate a lot of list pages and think they should be better categorised, however there are supporters and detractors to this method of organisation as well. I do not like deleting referenced information, and if there was a way of archiving and easily searching it via WikiData I would be all for that. It would be nice if in future a "WikiData Explorer" page type was created where we could just pass it a search string to autogenerate data so we could get rid of lists. This is one for the future. However in the meantime I think we need to at least try improving our use of structured data - not ban but also not force its use. And if it doesn't work go back to normal tables. I quite like the WikiData sourced list of dams provided by the OP. Out of interest for User:Fram - I looked at the example you gave at List of learned societies in Australia. It was interesting as I think the table is generated by passing individual IDs - my futurist hat btw would be looking at this and saying in future it should be "table = learned society + based in australia -> autogenerate table with these fields". Why is this not a case of taking the ID code pointing to the wikidata entry out of there? This kind of error would also be made if manually creating the table, and isn't a commentary on why not to use wikidata for information. It's more a comment on how if you're not careful incorrect information can be put in any type of table, and what I get out of this is that if we truly passed a query to a database (if we made sure we had properly structured data) the presented information would be "better". Or have I missed the point here? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:42, 14 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks for sharing your comments.
    • No one is suggesting using data for inline text, and I can't think of a situation when that could be appropriate.
    • The reason that each row of the table is produced seperately is to allow human editors to override the data with locally defined content.
    • I agree completely with your comments on keeping tables updated.
    • There are all sorts of ways to browse Wikidata already, and Wikipedia is not really needed for that. See wikidata:Wikidata:Tools/Visualize data for ideas.
    • I can see the possible benefit, if someone is searching for a list which we do not yet have on Wikipedia, of linking to an automatically generated list. But there would be a lot of technical and policy issues to navigate.
    — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 12:21, 14 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Not only does Wikidata have questionable sourcing and verifiability policies not fully compatible with Wikipedia, but I wonder if folks would consider whether it's worth the trouble to make editing list pages even more complicated than they already are? I hate having to jump back and forth between Wikipedia and Wikidata just to manage interwiki links, and it would be an absolute nightmare if it was allowed to make up significant chunks of actual list content. Just say no to more complex articles, so we can focus more on encyclopedic content and less on formatting or template garbage. As for the idea that Wikidata is easier to edit than Wikipedia... I am highly skeptical of this claim, given that I think the average person couldn't even define what a knowledge graph is, much less find out how to add a statement to a Wikidata page. For new and anonymous editors in particular, it is likely extremely confusing to click edit on a cell in a Wikipedia list and then be taken to the read mode of an entirely different website that 99% of our readers have probably never heard of at all. Steven Walling • talk 20:41, 17 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • On a procedural note: it seems clear from previous RFCs that existing consensus is toward disallowing Wikidata use in articles. It should almost certainly be removed from any existing lists unless and until a new consensus supporting it develops. Steven Walling • talk 21:01, 17 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Sorry for late comment but I only just saw this discussion. As an occasional compiler of lists of power stations in non-English speaking countries I support the use of Wikidata in lists. There are often new or retired power stations and keeping such a list up to date in 2 languages is too much work without Wikidata. Chidgk1 (talk) 19:10, 30 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    But I just looked at the template mentioned and I am pretty sure I will not use it as it seems more work than {{Wikidata list}}. I will just leave the English article out of date unless {{Wikidata list}} is allowed here Chidgk1 (talk) 19:47, 30 October 2022 (UTC) *Reply[reply]
    It might be easier for some editors to pull data from WD, but using it in a WP article can make it impossible for other editors to edit.
To share my own experience … I went to WD and simply could not figure out how to edit it. I don’t even understand its basic structure, much less it’s coding. I was completely baffled. The thing is, Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia that anyone (including me) can edit. When an article pulls data from WD, it means that I simply can not edit that data. That is a fundamental flaw. Blueboar (talk) 19:51, 30 October 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This unfortunately is my experience too. The idea of Wikidata seems so good, put having tried to use it the implementation of that idea is terrible. That is aside from the implementation of interfacing in Wikipedia to Wikidata. The chances of a new editor trying to edit a Wikipedia page being aware, let alone able, to edit Wikidata to achieve there edit is zero. I have also struggled with trying to edit Wikidata, and having to do so to fix minor issue is a major headache. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 19:03, 5 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strongly support allowing the use of Wikidata and {{Wikidata list}} in lists. I'll make my case in the first paragraph, and respond to opposition in the second one.
  • Wikidata gives us an enormous advantage: structured data. It'll be highly beneficial to transition more content to Wikidata anyway, thanks to the fantastic meta:Abstract Wikipedia project. It improves verifiability and reliability across Wikipedias (since all data is in one place); allows editors from all languages to contribute to the same database, which automatically gets updated across all Wikipedias (reducing Anglo-centric bias); and will likely help these very low-visibility articles stay "fresh". Using more structured data is vital to reducing our maintainability burden, saves tons of time with adding images and data on separate Wikipedias, and future-proofs the encyclopedia for projects like Abstract Wikipedia.
  • Most of the counterarguments I've seen result from current deficiencies in Wikidata. That doesn't mean we shouldn't use it; we should seek to improve it. It's a collaborative Wikimedia project too, not some kind of exogenous imposition. Some Wikidata pages can't be edited by even established editors here, who lack user rights on Wikidata, due to semi-protection; that should be fixed by switching to a "pending changes" or "edit request" model. Wikidata being edited on a separate website, not here, is a good thing, since it makes it clear that people are changing the structured data, not its presentation. I find {{Wikidata list}}s significantly easier to edit. Some criticized Wikidata's verifiability policy, but they're explicitly based on enWiki's guidelines.
I'm only addressing whether Wikidata should be blanket-banned in tables/lists; not whether it should be mandated. Page-specific consensus still reigns; I just don't want the consensns of a few dozen editors here (you gotta concede this is a low-visibility page) to bind our hundred thousand active editors. DFlhb (talk) 09:30, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unfortunately the discussions to include also have low participation as well, and of course WP:LOCALCONSENUS. Maybe it's time to have a site wide discussion of somesort. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 17:45, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
This is a sitewide discussion. * Pppery * it has begun... 17:50, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Nevermind. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 18:14, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I should start with a disclaimer that I primarily (really, these days *exclusively*) edit on Wikidata and have 200k edits there between me and my bot account. So my comment is not from the perspective of an ENWP editor (although I do read ENWP regularly). That said, I obviously support usage of Wikidata on all Wikipedias, as the Wikidata community - in collaboration with many other WPs including ENWP - has invested a lot of time and energy into collecting a fairly massive depot of data, with citations (though, citations are admittedly somewhat less common in Wikidata vs ENWP currently, sadly) and images. Having the ENWP community and many smaller Wikipedias involved in the collection and validation of the data has been a huge help over the years. It seems that a lot of the concerns here are around tooling and software issues that can ultimately be fixed by improvements to the templates, the Lua scripting tools, and other improvements to the MediaWiki and Wikibase codebases. It'd be a shame to miss out on the ability to optimize list maintenance and leverage data across all language Wikipedias rather than improve the tooling itself. Unfortunately, I admittedly don't have a great solution for getting those improvements to happen short of either convincing WMF folks of its importance or doing it ourselves. Nicereddy (talk) 17:36, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Is there any evidence that the existence of Wikidata lists on the English Wikipedia actually inspires people to make useful edits to Wikidata, rather than just give up? * Pppery * it has begun... 17:51, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Is there any evidence to suggest the opposite? Nicereddy (talk) 18:18, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The fact that people such as Blueboar in this very discussion have complained about being unable to figure out how to make the needed edits to Wikidata is good enough evidence for me. * Pppery * it has begun... 18:21, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Yup… as I said above, I took a look at editing WD and quickly became too confused to continue. Quickly gave up. Blueboar (talk) 18:36, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    More confused than the first time you tried to navigate a template-filled Wikipedia article pre-Visual Editor? The most difficult thing about editing Wikidata is knowing which properties to use. With a list, however, you're typically just working with one or two that have been predefined. I'm curious where the complexity was? (Not saying there can't be a learning curve, but it doesn't seem too advanced for the average Wikipedian. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:54, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I can't reply for Blueboar, but for me, yes, it is very confusing: and comparing it with a "template-filled Wikipedia article" is not really fair. One can easily create an article on Wikipedia, and then start learning the ropes. On Wikidata, the complexity jumps are a lot larger in my view. I just took a link from one of the lists we discuss here, Anthropological Society of Victoria, Wikidata link. When I try to add the year it was founded, I suppose I need to use "inception". So far, sp good. Then add a reference to the year 1934: some properties I can find through gambling, some others I have no idea what they are called so I can't add them. IF I then want another fact from the same reference (e.g. the first chairperson, Henry Gencoult-Smith), then I have to readd the same fields all over again, and I'm rewarded with a pink box around the name because Wikidata doesn't have that name yet. Adding a reference on enwiki is a lot simpler. Then it merged in 1976 with the Archaeological Society of Victoria (A) to form the "Archaeological and Anthropological Society of Victoria" (B). Is this "part of (merged with)"? No, it merged with (A), but this property seems to expect (B). Or was it "merged into"? No, that only applies if (B) had already existed before the merger. And so on, and so on... Fram (talk) 14:21, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    One can easily create an article on Wikipedia - For a newbie? Without Visual Editor? some others I have no idea what they are called so I can't add them - sort of like Wikipedia categories, or Wikipedia templates, or Wikipedia help pages, or Wikipedia style conventions. then I have to readd the same fields all over again - When you create multiple Wikipedia articles, you do not have to create the same sections, infoboxes, etc. again? rewarded with a pink box around the name because Wikidata doesn't have that name yet like linking to a red link? I'm not trying to pretend as though Wikidata is a delightful and intuitive interface. Figuring things out is a pain, like Wikipedia was for the non-savvy in its early years. Of course, you can just write something on Wikipedia where you can't on Wikidata, but we don't typically take kindly to people just writing something around here these days (unformatted, with the wrong tone, without references, etc.). Wikipedia has a lot more to understand when it comes to rules, conventions, expectations, etc. Wikidata is frustrating for its lack of obvious properties, but that's 90% of what a typical user does on Wikidata -- find/create an item, find a property, insert a value, repeat. I just have a hard time thinking that anyone could put in a tiny fraction of the time it takes to become a savvy Wikipedia playing with/learning to understand Wikidata and still have trouble updating a list. If we expected people to develop data models, propose new properties, and sync up metadata fields while importing a new database, then sure, but updating a list is just a couple simple properties. Would it be better if it were integrated into Wikipedia and more intuitive? Sure, but I just don't see the people slinging nested template parameters and quoting style guides as the "it's too hard to search for a property and insert a value" type. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:58, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The last few times I added/updated properties in Wikidata, as I recall I went down a rabbit hole to ensure that all the corresponding Wikidata items were in place to document the citation. I don't know if this has gotten easier since then. It's a large overhead that has discouraged me from editing Wikidata further. isaacl (talk) 21:07, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I have struggled with making Wikidata edits in the past, to the point where I have now given up trying to do so in the future. Loopy30 (talk) 23:23, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Unless you can edit Wikidata lists on Enwiki, I'd be against using them in articles. There's this from 2013 that says that local editing is planned, but it's still not a thing nearly a decade later apparently. JCW555 (talk)♠ 18:01, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You can't (yet!) edit Wikidata from within Wikipedia - the project is mw:Wikidata Bridge but it seems to have stalled. However the Wikidata item is just one click away from the Wikipedia article. It's a bit like images which are hosted on Commons - they are also one click away. I don't see why this should be a barrier to using Wikidata as we are well accustomed to working with Commons. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 20:32, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't do anything with images, so this comparison to Commons isn't applicable to me. Bottom line: I feel like everything on English Wikipedia should be editable on English Wikipedia, including lists and tables. I shouldn't have to go to another site to edit tables/lists on Wikipedia. JCW555 (talk)♠ 20:49, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Note: I have nominated Template:Wdtable row for deletion because, whatever one's opinion about Wikidata lists, I don't believe a template which is incompatible with Visual Editor editing should be allowed. All opinions welcome at the TfD of course. Fram (talk) 09:33, 30 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I edit at Wikidata, but I think that making an article solely based on an auto generated list is laziness. An auto generated list might complement an existing article but should not be the sole content of one. My only exception would be if the list was so large it would not fit on the main topic's article page. RPI2026F1 (talk) 03:03, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I tend to agree, and yet a "lazy" list is probably better than no list at all, and a maintained list is definitely better than an unmaintained list. The best lists we have tend to combine data and prose. — Martin (MSGJ · talk) 07:25, 6 December 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Poor tooling[edit]

The arguments here are transferable to a number of other sister projects, like Commons, which suffer from many more problems than enwp and wikidata, including low adminship, tooling, limited i18n and yet it is the standard way to insert images in enwp, despite the built in tooling that enwp has for hosting files. If the goal is to solely focus on enwp and screw other language editions of Wikipedia, then yes wikidata/commons can feel like overkill at times. Wikidata is one of the few projects, that leverage the knowledge and expertise of non English editors, that can directly benefit enWP, and likewise allow english editors to benfit other language editions. We should celebrate that instead of admonishing it. I am sympathetic to many comments here, about difficulty in editing, and leave the recommended/preferred solution per specific articles (list of plants versus evolving breaking news section). ~ 🦝 Shushugah (he/him • talk) 15:25, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Absolutely. A lot of systemic bias toward the English-speaking world tends to come through in discussions like this, with editors failing to realize how much content we lack in non-English speaking areas and how much Wikidata could help us there. Reminder: Two thirds of all topics covered on Wikipedia don't have an article in English. {{u|Sdkb}}talk 16:12, 8 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes! Thank you for making this point. ENWP is able to be self-sufficient due to the large English-speaking community, but that isn't true of many languages outside the top 10 or 15 largest Wikipedias. Being able to pull data from Wikidata to get up-to-date information is really useful for smaller communities, and having the large community of ENWP helping verify and maintain that information along with the Wikidata community and the communities of other language WPs would be a huge boon. Nicereddy (talk) 17:26, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If this is the outcome you'd like the I suggest listening to user issues with using Wikidata and the issue that Wikidata can cause to Wikipedia. That way more editors will start and continuing using Wikidata. -- LCU ActivelyDisinterested transmissions °co-ords° 17:31, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

RfC on the banners for the December 2022 fundraising campaign[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This was a request for comment (RfC) on whether the fundraising banners planned to be shown on the English Wikipedia in December 2022 were appropriate, and if not what changes needed to be made. Based on the samples provided by the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), there was a broad, near-unanimous consensus that these fundraising banners should not run on the English Wikipedia in their current form.

Nearly all participants agreed that the banner texts are at least partly untruthful, and that soliciting money by misleading readers is an unethical and inappropriate use of this project. Specifically, participants clearly identified that banners that state or imply any of the following are not considered appropriate on the English Wikipedia:

  • Wikipedia's existence or independence is under threat or dependent on donations
  • Donated funds are used primarily to support Wikipedia and/or its volunteer editors
  • Readers should feel obliged to donate regardless of their means ("guilt tripping")

A significant minority of participants objected to running banner campaigns at all. In my view beyond the scope of this RfC – arguably out of the scope of local discussions on this project entirely. Similarly, there was substantial discussion of the WMF's fundraising model and financing in general which, as several participants noted, is probably better taken up in other venues (e.g. Meta). In any case, no consensus was reached on these issues.

Few participants explicitly supported the banners. Many of those that did acknowledged the problems summarised above, but concluded that the banners were acceptable because they were effective (at raising money), comparable to similar campaigns by other organisations, and/or are an improvement over the WMF's compaigns in previous years. A number of members of WMF staff and the WMF Board of Trustees were amongst the most vocal in support of the banners. It is worth noting that, though their participation is welcome as anyone else's, it also carries no more weight than anyone else's. Their comments (understandably) tended to focus on the potential ramifications that changes to fundraising on the English Wikipedia, which constitutes a significant portion of the Foundation's income, could have on the rest of the movement. Like critical comments from opposers on movement finances in general, I considered this discussion largely irrelevent in assessing consensus on the questions posed by this RfC. To the extent that they engaged with the specific objections summarised above, a number of supporters, including several Board members, acknowledged that there were problems with the fundraising text that the WMF has placed on the English Wikipedia, though they disagreed on whether this is a fit topic for discussion on this project.

There was also significant discussion of how this consensus should be enforced, if the WMF chooses not to modify the banners before running them. This is a fraught topic given that our policies state that authorised acts of the WMF Board take precedence over consensus on this project, but that attempts to actually apply this principle have historically proved controversial. No consensus was reached on this issue, which is also strictly speaking outside the scope of this RfC. But taking off my closer's hat for a moment, I would like stress that this needn't come up – the preferred outcome for almost all participants, I believe, is that the English Wikipedia community and relevant WMF staff can come to an agreement on the content of fundraising banners.

– Joe (talk) 12:22, 24 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]



Are the WMF's banners for the December 2022 fundraising campaign appropriate? If they are not, what changes need to be made before the campaign can start?

Note that due to the WMF not providing a complete listing only four examples are available; a sampling of banners run by the WMF between September and November 2022 may be indicative of what content the other banners will contain. 05:47, 25 October 2022 (UTC)

Name Banner Sticky Banner
Desktop large To all our readers in Country,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Day, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia’s independence. Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Day, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We don't run ads, and we never have. We rely on our readers for support. We serve millions of people, but we run on a fraction of what other top sites spend. Wikipedia is special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to neutral information matters to you. Thank you.

If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate.
Desktop small We ask you, humbly: don't scroll away.

Hi. Sorry to interrupt again, but this Day we humbly ask you to protect Wikipedia. This isn’t the first time we’ve asked recently, but only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. All we ask is $2.75, or what you can afford, to keep Wikipedia thriving. If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate.

This isn't a paywall

We'll cut to the chase: Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they'll give later, but then forget. All we ask is $2.75, or whatever seems right to you this Day, before you get back to your article.

Mobile large To all our readers,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Day, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia’s independence. Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Day, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. The price of a cup of coffee is all we need.

We don't run ads, and we never have. We rely on our readers for support. We serve millions of people, but we run on a fraction of what other top sites spend.

Wikipedia is special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. Wikipedia is maintained by a nonprofit, and the 58 million articles that compose it are free. Without reader contributions, we couldn’t run Wikipedia the way we do.

We want to make sure everyone on the planet has equal access to knowledge. We still have work to do.

If Wikipedia provided you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to secure its future by making a donation. Thank you.

We ask you, humbly: don’t scroll away.

None
Mobile small Hi. This isn’t the first time we’ve interrupted you recently, but only 2% of our readers give. This Day we humbly ask you to help sustain Wikipedia. We don't run ads, and we never have. All we ask is $2.75 if you can afford $2.75, or $25 if you can afford $25. Please don’t scroll away.

Here’s what your donation enables:

  • Improvements on Wikipedia and our other online free knowledge projects.
  • Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day.
  • Resources to help the Wikimedia Foundation advance the cause of free knowledge in the world.
Please, don’t ignore this message: be the rare exception who gives us $2.75.

See below for comment from the WMF.

Survey (2022 fundraising banners)[edit]

If opposing, please specify what changes need to be made to the banners before the campaign can start.

  • Satisfied (the phrasing of the RfC feels...odd. Anything that isn't an "oppose" is inherently a support, as that's what the default is) - while there are changes I would like, and the tone is somewhat "whiny" through the repeated recalls, it is a significant improvement over those of the past year or two. The desktop ones are not as drastic visually (though the mobile ones are), and the text is not indicative of imminent bankruptcy as it was, which is also a significant improvement. I'd advise those "opposing" to split their changes into "what are the minimum changes do I need to not oppose" and "what changes should be made, in toto". Nosebagbear (talk) 22:31, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Nosebagbear: Do you know where examples of previous banners and emails can be found? It'd be nice to compare them side by side for those of us who weren't involved in this last year; I can draw an idea of what about the wording I don't like, but I don't know what's changed from previous years and what hasn't.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 22:46, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    #Comment_from_the_WMF might help. Seddon talk 23:20, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose The basic problem I have remains unchanged: the implication that money donated is primarily for the day-to-day upkeep of Wikipedia when, in fact, the money is used at the behest of the WMF board, only some of the uses which include Wikipedia. Far, far more is raised and requested than is actually used directly on Wikipedia sites. The board ought to be free to argue in favor of the WMF's nebulous "movement" expenses, the opaque financial relationship with Tides, the poorly documented payroll bloat that has little to do directly with Wikipedia, and fattening the Endowment, but those uses should be directly laid out to donors, not hidden behind "keeping Wikipedia independent." CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 22:45, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    While I did not initially address that and only looked at the financial plea, I fully support @Bilorv's follow-up about including other ways that people can make Wikipedia better besides money. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 23:02, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose all banners. Where to begin? 5P1 says that Wikipedia is not an advertising platform. Donors' money goes, it seems, towards the Tides Foundation, though transparency over WMF donations is decreasing. The use of donations is not made clear in these banners, which say things like: If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Tuesday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. The price of a cup of coffee is all we need. This is a lie. If every reader donated just $2.75 then next year we'd see a banner saying "If every person reading this donated just $5.50, our fundraising campaign would be over". It is already true from a financial perspective that Wikipedia could keep thriving for years if the WMF's money was decimated (literally, divided by 10).
    These banners provably guilt people into donating money they would be better off keeping for their own living costs. The English Wikipedia serves a large number of readers worldwide, many of whom live in countries where incomes are much smaller than the U.S. Even for donations within the U.S. and similar countries, many readers are pressured to give more than they should. Read Thomas' comment here: meta:Talk:Fundraising/Archive_6#Shame_on_you_WMF!_Shame! I have heard from those that run OTRS that these messages are commonplace, though Thomas' was a rare on-wiki one.
    More fundamentally, the nature of banners asking readers to donate misinforms them about how they can support Wikipedia. We have a crisis of lack of admins. We have a crisis of small bus factors in areas from NPP to bot maintenance. We have a crisis of editor retention. The principal way that a reader can support a wiki is by editing. Where are the editor recruitment banners? With our numbers in decline and malicious agents (UPE) on the rise, there has never been a more harmful time for our website to seemingly promote donation of money as the primary way in which readers can support Wikipedia.
    The Wikimedia Foundation has exceeded its Endowment target. Why are they actively fundraising? What is the target amount for the current fundraising period, which group of volunteers has undersigned the target, and when will the fundraising end? Until the en.wiki community actively endorse the WMF's fundraising target, there should be no banners on our website. — Bilorv (talk) 22:48, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose While the example banners are an improvement over previous years they do contain some problematic content and the sample banners are worse. In the example banners, key issues are the implication that Wikipedia is under threat; these are less explicit than in previous years, but need to be removed entirely (humbly ask you to protect Wikipedia, please take a minute to secure [Wikipedia's] future by making a donation, This day we ask you to help us sustain Wikipedia). The sample banners also present worse examples of this, like humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia’s independence.

    A similar issue is with the implication in some banners that Wikipedia might need to resort to advertising or a subscription service to remain online if donations fall. This can be seen prominently in the sample banners which say things like We don’t charge a subscription fee, and Wikipedia is sustained by the donations of only 2% of our readers. Without reader contributions, big or small, we couldn’t run Wikipedia the way we do., but it can also be seen in the example banners which say We don't run ads, and we never have ... Without reader contributions, we couldn’t run Wikipedia the way we do.

    I also oppose the section on Here’s what your donation enables:; given the issues we have had receiving support from the WMF in key areas such as New Page Patrol and WP:THEYCANTHEARYOU it seems dishonest to place so much focus on improvements the WMF make to Wikipedia and the support the WMF provides for volunteers.

    The banners should also make clear the distinction between the WMF and Wikipedia; one of the sample banners did this (we humbly ask you to support the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that hosts Wikipedia.), and I believe all banners should do the same.

    Finally, the WMF said that in response to editor concerns they no longer use the term 98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way. As such, it is disappointing that they continue to use phrase 98% of our readers don't give; they keep reading, which is functionally identical. BilledMammal (talk) 22:55, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

    • @BilledMammal:, @Blaze Wolf: (who asked a similar question below): Thanks for flagging this. The “98% of readers don’t give…” sentence has been removed from all banners. This was an error in copying that we provided to Julia and has been corrected. Thank you. SPatton_(WMF) 19:06, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Thank you. That at least fixes one of my issues with it. SPatton_(WMF) could you answer the question in my 2nd comment below in the discussion section? ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 19:12, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @SPatton (WMF): I can't find the updated example of the small mobile banner; the one linked at WP:VPM still contains the 98% language. Can you link the updated example? BilledMammal (talk) 06:50, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Sure, here is the update banner. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 08:00, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Thank you, I've updated the RfC examples. BilledMammal (talk) 08:06, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Having seen the changes the WMF has made to the most recent round of test banners I don't consider the issues raised with the banners to have been addressed. I also endorse the objections on grounds other than banner content that other editors have made. BilledMammal (talk) 01:06, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    On banner format, I will add that I oppose the small desktop banner and the large mobile banner as being too disruptive to the reader; the small desktop banner violates MOS:SANDWICH, and the large mobile banner is simply too large, requiring the reader to scroll several page lengths to get to content.
    I also oppose the sticky banners on the same general grounds. BilledMammal (talk) 23:37, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose to all banners – I haven't got the time to break them down at the minute, but the retention of guilt-tripping language and insinuations that we're desperately grasping onto the 2% of people who donate (because "most people decide they will but then forget" – hard citation needed on that fact) is still plain wrong, with the desperate insinuations being the worst thing. This is not a fundraiser for Wikipedia – this is a fundraiser for the WMF.
    The decision to paint this as funding "Wikipedia" and not "all the institutions the WMF oversees" is insidious; I can see how painting it as 'Wikipedia' is more of a draw, donations-wise, but that doesn't make it okay. Wikimedia Commons? Wikisource? Who uses those? (Rhetorically.) But Wikipedia? The average user, reading just the lead of any article while sat on the toilet (guilty), isn't going to care about those.
    The others can go hang; put the words "Wikipedia relies on just 2% of its users to survive in this cold, cruel world" and "I Vow To Thee My Wiki" starts playing in people's heads (and wallets). We could be highlighting the very important actual work that the WMF does (and should do more of).
    Above all else, all minor points about wording, the guilt-tripping over Wikipedia being in danger, when all it is in danger of is the WMF hoarding money and tossing us a shilling now and then, has to go. It's unacceptable to keep that in and attempt to fundraise in good faith, when it is not true.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 23:03, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Edit: I've had some more time to look over the banners. I'd still like to know what $2.75 of knowledge looks like – half a paragraph and one quarter of an image, maybe?
    I'd also very much like there to be wider explanation of what "Support for volunteers" looks like; how does our funding go towards that? I want an explicit explanation, or else it continues to give the false impression that we in some way receive money occasionally for editing. We don't. It'd be nice to be paid for trawling through articles and endlessly updating formatting, templates and syntax, but we aren't.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 13:06, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Agreed the average reader won't have heard of commons. But if a donor were to query it and be told that most of the images that they see on Wikipedia are actually stored on Commons, I suspect they'd accept that as a legit cost of keeping Wikipedia going. ϢereSpielChequers 23:24, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • @WereSpielChequers: Oh, I'm certain they would; I wouldn't doubt that. There's just a real lack of emphasis on what the WMF does aside from Wikipedia, and it's really a shame.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 13:06, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • I agree that some of the things that the WMF spends money on are hard to defend as either an agreed part of its mission or justified by its appeal to keep Wikipedia going. But given the cost of running Commons and its close relationship with Wikipedia, I don't think we can criticise them for running Commons with money raised for Wikipedia. Going back to our hypothetical casual reader who never gets past the lede, if commons was deleted that user would suddenly notice they were seeing far fewer images on Wikipedia (disclosure, I have about twice as many edits on commons as I have on Wikipedia). ϢereSpielChequers 13:37, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          • @WereSpielChequers: Oh, my point isn't criticising them for running the Commons – sorry, I should've clarified. What I meant was that the WMF puts a strong emphasis on Wikipedia in its fundraising, but its other projects – including the Commons, Wikisource, all of that – don't get enough of a look in, in terms of "hey, we also run these other extremely important things too" sentiments in fundraising drives.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 11:09, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Fully oppose all fundraising on Wikipedia. Wikipedia's servers cost around £2 million a year. WMF's assets are over £230 million. See the 2021 Audit Report. If the existing assets are invested, then Wikipedia could run till the end of time and live comfortably off the investment returns with plenty to spare. However, WMF staff costs are nearly £68 million, and there's money thrown around in all directions, very little of which has anything to do with Wikipedia itself. The fundraising has nothing to do with keeping Wikipedia going, it is about making WMF richer and more powerful. WMF can fundraise elsewhere - not here. We should make clear that Wikipedia is about truth, transparency, and honesty. It's not about raising money for an already disturbingly rich organisation that has very little to do with the creation and running of Wikipedia. We should not accept any banners that give the impression that Wikipedia needs money. We don't. That's dishonest. So, we should say no to WMF's fundraising here. SilkTork (talk) 23:03, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I predict the most contentious ad used will not be one of the four listed above, instead it will be one we weren't warned of in advance. But of these I'd like to point out some obvious mistakes. We don't count our audience in millions, we count it in the hundreds of millions (over the course of a year, I suspect over a thousand million people will read some of the content of our sites). The WMF is selling us short. We don't share our knowledge - we are not Quora. We actually try to avoid having people come here to share their knowledge. This is not a site for veterans of the Gulf War to give their accounts of putting out burning oil wells, we are here to summarise and curate the world's published knowledge. If the WMF understood the difference between that and "sharing our knowledge" I suspect there would be a better relationship between the paid and volunteer parts of the community. On a practical note, emphasising that the normal thing is not to give money normalises the behaviour of not giving money. If I were writing such ads I would not normalise not giving unless with the caveat that our mission is global, many of our readers are in countries where $2.75 is a lot of money, but if you are in that small minority of people worldwide who can afford to give us $25 we'd really appreciate it. In other words, make people feel good about being one of the few who can pick up the tab for all of us. Lastly, as far as I'm aware, money spent by the WMF to support the volunteers who write and curate Wikipedia is such a small part of the budget that it is a bit misleading to include it so prominently in an ad (unless of course the WMF plans to usefully expand this such as by funding legal actions against those of its friends in big tech who don't honour the conditions of CC-BY-SA when reusing our work). ϢereSpielChequers 23:18, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose – The implication that Wikipedia survives on donations, rather than editors, is as bad for Wikipedia as it is for the misled donors: People committed to supporting the project, who might otherwise have become regular editors, instead make donations that won't even go to improve the content. Wikipedia misses out on vital volunteers, and could-be-editors miss out on a rewarding hobby. The banner should say "If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to share $2.57 worth of knowledge back."small jars tc 23:21, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose all banners above as unethical bullshit. An honest one would start by pointing out the assets the WMF already has, and an admission that the funds aren't needed to maintain 'Wikipedia’s independence', since it isn't remotely under threat. At least, not from anything that the WMF adding to its pile of loot would rectify. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:26, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. It's downright immoral that every year the WMF deludes users with limited incomes into thinking Wikipedia is on the verge of insolvency ("If you donate just $2.75...Wikipedia could keep thriving for years"), implying Wikipedia is somehow going to die if the readers don't pay up, despite the fact that hosting is a minority of the WMF's spending, with most of it going to grants and executive compensation. Everybody I've ever talked to who gave money to Wikipedia believed that 1. Wikipedia needed the money to survive, and 2. the money was benefiting the Wikipedia administrators (you know, the people who actually edit the site). Both of those falsehoods are directly and deliberately implied by the wording of these banners, which suggest that donation money pays for "Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day", "support" being a weasel word intentionally chosen so donators will think the money is somehow directly benefiting WP contributors (and what's with the mention of "sharing [volunteers'] knowledge"? I thought original research wasn't allowed here.) The WMF budget tells a different story than the flashy, obtrusive banners: as of June 30, 2022, the WMF generated $154.68 million in income, of which $2.7 million (1.7%) was spent on hosting: almost equal to the $2.7 million they gave out in executive salaries as of the end of the 2020 financial year. Wikipedia is clearly in no great financial danger (and could probably run for a couple decades on just the WMF's current financial assets and giant endowment), and yet the WMF insists on guilt-tripping ("Please, don’t ignore this message") its vulnerable readers ("Only 2% of our readers give.") into giving their hard-earned money to the Tax Exempt Executive Compensation Machine. I oppose these banners because they're clearly designed to generate profits, not communicate the truth. XenonNSMB (talk, contribs) 23:29, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Satisfied I'll repeat much of I said on the talk page. I've experienced being a fundraiser first hand, and in my case I've specifically done fundraising as a job at the WMF in the past (currently a WMF Engineering Manager). It is incredibly easy as an observer to simply say "it should read like this instead" but creating and designing fundraising messaging that works is incredibly challenging. Even with decades of combined experience, minor changes can result in profoundly unexpected consequences. It is an actual science as it should be, and it requires an iterative approach to be successful. We can't expect the to WMF tear up its messaging and halt on a dime in a way that simply isn't compatible with that iterative testing. Fundraising messaging by committee (or in this case, consensus) just doesn't work.
For this RfC to have a genuinely productive way forward, it should seek to propose a full suite of possible changes and variations than can then be tested rather than trying to cement a messaging that requires sign-off by consensus. That way we can help the WMF carve a path forward that leverages that iterative approach rather than simply throws a road block which works against it. Spending the time to clearly identify concerns, come up with a whole host of ideas and then give the team the time to test them. If those fail, we propose more. And we keep at it: carving a way forward, being accountable and testing more and more. That way we a fundraising campaign that is both effective and matches the needs and expectations of the community in messaging that represents us. I genuinely believe that can be a productive and effective approach for bringing about change.
Trying to create and then enforce consensus without any informed testing, is a destination filled with nought but disappointment and failure. I don't think it has to be like that. We, as a community, have been in far more dire circumstances and even then avoided such over-the-cliff-edge approaches. It is a lever that should only be flipped in the most extreme of circumstances and we simply aren't there. Let's gives ourselves time to think and be smart about this, be creative, and then give the WMF time to get to work based on our collective input.
Regarding some of the specifics brought up, whilst there is always room for improvement in the specifics. I whole heartedly disagree that the intent in the messaging is immoral or no longer appropriate:
  • Supporting and growing the foundations budget with small donors does protect its independence and our communities ability to full OUR own mission rather than someone else's. Large numbers of non-profits of our size frequently end up being in receipt of large amounts of government or other foundation grants, and can often become the majority income source for a charity. That results in organisations chasing funding and loosing a focus on mission. The effect is a pseudo-erosion of a charities independence. Keeping a strong small donor base as the majority source of our funding is core to maintaining the independence of websites and projects etc. (addendum: especially when diversifying funding)
  • A good chunk work is focused on keeping Wikipedia online. Denial of service is a huge threat to all websites and combatting that really is about keeping us online and we've invested hugely in that area and its still a massive challenge. But that challenge is no longer just technical one. It's not just about keeping a handful of servers running. For much of the last decade its also been about keeping the legislative and regulatory environment conducive to our continued existence and remain accessible to our end users. Whether it be things like section 230 in the US, or challenging governments like Turkey who have in the past denied access. That really is all about keeping us online and available.
It's really hard and a big challenge in trying to keep messaging accessible and concise, and the result will always result in ambiguity in wording with multiple interpretations. Seddon talk 23:44, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: The WMF is in an excellent financial position. It does not need donations from private individuals and therefore ought not to be begging money off them.—S Marshall T/C
(Later) I think the key takeaways for the WMF here are:
(1) We as a community are very accustomed to people who want to use Wikipedia for fundraising or marketing. We've developed efficient and effective processes for dealing with them. We block them, revert them and ignore them. We don't spend a lot of volunteering time on fundraisers or marketers because volunteer time is Wikipedia's limiting resource.
(2) We as a community try to demand accuracy and verifiability. We're accustomed to deception from fundraisers and marketers -- the less professional ones lie, and the more professional ones deceive by telling people carefully-selected truths. The word for that is paltering. We don't tolerate it from anyone else and we shouldn't tolerate it from the WMF when they're sitting on enough money to fund them for decades.
(3) Below, WMF staff ask how they can adapt their fundraising banners and still hit their fundraising targets. We need to talk to the people who're setting those targets, please, not the poor people who're trying to hit them.
Hope this helps and clarifies.—S Marshall T/C 11:26, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: People aren't dumb. Most know that we are rich and are spending it recklessly. They won't donate unless we show our excellent use with their money. And guilt-tripping donors will trip us down the road. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 01:24, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    To the WMF: you have plenty of money. But somehow Khan Academy is more effective at spreading knowledge than us. It's time to reevaluate ourselves whether we are worthy of the money. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 01:25, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Genuine question, by what measure is Khan Academy more effective at spreading knowledge than Wikimedia? Seddon talk 01:31, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Per their 2020 report card, they have 27 million registrations in one year with a revenue of $52.6 million. Compare that to us, in our 21 years of existence, we have only 44 million registrations, with our revenue in 2020 is $129 million. I don't compare the page view between the two sites because KA does not make that info public, and having a KA (Khan Academy) account is different than having a WP account. KA accounts are used to save learning progress, while you can use Wikipedia whenever for whatever without needing an account. Let's see some other statistics:
    CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 02:05, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose We just need to kill the fundraising until we actually need it. It's just making the rich richer and making the WMF seem even more like a corporate company. "If Wikipedia provided you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to secure its future by making a donation." just sounds like we are begging for money. Wikipedia already has a pretty secure future for the time being because guess what? The WMF is rolling in cash and does not actually need more. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 01:45, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In addition, below someone from the WMF said this: "The line “98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way” has been removed". Yes you've removed it but you've pretty much just replaced it with the inverse which says "Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget." which is another way of saying the same exact thing. Heck, the mobile small banner still says the original line, but modified. It now says "but 98% of our readers don't give; they keep reading." which again says the same thing. If we must keep the banners then we need to just get rid of this statistic altogether as it doesn't do anything but try and guilt-trip readers. I've never even seen any actual proof provided for this statistic anyways so it could just be completely fabricated. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 01:51, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Blaze Wolf a real question here, how does WMF fundraising make "the rich richer"? We don't have any share structure that would feed it back to the c-suite, whose salaries are a matter of public record. Alongside that, are you indicating that they are lying about the % but telling the true about the absolute numbers? More relevantly, do remember that the staffers who post the figures are editors - and are entitled to the same protections you and I are. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:23, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    (disregarding Nosebagbear's post above which I am choosing not to answer) I am pulling out of any further comments on this RFC. It's starting to just feel like a complete mess of repeating the same statements with new info and it's clogging up my notifs. If anyone needs me further in this please ping me. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 03:56, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'd prefer banners that don't guilt trip the reader, don't imply the WMF is frugal, and don't suggest the need is dire or urgent. Maybe something like: Elon can't buy this. Give us $2 so it stays that way. Levivich (talk) 06:48, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That sounds a bit worse imo. It sounds like we're demanding readers to donate, rather than simply asking them. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 13:23, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Elon can't buy this. Please donate $2 to help keep it that way. Levivich (talk) 16:58, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose - WP:CANCER. — Qwerfjkltalk 07:11, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Considering all the above, including the refusal (both now and during the trials and other fundraisings in previous months) to present all banners in advance, and considering the dreadful donation blog post (see the village pump wmf page) which continues their efforts to misuse the Wikipedia brand whenever the Wmf wants money, and considering the money wasted on stupid projects and disruptive grants, the WMF can Go Fund Themselves. Fram (talk) 12:10, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Who's attacking Wikipedia? What are we supposed to be defending it from? Sorry...it's all monetized fear-mongering as far as I'm concerned. Couple that with the lack of transparency and misleading statements about where the money goes...get rid of the banners. Or just be honest about it and go with the format used in Rockstar's GTA Vice City: "If you're using Wikipedia without donating, you're stealing." Intothatdarkness 14:04, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Costs increase every year, transparency goes down. I love Wikipedia, but the endless increase in costs, money not being actually spent on Wikipedia and the lack of clarity of why a website that has about $3m hosting costs needs nearly $200m I don't understand. I am losing faith tompagenet (talk) 14:29, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I'm fine with this. It's a bit difficult to unpick general WMF-hating from specific concerns about the actual content of the banners in this kind of RFC. As one of the few Wikipedians who's also a professional fundraiser, I think the messaging that's used does a really good job of reflecting the Wikimedia movement in a way that's going to be comprehensible to most people. The standards of neutrality and evidence that we require for Wikipedia articles just don't apply to Wikipedia fundraising. Also, the WMF are to be applauded for doing so much work to find effective messaging that reduces the amount of time fundraising banners are displayed. The Land (talk) 14:51, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think that our standards of neutrality and evidence apply to everything displayed on a rendered mainspace page.—S Marshall T/C 15:40, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose using Wikipedia as a cash cow on steroids to fund WMF growth through misdirecting phrases like "humbly ask you to support Wikipedia's independence" (if anything, it is the ever-expanding WMF's independence that is at issue here); "humbly ask you to protect Wikipedia" (Wikipedia is not under threat; the only thing conceivably under threat is the WMF's ability to follow through on its plans for further rapid inflation of its budget and headcount); "If Wikipedia provided you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to secure its future by making a donation" (it's not about Wikipedia's future, but about Wikimedia's expansion plans that it never talks about or explains or justifies on these banners); "This Monday we ask you to help us sustain Wikipedia" (ditto). The WMF more than doubles its expenditure every five years, gives millions of dollars away to external organisations via Tides Advocacy, and still regularly enjoys eight-figure annual surpluses. The insinuation that it is short of money to keep Wikipedia online or spends a lot of money on supporting volunteers feels sneaky and misleading. As S Marshall says above, it's paltering and the precise opposite of what Wikipedia at least strives to be about. --Andreas JN466 15:01, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose Along with all the other issues mentioned by editors above and below, this is beginning to affect Wikipedia's credibility. I've seen more and more people on external websites (pretty correctly) stating that your donations to WMF don't go to Wikipedia, and more and more people seeing WP:CANCER. The blatant advertising, guilt tripping, downright keeping facts from Wikipedia readers is absolutely ridiculous, and people are seeing it for what it is. Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her 15:17, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I also feel it necessary to point out these worrying statements that the WMF felt they needed to include:
    We ran the banners for 4 days towards the end of the campaign, and the overall result of the new banner was a 65% decrease in donations. and this exact message won't reach the revenue target for the year. Although WMF did state that there are interesting concepts to further develop, this is insane. The body owning Wikipedia values adding even more money to their piggy bank over truth. Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her 16:22, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Support SunDawn's proposal below to segregate donations. Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her 13:49, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose I'm also strongly opposed to all these nag-banners. If wikipedia were skint, but it's far from skint. Set up an endowment (for Wikipedia specifically) with the money you've already been given. Don't use Wikipedia to guilt-trip people into funding random schemes and political donations. MrDemeanour (talk) 15:54, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose Echoing all the above points. This is really causing a loss of credibility to Wikipedia. Keep the WMF power and money grab away from Wikipedia. I thought the mission for Wikipedia was building an encyclopedia. I don't remember seeing advertisement on Brittanica encyclopedia about funding political donations. Just stop already before the damage cannot be undone. This is also highly unethical behavior given that the fundraising is not for the people or the site these ads are being shown on. Seems like a blatant power and money grab and nothing more. WP:CANCER --Molochmeditates (talk) 16:00, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose - All fundraising banners should cease on Wikipedia. They're dishonest, annoying, and unnecessary. Wikipedia has all the money it needs to fund its operations. - GretLomborg (talk) 16:07, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose Asking people to donate money Wikipedia doesn't need, during an economic crisis and a huge refugee crisis, is just bullshit. But the real problem is that the yearly Fundraising campaign misleads people into thinking Wikipedia is independent and reader-supported: it is not. It receives millions from large corporations, including Amazon and Google, and has created [3] a new "premium" API companies can sign up for. "Independent" — not. DFlhb (talk) 16:14, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. The banners are not truthful regarding how the donations are spent. The only halfway truth is "Resources to help the Wikimedia Foundation advance the cause of free knowledge in the world". The banners should state what the donations are used for. — RockMFR 16:16, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The Wikimedia Foundation's banners are socially and ethically inappropriate. The unethical part is that the Wikimedia Foundation is doing fundraising in the name of the Wikimedia community based on the trust that the public has for the Wikimedia community, but even after years of community objections, the Wikimedia Foundation has not even started a reasonable attempt at dialogue with the community about these problems. The Wikimedia Foundation has internalized and wishes to deepen a soulless mindset of a commercial corporation where money is the highest priority and any ethics can be disregarded if it increases the money, but we are a nonprofit project and activist community where we distinguish between right and wrong. There are major ethical conflicts between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Wikimedia community, and to continue without change would only widen those conflicts. The Wikimedia Foundation response below is oblivious to community concerns, and indeed, the Wikimedia Foundation will persist in ignorance and error until and unless it either relinquishes ethical oversight of some issues to the Wikimedia community, or the community attacks the Wikimedia Foundation to commandeer control of the ethical issues where the Wikimedia Foundation is transgressing. Some time ago the Wikimedia Foundation passed the point of ignorance and innocence and has become openly aggressive against the values and ethics of the Wikimedia community. That is becoming scary. I am on the side of democracy, community empowerment, protection of the underclass, diversity for underrepresented voices, and letting people speak for themselves. I hope that the Wikimedia Foundation chooses to join the people rather than spend donation money to suppress these voices. The steps to take to correct the error is that the Wikimedia Foundation should directly fund the Wikimedia community to organize social and ethical conversations about how to manage fundraising, and when the WMF gives this money, it should keep its staff out of those conversations, and confirm to the community that the community is free to oppose the WMF. It scares me when the WMF runs diversity programs in lower and middle income countries, and with those programs, the underrepresented minorities come out like zombies who only support the WMF, never disagree with anything, are sure that they want the WMF to speak for them, and ask for much less than empowered communities. Bluerasberry (talk) 16:52, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. The basic problem is that while much of these banners are literally true, they're lying by implication and by omission. I could go through all the other not-votes and summarize them, but I think people know the reasons already. Also, the comments from the WMF below seem to miss the point. It's not specific phrases that people object to, it's the ideas that Wikipedia is in danger, and that all donations directly go to maintaining Wikipedia. The banners need a massive overhaul to be good, not just rephrasing to make it seem slightly less like Wikipedia is in danger. Ken Arromdee (talk) 19:33, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Satisfied The rest of the Internet is a giant advertising machine constantly tracking you and manipulating you. Other nonprofits waste way more time and resources sucking up to megarich donors with weird agendas. The WMF runs banners for a few weeks and then basically the rest of the time we don't bother readers, because they've figured out campaigns that work. I can't imagine a better system for funding a top 10 website. Every year some group of editors wants to start a holy war over the wording or style of the banners. The real alternatives are one of two things: use banners that work less well, so we'd have to show them to more people (annoying, no thanks) or just raise less money. I think about whether we need it or not. Our goal is to give everyone on the planet a free encyclopedia. There are about 5 billion people with Internet access. We reach less than half of those people today, across all languages of Wikipedia [4]. We need to be doing a lot more to expand access, not less. Like most people, I have gripes about how they spend the money, but cutting off the tap is like shutting down the entire government because you disagree with parts of the budget. Steven Walling • talk 20:57, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose per SilkTork. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:34, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose, per the reasons of many others above. I would also support getting rid of them entirely, as they seem to just be a bunch of lies to get more unneeded money (especially statements like Here's what your donation enables: ... Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day – what? Writers here don't get any money.) BeanieFan11 (talk) 21:37, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose all fundraising on Wikipedia until further notice. As many have said, Wikipedia has enough money to operate for quite some time. Until the WMF can show us they have reformed their finances and fundraising style, they shouldn't be asking for money. Kolya Butternut (talk) 23:27, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose, might as well add mine to the pile. For what does Wikipedia need more money? It's a website. The website's biggest assets are its volunteers and the content they create. Also, I think it's rather disingenuous to give readers the impression that Wikipedia is in dire need of cash when that's not true at all. Wikimedia collects the cash and spends most of it on things that aren't directly related to the upkeep of Wikipedia, such as racist bullshit. Frogging101 (talk) 01:58, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose I don't mind that the WMF is fundraising and building a nest egg. Better too much money than not enough. I also think its fine that the WMF is expanding the services it provides. This isn't 2004 anymore; we face a lot of real world problems that we have to face realistically. But I do object to the tone and prominence of the banners. They get bigger and bolder seemingly each year. Our readers are annoyed with them. We, the editors, then have to deal with their anger. The banners disrupt the reading experience, and destroy the very hard won goodwill editors have fought for. Practical solutions: smaller banners, up for a shorter time. Focus more on email outreach. Less fear mongering in the messages tone. Wikipedia needs to make money, but it can't do that if it is pissing off its readers and editors. CaptainEek Edits Ho Cap'n! 02:20, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The WMF is spending $17M a year on fundraising, according to the annual plan. We should get more from that expenditure than running banner ads that spend a month interrupting access to free knowledge. Banner ads made sense when the WMF was a lean organization, not today. TomDotGov (talk) 02:33, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For a small donor based fundraising model, the WMF's fundraising cost per dollar is industry leading. The only way you get more efficient fundraising is through substantial individual and corporate major gifts and noone should want us to go in that direction. Seddon talk 04:20, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Given that the WMF advertises on the seventh most visited website for free, I don't think they can be compared to other non-profits with the same fundraising model without estimating how much such a campaign would normally cost. BilledMammal (talk) 04:27, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: This is the carousel that keeps turning, each time similar to those that went before, without proper re-evaluation. I previously commented that these messages detriment the benevolence essential to this project. The WMF Audit Committee Charter requires fundraising exercises to "ensure full transparency into the use of all donor funds raised under the Wikimedia name or on its sites"; my view is that transparency must be not merely retrospective (evaluating what was done with moneys - which, despite Andreas Kolbe's persistence remains too often unclear) but also prospective: clearly setting out both need and target as the basis for any new fundraising. While I doubt that "We already have $xM and wish to boost that to $(x+y)M to achieve (...)" would be an effective as a fundraising message, it would be transparent and honest. A practical suggestion: replace "Wikipedia" with "Wikimedia Foundation" in each text, as a minimum requirement to comply with the WMF Audit Committee Charter. AllyD (talk) 08:46, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose due to lack of transparency and misleading nature of the campaign, per XenonNSMB and others. MB 16:25, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose per SilkTork and Bluerasberry who sum it up so well that there's no need for me to elaborate, and Bilorv who with his mention of NPP illustrates a classic example of how the funds are used for everything else rather than supporting the volunteers' dedication to keeping the corpus clean to the best of their ability. Without NPP, there will be no confidence in the content and consequently no donations anyway. Where does the $17M a year on fundraising go exactly? Less than $300K would solve all of NPP's problems. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 18:54, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose per SilkTork, Bluerasberry, and Kudpung. These banners are ethically compromised and misleading. I have many a friend who believe that the donation money is desperately needed to keep the website online, while many more millions are going to other projects hardly related to Wikipedia at all. In addition to that, I affirm my support for at least some funding towards professionalizing NPP. The Night Watch ω (talk) 19:59, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Meh still not interested in micromanaging fundraising initiatives. Wug·a·po·des 22:05, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Bilorv. I oppose all fund-raising by the WMF until greater transparency and honesty is shown, which this is not. Wikipedia (and its sister sites) are not under threat in any way, they are not being sufficiently supported by the WMF with the money they already have, and neither are the volunteers being supported. The only thing I don't mind is that the staff (not the useless directors) should be paid well, which can be done with existing funds easily enough. Ciridae (talk) 06:06, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • They're fine The WMF needs to fundraise regularly. They need to tell people they are fundraising. Banners are fine. --Jayron32 16:12, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose there's no point in rehashing everything that has been written above. Suffice it to say that these banners are misleading and disruptive. LEPRICAVARK (talk) 23:40, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose On the one hand, the banners are improved (over the emails and past banners) enough that I would tolerate them being shown on their own, and I thank the fundraising people for it. The single biggest remaining issue, in my opinion, is that the banner still implies some sort of financial pinch when there isn't one at all (but it's less overt). However, I recognize that the only way to (force) having a voice in how funds are spent is to prevent the banners from being shown. Related to this is objections about how the banners present money being spent; I interpret that sentiment as objecting to how funds are spent more than the banners themselves. Others have elaborated why funds are misspent; I don't think I need to elaborate. I also feel bad for the fundraising team folks--they aren't the issue. —Danre98(talk^contribs) 01:31, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Rhododendrites's proposal below about the WMF committing to X% of income going to the community tech team is an easy first step. —Danre98(talk^contribs) 01:38, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose In my experience on WP, nothing has been more continuously distressing and frustrating for myself and other content creators than the lack of support from WMF on basic updates and support for the volunteers whose actual work generates their ridiculously unneeded fundraising. I have had so many people IRL who know I work on WP say they donated or spoken about how they feel bad that WP doesn't have enough money. Over and over again. It is a blatantly manipulative and harmful lie and should be removed immediately from banners and elsewhere. Aza24 (talk) 05:19, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose us hosting any more fundraising banners until the banners all clearly report boldly, in the banner not behind a link (a) the current balance of the endownent fund (b) previous year's all sources revenue (including endowment fund revenue) and (c) what percentage of annual revenue is spent on hosting, maintaining, improving and defending Wikipedia. And, of course, they must stop implying there is any threat to Wikipedia's existence or independence. --Anthonyhcole (talk) 10:07, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong Oppose. I used to think WMF funding was merely wasteful, but I've become more cynical over the years. Benjamin (talk) 22:47, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose Per everyone. The banners are misleading at best, and the funds definitely aren't being used to support the community in any meaningful way. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 23:15, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Satisfied the WMF does good work and having a "war chest" available is important should other funding sources cease to exist or economic conditions worsen. I agree with some other folks that the donation messages should sound less "desperate", however, as the WMF is not presently under any financial duress. Nicereddy (talk) 01:07, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Nicereddy: could you expand a bit on the "war chest" point? From what I understand per the WMF employee comments below, the WMF keeps about 16 months of operating costs in reserve for crisis, but any more money they receive would simply go towards increasing their operating costs or towards unrelated projects like the Tides Foundation. How much money do you think they need in case of crisis? Is 16 months worth of $175 million per year not high enough?
    I can't imagine that readers would notice a major difference (at least, not a more major difference than the one we're seeing from the chronic volunteer labour shortage) if the WMF ran on $10 million per year, kept $165 million in reserve and stopped accepting donations. — Bilorv (talk) 10:54, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Bilorv You are correct, I had assumed since I'd heard for so long that "the WMF doesn't need the donations", they meant that they had enough to last them for at least 3+ years on their current burn rate. It's pretty crazy to me that the WMF is working with only a 16 month runway (though they could, of course, cut costs drastically if needed, should a major recession or other such event occur). Seems somewhat irresponsible to continue to grow without preserving more runway to work with. So I will admit I was wrong regarding the "war chest", and apologize for that. It seems cutting operating expenses somewhat and slowing down their growth to get more runway would be a reasonable decision for the WMF to make in the next few years. But it's also not something they can do overnight without disrupting people's lives or the product work currently going on.
    Now, having said that, I want to comment on the idea that $10m/yr would be a realistic amount to run the WMF on. Server costs (the thing everyone says is by far the most important thing) would eat up 2.7m of that, and then at least 0.5m on conferences (assuming they cut their conference schedule down a decent amount). Then, add another 2m for general operating costs, now you've only got 5m left for salaries (and that's ignoring various other expenses that exist, but let's ignore those for now). Currently, salaries are 88m. Whether you think people are paid too much (software engineers, especially good ones, are quite expensive), the fact remains that you can't just cut everyone's salaries to 1/3rd of what they're currently paid, many wouldn't be able to pay the bills if you did that. You'd realistically need to cut around 90% of the staff to get down to 5m/yr in salaries. And, well, we'll see how that goes at Twitter. Nicereddy (talk) 17:09, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The runway is short because the budget continuously goes up to make it so. The revenue goal for 2020-2021 was $108M. The WMF has 240 million in assets and well over $100 million in its Endowment. Andreas JN466 18:11, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Neutral We've had too many discussions about this, here, in WP:VPW, etc. I have become disinterested in the topic. Sungodtemple (talk) 03:56, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. Wikipedia is never under threat of losing its independence. While it is more covert this time - the gist is still clear - that Wikipedia can only run because of the donation of its readers. Wikipedia is not dying, it is not in financial distress, it is not under threat of bankruptcy, and it is in a good financial position. I can even add that some editors of Wikipedia that are contributing to the project are in worse financial shape than Wikipedia. What the donation is enabling is also highly misleading. Wikimedia Foundation advance the cause of free knowledge in the world is misleading, as they used Tides Foundation, an organization that is leaning to the left causes, many of them are not related to "free knowledge", instead of using a neutral organization that is focusing on free knowledge. Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day. is never felt, and many Improvements on Wikipedia and our other online free knowledge projects. are done by volunteers. What should be done by Wikipedia is simple - just do what most US charities are doing - plainly and simply announce how much money they are using for improvements, how much money they are "wasting" on Tides, how much money they are paying for the board of directors, etc. And WMF should segregate the donation - let the donor choose which cause they wanted to support. If the donor wanted to give to "supporting the editors" then that money should be sent into providing fixes to the site that supported the editors, not to Tides. If the donors wanted their donation to be used to "maintain the site" it should be used for site maintenance, not doing some conference somewhere. Wikipedia should be clean and lean. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 04:11, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. -Pete Forsyth (talk) 17:19, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose all banners for the reasons explained above. Sandstein 22:15, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. These banners are deceptive. Attempts to place them on Wikipedia may need to be treated as a scam. Thebiguglyalien (talk) 04:54, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Satisfied I donate to a lot of charities and the banners shown are similar in content and tone to standard fundraising messages. I'm not a fundraising expert but these sorts of messages are what works and are what I expect to see. I accept that they need money both to build up reserves and to expand things (like grants or software or whatever). If we're directing them on how to spend their money, I'd like to put in a request for improvements to editing on mobile because it sucks so much. Like, so much. It's awful in Desktop view, where the cursor focus does weird things, and lacks functionality in Mobile view so it's awful there too. I don't use a desktop or laptop: I only have my phone, and the terrible interface makes editing Wikipedia difficult and generally not worth it. Cauldron bubble (talk) 05:24, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Opppose these deceptive and shameful banners in their entirety, this year and any year. Begging readers for money as if the site is on the verge of collapse, when in reality you have assets of $250m, earned $160m in donations in the preceding year, and then spent $88m of it purely on salaries, is disgraceful. Spend some of those vast reserves on a root and branch review of your corrupt and bloated organization.  — Scott talk 13:16, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Do we need a Wikipedia space page on fundraising to save time on these discussions, and achieve our goals? If we created an article, we could have community concerns, outstanding questions, options, responses from WMF, fundraising examples etc. Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 16:14, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose These misleading banners promote guilt among the less informed and deep cynicism among the better informed. I am tired of reading messages at the Help Desk and the Teahouse from poor retirees and disabled people apologizing that they cannot afford to give more money when they should not be donating a single penny. Especially galling is the false assertion that the WMF does not advertise, when they advertise for free on the English Wikipedia which is created and curated by us unpaid volunteers. And when active volunteers ask for desperately needed software upgrades, we are brushed off by people sitting on a pot of gold worth several hundred million dollars. WMF, go advertise elsewhere. Cullen328 (talk) 19:22, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose per Blueraspberry above. Ajpolino (talk) 04:21, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: I am completely unmoved by the high powered commenters swooping in below. The Foundation has huge assets, and if it chooses to spend its own money on funding other projects and other wikis, so be it. The English Wikipedia's users are the heavy donors? Alright, I'll buy that, but if the WMF wants to dun en-wiki's userbase to fund those other projects and wikis, let them explicitly make that case. And if that case doesn't move the users to open their wallets, so bloody well be it. Like many another respondent, I've poured hundreds of hours over the better part of two decades to help make this wiki so very valuable, and the least the WMF can do is be honest with us. Ravenswing 10:31, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose: The statements by the Board and WMF representatives below are appalling. No one can drop the Powerpoint Presentation Vocabulary and actually address the points being made, so instead now they're resorting to veiled threats. Just address the damn problems with the Tech Wishlist and NPP, for starters, like a real person. No one cares about how much you "respect the vision" and "want to work hand-in-hand to workshop how best to address the challenges". Are you, or are you not, going to actually put the money you're manipulating our readers into sending you into supporting the needs of the community? It sounds like not. So no banners. Parabolist (talk) 10:46, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    +1, the corporatespeak is annoying. Levivich (talk) 14:10, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. I had been trying to think of changes I could suggest that would make even one of these banners acceptable. There aren't any. The WMF doesn't need any more money to fulfil its purpose, keeping the servers running and maintaining and improving the software in support of the projects. It has a huge endowment, has steadily increased its surpluses, and is spending large amounts of money on projects way beyond its remit, including the conferences, while much of its software expenditure winds up impeding work on the projects rather than facilitating it (whether through failures of planning like not pre-testing breaking updates or through ignoring volunteer needs as in not building talk page functionality into the mobile apps from the start). The glancing mention of in one banner Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day is revealing: the WMF's monetary support for volunteers is limited to choosing a favored few to give tickets to junkets, and to underwriting regional associations who see the WMF as presiding over the projects rather than supporting them. The WMF shouldn't be fundraising to finance editors, doesn't need to fundraise any further to do its job, and is asking for money yet again in ways that show it's lost sight of its role, or, worse, seeks to mislead peopleso it can do things other than what they believe they are donating for. Yngvadottir (talk) 11:12, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support $2.75 per annum is a lot less than paying $8/month for a blue tick on Twitter. And being affluent is a lot better than being billions in debt. So we should count our blessings and be glad that our project has a good cash cushion. Naturally there's a debate to be had about what's to be done with the money – I'd like more and better library facilities to assist article writing, for example. But that's a different question. Andrew🐉(talk) 12:58, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose all banners that humbly ask you to support Wikipedia's independence. Giving money to the WMF is not supporting Wikipedia's independence. Arguably it's doing the opposite. This RfC speaks loud and clear to the Foundation's Board that the English Wikipedia community is independent. I support a short-term, first-time block on the fundraising banners (12 to 24 hours) as a behavioral sanction on the Foundation. This block must be allowed to stand in order to re-establish or reconfirm the independence of the English Wikipedia editing community. If the Foundation prevents or reverts such a block before it's run its course that would signal and establish that the English Wikipedia community is not an independent equal of the Foundation (separation of powers) but rather is subservient to the Foundation. I'm more concerned about the Foundation's independence than Wikipedia's. The more influential Wikipedia becomes, thanks to Google, Alexa and Siri, and the larger the pot of cash under Foundation stewardship grows, the more vulnerable the Foundation becomes. What's stopping some billionaire like Elon Musk from bribing 50% + 1 of the Board members with cash (say $100 million each) in return for nominating Elon's picks to the board and then resigning their seats? wbm1058 (talk) 15:02, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose all banners. We already badger readers enough with banners about fundraising and donating when most of it is not used for Wikipedia's purpose in the first place, and is instead funnelled to other purposes as outlined by others like Bilorv.  Spy-cicle💥  Talk? 23:26, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Leave the banners be like Wugapodes I'm not sure we should be micromanaging the fundraising banners. I'm particularly concerned about the implications of the English wikipedia community being the one to micromanage banners since it feed the perception that the English wikipedia community is the only one who gets a say effectively riding roughshod over other communities particularly the small ones. But I'm also concerned about the way we're handling this. I appreciate we're in a bit of a catch 22 situation here since the WMF only offered their banners on November 14 and they're due to run soon OTOH the banners are fairly similar to the stuff they've always been running and the time frame of when they'll run their banners is known well in advance. If we want to get into another superprotect fight with the WMF, it seems to me we need to make sure to dot our Is and cross our Ts. A rushed RfC is not the way to do that. Even more when that rushed RfC isn't well advertised. Yes it's on cent, but it's very unclear from that cent notice that we plan to get into a superprotect fight with the WMF by trying to hide their fundraising banners without their agreement. The notice on ANI at least let those who check out ANI & saw it know, still ANI is only a small subset of active editors. The participation in this RfC is low compared to some other RfCs. Maybe it's simply because editors don't care enough either way, maybe it's because they don't know what being planned. The net result of all this is that if anyone in the media decides to write about the drama, the WMF will easily be able to spin this into a minority of editors making a decision without following their normal processes. Despite the catch-22, we still handle it better. For example, we could have had a properly advertised RfC running the full 30 day period where we came to an agreement to get into a superprotect fight with the WMF over the fundraising banners if they did not adequately address our concerns with the clear agreement that we'd come to that final decision in a rushed and shortened RfC as necessitated by the WMF's time frame, and then this as a final RfC on whether to go ahead after the WMF posted their samples. While I'm sure they'd still try, it would be far harder for the WMF to spin something where they forced the timetable and we did everything like we normally would to make such a drastic decision. As for the banners themselves, I'm in two minds. On the one hand, I've generally personally found them misleading and agree that I don't think many people who read them and including most who donate really know much about what the WMF does, where the money goes etc, and it is quite likely many don't appreciate that almost no money goes to editors who actually write the encyclopaedia. OTOH, I get it that the reality is this is how stuff tends to work everywhere and perhaps more importantly It'd unlikely many donors are interested in reading the stuff they'd need to actually understand how things work, where their money goes etc. But in the end, I think the WMF should seriously consider being more honest and less naggy as much as that's possible in a simplified banner even if it reduces donations. Finally, I'm not as negative about how the WMF spends their money as some, or about the direction in general as many; in particular I think there's IMO an unfortunate tendency by the community to conflate what regular experienced editors prefer with what less experienced editors would find useful and especially with what readers may find best. However there are some areas which are IMO hard to defend, in particular, their failure to devote sufficient resources to stuff which will not harm readers or their other efforts in any way yet which does matter to regular editors. NPP is an obvious one raised a lot here, but there are plenty of others, I'd put the failure over sight impaired CAPTCHAs as another one since as difficult as that is, for a long time that seem to receive very little attention (it looks like it slightly improved recently [5] but still not enough & let's remember this is 15+ years old). Concurrent with that while ACC is a community thing and it looks like the long backlog has finally been solved (Wikipedia talk:Request an account), AFAIK the WMF never really tried to see if they could work with the community perhaps even devoting paid staff to the task to help with the situation if they could come to some sort of agreement. The combined result being those with problems might have had to wait months before they could edit. (There may have been alternative ways for those who explored enough but many people aren't going to explore enough to find them so this was a really shitty way to treat editors.) Another example would be talk page notifications on the mobile website and mobile apps. This is one case where I've fiercely disagreed with those who suggest they are useless, pointing out the evidence to the contrary especially for readers. And I also somewhat understand why the WMF dislikes talk pages especially for mobile users. However none of this changes that the situation of such editors not having any idea what was going on was never acceptable, I mean it even affected block notices in some cases. The 5% proposal would help in this regard but the WMF also needs to change stuff so they're not continually ignoring stuff which do matter to the editing community and which don't in any way harm or conflict with their wider efforts. (The CAPTCHA issue is a particularly interesting example of this given the obvious contradiction between trying to be social responsible and yet utterly failing on accessibility.) Nil Einne (talk) 01:01, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Know my comment is already very long but just clarify that a better process of doing this also mean the WMF would have had adequate time to respond to the community and it'll be hard for them to claim otherwise. If for example, we came to a decision to do this in principle before 1 September, they'd have 3 whole months where we'd told them, we're going to try and stop your fundraising banners if you don't address our concerns and this is how we'll decide if you have. It'd be far harder for them to claim, 'well we had no time, how on earth do you expect us to fix something which takes months of planning in a 2 weeks?'. Beyond the media angle, I think it's in everyone's interest that everyone is given adequete time. Yes the WMF may not have given us much time, but this doesn't excuse us not giving them any time either. We can be better than them! Nil Einne (talk) 01:19, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Qualified support I really don’t think we have the numbers here to flat out decide that the WMF shouldn’t be allowed to run banners at all. I’m not saying that is a discussion we shouldn’t have (along with the question of the alarming increase in foundation spending) but its the kind of thing that will need to be more widely advertised and better structured.
  • Desktop large could be trimmed a bit. lose the “This Wednesday, for the 1st time recently” Seen far to many of these things of late for the claim of recently to hold up. You run far to many trials. “Many think they’ll give later, but then forget.” doesn’t seem to add much information. “We don't run ads, and we never have.” isn’t technically true but I’ll accept that whoever wrote this is probably a decade too new to remember the virgin matching funding issue. Beyond that OK I guess.
  • Mobile large lives up to its name. It takes up 2/3rds of a 4K monitor. But mobile isn’t my thing.
  • Mobile small Drop the “We've never run ads” and I quite like this one. ©Geni (talk) 02:16, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose The language of these banners is unethical and untruthful and makes me unconfortable. The WMF does not need more money. I would much rather they rein in their spendthrift ways first. OrgoneBox (talk) 02:57, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: Just a comment from me, but I have thought in the past that the WMF's fundraising banners to be very.....guilt trippy, if not outright manipulative. I also share concerns of multiple editors here in the way the money's being spent. I can't remember where I read it, but someone said somewhere that there's bugs on Phabricator dating back to the early 2010's that are still not resolved. That's pretty revelatory to me. JCW555 (talk)♠ 03:20, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Strong oppose - Where is this money going? A small amount goes towards server infrastructure. Another small percentage goes to the developers. Very little, if any, goes towards assisting editors with creating the encyclopedia. What about the rest? Reaper Eternal (talk) 03:51, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support/Satisfied. I am commenting as a long-time editor (since 2003), a former WMF community-elected trustee, and a current trustee of the Wikimedia Endowment, so I can speak from first-hand experience on several of the points raised by various commenters. It costs much more to run a global web project ethically and sustainably -- a project that is constantly getting sued, getting ddos'd, and trying to expand languages, features and projects and support its community of editors -- than you think it does. The Endowment, even with its generous funding to date, does not have enough to run Wikipedia for long even if we spent down all the principle immediately, which, uh, is not how endowments work. And I was around and participated in helping with the fundraiser before we had any paid staff to support it; we do not want to do that again. I am sad to see so many people here confusing dissatisfaction with the WMF spending priorities and annual plan (valid!) and the specific language and size of the banners (also valid!) with the idea of fundraising to keep the site an ad-free non-profit. How exactly do you all think the projects -- not Wikimedia, but the projects -- would run without English Wikipedia fundraising? Yes, Wikipedia fundraising supports the rest of the ecosystem -- and how exactly do you think Wikipedia would work without Commons photos, say, or without the legal team supporting editors who get sued, or the tech team fixing bugs and keeping the site up? We can turn the fundraiser down, or off, of course! But there are real-world consequences: services being lost and people losing jobs. The WMF is not perfect, and yes, there's been a years-long debate over toning down the banner language (though they are more measured compared to past years, seems like). But the extreme responses here are not reflective of our greater community of editors (the vast majority of whom have not commented here, and probably don't even follow RfCs), and they are not reflective of members of the public who are proud to donate to Wikipedia. I have done outreach for many years in many settings, speaking and writing about Wikipedia and organizing events, and have talked to hundreds, probably thousands, of people about the process of being an editor. People love to tell me that they have donated: they want to participate in this remarkable thing we've built. This RfC -- or rather the comments some have made -- have strong cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face vibes. In recent weeks, we've seen what reckless management can do to well-established tech companies. The Wikimedia Foundation is much, much smaller than that company, and our community is more fragile. Let us not be reckless with our own infrastructure. phoebe / (talk to me) 04:27, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The comments here are reflective of everyone who wants to find a simple piece of free knowledge on their phone, but is instead forced to deal with a full page banner ad that makes their life worse. It's important to minimize or eliminate these interruptions, unless they're necessary to fulfill the mission of getting those people free knowledge.
    I agree that the reckless management of the WMF has caused a problem by expanding the budget at an unsustainable pace, and then using that expansion to justify advertising that implies the site would disappear. It's unfortunate that it takes a crisis to bring the WMF to the table, but that's another failing of the WMF. It isn't clear why support for projects would be affected, when there is a lot that could be saved by cutting things like the pointless Movement Strategy work, the Brand Studio, Equity Grants, and other ways the WMF spends money on things other than projects.
    Finally, would it be possible to get the current value of the assets that compose the endowment, and what the Tides foundation takes to manage that money? As an Trustee of the Endowment, you're in a position to know. The value of the endowment really matters when we're considering ads that imply that $2.75 would make a difference as to if Wikipedia thrives or not. TomDotGov (talk) 04:51, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    TomDotGov, you are agreeing with something that I did not say; I didn't say there'd been reckless management at the Foundation. I was referring to Twitter, which has been dominating the headlines so I figured everyone would get the reference. Re: Endowment balances, that info is here. I expect we'll publish updated numbers in Jan, though I can check on that. It's not wildly different from the start of the year -- we've gotten gifts this year of course, but the market has also gone haywire, so the exact number fluctuates. Regardless, you can figure out that at best we'll generate a few (1-5) million in investment returns to support Wikimedia projects this year, since the point of the endowment is you hold on to the principle and re-invest or divest the earnings: we don't spend the 100M. Those returns are not enough to keep the lights on for Wikipedia for any definition of that work. I don't know the Tides expenses off the top of my head (and we're entering a holiday break in the US so I'm not going to bother the staff), but it, along with the rest of our operating expenses (staff time, legal support, etc), is not a great amount. (Tides is also not a "forever" solution; they are a good and responsible fiscal sponsor, who I have also worked with for other unrelated organizations, for when you're getting a new organization off the ground. It saves money to have various functions centralized, and enables you to move faster). -- phoebe / (talk to me) 23:50, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "It's important to minimize or eliminate these interruptions" that is exactly what the WMF fundraising team does. Every year for over a decade they've been testing banner language and designs to try and optimize for showing the least number of banners per reader to hit the budget, and then they stop. Like phoebe said, what's the alternative? You can argue about the particular budget items (I probably agree with you about axing some of those items listed) but the actual method by which we fund the movement is precisely aimed at gaining the money we need with the least impact on readers possible. Steven Walling • talk 05:29, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not convinced that the WMF fundraising team does try and optimize for showing the least number of banners per reader to hit the budget; the number of banners per reader has remained constant at 10, and the duration of the campaign has been slowly growing, from 31 days in 2020 to 33 days in 2022. I'm also not convinced that they stop when they reach the budget; when was the last time the campaign was terminated before it reached its scheduled end date?
    In addition, fundraising effectiveness is not the only consideration - the banners must be moral. BilledMammal (talk) 05:57, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The duration matters less than the number of banners shown per reader, if we care about how much we're distracting each person from reading Wikipedia. The number of days has also grown because our total traffic is flat or declining, in addition to the budget increasing. Steven Walling • talk 06:37, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @BilledMammal: The WMF does not stop when they reach the budget.
    In 2020–2021, WMF Advancement started out with a revenue goal of $108 million for the Foundation ($88 million from online gifts, $10 million from major gifts and $10 million from chapters): [6]. In the second quarter, this was raised to $125 million (by increasing the online gift target to $105 million): [7] By the end of the year, however, WMF Advancement had taken $154 million, including $125 million in online gifts. [8] So it exceeded its own target by $46 million, most of this on the backs of people donating online. (I wrote about this for the Daily Dot last year: [9])
    It was much the same in 2021-2022: by the end of the third quarter, Finance & Administration announced "We have already met our fundraising target of $150M [sic, $42M higher than the year prior] and are expecting to exceed our Online and Major Gifts targets". [10] They then went fundraising in India, South Africa and South America, telling people there in emails to donate money "to keep Wikipedia online" and "to keep Wikipedia free and independent", and on banners to donate "to protect Wikipedia's independence" or "sustain Wikipedia", much like on these present banners. The fundraising total at the end of the year was $165 million, $15 million over target. [11]
    Incidentally, the links I am quoting here are the Tuning Session presentation decks which we were recently told the WMF would no longer publish (see Signpost report). Perhaps people can see now that no longer publishing the quarterly Tuning Session decks causes a very real loss of transparency and community oversight.
    I do recall the Foundation did stop early once, in 2016, after the much maligned Andrew Orlowski made a fuss in The Register about the WMF smashing its target with two weeks of the fundraiser left [12] and a subsequent mailing list discussion. Andreas JN466 08:49, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The alternative I think would be best would be to return the WMF to what it seemed to be at its start, a fiscal, technical, and legal sponsor for the various Wikis. The ideal fundraising message is "Your donation supports Wikipedia", and making sure it will, not because of trickery like the WMF trying to rename itself the 'Wikipedia Foundation', but because the funds are under Wiki control. Ideally, everything to beyond the actual cost of the fundraising (like credit card fees) would be under the control of Wikipedia or the other Wiki that raised it, and could be given to fund grants to the WMF, other Wikis (like Commons), and even outside entities that support the mission, like programmers to implement features the WMF can't and won't. TomDotGov (talk) 07:40, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Phoebe, you speak of a "public who are proud to donate to Wikipedia": I would argue that they are proud because the WMF has fooled them into thinking they are helping a friend in need (Wikipedia), rather than supporting rampant WMF growth. We know that millions of people even think the WMF writes Wikipedia, or checks and curates its contents. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
    To reiterate: I have nothing against WMF growth, but people should know what they are funding. They are not funding an organisation that "often struggle[s] to have enough money to keep Wikipedia up and running", as this WMF PR fluff piece made several hundred thousand TV viewers believe last year: [13].
    Lastly, I would echo the request above to let us know how much money is in the Endowment now, and how much Tides is being paid to manage the fund. And please publish the Endowment's financial statements for the past six-and-a-half years, detailing any other expenses there may have been, or tell us in your official capacity, on the record, that other than the stated Tides management fee there have been no expenses whatsoever and that every penny that has entered the Endowment still is in the Endowment. I will take a failure to answer as an indication that there have been outgoings from the fund. Regards, --Andreas JN466 09:04, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Andreas, I'm not sure why you think information is owed to you personally from me or from anyone, paid or volunteer. I suppose it's because you've used much of the information you've demanded to make a nice line for yourself over many years criticizing the WMF's operation, which is a bit like a limpet hanging on to the hull of a ship and complaining vociferously about the free ride. "I will take a failure to answer"? You can take whatever you like, but it doesn't make you correct. I answered TomDotGov above about the endowment, in as much detail as I am going to in this mess of an RfC. I do want to publish more detailed information eventually, because the one thing we agree on is we should publish more information about the endowment in general, but it's not going to be right this second, here. (And the Endowment is largely irrelevant to the topic of annual fundraising, anyway; they serve two different purposes and any returns that we could grant to the WMF this year are not going to be a large percentage of the budget). -- phoebe / (talk to me) 23:50, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Phoebe: I will note that the information that you are referring User:TomDotGov to above was actually added by me, as no one at the WMF saw fit to update the figures on the public-facing page for over a year.
    I don't think you owe information to me personally; I think you owe it to the community, and to the general public. Regards, --Andreas JN466 00:06, 24 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Concerned more by the RFC approach than the problem. I think the underlying concerns about the banners are mostly reasonable, and I agree with some of them if not all. In general, I am sometimes annoyed by what WMF are doing, and I roll my eyes equally often at the people who are convinced the community and WMF are irreconcilable monolithic blocs; I find this framing a bit unhelpful and over the years I have tried to avoid engaging with it.
Having said all that, I just can't support the approach of an RFC that takes as its basic premise "the framers of this RFC have declared the enwiki community gets to approve the exact wording of banners, or insist they are turned off" - it feels like a really substantial change in the way things are run, presented as a very routine thing. There are comments in this discussion about holding our banners to our own standards of verifiability, which is not the worst idea: but from that same angle, any content RFC presented like this would rightly be challenged as begging the question. It presumes no-one would say the status quo is fine" or "I would like to leave WMF to it", or even maybe "these are real and concerning problems but should be addressed in a different way". Andrew Gray (talk) 12:58, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Do not undo any banners deployed by the Foundation: Per WP:CONSENSUS policy, it is fine to hold an RfC on messages to be sent to the foundation but also per CONSENSUS policy, editors and administrators of English Wikipedia MUST NOT undo the Foundation, here. No RfC such as this can override the Consensus policy, the policy is the overriding consensus. Please further note, that "Wikipedia" is fairly well encompassing all projects of the Foundation, per Wikipedia.org. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:13, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • WP:IAR and ample precedent of the WMF only acting when forced tot he limit, and delaying over and over again (see, well, basically anything WMF imposed that turned out to be unwanted by enwiki but which was very hard to get rid of again). Plus, the page has no "MUST NOT undo the Foundation" but is a lot more nuanced and restricted, it even starts with "Certain policies and decisions". Please don't misrepresent policy. I'm not certain what your final point wants to convey, this RfC is only for enwiki, no decisions about banners on other Wikimedia sites (including other language Wikipedias) can be made here obviously. Fram (talk) 14:28, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      I did not put it in quotes, you did, in an apparent effort to misrepresent my comment. No policy is misrepresented, MUST NOT is a fair rendering of what is linked there in policy (my linking itself also demonstates your claim regarding representation is a canard). It's the same policy by which undoing of acts of the Arbitration Committee MUST NOT be undone. Banners are a "certain act" one that has been done since forever. I added the last sentence to clear up apparent confusion over "Wikipedia". Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:37, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • I made "an apparent effort to misrepresent" your comment by putting a quote from your comment in quotes? I think "Wikipedia" isn't the only thing you are confused about. I edit conflicted with your additional sentence, no idea what that is supposed to prove. You seem to mean that "certain decisions" may not be undone, banners are a "certain act", so banners may not be undone? If that is indeed what you mean, then you need lessons in logic and language. Fram (talk) 14:53, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        CONSENSUS policy expressly upholds "decisions" and "acts" of the Foundation, and by logic, acts flow from decisions. I need no such lesson, and quite obviously your comments such as that are poor and unproductive. Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:00, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        Uh, no. It expressly upholds "decisions, rulings and acts of the WMF Board and its duly appointed designees", not acts of the Foundation. Fram (talk) 15:04, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        The Foundation can only make decisions and take acts through its board and designees. That's true of all such organizations. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:11, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        • Not really, the Foundation would not work effectively in that scenario, but I don't think it is worth my time continuing to correct all your errors here, I guess most people will have seen by now how your advice should be taken. Fram (talk) 15:29, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          Only people make decisions and take acts - that is the only way it works. The board (people) designates (a decision and action) the executive power (the power to execute, that is to decide and act for the organization) is held in other people. Others can see what I say is correct, and per policy, and they got that in my first comment, before your unhelpful and erroneous interventions. --Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:50, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          When I remove the parts in brackets, I'm not even left with a sentence here: "The board designates the executive power is held in other people." Fram (talk) 16:15, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
          What quibble. It is the board, who are people, that decide and act to designate other people to have the executive power, the power to decide and act for the organization. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:33, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        I seriously doubt that "the board and its designees" actually means "the board and the foundation employees", seems a rather tortuous way to say something simple if that is what is meant. But we obviously won't convince each other. Fram (talk) 16:47, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        No, "employees" is too limiting. Agency encompasses all representatives of the organization, including employees. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:33, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
        Well, I'm curious, Alan. What is the WMF going to do about it if the community does proceed with its threaened civil disobedience and block the banners? Fire all the volunteers? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:29, 24 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I agree with Fram when they point out that this policy does not appear to apply here, a position that it appears the WMF shares based on #Comment from Nataliia, Chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees. Further, if it does apply then WP:IAR applies; this is the sort of extraordinary situation that that policy was written for. BilledMammal (talk) 22:01, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • I agree with this. WP:CONEXCEPT (and, relatedly, WP:OFFICE) has long recognised that there are some issues beyond the power of English Wikipedia editors. This is one of them. Further, as Andrew Gray points out above, this RFC is structured in a strange way. Contributors are invited to support or oppose the wording of the WMF's fundraising banners; but then the conclusion from the RFC will be an attempt not only to revise the fundraising banners, but that the result should be the English Wikipedia attempting to ban the WMF from using its largest fundraising stream. I do not believe the RfC is worded to prompt contributors to think about its consequences; for instance the idea of blocking the WMF from actually fundraising is buried in the 'information' section. That said, I do not believe any RfC, however worded, would have a mandate to do so. The Land (talk) 19:10, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. How will we have money for Wikipedia if English Wikipedia does not advertise? This is biggest project, so we must advertise for donations. Ghost of Kiev (talk) 15:20, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    See, this is part of the problem. This is a new-ish editor who has been led to believe that these funds are being raised for Wikipedia. LEPRICAVARK (talk) 20:59, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support - the banners are fine and Steven Walling (talk · contribs) and Phoebe (talk · contribs) have put things much better than I could. ThadeusOfNazereth(he/him)Talk to Me! 21:09, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support, especially the small mobile banner. I appreciate the specific examples of where funding goes. 🐶 EpicPupper (he/him | talk) 23:22, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Support. Oh, I have my problems with the Foundation, but trying to stop this fund-raising campaign will not do anybody any good. It has been painful watching this RfC. It has made me worry about the future of the project. Under other circumstance I probably would have passed on participating here, but this idea that a consensus here to oppose would lead to attempts to block the Foundation banners is enough to force me to support the Foundation plans. - Donald Albury 01:51, 24 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Discussion (2022 fundraising banners)[edit]

  • I do feel it should be fairly clearly noted that the effects of a local project severing the capability of the WMF to do a majority of their fundraising is likely to be...drastic. Some might actually view that as a feature not a bug, others may view it as a price worth paying. Personally (if perhaps mildly dubiously) I would reserve blocking the fundraising banners for a situation where the WMF is even more obstinate than some past occasions. Whatever your position on it, every person participating in this RfC should be aware of the potential for dispute. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:36, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Short of totally disabling the banners, I wonder if it would be possible to tone them down a bit with common.css? We could get rid of the big red outline, disable the sticky-positioning, and shrink the big donation buttons. Removing the sticky banner is especially justifiable because it's a real hindrance when trying to read an article. I don't know if it's possible with CSS, but I like the idea of moving the banner to the very bottom of the article, where I've seen donation banners on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy website.small jars tc 23:03, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      • @SmallJarsWithGreenLabels: if we're able to modify the banners beyond just an on and off toggle, then at that point, we may as well rewrite them in big neon letters stating that the WMF doesn't need more money. Hell, we could have an RFC where we all decide to larp as those characters from Les Mis who barricade themselves in that street and point to an open letter where we lay out the fundraiser's problems.
        I jest (somewhat), but I feel I have to point out that if we can change things, and use those powers to move a banner, shrink things a bit and get rid of an outline, it's a bit of a wet fart. It doesn't feel like the right response if this has been going on consistently for so many years, and if we are going to admit to this fundraiser causing harm, or at least being unethical. I can understand starting small and ramping up, but I think there's a conversation to be had about whether we grab their attention and stop it now, or do this in stages before hitting the kill switch.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 23:23, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    If the current decision-makers at the WMF see not being dishonest and misleading as something that destroys their capability to fundraise, then either they should all resign immediately due to being fundamentally unqualified for the task or it was not something worth funding in the first place. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 03:51, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment - slightly off-topic, for those of you who saw that I fairly-recently posted about my personal data potentially being breached by a payment organisation when I contributed to such a banner-appeal. I have now found the letter in the house (that I threw down in disgust), dated 5 December 2011, signed with RL identity by someone who (still) openly self-identifies with the organisation callled Wikimedia UK under Username. There was no tangible product supplied, or service performed, being purely a donation to a charitable body. I have not contributed again, and will never do so. I have not, as yet, formally contacted the payment organisation as I have had trouble accessing the 'old' records (and want to save it, in case they try to cover their tracks by deletion). I noticed in the recent appeal there is a further query: "Can we follow up and let you know if we need your help again?". Clickable Yes/No. It may be that I completed this in 2011, in the expectation of email contact, not that my personal postal address be supplied.--Rocknrollmancer (talk) 22:58, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Note that Wikimedia UK no longer fundraises via banners and is an entirely separate organisation. I would encourage you to email info@wikimedia.org.uk Seddon talk 23:19, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm not quite sure what happened there but if you would like to check what details Wikimedia UK holds about you, please feel free to email us. Thanks, Lucy LucyCrompton-Reid (WMUK) (talk) 16:41, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment on conflicts of interest. In the survey section Seddon, a current WMF employee, has posted a !vote, but has not disclosed their current COI although they have disclosed a past conflict of interest (in my case I've specifically done fundraising as a job at the WMF in the past). Should WMF employees who chose to !vote in this discussion clearly disclose their conflict of interest, or do the unique circumstances of this discussion make it appropriate to not do so? BilledMammal (talk) 23:50, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I'm happy to be more explicit and that was my intent with the existing note. Seddon talk 23:59, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've updated my comment. Seddon talk 00:01, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thank you. BilledMammal (talk) 00:02, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Seddon, given that you are a paid employee, and the fundraising pays your wages, you are clearly in a serious conflict of interest here. I think it is acceptable to make general factual comments in the discussion section, but I can't see it as acceptable that you take part in the vote section. Your vote doesn't actually matter as there is a clear consensus in the Wikipedia community that the WMF fundraising banners are unacceptable; however, as a point of principle, your vote should not be there, and on reflection I'm sure you'll agree. Would you please strike your !vote, and refrain from taking further part in the voting section of this page. SilkTork (talk) 19:13, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Agreed. Seddon's participation at all is inherently manipulative and disingenuous. After being here 16 years they should know better—but since they're WMF I can't be surprised that they don't. Aza24 (talk) 05:13, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I've struck the !vote and indented the comment Seddon talk 02:10, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Phoebe: Similar to this, I am concerned that current trustees of the Wikimedia Endowment would have a conflict of interest here. BilledMammal (talk) 05:47, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Any trustee and the advisory board will have a conflict of interest, as per previous discussions on Pump, because of
    • WMF first. As discussed on Pump, the Trustees WMF policies specify that they must put WMF first, can only be elected if they commit to the mission. The current electoral process makes it relatively easy for manipulation.
    • Personal interest. Trustees and board members do not have to declare travel, accomodation, honorariums, access to GLAM events, funds given to organisations they are/were a member of, Board members have been involved with competitive profit organisations, or could have other COIs.
    • WMF removal of controls. Trustees have a finiancial resposnsblity especially that tied donations and bequests are not re-directed. The removal of certain controls, promotion of staff from within, changes to committee structures, reduction in reporting to the board including the recent removal of quarterly reports, the dumbing down of annual reports, and the increased secrecy and tendency to do things off wiki, puts them and WP at financial risk.
    Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 09:49, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment: I notice a slight rhetorical slant toward identifying Wikipedia with the WMF as a whole; for example, Wikipedia … is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. Wikipedia is maintained by a nonprofit … Without reader contributions, we couldn’t run Wikipedia the way we do. I understand that lay readers may perhaps be better served by a simpler, more idealized view of Wikipedia's workings; nevertheless, this phraseology discomforts me slightly. The choice of libraries and public parks as a simile is (if I may speculate slightly) perhaps indicative of a cathedral mentality on the WMF's part: both examples are maintained by a centralized group of custodians or stewards, who provide a service for the public to see and use but not to touch (i.e., alter). Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better, more volunteer-focused analogy; perhaps a blood bank? I also don't quite like the words "maintained" and "run"; they carry the connotation that the WMF is directly involved in writing and editing the encyclopedia, which is a slight misconception. Perhaps "hosted" and "support", respectively, would be better word choices. In another banner, it's claimed that one's donation enables: Improvements on Wikipedia and our other online free knowledge projects [and] Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you for free every day. It's technically true, perhaps, but I think it's stated a bit too strongly, implying (incorrectly) that the WMF is directly involved (to any significant degree) in the everyday affairs of the encyclopedia.
    Of course, there are probably more salient issues than my rhetorical quibble: the size of the WMF's piggy bank, the way it's publicly portrayed, its intransparency, etc. Perhaps others more knowledgeable than me can address those concerns. Shells-shells (talk) 00:06, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment BilledMammal next time when pinging people, make sure to do so in the RFC and not just at the top of the page and then delete it. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 01:40, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    When I click the notice "Your mention of ... was sent" it still links to this RfC. Does it not for the notice that the mentioned editors receive? BilledMammal (talk) 01:45, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Nope. I get the message "This comment could not be found. It might have been deleted or moved." ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 01:52, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That is annoying. I will make sure to leave the comment in the future. BilledMammal (talk) 01:56, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • It's a small thing, but I'd like to point out the red circled "i" that's at the start of all the banners. It gives the false impression that the text following it is impartial information, rather than a message designed to inspire donations. It should go. small jars tc 08:23, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Query - why do so many of the opposes indicate that running the servers - the equivalent of keeping our lights on, is all the WMF need do? I would have hoped that the significant expenditure on the security team was viewed as beneficial, not to mention some degree of Legal team...and while the bare minimum T&S wouldn't need a disinformation team, I suspect our arbs would rather not have to take over handling CSE, all the threats of harm/suicide and so forth - I'd hope even those preferring a core Foundation would indeed consider them (and their salaries) core. Nosebagbear (talk) 09:12, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • That would be the legal team that said it was ok to hire the outgoing chairman of the board, even though that's a Nonprofit-Board-101-type ethical mistake? The T&S team that brought us WP:FRAM? WMF spends more money on buying corporate stocks, mortgage backed securities, and donating to US political causes (via Tides, where the WMF's General Counsel and others used to work) than it does on Legal and T&S combined. (And that's without even talking about cost/benefit of the Product team.) If this campaign doesn't run, even if we shut off banners for an entire year, the WMF will be fine (they have enough cash reserves), maybe they'll stop treating Wikipedia like a cash trough. Starving this beast is a perfectly logical response to the excesses year after year, the beast doesn't work and we can't really trust it with money. Levivich (talk) 14:36, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      The fact that WMF donated to US political causes and that some of WMF board members has been associated with Tides, that WMF donated to, should be reason enough to seriously question this fundraising. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 20:45, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Some updated figures and open issues:
    • The revenue goal for this year has been raised to $175 million, a $20 million increase year on year.
    • The WMF also plans to increase its expenses in 2022-2023 to $175 million; this is a 56% increase compared to 2020-2021 and a 21% increase year on year.
    • Salary costs have increased by $20 million year on year ($88 million in 2021-2022, vs. $68 million in 2020-2021, a 30% increase).
    • The Foundation reported a $12 million "negative investment income" in 2021-2022; questions about this on the mailing list have gone unanswered to date.
    • The grant totals the community are given on Meta do not match what the WMF tells the IRS in its Form 990 (which is required to be public by law). Questions about this on Meta and on the mailing list have gone unanswered to date. --Andreas JN466 10:33, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      @LMccabe (WMF) and MeganHernandez (WMF): Can you explain why the revenue goal has increased by $20,000,000, despite a conversation in May where you say that the rate of growth seen in past years will not continue in the 2022−2023 fiscal year as we stabilize our growth and also ensure that new resources are delivering maximum impact for our mission? BilledMammal (talk) 11:32, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
      Actually, the new goal of $175 million marks an increase by $25 million in terms of goal-setting, because the 2021-2022 revenue goal was $150 million (up from about $110 million in 2020-2021). That $150 million goal was then exceeded by about $5 million. (The $110 million goal in the year prior was exceeded by over $50 million.)
      So to sum up, in two years the goal has moved from $110 million in 2020-2021, to $150 million in 2021-2022, and now to $175 million for 2022-2023. Andreas JN466 12:39, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Non-profit" Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her 14:30, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • @BilledMammal: I've tweaked the second paragraphs opening sentence on the RfC for accuracy because I'm fairly certain the WMF never shared every banner tested in advance. I know its not something I did, mainly because its essentially impossible to. @JBrungs (WMF) might be able to clarify if that has changed since but its not something I've noticed. Seddon talk 13:22, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks @Seddon and yes we cannot share every banner that will run throughout the campaign. As mentioned in more detail in the Comment by the WMF section, we are actively using feedback from volunteers and readers to create new banners to test all the time. It’s an iterative process and we do not yet have all the banners that will run throughout the campaign to share. In the past we shared the example banners, as we did now. I will try to share more banners as we test them throughout the next weeks on the Village Pump and the fundraising meta talk page. JBrungs (WMF) (talk) 13:28, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Seddon, I've tweaked your tweak to the RfC text. The WMF are perfectly able to share all banners, they just choose not to. Also, anyone who receives payment from the WMF, such as employees, contractors, and grant recipients, has a COI here and really shouldn't be !voting or changing the RfC text or otherwise taking up volunteer time about this issue since the fundraising pays them. Levivich (talk) 14:21, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I think the main point I was looking to clarify here was that banners that would get tested in a months time don't yet exist. Seddon talk 14:55, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    By the WMF's choice. The "iterative process" mentioned above is a choice made by the WMF; they could submit each and every banner for community approval before running them, but they choose not to because they don't want to be slowed down. You had changed the RFC to "not able to provide", which isn't true: they are able. I changed it to "not provided". Levivich (talk) 15:02, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It was per this comment, where JBrungs said they would provide a list of the banners they planned to run. BilledMammal (talk) 23:07, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Comment 2 I would also like to note that one of the things you can redeem via Microsoft Rewards is a donation to the WMF. I don't exactly remember how much is the minimum (since I'm sure you can adjust it) however this may indicate that the WMF has some sort of deal with external companies. I am not accusing the WMF of not truly being a non-profit and getting money from external companies (since the WMF may not even be aware of this Microsoft Rewards thing and Microsoft simply decided that a donation to the WMF should be one of the rewards), however I would like the WMF to clarify whether or not they took any part in the decision to make this one of the rewards you can redeem. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 15:36, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @JBrungs (WMF) and DannyH (WMF): pinging you 2 so I can get an answer. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 14:13, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Just to note that I'm watching this discussion (but also note that I'm not on the board quite yet, so can't do too much more than watch!). There is a lot of bad faith being assumed here, sadly - please remember to also AGF towards the WMF, and keep comments as constructive as possible, particularly on what could be done better with the banners (and isn't just nitpicking). Also to say that I've just nominated the redirect WP:CANCER for deletion (and suggested the destination page gets renamed), since it's quite offensive to anyone that's lost someone to cancer. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 18:56, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mike Peel: I bullet-voted you onto the Board. Why do I now find you bending the knee? If you're going to encourage WMF bad acts instead of seeking reform, you can expect to be opposed when next up for election. While we're on the subject, your mention of your WP:CANCER RfD (with your opinions) might violate WP:CANVASS. Surely you know better. Chris Troutman (talk) 21:38, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Chris troutman: I'm not sure how you got that impression? I mentioned the redirect discussion for transparency, I don't expect mentioning it here would help much with the discussion. AGF is fundamental - particularly here in this controversial topic, let's focus on how to improve things in the future rather than ranting? Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 21:51, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mike Peel: I appreciate you are not on the board yet, but do you have any substantive personal opinion on the fundraising banners? I ask because during the election campaign you strongly supported the statement that "WMF fundraising is deceptive: it creates a false appearance that the WMF is short of money while it is in fact richer than ever." Many of the people above (and in the prior RfC on the fundraising emails) are saying the same thing. Do you still agree with them? I can understand that the prospect of joining a board where you are likely to be outnumbered may be daunting, but there is more at stake here than personal comfort, and fitting in. Andreas JN466 09:52, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've seen worse. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:09, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Mike Peel: I think we all have. Face-smile.svg Does that mean you endorse the banners as they are? --Andreas JN466 08:57, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi Andreas yes, I knew about it. See the thread about it and my reaction to it. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:33, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • A biblical proverb teaches that even a fool can be counted as wise in silence; some, in this discussion, have spoken and shown themselves inept. Others, meanwhile, have articulated sound reason and congruent rationale masterfully, yet they have failed, apparently, to consider how bloated their implyed banner would be once it displayed all of the fact-checked truths their intellect required. The banner designed to assauge all of the concerns raised would (of necessity) be larger than any of the Wikipedia articles where it, otherwise, could be displayed. In my opinion, the RfC itself is flawed in that a "best result" is not even possible between now and December (unless we change our target to December 2023, a change I'd like to see).--John Cline (talk) 04:13, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @John Cline I agee we won't meet the December deadline, but the discussion is beneficial as we need to solve the issue I don't think editors aren't being inept; it's our RfC process which combines option creation with consensus As a contrast, the Internet RfC process (summarised here and on wiki here, (mostly :-)) specifies a problem in a working group and creates some options, interatively consults the community to develop those options and discuss their pros and cons, then they seek consensus. If there are concerns, then back to consultation. Overall, this is in line with our strength of consensus building to do with FAs . @User:Wugapodes's summary of the recent successul sporting RfC made a similar point

    "... the community considered 13 proposals for fixing perceived flaws in NSPORTS. A fundamental problem was that, by the time these proposals were made, most editors had lost interest. For example, the main proposal had over 100 editors weigh-in, but of the 13 other proposals, only two got over 65 participants, and most struggled to get even half the participation of the main proposal. While proposals with 50 participants could achieve consensus, editors tended to be evenly split on most questions."

    Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 06:12, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Megan Hernandez, Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

  • Comment: The topic of “independence” has come up so I wanted to share some background on this concept. In 2013, the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees defined the guiding principles that drives the Foundation’s fundraising strategy to this day. As stated in the Board approved guiding principles:
Part of the job of the Wikimedia Foundation is to ensure that the freedom and independence of the projects is never compromised. To that end, and also because it is extremely effective, we have deliberately chosen a revenue strategy in which a large majority of the funding for the Wikimedia Foundation comes from a large number of small donors in multiple countries around the world. This model limits risk, preserves independence by reducing the ability of any one organization or individual to influence our decisions, and aligns our fundraising practices with our mission by encouraging us to pay attention to the projects’ readers.
We go into this more in our latest Fundraising Report published today that provides more background on banner messaging as well as other critical pieces of communication with donors. We’re gathering valuable input on banner messaging on meta and welcome your ideas to try this year. Thank you for the care you put into this work. MeganHernandez (WMF) (talk) 00:30, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • MeganHernandez (WMF), that's fine, just don't do your fundraising HERE. You are raising money for WMF, we are Wikipedia; in case you haven't noticed, those are two different things. Wikipedia is not the place for advertising or fundraising for any organisation. Use your money to fundraise elsewhere. SilkTork (talk) 10:17, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The main issue with that would be: where else would they advertise the fundraising campaign? Sure they could advertise it on meta, however most readers are here, reading Wikipedia. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 14:02, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Same places as other non-profits advertise. I think all of us have charities that we donate to on a regular basis - they made themselves known to us without using Wikipedia by advertising in the usual places. SilkTork (talk) 16:34, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I don't donate to any charities. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:38, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You donate your labour here. Andreas JN466 17:18, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You might donate your "labour" here, but I donate my labor. Levivich (talk) 19:41, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Face-smile.svg Andreas JN466 20:00, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The best possible way to keep our integrity is to give us money. Loads of money. Give it now. We are unbiased. Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her 15:35, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Lisa Seitz-Gruwell, Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

  • Comment: The Wikimedia Foundation takes a lot of steps to educate our donors. The banner is a very limited communication space and is not the only time our donors hear from us. First, every banner links to a detailed FAQ where we explain in more detail many of the points raised in this discussion. In addition, the WMF produces an annual report each year that is mailed to all major donors and available electronically for all others. We also publish an annual fundraising report and our annual plan, which is pretty rare in the nonprofit sector. We make our 990s and annual audits public. Further, donors can sign up to receive a quarterly newsletter from us that updates them on the foundation’s work and they can also subscribe to Diff. Lastly, we spend a lot of time talking with our donors directly – both in-person and virtually. For example, we have held two events in the last two weeks where senior staff and board members made presentations and directly answered questions from donors. We want our donors to have a deep understanding of the Wikimedia Foundation’s work, which is much more complex than we can explain in any detail in a few sentences in a banner. Thankfully, that is not our only chance to educate our donors about Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Foundation.Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 04:05, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    This is not what we are concerned about. What we are concerned about is distorted truth and unforgiving begging. Plenty of readers and editors have complained about the issue. We had had enough. CactiStaccingCrane (talk) 04:17, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "Every banner links to a detailed FAQ" – This would be good if detailed information on how and why to donate was the only thing accessible through the banner, but much more prominent than those links is an embedded donation dialogue in the desktop large banner, which allows people to donate without informing themselves. Readers looking to inform themselves before donating might not realise they can, because the FAQ link is relegated to a minuscule greyed-out font at the bottom of the banner, in contrast to the flashy design above it. small jars tc 08:04, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For example, we have held two events in the last two weeks where senior staff and board members made presentations and directly answered questions from donors. Are these presentations and QA sessions open to all donors, or only major donors? BilledMammal (talk) 09:29, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    That's all fine Lgruwell-WMF, and you can do as much educating of your donors as you like, but not here on Wikipedia, as that is not the purpose of Wikipedia. This is an encyclopedia - it is not a platform for free advertising. Please use your money to educate your donors through the same means as every other non-profit organisation does. SilkTork (talk) 13:35, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Lgruwell-WMF Can you confim the following split is approximately correct for a $10 donation (including 0.35 processing fee) via endowment and direct to WP?
via Endowment via WP
Transaction fee 0.35 0.35
Bank processing fees 0.10 0.10
Donation Admin, IT, analystics, PR 2.00 2.00
WMF Admin and grants 2.00
Management, bonuses,and in kind 1.00
WMF endowment 1.00
Tides endowment 1.00
Tides grant transaction 2.00
Grantee admin 0.35
Beneficiary 3.20
enWP, Wiktionary, Wikinews etc. Commons, Servers, and any dev requested by Wikis 2.00
Other servers/translation 1.55
Wikimania and Country chapters 1.00
Total 10.00 10.00
  • It asumes
    • wikidata/abstract functions are paid pre-transfer of deWP donations,
    • that office leases are not linked to anyone related to WMF,
    • that brand and communications benefits WMF rather than WP, and does not increase editor retention
    • that Legal works mostly are not related to en or any other WP editors (They specify there is a conflcit of interest if they help editors and average 1 refusal a week for editor information. There are no figures available on mental health support of WP editors
    • that Inuka and selling of data to Google etc are cost neutral,
    • that fundraising and bequests will be self supporting including bonues, or will eventually be paid for by the WMF endowment on receipt of funds
    • that Vector 2022, Mobile etc are paid for by tied donations.
    The breakdown uses publically available information from WMF or like organisations, and activity based costing, Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 08:42, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Appreciate if someone could fix the table- it works on my talk :-(. Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 08:46, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Wakelamp: Done, please check it looks right. --Andreas JN466 10:13, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @JN466 Awesome! Tables drive me nuts . Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 10:21, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The data in this table looks very different than anything I have ever seen. Do you mind including the source? I can direct you to a third-party source that reviews our financial information, Charity Navigator. They publish a three-year average of WMF's financials in three categories: Fundraising (which includes payment processing fees, fundraising staff, our fundraising technical infrastructure, events, mailings, etc.) is 11.5 percent of our expenses. Administration (Finance, legal, HR, governance, etc.) is 13.8 percent of our expenses. Programmatic work (technology, product, grants to affiliates, etc. is 74.5 percent of our expenses. This ratio of programmatic expenses to administration and fundraising expenses is considered good enough for us to receive Charity Navigator's highest rating. Lgruwell-WMF (talk) 22:38, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Rhododendrites[edit]

  • These discussions are so difficult. There are some interrelated elements that it must be hard for WMF staff to separate: objections to manipulative language, objections to misleading language, objections to banners being displayed at all, objections to the size of the WMF budget, objections to how the WMF spends its money [or doesn't], and in some extreme cases objections to the existence of the WMF at all. I suspect there would be fewer objections to manipulative language if it really were the case that we might not be able to keep the servers running next month, or if the community approved of absolutely all of the Foundation's budget items.
    The number of people complaining about the budget, and the banners/messaging related to it, does seem to be growing. I don't know at what point some people will be angry enough to go on strike vs. just making things miserable for the fundraising team, or if enough people would go on strike for day-to-day activities to be radically upended, but it might get there.
    I'd be curious what sort of banner message would get consensus among the folks who participate in these discussions (ideally without snarky sabotage). Like, what's the most effective fundraising message (i.e. most likely to bring in money) that would flip half of the opposes?
    In any event, the foundation needs to give the community more control over some piece of the pie -- something other than grants (which shift the burden of labor/management away from the WMF, when it has staff, expertise, and resources to carry out tasks the community needs/wants). One "easy" thing to get started would be to allocate 5% of the WMF's budget to something like the "community tech wishlist" that allows for more and larger projects. In the end, the more disconnected the people in these threads feel from where the money goes, the more discontent there will be, and the harder it will be for the WMF to do anything on-wiki. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:57, 15 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    You make a very important point in your last paragraph above. We could argue over the precise percentage, but the principle is important.
    I hope someone is listening. Andreas JN466 15:46, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I hope someone is listening: If you mean us, we all are - very intently. If you mean the WMF, well it would appear that they only scan the comments and very superficially. This goes not only for @Seddon, JBrungs (WMF), JVillagomez (WMF), MeganHernandez (WMF), RAdimer-WMF, and KStineRowe (WMF): and the rest of the 26 employees of the fundraising team, but also for all the staff in Product and Engineering. We have forced the WMF into according us a video conference with them, but the very main objective of the exercise has been met with basically a 'not enough money'. The question therefore remains: What does the WMF actually do with it's glut of funds from the donations that the volunteers' work brings in? They might be giving it away to other charities or hiring their friends as consultants. These are the details that are not revealed in their so-called transparency.
    So back on topic: Thus the wording of the banners is extremely misleading and is certainly very wrong to confuse the public between Wikipedia and Wikimedia. The former is a community of volunteers who get no thanks for their work; the latter is a money-making machine pure and simple. A $17m budget for fundraising would out at about $600K for each of the staff, so where does the rest go? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 02:57, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I suspect that donation processing expenses are included in the fundraising budget, but that still leaves $11m, or about $420k for each of the staff, so the question of where the rest goes remains. BilledMammal (talk) 03:16, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    The processing fees of 4.17% for PayPal and credit/debit cards are about right. So yes, where does the rest go? I realise that WMF staff receive extraordinary geneorous remuneration packages and expenses, and in the interests of true transparency perhaps
    @JBrungs (WMF), Seddon, JVillagomez (WMF), MeganHernandez (WMF), RAdimer-WMF, and KStineRowe (WMF): can tell us how much they earn and where the rest goes. A rhetorical question of course because they won't anyway. They certainly don't appear to be concerned that the donations they beg for with their crocodile tears of starvation are driven mainly by the work of the volunteers at en.Wikipedia who don't even get any thanks. let alone the needed technical support. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 03:55, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I would respectfully ask you focus on the institution not the people. This specific comment crosses a line for what I consider acceptable for this discussion. Seddon talk 04:03, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    It doesn't cross a line at all. It is neither a personal attack nor uncivil. It is simply an expression orfopinion or a perception of the motivations of the team that writes these banners and as such it's a clear issue concerning the fundraising team who are listed a the employees of the institution, the WMF, the focus of this entire discussion. If they are not the authors of these misleading banners, I apologise, but then please tell us who is, or what external agency is contracted, and where the money goes. That's all I'm asking. People like us work for many hours for free maintaining this encyclopedia because we believe in what we're doing and many of us on this thread feel we have a right to know. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:27, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I recognise that you might not consider it to have been personal attack, but I did. It crossed a line for me and I genuinely don't think directing that in the way you did is the best way of moving this RfC forward, even if our opinions differ on this matter. This applies especially towards JBrungs, RAdimer and KStineRowe. They aren't executives or directors and these challenges have histories that go back before any of them even worked at the WMF. They are good people, trying to help, doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.
    If we all want to get through this with a good outcome, I think it's vital that we focus our critiques and energies on the organisation and its practices, not taking out frustrations on people.
    Regarding the precise question what I noted when looking on meta was that the staff count based on Fundraising and mw:Fundraising tech is more than the 25 you noted (not sure what that number is based on exactly). Once you factor in the usual 25-50% direct staff overhead costs (pension, healthcare, employment taxes) + time from legal. That back of a napkin calculation already accounts for a massive chunk of what you are referring to. Seddon talk 05:21, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    For reference, there are currently over 50 people working in m:Fundraising and mw:Fundraising tech, going by the people listed on those pages. Overall headcount is now around 700 (the WMF's Staff and contractors page still says "over 550" and is badly in need of an update). Note that this includes several hundred contractors (the ones shown on the Staff and contractors page are marked as such); contractors' pay is not included in the $88 million Salaries and wages total, according to the financials FAQ on Meta. Andreas JN466 11:05, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    On that final point, I think you've misread the FAQ : "Salaries and wages" includes salary, benefits, retirement, wellness, and payroll taxes for full-time and part-time staff members in the US and outside of the US employed by Wikimedia Foundation or its Employer of Record. Staff outside the US employed via an Employer of Record are are a class of contractor whose pay is (I am not an accountant) reported on the Form 990 under salaries and wages. Seddon talk 21:07, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Seddon: Yes, that is my understanding too – if they are employed by the WMF or an Employer of Record. But the people marked as "(Contractor)" on the Staff and contractors page aren't, right? Otherwise they (the US-based ones among them, that is) would be included in the Form 990 Part I line 5 summary, as explained in the Form 990 FAQ (note the following FAQ section as well; it explains what is and isn't included in the “Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits” (now at $88 million) and explicitly says it "does not include fees paid to contractors, vendors, or consultants"). Hence also the Line 5 number of employees is always lower by several hundred than the total on the Staff and contractors page (e.g. 320 for the 2020-2021 form). To be fair, I have asked WMF staff for confirmation on this point several times on Meta (most recently here), and have never heard back—so if you can nail it down one way or the other, I will be very grateful. Cheers, Andreas JN466 22:02, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    By the way, note that there is a breakdown of Fundraising costs here. $7.2 million salaries and wages, $6.2 million processing, $1.8 million professional services (that might be the contractors) plus a couple of smaller amounts. Andreas JN466 22:24, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I am not an accountant, but, my understanding is that US Form 990's uses the term "salaries and wages" very deliberately. The number on Part V line 2a [page 5], 320, I believe specifically refers to the number of employees that are taxable within the United States. I for example am not taxable in the United States because I live and work within the UK and therefore would not be included in that number. To use myself as an example further, whilst I am not employed by the Wikimedia Foundation, I am a salaried permanent full time member of staff. I have an employer of record in the UK and pay standard PAYE tax within the United Kingdom. I am a contractor to the Wikimedia Foundation on that basis. I do receive a salary but via my employer of record and not the WMF. Since it is taxable in the UK but not in the US, I think the result is that it is not "a wage" in the eyes of the IRS but it is a salary. So that would mean I don't get counted in the US taxable employee count but I do get counted in totals for Salaries AND Wages. Now we also have independent contractors who are not salaried, and are not employed via either the WMF or an employer of record (these are generally temporary staff). They would not be included in the US employer number and also would not be included in salaries and wages. Now US tax and accounting requirements are notoriously complex and I could be entirely wrong. Seddon talk 23:13, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Probably worth noting that non-US "salaries" might bundle things like employer national insurance contributions, pension and fees whereas and whereas US "wages" wouldn't. Seddon talk 23:34, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Well, the "salaries and wages" rubric does include "salary, benefits, retirement, wellness, and payroll taxes". The exact breakdown is on page 10 of the Form 990, lines 5–10. Andreas JN466 00:02, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thanks; it's interesting to know that you are listed as a contractor on the S&C page but are employed via an employer of record. That makes this section somewhat contradictory, as "staff members in the US and outside of the US employed by Wikimedia Foundation or its Employer of Record" are included, but "contractors" are excluded. But there can be no such ambiguity with the hundreds of US people working for the WMF as contractors, can there? Their pay must surely be under "Professional service expenses". At any rate, the maximum possible number of non-US people like you would have been 54 per the 2020-2021 Form 990, because that is the total "Number of employees, agents, and independent contractors" in non-US regions. Anyway, any help welcome! Andreas JN466 23:53, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Ah regrettably you've stumbled into another complexity of the Form 990. 54 isn't the maximum since Expenses incurred for services provided in the United States (for example [...] services provided over the Internet) that include recipients both inside and outside the United States shouldn't be reported in Part I. Seddon talk 02:35, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    But that means they wouldn't be in the Salary costs total in Part I anyway ...? Let's continue on your talk page or mine; it is going off topic, as Kudpung says. (Feel free to hat.) Andreas JN466 08:34, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    In case it helps, there are two kinds of "contractors". One kind are people who would probably be employees if it weren't for various laws (US and otherwise) that make it a complicated, expensive, and time-consuming process to establish and maintain a hiring entity, for each individual country where someone works from, so having an "employer of record" company handle all that turns out to be more efficient. That's what Seddon described just above, and it probably applies to most of the other people described as "contractor" on WMF staff pages. The other are contracts with actual software development contracting companies for work on specific projects, e.g. because of bad managers following a fad that it would be cheaper to do that than have staff developers do stuff and coincidentally finding a nearby contracting company to hire. Anomie 23:47, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    "A fad" :-D Levivich (talk) 23:51, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    I try to deliberately refer to the second type as "vendor" to reduce some of this confusion. There is a third type which is individuals on temporary short-term contracts that are not employment contracts. Seddon talk 02:53, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Levivich, Anomie, and BilledMammal: I appreciate what you are all trying to do here, especially Andreas, but it's all getting widely off-topic. Without any intention whatsoever of insulting any individuals - which I didn't but I still believe the the staff shouldn't even be posting in this RfC - I was trying to establish who the group of individuals is who are commissioned with the actual drafting of these excruciatingly inappropriate banner texts, replete with their poor use of the English language, and to find out fairly accurately 1. what the fundraising budget is used for and where the still obvious surplus goes, and 2. why the community is desperately begging for software maintenance while there is such a glut of money which the Foundation refuses to spend on essentials.
    You said it yourself Seddon: I think it's vital that we focus our critiques and energies on the organisation and its practices. These question have been side stepped, and I still strongly condemn both the tone of these banners and their use on this Wikipedia. Let's get on with it and do what has to be done: either the WMF withdraws them, or have them locally banned. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:48, 20 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    @Seddon: I believe the information Kudpung is interested in isn't the amount individual members of the fundraising team earn, but details on where the $17 million goes. How much goes towards salaries, how much goes towards donation processing expenses, and where the rest goes. Can you provide that information, and if not can you pass the request on to someone who can? BilledMammal (talk) 05:20, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    See above for what I worked out on wiki. There is probably also some infrastructure costs in there as well and some contracting costs but given they don't feature on the form 990 things start getting pretty granular. Seddon talk 05:25, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    Thank you for the estimate, but I believe an official breakdown, including the more granular aspects, would be more useful. If you can't provide that, can you forward the request to someone who can? As a response to the broader request for transparency, such a breakdown in all areas of the foundation would also be appreciated. BilledMammal (talk) 05:27, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    My suggestion for a request this detailed would be to send it to answers@wikimedia.org. Seddon talk 21:10, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    One "easy" thing to get started would be to allocate 5% of the WMF's budget to something like the "community tech wishlist". Yes. Something like this is needed (exact percentage can be worked out later). Community tech/the Wishlist is the volunteer's main way of requesting software, and it seems like this is understaffed. We are a rich organization, but as volunteers, sometimes it doesn't feel like that wealth is shared with us in tangible ways, e.g. fulfilling our software requests in a timely manner. –Novem Linguae (talk) 02:02, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    With the amount of money they're talking about raising, you'd think they could do better than "10 requests from the community every two years". --Ahecht (TALK
    PAGE
    ) 01:44, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Jaime Villagomez, Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

  • Comment: Making Wikipedia truly accessible to everyone requires significant, ongoing investment. It requires a substantial technology investment - above and beyond data centers and caching centers, software and infrastructure as well as the engineering staff to support one of the top ten websites in the world. It includes legal support to defend our projects from threats of censorship and support our volunteer communities. It includes supporting the growth of volunteer editor communities around the world - including through our grantmaking practices. This is why we fundraise. And we have so much more to do, if we are to achieve the vision of our movement and be representative of the sum of all knowledge - across languages and regions.
In FY2022-23, our programmatic work will be allocated across a variety of work that supports our communities and websites. We expect roughly the breakdown to be the same as it was in FY2021-22:
  • 43 percent - direct support to websites (engineering improvements, design, legal support)
  • 33 percent - support to the volunteer community through grants, programs, training, tools, advocacy, and other support
  • 24 percent - other (14 percent on administration and governance, 10 percent on fundraising)
As set by our Board of Trustees and outlined in our annual plan, we operate on an annual budget of USD 175 million. In the past fiscal years, as the Foundation has grown we have invested in key areas, including single points of failure in our tech infrastructure, movement-supporting infrastructure including translation, an expanded Global Advocacy team to protect against regulatory threats to free knowledge and censorship, to name a few. In the current and upcoming fiscal years, we do not expect the same budget growth from recent years to continue, as we shared in our annual plan. The increased revenue goal for FY 2022-2023 compared to the previous year is primarily due to an increase in costs due to inflation and a 28% increase ($5M) in the grants budget and less by the growth in the number of employees, which is stabilizing this year.
In line with non-profit best practices, we started this fiscal year with roughly 16 months of operating expenses in our reserves. These are not funds that we use on a day-to-day basis. The reserve can only be accessed in exceptional circumstances, such as an economic crisis and help fulfill the Foundation’s responsibility to ensure the sustainability of Wikimedia projects, as public resources, into the future. This has become especially relevant given the global pandemic and economic turbulence. We keep a target of 12-18 months of operating expenses in our reserve as outlined in a resolution passed by the Board of Trustees in June 2022.
Finally, regarding the question about grants - in the past fiscal year, we increased our overall grantmaking to the movement. In terms of reporting of grant totals, the difference from grant reports on Meta and those shared with the IRS is due to a few things. Firstly, our grants report focuses on our grantmaking programs listed here, while the 990 includes some additional activities that meet the definition of grantmaking. Secondly, there are some instances where the fiscal year period where grants are reported is different in the 990 and the grant report. This is the case for some instances where grants cover multiple fiscal years. Lastly, the 990 geographic classifications are different from the Foundation’s grantmaking regions. This is because some of the regional classifications in the 990 aren’t representative of our movement.JVillagomez (WMF) (talk) 23:20, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  1. The "33 percent - support to the volunteer community through grants, programs, training, tools, advocacy, and other support" would be about $50 million. This is about five times the Awards and grants total once you account for the five million going to Tides. What exactly do you include in those 33%? Mathematically, it must include a significant part of the salary bill.
  2. The Grantmaking figures for South Asia and other regions are far smaller on the Form 990, are they not? See m:Talk:Grantmaking/Reports/2020-2021.
  3. Where is the public accounting for the $4.223 million Tides Advocacy were given in 2019/2020 together with the $4.5 million they were given for the Knowledge Equity Fund?
  4. supporting the growth of volunteer editor communities around the world - including through our grantmaking practices: Does this mean paying consultants and organisers so they can then try to get people in poor countries to edit for free?
  5. What is the reason for this year's negative investment income (a $12 million loss)?
  6. Going from a target of $108 million to a target of $175 million in two years has little to do with inflation (currently below 8%) or the ability to increase grant expenses, given that the Foundation had a $60 million surplus over the course of those two years ($70 million if you include the fact that its "expenses" included $10 million it paid to Tides for its own endowment). It's about growth"the fundraising team will be increasing targets in each of their major streams" – while the fundraising banners speak of "protecting" and "sustaining". It's appalling.
Andreas JN466 00:37, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Let's talk a bit for your numbers here. Let's not talk about "support for the volunteers" for a moment, those are really problematic but let's skip that for a moment. Let's talk about 24 percent that you "need" for administration and fundraising. Let's compare it to charities that I frequently donated to. Goodwill is at 13 percent. St Jude is at 18 percent. Samaritan's Purse is at 23 percent. Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) are at 10 percent. The only number that are close to Wikipedia are Samaritan's Purse, all other charities are performing at a far better efficiency than WMF. I didn't expect a religious charity to be performing better than WMF, but here we are - WMF performed worse than Samaritan's Purse. With huge reach of Wikipedia, surely you should have performed better than all of these organizations? All of these organizations are sending out mails every month asking for donation, they open up buildings for operation, but still WMF is LESS EFFICIENT than all of them. I have received donation request from St. Jude and Samaritan's Purse and similar organizations, all with clear humanity issues, but the language of their donation request is far less "whiny" than WMF. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 17:04, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm not an accountant, nor am I a software engineer, but putting boxes asking for donations on Wikipedia doesn't seem exactly like seventeen and a half million dollars of expenses. Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her Dialmayo (talk) (Contribs) she/her 14:14, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

43 percent - direct support to websites (engineering improvements, design, legal support) 33 percent - support to the volunteer community through grants, programs, training, tools, advocacy, and other support 24 percent - other (14 percent on administration and governance, 10 percent on fundraising)

Can the WMF issue a more-detailed breakdown of those figures in its budget, like using the same line item descriptions as are used on its Annual Financial Statements and/or Form 990, so the public could see a real budget-v-actual with the three classes (direct, community, admin)? 43% of $175M is $75 million. How many full-time engineers does that pay for? 33% is $57M. How much of that actually gets given away in grants, and what is the rest used for? And 10%--$17.5 million--on fundraising, how is that spent? Are we airing a Superbowl commercial? These are very broad categories, and I have a hard time matching the Annual Plan categories with the Financial Statement and Form 990 line items. Thanks, Levivich (talk) 00:33, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Making Wikipedia truly accessible to everyone requires significant, ongoing investment" – This is just wrong. Like almost everything else on this website, it requires volunteer effort, not money, doing tasks like adding language metadata, recording spoken Wikipedia, and refactoring templates for mobile responsivity, to make Wikipedia truly accessible. The current software itself has a high standard of accessibility, and the money the WMF spends on changing it in projects like "Vector 2022" will do little but cause layout issues that the same volunteers will waste their time correcting. –small jars tc 16:29, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment by Selena Deckelmann, Wikimedia Foundation[edit]

  • Comment: Hi everyone! I’m Selena Deckelmann, the WMF’s new Chief Product and Technology Officer. I hope I can add some detail and color to this important conversation. I joined the Foundation about four months ago, and I’ve spent that time learning about the sheer scale and complexity of the technical infrastructure that powers our work. (Krinkle shared this diagram with me recently and it’s a fascinating view of just one large part of what it takes to support 950 separate wiki instances and a website that is among the top 10 in the world.) I’ve read some of the comments here comparing our costs now to ten or fifteen years ago. These estimates are outdated, and do not account for the growth of content and traffic our sites support today, and the increasing challenges of a more complex, dangerous and sophisticated internet. Back then, we did not have a sustainable model for the engineers who keep the site reliable, we didn’t have backups, and we didn’t have a second data center.
Compared to that snapshot from ten or fifteen years ago, the Foundation’s scale has increased to support the need - for our readers as well as for our contributors, for all of you. We now have two main data centers, four caching data centers in Amsterdam, Marseille, Singapore and San Francisco, and 32 internet peering connections. These systems ensure that wherever a person is in the world, Wikipedia and related projects are able to be accessed, quickly and reliably.
We maintain the software and infrastructure for all of these wikis and over 2600 community-contributed tools. We have more than 40 product and tech teams managing more than 500 software extensions, products, features and libraries that each require specialized skillsets (1+2), more than 3.2 million lines of code as of September 2022, 900+ customized instances of MediaWiki that need a ton of code-testing for every change (1), 50,000+ open phab tasks (1), and 50+ wishlists (1). We also maintain substantial data infrastructure that enables volunteers to gain direct access to wiki content and to analytical information about the wikis, and the Toolforge platform for volunteers to host tools which assist their work. The projects are now more reliable and faster than they’ve ever been; even during the record-breaking page visits we saw after the death of the Queen of England, Wikipedia never went down, when a fraction of that amount of views would have taken the site offline before.
This is an enormous volume of work, yet our overall efforts are still quite lean compared to the scale of needs on our sites. For example, before we added our latest Marseilles data center, staff internally used to worry that our primary European data site in Amsterdam was "too big to fail". It’s safe to say that maintaining Wikipedia, and supporting it as it grows with infrastructure and software improvements, is an enormous effort. This effort increases in scale and complexity each year, even as we seek to reduce the speed of our overall Foundation growth and better address issues of technical debt raised here and in other forums by volunteers.
I want to acknowledge the concerns I see on this page and in many other forums about the responsiveness to the specific technical needs of volunteers. While we have places like the community wishlist to understand and respond to community needs, those should not be the only places where we’re able to hear from you and work together on what you need. As part of my listening tour as I’ve joined, I’m speaking with both editors and technical volunteers to understand how we can engage better and work together on supporting the projects. I invited volunteers to a recent product and tech department meeting in Berlin, and I attended a recent board Community Affairs Committee meeting in which we talked about support for Commons and for New Page Patrol. And I participated in a subsequent roundtable meeting to discuss page patrolling issues across the wikis, from which further conversations, code review, and technical investigations have all begun.
One of the things I’ve said to Maryana recently is that planning out the future of work on Wikipedia and our many projects requires significant historical context, which is why I decided to spend several months on a listening tour before deciding to make significant changes to the work of my departments. In addition, the software that helps sustain the movement, and the internet itself, have changed significantly and grown increasingly complex over the last 20 years. The ever increasing complexity of our work isn’t something the staff speak about in detail, and I wonder if perhaps we should spend some time on that in the future. There’s a thread about the current state of Twitter in relation to their former staff and some of the kinds of issues site reliability engineers face at internet service companies. This is a worthwhile read and incomplete view of the kinds of issues some WMF teams face daily, which addressing requires many experienced people and their good judgment to resolve.
To achieve what we set out to do, Foundation and volunteers together – to collect and make available to the whole world the sum of all human knowledge in perpetuity – it’s just an incredibly large and nearly impossible challenge. I feel so excited that I get to focus on this problem with you all, and it will take some time to understand the complexity, the current reality and set out a strategic path for allocating resources across the product and tech departments at WMF. I continue to meet with people on my listening tour, and I invite anyone here to reach out to my talk page to share your vision about our future together. I don’t have specific answers yet, but I am making a commitment to listen and find ways we can more frequently and productively work together. SDeckelmann-WMF (talk) 00:38, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SDeckelmann-WMF thank you for this thoughtful reply and the obvious effort you're putting in here. I appreciate the difficulty of your work as a professional software engineer myself. Best of luck 🙇‍♂️ Nicereddy (talk) 01:20, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you! I agree about the importance of the public domain as a concept in modern life. Thanks for your contributions and attention to the UI/UX of Wikipedia. SDeckelmann-WMF (talk) 20:18, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi SDeckelmann-WMF, thank you for the extended reply. If I understand the structure of the WMF correctly I think the area under your control is the one we are least dissatisfied with; we appreciate your efforts to keep Wikipedia online and running reliably, despite a sometimes challenging environment, and I don’t believe anyone is criticising the money spent on that, although the lack of transparency may result in us misestimating how much is spent there.
I believe the biggest issue we have with the work of your teams, and the volunteers who work more closely with them will correct me if I am wrong, is instead the new products develop; you often decide what we need, rather than giving us the chance to tell you what we need. What we are asking for here is for you to change that; to commit to not developing major new products without talking to the people you are developing those products for, and to commit to listening to us when we tell you we need something.
However, what I believe we want most from the WMF is to commit to respect the consensus here. Once you have done that, we can start talking about what would be required to repair the relationship between enwiki and the WMF. If you are not authorised to make that commitment can you contact those who are? BilledMammal (talk) 02:23, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi @BilledMammal! Thanks for your response and expression of appreciation. Some other folks will be responding to your questions in the last paragraph, so I'm going to leave that to them.
I am curious about the new products we've developed that come to mind that you're concerned about, and also interested in what comes to mind as an area where we aren't listening. These are examples that I'm sure I can learn something from. SDeckelmann-WMF (talk) 20:23, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SDeckelmann-WMF: Vector 2022 would be the most significant recent product that I am aware of where the community should have been consulted earlier.
For areas where I don't feel you are properly listening and responding to our issues, NPP would be the most significant recent issue. With NPP, the community has come to you and said that we need this software to be upgraded to do the on-wiki equivalent of keeping the lights on, and your response for such a major issue has been inadequate. BilledMammal (talk) 01:14, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SDeckelmann-WMF: I don't believe you actually read the discussion above (which in itself says a lot!) – because I cannot find a single comment in the Survey section that references what costs were like 10 or 15 years ago. Your post reminds me of Boris Johnson, who'd always try to overwhelm discussions by spouting figures of "million of this ... millions of that ... new hospitals ... more nurses ... more police on the streets" whenever he was in hot water.
It is very simple:
  • The WMF reported a $60 million surplus over the past two years (that surplus is bigger than the amount this banner campaign is designed to bring in).
  • The WMF is $50 million ahead of schedule with its m:Endowment.
  • It's planning to increase expenditure from $112 million in the year ending June 2021 to $175 million in the present year (when I mentioned this to a journalist yesterday, they said it was "bonkers"), but is using fundraising messages suggesting Wikipedia's independence or existence is under threat – at a time when many people's financial existence is genuinely under threat.
So far the WMF has rolled out one executive after the other on this page, each paltering and failing to actually engage – or answer queries of course. I see little sign of progress. Andreas JN466 09:12, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Hi SDeckelmann-WMF. I've been an editor on Wikipedia for around 9 years now and I think I'm quite typical of the volunteers in this discussion, so I'm a bit confused by your comments. If you've been working at the WMF for less than six months and I've been volunteering for nearly 10 years, why do you think you need to "add some detail and color" rather than listen to what I am saying?
As a community, we are aware of what's changed in the last 10 to 15 years, because we've been here. We are aware of what the tech infrastructure is like from both a reader and an editor perspective, because we are both of those groups. Many of us also have technical backgrounds, work as programmers or have lots of experience with how the internet works. It is not news to me that we need lots of technical staff, lots of money for servers and that individual employees at the WMF do an incredible job in ensuring access to Wikipedia is available as widely as possible (given government censorship).
Talking about support for Commons and NPP is of no use to us. Providing support for Commons and NPP is of use to us, and I trust Kudpung in their reports back to the community that there is no help being planned for NPP.
Instead of patronising us, why not read just some of our comments in detail and leave a reply that shows that you have understood some of our concerns? — Bilorv (talk) 11:14, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
What I can say is that I'm sure she's going to do what she can for NPP, Commons, and software requests from the communities. It won't happen overnight though and after waiting a decade, we're getting impatient. She hasn't, and never will have the institutional memory of those of us who have been around since the days when the WMF had 7 employees and and having a one-on-one Skype call with the WMF vice president was a normal thing to do and get things done. I'm not defending her because I've spoken with her, but she doesn' t have her hands on the purse strings - yet - at least until she discovers the full power of her position.
My hope is that she will steer the devs away from their traditional thinking that they know best and what they believe the community 'might' want, and wasting millions of dollars developing it, and instead listen to the editors and understand what is needed. That would be the sensible way to spend the glut of funds that is currently used for everything else in preference to essential editor engineering and newbie onboarding, and forcing our volunteer editors to write patches only to have them rejected by the overlords at Phab.
There would then be the basis for some honesty in the texts of the fundraising banners - which incidentally seem to have missed the copy editing stage before they were released. Let's hope she can effect that turnaround; it will be a challenge because she does first need to find her way around the madhouse she has joined and never will be able to micromanage, and for the moment all she can do is talk about it.
In the meantime I must reaffirm my oppose vote in this RfC. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 14:06, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Kudpung I agree with you :-) You know that I have my concerns with NPP because I believe that we should be updating the new article creation process, but WP really needs both and a community set IT long term strategy includng new WP features, rather than a community wishlist. The fundamental issues for both approaches, is that it is not in WMF's core interests of raising funds to fix WP issues unless required through tied fundrasing donations. WP is driven by metrics; new editors (so ease of micro-edits), media mentions (with editor bias as the most common), new articles (so NPP not so good, but creation of ghost town Wikis excellent), increasing donations (so editor and reader tracking, personalised banners for large donors, large IT budget on fundrasing, analytics, and donations, ), and NOT improving WP as a shambolic interface with lots of templates asking for help increase donations. Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 10:15, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As for the "enormous growth of content and traffic our sites support today", it should be noted that page views for English Wikipedia have been pretty stable for the past six years. The same goes for page views of all wikis taken together.
Click the links. Select "All time" instead of "Last Two Years" on the left to see data going back to 2016. For even older data, select "Legacy page views". According to those graphs, page views for "All wikis" have risen very little:
  • Monthly page views for "All wikis" were 24,242,133,946 in October 2013.
  • Monthly page views for "All wikis" were 24,460,156,652 in October 2022.
This sort of thing happens time and again with assertions made by our highly paid WMF executives. They fall apart once you actually look into them. Andreas JN466 13:05, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(COI disclosure: I work for the foundation but this is in my volunteer capacity). Numbers don't tell a full story, we had way more outages in 2013 (wikitech:Michael Jackson effect for example), we had way less features that now we have such as notifications, content translation, discussion tools, visual editor (it was in its infancy back then), dedicated mobile support, wikidata (in its infancy), ores, lua for templates, etc. We also had much smaller size which meant smaller databases, simpler caching, and so on. I'm not debating the rest of issues and problems. Just commenting on the numbers of views. Ladsgroupoverleg 14:24, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A couple more things I remembered, the latency was quite higher, anyone visiting from east of Asia was getting the pages from SF datacenter, we had only one person for security, the attacks and threat models were completely different (we now have more sophisticated attacks), I knew several people who were burned out because of the sheer size of the work per person, ... Ladsgroupoverleg 14:31, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ladsgroup: This may well be so, but the statement was that there has been an "enormous growth" in traffic. This is not borne out by the linked data, neither for en:WP nor for all wikis. Andreas JN466 14:36, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There are different ways to look at it, we never had peak of 400,000 requests per second, which happened during Queen's death. And noting that in early 2020 we had a massive surge of visits, an increase of 30% due to the pandemic, classes being done from home, etc.
Also your numbers include only English Wikipedia. That also doesn't include the full picture. The growth is much more pronounced if you count all wikis which means we are serving to more under-served languages. Ladsgroupoverleg 14:47, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ladsgroup: I explicitly linked to the All wikis data above. The words "All wikis" occurred five (5) times in my posts above. How on earth did you manage to miss them all? As for that spike in early 2020, according to stats.wikimedia.org total page views for all wikis peaked at 25,754,868,143 in April 2020. That's a mere 6% higher than the figure stats.wikimedia.org shows for the peak in October 2013. Is it really so hard to do without hyperbole and just stick to the data? Andreas JN466 15:10, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
you can't compare October with April. Wikipedia views have annual patterns, e.g. in summer there is no school, there is a difference in times of exams, etc. For comparison in October 2016 we had 20M views, October 2022, it's 24M which is 20% increase just in six years. Ladsgroupoverleg 15:15, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The server doesn't care whether people read Wikipedia in April or October, and the WMF had peaks in excess of 24B page views as far back as 2013. If you look at the data, it's essentially been stable. Page views for all wikis were –
24.5B in October 2022,
21.8B in October 2021,
22.1B in October 2020,
21.4B in October 2019,
20.2B in October 2018,
19.9B in October 2017,
20.4B in October 2016.
Page views in June 2020 were higher than they were in June 2022 ... I would not call that "enormous growth." What has grown "enormously" is WMF assets: from $91 million in June 2016 to well over $350 million (including the Endowment) in June 2022. Andreas JN466 15:29, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do we have other metrics to look at, like bandwidth used and bandwith costs over time? i don't think page views as a metric tells everything when we are talking about dollars and cents. – robertsky (talk) 12:20, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Robertsky: There are the Internet hosting costs, consistently reported to be around $2.5 million p.a.: [14][15] Andreas JN466 13:05, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It should be expected that traffic would be higher in the middle of the pandemic, when most people were still in lockdown, as compared to a regular summer month where more people (in the northern hemisphere at least) are outside rather than on Wikipedia. MyNameIsVlad Internet-group-chat.svg / Edit-select-all.svg 19:43, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@SDeckelmann-WMF Thank-you for your discussion of why fundraising is needed because of the complexity of WMF, and for community wish-lists etc?
  • What are your plans to reduce the complexity, and cost of WMF IT?
  • Will there be One IT department, rather than many controlled by different directors?
  • With community wish-lists, for enWP could you provide the FTE by IT staff by year? With the fundraising quoted percentages, could you provide a detailed breakdown of the calculation showing the FTE by person for enWP, what are they work in, and whether they are paid for by funds or grants?
Wakelamp d[@[email protected]]b (talk) 15:32, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I appreciate your reply and that you are working toward a worthy goal aligned with the community here. I do think most of the worry is not that we shouldn't support necessary maintenance, security, fixes, development etc. but rather that not enough of it is being done, in general (wrt various community needs) and with regard to the money that comes in, relative to various other causes, like re-donating the money elsewhere and sky-high packages for executives. I am not sure that these are separable issues with the current state of the WMF, especially the apparently decreasing transparency. CharredShorthand (talk) 02:23, 23 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Planned low level weekend test[edit]

From 18 November to 20 November, the WMF is planning to run a low level banner test as the final test before the campaign is scheduled to be launched on 29 November. Based on the overwhelming response in opposition here I've asked them to cancel that planned test. BilledMammal (talk) 02:44, 16 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

JBrungs has informed me that they plan to continue with the low level weekend test. Their comment also implies that they continue to prepare for the December campaign, despite the clear consensus here.
We need to decide whether in line with the proposed method of enforcing the consensus we use Common.css to block the test this weekend, or if we wait and see if they attempt to run the campaign before taking action. BilledMammal (talk) 21:28, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@BilledMammal: I suggest posting at WP:AN to get more input. Andreas JN466 21:57, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If the WMF schedules the banners (see here and here) that may be needed, but I hope they will chose to accept the consensus of the community. BilledMammal (talk) 03:07, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You're getting way ahead of yourself declaring a consensus for a sitewide ban on fundraising tests. The discussion has only been running for three days and has had ~50 comments (out of 40,000+ active editors on enwiki mind you). By comparison, the WMF has been testing banners on and off for over a decade, so it's not exactly an emergency that they're going to run another short test for a few days. There's no community precedent that WMF has to stop and gain consensus prior to running banners either. This is just like when you rushed to edit WP:BOT based on your hasty misinterpretation of the RFC, and that one was actually closed by uninvolved editors, unlike this. Asking people to take the nuclear option and edit Common.css when the discussion is ongoing is pretty pointy. Steven Walling • talk 03:45, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I recognize that you support running these banners, but there is a clear snow consensus that they should not be run, and to run the test would be disruptive WP:IDHT behaviour. (WP:POINT, however, does not apply to any editor involved, as it only applies to an editor making edits with which they do not actually agree) BilledMammal (talk) 03:57, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Steven Walling, you are fully aware that of the 40,000+ active editors on enwiki only a couple of hundred (444 at the last count) are aware of what goes on in the back office, and even fewer know what goes on behind closed doors at the Foundation. The nuclear option might well be the result the WMF gets this time. And I would support it. The loss of a year's worth of donations from en.Wiki readers is maintainable and would bring the WMF to its senses. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:08, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Support it or not, the RFC hasn't closed. Demanding enforcement of a decision that hasn't been made yet is putting the cart before the horse. Steven Walling • talk 04:17, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Demanding that an editor stop engaging in certain actions while those actions are under discussion and the discussion is clearly trending towards finding those actions inappropriate is normal practice.
However, no editor is demanding enforcement here. I asked a question, whether we should block the tests if the WMF attempts to go ahead with them, or if we should wait and see if the WMF attempts to run the campaign before taking action. I assume you prefer the latter? BilledMammal (talk) 04:49, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Please stay on topic Steven. I wasn't discussing the duration of this RfC or when it should be closed. or even remotely hinting on 'demanding an enforcement' of anything. I'm just putting the writing in the wall like I did many years ago about the IEP. The WMF wouldn't listen, the damage cost a couple of $M in wasted money, and I organised a team of volunteers to clean up the Foundation's mess for free. That's the level of confidence today's community has in the WMF who is driving it's own wedge even further into the rift. This is already a substantial RfC and the Foundation needs to take note. It's not a straw poll, the head count doesn't matter, they need to listen to the reasoning of the arguments and have some respect for the unpaid volunteers whose work brings in the money. . Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:56, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Kudpung: a brief aside for the uninformed – what was the IEP? I've never come across this term on Wikipedia before in connection to the WMF's actions.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 21:14, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Ineffablebookkeeper: Based on Kudpung's comments elsewhere I believe they are referring to the India Education Program. BilledMammal (talk) 13:08, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The fundraising team has been listening to the comments here this week. We’re excited to try ideas that have been suggested by volunteers for the weekend test. We’re preparing messages that feature a phrase that y’all have suggested we highlight, advance the cause of free knowledge in the world. We are also highlighting sister projects and the Foundation, and piloting some changes to the Only 2% give message. We welcome more ideas for messages to test here. - SPatton_(WMF) SPatton (WMF) (talk) 21:04, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I've updated the list of recent banners to include the ones from this weekends test. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear you are listening to us enough, both in terms of the content of the test and the test itself, which by running despite the emerging consensus suggests you are dismissive of the communities feelings.
For the content of the test, you continue to test banners that don't address the concerns; it appears the only concern you have consistently addressed is conflating the WMF with Wikipedia, but even there you have only addressed it in about half of the banners. In addition, the biggest issue with the banners, that they suggest Wikipedia is under threat, continues. BilledMammal (talk) 21:18, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
User:SPatton (WMF): This is not good enough. Please stop asking people to "support Wikipedia's independence" or "sustain Wikipedia". You know the performance of those banner wordings already; there is no need to run another A/B test with them. You are in WP:IDHT territory here.
Talk about the Wikimedia Foundation, what it is, what it does, and what it wants. And please do it without paltering. Andreas JN466 21:38, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • For some of the banners it's too late. They ran between 2022-11-18 21:00 (UTC) and 2022-11-21 21:00 (UTC) on enwiki for readers from Australia, Canada, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States and they are full of errors (I'd provide a list but I don't see why I should do the WMF's work for free again). Why should the volunteers have to suggested ideas? Isn't that what the volunteer driven donations are paying $17M for? Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 23:48, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Deciding whether to obstruct → specific conditions to continue[edit]

I'd like to suggest reframing this discussion. The decision to halt WMF fundraising is a drastic step, but there's clearly growing support for it. Regardless of whether this represents a minority in the grand scheme of the English Wikipedia community, there don't appear to be many willing to jump in the line of fire in defending the fundraising, so canceling the banners (or a very ugly conflict) is a real possibility. I still say the main reason we're here is because of widespread hurt and resentment towards how the foundation has been run (and specifically how money is spent). There will be a few people who say "no banners no matter what" or "burn it to the ground", but that is an extreme position. For most of us, I suspect it's entirely possible the WMF could change how it does things enough that fundraising would return to being an infrequent annoyance (like all fundraising) rather than a reminder of the distance between the volunteers and the foundation.

Throughout this discussion, some people are offering concrete suggestions, but the suggestions vary by person, and are all undercut by the number of people who'd sooner write "WMF sucks, don't donate" than have any fundraising. That's in part because of how this RfC is framed: it's only about a yes/no to fundraising banners, without any attempt to turn it into something that actually benefits the community (except insofar as not running banners benefits the community). Meanwhile, we're coming up on the time when the banners run, and a sizable staff has to scramble to figure out how to interpret the opinions and emotions expressed here in a short window of time (it would be entirely valid to point out that people have been raising these issues for some time, however, so they should've been able to see this coming).

We've made it clear there's a lot of hurt here, and that there are a lot of people willing to take drastic measures because of it. Rather than just decide to obstruct fundraising, however, let's shift conversation to conditions to continue.

I still believe that most of the people who are upset about the banners wouldn't be so upset if they didn't have such a problem with how the foundation allocates its money. That makes me wonder what sort of change in the WMF budget would be enough. Above I made one suggestion. What if the WMF guaranteed that 5% of its annual budget for the next five years would be dedicated to community-selected projects (call it an expansions of the community tech wishlist or something else, but it would be entirely for tasks selected by the community and carried out by WMF staff, without the need for a grants process and without the need for volunteers to do the labor of management, hiring, etc.)? Think of all that could do for us (not to mention readers). Of course, they can't implement that in a matter of a couple weeks, but it's not impossible for them (the board, I suppose) to make that decision. If bureaucracy moves too slowly, we could also say "this is the last time you get to run fundraising until you do this" (which gives them more time to figure things out without jacking things up in the short-term). Thoughts? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:42, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I'm not sure entirely how I feel about it, but I'll say this: no banners is a perfectly reasonable position. As in: don't run these banners, don't run any banners this year, don't run any banners until further notice... all are reasonable positions. Even if WMF fundraising were necessary (and I'm not sure about that, I'd rather see them divest themselves of their toxic corporate investments, like millions on mortgage-backed securities, before they ask for donations again), they don't necessarily need to fundraiser on-wiki, or on en-wiki. If the community decided to just ban banners until the WMF gets its spending act together, I'd be fine with that. BTW this whole "guarantee 5%" idea is a dead end. They already say they spend 40% on direct support but without meaningful reporting we know it's not true. Also, the budget is set by people we elect (trustees) and always has been. This isn't really about a miscommunication, or about the community having no power. It's more like: the people we elect to trustees historically have simply not provided financial oversight of the kind the community wants. Maybe these new trustees will do something different. Meh, I'm fine with shutting off fundraising banners on enwiki until they do. Instead of us providing a roadmap, let them make a request to turn banners back on, and we can evaluate what's changed at that time. Levivich (talk) 16:57, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Part of my issue is that the banners are extremely misleading. And also the WMF has a crap ton of money already (more than they need) so why would they want more except to get rich? And also even if the WMF guaranteed 5% of the annual budget to community-selected projects there's nothing to enforce that. So it could be proposed, they approve it and then they never do it or just "forget" and continue with what they're doing. And there's also a lack of transparency between the WMF and the community. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:50, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If every cent of the money went to improving the projects in visible ways and all of their outreach initiatives around the world were extremely successful, bringing in tons of new editors and appreciation for what we do, I don't think anyone would be talking about having too much money. As for they approve it and then they never do it - the point here is that there are people on-wiki willing to put a stop to on-wiki fundraising efforts. They could theoretically also implement something like superprotection to force the banners through, too, but why would you get into such a massive, damaging conflict with the volunteers when you can allocate a piece of the budget to something they want instead? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 16:55, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
From my experience the people from the WMF who communicate here on-wiki have a lot of respect for the volunteers. However there are some in the WMF that don't seem to care about the volunteers and do what they think is right. For example they created Vector 2022 when no one deemed the current vector bad. And recently they changed the buttons for Wikilove and adding a page to your watchlist from pink and blue respectively, to monotone black and white without even thinking to ask if we would want that. ― Blaze WolfTalkBlaze Wolf#6545 16:58, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's unrealistic to have them consult the community for every minor design change (like color changes for certain buttons). It'd essentially grind all development of MediaWiki software a halt, and they'd end up in even more of a bureaucratic hell then they already are. Nicereddy (talk) 01:55, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's a stretch to say that "nobody deemed Vector 2010 bad" - plenty of people have switched to/stuck with Vector 2022, and (at least in my opinion) 2010 is rather outdated. Remagoxer (talk) 11:03, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
5% seems far too small - 95% of the budget is out of community control. Moving to some sort of model where all of the money (save for credit card processing fees) is kept in escrow for ENWP to disburse to the Wikimedia Foundation and other organizations as it sees fit would work, and would provide oversight as to how the funds are spent - making the banner ads more accurate. There used to be a Funds Dissemination Committee that provided a check on spending, and now that's gone. TomDotGov (talk) 16:58, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
My reading of the above Opposes is that the prime objection is to the banners' content (because they confound Wikimedia and Wikipedia, imply a financial emergency for Wikipedia when there isn't one, are seen as manipulative, dishonest, unethical, lying to readers etc.). I don't see people saying, "Yes, your banners are manipulative and dishonest, but if you give us a bigger share of the loot, we'll shut up about it."
Also agree with Levivich above. According to the 2021-2022 fundraising report, total income from banners amounted to $58 million, which was about a third of the $165 million total. Let us remember: the WMF had a $60 million surplus in the last two years, and has already brought in millions from banners run in other countries and language versions. No banners on English Wikipedia this year is a perfectly reasonable position to take. Andreas JN466 17:38, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Jayen466: I'd second this. If the big problem highlighted in mostly every Oppose response is "the wording of these banners is slippery and unethical", I don't think it's reasonable for us to turn around and say "we just want more of the money, please", because that's also unethical – and I'd also hope that most people would see that as something that would give the WMF an out on this issue, and would itself be us repeating the problem, continuing what other editors have stated is a years-long issue and contributing to what seems like a pretty toxic cycle.
The fact we're starting from a standpoint where the WMF's finances, allocations and fundraising efforts are becoming increasingly opaque over time means that there is, increasingly, becoming less and less to put our faith in. The WMF staff here seem pulled between responses that acquiesce to the will of the community and what I can only describe as corporate firefighting. I don't think that's something we should be putting faith in. I don't think it's bold, I don't think it's reasonable, and I don't think putting faith in something that could simply be rescinded later is worthwhile.
I've seen mentions of WP:AGF used in response to editors who have posed genuine, important questions that are not comfortable for the WMF, and I've seen a mention of WP:CANCER be met with raising it at redirects for discussion, in the middle of this RfC – ostensibly because "it may be offensive to those who have lost a loved one to cancer"; it smells like a bad faith effort to avoid association with being described as "cancerous" to me. (No questions were asked about whether the editor who mentioned WP:CANCER had lost a loved one to cancer; on the redirect for discussion, this also wasn't asked of the original author of the essay themselves.)
I appreciate that there will be some WMF staff who may be, or feel, hamstrung against speaking out as much as they would like to, and who may feel forced to offer only what they also feel is frustratingly limited progress forwards on this issue; I don't know what their working environment may be like. Likewise, I appreciate that there will be some WMF staff that won't feel this way.
However, this is our community; not to put too fine a point on things, but at the end of the day, I have contributed several hundred hours of editing to Wikipedia for free, and what I have received in return is also several hundred hours of editing, contributed for free, from other editors. I have spent time I could have spent working on this website. I have spent time writing about my subject matter in detail, and have purposefully bought resources I can use as references, in order to proudly contribute to this project. The WMF pays to keep the lights on, and it does pay for some projects, but it also won't lay out specifically what gets allocated to which projects, so how are we to know the specifics of how effective it is?
The entire reason we have a community consent process is that this website is run off the labour of our edits, and that we otherwise would have no controlling stake – no shares, no job position, no annual bonuses, no benefits and no pay. However, reliable editing and reliable editors is something that this website needs to run, as without it, we're looking at a return to Wikipedia of the late 2000s, when I was repeatedly told in school that it was a wholly unreliable resource, and not to be trusted at all. I don't want to see that. None of us want to see that. But I don't want to see the WMF attempt to fundraise in one hand and promise it'll do what we ask of it in the other; I don't want to be "kept happy enough" that they don't have to really sober up to these fundraising efforts. As Wikipedia grows better, do we allow the WMF to backslide as a charitable organisation, and become worse?
Stopping banners for a year, and promising that they will not be allowed to return unless the community finds them agreeable in consensus, is entirely reasonable. Wikipedia relies on you and I to run; and the WMF relies on you and I for its continued existence, fundraising, and profit. If it cannot show that it can use our labour in good faith, then it should not be allowed to use it for its own ends at all – not this year, and not the next.—Ineffablebookkeeper (talk) ({{ping}} me!) 21:49, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • My position is that everything that appears on a rendered page in the mainspace should comply with core content policies. The banners have to be verifiable and neutral, and they mustn't deceive by omission. No paltering.—S Marshall T/C 21:25, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Reading the opposes, I believe the common thread is the lack of engagement with us from the WMF. We are a key stakeholder in this broader project and I believe the community is asking that the WMF respects this.
The exact form that the community expects this to take isn't currently defined; there are a number areas that the community wants to see change in, including giving us more influence over banners, fundraising decisions, and resource allocations, as well as the WMF providing more transparency about its operations, including in its relationship with tides. I believe what the WMF should commit to doing now is delaying the fundraising campaign to give them time to negotiate with us; I believe we will be able to come to a mutually acceptable compromise that will allow the campaign to take place this year while addressing the broad array of issues that currently exist in our relationship. BilledMammal (talk) 21:53, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm more than happy to compromise on my actual, reasonable position: no fundraising banners should be run, indefinitely (to be revisited if the WMF ever does allocate its funds sensibly and faces a shortage).
If the WMF guaranteed a substantial change like the 5% budget initiative, I would be delighted with that outcome—which we could then give them space to implement, then scrutinise and revisit. A guarantee needs to be using wording agreed with us.
I am not happy to compromise on what would already be a comprise until we reach the position where we're telling the WMF, "yes, you never acknowledged the substance of what people oppose around the banners, but we're giving you another year to actually listen or... well, probably nothing will happen next year either".
To get a substantial change like the one you are proposing, we need to threaten to pull the banners unless they agree. Or use our leverage in some other way (like an articles blackout or complaints to the media). Without being willing to recognise and exercise our power, the WMF will continue failing to recognise our authority. — Bilorv (talk) 11:48, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Setting aside any question of whether an en.wp RFC has sufficient authority to prevent the WMF undertaking fundraising, I don't believe this RFC is set up to create a consensus to actually do so. The suggestion that anyone on en.wp might take active steps to frustrate the WMF's technical implementation of fundraising is buried right at the bottom of the 'information' section; whereas for that to be actionable, it'd have to be really clear what is meant to happen with it. Saying "I disagree with the wording of the WMF's banners" is really quite a different thing to saying "Someone should disable the WMF's banners and prevent them from happening." The Land (talk) 18:03, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • So dropping a comment since this is going all over. I don't mind WMF putting a banner up, however I do think it should be clear that the banner content is from the "Wikimedia Foundation", saying it is from "Wikipedia" (one of many many projects is a bit reaching). It should perhaps also make it clear that WMF is the owner of the servers that host Wikipedia - so a casual reader will know the source of the ask (and the destination of the donation). — xaosflux Talk 00:05, 24 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Comment from the WMF (2022 fundraising banners)[edit]

Dear all,

I would like to give you some more background and information on the fundraising banners. I have shared the latest banners that we are using for the banner pre-tests leading up to the English campaign to non-logged-in users. As our campaigns are built on continuous iteration and improvement, the team will continue to incorporate your feedback and ideas into our testing in the next few weeks, as well as daily iteration throughout the campaign.

Example Messaging (2022 fundraising banners)[edit]

Over the last year, some editors have provided feedback on messaging they would like to see changed in banners. Some of those changes we have already made and are listed below. The team combines feedback from editors, along with feedback from readers and donors, to shape our campaigns.

Example current message (this is our Desktop Large message which is shown once to non-logged in users, then smaller banners afterwards):

To all our readers in the U.S., Please don’t scroll past this. This Monday, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia’s independence. Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Monday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. We don't run ads, and we never have. We rely on our readers for support. We serve millions of people, but we run on a fraction of what other top sites spend. Wikipedia is special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. We ask you, humbly: please don’t scroll away. If Wikipedia has given you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, take a minute to donate. Show the world that access to neutral information matters to you. Thank you.

Example current message (this is our Mobile Large message which is shown once to non-logged in users, then smaller banners afterwards):

To all our readers,

Please don’t scroll past this. This Monday, for the 1st time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to support Wikipedia’s independence. Only 2% of our readers give. Many think they’ll give later, but then forget. If you donate just $2.75, or whatever you can this Monday, Wikipedia could keep thriving for years. The price of a cup of coffee is all we need.

We don't run ads, and we never have. We rely on our readers for support. We serve millions of people, but we run on a fraction of what other top sites spend.

Wikipedia is special. It is like a library or a public park where we can all go to learn. Wikipedia is maintained by a nonprofit, and the 58 million articles that compose it are free. Without reader contributions, we couldn’t run Wikipedia the way we do.

We want to make sure everyone on the planet has equal access to knowledge. We still have work to do.

If Wikipedia provided you $2.75 worth of knowledge this year, please take a minute to secure its future by making a donation. Thank you.

You can compare this most recent banner to the banner that was used in December 2021.

Here are examples of messages the team is currently working on. We would appreciate feedback on our meta page around these ideas and welcome more ideas we can try in the upcoming campaign:

  • While so much of what you find online these days is questionable, we strive to provide you with a reliable, unbiased source of quality information when you need it.
  • Only 2% of readers give so we can bring more of the world’s knowledge to Wikipedia, protect against disinformation, and keep the site running smoothly.
  • We’re here to make sure you have access to unbiased, quality information when you need it. We have a long way to go to provide readers with all the world’s knowledge. We’re not there yet.
  • We are passionate about our model because at its core, Wikipedia belongs to you. We want everyone to have equal access to knowledge.
  • Access to knowledge around the world is under constant attack. As a nonprofit, we work to give access to knowledge to everyone, for free, forever. We still have work to do.
  • Wikipedia is different. No advertising, no subscription fees, no paywalls. Those don’t belong here. Wikipedia is a place to learn, free from bias or agenda.
  • No one person controls Wikipedia. We’re not influenced by advertisers or corporate interests. It belongs to you, the readers and editors. Wikipedia rests in your hands and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
  • Wikipedia is a place to learn, free of corporate or political interests
  • One donation may seem small, but when millions of readers each give, we can do great things.

Changes already made in response to feedback in the past year (2022 fundraising banners)[edit]

In the past year, the fundraising team has made the following changes to campaigns in direct response to volunteer feedback. We are grateful for the input and partnership with volunteers in improving campaigns for readers.

  • The banner message no longer includes the number of reminder banner messages shown to readers. For example, "For the 2nd/3rd/4th time recently, we interrupt your reading to humbly ask you to defend Wikipedia’s independence." The message only references the first time we ask for a donation.
  • The message more prominently highlights Wikipedia as a place of learning and knowledge.
  • The line “98% of our readers don't give; they simply look the other way”  has been removed
  • The word “reliable” has been removed from the message.
  • The mobile message more prominently highlights our vision: “We are passionate about our model because at its core, Wikipedia belongs to you. We want to make sure everyone on the planet has equal access to knowledge.”
  • “Wikipedia is a place to learn, not a place for advertising.” has been changed to “We don't run ads, and we never have.”
  • More information about what donations support has been added to the small reminder banners on mobile:
    • “Here’s what your donation enables:
      • Improvements on Wikipedia and our other online free knowledge projects
      • Support for the volunteers who share their knowledge with you everyday
      • Resources to help the Wikimedia Foundation advance the cause of free knowledge in the world.”
  • An ‘I already donated’ feature has been added in all our fundraising banners and the thank you confirmation page to help donors dismiss banners across all their devices.
  • The Foundation discontinued the direct acceptance of cryptocurrency as a means of donating. We began our direct acceptance of cryptocurrency in 2014 based on requests from our volunteers and donor communities. We made the decision to discontinue this practice based on feedback from those same communities.

In the creative process, the team uses feedback from readers, donors, and volunteers to generate new messages that will resonate with our audiences. We are always looking for new language suggestions to reach our readers to help them learn more about Wikipedia while we ask for their support. For example, the Dutch community recently wrote a fully original banner that the team tested during the Dutch campaign in September. We ran the banners for 4 days towards the end of the campaign, and the overall result of the new banner was a 65% decrease in donations. While this exact message won't reach the revenue target for the year, there are interesting concepts to further develop. We followed up on this test with a productive conversation with the community after the campaign, and we are planning to work together on incorporating more of the ideas from that session into future banners for the Netherlands.

Providing feedback (2022 fundraising banners)[edit]

As the team is actively preparing the upcoming End of Year campaign and developing new messaging, we would greatly appreciate constructive feedback and ideas for ways we can reach our donors while raising the revenue target this year. If you have messaging ideas you would like to see tested, please share them with Julia or leave a message here or on our meta talk page. We will be here, reading and listening to the discussion. The work of the global community of editors makes Wikipedia a useful resource for readers. We thank you for your work and welcome your input on the fundraising campaign.

Thank you.

Posting on behalf of JBrungs, RAdimer-WMF (talk) 23:09, 14 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

@JBrungs (WMF) and RAdimer-WMF: so, with all that extra money coming in, why were the WMF planning on reducing the Community Wishlist Survey from once every year to once every two years, instead of increasing the size of the team working on these long-neglected wishes? Why should we take any statement above (or in the banners) about supporting Wikipedia and its volunteers serious when in reality community wishes are neglected and underfunded, volunteer created improvements and patches are being stalled, and critical voices at technical places (like Phabricator) are being brutally silenced? Fram (talk) 09:19, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hi Fram, I can answer one of your questions about the Wishlist Survey. The idea of changing the cadence of the Survey came from requests that the team has received over the years from volunteers, who ask why they need to take the time to re-propose and re-vote on wishes that they already voted for in the previous year. The question has usually been framed as, "Why do we need to vote again? Just keep working on the wishes from the last survey." So the team's suggestion was to run the survey as usual in Jan 2023, and then use those results to plan the team's work for 2023 and 2024.
That being said: I've seen here and in other discussions that people are interpreting the bi-annual idea as reducing the team's commitment and connection to the community, which was never intended. We're hearing from you that Community Tech is important, and that people value the annual cadence of the Wishlist Survey as a connection point between WMF's Product department and the active contributors who take part in the survey. We're going to talk and think some more about the annual/bi-annual question before we make a final decision about that. Either way, the team is gratified to know that people appreciate our work, and our commitment to working on projects that are important to the community is unchanged. Let me know if you have any questions. — DannyH (WMF) (talk) 23:39, 17 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Fram and DannyH (WMF): I'm not sure I see many comments that people appreciate your work. Perhaps they are the people whose prayers were answered at the Wish list - I must say, your effeorts for NPP wee very much appreciated a couple of years ago.
What gives me pause however, Danny, is that you sat in on the conference two weeks ago and although Selena told me she would be looking into the possibility of increasing the engineer workforce (and I have a privae email from her yesterday to this effect), you are now reducing your capacity, and after telling NPP that they should queue at the Wishlist again although in the same message you said the department lacks funds. Was my attending that meeting in the middle of the night for free another waste of my time? This is a real enigma considering this thread is all about the glut of cash in the WMF coffers, and that the community no longer knows who to believe. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 09:06, 18 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The way they treated NPP that they should "get to the back of the queue (that hardly move, by the way!) and queue again" is so out of touch. They kept harping about needing money to "give resources to editors" but they are unable to fix important things that are clearly needed by the editors. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 18:08, 19 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@DannyH (WMF) I have two questions. Could you link to example discussions where the community gave you the feedback of Why do we need to vote again? Just keep working on the wishes from the last survey? What other ideas besides moving to an every other year format did the Community Wishlist team consider? The goal of "we would like to spend more time working on projects and less administering the wishlist process" feels reasonable to me but gosh does that announcement and frankly your response here feel tone deaf to me which is not something I associate with your work. Either way, the team is gratified to know that people appreciate our work, and our commitment to working on projects that are important to the community is unchanged. feels like something you say internally so that the people on the team aren't upset by the negative reaction to this announcement. I think several Wikipedians have failed at basic decency towards WMF staff in this discussion and so I understand your choice to jump into this discussion and how that speaks well of you as a colleague. But as a manager whose responsibilities are to work with the community, I hope you can see the community's desire to increase the budget of this area - which is congruent with the way funds have been raised in the past - not to make a more efficient use of the moneys and would communicate with us accordingly. Best. Barkeep49 (talk) 06:44, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Barkeep49 at the end of the day, the Community Tech ignores the difference between requests for convenience tools and gadgets, and seriously required maintenace and features for existing, important software. I think several Wikipedians have failed at basic decency towards WMF staff in this discussion - I'm not one of those people who look under every rock to see if there is an excuse for claiming PA, but I can take the hint while AGF is not a suicide pact; to be quite blunt however, it's no more than how a manager in a company would address the staff if they were not quite doing the right thing for the major stakeholders], and we volunteers - major stakeholders - have no other way of hauling the staff into the office and give them a dressing down. What happens in reality however, is that those of the staff who happen to be admins (and possibly other admins) threaten the volunteers with sanctions for speaking up–the volunteers have no trade union or employment laws on their side.
One could argue that a company relies on its workforce but at least the workers get paid and being scolded comes with the privilege of employment. Let's not forget that our volunteer work - most of it from en.Wiki - is what drives the donations that pay the salaries, but there are horses for courses - a good codewriter is not necessarily an expert production manger or funds distributor or UX expert, and vice versa, but it does appear to me that the WMF staff try to do a bit of everything. We are the bosses however, the WMF works for us, and we should be calling the shots. Unfortunately the WMF regards the thousands of volunteers as galley slaves as best, as was demonstrated in the IEP 11 years ago, and expendable cannon fodder at worst as was demonstrated at Framgate.
There are users among the volunteers who are every bit as qualified as the paid staff, if not more so; it's time the WMF got off its high horse and showed some respect for the communities and listened to them. Comments such as "Either way, the team is gratified to know that people appreciate our work, and our commitment to working on projects that are important to the community is unchanged" are purely patronising, just like the way the BoT talks to us as if we were naughty children asking for too much candy (video evidence exists). It's all enough to make the most dedicated volunteers give up, and what with local governance quirks on top of it, some do.
Sadly, bold comments such as in WMF vs Community discussions are the only way to keejerk some reaction, and when that doesn't work the community will threaten industrial action as it is over these fundraising template texts replete with their nonsense claims and poor English, and as we did with ACTRIAL when Danny actually understood, found funds to carry out a scientific approach to it, and accepted the results which actually proved how completely wrong the former member of senior staff had been for years, and on that I remain eternally grateful to him for doing so. It was one of the major milestones in WP history that threw out some antiquated 'perceived' founding principles and moved NPP forward. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 15:20, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think Danny is really good at his job and ACTRIAL is one of several examples why. This is why the comment that we've both quoted so stood out to me as an exception to the positive body of work. However, as a manager of people who has had to dress down people below me, and as someone senior enough that I sometimes have to correct people who don't technically report to me when something comes up that falls in my area of responsibility, I think the rhetoric here goes far beyond what you're suggesting. I am personally sad that the community is having to resort to these measures, and I have a lot of sympathy for Nosebagbear's thinking that at least these banners remove some of the egregious stuff from the past, but I am even more sad that absent these kinds of large scale protests it's incredibly challenging for the WMF to break its inertia and listen to simple ideas like "Community Tech needs to be better resourced". Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 15:32, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
There may have been instances when he was really good at his job. During the Flow debacle, he was terrible, a pure WMF shill spouting nonsense and obfuscation again, and again, and again. An utter waste of time. Perhaps things have improved since. Fram (talk) 16:32, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would suggest the reply tool - the very tool I'm using to reply to this message and based on the edit summary the tool you used Fram - is a quite succesful product and one that Danny had a lot to do with having learned from the mistake that is Flow. I am similarly hopeful he'll course correct from the misstep above. That said even if he doesn't I would still like answers to the two questions I earnestly asked. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 17:12, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, I didn´t use the reply tool, just manually typed "reply". But like I said, things may have improved since my very bad experiences. Fram (talk) 17:34, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response from the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees[edit]

Hello all. Please find below an official response from the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees.

This movement is built on back-and-forth debate, even when people have strong views and deeply disagree. The Wikimedia Foundation Board acknowledges and respects the mechanisms built by Wikipedia communities to raise issues of concern through the use of RfCs. That said, we are clear that an RfC on English Wikipedia is not the best way to determine the use of global resources that support many other communities who are not present in this RfC discussion, but who would be impacted by it. A forthcoming movement charter may help, but is unlikely to solve the issues being raised right now.

The Wikimedia Foundation Board has been closely watching this RfC since it began last week. Some very reasonable requests to have input into wording of the banners have been raised on this page, along with other overall concerns and questions about fundraising and spending. These are not taken by us lightly, and we have asked Foundation leadership to help us address them while working with the communities over the course of the next year. I would like to share some thoughts as Board Chair, and I have asked a few other Trustees to add their input here as well.

This RfC was started to discuss banners running on English Wikipedia. However, the revenue we raise from this fundraising campaign supports a global technology infrastructure and community needs around the world. Banners on English Wikipedia provide Wikimedia with our largest revenue source. They are one of the reasons we have been able to maintain an ad-free platform, and support work in other regions of the world. They are also consistent with our mission, allowing users to choose to give or not, and protecting our independence. It is therefore clear to the Board that banners need to continue as part of our global revenue strategy.

While this RfC started about banner messaging, the issues raised here cover a much wider scope. I have read the numerous questions about how we allocate our budget to support the mission, the calls for clarity about how we support volunteer needs, feelings of distrust and disconnect, and the desire for more input and collaboration on the work and priorities of the Foundation. As Board Chair and as a longtime Wikimedian, I am sorry that we have gotten to this point. This is a clear signal that we must work even more closely with the communities, including English Wikipedia editors, to identify more productive ways for us to rebuild trust.

In the immediate short term, this includes engaging with the communities on the messaging used in fundraising banners on the projects they contribute to. Of course, there would be reasonable limits on how the input would be implemented. Thank you to those who have already offered constructive suggestions for testing alternative messages for the fundraising team to test and implement over the past weekend.

It is also important to be realistic about what kinds of activities would be at risk if the movement were to stop raising funds from the English banner campaign, ranging from resources to improve our product and technology infrastructure, to grants supporting many other regions of the world, to legal support for community members in need (as a Ukrainian Wikipedian I can tell you that things like this sometimes literally mean a life-or-death situation), for trust and safety, as well as for translations and live interpretation for global communities – to name a few. A funding decrease of this size would impact not just English Wikipedia, but how the Foundation supports many other projects in our global movement.

The Board of Trustees, with the majority of its members selected by Wikimedia communities, is ultimately responsible for the Foundation's budget, its reserves, and how the money is raised. While we can agree that some of the issues raised in this RfC may be valid (and the associated frustration real and understandable), an RfC on a single wiki, is not the way to decide the financial fate of all Wikimedia sites and the movement.

To sum it up:

  • The Board recognises some of the underlying issues raised here, even though the RfC started from messaging on the banners, it touched on other issues that require new approaches.
  • The Board does not believe that this RfC mechanism has a mandate to influence fundraising that impacts our ability to maintain a global movement, and a scope of projects that goes beyond English Wikipedia.
  • The Board has asked Foundation leadership to help us address some of the issues being raised: some of them in the short term (like messaging on the banners and emails sent to donors), some – in the longer term, like working with the communities closer on how they can influence our messaging, product and technology work, and rebuilding trust.

--NTymkiv (WMF) (talk) 18:08, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chair, Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees

Literally nobody here has threatened the scope of projects beyond English Wikipedia. English Wikipedia is merely exercising its authority over banners that appear on English Wikipedia. If that is a problem, perhaps the objections to the banners shouldn't have been ignored for years while the board runs roughshod over the community.
The community is making it increasingly clear that the time for corporate-speak and jawboning is running short. The board has had a *lot* of time to engage in productive discussions, in myriad topics, but has only shown the least bit of engagement when the community has to go into full emergency mode. The board is reaping what it has sowed. CoffeeCrumbs (talk) 13:50, 22 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To inform discussion, it is worth pointing out here that –
  • The WMF's net assets increased by about $60 million over the past two years: [16]. In other words, the WMF took in $60 million more than it spent, taking its net assets to $239 million. In addition, it also grew its $100 million m:Endowment at the Tides Foundation by something like another $20 million (please provide a precise figure if mine is wrong).
  • In the financial year just ended, on-wiki banner campaigns brought in $58 million. [17] I believe that is the total for all wiki campaigns combined, including the campaigns run on the English and other Wikipedias this spring in India, South Africa, Latin America and many European countries, as advised from time to time on m:Fundraising.
2021–2022: Donations breakdown. Source: [1]
As for WMF spending, "Salaries and wages" accounted for $88 million of its expenses, "Professional service expenses" for $17 million, and "Awards and grants" for $15 million. [18] --Andreas JN466 18:34, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An impressive first post. Not a good one, but still impressive how it translates the Wmf panic into threats, half truths, and pathetic appeals. Starting off with how these banners keep Wikipedia ad free shows that you have not learned anything from this discussion at all. It usxalso the umpteenth bit of evidence of how the board always sides with the money and not with the people bringing in the money (no, not the overpaid fundraising department, but the enwiki volunteers). The complaints which have led to this Rfc have been aired for years, each time with more desperation and exasperation. The WMF has largely ignored them and has shown their disdain for them even during this Rfc, with on the one hand running further campaigns while it wad ongoing, and on the other hand claiming that they just can not provide us with the upcoming banners even now. Only now, when the reality dawns that enwiki will actually, really, disable the banners this year with or without the cooperation of the WMF, do we get an influx of the board flexing their imaginary muscles. So what will you do? Superprotect 2.0? Deadminning every admin who enforces this Rfc? Ban some people with some farfetched UCOC interpretation? What you are doing here is way too late and not helpful at all. Either accept the Rfc result and work with us to get something acceptable for in 12 months, or try to force us to run the banners and get no fundraising anyway (as we will find a way to suppress them anyway) with a major rupture between enwiki on one side and WMF + Board on the other, with longlasting negative effects. Fram (talk) 20:15, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not a good reply at all. First of all, if the en.wiki didn't "threaten" to block the banners using CSS, there wouldn't be any response, at all. If "the Foundation" or "the Board" truly sees what is going on, the majority of the issue aired should have been fixed years ago, and there wouldn't be any problems today. But WMF didn't care at all. You are correct to recognize that the banners are not the only problem - and your tone in the comment reflect that kind of problem. WMF treated editors as Karens, instead of treating the editors as their partners. The fact that The Board does not believe that this RfC mechanism has a mandate is the most tone deaf statement, as this RFC is the only way to air grievances in en.wiki. And from the summary, there is no clear plan of action, no clear plan for outreach to the editors. "Foundation leadership" is not the one that is powering this ship, it is bunch of unpaid editors. To sum it up, I see that the WMF leadership didn't respect the editors enough, as they respect money more. ✠ SunDawn ✠ (contact) 20:28, 21 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with the above editors that this reply is not going to help remedy the current situation.
I also believe that it is, at least in part, misleading. You say list a number of activities that would be at risk if the campaign does not go ahead, but these activities were successfully pursued in the 2020-2021 financial year when total expenses were $112,000,000. In the last financial year, you raised $165,000,000, of which $58,000,000 were from banners. Assuming (and we should not need to assume - again, the WMF is less than transparent here and I believe the broader community would appreciate the WMF publishing community by community, month by month, breakdowns of banner fundraising revenue) that less than 93% of funds were raised from campaigns on enwiki from December onwards then the WMF is more than capable of continuing all activities without dipping into reserves.
This is also related to Laurentius' comment below. There, they say that Reserves are not excess cash: they are money set aside to ensure that we can sustain our mission even in times of difficulty - either to weather the storm (in case of short-term problems) or to allow for some space to make more drastic changes (in case of long-term problems). I would argue that times of difficulty include neglecting your largest stakeholder to the point that they are forced to take drastic action.
Further, they say the Foundation has a formal policy to keep 12-18 months of revenue in reserve, and Laurentius says that if reserves were to approach 12 months action would need to be taken to increase them. This is slightly inaccurate; the actual policy is to keep 12-18 months of expenses in reserve, and that means either action could be taken to increase reserves, or decrease expenses.
With that said, I don't believe the community wants you to need to dip into reserves; I believe it wants to work with you on this. If you can agree to delay the campaign and to negotiate with us in good faith I believe we can come to a mutually acceptable compromise and start the campaign with only a few weeks delay. The alternative is as Fram laid out - attempt to force the banners through, and find yourself playing Whac-A-Mole as the community develops one solution after another to block your efforts, building resentment and widening the divide the longer you persist.