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> Five reasons you should not donate to Wikipedia, ...preemptive anti-fund drive
thekohser
post Sun 12th August 2007, 6:41am
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We all know that come December or January, the WMF is going to put up the banner ads and donation "thermometer" in order to scrounge up another million bucks from donors who don't realize the monster they're feeding.

I think Wikipedia Review could get a lot of media attention if we prepare a page (probably on the new blog) that would list "Five reasons you should not donate money to Wikipedia". The list should be simple, not foaming at the mouth, and objective in its tone. Can we come up with 5 really good reasons, then wait until the WMF fund drive starts, then spring the blog page on Digg and Reddit and Slashdot?

I would start with the following ideas:

1. Your non-profit donation will ultimately line the for-profit pockets of Jimmy Wales, Amazon, Google, the Bessemer Partners, and other corporate beneficiaries. How? Wikipedia is used as a commercial traffic engine, with 4,000+ external links to Wales' Google AdSense-supported Wikia sites, plus 25,000+ links to Amazon product stores. Clearly, others are making millions from the success of Wikipedia. Do you want to further endorse their profiteering?

2. While Wikipedia is disguised as an encyclopedia, it is actually nothing more than a fluid forum where ultimate editorial control belongs to a corps of administrators, most of whom act without real-world accountability because they don't reveal their real names, locations, and potential conflicts of interest -- even though they will not hesitate, through "complex investigations", to "out" the real names, locations, and perceived conflicts of interest of other, non-administrative editors. Why give your real-world dollars to a virtual-world multi-player forum? Have you made your donation to Second Life, too?

Will you please help keep this thread going with additional ideas? What have you ever seen happen on Wikipedia that makes you say, "Ugh, why would anyone ever give their hard-earned money to that project?"

Possible other ideas:

3. Citizendium is a new encyclopedia project founded by a co-founder of Wikipedia. There, the editors do disclose who they are in real life. You probably donated to Wikipedia last year, so why not spread the wealth to new projects like Citizendium this year?

4. Do you live in Brazil, Israel, or Saudi Arabia? Wikipedia has gone to painstaking detail to host articles about how your countries allegedly practice apartheid. If that's how you want your country described for the rest of the world, get out your checkbook.

5. Do you want your grade-school children looking at graphically-described, photo-rich pages about nipple piercings, anilingus, labia piercings, child modeling (erotic), frenum rings, strappado bondage, erotic spanking, incest pornography, smotherboxes, and Courtney Cummz and her directorial debut 'Face Invaders'? Send them to Wikipedia, while you make a donation to support the hosting of this and other material that would be shocking to most adults, housed on servers that make no attempt to filter what even pre-pubescent children can access.

Greg

This post has been edited by thekohser: Sun 12th August 2007, 6:43am
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LamontStormstar
post Sun 12th August 2007, 8:30am
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Excellent idea. However, these need to be re-written in words that are catchy and entertaining. People won't read it all as it is now: dull.
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Ampersand
post Sun 12th August 2007, 9:05am
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The second one is really ranty. It sounds more like you've got a personal vendetta than a valid complaint. Definitely needs rewriting.
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LamontStormstar
post Sun 12th August 2007, 9:37am
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We need a catchy number of them, two. It must be either 7 or 10 reasons and that's it. Not 8. Not 9. 7 or 10. 12 if you really want to push it as 12 is slightly catchy.

This post has been edited by LamontStormstar: Sun 12th August 2007, 9:38am
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blissyu2
post Sun 12th August 2007, 12:33pm
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5 is a good number, its a catchy number, but the reasons need to be 1 line each.
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Unrepentant Vandal
post Sun 12th August 2007, 2:17pm
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Ironically, this thread will demonstrate the real trouble with collaborative writing: it's much harder for a comittee to write punchilly than a single writer.
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blissyu2
post Sun 12th August 2007, 3:39pm
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That's right. At some point, you need to make an executive decision. Get all of the ideas in there, and then one person write it.

Realistically, all articles need to be owned, with one person controlling what all of the others (experts, proof-readers etc) all have to say.
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the fieryangel
post Sun 12th August 2007, 3:45pm
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QUOTE(blissyu2 @ Sun 12th August 2007, 3:39pm) *

That's right. At some point, you need to make an executive decision. Get all of the ideas in there, and then one person write it.

Realistically, all articles need to be owned, with one person controlling what all of the others (experts, proof-readers etc) all have to say.


I vote for "the top ten reasons why you should not donate to WP", since that's the usual way these things are phrased...and don't you usually start with no. 10 and work your way back to the number one, like on those top 40 countdown shows?

This post has been edited by the fieryangel: Sun 12th August 2007, 3:48pm
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blissyu2
post Sun 12th August 2007, 3:54pm
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Yup Top 10 is catchy.

Okay so let's think of 1 line versions of the top 10, perhaps using The Kohser's original ideas. Everyone think of 1, or perhaps more.

I'll re-word The Kohser's 5 in to 1 liners for easier and catchier reading.

1. Your donation, via Google Adsense, will fund Wikia, which is not a charity.
2. Wikipedia is really a roleplaying game, with no accountability.
3. Why not donate to Citizendium instead, as they have real life details.
4. Wikipedia alleges that Brazil, Israel and Saudi Arabia practise apartheid.
5. Grade-school children can read Wikipedia's pornographic articles about such things as anilingus.
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Unrepentant Vandal
post Sun 12th August 2007, 5:54pm
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My five points would be under these headings:

Wikipedia has too much power
Googlerank; Ability to set the 'truth'; Page ownerships; Cabals

Wikipedia is in a legally precarious position
Section 230; Libel; Oversight; Katefan; Seigenthaler

Wikipedia's leadership is corrupt and inept
Jimbo Wales; Anthere; Essjay; Angela; Arbcom; Our favourite admins

Wikipedia is unpredictable, inaccurate and unmangeable
Vandalism; Snowspiller; Zoe; that wrestler chap; Plenty more admin/cabal/clique stories; Serious errors in articles; Fortune 500 companies missing

Wikipedia is dead
Citizendium; Answers; Ability of anyone to fork
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blissyu2
post Sun 12th August 2007, 6:54pm
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We need to do it like a Tonight Show Top 10 list really.
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anthony
post Sun 12th August 2007, 7:45pm
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They stopped publishing their financial statements. They stripped all users of their membership. In fact, according to the lawyer who wrote the original bylaws (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Alex756), they stripped all users of their membership in part because of a fear that members would demand financial statements.

Multiple top officials/former officials have privately expressed concern over financial wrongdoing by certain board members. At least one former staff member has publicly accused the current board chair of embezzlement. The executive director and head legal council resigned due to problems he had with the organization.
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Nathan
post Sun 12th August 2007, 7:51pm
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I really like the "Top 10" idea.
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GlassBeadGame
post Sun 12th August 2007, 10:17pm
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I would never consider making a financial contribution to a non-profit organization that lacks, as WMF lacks, a Board of Trustee with a wide base of civic and social stakeholders. WMF is by design narrow and weak reflecting only the interests of a dysfunctional social networking community.
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thekohser
post Mon 13th August 2007, 12:11am
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I have started a wiki-based effort to compile the "Top 10" list, over at Centiare. Since I put it in Centiare Main Space, anyone is welcome to collectively edit this list constructively, though you must have an account on Centiare to edit, which means signing up with a non-throwaway e-mail address that can be verified by you. If you're not inclined to join Centiare to help with this list, feel free to keep adding info here, and I'll try to include your thoughts over there.

Greg
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Skyrocket
post Mon 13th August 2007, 12:42am
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Your donation has your name on it, and becomes a permanent record. In case of lawsuits or other trouble, you have no anonymity.
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LamontStormstar
post Mon 13th August 2007, 3:46am
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I will go through them

thekohser....

1. Shorter version "Wikipedia is actually so Jimbo Wales and others can make a profit by sending people to Wikia and getting Amazon.com referals". Problems are I am unsure Wikia is making that much off ads and may be getting most of its money through selling stock. Also is it confirmed that when wikipedia links to an amazon book and someone buys it that Wikipedia takes a cut of the profit?

Also I asked people at Wikia. They say "Wikimedia and Wikia are completely unconnected. There is no financial, legal, or any other connection between the two..."

So #1 is not that good of a reason.

2. Good reason, need to shorten and make it catchy

3. Maybe. It's not that strong.

4. It's okay for a reason

5. Who exactly is donating mostly? This may have no effect at all as they may not care. Only prudes would care and if you mention where wikipedia has CP, it would encourage some people to donate.


blissyu2's rewording

1. good rewording, but this is probably untrue and these should be true
2. It should be more on the articles innacurate and it lost focus

3,4,5 -- decent shortenings.


Unrepentant Vandal's ones....

1. Very good.
2. Weak evidence. Need more dirt.
3. Should focus more on more than Jimbo as management being corrupt
4. Too unfocused and maybe even vague
5. No it's not dead. It's a monster that won't stop.



Okay getting back to it... Does anyone know WHO are the ones who mainly donate? Who is doing the bulk of donations? We need to target this list for the audience that donates. Until we know, our list will be lacking.


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thekohser
post Mon 13th August 2007, 1:54pm
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QUOTE(LamontStormstar @ Sun 12th August 2007, 11:46pm) *

Also I asked people at Wikia. They say "Wikimedia and Wikia are completely unconnected. There is no financial, legal, or any other connection between the two..."

So #1 is not that good of a reason.

That's like asking the Bush Administration if there is a connection between Big Oil's influence on the administration and the decision to go to war in Iraq. I'm pretty sure you'll be told "there's no financial, legal, or any other connection between the oil industry and the Commander In Chief".

I'm not even going to get into the staffing "connections", but you may want to look into the roles of Jimmy Wales, Angela Beesley, Michael E. Davis, and (until he was discovered to be lying about his credentials) Ryan Jordan, vis-a-vis Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation. Each of these holds (or held) prominent positions in both entities. In the real world, this usually generates some measure of separation to avoid perceived or actual "conflict of interest", but how well is it actually being done over there? Gil Penchina (CEO of Wikia) was in attendance at Wikimania 2007. Why is that, if he's "completely unconnected"?

I would say having 9,460 outbound links from Wikipedia to Wikia is most certainly not "completely unconnected" -- especially considering that when Jimmy Wales authorized "nofollow", many of the links to Wikia were exempt from that Google-dampening measure.

I would say Amazon being the sole investor in Wikia's second round of capital generation, coupled with 27,568 outbound links from Wikipedia to Amazon, not to mention the 119,699 outbound links from Wikipedia to IMDB.com, which is owned by -- guess who? -- Amazon, is most certainly not "completely unconnected". Guess what is on virtually every page of IMDB.com? That's right -- glitzy images and links to buy products from Amazon, even in German or French.

Come on, Lamont -- I expect better critical analysis from you. Millions of dollars aren't being "donated" to Jimmy Wales' commercial project, without some form of kickback expected or appreciated. The only place where Wales has influence that has the traffic and size to be meaningful to Amazon as a revenue source is Wikipedia (not Wikia). Why is it so important for an "encyclopedia" to include convenient links to stores to buy titles? Is the average Wikipedia user so addle-brained that they need one-click-shopping from their neighborhood encyclopedia, too? Why so many links specifically to Amazon properties, and not "free" sites or "competitor" sites? Sounds to me that Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia emphatically draw the line at paid editing and corporate PR editing, but a little linky-linky, winky-winky -- that's perfectly encouraged.

I want to let everyone in on a secret. I was contacted a few months ago by someone who was exploiting Wikipedia to drive traffic to Amazon products being sold on an Associates basis. He documented to me his 32 external links successfully placed on Wikipedia. Granted, they were for movie and book products that are best-sellers, not obscure titles as are many of the Wikipedia links to Amazon products, but just run with me here for a second. He showed me his past 10 days of Amazon associates revenues -- these represent 4% of all the sales made on Amazon after a click-through from one of his links. He had made $27.13 from 32 links in 10 days. That equates to $30.95 per link per year -- and that's just his 4% cut from Amazon! That means Amazon is selling $773.75 worth of merchandise from each of his links, per year.

Let me repeat -- Amazon (and IMDB) enjoy nearly 150,000 outbound links from Wikipedia. Even if our secret exploiter's return on investment is TWENTY TIMES that of the average outbound link, we can still deduce that Amazon is turning revenues of $5.8 million per year from Wikipedia. Assume a 15% profit margin, and we conclude that Amazon is clearing $870,000 annual profit from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Review cleared less than $1,000 for directly editing Wikipedia, yet it generated a flap of at least 180 mainstream media mentions, and tens of thousands of words on Wikipedia discussion pages and lists. Amazon clears $870,000 per year for having direct connections from Wikipedia, and where is the flap? Why haven't Steve Rubel or Brian Bergstein or Seth Finkelstein written about this scam? Maybe because even intelligent readers like Lamont would dismiss it anyway.

Will the Wikipedia Review community please wake up?

Greg

This post has been edited by thekohser: Mon 13th August 2007, 2:24pm
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Jonny Cache
post Mon 13th August 2007, 2:30pm
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QUOTE(thekohser @ Mon 13th August 2007, 9:54am) *

QUOTE(LamontStormstar @ Sun 12th August 2007, 11:46pm) *

Also I asked people at Wikia. They say "Wikimedia and Wikia are completely unconnected. There is no financial, legal, or any other connection between the two..."

So #1 is not that good of a reason.


That's like asking the Bush Administration if there is a connection between Big Oil's influence on the administration and the decision to go to war in Iraq. I'm pretty sure you'll be told "there's no financial, legal, or any other connection between the oil industry and the Commander In Chief".

I'm not even going to get into the staffing "connections", but you may want to look into the roles of Jimmy Wales, Angela Beesley, Michael E. Davis, and (until he was discovered to be lying about his credentials) Ryan Jordan, vis-a-vis Wikia and the Wikimedia Foundation. Each of these holds (or held) prominent positions in both entities. In the real world, this usually generates some measure of separation to avoid perceived or actual "conflict of interest", but how well is it actually being done over there? Gil Penchina (CEO of Wikia) was in attendance at Wikimania 2007. Why is that, if he's "completely unconnected"?

I would say having 9,460 outbound links from Wikipedia to Wikia is most certainly not "completely unconnected" -- especially considering that when Jimmy Wales authorized "nofollow", many of the links to Wikia were exempt from that Google-dampening measure.

I would say Amazon being the sole investor in Wikia's second round of capital generation, coupled with 27,568 outbound links from Wikipedia to Amazon, not to mention the 119,699 outbound links from Wikipedia to IMDB.com, which is owned by -- guess who? -- Amazon, is most certainly not "completely unconnected". Guess what is on virtually every page of IMDB.com? That's right -- glitzy images and links to buy products from Amazon, even in German or French.

Come on, Lamont -- I expect better critical analysis from you. Millions of dollars aren't being "donated" to Jimmy Wales' commercial project, without some form of kickback expected or appreciated. The only place where Wales has influence that has the traffic and size to be meaningful to Amazon as a revenue source is Wikipedia (not Wikia). Why is it so important for an "encyclopedia" to include convenient links to stores to buy titles? Is the average Wikipedia user so addle-brained that they need one-click-shopping from their neighborhood encyclopedia, too? Why so many links specifically to Amazon properties, and not "free" sites or "competitor" sites? Sounds to me that Jimmy Wales and Wikipedia emphatically draw the line at paid editing and corporate PR editing, but a little linky-linky, winky-winky -- that's perfectly encouraged.

I want to let everyone in on a secret. I was contacted a few months ago by someone who was exploiting Wikipedia to drive traffic to Amazon products being sold on an Associates basis. He documented to me his 32 external links successfully placed on Wikipedia. Granted, they were for movie and book products that are best-sellers, not obscure titles as are many of the Wikipedia links to Amazon products, but just run with me here for a second. He showed me his past 10 days of Amazon associates revenues -- these represent 4% of all the sales made on Amazon after a click-through from one of his links. He had made $27.13 from 32 links in 10 days. That equates to $30.95 per link per year -- and that's just his 4% cut from Amazon! That means Amazon is selling $773.75 worth of merchandise from each of his links, per year.

Let me repeat -- Amazon (and IMDB) enjoy nearly 150,000 outbound links from Wikipedia. Even if our secret exploiter's return on investment is TWENTY TIMES that of the average outbound link, we can still deduce that Amazon is turning revenues of $5.8 million per year from Wikipedia. Assume a 15% profit margin, and we conclude that Amazon is clearing $870,000 annual profit from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Review cleared less than $1,000 for directly editing Wikipedia, yet it generated a flap of at least 180 mainstream media mentions, and tens of thousands of words on Wikipedia discussion pages and lists. Amazon clears $870,000 per year for having direct connections from Wikipedia, and where is the flap? Why haven't Steve Rubel or Brian Bergstein or Seth Finkelstein written about this scam? Maybe because even intelligent readers like Lamont would dismiss it anyway.

Will the Wikipedia Review community please wake up?

Greg


Damn !!! To think I wasted all my days throwing nuts to squirrels on the Banks o'th' Red Cedar and learning useless subjects, when I should've been taking Accounting and Business and squirreling away my nuts in more financially sound Banks.

No, Greg, I think that all of this is over the head o'th' cognitive overhead of even some of our more fully caffeinated Revue Artistes — y'know, H&R.Heads like me who have to get professional help on a recurring annual basis just to keep the Infernal Revenue Artistes away from our doors.

Line. Maybe you should write up a "WikiPhinance 4 Compleat WikiPediots" editorial on the blog, and 'splain all this bizz to us, like, real slow. I think that would be a public service, and not jes Wikipublic, either.

Jonny cool.gif

This post has been edited by Jonny Cache: Mon 13th August 2007, 3:18pm
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thekohser
post Mon 13th August 2007, 3:11pm
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QUOTE(Jonny Cache @ Mon 13th August 2007, 10:30am) *

Maybe you should write up a "WikiPhinance 4 Compleat WikiPediots" editorial on the blog, and 'splain all this bizz to us, like, real slow. I think that would be a public service, and not jes Wikipublic, either.

Jonny cool.gif

I've just blogged it on the blog, but I don't see how I could make it any more simple to understand.
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