Why I fund Wikipedia

Wikipedia is running their annual beggathon. I’ve donated money to them in the past, and I did again this year, so I figured I’d go ahead and tell why I do it.

  • I could endorse all the good they’re doing, spreading knowledge, making it accessible, searchable, linkable, all that.
  • I could rave about how it’s mostly crowdsourced – the community creates the content – which I think is totally cool.
  • I could praise their zero-ad model (except the donation box, I guess).
  • I could talk about how much I’ve used them personally, staying up late into the morning finishing a paper or researching something interesting.

But that’s not why I contribute.

Some people think donating to Wikipedia is a bad idea since, supposedly, the funds go to pay the directors behind the scenes tons of money, something like $400,000+ per year.

I think that’s ridiculous. Even if the number of employees is small for their operating budget, it’s still one of the top ten sites in the world.

I’m like, “Seriously? For the amazingness of the site, the people who started it should be paid millions each year for the rest of their lives. I’m happy to buy them a few cups of coffee each year.”

But none of that is really why I get out my card and donate. When it comes down to it, I fund Wikipedia because I want to be associated with great projects. I want to join them. I want to own them.

Donating a few dollars here or editing a paragraph there makes me feel like I’m part of something great.