Have you ever used Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia? For a curious being, it’s like asking a fish if he has ever been in water. . As far as I am concerned, it is one of the five tabs that makes my homepage. So as soon as I load my browser, Wikipedia is there, to answer all my queries. Anything new that I come across, and I feel I need more information, Wikipedia is my first stop. Google comes later. The source of information for many of my blog posts, starting point for researching many of the topics, has been Wikipedia. For most of the web users, it has become part of the web infrastructure.
But how much do I know about Wikipedia? and the people behind it? Surprisingly, very little. Today, I saw an appeal on Wikipedia, requesting donations for the Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that runs Wikipedia. So where does one turn to find more information about it? Obviously to Wikipedia.
The Wikimedia foundation home page says, Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s our commitment. That’s a huge commitment. In the knowledge economy today, the access to knowledge that one has decides what opportunities one gets. Making all this knowledge freely available for every human being really sets us free.
According to the Wikipedia:About page Wikipedia was founded as an offshoot of Nupedia, a now-abandoned project to produce a free encyclopedia. Nupedia had an elaborate system of peer review and required highly qualified contributors, but the writing of articles was slow. During 2000, Jimmy Wales, founder of Nupedia, and Larry Sanger, whom Wales had employed to work on the project, discussed ways of supplementing Nupedia with a more open, complementary project. Multiple sources suggested that a wiki might allow members of the public to contribute material, and Nupedia’s first wiki went online on January 10, 2001.
Today, Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 450 million different people every month – with billions of page views.
The appeal I saw today was a personal appeal from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. I am quoting directly from the appeal.
When I founded Wikipedia, I could have made it into a for-profit company with advertising banners, but I decided to do something different. We’ve worked hard over the years to keep it lean and tight. We fulfill our mission, and leave waste to others.
If everyone reading this donated Rs. 100, we would only have to fundraise for one day a year. But not everyone can or will donate. And that’s fine. Each year just enough people decide to give.
This year, please consider making a donation of Rs. 100, Rs. 200, Rs. 300 or whatever you can to protect and sustain Wikipedia.
I felt obliged and I did my part. How about you? If you do feel that you should, please follow this link, and donate. Thank you in advance.