Today’s article is a little off the normal topic, but it concerns something which I suspect all of us use, and that’s Wikipedia. If the internet has transformed the world, one of the key constituents of that transformation has been Wikipedia. Anyone under the age of 20 simply cannot imagine the world without it.
Seeing the Wikipedia fundraising drive at this time of year is as reassuring as hearing Fairytale Of New York on the radio. But how desperately do they need the money? The answer is yes, they absolutely do need it, but no, it’s not that desperate.
Handling around 20 billion page views a month is understandably expensive. The organisation now has over 250 employees, despite relying on volunteer editors to police the entire site. It’s easy to criticise how its costs have grown, but I wouldn’t like to run it. That’s why I’m happy to push £10 their way through a couple of Paypal clicks once a year. For us, it’s worth it just for the time saved not having to field homework questions from our resident teenager.