Answers/en


Wikimedia Foundation – Answers

February 2012

Finance: Where do donations come from?

The Huffington Post wrote on February 6 that Wikipedia donors are most likely to be from India: [1]. Is that true? Where do most donors live? Where does most of the money come from?

Wikipedia and the other projects rely on the generosity of donors from all over the world. In 2011, money was donated from over 200 different countries. Donors from India have certainly been generous in their support, with 39,000 people investing in the mission. However, India is not the country that produces the most donors to support Wikipedia and its sister projects.

It seems that this misunderstanding may arise from some confusion about a recent survey. The Wikimedia Foundation surveyed readers, not donors, and the readers who responded were asked about their willingness to donate. In their responses, readers from India (42%) expressed the strongest interest in donating to Wikipedia. This does not, however, reflect the actual demographic distribution of donors to the movement.

In 2011, most of the donors to support the movement were located in the United States of America, with 535,666 people donating. Other countries with a high number of donors - over 39,000 - include Germany (more than 160,000), Italy (77,200), Canada (58.141), Australia (43,857), the United Kingdom (more than 45,000), and Russia (42,693). The United States is also the country that donates the largest amount of money, with donations totaling $14,398,721 USD in 2011. Germany was second in dollar amount. While all of the figures may not yet be in for the fundraiser that was held at the end of the year, as of this writing their total tally for 2011 is $5,430,724 USD. Also filling out the top five were the United Kingdom, France, and Canada, where donations totaled $1,682,151 USD, $1,345,933 USD and $1,334,899, respectively.

(Thanks to the Head of Annual Fundraiser Megan Hernandez for her assistance with this response. Dollar amounts are taken from the still evolving chart "2010-2011 Fundraiser by Country". Numbers are preliminary and may change, as not all bank transfers and checks have been tallied. Precise figures for numbers of donors throughout the year are not currently available for some areas where local chapters conducted fundraising, but in Germany and the United Kingdom the numbers known exceed 39,000.)

While certain countries may have greater numbers of donors and may collect higher amounts, the Wikimedia Foundation recognizes and appreciates the contributions of individuals everywhere. Its mission is global, and its supporters are global as well; whether one donor in Djibouti or 6,500 in Poland, $5 USD in Tonga or $748,258 USD in Japan, every donor and every dollar represents commitment to our shared dream of a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. --Maggie Dennis 13:47, 16 February 2012 (UTC)

July 2012

Foundation: Is this your project? Determining whether or not a site belongs to the Wikimedia Foundation

I found a website that looks like Wikipedia, and I can't tell if it belongs to you. How can I figure that out?
This is a screenshot of "Wookieepedia", a "wiki" that is not affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation.

We routinely receive letters from readers who have found a site that looks like Wikipedia or that uses Wikipedia's content but that they suspect does not belong to us....particularly with parody sites, but also with other wikis, many of which may use the same MediaWiki software that we do.

Just because a site has "wiki" in its title or looks like Wikipedia doesn't mean it's a Wikimedia Foundation website or that it's reusing Wikipedia's content. "Wiki" is a generic term for any website that is collaboratively created by its user community. The history of wikis dates back to 1994, whereas our oldest project, Wikipedia, was launched in January 2001. While the names of our projects - Wikipedia, Wikiversity, Wikisource, etc. - are trademarked, people are free to use the term "Wiki" in describing or titling their own websites, and many do.

Beyond similarities in name, there may be similarities in design. Wikimedia Foundation projects are built on MediaWiki, which - in keeping with our dedication to free cultural work - is free, open-source software that can be used by anyone in their own projects. While there may be some differences in configuration, projects that use MediaWiki may look and feel very similar to our own, even if their mission and content are entirely different.

Beyond projects that have similar name or software, but different content, there are also many "mirrors" and "forks" which copy or base their material on content we host. In principle, we not only permit but encourage this. Our commitment is to creating a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. For that reason, almost all of the content on our projects is freely licensed for modification and reuse (see our Terms of Use). Many of these mirrors and forks share our educational goals, but there are also parodies of Wikimedia Foundation projects that take our articles and modify them in ways that may be intended to be funny or offensive.

One easy way to determine if the site you've found is affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation is to look at our project list (less common projects are listed here.) You may also be able to tell by looking at the site in question itself. Generally, other sites that use the "wiki" title or use MediaWiki software are not intending to suggest an affiliation with us, and the distinction between us will be clear if you find the "about" or "contact" information. Even most mirrors and forks make clear that they are not affiliated with the Wikimedia Foundation. It can be harder to figure out with some parodic sites, who may simply copy over the "contact" information from Wikipedia or the other project they're spoofing, and it may not always be a good idea to explore these sites too deeply, as some of them may host malware. If a site makes you uncomfortable, you can always check our lists or do a "Whois" query to find out who hosts it. --Maggie Dennis (talk) 17:42, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

November 2012

Foundation: How does the Wikimedia Foundation support copyright laws?

The Wikimedia Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the growth, development and distribution of free, multilingual content, and to providing the full content of these wiki-based projects without charge. The operative word in that sentence is "free"; to quote the Wikipedia article on free content, this means that there can be "no significant legal restrictions on people's freedom: to use the content and benefit from using it, to study the content and apply what is learned, to make and distribute copies of the content, [or] to change and improve the content and distribute these derivative works." Accordingly, all user-generated content on the projects the WMF hosts is licensed for broad reuse, although a small amount of non-free content is permitted under fair use provisions in accordance with the Foundation's licensing policy. For more information, see the Wikimedia Foundation Terms of Use.

While the Wikimedia Foundation and its staff do not create or control content on the projects, as an online service provider based in the United States, it is subject to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). In compliance with the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Act, part of the DMCA, the Wikimedia Foundation has a designated agent that copyright holders or their agents can contact to have any content of theirs that is inappropriately used removed. The Wikimedia Foundation responds promptly to such concerns. But beyond that, the Wikimedia Foundation is proud of the diligence that the volunteers who run the projects bring to ensuring that their content meets the Terms of Use and licensing policy. They work hard to make sure that the content is free, and the Wikimedia Foundation is happy to facilitate that work where it can.

Each project has its own practices for evaluating content to make sure it complies. Taking the English language Wikipedia, for instance, new articles are reviewed through "new page patrol", with experienced volunteers looking for problems directly. They are also evaluated by an automated system created by and maintained by a volunteer that compares text strings against a search engine to look for copied language. If it finds anything, it flags the article as a potential copyright problem and leaves a message for the contributor explaining the project's copyright policies. (A brief overview of these, as regards text, can be seen at Wikipedia:Copy-paste.) The volunteers remove copied content unless it is public domain, compatibly licensed, or fits in. New additions to existing articles are reviewed by "recent change" patrol volunteers, who among other issues look for copyright concerns. Copied content they find is removed, and they educate the contributor who added it. Beyond their review, any reader or contributor can flag an article for having copyright problems, if a source is identified. (Wikipedia:CV101 is a brief overview of the processes.) There are a host of other processes they use for media, from removing blatant copyright problems to evaluating "fair use" claims. They also run an email system where they can receive and track licensing permissions that are sent by copyright holders who want to permit their content to be published on the site and where they can assist copyright holders who prefer to express concerns without going through the formal DMCA systems. Similar practices are conducted in other projects in other languages around the world. While the bulk of this work is undertaken by volunteers, the Wikimedia Foundation does what it can to support them, from assisting with funding when that automated system could no longer perform its website searches for free to providing legal background to volunteers seeking to refine their policies and practices. --Maggie Dennis (talk) 18:04, 19 November 2012 (UTC)
Last modified on 23 March 2013, at 02:18