A personal appeal from Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia is soon to enter our 5th year online, and I want to take a moment to ask you for your help in continuing our mission. Wikipedia is facing new challenges and encountering new opportunities, and both are going to require major funds.

Wikipedia is based on a very radical idea, the realization of the dreams most of us have always had for what the Internet can and should become. Thousands of people, all over the world, from all cultures, working together in harmony to freely share clear, factual, unbiased information… a simple and pure desire to make the world a better place.

This is a radical strike at the heart of an increasingly shallow, proprietary and anti-intellectual culture. It is a radical strike at the assumption that the Internet has to be a place of hostile debate and flame wars. It is an appeal to the best within all of us.

The result so far has been wild success. Thanks to the wonderful volunteers who have created and managed this vast resource, we are now one of the top 30 websites in the world… and traffic growth continues. The pressures on us increase daily, pressures of organization, of servers and server management. In order for Wikipedia to move forward, we need the help of ordinary people like you, people who share in our dream of a free encyclopedia for every single person on the planet.

In 2005, we achieved 6-fold growth in pageviews with spending of less than $750,000. We will need a lot more this year just to keep the site on the air and performing well. But the wonderful thing about our growth is that it gives us a real opportunity to extend our fundraising beyond just what we need to stay on the air.

Reporters are always asking me why I’m doing this, why Wikipedians do this? I think you know why.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself. I’m doing this for the child in Africa who is going to use free textbooks and reference works produced by our community and find a solution to the crushing poverty that surrounds him. But for this child, a website on the Internet is not enough; we need to find ways to get our work to people in a form they can actually use.

And I’m doing this for my own daughter, who I hope will grow up in a world where culture is free, not proprietary, where control of knowledge is in the hands of people everywhere, with basic works they can adopt, modify, and share freely without asking permission from anyone.

We’re already taking back the Internet. With your help, we can take back the world.

Please consider a generous donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

How Tor can be unbanned from Wikipedia

Here is a simple solution to the problem of Tor users being unable to edit Wikipedia

trusted user -> tor cloud -> authentication server -> trusted tor cloud -> wikipedia

untrusted user -> tor cloud -> authentication server -> untrusted tor cloud -> no wikipedia


By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

Encarta goes wiki?

Microsoft is trying out a wiki-ish editing process.

Hmm, now people have a choice. They can donate their time and energy to a nonprofit effort to make the world a better place by giving away an encyclopedia under a free license. Or they can go to work for free, enriching Microsoft.

I wonder what the most talented and dedicated people will choose. :-)

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

Blog is back

My blog is back after I had to shut it down temporarily for some security issues. Maybe I’ll write something soon. :-)

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General

I met a Somali Bantu refugee child

On my flight back to the U.S. from Warsaw, it turned out that on the same plane were a group of [[Somali Bantu Refugees]] on their way to the US as part of the USRP ([[United States Refugee Program]]). Sitting across the aisle from me were a mother and daughter, the little girl appearing to me to be around the same age as my own daughter, Kira, who is 3 1/2.

The Bantu people were being guided by a couple of aid workers, because less than one week prior most of them had never even seen a electric light switch, a flush toilet, or a tap for water. Everything about being on a jet crossing the ocean was like being on Mars to them, said the aid worker.

They wore mostly the same clothing, obviously given to them by USRP, i.e. gray sweatshirts reading ‘USRP’.

I had in my backpack a small gift for Kira, a small stuffed donkey. I thought it would be nice to get it out to entertain this little girl, and to give to her as a gift.

So I did, except that the little girl was frightened of it. It wasn’t that she was afraid of me, per se, but of the actual toy itself. She was fascinated and would very very cautiously reach out and touch it. When it feel off the arm of the airplane seat into her seat, she jumped away from it and made a frightened noise.

Her mother held the toy and showed it to her.

The aid worker told me that the little girl had never seen a toy like this before.

And now they are coming to America to live. This is remarkable. Imagine coming to the United States with no knowledge of English, this is hard enough. But no knowledge of indoor plumbing, electricity, stuffed animals.

I had already been watching the story of the Somali bantu refugee program, but now I feel a more personal connection, having met and briefly played with this little girl. I took a photo, but I will not publish it, because I was unable to get any kind of informed consent from the people I took the photo of (they did not speak English).

By Jimmy Wales Posted in General