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.