You should donate to Wikipedia

If you’ve been on Wikipedia lately, you’ve no doubt seen the banner with the picture of co-founder Jimmy Wales asking for your help.

A lot of the time, we all skip past this. After the obnoxious explosion of banner ads in the early 2000s, most Internet surfers developed that extra muscle in their brain that helps them not see banners.

But today I clicked through, and I donated to the cause. That graphic on the right rail of my page shows I did. You should too.

Support Wikipedia

Why? Because Wikipedia is an important source of (usually) unbiased information, a quick resource almost everyone has used at some time, that charges nothing and doesn’t ask you to buy, click or link back to. The idea that some day advertisers would be able to smear their logo feces all over the pages of Wikipedia obviously would make advertisers themselves drool.

The rest of us would likely suffer. Imagine a company with a massive ad buy on Wikipedia – which you know would be expensive, given the amount of traffic Wikipedia gets. Then a decidedly bad story breaks out in the news about said company, and the volunteer editors update this company’s page with that information, just as they would now.

Wouldn’t you imagine that company would put pressure on Wikipedia to remove those references? Perhaps they’d lobby to have their page locked down altogether? Would Wikipedia have the stones to tell this company to shove off? Actually, forget that – would they even have the financial ability for that? If they become dependent on advertiser money to keep doing what they do, everything would balance on ad revenue to keep from going under.

Donating makes sure they continue to have the funds to operate without having to answer to corporate interest. PBS and Public Radio like to lay claim to that, but they still have to mention the companies that give them “grants,” which, frankly, is its own form of advertising.

So I’m asking, if you’re reading this, for you to go to Wikipedia, click on the link to give a donation, and then actually do it. If you have Paypal, it will blow your mind how easy it is to do.

And before anyone starts blasting me about all of the other things I could ask you to donate to, I’ve given to the Haitian Relief Fund this year too. But that doesn’t have anything to do with the Internet. So bugger off.

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