Lodewijk wrote:
>When I'd have to guess, I'd say that we're beyond our 'optimal size'
>(budget wise) already.
>
>Especially the 'small donor' stream is rather sensitive towards tides. As
>long as Wikipedia is very popular and visible, we'll be doing well. But
>when we have a few more screwups at the WMF (sorry, but I can't really
>find a better phrase for the past few months, communication wise at
>least), being a credible organisation towards donors might proove harder
>than was the case so far.

You mean that small donations provide accountability? :-)  I agree. I
think this is a feature, not a bug. I'd be happy for the Wikimedia
Foundation to be about a tenth of the size it is currently: around 30
full-time employees, with additional money allocated for contractors as
needed. When people tell me that they want to donate to Wikipedia, I tell
them to make an edit. I'd much rather have people truly contributing to
free knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation made a series of choices such
headquartering in San Francisco and hiring over 200 full-time employees
that make it very unsympathetic to me. It certainly doesn't cost anywhere
near $80 million a year to keep the sites online and running.

Sam Klein wrote:
>It also makes for a very inward-focused and narrow sort of strategy: "How
>can we make our few banner projects work better / attract more people"
>rather than "how can we make knowledge more accessible to everyone in the
>world, including by supporting and enhancing other excellent projects".
>
>If you start with funders and organizations whose missions are similar to
>Wikimedia's, working with them on a grant is a way of making them part of
>the community: a successful engagement results in them learning more about
>the impact and value of our mission, and supporting or encouraging more
>work along those lines with their other grantees.  It also builds a
>relationship and trust within the circle of similarly-minded organizations
>(in this example, grantors; but this applies equally well to other sorts
>of partners), which can be drawn on in the future if there were a real
>crisis or urgent need.

The counter-argument here is that having a large and secure budget gives
organizations more opportunities to spend on non-necessities. Does the
Wikimedia Foundation need six legal counsels (not including the general
counsel and two legal directors), eight community liaisons, or a mobile
apps team? I'm sure these are all great people doing excellent work, but
when I see how much the Wikimedia Foundation staff has ballooned (and
frankly bloated), it makes me sad.

If you want diversification, build up the other Wikimedia chapters instead.

MZMcBride



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