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Fundraising 2011/Kaldari Letter/si

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The Internet used to be really cool.

There was so much diversity on the Internet back in the “old days” of the 90’s that it felt more like a community of interesting people rather than – you know – just glorified television, which is basically what it feels like now.

I was one of the volunteers who created Wikipedia. And we decided a long time ago that sharing information and educating people is more important than making money. That’s why Wikipedia is now hosted by a non-profit organization, and will never ever run ads. It does take money to keep the servers running and pay a small staff. But instead of having advertisers and financial influence skewing what we do, every year we simply ask our readers to vote with their dollars to support a real community of people who represent something different on the Internet. Please pitch in with $5, $10 or whatever you can.

After years of editing Wikipedia, I finally went on staff as a software developer. And I can tell you, the infrastructure that supports Wikipedia is about as barebones as it gets.

Google might have close to a million servers. Yahoo has something like 13,000 staff. We have 679 servers and 95 staff.

Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 470 million different people every month – with billions of page views.

The best thing about donating is that when you contribute $10 to Wikipedia, it’s multiplied many times over. If that $10 goes to help pay one developer’s salary, who then develops a tool that lets 1,000 volunteers do something great on Wikipedia, then all of a sudden your $10 has facilitated a lot more than it can in any other website.

Your donation will help us keep making Wikipedia better – and to make sure that at least this part of the Internet stays cool.


Ryan Kaldari
Wikipedia Programmer