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Price tag syndrome

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
(English) This is an essay. It expresses the opinions and ideas of some Wikimedians but may not have wide support. This is not policy on Meta, but it may be a policy or guideline on other Wikimedia projects. Feel free to update this page as needed, or use the discussion page to propose major changes.
Wikimedian activity on sale

The price tag syndrome is a severe disease endemic in the Wikimedia Foundation (and some others), summarised as follows: if it has no price tag, it has no value.


An egregious example is the following excerpt:

global community of volunteers made up of article writers [...]. These [the editors] are the people who build the projects. Their work has earned [...] financial support sustaining the Wikimedia Foundation and other movement entities, and the global community has therefore earned the right to influence [...]

This sentence was later corrected, but the freudian slip shows that the value of your opinions is proportional to the dollars you bring.


The Wikimedia movement has had millions of contributors; Wikimedia affiliates organisations have thousands of members (mostly in chapters) and employees (mostly in the Wikimedia Foundation). It's impossible to summarise their activities and impact concisely, in a unified picture. The Wikimedia Foundation has sometimes tried to calculate the financial value of the Wikimedia projects editing by multiplying the number of words in it by the average cost of words production, but nobody really cares about such a metric, which moreover only works for wiki editing but not for most Wikimedia organisations activities.

Moreover, despite continued efforts, the Wikimedia Foundation is not able to put all thousands active community members on its payroll. To continue pursuing the strategy of total control of the community, a different tactic is needed: hence Narrowing focus.

Therefore, put a price tag on everything. Once everything has a price tag, you can buy it (see Fundraising) and then enlist it in your assets (called "activities" in some languages). By summing many assets, you'll be able to make nice graphs in your annual reports and financial statements, which will convince people to give you even more money, in an endless loop.


The merit given to something becomes directly proportional to the effort that the person doing it puts into monetizing it. The most selfish and egotistical individuals are always put in front, while those altruistically benefiting the society for the sake (and true pleasure) of it are looked down, forgotten or passed over.

From the point of view of some forgotten moralists which could be seen walking in the Wikimedia world in an ancient period called by some the "before Sue" era, this may be a system by which the money is systematically invested on the Evil.


Two are the main strategies used by the price tag syndrome virus to spread across the population.

  • Professionalisation: in a perfect Wikimedia entities world, all the work would be performed by professionals. If you are a professional, by definition your value is higher: otherwise, why would someone bother paying you a wage?
    • Main enemies: some hideous individuals, called Wikimedia chapters members, insist on working for free for the benefit of the Wikimedia principles, in the spirit of some aged and superseded concept called "association", unknown to most of the world's countries. They must be destroyed, or made invisible to the outer world, possibly confined in suitable asylums. If a decade-long harassment is not enough to make them feel miserable for the very fact of being chapter members and bring them to extinction, you can always prevent them altogether from gathering in an association! Yes, that will work.
    • Limitations: despite all efforts, we've not yet found a way to hire all the very active Wikimedia projects editors and contributors. Perhaps it's better so, because after hiring everyone to work on shiny corporate projects who would be left editing? Especially on the English language projects from which most employees come from.
  • Volunteers support and grants. The logical consequence is to put a price tag also on volunteer activities! Call it "support", encourage all volunteers to put a price tag on themselves by asking for a grant, and finally — oh, the joy, the orgasm! — yes, you got it, buy them too! All of them! Everyone is happy, with a little money investment.
    • Main enemies: again, it seems that most people are not looking for money. What a mad and sad world can this be sometimes? Mostly outsiders come to ask for money. But really, it can only be a communication problem. If only all volunteers knew they can get actual money, delicious money, for their volunteer work, obviously they'd come in droves of thousands asking for some.