Talk:Fundraising 2009/Website Design

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See also the Translation talk and core messages talk pages, w:en:Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 55#Abolish the silly headers, Fundraising 2009/Launch Feedback.

Well executed[edit]

I think it's great that Wikimedia has a sense of humor (or in Rand's case, humour). It took me a minute, but eventually I understood that File:Intro Banner.png, File:Phase 2 Site Notice.png, and File:Phase 5 Quote.png are quite obviously jokes and would never be seriously considered for use outside Uncyclopedia. This joke was well executed and well played, though I agree with Rand that the fundraiser is fast-approaching it would be a very good idea to have some serious designs ready. --MZMcBride 00:15, 15 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please, please, let's turn down the "we're a cult" level on these ideas. "Wikipedia Forever"? Really? And a continued obsession with putting an image of Jimmy Wales? This is seeming like more of a cult of personality than anything else. kmccoy 02:13, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree; the current designs are wholly and entirely unprofessional. –Juliancolton | Talk 02:20, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have to agree with MZM and Kmccoy. We need to start from scratch here. — Jake Wartenberg 02:21, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I honestly assumed that these images are a joke. Hearing that these images are actually the planned banners for the Fundraising Drive...well, it didn't exactly fill me with confidence that the WMF will last another year. NW (Talk) 02:29, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fully agree with all of the above. These ad banners are more likely to terrify people than convince them to donate. Either that or they'll think some sort of protest is going on. "WIKIPEDIA FOREVER" is the sort of thing you see in a peace rally, not a fundraiser. "THIS IS EVERYTHING WE KNOW" is also flatly incorrect, seeing as we get new articles every day and there's a great amount of information we simply won't cover. Hersfold (talk) 02:41, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I too agree with the above comments. Simply put, this is not appropriate at all for the purpose. ≈ Chamal talk ¤ 04:02, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I was trying to think of what "Wikipedia Forever" reminded me of the other day. At first I thought it was something from Orwell, but I just realized it's George Wallace: "Wikipedia Now, Wikipedia Tomorrow, Wikipedia Forever". Emufarmers 02:42, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This site makes some good points (see the link at the bottom of the page). — Jake Wartenberg 22:13, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

That website says it all really. This campaign is completely ill-conceived and without redeeming features. We really need to scrap this entirely and go back to the drawing board. AJCham 00:37, 17 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Every time I see "KNOWLEDGE FOREVER / OF THE PEOPLE FOREVER / WIKIPEDIA FOREVER", all I can think is ""Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer!". Also... "of the people forever"? What kind of grammatical abortion is this? Veinor 12:38, 17 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have to say that I also took these as humorous mock-ups when I saw them for the first time. There's been a lot of people on this page expressing disagreement with the slogans for the fundraiser. Has there been any attempt or discussion about changing them? Killiondude 01:27, 25 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Moving forward[edit]

I asked a question on IRC over the last few days of a few people, and I've gotten some interesting answers. Basically, I'd like to see signs of what donations to WMF have supported. More specifics than just "supporting outreach" or "program development", etc. I know a fair amount of it goes to technical things like bandwidth and servers and staff, but a lot of it goes elsewhere, too. Let's show people, in a way that's actually meaningful and specific, how the money is spent. Don't just answer with "go look in our annual report", but make banners which showcase specific uses of money, the new servers being installed, new off-site backups, specific outreach programs, etc. Instead of having "how will my money be spent?" be simply one of the FAQs, make it the entire focus of the fundraising campaign. kmccoy 02:33, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Take a look here. If I remember correctly, the 2007 fundraiser material made a point of discussing the budget in some detail. I thought it was a good idea at the time – people are more inclined to reach into their pockets when they're properly aware of where the money is going. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 02:47, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And as the K-man suggested, it's not enough to point people to some accounting documents. If we want the entire general public to know what the Wikipedia Foundation does, we have to present it in ways people other than MBisanz will be able to understand. Personally, I can't be fucked to look at something called "the annual report", and there are people more lazy than even I. harej 02:51, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, you're basing your objection on the assumption that the donations are going to be used for things that are exciting. A portion of them will, but a great deal more will be used for routine expenditure. If you're interested in that, the annual report is the place to go. The fact of the matter is that most donors are more interested in the result (the perseverance and maintenance of the projects) than anything else. I will agree that more focus on the budget is needed, but not to the exclusion of information on what people care about: the things Wikimedia is actually doing in the world and why it's worth monetary contribution. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 03:08, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you think that the ideas on the content page here illustrate that? kmccoy 03:43, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No. As stated by those above, the banners have little substance and appear unconvincing. —Anonymous DissidentTalk 03:59, 16 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you feel previous years' text or FAQs have captured some of what Wikimedia is doing in the world and why it's worth contributing? The fundraising site itself tries elaborates on this a bit. Do visualizations like the commons animated banner celebrating the 5,000,000th commons upload work? Are there other short messages that you've seen that capture that spirit? -- sj · translate · + 03:47, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Regarding "This is everything we know"[edit]

I find the banner reading "This is everything we know" particularly concerning, because it's incorrect and conveyed in a way that's unlikely to be interpreted metaphorically. There is, of course, a vast amount of notable and verifiable human knowledge that Wikipedia does not contain. While the banner is provocative -- presumably that was its intent -- I think we should avoid the ironic practice of promoting an encyclopedia with literal statements that are clearly not based in fact. Emw 16:32, 23 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Some of these messages scare me[edit]

On troubling quotes and banners:

I just saw these. A lot of these messages are ones I wouldn't use in a public talk for fear of not being understood, or coming across as arrogant - when we are really mainly modest about the known gaps in coverage, failings of our systems that we are improving, and the many things we have still to learn from other fabulous knowledge-sharing projects out there.

Phrases that miss the mark most dramatically for me:

  • We’ve created the greatest collection of shared knowledge in history. Now help us protect this treasure.
    [The greatest collection in history? modesty becomes us better. we're just opening ourselves to ridicule, even if you believe this. and what does "protect" mean? see the comment on the talk page. "Help keep the world's shared knowledge free to all" might express this in a way I would say.]
  • Now help us protect this treasure.
    [protect is vague and not compelling save to hardcore contributors. treasure is vague and immodest. ]
    [which people? does this make sense outside of the US? even within the US it scans as ungrammatical]
    [what about her? a little too friendly, and unclear.]
    [what did I do wrong?!]
    [surely not yet!? sounds like an apology. ]

The messages here that I find compelling are the comments from donors, with presumably-functional bluelinks from their comment metadata to where you can donate and where you can see their original comment in context. That is brilliant. (Also those highlighting the growth in articles and languages over time.) Real people complimenting wikipedians and thanking them for their work are genuine; "I knew you could do it!" from an anonymous Voice is creepy. -- sj · translate · + 00:33, 29 October 2009 (UTC) (followup posted here)Reply[reply]

I also really like the messages from donors; those are super. And they could be updated as the fundraiser goes on with especially good ones. -- phoebe 21:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'd been compiling my own list of critiques; apologies for any duplication.
  • "This is what human potential looks like" sounds like a play on "this is what democracy looks like"; how many people are actually going to get the joke?
  • Others have already noted that people might find the image of Jimbo staring at them a bit unsettling. I worry more that they'll find it confusing: how many people in the general public know who Jimmy Wales is, let alone what he looks like?
  • "LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE DONE" is apparently supposed to be the warm, nurturing voice of your mother when you've made her a drawing in kindergarten, but it sounds a lot more like how my mother would scold me if I set the lawn on fire.
  • "I knew you could do it" doesn't have the same problem, but it's even more condescending.
  • While "It started with one entry" makes perfect sense to Wikipedia editors, I don't think the average person is going to have any idea what it means, both because the message sacrifices context for the sake of snappiness, and because the average person doesn't necessarily know how Wikipedia grows.
In the spirit of offering positive ideas, I really like the messages from last year. They come across as genuine and personal, and they focus on what Wikipedia does and is rather than what it represents. I think we should move in the direction of reminding people how often they use Wikipedia and how much they learn from it. Emufarmers 17:45, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree with all of this, and I also liked the personal appeals from last year. -- phoebe 21:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ALL CAPS? Really? I always like cycling messages from donors; great stuff there, but it takes time to sort through. That way we can can say some of the stuff like the mockups but not seem arrogant, since we are just passing on the feelings of a donor. I particularly do not like the "THIS IS EVERYTHING WE KNOW" message - certainly not. I'm adding new content to poor articles all the time and we need more people doing that. We will never be done enough to say that. LOOK AT WHAT YOU'VE DONE sounds, at best, like a proud parent of a small child who used the toilet for the first time. At worst, it sounds like an admonition. Golly gee wiz... --Daniel Mayer (mav) 15:38, 1 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, get some quotes from people who have been helped by the foundation; people from Wikimedia Academies, those who use Wikipedia or another Wikimedia project as a teaching tool, those whose only real access to knowledge is the copy of Wikipedia on their One Laptop, etc. --Daniel Mayer (mav) 15:43, 1 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Look at what you've done" and "This is everything we know" are inkomprehensible to me too. As translators I guess we'be better come up with something else. // Kjell Brel 16:04, 5 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do some of these mottoes remind anyone else of Zero Wing? "For great, great, great, great knowledge, all your cash are belong to us"? -- Llywrch 17:50, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As these messages become more known in the German Wikipedia community, it can be observed that they get associated with a typical totalitarian propaganda campaign. If this already occurs withing in the community, some public relations nightmares are ahead of us when German presss and the German bloggers report about this. --Pjacobi 16:57, 7 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For illustration, some of them (e.g. "of the people forever") sound almost literally like typical banner slogans from the former GDR. If a professional agency has been used to create these slogans, has "intercultural applicability" or even just acceptability been one of the target criteria? Sorry, but this campaign seems almost unusable. -- 03:42, 8 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Indeed -- my American colleague who lived in Germany in the 80s said the same thing, unprompted, when I showed him the messages. -- phoebe 21:49, 9 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yes, these slogans look to be lifted pretty much directly from 1984. Especially the "THIS IS EVERYTHING WE KNOW" (which is directly contradicted by "ADVANCING FOREVER") looks like an appeal to go out, and find, and donate to an organisation that is set up to rid the world of Wikipedia. This campaign portrays Wikipedia as an arrogant entity that directly endangers the world (there may well be more than a bit of truth in that portrayal?), and it certainly is scary. - Brya 04:48, 9 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
To quote Keeler, Greaney and Cohen (1996), "We must move forwards, not backwards, upwards, not forwards, and forever twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." Fifelfoo 14:50, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You can expect a visit from the Wikimedia politbureau for that observation. Wikepediya tikdem! -- Llywrch 17:44, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

They are appalling. The comments from contributors (Phase 4) are much better. Rd232 11:53, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is the idea here really to use the Wikipedia Forever theme for the whole 2009 fundraiser? I'd heard it thrown around but I thought it was in reference to the often mentioned idea of creating an endowment dedicated to supporting Wikipedia's future with or without the foundation. At best, the current design seems like an awkward framing for the full fundraising drive.

Otherwise: I like the quotes from donors with the small set of links/info to the right and I still can't figure out what the Jimmy quote about Wikpedia not being a website is supposed to mean. —mako 03:11, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Last year's personal appeal[edit]

At the end of last year's fundraiser, we saw daily giving rates rise by over 500% when visitors were presented with Jimmy's personal appeal, compared to when they were presented with one of the other banners. This increase is averaged over the entire last week of the campaign. Are we doing something like this again? Why not put up a revised version of that very appeal for most of the campaign as one of the more frequent banners? -- sj · translate · + 18:09, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Measuring response rates and responding on the fly[edit]

It looks to me as though the soft launch has a small number of banners, and the hard launch has more. Since this year's approach is radically different from previous years, what about having the early days of the campaign include as many different banners as possible to see what their differential response rates are? -- sj · translate · + 18:09, 29 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Messaging reactions[edit]

As noted on the page itself, what's seen here is not necessarily the most current design that will be used. There are some good ideas here, as well as some that aren't to my personal taste, and I'm sure a lot of people will have a similar mixture of reactions. I'd just like to remind us of a couple things. One is that bridging the distance between what works well in appealing to donors and what is aesthetically pleasing to editors is tricky, since there's only occasional overlap in those groups, so there will always be stuff that may feel awkward to you. The other point is that the way to exert influence over what designs are used is not just by voicing personal opinions, for which it's difficult to know what weight to give one view compared to another (especially for only a very small, self-selecting group). But as in the past, we will be testing the results of different messages against each other, so we can focus on using the ones that are most effective. So if you're considering a donation, the best way to influence this is by making sure you donate in response to one of the messages you like best. It's like a vote, only better. In fact, it allows you to have as much influence as you want, as many times as you donate (not that I encourage splitting everything into a bunch of small donations, then you're just sending more of your donation to PayPal). But as they might say in Chicago, donate early, donate often! --Michael Snow 23:06, 30 October 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

There is going to be an absolute riot if you use these. All caps messages that completely miss the point of what Wikipedia is, and why you should donate. Prodego talk 16:04, 1 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whether a message is effective or not as a fundraising tool is one thing. But I think it's also worth considering if the message is one that we want to plaster all over our pages. One of the reasons I keep hearing that advertising isn't going to happen is that it gives the impression of us being influenced by sponsors, even if that's not what is actually happening. This tells me that whoever makes decisions on what sort of messages we use (and that "whoever" is unfortunately not the editing community, but that's a fight for another day) does in fact care about the impression we give readers. So let's not act like the only thing that matters is whether a banner gets us a higher donation rate. "THIS IS ALL WE KNOW" is an arrogant, ridiculous statement that is so clearly wrong on so many levels that it's embarrassing that it's even being considered for placement in banners all over the project. Other statements are slightly less ridiculous, but suffer from various problems that a number of people have mentioned above and at other sites. kmccoy 02:49, 2 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Precisely. As a Wikipedian, I don't want to be associated with some of these messages. (And for what it's worth, my non-Wikipedian roommate and one of my colleagues both thought the banners were ridiculous, too). -- phoebe 00:46, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I originally came here after seeing it talked about on IRC thinking this was all a big joke and did a double-take after reading the above. I can't believe that these all-caps chants are seriously being considered. "THIS IS ALL WE KNOW MAN! THIS IS ALL WE KNOW! WIKIPEDIA FOREVER!!!" ... sounds like some obsessed fanatics on a crusade... -- OlEnglish 06:40, 2 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Or in other words, it can be misinterpreted by some to mean: instead of "Wikipedia contains all the information that humanity currently knows" to mean "We as Wikipedia editors know nothing else besides editing Wikipedia! This is ALL we KNOW! Wikipedia FOREVER!!" .. scary -- OlEnglish 06:46, 2 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Looking at all the phrases, they sound half-cocked in English to begin with, meaning they're going to be hell to translate into Danish. I believe Kaare does the translations with help from the community, and the main slogan alone is awkward enough; I don't blame him or anyone else for not going anywhere near it. Should it be "WIKIPEDIA FOR ALTID" or "WIKIPEDIA EVIGT"? And let's not get started on "Look at what you've done," which will sound harsh in Danish and will necessitate a weird word change to "achieved," which sounds patronizing. Mike Halterman 09:50, 3 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It also sends off a wrong message to smaller wikis like the Danish when "DET ER ALT VI VED" pops up on the screen. At 117,000 articles, everyone's going to have a laugh. A lot of this won't translate well basically because the tone in which it is written is a very...American kind of tone, which I don't have a problem with myself as an American, but Scandinavians as a whole do not speak...or really act...the way Americans do. One Danish user I talked to calls it "the American exaggeration," and I agree. Mike Halterman 10:10, 3 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks for the Feedback[edit]

I want to thank the community for the feedback above. If you compare the first round versions, with the latest (, samples, you'll see a lot of changes both based on our natural work progression but also on commentary above (much less ALL CAPS).

While I understand some of the strong opinions that some may have about some of the messaging, I want to be clear that no one banner or statement is the entirety of the campaign. I believe our core message and product are very strong and will build a good case to our donors. Last year, we learned that different messages appeal to different groups. While you or our core crowd may love or hate a specific message, the overall impression on our donors can vary.

Last year, we tested a few different approaches...educational messages, slogans, and direct asks. Some did better than others...but we used that data and those points in designing this year's messaging. Wikimedians seem to love the quotes, phase 4...but the didn't do extremely well last year. Maybe we picked the wrong quotes...or maybe our core donors don't find them very compelling. As a fundraiser who believes in data and testing, I am passionate about testing every message we have.

The "Jimmy Letter" did really well last year. And one of the reasons was that it was emotional...and our donors clearly responded positively to that emotion. Some of the banners this year are testing emotional appeals and those are some of the ones that are evoking such strong opinions above. I think these are worth testing.

This fundraising drive will be flexible. If a banner or message is not performing, we will take it down and test something else. We have some of the same successful messaging from last year, but the big picture does include testing different messages. "Look at what you've done" can strike some people one way and yet others can see it differently. It's one message out of 30+ that we're going to test this's a banner that will likely be one of 6 that will running over the space of about a week. And if it doesn't work, we'll remove it and test something else.

A couple of additional points:

  1. We do plan on being as project-specific as we can with these messages. Where we can implement a project specific name in the place of a banner or message, we will do so.
  2. This fundraiser has messaging and tone that is part of an overarching public relations plan that was approved by the Board and WMF management. You can read more about the partnership with Fenton here:
  3. This campaign will be fundamentally different than last year's. We are trying to do a bit more than just make enough money to accomplish our mission, we're also trying to elevate our perception and impact to the world.
  4. I find it interesting that my main complaint is not one of the ones I have seen much of above: the lack of direct call to action (Donate now) on the banners. However, I know that we will be flexible with our testing and able to add such things if they are needed.
  5. All your feedback is noted and appreciated.

Rand Montoya 03:42, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

At the risk of sounding rude, I have to admit that I'm very surprised that an actual PR firm with people in suits and a nice website and a history of other PR projects created "Wikipedia Forever" and the terms associated with it. I was thinking someone in the office did it over lunch, because it doesn't sound professional and it doesn't sound like a lot of thought was put into it; and that's just in English, not to mention all the languages and cultures it's eventually going to represent. Mike Halterman 07:03, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would speculate that part of the issue is that marketing firms like catchy slogans and building "mind-share". In Wikipedia's case that is far less important since we are already a top-ten website and household name. For comparison, you don't see Google or Facebook doing much with slogans. My instinct is to say that Wikipedia would do well to stay plain and direct, and I would call attention to the past success of the longer form personal appeal,, and suggest that we would do well to replicate that. Dragons flight 18:44, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. I didn't respond to Rand's third point earlier because I felt the world was pretty much saturated with Wikipedia already. It seems like that starving child in Africa may be the only one left in the world who doesn't know about us! Mike Halterman 21:43, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Somewhat disagree. While the world may have heard of us, the percentage of our regular users who know and appreciate that we are a non-profit and reliant on their donations is surprisingly small. Part of the focus of this campaign is to raise awareness of us as non-profit, a valuable service to world, and worth keeping around forever. Rand Montoya 21:59, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Raising awareness of WMF being a non-profit can be played more creatively than "Wikipedia Forever" or the slew of other slogans lined up. I don't see any of the slogans really bringing in the awareness that donations are wanted, much less needed. Sometimes artsy cuteness isn't the way to go and bringing in something to the point like "Hey, did you know we're a non-profit and we rely on your donations to help keep us running?" speaks more volumes than "For your great, great, great granddaughter!" Mike Halterman 23:55, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Concur. This is in line with my comment above that "plain and direct" may work better. Yes, there are issues that are poorly understood by donors, including the non-profit status of the Foundation, but simply saying that directly would probably be understood more easily than many slogans. Dragons flight 00:50, 5 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
We do plan on being as project-specific as we can with these messages. Where we can implement a project specific name in the place of a banner or message, we will do so. I hope you realize that shoehorning in a name like den danske Wikipedia into the messages doesn't really make them resonate with someone whose mother tongue is Danish, or in fact a number of languages (I've seen complaints from at least four other languages just here on meta). Simply put, the ideas don't translate well into English, and only even then when you're given context (ex. "Look at what you've done," "This is everything we know.") You're not being given context in a big headline at the sitenotice; the context disappears and people are like "Hvad er 'Det er alt vi ved'?" Then my other concern is, okay, so what if some slogans don't work? What are they being replaced with? From aesthetic and translation standpoints the ones that are slated to go up first don't look all that great; I think the replacements should also be publicized so they can also be vetted by the community. However, I don't know what good that will do, because even though you said the feedback is "noted and appreciated," it sounds like the original idea (save for turning off caps lock) is going to be implemented anyway. So what's the point in giving our input anymore? Mike Halterman 07:43, 4 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I assumed that meant more that 'Wikiversity' or 'Wikispecies' would be substituted instead of 'Wikipedia'. Sj+ translate 14:24, 5 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Personally, I'm not a big fan of this whole theme. It seems far too forceful and aggressive. And, as others have touched on above, this won't translate well. To boot, people rarely take Wikipedia seriously - how will a kitschy marketing scheme help in that regard?
I mean, it just feels so false to me. I don't think this is what human potential was working towards. Master of Puppets 22:01, 5 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the one thing that this campaign surely does not do is portray Wikipedia as "a non-profit[,] reliant on [...] donations". Substituting "Microsoft" for "Wikipedia" would make the campaign make much more sense, the big, mean, corporation out to gobble up the world, while pretending to be friendly. This is a hard-ball, aggressive, ruthless campaign. Of course, actually, some parts of Wikipedia are like that, but it is nothing to strive towards. - Brya 06:06, 10 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ideas for alternative slogans[edit]

There seems to be some active discussion of this general sort at Fundraising 2009/Alternative banners. Go there and suggest something! Nihiltres(t.u) 15:07, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think I'm speaking for more than myself when I say that some of the slogans we're seeing so far for the upcoming fundraiser really don't resonate with the community, and frankly don't feel like very good ideas to begin with. For one thing, they run straight into the fail test: statements like "THIS IS ALL WE KNOW" can simply be branded with a nice big FAIL caption by people who already have doubts about Wikipedia, and statements like "WIKIPEDIA FOREVER" will just end up confusing people—how do they even know that it's a fundraiser message?

I think we need something better, and given that text is easy to change, I say we make a few suggestions as a community: concrete examples of something better than what's already visible. Let's see if the wiki approach can work on slogans the way it does on encyclopedia articles. I'll start with a few off-the-cuff ideas, and let's work out a set of phrases that we, the community, can endorse. I fully respect the work of Rand Montoya, the Foundation, and the Board, but I think it would be nice to see if there's anything that can be done better. Let's try for a few phrases that, as Rand put it, "do a bit more than just make enough money to accomplish our mission, [but also] elevate our perception and impact to the world" while avoiding perhaps-overly-grandiose statements like "WIKIPEDIA FOREVER". :/

Here's a start, some ten-second ideas to get the ball rolling.
  • "Make Wikipedia last forever. Donate today."
  • "Wikipedia's vision: all the knowledge of the world, free for anyone."
  • "Ad-free, free knowledge, forever. Support the mission!"
Nihiltres(t.u) 17:54, 8 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I would respond much better as a donor to the above messages. Or something along the lines of "Help us ensure knowledge remains free forever!" Or perhaps more of a dire urgency message such as "Wikipedia needs your help to continue providing the world with free knowledge! Without your donations Wikipedia will cease to exist!" would help motivate donors? -- OlEnglish 07:19, 9 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I always liked wikipedia because it seemed like a gentle, non-intrusive thing. You can look up how soap is made or you can look up how children are made, and no one is there to care or judge you. It's a very safe personal space to interact with knowledge and learning. I feel all the loud, brash messaging the PR firm used feels, well, violent and nasty and angry and rude and unlike us.
Wikipedia's community has always been characterized by its modest, "get stuff done" attitude, and I feel that if anything charms the news media and supporters, it's been that humble industriousness. That as a project we look more at the path ahead of us than at the mirror.
The libraries of knowledge wikipedia preserves are surely excellent, and should be preserved for a long time. Of course. On the general goals which might have spawned this ad campaign, I agree. But our knowledge is also nuanced, and complex, and able to see shades of gray and complexities. And where this campaign has taken its goals is to a painting of wikipedia which has no nuance.
In both the first and second draft of these ads, Wikipedia is drawn as an iron monolith of worship, without reasoning, history, or meaning. It makes wikipedia appear to be an institution more concerned with itself and with its marketability to the corporate world than with the ideas and recognition of complexity which brought it here. That is not the dispassionate, open, human, complex website or community I love.
I think there is some sense with others' description of these words as ringing of some sort of totalitarian political campaign. The whole thing seems odd to me. -- 01:52, 10 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I like all three of the suggestions above. Some of the others sound like they were written in another language and mangled in Google Translate. Orderinchaos 11:56, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Just to clarify, (though not to detract from your comment which I'm sure was not simply a reaction of mine) I edited my comment because the way it was written might be easily misinterpreted to seem I was criticising the above three user contributed quotes and not the PR firm quotes. The user quotes are fine improvements. -- 08:50, 18 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Contributor quotes[edit]

Sorry to repost, but I don't know where's best. Seriously, I think the best campaign I've seen is from the 2007 Fundraiser that had a random quote from a donor. We shouldn't be telling people in huge letters to donate, we should use the same style of banners as 2007 with anonymous people telling others to donate. The quotes on Fundraising 2007/comments/en, sincere comments from readers, are a lot better than all this terrible bragging, capital letter, FOREVER stuff. Of the current proposals, use only the Phase 4 set of Fundraising 2009/core messages/en. As an active editor, I actually liked reading what our readers had to say, but with this, I'm just going to hide the banner. Reywas92 19:46, 8 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I definitely agree. People are far more moved by quotes and stories from donors than a big banner saying "WIKIPEDIA FOREVER". Also, why does Wikipedia need to hire a PR team, anyways? Is this a good use of donor money? Captain panda 03:25, 10 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If we bring in sufficiently more money then we would have otherwise to make up for the money spent on the PR team then I guess yes it's a good use. Proving this is going to be rather difficult but I would guess comparing to previous years, particularly the trend in donations when we didn't hire a PR team would help. Especially as many countries and people are in worse economic states then 2007 and earlier suggesting donations would be lower. An interesting point is that according Rand Montoya quotes didn't actually do very well last year so I question the merits of such an approach. I think this is an important point, given the number of people supporting quotes perhaps at a minimum it was helpful to get a PR team to actually test such things rather then presuming because wikimedians like them means it's a good idea (even though we're predominantly appealing to non wikimedians). Personally I hold no love or hate for any particular banner or previous year although do note we seem to get similar complaints every year (how bad it is, how bad an image it sets, how it's more likely to turn of donators/readers, how much better previous years were). However since the foundation feels a fundraising drive and promotion is a good idea, I do think it's best if we do it in the best way possible and yes, I personally prefer something that works better even if it gets a few more complaints. I don't have any experience in such matters so don't believe I can offer any useful feedback on what's the best option Nil Einne 06:29, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The quotes performed so-so in prior years. The personal appeal from Jimmy performed about 10 times as well as any other banner, so this will be a central part of this year's campaign as well. The current set of banners is based on some of the same principles that are believed to have made the Jimmy appeal successful, e.g., simple messages, plain text. However, we'll be observing the banner performance carefully and try various different approaches.--Eloquence 10:12, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

En Wikipedia discussion[edit]

en:Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)/Archive 55#Abolish the silly headers. Ed (talk) 05:20, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

With all the threads of people complaining about the donation banner, I didn't know where to post. Anyway, the banner is terrible, and I don't quite understand why it's still up if everyone thinks it's so atrocious. Doesn't stuff run on consensus here too, or is that just Wikipedia? If the latter is the case, it shouldn't be. The community's decisions should be honored, cause without us, there would be no Foundation.
This part of meta is run by the devs of the foundation, not consensus. MBisanz talk 05:43, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec)...That's alright. I run Wikipedia, which this banner is currently defiling. Well, I and the rest of the community. The banner needs to come down. Everyone hates it. Perhaps consensus isn't the rule here but neither is dictatorship, I hope. You can't just ignore everyone.
As I said over at WP, I'm not a dev and I have no power here, so I'm really not the person to be complaining to, more just the messenger of how things are. MBisanz talk 05:56, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I know, I'm speaking generally, not at the personal "you".
It seems to me 'everyone' hated every banner we've ever had (at least until the next round of banners) and none of them ever came down Nil Einne 06:31, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't speak for other years since I wasn't privy to any discussion on previous banners, since I've never even considered complaining any other year. All caps, huge font, excessive whitespace, and a slogan that looks like we're trying to get people to never forget 9/11. At the Wikipedia discussion the sentiment has been unanimous. I've seen a couple of people saying they don't care, and one person saying everyone complains every year so who cares (you, if that wasn't completely obvious), but no one's actually voiced a molecule of positive support for this thing.

This looks incredibly lame. In capital letters it looks like the slogan a child would come up with. Please change it to please donate rather than persisting with these silly headers. They do not look good for our credibility.Himalayan Explorer 12:52, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Strongly agree with above. Most of the slogans make absolutely no sense, and those that do sound arrogant and condescending, and could damage our credibility. Everyone here is against this banner, and the foundation is still saying we must keep them? I don't get it. Isn't consensus the way things are supposed to be decided? Tempodivalse [talk] 16:17, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, this part of meta is run by Foundation decisions by wmf:Staff and we are limited to giving our opinion. Always has been that way since at least 2004. MBisanz talk 17:42, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I've been looking all over to find out where the banners came from and I'm assuming they came from here. Can someone please tell me what the Wikipedia logo is doing on Wiktionary? --Yair rand 05:29, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • We won't have full logo translation right now. We hope to have it within a few weeks. It's not an error, but a technical feat to overcome. Rand Montoya 05:46, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Are you saying that for the next few weeks, Wiktionary (and apparently every single project) will have the WP logo at the top of every page? Seriously, if these banners stay like that for a while, some of the projects are likely to hide the banners entirely with css. The whole thing is rather insulting to these projects, almost as if you were saying they're just subsections of Wikipedia. --Yair rand 06:05, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • This has been a running complaint for years. Last year, it got fixed part way through the fundraiser, IIRC. How is it possible that we have the current situation?  — Mike.lifeguard | @en.wb 06:17, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Agree with above. This is borderline insulting for non-Wikipedia projects, and potentially confusing for readers who might think it's a subproject of Wikipedia. Why couldn't the logo translation have been done before the banner went live? I'll bet that most projects will disable the banners soon if nothing is done. I'm from Wikinews, and the community there is so upset about this that they're seriously considering taking the banner down with .css. Tempodivalse [talk] 16:11, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Someone told me that the Foundation paid $250,000 for this. Is this accurate? Previous years have had really poorly designed banners too (albeit, honestly, not as bad as these), but at least those were free. Toss a few dead presidents to the normally unpaid volunteers and not only would you get something better than what's been presented here (see MZMcBride's alternative for the only good slogan I've seen presented) you've got a better campaign and you've not flushed a quarter of a million dollars away. It's bad enough Wikipedia has such a shamefully amateur main page, but these banners are beyond ridiculous, both in their simplistic (and ugly) design, and with the laughable slogans. All CAPS in an ugly font, really? How did that get past the brainstorming meeting? And for all of them... unbelievable. Slogans are not what's needed anyway. That seems obvious.

Honest requests for donations is what draws people in. Jimmy's letter didn't garner so many donations because his face was slapped on it, but because it came across as an honest plea for help. Attracting (or attempting to attract) readers with crap like "THIS IS ALL WE KNOW" is awful. It's not accurate, and if it were, it'd be sad. I suppose it's true of the tens (hundreds?) of thousands of sub-stubs that cannot and will never be able to be expanded, but I'm not sure we want to advertise that bit. "WIKIPEDIA FOREVER". It's going to take more than money to ensure that, but what's guaranteed is that such amateur slogans created by people who apparently don't have a solid grasp on what we're doing here aren't going to accomplish more than tastefully designed and honest banners would (will?). Get a refund on this ill-considered purchase and put it in the books as a $250k donation in the name of "Wikipedians". Lara 21:08, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fully concur. The foundation wasted a massive amount of money on an ad-agency that came up with a bunch of unprofessional, almost nonsensical slogans. Why? It's no wonder they need money now. IIRC, a lot of the previous fundraisers were done with few, if any, any expenses (i.e. members of the wiki-community coming up with banners themselves), and were quite successful. Why couldn't they do that again? I can't understand. If this is the way the foundation spends its money, I'm certainly not going to be encouraged to donate to it. Tempodivalse [talk] 21:29, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't have all the details, but I would infer that the $250k was to hire the PR firm for a broad range of campaign tasks, the banner design being just one of those.
Yes, the $250k is for an 11-month contract with Fenton Communications to address both fundraising and a broader range of public relations efforts. Dragons flight 22:14, 11 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I'm concerned about the rest of the 11 months now, if this is what they come up with for the major fundraising campaign. Seriously, that's a lot of coin to ship to a professional firm to come up with "WIKIPEDIAZ 4EVAH" and all. *headshakes* WM staff: you realize that you have a large community of people working on these projects, many of whom likely have some sort of media and experience who might be interested in sharing that experience. Might not be polished and presented by guys in suits with fancy Powerpoints, but it would probably include experience of people working with the site and generate less drama than what you're getting now. Tony Fox 00:14, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree. If you want a real wise use of sitewide banners, put one up asking for fundraising banner design ideas. The community would likely be very willing to help with things like that, if only to show off their talent, and many of them are damn good at it. Take it a step further: hold a contest, give away an i-Phone to the winner, t-shirts to finalists. In short: Tap the community. They're a vast an inexpensive resource.
Totally concur, this has to be one of the dumbest moves I've seen. And a giveaway or something like that should have been the way the foundation went, hell the community has made the entire encyclopedia, why did the foundation think they couldn't come up with a slogan? --Coffee (talk) 01:17, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good damn point. We can't even get any scratch for writing featured articles, but a quarter mil goes to a company for this. A thousand dollars worth of gadgets and gear for the community in a contest would have yielded quality results. No doubt in my mind about that. Lara 13:19, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wikimedia has had an atrocious sense of fiscal responsibility for a couple of years now, and this is the icing on the cake. Guys, if you want a real cause to donate to, donate to the Toolserver. A larger percentage of the money you give to Wikimedia Deutschland will be used on the Toolserver, especially if you specify that you want your donation to go there. The Toolserver is responsible for a whole bunch of delightful supplementary Wikipedia stuff, and I legitimately want it to stay around. harej 00:20, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If this banner appears above any page other than a featured article, it just shames the project. Imagine, if you will, somehow (perhaps by the "random page" button) you come upon Petr Svojtka. I swear on all is holy in the world I clicked "random page" one time and that's what I got.


Lead: Petr Svojtka (September 25, 1946 – May 9, 1982) was a Czechoslovak actor.
Life: In 1968 he graduated from the Faculty of Theatre in Prague.
Work: [A bullet list of works]
Death: He died in a tram accident.
References: IMDb.

THIS, my friends, IS ALL WE KNOW. Brilliant. Lara 03:42, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Larry is on the mark. harej 04:04, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's "Lara" :) ...unless this was some intentional inside joke I'm not privy to.
It is. The bunny is just being funny... and by "being", I mean "failing at being". ;) Lara 04:58, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

What if ...[edit]

I've noticed that there's a tremendous backlash/opposition to this banner across several wikis now. Hypothetically speaking, if the members of a project become so irritated by the notice (when it goes live again) that they unanimously decide to hide it with local .css files, what would the foundation do? Would it enforce the banner's appearance with an office action? Just wondering. Tempodivalse [talk] 01:44, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I really doubt that. I doubt they'd even be checking who hid them. Only registered users have a CSS file, and the percentage of those with the knowhow to use them to hide the banners would be negligible. The banner is likely designed with the intention of hooking anyone but established users, which is a much larger pool of donors, and probably the reason they don't care much about all the complaints.
No, I meant disabling the banner for everyone (including anons), not just registered users. Tempodivalse [talk] 02:02, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, you mean an admin permanently changing the interface. They've tried that already and it was reverted, per Rjd's link below, and I'm guessing would revert future attempts as well.
Probably not a good idea. - Rjd0060 02:02, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You know, if the foundation wants to war with the volunteers that run the project for free to keep banners that shame our work, it's probably worth taking a few moments to consider why they believe this is the best course of action. Or, better yet, maybe they should. Lara 03:51, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fenton Communications[edit]

Has anyone been to their website? Here Its great! Apparently they're experts in such diverse topics as "Clean Tech", "The Arts", "Health", "International??" and my personal favourite "Women". Seriously, who hired these people? Was there some kind of selection process? I'm really worried that besides the fundraising, they're going to be in charge of Wikimedias image for the next 11 months. By the time they're done we'll all be worshipping Jimbo, Forever! Acer 11:15, 12 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

One wonders what the process for selecting Fenton Communications was. Who decided to hire them? 02:30, 13 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Wikimedia fire them! KlokkoVanDenBerg 19:01, 13 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

FYI - Wikimedia selects Fenton for two-pronged marketing task "SAN FRANCISCO: The Wikimedia Foundation has selected Fenton Communications for a $250,000 project to build the credibility of its popular Wikipedia site and help boost the organization's fund-raising efforts. ... Jay Walsh, head of communications for the Wikimedia Foundation, told PRWeek that Fenton would work on a retainer for the tasks over the next 11 months. ... "Most of the RFPs we received said [our challenge is related to] Wikimedia's story, and its story impacts both of these pieces of the business," Walsh said. "We were looking for an agency that had demonstrable success of supporting clients in the nonprofit space." -- Seth Finkelstein 03:16, 14 November 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Bring back the thermometer in some form?[edit]

I know the fundraising goal was met, but I still miss the thermometer. During fundraising for my childhood church, they'd "explode" the top of the thermometer and keep adding lines indicating how much more we raised. If nothing else, I'd like to see an easy-to-find link to info on how much is the approx. current total donated. Thanks! Geekdiva 08:42, 1 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Hello Geekdiva! I like thermometers, charts, and statistics too. We actually do have some statistics pages available to you, though keep in mind that they don't include all of the money we've raised and are pretty "raw":
  • FundraiserStatistics – comparison to the last two fundraisers; daily totals, maximum, number of contributions, average, and cumulative totals, all in a bar graph format
  • ContributionStatistics – daily totals and monthly totals (total, average, highest, YTD total); currency totals; contribution break down
  • ContributionTrackingStatistics – information about the number of clicks, donations, amounts, and averages based on banner and landing page.
I hope this helps and you find these pages interesting. Cbrown1023 talk 21:58, 1 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]