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Lessening the burden on Wikipedia

posted by Jason Kottke   Mar 21, 2018

In a recent interview at SXSW, YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki said the company planned to use information from Wikipedia to counter misinformation in YouTube’s videos. In the NY Times, John Herrman wrote about the potential burden of a massive company like Google leaning so heavily on a relatively small non-profit organization like Wikipedia.

Then there’s the issue of money. As important as Wikipedia may be to some of the richest companies in the world, it is, in financial terms, comparatively minuscule, with a yearly budget of less than $100 million — a rounding error for big tech. (It should be noted that Google has made one-off contributions to Wikipedia in the past and includes the Wikimedia Foundation in a program through which it matches employee donations, which netted the foundation around $1 million last year.)

A few years ago, I wrote about financially supporting Wikipedia.

I consider it a subscription fee to an indispensable and irreplaceable resource I use dozens of times weekly while producing kottke.org. It’s a business expense, just like paying for server hosting, internet access, etc. — the decision to pay became a no-brainer for me when I thought of it that way.

I also called on other companies to support Wikipedia on a recurring basis:

Do other media companies subscribe to Wikipedia in the same fashion? How about it Gawker, NY Times, Vox, Wired, ESPN, WSJ, New York Magazine, Vice, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Huffington Post? Even $500/month is a drop in the bucket compared to your monthly animated GIF hosting bill and I know your writers use Wikipedia as much as I do. Come on, grab that company credit card and subscribe.

Wikipedia is a shared online resource that we all would sorely miss if it went away, people and companies alike. We should all pitch in and support it.