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So, we all joke about the Wikipedia donation banners with Jimmy Wales and whatnot...  When you really think about it, though, the amount of value created by Wikipedia is kind of ridiculous.  Everyone uses it.  I use it every day, and you probably do too.  Wikipedia alone has undoubtedly brought a significant boost to the world economy, by making people smarter and allowing them to work faster.  A central, high-quality repository of all the world's knowledge is about the most valuable thing someone could possibly create.  Yet they don't ask you to pay a cent, or look at a single ad, to use it.  And it's good that they don't, because who knows how many contributors would be deterred if they did, or how the content would end up tainted by advertisers, or how many people would find it out-of-reach if they had to pay.

I'm proud to renew my place on the Wikipedia Benefactors list this year, and I hope you will consider making a donation as well, no matter how large or small.
Wikipedia is the #5 site on the web and serves 450 million different people every month – with billions of page views. Commerce is fine. Advertising is not evil. But it doesn't belong here. Not in Wik...
Amro Al Jaberi's profile photoMathieu Clabaut's profile photoRandall Bosetti's profile photoAli Hassan's profile photo
In a way, I feel this is the sort of public service that the government should fund, alongside public education and PBS. Or possibly a consortium of governments, or the UN, as it's hardly specific to the US. But as long as that's not the case, I suppose we need to continue to give them individual donations.
No government could ever do anything as useful as Wikipedia; It'd get dragged through the mud of realpolitik. Wikipedia is well off as an independent entity. Let's just hope that the internet stays free enough that they can stay that way.
While I'm no Libertarian, I think I agree with +Ted Hahn in this case.  It seems far too easy for government to corrupt a project like this.  Aside from the obvious censorship issues, governments generally tend to impose too much review and oversight on the things they do, and Wikipedia thrives on exactly the opposite.

I think as long as Wikipedia can be supported by donations alone -- which I expect will remain true for the foreseeable future -- it is best that it be supported that way.
+Michael Powell State and federal government contributions don't make the bulk of public media funding anyway. For example, government contribution (including through the CPB) made up 16% of NPR's FY '10 revenue. PBS reported government contributions to their revenue at 15%.

"A central, high-quality repository of all the world's knowledge is about the most valuable thing someone could possibly create."  Whiffs of Asimov here.   Edit: also, I contributed. Thanks for the reminder.
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