- Internet & the Web
Wikipedia: Hungry & Homeless, Please Help
if you have visited Wikipedia lately, you've likely seen the large banner at the top of each page providing a message from one Wikipedia executive or another. These messages are essentially cardboard, handwritten signs oft-seen in the hands of beggars on street corners, asking for donations. Wikipedia is asking for $15 million dollars in supportive donations to assist with their operational expenses.
I use Wikipedia quite often. In fact, when I type in a word or phrase in a search engine (Google is the one I use), I generally select the Wikipedia entry first, if one is available. I think there's probably a Wikipedia entry for everything under the sun, and I'm sure I'm not the only person that frequents Wiki's pages for information about various topics.
The only flaw with Wikipedia, that I can see (from a research perspective), is that the content is primarily user-edited. Basically, this means that anyone can write anything about any subject and it will stand as the "official" statement on Wikipedia's pages about that subject unless it gets contested or revised. Source data is often not provided. This means that if someone IS using Wikipedia as their first choice for information, that information is not necessarily accurate (but usually is).
Wikipedia doesn't inundate the reader with pop-ups and advertisements, mouse overs and surveys. It just provides you with the 411 on whatever you're looking up. Their executives are probably overpaid and less deserving of their salaries than the bottom-line programmers who keep the website up and running are, but it's still their "day job" and fat cats need vittles, too, I suppose.
While I would donate to other causes before Wikipedia, such as PETA, ASPCA, or local animal charities and shelters, Wikipedia is still a useful cause as it relates to the everyday functioning of the internet. I imagine Wikipedia gets more daily hits than a Lindsay Lohan panty shot or an article about the latest child-buying spree of Brad and Angelina. So I guess if you've got money to burn (does anyone, really?), toss some their way.