Wikipedia has become indispensable in todays world. Almost everyone with internet access relies on Wikepedia for information. It has become part of our very life and a critical source of knowledge to billions of people worldwide. Nearly 400 million people use Wikipedia and its sister sites every month which make 4.8 billion people every year – almost a third of the Internet-connected world uses it every month.
Though we all know Wikipedia as a powerful single source for almost all of human knowledge, this column is to highlight the model and the people behind Wikipedia.
100% Powered by Volunteers and Donations
Wikipedia is the work of thousands of volunteers around the world who collaborate over the internet to write and edit articles. All the articles that we read are 100% written by volunteers, mostly anonymous who work for free. The rapid, unstoppable growth that Wikipedia has achieved in just under a decade may not have been possible if not for the founders adopting the openly editable model. The openly editable model allows people from any part of the world to create articles and to provide relevant, dated information to internet users worldwide. Volunteers are thus both the creators and the protectors of that body of information. As a Wikipedia volunteer, you can write a new article, add to an existing, fix problems or flag abuse.
Though a non-profit organization, Wikipedia is the fifth most visited website in the world, run by an extremely lean team and infrastructure. Wikipedia’s operations are 100% powered by donations from users. Wikipedia does not allow for advertising on its pages and therefore does not have any revenue from advertising. The aim is to keep the content free. If you’ve recently looked up information on Wikipedia, you will see the appeal for donations from the founder Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia is requesting small amount of donations from its users to keep the content free and growing. You can read the appeal and contribute, they are still to meet their this year target of $16 million.
The Wikipedia model is a great exemplar of the power of collective giving – how small amount of time and money contributed by millions of people can help service the world and create massive change for the good.