This is the first time I’ve visited the Wikimedia Foundation offices in their current location. It’s always lovely to be able to see a physical manifestation of the Wikiverse (be it at a meetup or Wikimania etc.) but to see the Foundation offices is something quite different. I think that there is often a large gap of understanding between the WMF and the community at large because it is easy for both to forget that we’re talking about people and not just names on a screen so here are some images of the place which might help to give “The Foundation” a bit more nuance.
[The noticeboard where some of the thank you letters that people send “to Wikipedia” get posted.]
This week marks the beginning of the annual fundraiser period – when banners exhorting the public to donate appear on the top of all articles. This year the WMF hopes to raise a record amount – $16Million (which is a fraction of what most other global websites operate with, see the 2011 financial plan here) but by asking for smaller amounts from a larger number of people. At the time of writing, the fundraiser has been running for less than a day and it’s already one of the most successful individual fundraising days ever. I seriously think most people in the world don’t actually know that the Wikiverse is run by a non-profit organisation, without advertising, and created by volunteers.
[Some of the fundraising team analysing the effectiveness of the three “Jimmy appeal” banners being used on the first day.]
[Some of the team in the Fundraising HQ. The fundraising team is locked on a different floor of the building and not allowed to leave for a month, or until the fundraising target is met :-P]
You can see the live donation data that we’re watching in the office by going to http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Special:FundraiserStatistics I think the fact that we publish this information so transparently is probably unique in the world of fundraising. It’s quite addictive to watch. I’ve also been intrigued to see the scientific way that the fundraising team here have been testing different banners, translating messages (they’ve launched in 40 languages this year!), optimising the payment systems and improving the communication with the participating chapters. There are many things to criticize the WMF for (and I do), but “consistently improving in everything they do” is not one of them.
[Also today there is a French film crew in the office filming a documentary in 3D that features Wikipedia. It’s hard not to feel self-conscious when you’re typing away at your desk and a camera-crew walk past you filming.]
[Some of the live donor comments, perpetually scrolling in the office]
[A sign posted above the sink in the office kitchen. Yes, the office is full of lame wiki-jokes. Such as….]
[…”be Bold” and “CSS is Awesome” coffee mugs! Geeky – but oh so right.]
[One of the several boards where visiting Wikimedians leave their real-word ~~~~]
[All meeting rooms are named after famous encyclopedists. XKCD cartoons are to be found everywhere.]
[“To do: Make Wikipedia Awesomer” on the aforementioned noticeboard]
[Yep, it’s an office. Looks pretty ordinary but it’s actually a really convivial atmosphere. Nearly everyone has a Tux penguin on their desk. (It’s full during the day, this was taken quite late).]
p.s. In terms of amusing responses from 3rd parties about the fundraiser, so far I think the winner is “Jimmy Wales, Undead Scourge of Wikipedia” – brilliant.