I am not a frequent user of Wikipedia. I would sporadically search for topics related to history, geography, films and music. Rarely about religion and even more rarely about politics.
When the request for donations started popping up recently, I tried to understand the platform a bit more. I had been under the impression that Wikipedia is a free platform that crowdsources information. If some information is incorrect, somebody who has the correct information could post it.
Didn’t realise how wrong I was !
What happened recently?
I am a regular user of Twitter. Wikipedia asking for donations came up there and I read long, well researched threads on how the platform is selective. It became painfully obvious when I read through the “2020 Delhi Riots” page that Wikipedia was being selective. Targeting a few and ignoring others.
Wikipedia today is controlled by forces with a clear agenda. Their narrative is anti-BJP, anti-Modi anti-India and anti-Hindu. Information is manipulated to further this agenda. Read the first two lines about the Delhi Riots – it says these riots were anti-Muslim riots when clearly, Tahir Hussain has confessed to having planned and executed these riots!!
Wikipedia is clearly not neutral and that is dangerous. As long as anyone can present their views, and the platform remains neutral, its a great thing, but that’s not the case.
Some people like Nupur Sharma (OpIndia) reached out to Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia. While he appeared to be helpful, he did nothing to change the narrative.
Read about her efforts on this thread – Nupur on trusting Jimmy Wales and losing out.
Should you donate to Wikipedia ?
For the past few weeks, Wikipedia has been strongly campaigning for donations. The request is for very small amounts. Earlier I would have gladly donated as I don’t want anything free. But now that I know that they are biased against my country, I won’t give them a single penny.
Do read the following article on Quora and a Twitter thread to understand Wikipedia. Whether you wish to donate or not, is your choice, but make that decision armed with more information !
Twitter thread by Soumyadipta on how editors and PR agencies make money through this platform.
Why is Wikipedia appealing to Indians to donate themselves? Is this a scam?
1 thought on “Should you Donate to Wikipedia?”
I refer to Wikipedia often. I found it useful, because the bibliography at the end of each article exposes you to different articles and books on the subject. I suppose it is a crowdsource platform and that’s fine. The advantage is that different people with different viewpoints contribute and that is fine too. What can be of concern is that all contributors may not be of high quality and the editors could miss that out. So Wikipedia cannot be your ONLY source of truth, especially in social sciences where multiple perspectives (some of them biased) are possible. We say in Tamil “Yepporul yaar yaar vaay ketpinum apporul mei porul kanbathu arivu” (Real wisdom is understanding the underlying truth, no matter who says it), and this applies to Wikipedia too!
Having said this, let me tell you of my BAD experience with Wikipedia donation. Like you, I felt grateful that Wikipedia provided leads on many subjects that I like to explore. So I responded by a donation through my credit card. The payment screen looked a little different from the usual, but I chided myself for being over-suspicious. But the debit for the donation never came (Usually the SMS confirmation comes to my cell phone within minutes). But the next day I got an email (supposedly from a high ranking Wikipedia official) effusively thanking me for the donation. That assuaged my fears. The day, after I got a string of SMSes debiting my card for purchases I never made. I reacted immediately and alerted the card company; and they blocked my card and issued a new one. Later they also reversed the fraudulent deals and I did not lose money. Full marks to the card company for acting fast.
I had made a mistake, but recovered my senses fast. Luckily you did not respond at all! 🙂
The call for Wikipedia donation, and the payment screen are both decoys or PHISHING screens that get activated with each opening of the site. There was no debit on my card for the Wikipedia donation, because, THE PAYMENT SCREEN WAS A HOAX. It appeals to your altruistic emotion; so when you punch in your card details it steals the confidential information. PLEASE WARN YOUR FRIENDS NOT TO FALL INTO THE TRAP.