Staring Contest with Jimmy Wales To Go On Indefinitely

Crowdsourced-knowledge seekers will look Jimmy Wales in the eye every day until they are ready to fork over the $16 million dollars it takes to run the fifth most popular website in the world, says the Wikimedia Foundation.

They’ve chosen to assault visitors with photos of the Wikipedia founder because the Personal Appeal banner ads bring in the most cash. They have the data (and the transparency) to prove it.

How does Wales feel about it?

“Jimmy was a bit uncomfortable with having his face on Wikipedia for millions of people to see and ridicule–who wouldn’t be self-conscious? He’s a really sweet, nice guy, so he was definitely hesitant,” Moka Pantages, spokesperson for The Wikimedia Foundation, wrote in an e-mail.

As far as fundraising guilt-trips go, Jimmy’s face grates more than Ira Glass’s warble in part because it’s unclear to what extent we need to thank Wales for Wikipedia. We’re the ones who wrote it, after all.

It turns out that’s exactly why they need the money.

“As Wikipedia continues to grow quickly, there is an urgent need to shore up the technological infrastructure and support organizational development to meet the growing demand of users globally. Our focus for the coming five years will be on the global south, to help grow and diversify our community of editors in other parts of the world. We recognize that the more diverse our editors are, the the better the encyclopedias will be,” Pantages explained. Staring Contest with Jimmy Wales To Go On Indefinitely