Wikipedia + Flattr = what our users are asking for

It’s a dream of us to be able to Flattr Wikipedia articles and we’re happy to see our users are asking for the same thing. Here are a number of tweets just from the past few days.

By the way, Ariën Holthuizen’s question is an interesting one – should Wikimedia Foundation get the money or the editors? Or perhaps there should be just one site-wide button rather than each article having its own to not confuse people into thinking that they might be supporting the authors of the articles? What are your thoughts?

Oh, and you can flattr Wikipedia (almost 200 people have already), I’m sure that one of these days they’ll claim their account and get a nice gift from our users. Unless they do no money will be taken from you account.

16 thoughts on “Wikipedia + Flattr = what our users are asking for

  1. In my opinion, it would be better to have a flatter button on each distinctive page for 2 main reasons:
    1 – People will prefer to flatter not for the cause but for an article that actually helped them.
    2 – If there is a flatter on each page and each page is seen by xxx many people, then xxx many people that don’t know about flats would actually start digging and actually realizing what they could do with it to support wikipedia each time they use it. And of course underling this point, flatter would get awareness from the mass.

  2. I kind of think it will never happen, because it might compromise wikipedias policy of no advertising to have FLATTR buttons on every page. Flattr would have much more to gain from this arrangement than wiki i would think, just from the exposure.

    Now, WP is more than happy to let you donate via paypal and credit card, but notice that they dont have a paypal or visa etc logo anywhere on their site except on the actual payment processor pages. They certainly wouldnt have a huge PAYPAL logo on every page, that would be terrible right? Theyre trying to keep as neutral as possible whilst still dealing with the reality of needing ways to get monies.

    I think if flattr created a ‘de-branded’ version of the flattr button, wikimedia might be much more willing to consider it. It would never show your logo or colours, and would only spring to life in that way if the user doesnt already have a flattr account.

    Still even with this arrangement, its clear that flattr has MUCH more to gain than WP, and the promotional conflict of interest might still be too much for WP to stomach. I like you guys but this may just be the hard truth.

    Besides, if they added buttons to every article tomorrow, your server cluster would be a smoking crater ;) so you would need to prepare very well.

  3. There was a poll in the German Wikipedia in Aug 2010ür_Wikipedia-Arbeit which was somehow disappointing for the flatter users.
    To sum it up, there are more than one “micro reward systems” and wikipedia has to stay neutral between flattr, kachingle, readability and all others. So they prefer to take no money over some bucks from one platform. Strange guys.
    Another problem was the difference between wikipedia, wikimedia foundation and the editors. You would have to assume to whom the flattr click was intended. Guess who sees the users as clueless visitors and doesn’t want to make such an easy assumption… (wikimedia foundation would be my guess)

    At least, Editors are allowed to paste a flattr Button on their user page and hope anyone will ever find it.

  4. Interesting points.

    Anon, I don’t think Flattr will ever create a white label version of itself but there’s nothing stopping Wikipedia (or anyone) creating their own custom button or a text link instead of the Flattr button. I’ve even seen it done on some sites, suppose they didn’t want to put another button that clashed with their design.

    But I get your point about staying (or seeming to stay) neutral.

    My personal opinion – I’d like a Flattr button next to each article because as Tim said, I just got value out of that one piece of writing and I want to show that it was good / I appreciated it.

    And I would assume money going to Wikimedia Foundation (just like the money from the donation run they’re doing right now).

  5. I would very much appreciate to be able to flattr wikipedia. Here my thoughts: I think if we include flattr in wikipedia, we have to be able to flattr single articles and the money must not go to the authors, but to the project for the following reasons:

    Flattr Buttons should be placed on single articles rather than only one for the entire project, because
    – more buttons mean more money. You can only click on flattr thing per month. So you could only click once on wikipedia, even if you liked several articles. If every article has one flattr button, you can flattr each article once a month (or even subscribe to it).
    – it facilitates transparency. If every article has a button, you can see afterwards which articles were most appreciated.
    – it leads to more clicks. I agree here with Tim. If I like a specific article and am grateful for it, I would rather click the thing I enjoyed rather than a general thing.

    Further, the money must go to the project, not the authors. This is very important, because
    – You simply can’t put a reasonable price tag on the voluntary work done by the authors. How do you calculate it? In words? In working hours? Or even in relevance? Its not possible, so just don’t.
    – You are most likely to diminish the voluntary work. This is because there is a difference between doing something for a greater good or personal beliefs and doing it for money. Assume you have written a short section of a wikipedia article. If you don’t get paid and you knew this in advance, you are happy and proud to be part of wikipedia. But if you didn’t get paid or earned just a small sum, but expected to be paid, then you are most likely disappointed and won’t participate in the future. In fact these effect is well known in psychology. If wikipedia would have paid their contributors, it would have created a thing like Encyclopedia Britannica or the german Duden, but not the Wikipedia as we know it today. So the money has to go to the project, not the authors.

    I hope this will be done and done right.

  6. I’m afraid we’ll have to accept that some people (resp. websites) do have legitimate reasons *not* to use flattr, no matter how much we’d like them to. Wikipedia is just one of them – I’ve seen similar arguments going back and forth for, XKCD is another example.
    Having said that, in the case of Wikipedia, it might be a better approach if Flattr (as a company) addressed Wikimedia Foundation directly, just to establish contact and get an exchange of ideas going. Getting them to sign up as a non-profit organization, and adding Flattr as a means to donate to the project (i.e. just on the donation page), would already be a step forward. And once that’s done, on thing might lead to another.
    A flattr button on each article may sound like the perfect idea to some of us, but as the resulting issues and open questions are pretty obvious, it seems like way too much for a first step.

  7. Markus, we have approached Wikimedia Foundation, of course. The Twitter-blog coverage seemed timely and interesting as we keep seeing users tweet about Wikipedia and Flattr and it was interesting to ask for people’s opinions on the issue.

  8. Hey, very off-topic: Just clicked that Wikipedia link above and noticed that Flattr has a new dashboard. And now you can flattr even e-mail addresses??? I must have missed that before.

  9. If a ‘Support Wikipedia’ button took me to a page where I could Flattr, Paypal, kachingle or what have you, that would at least be a step in the right direction.

  10. I started in august 2010 the poll in the German Wikipedia. The Wikipedia-Authors didn’t want flattr-buttons in Wikipedia. But it’s possible to present Wikipedia-articles outside of Wikipedia and then you can flattr this articles. Here’s a website I started after the poll: It’s possible to make this website more known, I can translate it into the english language.
    Best, Andreas

  11. I think Flattr needs to be more open to the idea of a “white label” version for certain cites. I think it makes sense in a number of circumstances and what Flattr may loose in branding they would gain in new users and adoption.

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