《经济学人》:维基百科集资 Wikipedia's Fund-raising
日期:2011-11-16 10:01

(单词翻译:单击)

听力原文

Wikipedia’s fund-raising
维基百科集资

Free but not easy
免费百科不容易

The online encyclopedia needs its users’ money and volunteers’ time. Gaining the first is the easier task
维基百科既需要用户捐款也需要志願者的时间,前者比后者更容易完成

MANY mocked, but the money rolled in. For the last few weeks of 2010 Jimmy Wales fixed his piercing gaze on Wikipedia users, imploring them from banner ads to help the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit pay its bills for this year. The founder’s plea worked. Wikipedia reached its target of $16m in just 50 days (compared with $8.7m in 67 days at the end of 2009).

很多人嗤之以鼻,但是维基百科的筹款确实滚滚而来。在2010年最后几周里,维基百科创始人吉米-威尔士(Jimmy Wales)眼光独到,瞄准了维基百科的用户们,用网页上的横幅广告恳求他们向任何人都能编辑的免费百科伸出援手,为网站支付当年的费用。他的恳求成功了。维基百科在50天内就实现了集资1600万美元的目标(与之对比,2009年末在67天内筹到870万美元)。

This month those pleading banners will return—but with many sets of eyes. Backing up the earnest Mr Wales in the attempt to raise $25m by the year-end will be Brandon Harris, a long-haired programmer wearing a full-sleeved T-shirt and a surly expression, who says he quit his job building some crappy thing that’s designed to steal money from some kid who doesn’t know it to work with Wikipedia. 400m unique users every month make it the world’s fifth-biggest website, according to Alexa, an internet research company. It also has a good claim to be the world’s most important provider of non-entertainment content.

本月,那些筹款横幅广告又要回归了-这次关注的人却更多了。支持诚恳的威尔士完成到年底筹得2500万美元的目标的是程序员布兰登•哈里斯(Brandon Harris),哈里斯一头长发,身着一件大T恤,一副胸有成竹的表情。他称他上一份工作是做出一些没用的东西专门去骗不明真相的孩子的钱,辞职后他加入维基百科。互联网研究公司Alexa称每个月都有4亿用户访问并成就了这个世界第五大网站,同时它也是世界上最重要的非娱乐性信息的提供者。

Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit company that runs the online encyclopedia, has devoted much effort towards finding a way around its reliance on its founder. The banner featuring Mr Harris was the first to outperform the one with Mr Wales, and more successes have followed. Though Wikimedia received $3.6m from a charity, the Stanton Foundation, it wants to raise money from large numbers of happy users rather than big donors who might want some clout for their cash.

负责维基百科运营的维基媒体基金(Wikimedia Foundation)是一家非盈利公司,它竭尽全力寻找其他途径以不再全部依赖于创建者威尔士的身上。哈里斯的标语是第一个胜过威尔士的,更多的还会接踵而来。尽管维基百科从慈善机构Stanton Foundation获得360万美元的捐款,但是它仍然希望从大量快乐的用户、而不是那些大的捐赠者那里筹资,因为后者想用金钱交换某种影响力。

Wikipedia has just 78 full-time staff (due to reach 117 in 2012) and 370 servers, against some 60,000 for Facebook and over 1m for Google. Unlike other internet giants, its content comes from unpaid editors. It spends 44% of its income on technology (including programmers); other administration costs make up just under a quarter. Fund-raising takes up 8% of the budget. It accepts no advertising.

维基百科只有78名全职员工(2012年将达到117名)和370个服务器,脸谱网和谷歌公司则分别有60000个和100万个服务器。与其他互联网巨头不同,维基百科的内容出自没有酬劳的网民的编辑。花在科技上(包括程序员)的收入为44%;其他管理支出仅占不到25%。筹集的资金占预算的8%。不接受广告。

Raising time
筹资时刻到了

But raising cash to keep Wikipedia running is an easier task than getting people to donate time. Month-on-month article growth in the English Wikipedia was as high as 5% in 2006 but has stayed stubbornly at 1% for the past two years. Worse, Wikipedia fears that without remedial steps, the number of active editors will decline to below 80,000 by the middle of next year (in March, the figure was 90,000).

不过,比起让人们奉献时间来编辑百科,让人们捐钱以维持其运行比更容易。2006年,英语维基百科文章月环比增长为5%。但过去的两年里,这一数据却一直保持在1%。更糟的是,维基百科担心如果没有纠正环节,到明年年中,活跃编辑的数量将下降到80000(今年三月时是90000)。

Editors are a scarce and hardy breed. They must understand the site’s policies, gain authority among other Wikipedians so that their decisions stick, and be able to write in the cumbersome code required by Wikipedia’s software. Moreover, says Barry Newstead, Wikimedia’s chief global development officer, 90% of users outside Wikipedia’s core community aren’t even aware that they can edit the encyclopedia. Users seem to ignore the plentiful invitations to get involved: We’re furniture in the living room, he says plaintively.

编辑是稀有坚韧物种。他们必须了解网站政策,在其他维基使用者中获得权威,这样他们撰写的词条才能被保留,还得会用维基百科软件要求的复杂代码进行编写。此外,维基百科全球发展官巴里•纽斯蒂德(Barry Newstead)说,维基百科非核心群体成员的用户占全体用户的90%,这部分人甚至不晓得他们可以编写百科。用户们似乎忽视了网站发出大量的邀请他们参与信息:我们就是客厅来的家具,纯摆设,他无奈地表示。

Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, says she wants to break down the psychological barrier between reading and editing, so that improving an article feels like a natural extension of reading it. Attracting people dedicated (and thick-skinned) enough to fend off special interests and trolls (internet hooligans) is tough. So Wikipedia is trying to make its editors’ lives simpler and more attractive. One move is to try to cut the number of discouraging automated messages warning editors of style breaches and other peccadillos.

维基媒体基金会执行董事苏珊•加德纳(Sue Gardner)表示她想打破横亘在阅读和编辑之间的心理障碍,读者参与编辑完善一篇文章就像是阅读后自然而然的拓展活动了。吸引住人们,让他们足够热诚(足够厚脸皮),避免有人心怀不轨,也要小心网络流氓,这绝非易事。因此维基百科正在努力让编辑活动更简单更有趣。措施之一是减少针对风格不符和瑕疵的警告信息,这类自动生成的信息容易打击编辑的士气。

Another change, due by the end of 2012, will make editing a lot easier, and more like using popular blogging software. But the Wikinauts are steering clear of the bandwidth-hungry features favoured by other content-rich websites. The aim is that a humble user visiting the site from a cheap mobile phone in Africa will find loading a page just as quick and simple as a rich-world user with a powerful computer and a broadband connection.

另一个变化就是到2012年底,维基百科的编辑会更简单,更像流行的博客软件不过Wikinaruts在努力避免在载入百科的过程中耗费用户过多带宽(许多内容丰富的网站就需要如此)目的是为了方便非洲的手机用户,这样他们用廉价的手机访问时就可以又快又方便地找到某一页,就像富裕世界里的用户使用功能强大的电脑和宽带连接一样。

By the end of this year, Wikimedia will have opened an office in India, its first outside the United States. Branching out to the far side of the world (rather than opening an office in somewhere comfortable like Europe) is meant to signal the foundation’s global ambitions. India is a sensible choice for an outfit with limited resources: a large, English-speaking Wikipedia community already exists there. Indians are the fifth-largest donors and rank sixth among most-active editors. The encyclopedia has two dozen versions in Indian languages. But even the largest of these, Hindi, has only 100,000 articles (against over 3.8m for English). 300m Hindi speakers mean plenty of scope for growth. India alone is expected to triple the number of its internet users to nearly 300m by 2014. The push should provide useful know-how for expansion under way in two other big growth areas: Brazil and the Arab-speaking world.

维基百科定于今年年底在印度开设办事处,这也是它在美国以外开设的第一家办事处。向世界另一端发展(而不是在欧洲这些地方舒舒服服地开一个办事处)尽显维基集团向全球进军的雄心壮志。对于一家资源有限的公司来说,印度确实是个明智之选:国家广大并且有大量使用英语的维基百科用户社群。[color=Blue]。印度人是维基百科第五大捐赠者,在最活跃编辑排行榜上名列第五。维基百科有12个印度语版本。但是即使是最大的版本,北印度语版本里也仅有100000篇文章(英语的则为380万文章)。3亿北印度语使用者蕴藏巨大的增长空间。仅印度一国就能让维基百科的在线用户数翻两倍,在2014年达到近3亿。在印度的进展可以为即将在巴西和阿拉伯世界的扩展工作提供经验,这两个地区也的增长前景也一片光明。

Despite rosy forecasts for emerging-market growth, Wikipedia still faces two big obstacles. It is good that so many people in the developing world now access the encyclopedia from mobile phones, but such devices are ill-suited to editing. In deferential cultures and those with little experience of public participation, Wikipedia has also had particular trouble explaining that every single user has the right (and indeed the duty) to edit an article if he thinks he can improve it.

虽然在新市场增长前景一片大好,但是维基百科仍然面临两大障碍。现在发展中国家的很多人都能通过手机进入维基百科,这是好事,但是这些手机编辑功能不强。在顺从型文化背景下,在人们几乎没怎么参与过公共管理的社会,维基百科也很难向那里的人们解释其实每一个用户都有编辑权(这也是一种责任),只要他认为自己能改善百科。

One solution is partnerships with universities. Wikipedia works with three institutions in the western Indian town of Pune, an education hub. Students are assigned a theme—corporate social responsibility, for example—and must write articles for course credit. They are happy to gain a wider readership than just their professors, while Wikipedia gets an enthusiastic batch of new recruits. Articles created through these partnerships range from topics as broad as output (economics) to an arcane entry on a 1985 committee on Indian monetary policy.

措施之一是和大学进行合作。维基百科和位于印度西部城市、学校集中地普纳的三家学校合作。学生的作业中有跟社会责任有关的,比如,必须编写维基百科以获得学分。他们很高兴能读到更多东西,而不只是听教授讲课,而维基百科则得到一批兴致勃勃的新编辑员。通过这种合作关系写出的文章涉及各种话题,从产出(经济)到出现在1985年关于印度货币政策的会议上一条晦涩的词条。

The aim is to encourage the indigenous creation of information and to lessen reliance on imports from outside. The university focus also helps Wikipedia inch closer to meeting one of its diversity targets—increasing the share of women editors from 9% in 2011 to 25% by 2015.

这样做旨在鼓励信息原创,减少对外部输入的依赖。大学还着重帮助维基百科逐步实现另一个多样化目标—让女性编辑的比例从2011年的9%到2015年的25%。

Wikipedia has suffered in the past from ill-informed criticism from outside, and complacency on the inside. Signs now are that both are diminishing. The idea that an online encyclopedia that anyone can edit can provide high-quality content is increasingly established. Wikipedia entries are rarely perfect, but their flaws are always open to instant remedy; that is a big plus. The outfit also seems to be moving away from its dependence on the charismatic Mr Wales, and from its over-reliance on a narrow caste of Anglophone enthusiasts. Wikipedia’s survival and expansion are also encouraging signs for those that worry the internet is in danger of becoming too commercial and closed off. Wikipedia is not just collating knowledge: it is making news too.

过去不明真相的外界责难维基百科,其内部也渐生自满情绪。现在看来两种情况都有好转。维基百科推广的概念,即任何人都可以给在线百科提供高质量东西越来越得到人们的认可。维基百科的词条几乎都不是尽善尽美的,但是它们随时欢迎人们完善修改,这就大大地给它加分了。维基百科也正在逐步摆脱极富个人魅力的威尔士先生的控制和对一小波讲英语爱好者的过度依赖。对那些担心互联网越来越商业化、越来越孤立的人来说,维基百科逃过一劫继续扩大也是一种积极的信号。它不仅仅是在整理知识,它也在制造新闻。
生词注释

mock v.嘲笑
non-entertainment adj.飞娱乐性
outperform v. 做得比……好; 胜过……
remedial adj. 矫正的, 补救的
complacency n. 满足

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重点单词
  • reliancen. 信赖,所信赖的人或物
  • establishedadj. 已被确认的,确定的,建立的,制定的 动词est
  • foundationn. 基础,根据,建立 n. 粉底霜,基金会
  • popularadj. 流行的,大众的,通俗的,受欢迎的
  • bannern. 旗帜,横幅,大标题 adj. 特别好的,杰出的 v
  • rankn. 等级,阶层,排,列 v. 分等级,排列,列为
  • participationn. 参加,参与
  • psychologicaladj. 心理(学)的
  • humbleadj. 卑下的,谦逊的,粗陋的 vt. 使 ... 卑
  • dedicatedadj. 专注的,献身的,专用的