Editor's note: An older version appeared with the headline that Indian are the largest givers to Wikipedia when the survey points out that Indians are most willing to donate to Wikipedia. The headline has been changed after a reader pointed out the error.
Wikipedia recently concluded its annual fundraiser, which was quite successful with the online encyclopedia collecting nearly $20mn dollars which will be used for the daily operations of the site. Jimmy Wales, founder of the site had appealed passionately to all users to donate to help keep the site free from advertisement. More recently the Wikipedia blackout to protest SOPA/PIPA was seen as a strong anti-censorship stand taken by the website, for which it was widely supported by readers and users alike. (We chronicled how readers/users of the web survived that day!)
Post the donation drive, Wikipedia has just published results from a readers survey as a way of understanding the major donors to the site. Some of the facts that come out from the survey are rather surprising.
For once Indians are number ONE, when it comes to a desire to donate to Wikipedia. According to the survey 42 percent of Wiki readers from India were ready to donate, followed by Egypt and US where nearly 33 percent users were keen to donate. The survey also noted that users from Germany, France and Japan were less prone to making a donation.
However a constant a problem that many users said prevented them from donating was the lack of affordability. Ayush Khanna, Data Analyst, Global Development at the Wikimedia foundation wrote in a detailed blogpost that
The high value of the dollar may also have an effect, with 68 percent of Japanese readers and 57 percent of Indian readers citing affordability as a reason. However, about 60 percent of UK readers also cite this reason.
While dollar rates could be a possible issue for not donating, Indian users who don't possess a credit card were probably stumped on how to go about donating to the website.
But perhaps the biggest shocker is that nearly half of Wikipedia users are not aware that it's a non-profit organisation. The number is quite high with 47 percent of readers being blissfully unaware of this crucial fact. Being non-profit has helped Wikipedia remained ad-free since it began 2001. Russia (64 percent), Brazil (56 percent) and the United States (56 percent) were countries where this lack of knowledge was woefully high. The fact the US figures on this list too is quite interesting, since the US also had a sufficient majority of readers who were willing to donate to the site.
What was even more bizarre, according to the survey numbers, was that nearly 28 percent of its users who had edited pages on Wikipedia were unaware that it was a non-profit organisation.
Wikipedia has been putting out quite some information from this survey for nearly a month now on the Wikimedia global blog. Other key facts are that only 6 percent of its users have ever edited a Wikipedia page and most of the users are happy to just read the content.
Many felt that they didn't have the grasp of a particular subject to actually edit a page (Around 28 percent felt that they didn't have enough info). Six percent of the users also felt that they were afraid their edits would be removed. The survey also confirmed that Wikipedia is still being edited by very few people and a lot of people are hesitant to make edits. In an earlier survey the site had stated that
80 percent of our editors are from the Global North. In most other countries, a very small number of respondents as percent of total sample say that they had edited Wikipedia.
Once again it seems that the editors for Wikipedia are still largely based in the developed countries, despite Wikipedia launching pages in several languages other than English. Expectedly men are far more likely to edit pages than women on Wikipedia, for there are more men online than women. The number of young readers who edit is also increasing.
The study was conducted during the summer of 2011. A 15-minute survey was administered to a total sample of 4,000 participants within the following 16 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Africa, UK, and United States. To read about all the blogposts on Wikipedia survey click here.