It’s very rare that I ask anything from my readers (aside their attention). For most of Off on a Tangent’s history there have been no advertisements on this site and, during those periods where there was advertising, I kept it as minimal and un-intrusive as possible. I’ve only encouraged people to donate to things on very rare occasions.
Today is one of those rare occasions.
Wikipedia is an excellent, free online encyclopedia written by volunteer contributors around the world in many different languages. It has more articles than any print encyclopedia in history and, according to a number of studies, has higher average accuracy than those bygone printed monstrosities. It’s not perfect—because anybody can edit it, it does sometimes fall victim to abuse and vandalism—but overall it’s a reliable source of information on almost any subject. On average, I use it several times daily for everything from getting musician/band discographies to historical study to religious research to biographical research and more. I’ve probably learned more from Wikipedia over the years than from any other source (including my schools).
Like Off on a Tangent, Wikipedia is not advertising supported. The vast array of servers that keep Wikipedia available instantly to millions upon millions of contributors and users are kept running by a small, lean team of employees, and the entire operation is funded only by donations. Their goal for 2010 fundraising is $16m, and today they are woefully short of that goal at $9m.
So if you, like me, use Wikipedia all the time, please consider sending them a donation—even a small one—to make sure they’re still here into the indefinite future as a completely free (and ad-free) source of knowledge and learning. You can make a donation via PayPal or credit card through its parent organization, the WikiMedia foundation.