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Jimbo's NFT, new arbs, fixing RfA, and financial statements

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By Bri and Smallbones
Is it live, or is it Memorex?

Jimbo's Strawberry iMac and non-fungible token

In a controversial move, Jimmy Wales auctioned an NFT of the "first Wikipedia edit", as well as his personal iMac which he used during the early days of Wikipedia, through the Christie's auction house. The NFT included a reconstructed website based on how the Wikipedia website appeared to him after its first edit, which Jimbo recalled in 2019 as him typing as "Hello, World!" before erasing it. However, some pointed out that the original timestamp of his reconstructed "first edit" was a couple minutes after a separate edit previously recorded as the first.

NFTs are controversial because they require proof of work in order to be recorded on a blockchain, an extremely energy-intensive method of recording transactions, and because they depend on cryptocurrencies (controversial for their use in ransomware attacks and their association with a large number of other scams). Other criticisms of the NFT sale include objections to the idea of Wales trying to create a type of ownership, or artificial scarcity, of a freely-licensed work − "Hello, World!" − whereas Wikipedia is dedicated to breaking down barriers to public access to knowledge. A recent Wikimedians in Residence Exchange Network discussion grappled with this issue, as well as its implications for the Wikimedia Movement.

The final auction hammer prices were $150,000 for the iMac and $600,000 for the NFT, according to Wales. The more commonly reported prices of $187,500 and $750,000 include the buyer's premium.

See also coverage in this issue's In the mediaS

Eight newly elected arbitrators

Three veteran ArbCom members (Worm That Turned, Opabinia regalis and Beeblebrox) were again elected to two-year terms on the committee in this year's elections. Five other editors were elected for the first time, all for two-year terms: Wugapodes, Enterprisey, Donald Albury, Izno, and Cabayi. The Signpost congratulates all these recently elected arbs, and also thanks Guerillero, Thryduulf, and Banedon for their participation in the election.

Our special thanks for a job well done go to the arbitrators who have completed their arbitration service and declined to run again. Casliber, David Fuchs, Newyorkbrad and SoWhy will also relinquish their oversight and checkuser permissions. KrakatoaKatie will retain these permissions, which she received before becoming an arbitrator, to work in areas which require them.

See more coverage in this issue's Arbitration Report. – S

Requests for Adminship 2021

For the sixth month this year, there were no successful RfAs in December, with only seven new administrators chosen all year: Hog Farm, TJMSmith, Ashleyyoursmile, Less Unless, Trialpears, BusterD and Blablubbs. There were only four unsuccessful results, with the most spectacular RfA being that for Eostrix who gained 123 supports against only one oppose and two neutrals before being blocked as a sockpuppet. (See earlier Signpost coverage).

This year's seven represented the lowest number of new administrators appointed in one year since 2003, when the RfA process began. The previous low was ten, in 2019; the all-time high was 408, in 2007. There are currently 1,066 administrators, with only 463 considered active (having made more than 30 edits in the last two months). – S

Requests for Adminship 2022 and beyond

The general health of the administrator community, as demonstrated by the figures above, appears to be low. In an effort to fix these problems, a process of RfC-based reform began earlier this year (see earlier Signpost coverage). The 2021 RfA reform ended with the passing of a modest list of proposals:

Proposal 8B, the "admin elections" scheme involving an express method of selecting admins via secret ballot, was closed with a controversial "no consensus" and a review of the closure at the administrators' noticeboard. – B

WMF's audited financial statements released

An audited Fiscal Year 2020-2021 financial statement was posted by the Wikimedia Foundation on December 15, as well as a FAQ published by WMF for its interpretation.

Highlights from the balance sheet include $209 million in current assets – of which $87 M were in cash or cash equivalents and $117 M was in short-term investments. Total assets amount to $240 M, which includes $20 M of long-term investments and only $10 M in property and equipment. Note that we're leaving out several of the smaller categories.

Total support and revenue was $163 M, which mostly comes from $153 M in donations and contributions. Total expenses were $112 M, which include $68 M for wages and salaries, $10 M for awards and grants, and $12 million for professional services as well as other categories. This resulted in an increase in net assets by $51 M, raising total net assets to $231 M as of June 30, 2021.

The 2020-21 Fundraising Report, released in October, breaks down contributions across several categories. Across continents donors in

Note that anonymous donors are excluded from the totals and this report is not formally audited. The English language campaign, which covers Australia, Canada, Ireland, the UK, the US, and New Zealand, contributes almost half of all donations. – B, – S

Brief notes

In this issue
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"Jimbo's Strawberry iMac and non-fungible token"

"Prominent Web3 investor Santiago Santos purchased the NFT for PleasrDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization most commonly known for buying the one-of-kind WuTang album [...]. 'I bought it because I think it’s priceless,' Santos said.
The bidder, who was initially anonymous, told Blockworks that he spent almost $1 million on the collectible because it was 'emblematic of Web3.'
'Wikipedia also open-sourced knowledge [sic],' Santos said, adding that the website has also gone through similar stages as cryptocurrency. 'There’s a lot of parallels. We’ve [also] gone through this phase of [people seeing] crypto as a scam.'"
He also said that he was "shocked" at the low price and had been prepared to pay "$2.5 million or more," considering that there is "so much emotional and historical attachment attached [sic] to Wikipedia."
Regards, HaeB (talk) 21:45, 28 December 2021 (UTC)[reply]

"Requests for Adminship 2022 and beyond"


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