May 21, 2024

Wikipedia Banner Challenge

As you can tell from the banners appearing all over Wikipedia, their fundraiser is in full swing. Despite Wikipedia’s importance as a global resource, only about one in a thousand Wikipedia readers donate. One way to improve that would be better banners, and that’s why my research group is launching the Wikipedia Banner Challenge, a website to collect and prioritize banner ideas for Wikipedia. You can participate by voting on banners and suggesting new ones. It is quick, easy, and even a little fun.

The Wikipedia Banner Challenge builds on previous innovative efforts by Wikipedia to involve their community in the design of the fundraiser, especially during the 2010 fundraiser. In a continuation of that community-driven spirit, Wikipedia announced on their blog that they will be watching the results from the Wikipedia Banner Challenge closely and will use some of the most promising banners during the fundraiser. In other words, your banner could appear in front of Wikipedia users around the world.

In addition to building on previous efforts by Wikipedia, this project also furthers work by my research group on developing methods that enable communities to collect and prioritize information in a way that is democratic, open, and efficient. So far, our free and open source website,, has been used by governments and non-profit organizations around the world. The Wikipedia Banner Challenge provides an interesting test case for our methods, and we are excited to see the results. Wikipedians, if you want better banners for the fundraiser, give us your ideas.

Here are links to more information about:


  1. Where are this new year’s “predictions” posts? The last year’s predictions’ scorecard and the predictions for this year? Shouldn’t they have appeared by now?

  2. I appreciate the effort to make better ad banners, but I think this particular ad campagin is misguided. The banners on Wikipedia are gross. They make the site objectively less useful, and they change the character of the community.

    The worst part is that Wikipedia itself is not where the value is. If Wikipedia fails, a new wiki will quickly rise to fill the vacuum, and one of the first things everyone would do is import Wikipedia’s content into the new one. The important part of Wikipedia is the content, and the content is in negligible risk of disappearing. So why are we being exhorted to donate cash?

    A better way to set up donations is to work out protocols that support mirroring. That way, as the network grows, so does the overall bandwidth in the network grow. Does Wikipedia already support mirrors? If not, is anyone working on that? If neither, would is really be so bad to switch to technology that does?