Wikipedia:Do not expect reward

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Wikipedia content is contributed with irreversible Free license and without payment. These two requirements seem necessary for a project to survive.

Some people, however, still expect other indirect rewards. Possibly this may come from their evil/egoistic personality but may also come from simple unawareness. There is a widespread misconception that the Wikipedia community or Foundation does not give back (at least for the best of best) because it cannot, not just because it is determined to do so. "I wrote that many really good articles, could I now post one more article about my not yet notable open source project?". "I have devoted that much attention to community, could I now require a little bit more attention for myself?". "Can I get some official higher status for the sake of emotional satisfaction?". "Could I get from Wikipedia a kind of recommendation that may help for me to find a job?". "Could you promote my new non-profit initiative ?". Could you increase the search rank of your online sources that feed you? In all these cases, the answer is clear "no". Wikipedia does not give any reward other than the presence of the great encyclopedia on the web. Also in cases when such reward appears to be possible. It is your choice to contribute a little, to contribute a lot, not to contribute or to contribute short-lived vandalism instead. It will be no payment in either of cases. Please know this, especially before starting a hundred article project here. Otherwise you may end up in a deep unexpected conflict against this community.

Why reward is not possible[edit]

Reasons, why the obvious reward is not possible, are deeper than just lack of resources and have roots in the evaluation of the contribution. It is not just difficult but impossible by design to know which editors are much better than others. Edit or new article count is not a good indicator because it tells nothing about the quality of work. Rating system, if it would be implemented, is sensitive to the real world social network: editors who know each other in real world are more likely to give good certifications to each other. Various votes are sensitive to sock puppetry.

Also, having something that is only available to the "best elite contributors" attracts users who are experts in proving they are the best, experts in marketing themselves. The ability to market own significance for the project is a skill that may or may not correlate with the actual value of contributions. As a necessary component, this skill includes the ability to show (convincibly, if well done) that the competitors (other users) are inferior as they contributions are not that good. Are you sure you want these teasings where you may or may not be a winner?

Projects that tried to have both free and paid contributors have observed fiercy conflicts between these two groups, ellite group being top rude and arrogant while non-elite group asking why should they do anything for free. It seems that while both paid and voluntary projects are possible, the mixed approach is not viable. The right to self-advertise or obtain an official recommendation not everyone can get will bring similar problems, while probably in smaller scale. Also, these "indirect rewards" may not be as valuable as they initially appear. A good startup needs no premature Wikipedia article about it to progress. Recommendation from Wikipedia at the end may not help you in looking for a job. Supported feeling of elite primadonna is just bad for your character.

The right reason to contribute[edit]

God is so independent that he does not need anything from the world he is building

You must contribute to Wikipedia because you think the world becomes a better place with many people acting like you, sharing their knowledge. Following some philosophers, this motivation, if the only remaining, makes you similar to God. Other reasons, even reasons like emotional satisfaction, are not the right reasons to be here. If these reasons are your mandatory conditions, do not contribute.

Of course, this does not mean that your contribution to Wikipedia will be plain suffering on the cross. You may meet some interesting people, earn respect, feel satisfied with your new article, there is even reward board in the project. Just do not put any "minimal requirements" on reward, do not expect it to be proportional to your efforts and most important do not tie the possible benefits with the value of your contribution and your personality. Even if you see no any. Or even if you have been fired from this community for WP:IAR, at the end. Just do not care.

Dealing with selfish requirements[edit]

Do not meet requirements and proposals for extra reward with personal attacks about narcissism and urgent proposals to go away. Turning the discussion to a personal level ("What is your motivation? Your motivation is the root of all evil!") may not be the best way of argumentation. If the editor with strange aspirations has already contributed some good content for free and under Free license, he has already crossed a good majority of important borders. It is fully possible that such contributor will be capable of understanding the several remaining issues. Hence, like with everything in Wikipedia, let's better assume the good faith and try to explain.

See also[edit]