is a project to write an encyclopedia

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Sometimes, arguments are made that we should do something to benefit readers, whether or not it harms editors, because we have far more readers than editors, or because readers are our primary, most important, audience or customers. This is partially true, but wrong in a critical way when it comes to, this website, and the project it makes possible.

The "readers" of are not, and cannot be, our primary audience, no matter their numbers. is a website with one central purpose – "to write an encyclopedia". That's what we do here, that's what we are for, that's the purpose of all 150 servers the Wikimedia Foundation has scattered around the world.

We write an encyclopedia here. We do it by means of volunteers, most of whom joined us because they came across the site looking for information. Information is our hook – it's what we use to get people interested enough to edit. is not here to provide information – is here to assist people in creating (well, really summarizing and organizing) information. In a very real way, the whole point of displaying articles at all is simply as bait to convince people to click the edit button – clicking the edit button is what we really want them to do. only exists as a public, web-based distribution of our content to entice people to edit.

As one of the goals of the Wikimedia Foundation (and, presumably, of most of the members of the Wikipedia community) is to distribute knowledge to the world, it may be a good and important thing for Wikimedia and the community to set-up, pay for, and maintain a public, web-based distribution of all the knowledge we can (primarily the material we've created through, but that project is distinct from the purpose of As I said above, has one purpose, and that above all else – to write an encyclopedia. We should not sacrifice it for anything, even for distributing the results of that work.