Jimmy Wales’ Final Email

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is emailing me? “Signing off”? Is he leaving Wikipedia? Is he dying?! No, just asking for more money.

It’s funny, I think he’s said this exact thing before.

Uh huh. 3 “final” emails over 5 years.

I love Wikipedia, I really do. That’s why I’ve donated in the past. But the aggressiveness with which they solicit donations does not match their need. The tactics they use to solicit donations completely turns me off from doing so.

One scummy tactic they use is to write something catchy like the above (“Craig, this is Jimmy, signing off”) to have it fit in the snippet Gmail shows. But open the email and you don’t see that text anywhere!

This is done by making the email a multi-part message, where the text/plain component has the desired snippet text:

and the HTML part is shown when the message is opened:

The multi-part system is intended to allow the same content in different formats and this is an abuse.

Another abuse is found in the “From” address:

This one is so common that some people won’t consider it abuse at this point. But really, it’s an email from donate@wikimedia.org that tries to trick the user into thinking it’s from jimmy@wikipedia.org by putting that where a persons name is intended to go. Notice that in the inbox view, only jimmy@wikipedia.org is shown.

People will tell me to click that “unsubscribe” button. I will and swear I have before. I think I’m added to a new list every year.

Jimmy, knock it off with the scummy donation requests. Ask politely, but don’t try to guilt me into donating. Stop lying about who the email is from and stop saying this is your “final” email.

I won’t ask again.

Hacker, entrepreneur, and quantified self nerd. cyounkins at gmail.