In July 2015, @John and @Southparkfan created a new wiki farm - named Miraheze. Through the use of community crowdfunding and personal investment, Miraheze officially went live in August of 2015. Over the last four and a half years, the project has grown immensely to be one of the largest and most recognisable wiki farms specialising in MediaWiki on offer. Despite the success and evolution, one aspect of Miraheze never changed - formal existence. From 2015 until recently, Miraheze has always existed in the name of one person only, with that person having total legal and financial control over the project. For those who do not know the history of Miraheze, this particular aspect was the downfall of a previous project most of the initial technical volunteer were involved with.
Is Miraheze Limited The Future?
For the current set of technical volunteers, yes - we believe it is. The creation and formation of Miraheze Limited provides legal protection for everyone who engages with users in a formal capacity (Technical Team) and privileged access users like CheckUsers, Oversighters and Stewards. In addition to the legal protection given, we feel having an entity behind the operations of Miraheze provides more trust to users and donators as the project and service is provided by an entity solely dedicated to Miraheze - not someone who tomorrow could decide they no longer want to contribute to Miraheze and close the project down without notice.
What's the Catch?
There's no catch. Miraheze Limited is registered as a private company, limited by guarantee. For those who aren't up to date with United Kingdom Law, a private company limited by guarantee means a company is not owned in the public domain and has no shares. Having no shares means all profits generated by the company must go back into the company's operation rather than being shared among share holders. Not being in the public domain makes sense as there is nothing for the public to gain, as there are no profits to be shared. In essence, this means the company is not for profit. In the event Miraheze Limited ceases to exist, the Directors pay money to close the company - meaning existing assets and profits must be redistributed to appropriate entities with a similar objective that Miraheze Limited shares.
Who are the Directors?
The directors are listed below with some basic information about their commitments and roles:
- Ferran Tufan is the Chair of the Board of Directors. More commonly known by his Miraheze username of Southparkfan, Ferran is one of the co-founders of Miraheze and serves as a community Steward and Director of Site Reliability Engineering. Ferran was appointed on November 20th 2019 and has a term expiration date of December 1st 2021.
- Owen Baines is the Secretary and Treasurer for the Board of Directors. Owen was invited by the existing Technical volunteers of Miraheze to establish Miraheze Limited and had been actively working on registration from August 2019. Going by the Miraheze username of Owen, he is responsible for finances, acting as go-to for external communication and ensuring compliance of Miraheze with United Kingdom law. Owen was appointed on November 20th 2019 and has a term expiration date of December 1st 2021.
- Alexander Zimmerman is a member of the Board of Directors. Known by his Miraheze username of Void and has been a Steward since May 2017. Alexander was appointed on November 20th 2019 and has a term expiration date of December 1st 2021.
- Robert Lanphier is a member of the Board of Directors. Known by his Miraheze username of RobLa, Robert is an active user of the service. Focusing on Electoral Reform currently, in the past he has worked at Internet Archive, Wikimedia Foundation, Linden Labs and RealNetworks. Robert was appointed on December 20th to serve a term lasting from January 1st 2020 until December 31st 2021.
- You could be a Director representing the Miraheze Community in 2020!
What Does the Future Hold?
As Directors, they have full responsibility for ensuring Miraheze and Miraheze Limited are financially sustainable, legally accountable and act in the best interests of the community. We are upholding the traditions that Miraheze was built on, including (but not limited to); transparent and open financial information, community engagement in decision making at all levels, community freedom to decide the direction of the service, volunteers being at the heart of operation and free services being provided.
The things Miraheze Limited are looking to do for the future include;
- Making breakdown of financial spending public (through the use of budgets),
- Working with the community to craft long-term objectives to guide the future of Miraheze,
- Improving the value of service provided by reducing costs while maximising uptime, confidence and quality of service provide.
Great news! I'm pretty excited for the future of Miraheze.
I'm just curious, but how well-known is Miraheze compared to the other big wiki farms like Fandom?
@Lingua Fandom is obviously very well known both due to its history as Wikia, is backed by private venture capital money, and likely has a large advertising budget, Miraheze is quite well known and has attracted both new members and wikis entirely through word of mouth as we operate on an annual budget of less than 2,000 GBP (about $2,500 USD at ballpark foreign exchange rates). We're funded entirely by donations, so if you're satisfied with your service with us, we encourage you to become sponsor on GitHub (GitHub will pay all the credit card merchant processing fees) for as little as $2/mo., and you can cancel at any time. If you publicly acknowledge your sponsorship, you'll also be publicly acknowledged on Finance. You can also donate via PayPal, and you can also message our secretary-treasurer @Owen privately if you prefer to mail a cheque. We're grateful for all donations we receive. We host roughly 4,000 wikis and have more than 100,000 global users. We get a lot of users migrating from Fandom, who are, largely, referred to us by existing current and former Fandom users who now host their wikis with us. As well, we also have a lot of Wikimedia users that host wikis with us as well. Hope that answers your question.
Thanks for the background info. I'm impressed how much you guys are able to get done with the limited budget. Kudos!