Archive for December, 2007
Thanks goes out to The Review’s resident business brain, Selina for highlighting Jimmy Wales’s appearance before a US Senate committee in December to discuss the potential of the New Internet Technology for the US government. The committee sat through a session of the usual Mimbo-Jimbo, including Wales’s announcement that Wikipedia was “a carrier of traditional American values”. An enthusiastic Senator Joe Lieberman (pictured), who chaired the committee, introduced the irksome God-King with these words:
“We’re very glad to have as a witness Jimmy Wales the founder of Wikipedia, one of the most thrilling examples of what collaborative technology can produce. And we’ve asked Mr Wales to take us through some of the ideas behind Wikipedia.”
Due to the ideas behind Wikipedia, articles are constantly being reshaped by Wikipedians with information appearing and disappearing all the time. At any given moment, an article could carry new information never before seen, or it could be lacking in information that had been present in the article for years. The reader must learn to understand this new dynamic collaborative technology - which offers great potential for us all!
Jimmy Wales, who in contrast has his article permanently locked and fully protected from damaging mistruths at all times (see that little lock symbol in the corner), was kind enough to extend the same protection to Senator Lieberman’s biography — for six hours while the hearing took place. After Jimmy had left the building, Joe’s biography was unlocked and the dynamic collaborative process resumed in earnest. The article subsequently stated that Lieberman was a “flaming homo” and a crossdresser for the rest of the day.
To celebrate the end of another magnificent year at The Review, it is perhaps time for a recital of this much appreciated post written by Jonny Cache, The Review’s resident polymath, back in January 2007. In light of Wikipedia’s increasing resemblance to a cult, the final paragraph seems more apt than ever:
Jonny Cache: Wikipedia is a Blog. The word vandalism, as used internal to this Blog, has no determinate meaning to outsiders. As far as external observers can tell, Wikipedia users are constantly vandalizing the subject matters to which many of them have dedicated their lives and sacred honors. By and large, Wikipedia website “administrators” are engaged in a form of anti-education that is warping the minds of naive people about the very nature of knowledge, and there is no reason that real educators should have to respect what goes on there.
The word encyclopedia, as used internal to the Wikipedia Blog, vandalizes the very meaning of the word. Wikipedia has not earned the right to appropriate this word because Wikipedia adamantly refuses to do the things that it would take to earn anybody else’s respect.
People of good will and intelligence granted the Wikipedia experiment the initial benefit of the doubt. In time they began to warn the Wikipedia populace about the collapse of credibility that it was headed for. But all that people of good will and intelligence got for their troubles was a constant stream of spit in their faces.
The Review presents a timeline of events relating to Carolyn Doran, former Chief of Operations at the Wikimedia Foundation, who was found to have been a convicted felon. Below research compiled by The Review’s resident culture vulture, the fiery angel:
A Herndon woman pleaded guilty yesterday in Fairfax Circuit Court to unlawful wounding of her boyfriend, who was shot once in the chest Aug. 25.
Carolyn Bothwell, 27, of the 1100 block of Player Way, said she entered the plea after the prosecution offered to recommend probation. She said she did not want to risk losing custody of her 3-year-old son.
Bothwell’s attorney, Gerald Bruce Lee, said in court that if the case had gone to trial, the defense had planned to … Read the rest of this entry »
Amidst the relentless shambolic occurrences at Wikipedia, recent news to digest for those Kremlinologists of the Court Of The Jimbo King are the revelations that 28 year old Berliner Erik Moeller has resigned his board membership in order to take up the role of “deputy director” of the Wikimedia Foundation. Erik Moeller is notable to us watchers for going by the name of Eloquence, having no sideburns, and being the former boyfriend of Wikia, Inc. co-founder Angela Beesley.
No wonder relations became strained between the wiki-couple. While Fraulein Angela was trying to remove her Wiki-bio from Der Jimbo’s inhumane Database Of You, after complaining that it had “become filled with lies and nonsense,” the sensitive boyfriend was lecturing us with Stasi-esque lines like the following:
Giving such an individual the choice not to have an article written about them is an obscene suggestion if your goal is to build a general reference work.
If 2006 was the year when unaccountable Wikipedia cliques consolidated their hold on the site, then 2007 was the year they started to bully the rest of the Internet into submitting to their cultish practices. Having watched them spend the year trashing critics foul or fair and removing links to dissenting voices to hit google rankings where they hurt, most of us had seen enough.
Much to our encouragement, 2007 was also the year the rest of the Internet began to fight back. And so successful has this been that we end 2007 on a festive high. Not only have Google arrived like the Naval Officer at the close of Lord Of The Flies to promise an escape from the spiraling barbarism on Jimbo’s fantasist island, the media have stepped off the boat to tell the world what really happens when the parents aren’t around.
Yet a couple of weeks into a series of devastating revelations about the site’s corrupt core, rather than engage in soul searching reassessments, floundering Wikipediots continue to respond in the only way they know how — by attacking the source.
Ten Reasons Why The Arbitration Committee Doesn’t Matter
- ArbCom is creature of Mr. Wales, the last vestige of the Cult of the Godking;
- The processes and procedures of ArbCom are amateurish and slipshod;
- It encourages meddling and humiliation by allowing anyone to comment in disputes in which they have no standing and nothing relevant to contribute;
- It is utterly lost in discerning the difference between evidence, opinion and rumor;
- By confusing its role as the trier of fact with that of investigator they take on a star-chamber character;
- Community over-involvement in the process brings in all the evils of the dysfunctional social networking community;
- It is openly a respecter of persons and influence and not a provider of equal application;
- Its collaborative authoring methods leads to atomized, disjointed, incomprehensible and inconsistent decisions;
- It declines application of it’s own decisions as precedent, denying guidance to those depending on its decisions, and;
- It is lead by and intimately tainted from its inception by a legal professional who left practice after receiving discipline for a serious and unresolved ethical lapse.
(NB: I gave it a lot of thought before I made it a practice to discuss one arbitrator’s professional ethical lapses in relation to his ArbCom role. It is his repeatedly taking recourse to undue influence and privilege, often in his wikien-l postings in which he regularly makes reference to his background as a lawyer which finally persuaded me that this was appropriate. He opens the door into his conduct as a lawyer.)
As a new feature of Opinions and Editorials, some of the best postings to The Review forum will be showcased here. This post was submitted to The Wikipedia Review on December 12th, 2007 by our own resident culture vulture, The Fieryangel. The original post can found here.
This is one of the things that really gets my goat. As somebody who studies music professionally, I know a lot about the creative process. While the public has this idea that composers and other creators basically live in some sort of world where there are no such things as bills to pay, food to buy, clothes to wash and other such mundane things that make up ordinary existence, these things are often important parts of why certain choices are made in a professional life and why some people either succeed or fail. “Information just wants to be free” should never be understood as “free as in beer”, since composers, writers, artists and others have to make their lives.
Happily for people living today, other creators in the past have fought to create some sort of payment for use of intellectual property to those who create. Beaumarchais was the first important figure in this process, insisting on a percentage of the book at performances of his plays. Beethoven created a new statute for composers by refusing to submit to the old system of royal patronage. Finally, in 1847, the composer Ernest Bourget sued the Café-Concert (think “cabaret”) the Ambassadeurs in Paris for payment for use of his songs and won his court case. This lead to the create of unions of composers such as the SACEM, ASCAP, PRS and others which allowed for payment for use of music. Although there are excesses, I can personally point to situations in which this money becomes the difference between living comfortably (but not lavishly) and being in a poorhouse…
Information just wants to be free, but creators need to be paid. It’s a right to be paid for your work. Why should creators be any different?
Unfortunately, Wikipedia is taking this even further in their latest fund-raising ploy : Give us money and we’ll give you “free” information.