back to article Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again

Wikipedia's workers are in uproar again, this time about the cash-rich Wikimedia Foundation giving itself "superpowers" to override community decisions. As a consequence of the ruckus, the head of engineering at the Foundation has had his community admin account suspended for a month on the German Wikipedia. It's another …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gave up wikipedia, there are too many zealots who go around ruining everyone else's work, and most of them are admins

    1. MyffyW Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Give it time

      I got really frustrated some years back trying to ground the Nikola Tesla article in reality and a neutral point of view. In the end I left my contribution in there and watched the war of the edits unfold. Over the following months the article gradually got edited back into shape. Not perfect, I'll grant you. Not efficient of time, certainly. But sort of evolutionary I felt.

    2. asdf

      me too

      I want to be the go to expert on naked short selling but alas the powers that be won't let me.

  2. Ross K

    Infinite Monkey Theorem

    "It should be made very clear that the WMF are subordinate to the community, not the other way around," writes one miffed contributor.

    I'm sure there will be no shortage of opinionated twunts with hidden agendas to take the place of any miffed contributors who wish to depart.

  3. asdf

    tell people far and wide

    That if Jimbo in their browser tells them they should give him money they would be a lot more wise to donate said money to the LibreSSL effort which is actually saving the intertubes and not funding this circus.

  4. asdf

    > the workers who put in long hours writing and maintaining the content are paid nothing, while the wealthy administrators at the Foundation devise schemes to spend the cash

    A crony capitalists wet dream.

  5. intrigid

    And this is a perfect example of what's wrong with non-profit organizations.

    1. Felix Krull

      Private companies have exactly the same problems.

  6. johnwerneken

    Phoerey on Democracy and Community

    Free is worth the p[rice paid. Nada.

  7. Swiss Anton

    What we need here is some demcoracy

    To quote wikipedia's own administrators page "Administrators are expected to have the trust and confidence of the community, however, so requests for adminship from users who do not have considerable experience are not usually approved."

    Who does this approval? Some other anonymous admins?

    What wikipedia needs is an elected executive who can be accountable for such decisions. Obviously there will be some challenges in making any election free and fair, but I'm sure the wikipeida community can rise to that challenge.

    1. Just Enough

      Re: What we need here is some demcoracy

      Who elects the executive?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The internet is shit

    1. smartypants

      Re: The internet is shit

      That 'internet is shit' site proved its own message by coming up with the fallacy of the Shakespeare's monkeys.

      Some people don't understand the reality of infinity. It doesn't mean you will definitely encounter a specific, unlikely outcome (e.g. a work of Shakespeare written by monkeys).

      To prove that, imagine an infinite sequence of numbers, each one formed by adding the digit '1' to the previous one. So that'd be 1, 11, 111, 1111 etc.

      That infinity will never have the number 2 in it, not if you bash away at that infinity for ever, nor will it ever encode a shakespearean play, no matter what Shakespeare's monkeys would have you believe.

      Excluding the issue of infinities being partitioned (yet still infinite), Shakespeare's monkeys *might* accidentally type all the right words of a shakespearean play in order, given an infinite amount of time, or they might just keep not doing that... for ever. Nobody is standing over them to ensure they choose a different permutation each time. All you can say is that the chances of it not happening reduce over time... which isn't the same thing as saying they will do it. I suspect that even if you take all the monkeys and all the typewriters, you won't have enough time to try it out before the typewriters have all broken and the monkeys evolved (into a creature with no hands, freeing it from the daily toil of having to sit in front of a typewriter at all, and allowing it to have more sex!)

      1. Just Enough

        Re: The internet is shit

        If the chances of it not happening reduces over time, and there is infinite time for it to reduce, then the chances of it not happening at some point are infinitely small. It's as certain as anything can be.

        And your example with the 1s is flawed because what you have there is an infinite defined sequence, not an infinite random sequence. It's only comparable to a monkey infinitely hitting the 'y' key.

      2. nsfb

        Re: The internet is shit

        No, in your example the probability of a 2 remains 0 as the progression moves towards infinity, whereas in the monkeys/typewriters thought experiment the probability tends towards 1. Your fallacy is thinking it tends towards a value smaller than one.

      3. Fibbles

        Re: The internet is shit

        To prove that, imagine an infinite sequence of numbers, each one formed by adding the digit '1' to the previous one. So that'd be 1, 11, 111, 1111 etc.

        That infinity will never have the number 2 in it, not if you bash away at that infinity for ever

        It will if your integer overflows.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    It's like a train wreck in super slow motion.

  10. ForthIsNotDead


    "It's another example of the fascinating two-caste system at Wikipedia: the workers who put in long hours writing and maintaining the content are paid nothing, while the wealthy administrators at the Foundation devise schemes to spend the cash - to burn through the millions of dollars the charity raises every year."

    What you just described is communism. All is not well in the Wiki Duma, comrades.

    1. fajensen

      Re: Communism

      or capitalism without free schools and healthcare ....

    2. Psyx

      Re: Communism

      Sounds more like capitalism to me.

      Oh, you meant *corrupt communism*.

  11. h4rm0ny

    Pulling out the PR

    Has anyone read the Media Viewer page in Wikipedia?

    It's full of PR about how users have liked it, etc. Now THAT is a page where one might question the neutrality!

  12. PragmaticStatistic

    The problem as I see it with Wikipedia is that the very same complaints editors have about the "superpowers" of the foundation can be said of these supposed representatives of the community. Who as editors have become powerful judges who exercise their own form of "superpower". As I view it, Wikipedia as an organization is a structural mess. What it appears to be is all the bad aspects of a republic, where those chosen to govern have their own self interest in mind and the fact that as community representatives they cannot fairly govern and represent all the different views and opinions of the community equally. The problem here is that the foundation doesn't oversee the governing of the community. If it had, there would be fewer problems and there would be someone responsible to get the volunteer editors to judge fairly.

    From my own experience with dealing with these editors is that their policies are applied on an individual editor preference. My proof are the external linked educational and well researched Google Maps of historic and scientific events I have attempted to place on Wikipedia which were rejected by some editors and approved by others. I have had as many rejected as were accepted, and I have over 30 external linked Google Maps currently on Wikipedia. Google Maps of plate tectonics, thermohaline circulation, geology, the American Revolution, the Amistad revolt, solar energy plants, etc. So why were the others Google Maps like Lewis and Clark's Expedition and Darwin's Second Voyage of the Beagle rejected as spam?

  13. Metrognome

    Welcome to the world of weasel words

    Andrew, while the article may have merit the blatant use of weasel words like "the wealthy admins" detracts from the essence.

    And on a point of pedantry, admins are also largely volunteers and not paid a salary by the WMF. The people you have in mind are the WMF devs.

  14. Jonjonz


    Bureaucracy is like cancer. It exists only for itself. That 100 million certainly is not making into the quality of the site.

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