back to article Jimbo tells Wikipedians: You CAN'T vote to disable 'key software features'

Wikipedia’s maximum leader Jimbo Wales has declared a new era at the online encyclopaedia. Rather than the unpaid volunteer community voting on what software it uses, it will have to use what the wealthy WMF Foundation tells it to use. The community responded with what one veteran contributor described as an “unprecedented” …

  1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

    salaried employees

    The article says that the engineers are paid a salary by the WMF, so presumably they are expected to work with the tools that their employers want them to.

    Same position that I'm in here - my employer has standardised on VS2010, so I use that. Even if I prefer a different IDE, I have to suck it up and use whatever my employer has supplied/licenced/mandated.

    Or alternatively, I could just resign and go and work somewhere else, and take someone else's money.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: salaried employees

      I read it as more a case of the engineers are writing the tools for the unpaid Wikipedians and Jumbo is telling them Wikipedian to shut up and like it.

    2. Anonymous Dutch Coward

      Re: salaried employees

      Yes, but the article is not about paid engineers using the tools but unpaid volunteers that provide (apparently the bulk of the) encyclopaedia content.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: salaried employees

      I think you've somewhat missed the point The salaried engineers create the software, the unpaid user community are expected to use it. Question is, who runs the railroad?

      1. admiraljkb

        Re: salaried employees

        since its all about content, and content alone, in the end the engineers who are building the tools do work for the Wikipedieans, but draw their salary and take their orders from the WMF. A fine, but important distinction. Since Wikipedians produce the majority of content, so without them, the software engineers would be writing for nobody. :) The engineers haven't done anything wrong though, thats the WMF for giving crap orders.

    4. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      The fact that the engineers paid by their employer are required to work with company tools is perfectly normal. Those engineers are not editors, they're the people who try to make the software that the Illustrious Leader is thinking of.

      It is the unpaid editors who create the wealth of Wikipedia who are the ones who refuse to work with subpar software, and nobody is saying they are wrong to do so (well, nobody except Wales).

    5. Hans 1
      Windows

      Re: salaried employees

      I feel for you, I really do ... how sad ... my employer has mandated eclipse and I use vi. You know what ? They can skullfsck themselves in a circle (if that is at possible, ;-) before I even consider installing eclipse.

      Choice is everything ... but lets say your employer insists you use NT4 notepad.exe to search and replace some stuff in a very big file (NT4 notepad needs over a second per line on big files), would you do that ? I would download ssh, then scp the file over to a UNIX system and use sed/vi/whatever and do it all is less than 5 minutes ... 4:45 is the time you need to find and install proper ssh with scp, 5 seconds to copy the file, 5 to open and search/replace, finally, 5 more to send the file back ? If the file is really big, it can takes days with NT4 version's of notepad. I have not really tested more recent versions, I do believe they are quite a bit faster now ... ;-)

      Note, vi & sed are much older than NT4 ... just to ensure the window cleaning brigade does not come and troll us to death.

      Back when I was on Windows, this is years back, I reinstalled my workstation - no domain bs for me thank you ... same username & password on the local workstation than on the domain, never had a problem.

      I think you call that "tengo cojones", but then again, my Spanish is not that good.

      1. Anonymous Dutch Coward
        Mushroom

        @Hans 1: Re: salaried employees

        I'm afraid it's not only your Spanish that isn't good.

        All well and good that you prefer to use the best tool for the job but if you cannot convince your boss of the need perhaps it's a good idea to

        1. go looking for a less toxic environment to work in or

        2. see if your own communication skills are lacking

        Regards,

        yet another random internet user with an opinion

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: salaried employees

        Cojones indeed....if I took it upon myself to install software that wasn't sanctioned by my employer, or reinstalled my workstation to my personal specification, I could reasonably expect to be dismissed for gross misconduct.

        1. Oninoshiko

          Re: salaried employees

          Cojones indeed....if I took it upon myself to install software that wasn't sanctioned by my employer, or reinstalled my workstation to my personal specification, I could reasonably expect to be dismissed for gross misconduct.

          I didn't do that, I just brought my own machine in. Haven't used this worthless-ass mac since they made me put it there.

          1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

            Re: salaried employees

            po-tay-to / po-tah-to

            If I brought in a non-company machine I'd be out on my ear just as quickly as if I used unauthorised software.

            I work in a very professional shop that has to take security very seriously. In this sort of environment, nobody can jeapordise security by doing/using what they want, just because they don't like what's been asked of them. (and with that professionalism comes a respect for management which means NOT having the attitude that they "can skullfsck themselves in a circle" because you don't agree with something they've asked)

            1. Oninoshiko

              Re: salaried employees

              Respect works both ways.

              When your entire staff tell you something is more expensive, more complex, is prone to failure, harms performance, inconveniences clients, has glaring security flaws, and harms morale it's generally advisable to listen. For the record, some of the tasks asked of me where only doable because I kept my own machine here. That WAS the compromise for them to continue to retain my services, and they live with it because we have systems no one else knows (something else I've told them they should do something about).

      3. NumptyScrub

        Re: salaried employees

        quote: "Back when I was on Windows, this is years back, I reinstalled my workstation - no domain bs for me thank you ... same username & password on the local workstation than on the domain, never had a problem."

        So you replaced a centrally managed domain, with a locally managed domain. I can see several drawbacks and practically no advantages to that approach. The fact you never had issues with domain password expiry (aka "security best practise") regularly causing you to have to change your domain password on a colleagues machine, and then update your local domain account to the same password, suggests that a lack of understanding of Windows domains may have extended to that company's support staff as well.

        If I came across a similar situation professionally the result would not have been the same. Potentially it could have ended up with you getting the config and tools you need to do your job, assuming you raised your concerns early (before wiping your machine) and corporate policy was flexible enough to allow me to address your concerns (e.g. providing you with a *nix install instead). As presented, it would probably have ended in a disciplinary, because thinking that you are more important than corporate security policy rarely ends well, in my experience.

      4. david 12

        > I would download ssh, then <

        Because installing SSH would /Never/ introduce a whole new set of security vulnerabilities to your machine.

        Like the server here when I got it. Two web servers. Two secure shells. Three FTP servers. 2 extra editors. 2 extra backup systems. 2 extra scripting systems. etc etc yada yada yada.

        Because the native software was never good enough, and then because a second *nix subsystem was better than just one.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: salaried employees

      > The article says [...]

      Hans, I'm sorry to say that your post does not make any sense to me in the context of this article (and I'm not yet drunk).

  2. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Devil

    There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

    The content is mostly the work of the editors. I think most of its under Creative Commons type licensing - therefore a critical mass of editors should fork themselves off elsewhere. Jimbo will come crawling back when the donations start drying up.

    Devil icon as he has a good line in (pitch)forks.

    1. John Lilburne

      Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

      Works both ways. If every content writer* left WP all the WMF needs to do suck up their content from wherever they happen put it. WP has the Google juice which the new site won't have. In any case unless some big tecj company muscles its way in, the clowns bitching on WP don't have the resources to fork WP anyway. I also think its the case that the last time anyone attempted an actual content fork it all fell apart.

      *only 17.5% of the actual changes on WP are content at this time. Another 45% are bot edits doing useless format changes, then there is another 25% of talkpage arguing. 6% edit warring and 4% vandalism.

      http://wikipediocracy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5083&p=110002#p110002

      1. Vic

        Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

        If every content writer* left WP all the WMF needs to do suck up their content from wherever they happen put it.

        You're assuming that the new content repository will have the same licences as the old one for all material. This is not necessarily the case.

        Vic.

      2. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

        "Works both ways. If every content writer* left WP all the WMF needs to do suck up their content from wherever they happen put it."

        What if the site licence for the new fork expressly forbade WMF from taking the content?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

          Yep. Fork it, flag the existing WMF-licensed pages, and start writing new content.

        2. John Lilburne

          Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

          They use a BY-SA license. Thus unless they've set the old content in stone any modification is also BY-SA. Of course that presupposes that anything on wp is copyrightable facts aren't and I doubt the spelling and grammar corrections of the plagiarisms are either. In fact its probably only the hoaxes that are copyrightable,

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

            Of course that presupposes that anything on wp is copyrightable facts aren't and I doubt the spelling and grammar corrections of the plagiarisms are either

            That's not how copyright works, at least not in the US. Copyright doesn't apply to "facts"; it applies to the textual, visual, audible, or other representations of content, which may or may not include facts. Written material which is primarily factual in content is eligible for copyright, and indeed copyright attaches as soon as it is written.

            "Spelling and grammar corrections" are a gray area, since they may fall under fair use. The usual tests would apply.

            1. John Lilburne

              Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

              There are 1000s of pages like this on WP

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buprestis

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclidia

              What, other than the image is copyrightable? Seems to be exactly the same as the US phonebook case.

              How about this of which there are 100,000s similar all ripped from zoology databases:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burnet_Companion_Moth

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coccotremataceae

              Or pages like this of which there are again 100,000s similar all of which are straight rips from geographic databases:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maghraoua,_Morocco

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankenberg,_Saxony

              Then there are 100,000s of pages like this ripped from sporting almacks:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yordanis_Borrero

              what is copyrightable here:

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Heyward_Academy

              The fact is that out of its 5 million pages the number of pages that are actually susceptible to copyright are few and far between. Then there is all the stuff that is derived from the 1911 EB and the catholic encyclopedia and other public domain sources. What would make those page copyrightable now?

              1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: There's a simple solution - fork Wikipedia

                The fact is that out of its 5 million pages the number of pages that are actually susceptible to copyright are few and far between

                That "fact" is not established by a handful of examples. You'll have to do better than that if you want to be convincing.

                And even if your purported "fact" is true, it doesn't support your original claim ("its [sic] probably only the hoaxes that are copyrightable"), which is prima facie a load of crap.

  3. MyffyW Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Climbing the Reichstag dressed like Spiderman...

    ... more like The Fuhrer burning it down and blaming it on the communists.

    </AbsurdHistoricalComparison>

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting to observe

    There is a problem with final authority on certain matters.

    To take the Media Viewer example. Which aims (there is always a worthy aim in whatever is attempted, let's not forget) to make the vast number of images on the WikiCommons (a sister project to Wikipedia itself) more accessible to the ordinary googler of the internet. Media Viewer was created and turned on by the WMF.

    There are arguments from the Wikipedia editors side that include it is more like flickr, and that it hides important information on copyright and therefore hinders re-use of the images rather than encourages or facilitates.

    So (after some to and fro) the opinion of the editors was that media Viewer was not welcome as the default option and therefore they wanted it turned off. This was done at their behest by an admin on the English Wikipedia. A WMF admin said (I paraphrase) "you shouldn't have done that" and "if you do anything like that again, you'll be in trouble".

    Cue much drama. Gnashing of teeth and references back to Visual Editor. Not helped by confusion over whether the WMF admin was working on his own authority, or under the agreements that WMF admins can take actions over the heads of Wikipedia admins on certain "office" functions (broken code threatening all manserverkind, legal issues etc)

    so it seems, the administrators of the individual wikipedias - although they have the tools, and access to the code, and the backing of the editors - might not be able to choose which of the features created by the WMF. they want to implement.

  5. lurker

    "or the UK media, which treats “the Man from the Internet” as a great humanitarian. (For example, like Andrew Marr, here.)"

    I realise a lot of people seem to have it in for the guy - the schadenfreude in this article, for example, is a little nauseating.

    The thing is, much as you may dislike the guy, much as he may be an @rsehole (I have no idea, personally), he probably HAS done more for advancing access to information and self education than anyone else in history since Gutenberg. So by my understanding of what a humanitarian is - someone who has done a lot for humanity - he probably is one. Unless someone can point out why this is not the case?

    I'm not a wikipedia contributor but I use it frequently, it's damn useful. Do you take what is written as gospel? Of course not. Although it's probably at least as accurate as the Enc. Brit. ever was (the only reason you didn't read a lot of crying about errors there was because unlike wikipedia, barely anyone had access to it). That doesn't make it not useful as an excellent starting point for fact finding on almost any subject, however.

    1. smartypants

      Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

      If Gutenberg hadn't introduced printing in Europe, then someone else would have done - not long after, and nobody would ever have heard of him.

      The same goes for Mr. Wales. I agree with you that Wikipedia is a great place to start, but there's no need to bend over backwards in adulation for the man.

      If Wikipedia didn't exist, it wouldn't be long before someone would invent it again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

        > If Gutenberg hadn't introduced printing in Europe, then someone else would have done

        Ah, the Zeitgest versus Grand Homme debate. We know which way the balance tipped on this case. It might have tipped the other way or not, that we can only hypothesise about.

      2. a cynic writes...

        Re: Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

        If Wikipedia didn't exist, it wouldn't be long before someone would invent it again.

        ...or everyone started using H2G2 again.

      3. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

        I'll grant that Mr Wales has been one of the midwives that brought Wikipedia into the world.

        Many innovators have ambiguous reputations (from Newton to Jobs and beyond). I'm willing to admit Mr Wales comprises shades of grey. I don't want to unfairly demonize him (despite my earlier rant) but I feel a genuine unease at what he and the leadership are doing.

      4. Gregory Kohs

        Re: Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

        Which employee of Gutenberg's actually brought the idea of movable type to Gutenberg and was credited as the "co-founder" of movable type, only to have Gutenberg (years later) claim that only Gutenberg was the "sole founder" of movable type... you know, the way Larry Sanger championed the idea of Wikipedia and brought it to life, only to have Jimmy Wales later rob Sanger of the credit where due?

      5. hj

        Re: Gutenberg and Wales: Comparable? Maybe... but

        As everyone (in The Netherlands) knows printing was invented by: Laurens Janszoon Coster!

        So, yeah, if it hadn't been Gutenberg, someone else would have.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You know you can support someone for some things and slag them off mercilessly for other things they do don't you?

      Plenty of examples who have done 'things for charity' but turned out to be rather bad people. This is the same idea, although without the child abuse.

      Wikipedia is great and we couldn't do without it but that doesn't stop him annoying the people creating the content he relies on.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "he probably HAS done more for advancing access to information and self education than anyone else in history since Gutenberg"

      A fair comparisson since both invented the thing for which they are most famous in persuit of personal profit rather than the good of all mankind - that very much, was a secondary function of the work.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @lurker

      "The thing is, much as you may dislike the guy, much as he may be an @rsehole (I have no idea, personally), he probably HAS done more for advancing access to information and self education than anyone else in history since Gutenberg. "

      Oh? Can you point out an example of that? As far as I can see he started a pumping scheme (wikipedia) for his for-profit company (wikia) and has been rolling in cash as media morons slobbered over him for allowing the unemployed to cut and paste copyrighted or just weird material into an imitation encyclopaedia.

      You're saying that he does something useful in his spare time?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: @lurker

        > You're saying that he does something useful in his spare time?

        And you?

        Criticising is a healthy thing to do, but needs to be done from a position of respect.

    5. Irongut Silver badge

      @lurker

      Done more for advancing access to information than anyone else in history since Gutenberg? Now that is a perfect example of the pure unmitigated bullshit surrounding the likes of Jimbo and Wikipedia (also Facebook, Twitter, Google, etc).

      How much would Jimbo have contributed to the access of information without Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf? No web, no wiki. No internet, no wiki.

      And, that's without thinking about all the people involved in the invention of better printing techniques, book binding, magazines, newspapers, radio, film, TV, etc that did more for access to information than Wikipedia ever could.

      Oh and Gutenberg didn't actually invent printing, it already existed. He invented movable type which made things easier and cheaper. Someone else would have come up with the same idea sooner or later.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: @lurker

        "He invented movable type which made things easier and cheaper. Someone else would have come up with the same idea sooner or later."

        Probably. The Disc of Phaistos is generally reckoned to have used movable type. It predates Gutenberg by about 3 millenia.

      2. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: @lurker

        "How much would Jimbo have contributed to the access of information without Tim Berners-Lee and Vint Cerf? No web, no wiki. No internet, no wiki."

        Agreed, but let's not forget Ward Cunningham!

    6. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Jimmy Wales and Julian Asshat

      They're both suffering from the same delusion - that the organisation is about _them_, not about the people who contribute to it.

      It takes a good deal of work to establish something like wikipedia/wikileaks and a lot of charisma to hold people together, but once critical mass has been achieved they're no longer necessary and in this day and age they can't claim to be leading a "representative democracy" - where "you elect us to make the decisions".

      This will end badly for young James. If he keeps trying to impose his will on volunteers, he's going to find out what happens when there's a groundswell in the "no confidence" camp.

    7. lurker

      Yes, the 'since Gutenberg' stuff is hyperbole, and I agree with the points that sometimes an idea is just waiting to be spawned from the zeitgeist : to some extent it's almost pot luck as to who gets credited as the 'inventor' in the end, often it's just someone who was in the right place at the right time.

      Mostly I was just pointing out that, whether from altruistic motives or not, and whatever his personal qualities, he's probably had more positive impact on humanity than most, so to me, snide comments about him such as those found in the article just come across as petty jealousy.

  6. ShadowedOne

    That's just sheer unmitigated bullshit..

    No, it's pure, unvarnished, truth.

  7. Phil_Evans

    "That is the sound of inevitability...'

    I'm just surprised that Wales has not been caught in the monkey-trap sooner. A Think-tanker's delight in a world of puff, Wikipedia is held up as an example of constructivism and education, enlightenment, even.

    So as in recent years Wales has been crabbing into shot on more of the world's broadcast media, we have to assume that all this rumpus is merely the man saying 'enough' against the machine that has become his nemesis.

    I admire his resolve in keeping it at arm's length for so long.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Phil_Evans Re: "That is the sound of inevitability...'

      "I'm just surprised that Wales has not been caught in the monkey-trap sooner...." I see this a lot with software startups - at first it's all friends together in someone's basement, working on a 'common idea', then it grows and the tensions starts between those that want to treat it as a business and those that have primarily 'artistic' intent. I have heard devs mutter the immortal words "But I coded that for you" as though that gave them some extra-legal right of control. A lot of software companies seem to get in trouble because their leaders don't have the management skills to transition from herding a small group of friends to running a business. Sometimes it hits early, at the twenty employees mark, and other times it gets fudged until the company has an actual chunk of market share, but it seems many companies fall foul of their own success. Mr Wales seems to not only have done extremely well so far, he has done it in the much harder open-source arena, truly quite an achievement.

  8. Stretch

    "you have permanent lower-caste status, and have simply been working hard for other people to get rich."

    Ah, smells like the real world.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Please label this kind of article correctly. Pretty please?

    There's very little in this article to explain why it's so unreasonable for WMF to mandate use of particular tools, such as a media viewer, rather than just allow anyone to write or edit pages using whatever tool they fancy. If you've got a bugbear about Wikipedia, or any other subject, then that's up to you. But couldn't you at least label it as an opinion piece?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please label this kind of article correctly. Pretty please?

      > There's very little in this article to explain why it's so unreasonable for WMF to mandate use of particular tools

      Orlowski has probably assumed that readers would have been somewhat familiar with the history of Wikipedia and the WMF's role.

      In short, the idea behind setting up the WMF was to facilitate the work of content producers (as well as to "promote" Wankypedia, whatever that means). You cannot facilitate someone's work by forcing them to use stuff that they don't want to use.

      In practice, the WMF started as a bunch of amateurs gathering together and asking for money. And they got a shitload of it. Then they didn't know what the fuck to do with it so they started making up little jobs and stuff to justify getting a piece of the action, with the consequences that follow.

      I posted these numbers elsewhere, which give you an idea of the relative efficiency of different open source organisations:

      Mozilla Foundation employees: 1598+, $27.5M in assets, $311M revenue (2012, vs. $163M 2011)¹

      Wikisomething Foundation employees: 200+, $45M in assets, $48.5M revenue

      Linux Foundation employees: about 30, $15M assets, $17M revenue

      KDE Foundation employees: none, no significant assets, €190K revenue

      ¹ There was a mistake on my original post here.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Please label this kind of article correctly. Pretty please?

      I'm always surprised at the amount on venom that accompanies anything to do with Wikipedia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please label this kind of article correctly. Pretty please?

        > I'm always surprised at the amount on venom that accompanies anything to do with Wikipedia.

        To be fair, this one isn't about Wackypedia, but about the WMF and Mr. Wales.

        The former and the latter seem to have less and less in common every minute that goes by.

  10. big_D Silver badge

    Hasn't

    Jumbo Whales always been a bit of a megalomaniac?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Consultation" - that's an interesting word

    It's the same word, for example, that your employer uses when you are about to lose your job.

    When someone says that you'll be consulted on something, you shouldn't ever infer that you are going to get a say in the final decision.

  12. Mage Silver badge

    More Like Facebook?

    How ghastly.

  13. PleebSmash
    Meh

    Wikipedia:humor redirects here

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_climbing_the_Reichstag_dressed_as_Spider-Man

    From my seconds of Google-based research, it looks like this is a "humorous" 2006-era joke policy that Jimbo referenced, perhaps in an attempt to add some levity to the debate. Or you could say that Jimbo is cheapening the Wikiplebians even Führer!

  14. David Austin

    TheRegister Vs. Wikipedia

    The base points in the article are fine, but I always find El Reg coverage of Wikipedia problematic: There's a lot of hyperbole and heat in the article - moreso than most topics. What's the hidden story I'm missing here?

    1. lurker

      Re: TheRegister Vs. Wikipedia

      You need to look at the authors really, El Reg has a number of different voices under one banner (which is a good thing) and some of them have a bit of an agenda - if you read everything you'll find pro and anti apple articles, some 'environmental sceptic' pieces leavened by the occasional bit of reportage of actual climate science, articles which are favourable to open source next to others which rave incoherently about "freetards", and yes, a peculiar neurotic dislike of Wikipedia.

  15. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    sheer unmitigated bullshit

    Said by a man who definitely knows what he's talking about.

    An expert in the matter, if you will.

    The fact is that Wales does not know how to manage a discussion. He confuses the money he is managing with the feeling of importance it brings him, acts like Wiki editors are his to command, and then is all surprised and wounded when they don't really feel like he is their boss.

    He's not, of course. He is nobody but a figurehead to attract donations. That is something he does well, apparently, and good on him for it. But he would do good to remember that Wikipedia may have been his creation, now it is a creature of itself, leading its own life.

    And Wikipedia's life depends on its editors, not on Wales, so he really should be tuned out and just keep to the charity floor.

    He won't, of course, so all this is just another notch in his personal downward journey to irrelevance.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " Flow, an attempt to make the site look more like Facebook"

    OMG. Forget the encyclopedia look.

    Article status: it's complicated...

  17. DropBear
    FAIL

    So the tail is trying to wag the dog again...?

    Mister Wales would do well to keep in mind that Wikipedia is what it is today solely due to the hard work of its contributors - without that it would have stayed a mere "great idea" forever. Unless he's delusional enough to think he patented the concept, he should be aware his role today is but to keep the wheels turning - a task literally anyone with some server hardware or enough determination to drum up the cash to pay for them can do: crowd-sourced knowledge CAN exist without Wikipedia, but Wikipedia CANNOT exist without its contributors and right now it seems to be doing a fine job of pretending it has no need for them. Coming up with an idea and even pushing it to mainstream status DOES NOT grant one ownership of it if it is entirely relying on the perpetual work of volunteers - sadly, Mr. Wales seems to be struggling with that concept which is all the more unfortunate considering an attitude adjustment is long overdue.

    1. Tex Arcana

      Re: So the tail is trying to wag the dog again...?

      TSRH, exactly the point I was about to make.

      Crowdsourcing isn't crowdsourcing without the crowd; and in this case, the crowd does a majority of the work for them. Piss them off, they go away, and the "crowdsource" collapses into a mere memory.

      It's this Wales needs to remember: the very people he works for are the unpaid editors and contributors, whose work has made this site what it is today. He may think he works for the money, but the money can't buy enough editors and contributors to keep it running. On top of that, once money begins ruling content, then the entire site collapses into its own irrelevance, because the content will cease being truth, and become marketing spin.

      Wake up, Wales: time to smell the bullshit you're shoveling, and realize you're about to bury yourself in a great huge pile of irrelevancy.

  18. Someone Else Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Pax Imperia indeed!

    The community responded with what one veteran contributor described as an “unprecedented” barrage of hostility.

    Ya think?

    Dear Jimbo: I think I can sum up this whole dustup by referring you to my favorite license plate (it is in the US, were such things are possible for a small fee). It reads: LB SAND

    1. Jonathan Richards 1 Silver badge

      OT: re LB SAND

      OK, I give up. I don't know why an imperial pound of fine silicon dioxide might be relevant, nor a musical artist from Reno, Nevada, nor even Silas Billy's Florida corporation. Tell me more.

      PS This reminds me of an occasion many years ago when I enquired about the appearance of a strange rational number '24/7' popping up in written conversation. Sometimes it's not obvious!

  19. Someone Else Silver badge
    Mushroom

    El Reg got it right

    Not surprisingly, Jimbo rejected our view that "If you’ve contributed for years to Wikipedia you must now accept a new political economy: you have permanent lower-caste status, and have simply been working hard for other people to get rich." Opined Wales [(talk) 12:29, 29 August 2014 (UTC)]: "[T]hat's just sheer unmitigated bullshit".

    Isn't it interesting, when it is pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes, that said Emperor can only respond by an ad hominem retort. Maybe, Jimmy boy, you might want to look at this from the perspective of someone not sitting directly under the Wikimedia Foundation money spigot.

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: El Reg got it right

      Isn't it interesting, when it is pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes, that said Emperor can only respond by an ad hominem retort.

      I agree with the sentiment, but I have to put on my rhetorician hat1 for a moment and note that the quoted phrase is not argumentum ad hominem. Had Wales said, for example, "Everything Orlowski writes is sheer unmitigated bullshit" we'd have an ad hominem enthymeme2,3, but as it stands his statement is simple pathos (appeal to emotion). It would be a stretch to infer any logos in it at all, so it can't be a logical fallacy.

      In context, of course, it might be full-fledged ad hominem.

      1It's a Scala.

      2An enthymeme in both the logical sense (an incomplete syllogism, with one premise and/or the conclusion assumed) and in the rhetorical (an imprecise or general syllogism, as in a rule of thumb).

      3Such a construct would probably also be part of ethos, i.e. argument based on the character of the speaker. Argumentum ad hominem often is, though sometimes it's simply part of a more general argumentum ad populum - rabble-rousing.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cant Google take it over?

    Re- all the talk of forking:

    If I ran Google I would fork Wikipedia, ask all the freelance creators to come use the new one with whatever tools they like, and then put this new googlepedia atop all search results, and demote wikipedia completely. And I would then control the world's information, which is kind of their goal, isnt it?

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Cant Google take it over?

      Why have a duopoly when you can make it a monopoly, eh?

  21. ecofeco Silver badge
    FAIL

    Wiki-idiots

    I once tried to write an article for Wikipedia last year. Once.

    Someone needs to let them know we are quite a fair way into the 21st century now and they really should update their turn-of-the-century authoring and submission system and also update their help(less) menus.

    Saying they are behind the times is being nice. Has anyone, ANYONE there ever heard of flow charts and word processors?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia?

    I thought cults were banned in Germany.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    According ti wikipedia...

    Barney Rubble was an alcoholic during the filming of the Flintstones.

  24. hahnchen

    Sometimes, Wikimedia should just ignore the editors

    Imagine if the design of a website was solely decided upon consensus of the writers. Imagine a newspaper or magazine where the writers get the final say, how would that look? It'd consist of massive blocks of text.

    Editors rebelled against the use of infoboxes, these summarised key facts about the subject in a box out. Their argument was that if you wanted to know the place of Bach's place of birth, you could drill down and read their wonderful prose. But no one cares about your wonderful prose when they just want a fact. Google has all the data to know exactly what a reader wants, so search for Bach, and Google's Knowledge Graph gives you the key information on the right.

    The new image-viewer is made for readers, not editors. If editors don't like it? So what? Wikimedia shouldn't be asking editors, it should just be looking at data, it should be doing A/B testing. What are the engagement figures? Are people looking at more images? Just release that data and shut everyone else up.

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