The Wikimedia movement’s 10th Wikimania conference at the London Barbican turned out a little more badly than expected.
Normally the event is a love fest between the editors and staff of Wikipedia all centred on the founder Jimmy Wales.
But according to wikipediocracy the event was spoiled as the British Press failed to share the love and kicked the event to death.
Wales made the mistake of being interviewed in a Newsnight interview with James O’Brien, in which Wales insisted that the right to be forgotten only covered links and should adjudicated by a court of law.
Wales is a member of Google’s advisory board and his theory is that European taxpayers should pay, without limitation, for their already-overburdened court systems to deal with every single revenge-porn complaint Google receives under the ruling.
However Wales should have chosen his sparing person a little more carefully O’Brien, has been repeatedly defamed in his Wikipedia biography has little love for the way Wackypedia operates.
“I could go on Wikipedia now and describe you as believing in fairies and a man whose – I don’t know – favourite drink is the blood of freshly slaughtered kittens. That’s neither history nor truth, but it could be on Wikipedia,” O’Brien snarled at Wales.
When Wales started laughing O’Brien growled: “It’s not funny, if you’re sort of an ordinary person and you have a degree of public profile, and people have deliberately altered your Wikipedia page. I have spoken publicly about my children having been born as a result of fertility treatment. And my Wikipedia page, which I didn’t even know existed, contained a phrase along the lines of ‘he wasn’t man enough to impregnate his own wife’. That was there for weeks, months possibly, until my wife found it. Shouldn’t that be your priority?”
All Wales could come up with was that it was up to the victims to police his site.
What Wales did not get was that that three years of their own spying scandals, the UK press is big on privacy so when Wales proudly tried to put a positive spin on their refusal to grant any of the 304 “content removal requests” wackypedia had received in the past two years, it came out badly.
The Guardian published a profile of Wales that referred to his past as an “internet pornographer” and said that Wikipedia is populated by “self-selecting cliques” that pay more attention to the site’s coverage of female porn stars than to its listing of women writers.
Ironically Wikimania ended with a presentation by Jimmy Wales on “civility”. This seemed to involve talking about users who have a reputation in the community for creating good content, and for being incredibly toxic personalities.
Wales said, stating that “these editors cost us more than they’re actually worth”. It was a “big mistake” to tolerate them, he continued, receiving rapturous applause.
At least he has learned something.