Case Study: Florence Devouard, Wikia, and the Wikipedia admins

By Michel Bauwens (published by me as he had dodgy adsl connection in Thailand this morning)

Seth Finkelstein brings to the attention of his readers, an
interesting case at the Wikipedia, which concerns the efforts by
Florence Devouard (handle: “Anthere”), Chair of the Board of Trustees
of the Wikimedia Foundation, to change the content of the page for
Wikia, the (commercial) search engine project.

Her interventions are here and here.

A few thoughts:

The short of it is that she did NOT succeed in changing the page,
despite the fact that she is the chair of the Foundation, which in the
context of peer governance by the editors themselves, might be a good
thing. However, if she is right, the problem is that her intervention
is refused, because of stated conflict of interest. That a person
directly involved in the matter, say the subject of a biographical
entry, cannot correct a mistake, is a huge problem.

What the incident shows perhaps, is that it is a battle of wills
between the entrenched editors, which are judge and jury, and that
there seems no procedure, for her to get a hearing.

3 Comments Case Study: Florence Devouard, Wikia, and the Wikipedia admins

  1. AvatarJon Awbrey

    If you think that winning a skirmish is winning a war, then you don’t know WikiWar very well.

    Phase 1 involves identifying all of the people who opposed the WikiPutsch at hand. Mission accomplished.

    Phase 2 involves eliminating from the field the lion’s share of the opponents thus identified, making sure to terminate them with such Xtreme WikiPrejudics that it serves to intimidate the WikiPeanutGallery from ever wanting to imitate their fate.

    Rinse and Repeat.

    You have to watch the war over a 2 or 3 year period to get any sense of the trends, but I think it’s fairly clear that the Powers That Bee will rule HiveMind in the end.

  2. AvatarGregory Kohs

    Key to drawing a conclusion about this is to ask, “Does the directly involved editor have a reason to obscure the facts, or is he or she even deluded about the facts?” For example, would we welcome the editorial contribution of George W. Bush to an encyclopedia article about the decision to go to war in Iraq?

    While I feel for Florence’s desire to declare separation of the WMF from Wikia, she need only look at the to find a list of 22 ways by which there have been and/or continue to be ties between the two organizations. Either that, or just look at the logo on Jimbo’s T-shirt the next time he’s addressing a Wikimania crowd.

  3. Pingback: nathanr|ca » Case Study: Florence Devouard, Wikia, and the Wikipedia admins

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