By now, you’ve probably heard the name Arnnon Geshuri. Geshuri was recently appointed to the Wikimedia Foundation’s Board of Directors for a two-year term. The WMF made that announcement on January 5th. If you had looked up Arnnon Geshuri on Wikipedia on that day, you would have found no mention of him at all. Now, thanks to Wikipedia’s dedicated editors, his slightly unflattering Wikipedia article comes up first in Google searches.
Crowdsourced After The Fact Due Diligence
Very soon after the announcement of Geshuri’s appointment, people began to question his role in a major Silicon Valley scandal. One veteran editor laid out a fairly damning case against Geshuri. A discussion was started on Jimmy Wales’ talk page.
Meanwhile, former Wikimedia UK Trustee Mike Peel decided it was time for Geshuri to have a Wikipedia biography. After all, he was now a member of the WMF Board, right? Even that early one-paragraph version contains reference to Geshuri’s involvement in what Wikipedia calls the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation case.
There was a brief and fruitless effort by MZMcBride to redirect the biography to the existing article about the WMF board. As McBride stated on the article’s talk page, “when I searched Wikipedia itself for any mentions of Arnnon Geshuri, he had none anywhere.” Clearly if someone is not mentioned on Wikipedia, they are not notable enough for Wikipedia. Other editors persuaded McBride to wait, since the story was still developing.
The Workers Are Revolting
Possibly because Geshuri’s appointment came so soon after James Heilman was dismissed from the board, Geshuri was not treated well on Wikipedia. The single sentence about his involvement in the non-poaching scheme became a paragraph. And then its own “Controversy” section. Even before Geshuri finally saw the writing on the wall and stepped down from the WMF board, the “Controversy” section became “Controversies” as the story progressed.
When Ashley van Haeften organized a symbolic “no confidence” vote, an editor tried to add a link to the vote. Why wait for reliable sources to write about something if you already know it’s important?
The Inevitable Clean Up
After a couple of weeks with his biography prominently highlighting his two greatest failures, Geshuri is being given a break. Mike Peel has returned to “clean up” the article. There is no longer a “Controversies” section. The two paragraphs about the controversies have been collapsed into one and merged with the “Career” section. This is probably how it will remain. Now that he has resigned from the board, I imagine that Wikipedia editors have about as much interest in Geshuri as he has in Wikipedia. It was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it Arnnon?