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Trouble at Jimmy Wales’ Talk Page

By Gregory Kohs and Andreas Kolbe

Only weeks after Wikipedia editors from around the globe gathered for a happy and uplifting Wikimania 2014 rally in London, many long-time active editors of Wikipedia began expressing their rage August 29, on the Talk page of Wikipedia’s co-founder, Jimmy Wales. At the Wikimania summit, unaware of the soon-to-be ironic angle of his comments, Wales gave a closing speech that dreamt of building the Wikipedia “community up into a more fabulous, fun-loving environment”, and cherished “love of each other, love of the project, love of life; love of the spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish”. Today, that spirit of love seems entirely gone from the discussions swirling around Wales.

The source of anger

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Jimmy

Hundreds of the most active Wikipedians are in a state of near-revolt over a MediaViewer software feature that the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) implemented on Wikipedia recently. It opens photos on a black background that hides much of the meta information that Wikipedians typically want to see about an image. The MediaViewer had so many bugs and caused so many problems for active editors, some Wikipedia administrators began to take steps to override the software extension. That prompted the Deputy Director of the Foundation, Erik Moeller (who has his own curious history of pontificating about child pornography), to install a sort of lock on Wikipedia’s software called “Superprotect”. This enraged so many Wikipedians that even the German Wikipedia community (Moeller is a native German) voted six to one against the Superprotect installation.

Jimmy Wales eventually tried to calm everyone down by expressing his unfailing support for MediaViewer, but that just rattled users even more. They called Wales to task, saying things

…continue reading Trouble at Jimmy Wales’ Talk Page