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Press Releases

  • Please click here for recent Wikipediocracy press releases.

What can we learn from the “Dangerous Panda” saga?

By Hersch

Yo ho, yo ho, an admin’s life for me!

At Wikipedia, the administrators or “admins” constitute a privileged caste, a nomenklatura (with 1382 members, at last count, although most are currently inactive) that is beyond the reach of Wikipedia’s normal summary justice. Savvy contestants at Wikipedia will often devote the first year or two of Wikipedia activity to thankless drone work, in hopes it will have the effect of racking up brownie points with “the community” — because if an editor can make enough friends and allies to become an admin, his or her ability to pursue an activist agenda will be dramatically enhanced.

To become an admin, the contestant must file a Request for Adminship. The relevant policy page says the following:

There are no official prerequisites for adminship, other than having an account and being trusted by other editors, but the likelihood of passing without being able to show significant contributions to the encyclopedia are low. The community looks for a variety of factors in candidates; discussion can be intense. For examples of what the community is looking for, one could review some successful and some unsuccessful RfAs.

If the contestant is successful in getting the nod from The Community, a whole new world of possibilities opens up. “Adminship” is a lifetime appointment; revocation of the title is as rare as a Liberty Head nickel. Violations of Wikipedia policy, or similar offenses which would get a normal editor banned in a heartbeat, are routinely overlooked when the perpetrator is an admin. Conversely, if an editor presents an obstacle to an admin’s activist agenda, the admin can ban that editor using the flimsiest of pretexts, or no pretext at all. One admin who has a great many such notches on his belt is Bwilkins, who at some

…continue reading What can we learn from the “Dangerous Panda” saga?

Another Day, Another Junket

by Gregory Kohs

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On Saturday, October 18, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales and his politically-connected third wife, Kate Garvey, were in Dublin, Ireland to deliver separate talks at the prestigious “One Young World” 2014 Summit. The equivalent value for both of them to attend was approximately $5,400, including taxes, but of course for them the conference waived any registration fees. In fact, according to Henny Hamilton, the conference’s PR coordinator, One Young World merely paid for round-trip airfare and one night’s hotel lodging for the duo, and no speaking fee was paid to them.

Considering what the conference got for that airfare and hotel bill, it’s difficult to say whether it was worth it. Garvey, introduced as “a fantastic woman” to a light smattering of applause, was scheduled to speak to the audience about ambitious new objectives of the United Nations. But in actuality, the moment after she took the podium, Garvey explained that she was there “to introduce someone else” because she didn’t “do the speaking in this”. Garvey spoke for only 80 seconds before her spot at the podium was taken by a more youthful and nubile speaker, Alessandra Orofino from Brazil. Given that the conference is intended solely for delegates between the ages of 18 and 30, and many of them enjoy stunning Mr or Miss Universe good looks of their own, the audience was probably not disturbed by the agenda hand-off.

Jimmy Wales, for his part, was scheduled to speak for 30 minutes, and that’s exactly what he delivered. There was frankly nothing new disclosed in his talk to the audience. The speech consisted almost entirely of themes regurgitated from previous sessions delivered by Wales. One critic described Wales as looking more and more like Mike Myers’ comedy

…continue reading Another Day, Another Junket