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Friday, 22 August 2014 12:03

Wikipedia is revolting

Written by Nick Farrell

Donations causing splits

The Wikipedia Foundation is finding itself dealing with a revolt of its German editors who are furious at the introduction of the Media Viewer software to the German Wikipedia.

A community of editors that work on that version voted to disable it in what could be a deeper and widening rift between the offices in San Francisco and the global community wikipedia.

According to Wikipediocracy the happy days where the Foundation worked well with its foreign editors is starting to come to an end.

For a while now people have been complaining that there was a steep learning curve needed to add content. So the WMF began using its newly donated millions to create a method and eventually introducing the Visual Editor (VE).

The software was buggy, causing all sorts of problems to pages it was used on. The editor was also unable to add or edit the many templates found on almost every Wikipedia article. With the sort of management, flare that Wackypedia displays at times it imposed VE on the volunteer against its will.

While everyone was screaming to switch the programme off, Wackypedia management was digging in its toes.

Then a Wikipedia admin changed the javascript file for the site to override the developers, and only then did the developers finally back down and make it an opt-in tool. It seemed, for a time, that the WMF had given up on forcing people to do things until it developed another new feature to prevent the community from overriding them in the future called “superprotection”.

The Germans revolted and a German administrator edited the javascript file for the site in order to disable the feature. A WMF representative reverted the change and there was an edit war.

This time the “superprotection” extension was added to prevent the administrators from editing the interface page. This was bypassed by deleting the page and creating a new one with their preferred version. The developers in San Francisco scrambled to fix the extension to prevent deletion as well, and so finally their preferred version stands.

This sent the Germans nuts particularly after their technical department head Erik Möller was blocked.

Co-founder Jimmy Wales’s page said that Wikipedia needs software improvements badly and those who objected were the problem.

However, there is another issue here. The Foundation has a miserable cost/ benefit ratio and for years now has spent millions on software development without producing anything that actually works. The feeling is that the whole operation is held together with the goodwill of its volunteers and the more stupid Foundation managers are seriously hacking them off.

 

Last modified on Friday, 22 August 2014 12:05

Nick Farrell

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