Madame Wikiwiki

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Madame Wikiwiki performs the Wikiwikiwikiwiki song in Wikimania's Hall of Jimbos

When Jimbo and Angela faced the question of Wikia and Wikipedia, they had to ask who would be the patsy or fall guy?

With a grammatically feminine (gender) yet genetically masculine (OMG did u say sex?) user name (botanical, even), Florence Devouard fit the favoured ToW profile of internally contradictory screen names. She was so good at the Wikipedian MMORPG despite not even being a really long-term inmate that she ascended like sewage in the ocean through the salaried ranks of the Wikimedia Foundation. Professor Essjay only fibbed, dreamed, got to the first rung of the ladder, and fell off. Like MilToWpia, but just over a year earlier and in a bigger way, Madame Wikiwiki went right to the top.

Between nasty leakers, Jimbo's revenge, and a power play by the Mormons, she was pushed right off the precarious perch only a year and a half later.

How Did This Happen?

Darth Wikiwiki got the keys!

Both Jimbo and Angela fictitiously left the the Wikimedia Foundation within a few months in 2006 to avoid potential conflict of interest problems over Wikia.

Enter Madame Wikiwiki

Madame Wikiwiki, Florence Devouard, Florence Nibart-Devouard, Anthere, or just plain Florence or Floflo (bit liek Fifi, amirite?) to her closer wikiwiki associates at their meetups, was in France, outside Jimbo's home jurisdiction, and thus a convenient patsy and foil for any potential legal problems that might raise questions of personal or foundation responsibility or unfair business practices. Keeping her figure and face carefully hidden to maintain the image of a vaguely appealing and vague older woman with vaguely new-age words and vague opinions, a fanatical yet vague devotion to the wikiwiki way, and a vaguely defined shitload of money, she was perfect for the part.

Ho, ho, ho, the Madame is such a choker!

   
 
FD: I... never participated to the annual pranking of the English Wikipedia on April 1st? However, I was more than once the author of "jokes" which were sometimes appreciated, sometimes not so much appreciated.... I especially loved changing the logo. I created false articles. And did some moves I will not publicly revealed as not so proud of them. But overall, I like fun; the fun may stay within reasonable limits of course, and April joke did not always...
 

 
 

—Madame Wikiwiki, Wikinews

Deliriously yet vaguely accepting the offer to be the chief fall guy for the foundation (especially darling Jimbo and Angie) Madame Wikiwiki instantly became "The Dearest and Third Most Loving Leader after Jimbo and Angie" to the devotees. Just a few months later, she became Madame Wikiwiki to the French public.

Madame Wikiwiki the anti-Jimbo

"Est-cela une verge?"

Madame Wikiwiki is the object of a personality cult: from ToW “administrators” wanting to fool you that they are really, really good people (and Santa really does have your name on a special list) to Amorrow (here) and other ToW exiles who’ve been attacked and smeared by the Wikipedia, various people project their wishful thinking onto her. Darth Wikiwiki is the one who will kiss the poor Wikipedians’ bruised egos and make them all better if only Darth Jimbo will give her free rein. She does have one or two superior qualities and opinions (not hard in comparison with the sole flounder) but they only matter if you are a Wikipedo and if so, you can read about them somewhere else.

Enter Francis Marmande

Francis Marmande christened her Madame Wiki in the nice rant of the same name published in Le Monde at the very beginning of February 2007. He also seems to have been the first to call Wikipedians cultists, as they so richly deserve.

   
 
Madame Wikiwiki is 38 and has three children, a husband, and a vegetable garden. [...] The marvelous unique point of [Wikipedia] is that it is sourced, tuned up, and developed by its very users, its little soldiers. Wikipedia is to the Encyclopedia of Diderot as the kiwifruit is to the truffle.

[Defines Wikis, describes a satirical drawing.] The simple caption is 'self-made man'.

Wikipedia is a 'self-made encyclopedia': a festival of errors of date, peremptory judgements, and received ideas, all knit together in a highly idiosyncratic and diverse form, having a free for all.

If we're to listen to its cultists, Wikipedia functions as a libertarian utopia—why be shy—in line with the most moving voluntarism: 'Roughly 40,000 dollars in donations spontaneously pour in every week.' Delightful spontaneity [...] [On the back of this spontaneity], Madame Wikiwiki returns to Tampa (Florida) to preside over the council's gatherings every six weeks (coming soon to Rotterdam). This council is very representative of the world as a whole: three Americans, one German, and two Dutchfolk. [...]

Madame Wikiwiki says she never sets foot in Paris. She 'hates the capital' [...]

[The Wikipedia is] a parlour game, totalitarianism in a human mask, trap-laden territory, modern life, a universal religion.

When her company collapsed and left her in the lurch, [Madame Wikiwiki] wed the cause of Wikipedia, and climbed through the ranks of the libertarian utopia. Vegetable garden, little laptop, voted for the Greens in the presidential election of 2002 [...] devoted to the 'great family to which she brings her expertise' [...] she pontificates about the success of wikis with this wikiwiki philosophy: 'A single or divorced person, all alone at home in the evenings, has the choice between settling down in front of the television and creating links with others.'

So, she's blind to the fact that this family (or rather menagery) isn't the universal key [one can do many other things]. Her hope, this fossil, is to 'leave an important trace'. She hopes that 'Wikipedia might be this trace' (so she blubbers, so she simpers). Pathetic! Can't she see that in two years Wikipedia has left as indelible a trace as the hula hoop [...]

Isn't anyone telling the volunteers, spontaneists, libertarians in Tampa (Florida) what's going on? Not nice at all.
 


 
 

—Paraphrase of Francis Marmande on Madame Wikiwiki (short version), Le Monde

Here is the full paraphrase:

A Trained Agronomist, this Mother Presides from her Home in the Village of Puy-de-Dome over the World Online Encyclopedia, Wikipedia

Madame Wikiwiki, of French stock, has presided over Wikipedia since October of 2006. Wikiwiki means express or informal in hawaiian. Madame Wikiwiki is 38 and has three children, a husband, and a vegetable garden.Wikipedia is a world online encyclopedia. The marvelous unique point of this encyclopedia is that it is sourced, tuned up, and developed by its very users, its little soldiers. Wikipedia is to the Encyclopedia of Diderot as the kiwifruit is to the truffle.

A little plunge into the patois of Wikiwikis: A wiki is a system for content generation on Web sites where the Web pages are freely made and modified by all authorised visitors. Wikis are used to facilitate the collaborative writing of documents with a minimum of constraint.

This calls to mind one of Chaval's old drawings. A lame man in Chaval's style sports a left leg twice as long as his arm, which serves him for extra support; a second leg sprouts from his forehead, his nose is planted on his bosom, he has picasso-esque eyes, etc., all very pleasant. The simple caption is 'self-made man'.

Wikipedia is a 'self-made encyclopedia': a festival of errors of date, peremptory judgements, and received ideas, all knit together in a highly idiosyncratic and diverse form, having a free for all. Passing over its user-creators (172 million), Wikipedia has pulled itself up to an enviable position. If we're to listen to its cultists, Wikipedia functions as a libertarian utopia--why be shy--in line with the most moving voluntarism: 'Roughly 40,000 dollars in donations spontaneously pour in every week.' Delightful spontaneity ... at the expense of this spontaneity, Madam Wikiwiki returns to Tampa (Florida) to preside over the council's gatherings every six weeks (coming soon to Rotterdam). This council is very representative of the world as a whole: three Americans, one German, and two Dutch people.

The first microchip fly in the ointment is that Madam Wikiwiki says she never sets foot in Paris. She 'hates the capital'. She was born in Versailles, but please, no hasty conclusions. Attention, minefield, not to say anything against the Web, softly spinning around the waxy tablecloth, unknowns, heroes or sub-pseudo bastards, playing at being snipers in ambush. A parlour game, totalitarianism in a human mask, trap-laden territory, modern life, universal religion.

When her company collapsed and left her in the lurch, she wed the cause of Wikipedia, ascending through the ranks of the libertarian utopia. Vegetable garden, little laptop, voted for the Greens in the presidential election of 2002, undecided this time (we must understand she'll vote), devoted to the 'great family to which she brings her expertise'. From her vegetable garden in the Auvergnes, she pontificates about the success of wikis with this wikiwiki philosophy: 'A single or divorced person, all alone at home in the evenings, has the choice between settling down in front of the television and creating links with others.'

So, she's blind to the fact that this family (or menagery) isn't the universal key: a lone person might read Diderot, listen to Monk or Monteverdi, watch the television, knit, design wikis in the nude, play the double bass, write, or watch the stars. Her hope, this fossil, is to 'leave an important trace'. She hopes that 'Wikipedia might be this trace' (so she blubbers, so she simpers). Pathetic! Can't she see that in two years Wikipedia has left as indelible a trace as the hula hoop, Teppaz portable record players, and Juvaquatre cars?

Isn't anyone telling the volunteers, the spontaneists, the libertarians in Tampa (Florida) what's going on? Not nice at all.

Marmande’s article was a satire of an article that appeared in Liberation just over two weeks earlier. This is pretty easy to see from the near-identical headline, sarcastic near-repetition of some of the same descriptions by Marmande, and the original article being a puff piece about the greatness of Madame Wikiwiki as one of six “people of the year” (persona 4/6) according to Liberation’s leftard standards.

Reaction

French Wikipedoes

French cultists made a vengeance article about Monsieur Marmande on their wikipedia before the day was out.

The last line of the first version read


   
 
In Le Monde's edition of February the first, he wrote an exceptionally agressive anti-wikipedia article.
 

 
 

—French Wikipedo Xremis, French Wikipedia

Oh noes!

Madame Wikiwiki’s Official Response as Foundation President

Madame Wikiwiki’s official reply to Marmande’s Madame Wikiwiki article in Le Monde shows wikipedo-discussion pathologies like repetition and wikipedese. It’s probably supposed to be rhetorical but d’ya think “On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but ...” might be a BIT STALE BY THE SIXTH REPETITION? That’s the harmless part.

Marmande really brought out the Wikipedian in Madame Wikiwiki.

Smearing the critic’s publisher

Just like when any other newspaper or news site carries a critical piece or news of a wikiscandal (Essjay, Jimbo, Jossi, Slim Virgin, etc.) or mentions this very wiki, Le Monde suddenly stops being “notable” and becomes “gutter press” and “like a scandal sheet”.

Wikipedian sense of entitlement

The Madame’s official response as prez of the WMF was published 24 hours after the article, but Madame Wikiwiki seems to think (like this krazy kow) the whole world must drop everything to do a Wikipedian’s bidding RIGHT NOW!

   
 
The right of reply is difficult, very difficult.
 

 
 

—Madame Wikiwiki, Official WMF blogue

   
 
I have written to the mediator, and I haven't obtained any response.
 

 
 

Maybe anyone but the President of France has to give Le Monde more than a couple of hours to respond?

   
 
The coordinates of Mr. Marmande on Le Monde's site are not public. It is thus difficult to contact him.
 

 
 

Coordinates? Would the idea be to contact him or send him a cruise missile?

Very strange expectations

Everyone contacts the subject of a satirical or other critical piece to get all points approved in advance, right? It’s just what you do, natural like.

   
 
Mr. Marmande would not have been hurt by contacting me to check the facts before their publication.
 

 
 

Outrageous claims

   
 
The financial accounts of the Wikimedia foundation are public ...
 

 
 

OIC, so we can all see where the WMF gets its bigger contributions (and how it distributes funds)? LOL.

   
 
[...] unlike Mr. Marmande who is paid for his prose, I am voluntary, much like approximately 99.99% of the participants in Wikipedia.
 

 
 

Fuck, whadya know? So the foundation chair is a voluntary position? Would ya credit that?

   
 
On Wikipedia [...] we cite our sources and we respect the rights of authors [...] do not voluntarily allow erroneous information, affirmations without sources, or defamatory insinuations [...] are conscious of our responsibilities as a host [...] The Wikimedia Foundation [...] may have a legal responsibility for defamatory remarks on the site.
 

 
 

Victims of Wikipedia should be pleased about all these new policies.

Gloating over the French Wikipedia’s vengeance page on Marmande

   
 
The good news for Mr. Marmande is that he now enters the pantheon of famous personalities on wikipedia. Bravo. Well played.
 

 
 

... plus a link to a smarmy blog attack on Marmande.

Satire, sarcasm and irony are alien concepts, all criticism is forbidden

... implied legal threats, citing 79 Wikipedo anonymous Internuts as if their bullshit counts for anything, distortion of Marmande’s words and moar. The whole is moar than the sum of parts. Read a paraphrase in English of Madame Wikiwiki’s whole official response as WMF Prez.

Le Monde, Welcome to the Ranks of the Gutter Press?

Headline a little provocative? No more than the recent piece from a certain Mr. Marmande in Le Monde’s opinion column of the 31st of February.

The fact that one criticizes Wikipedia isn’t a bother, quite the contrary. All criticism is perhaps constructive. I’ll pass over that.

However, I completely fail to understand why I find myself nailed to the pillory by this journalist with whom, it seems to me, I never talked, whether in person, by e-mail, or over the telephone.

An article completely appalling from my point of view and from the points of view of numerous internauts (79 reactions to the on-line version in the 24 hours since the publication of the piece).

First of all, an article that is throughout simply and gratuitously mean. The type of article one would find in a scandal sheet. So disappointing from Le Monde, which for many French is a reference in matters of seriousness, factuality, neutrality and integrity.

The article takes up in good part an article by Mme Roussel in Liberation on the 15th, without ever mentioning its source. On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but we cite our sources and we respect the rights of authors.

To follow, some points relevant to the defamation. To cite just two examples, I joined Wikipedia more than four years before (February 2002) and joined the board of the Wikimedia Foundation more than 1 and a half years before (June 2004) the voluntary liquidation (November 2005) of the company for which I worked (and was dismissed due to cessation of activities at the same time as all of the other employees).

The financial accounts of the Wikimedia foundation are public, directly accessible over the Internet, and audited by an independent auditing company. On this subject, unlike Mr. Marmande who is paid for his prose, I am voluntary, much like approximately 99.99% of the participants in Wikipedia.

I will pass over the discrimination related to my origins.

On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but we do not voluntarily allow erroneous information, affirmations without sources, or defamatory insinuations.

Contact with the author is difficult. The coordinates of Mr. Marmande on Le Monde's site are not public. It is thus difficult to contact him. I must add that Mr. Marmande would not have been hurt by contacting me to check the facts before their publication. My e-mail address is public over the Internet, my telephone is not on the red list, and neither is my address.

On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but we give people the possibility of contacting us through the numerous pages for discussion on the wiki, on public lists for discussion, by way of multiple private e-mail addresses for greater discretion, with postal or telephonic contact (for example, for the Foundation) and even a designated agent.

The right of reply is difficult, very difficult. To comment on an article in Le Monde, one must take out a subscription ! 6 euros per month. Or one must write with a request for acknowledgement of receipt. There is no guarantee of response to mail sent to the reader service (I have received nothing). On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but you can contact us. A volunteer will respond.

More disturbing still was the reaction of Le Monde. Officially, there is a mediator (I quote: "the mediator has a duty to keep watch with respect to professional rules and ethics for the journalists of Le Monde."). I have written to the mediator, and I haven't obtained any response.

On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but by contrast we have a team to investigate abuses.

An editor took it upon himself to telephone Le Monde. The response was "Sorry sir. Mr. Marmande is responsible for those writings. We are not concerned."

And well, as if! An author is responsible for his writings as an author. But the publishing organ has a further responsibility for the editor. An Internet site has a responsibility as a host. If defamatory remarks are printed in a newspaper, the newspaper has a certain responsibility and in case of legal processes, it will be concerned at the side of the author.

On Wikipedia, we are not perfect, but by contrast we are conscious of our responsibilities as a host. The Wikimedia Foundation, over which I preside, may have a legal responsibility for defamatory remarks on the site.

Beyond the legal aspect, this is simply a case of respect for human beings and of respect for the reader.

In closing, what can I say? Other than to repeat my consternation in the face of this article. Plagiarism, mean criticism, gratuitous personal attacks, defamation, non-transparency, non-respect for responsibilities as an editor. In Le Monde? I am quite simply disappointed.

The good news for Mr. Marmande is that he now enters the pantheon of famous personalities on wikipedia. Bravo. Well played (Source: Marmande, three (tenths of a) second of stoppage).

To cite a generous anonymous wikipedian:

A neutral article on a person who hasn’t been so is the best way to illustrate the lack of discernment thus shown by that person. It is also a good way to see whether or not, in two years, the first line on a search engine will point directly at his page on Wikipedia. Let’s meet in two years

Florence Devouard President, Wikimedia Foundation

Madame Wikiwiki in Jimbo's Sex, Lies and Expenses Drama

Madame Wikiwiki pimps plastic crap for her salary.

Madame Wikiwiki generally hates and fears drama like a cat hates and fears a bath. Trouble is, one of her fellow WMF board members leaks like Jimbo's cock after picking up a case of the clap at a Moscow massage parlour. After Floflo told the Associated Press that Jimbo had just been "slow in submitting receipts" and persuaded them that "the money story was a no story", the nice leaky sieve dropped this little drama bomb from internal WMF mail.


   
 
I find [it] tiring to see how you are constantly trying to rewrite the past. Get a grip!
 

 
 

—Madame Wikiwiki to Jimbo, Associated Press (via ABC News etc.)

Whammy! After all that Jimbo's done for her, and just what is that past he's rewriting? Minus the object for "grip", Jimbo in typical fashion assumed she meant his cock. Who knows, maybe Floflo herself was the sieve?

The Fall of Madame Wikiwiki

Jimbo didn't take Madame Wikiwiki's insults lying down, even though they were all supposed to be private in the first place. By May of the same year (2008) he had manipulated the board of the WMF so as to make Madame Wikiwiki's position untenable. While Floflo didn't resign, she did announce that she would not be up for re-election.

In a second announcement she made a few statements in English about why she committed suicide as chair of the Wikimedia Foundation. Unhappily for us, she got an English-speaker to fix them up beforehand and so cut their lulz value to pieces.

To consider the amount of difference 
you could make (now 1 of 11) 
vs the personal price 
you may have to pay

To be silent, and fail 
the community 
or to be outspoken and face possible (even likely) ridicule and gossip 
from high-profile outsiders

To have all your past contribs 
(in Wikimedia and elsewhere) 
dragged out and combed over 
and quoted to make 
you look like a radical/loon/criminal

To be assumed corrupt, 
a liar, when actually all you are doing 
is trying to give a shit

This was apparently all inspired by the crappy song The Impossible Dream.

... and she probably wasn't the leaker.

   
 
To know that there are silent leakers on *every* *single* *freaking* *list* (including this one) - so you can never speak frankly
 

 
 

In July of 2008 she was replaced in the chair by Michael Snow, public face of the Mormon cabal on TOW.

External links


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