Friday, February 08, 2008

For your daily dose of irony...

... there is no better source than Wikipedia. For today's dose, we examine Jossi Fresco, a Wikipedia admin and major architect of Wikipedia's conflict of interest policy. Jossi, according to our good friend Cade Metz over at the Register, is employed by an organization related to Prem Rawat, a cultish religious figure from India. He also assiduously polices the articles about Rawat, a clear and obvious conflict of interest. I'm not going to waste a lot of time repeating what Cade has already said (and if you want there's also a Wikipedia Review thread on the same topic which is quite interesting as well). That an admin who has spent so much time crafting the conflict of interest policy would, at the same time, flaunt it so obviously and, apparently, even seek to pretend that there is no conflict, is the sort of delicious irony that Wikipedia excels at creating.

Of course, our old friend SlimVirgin, herself no stranger to conflict of interest, seeing as how she wades knee-deep in them all the time, has also had quite a hand in both shaping and enforcing that policy (even commenting on how it should be interpreted and applied over at the Wikback). Those familiar with Wikipedia (and Wikimedia) politics are, I'm quite sure, familiar with other examples of overwhelming irony in Wikipedia over the past few months; I've touched on this issue here and here.

It seems obvious, therefore, that the primary purpose of Wikipedia is actually to create irony. This is actually a good thing; after all, we all heard after 9/11 that "irony is dead". Well, we have Wikipedia to thank for keeping irony alive. Good job; do keep up the good work. It's nice to know that Wikipedia can at least excel at something.