Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Floflo speaks

Sometimes an interview makes you want to laugh and barf at the same time (which ain't easy to do at the same time). Florence Devouard, a highfalutin muckety-muck in the WP bureaucracy, recently granted a giggle-and-vomit-inducing interview to the encyclopedia's house newspaper.

As you might expect, it was the mushiest of softball interviews. But Floflo, as she is non-affectionately known at Wikipedia Review, managed to fluff the first question: "Lady, just what do you do around here?" (Okay, they phrased the question far more gently.) She floundered for a while, quoted some bureaucratese, and finally announced that she gives great meeting. Which is what Wikipedia desperately needs, more great meetings for irrelevant and expensive bureaucrats.

Asked what Wikipedia's greatest weakness was, she replied...understaffing. Right, a volunteer encyclopedia that gets all its real work for free urgently requires more bureaucrats to eat that hilarious $4.6 million budget. Not to mention the absurdly unnecessary move of the bureaucracy to San Francisco, one of the most expensive locations on the planet.

Floflo has a funny thing about money. She apparently thinks filthy lucre is not nice, except when it's paying her plane fares to Africa and elsewhere. She whines that the latest round of begging isn't going so well and fantasizes about "getting one big grant."

Except the people who dole out grants aren't about to shower cash on the site that gave the world Seigenthaler and Essjay and too many other examples of inaccuracy and embarrassment. WP could sell a few ads and pay for all of Floflo's plane tickets with no trouble. But Floflo disdains ads, except those gigantic obnoxious begging ads at the top of every WP page.

What Wikipedia needs is a few advertisers to keep the servers running. What Wikipedia doesn't need are bureaucrats chewing up cash on trips to South Africa and moves to San Fran.

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