Please note: This is not a family blog post. It includes quotes from a source that use strong language and contains links to several other sources using similar profanity. If this bothers you, you may want to navigate elsewhere.
We thought former Diamondback opinion editor Stefanie Williams appearing on a Country Music Television reality show was as much exposure as a UMD alum was going to get this month.
Another former Diamondback opinion editor, Rob Gindes, has proven us wrong.
While Williams will be beamed into the homes of all eight(ish) people who watch Country Music Television, Gindes appeared Friday on the front page of Wikipedia, the sixth-most visited website on all of planet Earth.
For several hours, Gindes’ smirking mug was at the very top of every English-language Wikipedia page next to a link to his “appeal,” which began, “If it were up to me, I’d sell Wikipedia out without thinking twice. Advertisers on every page.”
And after compromising everything that’s wonderful and amazing and so important about this place, I’d be on my yacht, throwing hundred-dollar bills at sharks. But that’s why I’m a lazy, selfish blogger and the people who run Wikipedia are the people who run Wikipedia. …
Did you know that fewer people work at Wikipedia than Google has at their Saint-Ghislain data center alone? True story. You don’t even know where Saint-Ghislain is, do you? You will in a second, because you’ll go to Wikipedia and teach yourself. And that’s sort of the whole point.
Gindes’ path to the top (of the page) started back in June, when he wrote a post on his humor blog titled “Why you should donate, like, a fucking dollar to Wikipedia,” which makes the argument that most people have received more value out of the massive website than the zero dollars it had thus far cost them:
Wikipedia is everywhere, to the point where I wanted to do research for this post so I WIKIPEDIA’D WIKIPEDIA. I’m going insane guys, just donate a fucking dollar so I can get back to my life. …
Wikipedia basically runs on duct tape and hope (they don’t run ads despite the fact that they were valued at hundreds of millions a few years ago), and meanwhile Ke$ha is signed to a $4 million recording contract? Seriously, Ke$ha and [Wikipedia co-founder] Jimmy Wales. One of these people is covered in glitter, and the other one is also covered in glitter but wants to teach you things and enrich your life.
He then posted a link to the post on his Twitter account. Steven Walling, a community organizer with Wikimedia, Wikipedia’s parent company, saw the link and passed it on, putting Gindes on the radar of the Wikipedia staff — Wales then retweeted one of Gindes’ tweets that said “ i hope jimmy wales doesn’t mind i referred to him as being covered in body glitter.”
After that, Gindes figured it was about time he got around to actually donating to the site. He sent in $10.
“[Wikimedia's Aaron Muszalski] reached out and said ‘We all think this is really funny; we’re trying different things, and we’d like you to write one of these [fundraising] proposals,’” Gindes said. “People just got so gung-ho about this.”
But his vulgar blogging style wasn’t totally within Wikipedia’s boundaries of taste — the line about “throwing hundred-dollar bills at sharks,” for example, originally ended with “Because fuck you, that’s why.” It was cut.
“That just killed me, because thats the part where it will either make people donate or start protesting,” Gindes said. “But you can’t say ‘fuck you’ to sharks on Wikipedia.”
He said his appearance today was a “test” to see if his unconventional post would be effective for future fundraisers.
“For me it was just kind of a cool thing to do,” he said. ”I’m happy to be along for the ride.”
Full disclosure: Gindes and I have known each other for several years, as co-workers and friends. This story was written because he graduated from this university and was featured by a website visited billions of times per month; it was news.
I have made every attempt to remain objective, and I think I’ve accomplished that; if you have questions or concerns about this post, please email me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading.