Gonzo journalist Nimrod Kämer is driving the Wikipedia establishment mad with his humorous edits to high-profile pages. It’s a sad illustration of what Wikipedia has become, writes Milo Yiannopoulos.
“A few high ranking moderators in Wikipedia decided they’d had enough,” says television writer and self-described “gonzo” journalist Nimrod Kämer. “They tried to delete me before, in 2005, but I added an umlaut to my name – it was Kamer before – which allowed me to live to fight another day under a new identity.”
Nimrod Kämer, who lives in Chelsea and Dalston, has made a name for himself with his hilarious YouTube videos, in which the journalist accosts stars and informs them he has unfollowed them on Twitter (the reasons are only semi-serious), or that he can make edits to their Wikipedia pages to correct erroneous facts for a small fee. Often, Kämer is responsible for the errors in the first place.
Wikipedia editors are not amused by the edits he has made to the pages of Kanye West, P Diddy, Vivienne Westwood, Lord Sugar, Julian Assange and others, so Kämer is now the subject of a sock puppet investigation and he is on the receiving end of a stream of vitriol from other editors.
But, unlike Johann Hari, a journalist who made edits to Wikipedia pages in order to smear his professional rivals, Kämer’s edits are not aimed at causing any professional damage to his targets: merely at providing amusement to his audience.
In resisting the bullying authoritarianism of the Wikipedia elite, his “art terrorism” is reopening the debate about Wikipedia’s accuracy and reliability and raising questions about the site’s own content guidelines.
That’s partly because, as a long-time Wikipedian, Kämer feels entitled to himself make changes to the site’s rules, bending Wikipedia’s guidelines in his favour to make himself “notable” enough for a Wikipedia page of his own.
It might seem like childishness, even vandalism, to some, but Kämer, and his audience, are enjoying the show – in particular, watching how furious the Wikipedia “old guard” are getting as they realise all over again how powerless they are to control the contents of the site.
The edit wars and angry comments make for entertaining reading, highlighting again how a site that was intended to be a free and open exchange of ideas has become progressively more authoritarian.
Kämer obviously enjoys rubbing the Wikipedia establishment up the wrong way. He says that, as revenge for his antics, senior editors are considering his own page for deletion. They say it reads like an autobiography and that clues like the phrase “Gonzo” journalist suggest that Kämer wrote much of it himself.
“To be frank, I’ve only edited my Wikipedia page five times since it was created in 2011,” says Kämer. “It isn’t against Wikipedia policy to edit one’s own page, as long as the edits are minor and verifiable and the person in question is notable.
“There are a lot less notable people on Wikipedia than me,” he adds.
This row would be rather inside baseball were it not for the attention Kämer is drawing to it in wider circles. It’s a humiliating little tableau that illustrates what Wikipedia has become: a stagnant, oppressive, funless, reactionary and vengeful place where the only lively discussions still going on are wars between pseudonyms and sock puppets.
Some way from the utopian dream of collaborative knowledge and joyful companionship, isn’t it?