Karl May Friends

Wiki-shitstorm 17 Feb to 20 Feb 2010.

At 03:33hours (wikipedia time) on 17 February 2010, a vandal/impersonator with an IP address that pointed to a major city in south-east mainland Australia (I don’t live there, I live near Hobart, Tasmania, closer to the south pole), and obviously either in a state of complete inebriation, of deranged mind, or ‘a complete nutter’, came by the idea to create a wikipedia ‘editors’ account in my name.

And since I’m the only person in the world with that name, what followed would surely point to me. (Yes, it’s a rare name, there were two other girls with the same name in the originating village, one spelt her first name without ‘e’; both were married, and have since carried a different name). Because I don’t visit wikipedia every day, I was unaware of what had occurred until later.

"Nee... da stimmt was nicht!" ["No... something is not right!"] I cried out in panic, inadvertedly quoting a staunch Karel May savant from somewhere in Australia (I wonder whether he since found the old print of Karl May’s story about absent-minded professor ‘Vitzliputzli’ [which was written by someone else in any case] in the attic of the granny in Australia—it’s an inside joke, you had to be there!).

Imagine my surprise when I found this (first insert with blue highlighted text below) when I visited the initial incarnation of the English Karl May wikipedia page, which was full of colloquial quaintness then, but has since been brought to professional standards:

It’s still there, in wikipedia’s archive bowels, just turn back the clock to February 2010. I should know how to spell my name; two minutes after he scribbled the above nonsense, he saw his spelling mistake, and corrected my name; how observant (I think I may be permitted some sarcasm). Somewhere in the brief but frantic defacing of wikipedia, a slip by the vandal, spelling the author in question ‘Karel’, was somewhat of a giveaway as to the person’s origin.

Translating all of Karl May’s works into ‘excellent English’ within the same year would be a major feat.

At 03:35hours, the REAL wikipedia editors then removed it.

(All IP and other name references have since been cleaned away—it took some doing on my part, because wikipedia isn’t that quick, especially since it took a bit of convincing that the fake/impersonator account wasn’t mine.)

BUT! Oh, my! Someone displayed a truly vindictive streak, and evidently nurtured a glowing hate-session, for some reason that still eludes me.

At 09:35hours of the same day (remember I was still unaware of what was going on until a few days later, when I stumbled upon the last vandalism entry, and scrolled back in wikipedia history), this was placed into the text:

This time, he got my name right. (I suspect it’s a ‘he’ because Karl May wrote stories for boys—right? So, what’s a woman doing writing a biography of Karl May? You’ll find his allusion to the biography below.)

Again, the editors—amid grumbling comments about “spam”—removed it. But then came 03:08hours on 20 February 2010. Seven years later, this is hysterically comical, but at the time, being in the middle of translating Karl May’s Winnetou novels and short stories, it was somewhat distracting.

The entries are still accessible in wikipedia’s files, but just to preserve them for posterity (or should I say ‘posteria’), here they are:

At 03:15hours, one more edit was made; this is the one that alludes to the biography ‘Savage To Saint’ I had written and self-published, and which had received a hostile reception by one very aggrieved Karel May savant, so voiced here: http://karl-may-stiftung.de/engl/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=111 and it begs the question, did ‘Vitzliputzli’ perchance peruse that forum?

At 03:16hours, the real wikipedia editor cleaned the page, and removed the graffity only minutes after the idiot had gone to all that trouble placing his comments; note his broken English. I still wonder what went through that person’s mind; because, at 03:22hours, seven minutes later, ‘Vitzliputzli’, as I’ve come to call the vandal in the meantime (and it is no slur on Karl May, as May never created a fictional character by that name), attacks the page again:

At 03:23hours—one minute after—the wikipedia editor had enough:

The account ‘Marlies Bugmann’, which is that of the impersonator/vandal, has been pulled at 01:34hours on 21 February, 2010. Thank goodness.

As I mentioned previously, it was not until sometime later that I stumbled upon this duel between an idiot and a wikipedia editor.

I never had, and never will have, a wikipedia editing account, neither under my own name nor under some assumed pseudonym. I have a life, and it keeps me busy.

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