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Mike Godwin hired by Wikimedia Foundation 84

Raul654 writes "Mike Godwin, first legal counsel for the EFF who is best known for coining Godwin's law, has been hired as the legal counsel for the Wikimedia Foundation."
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Mike Godwin hired by Wikimedia Foundation

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  • by perlionex ( 703104 ) <joseph@ganfamil y . com> on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:22AM (#19743875) Homepage

    XKCD Comic: []

    Soldier: General, Italian forces have entered Egypt.
    General: As I expected. This is a foolish move by Mussolini, but like Hitler he will no doubt force his commanders to --
    Soldier: Hey. Godwin's law.
    General: Dammit. You know, this may become a problem.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )
      I believe the purposeful invokation of Godwin's Law doesn't actually work, unfortunately.

      It's more like Moore's Law in that respect, and less like the Laws of Thermodynamics.

      I wonder how fast the comments in this article *will* degenerate, though. (Something Godwin's Law doesn't predict, unfortunately).
      • I wonder how fast the comments in this article *will* degenerate, though.

        Wait, do you mean Michael Moore?

        Michael Moore has two laws:

        Michael Moore's Law #1: As an real-world situation grows longer, the probability of a Michael Moore complaining about the problem approaches one.

        Michael Moore's Law #2: The rate at which a discussion degenerates will double every 24 months.

      • by LarsG ( 31008 )

        The law itself only says "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one".

        On Usenet it has historically (Whow, the early days of Usenet is history now. Man, I'm old.) been used to indicate that a debate thread has become so heated that it no longer serves a useful purpose. When that happens, the thread is declared dead ("Godwin's law! I win!") and whoever made the comparison is considered the loser. It isn't valid to invoke Godwin on purpos
    • I thought it was more like:

      Rommel: "Mein Fuhrer, the Italians have joined the war!"
      Hitler: "Can we spare ten divisions to put against them?".
      Rommel: "But they're on our side".
      Hitler: "Himmel! We'll have to find fifteen divisions!".

      To get back on topic, I thought Godwin's law doesn't apply where the topic actually is Hitler and/or Nazis - though I can't find a reference for it.
      • So your saying Godwin's law doesn't apply to Bush or Blair either?
      • by Evilest Doer ( 969227 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @01:23PM (#19745041)

        To get back on topic, I thought Godwin's law doesn't apply where the topic actually is Hitler and/or Nazis - though I can't find a reference for it.
        It doesn't apply, but that never stops a bunch of stupid slashbots from invoking it every time Hitler is mentioned. And, your "reference" would be simple logic.

        Godwin's law is more for things like discussions on whether coffee or tea is better, with the tea lover calling the coffee lover a Nazi since Hitler liked coffee.

        Discussions on, say, comparing a certain president - who invades countries on false pretenses, tries to establish a police state in his own country, calls people who disagrees with him "traitors", kills hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and calls it "collateral damage", and so on - with Hitler would not invoke Godwin's law since there is a reasonable basis for a comparison.

    • So, the soldier is a Godwin's Law-nazi?
    • by Cctoide ( 923843 )
      Not to be mean, but is there some /. rule that states "xkcd" has to be mis-capitalized on the first post of every comment thread? I thought we'd learned our lesson with "PERL"...
  • Wil he be revising any entry involving Hitler?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If he is to revise any entry involving hitler, godwin's law dictates that it'll form an infinite loop and wikipedia will explode
    • No, he will remove entries mentioning the Nazi's altogether, because if Wikipedia mentions the Nazis, it automatically loses.
  • by skrolle2 ( 844387 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:27AM (#19743919)
    So I heard he's somewhat of a legal nazi...
  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by FieroEtnl ( 773481 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:29AM (#19743931)
    Only three comments and this thread has already been Godwin'ed. I'm sure he would be proud.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Eudial ( 590661 )

      Only three comments and this thread has already been Godwin'ed. I'm sure he would be proud.

      Aww don't be a Goodwin's Law Nazi and point out every post that confirms Goodwin's law.
    • Only three comments and this thread has already been Godwin'ed. I'm sure he would be proud.
      He's chosen the right Firm to work for now. The subject of Nazis and fascist behavior comes up faster in any discussion around Wikipedia than through any other. In fact, I'm sure the number of Wikipedia/Nazi comparisons triples every three months.

      Maybe someone could write a Wales Corollary -- or a "Rand Corollary", perhaps more appropriately.
      • I first read "Wiles" and wondered what FLT had to do with this. Then I wondered what the Wheel of Time had to do with this. Then I realized it was Wales and Ayn, not Al'Thor.
    • Sorry to be a grammar Nazi, but that should read "have already been."
  • by SlashDread ( 38969 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:30AM (#19743955)
    We all will become nazis, but call it something else.

    SlashDread's correlation....
  • by Uthic ( 931553 )
    He'll need to make a law about jokes about Godwin's Law :P
  • well we all know what happened when people got hired in Nazi Germany. Do we want that happening to wikipedia? huh? HUH?
  • Do no evil (Score:4, Funny)

    by Bloke down the pub ( 861787 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:47AM (#19744095)
    Don't do evil - annexe it.
  • After all these years of Slashdot being godwinned, it's about time that Godwin is slashdotted. Congrats, Mike.
  • No doubt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by simong ( 32944 ) on Wednesday July 04, 2007 @11:57AM (#19744189) Homepage
    We'll be seeing him in internet court [].
  • As almost any argument on Wikipedia ends up evokes Godwin's Law...
  • As soon as he starts to lose, all he has to do is mention the Nazis and get a retrial.

    • Two problems with that:
      1) The corollary that states that the comparison to Nazis or Hitler ends the discussion usually also states that whoever made the comparison loses
      2) It always states that a purposeful invocation of Godwin's Law does not trigger the corollary.

      But, other than that, humorous comment on your part!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by rs79 ( 71822 )
        I should have theougt the pudgy pot smoking basement dwelling freedom (and in everything) loving crowd of slashdot would have recognized the proprietary capture of a cool and friendly slogan by a lawyer when they saw. But maybe not.

        My purpose in the original incantation of same ( 314f075182eeb [] ) was to guarentee the freedom and protection from proprietary interests of said meme in a pre-prenguin gpl'less world.

        And what happens? You schmucks play right into
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by mnemonic ( 43109 )
          Hi, Richard.

          As you know, I fully credit your having had some inkling of Godwin's Law before I formalized it. :-)

          Next thing you'll be telling me that somebody invented cars before Henry Ford and that Apple didn't invent the personal computer!

          Seriously, I will admit that I'd have thought about stealing a line from Richard Sexton, who is a crafter of great lines, had I known about Richard and the line in advance. But the greatest influence on Godwin's Law was Keith Henson's article about memes in Whole Earth R
  • It make me a little sad to see someone who was once on the side of good (the EFF) turn to the side of evil (Wikipedia). I guess everybody has their price.

    Hopefully, once he sees Wikipedia from the inside, he will join the exodus of ex-insiders who have walked away from Jimbo's empire.
  • I'm surprised. The Wikimedia Foundation doesn't have serious legal problems. They need an intellectual property lawyer on tap, but most of their stuff is routine.

    They may need a tax guy. With Jimbo Wales involved in both the profit-making Wikia and the nonprofit Wikimedia, there are issues with IRS nonprofit status for Wikimedia. (See Instructions for IRS form 1023, line 5A) [].

    Wikia is turning into a popular culture/fan system; they have the Star Wars wiki and various other fan sites. One could argu

  • Yeah, you know who else Wikimedia hired? That's right.
  • .. The guy who invents "laws" to help him win arguments can actually make important decisions now...
  • And this meme was developed to suppress honest discussion of American right-wing excesses.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972