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10 Women Who Secretly Control the Internet

Power Grid

Florence Devouard (Advisory Board, Wikimedia Foundation)

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Jimmy Wales has gotten most of the credit for being the Web 2.0 visionary who created Wikipedia, but the site grew to its current size because of a brilliant set of editorial rules and guidelines which allowed for a decentralized network of hundred of thousands of people to work together. And Florence Devouard was the the full-time genetic engineer who put that structure together. In an interview, Devouard said that in 2002, she felt “cooped-up” in a small town of France when she wanted to discuss the pressing issues of the day, including the Iraq War and genetically modified food. That’s when she was first introduced to Wikipedia, then began writing articles before eventually gaining the influence in the organization that helped it become the information source it is today. She played a huge role in making Wikipedia international, which led to the creation of the Wikimedia Foundation. If you’ve ever asked yourself why it’s now acceptable to use Wikipedia as a source of information, you can thank Knight of the French National Order of Merit, Florence Devouard.

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