Jimmy Wales

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Co-Founder of Wikipedia, the atheist Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales is the co-founder of the politically left online encyclopedia Wikipedia and self-described libertarian. Jimmy Wales claims to be an objectivist who follows the philosophy of atheist Ayn Rand. His favorite book is Rand's Atlas Shrugged.[1] Wales told an interviewer in Reason magazine, "One can't understand my ideas about Wikipedia without understanding Hayek...Wales is fleshing out and bringing to life Hayek's insights about the power of decentralized knowledge gathering, the surprising strength of communities bound only by reputation, and the fluidity of self-governance." [2] These ideas that Wales claims to follow were put forward in Hayek's essay "The Use of Knowledge in Society". However there is thin evidence for his being a true follower of Hayek politically given the radical leftist agenda of Wales close confidants in control of Wikipedia.[3] Wales describes himself as a communitarian (someone who could be said to be "radical center", meaning they agree with the left on issues relating to the economy, such as the need for environmental protection and public education, but not on cultural issues, but instead generally agree with the right or conservatives on cultural issues, such as support for character education and faith-based programs).[3] The revisions have since been deleted by liberal Wikipedia administrators wishing to protect Jimmy's public image.[4] Editors trying to make this point in Wikipedia are routinely profiled, stalked, harassed, slandered, and banned. An irony of internet history is that Jimmy Wales, despite being an atheist, refers to himself as Wikipedia's "spiritual leader".[5]

Jimmy Wales became a millionaire by trading commodity options; before funding Wikipedia, he funded Bomis Inc. in 1996, which contained pornographic material.[6] Besides funding the non-profit Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales also funded the for-profit Wikia, a company that provides wiki services for businesses and organizations.

Wales was caught editing his own profile on Wikipedia in a bit of a scandal in an effort to downplay Larry Sanger's role in the company and distance himself from his Bomis past.[7]

Wales has accepted a new job as executive director of strategy and digital community for The People’s Operator (TPO), a cell phone startup company with ties to the British Labour Party. Wales owns 10% of the new company. TPO has 10,000 subscribers in England and has plans to expand to the United States.[8]

Controversies

In early October 2005, former Robert F. Kennedy aide and retired journalist John Seigenthaler Sr. contacted Wales about false and libelous information in his Wikipedia biographical entry. Essjay got the call to deal with the situation.[9] On December 1, 2005 Wales told Editor & Publisher magazine, the nation’s oldest trade journal serving the newspaper industry regarding Daniel Brandt,

I don't regard him as a valid source about anything at all... I find it hard to take him very seriously ...[10]
Brandt was the victim of malicious[11] and vile slanders placed within his Wikipedia biographical entry[12] by prominent Wikipedia contributors, in violation of numerous published Wikipedia policies.[13] Four days later in a joint appearance with Seigenthaler on CNN Wales said,
we are very, very responsive to complaints and concerns.[14]

Essjay was entrusted with oversight responsibilities in the wake of the Seigenthaler scandal and wrote to a professor to persuade her to allow students to cite Wikipedia as a "reliable source,"

It is never the case that known incorrect information is allowed to remain in Wikipedia; we strive to provide a resource that is both accurate and expansive. As we approach one million articles (far more than any other encyclopedia could ever hope to attain) on the English Wikipedia alone (there are hundreds of thousands of articles in the projects that make up the Wikimedia Foundation in dozens of different languages), we prove ourselves as a resource like none ever known before.

The derogatory smears against Brandt, self-cited to a certifiably "extremist source" which "should never be used" remained in Brandt's biography for one and half years, with Jimmy Wales and the WikiMedia Foundations full knowledge.

On December 14, 2012, WND columnist Judith Reisman defended heavy-metal drummer Bradlee Dean, who had been unfairly attacked on Wikipedia. She wrote,

"Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s creator, made his original fortune as a pornography trafficker. Wales’ cult of far-leftist volunteer editor zealots labor minute-by-minute to mislead readers who think Wikipedia’s half-truths – and worse – are a legitimate 'encyclopedia.'"

Wales sent an email in response claiming, "I have never been a 'pornography trafficker' at all." Instead of posting a correction WND posted detailed documentation which includes a posed photo of Wales flanked by two mostly undressed female models.[15]

Some people start discussions on his user talk page much as supplicants approach a monarch. In response, he might engage in a discussion, promise "to look into it", or simply delete it.[16] However, the number of deletions and users banished from his talk page have increased in 2013.

References

  1. Interview with Jimmy Wales conducted by Brian Lamb, C-SPAN Transcript, September 25, 2005.
  2. Wikipedia and Beyond, Jimmy Wales' sprawling vision, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reasononline.com, June 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Davis, Jim. "Left in Control of Wikipedia", NewsMax, May 14, 2007. Retrieved on 2007-10-04. 
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Jimbo_Wales&diff=238013334&oldid=366216764
  5. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/05/09/wikimedia_pron_purge/
  6. http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2005/12/69880
  7. Wikipedia Founder Edits Own Bio Wired. Accessed 17 March 2008
  8. Ruddick, Graham. "Wikipedia founder to float mobile phone company", The Telegraph, October 11, 2014. Retrieved on October 14, 2014. 
  9. User:Essjay/Letter. Retrieved from WikiTruth, November 3, 2007.
  10. Wikipedia Founder, Readers Respond to Seigenthaler Article, Jay DeFoore, Editor & Publisher, December 01, 2005.
  11. http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=5641&st=60&p=22336&mode=linear#entry22336
  12. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Daniel_Brandt&diff=prev&oldid=55132392
  13. Wikipedia#Impugning critics, Conservapedia.com
  14. http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0512/05/lol.02.html
  15. Here's Your Correction, Wikipedia Founder. WND (December 17, 2012). Retrieved on December 26, 2012.
  16. E.g., Speaking of "Unreadable Crap" (Dec. 5, 2005). Retrieved on Sept. 20, 2013.

External Links

Jimmy Wales' Blog (this blog was last updated Feb. 16, 2007)

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