March 03, 2007

Jimmy Wales Reverses On New Yorker False Credentials, Asks Resignation

Jimmy Wales' latest statement:

... I have been for several days in a remote part of India with little or no Internet access. I only learned this morning that EssJay used his false credentials in content disputes. I understood this to be primarily the matter of a pseudonymous identity (something very mild and completely understandable given the personal dangers possible on the Internet) and not a matter of violation of people's trust. I want to make it perfectly clear that my past support of EssJay in this matter was fully based on a lack of knowledge about what has been going on. Even now, I have not been able to check diffs, etc.

I have asked EssJay to resign his positions of trust within the community. In terms of the full parameters of what happens next, I advise (as usual) that we take a calm, loving, and reasonable approach. From the moment this whole thing became known, EssJay has been contrite and apologetic. People who characterize him as being "proud" of it or "bragging" are badly mistaken.

On a personal level, EssJay has apologized to me, and I have accepted his apology on a personal level, and I think this is the right thing to do. If anyone else feels that they need or want a personal apology, please ask him for it. And if you find it to be sincere, then I hope you will accept it too, but each person must make their own judgments. Despite my personal forgiveness, I hope that he will accept my resignation request, because forgiveness or not, these positions are not appropriate for him now.

I still have limited net access... for a couple of hours here I will be online, and then I am offline until I am in Japan tomorrow morning. I beleive I will have a fast and stable Internet connection at that time, and I will deal with this further at that time.

Wikipedia is built on (among other things) twin pillars of trust and tolerance. The integrity of the project depends on the core community being passionate about quality and integrity, so that we can trust each other. The harmony of our work depends on human understanding and forgiveness of errors.

--Jimmy Wales Sat Mar 3 06:44:50 UTC 2007

My opinion: Damage control.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on March 03, 2007 09:43 AM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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You think Jimmy Wales wasn't fully informed (didn't have enough of a clue) and committed an egregious failure to distinguish pseudonimity from fraud?


a) he didn't know that pseudonimity does not (by itself) constitute fraud, whereas lieing is fraudulent (when truth rather than fiction is expected), and we can forgive him.

b) he knows full well (and gambled the public didn't), and this is simple PR damage control (as you suggest).

Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at March 3, 2007 10:12 AM


Posted by: Crosbie Fitch at March 3, 2007 10:17 AM

Whether Wales did the right thing for the right reasons or not, you still ought to acknowledge that it was the right decision.

Wikipedia's clearly a trainwreck -- I've stopped claiming otherwise. But in Jordan's specific case, assuming he's really out, Wales undid a really bad decision to keep a fabulist in its management.

Posted by: Rogers Cadenhead at March 3, 2007 11:20 AM

Rogers, I'm not a very forgiving person. Perhaps a flaw in my nature. I find it hard to be generous when a statement still has a lot of falseness in it, even if that's a political necessity. I'm bad at politics.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at March 3, 2007 11:39 AM