June 23, 2008

What's In Jimmy Wales's Repudiated _Observer_ Article?

The Observer has a For the record correction:

Last week, we ran an article - 'It's the next billion online who will change the way we think' - under the byline of Jimmy Wales, explaining at the end that it was an edited version of a conversation with the Wikipedia founder. Mr Wales agreed to the piece on the condition that he have final editorial approval but unfortunately this proved impossible before publication. Mr Wales wishes to make clear that he repudiates the piece, and that it misrepresents his views. He has written an alternative version, which can be found at observer.co.uk/commentisfree. We apologise to Mr Wales.

This made me very curious as to what they'd written for him. Was it such extreme hype that even Wales himself couldn't abide it.? Maybe the bubble-blowing was utterly over-the-top, especially if you know the standard Wikipedia PR about the (knowledge-)starving children of Africa, if even he found it too much. Did it propose that the power of Wikipedia would end poverty, sickness, and war? (note - this paragraph is humor, or at least intended as such)

I've seen a short blog quote "'If you think the internet has transformed the way we live, the way we work and - crucially - the way we learn about the world, imagine what happens ... when the next billion people come online, as will happen in the next five or 10 years ... What an extraordinary wealth of local knowledge they will bring."

There's also a paraphrase: "it's likely there'll soon be digital revolutions in far-flung places we don't tend to consider very much, such as Kazakhstan. With internet connections and the Web 2.0 tools that have become available over recent years, [someone writing for] Wales says, it's likely that they'll be able to propel themselves very quickly through twenty years of technological progress and produce the next crop of internet tycoons."

But the article itself apparently never made it online. Has anyone else seen it? Note this would be the June 15 edition of the Observer, not the "alternative version" dated June 22.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in wikipedia | on June 23, 2008 11:59 PM (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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I've emailed a scan of the Guardian Weekly version of the article.

Posted by: Robert at June 25, 2008 06:12 AM

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at July 1, 2008 12:09 AM