Comments: The Wikia Search Launch Disaster, and More Flaming From Jimmy Wales

That mailing list post of Jimbo's is actually very, very telling about his character. He quite clearly is saying, "I know that there are a bunch of people out there who have valid criticisms of the various schemes I am executing, but I choose to surround myself only with people who will debate around the edges of the glorious halo that I imagine myself to have."

Really, reading that message, I have to wonder -- aren't even the most brain-washed of his loyal minions beginning to tire of his hare-brained ploys? Some of them just HAVE to be seeing the light by now, right? Poor, non-paid fools.

Posted by Gregory Kohs at January 8, 2008 07:22 PM

Cheer up Seth - he is not worthy having a bad mood or anything like this. After all the onus will be on Mr Wales to show the world good progress on his idea - something that is rather doubtful even if he had 10 times the money.

Posted by Anonymous at January 8, 2008 07:27 PM

They still use mailing lists to communicate? How 1980's.

I'm also trying to understand why they are using a hash in the search results URL (example: )

...from RFC1738 (1994):

The character "#" is unsafe and should always be encoded because it is used in World Wide Web and in other systems to delimit a URL from a fragment/anchor identifier that might follow it.

Posted by Jon Garfunkel at January 8, 2008 08:19 PM

I think I know why they do it Jon - this is because of inexperience in the field of their work. You see they never really spent good time walking the way of the search engines, so they don't understand the problems with parsing, indexing, ranking and how bad web site design affects all of it. They also don't understand specific issues related to web scale indexing - linking relationships are critical to achieving high relevancy, this is not suprising - they simply have not got the experience and the way they operate they won't get it. How would they, if their work mainly concerns fancy Web 2.0 frontend rather than actual search _engine_?

Posted by Anonymous at January 8, 2008 08:55 PM

The mercenary in me says you should try and sell your analysis of the theoretical & implementation flaws as well as commentary on wikia's organisational flaws to Wall St. There are enough stock & tech research firms out their that someone would buy. But that is a lot of leg work unless you plan to make a career of it.

The lazy financial plan - short any company that invests in wikia. Unfortunately it is most likely to be unlisted VC enttities whose money they are spending so that plan probably doesn't work.

The even lazier plan - let 'em go to hell on their own, no point following them down - the ride may be fun but the landing could be ugly.

Posted by tqft at January 8, 2008 11:09 PM

Amazon is a $10 million investor in Wikia. And their stock is trading lower now than it did in December 1999!

[/unfair analysis]

Posted by Gregory Kohs at January 8, 2008 11:58 PM

... and I'm surprised that you are surprised, Seth.

A swipe by the prototypical gratuitous swipe-ist? Business as usual.

The guy's supposed to be at the level of all the hi-tech bigguys. He plays power trips with bios of grey-zone notable people (why? Any normal person wouldn't care to), and that's only one example.

Posted by dklafja;da at January 12, 2008 07:33 AM


Jimbo did not say simply disagree with you and demure from this or that discussion on topics you might have raised.

Rather, he impugned your character here:

And, he did not personally cease engaging with you. Rather, he made that decision for the community at large -- "de facto" banned, indeed.

Apparently, you are not allowed to sit at the lunch counter.

Now, I have not looked back at the record. I am, however, generally aware that readers of mailing lists have freedom to decide to not enter a discussion and have easy access to technologies like the "delete" key in their mailers and even personal mail filters. If those factors alone aren't enough for a public mailing list, then I don't know what. Your actions would have had to have been *quite* extreme to justify jwales' comment.

It is well established and celebrated in the open source world that mailing list reputations and participation are regularly used in deciding whether or not to form contracts in our profession. It is not clearly advertised that your reputation is something for the "bigger names than thou" to govern.

So, there's that.

As for his theory of "hijacking" a list: Should that not be impossible-by-definition in a meritocratous, reputation based community based on free discussion? I mean, one can't have it both ways ("open, except when it interferes with my plans").


Posted by Thomas Lord at January 12, 2008 09:41 PM