Wikipedia boss Jimmy Wales threw Ryan Jordan under the bus this morning:

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.

Assuming this is an order disguised as a request, it's the right outcome, but it's impossible to come away from this incident with much confidence in Wikipedia when so many site contributors defended his right to lie about his identity. There aren't many situations in life where an anonymous mob of people, working in an atmosphere allergic to the concept of personal accountability, is relied upon to achieve a societal good.

-- Rogers Cadenhead

Comments

There aren't many situations in life where an anonymous mob of people, working in an atmosphere allergic to the concept of personal accountability, is relied upon to achieve a societal good.

You mean, besides the entire political structure of the United States and many other nations? You've just described Democracy...


 

Voters aren't an anonymous mob of unaccountable people. We have to register to vote and laws exist to prevent vote fraud, vote buying, and other abuse of the system.


 

Hold on... Jimmy promoted Jordan well after it was clear to everyone that Jordan was a hoax. If Jordan goes, then so should Jimmy. He has already succeeded elsewhere. Wikipedia doesn't need him.


 

Wales' explanation doesn't add up. He needs to come clean about exactly what he knew when, and he should resign from his own "positions of trust" if he did in fact appoint Essjay to the ArbCom after knowing about the fraud.

Essjay's most recent edit, on March 1, apparently features new "disinformation": He libelously says that Stacy Schiff (the reporter from the New Yorker) offered to compensate him for his time when she interviewed him. According to the wikipediaweekly.com podcast, she confirmed via email that (of course) she made no such offer.

The summary atop the Essjay RfC page claims that some parts of his userpage history have already been "oversighted" -- regardless of if it is true or not, the fact that we can't tell is a sad demonstration of why the introduction of the oversight feature was the beginning of the end of trust in Wikipedia's supposed transparency. As of right now, the Essjay account still has all of the privileges possible on Wikipedia (click my name to see the full list of overseers).

Thanks for your coverage of this depressing scandal, Rogers. In regards to the previous entry's title, though, it isn't just Essjay who lost his religion; for many people this event is/was a much needed wakeup call. The godking benevolent dictator has lost his way.


 

"The godking benevolent dictator has lost his way."

Given time, they always do, yet people go on looking for godking benevolent dictators, and they go on feeling hurt when the inevitable damage occurs.


 

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