Jimbo Found Out

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[edit] Another Bright and Sunny Day in Jimbo-Land

Jimbo Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, wandered back into his old haunt one day.

[07:16pm] *** jwales (n=jwales@wikipedia/Jimbo-Wales) has joined #wikipedia-en-admins

His needs were simple, his request direct. His agenda clear.

((jwales)) Hi, I have a question. :)
((jwales)) that smile is supposed to be impish and mock-innocent, as you shall see...
((jwales)) Under NPOV, is it true that Wikipedia ought not to make controversial assertions?
((jwales)) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikimedia_Foundation
((jwales)) "ts existence was officially announced by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales,"
((jwales)) So, I am publicly on record as stating, and I am willing to defend and explain
           at length why, here or elsewhere, that  Wikipedia does not have any "co-founder"
((jwales)) Wikipedia has a sole founder
((jwales)) and a disgruntled former employee building himself a nice career on this lie

There's a person named Larry Sanger, you see, who helped a lot with Wikipedia in its early years, who was responsible for a lot of Wikipedia's ideas. He was there before it began, and he was there after it began to gain popularity. Someone who is around during the founding of an entity, who was assisting with its initial steps, is often considered a "founder". But Jimbo doesn't like that.

((jwales)) now I don't expect wikipedia to say "founder"
((jwales)) but I do hope that this is not what wikipedia says about
          the wikimedia foundation
((jwales)) it is not just my POV, frankly, but we can leave that aside
((jwales)) it is just a simple fact
((jwales)) and I am willing to debate that with anyone who cares :)

And as is often the case, Jimbo could find people who would be willing to step in and help.

((jwales)) but I don't insist that Wikipedia say it, because there is obviously a live controversy
((humblefool)) "Its existence was officially announced by Jimmy Wales, who was hitherto running
               Wikipedia within his company Bomis, on June 20, 2003."
((humblefool)) avoidance
((jwales)) avoidance is a good strategy

People willing to get Jimbo's blessing tried to help rephrase the offending term, and this must be clear: to Jimbo, it was quite an offending term.

((Zscout370)) humblefool: since the article in question is about Wikimedia, we could just
            leave co-founder off of there. But, I am not sure how we could word it on Wikipedia's article
((humblefool)) "It was created by Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales; Sanger resigned from
               both Nupedia and Wikipedia on March 1, 2002." is how WP's article deals with it in the lead
((jwales)) right, that's a really horrible way to deal with it but at least it avoids the term
((Dragonfly6-7)) "co-creator" ?
((jwales)) it suggests co-creator

And those lucky enough to be in the administrator's channel were given The Wikipedia History According to Jimbo:

((jwales)) Larry worked under my direction
((jwales)) and I had to fight him tooth and nail to not turn Wikipedia into Nupedia, from day one
((jwales)) he fought the concept of wiki editing from the beginning
((jwales)) and the wiki was only adopted after he finally realized I was going to
           fire him if he did not follow my advice on stopping with all the controls in nupedia
((jwales)) I am just saying, the idea that Larry was co-founder is ludicrous,
           but i understand that I need to hurry up and write a book. :)
((humblefool)) esp. with the quote in the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia#History section from Larry
((jwales)) Dragonfly, seriously, that is just wrong.
((jwales)) Larry worked for me, at my direction.
((jwales)) he is in no way a parent of wikipedia
((VoiceOfAll)) jwales: really?
((jwales)) he is taking credit for all the great early wikipedians
((jwales)) who fought with him tooth and nail
((VoiceOfAll)) what did he do?
((jwales)) until he quit
((jwales)) You should read some of the old debates with Cunctator
((jwales)) for example
((jwales)) Larry wanted to ban perfectly good contributors but I would not let him,
           because I believed in the wiki way and he did not.

NotACow is the IRC name of Kelly Martin, a troublesome ex-administrator who decided that they wouldn't have to actually leave the administration IRC channel even though they quit. A query about Larry Sanger's project got another informative Jimbo story:

((NotACow)) jwales: some of my friends are participating in citizendium. it'll
         be interesting to see how that goes over there.
((jwales)) NotACow, yes
((jwales)) I have some predicitons about that...
((jwales)) Larry is a smart guy
((jwales)) but he will fight to the death to prove he's right, even when he is wrong
((jwales)) so his ability to manage a community is something I very much doubt
((jwales)) not that it will collapse
((Doc_glasgow)) jwales: I predict failure - they can be elitist (there's merit in that) or
                comprhensive and inclusive, they can't have it both ways
((jwales)) I am just saying that I think he will have ongoing problems that
           he can't resolve
((jwales)) but let's be simple about this: we do a very poor job sometimes of
           protecting experts who are set upon by trolls
((jwales)) so he will get some good people who have found their wikipedia editing
           experience unpleasant
((jwales)) and hopefully we can learn to do a better job in that area. :)
((Doc_glasgow)) if he uploads the whole wp database without the RC partolling community
               we have, he'll just end up with all his experts having to revert vandals
((Doc_glasgow)) they'll soon give up
((jwales)) yes, doc, but he believes that some people will want to be "constables"
((jwales)) people who would love to work under the direction of experts

It's always refreshing to get the unvarnished, internal thoughts, isn't it?

((jwales)) well the main thing is...
((jwales)) in free culture
((jwales)) if they make something useful, I cheer it
((jwales)) we can use it

But his wistfulness soon went back to the seething anger. And others were more than willing to assist their beloved leader.

((jwales)) here is another one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizendium
((jwales)) "a project proposed by Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger on "
((humblefool)) would "former WP editor-in-chief" be better?
((Glen_S)) "co-founder" is not accurate
((Glen_S)) 100% at leat
((Glen_S)) *least
((jwales)) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia and here
((Glen_S)) his relationship to WP shouldnt even be in the opening line of that article
((jwales)) int he caption under my picture
((jwales)) also, the info box says "created by Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales" - I
           would recommend changing that to "thousands of volunteers"
((humblefool)) can I say {{sofixit}}, or is that rude?
((Mackensen)) humblefool: you can, but I'd have to ban you
((jwales)) humblefool, if I tried to fix this myself
((jwales)) there would be a press scandal
((jwales)) so all i can do is whine that it is extremely non-NPOV
((Tawker)) jwales: lol
((humblefool)) jwales: not to you
((Glen_S)) Citizendium ("a citizens' compendium of everything") is a project proposed
           by Larry Sanger on September 15, 2006, intended to begin as a "progressive
           or gradual fork" of the English Wikipedia.[1] The Citizendium project will
           be carried out under the auspices of the Citizendium Foundation.[2]
((Glen_S)) Sanger played an instrumental role in the founding of Wikipedia, and said
           in an October 17, 2006 press release that Citizendium "will soon attempt
           to unseat Wikipedia as the go-to destination for general information online".[3]

He considered the various shades of whitewash and contributed his opinion:

((jwales)) I think i could accept wording like "It was created by Jimmy Wales, with
           some early editorial work done by Larry Sanger"
((Glen_S)) havent edited it just thinking aloud
((jwales)) something like that
((jwales)) "Sanger was the first employee Wales assigned to work on Wikipedia, and said..."
((jwales)) that's probably a bit extreme but it is the simple truth
((jwales)) more neutral might be
((jwales)) "Sanger played an important role in the early days of Wikipedia..:"
((jwales)) but failing to recognize the distinction between an employee acting under
           the direct supervision of his employer, and who QUIT THE PROJECT because I refused
           to put ads on it to pay him
((jwales)) versus a "founder"
((jwales)) is the main issue
((jwales)) "Sanger is considered the co-founder of Wikipedia alongside Wales; 
           however, in about 2004 Wales began to reject crediting Sanger with the honorary
           appellation, calling himself the sole founder and, while describing Sanger's role
           as important, emphasized his status as an employee under Wales' direction.[1]"
((jwales)) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Sanger
((jwales)) That's just bullshit

His minions always had the best way to read the rules to Wales' benefit:

((Tawker)) jwales: so make a sock and fix it :o
((Tawker)) as long as it's not edit warring or anything bad, I see no problems
           w/ jwales having an undisclosed sock
((Tawker)) saves him a lot of media hell

And the ranting went on:

((jwales)) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Wikipedians_with_articles
((jwales)) Larry Sanger - co-founder of Wikipedia
((jwales)) and here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Ohio_State_University_people

And it turned out, whatever Jimbo now believes is true!

((jwales)) well it is well known that I dispute the "co-founder" title
((jwales)) so Wikipedia should not be asserting it all over the place
((jwales)) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reed_College

And remember, if you question his stated opinion, you're a troll:

((geniice)) jwales it's what the sources that we can use tell us
((jwales)) geniice: most sources call me the sole founder, and there are reliable
           sources which detail the dispute, which is well known
((geniice)) jwales link?
((jwales)) geniice, please don't troll me right now, ok?
((geniice)) jwales some solid sources that list you as sole founder are required

Luckily for Jimbo, there are always admins willing to take him on his word and help game the system for his purposes:

((Zscout370)) jwales: would it be a good idea to use Larry Sanger, founder of 
            Citizendium instead of Wikipedia co-founder?
((Tawker)) Zscout370: that seems valid to me
((Doc_glasgow)) Tawker: any writing that it verifiably by the subject, is a reliable source
                for that subject's opinion. Of cource it is POV, but it is the subject's POV
((Glen_S)) also, I think just pulling "wikipedia co-founder" straight out will raise some eyebrows
((Zscout370)) Glen_S: this is mostly for the pages where Larry is listed as a "notable person"
              such as the Ohio State Alumni list
((Glen_S)) Zscout370: maybe as its been dampened from 'co-founder' to 'first employee'
           we leave that (or whatever rephasing is best) for a little bit, then just pull
           his role in WP out completely - that way the change is gradual and less likely to
           cause a reaction from those who have to react to stuff like that
((Zscout370)) Glen_S: I still do not know the full history of Wikipedia, or have not dealt
              with Larry at all, so I tend to believe Jimbo more. But, Wikipedia is not a
              one man project and I am not going to make a major change in our history if
              I have no idea wtf I am talking abouy
((Zscout370)) *about
((Glen_S)) Zscout370: No I agree with you 100%. But there are users who, if they saw the
           sentence "co-founder of Wikipedia" just removed outright - would bitch and moan
           that we're trying to change history yada yada - as has happened in the past. 
           but maybe Im wrong?
((geniice)) Glen_S we can't do anything unless we have solid sources. Just shove s citation 
            needed tag on everything
((Zscout370)) you're not wrong, since there are still people who was here when Larry was here,
         when WP was still under 500K articles and when the community was small
((Zscout370)) so they probably know more about Larry's impact than I would
((Glen_S)) geniice: a citation on 'co-founder'?
((geniice)) Glen_S why not?
((Glen_S)) they'd be tonnes of publications that wouldve (inaccruately) stated that
          though wouldnt there?
((geniice)) Glen_S most recent publications I've seen have listed the situation as dissputed
((Zscout370)) that was one of the concerns someone brought up; some articles on us does
              mention Larry as a co-founder, probably written before this issue began
((Zscout370)) but I feel this should be changed first at Wikipedia, then worry about the
          other pages Jimbo mentioned lated
((Glen_S)) some troll or someone who just likes causing shit will do their best to
         find one - but, yep Ill lsap a {{fact}} tag on if it gets changed :)
((humblefool)) I'll make any controversial changes

And so, with his demands laid out, his position clear, Jimbo left.

[08:12pm] *** jwales (n=jwales@wikipedia/Jimbo-Wales) has left IRC ("This computer has gone to sleep")

Be sure to read about what Jimbo had to say the very next day.

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