Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Businesses

Jimmy Wales Faces Allegations of Corruption 289

Posted by Zonk
from the he's-no-jimmy-james dept.
eldavojohn writes "The SFGate site has up an article noting that Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, is facing allegations from multiple quarters accusing him of abusing his power. Several people apparently claim he used the foundation to pay for personal expenses, including reimbursement for a $1,300 dinner for four at a Florida steakhouse. Accusations have also been made indicating that he edited the Wikipedia entry of political commentator Rachel Marsden, a woman he was seeing, at her request. In the case of that allegation, Wales replied that 'I acted completely consistently with Wikipedia policy. I did the right thing: I passed along my work to date for other editors to deal with, and I recused myself from the case.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Jimmy Wales Faces Allegations of Corruption

Comments Filter:
  • by fictionpuss (1136565) * on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:46PM (#22653064)
    The most interesting thing about Wikipedia is that it could be founded by a hypocritical douche, but still remain a valuable repository of information. That in itself is enough to convince me that Web2.0 isn't just an empty phrase, not least because it is the legacy of Wikimedia and collaborative knowledge gathering which makes accounts of such douchiness hard to suppress.

    That, and the fact that the Wikipedia elite seem to be so inept in keeping secret their devious plots.

    • Like Volkswagen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:48PM (#22653104)
      which was Hitler's baby.

      No need to throw out the product with the person.

      Not that I'm equating Wales with Hitler, just using an extreme case to make my point.

      • by rolfwind (528248)
        What about Windows/Microsoft and Bill Gates?

        Though in this case due to his Philanthopic efforts, Bill Gates is liked more and more while they hate MS as much as ever.
        • Hitler did not use Vokswagen to whitewash himself because he did not see that he was doing wrong. Most of Volkswagen's triumphs have been post Hilter. Hilter just started the ball rolling.

          Bill Gates, on the other hand, uses his philanthropy to Microsoft's benefit. Even the big press meeting where Warren Buffett made his announcements was on a stage draped in Microsoft ad material. Clearly Microsoft was supposed to absorb some of the good karma.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hey! (33014)
        Actually, Hitler told Ferdinand Porsche he wanted a car like a certain model that the Czech company Tatra made, and Porsche obliged him from stealing the design, from the rear mounted air cooled engine down to the distinctive look of the body. Tatra sued, and Porsche was going to settle, but Hitler told him that he would take care of it, which he did by invading Czechoslovakia. Decades later VW payed Tatra millions of DM to settle the suit.

        No sense giving Corporal Schickelgruber more credit than he deserv
    • is no less corrupt than the boss at its head.

      After all the other scandals, all the numerous people abused by stuck-up/corrupt twits high on their "admin" powers, all the constant bias and nonsense in the articles, it took this long for Jimbo's embezzlement to come out? Anyone with a clue figured out he was doing this years ago.

      Now you know where your "donations" to the "wikimedia foundation" went... while you were suckered into giving him free labor.
      • Re:Wikipedia... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fictionpuss (1136565) * on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:03PM (#22653360)

        Now you know where your "donations" to the "wikimedia foundation" went... while you were suckered into giving him free labor.
        Over the last year Wikipedia has, quite easily, saved me (or more specifically, my clients) hundreds if not thousands of dollars in time because it is a valuable reference resource for science and technology.

        I couldn't care less if they go all high-school on each others personal accounts, or whether political biases are enforced through some "admin" abuses - those pages are not those which I find useful.

        • Wikipedia isn't immune from mistakes [frozennorth.org]. Then again, neither is Encyclopedia Brittancia [bbc.co.uk].
      • Re:Wikipedia... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by rucs_hack (784150) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:27PM (#22653732)
        All this proves, even if true, is that the Wikipedians are human, just like the rest of us, and like to swing the lead or get something nice on expenses when possible.

        Shock Story! Wikipedia moderators also human!

        News at 11...
      • by meepzorb (61992)
        Now you know where your "donations" to the "wikimedia foundation" went... while you were suckered into giving him free labor.

        John Galt would be proud.

        (350 page monologue to follow...)

    • Everyone is a hypocrite at some point in their life. The question isn't how do we deal with hypocrites, its how the hypocrites handle being caught in their hypocrisy, which is really telling of what kind of person they really are. Was it a momentary lapse in judgment or a deeper character flaw.

      The difference is "Oh Crap, Sorry. How do I fix this?" verses "I did nothing wrong"
    • Nobody ever said you had to have common sense to be corrupt.
    • The most interesting thing about Wikipedia is that it could be founded by a hypocritical douche, but still remain a valuable repository of information.

      True, but IF there is any merit to the allegation that he is misappropriating donated funds, then he has to go. Or at least some significant fiscal oversight needs to be put in place, and a responsible board of (unpaid) directors needs to take over. Otherwise, they will simply lose all support and his douchebaggery will indeed have destroyed it as a resource.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Is that like when you don't have that not-so-fresh feeling, but you say you do?
  • by inflamed (1156277) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:46PM (#22653070) Homepage
    Hey, internet celebrities are just as scandalous and shocking as television celebrities. It's like beer for your computer screen.
    • by spun (1352)

      Hey, internet celebrities are just as scandalous and shocking as television celebrities.

      It's like beer for your computer screen.
      Oh God, I can't get that image out of my mind. You bastard!
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      The difference between Jimmy Wales and Paris Hilton is Jimmy Wales actually did something that benefitted the word.

      I mean, besides porn.
  • by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:47PM (#22653082)
    Hey that's funny, it doesn't talk about any of that on Jimmy Wales' wikipedia page...hmmm
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:51PM (#22653148)
    This case with Jimmy shows how open initiatives win the day again. It doesn't matter if Jimmy Wales gets thrown into jail for murder, or if his character is undermined. It doesn't matter, because the only thing that matters is the positive contribution he made by founding Wikipedia and his later life or his personal details don't effect that.

    It is like science, it doesn't matter who comes up with the evidence or the theory to explain it. The only thing that matters whether it's correct or not.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Badbone (1159483)

      "The only thing that matters whether it's correct or not."
      No, the only thing that matters is if the truth can be told, or smothered by a small, powerful group that wields veto power. The truth is great, but will they print it?
    • by qortra (591818)

      and his later life or his personal details don't effect that.

      I understand what you're saying, and I agree in principal. However, open initiatives or not, a group like Wikipedia can easily be poisoned by rogue moderators and staff. Wikipedia has been slowly moving towards a more tightly controlled model (in the same vein as Larry Sanger's Citizendium [citizendium.org]). This model might be good for the Wikipedia and give it a much needed credibility, but it also opens it to all kinds of corruption from within. From everything I've read (comments from Wikipedia administrators, Sang

    • by fistfullast33l (819270) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:42PM (#22653942) Homepage Journal
      It is like science, it doesn't matter who comes up with the evidence or the theory to explain it. The only thing that matters whether it's correct or not.

      I guess, however I think the joule, watt, newton, tesla, ampere, degree celsius, degree fahrenheit, volt and many others would probably have something to say about it.
      • by mcmonkey (96054)

        I guess, however I think the joule, watt, newton, tesla, ampere, degree celsius, degree fahrenheit, volt and many others would probably have something to say about it.

        Amazing. What are the chances that the two most used temperature scales would be named after guys with the first name "Degree"?

        (And does that mean Kelvin was like the Madonna of his day?)

  • by ShatteredArm (1123533) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:52PM (#22653166)
    from other nonprofits? Some CEOs of nonprofits get paid hundreds of thousands per year of donated money, and this guy can't treat three friends to a $325 meal? Not saying I approve of his conduct, but this isn't really that damning.

    Now the real problem is that he, the creator of wikipedia, hasn't been able to convince some private company to give him lots of money. You think that'd do pretty well on a resume.
    • How is it different from other nonprofits? Some CEOs of nonprofits get paid hundreds of thousands per year of donated money, and this guy can't treat three friends to a $325 meal?

      Because the CEO's get paid a salary, and then use that salary to pay personal expenses. Wales seems to have billed the foundation directly for personal expenses - a significant difference. Worse yet, when the IRS gets wind of such shenanigans... They check the tax returns of the organization pretty closely.

      Now

  • That's something (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techpawn (969834) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:53PM (#22653192) Journal

    I acted completely consistently with Wikipedia policy. I did the right thing: I passed along my work to date for other editors to deal with
    So basically, he's saying that yes you can write anything and it's up to the editors to catch it and make sure you're true. If my boss says "write us a shinny burb on Wikipedia!" I can say I was going with their policy because the editors should of caught my writing?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      No, he's saying (a) he didn't "write anything" on the page once the relationship began, and (b) far from being up to other "editors to catch it", he asked other editors to take over his work on the page.

      He stopped (or claims to, you could check the page history yourself) editing the page. I'm not sure *how* you managed to interpret the summary (particularly the Wales' quote - "I passed along my work to date for other editors to deal with, and I recused myself from the case") so badly - I appreciate that, t

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by techpawn (969834)

        I appreciate that, this being Slashdot, you didn't do anything so radical as actually, you know, RTFA.
        Thank you, I try my best to give the Slashdot community my whole half-assed, misspelled, and blatantly wrong opinions based solely off RTFS.
        As soon as I can figure out how to give every post a meme spin or can analogy I'm in!
  • Not a peach (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrWho520 (655973) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:54PM (#22653210) Journal
    Besides being a (former) talking head on Fox's Red Eye, Rachel Mardsen has been accused [www.ctv.ca] of harassment in the past. You might also note from the same article that she has falsely accused a man of sexual harassment. Ms. Mardsen target in the sexual harassment case claimed she sent him sexual e-mails and photographs.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      Besides being a (former) talking head on Fox's Red Eye, Rachel Mardsen has been accused of harassment in the past. You might also note from the same article that she has falsely accused a man of sexual harassment. Ms. Mardsen target in the sexual harassment case claimed she sent him sexual e-mails and photographs.

      The moral of this story appears to be don't schtupp a bunny boiler.

      Personally I don't think he has done anything wrong except not take heed of what the woman's previous history. The separate ex

    • Re:Not a peach (Score:5, Informative)

      by cperciva (102828) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:20PM (#22653624) Homepage
      Rachel Mardsen has been accused of harassment in the past.

      Not just accused, but found guilty [provincialcourt.bc.ca] of harassment.
      • Rachel Mardsen has been accused of harassment in the past.

        Not just accused, but found guilty [provincialcourt.bc.ca] of harassment.
        Which naturally raises the question of why the founder of an online encyclopaedia wouldn't have the good sense to use the resources at his disposal to check out her bonafides before getting personally involved.

        • Re:Not a peach (Score:5, Insightful)

          by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @04:50PM (#22654914)
          Which naturally raises the question of why the founder of an online encyclopaedia wouldn't have the good sense to use the resources at his disposal to check out her bonafides before getting personally involved.

          Because...

          a) He is male
          b) She is an attractive female
          c) She let him see her naked and have sex with her

          Speaking as a man, never underestimate a man's ability to overlook the obvious when there's potential nudity involved.

          (I think Matt Groening said it best in his "Life in Hell" comic script: "Love is doomed to fail because men are stupid and women are crazy.")

  • Hmmm.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Otter (3800) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:54PM (#22653212) Journal
    1) In the sidebar on that page is "S.F. nonprofit fires CFO over missing $3.6 million", so a $1300 dinner tab and an angry ex-mistress seem relatively tame by comparison.

    2) Even by blog standards, "All's Wool that Ends Wool" is a pretty awful name.
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      2) Even by blog standards

      Are you referring to Ralph Blog, god of the hangover, who you pray to at the porcelain alter?
  • by pcgamez (40751) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @02:59PM (#22653304)
    Good god, if this is corruption then about 95% of the people in middle and upper management should be in jail. When I read the headline I thought he had been caught embezzling a minimum of tens of thousands of dollars. I don't think that there are too many people who are innocent of having their company pay for an expense that was not 100% appropriate.

    Get real, this is small time stuff that is not even worth making it to the news much less /.
    • by qortra (591818) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:18PM (#22653580)

      if this is corruption then about 95% of the people in middle and upper management should be in jail.
      Then we're agreed; 95% of the people in middle and upper management should be in jail.

      As a side note, I really don't care that much about the money. For me, any notion of impropriety in the Wikipedia with regard to rogue editing of personally relevant entries, especially among administrators, should not be tolerated. I also don't really care whether he goes to jail. I simply don't want to see this kind of behavior among any active administrators: play within the rules, or lose privileges.
    • by trongey (21550)

      Good god, if this is corruption then about 95% of the people in middle and upper management should be in jail...

      Yes, this is corruption. It's not multimillion dollar embezzlement. It's not using position to manipulate the legal system. It's just the every day run-of-the-mill kind of corruption.

      Yes, just about everybody in management should be in jail. In fact, just about everybody should be in jail for something. Some people get caught and get it trouble, most don't. Wales' mistake was that he did stuff that was too little to be worth the crap he has to take now.

    • Good god, if this is corruption then about 95% of the people in middle and upper management should be in jail.

      Hello ... this is slashdot! You should change that number to 100%.

      Haven't you ever seen Office Space ? ALL middle and upper management are just like Bill Lumbergh, and if they're not we will not rest one second until we can find a way to make it somehow so.

      Sheesh!
    • What percentage of the Slashdot populace has donated to Wikipedia?

      What percentage of them would like to know that their donations went to unapproved steak dinners that we know of, and god know what else that we don't?

      Sorry, if you make it your business to solicit money from me, then you make things like this my business.

      And no, I don't consider the willingness to steal a small sum any different than the willingness to steal a large one.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MMC Monster (602931)
        Okay. I've donated a couple hundred dollars to wikipedia. Maybe they can ear mark that towards the steak dinner. Should we open up a separate donation for his breakfast?
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Good god, if this is corruption then about 95% of the people in middle and upper management should be in jail.

      Well, maybe 95% of people in management SHOULD be in jail, but you don't have to break the law to be corrupt. Committing adultery with your competitor's wife isn't illegal in Illinois, but it's sure as hell corrupt and immoral.

      Not everything immoral is illegal, and not everything illegal is immoral. Wales' sin wasn't breaking the law, but breaking a policy he, himself, wrote. What he did wasn't ille
      • by Ioldanach (88584)

        BTW, Why is it legal to have sex with my congressman's wife but illegal to pay her for it?
        Because then you need to register as a lobbyist.
  • by positiveexperience (1070518) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:02PM (#22653352)
    Excuse me, but this is not news.
  • is that for the whole Kobe beef cow? [wikipedia.org]

    Wikipedia link! bonus!
  • by downix (84795) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:09PM (#22653468) Homepage
    You can have someone else edit you?

    *calls up the wife*
  • Maybe the summary is bad or something, but I'm pretty sure *I* could change a Wikipedia entry on me without screwing the guy who invented it... did Jimbo's "abuse of power" there amount to anything that anyone with a web browser couldn't replicate?
  • This article is a filthy Image whore.
    This article has been with way too many images.
    This article would be right at home on the streets of Bangkok sucking someone off for $3. Hell, you may even get lucky with this article.

    This article may have something to do with The lore and faerie tale of Wikiland and its noble and majestik King Jimbo I. Then again, it might not. Who knows?"

    "I gave him a small penis after he reverted my entries."
    ~ God on Jimbo Wales

    "Imagine a world where every single person on the planet

  • $325 for each steak dinner, what was it half a cow for each. I certainly hope they had lots of vintage wine with it or something like that. About the wiki entry, who cares its just a community website, its not like he edited a real encyclopedia...are they fishing for more visitors or something?
  • by Phat_Tony (661117) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:33PM (#22653822)
    At some point I picked up in slashdot comments about the whole antisocialmedia.net [antisocialmedia.net]/Gary Weiss/Judd Bagley/Overstock.com mess and decided I was interested enough to spend the time (several hours) reading everything I could about it and trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I haven't got the several hours more it would take to try to recreate and document my findings here in a slashdot post, but I came into this with no preconceived notions, and if I had any leanings, I really like wikipedia and wanted it to be in the right. But I mostly concluded otherwise. Yes, Judd Bagley took many inappropriate actions- but who cares, he's just some guy. It looks like Wikipedia took many more incorrect actions, and it's a foundation that is supposed to behave appropriately.

    I found the documentation of rampant editorial abuse to pursue personal agendas, going all the way up the support of Jimbo, to be very convincing. Read anitsocialmedia.net, examine the documentation, look at attempts to counter Bagley's arguments on the web, and draw your own conclusions, but I came off extremely disappointed in Wikipedia, and will be even more suspicious of its content in the future. I already was prepared to take Wikipedia content with a grain of salt because it can be edited by anyone, but it's much worse to know that an editor can have their own petty dictatorial custodianship of an article where they deliberately delete well documented and referenced relevant facts, perpetuate falsehoods, don't let anyone else edit it or even discuss it on the discussion page, ban even extremely well-established editors with good reputations if they try to touch these articles, and even delete the history of the article and the history of their own edits and contributions. I still think wikipedia's valuable, because most articles aren't run this way, but I always have to keep in mind that some are, and I don't really know if I'm looking at something people were free to edit and debate on the talk page and try to work towards a consensus on, or the biased opinions of a single dictatorial editor.
  • Wales may be squandering Wikipedia funds, but that's not the same as "corruption" or embezzlement. As long as he officially requests the reimbursements from the foundation and the foundation pays and this is visible in its financial documents, it may be stupid on their part and his, but it's not wrongdoing.

    Many non-profits, including so-called aid organizations, that have achieved much less than Wikipedia, pay their officers lavish salaries.
    • by XaXXon (202882)
      It can no be "wrongdoing" but still news. A lot of people have an expectation that donations to wikipedia go towards the maintenance of wikipedia, not $325/plate dinners.

      I'll definitely think twice before donating. I know there are administratice costs - but this is excessive.
  • You may not know Rachael, but I do. She is, simply put, a stalker who knows how to work the system and play the victim card. She got her swim coach fired after he spurned her obsessive and aggressive pursuits, stalked one of the women who believed her stories of victimization at the hand of said coach, and was actually convicted in 2004 of stalking a radio personality in Vancouver.

    Do you honestly think this whole 'abuse of power' accusation is a coincidence? I think not.
    • by STrinity (723872)

      She got her swim coach fired after he spurned her obsessive and aggressive pursuits
      The man was obviously unsane. I mean look at her [rachelmarsden.com]. I'd hit that like Shoemaker-Levy 9 if she made obsessive and aggressive advances at me.
  • by zymano (581466) on Wednesday March 05, 2008 @03:54PM (#22654128)
    How can it stay objective with their funding coming from big biz?

    I have noticed all the 'Spam entries' like Chipotle's restaurant.

    When I added a bit on their prices , it was quickly removed.
  • by SirStiff (911718)
    There appear to be two sides to this story. There seem to be many points defending him.

    And although a $1300 meal sounds expensive, the article doesn't actually say it was a dinner with friends. Maybe he dined with some corporate donors that would be responsible for contributing many times that amount back to the foundation.

  • I know there are lots of old dinos here who remember when Usenet was the original Web 2.0 just without the web (OK, maybe BBSs were the truly original Web 2.0). Usenet was the wet dream of trolls all over the planet because it was virtually impossible to ban anyone from using it. Very quickly the small % of internet trolls owned each and every popular newsgroup that wasn't moderated.

    Web users, en masse, surrendered the kind of freedom that Usenet offered for the more tightly controlled world of web for
  • I hope he got a note from is manager advising him to eat more cheaply. No wait ....

    I once managed to spend $90 per head in a steak house directly opposite the Opera House in Portland, OR. For that we got a very large steak, a poor quality baked potato (no texture) and broccoli! Won't go there again. I figure we paid $35 each for the meal and $55 for the nice white linen tablecloth and general ambience (of which it had lots because it was almost deserted even immediately after the Opera).

    But that wasn't

TRANSACTION CANCELLED - FARECARD RETURNED

Working...