Talk:Jimmy Wales accused of editing Wikipedia for donations

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Probably a non-story[edit]

Much as I think it's important to report stories that have coverage, and as much as I fully agree with publishing the previous article, I am of the belief that this is a beat-up that's joining in on the Jimbo-bashing. For some of the other side of the picture, here's a rundown on Jeffrey V. Merkey:

Merkey has, on multiple occasions, been blocked from Wikipedia for making legal threats and other breaches of policy. He's been involved in a couple of requests for comment, multiple threads on the administrators' noticeboards, and at least one arbitration case. While at least some of these were due to trolls who got on Merkey's case, many were due to his own behaviour. Among other things, he seemed to think that his being a donor granted him some sort of right over non-donors to edit without fear of reprimand for ignoring policy and consensus, and that being a representative of the Cherokee nation gave him ownership over any articles vaguely related to it. In the arbitration case, he was banned for a year, but stated that he wouldn't return. (Thankfully I never got involved with Merkey in any way, Ijust picked all of this up from reading the AN posts and ArbCom case, which is a real humdinger.)

Personally, I suspect that Jimbo's deletion and rewrite of his article has more to do with BLP than donations, and Merkey just decided that while Jimbo was in the news he'd put the boot in. In any case, if you still think the article's worth writing, NPOV would suggest that you at least mention some of Merkey's history with Wikipedia. Chris Mann (Say hi!|Stalk me!) 15:04, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Good points, perhaps you could provide us with some links for sources to this history on Wikipedia? Cirt - (talk) 21:07, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the main one is the arbitration case, which was courtesy blanked (w:Wikipedia:Requests for arbitration/Jeffrey Vernon Merkey), although that just means you go back one revision in the history - most of the information is on the /Evidence page anyway, and the really kooky stuff is in /Workshop, such as his "Motion to Recuse Self-Identified Gay Arbitrators" and his proposal that the result of the case should be that he gets sysoped solely for the purpose of blocking accounts that harrass him ("Jeffrey Vernon Merkey Sysoped"). From the Evidence page you can get most of the links you need. Chris Mann (Say hi!|Stalk me!) 22:23, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am wary of parsing out material from primary sources, though it could deserve a brief mention. Do you know of any secondary sources that have reported on this, that have mentioned this Arbcomm case or any of the other things you have mentioned, above? Cirt - (talk) 22:25, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Not really, it was very much an in-Wikipedia process. The best I guess you could do would be to see if anyone who was involved in the case is willing to make a statement and include it as OR. Chris Mann (Say hi!|Stalk me!) 22:37, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think best way to do it would just be to include a mention to the case itself, without going into too much detail. Don't want to overwhelm the reader with too much Wikipedia jargon that they might not be familiar with. Cirt - (talk) 22:55, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough. Something like "In 2007, Merkey was banned from editing Wikipedia for a year by the site's Arbitration Committee as a result of disruptive editing and indirect threats of legal action"? Chris Mann (Say hi!|Stalk me!) 23:14, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the suggested wording, I'll ruminate on it and perhaps tweak it a bit when the article gets written. There is also the fact that Merkey said he had contacted AP - and yet they haven't gone w/ a story yet... Cirt - (talk) 23:15, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The slashdot listing in sources seems to be a chat-board. Further it only contains information that is already in other sources. --SVTCobra 21:36, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It will only be used as a source to denote when the issue was Slashdotted. Cirt - (talk) 21:50, 12 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You could also use it as a source for Jay Walsh's official statement. Ral315 (talk) 10:03, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Good point, will do. Cirt - (talk) 10:05, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That's already in more credible sources. --SVTCobra 10:50, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Which ones? Cirt - (talk) 10:55, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
You are correct, I did some searching and found statements released by Jay Walsh that he posted as comments to a few different secondary source news sites. Cirt - (talk) 12:21, 13 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Note on sourcing[edit]

  • Note: Article's material sourced to secondary sources listed in the Sources section, no OR. Cirt - (talk) 00:11, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Article was marked as {{ready}} by Cirt - (talk), reviewed and marked as {{publish}} by Markie (talk · contribs). Cirt - (talk) 00:22, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Protection of the Merkey article[edit]

I have looked at the history of the article in question at it was only semi-protected. Some sources got that right, others got it wrong. --SVTCobra 00:41, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Do you have a secondary source for this "semi-protect" thing? I'd really rather avoid OR in this article, and instead focus on secondary sources. Cirt - (talk) 00:41, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
If some sources got that right or wrote about the specific type of protection, do you know which ones those were? Cirt - (talk) 00:46, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I am looking right now, I thought one of the ones in the sources section had it right (last night when this was in development), but if we know that it is wrong it would be unethical to publish otherwise just because you want to avoid OR. Give me a few minutes. --SVTCobra 00:50, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
so far I just have "limited editing access" per the UPI source. Still checking. --SVTCobra 00:58, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That sounds fine. Cirt - (talk) 00:58, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
BBC terms it the page was "protected", so that no further edits can be made by the public. in Wiki boss 'edited for donation' which is also already in sources. But no, I have been unable to find any source (outside of Wiki-sites) that specifically mention semi-protection and what that means, only some that omit that it requires administrators. --SVTCobra 01:08, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Okay, well that also seems to support the current wording now in the article. Thank you. Cirt - (talk) 01:10, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

After erasing the article and starting it over, Wales placed it under protection, which meant it could only be edited by Wikipedia administrators.

I removed this sentence entirely, pending secondary source input per comments with SVTCobra (talk · contribs), above. Cirt - (talk) 00:50, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, the sentence itself isn't really that necessary to the article either way, I'm fine with it just staying out, that might be the easiest way to deal with it at this point. Cirt - (talk) 00:58, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Update: Adjusted wording per the UPI source, and other secondary sources cited in Sources section, wording now seems more accurate. Cirt - (talk) 01:02, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  • I almost loathe to go back to this, but why is important when it was slash-dotted? --SVTCobra 01:18, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's an extremely highly trafficked site, I think it is noteworthy, and it was also mentioned previously by The Wikipedia Signpost. Cirt - (talk) 01:20, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That was another question, I almost forgot (thanks), can The Wikipedia Signpost be considered a source? It doesn't really adhere to any journalistic principles. Further, if you are striving for outside (or secondary) sources only ... maybe this shouldn't be included. --SVTCobra 01:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I basically used The Wikipedia Signpost for the description about the Arbitration Committee ruling case stuff. Cirt - (talk) 01:35, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Isn't it incongruent to explain what Wikipedia Arbitration is, yet fail to explain semi-protection? Either avoid all or none of the Wiki- type stuff. --SVTCobra 01:43, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I don't follow, the wording in the article at present doesn't use "semi-protection", but is worded in a way that makes it easier for the lay reader to understand. Cirt - (talk) 01:46, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, I meant that if we explain the arbitration procedure (esp. while using Wiki-only sources such as The Wikipedia Signpost), wouldn't it behest us to explain the differences between full protection and semi-protection. Anyway, this is such a minor point that I don't expect to even look for your reply. Consider me done. --SVTCobra 01:58, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I think it's worded fine, I mean we don't actually mention the term "semi-protection", just that Wales protected it with limited editing access, I think that is worded so it is easy for people with no wiki-experience to be able to understand it okay. Cirt - (talk) 01:59, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, I mean almost the opposite. You don't expect them to understand the protection levels, which is fine, yet you expect them to grasp what an arbitration committee is and what it does. --SVTCobra 02:26, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ah, well not really, I just expect them to know that something exists called an "Arbitration Committee", and as a result of rulings in an "Arbitration case" a few users were banned for a year. That is pretty easy to understand. Cirt - (talk) 02:33, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Clarity v. Accuracy[edit]

"Merkey claims that he was told by Wales in 2006 that his article could be made more favorable in exchange for a donation."

I've just edited this sentence to clarify who's article could be made more favourable, as the previous version (above) leaves room for confusion on the subject. As my last edit of this sentence was reverted, I thought it best to explain my reasoning.

My initial edit removed the 'by Wales' phrase, as that is one of the causes of the ambiguity. I understand that having the 'by Wales' there may be more accurate reporting, but I beleive it just makes the article harder to read; I also fell that reader could deduce he was told by Wales from the opening paragraph. Guy Leech - (talk) 02:32, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Merkey claims that he was told by Wales in 2006 that the Wikipedia article about him could be made more favorable in exchange for a donation."

This reads find with current wording and is simple enough to understand. Cirt - (talk) 02:35, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We should try to avoid overusage of commas though. Cirt - (talk) 02:35, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Response from Jeff Merkey[edit]

The following comment was left by an anon ip on the Opinions page. If we are going to use any quotes from it it will need to be verified. - Borofkin - (talk) 05:48, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Could potentially be something for a follow-up piece, but it would be an interesting idea for Wikinews to do an interview perhaps with one individual from various angles of the story in a separate piece, perhaps Merkey and then someone from the Wikimedia Foundation. Cirt - (talk) 05:51, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I moved the comment back to the opinion page, no reason for it to be here, and best to keep it in the original location where it was posted, which is more appropriate, it is, after all, an "opinion" about the incident, not a comment on how better to improve this particular article. Cirt - (talk) 05:53, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The original post by the anon-IP claiming to be Merkey on the opinion page, is at Comments:Jimmy Wales accused of editing for donations#Merkey Responds. Cirt - (talk) 05:58, 14 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sources post publish[edit]

Listing sources here that came out after this article's publish time.

  1. Wendy M. Grossman. "net.wars: Uninformed consent" —, March 14, 2008
  2. Brian Bergstein (The Associated Press). "Wikipedia founder finds his ordeals played out publicly" — The Salt Lake Tribune, March 15, 2008
  3. Alana Semuels. "Wikipedia looking to fund site without turning to ads" — Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2008
  4. Rob O'Neill Auckland. "Forum: Wassup with Wikipedia – sex, lies and privatisation? - It isn't Jimmy Wales' sex life that has Wikipedians worried" — Computerworld, March 17, 2008
  5. Caroline McCarthy. "The word on Wales' Wikipedia woes" — CNET News, March 17, 2008
  6. Noam Cohen. "Open-Source Troubles in Wiki World" — The New York Times, March 17, 2008

What fact was this a source for? We don't need a complete list of coverage, only a list of what sources were actually used as reference by the contributors to this article, and contain unique information that isn't in others on the list. -- Zanimum - (talk) 14:00, 15 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, this subsection is to list sources that came out after this story was published. Cirt - (talk) 22:31, 15 March 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Categories and image[edit]

{{edit protected}} Please add this article to Category:The Sydney Morning Herald, and change the image name to File:Jimmy Wales - WM2007.jpg. The file was renamed on Commons without leaving a redirect but is still the same image. Thank you. Green Giant (talk) 09:53, 4 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Done --Pi zero (talk) 11:03, 4 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]