Friday, March 02, 2007

Why Jimmy Wales must dismiss Ryan Jordan from the ArbCom

From the comments at metafilter:
I've never edited on Wikipedia, but just earlier today I stumbled on a page with blatant errors and further questionable information (I need to research). I only noticed the errors because the article is related to the material I've worked with since the 80s. It's factual data, not subject to interpretation. Most people would read it and accept it as truth. Stealthy bad info is evil.

I'm swamped with work right now. Still, I was considering finding the hour or two it would take to research and do a thorough job of fixing that article (properly referenced to real, peer-reviewed publications). Hell, if I needed help I could even call one of the most knowledgeable people on the planet about that subject – a PhD well known in his field – who I've known and worked with for nearly twenty years.

I have no interest in becoming a regular Wiki editor and all of the ego games that seem to come with that. I'm just a person with some specific knowledge to contribute and the resources to do a good job. But after this shit I really don't feel like volunteering my time. I've got real publications to work on. If one of the PhDs I work with turned out to be a fraud, they'd never be allowed to publish through professional channels again.
If Jordan doesn't resign, and Wales doesn't force him to, this could very well spell the end of the reign of the godking; Jimmy's just about used up the last of his cred. Then again, that might not be such a bad thing. Maybe it's time to start soliciting donations for the fork.

Another pertinent comment, again from metafilter:
I have to say, finding out a senior editor was lying through his teeth doesn't bother me much. Having the stalwart leader of the organization say "eh, whatever" though -- that does not bode well.

Wales had a good idea and made it work, but like most entrepreneurs he is ill equipped to run a large and stable organization. There will come a time (perhaps there already has) when the best thing he can do for the future of Wikipedia will be to step aside. I wonder if he'll muster the grace to do it?


  1. If you've never edited on Wikipedia, how do you know what ArbCom is?

  2. Anonymous, you missed that "I've never edited.." was a quote from Metafilter - read the first line.