Friday, February 29, 2008

Jimmy and Rachel, Sitting In a Tree

Well, Danny already beat me to it, but here's the hot news for today: Our dear cult leader Jimmy Wales is now purported to be having an affair with Rachel Marsden. In related news, rumor has it that Jimmy's wife Christine has filed for divorce. Now, frankly, I could care less who Jimmy has sex with or how his wife feels about that; I'm not a prude and really that's a private matter between Jimmy and the rest of the people in his life.

But Jimmy is also the Founder of Wikipedia, and exercises reserve powers over it. Back in November of 2006, the ArbCom considered the case of Marsden's biography, and issued a ruling that basically gave Marsden what she wanted. Now, we have no way of knowing, at least not yet, whether Jimbo influenced that case, or when the affair actually started. But there's a bit of a piscine smell here.

And then there's this little tidbit. One of my quiet little friends passed me a note the other day. It had on it this undated snippet of Jimbeauality: "In the past week or so we have struck up something of a personal friendship, and I offered to meet with her and give some feedback on her website design and business model. As such, at least for the time being, I may have a sufficient COI regarding this case that I should not edit the article or do anything "official" in my Jimbo-ness :)." In that quote (which comes from one of the Foundation's internal mailing lists), "we" refers to Jimmy and Rachel. The impression I got is that that message was relatively recent, like within the past month. Maybe around the time he started to fall out with her? The comments on ValleyWag suggest a falling out, to be certain....

So, Jimmy, how long have you been dipping in her well? And did you wield your "Jimbo-ness" to her advantage while you were doing it?

This makes the Essjay affair look like peanuts. And not just because it involves Wikipedia's most prominent member having illicit sex with a Fox News babe. Although that does help.

Update: Jimbeau has posted a "statement" on this sordid affair on the English Wikipedia. His statement, if true, suggests that this particular episode is just Jimbeau showing that he has phenomenally poor judgment regarding his private life, but ultimately that's his problem and not anyone else's. Of course, I've seen Jimbeau lie too many times to trust anything he says on face value anymore, and there's still a lot of other stuff in Danny's comments that remains unexplained at this point. Time will tell, I suppose.

Second update: Rachel's leaked some more IM conversations that are, at least, difficult to reconcile with Jimbeau's statement. Rachel's not known for being the most stable bean on the shelf, but who has more to lose here?