An open letter to Jimmy Wales

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An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Larry Sanger-2
All,

Earlier today, I had no joy in trying to post this "open letter to Jimmy
Wales" on Jimmy's own user talk page: the man himself deleted it.  That is
not the sort of behavior I would have expected of the head of an allegedly
open, transparent community devoted to free speech.  I would like
Wikipedians in general to be apprised of my concerns.  I believe they are
serious and well-justified, and they should not be dismissed without a
careful hearing.  I do not ask that Jimmy Wales reply here on this list.
But I do ask that "the powers that be"--including the Wikipedia community,
the Wikimedia Board, and the media--hold Jimmy responsible for his very
shabby behavior toward me.

Let me be clear.  This is not just an attempt to "tell my side of the
story."  It is me confronting Jimmy Wales publicly for lying about my
involvement in the project after many private requests to stop.  You might
disagree with me about many things, but we need not disagree about the facts
as they can be found in various Internet archives, nor about the necessity
of keeping our leaders honest.

A readable copy, with some updates, can be found here:

http://blog.citizendium.org/2009/04/08/an-open-letter-to-jimmy-wales-copy/

http://blog.citizendium.org/2009/04/08/updates-re-open-letter-to-jimmy-wales
/

The letter itself follows.

--Larry Sanger

===============

Jimmy, I don't know a better place than this for an open letter to you
[i.e., than on your user talk page on Wikipedia]. I recently read the Hot
Press interview with you. The lies and distortions it contains are, for me,
the last straw, especially after
<http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> this came to light,
in which you described yourself as "co-founder" in 2002.

I've reached out to you on a couple of occasions to coordinate our
"versions" - well, my version and your fanciful inventions - about how
Wikipedia got started. Last year I read about a speech in which you
represented me as being more or less opposed to Wikipedia from the start -
despite it being my own baby, really - and I wrote to you saying that if you
keep this up, I will speak out. Well, I'm finally speaking out.

In Wikipedia's first three years, it was clear to everyone working on it
that not only had I named the project, I came up with and promoted the idea
of making a wiki encyclopedia, wrote the first policy pages and many more
policy pages in the following year, led the project, and enforced many rules
that are now taken for granted. I came up with a lot of stuff that is
regarded as standard operating procedure. For instance, I argued that talk
should go on talk pages and got people into that habit. Similarly, after
meta-discussion started taking up so much of Wikipedia's time and energy, I
shepherded talk about the project to meta.wikipedia.org - and after that, to
Wikipedia-L and WikiEN-L. I insisted that we were working on an
encyclopedia, not on the many other things one can use a wiki for. I came up
with the name "Wikipedian" and other Wikipedia jargon. I had devised a
neutrality policy for Nupedia, and I elaborated it in a form that stood for
several years on Wikipedia. I did a lot of explaining and evangelizing for
Wikipedia - what it is about, why we are here, and so forth - for example,
in  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Our_Replies_to_Our_Critics%22>
Wikipedia:Our Replies to Our Critics and a couple of well-known posts on
kuro5hin.org  <http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/7/25/103136/121> like this
one and  <http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/9/24/43858/2479> this. I also
recall introducing many specific policy details, the evidence for which is
in archives (such as on archive.org) and no doubt in the memories of some of
the more active early Wikipedians.

These are only some examples of ways in which I led the project in its first
14 months; after I left, there was a lot of soul-searching in the project
about what would happen now that it was "leaderless" (see the quotations
linked from  <http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html> this page). When I
was involved in the project, I was regarded as its chief organizer. As you
can still see in the archives, I called myself "Chief Instigator" and "Chief
Organizer" and the like (not editor).

I also want to correct you on something that tends to harm me: your repeated
insinuations that I was "fired." In the Hot Press interview, you said I left
Wikipedia because you "didn't want to pay him any more." You know - and so
does everyone else who worked at Bomis, Inc., around a dozen people - that
at the end of 2001, you had to go back to Bomis' original 4-5 employees,
because of the tech market bust, when Bomis suddenly lost a million-dollar
ad deal. Tim Shell told me I was the last person to be laid off. He told me
- the day I arrived back from my honeymoon, as I recall - that I should
probably start looking for new work, because of the market. I was made to
believe, and always did until a few years ago when you started implying
otherwise, that I had been laid off just like all the other Bomis employees.

In those first three years, Wikipedia did three press releases, in which we
are both given credit as founders of the project. I
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia%27s_first_press_relea
se> drafted the first press release in January 2002; you read and approved
it before posting it on the wires. Moreover, you must have read the many
early news articles that called us both founders. You could have complained
then - when you were CEO of the company that paid my paycheck. But you
didn't. In fact, you called yourself "co-founder" from time to time.
Evidence of this has surfaced in the form of
<http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> this post to xodp in
which you begin, "Hello, let me introduce myself. I'm Jimmy Wales,
co-founder of Nupedia and Wikipedia, the open content encyclopedias." While
your company supplied the funding and you supplied some guidance, I supplied
the main leadership of the early project. This is why Wikipedia's second
press release also called me "founder," in 2003 - just after I broke
permanently with you and the Wikipedia community - and the Wikimedia
Foundation's first press release described me the same way, in early 2004.

I had nothing to do with the second and third press releases, and, as Bomis
CEO and Wikimedia Chair, you approved all three. But now read what you told
Hot Press recently. The interviewer asked: "Sanger said that proof of his
being co-founder is on the initial press releases. Are you saying that he
basically just put himself down as co-founder on these press releases?" You
answered "Yes." How could I "put myself down as co-founder" in 2003 and
2004, when I wasn't even part of the organization? This is an attempt to
buff your reputation while making me look like a liar - but your simple
"Yes" answer can be refuted with
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/January_2002> a
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/January_2003> few
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/February_2004> URLs;
you were a contact on all three press releases.

Beginning in 2004, you began leaving me out of the story of Wikipedia's
origin. You began implying, to reporters, that you had done a lot of the
sort of work that, in fact, you hired me to do. You have even implied that I
was opposed to various ideas that were crucial to Wikipedia's popular
success - when those were, for all intents and purposes, my own ideas. A
good example is Daniel Pink's
<http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/wiki.html> article for Wired
Magazine - in which you implied that I had little or nothing to do with
Wikipedia.

You still do this. You told the Hot Press interviewer, "Larry was never
comfortable with the open-editing model of Wikipedia and he very early on
wanted to start locking things down and giving certain people special
authority - you know, recruit experts to supervise certain areas of the
encyclopaedia and things like that." This is a lie. I was perfectly
comfortable with the "open-editing model of Wikipedia." After all, that was
my idea. I did not want to "start locking things down" -  or to "recruit
experts to supervise certain areas of the encyclopaedia." I challenge anyone
to find any evidence in the archive that I did any such thing. For my early
attitude toward expert involvement, see
<http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Deferring_to_the_experts> this column,
written a year after the project started. Besides, your claim doesn't make
sense. Even after a year, I was hoping that a revitalized Nupedia would work
in tandem with Wikipedia as its vetting service. Though you increasingly
disliked Nupedia as Wikipedia's star rose, it was always my assumption that
you felt the same way about at least the potential of the two projects
working together.

It was one thing, in 2004, to leave me out of the story of Wikipedia. It was
another to assert in 2005, (1) for
<http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2005-April/021452.html>
the very first time, that
<http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2005-April/021446.html>
somebody else had the idea for the project, contrary to
<http://web.archive.org/web/20010406101346/www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Wikipedia_
FAQ> what had been on the books since 2001, or (2) that I am not co-founder
of the project. But in both cases, people scanning the Wikipedia-L mailing
list archives found old mails in which you contradicted yourself.
<http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-October/000671.html>
One embarrassing mail has you giving me credit - as, of course, I always had
been given credit - for the idea of Wikipedia, and
<http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> another embarrassing
mail surfaced just a few days ago in which you called yourself "co-founder"
of Wikipedia.

I find your behavior since 2004 transparently self-serving, considering that
this rewriting of history began in 2004, just as Wikia.com was getting
started, and you started promoting your reputation as the brains behind
Wikipedia. There is a long "paper trail" establishing virtually all of my
claims about Wikipedia, and which refute your various attempts to rewrite
history.

I have not publicly confronted you about this before, to this extent. Public
controversies are emotionally wrenching and time-consuming. I know I might
be (verbally) attacked more viciously than ever by your fans and
Wikipedia's. (To them, I just point out that Wikipedia is bigger than Jimmy
Wales.) I have mainly limited myself to answering reporters' questions -
keeping my more harshly-worded statements off the record - and to
<http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html> this page on my personal site.
Occasionally I couldn't help objecting to some particularly outrageous
claim, but I never went all out.

I thought that the evidence against your claims about me would shame you
into changing your behavior. But, five years since you started
misrepresenting my role in the founding of Wikipedia, you're still at it.

I have been content to watch you reap the rewards of the project I started
for you, largely without comment. You (with Tim Shell and Michael Davis, the
Bomis partners) did, after all, sponsor the project. After leaving
Wikipedia, I went back to academia and, after that, worked for a succession
of nonprofit projects - these days,  <http://www.citizendium.org/>
Citizendium.org and now also  <http://www.watchknow.org/> WatchKnow.org. I
have not tried to cash in on my own reputation. I have been approached by a
number of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and publishers and have always
told them that I have my own plans. If I had wanted to cash in myself, I
wouldn't have moved away from Silicon Valley back to Ohio, as I did, in
order to lower my costs in supporting the non-profit projects which I've
made my life's work.

The Hot Press interview is the straw that broke this camel's back. I resent
being the victim of another person's self-serving lies. Besides, I don't
want to set a poor example in my failure to defend myself.

Please don't say I'm making mountains out of molehills. When you go out of
your way to edit Wikipedia articles to
<http://workbench.cadenhead.org/news/2828/wikipedia-founder-looks-out-number
-1> remove the fact that I am a co-founder, or
<http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Jimbo_Found_Out> ask others to do
so, I don't call that correcting "very simple errors," as you told Hot
Press. What angers me is not any one error, but the accumulated weight of
your lies about me - I've mentioned only a few of them here.

Finally, you might protest that you have said, several times, that I am not
credited enough. For example, you told Hot Press:

I feel that Larry's work is often under-appreciated. He really did a lot in
the first year to think through editorial policy. . I would actually love to
have it on the record that I said: I think Larry's work should be more
appreciated. He's a really brilliant guy.

This sounds like a fine sentiment. But how could it be sincere? What better
way to ensure that I am "under-appreciated" than to contradict your own
first three press releases and tell the Boston Globe, just two years later,
that it's "preposterous" that I am called co-founder?

I have two further requests, not of you, but of those who deal with you: the
Wikimedia Foundation and reporters.

First, I ask the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation to reiterate the
Foundation's original position (as expressed in its
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/February_2004> first
press release) that we are both, in fact, founders of Wikipedia. (I note
that the author of the recent history of Wikipedia, Andrew "fuzheado" Lih,
was
<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Press_releases/February
_2004&action=history> among the authors and contacts for this press
release.) If the Foundation is unwilling, I request an explanation why its
corporate view has changed. Is it simply because Jimmy Wales has made his
wishes known and you enforce them?

Second, I request any reporter who interviews you about the early history of
Wikipedia and Nupedia to interview me as well, so I can correct anything
misleading. They should know that there are many details in my 2005
<http://features.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/18/164213&tid=95> memoir
of Nupedia and Wikipedia, and my story has never varied. I would also
appreciate it if a reporter were to inquire about my request, above, to the
Board of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Larry Sanger ([hidden email])

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Brian J Mingus
Honestly, it's important enough that the Foundation should take an objective
look at the facts and make a statement about Wikipedia's history.

On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 7:36 PM, Larry Sanger
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> All,
>
> Earlier today, I had no joy in trying to post this "open letter to Jimmy
> Wales" on Jimmy's own user talk page: the man himself deleted it.  That is
> not the sort of behavior I would have expected of the head of an allegedly
> open, transparent community devoted to free speech.  I would like
> Wikipedians in general to be apprised of my concerns.  I believe they are
> serious and well-justified, and they should not be dismissed without a
> careful hearing.  I do not ask that Jimmy Wales reply here on this list.
> But I do ask that "the powers that be"--including the Wikipedia community,
> the Wikimedia Board, and the media--hold Jimmy responsible for his very
> shabby behavior toward me.
>
> Let me be clear.  This is not just an attempt to "tell my side of the
> story."  It is me confronting Jimmy Wales publicly for lying about my
> involvement in the project after many private requests to stop.  You might
> disagree with me about many things, but we need not disagree about the
> facts
> as they can be found in various Internet archives, nor about the necessity
> of keeping our leaders honest.
>
> A readable copy, with some updates, can be found here:
>
> http://blog.citizendium.org/2009/04/08/an-open-letter-to-jimmy-wales-copy/
>
>
> http://blog.citizendium.org/2009/04/08/updates-re-open-letter-to-jimmy-wales
> /
>
> The letter itself follows.
>
> --Larry Sanger
>
> ===============
>
> Jimmy, I don't know a better place than this for an open letter to you
> [i.e., than on your user talk page on Wikipedia]. I recently read the Hot
> Press interview with you. The lies and distortions it contains are, for me,
> the last straw, especially after
> <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> this came to light,
> in which you described yourself as "co-founder" in 2002.
>
> I've reached out to you on a couple of occasions to coordinate our
> "versions" - well, my version and your fanciful inventions - about how
> Wikipedia got started. Last year I read about a speech in which you
> represented me as being more or less opposed to Wikipedia from the start -
> despite it being my own baby, really - and I wrote to you saying that if
> you
> keep this up, I will speak out. Well, I'm finally speaking out.
>
> In Wikipedia's first three years, it was clear to everyone working on it
> that not only had I named the project, I came up with and promoted the idea
> of making a wiki encyclopedia, wrote the first policy pages and many more
> policy pages in the following year, led the project, and enforced many
> rules
> that are now taken for granted. I came up with a lot of stuff that is
> regarded as standard operating procedure. For instance, I argued that talk
> should go on talk pages and got people into that habit. Similarly, after
> meta-discussion started taking up so much of Wikipedia's time and energy, I
> shepherded talk about the project to meta.wikipedia.org - and after that,
> to
> Wikipedia-L and WikiEN-L. I insisted that we were working on an
> encyclopedia, not on the many other things one can use a wiki for. I came
> up
> with the name "Wikipedian" and other Wikipedia jargon. I had devised a
> neutrality policy for Nupedia, and I elaborated it in a form that stood for
> several years on Wikipedia. I did a lot of explaining and evangelizing for
> Wikipedia - what it is about, why we are here, and so forth - for example,
> in  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Our_Replies_to_Our_Critics%22>
> Wikipedia:Our Replies to Our Critics and a couple of well-known posts on
> kuro5hin.org  <http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/7/25/103136/121> like
> this
> one and  <http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/9/24/43858/2479> this. I also
> recall introducing many specific policy details, the evidence for which is
> in archives (such as on archive.org) and no doubt in the memories of some
> of
> the more active early Wikipedians.
>
> These are only some examples of ways in which I led the project in its
> first
> 14 months; after I left, there was a lot of soul-searching in the project
> about what would happen now that it was "leaderless" (see the quotations
> linked from  <http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html> this page). When I
> was involved in the project, I was regarded as its chief organizer. As you
> can still see in the archives, I called myself "Chief Instigator" and
> "Chief
> Organizer" and the like (not editor).
>
> I also want to correct you on something that tends to harm me: your
> repeated
> insinuations that I was "fired." In the Hot Press interview, you said I
> left
> Wikipedia because you "didn't want to pay him any more." You know - and so
> does everyone else who worked at Bomis, Inc., around a dozen people - that
> at the end of 2001, you had to go back to Bomis' original 4-5 employees,
> because of the tech market bust, when Bomis suddenly lost a million-dollar
> ad deal. Tim Shell told me I was the last person to be laid off. He told me
> - the day I arrived back from my honeymoon, as I recall - that I should
> probably start looking for new work, because of the market. I was made to
> believe, and always did until a few years ago when you started implying
> otherwise, that I had been laid off just like all the other Bomis
> employees.
>
> In those first three years, Wikipedia did three press releases, in which we
> are both given credit as founders of the project. I
> <
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia%27s_first_press_relea
> se> drafted the first press release in January 2002; you read and approved
> it before posting it on the wires. Moreover, you must have read the many
> early news articles that called us both founders. You could have complained
> then - when you were CEO of the company that paid my paycheck. But you
> didn't. In fact, you called yourself "co-founder" from time to time.
> Evidence of this has surfaced in the form of
> <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> this post to xodp
> in
> which you begin, "Hello, let me introduce myself. I'm Jimmy Wales,
> co-founder of Nupedia and Wikipedia, the open content encyclopedias." While
> your company supplied the funding and you supplied some guidance, I
> supplied
> the main leadership of the early project. This is why Wikipedia's second
> press release also called me "founder," in 2003 - just after I broke
> permanently with you and the Wikipedia community - and the Wikimedia
> Foundation's first press release described me the same way, in early 2004.
>
> I had nothing to do with the second and third press releases, and, as Bomis
> CEO and Wikimedia Chair, you approved all three. But now read what you told
> Hot Press recently. The interviewer asked: "Sanger said that proof of his
> being co-founder is on the initial press releases. Are you saying that he
> basically just put himself down as co-founder on these press releases?" You
> answered "Yes." How could I "put myself down as co-founder" in 2003 and
> 2004, when I wasn't even part of the organization? This is an attempt to
> buff your reputation while making me look like a liar - but your simple
> "Yes" answer can be refuted with
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/January_2002> a
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/January_2003> few
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/February_2004>
> URLs;
> you were a contact on all three press releases.
>
> Beginning in 2004, you began leaving me out of the story of Wikipedia's
> origin. You began implying, to reporters, that you had done a lot of the
> sort of work that, in fact, you hired me to do. You have even implied that
> I
> was opposed to various ideas that were crucial to Wikipedia's popular
> success - when those were, for all intents and purposes, my own ideas. A
> good example is Daniel Pink's
> <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/wiki.html> article for Wired
> Magazine - in which you implied that I had little or nothing to do with
> Wikipedia.
>
> You still do this. You told the Hot Press interviewer, "Larry was never
> comfortable with the open-editing model of Wikipedia and he very early on
> wanted to start locking things down and giving certain people special
> authority - you know, recruit experts to supervise certain areas of the
> encyclopaedia and things like that." This is a lie. I was perfectly
> comfortable with the "open-editing model of Wikipedia." After all, that was
> my idea. I did not want to "start locking things down" -  or to "recruit
> experts to supervise certain areas of the encyclopaedia." I challenge
> anyone
> to find any evidence in the archive that I did any such thing. For my early
> attitude toward expert involvement, see
> <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Deferring_to_the_experts> this column,
> written a year after the project started. Besides, your claim doesn't make
> sense. Even after a year, I was hoping that a revitalized Nupedia would
> work
> in tandem with Wikipedia as its vetting service. Though you increasingly
> disliked Nupedia as Wikipedia's star rose, it was always my assumption that
> you felt the same way about at least the potential of the two projects
> working together.
>
> It was one thing, in 2004, to leave me out of the story of Wikipedia. It
> was
> another to assert in 2005, (1) for
> <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2005-April/021452.html>
> the very first time, that
> <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2005-April/021446.html>
> somebody else had the idea for the project, contrary to
> <
> http://web.archive.org/web/20010406101346/www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Wikipedia_
> FAQ> what had been on the books since 2001, or (2) that I am not co-founder
> of the project. But in both cases, people scanning the Wikipedia-L mailing
> list archives found old mails in which you contradicted yourself.
> <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-October/000671.html
> >
> One embarrassing mail has you giving me credit - as, of course, I always
> had
> been given credit - for the idea of Wikipedia, and
> <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> another
> embarrassing
> mail surfaced just a few days ago in which you called yourself "co-founder"
> of Wikipedia.
>
> I find your behavior since 2004 transparently self-serving, considering
> that
> this rewriting of history began in 2004, just as Wikia.com was getting
> started, and you started promoting your reputation as the brains behind
> Wikipedia. There is a long "paper trail" establishing virtually all of my
> claims about Wikipedia, and which refute your various attempts to rewrite
> history.
>
> I have not publicly confronted you about this before, to this extent.
> Public
> controversies are emotionally wrenching and time-consuming. I know I might
> be (verbally) attacked more viciously than ever by your fans and
> Wikipedia's. (To them, I just point out that Wikipedia is bigger than Jimmy
> Wales.) I have mainly limited myself to answering reporters' questions -
> keeping my more harshly-worded statements off the record - and to
> <http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html> this page on my personal site.
> Occasionally I couldn't help objecting to some particularly outrageous
> claim, but I never went all out.
>
> I thought that the evidence against your claims about me would shame you
> into changing your behavior. But, five years since you started
> misrepresenting my role in the founding of Wikipedia, you're still at it.
>
> I have been content to watch you reap the rewards of the project I started
> for you, largely without comment. You (with Tim Shell and Michael Davis,
> the
> Bomis partners) did, after all, sponsor the project. After leaving
> Wikipedia, I went back to academia and, after that, worked for a succession
> of nonprofit projects - these days,  <http://www.citizendium.org/>
> Citizendium.org and now also  <http://www.watchknow.org/> WatchKnow.org. I
> have not tried to cash in on my own reputation. I have been approached by a
> number of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and publishers and have
> always
> told them that I have my own plans. If I had wanted to cash in myself, I
> wouldn't have moved away from Silicon Valley back to Ohio, as I did, in
> order to lower my costs in supporting the non-profit projects which I've
> made my life's work.
>
> The Hot Press interview is the straw that broke this camel's back. I resent
> being the victim of another person's self-serving lies. Besides, I don't
> want to set a poor example in my failure to defend myself.
>
> Please don't say I'm making mountains out of molehills. When you go out of
> your way to edit Wikipedia articles to
> <
> http://workbench.cadenhead.org/news/2828/wikipedia-founder-looks-out-number
> -1> remove the fact that I am a co-founder, or
> <http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Jimbo_Found_Out> ask others to
> do
> so, I don't call that correcting "very simple errors," as you told Hot
> Press. What angers me is not any one error, but the accumulated weight of
> your lies about me - I've mentioned only a few of them here.
>
> Finally, you might protest that you have said, several times, that I am not
> credited enough. For example, you told Hot Press:
>
> I feel that Larry's work is often under-appreciated. He really did a lot in
> the first year to think through editorial policy. . I would actually love
> to
> have it on the record that I said: I think Larry's work should be more
> appreciated. He's a really brilliant guy.
>
> This sounds like a fine sentiment. But how could it be sincere? What better
> way to ensure that I am "under-appreciated" than to contradict your own
> first three press releases and tell the Boston Globe, just two years later,
> that it's "preposterous" that I am called co-founder?
>
> I have two further requests, not of you, but of those who deal with you:
> the
> Wikimedia Foundation and reporters.
>
> First, I ask the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation to reiterate the
> Foundation's original position (as expressed in its
> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/February_2004>
> first
> press release) that we are both, in fact, founders of Wikipedia. (I note
> that the author of the recent history of Wikipedia, Andrew "fuzheado" Lih,
> was
> <
> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Press_releases/February
> _2004&action=history> among the authors and contacts for this press
> release.) If the Foundation is unwilling, I request an explanation why its
> corporate view has changed. Is it simply because Jimmy Wales has made his
> wishes known and you enforce them?
>
> Second, I request any reporter who interviews you about the early history
> of
> Wikipedia and Nupedia to interview me as well, so I can correct anything
> misleading. They should know that there are many details in my 2005
> <http://features.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/18/164213&tid=95>
> memoir
> of Nupedia and Wikipedia, and my story has never varied. I would also
> appreciate it if a reporter were to inquire about my request, above, to the
> Board of the Wikimedia Foundation.
>
> Larry Sanger ([hidden email])
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Brian J Mingus
But you know there can only be one benevolent dictator, right?

On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 6:20 AM, Brian <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Honestly, it's important enough that the Foundation should take an
> objective look at the facts and make a statement about Wikipedia's history.
>
>
> On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 7:36 PM, Larry Sanger <[hidden email]
> > wrote:
>
>> All,
>>
>> Earlier today, I had no joy in trying to post this "open letter to Jimmy
>> Wales" on Jimmy's own user talk page: the man himself deleted it.  That is
>> not the sort of behavior I would have expected of the head of an allegedly
>> open, transparent community devoted to free speech.  I would like
>> Wikipedians in general to be apprised of my concerns.  I believe they are
>> serious and well-justified, and they should not be dismissed without a
>> careful hearing.  I do not ask that Jimmy Wales reply here on this list.
>> But I do ask that "the powers that be"--including the Wikipedia community,
>> the Wikimedia Board, and the media--hold Jimmy responsible for his very
>> shabby behavior toward me.
>>
>> Let me be clear.  This is not just an attempt to "tell my side of the
>> story."  It is me confronting Jimmy Wales publicly for lying about my
>> involvement in the project after many private requests to stop.  You might
>> disagree with me about many things, but we need not disagree about the
>> facts
>> as they can be found in various Internet archives, nor about the necessity
>> of keeping our leaders honest.
>>
>> A readable copy, with some updates, can be found here:
>>
>> http://blog.citizendium.org/2009/04/08/an-open-letter-to-jimmy-wales-copy/
>>
>>
>> http://blog.citizendium.org/2009/04/08/updates-re-open-letter-to-jimmy-wales
>> /
>>
>> The letter itself follows.
>>
>> --Larry Sanger
>>
>> ===============
>>
>> Jimmy, I don't know a better place than this for an open letter to you
>> [i.e., than on your user talk page on Wikipedia]. I recently read the Hot
>> Press interview with you. The lies and distortions it contains are, for
>> me,
>> the last straw, especially after
>> <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> this came to
>> light,
>> in which you described yourself as "co-founder" in 2002.
>>
>> I've reached out to you on a couple of occasions to coordinate our
>> "versions" - well, my version and your fanciful inventions - about how
>> Wikipedia got started. Last year I read about a speech in which you
>> represented me as being more or less opposed to Wikipedia from the start -
>> despite it being my own baby, really - and I wrote to you saying that if
>> you
>> keep this up, I will speak out. Well, I'm finally speaking out.
>>
>> In Wikipedia's first three years, it was clear to everyone working on it
>> that not only had I named the project, I came up with and promoted the
>> idea
>> of making a wiki encyclopedia, wrote the first policy pages and many more
>> policy pages in the following year, led the project, and enforced many
>> rules
>> that are now taken for granted. I came up with a lot of stuff that is
>> regarded as standard operating procedure. For instance, I argued that talk
>> should go on talk pages and got people into that habit. Similarly, after
>> meta-discussion started taking up so much of Wikipedia's time and energy,
>> I
>> shepherded talk about the project to meta.wikipedia.org - and after that,
>> to
>> Wikipedia-L and WikiEN-L. I insisted that we were working on an
>> encyclopedia, not on the many other things one can use a wiki for. I came
>> up
>> with the name "Wikipedian" and other Wikipedia jargon. I had devised a
>> neutrality policy for Nupedia, and I elaborated it in a form that stood
>> for
>> several years on Wikipedia. I did a lot of explaining and evangelizing for
>> Wikipedia - what it is about, why we are here, and so forth - for example,
>> in  <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Our_Replies_to_Our_Critics%22
>> >
>> Wikipedia:Our Replies to Our Critics and a couple of well-known posts on
>> kuro5hin.org  <http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/7/25/103136/121> like
>> this
>> one and  <http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2001/9/24/43858/2479> this. I
>> also
>> recall introducing many specific policy details, the evidence for which is
>> in archives (such as on archive.org) and no doubt in the memories of some
>> of
>> the more active early Wikipedians.
>>
>> These are only some examples of ways in which I led the project in its
>> first
>> 14 months; after I left, there was a lot of soul-searching in the project
>> about what would happen now that it was "leaderless" (see the quotations
>> linked from  <http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html> this page). When
>> I
>> was involved in the project, I was regarded as its chief organizer. As you
>> can still see in the archives, I called myself "Chief Instigator" and
>> "Chief
>> Organizer" and the like (not editor).
>>
>> I also want to correct you on something that tends to harm me: your
>> repeated
>> insinuations that I was "fired." In the Hot Press interview, you said I
>> left
>> Wikipedia because you "didn't want to pay him any more." You know - and so
>> does everyone else who worked at Bomis, Inc., around a dozen people - that
>> at the end of 2001, you had to go back to Bomis' original 4-5 employees,
>> because of the tech market bust, when Bomis suddenly lost a million-dollar
>> ad deal. Tim Shell told me I was the last person to be laid off. He told
>> me
>> - the day I arrived back from my honeymoon, as I recall - that I should
>> probably start looking for new work, because of the market. I was made to
>> believe, and always did until a few years ago when you started implying
>> otherwise, that I had been laid off just like all the other Bomis
>> employees.
>>
>> In those first three years, Wikipedia did three press releases, in which
>> we
>> are both given credit as founders of the project. I
>> <
>> http://meta.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia%27s_first_press_relea
>> se> drafted the first press release in January 2002; you read and approved
>> it before posting it on the wires. Moreover, you must have read the many
>> early news articles that called us both founders. You could have
>> complained
>> then - when you were CEO of the company that paid my paycheck. But you
>> didn't. In fact, you called yourself "co-founder" from time to time.
>> Evidence of this has surfaced in the form of
>> <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> this post to xodp
>> in
>> which you begin, "Hello, let me introduce myself. I'm Jimmy Wales,
>> co-founder of Nupedia and Wikipedia, the open content encyclopedias."
>> While
>> your company supplied the funding and you supplied some guidance, I
>> supplied
>> the main leadership of the early project. This is why Wikipedia's second
>> press release also called me "founder," in 2003 - just after I broke
>> permanently with you and the Wikipedia community - and the Wikimedia
>> Foundation's first press release described me the same way, in early 2004.
>>
>> I had nothing to do with the second and third press releases, and, as
>> Bomis
>> CEO and Wikimedia Chair, you approved all three. But now read what you
>> told
>> Hot Press recently. The interviewer asked: "Sanger said that proof of his
>> being co-founder is on the initial press releases. Are you saying that he
>> basically just put himself down as co-founder on these press releases?"
>> You
>> answered "Yes." How could I "put myself down as co-founder" in 2003 and
>> 2004, when I wasn't even part of the organization? This is an attempt to
>> buff your reputation while making me look like a liar - but your simple
>> "Yes" answer can be refuted with
>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/January_2002> a
>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/January_2003> few
>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/February_2004>
>> URLs;
>> you were a contact on all three press releases.
>>
>> Beginning in 2004, you began leaving me out of the story of Wikipedia's
>> origin. You began implying, to reporters, that you had done a lot of the
>> sort of work that, in fact, you hired me to do. You have even implied that
>> I
>> was opposed to various ideas that were crucial to Wikipedia's popular
>> success - when those were, for all intents and purposes, my own ideas. A
>> good example is Daniel Pink's
>> <http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.03/wiki.html> article for Wired
>> Magazine - in which you implied that I had little or nothing to do with
>> Wikipedia.
>>
>> You still do this. You told the Hot Press interviewer, "Larry was never
>> comfortable with the open-editing model of Wikipedia and he very early on
>> wanted to start locking things down and giving certain people special
>> authority - you know, recruit experts to supervise certain areas of the
>> encyclopaedia and things like that." This is a lie. I was perfectly
>> comfortable with the "open-editing model of Wikipedia." After all, that
>> was
>> my idea. I did not want to "start locking things down" -  or to "recruit
>> experts to supervise certain areas of the encyclopaedia." I challenge
>> anyone
>> to find any evidence in the archive that I did any such thing. For my
>> early
>> attitude toward expert involvement, see
>> <http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Deferring_to_the_experts> this column,
>> written a year after the project started. Besides, your claim doesn't make
>> sense. Even after a year, I was hoping that a revitalized Nupedia would
>> work
>> in tandem with Wikipedia as its vetting service. Though you increasingly
>> disliked Nupedia as Wikipedia's star rose, it was always my assumption
>> that
>> you felt the same way about at least the potential of the two projects
>> working together.
>>
>> It was one thing, in 2004, to leave me out of the story of Wikipedia. It
>> was
>> another to assert in 2005, (1) for
>> <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2005-April/021452.html>
>> the very first time, that
>> <http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2005-April/021446.html>
>> somebody else had the idea for the project, contrary to
>> <
>> http://web.archive.org/web/20010406101346/www.wikipedia.com/wiki/Wikipedia_
>> FAQ> what had been on the books since 2001, or (2) that I am not
>> co-founder
>> of the project. But in both cases, people scanning the Wikipedia-L mailing
>> list archives found old mails in which you contradicted yourself.
>> <
>> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikipedia-l/2001-October/000671.html
>> >
>> One embarrassing mail has you giving me credit - as, of course, I always
>> had
>> been given credit - for the idea of Wikipedia, and
>> <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/xodp/message/1720> another
>> embarrassing
>> mail surfaced just a few days ago in which you called yourself
>> "co-founder"
>> of Wikipedia.
>>
>> I find your behavior since 2004 transparently self-serving, considering
>> that
>> this rewriting of history began in 2004, just as Wikia.com was getting
>> started, and you started promoting your reputation as the brains behind
>> Wikipedia. There is a long "paper trail" establishing virtually all of my
>> claims about Wikipedia, and which refute your various attempts to rewrite
>> history.
>>
>> I have not publicly confronted you about this before, to this extent.
>> Public
>> controversies are emotionally wrenching and time-consuming. I know I might
>> be (verbally) attacked more viciously than ever by your fans and
>> Wikipedia's. (To them, I just point out that Wikipedia is bigger than
>> Jimmy
>> Wales.) I have mainly limited myself to answering reporters' questions -
>> keeping my more harshly-worded statements off the record - and to
>> <http://www.larrysanger.org/roleinwp.html> this page on my personal site.
>> Occasionally I couldn't help objecting to some particularly outrageous
>> claim, but I never went all out.
>>
>> I thought that the evidence against your claims about me would shame you
>> into changing your behavior. But, five years since you started
>> misrepresenting my role in the founding of Wikipedia, you're still at it.
>>
>> I have been content to watch you reap the rewards of the project I started
>> for you, largely without comment. You (with Tim Shell and Michael Davis,
>> the
>> Bomis partners) did, after all, sponsor the project. After leaving
>> Wikipedia, I went back to academia and, after that, worked for a
>> succession
>> of nonprofit projects - these days,  <http://www.citizendium.org/>
>> Citizendium.org and now also  <http://www.watchknow.org/> WatchKnow.org.
>> I
>> have not tried to cash in on my own reputation. I have been approached by
>> a
>> number of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and publishers and have
>> always
>> told them that I have my own plans. If I had wanted to cash in myself, I
>> wouldn't have moved away from Silicon Valley back to Ohio, as I did, in
>> order to lower my costs in supporting the non-profit projects which I've
>> made my life's work.
>>
>> The Hot Press interview is the straw that broke this camel's back. I
>> resent
>> being the victim of another person's self-serving lies. Besides, I don't
>> want to set a poor example in my failure to defend myself.
>>
>> Please don't say I'm making mountains out of molehills. When you go out of
>> your way to edit Wikipedia articles to
>> <
>> http://workbench.cadenhead.org/news/2828/wikipedia-founder-looks-out-number
>> -1<http://workbench.cadenhead.org/news/2828/wikipedia-founder-looks-out-number%0A-1>>
>> remove the fact that I am a co-founder, or
>> <http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Jimbo_Found_Out> ask others to
>> do
>> so, I don't call that correcting "very simple errors," as you told Hot
>> Press. What angers me is not any one error, but the accumulated weight of
>> your lies about me - I've mentioned only a few of them here.
>>
>> Finally, you might protest that you have said, several times, that I am
>> not
>> credited enough. For example, you told Hot Press:
>>
>> I feel that Larry's work is often under-appreciated. He really did a lot
>> in
>> the first year to think through editorial policy. . I would actually love
>> to
>> have it on the record that I said: I think Larry's work should be more
>> appreciated. He's a really brilliant guy.
>>
>> This sounds like a fine sentiment. But how could it be sincere? What
>> better
>> way to ensure that I am "under-appreciated" than to contradict your own
>> first three press releases and tell the Boston Globe, just two years
>> later,
>> that it's "preposterous" that I am called co-founder?
>>
>> I have two further requests, not of you, but of those who deal with you:
>> the
>> Wikimedia Foundation and reporters.
>>
>> First, I ask the Board of the Wikimedia Foundation to reiterate the
>> Foundation's original position (as expressed in its
>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Press_releases/February_2004>
>> first
>> press release) that we are both, in fact, founders of Wikipedia. (I note
>> that the author of the recent history of Wikipedia, Andrew "fuzheado" Lih,
>> was
>> <
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Press_releases/February
>> _2004&action=history<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Press_releases/February%0A_2004&action=history>>
>> among the authors and contacts for this press
>> release.) If the Foundation is unwilling, I request an explanation why its
>> corporate view has changed. Is it simply because Jimmy Wales has made his
>> wishes known and you enforce them?
>>
>> Second, I request any reporter who interviews you about the early history
>> of
>> Wikipedia and Nupedia to interview me as well, so I can correct anything
>> misleading. They should know that there are many details in my 2005
>> <http://features.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/04/18/164213&tid=95>
>> memoir
>> of Nupedia and Wikipedia, and my story has never varied. I would also
>> appreciate it if a reporter were to inquire about my request, above, to
>> the
>> Board of the Wikimedia Foundation.
>>
>> Larry Sanger ([hidden email])
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>
>
>
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
In reply to this post by Larry Sanger-2
Larry Sanger wrote:
> All,
>
> Earlier today, I had no joy in trying to post this "open letter to Jimmy
> Wales" on Jimmy's own user talk page: the man himself deleted it.  That is
> not the sort of behavior I would have expected of the head of an allegedly
> open, transparent community devoted to free speech.  
>  
<snip>

>  I came up with and promoted the idea
> of making a wiki encyclopedia, wrote the first policy pages and many more
> policy pages in the following year, led the project, and enforced many rules
> that are now taken for granted. I came up with a lot of stuff that is
> regarded as standard operating procedure. For instance, I argued that talk
> should go on talk pages and got people into that habit. Similarly, after
> meta-discussion started taking up so much of Wikipedia's time and energy, I
> shepherded talk about the project to meta.wikipedia.org - and after that, to
> Wikipedia-L and WikiEN-L. I insisted that we were working on an
> encyclopedia, not on the many other things one can use a wiki for.
Putting aside for the moment, the rest of your missive of quite
respectable length; if you do deserve kudos for creating the
very first heuristics for channeling discussion to appropriate
fora, it is sadly regrettable that you were not able to choose
the initial forum where you published your diatribe with more
discernment.

User talk pages in current practice are not for blogging or
personal communication (except to the extent that such
personal communication is in the aid of cementing the trust
and fellow feeling contributors have with each other, and
thus helps our work as a community). User talk should be
squarely about improving the encyclopaedia.

You may not have taken the trouble to acquaint yourself
with the methods by which legitimate feedback and comment
on wikimedian matters is currently channeled, but it would
very much be worth your while, to facilitate a smoother
communicative experience.


Yours,

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen


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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Tristan Thomas-4
Can this just not stop?  From what I can see, Larry worked for Jimmy at
Bomis.  Together they worked on Wikipedia, but with Larry coming up with
the idea & being the main driving force behind it to start with.  But he
was an employee of Bomis.  Everyone knows that you once described each
other as co-founders & therefore, if that's what Jimmy described you as
back then, that's what you are.  He could just as easily have described
you as an employee of the finder & would be entitled to as you were the
employee & he can take the credit.

Why the continuous childish bickering-everyone knows what happened & it
makes absolutely no difference now.

Please just get over it, it's damaging Wikipedia itself, which I don't
think Larry wants to do, & just seems so pointless.

That's my ten cents!

On 09/04/2009 16:21, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:

> Larry Sanger wrote:
>    
>> All,
>>
>> Earlier today, I had no joy in trying to post this "open letter to Jimmy
>> Wales" on Jimmy's own user talk page: the man himself deleted it.  That is
>> not the sort of behavior I would have expected of the head of an allegedly
>> open, transparent community devoted to free speech.
>>
>>      
> <snip>
>
>    
>>   I came up with and promoted the idea
>> of making a wiki encyclopedia, wrote the first policy pages and many more
>> policy pages in the following year, led the project, and enforced many rules
>> that are now taken for granted. I came up with a lot of stuff that is
>> regarded as standard operating procedure. For instance, I argued that talk
>> should go on talk pages and got people into that habit. Similarly, after
>> meta-discussion started taking up so much of Wikipedia's time and energy, I
>> shepherded talk about the project to meta.wikipedia.org - and after that, to
>> Wikipedia-L and WikiEN-L. I insisted that we were working on an
>> encyclopedia, not on the many other things one can use a wiki for.
>>      
> Putting aside for the moment, the rest of your missive of quite
> respectable length; if you do deserve kudos for creating the
> very first heuristics for channeling discussion to appropriate
> fora, it is sadly regrettable that you were not able to choose
> the initial forum where you published your diatribe with more
> discernment.
>
> User talk pages in current practice are not for blogging or
> personal communication (except to the extent that such
> personal communication is in the aid of cementing the trust
> and fellow feeling contributors have with each other, and
> thus helps our work as a community). User talk should be
> squarely about improving the encyclopaedia.
>
> You may not have taken the trouble to acquaint yourself
> with the methods by which legitimate feedback and comment
> on wikimedian matters is currently channeled, but it would
> very much be worth your while, to facilitate a smoother
> communicative experience.
>
>
> Yours,
>
> Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>    
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Larry Sanger-2
In reply to this post by Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
First, let me thank the moderators for approving my letter.

Replies to two different people here.

Jussi-Ville Heiskanen wrote:

> ... it is sadly regrettable that you were
> not able to choose the initial forum where you published your
> diatribe with more discernment.

I disagree.  As I said in the letter itself, there is not a better place for
this message than Jimmy Wales' user talk page.  This is because I am
deliberately confronting him.  If I can't confront a person on the talk page
for the leader (at least by reputation) of the project, where can I?

> User talk pages in current practice are not for blogging or
> personal communication

I think you may not understand what an open letter is.  Why don't you look
it up on Wikipedia?  An open letter cannot be dismissed as either a blogs or
a personal communication.

> User talk should be
> squarely about improving the encyclopaedia.

This *is* about improving the encyclopedia--by improving its leadership, the
way that the media reports about it, and what Wikipedians themselves know
about it.

> You may not have taken the trouble to acquaint yourself
> with the methods by which legitimate feedback and comment
> on wikimedian matters is currently channeled, but it would
> very much be worth your while, to facilitate a smoother
> communicative experience.

This illustrates a sort of silly, condescending manner of speaking among
Wikipedians that really ought to stop.  Enough said.

Tris Thomas wrote:
> Can this just not stop?

Stop?  But I am not continuing something, I am starting something.  I have
never confronted Jimmy Wales publicly in this way for his lies, and
described them as lies, ever before.  I am absolutely insisting, once and
for all, that the record be corrected and that Jimmy Wales be held to
account for his appalling and self-serving behavior toward me.

The way to stop it is for Jimmy Wales to be shamed into ceasing his
misrepresentations of Wikipedia's early history--or else for him to earn a
wide public reputation as a completely unreliable source about it.  Either
way will suit me fine.  Until then, I will continue to confront and shame
him with archived evidence of his mendacity.

I would hope that those with an interest in sound leadership and honesty
would appreciate and support my efforts.

> Everyone knows that you once
> described each
> other as co-founders & therefore, if that's what Jimmy
> described you as
> back then, that's what you are.

I'm glad you're convinced.  Then let's ask the Wikimedia Foundation to
reaffirm what it said about me in its very first press release.

Anyway, this isn't just about the label "co-founder," as you'll see if you
read the letter.

> Why the continuous childish bickering-everyone knows what
> happened & it
> makes absolutely no difference now.

What I see as "childish" is the unnecessary tip-toeing around Jimmy Wales,
and people supporting and making excuses for what *really is* just
self-serving dishonesty.

> Please just get over it, it's damaging Wikipedia itself,
> which I don't
> think Larry wants to do, & just seems so pointless.

It is not pointless to get the record corrected and to hold our leaders to
high standards of honesty.  This may require courage, but it is essential to
having a truly open, transparent community that has any chance of deserving
the label "democratic."

In the end, assuming the Wikipedia community and Board reacts to this in a
mature, decent manner, it could come out of this stronger and better.  On
the other hand, if you pretend that it isn't happening, or dismiss my
concerns, you'll just be digging yourselves even deeper into the hole you're
already in.  Remember: the world is watching.

--Larry


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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

orngjce223 .
On Apr 9, 2009 9:11am, Larry Sanger <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > You may not have taken the trouble to acquaint yourself

> > with the methods by which legitimate feedback and comment

> > on wikimedian matters is currently channeled, but it would

> > very much be worth your while, to facilitate a smoother

> > communicative experience.

> This illustrates a sort of silly, condescending manner of speaking among

> Wikipedians that really ought to stop. Enough said.


For once, I agree with Mr. Sanger. Unfortunately, the Wikipedian culture is  
now fossilized into strange patterns that are strange, unnecessarily  
complex, difficult to learn, and don't quite work the way they're supposed  
to anymore. I know you say you wish you'd done more in the beginning, but  
you can't and we have too much of a barrier to entry.

Enough said.

~O
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Anthony-73
In reply to this post by Larry Sanger-2
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 12:11 PM, Larry Sanger
<[hidden email]>wrote:

> > ... it is sadly regrettable that you were
> > not able to choose the initial forum where you published your
> > diatribe with more discernment.
>
> I disagree.  As I said in the letter itself, there is not a better place
> for
> this message than Jimmy Wales' user talk page.  This is because I am
> deliberately confronting him.  If I can't confront a person on the talk
> page
> for the leader (at least by reputation) of the project, where can I?
>

Soapboxes are pretty cheap these days.

> Why the continuous childish bickering-everyone knows what
> > happened & it
> > makes absolutely no difference now.
>
> What I see as "childish" is the unnecessary tip-toeing around Jimmy Wales,
> and people supporting and making excuses for what *really is* just
> self-serving dishonesty.
>

Moreover, I don't think everyone does know what happened during those early
years.  I've read contradictory statements about it, and have concluded that
neither you nor Wales are being 100% truthful.
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Sam Korn
In reply to this post by Larry Sanger-2
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM, Larry Sanger
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> In the end, assuming the Wikipedia community and Board reacts to this in a
> mature, decent manner, it could come out of this stronger and better.  On
> the other hand, if you pretend that it isn't happening, or dismiss my
> concerns, you'll just be digging yourselves even deeper into the hole you're
> already in.  Remember: the world is watching.

What hole are we in, pray?

Your concerns seem to be that Jimmy is not acknowledging your role and
status as you'd like, and that the community and the Board are silent
in the face of Jimmy's doing this.  For my part, this silence may be
attributed to insouciance -- I care little for the minutiae of history
now eight years old and for your personal (yes, personal) dispute with
Jimmy.

Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.

--
Sam
PGP public key: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sam_Korn/public_key

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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Bill Carter
In reply to this post by orngjce223 .
Dear Larry Sanger: Please keep Citizendium going and do not step down in two years as, I believe, you have previously stated. Eventually more writers are going to show up at Citizendium if it proves to have a more collegial and collaborative atmosphere. We are currently stuck with Wikipedia, but you offer a great alternative.


Bill


________________________________
From: "[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>
Sent: Thursday, April 9, 2009 12:24:38 PM
Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] An open letter to Jimmy Wales

On Apr 9, 2009 9:11am, Larry Sanger <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > You may not have taken the trouble to acquaint yourself

> > with the methods by which legitimate feedback and comment

> > on wikimedian matters is currently channeled, but it would

> > very much be worth your while, to facilitate a smoother

> > communicative experience.

> This illustrates a sort of silly, condescending manner of speaking among

> Wikipedians that really ought to stop. Enough said.


For once, I agree with Mr. Sanger. Unfortunately, the Wikipedian culture is  
now fossilized into strange patterns that are strange, unnecessarily  
complex, difficult to learn, and don't quite work the way they're supposed  
to anymore. I know you say you wish you'd done more in the beginning, but  
you can't and we have too much of a barrier to entry.

Enough said.

~O
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Larry Sanger-2
Larry Sanger wrote:
> It is not pointless to get the record corrected and to hold our leaders to
> high standards of honesty.  This may require courage, but it is essential to
> having a truly open, transparent community that has any chance of deserving
> the label "democratic."
>  
One thing about history and Wikipedia, is that we are supposed to let
historians write it. Really, if you are asking me personally to choose
between your version of history, and what you say is Jimbo's, I would
prefer a third-party, dispassionate account.  So much for history.  If
you also want to advocate for something else, relative to the Wikipedia
community, go ahead.  This comment is so obviously policised and
personalised, that I'd prefer to keep a clear wall between it and the
"foundation myth".

Charles


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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Tristan Thomas-4
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
Agree with Sam, I'm not supporting Jimmy because it's clear in calling
himself the sole founder he is wrong & shouldn't do it, but I really
don't see the need to continue this issue.  There is no tiptoeing around
Jimmy Wales as can be seen by many people's views on here(I'm sure he's
reading it) & in Wikipedia articles.  There is a general consensus that
on this particular matter, Jimmy is unreliable & almost everyone agrees,
so why the continuation?
If there is anyone here who believes that Jimmy is right & is the sole &
only founder, please make yourself known, otherwise can we just end this
pointless, yes pointless, feud.

Just my view! :,)

On 09/04/2009 17:33, Sam Korn wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 5:11 PM, Larry Sanger
> <[hidden email]>  wrote:
>    
>> In the end, assuming the Wikipedia community and Board reacts to this in a
>> mature, decent manner, it could come out of this stronger and better.  On
>> the other hand, if you pretend that it isn't happening, or dismiss my
>> concerns, you'll just be digging yourselves even deeper into the hole you're
>> already in.  Remember: the world is watching.
>>      
>
> What hole are we in, pray?
>
> Your concerns seem to be that Jimmy is not acknowledging your role and
> status as you'd like, and that the community and the Board are silent
> in the face of Jimmy's doing this.  For my part, this silence may be
> attributed to insouciance -- I care little for the minutiae of history
> now eight years old and for your personal (yes, personal) dispute with
> Jimmy.
>
> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
> community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.
>
>    
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

geni
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
2009/4/9 Sam Korn <[hidden email]>:

> What hole are we in, pray?
>
> Your concerns seem to be that Jimmy is not acknowledging your role and
> status as you'd like, and that the community and the Board are silent
> in the face of Jimmy's doing this.  For my part, this silence may be
> attributed to insouciance -- I care little for the minutiae of history
> now eight years old and for your personal (yes, personal) dispute with
> Jimmy.
>
> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
> community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.
>
> --
> Sam
> PGP public key: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sam_Korn/public_key
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>



--
geni

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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

geni
In reply to this post by Sam Korn
2009/4/9 Sam Korn <[hidden email]>:
> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
> community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.

It has in the past caused problems with our [[Wikipedia]] article and
Jimbo's past attempts to distort the record did cause unnecessary
conflict within wikipedia.


--
geni

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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Sam Korn
On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
> 2009/4/9 Sam Korn <[hidden email]>:
>> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
>> community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.
>
> It has in the past caused problems with our [[Wikipedia]] article and
> Jimbo's past attempts to distort the record did cause unnecessary
> conflict within wikipedia.

"Sanger and most media sources consider Wales and Sanger
co-founders.[cite][cite][cite] Wales disputes it, saying that,
although Sanger played a vital part in the formation of Wikipedia and
his role is regularly underestimated, Wales alone should be considered
the founder.</cite>"

Or something like that.

--
Sam
PGP public key: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Sam_Korn/public_key

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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Fred Bauder-2
> On Thu, Apr 9, 2009 at 6:15 PM, geni <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> 2009/4/9 Sam Korn <[hidden email]>:
>>> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
>>> community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.
>>
>> It has in the past caused problems with our [[Wikipedia]] article and
>> Jimbo's past attempts to distort the record did cause unnecessary
>> conflict within wikipedia.
>
> "Sanger and most media sources consider Wales and Sanger
> co-founders.[cite][cite][cite] Wales disputes it, saying that,
> although Sanger played a vital part in the formation of Wikipedia and
> his role is regularly underestimated, Wales alone should be considered
> the founder.</cite>"
>
> Or something like that.
>
> --
> Sam

Yes, that is an appropriate description of the situation.

Fred


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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Fayssal F.
In reply to this post by Larry Sanger-2
I may agree with that but I am still waiting for mainstream media talking
about it and Larry's claims in the open before thinking about editing that
page.

Fayssal F.


> Date: Thu, 9 Apr 2009 18:15:16 +0100
> From: geni <[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [WikiEN-l] An open letter to Jimmy Wales
> To: English Wikipedia <[hidden email]>
> Message-ID:
>        <[hidden email]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
>
> 2009/4/9 Sam Korn <[hidden email]>:
> > Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
> > community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.
>
> It has in the past caused problems with our [[Wikipedia]] article and
> Jimbo's past attempts to distort the record did cause unnecessary
> conflict within wikipedia.
>
>
> --
> geni
>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
>
> End of WikiEN-l Digest, Vol 69, Issue 22
> ****************************************
>
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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Doc glasgow
In reply to this post by geni
geni wrote:
> 2009/4/9 Sam Korn <[hidden email]>:
>> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
>> community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.
>
> It has in the past caused problems with our [[Wikipedia]] article and
> Jimbo's past attempts to distort the record did cause unnecessary
> conflict within wikipedia.
>
>


In summation: Larry says Jimmy is a self-serving liar, and presents
(IMO) compelling evidence of the same.


The question then is:
1) Does Wikipedia/WMF care? and
2) Should Wikipedia/WMF care?

Well, perhaps not:

*unless its articles reflect something other than reality. (We are
committed to NPOV)

*or unless Jimmy were abusing his position within WMF and the community
to push his POV, or distort Wikipedia for his own benefit. (If the
leader/exemplar were engaging in POV-pushing and COI meet puppetry, that
should concern us!)

Is he?

I don't know.

Are these IRC transcripts accurate? The source is questionable, but as a
minor participant in one of the discussions, it does seem to tally with
my (admittedly fuzzy) memories.


http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Jimbo_Fired_Up

http://www.wikitruth.info/index.php?title=Jimbo_Found_Out


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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Larry Sanger-2
In reply to this post by orngjce223 .
Another set of replies.

I wrote:
> > ...  On the other hand, if you pretend that it isn't
> > happening, or
> > dismiss my concerns, you'll just be digging yourselves even deeper
> > into the hole you're already in.  Remember: the world is watching.

Sam Korn replied:
> What hole are we in, pray?

The reputation of Wikipedia as an endless source of scandal and dishonesty,
coupled with this open letter, in which I decided to use whatever weight my
views have in the "court of public opinion" to confront the project's
leading light.  Deny it if you must, but you have a problem on your hands.

> Your concerns seem to be that Jimmy is not acknowledging your
> role and status as you'd like, and that the community and the
> Board are silent in the face of Jimmy's doing this.

That's only part of it, and not the biggest part.  My biggest complaint is
that Jimmy has lied about me, and a lot of people have believed him.  I am
determined finally to hold Jimmy Wales to account for it.

> For my
> part, this silence may be attributed to insouciance -- I care
> little for the minutiae of history now eight years old and
> for your personal (yes, personal) dispute with Jimmy.
>
> Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the
> Wikipedia community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.

Well, Sam, if the honesty or dishonesty of your leader and chief spokesman
does not concern you, if you don't care that he has used his position to
distort the truth for personal gain, I doubt there is anything I can say
that will convince you.

Bill Carter wrote:

> Dear Larry Sanger: Please keep Citizendium going and do not
> step down in two years as, I believe, you have previously
> stated. Eventually more writers are going to show up at
> Citizendium if it proves to have a more collegial and
> collaborative atmosphere. We are currently stuck with
> Wikipedia, but you offer a great alternative.

Bill, I appreciate the compliment!  But it is my intention to
begin--soon--to seek a successor.  It is deeply important that the torch be
passed in truly open, democratic projects.  I have other projects in the
works to start, anyway.

Charles Matthews wrote:
> One thing about history and Wikipedia, is that we are supposed to let
> historians write it. Really, if you are asking me personally
> to choose
> between your version of history, and what you say is Jimbo's, I would
> prefer a third-party, dispassionate account.

I am not asking you to choose "versions of history," I am asking you to
acknowledge that Jimmy Wales has self-servingly denied, distorted, or
ignored provable facts that ought to be acknowledged on *anybody's* version
of history.

Tris Thomas wrote:

> ... but I really
> don't see the need to continue this issue.  There is no
> tiptoeing around
> Jimmy Wales as can be seen by many people's views on here(I'm
> sure he's
> reading it) & in Wikipedia articles.  There is a general
> consensus that
> on this particular matter, Jimmy is unreliable & almost
> everyone agrees,
> so why the continuation?
> If there is anyone here who believes that Jimmy is right & is
> the sole &
> only founder, please make yourself known, otherwise can we
> just end this
> pointless, yes pointless, feud.

This is not a feud, Tris.  This is me publicly confronting a liar with
evidence.  A feud would be more of a matter of competing claims with no way
of sorting them out.  There *is* a way to sort the claims I dispute out: by
looking in the archives and interviewing people.

Moreover, and I'm not sure how many times I am going to have to say this, it
isn't just about the matter of being a "co-founder" and me getting credit.
If you read the letter, you'll see why I say so.  While I do of course want
proper credit for my achievements, what I want even more is to correct the
record in general, and to dissuade Jimmy Wales from being so fast and loose
with the truth, as I said.  I am now convinced this requires a public
confrontation, because the low-level and private remarks I have made in
response to him over the last five years or so obviously haven't worked.  It
will only stop when Jimmy Wales changes his tune, or he is so discredited in
public that no one listens to him on the subject any longer.

Sam Korn said:
> > Perhaps you can explain what the world at large, the Wikipedia
> > community and I personally gain from publicly pursuing it.

geni said:
> It has in the past caused problems with our [[Wikipedia]]
> article and Jimbo's past attempts to distort the record did
> cause unnecessary conflict within wikipedia.

True, but it's more than that, you know.  The problem isn't just
inconvenience to the community.  In an encyclopedia project, the inherent
value of the truth itself ought to be accorded a lot of weight.  In
addition, you have Wikipedia's reputation in the broader world to think
about.  The sort of person who is permitted to speak on its behalf, and who
still enjoys a lot of credence in claiming sole credit for starting it, says
a lot about the project itself, I think.

Sam Korn wrote:
> "Sanger and most media sources consider Wales and Sanger
> co-founders.[cite][cite][cite] Wales disputes it, saying
> that, although Sanger played a vital part in the formation of
> Wikipedia and his role is regularly underestimated, Wales
> alone should be considered the founder.</cite>"
>
> Or something like that.

Well, I'm not going to try to tell you what the Wikipedia articles should
say, but obviously a lot more needs to be said about the situation.  Among
other things, frankly, I think Wikipedia's articles should state that I--and
a lot of other people--believe that Jimmy has been caught disseminating
quite a bit of self-serving disinformation.

Fayssal F. said:
> I may agree with that but I am still waiting for mainstream
> media talking about it and Larry's claims in the open before
> thinking about editing that page.

Fair enough.  You won't have to wait long.  But as you can probably guess,
from my point of view, that this is ultimately not just about what the
Wikipedia articles should say.  It is about what the broader public "knows,"
which is something over which Wikipedia has only slender control at best
(which is as it should be).

--Larry


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Re: An open letter to Jimmy Wales

Charles Matthews
Larry Sanger wrote:

> Charles Matthews wrote:
>> One thing about history and Wikipedia, is that we are supposed to let
>> historians write it. Really, if you are asking me personally
>> to choose
>> between your version of history, and what you say is Jimbo's, I would
>> prefer a third-party, dispassionate account.
>>    
>
> I am not asking you to choose "versions of history," I am asking you to
> acknowledge that Jimmy Wales has self-servingly denied, distorted, or
> ignored provable facts that ought to be acknowledged on *anybody's* version
> of history.
>  
Distinction without a difference?

Seems to me you are letting off a fair amount of steam here.  That is a
traditional role of mailing lists, and in particular of wikien.  Your
unsubtle flaming of Jimmy here isn't likely to change too many minds;
which is more than can be said for some of your past and more insidious
comments on Wikipedia, in more prominent places.  So go ahead, if it
lances the boil.

Charles


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