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Jimmy Wales

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Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Donal Wales[1][2] is an American[1] Internet entrepreneur[3][4][5] and former options trader[6] who in 2001, with the money he earned through the Bomis[7] pornography ring,[8] co-founded the open-source online encyclopedia Wikipedia along with philosophy professor Larry Sanger.[5] Besides founding Wikipedia, which is officially a non-profit entity, Jimmy Wales also founded[9] the for-profit Wikia[10][11] in 2004.[9] Wales is the de facto head of Wikipedia.[12]


Jimmy Wales was born on August 7, 1966[1] in Huntsville, Alabama. His father was an employee in a grocery store and his mother and grandmother ran a small private school called the House of Learning,[13] in the tradition of the one-room schoolhouse,[14] where Wales received his early education.[13] He later attended the Randolph School, a private school in Huntsville.[14] He earned a bachelor's degree in finance (B.S.) from Auburn University and a master's degree (M.S.) from the University of Alabama. From 1994 to 2000, Wales was an options trader in the US city Chicago and earned enough money which allowed him to start his own Internet business.[1] In 1996,[15] he founded[16] the adult-oriented search portal Bomis,[14] main interest of which was Internet pornography.[17] With the money he made through Bomis,[18] Wales in March 2000 founded Nupedia, a free online encyclopaedia[1] which was later closed down.[19] On January 15, 2001,[20] he co-founded Wikipedia along with Larry Sanger.[5] He openly acknowledges of being an Objectivist,[21] which is a philosophy that holds laizzes-faire capitalism as the only morally legitimate political/economic system.


Attempt to erase Sanger's contribution[edit]

Jimmy Wales tried to erase the role of Larry Sanger as co-founder of Wikipedia. On October 28, 2005, Wales edited his own biography article on Wikipedia. In this regard, American blogger, computer book author and web publisher Rogers Cadenhead drew attention to logs showing that Wales had removed phrases describing former Wikipedia employee Larry Sanger as a co-founder of the site.[22][23] Sanger said that "having seen edits like this, it does seem that Jimmy is attempting to rewrite history. But this is a futile process because in our brave new world of transparent activity and maximum communication, the truth will be out".[24][22][25]

Insertion of inaccurate information[edit]

Wales was also caught to have changed references to Bomis in Wikipedia in a way which downplayed the sexual nature of some of his company's products. Cadenhead said that Bomis Babes was described as "soft-core pornography" by other Wikipedia editors, but Wales changed it to "adult content section" on September 4, and later twice removed references to pornography, instead describing it as "Bomis Babes blog based on Slashcode."[24] An article in the July 31, 2006, issue of The New Yorker magazine reported this matter, stating that Wales was "sensitive about references to the porn traffic on his Web portal".[26]

In these both cases, Wales claimed his alterations were intended to improve the accuracy of the articles. He apologized for editing his own biography, a practice generally disapproved at Wikipedia. Wales, in the interview with the Wired News, said, "People should not do it, including me. I wish I had not done it".[24]

Rachel Marsden[edit]

Another controversy associated with Jimmy Wales is the way in which he reported to have ended his relationship with conservative political columnist and television commentator Rachel Marsden.[27]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Jimmy Wales Britannica Online
  2. Wikipedia plans people-powered search engine The Hindu
  3. Fast facts found online The Age
  4. Wikipedia family feud rooted in San Diego The San Diego Union-Tribune
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Mudslinging Weasels Into Online History The New York Times
  6. Wikipedia Co-Founder Seeks to Start Over Fox News
  7. Wikipedia at a crossroads Mail Tribune
  8. Wikipedia founder 'shot by friend of Siegenthaler' The Register
  9. 9.0 9.1 Wikipedia’s Founder, Jimmy Wales, Comes to SLS Stanford Law School
  10. Hardtalk Business: Jimmy Wales BBC News
  11. The free-knowledge fundamentalist The Economist
  12. Wikipedia founder launches rival online encyclopaedia, The Times, March 26, 2007
  13. 13.0 13.1 Facts and friction: Wikipedia's quest for credibility The Age
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Jimmy Wales Biography A&E Television Networks
  15. Bomis In Its 10th Year
  16. You could look it up: He changed the world San Fransisco Chronicle
  17. Wikipedia - separating fact from fiction The New Zealand Herald
  18. Mr Wikipedia's knowledge quest The New Zealand Herald
  19. Wikipedia Britannica Online
  20. Morley Winograd, Michael D. Hais, Millennial Makeover, pp 237, Rutgers University Press, 2008, ISBN 9780813543017
  21. Who's Who In America: Diamond Edition - Publisher: Marquis Who's Who; 60th edition (12 October, 2005) ISBN 978-0837969909.
  22. 22.0 22.1 Wikipedia Founder Looks Out for Number 1
  23. Wikipedia diff showing modification by Jimmy Wales.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Wikipedia Founder Edits Own Bio Wired News
  25. Wikipedia founder edits himself The Times
  26. Know It All The New Yorker
  27. Fury of a woman scorned – on Wikipedia The Times March 4, 2008