Today, the Wikimedia Foundation is filing suit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States. The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s mass surveillance program, and specifically its large-scale search and seizure of internet communications — frequently referred to as “upstream” surveillance.
[Former Novell chief scientist] Jeff Merkey,... claims [Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy] Wales told him in 2006 that in exchange for a substantial donation from Merkey, he would edit his uncomplimentary Wikipedia entry to make it more favourable. Merkey made a $US5000 ([AU]$5455) donation in 2006... around the same time, Wales personally made changes to [Merkey's Wikipedia] entry after wiping it out completely and ordering editors to start over.But it's all in a good cause, to keep Wikipedia ad-free, right? Well, no, according to Danny Wool, Wales's former "right-hand man" at Wikipedia: Wool says Wales used the contributions to pay for, among other things, Russian massages and as much as $650 on wine for a dinner for four, while Wales traveled at Wikipedia's expense. And though Wikipedia paid his expenses, Wool claims that Wales kept the proceeds: "At one point [Wales] owed the Foundation some $30,000 in receipts, and this while we were preparing for the audit. Not a bad sum, considering that many of those trips had fat honoraria, which Jimbeau kept for himself."
Animal magnetism, or testiment to the stupidity of the male species. Rachel Marsden, the right-wing pundit better known in Canada for a series of scandals in her personal life, has apparently had a messy breakup with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Marsden is currently selling off Wales' belongings on Ebay. [more inside]
Wikiasari search engine. Wikipedia founder plans to offer a new search engine using "the same network of followers" for the process. “Essentially, if you consider one of the basic tasks of a search engine, it is to make a decision: ‘this page is good, this page sucks’,” Mr Wales said. “Computers are notoriously bad at making such judgments, so algorithmic search has to go about it in a roundabout way. But we have a really great method for doing that ourselves,” he added. “We just look at the page. It usually only takes a second to figure out if the page is good, so the key here is building a community of trust that can do that.”
[Login required] At Wikimania 2006, Founder Admits Wikipedia's Shortcomings and Announces New Projects At this past weekend's conference, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, acknowledged that "[it] is not as good as [Encylopaedia] Britannica yet" and spurred contributors to "improve the quality of existing...articles instead of rushing to create new ones." Wales also announced a number of new initiatives involving One Laptop Per Child, Wikiversity, and the German version of the encylopedia. Stanford University professor Lawrence Lessig cheered Wikipedia for playing an important role in "democratizing knowledge" and spurring a new burst of individual creativity.
Digital Universe, an alternative to Wikipedia, has been launched by wikipedia proposer Larry Sanger. Digital Universe will be powered by ManyOne, a new 3D browser, will include paid experts, a subscription option, and will require real names from contributors. This may or may not be connected to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales' editing his own bio to remove reference to Sanger as co-founder.