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Don't bring it on

The ultimate irony here is that Jimmy Wales has long told the press that conflict of interest isn't tolerated at Wikipedia.

In January last year, Microsoft landed in Wikipedia's doghouse after it tried to pay a blogger to change certain articles on the site. "We were very disappointed to hear that Microsoft was taking that approach," Jimmy Wales told The Associated Press.

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales

Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales 2

That same week, The AP detailed Wikipedia's efforts to crack down on a fledgling company called MyWikiBiz, which offered to edit Wikipedia articles on behalf of others in exchange for cash. In speaking with The AP, Wales proclaimed that Wikipedia is no place for PR:

Wales agreed in an interview that companies and regular people likely are surreptitiously editing their own entries, doing in secret what MyWikiBiz was open about. But that doesn't mean the site should give up trying to prevent public-relations efforts, Wales said."

"It's one thing to acknowledge there's always going to be a little of this, but another to say, 'Bring it on,'" he said.

Yet Wales and the ruling clique have certainly said "Bring it on" to Jossi Fresco. The Wikipedia elite are well aware of his conflict. And by Wikipedia elite, we mean uber-admins other than Jossi Fresco.

At Wikipedia, all sorts of people end up controlling all sorts of articles. Jimmy Wales says as much in his conversation with The AP. But this case shows just how far the problem goes. Jossi Fresco may bear the most extreme conflict of interest in the history of Wikipedia - and he edits the policy that governs conflict of interest. ®

Footnotes

(1) Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License.

(2) Reproduced under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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