Friday, March 02, 2007


I guess I should write about Ryan Jordan

I spent today adding material from Zohary and Hopf's Domestication of plants in the Old World, third edition (Oxford, 2000), a project I mentioned in an earlier post. I also spent some time listening to Ed Schultz talk about the RIAA's crusade against "copyright piracy", and thought he had been snowed by that corporate organization. And lastly, I spent part of the day on some personal business which, if it turns out well, I'll be sharing here in the not so distant future.

I didn't spend today monitoring the usual fora on Wikipedia, and it was only by happenstance I saw today's post at Wikipedia Blog, "Oy. There's a complicated, messy scandal unfolding." He has the links to follow there, if you're like me and know nothing about it until now. And by now, everything worth saying has been said by everyone else, so even though I'm keeping a blog (which needs a steady diet of new posts) I'm not sure it's worth to the time for me to write -- or you to read -- yet one more opinion about this.

But after some thought, I realized that there were a few things worth mentioning:

  1. When I saw the name "Essjay", I wasn't quite sure just who he was. You see there's this Wikipedian named Essjay, then another Wikipedian named Sj who helped to make last year's Wikimania in Boston work, and another Wikipedian sjc, who once praised my work on Arthur-related articles many years ago when I first started to contribute to Wikipedia. It is confusing enough that at one point one of these three (or a fourth I've now forgotten) had a note on his user page explaining that these were different people.

    I have to wonder if Jimbo, when he defended Essjay, momentarily confused these people. I know I had a hard time keeping them them straight, and had to look each one up before I wrote this to keep my facts straight.

  2. Wikiblog describes Essjay as "one of the most powerful admins on Wikipedia". And yet I have had practically no interaction that I can remember with this person in all of the years I've contirbuted to Wikipedia. Now that I've written that, I'm sure someone will look at all of the possible places our paths might have crossed and show that, yes, we did exchange opinions once or twice. But he's spent his time doing his thing and I've spent my time doing my thing, and this "most powerful admin" has never influenced me to act in a way that I might not have otherwise done. Being the most powerful Wikipedian and three bucks will get you a 16 ounce latte at Starbucks.

    Then again, I'm not part of any "inner circle" that exists at Wikipedia. Some days I doubt such a thing exists; other days, I see things happen that make me wonder.

  3. There are allegations that Essjay used his fictitious persona to exert undue influence over other Wikipedians. I don't know if these allegations are true, or if true they are serious; but if they are both, do we want to entrust someone who has done that with the responsibility Essjay currently enjoys?


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