Jimmy Donal Wales, born in Huntsville, Alabama, on August 7, 1966 and is best known as the co-founder and promoter of Wikipedia. 1
Wales first attended a one-room school run by his mother and grandmother. 1 After the eighth grade, he continued his education at Randolph School, a small, private, college prep school. 2 Wales earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from Auburn University and a master’s degree in finance from the University of Alabama. 2 In 1994, he dropped out of his PhD program at Indiana University to take a job at Chicago Options Associates as a trader who focused on futures contracts and options, a job that is reported to have made him independently wealthy. 3
In 1996, Wales and two partners, Tim Shell and Michael Davis, formed and launched Bomis, a web portal that attempted a variety of content before finding success with X-rated and erotic material. 3
Bomis (rhymes with “promise”) was a dot-com company (bomis.com) founded in 1996 by Jimmy Wales, Tim Shell and Michael Davis, known for supporting the creations of the encyclopedia projects Nupedia and Wikipedia.
In March 2000, Bomis launched a free online encyclopedia, Nupedia. Larry Sanger was editor-in-chief. Content for the site was provided by subject matter experts 4 and scholars. Content was subjected to an extensive 7-step approval process, which resulted in a mere 21 articles approved and posted during its first year. 5
Sanger learned of the new wiki model and proposed it to Wales as a means to expedite content approval for Nupedia. In January, 2001, they began with a Nupedia wiki. The majority of Nupedia’s advisory board did not approve of the plan, not wanting to mix amateur and professional input. Within five days, Sanger named the new project Wikipedia and it was launched on a separate domain. In contrast to Nupedia’s 21 articles in a year, Wikipedia posted 200 articles in its first month and 18,000 in its first year.
Nupedia was shut down in September of 2003 and its content was assimilated into Wikipedia. 5 Wikipedia was changed to a non-profit entity in 2003. Bomis has been inactive since 2007. 3
Wales is noted for trying to rewrite Wikipedia’s history in regards to its origins – a financial background with money from pornography, a mistrust for alternative medicine (calling it unethical and dishonest), and mistreatment of employees.
Jimmy Wales’ Edits
First he was publically chastised for attempting to edit Wikipedia content to eliminate references that Bomis, which provided the initial funding for Wikipedia, was an adult content site. Secondly, he has repeatedly claimed to be the founder of Wikipedia not the co-founder with Larry Sanger. 2
When the truth about Wales’ inappropriate sexual and business activities surfaced, Wales was said to have exploited control over Wikipedia, deleting information from his own page. This is against the rules.
Wikipedia Edits For Sex
Jimmy Wales has been accused of trading Wikipedia edits for sex, exploiting his editorial position over a female editor.
Inappropriate Expenses Billed To Wikipedia
Jimmy Wales racked up thousands of dollars in inappropriate personal expenses under the Wikimedia Foundation.
Bomis, best known for supporting the creations of the encyclopedia projects Nupedia and Wikipedia, focused on content geared to a male audience, including information on sporting activities, automobiles, and women. Bomis became financially successful after focusing on X-rated media.
An alternative medicine non-profit called The Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology (ACEP) began a petition on Change.org: “Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia: Create and enforce new policies that allow for true scientific discourse about holistic approaches to healing.” 6
In mid-January of 2014 the petition reached 7,000 signatures. Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales responded to the request, “What we won’t do is pretend that the work of lunatic charlatans is the equivalent of “true scientific discourse”. It isn’t.” 7
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