February 6, 2015

No Personal Attacks

Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales, on his talk page, in reference to me

“But it still must be said that his inflammatory and erroneous description of the situation is what caused all this nonsense in the first place.– Jimbo Wales (talk) 00:55, 6 February 2015 (UTC)”

Inflammatory? Yes, perhaps. But nothing in Infamous was erroneous. Nothing in Thoughtless was erroneous. Nothing in Careless was erroneous, and nothing in Reckless was erroneous.

And what is “this nonsense?” It is the use of Wikipedia to call blameless young software developers sluts and prostitutes, for the offense of pursuing a career in software development.

Editors fought to put an end to it. GamerGate announced its plan to punish those editors, and ArbCom sanctioned every GamerGate target. Sure, Arbcom later added some disposable GamerGate accounts to provide a semblance of balance — a semblance whose transparent dishonesty was immediately revealed by the invidious statement:

I (and Wikipedia) neither support nor oppose [software developer Zoe] Quinn. Wikipedia is not a battleground. – Jimmy Wales

In other words, it’s fine to use Wikipedia to call a blameless software developer a prostitute, or not to do so: Wikipedia is indifferent provided you obey the rules at all times.

Unless your name is Jimmy Wales, in which case those rules about No Personal Attacks (and Verifiability) apparently don’t apply. All that talk about Wikipedia And Civility lasted about as long as it took for the press release to become fish wrap.

Confidential to Wikimedia Foundation PR Department: I know it's hard to rein in your principal. I’ve been a principal for a long time myself, and I know how hard they can be to control. Still, this is too easy.

@eastgate I've been a journalist for 20+ yrs & everything you've done has been exemplary, clear & fair. –Mo Ryan