UK immigration officials thought they had caught the infamous Julian Assange bail jumping earlier this year.
Officials were absolutely stunned when a bloke showed up at a UK airport claiming to be the CEO of Wikipedia.
To the surprised officials, this would have meant that Assange, in a desperate bid to avoid a court appearance in Sweden on charges of being the world’s worst date, managed to board a plane in the US without a passport.
Jimmy Wales said that the immigration woman dropped her pencil with surprise. He had to explain that he did not work for “WikiLeaks,” was a different guy and not wanted in Sweden, or anywhere else for that matter.
The case of mistaken identity came out in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald and was designed to show that no one knows who Jimmy Wales is these days.
In the interview, Wales pointed out that the vast majority of people who work on his online encyclopedia are men.
Over 85 percent of people who participate are male, and Wales has a glorious five year plan to get more women involved.
He thinks it is because women find the whole thing intimidating – which sounds a bit like the quote from Spinal Tap when they were asked why the audience was predominantly young boys: “They’re really, they’re quite fearful. They see us on stage with tight trousers. We’ve got, you know, armadillos in our trousers. I mean, it’s really quite frightening, the size.”
Wales said what within Wikipedia there was no crazy relativist view that every opinion is just as valid as everybody else’s. He said that Wikipedia is very keen on reliable sources and verifiability, making sure that whatever’s in Wikipedia has a good source to back it up.
The article is worth a read because it is clear that the writer quite likes Wales and talks about his “capacity to play fair and find compromises.” We guess the reporter was not around when Wales ignored his editor’s decisions and deleted thousands of images that some deemed pornographic, including images with children, from Wikimedia Commons.
He also allegedly tinkered with the biography of his girlfriend, Rachel Marsden, and was accused of using the cash strapped Wikipedia like his personal piggy bank.*
Still, on the plus side Wales likes Dr Who, so he must be ok.
*Here’s what Jimmy Wales recommends: “TechEye apologies [sic] to Jimmy Wales for the insinuations in this story and wishes to clarify that he does not accept a salary or expenses for his work at Wikipedia, so there is no truth to the allegation mentioned. Additionally, there is no truth to the claim that he doctored the biography of Rachel Marsden, which he never edited.”