Wales and Kawasaki on stage at South by Southwest
Jimmy Wales appeared at the 2016 South by Southwest Interactive festival on March 13, where he was interviewed by Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees member Guy Kawasaki. Outgoing WMF executive director Lila Tretikov was originally slated to appear at the event, but she was quietly replaced by Wales on the schedule following her resignation.
The wide-ranging discussion touched on a number of topics. PC Magazine took note of comments on the FBI–Apple encryption dispute ("I'm really proud of Apple for fighting this thing"), Chinese censorship of Wikipedia ("I'm ready to wait 1,000 years. I'd rather the Chinese people understand what's happening to them when they understand that the government won't let them view any of the Wikipedia pages."), and problems in the Wikipedia editing community ("[W]e may be too tolerant of bad behavior. We want women to participate more."). TechCrunch highlighted Wales' strong comments on paid editing: "Companies think it’s a powerful marketing tool but I think they’re deranged and should leave us alone." However, Wales did note that "The top PR companies tend to be very good about their interactions with Wikipedia". Business Insider recounted an anecdote about Wikipedia's beginnings: "As a programming geek, I wrote 'Hello World' and those were the first words of Wikipedia." G
Wikipedia is playing a central role in a lawsuit between a London venture capital firm, Ariadne Capital, and a public relations agency, Lansons Communications. Business Insider reported that Ariadne charged that a "botched attempt to improve" the Wikipedia article for Ariadne founder Julie Meyer "did its reputation more harm than good." Bloomberg News reported that Ariadne claimed Lansons' attempts at addressing the Wikipedia article resulted in accusations that Ariadne had attempted to "manipulate its own entry" and prompted "further negative updates on Wikipedia." The lawsuit charged that "this has caused and will cause further reputational damage which has led to lost opportunities and income."
The lawsuit alleges that an email was sent to "Wikipedia" and this email was posted on Talk:Julie Meyer. There is a message on that page signed by a self-identified Lansons employee, posted in 2014 by a London-based IP address. It seems unlikely that a Wikimedia Foundation employee or an OTRS volunteer would post a secondhand email to a talk page at all, much less using an IP address instead of their own account. It seems more likely that this "email" was actually a talk page message from that employee himself.
Regardless of the origin of the message, it is a sticking point in the lawsuit. Meyer told Bloomberg "To have an intern contact Wikipedia was not what we paid for". Lansons co-founder Tony Langham told Bloomberg it was "a joke lawsuit" prompted by Lansons' demand that Ariadne pay their "outstanding invoices". (Mar. 14) G
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