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Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Wales

Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales exits Guardian board over conflict of interest with Wikitribune news site

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, will leave the board of the Guardian newspaper after opting to launch his own rival news operation that will compete for staff, stories and donations.

Jimmy Wales

Jimmy Wales co-founded Wikipedia

The 50-year-old, who joined the board of Guardian Media Group as a non-executive director little over a year ago, has revealed plans to launch Wikitribune, an outlet aiming to provide “factual and neutral” news coverage.

Mr Wales has said he plans to hire up to 20 journalists to work on the operation.

Wikitribune will be funded by donations, putting it in direct competition with the Guardian, which frequently appeals to online readers for voluntary contributions in lieu of digital subscriptions.

He said: “Jimmy Wales will be stepping down from the GMG board by mutual agreement, given the potential for overlap in our work. We wish him well with the new project.”

Mr Wales has seized on concern around “fake news” online to promote Wikitribune, arguing “the news is broken and we can fix it“.

Guardian Media Group’s spokesman said: “We welcome all efforts to combat the rise of fake news. Our rapid growth in traffic and Guardian membership show that the demand for independent, trusted and high-quality journalism is greater than ever. ”

The left-leaning title is seeking to boost membership and donation revenues in light of a tough advertising market.

Online revenues have not risen quickly enough to make up for declining print sales, with the bulk of market growth taken up by Google and Facebook.

A spokesman for Guardian Media Group said Mr Wales’s plans meant he could no longer sit on the newspaper’s board.

<img src=”/content/dam/business/2016/07/28/55256363-guardian-business-small_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqQJoTHvv9hWAiaCwwE8274uaCTQGAUkDgq8I833FLrys.jpg” alt=”Guardian” width=”301″ height=”189″ class=”responsive-image–fallback”/> Guardian
The Guardian is seeking to boost membership and donation revenues

The Guardian was on track to burn £90m in cash last year and has warned staff to expect further redundancies as it seeks to reach break-even in two years.

Mr Wales said: “I am a huge admirer of the Guardian and am honoured to have been involved as a member of the GMG board. I will continue to be an avid fan of their integrity for news and journalism.”

He has said he will take a hands-on role in his latest venture and remains chairman of The People’s Operator, a mobile service provider that gives a shares of its revenues to good causes.

It floated on AIM on a £100m valuation in 2014 but has struggled to build its subscriber base and now has a market capitalisation of less than £11m.

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Where are all the women, Wikipedia?

Dec. 9, 2016

It is often said that women have been written out of history. We have all heard of Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, but few are familiar with their contemporary, Margaret E Knight, a prolific American inventor who held over 20 patents and was decorated by Queen Victoria.

Knight created her first device, a safety mechanism for textile machines, after witnessing a factory accident aged just 12. She later invented a machine that created the flat-bottomed paper bags still used in grocery stores today.

When she died in 1914, an obituary described her as a “woman Edison”. Somewhat dispiritingly, she has also been described as “the most famous 19th-century woman inventor”. But how many of us know her name?

Margaret E Knight – a prolific inventor so little-known that we aren’t even able to verify this photo of her.

Margaret E Knight … a prolific inventor so little-known that we aren’t even able to

If you were to try and research Knight’s life and work, you might struggle.

Her Wikipedia profile is just under 500 words long; Edison’s is more than 8,500.

Of course, Edison’s contribution to the development of the electric light warrants a significant write-up, and his legacy deserves a lengthy profile. But his Wikipedia page also contains minute detail about his early life, diets and views on religion.

By contrast, information on Knight’s page is scant, though she too invented an item still widely used today. Her profile lacks many details (including any mention of her first invention), which are available elsewhere online, particularly on websites dedicated to commemorating the work of female inventors.

That such resources exist says a lot about the erasure of women such as Knight from more mainstream information sources.

This week, it was revealed that only around 17% of notable profiles on Wikipedia are of women.

While we bemoan the sexist bias that prevented many historic female figures from being rightly commemorated and celebrated, there is a risk that history may be repeating itself all over again.

ounder of the Everyday Sexism Project. She writes for the Guardian women’s blog each week about women’s experiences of sexism

Perhaps the disparity is unsurprising given that only around 15% of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors are female.

Reasons suggested for the gender gap have ranged from the elitist nature of the “hard-driving hacker crowd” to the overt harassment and misogyny faced by female editors on the site. When one editor suggested a women-only space on Wikipedia for female contributors to support one another and discuss online misogyny, other users vowed to fight the proposal “to the death”.

The trouble with Wikipedia having such a vast gender gap in its notable profiles is that it is one of the most commonly used information sources in the world.

A 2011 study found that 53% of all American internet users look for information on Wikipedia, increasing to almost 70% of college-educated users.

According to web-traffic data company Alexa, it is currently the fifth most visited website in the world.

For such a popular source to present millions of students, researchers and journalists with a hugely gender-biased roster of articles could have a real impact on everything, from young people’s career aspirations to which high-profile figures are invited to speak at conferences and events.

There are on-going efforts to solve the problem, such as this week’s BBC 100 Women edit-a-thon. Meanwhile, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has called for a more inclusive and diverse community of editors.

Wales has pointed out that the process by which Wikipedia editors decide collectively whether a particular topic deserves its own article could lead to biased outcomes when those editors are overwhelmingly male. Various projects have been launched to try and address the problem, but progress seems slow.

Knight probably wouldn’t have been surprised by the disparity. In her own lifetime, she faced sexism and discrimination from men – in particular from Charles Annan, who spied on her paper-bag-production prototype and tried to steal the patent, even arguing in court that a woman could never have invented such an innovative machine. But she might have imagined that the gender gap would have improved rather more significantly by 2016.


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