Late last week Fox News ran a news story about Wikimedia projects, focusing on Jimmy Wales, which included quite a bit of false information. We would like to clarify some of those details
Jimmy is the founder of Wikipedia and of the Wikimedia Foundation. He plays a key editorial role in our projects, by virtue of his special status as our founder, and due to his continued active engagement in the projects. Jimmy is not the President of the Wikimedia Foundation nor is he President of Wikipedia: there are no such roles. The chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees is Michael Snow, and the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation is Sue Gardner. They have both been in those positions for several years. Jimmy is Chair Emeritus of the Board of Trustees, as he has been for several years now.
Last weekend Jimmy voluntarily relinquished some technical user-account privileges he has historically held, but that in no way affects his official status with Wikimedia, nor his editorial position. It was false to claim that Jimmy ever held final editorial control on our projects — his decision to change the technical details of his user account should not be interpreted as changes to his status in general. Jimmy is actively engaged in discussions with other Wikimedia editors about sexually-explicit materials on Wikimedia Commons: discussions like that are part of his normal role, and are part of the normal work of being an active volunteer. He is a thought leader in the Wikimedia projects, and although the discussions over the past week have been unusually intense, we don’t consider them problematic. Discussion is how Wikimedians work through policy development and policy interpretation: active argument and debate are normal for us — they are how we do our work. The Wikimedia Foundation is grateful for Jimmy’s involvement, and we’re glad he continues to be an important part of the Wikimedia movement.
Jay Walsh, Communications
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