Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Narcissists in the media: Jimmy Wales

I'll tabulate the results of the survey and post them soon, but in the meantime has anyone been to Wikipedia lately? There are a bunch of vanity shots of alleged "founder" Jimmy Wales (who once got caught editing his own Wikipedia entry for vanity reasons) begging people to fund his multi-billion dollar monument to himself, something that has traditionally been the province of only televangelists and politicians. It's so full of asshattery, I decided to post the entire plea:

I got a lot of funny looks ten years ago when I started talking to people about Wikipedia.
Let’s just say some people were skeptical of the notion that volunteers from all across the world could come together to create a remarkable pool of human knowledge – all for the simple purpose of sharing.
No ads. No agenda. No strings attached.
A decade after its founding, nearly 400 million people use Wikipedia and its sister sites every month - almost a third of the Internet-connected world.
It is the 5th most popular website in the world - but Wikipedia isn’t anything like a commercial website. It is a community creation, written by volunteers making one entry at a time. You are part of our community. And I’m writing today to ask you to protect and sustain Wikipedia.
Together, we can keep it free of charge and free of advertising. We can keep it open – you can use the information in Wikipedia any way you want. We can keep it growing – spreading knowledge everywhere, and inviting participation from everyone.
Each year at this time, we reach out to ask you and others all across the Wikimedia community to help sustain our joint enterprise with a modest donation of $20, $35, $50 or more.
If you value Wikipedia as a source of information – and a source of inspiration – I hope you’ll choose to act right now.
All the best,
Jimmy Wales
Founder, Wikipedia

P.S. Wikipedia is about the power of people like us to do extraordinary things. People like us write Wikipedia, one word at a time. People like us fund it, one donation at a time. It's proof of our collective potential to change the world.
This reads like the word vomit of a completely out of touch celebrity who is famous for doing nothing and can't stop talking about himself in the broadest terms possible. Where is his publicist? Can I donate some money to a public relations person? I feel like that would do Wikipedia the greatest good.

Other fun tidbits form his wikipedia article include: he loves the "philosopher" Ayn Rand, he has hotly disputed any claims from alleged Wikipedia "co-founders", and "[a]lthough his formal designation is that of mere board member and chairman emeritus of the Wikimedia Foundation, Wales' social capital within the Wikipedia community has accorded him a status that has been characterized as benevolent dictator, constitutional monarch and spiritual leader."


  1. I can't stand this guys face.

  2. SweetSalineStainedDecember 1, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    If you close his message out and click the X he goes away ... then is replaced by a very annoying Indonesian chick who personifies wiki by talking about it's health.
    Please God tell me if I X her out I won't be forced to see uglier people from more destitute countries!

  3. I hotly dispute this. Sounds like a feeble personal attack by M.E. to find fault and weakness in a global phenomena that is gaining momentum. ie. that technology may have serendipitously brought mankind another step closer to a "literal" not "figurative" model of a leaderless, individual empowered base or system of inquiry. Such resistance in a situation of crisis is not unexpected and will predictably take the form of strategies which direct focus on the weaknesses of the individuals and initial failures rather than the longer term consequences of the ideas they represent. Too bad about the internet ~ Look Ma, no Godless Evil Despots brainwashing us freewill loving folks!

    @SS, ugly people from destitute countries.

  4. Just testing for double posting

  5. I hotly dispute this. Sounds like a feeble personal attack by M.E. to find fault and weakness in a global phenomena that is gaining momentum. ie. that technology may have serendipitously brought mankind another step closer to a "literal" not "figurative" model of an individual empowered base or system of inquiry. Historically such resistance is not unexpected at treshholds during a crisis of knowledge and predictably take the form of strategies directing focus on the weaknesses of the individuals and initial failures rather than the longer term consequences of the ideas they represent. Restore order! Bring all the Jimmy Wales and Assanges down for all I care! But too bad about the internet.

    @SS, ugly people from destitute countries?

  6. Jimmy Wales is a wanker. I mean you can't even use Wikipedia to site college papers! LOL
    Try UNWIKIPEDIA, very funny stuff, especially about religion.

  7. I can agree the televangelist comparison. He is asking money for something that most people would not be willing to pay much for, saying things like "look how much we're willing to do for you for just a SMALL donation" and making it sound like what they do cures cancer or something... only it works for televangelists because they convince people that Jesus wants them to, or they will achieve some wonderful blessing or spiritual experience in return. Wales doesn't have the faith/religion token to manipulate people with, so I don't see his attempt being very successful. (then again, I could be wrong... I'm probably a bad judge of what others' reactions will be...)

    As for being a narcissist, he does kind of come across that way I guess, but my impression regarding the ad was mostly that he is just trying to milk the success of Wikipedia for all he can get. It comes across as kind of pathetic, but I guess if I were in his situation I'd probably try to make as much money as possible too... after all, it's only a matter of time before Wikipedia is replaced by something new... at which point he will probably just make money charging ridiculous amounts to come speak at colleges and conferences.

    On a side note... Wales has a creepy stare, and this is coming from someone who has a pretty creepy stare. Just saying.

  8. Took a peek. It is hilarious, I'll give you that Ammy ;-)

  9. @Gag You have to be able to laugh and on that note, my fave comic is Cyanide & Happiness! Socios would LOVE it. So twisted and funny!

  10. lol Ammy, you said "Wanker". I love it.

    Aspie: Yes, he certainly doesn't even deserve to be a narcissist, does he?

  11. Truth be told, being on this blog is the closest I've ever come. I thought socio's and aspies don't usually get sarcasm?

  12. SweetSalineStainedDecember 1, 2010 at 7:14 AM

    @Ammy- Cyanide and Happiness is one of the sites I visit pretty much every single day. They had a "what different drugs do" week... Freakin hilarious!
    I also love reading the website just to see the decline of society in general.

  13. I personally would have to disagree with your interpretation of him based on the Plea. It's just a straightforward back-story with a few talking points that deserve consideration, hardly sociopathic/narcissistic vomit.

    The only time he mentions "I" is the very beginning of the plea, too. Another thing to consider.

    I guess I'm not the best at measuring narcissism, as I certainly am narcissistic, but I don't see anything that screams PD for editing your own wiki page.

    In fact, the only things that really bug me about this campaign is that his head shots are horrid, and the Indonesia women, dear god, I'd give her a broken glass facial. What an annoying twat...

  14. Hmmm... unless it's a case of what I wouldn't do => OMG it's SO gross!! sensitivities amongst authors of popular internet sites.

    Just a thought <3

  15. wow his picture is begging for money in every wiki hit. how classy.

    maybe google can buy it?

  16. Egotism is the driving force behind charity.

  17. not surprising M.E. just refer to your 48 laws of power book. he wants money surprise surprise so he writes a vague hope filled message to inspire idiots.

  18. Hosting's expensive. They've been doing this since day one. What's new? Nearly every site I frequent which has significant traffic but no ads asks for donations.

    tl;dr: Yawn~

  19. Gag, sorry I'm late.

    As for sarcasm, I understand it pretty well. Once I learned it well enough (late 20's early 30's) I began to use it as humor. I'm not perfect by any means (probably make mistakes). On a side note, upon REALLY trying hard in that department I began to find I understand some song lyrics better as per what they mean/indicate. Or maybe I'm just bullshitting myself on that one, but it seems like it took learning one to understand another.

  20. Hi, sorry to interrupt at this extremely heated and riveting point in the conversation, but I was wondering... do any of you know how long it takes if you email this site for them to get back to you?

    I'm guessing kinda long, as they must get lots of emails. I think I've waited two days, but I can wait longer.

  21. Hi Anon,
    It's not a "they", it's a "he", so yes, I would imagine that there is a lot of email to sort through. Give M.E. a couple of weeks to get back to you. He's always gotten back to me.

  22. Thanks, I was wondering. This is such an extensive site I guess I thought there'd be more than one person behind it! Must be a hell of a lot of work. Oh well, I can wait. Thank you.

    Asking his opinion on whether or not I'm... well, I'm bet you can guess what.

  23. Well I'm no expert nor a loyal follower and will accept that my views are misguided if prooven wrong but from just looking at where things stand I still don't get it... How a straight forward request for donations (not payment) could warrant such an overblown reaction. Dismissing something useful (maybe even necessary?) that was never there before and free for all intents and purposes on the grounds of bad photos & speculated personality flaws of the founder, seems a lot like misplaced cynicism. Now who's sitting on the windy high horse? It shouldn't take rocket science to see that the economics of "open source" and "free sharing" enterprises if strictly appraised and applied within the current zeitgeist, will be at best, a picasso of financial viability. So why the surprise and opera focusing only on the inconsistancies of needing additional funds (from voluntary sources) for something supposedly free without weighing also the merits? I would've have thought such characteristic witch hunts might more rationally be applied to the entrenched institutions which have hogwashed citizens and destroyed economies. Where's the tenacity in bringing about nothing short of total destruction there?

    tl;dr: " ~

  24. It seemed like a good cause I donated $20. I hate adds

  25. umm...just to clarify; the last bit should be amended to..."total destruction at least in reputation, there?"

  26. SweetSalineStainedDecember 1, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    The only irritating thing to me about his whole request was his constant referral to "we" as if he and I were a common audience. Then he says "you" can use it anyway "you" like... Well thanks for letting me know what I can do with a website. I personally could care less if there are ad's for revenue barring only those ad's that play without being clicked on.

  27. Wikipedia is a quick source and works for a lot of people. He asks for money and some may give, personal choice. Clear cut, options on the table fund-raising. Martha Stewart and Oprah pictures on every shot of their magazines, why won't this guy put his (socio-eyed) picture on his site? Recognition works for business, you call it narcissist...

    Egotism behind charity? How about egotism behind nothing? What better way to channel egotism or narcissism than create something people come to-BY CHOICE.

    Oh, Ayn Rand the Rain End... What a loser at the end, after all that tough talk of survival of the stronger unable to digest her young lover's departure for a young woman. Like all other big guys who ended up with nothing at the end. Wiki guy's end will be time-tested too.

  28. Nothing egregious about the ad.

    His photo and his "we" language may be irritating, but it's an attempt to humanize a website. Otherwise it might seem like you are giving money to a faceless vortex.

    Standard and normal.

  29. SweetSalineStainedDecember 1, 2010 at 6:53 PM

    I think I'd rather give my money to a faceless vortex. As a matter of fact from now on I'll only refer to the internet as "the faceless vortex" ... which is going to get old fast seeing how I am an "online marketing director"!

  30. Don't dis my donations to faceless vortexes.

  31. Ok, so I guess Gad and I weren't the only ones who didn't read between some apparent lines this morning...

    I'd like to point out that I'd like to point out Jimmy Wales's creepy eyes.

    Oh, and UKan's.

    *waits for something entertaining to respond to*

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  34. His eyes, not entirely. His odd camera smiles, yes.

    And poking out eyes sounds fun. They'd need someone else for next year's photo shoot.

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  36. Don't fret, Aerianne. I'm so used to reading/writing content that hasn't been checked (enough) that I read it as think.

  37. Yeah, the whole thing seems normal enough to me. I don't care about who the founder is, what his name is etc. but it seems ignorant to disregard Wikipedia as being without merit.

    It often has the best understandable descriptions of simple subjects and is free. What's to complain about. Sometimes you just need a quick explanation of what Metropolis-Hastings sampling is, or need the melting point of a specific compound, or want a broad definition of a class of enzymes... and just about every time wikipedia steps up with exactly the information you need in a well packaged form.

    What you call narcissism sounds like simple marketing to me. Whichever though.. I hardly see what his personality has to do with the merits of the site.

  38. By wiki, me thinks he's done it! a solution for the "creepy eyes" syndrome!

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  40. Wikipedia is awesome. That guy is not.

    I recall reading somewhere that one of Ayn Rand's personal heroes was a child torture-murdering psychopath.

  41. Couple of links about that:

    here. and here

  42. This comment has been removed by the author.

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