Jimmy Wales Thinks Snowden Is 'An Innocent Party' And 'A Hero'; Wants To Know If He Ever Edited Wikipedia

from the another-mystery dept

A post on Examiner.com points out that Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia’s co-founder, is interested in Edward Snowden:

I’m sure this has been discussed somewhere. In the media there have been reports of user accounts used on various tech discussion sites by Edward Snowden. He was apparently quite an active person online, particularly a few years back when he was younger. It seems highly likely to me that he would have edited Wikipedia — most people who fit his profile (tech savvy, internet activist types) will have done so. Do we have any evidence of that, or suspicions about that?

As Wales says, it certainly seems possible that Snowden might have fiddled with a bit or two on Wikipedia, as one does, so it’s a reasonable question to pose. But there’s a complication, also pointed out in the Examiner.com story:

However, a key problem for Mr. Wales is that Wikipedians aren’t allowed to snoop into the identity of other other Wikipedia editors who have not disclosed their real name on Wikipedia.

This tension between wanting to know if Snowden was a Wikipedia editor, and rules that say the identity of editors should not be revealed unilaterally, is explored in a fascinating — and lively — discussion underneath Wales’s original post that’s well-worth reading. His position on the matter is the following:

It is not ‘outing’ when the user ids in question are already published widely in the media in reliable sources. I looked for a couple of variant spellings and found nothing, so I asked to see if others could find anything. I think it is not only acceptable but highly desirable for people to openly discuss such matters. If someone discovers or knows something that they feel would be inappropriate to post publicly, then they should send it to me privately.

Snowden’s relationship with Wikipedia remains a mystery; Wales’s views on Snowden, by contrast, are pretty clear:

I personally think in general Snowden is an “innocent party” — a hero, in fact.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

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Comments on “Jimmy Wales Thinks Snowden Is 'An Innocent Party' And 'A Hero'; Wants To Know If He Ever Edited Wikipedia”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a bizarre occurance. Why suddenly try to get information like this?

Normally I’d go all tinfoil and suggest the NSA had kidnapped one of Wales’ family members or something and were forcing him to ask around, but considering we’re talking about the people running PRISM, that seems absurd. Wouldn’t they simply be able to look up his IP address, demand Wikipedia hand over all its log files (without a warrant), and just sift through them for the results they want?

Of course, on the other hand, if anyone would know how to avoid PRISM’s gaze (and do so as a matter of course), it’d be Snowden…

Anonymous Coward says:

A non story, story

What is this ?

People “like” Snowden sometimes edit Wikipedia, SO WHAT, then “But I cant find any references to Snowden, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW”.

Lets get further and further and further off topic, we are not just writing about the messenger and not the message, but you are writing about other ‘messengers’ who are writing about the messenger.

What’s going on, clearly the leaks are meaningless otherwise you would actually TALK about them. But NO, none of that, lets just read about someone talking about someone talking about someone else who might somehow have something to do with Snowden !

But we have all come to expect this “standard” of “reporting” constantly displayed here at TD.
Nothing like getting 4th hand information about someone making some guesses, but drawing no conclusions, really hard hitting, and riveting stuff !!!!

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