Is Jimmy Wales stalking his ex-wife in Alabama?

Owen Thomas · 08/22/08 04:00PM

From Jimmy Wales's Wikipedia entry, one learns that the online encyclopedia's founder grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, and that his father, Jimmy, worked as a grocery-store manager, and his mother, Doris, ran a private school. From sources less public but more reliably accurate, I've heard that he's visiting his parents this weekend, with daughter Kira in tow. Ah, a touching family get-together. But a person familiar with Wales's plans believes that he is actually heading back to Alabama to bully his ex-wife Pam over statements she made to W magazine, which appeared in a profile that he found frustratingly unflattering.Because W is a print magazine — the kind of source Wikipedia's fussy editors favor — Pam's characterization of Wales has made it into his Wikipedia entry. "His whole ‘Mr. Save the World’ is so contrary to what he said every day for seven years," Pam told W. She also said that Wales, a follower of Ayn Rand, discouraged her from pursuing a nursing career; his Objectivist beliefs, she suggested, made him look down on anyone pursuing work that smacked of altruism. The opinions Wales expressed to Pam then are not fashionable among his recently acquired limousine-liberal friends. Pam, who has since remarried, had stayed close to Wales for some time after their divorce. (Shades of Sweet Home Alabama: We've learned that Wales didn't bother to finalize their divorce until shortly after Pam told him she was planning to marry someone else.) A friend says Pam only fell out with her ex-husband over his treatment of Christine, his current wife, from whom he is separated. Most disturbingly, he has called her three times since the W article came out, announcing his plans to visit her, uninvited, while he's in Alabama. Wales even had his sister email Pam to let her know he wanted to speak to her. Obviously, there are some things in Wales's life that can't be resolved with an old-fashioned edit war. (Photoillustration by Jackson West)

Jimmy Wales's estranged wife watches over his Wikia failure

Owen Thomas · 06/03/08 11:40AM

Believers in the wisdom of crowds will tell you that wikis, those collections of anyone-can-edit Web pages, are resistant to vandalism. Not so Jimmy Wales's Wikia Search, an attempt to build a search engine along wiki lines, which he is once again touting, this time to Forbes. The search results for "Jimmy Wales" currently display a header with a picture of a smiling woman. Who is she, and what does she tell us about Wikia Search?

Jimmy Wales takes his Wikipedia magic show to New York City

Owen Thomas · 04/29/08 01:40PM

For a province of California, Silicon Valley can be strangely puritan at times. That made it an uncomfortable locale for libertine Libertarian Jimmy Wales, the less-than-saintly founder of Wikipedia. Wales told ex-lover Rachel Marsden, the Canadian controversialist, that he wanted to move to New York to be closer to her. Their affair is over — ended, fittingly, via a posting on Wikipedia — but Wales has relocated to New York all the same. The likely reason has to do with work, or the appearance of work. Although Wikipedia's nonprofit parent, the Wikimedia Foundation, is located in San Francisco, and his ostensible employer, for-profit wiki venture Wikia, has itsheadquarters in a suburb to the south of the city, Wales is charged with running a search-engine project for Wikia which is based in New York.