Wikipedia founder accused of agreeing to alter page: report
A former Novell software creator has accused Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales of agreeing to edit a page of the online encyclopedia in exchange for a financial donation, the BBC said Wednesday.
Jeffrey Merkey, the former chief scientist for Novell, said he gave $5,000 US to the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia.
Merkey said Wales agreed to "use his influence" to remove "libellous remarks" in the entry for Merkey, said the report.
Wales told the BBC the allegations are "nonsense."
Entries in the online encyclopedia can be written and edited anonymously by readers. Critics say it is unreliable and cannot be considered a credible source of information.
In a statement released to the Associated Press and a Wikimedia mailing list, Merkey said: "Wales agreed that in exchange for a substantial donation and other financial support of the Wikimedia Foundation projects, Wales would use his influence to make Merkey's article adhere to Wikipedia's stated policies with regard to internet libel 'as a courtesy' and place Merkey under his 'special protection' as an editor."
Wales denied the allegations in his response to the mailing list.
"Of course I would never offer, nor accept any offer, whereby a donation would buy someone special editorial treatment in the encyclopedia."
Wikipedia spokesperson Jay Walsh told the Daily Telegraph newspaper the allegation is "false" and that the organization does not condone such practices.
Wales was recently involved a high-profile breakup with political pundit Rachel Marsden, who sold some of his clothing on eBay and published some of their personal, online chats.
Marsden made headlines in 2004 when she received a conditional discharge and year's probation for criminally harassing a Vancouver radio host following their breakup.
Most recently, she accused a former boyfriend, a counterterrorism officer for the Ontario Provincial Police, of leaking her secret anti-terrorism documents. An internal police investigation is ongoing.
She first made Canadian headlines in the 1990s when she accused a former swim coach at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University of sexual harassment. The coach, who was fired and later rehired, alleged she stalked him. Those allegations were never proven.