Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Persona non Ph'der

This week's New Yorker has a curious editor's note on page 10.

Persona non Ph'der

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Jimmywales_wikepedia This week's New Yorker has a curious editor's note on page 10.

It sheds light on something that's become known to the magazine since its July 31 piece on Wikipedia -- mainly that the site administrator whose bio identifies him as a tenured professor with a Ph'd D in theology is really some dude from Kentucky who has never taught and holds no advanced degrees.

The magazine found out that EssJay, the Wikipedia mediator of contested facts, was really named Ryan Jordan. A BBC account reports that Jordan, 24, used such expert texts as "Catholicism For Dummies" to wrestle with theological disputes.

My favorite part of the editor's note is this line:

Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay's invented persona, "I regard it as a pseudonym and I don't really have a problem with it."

Way to go Jimmy. That is so whatever.

Wales has since asked for Jordan's resignation. Jordan has complied.

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Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

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