Shoestring Theory

Currently documenting the house that is eating our lives, we will return to regularly scheduled programming in a couple of more months

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Bad idea: A wiki/ebay breakup

March 5, 2008 at 11:44 am by thetheorist

eBay breakup auction
Classy folks, real classy.

So normally I despise the celebrity gossip/rumor mill, but this one intersected with two of my favorite sites, Wikipedia and eBay.

The St. Petersburg Times is reporting:

It’s war of the Web roses between St. Petersburg’s Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, and his ex-girlfriend, Rachel Marsden. She claims he dumped her via his Wikipedia page. So, natch, she appears to be selling his junk on eBay for revenge.

Apparently, this line was added to Wales’ Wikipedia entry: “Wales had a brief relationship with Canadian journalist Rachel Marsden.” Marsden, apparently, didn’t know the past tense now applied to the brief relationship. Wales has made an announcement about the situation on his personal blog.

There are two auctions up by user ID americanada1 for a t-shirt and sweater. The combined bid value on the two items is $3,136 (though both high bidders have 0 feedback and one is a new user). I can’t imagine how this seemed like a good idea. But, Marsden has a history of personal relationships ending badly and in the news according to her Wikipedia bio. Both her and Wales’ bios have editing locks on them currently.

News sites are reporting that Marsden met Wales after she complained about the Wikipedia article on her.

Here’s a head’s up to media people reporting on eBay and Wikipedia: link to the relevant information. The vast majority of the time I see eBay auctions reported on, there is no link to the auction nor an auction number to search for. The same goes for Wikipedia. Let your readers examine the source material for themselves and make their own judgments.

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The Submit button may not be appearing or working correctly in IE6. I would suggest upgrading to IE7 or Firefox 2 for full functionality (I'm still looking for a solution to this if anyone knows one).

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  • 1 Isa Mar 19, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I, too, find it extremely annoying when they don’t post a link to the source they are discussing. The only possible motive I’ve thought of is that maybe they don’t want to give the person free exposure (especially with an eBay auction). We’ve found that our traffic and bids increase exponentially whenever we’re mentioned in a blog or news item, and I’m sure the people writing the articles know that.