i’m being bullied by the founder of wikipedia

But he’s an important person, so at least someone significant is hurting my feelings.

The irony of my tweets to Jimmy Wales, founder of the online encyclopedia that we all know and love, Wikipedia, is kind of tremendous. I’ve been trying to show how the internet has been a positive experience for me and many others, and change the negative connotation and reputation of the web. I asked Jimmy his opinion on why he believes people have negative views of the internet and his response was not at all what I expected.

Here was my first tweet – @jimmy_wales I’m a student at EMU & I was wondering why you think many have a negative view of the internet? I’d love to hear from you!

And his back to me – @redefine_online I don’t think the premise is true. Not many people have a negative view of the Internet, compared to those w/positive.

Well, I obviously disagree or I wouldn’t have created this blog in the first place. While we were viewing a video called Fault Lines: Controlling the Web in class in which Jimmy was featured, and in some parts they seemed to paint the internet as a very scary or unknown place. They also showed the contrast between those who like and dislike the internet, pointing out how members of congress, etc were almost terrified of this new technology.

So I suppose I was expecting Jimmy to go along with me. But when he sort of shut me down the first time, I decided to keep tweeting him anyway, thinking there would be more behind what he was saying and hoping to get another opinion of his or challenge him.

My second tweet to him – @jimmy_wales Has your experience been mostly positive? I suppose I have this mentality b/c in class we talked about reluctance to change.

And then I added – @jimmy_wales And thank you for responding! I truly appreciate it.

Because I did. It was nice to get any sort of answer from someone so important to the web, and I wanted to express my gratitude for him talking to a lowly college student.

His response threw me – @redefine_online Yes my experience has been uniformly positive. This is true of almost everyone on the planet.

Whoa. That’s a bold statement. And very generalizing as well. At first I was hurt, and then I thought maybe he was trying to be ironic, and to tell you the truth I still don’t know if he’s just being completely honest or not. Maybe he just wanted an annoying student to get off his back. Or maybe he likes playing devil’s advocate. I had half a mind to tweet back “Yeah? Well I’m not having a very positive experience right now.” But I think I’ll respect the man who founded a website that I use on a daily basis.

I don’t agree with Jimmy Wales in the sense that the internet is widely thought of as a positive thing (if he actually is being serious), but he’s one of the first and few people I’ve come across that’s not been completely open and willing to go along with an idea or at least debate something rather than shut it down completely. I suppose it just goes to show that you never know what could happen on the internet, and I guess I’m fortunate I got any response at all.

I guess, above all, he only further proved my point in his second tweet that the internet is a positive place. “For almost everyone on the planet.” So thanks for the experience, Jimmy. I think.

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One thought on “i’m being bullied by the founder of wikipedia

  1. Pingback: a discussion on the “yes, and?” mentality |

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