The BBC has reported that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has been accused by Jeffrey Merkey, the former chief scientist at Novell, of agreeing to editMerkey’s Wikipedia page in exchange for a $5,000 donation to the Wikimedia Foundation. On a mailing list, Merkey published as statement he’dreleased to AP. "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 articleadhere to Wikipedia’s stated policies with regard to internet libel ‘as a courtesy’ and place Merkey under his ‘special protection’ as an editor." But on that same list, Wales responded, "Of course I would never offer, nor accept any offer, whereby a donation would buy someone special editorial treatment in the encyclopeadia." The Wikipedia entry for Merkeywas supposedly libellous, and Wales said he often worked with people who Wiki entries included damaging, libellous or false information. On examination, Merkey’s page had last been edited byWales and put in a state called “protection,” meaning the public could make no additional edits. The non-profit Wikimedia Foundation runs Wikipedia. A spokesman for the foundation,Jay Walsh, denied the edit-for-donation allegation in the Daily Telegraph. "Jimmy never made this offer, and of course this is a practice theWikipedia Foundation would never condone."
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