If in doubt, blame the hack

1 March 2007

Compare these two statements and you will quickly see why Ryan Jordan's 'apology', which was only an apology to Wikipedians I might add is just digging the fake professor into a deeper and deeper hole. Further, Wikipedia chief and Jordan's employer Jimbo Wales appears to have no problem in this guy spinning a yarn to cover his back.

First the bit of the apology where he lays the blame on Stacey Schiff, who wrote the piece in the New Yorker in July last year:

"I spoke with Stacy Shiff [sic] for over eight hours; in that time, she asked me about a variety of subjects related to Wikipedia and I have her much to write on. (Those who know me will know I am rarely ever brief in my comments.) That she chose to focus on two rather trivial reverts to Justin Timberlake and what my userpage said came as a complete surprise to me; it was, quite honestly, my impression that it was well known that I was not who I claimed to be, and that in the absence of any confirmation, no respectible publication would print it."

Notice the part about not quoting the right bits: not an uncommon complaint among interviewees. But the sting is in the tail, where he seems to be under the impression that Schiff was aware that his identity was false. Yet, only a few weeks ago, in reply to a question of how the New Yorker was taken in, he bragged of how convincing his private university cover story was, in his six hours with Schiff and two hours with a fact checker (note the eight hours total):

"My question is how the New Yorker hasn't gotten its butt kicked for publishing it as fact without the slightest fact-checking. Night Gyr, 03:45, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

"Actually, I did six hours of interviews with the reporter, and two with a fact checker, but I was really surprised that they were willing to do an interview with someone who they couldn't confirm; I can only assume that it is proof I was doing a good job playing the part. Essjay 05:25, 6 February 2007 (UTC)"

Both of these statements cannot be true. Either he played the part all the way through the interview or he made it known that he was not who he claimed to be. Also bear in mind that the reason why Schiff went to Essjay/Jordan for an interview was because other senior Wikipedians recommended it. However, that's according to Essjay, so take it with a pinch of salt.

The user KillerChihuahua replied, "you were set up by your fellow editors! Seriously, they chose well when they chose to interview you. We could not ask for a better representative".

With hindsight, 'better' is not the right word. Perhaps 'more appropriate' would fit now given the support he is receiving from Wales and other editors.