Earlier this week Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales' auctioned an NFT and the iMac he used to build the website. However, that made Wackypedia’s editors furious. Apparently, they had not been consulted about how Wales dealt with his own property or work.
The trouble began when Wales posted an announcement about the auction on his user talk page -- a kind of message board where users communicate directly with each other. Wikipedia has strict rules against self-promotion and some editors felt that Wales' announcement violated that rule.
"Am I crazy? Jimbo has posted a thread on his user talk page promoting an auction of some of his stuff, which he has refused to confirm would not benefit him personally," editor Floquenbeam said on December 3..
"This is self-promotion 101, right? I've told him if he doesn't remove it, I will. That's policy, right?“
The got even angrier when Wales dared to question their decision by saying he'd spoken to the WMF communications and legal departments and that they'd agreed a simple post about the auction on his user talk page would be fine.
Like many wackypedia debates, the conversation went on like this for about a day before another editor shut it down, saying it was "past the point of productive discourse" and made Wales disappear. Because he had that power and Wales did not.
The thread announcing the auction on Wales' talk page was removed but another thread remains where he's answering questions about the auction and NFTs from other users.
Meanwhile Editors are carrying on insisting that Wales do what they command. Some are concerned that he's taking something from Wikimedia and could use the money to fund his commercial enterprise WT:Social.
Another user said "The concept of NFT seems to go against the very principles of Wikipedia. On one hand, we share our work freely, both in terms of access and by using a copyleft license. On the other hand, this NFT takes something that was shared freely and then restricts it so that it can be sold."
The NFT Wales is selling is a website that allows users to relive the moment of Wikipedia's creation. The site looks like Wikipedia did in its fledgling moments, and whoever wins the auction can edit it as they will.
Wikipedia's editors did not believe that Wales had the right to auction off something like this and if he was even recreating the site correctly at the moment of its inception. The discussion devolved into a lengthy conversation about who owns the rights to what they edit on Wikipedia and the state of servers and timestamps from 2001.
Wales' NFT is a recreation of a memory and not an actual editable bit of code that will be reflected on Wikipedia in any way, not that it matters. Wackypedia editors believe they are gods and while blessing detailed pages about Porn stars, insist that they have the right to say Fudzilla does not exist.