As a follow-up to my earlier post about Essjay retiring from Wikipedia and Wikia, I noticed a poignant farewell on Angela Beesley’s blog today. As someone who has spent years working on both Wikipedia and Wikia, Angela probably knows Essjay as well as anyone in the wiki-blog community. She makes the valid point that 55% of internet users report “always faking their online identity.” For a 24 year old kid, I imagine Essjay has had quite a turbulent week.
Clearly, I don’t condone Essjay’s deceptions on Wikipedia, or his lying to The New Yorker. And for better or worse, I choose to have both my Wikipedia and my ValueWiki accounts in my real name. But it’s not every day the New York Times covers your mistakes for all the world to see. Essjay was clearly a smart guy and a talented editor, and I can see how things spun out of control. He has my sympathy.
UPDATE: Just noticed the outpouring of community support on Essjay’s Wikipedia Talk Page before it got deleted.