What is it about Jimmy Wales? The founder of Wikipedia has a thing for brainy women, and a penchant for mixing business and pleasure. But the latest rumor I've heard is mind-blowing: That Wales had a brief affair with Sue Gardner, the executive director of the nonprofit which runs Wikipedia. Gardner has always been swift to rush to Jimmy Wales's defense — oddly so, since he's just one of many board members she reports to. In a recent newspaper article on Wales, there was this line: "Ms. Gardner said there will always be a need for what Mr. Wales provides." Ah yes, what Mr. Wales provides. To Rachel Marsden, Elisabeth Bauer, and Barbara Cohen, among others, you mean?
We keep hearing new rumors about women Jimmy Wales has been involved with. But why tell you? Some Wales critics say it's not the sex, it's the money. But it's hard to separate the two when charges fly that Wales took a girlfriend on trips paid for by the nonprofit WIkipedia. The latest names linked to Wales: Barbara Cohen, formerly an editor with the Public Library of Science, left; and Julie Melton, an online-learning expert, right. Wales's relationship with Cohen, former Wikipedia insiders say, contributed to the breakup of her marriage. Melton stayed in Wales's apartment, though she's said to be seeing someone else. Yes, yes, I know, enough about the sex — did he edit their Wikipedia entries?