Chaser's war on Wikipedia founder
April 26, 2007 - 2:48PM
It was always just a matter of time before Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales had a run-in with The Chaser.
Andrew Hansen, one of five stars of the hit satirical ABC television program, ambushed Wales's question-and-answer session at the education.au conference in Sydney this morning.
Wales had just finished giving his keynote speech at the Hilton hotel, during which he brought the audience of about 150 educators up to speed on the ins and outs of Wikipedia and his newer for-profit venture, Wikia.
He explained how his collaborative online encyclopedia, which has copped significant flack of late over the apparent ease at which anyone can add erroneous and libellous information, was best used by teachers and students - as a source of background information, rather than a quoteable reference.
Given Wales's widely publicised goal of giving "every single person on the planet free access to the sum of all human knowledge", Hansen evidently thought Wales would be a prime candidate for The Chaser's "Mr Ten Questions" segment.
"Ah, Jimmy, um, look I just have 10 questions," Hansen said when he was handed the microphone during the question-and-answer session.
"First, how are you enjoying Australia?
"Second, how do our computers compare to the ones in America?
"Third, why does everyone in IT look so nerdy, yet you look like a daytime soap star?
"Fourth, Mac or PC - do you really give a shit?
"Fifth, there are 1.7 million articles on Wikipedia; how long did it take you to write them all?
"Sixth, Craig Reucassel's a bit unhappy with the photo on his page. Could you upload a better one maybe for him?
"Seventh, my dog is getting some scabs under his chin. I don't know if you can bring him in the number of a local vet?
"Eighth, Jessica Rowe and Peter Overton - will it last?
"Ninth, cracked pepper?
"Tenth, how do you feel about the fact that when I looked you up on Wikipedia this morning I changed your page to say that you were a teenage drug lord from Malaysia?"
In his usual style, Hansen asked each question in rapid succession, pausing to let Wales respond only when he had finished asking all 10.
Wales's nervous, confused facial expressions were a stark contrast to his typically dauntless demeanour, but he attempted to answer some.
His responses were not delivered into the microphone and so could be heard only by those sitting at the front of the room.
"Not such a nerd as I thought - oh well, you got four out of 10. I'll add that to your Wikipedia page thank you," Hansen said before leaving the room.
It was a relatively mild stunt given The Chaser's history; last year, member Chas Licciardello was arrested for attempting to sell fake weapons as official Bulldogs merchandise to fans prior to a game in Kogarah.
He was cleared of the offensive behaviour charge this year by magistrate Joanne Keogh, who said it was obvious the stunt was a joke.
The Mr Ten Questions segment has yet to appear in the current season of The Chaser, but it was a mainstay of the program last year.
Previous subjects include Anthony LaPaglia and Kerri-Anne Kennerly; LaPaglia is the only one so far to answer all 10 questions successfully.
Following Hansen's departure, the question-and-answer session continued as if nothing had happened.
On Monday and Tuesday respectively, Wales spoke at similar education.au seminars in Adelaide and Perth.
Following his stop in Sydney today, Wales will depart for Melbourne where he is scheduled to speak tomorrow at ZINC at Federation Square.