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Two who were there dispute founding of online encyclopedia

The nascent Web encyclopedia Citizendium springs from Larry Sanger, a philosophy Ph D who counts himself as a co founder of Wikipedia, the site he now hopes to usurp. The claim doesn't seem particularly controversial -- Sanger has long been cited as a co founder. Early news stories and press releases say that Wikipedia was founded by Jimmy Wales and Sanger.

Yet Wales isn't happy about it.

Wales insists that Sanger was a subordinate employee of his, and by that measure, 20 other people would deserve co founder status.

In a lengthy instant-message exchange about Citizendium and other topics, Wales raised the subject of Sanger's role: "When you write this up please do not uncritically repeat Sanger's absurd claim to be the co founder of Wikipedia."

"I know of no one who was there at the company at the beginning who would think it anything other than laughable," he added.