Thursday, January 25, 2007
On his blog, Jelliffe states:
"I think I’ll accept it: FUD enrages me and MS certainly are not hiring me to add any pro-MS FUD, just to correct any errors I see."
"Brooker said Microsoft had gotten nowhere in trying to flag the purported mistakes to Wikipedia's volunteer editors, so it sought an independent expert who could determine whether changes were necessary and enter them on Wikipedia." [SMH]
Microsoft paying an impartial expert to edit Wikipedia pages is ok because:
- Wikipedia has been the victim of quality issues for a while (see guest post by Roger Clarke). By paying impartial experts who would not normally invest much time editing Wikipedia, the quality of articles will also increase.
- Anyone can edit Wikipedia. Alterations that aren't impartial are swiftly rectified. Mechanisms are in place to ensure that articles remain neutral (kinda).
Microsoft paying an impartial expert to edit Wikipedia pages is not ok because:
- Their actions could set a precedent that leads to the exploitation of Wikipedia for commercial advantage.
- The perception of bias is almost as dangerous as actual bias.
- They upset the creators of Wikipedia :(
I am inclined to wait and see what happens before throwing up my arms in disgust.
In the meantime, enjoy the lovely cartoon from xkcd.
(Pictured: "The Problem with Wikipedia", Randall Munroe - via his excellent webcomic xkcd, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 license)