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Microsoft Attempts Wilkipedia Corrections

2007-01-26 08:58:49 发表于生活工作, 英语学习 本文链接: Microsoft Attempts Wilkipedia Corrections

images.jpgWhile many have expressed surprise over Microsoft approaching a writer to alter articles on Wikipedia, others are downplaying the brouhaha. Microsoft, for its part, has acknowledged it approached the writer and offered to pay him for the time it would take to correct what the company believed were inaccuracies in the Wikipedia articles.

Microsoft Relevant Products/Services has found itself embroiled in another blogger scandal this week, in what some are calling a demonstration of the Internet’s power to cast a spotlight on corporate strategies.Earlier this month, Microsoft sent Vista-powered Acer laptops to several bloggers in a bid to generate positive buzz about the new operating system. Now, Redmond has found itself in the hot seat once again after offering to pay a writer to edit certain posts on Wikipedia.

The brouhaha began on Monday, when Rick Jelliffe, an O’Reilly Network blogger who offers his insights on XML issues, posted an entry with the headline “An interesting offer: get paid to contribute to Wikipedia.”

Interesting’ Offer

ccording to various news reports, Microsoft contracted Jelliffe to provide more balance on Wikipedia concerning the OpenDocument Format (ODF) and Microsoft’s Office Open XML.

Apparently [Microsoft is] frustrated at the amount of spin from some ODF stakeholders on Wikipedia and blogs,” Jelliffe wrote in the blog post. Then, with the intention of accepting Microsoft’s financial contributions, he called for people who see incorrect entries about ODF on Wikipedia or other forums to let him know.

elliffe received plenty of blog comments in response to his post. Some of them merely corrected his take on the document formats, but many of them sought to address his ideas of what is ethical and what is not.

eter Yellman, one commenter, reasoned that arguments that contend people can stay neutral when getting paid by a corporation to comment on a product are “almost invariably made by people who are being paid to do so.”

eapot Tempest?

hile many have expressed surprise over the issue, others are downplaying its significance. Microsoft, for its part, has acknowledged it approached Jelliffe and, according to various news reports, offered to pay him for the time it would take to correct what the company believed were inaccuracies in the articles.

atherine Brooker, a Microsoft spokesperson, was quoted as saying that Microsoft believed the articles in question were heavily written by people at IBM.

Brooker told the Associated Press that 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.

igger Issues

s the debate over whether Wikipedia should allow user entries from people who are getting paid to post heats up, the broader question remains unanswered: How does the possibility of paid entries impact information-seeking folks who might not realize the content they are reading is heavily influenced by corporations?

B.L. Ochman, a marketer, blogger, and principal of WhatsNextOnline.com, said the issue highlights the ongoing struggle to keep Wikipedia unbiased. “Social media is a democracy and in a democracy the lowest common denominator rules,” she said.

“People have a chance, more than ever before, to have a say in what’s posted online,” Ochman argued. “This incident doesn’t question the quality of the information on Wikipedia in my mind because someone else can come along and correct mistakes.”

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