Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Astroturfing Wikipedia

In Battleground Wikipedia, Michael Arrington calls out Microsoft for recently trying to astroturf Wikipedia: faced with pages on OpenOffice standards written largely by the competition at IBM, with what were believed to be factual errors, a Microsoft employee attempted to pay an Australian blogger to change the pages in Microsoft's errors. When the issue came out, people were of course appalled.

I'm surprised at my sympathy for Microsoft (see the original story), but nevertheless the behavior violates the emergent principles for interaction on Wikipedia and social networking sites more generally. Someone should do a thesis (and probably has already done one) on how these interaction principles are emerging and how they conflict with the old command-and-control PR at which Microsoft is so adept.

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