microsoft imitates wiki

Microsoft has added a new feature to its Encarta encyclopedia software whereby users can suggest changes or improvements. The changes are vetted and approved by the Encarta editors. I think it’s an attempt to win over many wikipedia fans who like the concept of being able to contribute to a communal body of knowledge. There is also the benefit for Microsoft that others will be doing most of their work for them. I wonder now if Encarta is a virtual public space? a virtual community?

5 Responses to “microsoft imitates wiki”

  1. jennifer says:

    Is there not a concern for the validity of these types of references? What are the criteria for contributing to wikipedia and now microsoft’s version? Do you have to be an acclaimed expert? Intelligent amateur? Or just a regular joe and good story teller?

  2. Jean-Sebastien says:

    Wikipedia is quite interesting, I was amazed, you can just go on and edit the text, don’t
    even need to login, register or anything. It’a quite an amazing collective work, but I don’t
    know… would prof. Sieber accept it as an official reference?

  3. Liam says:

    I think wikipedia is generally intended as more of a background for information, rather than a trusted source. That being said, I would have more faith some technical wikipedia articles than the equivalent traditional encylcopedia, particularly for relatively new subjects.

  4. pete says:

    In many people’s minds, finding information online lends the item legitimacy. One could post a well written and plausible piece on a wiki, which if it is fairly obscure (like the origin of a word for example), could go unnoticed by “experts”. If left in place long enough, it could be cited, mis-cited, included in other works, and maybe spread to more traditional repositories of knowledge. People seeing it in several sources might then shrug their shoulders and take it to be “truth”. Of course, the same thing happens on TV all the time. No one vets the news, we see what the cameraman and the producers want us to see. However, I think that wikis blur the line between fact and opinion even more than “traditional” websites or news programs.