Monday, May 29, 2006

Microsoft taking on Wikipedia?

I've always avoided MSN and especially its encyclopedia, Encarta, like the plague. Now, after wandering onto the thing in a foggy moment of indiscipline, I've noticed that, at least for some articles, Microsoft is inviting readers to edit them. That is, much as Wikipedia does, though carrying the exact opposite brand identity in my mind, and in the minds of a lot of Wikipedians too I expect. Mitigating the cognitive dissonance there is an arguably fundamental difference between the two in that beside the "submit" button at Encarta you see "Submit this article to the Encarta editorial staff for review." So it's not nearly as democratic. A competition between these two wiki approaches to encyclopedia-making can't possibly be on the merits, because Wikipedia's Web market share is humungous, plus it's got the hearts-and-minds winning ideology. But it fascinates me anyway, if only as a grudge match. I wonder how long this has been going on.

1 comment:

Stroll said...

Very interesting, especially in light of the recent Wikipedia controversy (which has its own Wikipedia entry here ). I for one love Wikipedia, but you can't always trust it 100%. No doubt you can't Encarta either, even with "editorial staff review".