Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 23:27 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Microsoft "So I was a little surprised to receive email a couple of days ago from Microsoft saying they wanted to contract someone independent but friendly (me) for a couple of days to provide more balance on Wikipedia concerning ODF/OOXML. I am hardly the poster boy of Microsoft partisanship! Apparently they are frustrated at the amount of spin from some ODF stakeholders on Wikipedia and blogs. 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." So basically, it seems as if Microsoft is trying to 'hire' people to edit Wikipedia.
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Unethical
by jacquouille on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 23:50 UTC
jacquouille
Member since:
2006-01-02

Basically Microsoft is paying to modify wikipedia. Enough said.

It doesn't matter whether the modifications make sense or not, whether they are actually correcting an "anti-MS spin". This is irrelevant here, because regardless,

1. This is setting a precedent.
2. Disregarding intentions, this is exactly as if the Wikipedia was used as an advertising space. And intentions don't matter in the long-term, so this is where it'll lead.
3. Microsoft has many reasons to hate the Wikipedia; for instance, the Wikipedia is a Free-Software project promoting Free content, and Microsoft is promoting a very different information model (what they call "Intellectual Property").

EDIT: Just for the record, here's one good reason why OOXML is a joke: it is estimated that implementing enough of OOXML to guarantee good interoperability with MS Office would take ~100 man-years (rough order of magnitude). So OOXML is just an attempt at perverting the idea of an open standard. I know some KOffice people are disgusted by that.

Edited 2007-01-23 00:00

Reply Score: 5

RE: Unethical
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 00:25 UTC in reply to "Unethical"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The real question is: why don't they do it themselves? Arguably, if they're going to pay someone to correct errors on Wikipedia, they're going to want some editorial control on what is written. In such a case, they might as well make the edits themselves.

It does seem as if there are inaccuracies in the OOXML-related articles, however it's not up to MS to correct them. What this does highlight, however, is that it seems they are not above hiring people to act on their behalf on web sites and forums...we've always suspected there were paid shills trolling the Linux threads and going to bat to defend MS against those who dare criticise them...this kind of news strongly confirms those suspicions!

Reply Score: 5

RE: Unethical
by smashIt on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 00:34 UTC in reply to "Unethical"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

3. Microsoft has many reasons to hate the Wikipedia; for instance, the Wikipedia is a Free-Software project promoting Free content, and Microsoft is promoting a very different information model (what they call "Intellectual Property").

the computer-section of wikipedia is a huge oss/linux advertisement. and if ms is willing to pay someone to change this, I'm the last one to stop them

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Unethical
by GhePeU on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 00:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
GhePeU Member since:
2005-07-06

Bullshits. "Microsoft", "Windows 2000", "Windows XP", "Architecture of Windows NT", "Microsoft Data Access Components" are featured articles, documented and neutral, and many of them went in the Main Page in the last months.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Unethical
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 05:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

the computer-section of wikipedia is a huge oss/linux advertisement. and if ms is willing to pay someone to change this, I'm the last one to stop them

The computer section of Wikipedia also has plenty of information on computer architecture, Atari ST, Commodore Amiga, SPARC, VMS, other obscure and bygone platforms of yesterday, and things that Microsoft pretend that WNT is (microkernels and secure operating systems).

If an encyclopedia turns out not to be a huge advertisement for Microsoft, how is that anyone but Microsoft's problem?

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Unethical
by Moochman on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

the computer-section of wikipedia is a huge oss/linux advertisement.

Uh, no. See, the word "advertisement" means someone is paying for it....

Wikipedia "endorses" FOSS simply because those are the types of people who tend to write the articles. This is no coincidence; as the above post alludes to, there is a great deal of ideology shared between free software and community-created content. Both are fueled by a groundswell of people who are driven more often than not by passion rather than money....

There's a big difference between people writing what they feel out of passion for/belief in the free flow of information, and Microsoft *paying* people to support MS on Wikipedia, which is essentially corporate-sponsored advertising in the traditional sense, except without the disclaimer anywhere that we are viewing an advertisement. Which is an incredibly decietful, underhanded and despicable tactic.

As Wikipedia is supposed to be a reflection of its user-base and not some corporate sponsor, they should really be making an attempt to discover such abuse and crack down on it, just as they have cracked down on vandalism.

Sometimes I get the feeling there's a bizarre sort of reality-distortion-field around Microsoft, whereby their consistent immoral behavior is taken for granted to such an extent that people come up with rationalizations just to be able to believe that Microsoft "isn't really that evil." And yet, as in this case, we are shown time and time again that, actually, they are.

Or maybe we're just tricked by the consistent presence of the aforementioned MS-payed forum trolls, you never know.

(Btw, it's occured to me that they could easily pay a bunch of different trolls to post comments and simultaneously mod their fellow trolls up up. It's nice to know I'll never be able to trust a single thing I read on any community site now because I'll never know if it's just the work of the MS trolls.)

Edited 2007-01-23 17:41

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Unethical
by looncraz on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 19:40 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Unethical"
looncraz Member since:
2005-07-24

Sure you know who you can trust... anyone that is at least using correct logic to explain their points.

It shouldn't matter what you are told, you should go out and try to find the truth if it matters that much to you.

MS hiring people to work on Wikipedia is not illegal or even unethical by itself. However, should they censor or edit the content to fit an advertising image, then it is unethical as Wikipedia *IS* an encyclopedia that should reflect the real truths of the world, without censorship or omission.

--The loon

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Unethical
by dylansmrjones on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Do you have any example on this "huge oss/linux advertisement"?

People could just as easily claim Wikipedia's computer section is one big MS commercial.

Personally it's my opinion that the information is generally quite neutral and correct. But perhaps you are hinting at the many Wikipedia articles about OSS/Linux? In that case you ought to read all the articles about proprietary software solutions. I think you've forgotten those.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Unethical
by flanque on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 01:25 UTC in reply to "Unethical"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

// it is estimated that implementing enough of OOXML to guarantee good interoperability with MS Office would take ~100 man-years (rough order of magnitude). //

Really? Based on how many people working on it? I wonder how long it took to develop the standard let alone then go and implement it.

Edited 2007-01-23 01:25

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Unethical
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 03:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

// it is estimated that implementing enough of OOXML to guarantee good interoperability with MS Office would take ~100 man-years (rough order of magnitude). //

Really? Based on how many people working on it? I wonder how long it took to develop the standard let alone then go and implement it.


I'm not sure you understand the concept of man-years...

MS should just stop pushing OOXML and work at producing an ODF filter for MS Word.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Unethical
by DrillSgt on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 05:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Unethical"
DrillSgt Member since:
2005-12-02

"MS should just stop pushing OOXML and work at producing an ODF filter for MS Word."


They did...and they have a different one that you can download from the MS Office web site...


http://odf-converter.sourceforge.net/download.html

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Unethical
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 06:17 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Cool, thanks! This is actually going to come in handy, as I've now switched to OO.o on my laptop.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Unethical
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 06:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//They did...and they have a different one that you can download from the MS Office web site... //

That one is just an OOXML to ODF convertor. It converts from Office memory structures <-> OOXML <-> ODF. It relies on the OOXML in the first place, then converts it. It doesn't work very well at all, from all reports.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060720063746488

What you want is a proper plug-in filter. Office memory structures <-> ODF direct.

Like this one:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060504015438308

That one works much better.

Edited 2007-01-23 06:46

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Unethical
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 09:54 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Unethical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

{{ //They did...and they have a different one that you can download from the MS Office web site... //

That one is just an OOXML to ODF convertor. It converts from Office memory structures <-> OOXML <-> ODF. It relies on the OOXML in the first place, then converts it. It doesn't work very well at all, from all reports.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060720063746488
}}

More on this topic ...

http://lnxwalt.wordpress.com/2007/01/20/whats-wrong-with-choice/

"So, Brian Jones, do you really care about choice? Prove it to me. Instead of a halfway-functional plug-in that has to be searched out and downloaded, have your team write fully-native ODF support and download it as an automatic update to Office XP (2002) and later. Make sure that it is placed as an equal peer with OOXML in your "Save As" dialog."

Edited 2007-01-23 09:56

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Unethical
by Soulbender on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 10:21 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"It doesn't work very well at all, from all reports.

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20060720063746488"

Groklaw isn't exactly the pinnacle of unbiased reporting.
Notice that at the time of that article the plugin was 1.5 months old and there hadn't been an official release.
Testing prototypes and drawing wideranging conclusions, that's what respectable journalism is all about.
A test of the latest 0.3 release would be in order but there's of course the chance that it will actually work well and not be usefull for furthering someone's agenda.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Unethical
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Unethical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//Groklaw isn't exactly the pinnacle of unbiased reporting.
Notice that at the time of that article the plugin was 1.5 months old and there hadn't been an official release.
Testing prototypes and drawing wideranging conclusions, that's what respectable journalism is all about.
A test of the latest 0.3 release would be in order but there's of course the chance that it will actually work well and not be usefull for furthering someone's agenda.//

No,honestly, by its very nature, you cannot set the Microsoft-sponsored converter as the default "save as" option for Office. It is not a true plug-in. It is an OOXML-to-ODF converter, and a poor one at that.

Here, read about it from another source, if you don't credit groklaw:

http://lnxwalt.wordpress.com/2007/01/20/whats-wrong-with-choice/
"Mr. Jones, if you really care about choice, implement ODF as a fully-native peer to OOXML and automatically download it in the next batch of updates, rather than using a partially-functional plug-in that has to be searched out and then downloaded. Or is it really Microsoft that is afraid?"

No, what you want is a true plug-in that deosn't have to go via OOXML, and which doesn't deliberately treat the ODF format as a second-class citizen.

Fortunately, the OpenDocument Foundation is preparing just such a plug-in.

Unfortunately, they are not yet ready to release it.

http://opendocument.us/
"The infamous ODf Plugin is not yet available for download. Our plan is to submit the plugin to participate in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts trials. Following the trials, and completion of development, the plugin will be available to the public. National and State governments, governmental agencies and systems consultants having an interest in the trials are welcome to contact us for information, and possible contribution - participation suggestions. We're not yet aware of how the trials are to be structured, but input and advice is most welcome."

Edited 2007-01-23 11:18

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Unethical
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Unethical"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Groklaw isn't exactly the pinnacle of unbiased reporting.

Actually, Groklaw does a very good job of separating its avowed biased opinions from the facts. It's been doing a superb job of reporting the facts during the SCO-IBM and related trials, and presented those in an objective manner, while never hiding its clear pro-FOSS bias in the process.

Its coverage of the MS OOXML push was similarly well-covered, with the bias clearly stated. Compare that to people who claim to be unbiased, but then just reprint the official MS party line, and the difference is striking.

I agree with hal2k1 that an OOXML-to-ODF convertor is not the same as a native ODF export filter in Office. It's not as if MS would be unable to produce one, so it seems that their only reasons not to provide users with one is a strategic ones, i.e. that MS cares more about their own market dominance than about their customers.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Unethical
by jack_perry on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 03:35 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

// it is estimated that implementing enough of OOXML to guarantee good interoperability with MS Office would take ~100 man-years (rough order of magnitude). //

Really? Based on how many people working on it?

Well, the idea of man-years is that it's supposed to be independent of the number of people working on it. If you had ten, um, "men", it should take 10 years. If you had 100 "men", it should take 1 years. If you had only one man, it would take 100 years.

Of course, that's not entirely accurate (see The Mythical Man-Month), but it's the general idea.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Unethical
by Ford Prefect on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 12:08 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

Others already explained "man years".

I want to point out what's the difference between MS and competitors: MS took what they had already, the Word file format, and transformed it into some "open" XML file format. They only had to change how the internal interpretation will be written out / read in.

Competitors now have products who have a complete different internal representation. They have to carefully implement the whole standard through, in a step by step manner. You could also argue, they have to reprogram how MS Word works a little bit.

And there is another problem: Microsofts XML Format defines how to include some "third party" content, which most times is MS proprietary content. So to fully support documents of this type, you have to support much more than only the specification. And this "much more" part is also already done by Microsoft, that's where it comes from..


It's reasonable for MS anyway to do their own format and they also have some good points for that. It will just not really change the world and the ditch between MS Word and it's competition...

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Unethical
by MollyC on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 16:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Unethical"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"I want to point out what's the difference between MS and competitors: MS took what they had already, the Word file format, and transformed it into some "open" XML file format. They only had to change how the internal interpretation will be written out / read in.

Competitors now have products who have a complete different internal representation. They have to carefully implement the whole standard through, in a step by step manner. You could also argue, they have to reprogram how MS Word works a little bit."

------------

Of course, the fact that ODF is based on OO.o's previous XML format and is built with OO.o's codebase and internal structures in mind* is just fine and dandy with you, right? Or if it isn't have you ever publicly complained about it like you're doing with OOXML?

* See this May 27, 2006 version of OO.o's xml.openoffice.org site, as preserved by the "WayBack Machine" site:
http://xml.openoffice.org/index.html" rel="nofollow">http://web.archive.org/web/20060527061439/http://xml.openoffice.org...

Let me quote from that page:
"OpenOffice.org XML file format:
OpenOffice.org XML File Format Definition, FAQ, and other information
The OpenOffice.org XML file format is the native file format of OpenOffice.org 1.0. It has been replaced by the OASIS OpenDocument file format in OpenOffice.org 2.0."


"OASIS OpenDocument file format:
Information about this file format is available at the OASIS OpenDocument Technical Committee web pages.
The OASIS OpenDocument file format is the native file format of OpenOffice.org 2.0. It is developed by a Technical Committee (TC) at OASIS. The OpenDocument format is based on the OpenOffice.org XML file format."


Allow me to point out the relevant parts that make my point, just to drill the point home:
1. "The OpenOffice.org XML file format is the native file format of OpenOffice.org 1.0."
2. "The OpenDocument format is based on the OpenOffice.org XML file format."

Meaning, that ODF is based on the native file format of OO.o 1.0. ODF is not a "neutral" format, it's OO.o's format. Other word processors have to alter their own code and jump through hoops to implement ODF, while OO.o doesn't because OO.o 1.0 was already coded to handle OpenOffice.org XML, which is the format on which ODF is based. This is NO different than the situation with OOXML.

OOXML is the public standard version of MS Office's file format, and ODF is the same for OO.o. Neither format is vendor nuetral, no matter how much ODF advocates try to claim that ODF was built from the ground up in some app-agnostic fashion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Unethical
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 16:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Of course, the fact that ODF is based on OO.o's previous XML format and is built with OO.o's codebase and internal structures in mind* is just fine and dandy with you, right? Or if it isn't have you ever publicly complained about it like you're doing with OOXML?

The important part you conveniently missed out is that OO.o's code is open to public view, so we can see how the program code and format mesh together. With XML/MS Office, that simply isn't possible unless you're Microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Unethical
by MollyC on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:07 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Unethical"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"The important part you conveniently missed out is that OO.o's code is open to public view, so we can see how the program code and format mesh together. With XML/MS Office, that simply isn't possible unless you're Microsoft."

Is the code the spec or is the spec the spec? Is OO.o's code part of either the OASIS or ISO specs? No? Is the ODF spec so lacking that source code is needed? The EU didn't accept source code as part of the spec for MS's proprietary network protocols, so one shouldn't accept code to make up for the lackings of a spec for a publicly recognized standard.

But at least you admit that ODF isn't vendor-neutral or app-agnostic and that some will have to slog through OO.o's source code to implement it. And you admit that ODF is built with OO.o in mind and OO.o "only had to change how the internal interpretation will be written out / read in." (quoting what the GGP said regarding MS and OOXML).

BTW, Apple, Corel, and Novel are implementing OOXML as we speak, and they're not having to look at MS's source code. So which is the more app-neutral standard, the one that requires that one look at a particular source code's implementaiton or one that doesn't need such?

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Unethical
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:20 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Is the code the spec or is the spec the spec? Is OO.o's code part of either the OASIS or ISO specs? No? Is the ODF spec so lacking that source code is needed? The EU didn't accept source code as part of the spec for MS's proprietary network protocols, so one shouldn't accept code to make up for the lackings of a spec for a publicly recognized standard.

Nor should one attempt to spread FUD that a publically recognized standard is proprietary one, or the reverse. Buut hey, you did it.

But at least you admit that ODF isn't vendor-neutral or app-agnostic and that some will have to slog through OO.o's source code to implement it. And you admit that ODF is built with OO.o in mind and OO.o "only had to change how the internal interpretation will be written out / read in." (quoting what the GGP said regarding MS and OOXML).

I admit no such thing. And if it were, it could easily be changed to meet the requirements of a standard.

BTW, Apple, Corel, and Novel are implementing OOXML as we speak, and they're not having to look at MS's source code. So which is the more app-neutral standard, the one that requires that one look at a particular source code's implementaiton or one that doesn't need such?

As I said, you don't need to look at OO.org's code. WordPerfect has support for .doc, too - I doubt they took a peek at MS source code when they implemented that; doesn't make .doc an open format. OOXML might be well detailed now - though independent information suggests that it isn't - but what about when Microsoft change the format to meet their own requirements (=vendor lock-in)?

One would have thought that by now you would have learnt not to astroturf me; I can call you on your shit any time.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Unethical
by Moochman on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:48 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Um, you must be living in a reality-distortion zone. Corel ist implementing ODF, too. Guess which of their implementations will probably be better? I'll bet you (seriously!) that it'll be ODF.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Unethical
by Moochman on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:51 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Um, you must be living in a reality-distortion zone. Corel ist implementing ODF, too. Guess which of their implementations will probably be better? I'll bet you (seriously!) that it'll be ODF.

So which is the more app-neutral standard, the one that requires that one look at a particular source code's implementaiton or one that doesn't need such?

You would make me laugh out loud, if it weren't for the fact that I felt my intelligence was being insulted. ODF-implementers "need" MS Office source-code probably way more than they "need" OO.org source-code, but they'll never have it now, will they, so it's quite the moot argument.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Unethical
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 22:49 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//So which is the more app-neutral standard, the one that requires that one look at a particular source code's implementaiton or one that doesn't need such?//

ROFLMAO.

Are you serious?

Here, read this:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20070123071154671

A huge litany of problems with OOXML as a proposed "standard".

The "Da Vinci" plugin for MS Office remains the last best hope of MS Office ever getting a decent, interoperable, truly open file format.

Now read this:

http://www.fr0mat.net/
"Enter daVinci. The conversion of binary documents occurs at the headpoint of the process, Microsoft Word, and it is full fidelity. No need to waste expensive human attention fixing conversion artifacts. Once the process is in ODF, these documents can be passed through a mixed environment without loss of that original fidelity."

...

"My educated guess is that it would take all of two weeks for Microsoft to write an Microsoft Office ODF plugin. Indeed, Microsoft developers reportedly told Massachusetts that it would be "trivial" for them to implement ODF in Microsoft Office. In all three of the major apps. If they can do it for something as complex and convoluted as EOOXML, ODF will be a snap. The trick is not in XML. It's in having the secret legacy binary format blueprints. "

Get back to me if you ever find your way into the reality of the real world and figure out what it all means.

(Hint: it means Microsoft doesn't want ODF to succeed, it wants you to be perpetually locked in to Microsoft software).

Edited 2007-01-23 23:06

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Unethical
by r_a_trip on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:18 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

OOXML is the public standard version of MS Office's file format, and ODF is the same for OO.o. Neither format is vendor nuetral, no matter how much ODF advocates try to claim that ODF was built from the ground up in some app-agnostic fashion.

Never mind that the OO.o XML format was chewed through in a very lengthy review process by industry heavyweights, which finally resulted in the ODF specification.

Have we all forgotten that OO.o needed to implement ODF itself, because ODF was significantly different enough to OO.o XML that they were not interchangeable?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Unethical
by Ford Prefect on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 19:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

I don't know if you perhaps just didn't get my posting. I didn't write about ODF at all, I only pointed out problems with OOXML competitors have.

If you would also mind to go through the context of my posting, you will find out the claim about "100 man hours". This claim was made by a third-party developer (neither MS Office nor OOo but KOffice) about OOXML.


I don't know how difficult it is to build ODF support. But it seems developers don't complain about the difficulty and time consumption of implementing ODF. But I heard lots of complains about OOXML, like the statement above.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Unethical
by kaiwai on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 12:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

You can search the net; there was an estimation based on the specifications released, past experience implementing specifications, and a whole heap of other variables.

One has to remember, however, it is based on the 'best case scenario" - its assuming that if you did everything to the letter, all would work well, without any bugs or issues derived from a possible broken/incompatible/incomplete at the Microsoft's end.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Unethical
by superstoned on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
superstoned Member since:
2005-07-07

microsoft themselves gave this number, when they told how much time and how many ppl it took them to get OOXML support in the Mac OS X version of MS Office... i don't remember the numbers, but multiplying the ppl with the time gave 100 years, ie the time it would take 1 developer on his own.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Unethical
by tomcat on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 07:47 UTC in reply to "Unethical"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

Why is it "unethical" for Microsoft to counter FUD being slung by its partisan critics? ODF proponents are using Wikipedia for precisely the same purpose (ie. advertising) that you criticize MS for.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Unethical
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 09:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Unethical"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//ODF proponents are using Wikipedia for precisely the same purpose (ie. advertising) that you criticize MS for.//

What is the point of advertising a not-for-profit free-to-use open unencumbered standard format?

How much are Wikipedia getting paid? Who is paying them?

What exactly is the advertising budget of ODF?

Now, how does that compare to:
http://news.com.com/Microsoft+readying+Vista+marketing+blitz/2100-1...

Hmmmm?

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Unethical
by tomcat on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Unethical"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

What is the point of advertising a not-for-profit free-to-use open unencumbered standard format?

It's the same reason that Mozilla placed a two-page ad in the New York Times for FireFox: They're motivated by the ideology of open source. Compensation has nothing to do with it.

How much are Wikipedia getting paid? Who is paying them?

Irrelevant. It's about mindshare, not dollars.

What exactly is the advertising budget of ODF?

Again, irrelevant. ODF advocates are spending large amounts of their time and energy to promote their format on Wikipedia, and that's an expenditure that hasn't been matched by MS.

Now, how does that compare to:
http://news.com.com/Microsoft+readying+Vista+marketing+blitz/2100-1...

I'm not going to get sucked into trying to evaluate the effectiveness of one media outlet versus another. Wikipedia is influential among tech-saavy decision-makers and, for that reason, it's been sprinkled liberally with pro-open-source advocacy. MS can market the hell out of Vista and it probably won't make much difference among the people who actually make purchasing decisions.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Unethical
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

It's the same reason that Mozilla placed a two-page ad in the New York Times for FireFox: They're motivated by the ideology of open source. Compensation has nothing to do with it.

NYT is a paper which sets aside space for adverts; Wikipedia is an encyclopedia (that's why it's called "Wikipedia" and not "WikiNewYorkTimes").

How much are Wikipedia getting paid? Who is paying them?

Irrelevant. It's about mindshare, not dollars.


If dollars were irrelevant then MS wouldn't be spending dollars to cultivate mindshare for their crap.

Again, irrelevant. ODF advocates are spending large amounts of their time and energy to promote their format on Wikipedia, and that's an expenditure that hasn't been matched by MS.

ODF advocates are not a company nor are they spending money on advocating a proprietary format in a "publication" that is supposed to be neutral. MS can correct the inaccuracies of OOXML entries till they're blue in the face as far as I am concerned (assuming there are any; can't comment as I'm not the slightest bit interested) - but throwing money at the problem is just inviting accusations of bias.

Wikipedia is a volunteer project - i.e., the contributors work on it in their spare time. The reason why MS are paying someone is so that they can work full time on making sure there is always someone there to make sure anyone's viewpoint but Microsoft's gets frozen out, because the administrators won't have time to continually freeze the pages.

I'm not going to get sucked into trying to evaluate the effectiveness of one media outlet versus another. Wikipedia is influential among tech-saavy decision-makers and, for that reason, it's been sprinkled liberally with pro-open-source advocacy. MS can market the hell out of Vista and it probably won't make much difference among the people who actually make purchasing decisions.

You're comparing apples to oranges. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Whilst I personally believe that news organisations should be neutral anyway, the very fact that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a "media outlet" puts them in an entirely different league to the BBC, not to mention the likes of Faux "News".

Furthermore, your contention that MS advertising has no effect whatsoever on purchasers is either a naive delusion or hilariously disingenous. If advertising didn't work then nobody would do it - it has taken barely two years for music companies to realise that DRM isn't going to work, and experiment with non-copy-protected mp3's; advertising has existed for hundreds of years with no sign of stopping.

Edited 2007-01-23 18:57

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Unethical
by tomcat on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 19:55 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Unethical"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

NYT is a paper which sets aside space for adverts; Wikipedia is an encyclopedia (that's why it's called "Wikipedia" and not "WikiNewYorkTimes").

Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia; however, unlike an actual encyclopedia, there isn't a whole lot of "fact-checking" by objective sources. Anyone can contribute. And, in this case, "anyone" includes people with partisan agendas who are using Wikipedia as an advertising platform to promote their favorite file format and tear down competing formats.

If dollars were irrelevant then MS wouldn't be spending dollars to cultivate mindshare for their crap.

Wrong. Clearly, even with all its financial resources, MS is frustrated by how its opponents are using popular websites to spread FUD about its technologies. MS can't modify Wikipedia, itself, without being heavily criticized. So what did it do? It sought out a relatively objective third party to evaluate the Wiki OOXML documentation for errors. I don't see any problem with that. It's not like they paid some ideologically-driven hired gun.

ODF advocates are not a company nor are they spending money on advocating a proprietary format in a "publication" that is supposed to be neutral.

No, they're actually doing something quite worse: They're spreading disinformation in an online publication that IS supposed to be neutral.

Wikipedia is a volunteer project - i.e., the contributors work on it in their spare time.

Just because it's a volunteer project doesn't mean that the people contributing are objective. Many of them have a serious axe to grind with MS, and I'd argue that publishing FUD isn't in anybody's interest because it simply isn't true. That principle runs entirely counter to what an encyclopedia is.

The reason why MS are paying someone is so that they can work full time on making sure there is always someone there to make sure anyone's viewpoint but Microsoft's gets frozen out..

BS. Nobody is trying to "freeze out" anybody's opinion. What MS is trying to do is bring some reasonable objectivity to technical discussions involving its technologies. And it seems like they tried to hire a pretty objective guy, by all appearances. Again, I see nothing wrong with the truth.

You're comparing apples to oranges. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Whilst I personally believe that news organisations should be neutral anyway, the very fact that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia and not a "media outlet" puts them in an entirely different league to the BBC, not to mention the likes of Faux "News".

I disagree. An encyclopedia is supposed to contain fact, not fiction. Fact is objective. It doesn't take sides.

Furthermore, your contention that MS advertising has no effect whatsoever on purchasers is either a naive delusion or hilariously disingenous. If advertising didn't work then nobody would do it...

Reread my post. I wasn't talking about advertising to end-users here. I was speaking specifically to the issue of technical decision-makers with an interest in specific technologies such as OOXML and ODF.

it has taken barely two years for music companies to realise that DRM isn't going to work, and experiment with non-copy-protected mp3's; advertising has existed for hundreds of years with no sign of stopping.

Oh, I see. So that must be why HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are unencrypted formats, then... /sarcasm

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Unethical
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 21:41 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia; however, unlike an actual encyclopedia, there isn't a whole lot of "fact-checking" by objective sources. Anyone can contribute. And, in this case, "anyone" includes people with partisan agendas who are using Wikipedia as an advertising platform to promote their favorite file format and tear down competing formats.

And yet, when a study was done to compare Wikipedia to Brittanica, the results were that Wikipedia was only sligthly less accurate than the venerable Brittanica, which means that the "peer review" system used by Wikipedia gives surprisingly good results.

While anyone with a partisan agenda can promote whatever they want, articles with a strong POV will be corrected by the user community - which is why MS should trust the user community to fix any errors in the OOXML pages. Of course, not everything is going to conform to MS's viewpoint, but that's to be expected.

I do think that the OOXML pages should be as objective as possible, and therefore *if* they are inaccurate they should be corrected. I do think, however, that MS brought any opposition on themselves by playing politics with file formats in the first place.

No, they're actually doing something quite worse: They're spreading disinformation in an online publication that IS supposed to be neutral.

Again, do you have proof of that? And if you do, why haven't you done your part in correcting the actual disinformation?

What MS is trying to do is bring some reasonable objectivity to technical discussions involving its technologies. And it seems like they tried to hire a pretty objective guy, by all appearances. Again, I see nothing wrong with the truth.

They don't have to hire anyone. If the objective guy is already a contributor to Wikipedia, he can simply correct the inaccuracies as he sees them. Giving money to someone immediately introduces questions of conflict of interest.

It appears now that this was in fact not a decision by MS' management, but rather by someone working on the OOXML team. He probably meant well, but he had to know what kind of reaction this would provoke (which is why MS management would have never done something like this in the first place, at least not overtly).

I disagree. An encyclopedia is supposed to contain fact, not fiction. Fact is objective. It doesn't take sides.

You should discuss the impossibility of being totally objective with Cloudy... ;-)

Again, I am all in favor of someone cleaning up the OOXML pages if they are inaccurate. I do think, however, that it should be a neutral third party who is not on anyone's payroll. That's the only way to keep the impression of relative impartiality.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Unethical
by Cloudy on Wed 24th Jan 2007 03:05 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Unethical"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

I disagree. An encyclopedia is supposed to contain fact, not fiction. Fact is objective. It doesn't take sides.

You should discuss the impossibility of being totally objective with Cloudy... ;-)


You called? ;)

It's impossible to be reasonably objective in most instances. Total objectivity is only accomplished through carefully controlled scientific experiment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Unethical
by twenex on Wed 24th Jan 2007 06:29 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Unethical"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Wikipedia is supposed to be an encyclopedia; however, unlike an actual encyclopedia, there isn't a whole lot of "fact-checking" by objective sources.

Have you actually seen Wikipedia lately? Because I have seen many, many articles that are tagged with notices like "this article lacks the formal style required of an encyclopedia" or "this article is not written from a neutral POV". Wikipedia is self-correcting, that's why people use it.

Anyone can contribute. And, in this case, "anyone" includes people with partisan agendas who are using Wikipedia as an advertising platform to promote their favorite file format and tear down competing formats.

Yes, like Microsoft (or its hired guns). And please, don't bother trying to tell me that neither group has an agenda. You'll only continue to make an ass of yourself.

Wrong. Clearly, even with all its financial resources, MS is frustrated by how its opponents are using popular websites to spread FUD about its technologies. MS can't modify Wikipedia, itself, without being heavily criticized. So what did it do? It sought out a relatively objective third party to evaluate the Wiki OOXML documentation for errors. I don't see any problem with that. It's not like they paid some ideologically-driven hired gun.

Why couldn't Microsoft just ask its staff (or "some relatively objective third party" to contribute as a volunteer? It's the money that's the problem. Clearly, people will do things for money that they would never do as a volunteer. Take me, for instance: I'll suffer Windows as long as I'm paid to do it (assuming I can't junk it for Linux due to company policy, of course).

BS. Nobody is trying to "freeze out" anybody's opinion. What MS is trying to do is bring some reasonable objectivity to technical discussions involving its technologies. And it seems like they tried to hire a pretty objective guy, by all appearances. Again, I see nothing wrong with the truth.

The problem is that they hired someone instead of asking him, or anyone else, to work as a volunteer - which everyone else on Wikipedia does. Do you enjoy missing the point? Don't try to tell me that Microsoft is some benevolent corporation, bucko, because I know different from experience.

I disagree. An encyclopedia is supposed to contain fact, not fiction. Fact is objective. It doesn't take sides.

Which is exactly what I said. No corporation is going to pay good money to get someone to write something "objective"about it.

Oh, I see. So that must be why HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are unencrypted formats, then... /sarcasm

I see nothing in my post about HDDVD or Bluray, only music, which unlike movies is now commonly legally distributed via the web, to own. And if the makers of the technology realise that one of the problems with HDDVD and Bluray, (which is resulting, as the BBC reports, in no-one buying it), is DRM, then they will fast change their tune too.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Unethical
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 19:42 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Unethical"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Again, irrelevant. ODF advocates are spending large amounts of their time and energy to promote their format on Wikipedia, and that's an expenditure that hasn't been matched by MS.

Do you have proof of that? And if you do, why don't you simply correct the offending articles in order to remove the POV?

So many people here parrot MS's official party line without ever coming up with actual proof. George Orwell would certainly appreciate (or be really, really depressed).

Edited 2007-01-23 19:43

Reply Score: 1

Compuglobalhypermeganet strikes again
by tristan on Mon 22nd Jan 2007 23:56 UTC
tristan
Member since:
2006-02-01

"Buy him out, boys!"

Reply Score: 5

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

1. This is setting a precedent.

Not even close. It's already well known that politicians and such pay staffers to edit their wikipedia bios.

MS s just jumping on another bandwagon, and in this case, not even doing anything outrageous.

Reply Score: 3

tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

Not even close. It's already well known that politicians and such pay staffers to edit their wikipedia bios.

MS s just jumping on another bandwagon, and in this case, not even doing anything outrageous.


Oh, well that's all right then.

Reply Score: 5

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

MS s just jumping on another bandwagon, and in this case, not even doing anything outrageous.

I disagree. Paying people to edit Wikipedia on their behalf *is* unethical, and outrageous. And it does set a precedent, because whereas this had been done by individuals or political staff before, this would make it official corporate policy - which means that IBM could then hire people to reverse the changes, and so on.

If there are problems with OOXML, then certainly people who are knowledgeable about it - and ideally who don't have a personal stake in it, like MS - will correct the entries on a voluntary basis, without any financial compensation, which is how Wikipedia should work.

Also, it would be *very bad* PR for MS to be doing this. As mentioned before, there are enough rumors of MS shills and astroturfers out there to add fuel to the fire by doing this.

Edited 2007-01-23 03:13

Reply Score: 5

jack_perry Member since:
2005-07-06

I disagree. Paying people to edit Wikipedia on their behalf *is* unethical, and outrageous.

A while back, Bertrand Meyer was informed that, according to the German language Wikipedia, he was dead. Of course it got fixed, and no new premature claims of his passing have been placed on there, but Meyer isn't a controversial individual as far as I know.

Certain individuals carry out campaigns of disinformation via Wikipedia; it's a fact. Certain web pages have been locked because the editors haven't the time to keep up with recurrent attempts to place propaganda/questionable info/disinformation. If you're too busy to keep up with your own entry in Wikipedia, you'd probably need to hire someone to do it. It wouldn't be outrageous at all, but precisely the ethical thing to do in service of the truth.

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Certain individuals carry out campaigns of disinformation via Wikipedia; it's a fact.

It happens, but it usually doesn't work, because of the nature of Wikipedia itself. Vandalism (which is much more common than outright disinformation), falsohoods and strong POVs are usually quickly spotted by other volunteers, who revert the inaccuracies.

Certain web pages have been locked because the editors haven't the time to keep up with recurrent attempts to place propaganda/questionable info/disinformation.

This happens quite rarely, and usually due to vandalism rather than disinformation. They also don't stay locked very long (rather, people/IPs who don't respect the rules get temporarily banned).

I actually contribute a little to Wikipedia, though not to computer-related pages. It's a pretty good system, all in all, and mostly self-correcting (which is why I think hiring someone is as useless as it is unethical).

Hey, if you think the OOXML pages are inaccurate, you're welcome to go to Wikipedia and help fixing them - that would seem a better use of your time than arguing about it here. ;-)

If you're too busy to keep up with your own entry in Wikipedia, you'd probably need to hire someone to do it.

Actually, you're not supposed to maintain your own entry at all. That goes against the POV rule on Wikipedia.

It wouldn't be outrageous at all, but precisely the ethical thing to do in service of the truth.

Paying someone to maintain it, while telling what to write, would be unethical, because the person would not write objectively (the POV rule).

There's also a major difference here. You can't compare a person and a corporation, especially not one as large as MS. The same standards do not apply, despite the dangerous notion that corporations having many the same rights as persons means they really are like persons...

Reply Score: 5

ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

"It happens, but it usually doesn't work, because of the nature of Wikipedia itself. Vandalism (which is much more common than outright disinformation), falsohoods and strong POVs are usually quickly spotted by other volunteers, who revert the inaccuracies. "

it's the subtle spin that I'm more concerned about.

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"it's the subtle spin that I'm more concerned about."

It's a good thing it is completely impossible for them to add any subtle spins already since, you know, it is just not possible for an MS employee to create an account and do just that.

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

it's the subtle spin that I'm more concerned about.

Right...but then again, every time someone makes a change, everyone watching the page can check it out. It usually limits abuse.

I'm sure MS would like to change many things in Wikipedia, like when they brought a video to the antitrust trials that was later shown to be fake, or the article on astroturfing...but MS doesn't get to control our consensual reality (though I have the feeling that some posters on OSNews would be just fine with that!)

Reply Score: 3

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

I disagree. Paying people to edit Wikipedia on their behalf *is* unethical, and outrageous. And it does set a precedent, because whereas this had been done by individuals or political staff before, this would make it official corporate policy - which means that IBM could then hire people to reverse the changes, and so on.

And the reason you think that Microsoft is the first corporation to do this is?

But you've lost me on the ethics issue. Where, exactly, is it wrong to pay someone for correcting errors?

Reply Score: 3

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//Where, exactly, is it wrong to pay someone for correcting errors?//

There is nothing wrong with correcting errors.

The problem comes when monopoly interests try to "correct" truth.

Reply Score: 5

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

The problem comes when monopoly interests try to "correct" truth.

And the evidence that hiring someone who is not noted to be friendly to you is going to '"correct" truth" is?

Reply Score: 2

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Um.... No one is hiring anyone to FUD OOXML, at least as far as I no of. In fact, no one should be hiring anyone to write Wikipedia articles in their interests, period. So where are you getting this idea that anyone should be hiring anyone else, whether friend or foe?

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

But you've lost me on the ethics issue. Where, exactly, is it wrong to pay someone for correcting errors?

that is not the Wikipedia model, nor should it be. To have an interested party pay someone to edit articles on subjects that are of vital strategic importance to them just screams "conflict of interest."

If I was Rick Jelliffe, I'd simply correct those errors I'd spot free of charge, and without any input from MS, in order to keep my perceived integrity clean, and remove any impressions of impropriety.

Reply Score: 2

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

that is not the Wikipedia model, nor should it be. To have an interested party pay someone to edit articles on subjects that are of vital strategic importance to them just screams "conflict of interest."


It screams "enlightened self-interest."

Paying someone to do work someone else might volunteer to do is definitely not conflict of interest.

Besides, the wikipedia model is that anyone can contribute. There's nothing in the model that says "only unpaid volunteers need apply".

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

It screams "enlightened self-interest."

By definition, self-interest is incompatible with an objective viewpoint.

Paying someone to do work someone else might volunteer to do is definitely not conflict of interest.

It is when the result is supposed to be unbiased, objective information. I mean, we could *trust* MS not to try to exert editorial control over what its employee would write, just like we could *trust* that congressman to vote in favor of a large contributor to his campaign just because he really agrees with their position...

If there is an apparence of conflict of interest, then the credibility is compromised.

Besides, the wikipedia model is that anyone can contribute. There's nothing in the model that says "only unpaid volunteers need apply".

Do you really want Wikipedia to become the battleground of competing PR initiatives? Wikipedia says that anyone can contribute, but it also says that people (and companies) shouldn't edit their own entry in order to conserve a neutral POV. If you are hired by MS, then for all practical purposes you are part of MS for the duration of your contract.

The fact that this move has created such a controversy should be enough to convince anyone that this is a bad idea. I think you're just taking a contrarian position for its own sake, here.

Reply Score: 2

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Wikipedia says that anyone can contribute, but it also says that people (and companies) shouldn't edit their own entry in order to conserve a neutral POV. If you are hired by MS, then for all practical purposes you are part of MS for the duration of your contract.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ignore_all_rules

The fact that this move has created such a controversy should be enough to convince anyone that this is a bad idea. I think you're just taking a contrarian position for its own sake, here.

As far as I know, the "controversy" is this thread. I've seen bigger controversies over wikipedia articles about obscure subjects.

Reply Score: 2

crdiscoverer Member since:
2006-04-11

Jajaja!!! a classic...

Reply Score: 1

Just another brick in the wall
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 00:37 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Just as Microsoft has walled off a garden in software monopolies, it works on doing the same with the media, including Wikipedia. Is this how Microsoft lives up to its address at "One Microsoft Way"?

Indeed, it is in the spirit of their astroturfing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astroturfing

and they keep doing it, as with the Zune:
http://216.69.156.244/RD/Q4.06/D0BC712B-7DBA-46CA-AA44-19376E64FBA6...

Finally, even if you do not agree with the frank wording of this guy's conclusion, his argument is certainly worth a read:
http://www.inlumineconsulting.com:8080/website/msft.shilling.html

Edited 2007-01-23 00:47

Reply Score: 5

Dear Microsoft
by tristan on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 00:42 UTC
tristan
Member since:
2006-02-01

Dear Microsoft,

Rather than paying people to "correct" the things you don't like on Wikipedia (which by the way, won't work any better than paying people to "correct" things you don't like on tech discussion sites -- hello n4cer, how are you?), perhaps you should try to work out why it is that the pretty much the whole of the Wikipedia-editing/amateur blogging-type mindshare is against you?

If you want the internet generation to like you, then I'm afraid that the only solution is to find out what it is they don't like, and *actually change*. Ask yourselves, why is it that Google doesn't have to pay bloggers to say nice things about them?

The times, as Bob once said, are a-changin'. You can either change with them, or you can go the way of IBM. When the alternatives are good enough, people will switch -- one in five people now browsing with Firefox is proof enough of that. And the alternatives to your software are improving every day. Time is running out.

Best regards,

Tristan

P.S. If you wouldn't mind, could you forward this on to your friends at the RIAA and the MPAA? I doubt they'll get it any more than you do, but it's worth a try. Thanks.

EDITED: Typo

Edited 2007-01-23 01:00

Reply Score: 5

RE: Dear Microsoft
by MollyC on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:10 UTC in reply to "Dear Microsoft"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I would think that you'd want an "encyclopedia" to have accurate information rather than propaganda. Does Wikipedia have credibility or doesn't it?

I don't care whether you worship someone or hate him. It should be irrelevant when entering information regarding that person into wikipedia. That propagandists, spinners, and the like are entering information in accordance with their own personal agenda, discredits wikipedia as a source of information.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Dear Microsoft
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Dear Microsoft"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//I would think that you'd want an "encyclopedia" to have accurate information rather than propaganda. //

I agree, Molly.

Do you have any comment on the accurate technical information on the topic of OOXML/ODF as presented on this wiki:

http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/EOOXML_objections

There is quite a lot of text there. It will take a long while to digest. No spin though.

Edited 2007-01-23 02:26

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Dear Microsoft
by tristan on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Dear Microsoft"
tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

I would think that you'd want an "encyclopedia" to have accurate information rather than propaganda. Does Wikipedia have credibility or doesn't it?

I don't care whether you worship someone or hate him. It should be irrelevant when entering information regarding that person into wikipedia. That propagandists, spinners, and the like are entering information in accordance with their own personal agenda, discredits wikipedia as a source of information.


Exactly. A company getting involved in how their products are reflected on Wikipedia is a bad idea: there are no worse propagandists and spinners in the world than the PR department of a large company.

Of course, the information on Wikipedia should be factually correct. But for virtually every other category on Wikipedia, such quality control is done automatically. So the most interesting questions to come out of all of this are, why does Microsoft have to pay people to correct things that are factually wrong (we'll give them the benefit of the doubt here and assume that's all they're doing)? Why are Microsoft so unpopular with rank-and-file Wikipedians? And are they going to make any real attempt to understand this, or are they just going to take the usual approach of throwing money at the problem?

Edited 2007-01-23 02:35

Reply Score: 5

RE[3]: Dear Microsoft
by MollyC on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 07:07 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dear Microsoft"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"Why are Microsoft so unpopular with rank-and-file Wikipedians? "

There's no evidence that that is the case. The rank-and-file Wikipedians don't post anything regarding Microsoft at all.

What there's evidence of is that are immature individuals that hate Microsoft like they're akin to IG Farben, and they are motivated by their hatred to post disinformation. And they don't give a damn that the info is false. (And sadly, many osnews posters (not saying you) appear to support such disinformation campaigns and are loathe to have that disinformation corrected.)

As for why those sad individuals spend their time posting disinformation, and reposting it again and again after it's been corrected, and even going so far as to simply erase articles (apparently the Zune article was simply erased of all content multiple times by iPod fanboys), well they have to look at their own sad lives to find and explain their motivations.

Edited 2007-01-23 07:08

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Dear Microsoft
by Moochman on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:10 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dear Microsoft"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

You may be right about the psychology there, and the fact that disinformation is posted. But did you ever stop to consider that the people who dislike Microsoft consist of far more than just uneducated adolescents, and their reasons for disliking Microsoft might stem from something more than the "mass of cattle" syndrome?

MS has shown time and again that their interests are in direct conflict with a vision of the future in which information exchange doesn't require lock-in to a single company's products. They keep throwing money at the problem, but the general public has refused to let itself be controlled so easily.

Is that so surprising?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dear Microsoft
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 06:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Dear Microsoft"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

I would think that you'd want an "encyclopedia" to have accurate information rather than propaganda. Does Wikipedia have credibility or doesn't it?

Right, because a convicted monopolist and DRM-loving corporation like Microsoft paying people to edit content is bound to ensure accuracy of information.

Just exactly how stupid do you think we are?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Dear Microsoft
by Alleister on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:15 UTC in reply to "Dear Microsoft"
Alleister Member since:
2006-05-29

People are so used to hate Microsoft, that they would still be hated if they gave all their sourcecode away for free, find a cure for aids and brought worldwide peace. No matter what Microsoft does, it will always be wrong.

The problem with this is, if Wikipedia doesn't retain an unbiased position in its articles, than it is basically worthless as an encyclopedia.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dear Microsoft
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:54 UTC in reply to "RE: Dear Microsoft"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

No matter what Microsoft does, it will always be wrong.

So that's a good excuse for them to not even try?

Seriously, MS has *never* abandoned its predatory tactics, so why should attitudes towards it change in any way? Token gestures are not sufficient to change everyone's mind about you.

Poor, poor Microsoft...yeah, right!

I can guarantee you that if MS put out a version of Office for Linux, and otherwise supported Linux as a good alternative to Windows, people's attitude towards them would change. Put into other words, if they willingly refrained from abusing their monopolistic market position, they wouldn't be seen as the oppressive behemoth that they currently are.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Dear Microsoft
by MollyC on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 16:44 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dear Microsoft"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

That Bill Gates has donated billions to world causes and yet sad people with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their brains still hate his guts, compare him with Satan, Hitler, etc, proves the GP's point.

Oh, and Microsoft makes a version of Office for Mac and Mac fanboys (as opposed to normal rational Mac users) still hate Microsoft. So spare me the, "I wouldn't hate Microsoft if they would just make a version of Office for Linux" malarky.

And what, exactly, did Microsoft do that was so evil, anyway?
They bundled a browser with an OS? Or won't make a version of Office for a community that has 0.4% marketshare and loathes the idea of paying for software and therefore wouldn't recoup the development costs? Or, they don't accept RMS as their Lord and Savior, and therefore don't simply GPL all of their code and allow people to freely distribute programs based on that code or altered versions of that code to millions for free? Are these the things that make Microsoft the epitome of "evil" and make Gates a knight in Satan's service? Get some perspective, for crying out loud! These issues are NOTHING compared to real problems to get worked up about. There are REAL evils to be dealt with and MS haters are wasting time fighting an "evil" that they conjured up in their heads.

And now, for many here to basically acknowledge that there's a propaganda campaign aginst MS that uses Wikipedia as a means of disinformation dissemination, runing Wikipedia into just another battlefront for their Holy War on all things Microsoft, and for these people to simply accept that and not want it corrected - well they have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they are really as righteous as they claim to be if they see nohting wrong with resorting to lies, deceptions, falsehoods simply to stop the "evil" of an XML file format standard.

Edited 2007-01-23 16:47

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: Dear Microsoft
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 16:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dear Microsoft"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

That Bill Gates has donated billions to world causes and yet sad people with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their brains still hate his guts, compare him with Satan, Hitler, etc, proves the GP's point.

That is completely irrelevant. It is possible to commend Bill Gates' philanthropy and still condemn Microsoft's predatory tactics.

The rest of your post is simply an emotional rant to defend the poor, poor multi-billion corporation against its evil detractors...simply pathetic.

If you don't think the OOXML articles are factually correct, stop posting here and go correct them. Jeez!

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Dear Microsoft
by sappyvcv on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Dear Microsoft"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

That is completely irrelevant. It is possible to commend Bill Gates' philanthropy and still condemn Microsoft's predatory tactics.

I'm glad you can agree with that at least. You'd be surprised how many people think you shouldn't and can't do that.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Dear Microsoft
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:16 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Dear Microsoft"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Well, there are controversies surrounding the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, and these can certainly be discussed, but Bill Gates isn't Microsoft, and vice-versa. In fact, I think it's pretty clear to everyone that BillG is slowly but definitely distancing himself from the corporation he helped make into a giant.

Philanthropy in itself is controversial. I personally see it as a way to cure the symptoms, and not the source of the disease. It is *not* a solution to inequitable distribution of wealth. That said, it is still a positive endeavour, but in all cases remains completely irrelevant to MS and the topic at hand (which I guess is the reason I was modded down ;-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Dear Microsoft
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:28 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dear Microsoft"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

That Bill Gates has donated billions to world causes and yet sad people with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their brains still hate his guts, compare him with Satan, Hitler, etc, proves the GP's point.

First of all, I don't think I've ever compared Gates to Hitler or Stalin. After all, for one thing, even if what they did was annihilate people, they were good at what they did.

Second of all, what would you say if I stole a million pounds from the Bank of England, and then gave it to the charity of your choice? Does what I have done with the money, is it not still stolen? Microsoft's software is of such low quality, and infests the machines of so many who want nothing to do with it, that a very large portion of his money can be considered stolen.


And what, exactly, did Microsoft do that was so evil, anyway?
They bundled a browser with an OS? Or won't make a version of Office for a community that has 0.4% marketshare and loathes the idea of paying for software and therefore wouldn't recoup the development costs?


Actually, we loathe the idea of paying for software which sucks and which we don't want. Why do I get the feeling you're in that game?

These issues are NOTHING compared to real problems to get worked up about. There are REAL evils to be dealt with and MS haters are wasting time fighting an "evil" that they conjured up in their heads.

Why is software companies stealing money from people any better than, say, the Krays doing it?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Dear Microsoft
by MollyC on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:18 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Dear Microsoft"
MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

"Second of all, what would you say if I stole a million pounds from the Bank of England, and then gave it to the charity of your choice?"

Robin Hood is hailed as a folk-hero.

The prime movers behind the MS/DOJ case were Ellison and McNeily, both billionaires. In fact, Ellision is so full of himself that during some stock market fluctuations a few years ago, his paper worth inched above Gates' for a week, and he had Oracle issue a big press release, "Ellison now richer than Gates! Ellison is the richest man in America!1". And at the time, the anti-MS crowd loved Ellison because he hated Microsoft (including hiring P.I.s to snoop through MS's garbage dumpsters looking for evidence of something or another). And Ellision, Jobs, McNeily, have given nothing at all to charity (if you believe their tax statements). If these billionaires are the "rich" from which Gates "stole" and it's their money that he's now giving to the poor, then he's a modern day Robin Hood, and I have no sympathy that a few billionaires may have lost a few million.

In reality, I don't consider Gates a "Robin Hood", as I don't accept your belief that his money was "stolen".

The rest of your post is just your usual "MS Software sucks" garbage.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Dear Microsoft
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:25 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Dear Microsoft"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Robin Hood is hailed as a folk-hero.

Which is relevant because?

The prime movers behind the MS/DOJ case were Ellison and McNeily, both billionaires. In fact, Ellision is so full of himself that during some stock market fluctuations a few years ago, his paper worth inched above Gates' for a week, and he had Oracle issue a big press release, "Ellison now richer than Gates! Ellison is the richest man in America!1". And at the time, the anti-MS crowd loved Ellison because he hated Microsoft (including hiring P.I.s to snoop through MS's garbage dumpsters looking for evidence of something or another). And Ellision, Jobs, McNeily, have given nothing at all to charity (if you believe their tax statements). If these billionaires are the "rich" from which Gates "stole" and it's their money that he's now giving to the poor, then he's a modern day Robin Hood, and I have no sympathy that a few billionaires may have lost a few million.

I could care less about the Ellison and McNealy. I think you'll find the "prime mover" behind the MS/DOJ case was...the DOJ.

In reality, I don't consider Gates a "Robin Hood", as I don't accept your belief that his money was "stolen".

Film at 11.

[i] The rest of your post is just your usual "MS Software sucks" garbage.


Whereas your posts are of SUCH high value.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Dear Microsoft
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Dear Microsoft"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

People are so used to hate Microsoft, that they would still be hated if they gave all their sourcecode away for free, find a cure for aids and brought worldwide peace. No matter what Microsoft does, it will always be wrong.

Hate from whom? Two people, the planet, what? Moreover, Microsoft has earned its ill repute but has the power to turn it around. In the meantime, it is best for skepticism to be proportional to the repute along with the power and reach behind it. Skepticism is far from hate.

The problem with this is, if Wikipedia doesn't retain an unbiased position in its articles, than it is basically worthless as an encyclopedia.

The problem with this is, if the preceding paragraph doesn't retain a supported claim in its sentences, then it is basically worthless as a paragraph.

Edited 2007-01-23 15:20

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Dear Microsoft
by Alleister on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Dear Microsoft"
Alleister Member since:
2006-05-29

"The problem with this is, if the preceding paragraph doesn't retain a supported claim in its sentences, then it is basically worthless as a paragraph."

I don't quite get it... you mean, you want me to proof that an encyclopedia has to be unbiased to be an acceptable source of information? If so, than you did not quite get the use of an encyclopedia.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Dear Microsoft
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:58 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Dear Microsoft"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

I don't quite get it... you mean, you want me to proof that an encyclopedia has to be unbiased to be an acceptable source of information? If so, than you did not quite get the use of an encyclopedia.

My bad: "preceding paragraph" refers to your first paragraph speculating about Microsoft.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Dear Microsoft
by Kancept on Wed 24th Jan 2007 16:15 UTC in reply to "Dear Microsoft"
Kancept Member since:
2006-01-09

Go the way of IBM? You want Microsoft to focus on hardware and be time and money sinks for companies like SCO while still being a leader in their field?@! For shame! I'd rather Microsoft ended up like SCO.

FWIW, IBM has been and always will be a hardware company. All of their software attempts were backed by hardware sales. Most of their software was from bought out companies. I think your analogy was poorly thought out. Just because you don't hear of IBM much doesn't mean they aren't doing well. Desktops and home users are not their focus. Your pockets aren't deep enough. They are solution providers for the mere fact that they want to sell their hardware. They sell really well, but their teams don't implement very efficiently, which equals more money from them. Granted they are not Oracle ;-P

Reply Score: 1

File this...
by DigitalAxis on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 01:15 UTC
DigitalAxis
Member since:
2005-08-28

File this with the sort of people who hire folks on freelancer webpages to go answer those posting/editing verification picture things, people paid to blog about stuff, people who "advertise" on Youtube, and astroturfers in general.

As others have said, I'm not saying what he's doing here is wrong- there's a lot of misinformation about what Microsoft is actually doing these days- but this is at the very least an acknowledgement of a potential perversion of Wikipedia's purpose. On one hand Wikipedia polices against advertisements, on the other hand I have to wonder why Microsoft didn't do it themselves.

Benign:
* Microsoft doesn't trust their own employees to only state the facts about products they've poured their blood, sweat and tears into.
* Having one of their own programmers do it might end up with that programmer unintentionally revealing sensitive information (getting into a talk: argument that accidentally reveals too much about Microsoft's internal workings, other projects)
* A statement formatted for Wikipedia wouldn't likely be as accurate or precise as the full legalese of their agreements, etc. This way they can put the information out there without necessarily being held liable for any accidental meaning (or subsequent editing/mangling thereof) because no one at Microsoft ever made that claim. (but they did pay that guy)
* Microsoft knows if they edit it themselves they'll be seen as an unbiased observer, regardless of the truth.

Malign:
* Microsoft is astroturfing, and is doing it in a way they can't directly be held responsible.
* Having one of their own programmers do it might end up with that programmer unintentionally revealing sensitive information (eg, we're going to radically alter the format to our own purposes after it's approved, Vista's DRM will seek out and destroy all non-Windows partitions)
* Marketing/PR doesn't understand the process well enough to write up a good Wikipedia article, and their programmers are too ethical to lie.
* Microsoft is just one of the many megacongolmocorporations actively distorting "reality" as seen on Wikipedia, 1984-style.

I don't know which one I believe more. (yes, some of them are silly)

Oh, and by the way, if you look at the talk page, you'll see a comment by "Doug Mahugh, Microsoft".

Edited 2007-01-23 01:27

Reply Score: 4

RE: File this...
by tristan on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 01:28 UTC in reply to "File this..."
tristan Member since:
2006-02-01

On one hand Wikipedia polices against advertisements, on the other hand I have to wonder why Microsoft didn't do it themselves.

Some likely reasons:

* Edits would be traced back to Microsoft-owned IP addresses. "Microsoft edits Wikipedia to make self look good, alternatives look bad" is a story that would make the mainstream press, not just the tech sites, and would be terrible PR.

* Officially editing something on Wikipedia would mean accepting the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licence. At some point in the future, part of Microsoft's game-plan is bound to include challenging the validity of the GPL in court. Showing that they'd already accepted the terms of another GNU licence might harm this case.

* Most importantly, Microsoft wants to create the illusion of grass-roots support. It's no different to dictatorial governments paying people to infiltrate opposition rallies and chant pro-government slogans. (In fact, that's a pretty good analogy all round!). Microsoft would be far better off trying to find out why they don't have any *real* grassroots support, but I suspect the answers would be too hard for them to stomach.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: File this...
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 03:17 UTC in reply to "RE: File this..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

* Edits would be traced back to Microsoft-owned IP addresses. "Microsoft edits Wikipedia to make self look good, alternatives look bad" is a story that would make the mainstream press, not just the tech sites, and would be terrible PR.

Yes, I agree, but it's the same thing if they hire someone from the outside to do it and then exercise some sort of editorial control...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: File this...
by Deviate_X on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 08:46 UTC in reply to "RE: File this..."
Deviate_X Member since:
2005-07-11

Showing that they'd already accepted the terms of another GNU licence might harm this case.

Well its too late, microsoft have been distributing GNU code for the Services for UNIX at least since 1999.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=8B4987E6-D...

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Who has any reason to doubt that the author of the article is plainly stating that Microsoft tried to hire him? Whoever wrote the OSNews summary concluded with

"So basically, it seems as if Microsoft is trying to 'hire' people to edit Wikipedia."

Why use "seems" and, more to the point, why put quotes around "hire"?

We might as well say:
Microsoft ads appear on OSNews. So basically, it seems as if Microsoft is trying to 'hire' people to edit OSNews summaries.

Edited 2007-01-23 01:40

Reply Score: 1

Read?
by sappyvcv on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:00 UTC
sappyvcv
Member since:
2005-07-06

Did anyone actually read the article? It seems like the only thing any of you are talking about is the title of the article that OSnews has and not the actual content of the article. He makes some good points and brings up some interesting issues, not of which have to do with Microsoft contacting him.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Read?
by Soulbender on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:27 UTC in reply to "Read?"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"It seems like the only thing any of you are talking about is the title of the article that OSnews has and not the actual content of the article."

Maybe that's because Thom decided to put the emphasis on that particular aspect, no matter how small? What's for breakfast? Sensationalism.

Reply Score: 3

Hey Microsoft! ... another wiki.
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:18 UTC
hal2k1
Member since:
2005-11-11

I found another OOXML/ODF wiki that Microsoft should look at:

http://www.grokdoc.net/index.php/EOOXML_objections

This one is coming along very nicely indeed, and only a week or so old too!

Edited 2007-01-23 02:27

Reply Score: 2

a possible solution
by unclefester on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 02:27 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

Perhaps contributors to Wikipedia should be required to make a declaration of funding or conflict of interest as required by reputable scientific journals.

Reply Score: 2

RE: a possible solution
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 06:12 UTC in reply to "a possible solution"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Fantastic idea.

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

Clearly Wikipedia is not perfect, but a blanket claim that it is discredited as a source of information is ridiculous. One need look no further than Microsoft's own Encarta product to find a product of similar accuracy as Wikipedia.* What do we know about those who enter information in Encarta? Can it come close to the transparency of Wikipedia? So much for your innuendo:

"I would think that you'd want an "encyclopedia" to have accurate information rather than propaganda."

The claim against Wikipedia appears to be yet another example of a Microsoft apologist having to resort to just make up stuff in response to a criticism of unethical Microsoft practices. Unfortunately for these apologists, Wikipedia will win over the likes of Encarta with its aggressive, transparent approach. Transparency is anathema to "One Microsoft Way".

(*)As reported last year in _Nature_ and _The Journal of American History_ :
http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?+id=z6xht2rj60kqmsl8tlq5ltqcs...

Edited 2007-01-23 02:57

Reply Score: 5

paul.michael.bauer
Member since:
2005-07-06

It is no different than IBM, Red Hat, Novell, or OSDL paying programmers to work on Linux.

If the MS hires write accurate articles, then we benefit.

If the MS hires fill wikipedia with their own spin, aren't there "many eyeballs" that will fix the articles within a short time? At least, that's what wiki evangelists would have us believe.

What's to worry here? The fact that money is involved shouldn't bother you if you believe in the system (and it pretty much works well).

Reply Score: 5

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

It is no different than IBM, Red Hat, Novell, or OSDL paying programmers to work on Linux.

No, writing is fundamentally different. For example, language is notoriously prone to subtle propaganda, and the backing of a monopolist certainly puts this author's assignment in a rather more suspect light than the typical peer production of Wikipedia.

If the MS hires write accurate articles, then we benefit.

Moreover, it is not unreasonable to suppose that a writer is less likely to bite the hand who feeds him, like the suppositions about bloggers who were provided by Microsoft with free top-of-the-line laptops loaded with Vista.

Even if the errors remaining from this process are approximately equal on both sides, pro-MS corrections might be made earlier with a greater sense of urgency. Paid-for bias can show up in many ways.

Edited 2007-01-23 03:39

Reply Score: 3

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

No, writing is fundamentally different. For example, language is notoriously prone to subtle propaganda, and the backing of a monopolist certainly puts this author's assignment in a rather more suspect light than the typical peer production of Wikipedia.


Please tell me you don't really believe that everyone who offers up edits to wikipedia but isn't paid is acting without an agenda or that everyone who is paid has an agenda.

Bias is bias, whether it's bought, or comes to the table through enthusiasm for a cause.

Reply Score: 5

Money talks
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 13:38 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Do you believe in the system or not?"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

Please tell me you don't really believe that everyone who offers up edits to wikipedia but isn't paid is acting without an agenda or that everyone who is paid has an agenda.

Of course not, that's why I was careful to qualify with "typical" and did not even claim that there was an agenda at all.

Bias is bias, whether it's bought, or comes to the table through enthusiasm for a cause.

This level of nonsense can only mean that you hope people are stupid enough to buy it. "Money talks" is a harsh and ubiquitous truth that puts to shame your suggestion that money does not matter. One need not show that "everyone who is paid has an agenda" to see that money is prone to systematic worsening of bias; just consider politics.

Indeed, Microsoft is an expert practitioner of monopoly money abuse:

"Money talks, Microsoft walks"
http://dir.salon.com/story/tech/col/rose/2002/11/02/microsoft_decis...

Edited 2007-01-23 13:50

Reply Score: 1

RE: Money talks
by Cloudy on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:55 UTC in reply to "Money talks"
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Bias is bias, whether it's bought, or comes to the table through enthusiasm for a cause.

This level of nonsense can only mean that you hope people are stupid enough to buy it. "Money talks" is a harsh and ubiquitous truth that puts to shame your suggestion that money does not matter. One need not show that "everyone who is paid has an agenda" to see that money is prone to systematic worsening of bias; just consider politics.


It is difficult to "shame" a suggestion I did not make.

Of course money matters, but it is naive to assume that it is any more a shaper of bias than any of the other many blinders that humans use to distort reality.

Besides, you've made the common mistake of confusing money with power.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Money talks
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Money talks"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

It is difficult to "shame" a suggestion I did not make.

Of course money matters, but it is naive to assume that it is any more a shaper of bias than any of the other many blinders that humans use to distort reality.

Besides, you've made the common mistake of confusing money with power.


Your suggestion was that whether it was money or enthusiasm behind bias, that what really mattered was the bias itself, right?

It's not a stretch to say that people tend to already have various enthusiasms and that these enthusiasms often conflict, i.e., conflicting points of view. This collection must be sorted out. Money can be converted into the power to generate, direct, and distort enthusiasm within a person. We can speculate about who might be spending, but here we have a real case of monopoly money being spent to influence the revision process of not just any topic, but one central to supporting the monopoly in question.

Any bias clearly is of concern, but concern is more or less immediate. Which causes of bias are likely to be more damaging and should be dealt with sooner? Microsoft's unflattering record and the potential stakes are of greater concern than, for all else we can tell right now, mere feuds between enthusiasts.

If you want to make a big deal about power in general, then be prepared to delineate to what degree its various forms matter here compared to the concentrated form that is Microsoft's.

Edited 2007-01-23 17:45

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Please tell me you don't really believe that everyone who offers up edits to wikipedia but isn't paid is acting without an agenda or that everyone who is paid has an agenda.

Personally, I do believe that if someone is paid by a company to write/correct articles about items which have a high stragegic value for said company, they have in fact compromised their credibility with regards to that subject.

Bias is bias, whether it's bought, or comes to the table through enthusiasm for a cause.

Not from a moral standpoint. Bias arrived at because of experience, personal knowledge or philosophical belief is genuine, while bias bought by a company is not - in fact, the writer might not even believe in the bias. You can't possibly compare the two from a philosophical point of view.

That said, bias (or, in the Wikipedia jargon, POV) is unacceptable in WP articles. You can't defend one type by saying "oh, but others do it". That's a logical fallacy and you know it. The only moral position here is to condemn all efforts to subvert Wikipedia, whether they are voluntary or paid for by a corporation. In addition to this response, an additional condemnation must be put on MS for even suggesting that it's okay to pay people to write on Wikipedia on its behalf, in order to beat back the dangerous precedent it is setting before it happens.

Cloudy, I often respect your opinions, but in this case there is no moral ground for you to stand on. If you agree that OOXML is being unfairly represented on WP, then I suggest you contribute to the appropriate articles instead of trying to defend MS' actions here.

Reply Score: 2

Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

Personally, I do believe that if someone is paid by a company to write/correct articles about items which have a high stragegic value for said company, they have in fact compromised their credibility with regards to that subject.

I don't. I have been an informed but disinterested bystander in a number of wikipedia's feuds and have found no correlation between the credibility of the writer and the source of their reason for contributing.


Not from a moral standpoint. Bias arrived at because of experience, personal knowledge or philosophical belief is genuine, while bias bought by a company is not - in fact, the writer might not even believe in the bias. You can't possibly compare the two from a philosophical point of view.


Sure you can. Ethics instructors do it all the time. It is the issue of intent versus consequences. While all bias has different intent, all bias has similar consequence.

That said, bias (or, in the Wikipedia jargon, POV) is unacceptable in WP articles.

This sentence sums up two of the problems I have with wikipedia's "philosophy", but wikipedia itself is a subject for a different discussion.


You can't defend one type by saying "oh, but others do it". That's a logical fallacy and you know it. The only moral position here is to condemn all efforts to subvert Wikipedia, whether they are voluntary or paid for by a corporation.


You've put the cart before the horse here. In the case at hand I see no attempt to subvert Wikipedia. I see an attempt by microsoft to pay to have errors corrected. If read without an anti-microsoft bias, it reads like a corporation trying to distance its POV from discussions of itself on wikipedia while still defending against what it preceives as error.

In addition to this response, an additional condemnation must be put on MS for even suggesting that it's okay to pay people to write on Wikipedia on its behalf, in order to beat back the dangerous precedent it is setting before it happens.

I doubt very much that this is the first time MS has paid anyone to update Wikipedia. I also doubt very much that MS is the first corporation to do so. It is certainly well documented that people have been so paid by political organizations.

Cloudy, I often respect your opinions, but in this case there is no moral ground for you to stand on.

OK, I was wrong. This is the place to discuss my issues with wikipedia.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a religion. Knowledge is not an absolute thing, and one man's fact is another's fiction. Frankly, I'd rather both sides tell their version of the story and let me work it out myself than have some editor somewhere decide from their POV what is "neutral."

In the real world there is no neutral POV. About this, by the way, I recommend Rashomon (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_(film))

(As far as OOXML, I know nothing about it. I'm only interested in the meta discussion on this particular issue.)

Reply Score: 2

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

I don't. I have been an informed but disinterested bystander in a number of wikipedia's feuds and have found no correlation between the credibility of the writer and the source of their reason for contributing.

That in itself proves nothing. Because someone who has little credibility isn't a paid shill has no bearing on the credibility of someone who is in fact paid to write on behalf of a private interest.

Sure you can. Ethics instructors do it all the time. It is the issue of intent versus consequences. While all bias has different intent, all bias has similar consequence.

Sorry, I misspoke. You can certainly *compare* them, but you can't *equate* them. Intent does have an importance: look at criminal law.

I can't accept that someone who is mistaken but believes to be right is on the same moral footing as someone who knowingly lies for financial compensation.

If read without an anti-microsoft bias, it reads like a corporation trying to distance its POV from discussions of itself on wikipedia while still defending against what it preceives as error.

Then all it has to do is trust the Wikipedia model and wait for someone to correct the errors. Hiring someone to do it introduces the risk of interference. The fact that this risk exists is what undermines the credibility.

I doubt very much that this is the first time MS has paid anyone to update Wikipedia. I also doubt very much that MS is the first corporation to do so. It is certainly well documented that people have been so paid by political organizations.

Yes, but that's my whole poit: just because others have done it before, that doesn't make it right! Also, it seems to be the first time someone has tried to do it openly, and that is the dangerous precedent.

Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a religion. Knowledge is not an absolute thing, and one man's fact is another's fiction. Frankly, I'd rather both sides tell their version of the story and let me work it out myself than have some editor somewhere decide from their POV what is "neutral."

In the real world there is no neutral POV. About this, by the way, I recommend Rashomon (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rashomon_(film))


Yes, I've seen Rashomon (saw it as a film student 15 years ago). It's a brillant film, and makes its point well. However, it is rather irrelevant in this context, as it deals with differing eyewitness accounts of a single event.

Here we are talking about a subject that is documented and readily available. While complete objectivity is hard to reach (and in that we completely agree), this fact doesn't mean that we should *strive* to achieve the highest degree of objectivity possible.

Wikipedia actually achieves this to a certain degree. Of course, there are subjects that are more controversial than others, and some for which a definite objective assessment is practically impossible. This is mostly true of humanities and social sciences (history comes to mind, since, like in Rashomon, we have to rely on mostly subjective sources). However, in this case we are dealing with something which shouldn't be that controversial, and as such MS should just trust the Wikipedia model.

(As far as OOXML, I know nothing about it. I'm only interested in the meta discussion on this particular issue.)

In other words, MS *could* be planning on dishonest disinformation, and you'd still see nothing wrong with that?

I am totally in favor of correcting any errors regarding OOXML. In fact I see it as vital to preserve Wikipedia's integrity. However, I completely disagree that this should be done by people on MS' payroll. That's all I'm saying.

Reply Score: 2

More anti-ODF shilling
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 03:56 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

The big point is the shilling and astroturfing activity itself, and with Microsoft it is so endemic, we need categories to organize the attempts.

The article is but one of several attempts at anti-ODF shilling by Microsoft, as shown at

http://boycottnovell.com/2007/01/22/ooxml-shill/

Reply Score: 4

RE: More anti-ODF shilling
by tomcat on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 07:51 UTC in reply to "More anti-ODF shilling"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

The big point is the shilling and astroturfing activity itself, and with Microsoft it is so endemic, we need categories to organize the attempts.

And, as we all know, nobody would ever shill for open source causes... /sarcasm

Reply Score: 2

anarchy in action
by ari-free on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 04:06 UTC
ari-free
Member since:
2007-01-22

Microsoft will pay for pro-Microsoft spin, competitors edit back. Back and forth. Spin and spin back. In the end, will wikipedia have any value to the users?

Reply Score: 3

RE: anarchy in action
by DigitalAxis on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 05:29 UTC in reply to "anarchy in action"
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

That's what I'm afraid of. Forget Microsoft, forget OOXML/ODF/Linux/Windows... What becomes of Wikipedia in general if/when/now that these things happen?

I read the article about accuracy someone linked to, and I think THAT is the way to go- at least have some deference to experts in the field.
(Who's an expert? How do you tell? To be perfectly honest I haven't worked that out too well)

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: anarchy in action
by Soulbender on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 06:05 UTC in reply to "RE: anarchy in action"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"What becomes of Wikipedia in general if/when/now that these things happen?"

There's no way we can now that it is not already happening.

Reply Score: 2

This is crazy...
by Tuishimi on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 06:33 UTC
Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

...everyone is throwing around the word "unethical." The man they hired seems to be a non-MS user (good idea on the part of MS for just the reason that they wouldn't want the work to be a bunch of pro-MS updates)... I don't see how this is "unethical." Based on what "ethic" is this "unethical?"

Perhaps they want someone who is detailed, observant and a good and honest writer to handle updating wikipedia for them? Look, someone is innocent until proven guilty, and I don't see how MS is guilty of crimes against humanity by hiring this guy to handle reviewing and, IF NECESSARY, changing a public document (which is open to be changed by anyone qualified)?

Reply Score: 5

RE: This is crazy...
by tomcat on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 07:52 UTC in reply to "This is crazy..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

You're trying to reason with a bunch of strident anti-MS bigots. They think that ANYTHING MS does is "unethical" (quotes intentional).

Reply Score: 1

RE: This is crazy...
by ari-free on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 07:56 UTC in reply to "This is crazy..."
ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

I don't see it as unethical. I see it as yet another example of why wikipedia shouldn't be automatically trusted as a source of information. It's a dump-not an encyclopedia. Sometimes it gets cleaned and then messed up again.

I think the dmoz.org model would make more sense. Want to submit a change? Pass it through a volunteer editor(s) first and they will write it up.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: This is crazy...
by Cloudy on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE: This is crazy..."
Cloudy Member since:
2006-02-15

I see it as yet another example of why wikipedia shouldn't be automatically trusted as a source of information.

No source should be automatically trusted. Even Cloudy makes mistakes.

wikipedia is a secondary source, often tertiary, and should always be treated as any secondary source is treated: as good for a gloss, provisional, and likely wrong for any of a number of reasons, mostly innocent.

Reply Score: 3

RE: This is crazy...
by Marcellus on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 12:10 UTC in reply to "This is crazy..."
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

You forgot to note how the original article author gives an example of something that is incorrect on the Wikipedia entry from just scanning through it.

God only knows how many inaccuracies he'd find if he gave it a serious attempt at clearing up the FUD created by anti-MS people, and God only knows how many of the anti-MS people would gang up to make sure his corrections are deleted.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: This is crazy...
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 13:05 UTC in reply to "RE: This is crazy..."
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//You forgot to note how the original article author gives an example of something that is incorrect on the Wikipedia entry from just scanning through it. //

His example is very likely wrong. Wikipedia almost certainly has it correct.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: This is crazy...
by Marcellus on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: This is crazy..."
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

//His example is very likely wrong. Wikipedia almost certainly has it correct.//

Oh? Because everything on Wikipedia is, has always been, and will always be, 100% accurate?
Did you even bother to read the article at all?

Reply Score: 2

Suggestion for another name:
by Darkelve on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 07:58 UTC
Darkelve
Member since:
2006-02-06

Micropedia - coming to a PC near you.

Reply Score: 1

danwarne
Member since:
2005-09-04

Of course Microsoft's own people couldn't edit the Wikipedia entries. You wouldn't need to analyse IP addresses to be able to spot the "awakening of a new day", "richer experience" and "empowered total cost of ownerships" springing up everywhere.

Reply Score: 2

hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//Of course Microsoft's own people couldn't edit the Wikipedia entries. You wouldn't need to analyse IP addresses to be able to spot the "awakening of a new day", "richer experience" and "empowered total cost of ownerships" springing up everywhere.//

:)

Actually, Microsoft should really consider getting their own people to type in Wikipedia entries.

After all, if their own people type things in, Microsoft would get twice the material submitted in the same amount of time

...

...

because of the double-speak of course!

Reply Score: 2

Tuishimi
Member since:
2005-07-06

O.K. That is pretty funny. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Should be noted
by Almindor on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 10:33 UTC
Almindor
Member since:
2006-01-16

I think it should be noted in the microsofot wikipedia article that microsoft is doing this and as such any articles about microsoft products should be considered fallacy (perhaps add a special "MS donation possibility" template)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Should be noted
by Soulbender on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 10:38 UTC in reply to "Should be noted"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"I think it should be noted in the microsofot wikipedia article that microsoft is doing this and as such any articles about microsoft products should be considered fallacy"

Why? Because they're Microsoft and not Sun, IBM or Oracle? God knows *those* honest and grassroot companies (or anyone affiliated with them) would *never* screw with Wikipedia articles to make their products look better.

Edited 2007-01-23 10:39

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Should be noted
by Almindor on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 11:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Should be noted"
Almindor Member since:
2006-01-16

No, because now it's officially known and can be said as such.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Should be noted
by Soulbender on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 11:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Should be noted"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

"No, because now it's officially known and can be said as such."

Nothing of the kind is known. All we know is that someone affiliated with MS *may* at some point in the future edit wikipedia entries. There's no way to know for sure if that has happened or will happen.
We know pretty much exactly what we already know: that companies might use various means to change Wikipedia entries in their favour.

Reply Score: 2

argh!
by Morin on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 12:10 UTC
Morin
Member since:
2005-12-31

How many people here have actually read the *** article?

First of all, this guy doesn't seem to be a MS fanboy. From TFA:

> Iím not a Microsoft hater at all, its just that Iíve swum in a different stream.

If you read the first two paragraphs, you'll notice that he has indeed some experience with various platforms. This guy is just as likely to write an objective article about MS-related issues as other Wikipedia authors.

Secondly, he points out *errors* in the existing WP pages. He does not want to advertise MS. He also does not want to spread misinformation. Instead, he wants to erase existing misinformation currently present in WP. Again from TFA:

> Just scanning quickly the Wikipedia entry for OOXML, I see one
> example straight away: The OOXML specification requires
> conforming implementations to accept and understand various
> legacy office applications . But the conformance section to the ISO
> standard (which is only about page four) specifies conformance in
> terms of being able to accept the grammar, use the standard
> semantics for the bits you implement, and document where you do
> something different. The bits you donít implement are no-oneís
> business. So that entry is simply wrong.

I'll assume for now that he is right (otherwise he is just misinformed himself, which has nothing to do with payment). Then this is an error that should be caught and corrected by WP's many-eyes principle. In fact, two new eyes that just appeared on the scene (his ones) spotted the error, so the principle seems to work. The difference is that now he's going to get paid for actively looking for such errors, meaning that he'll be happier to spend his time doing just that.

Third point: What exactly is telling you that other WP authors do *NOT* have an agenda? There are enough poor idiots on the web who seek deliverance by promoting their favorite-whatever, and twice as much when it comes to computers. Microsoft, Apple, Linux, whatever: For some people it is their mission (not their hobby) to promote their favorite platform, company, whatever. WP works because these idiots get erased by the hopefully larger number of sane people. There is no easy way to tell whether an author is on the sane or insane side, except by reading his constributions. Note my second point about existing errors in the WP pages. So what's the deal with the payment?

Fourth point: Microsoft just screwed up royally. Again. They are lucky if this doesn't turn out to be a PR desaster. My suggestion would have been to donate a larger amount of money to the Wikimedia Foundation, demand that it be used to improve article quality, and point out errors in existing articles to be corrected by independent people. The WM foundation can resist the temptation to advertise MS just to get a donation again, and can give the money to authors independently from MS's opinion.

Reply Score: 5

RE: argh!
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 12:59 UTC in reply to "argh!"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//I'll assume for now that he is right (otherwise he is just misinformed himself, which has nothing to do with payment). Then this is an error that should be caught and corrected by WP's many-eyes principle. In fact, two new eyes that just appeared on the scene (his ones) spotted the error, so the principle seems to work. The difference is that now he's going to get paid for actively looking for such errors, meaning that he'll be happier to spend his time doing just that. //

According to Marbux (a retired lawyer):

http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2007011720521698
Why Fast-Tracking OOXML is a Mistake
~ by Marbux

"However, the specifications for those legacy Microsoft file formats ó the sole justification offered for duplicating the functionality of the OpenDocument standard ó appear nowhere in the EOOXML specification and are unavailable to other developers. 3 Yet those formats' implementation is mandatory for conformance with the specification. How then, are national bodies to verify whether a duplicative standard is in fact necessary and can be implemented by all vendors? Apparently all of the claimed carefully-engineered compatibility with billions of legacy Microsoft files is reserved for the exclusive use of a single software vendor, Microsoft."

Marbux gives a link providing an analysis:
http://www.robweir.com/blog/2007/01/calling-captain-kirk.html

That is a considerably deeper analysis than this paid joker's "I don't think that is right, it is an anti-MS error". Sorry, Rick Jelliffe, but it would appear that you have been duped. It is not the Wikipedia entry in error, it is you, most likely.

//My suggestion would have been to donate a larger amount of money to the Wikimedia Foundation, demand that it be used to improve article quality, and point out errors in existing articles to be corrected by independent people.//

The problem with your whole line of thinking is that most probably the Wikipedia entries are NOT in error. According to legal analysis, Wikipedia has it right, not Rick Jelliffe.

Edited 2007-01-23 13:09

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: argh!
by Marcellus on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:40 UTC in reply to "RE: argh!"
Marcellus Member since:
2005-08-26

//The problem with your whole line of thinking is that most probably the Wikipedia entries are NOT in error. According to legal analysis, Wikipedia has it right, not Rick Jelliffe.//

Is that an opinion you have reached after swallowing what known MS-haters decided to post, without doing any critical thinking or analysis on your own?

Or is it some deep religious conviction that Wikipedia never has anything inaccurate when it comes to things that matches your own opinion?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: argh!
by Morin on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:45 UTC in reply to "RE: argh!"
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> Sorry, Rick Jelliffe, but it would appear that you have been duped. It is
> not the Wikipedia entry in error, it is you, most likely.
> [...]
> The problem with your whole line of thinking is that most probably the
> Wikipedia entries are NOT in error. According to legal analysis,
> Wikipedia has it right, not Rick Jelliffe.

Then the thousand-eyes principle will correct *his* error if he introduces it into the page. Preferably with enough evidence to prevent further readers from erring like he did. I don't think this is going to crash the world. Remember, it didn't crash the world either when others wrote faulty articles, up to complete nonsense, into WP. It just gets corrected eventually.

Anyway, a donation with a request to clarify/correct would have the same effect, but less trouble from a PR point of view.

Reply Score: 2

Hot water tub
by B. Janssen on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 12:17 UTC
B. Janssen
Member since:
2006-10-11

I guess, Mr. Jellife just entered a tub of very hot water...

Reply Score: 1

Some comments from Slashdot
by npang on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 13:14 UTC
npang
Member since:
2006-11-26

Without doing any background research on Rick Jelliffe and basing my opinion entirely on this opinion piece, for me, it seems like this guy is suitable for doing something like getting paid to correct misinformation in Wikipedia. I also have no objections for Microsoft paying this particual man for doing so.

Slashdot also covers this story - http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/07/01/22/2056214.shtml. The general concensus seems to be similar to the ones found here at OSNews. I found some quotes that I believe to be relevant.

===
imess (805488) : http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218248&cid=17715814

If you read the article, that guy was hired to make technical correction in the Wikipedia entries. Why would you expect that only MS PR people should do it?

===
Otter (3800) : http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218248&cid=17716086

This isn't some random anonymous goofball being paid to insert text Microsoft gives him; he's an (apparently) recognized figure, not especially MS-friendly, being paid to provide corrections in his area of expertise, with his reputation on the line. I'd trust that more than edits made by the PR people. He certainly made his case a lot more credibly than the Slashdot submitter made his.

===
larien (5608) : http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218248&cid=17715730

The tone I was getting was that he was in favour of real corrections, cutting out the plain untruths that the Wikipedia entries are garnering. If he does this in the name of truth & correct reporting, I'm all for it. Bear in mind you'll be able to track what changes he makes and if you don't think they're accurate, you can make your own edits back.

===
operagost (62405) : http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218248&cid=17715722

... if the average Wikipedia author is as biased as this article summary. "Corrections favorable to them?" Corrections are corrections! In TFA, you'll see that there are errors in the OOXML article (as there are in many of them) and Microsoft enlisted a pretty unbiased guy to find them. If anything, one would expect him to be biased against OOXML and for ODF considering that only free time has kept him from contributing to ODF.

===
Ahnteis (746045) : http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218248&cid=17716720

>>It doesn't matter. What they're doing is underhanded and shady.

Howso? From TFA:
"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."

Wow -- that sounds shady AND underhanded. No wait -- not even close. He admits he's been hired, AND he is only going to correct errors. Wow. Sounds EVIL.

>>1. There is public information Microsoft doesn't like.

No, this is public MIS-information that Microsoft doesn't like on a PUBLIC forum. They have every right to correct those errors, but they've gone one step further and hired a third party to examine the validity of the articles and correct any errors he finds.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Some comments from Slashdot
by hal2k1 on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:21 UTC in reply to "Some comments from Slashdot"
hal2k1 Member since:
2005-11-11

//No, this is public MIS-information that Microsoft doesn't like on a PUBLIC forum.//

I'd agree that Microsoft don't like information on a public forum, but I don't believe it is misinformation.

What I do find truly amazing is the number of people who just swallow it as being true if Microsoft say "that is an error".

I doubt very much that it is an error at all. It is after all the plain reading of Microsoft's own specifications for OOXML, arrived at by many intelligent people, lawyers included.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Some comments from Slashdot
by Morin on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 14:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Some comments from Slashdot"
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> What I do find truly amazing is the number of people who just swallow
> it as being true if Microsoft say "that is an error".

It wasn't MS who said that.

Reply Score: 2

b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

Without doing any background research on Rick Jelliffe and basing my opinion entirely on this opinion piece, for me, it seems like this guy is suitable for doing something like getting paid to correct misinformation in Wikipedia. I also have no objections for Microsoft paying this particual man for doing so.

Why did you not just explain your opinion then, instead of what you do in the rest of your post, making an unsupported claim about consensus on OSNews and Slashdot and then prop up your claim by selecting only pro-MS comments, hoping that no one would call you on it? The two indeed have a similar consensus, but not your rosy one, as any skim of the Slashdot article will confirm.

Edited 2007-01-23 14:28

Reply Score: 2

RE: Some comments from Slashdot
by archiesteel on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:01 UTC in reply to "Some comments from Slashdot"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The general concensus seems to be similar to the ones found here at OSNews.

That word, consensus, I do not think it means what you think it means...

Or, if you prefer: there is no consensus on this, neither on Slashdot nor here. For example, there are many posters here who have argued that this is unethical. I still believe that it is *always* unethical to pay someone to write on Wikipedia at your behalf. WP entries should be made/corrected by volunteers, who are not attached to a particular point of view, and hiring someone automatically compromises that neutrality.

Wikipedia is self-correcting. If there are errors on some pages, they will get fix - heck, you can go and fix them yourself instead of wasting your time arguing in favor of what amounts to a very dangerous precedent.

I have a strong feeling that some of those arguing in favor of MS here might be paid shills as well...after all, if they're ready to support this idea, they wouldn't have much philosophical opposition to "correcting lies against Microsoft" here too...

Reply Score: 2

Putting in your two cents.
by p13. on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 13:46 UTC
p13.
Member since:
2005-07-10

Putting in your two cents would take on an entirely different meaning wouldn't it ?

To me, this is an outrage but seriously, no self respecting individual would lend any credibility to this paid-for "information".

APPEND: Then again, people watch the news in the US...

- Kevin

Edited 2007-01-23 13:47

Reply Score: 1

Getting PAID!
by Sphinx on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:09 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

Every pro-Microsoft pundit on this thread is probably beating out their anti-foss dogma on a new ferrari laptop as a highly paid astro-turfer. Nobody is against freedom except the deluded and insane, yes Stockholm syndrome counts as a form of insanity. If you think some giant mega corporation is doing what's best for the world and working in your best interest you've got it and you got it bad baby. Soon, at the current rate of expansion on these programs blogging pro MS FUD could be the leading application of computers in the world and people would likely be pleasantly surprised at all the new features in Word's new toolbar to automate the process. It's the bad credit theory, you can't erase bad credit but if you can somehow manage to generate enough good credit the bad credit effect will be minimized, these programs may be MS efforts to drown out those annoying free thinkers in a sea of bullshit and re-define themselves. Wikipedia's effective life span of usefulness may be in decline. Nice concept though.

Edited 2007-01-23 15:10

Reply Score: 4

RE: Getting PAID!
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 16:56 UTC in reply to "Getting PAID!"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

While most of your post is right on the money, you forget that astroturfers commenting on a news site are not required to be neutral. Wikipedia content and contributors, like those of all other encyclopedias, are.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Getting PAID!
by sappyvcv on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:02 UTC in reply to "Getting PAID!"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

When in doubt, call anyone not trashing microsoft an astroturfer and accuse them of being bought out.

Great strategy.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Getting PAID!
by twenex on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Getting PAID!"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

When in doubt, call anyone not trashing microsoft an astroturfer and accuse them of being bought out.

Great strategy.


The fact is that there are plenty of users on this website of which it can be said that their unceasing and blind devotion to Windows and Microsoft (to the point of defending to the hilt a product which even Microsoft admits has serious issues) makes Linux users' devotion to their platform look like mild indifference.

Edited 2007-01-23 17:35

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Getting PAID!
by sappyvcv on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Getting PAID!"
sappyvcv Member since:
2005-07-06

I disagree. I think the blind devotion of FOSS advocates is much more prevelant. But that's not relevant to my comment. He said EVERY pro-microsoft poster on this article is an astroturfer. That's just ridiculous and sad of him.

Reply Score: 2

Fanboys for hire
by AxiomShell on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:22 UTC
AxiomShell
Member since:
2006-01-16

Seriously, what's the difference between a fanboy posting and this situation?
Getting paid to do it.
I'm sure MS zealots do this all the time, so this situation has no practical difference to Wikipedia.
Wikipedia aims at providing information which is properly sourced, so hopefully there's not much room for FUD.
All systems open to user content are vulnerable to lobbying, but I think that overall the Wikipedia project works very well.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Fanboys for hire
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:53 UTC in reply to "Fanboys for hire"
b3timmons Member since:
2006-08-26

I'm sure MS zealots do this all the time, so this situation has no practical difference to Wikipedia.

Monopoly money influencing a peer production process of communication intended for the public is not something to shrug over.

Wikipedia has already been found* to have a certain level of inaccuracy, comparable to Encarta. Fixing the mistakes itself is a process prone to bias, and money could simply prioritize which mistakes get corrected first. There are many ways money could corrupt the process other than involving just the simple notion of correcting a mistake in and of itself. We must all fight against the naivete over money -- and language for that matter. Hence the phrase, money talks.

(*) http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?+id=z6xht2rj60kqmsl8tlq5ltqcs...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Fanboys for hire
by AxiomShell on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 16:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Fanboys for hire"
AxiomShell Member since:
2006-01-16

I'm not saying that is acceptable or at least meaningless.

My point was simply that this degree of lobbying IMHO can be balanced by the nature of Wikipedia (every user can question articles) in opposition to other reference publications where you can't change or challenge the information, and that this is (I assume) happening all along (FUD entering the articles that is).

"money could simply prioritize which mistakes get corrected first"

This is true. But the last word is always with Wikipedia users. In here, how many people would accept this offer from MS?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Fanboys for hire
by Moochman on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:19 UTC in reply to "Fanboys for hire"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

MS Zealots? What MS zealots?

OH you mean the MS-payed trolls in disguise!!!!

(j/k)

Reply Score: 2

Bad reflection on msft, or wikipedia?
by walterbyrd on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 15:47 UTC
walterbyrd
Member since:
2005-12-31

The wikipedia model has been widely critisized.

As much as I dislike msft, I don't know if I can blame msft for taking advantage of such an obvious loophole in wikipedias flawed model.

Reply Score: 1

archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The wikipedia model has been widely critisized.

...and the criticism has rarely stood up to closer scrutiny.

Wikipedia is self-correcting...this is a bad PR move on the part of MS, it should just bite the bullet and wait for the entries to be cleaned up by volunteers. If there's POV/fallacious arguments in those entries, they'll get fixed. *That* is the Wikipedia model.

Meanwhile, MS should stop its *own* biased propaganda against ODF, and work to write a native filter to it to be integrated into its next iteration of Office.

Reply Score: 2

walterbyrd Member since:
2005-12-31

>>[wikipedia] criticism has rarely stood up to closer scrutiny<<

I am not sure of that. As I understand it, Wales massively "edited" an entry about Jeff Merkey, after a donation from Merkey.

Reply Score: 0

Wikipedia not trustworthy!
by B. Janssen on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:12 UTC
B. Janssen
Member since:
2006-10-11

Whatever you think of Mr. Jelliffe, this is a great deal more severe than some disagreement about file formats. Whatever side you are on, all of you are fighting a war of words. This showcases that the Wikipedia has been discovered as a tool for spinning opinion, not presenting facts. That's an ill omen for anything that tries to be an encyclopedia. It deteriorates the trustworthiness of this institution, no matter on which side you are.

No wonder that the Wikipedia is excluded from the quotable sources in most academic discourse.

Reply Score: 1

v It's amazing what makes news these days
by ronaldst on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 17:59 UTC
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Well that's a surefire way to get people to take you seriously, condemn them all as "OSS fundies" with an "idiotalist crusade"!!! You've assuredly just ensured that almost no one will actually read your blog post!!!

That's some great "evangelization" you're doing there!

...wait, I thought "evangelize" is what "fundies" are supposed to do....

Reply Score: 2

twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Well that's a surefire way to get people to take you seriously, condemn them all as "OSS fundies" with an "idiotalist crusade"!!! You've assuredly just ensured that almost no one will actually read your blog post!!!

That's some great "evangelization" you're doing there!

...wait, I thought "evangelize" is what "fundies" are supposed to do....


Fortunately, I still have enough faith in the human race to doubt that anyone with half a brain cell to share with his extended family actually take much that astroturfers such as ronaldst and mollyc say seriously.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Heeeeerrrrreeee's JOHNNY!
by twenex on Wed 24th Jan 2007 06:33 UTC in reply to "Heeeeerrrrreeee's JOHNNY!"
twenex Member since:
2006-04-21

Personaly, I don't think you'll make it out of your fanatic disorder. Beliefs are tough to change. Even the idiotic ones like the average OSS fundies has accepted. And besides, PCs and bandwidth are too inexpensive and easy to obtain. The flock will always be in reach for a quick fix.

I got a good chuckle out this news story. Started with an OSS fundie (aka MS hater) going beserk. Then hallucinating some scenario in his small head. Posts his hallucinated scenario it in his blog to make noise. Every other OSS fundies comes out to cheer him on his "brave" coup against the great satan and then tries to spread it to every other news site.

The worst thing in all this is that Jelliffe didn't even apologize over his apparent mistake. Narrow-minded like a... ;)


FYI, there have been various reports recently to indicate that closed source software and closed-source only developers are in a small (and vanishing) minority, even in the US. Perhaps that's why they feel such an urgent need to spout such vehement rubbish as your post.

Besides, I'm hardly to take advice from someone who just paraphrases the old line, "there's one born every minute".

Reply Score: 2

MollyC Member since:
2006-07-04

I went to the link you refer to.
http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh/

For those that won't bother (perhaps because you don't want to hear the truth so you can continue to bash out of willful ignorance), it is a link to the blog of Doug Mahugh, a Microsoft OOXML Tech Evangelist. It is he who contacted Rick Jelliffe. And his blog entry references his post to slashdot regarding this issue, which I now quote:

http://yro.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=218248&cid=17724650

hi, I'm the guy you're bashing today(Score:1)
by dmahugh (1054848) on Tuesday January 23, @11:41AM (#17724650)
(http://blogs.msdn.com/dmahugh)
The premise of this thread is a lie. Nobody ever contacted Rick and asked him to "make edits and corrections favorable to" Microsoft. Also, nobody from Microsoft PR contacted him. I am the person who contacted Rick, and I am a technical evangelist specializing in the Open XML file formats. And here is what I asked Rick to do:

"Wikipedia has an entry on Open XML that has a lot of slanted language, and we'd like for them to make it more objective but we feel that it would be best if a non-Microsoft person were the source of any corrections ... Would you have any interest or availability to do some of this kind of work? Your reputation as a leading voice in the XML community would carry a lot of credibility, so your name came up in a discussion of the Wikipedia situation today."
"Feel free to say anything at all on your blog about the process, about our communication with you on matters related to Open XML, or anything else. We don't need to "approve" anything you have to say, our goal is simply to get more informed voices into the debate ... feel free to state your own opinion."


I understand and accept that longwinded discussions of lies and their theoretical ramifications is a fascinating hobby for some, but since it's 100% my own personal actions that you're talking about, I just want to be very clear: the premise of this thread is a lie. Wikipedia's definition of "Microsoft (sic) Office Open XML" is not fact-based, and I think it would be a good thing if there were more participation by persons like Rick who are knowledgeable and interested in the actual facts of file formats, and less participation (or at least less influence) by those with specific agendas based on specific corporate interests.

Call Microsoft evil if you must, but in this case it's Doug Mahugh you're talking about. PR didn't know I contacted Rick. Hell, my own manager didn't know, although it seems likely he knows by now. You're talking about my actions alone, so I think my opinion is relevant. And in my opinion, the premise of this thread is a lie.

- Doug


Now, does Doug really sound so evil to you guys? This issue is a mountain made from a moehill by MS bashers that will use *any* incident, no matter how small, as an opportunity rail against the entity that is their religion's "devil".

Reply Score: 2

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Actually, yes it does sound pretty bad. It sounds like Microsoft is hiring a third party to hire a third third party to positively spin the Wikipedia article. Basically MS has just absolved themselves from blame; it doesn't make the action itself any better.

Reply Score: 2

MS could be trying to discredit Wikipedia
by b3timmons on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 18:21 UTC
b3timmons
Member since:
2006-08-26

There is no reason to doubt that Microsoft are not as crafty as ever. How many companies are known to have tried to hire Wikipedia contributors before? As a previous commentor noted, this is a bad precedent, even if just that a monopoly is up to it. Not only does Microsoft stand to gain from the precedent to start an potentially damaging trend, but it infects Wikipedia with its bad reputation, evoking a perversion of Microsoft's perverted "Get the Facts".

Reply Score: 3

I wonder
by korpenkraxar on Tue 23rd Jan 2007 19:05 UTC
korpenkraxar
Member since:
2005-09-10

if this is simply an attempt to attract focus to that page and have some people edit the contents "spontaneously" without paying for it at all. Out of the hundreds of thousands of techies who will hear about this, there should probably be some that would race to change it just for... ehm... fun?

Reply Score: 1

Not the only one
by chartster on Wed 24th Jan 2007 00:32 UTC
chartster
Member since:
2006-12-18

Now I wont be joining in on the 'ethical' problems posed by this stunt, but I read today in the Sydney Morning Herald that they were trying to buy off somebody here to do the same thing:

http://www.smh.com.au/news/web/microsofts-cash-bid-to-doctor-wikipe...

Talk about a PR 'own goal'!

Edited 2007-01-24 00:34

Reply Score: 2