I think it would be great if we could make attempts to cooperate with
large, proprietary and open content suppliers that do not directly compete
with us. I am specifically referring to databases like
for movies, games, TV
for books and .. lots of other stuff.
We would ask these groups to provide a link for each entry in their
database to the Wikipedia article about that entry, whether it exists or
not. For example, if I looked up "Bowling for Columbine" in IMDB I would
get "Description at Wikipedia: 'Bowling for Columbine is a Academy Award-
winning documentary film starring Michael Moore. It opened ..' (more)"
If I looked up a non-existent movie, I would get "Describe this movie at
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia."
Links to existing articles would point to locally stored copies at IMDB,
with an "edit the current revision of this article at Wikipedia, the free
encyclopedia" link at the bottom.
Why would IMDB do this?
1) IMDB doesn't have many good movie summaries because they lack a
collaborative writing module. They could implement one, but why not just
use existing resources?
2) IMDB visitors would only leave IMDB when following an explicit link to
Wikipedia. Otherwise they would stay within the site.
3) With some Sifter-like interface, we could make sure that IMDB always
has the latest trusted copy, thereby giving them an advantage even over
4) Because of the FDL, they can tear their bonds with us whenever they
want, without losing the content.
5) Wikipedia already has some brand name recognition. We have a positive
image that might rub off on those who cooperate with us.
Why would we do this?
1) IMDB has a huge community of movie enthusiasts who could contribute
much useful information.
2) Similarly, in the case of freedb, instead of just importing tracklists,
we would invite people to actually describe the content of albums, to
write real articles about them.
3) Being linked prominently from large sites like these would strengthen
our brand substantially and increasingly turn Wikipedia into a household
There are some possible problems:
- Free databases tend to list lots of obscure stuff that probably does not
warrant encyclopedic inclusion. Similarly, we would not want an article
about every toy or product listed at Amazon.com
. We would have to
negotiate with each database supplier the criteria for when the Wikipedia
link/copy is shown. For example, we could ask IMDB to only do it on movies
that have a gross earnings listing (usually only the larger ones), or
FreeDB to only do it on albums that have all data fields filled etc.
- We might not want to be associated with shady businesses bent for world
domination like Amazon.com
. However, sooner or later we will have to think
about with whom we want to cooperate, and IMHO "only open content people"
is too tight a rule.
- The mere inquiry might inspire these groups to think about creating
their own, proprietary content collaborative writing modules, e.g. an IMDB
article writing module whose contents are copyrighted by their authors and
cannot be used by us. However, if that is a real threat, then it will
probably happen sooner or later anyway, and it could be argued that we
should give these people an alternative *before* they do it.
What do you think? Perhaps we should wait with more concrete inquiries
until we have more resources to handle the traffic, but in general I
believe it's worth giving it a shot.