Neil Harris wrote:
Make a contribution. Suitably minor, of course,
so that you can write
it off as a public domain minor edit.
A couple of attempts at contributing (perfectly reasonable) test edits
to Encarta have resulted in nothing at all happening to the articles in
question. I'm not impressed.
How long ago have you made those edits? Even if their claims of having
an editorial board check every submitted edit are true, it would
probably take on the order of weeks or months for your edit to appear.
The whole experience is extraordinarily lacking in
incentive for Encarta
contributors, who will effectively see a brick wall, if my experience is
anything to go by.
I'm afraid this sounds a lot like bias from your experience with
Wikipedia. You are used to your edits appearing immediately, so in
comparison to that, Encarta naturally feels like a "brick wall". It is
doubtful that the same kind of feeling will be experienced by casual
users who are unfamiliar with "open-content encyclopedias that post
their users' edits immediately". Even if they have vaguely heard of it,
they will probably still readily accept a considerable delay in the
processing of their contributions in return for what they perceive as
superior factual accuracy.
Combined with the fact that it will dawn on them that
all they are doing is enriching Microsoft, with nothing back in return,
this is unlikely to gain a loyal user community.
This, in turn, exhibits your anti-Microsoft sentiment. Most casual users
are not like that and view Microsoft as neutral or even friendly, and
even if it occurs to them that they will be enriching Microsoft, they
are unlikely to see anything wrong with it. As for "getting something
back in return", they do, and it's the same thing you get on Wikipedia:
some sort of satisfaction that you have helped improve something. I can
even imagine that most will feel it to be more "worth it" to help
Encarta because it feels somehow more important or more substantial or,
dare I say it, more accurate.
Has anyone observed _any_ Encarta user edits actually
They have a "What's New" section where articles are listed that have
recently changed (or so they claim). However, there is no way to see
what exactly has changed in each article, much less does it say who
suggested the change. Indeed for 99% of them you can't even view the
article unless you pay.