[Wikipedia-l] Re: Encarta goes wiki - sort of...

Andrew Lih andrew.lih at gmail.com
Fri Apr 15 02:27:26 UTC 2005

On 4/15/05, Timwi <timwi at gmx.net> wrote:
> > 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". 

Timwi, certainly you can see why users will not get that "rush" that
Wikipedia is famous for and gets people hooked. Encarta Feedback
doesn't inspire the same sense of reward of a commons-based peer
production site like WP. So what type of gratification does it

> 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.

You don't have to be MS-hostile to have those feelings. Problem is, in
[[Coase's Penguin]], Yochai Benkler identified the problem as the
[[jalt]], or the jealousy/altruism factor. Why should folks donate
their own free time and effort to enrich the pockets of not only a
corporation, but perhaps one of the most dominant and profitable ones
in the history of American business, with little to no reward for

If Encarta had any of the following features or incentives, it might
be a more balanced relationship and provide a social or hedonic
- Notification of acceptance of edits
- Attribution/credit for contributor edits
- Community site for discussing articles
- Free Encarta subscription after ''n'' number of accepted contributions

They currently do not do any of them.

The five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and,
acceptance) have been boiled down into two for Microsoft - "embrace
and extend."

They've officially embraced a small part of the wiki model. Stay tuned
for the "extend." But if their sentiment about [[CBPP]] is anything
like their treatment of open source software, this will be a
half-hearted "me too" approach.

-Andrew (User:Fuzheado)

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