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

Stuart Orford sjorford at gmail.com
Fri Apr 15 10:46:40 UTC 2005

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

I used to contribute to the [[Internet Movie Database]] - I was
hovering around the top 100 contributors level, which would have got
me a free IMDb Pro subscription had I carried on. What put me off in
the end - and caused me to embrace WP - was the "brick wall" effect.
Contributions often take weeks (or months) to appear, and some never
appear at all. Only about 20 editors process millions of contributions
a year, giving no feedback, and sometimes changing edits in seemingly
arbitrary ways. Debate rages between contributors on message boards,
but there's never any chance to build policy by consensus, because
only a few of the editors read the message boards and they're not
bound by anything that's said. And software development is
excruciatingly slow. And the resulting database is the property of

It was frustrating, as you can tell. IMDb may be the most repected
movie database, but as a community it's hell, and I don't expect
Encarta to be much better. Public contribution and closing editing
doesn't scale.

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