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Re: [News] Commercial Wikipedia from Microsoft?

begin  oe_protect.scr 
Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> espoused:
> __/ [ Mark Kent ] on Tuesday 30 May 2006 18:42 \__
>> begin  oe_protect.scr
>> Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> espoused:
>>> __/ [ Philip ] on Tuesday 30 May 2006 04:42 \__
>>>> Roy Schestowitz wrote:
>>>>> Microsoft Making a Better Wikipedia!?
>>>>> ,----[ Quote ]
>>>>> | The difference between this and Wikipedia is two-fold: first,
>>>>> | Microsoft has paid researchers finding and publishing articles, which
>>>>> | guarantees a steady stream of articles and valid information, and
>>>>> | second, all changes made are first moderated by Microsoft staff to
>>>>> | filter advertising, false information, or pure trolling/defacement of
>>>>> | a site.
>>>>> `----
>>> http://neosmart.net.nyud.net:8080/blog/archives/176
>>>>> MSN Encarta; needs subscription to edit; catching on improbable.
>>>> Sounds like FUD to me. I remember a Wikipedia to Britannica bake-off
>>>> that came out a dead heat. I bet Britannica would do better that Encarta,
>>>> http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=675
> http://fishbowl.pastiche.org/2005/12/20/wikipedia_vs_britannica_apples_vs_oranges
> http://news.com.com/Study+Wikipedia+as+accurate+as+Britannica/2100-1038_3-5997332.html
>>>> All this from a quick google search
>>> The Britannica-Wikipedia survey was said to be ill-conducted. It could
>>> have been FUD -- even one that was supported under the table. The referees
>>> were not accounting for article _scale_, which is often greater in
>>> Wikipedia. They only counted inaccuracies and mistakes. Wikipedia had a
>>> strong rebuttal, and mind you, they continue to improve all the time, as
>>> more Wikipedians join the 'team' and technology (e.g. for moderation) is
>>> improved by MediaWiki. Britannica, along with other commercially-motivated
>>> teams, are fighting a losing battle. They are also less readily available.
>>> My search bar in Firefox is Wikipedia.
>>> Evolve or die.
>> I agree entirely - the times they are a-changing...  I have a Britannica
>> here, (recently purchased), as well as full OED.  They're both very
>> useful for the kids, and me, too.  The internet, and such as Wiki, are
>> valuable indeed, but having an alternative authority, or two, is a good
>> thing.  I've got a couple of smaller encyclopedias, too - including one
>> from about the turn of the century, for comparison purposes.  Attitudes
>> have changed quite a lot, but facts haven't very much :-)
> All these piles of books are rather worthless. They are slower to browse
> (e.g. find term, navigate through citations) and are out-of-date. At my
> parents' home, I believe we have about 4 separate encyclopedias, each
> weighing at over 10 volumes. What a waste of money (and trees). If only the
> impact of the Internet could be better predicted. Look at the libraries
> nowadays. They will slowly be emptied from people and become more like
> warehouses. Google and Microsoft are scanning books...

I wouldn't say they're worthless, rather the opposite, in fact.
Consider that paper records (okay, parchment, stone, and so on) have
survived in some cases up to 6,000 years or more.  Whereas I cannot read
a floppy disk written on a CPM system from 20 years ago without
specialist messing around, hardware, and so on, all of which will no
doubt fail completely before long.  I have the facility to play 78 rpm
records, but again, how many people can do that?  I can no longer play
1/4" tape - my last tape deck died some time ago...

I can see that, maybe in a few decades, when something even 5% of existing
books are available online, it might be possible to consider doing away
with libraries, but I don't think we're close to that.  I'd also like to
consider the sustainability side - assuming that we ever get a book reader
which is a real replacement for paper, but perhaps has the advantages
of computing systems (searching and copying, basically - not much else),
then what about the carbon impact?  I can read a book in the daytime
with precisely zero power requirement.  What will it cost to read an
electronic book in the daytime?

Considering real detailed information - how much is really available on
the net?  The internet used to be a fantastic resource a few years back,
but as commercial interests have increasingly polluted the information
base, it's become increasingly difficult to find even basic information.
Once upon a time, there was a reasonable FAQ for most newsgroups,
but since the dawn of the spammers, usenet has slowly died, and been
replaced with web fora;  these have no such culture, their information
base is not widely disemminated, thus there's no equivalent to the FAQs
we used to see being created any more.

What about information security - imagine that the British Library is
transferred onto Microsoft systems, as seems to be the plan (what fool
agreed to that?) - what happens when they get their first Microsoft
Moment, and half the books disappear, or get some minor corruption which
cannot be tracked down?

>> I suspect that, in the end, we'll see a competing wiki, but that would
>> be good, too.
> The Chinese initiated/announced their own 'Wikipedia' about a week ago. The
> unnerving feeling that I get from a Chinese government-inclined
> encyclopaedia... much like that of book burning.

Governments are not giving up control of communications and information
without a fight, are they?

| Mark Kent   --   mark at ellandroad dot demon dot co dot uk  |
Heisenberg might have been here.

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