Microsoft tried to hire writer for Wikipedia changes ?

Andre Kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Thu Jan 25 08:51:09 CST 2007

  International Herald Tribune <>
Microsoft tried to hire writer for Wikipedia changes

The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Microsoft has landed in the Wikipedia doghouse after it offered to pay a 
blogger to change technical articles on the community-produced Web 
encyclopedia site.

While Wikipedia is known as the encyclopedia that anyone can tweak, its 
founder, Jimmy Wales, and his cadre of volunteer editors, writers and 
moderators have blocked public-relations firms, campaign workers and 
anyone else perceived as having a conflict of interest from posting 
fluff or slanting entries. So paying for Wikipedia copy is considered 
out of bounds.

"We were very disappointed to hear that Microsoft was taking that 
approach," Wales said Tuesday.

Microsoft acknowledged it had approached the writer and offered to pay 
him for the time it would take to correct what the company was sure were 
inaccuracies in Wikipedia articles on an open-source document standard 
and a rival format put forward by the software company.

A Microsoft spokeswoman, Catherine Brooker, said she believed the 
articles were largely written by people at International Business 
Machines, which is a big supporter of the open- source standard. IBM did 
not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Brooker said Microsoft had gotten nowhere in trying to flag the 
purported mistakes to Wikipedia's volunteer editors, so it sought an 
independent expert who could determine whether changes were necessary 
and enter them on Wikipedia. Brooker said Microsoft believed that having 
an independent source would be crucial in getting the changes to stick 
--- that is, to not have them overruled by other Wikipedia writers.

Jelliffe did not return an e-mail message seeking comment.

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