Microsoft Corp. landed in the Wikipedia doghouse Tuesday 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, 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 a definite no-no.
“We were very disappointed to hear that Microsoft was taking that approach,” Wales said.
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 Microsoft.
Spokeswoman Catherine Brooker said she believed the articles were heavily written by people at IBM Corp., which is a big supporter of the open-source standard. IBM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are more details of the Microsoft and Wikipedia sides of the story by following the link. The blog post by the “blogger” in question (Rick Jelliffe , CTO of XML tools company Topologi) that started the furor is here. The standards are the perennially contentious document formats: ODF (OpenDocument Format) and OOXML (Microsoft Office Open XML).