Editing Crowd Sourced Content: the Wikipedia Discussion

Best Buy, the retail box store and internet source for electronics, televisions, DVD players, home & car audio, computers, cameras, music, movies, software, games etc is at the cutting edge of modern online technologies and facilitating their use by as many purchase prospects as possible.The embedded video above has various internal talking heads extolling the virtues of 'Best Buy Remix' http://remix.

Best Buy, the retail box store and internet source for electronics, televisions, DVD players, home & car audio, computers, cameras, music, movies, software, games etc is at the cutting edge of modern online technologies and facilitating their use by as many purchase prospects as possible.

The embedded video above has various internal talking heads extolling the virtues of 'Best Buy Remix' http://remix.bestbuy.com/, the developer network with Mashery api and associated hooks into data including Product specs, Prices, Photos, User Reviews and all content from Bestbuy.com’s product catalog data.

Best Buy are a poster child for the 'social media' marketing world's goal of taking the market to the customer and getting involved in their conversations, 'remixing' components of bestbuy.com so it can be embedded in other sites and web applications.

'Supportopedia' is the Best Buy support space, associated with their geek squad brand.This is essentially a destination site: buy a gizmo and search/interact here to find why the widget you just bought doesn't plug into your gizmo and what the solution is. The goal is to crowd source content for this site - user reviews and fixes - which will make the site more and more valuable. Wikipedia Wikipedia meanwhile is wrestling with editorial issues in its heavily populated site: the old chestnut of inaccuracies has come up again, the negative polarity of crowdsourcing.

Wikipedia is considering a radical change in how it is run that would see revisions having to be approved by editors before they were added to the site. this is primarily because edits of the pages of Senators Robert Byrd and Edward Kennedy, both taken ill at the US inauguration, briefly gave the false impression they had both died.

Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, is proposing flagged revisions, which would mean changes made by unknown or new users would have to be approved by one of the site's editors before being published.

This has resulted in fierce debate in this Wikipedia discussion area.

"Discussions on this page may escalate into heated debate. Please try to keep a cool head when commenting here. See also: Wikipedia:Etiquette".... Last year I wrote about Corroborated content vs user generated - the Encyclopedia Britannica vs Wikipedia.

...I looked at articles on ‘Web 2.0? in the Britannica: here’s a link to their article and here’s the same topic on WikiP.

Intriguing…to be fair to the EB it really shines on corroborated information and contains terrific articles on, for example, the second world war…but the Web 2.0 example shows just how dynamic WikiP is.

There’s a lesson here for enterprise folks - all that crusty old static content in your intranet is no match for the dynamism of frequently updated user generated materials. Many hands make light work…

I think Wikipedia would be going backwards if they attempt to have their 'wikipedian' editors rubber stamp all changes by new users prior to publishing. There is an inevitable risk of vandalism and sloppy writing in any collaborative forum or wiki, but common sense and checking prevails very swiftly.

There is always going to be the risk of inaccuracies in fluid conversations, but this is after all what makes people think. Accepting everything as gospel without question can result in errors becoming deeply embedded in processes: questioning everything and cross referencing anything of critical importance is a good solution in life generally.

It does make sense in a corporate environment to protect canonical core information, but thoughtleaders such as Gary Hamel recommend conversations around them. This is the best of both worlds in a relatively controlled environment such as Best Buy.

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