Reinventing Fire

WTFipedia!

January 4, 2007

Filed under: Real Life,Tech — Magister @ 8:12 pm

A buddy of mine, Aaron, founded a startup based on some ideas for a content management/communications tool, which morphed into a very nice wiki. The company name is MindTouch, and the wiki is called DekiWiki (“smart wiki” in Japanese and Hawaiian, respectively). The software is an open-source branch off of MediaWiki (though with major improvements in the interface, IMO), and is available for free; the company sells support contracts and special hardware, IIRC. It’s pretty common for a company to give away software for free… my own employer, 6th Sense Analytics, has opened the source code for the SVG charting package I wrote for them, for example, because it’s not our core business. MindTouch is doing pretty well, and has had lots of positive exposure.

So, they did a bit of shameless promotion and posted an article on Wikipedia about it. Nothing wrong with that, there are lots of other wikis described there (including commercial ones).

It got deleted.

They reposted it.

It got deleted.

They asked what was up, and got a series of (lame, contradictory) answers. They tried reposting, and I edited the entry to clarify it and to downplay MindTouch and talk more about the free, open source software itself. When I tried to save the entry, I got a message instead:

“This page has been deleted, and protected to prevent re-creation.”

Say whuuuuuh?

There is supposedly a process whereby pages get marked for deletion, and undergo review. Anyone could have edited out the commercial aspects of the entry (which wasn’t all that egregious, just a blurb on the company itself). But they deleted it without following their own guidelines.

I like Wikipedia, for all its flaws. It’s a successful experiment in massive online collaboration, in my opinion, and I use it all the time. And I’m glad it hasn’t degenerated into an advertising morass. But don’t screw with their bottom line.

I’m not sure I would call this censorship, but it’s too dang close for my tastes. Read the talk page and draw your own conclusions.

1 Comment

  1. Oh! Nice new skin. Keep in mind, I seeded the article initially and then several others contributed. The only contributor that had any affiliation to MindTouch or DekiWiki was me. All the others were random folks.

    Comment by AaronF — January 4, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

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