Wikimania Takes Over Online Shopping?

from the feel-free-to-edit-this dept

Overzealous marketers have been using the phrase “it’s the Wikipedia of ______” to describe products for a while now, and wikis have had “all the cool kids are doing it” status for a while, so it’s not surprising to see people try to shoehorn wikis in all over the place. The latest victims are shopping sites, but it’s hard to see how wikis are preferable in the space over the tried-and-tested product review, mainly because the inherent ability of wikis to be edited by anyone leaves the system open to abuse, particularly by less-than-scrupulous vendors or retailers. With reviews, typically they can’t be erased by any user, so any inaccurate or false reviews can be outweighed by other ones. But the ability to simply delete content with which one doesn’t agree is pretty powerful, and somehow the sites’ rebuttal that any user can then restore the content doesn’t seem to do much to help. The original article quotes Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who’s probably as much a fan of wikis as anybody, but understands they don’t fit every situation: “You’re seeing a lot of people throwing up a wiki and saying ‘Oooh, now we’ll magically get all this stuff.’ But it’s not about the software.”

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Comments on “Wikimania Takes Over Online Shopping?”

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Louis says:

Re: Re:

by Jimmy Z on Apr 24th, 2006 @ 2:21pm

I’m not sure why, but for some reason I hate the word wiki. It makes me want to stab my computer.

As an amateur psycho-therapist with absolutely no training whatsoever I believe your loathing of the word “Wiki” has to do with your subconscious fear of Will Smith´s rapping from the semi popular movie “Wild Wild West”

Where the phrase:

..Wiki Wiki WAH… Wiki Wiki WAH…

was coined and has led to many a man slicing his own eyeballs with his fingernails.

Myself says:

They have their place...

But the salesdroids at Radio Shack certainly seem irritated when I start telling their customers what they *really* need. Will there be censorship by the retailers against useful, legitimate, but unprofitable advice from contributors?

The retailers’ vested interest is entirely contrary to the good-advice spirit of a wiki. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

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