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January 24, 2007


Abe Sultan

Hi Don,

From my understanding Microsoft wanted to contract Rick Jelliffe to add his opinion to the article.

Here is the quote directly from Jelliffe's blog:

"So I was a little surprised to receive email a couple of days ago from Microsoft saying they wanted to contract someone independent but friendly (me) for a couple of days to provide more balance on Wikipedia concerning ODF/OOXML. I am hardly the poster boy of Microsoft partisanship! Apparently they are frustrated at the amount of spin from some ODF stakeholders on Wikipedia and blogs. "

I don't think it was wrong at all but like all other Microsoft news it was taken out of perspective to portray the evil ruller.

You can find the entire article here:


I think it's good to hear the other side of the story, as silence is often construed as admitting guilt.

That said, The Age was probably justified in labelling Microsoft's counter-spin negatively, although "doctoring" is too strong a word - as far as I know, Jelliffe didn't put anything into Wikipedia, so how can it have been deemed "doctoring"?

Steve Morsa

I hadn't thought about this before, Don; but it does seem to be the case more and more as the importance of headlines grows in this Internet-connected age...makes me think that what we need is that old saw about contracts, but updated for today's world:

The headline giveth, and the body copy taketh away.

Ben Langhinrichs


I have to say that while some of the news stories about the Microsoft Wikipedia thing have been overly sensationalistic, it is also pretty clearly "spin" to call this a "seemingly innocent request". While I agree that Microsoft as a corporation would have been unlikely to approve such a stupid move, it wasn't particularly innocent. A person from Microsoft was offering to pay, as in cash money, to have an "independent" reviewer make revisions to the Wikipedia article. I think I have read you yourself point out that you have to follow the money back, and the chances that this money was offered without an expectation for a certain perspective is ridiculous.

So, dismiss this as done by a rogue employee if you like, but don't try to spin it as an innocent move. It hardly takes a sophisticated PR group to figure out that paying somebody else to post something "independent" is not acceptable.

- Ben

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