Sunday, November 25, 2007

Have payment, will edit

People get paid for editing Wikipedia all the time. There's the reward board, where WP editors offer each other cash or other goodies for articles or photos or backrubs. There are occasional article improvement contests where cash prizes are doled out for, you guessed it, improving articles.

Remember Cary Bass, the paid WP bureaucrat last seen threatening to block anybody who might embarrass Durova by posting her laughable "evidence" against an excellent editor? Bass announced that the Wikimedia foundation was making twenty grand available to editors who chipped in better illustrations to the encyclopedia.

So when a guy named Greg Kohs offered his services to organizations to write Wikipedia articles for them - at $49 to $99 a pop - it really shouldn't have been a big deal. But Kohs made the mistake of rubbing Jimbo and (gasp) the dreaded Durova the wrong way. Pretty soon he was blocked, banned, executed and later brought to trial for, well, doing what the Wikimedia foundation does itself with that twenty grand - running an edit-for-pay service.

Kohs has retreated to Wikipedia Review, where he gleefully skewers various Wikipedia editors and events. His comments on the latest fundraiser have been dead-on, though Wikipedians aren't even allowed to quote them on the encyclopedia, much less link to them. If any editor put a link on Wikipedia to Kohs' stuff, the BADSITERS would get him every bit as blocked, banned, executed and later brought to trial as Kohs himself. The dispute between Kohs and Durova turned particularly bitter, with nefarious allegations flying hither and yon and back to hither.

I never understood the fuss. If Kohs made good edits that improved Wikipedia, who cares if he got paid for them? And if he made bad edits, other editors would clean up the mess sooner or later, just as they do every day on the encyclopedia with thousands of other bad edits.

Kelly Martin, who I've been unkind to here, made the same point in her comment on, ironically, Durova's ArbCom case: "If Greg Kohser [sic] wants to edit Wikipedia productively, let him, too -- even if he does get paid for it."

But way too much bad blood has spilled between Kohs and the WP poobahs. He stands no chance of getting back into the project, paid or not. Meanwhile, other editors quietly edit for pay and nobody cares. It's a wonderful wikiworld. Now if somebody would only pay me...


Gregory Kohs said...

Casey, you rock! Thanks for the fairly accurate summary of how I was maligned on Wikipedia. Only correction I would make is that you say there's no way I'll ever get back on Wikipedia. Says who?! I'm already gleefully editing away in various areas (mostly away from article space). I seem capable of asking questions that set off hundreds of kilobytes of dialog before they recognize my trademark style and ban the sockpuppet account. Not to mention, there have been dozens of socks not related to me that they THINK are me, so I get the joy of watching that, too.

Isn't it funny, the only articles they ever discovered that MyWikiBiz authored for pay were the ones I myself owned up to as examples? Those that I kept secret -- still thriving in Wikipedia, and my clients were delighted. Isn't that itself evidence that I was writing in the NPOV Wikipedia "style" all along?


Casey Abell said...

Why not just make contructive edits to articles you're interested in, and forget the drama?

Gregory Kohs said...

I don't contribute anything of substance for free to Wikipedia any more, because:

(A) I disagree with how much the Foundation is paying Sue Gardner.

(B) I disagree with how Erik Moeller was hired off the Board of Trustees, without so much as a job posting, much less a candidate search.

(C) My good content is likely to be altered to say "boobies are fun; Sean is a fayg!" by some anonymous IP. Until the Foundation implements "Sighted Versions" (or whatever the kids are calling it these days), it is a waste of effort and honor to contribute good work for free.

(D) If I can be paid for my labor, why wouldn't I elect only to contribute paid editing?

By the way, in the past 6 weeks, I've had three PAID CONTENT gigs! All the content is safely in place on Wikipedia, happily accepted by "the community", because I never explained to them who wrote the stuff, or that it was paid for.

MyWikiBiz is apparently "back in business" -- now with more delicious secrecy!

We tried transparency and the disinfecting sunlight of full disclosure in August-October 2006. Jimbo shut down that idea, so the alternative is clandestine operations.

Check out this blog post and the comments: