The short history of this story is this: Microsoft does not like the Wikipedia entry on Open XML. Since Wikipedia logs changes with information that can identify the source of the change, Microsoft decides that it would be a better idea to pay someone else to make their changes. Classy.
Doug Mahugh, a technical expert for the Microsoft format, Office Open XML, has identified himself as the Microsoft employee who contacted Jelliffe requesting his services.
In a comment posted on the popular Slashdot technology website, Mahugh published what he said was an excerpt from an email to Jelliffe, detailing “what I asked Rick to do”.
“Wikipedia has an entry on Open XML that has a lot of slanted language, and we’d like for them to make it more objective but we feel that it would be best if a non-Microsoft person were the source of any corrections,” reads the email Mahugh apparently wrote to Jelliffe.
“Would you have any interest or availability to do some of this kind of work? Your reputation as a leading voice in the XML community would carry a lot of credibility, so your name came up in a discussion of the Wikipedia situation today.”
Wales said the proper course would have been for Microsoft to write or commission a “white paper” on the subject with its interpretation of the facts, post it to an outside website and then link to it in the Wikipedia articles’ discussion forums.
“It seems like a much better, transparent, straightforward way,” Wales said. (Quotes from The Age)
Maybe this post is a wee bit snarky, but this is what happens when I blog from the airport prior to 6am without enough green tea 🙂