Viral Marketing on the Wikipedia

I see on /. today that a group has been systematically abusing Wikipedia to promote an online BBC computer game. The hooplah is whether BBC funded such a project--a "tragedy of the commons" if there ever was one. One wiki spammer quoted in the piece claims that he or she feels justified because wikipedia is about information, and advertising is a type of information. Er, yeah. I don't see any reason why advertisers shouldn't promote the pages on wikipedia that are relevant to their product, but I see a difference between describing a product and advertising it. Somebody might actually ask for "information," but advertisements are shoved in our face.

I would agree with the 'pedia users quoted in the article who think that such efforts as this aren't really anything to worry about. Vandals have always been and probably always will be a problem, but ironically, the ease with which one can vandalize is actually an inhibitor. A large part of the thrill of vandalism is the fear of getting caught--then being proud later of your brazenness. It's the old detergent in the president's fountain gag. Wouldn't be much fun if the president himself gave you the detergent and stood by with mop in hand waiting for you to pour it in. In fact, it'd seem more like some bizarre guilt form of punishment.

It just so happened that I woke up this morning to a public radio special about the many technological gadgets out there now to strip the commercials from radio and television. People are proving themselves willing to pay to avoid the onslaught of commercials that constantly interrupt their favorite programming like a swarm of locusts (or poo-slinging monkeys.) I'm really starting to see this as "the good fight."