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Wikipedia Pages Now On Amazon — With Product Links

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the seems-like-a-cool-idea-to-me dept.

Google 130

An anonymous reader writes "Last month, e-commerce marketplace Amazon.com launched a relatively unnoticed new feature that brings content from Wikipedia pages to its own servers in a shadowy new project that appears to be called 'Shopping Enabled Wikipedia Pages.' Hosted on the Amazon.com domain, they replicate Wikipedia's content but have added links to where a book can be purchased on Amazon. Amazon representative Anya Waring told CNET when asked via e-mail, 'As of November, we have rolled out in the books category, however [it] will be expanding to new categories in 2011.' If Average Joe scrapes Wikipedia and adds affiliate links to it, Google will remove and punish the domains with duplicate pages."

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130 comments

very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (4, Insightful)

oWj9*7!7dsggh7 (1952478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444414)

I guess there's nothing that doesn't end up being commercialized. Wikipedia has certain problems — when I look up topics in which I'm an expert, I always find the articles full of mistakes — but it was nice to see something that was relatively free of commercial spin. No more, it seems.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (-1, Troll)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444430)

Yeah, that was nice (not having the commercial spin). I guess the founder of Wikipedia is in desperate need of cash.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (3, Insightful)

hoshino (790390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444540)

Given that the whole of Wikipedia is under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license, does Amazon even need to pay them for this?

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (5, Informative)

jeffasselin (566598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444698)

No, they don't. Wikipedia will not be getting a SINGLE DOLLAR out of this, and this is almost certainly not something that was decided by any of the wikipedia administrators.

Amazon can do this legally on their own.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (5, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444832)

Well, that will happen until Wikipedia directly blocks Amazon IP addresses because of a sudden uncontrollable spike in bandwidth usage/bandwidth bill.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

symes (835608) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445010)

Well exactly, or they could just shuffle the database about a little bit so some of the busier links go somewhere else.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445114)

Well exactly, or they could just shuffle the database about a little bit so some of the busier links go somewhere else.

Now, that could be a lot of fun....

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

datapharmer (1099455) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446232)

I had a certain large chinese search engine go haywire on one of my websites quite a while back. a disallow in robots.txt didn't seem to do the trick, so instead of flat blocking them I redirected hits from their IP range/UA string to their own search results and the problems with their bot ceased almost immediately.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445136)

Commerce - the basest of casual human interactions - becomes the lowest common-denominator for human activity and interaction.

In a commercial relationship, for anything to be valued, it must not then just be assigned monetary equivalence. Indeed, that token monetary assignment becomes the most significant evaluation of a thing, to the exclusion and actual detriment of its other possibilities, qualities and merits.

This is what is meant by the expression "degradation of the marketplace."

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445306)

No, they've taken a local copy, they're not hot-loading. WMF was not consulted in any way before they did this, and I believe the only outstanding issue is the perception that WMF has anything to do with this. But I'm sure this will be straightened out in short order.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

LauraScudder (670475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447374)

Because if there's one thing Wikipedia hates, it's people actually using it's articles. But that's beside the point because they're using an archived version hosted on their own servers, which is why the featured article and such don't match.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (5, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445102)

No, they don't. Wikipedia will not be getting a SINGLE DOLLAR out of this, and this is almost certainly not something that was decided by any of the wikipedia administrators.

Aww, don't be so cynical. Not a single dollar? Do you know what Wikipedia's biggest expense is? Serving their pages. It's a burden for them.

Answers.com, Amazon and a bunch of other sites host mirrors of Wikipedia for free, in exchange for putting some of their own ads on it. Wikipedia serves their information to more people, while serving less traffic directly.

Everybody wins.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (4, Informative)

whiteboy86 (1930018) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444658)

..always find the articles full of mistakes

I doubt that, Wikipedia has thousands of revisions on even less important topics and mistakes get corrected out pretty quick, of course, if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

..something that was relatively free of commercial spin

Amazon is not the first and certainly not the last entity that puts or mixes Wiki content with commercial stuff. Mostly these copycat&link sites get removed from the indexes and from the ad serving companies pretty quick. This case is different though, Amazon has little to worry about its PageRank being damaged and they do not derive their revenue from ads, that means they can misuse Wikipedia with little backslash.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1, Troll)

ultranova (717540) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444828)

if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

Are the quotes around the word "mistakes" meant to suggest that the very thought of Wikipedia being wrong is somehow strange to you?

In any case, correcting Wikipedia is a pain, since chances are that your edit gets removed since it contradicts someone's bias. Also, deletionism is still going strong.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (3, Informative)

ion++ (134665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445056)

In any case, correcting Wikipedia is a pain, since chances are that your edit gets removed since it contradicts someone's bias. Also, deletionism is still going strong.

Citation needed

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445772)

In any case, correcting Wikipedia is a pain, since chances are that your edit gets removed since it contradicts someone's bias. Also, deletionism is still going strong.

How can somebody be biased against an objective fact with proper authoritive references supporting it?

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

camionbleu (1633937) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445964)

How can somebody be biased against an objective fact with proper authoritive references supporting it?

As your sig's reference to shades of gray suggests, the choice of which objective facts to include and which to leave out or delete can be a political choice.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

Josh Triplett (874994) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446326)

How can somebody be biased against an objective fact with proper authoritive references supporting it?

You've attempted to apply rational logic to biases, but biases don't subscribe to logic; they represent bugs in rationality.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446940)

Well I can only give my personal anecdote, but I think it stems from those that have decided "it shall be thus" and refusing to allow anything that affects their worldview, such as the article we had on /. recently that said when those that believe in a bias are confronted with evidence that goes against that bias it actually strengthens their belief in the bias instead of causing them to question it. Now my anecdote:

When I first heard of Wikipedia I thought it was a good idea, basically a FOSS encyclopedia, where crowd-sourcing could improve content and fix errors, so I thought I'd just read and if I ever found an error I'd do my part and fix it. I didn't actually go out looking for errors, just going about my normal business. Then I found an error. It wasn't a big error, in fact I personally thought it wasn't a big deal at all. It simply said a character in a show was supposed to be thus and end up with A, when I knew from watching the director's commentary that this was caused by executive meddling and both the writer and director wanted something completely different. so I pointed this out, linked to both the director's and writer's sites where they said the same thing...and was promptly banned and the page changed back to what it was. No reason given, or explanation why the director and writer were looked at as unreliable sources or whatever, just gone. Out of curiosity I started looking at the behind the scenes stuff like the talk boards and ...wow. You are talking factions, rabid deletionists, and plenty with agendas, like the Scientologist that made sure anything nasty said about LRH got quickly shitcanned.

So I'd say anybody that uses Wikipedia for any information more exciting than the chemical weight of a mineral or which wires to switch to make a crossover cable are just asking for it. Once one becomes a mod on that site you are talking about serious factions, admins watching their "favorite" entries like a hawk and wiping anything they don't agree with, just look on their message boards and you'll find some serious abuses of power and mods that love the banhammer and use it quite often. You of course are welcome to believe what you like, but personally if Wikipedia told me the sky was blue I'd want a second opinion.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (5, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445266)

I doubt that, Wikipedia has thousands of revisions on even less important topics and mistakes get corrected out pretty quick, of course, if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

I stopped editing Wikipedia in 2005 or so. I can go back to articles in my subject (linguistics) that I used to follow, and I find mistakes that are still left there half a decade later. There have been plenty of edits in the meantime, but they've never fixed specific factual errors.

And you'll find a lot of people disagree with your claim that fixing them is what "any experts in any field should be doing." My own specific branch of linguistics is tiny, it has a handful of experts. Several of them gave Wikipedia a try and then gave up on it pretty fast, as they felt that effecting any real beneficial change was impossible when you have cabals of non-expert editors. Besides, there's an occasional feeling in my field that our research doesn't really concern the public; it benefits them indirectly, but reaching out to the layman ourselves is a waste of time. Experts have a duty to do expert research, not writing popular science.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (5, Insightful)

jcwayne (995747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445856)

...there's an occasional feeling in my field that our research doesn't really concern the public; it benefits them indirectly, but reaching out to the layman ourselves is a waste of time.

I find that attitude, which is prevalent in many fields, very troubling.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

herojig (1625143) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446384)

I agree, disturbing this is. Especially so when said research is funded by layman's tax dollars.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

severoon (536737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445884)

My own specific branch of linguistics is tiny, it has a handful of experts. Several of them gave Wikipedia a try and then gave up on it pretty fast, as they felt that effecting any real beneficial change was impossible when you have cabals of non-expert editors.

Unfortunately, what you say is true. Wikipedia should only be trusted for things known by enough people. (What's "enough"? That's the question, isn't it...) I've heard the same information from every person I know that has truly expert knowledge on a long-tail subject. If the valuable knowledge you happen to possess isn't already known by enough people, it will almost certainly get reverted.

This is the nature of truly democratic knowledge sharing. This is the one area Britannica has it all over Wikipedia. For almost all practical purposes, though, only experts need that level of information, so Britannica for the masses doesn't make a lot of sense.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446578)

A lot of experts have a problem with having no authority on Wikipedia and having to cite sources like anyone else.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446762)

A lot of experts have a problem with having no authority on Wikipedia and having to cite sources like anyone else.

It really doesn't matter if you can cite sources. If you're a newbie, and there's a cabal around the article, you have little hope of ensuring the article develops healthily.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447508)

You should checkout Citizendium. People there edit under their real name*, mostly experts in their own respective fields.

* this encourages real-world credentials to be taken into consideration, when resolving disputes

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (5, Interesting)

Petrushka (815171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445710)

I doubt that, Wikipedia has thousands of revisions on even less important topics and mistakes get corrected out pretty quick, of course, if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

I can certainly vouch for the GP's sentiment in my own area of expertise. I actually use Wikipedia primarily as a tool for finding out what kinds of misinformation there are floating around in the wild; it's a useful gauge of what misinformation is popularly perceived to be "true".

Experts have much better things to do than edit Wikipedia; it's abundantly clear that all editing is controlled by people with vested interests who use opaque processes to silence dissent. Experts do have a responsibility to write popular science, targetted at educated non-specialists. However, there's absolutely no point doing so in a venue that will invariably introduce errors after it's been written.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447148)

Do you know of a good alternative? I agree, the pages related to my field are horrible and at looking at the discussions, practically uncorrectable without serious amounts of invested time, probably only to have it scrapped and replaced with whatever group happens to be pushing their particular agenda at the time.

Not only that, I find wikipedia to have horrible flow of information and structure related to learning about new concepts. I do appreciate what is there though, particularly for subjects that other resources would neglect.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447574)

I highly recommend Citizendum. It was created Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia. (He was disappointed with it too.) People use real-world names, and real world credentials there. Articles are peer reviewed before published. Of course being more selective means there're less articles.

http://en.citizendium.org/wiki/CZ:Introduction_to_CZ_for_Wikipedians#Citizendium_is_not_a_mirror [citizendium.org]

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445778)

perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing

Experts who are members of the Wikipedia Fraternity, perhaps. Of which there are decidedly few, unless their expertise is in Nerd Culture Politics. Legitimate experts, no matter how well-intentioned, inevitably have better things to do than fight the in-grained biases and deletionism.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

oWj9*7!7dsggh7 (1952478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445864)

if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

I used to, but I got tired of making the same corrections over and over again.

If I publish an article or book or even my own blog, I can set down what I believe to be true and people can consult it or cite if they accept my authority; they can also dispute my statements or just ignore me if they choose to. But with Wikipedia, everything I say is written in the sand at low tide.

All this is off-topic to the main point of the news item, of course, but it's a second thing (besides Amazon pseudo-ads) that somewhat diminishes my confidence in Wikipedia's content.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

harvey the nerd (582806) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446300)

Wikipedia has whole areas of distinct, anti-factual bias, medicine and climate being two large examples where conventional wisdom, and so-called consensus science, ride roughshod over inconvenient hard science and simple facts.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

imthesponge (621107) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446584)

You mean they won't accept your "CO2 is harmless, trees breathe it in" edit, even though it's entirely factual?

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34446324)

Wikipedia has thousands of revisions on even less important topics and mistakes get introduced pretty quick

FTFY

of course, if you find any 'mistakes' then perhaps you should try to fix them as any expert in any field should be doing..

Why? So some wanker with a bias or an agenda (or merely an incorrect understanding) can come along and erase my effort on a whim? As an expert, it's not worth my time to feed every internet troll.

Look on the bright side (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444836)

Wikipedia will be the first encyclopedia to have a version which actually directly pushes readers to more authoritative sources (specialized books, etc.) How many other encyclopedias will be able to say that they have such integration?

Re:Look on the bright side (1)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445036)

Wikipedia will be the first encyclopedia to have a version which actually directly pushes readers to more authoritative sources (specialized books, etc.) How many other encyclopedias will be able to say that they have such integration?

Uh, any with a decent bibliography and cites?

Re:Look on the bright side (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34445290)

Last time I picked up a Britannica, the cites were pretty well-buried. And massively out-of-date.

They already did (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445648)

Wikipedia has always had the ability to look up where to get books that are cited as references [wikipedia.org] . People tend to cite online sources more often because it is easier, and because the admins prefer references that they can check without having to do much work; I've seen arguments where admin threatened to remove something because the reference was an (unclassified) military manual which was only available in large libraries.

If you click on an ISBN you'll get this unweildy page [wikipedia.org] , which links to searches in more libraries, stores, and databases then you ever cared to look at. It would be nice if they used some sort of geolocation to show the most relevant at the top of the page.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444862)

What's this I don't think you are reading it right. Wikipedia has done nothing, this is a unilateral action from Amazon, an action that will fail because it depends on people visiting Amazon to read Wikipedia, I guess they are hoping business partners will link to their version of Wikipedia rather than the free one but I doubt it will have any traction.

Wikipedia might not be perfect but if you read those articles full of mistakes with that awesome reading skills of yours, I think Wikipedia is doing just fine without your help.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (2, Interesting)

owlnation (858981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445244)

Wikipedia has certain problems -- when I look up topics in which I'm an expert, I always find the articles full of mistakes -- but it was nice to see something that was relatively free of commercial spin.

I wish more people would do this. I think people rarely look up pages in which they are expert, or have good knowledge of. I have found errors, misrepresentations or bad explanations in most pages I've looked at, where I am knowledgeable in the subject. This leads me to the reasonable conclusion that there probably errors on most pages, some of them serious, some of them deliberate.

And no, I don't fix them. I simply do not have the time nor the inclination to play editing wars with some wikifascist. Until such time as wikipedia has a fair and transparent administration system there's no point in wasting your time trying to improve it.

It could well end up that Amazon's version ends up being more accurate and reliable due to the fact that they may well be more accountable and honest than the WikiFoundation.

I don't see an issue with this at all. Many wikipedia pages are already shilled, astroturfed, fancruft, blatant spam or copied as near as verbatim from commercial websites. Many "citations" are links to third party commercial sites, and nothing like primary sources at all. Importantly also, almost all Movie pages, for example, have content that's clearly stolen directly from IMdB. Since IMdB is owned by Amazon, it only seems fair that they'd return the favor and steal it back. I'm astounded Amazon hasn't already sued them -- the theft of their data by wikieditors has been blatant for years.

Anyway, how is this different from Jimbo selling off other people's wikipedia content to Answers.com for personal profit? This seems more honest than that to me.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

smagruder (207953) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446950)

"And no, I don't fix them. I simply do not have the time nor the inclination to play editing wars with some wikifascist."

In place of preconceived notions and defeatism, perhaps you could give it a try. Even if you meet some resistance, it likely won't be on the majority of articles you attempt to improve.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (0)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445756)

I always find the articles full of mistakes

Then you should have edited them better.
That's kinda the idea behind Wikipedia you know; see a factual error? Fix it!
If we're not talking about factual errors, then we're talking about a minority opinion and nobody could care less.

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446856)

I guess there's nothing that doesn't end up being commercialized. Wikipedia has certain problems — when I look up topics in which I'm an expert, I always find the articles full of mistakes — but it was nice to see something that was relatively free of commercial spin. No more, it seems.

Wiki is still there without going through Amazon. For those subjects with mistakes, there's Google's Knol [google.com] which only publishes articles by experts.

Falcon

Re:very disappointing, but perhaps inevitable (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447248)

Am I missing something? This "enriched content" is not hosted by wikipedia, it's hosted by Amazon. So if you want something free of commercial spin, keep using Wikipedia -- and don't use the Amazon copy of it.

Really? (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444418)

Google punishes wikipedia clones with adverts? Are you sure, because one of the things that made me stop using Google was the large number of results that were either mailing list archives with ads (the same list post on the top 10 hits, just different ads), or Wikipedia copies with ads. In fact, the 'Google will remove and punish' link refers to domains that contain the same content on different pages, rather than domains that duplicate the content of other domains, so is completely inapplicable to pages hosting Wikipedia content plus adverts.

Note from Amazon Political Subservience Div (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444438)

Didn't we ban that Wiki thing?

Amazon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444444)

They kill Wikileaks and push Wikipedia - they're are having a very wiki-week.

Yeah... (4, Informative)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444454)

From the very page linked

Duplicate content on a site is not grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results. If your site suffers from duplicate content issues, and you don't follow the advice listed above, we do a good job of choosing a version of the content to show in our search results.

I don't think Amazon is doing this to boost their pagerank.

Yes, but... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444560)

I don't think Amazon is doing this to boost their pagerank.

Sure, but they still "manipulate search engine results".

Re:Yes, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444596)

Sure, but they still "manipulate search engine results".

So does every new document indexed

Re:Yes, but... (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445088)

still dupe content if amazon can get away with this the ill be doing the same after all if amazon can get away with it so can we eh Matt :-)

Average Joe (5, Informative)

Alrescha (50745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444456)

From Google:

"Duplicate content on a site is note grounds for action on that site unless it appears that the intent of the duplicate content is to be deceptive and manipulate search engine results"

ie: the 'Average Joe' can scrape wikipedia all he wants and Google will not punish him unless his intent is to deceive. But thanks for the conspiracy theory attempt just the same.

A.

Yet another bad summary (2)

theNAM666 (179776) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444494)

Google will not punish and remove.

Google will discount the PageRank (Page, as in Larry) to nothing for prior published content. That is the one and only "penalty."

Amazon, whatever the value of this, has enough related value content for this not to matter much-- there's (probably) a PR+ value to presenting the relevant Wikipedia content next to similar information.

Yes, it's darn annoying and another reason to boycott those **** at Amazon. But it's not the things the OP summary says. //karma-whoring

So Amazon drops Wikileaks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444656)

hosts Wikipedia instead.

Wait until Lieberman hears about this!

Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (0)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444678)

That's what Wikipedia gets for using a not-restrictive-enough Creative Commons license: Amazon has now figured out how to monetize Wikipedia and make money from the unpaid efforts of other people. Wikipedia should have used a license that specifically denied that sort of "capitalization".

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (5, Interesting)

Afforess (1310263) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444740)

Let's play this game. Assume Wikipedia was using a more draconian licence that restricted monetary gain. Then it would become a much less valuable as source material. If I was working on a research grant, I couldn't touch wikipedia, not even to check their sources, out of fear of getting sued for copyright violations. Do we really want more of that?

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444816)

Your example is silly, a non sequitur: nothing in such a license would prohibit READING Wikipedia... which is all you'd be doing if you were "checking sources". If you COPIED the article into your own research-for-profit, though, you'd be begging for a smackdown.

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444960)

Let's play this game. Assume Wikipedia was using a more draconian licence that restricted monetary gain. Then it would become a much less valuable as source material. If I was working on a research grant, I couldn't touch wikipedia, not even to check their sources, out of fear of getting sued for copyright violations. Do we really want more of that?

If I was working on a research grant, I couldn't touch wikipedia *anyway*. It *might* be an OK source for grade / high-school and *some* undergrad papers / projects, but NOT for research grants.

Wikipedia is a great resource, but not for anything more than a very preliminary starting point for things above a certain level.

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (3, Insightful)

takowl (905807) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445808)

If I was working on a research grant, I couldn't touch wikipedia *anyway*. It *might* be an OK source for grade / high-school and *some* undergrad papers / projects, but NOT for research grants.

Wikipedia shouldn't be cited as a source at any level. But it can help you to understand a topic, and hopefully point you to some better sources if you need to cite something. There's no arbitrary limit at which you can't use it like that. Even when you're an expert in some field, you're still going to want information on related fields quite often.

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (1)

Tromad (1741656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447238)

If you're like most researchers you simply mass copy the research links sourced from a few studies without reading any of them anyways, don't kid yourself, you use wikipedia as a source to find other sources.

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445184)

Assume Wikipedia was using a more draconian license that restricted monetary gain. Then it would become a much less valuable as source material.

That's nonsense, Wikipedia's license applies to redistribution, not use. You would have as much freedom with Wikipedia using non-commercial license as with any regular old book, you could use and quote it all you like, just not do plain verbatim copies of it. Or have you stopped using regular books to while working on your research grants too?

Do we really want more of that?

Depends, once up on a time there was some use for allowing commercial redistribution of freely licensed stuff, as otherwise you wouldn't have all the Linux distributions. But with the Internet being pretty much commonplace everywhere now there is much less need for physical redistribution, so using a non-commercial licenses could make a good bit more sense, as they would stop people from grabbing free stuff, slapping some ads on it and making money from that.

Re:Loosey-goosey Creative Commons (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444742)

As a sometimes-wikipedia editor (aren't we all) I have to say "MEH".

I contribute to wikipeida because I want a useful reference. If Amazon is willing to mirror it (with a couple of ads) what is the problem?

Better as add-on? (1)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444716)

I think this is a pretty cool feature, allowing you to purchase a book or item based on seeing it on something you are reading (seems like most of them are the ISBN's in the sources).

I am however against the commercialization aspect of Wikipedia (especially since, like others have said, I doubt Wikipedia makes any money off of this due to its open nature).

Why not just create an add-on that does this across all web pages, similar to how skype lets you call any phone number on a web page, or g-mail identifies emails that are about shipments and posts a link to the tracking (though these are not themselves add-ons). If you could even further specify what types of things you are interested in getting info on (i.e. only books) it would be much less intrusive and subversive and less likely to turn away people.

Though maybe enough people wont care and this will be really profitable for amazon, even though they are shoving it down people's throats

Shoving what? (3, Interesting)

poptones (653660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444916)

Are they redirecting people from wikipedia? Are they stomping on search result pages? Nothing is being "shoved" here.

This is an incredibly useful feature. I use wikipedia all the time for research papaers, but most research papers do not allow online sources or allow only a limited number. Citations to actual books are needed, and to draw quotes from those books we need access to at least a bit of the content. Amazon provides this, meaning now I may be able to just click a citation and be directed to the proper page at amazon where I can access a few sample pages from the book - ba-bing, now I have a citation for my paper. What's amazing is not how amazon was crass enough to do this, but that jimmy wales was so shortsighted as to not offer to do this from the beginning. That's potentially a lot of revenue they'll never claim now.

Re:Shoving what? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445148)

Citations to actual books are needed, and to draw quotes from those books we need access to at least a bit of the content. Amazon provides this, meaning now I may be able to just click a citation and be directed to the proper page at amazon where I can access a few sample pages from the book - ba-bing, now I have a citation for my paper.

So, you think research is just "accessing a few sample pages" and then linking to that.

How very scholarly...

Re:Shoving what? (1)

poptones (653660) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445374)

Research? Who said anything about research? I was talking about completing papers for class. And it doesn't matter what I think or don't think about completing a classroom assignment - my grades speak for themselves. So far I see little difference in the pages anyway. It's just sad Wales didn't think to tap that mine before Amazon jumped his claim.

Re:Better as add-on? (0)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445726)

> I doubt Wikipedia makes any money off of this

Why on earth should "Wikipedia" (I assume you meant the Wikimedia Foundation) make any money off anything? That whole organization exists to enrich themselves (I'm referring to everyone who draws a salary from WMF) from the work of the actual contributors(normal people who write the content), none of whom are paid for their trouble.

What is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444722)

Wikipedia is released under a free license. Amazon obeys the license. What is the problem?

Are all the complainers really in to free licenses?

Re:What is the problem? (2)

HiThere (15173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444954)

Well, there are basically two problems that I see:

1) If the data is a copy, how do you keep the copy synced with the original.

2) If the data is a hot-link, who pays for the extra bandwidth?

Those are both minor, and only one will apply. But to me it seems that there should probably be an update cycle. The main question is "how fast?". If it's a slow update cycle, then there should be little on-going expense, and it should facilitate Wikipedia doing it's job.

Ideally, Amazon should host Wikipedia in the cloud, and Wikipedia should do periodic hot-updates to it's local database. This would decrease the cost to Wikipedia and facilitate Amazon doing hot-links. But there's the matter of control of the original sources, domain name, etc., and I'm afraid that I wouldn't trust Amazon enough for that to be an acceptable alternative. We don't live in an ideal world.

Re:What is the problem? (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445128)

1) If the data is a copy, how do you keep the copy synced with the original.

Use Wikipedia's xml export periodically.

2) If the data is a hot-link, who pays for the extra bandwidth?

Extra bandwith is handled by Amazon, no?

I read "wikileaks pages now on amazon" (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444744)

but aside from that I am not sure what I am reading here? is wikipedia turning into some kind of fancy amazon catalog? FUCK ME! I am outta the intertubes, enough of this commercial bullshit!

Re:I read "wikileaks pages now on amazon" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34444808)

Now if Wikileaks wants to get their stuff hosted on Amazon, all they have to do it put it on Wikipedia.

Re:I read "wikileaks pages now on amazon" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34445896)

I read it the same way. I thought Amazon was selling the Wikileaks documents or something.

Maybe that's why they booted Wikileaks, so they can sell the information without competition.

Re:I read "wikileaks pages now on amazon" (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447274)

but aside from that I am not sure what I am reading here? is wikipedia turning into some kind of fancy amazon catalog? FUCK ME! I am outta the intertubes, enough of this commercial bullshit!

Fortunately, most of the rest of us actually read TFS.

Yet another Amazon-Wikipedia Problem... (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444768)

When I read the summary, I thought it was referring to the delightful(ly stupid) practice some people have got into, of packaging Wikipedia pages and selling them on Amazon while printing the things through services like Lulu. That was a clear example of how badly their internal search can be gamed. This is just unbelievably crass. On the other hand, who on Earth is going to go straight to an Amazon mirror of Wikipedia?

Re:Yet another Amazon-Wikipedia Problem... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 3 years ago | (#34447286)

Somebody who wants the services that the mirror offers - eg the ability to purchase source materials directly from the article itself. There have been times I've come across book references in Wikipedia that I wanted to purchase (or check price).; or have seen references to an actual product that I want to get.

Epic Fail? (2)

unitron (5733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444812)

It appears that you have to find a way to click yourself out of shopping-enabled Wikipedia into regular Wikipedia in order to be able to search Wikipedia for anything that's not already on the main page.

Also, the shopping-enabled main page is under the impression that today is October 23. When you live near a Marine Corps base, stuff like

1983 – Lebanese Civil War: Suicide bombers destroyed two barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 U.S. servicemen and 58 French paratroopers of the international peacekeeping force.

tends to catch your eye.

You can replicate wikipedia if you want (2)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 3 years ago | (#34444998)

They give away their software and copies of their database so anyone an do the same thing. Amazon should throw some cash their way but they don't have to.

Contributing to Wikimedia? (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445054)

I hope they'll be kicking back some money to the Wikimedia Foundation. Though they don't have to, if they're getting some value out of it, they should make sure Wikimedia can keep its projects running. Bezos can certainly spare some change.

Missing links (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34445216)

That must have been the problem with WikiLeaks... No product links.

I do not shop Amazon for Christmas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34445336)

After what Amazon did for Wikileaks, they won't get my money.

I have not used Paypal any more because of earlier problems with Cryptome. Although Paypal now did their evil thing with Wikileaks too, they're already banned from ever getting a cut of my money.

So... who else does not want my business? Hands up!

This may be about Kindle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34445388)

I'd guess that this is mostly about enhancing things for Kindle users. Perhaps when reading a Kindle book there'll be an embedded link to the Amazon enhanced Wiki content. Same for Shelfari, Abebooks, etc. They may have no intention of making the Wiki content available to casual surfers, and may opt-out of indexing by search engines entirely.

how many copies does it take? (1)

dr_blurb (676176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445740)

It happens all over the place (stackoverflow and that crap "efreedom" anyone?), and Google should do something about it.

If not, what is required? Ten more sites copying wikipedia content, so all ten results on the first page point to the same page?

Re:how many copies does it take? (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446366)

Yes, efreedom are bad people. It looks like they popped up right after the last time Google rejiggered their algorithm (or at least around an announced/confirmed change), but who knows how long they've been around and whether their prominence is due to new science or a lucky SEO windfall finally rewarding them for something they'd been doing for some time (lurking at the 50th SERP. They have been falling off my searches somewhat since then.

Actually a good feature (4, Insightful)

bourdux (1609219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34445832)

I might get bashed for this comment but I think that it is actually a good feature. As a researcher, I often use Wikipedia to get links to more more sources of authority that I can ask the laboratory to order on Amazon. As far as I understand, at the moment, Amazon just links ISBN and book titles back to Amazon so you can buy them. What I did before was copy and pasting the ISBN to Amazon or searching for the book title. The way they have implemented the shopping-enabled Wikipedia is close to the behaviour of customers looking for books on a specific subject and just spare some copy-paste. If I use wikipedia to get to know how I should spend my book budget, I think this is a very good approach.

It's all about the SEO (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34445966)

This is all about Search Engine Optimization and result relevance. Amazon (in particular, this team) is trying to make sure that their pages are the top results for search hits on keywords related to authors, musicians, movies, TV series, etc. By providing additional context (such as a full Wikipedia article) they can get not just relevance but related concepts or keywords.

There are no community features, no editing the page, and no discussion. This is solely about redirecting search traffic to Amazon for shopping, and website sessions resulting in purchases that enter through this page is how the feature is going to be evaluated and continued or discontinued.

Amazon is all about making the sale and the pages are relentlessly optimized to maximize the likelihood that you'll make a purchase through them.

Wikileaks, by Julian Assange (0)

rhizome (115711) | more than 3 years ago | (#34446418)

There are so many garbage ebooks selling for $40 on Amazon, certainly this means it's easy enough for someone to compile an ebook of wikileaks and sell it from any of a billion ebook marketplaces, not the least Amazon itself. And once the scam ebook scene smells blood (money) around wikileaks, it will become SEO fodder and also an advertising keyword. After that, Wikileaks will be fairly ubiquitable for the near term.

Wikipedia vs. Amazon (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34447938)

Jimmy vs. Jeff.

Does it bother Amazon that Wikipedia is covering the WikiLeaks flame-war?

Does this bother Jeff?

Likey as long as Jeff is making money off of all the poor diplomatic saps who should have never been appointed to "Ambassitor" of "Anything" by any of the idiot Presidents of the United States of America .... Barak Hussain Obama is the current Idiot in Chief !

-- 308

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