Monday, April 16, 2007

Wikipedia Seeks to Bar Office Contributions

Wikipedia Seeks to Bar Office Contributions
by Joal Ryan
Thu, 12 Apr 2007 04:06:01 PM PDT

Yes, Michael Scott has some interesting theories on how to gain the edge in salary talks. No, Wikipedia's not really interested in them.

The online encyclopedia has put its entry on negotiations in semilockdown after users spurred by NBC's The Office began peppering the page with tips that Steve Carell's less-than-sharp pencil-pusher supposedly read there.

"It's definitely the result of that episode," Wikipedia spokeswoman Sandra Ordonez said Thursday.

That episode, titled "The Negotiation," debuted Apr. 5. In it, Carell's Scott confides that everything he knows about the art of negotiation he learned on, um, Wikipedia.

"Wikipedia is the best thing ever," the irony-deficient character declares. "Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information."

According to the episode, Wikipedia-offered negotiation advice includes talking very, very softly, moving a meeting to another location and letting the other party speak first, no matter how long a staring contest ensues.

None of these tactics were actually found on the site's "Negotiation (process)" page—until, that is, after the episode aired, and after mischievous contributors began adding them, and more.

As first reported by the Associated Press, newly registered and unregistered users have since been barred from making posts.

"It's just a way to prevent people who may have gone to the article because of the show who may not have the best intentions," Ordonez said.

Wikipedia imposed even stricter controls on Sinbad's page last month after a prankster noted on it that the very much alive comedian had died of a heart attack.

At the home office for The Office, meanwhile, the show's powers-that-be did not sound encouraging of any tampering on it or its regional manager's behalf.

"I love going to Wikipedia and finding jokes from Michael Scott," executive producer Greg Daniels said Thursday, "but it would be more helpful if fans could post them before we write the shows."

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