Friday, September 01, 2006

Lessons to be learned from Wikis

Rather humorous – for those interested in politics – developments in the Web 2.0 arena today following the recent launch of a environmental Wiki by the UK government.

It is relevant to the travel industry as a few senior figures have privately expressed an interest in developing some kind of wiki for their own websites, so consumers can create and edit content themselves and share with other users.

The wiki, launched by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, has been developed to allow UK residents to discuss environmental issues in the UK, in the form of a wiki.

Of course it is nice if it works, but the problem with wikis is one of sabotage.

Perhaps sabotage is the wrong word: what governments and companies are terrified of are consumers adding their own views that may not entirely match up with either the corporate image or a particular policy.

Within hours of a number of rather critical comments elsewhere on the internet, some enterprising users had already made their views known.

[Click on the image and note the, erm, message at the bottom of the page]


Needless to say, within minutes of it appearing, Defra webmasters removed it.

Let this be a lesson to travel companies toying with the idea of a wiki!

Kevin May, editor, Travolution

Defra, unsurprisingly, has closed down the editing functionality. For a blow-by-blow account of how the day developed, as a deluge of insults against the government and the concept itself took over, visit the mischievous Guido Fawkes blog.

UPDATE II: Or here, to see how "vandalised" the wiki became before Defra pulled out all the comments.

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