Manipulating open content to commercial ends on Wikipedia - the ITIL entry

The IT Skeptic is all for capitalism. I welcome people making a buck on the internet. Unfortunately as we have seen previously Wikipedia doesn't, and commerically orented sites are drummed out (unless they are magazine sites with ads, or a big vendor's white papers, or a number of other inexplicable exceptions). So what's with these two ITIL sites?

We see some fancy hypocrisy from those who want to keep their commercial links on Wikipedia. You decide. Is this site selling something (look at the third question down the page "What is the ITIL Toolkit?" and the context of the other questions around it, and the TSO logos plastered all over) or is it just there for the benefit and information of the general public? It is one of the few surviving External Links on the ITIL page of Wikipedia and its owners defend it fiercely.

Here's my discussion with the anonymous defenders of the link (I'm Pukerua):

I added this link but it was removed/reversed. This LinkedIn group has over 5,000 members discussing ITIL and therefore I don't understand why it is being removed but other forums such as the ITIL Community Forum is still displayed? Your advice would be appreciated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alimozcan (talk • contribs) 01:12, 29 November 2008 (UTC)

There is no comparison at all. The community has many thousands of open informative articles in the forum by some of the biggest names in the sector. This is rather different to a basic and closed LinkedIn group, which is simply not appropriate, ditto other LI groups on other topics. Wikipedia is not a directory and should not be used to promote your own interests. It is also the case that attempts have been made to add that LI link to the ITIL Open Guide and others, presumably by the same person. (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 10:36, 29 November 2008 (UTC).

Oh please! A linkedin group is not closed - it is as easy to register with as the "community forum". The forum (and have ZERO official status yet both slyly imply official status to their product the ITIL toolkit by listing it amongst questions about things that ARE official with statements like "5. What is the ITIL Toolkit? This is the main support resource for ITIL." "What is the ITIL Toolkit? The ITIL Toolkit is a collection of resources brought together specifically to accompany ITIL". The community site does provide a valuable function but no more so than many others (including that linkedin group, the datamation forum and others). Wikipedia is not a directory as you correctly state and this link to a commercial forum site is inappropriate. is totally indefensible. Pukerua (talk) 21:59, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Abusing other sites, with countless open articles on board is not a way to get your own dubious site/interests listed: which IS closed by the way, unlike the community. It smacks of desperation and self interest, as does picking up on something which is just referenced (the toolkit) and trying to use it as some sort of stick to beat any a site that mentions it. In addition you demonstrate no idea at all of the history and background of these things. Finally, generally speaking, LinkedIn is simply not appropriate generally in Wikipedia. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 08:26, 18 March 2009 (UTC).

I'm not abusing anybody - I'm revealing fact. I think you should examine your own position before questioning the ethics or motivations of others. I've had my say: I let the public and the Wikipedia editors draw their own conclusions. What I say is pretty obvious to anyone who examines these two external links. I'm not making anything up.Pukerua (talk) 23:48, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

No, anyone looking at a suggestion to remove such a bulk of open and often valuable ITIL content, and replace it with a closed and limited Linkedin group will probably laugh, as I did. Sorry, but the suggestion itself is sufficient to reveal motive. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 09:08, 23 March 2009 (UTC).

LinkedIn is "closed and limited"? The Toolkit is "just referenced"? You decide and you act. I've been accused of being a hypocrite with my own secret motives. I'm not trying to get the LinkedIn group added - I've never even looked to see which one it is. I just stepped in to defend the poor shmoe who wondered why his useful link had been booted off.

[Updated: There is now an almighty row - not involving me - over the same content. Plenty of others obviously think the same way I do, and the owners of the links are fighting a furious action to cling to the presence on Wikipedia. Must be very lucrative. One of the defenders makes the most extraordinary staement:

There is no official user group for ITIL, although there is for PRINCE2, which is also managed by APMG. There are two large groups of ITIL users: one with focus via corporations, the other mainly direct end users. ITSMF is the first, ITIL Community is the second. This is the reality of the situation, regardless of whether the term 'official is banded around or not, and regardless of what either of those groups put on their individual sites. Both have very significant contributors to their content, although ITSMF charge a fee to join, whereas the Community is free of charge. The Community has much more content than ITSMF, although ITSMF has a physical presense in some territories

To give the ITIL Community forum the same status as itSMF is just absurd. ]

I'm appealing to this community to help out here. If you feel the same way I do - that is a no-value site exploiting its privileged position on Wikipedia to generate traffic to sell a product and the ITIL Community is a higher-value site exploiting its etc etc - please make your opinion known on Wikipedia. I'm sick of the abuse.

[Updated: *sigh* I cracked. I had to say something:

I was going to stay ouit of this dogfight but the following is such a gross distortion of fact that it cannot be ignored: "There is no official user group for ITIL, although there is for PRINCE2, which is also managed by APMG. There are two large groups of ITIL users: one with focus via corporations, the other mainly direct end users. ITSMF is the first, ITIL Community is the second. Both have very significant contributors to their content, although ITSMF charge a fee to join, whereas the Community is free of charge. The Community has much more content than ITSMF, although ITSMF has a physical presense in some territories".
itSMF is a professional organisation of over 50,000 members in over 60 countries. It is the only professional organisation representing ITIL practitioners. It was formed out of the OGC by the original authors of ITIL. It funded, organised and executed the worldwide launch of ITIL V3 for and on behalf of OGC. It officially approves all ITIL core publications on behalf of its membership and its logo appears on most ITIL core books. It has contracts with OGC to provide translations into multiple languages of all the ITIL core books. It publishes a number of ITIL books in its own right. The former Chief Architect of ITIL is the Chair of the itSMF International. It runs the nearest thing to an official OGC-sanctioned forum that the ITIL community has. To suggest that itSMF is not an official body is absurd. To equate it with the ITIL Community Forum is beyond the pale. To suggest that the ITIL Community Forum has "more content" than itSMF is delusional.


[Further update: the three sites ITIL Open, and ITIL Community Forum are all interlinked and all serve to pipe traffic to the ITIL Toolkit and to the ITIL books page that purports to be part of TSO. ]


Any inside info?

The defenders of the commercial websites on Wikipedia ITIL continue their hysterical defense. Does anyone know who these poeple are? Their inability to engage rationally or reasonably is remarkable.

ITIL user community - stop being such a bunch of girls blouses

For me; the only official ITIL user group is the ITSMF, yes at times; some of the individuals decisions are stupid and badly thought out, and yes there is vested interests and yes, more information should be made freely available to members

The goal of the ITSMF was to be a member driven organisation, Where individuals and organisations can share their experiences and learns from others mistakes. For me its also the cheapest consultancy you can get anywhere on the subject of IT Service Management.

For many years many of us 'hansom old timers' struggled to spread the word; we now have the situation where we no longer have just the UK ITSMF, we chapters around the world, a plethora of online forums and related organisations (UKCMG, SDI etc).

You know what ? thats fantastic. We need the pragmatist's and analists, we need the Roy Englands, James Finisters, Rob Strouds and Aiden Lawes to be 'holyer than thou', 'smug and opinionated', we need the corporates who think they have all the answers; thats what makes it so great.

You will always get the tossers looking to make a buck - thats OK
You will always get the 'ITIL experts' - thats OK
You will always have people with their own views and opinions - thats OK
You will always get the people who want a quick fix solution - thats OK
You will always get people who think ITIL 2 is better than ITIL 3 - thats OK
You will always get the guys who wants to sell you their experience - thats OK
You will always get the corporates who try to control things - thats OK

What really matters thats theirs a lot of people willing to help, who can offer advice or guidance; free or otherwise.

I was told told by our first chairman of the ITSMF in the UK (IVOR Evans); "Don you are always criticizing ITIL and the ITSMF", and added scornfully; "So either contribute and make a difference or shut up"; So i decided to contribute.

So my advice to everyone is; become a member of the ITSMF, contribute and make a difference. If you think that the ITSMF in your region is shit, stupid, arrogant or opinionated, put yourself forward; change it; make a difference.

Don Page

PS. don't diss me; i don't care

PS. i know my spelling and punctuation is very bad; I don't care


OK Don, yes we do need a diversity of views, and we all recognise that vendors, whether consultants or tool providers, bring something to the table but how does the poor innocent punter know who to trust?

I will quote being "holyer than though" and "smug and opinionated" as a badges of honour if the two Robs and the reborn and reinvigorated Aiden are tarred with the same brush. ;-) In the web2.0 world though how is someone to know whether we are just being opinionated or not?

I think the two Robs, the original Aiden and myself have tried to support itSMF whenever possible. OK I'll admit I've been fairly vocal in my criticism of itSMF, but I always help when asked and would recommend others to do so. If in the UK I would recommend botht the free regional group meetings and getting involved in one of the SIGs


Badge of honour & Linkdin & ITSMF

Yes it was meant as a 'badge of honor'. My point is we are all allowed to be opinionated; i don't want anyone telling me what is the right way.

I love the fact that guys like Ron England created ITIL Skeptic; you and the other guys openly chose to criticize, but constructively with well formulated arguments.

A lot of the Linkedin content is advertorial marketing and publicity materials by suppliers selling their wares. I think probably its the vendors who read it the most, i know i do.

I agree that its a real problem for people new to ITSM, but thats where the ITSMF should be more responsive to its members needs. They should be promoting online open debate; including having a vendor area so organizations can openly sell their wares and not be charged a fortune for doing it

I believe there is still an inherent attitude of "But their a Vendor"; yes; but the reality is a lot of the vendors ARE experts. The challenge is of course to get the right balance. Roy and 'myself' are classic examples of this.

On an other note:

I have just had my presentation turned down for the UK ITSMF Conference "Introduction to ITIL & ISO20000"; which i think is a bloody disgrace; especially as i am one of the most hansom; charismatic; knowledgeable and exciting presenters ever to be a member of the ITSMF .

At each ITSMF event nearly 40% of the audience are there for the first time.

If there is not an introduction session for new members on this subject; I will be openly abusing the UK ITSMF management board at the annual AGM; and threatening to put my name forward for election.


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