A while back I did something that pulled me, quite unwittingly, into the middle of a heated debate around Wikipedia Inclusionism vs. Deletionism (I may just have made both of those words up).

To cut a very long story short I authored the first iteration of the ‘Enterprise 2.0‘ article on Wikipedia after reading material on the Web published by Andrew McAfee, Dion Hinchcliffe, Rod Boothby and others that linked in to my thinking around the use (or emergence) of social software behind the corporate firewall. Enterprise 2.0, although clique-y and buzz-wordy, emerged as the best term to describe this growing school of thought and practice.

I was quickly put in my place though, as my attempt to add the new article had not clearly followed the many rules and guidelines determined by Wikipedia administrators. Some of these rules and regulations are really important, but in this case, given the evidence, it all seemed rather excessive. I wrote about it here. The article was subsequently put of for deletion, then voted upon, the fascinating conversation behind which is documented here.

Now, months later, the author of the original phrase, Andrew McAfee, has collaborated with Karim Lakhani to produce a Harvard Business School Case on Wikipedia, free for download under the GFDL.

From McAfee’s post announcing the doc:

It’s focal point is the articles for deletion process on Wikipedia’s “Enterprise 2.0” article, but I’ll use this focal point and the other information in the case for a much broader classroom discussion. Using this case, I’ll talk with students about:

* Why Nupedia (Wikipedia’s more formal predecessor) failed to gather momentum, and why Wikipedia has gathered so much.
* Whether Wikipedia’s highly egalitarian and freeform editing processes and policies yield good results and, if so, how this happens.
* How decision rights are allocated in Wikipedia.
* The merits of the Inclusionist and Deletionist perspectives.
* Whether Wikipedia really has become a “post-revolutionary Bolshevik Soviet, with an inscrutable central power structure wielding control over a legion of workers.”
* Whether the Wikipedia community practices the ‘right’ level of deference to the opinions and judgments of subject matter ‘experts.’
* If Wikipedia’s policies are being correctly followed, what the fate of the “Enterprise 2.0” article should be.

It makes for excellent reading, especially if you are interested in the evolution of the Enterprise 2.0 meme.