SideWiki is supposed to open up the next generation of honesty for the internet. Regular users will now be able to make comments on any site at all, and webmasters will have no way to delete complaints and criticisms of their site.
Unless you’re Google, and its your SideWiki.
Until recently, the #2 comment on Google.com was “Stop SideWiki Spam.” The comment had 221 up votes, just 3 less than the top comment. Suddenly, the comment isn’t showing up at all on the SideWiki at Google’s homepage. (Update, the direct link to the comment has stopped working as well)
What does it say about the service if one of the most popular comments is about how disliked the service is? What does it say about Google that they would hide or delete this comment from the results while denying other webmasters a similar ability?
The SideWiki is an utter failure. Google pretends that webmasters don’t deserve – or would abuse – control over comments made on their sites, yet they exercise this ability on their own sites: specifically targetting criticism! If it was working as intended, Google wouldn’t need to delete complaints about it. Complaints wouldn’t naturally get voted to the top of the page.
Those complaints are as valid a context for Google’s web pages as any other SideWiki comment would provide context about a site’s programs and features.
Really though, I’m at a loss for words. This is turning out to be an incredibly hypocritical double-standard. At first, it was just kind of a joke filled with spam and noise, but now we can clearly see that Google wants to play the game with a different set of rules than they’re forcing on everyone else.