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NICK DOUGLAS — "Hi, I'm the guy you're bashing today," writes Dough Mahugh in a Slashdot forum comment. He's the Microsoft employee who offered to pay an outside XML expert to edit a Wikipedia entry about Microsoft's Open Office XML format. It's a big story for many sites (and papers such as Australia's The Age) this week. But why? Mahugh debunks the myth that Microsoft PR was involved, and he makes a decent case that he wasn't asking much — he even said that the expert was free to write whatever he wanted.

Of course, Slashdot is not known for its fairness to Microsoft, and even the smallest slight will not go unpunished on a powerful forum filled with Linux and Unix fans. But this sad little story earned extra sympathy points by suggesting that the Evil Corporation was violating the sanctity of the Holy Book of Wikipedia. This is the geek equivalent of accusing Stalin of defacing a church: Who cares if the story's true? It sounds so true!