Talk:Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia

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To do[edit]

Please mark items as Yes check.svg Done once added/incorporated

This is the discussion page for the article on paid editing or paid advocacy in Wikipedia. If you'd like to participate and you are a paid editor or have a direct conflict of interest, please leave comments and help provide sources but do not edit the draft directly. Remember that the purpose of any Wikipedia article is neither to criticize or promote topics, but simply to summarize what independent, published, reliable sources has already written.

Introduce yourself[edit]

  • Hi, I'm Ocaasi. I put together the outline and bibliography and introduction. I could use help with fleshing out any of the sections, copyediting the written portions, or adding references. I don't plan to put any references in the Introduction of the article, so work on references could begin in the body sections. I have done a fairly exhaustive search through Google and Google news for topics related to paid editing. If you find more, great! You can add them to the list, which is currently in chronological order by publication date. Ocaasi t | c 12:55, 13 February 2012 (UTC)


Hi Ocassi. A few thoughts:

  • In cases like MyWikiBiz, we could just do the usual
"Main Article: MyWikiBiz" with a brief summary, so the articles aren't duplicative.
  • I would suggest we order by date rather than organization so it reads like a history book and include dates of incidences.
  • I guess I misunderstood. Since this is in draft form anyway, I don't think there's anything wrong with paid editors editing it directly. It's also probably wishful thinking to expect a rush of ethical paid editors eager to participate for the learning experience. If you're ok with it, I'd like to work on the draft with you directly. Once it's live, I'll stick to the Talk page. King4057 (talk) 06:23, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
I have a bit of a 'completionist' style with article writing. I find every source, scrape, paraphrase, and synthesize them with other sources, and wind up with long, complete articles. I haven't really tried to do it any other way, and I'm not finding it any different this time around. That said, you're absolutely right that summary style is appropriate for many sections here. However, to be frank, most of the related articles are not very good. I've found and used more references than many of them already, and might even replace some of them with the sections here. Also, I'd really like this to be a definitive article on the topic of paid editing, and don't want to leave out details in the drafting; I'd rather cut them down when it's finished, if at all. I realize you might not work like this, so feel free to assist or diverge as you think best for the draft. Two possible collaborative forms would be a) me expanding on your summaries into full sections, using them as outlines or b) at some point, you summarizing my longer sections. Or somewhere inbetween. I'm not exactly sure how best to integrate our work, since I usually draft by myself. So this is a bit of a new thang for both of us, perhaps. What do you think?
Oh, and the references as well as the incidents are indeed ordered by date. Good thought. Ocaasi t | c 07:30, 14 February 2012 (UTC)
No problem. Despite having hundreds of rules on writing style, the best way to resolve two different opinions is simply for one person to quickly resolve for the other person to get their way ;-)
King4057 (talk) 18:09, 14 February 2012 (UTC)


Some things the page might mention are that

  • Wikipedia has had and no doubt continues to have many articles on individuals and corporations that were unfair to their subjects, to the point of being attack pages.
  • Wikipedia's anonymous editing concept makes it an ideal venue for defamation, encouraging stalkers, jilted lovers, professional rivals and competitors to edit the articles of people they don't like.
  • While there is every arrangement and policy investment designed to protect anonymous editors, there is no comparable policy investment to protect biography subjects: for example,
    • Someone complaining at a noticeboard about another editor's "conflict-of-interest" edits or "legal threat" gets a response within 5 minutes, while a subject writing to OTRS may have to wait weeks for a reply;
    • While a biography subject who threatens to sue an editor for libel is blocked from Wikipedia, someone who is already in a real-life legal dispute with them can edit their biography, the top Google link for their name, with impunity.
  • Biography subjects who come to Wikipedia, alarmed that the no. 1 Google link for their name shows them in a worse light than they deserve, find themselves in a disorienting environment where the rules are stacked against them, and frequently end up hazed, mocked, and blocked from editing.
  • While Wikipedia has much the same reach as a top newspaper, it is not accountable to the public in any significant way, and people victimised by it have no voice.

In such circumstances, a paid Wikipedia advocate might actually make sense; as would supervision of Wikipedia by something like the press complaints commission. --JN466 21:33, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

I'll look to find these views represented in the sources on the subject. Thanks for the suggestions. Ocaasi t | c 22:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
There's a good academic analysis here on the tone of company articles. This one only used 10 major companies and found that most articles were neutral. There was another one (can't find it now) that found that company articles were getting progressively more negative each year that used a broader sample size.
Some sources for the other items on libel, misinformation, etc. (below)
I would categorize this under a new section "motivations for COI editing," since Wikipedia's accountability and reliability more broadly isn't within scope. A lot of major scandals started out with correcting misinformation that quickly spiraled into 10,000 edits. Disclosure: I am often a paid COI editor. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 03:12, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

My 2 cents worth[edit]

PR representatives should not normally edit Wikipedia articles, unless it is to remove obviously wrong or defamatory material (eg WP:AUTO). PR firms have a track record of "improving" articles by removing negative material, which is usually spotted by other editors very quickly. The best approach is for PR representatives to post on the talk page, identifying themselves clearly and stating what the problem is. There are enough mechanisms (WP:3O, WP:RFC etc) within Wikipedia to ensure that an article is neutral, without surreptitious tweaks from "ethical engagement".--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 09:23, 13 March 2012 (UTC)

Much as I like debating this topic, this talk page is only for the draft of the article. General debate should probably happen at the WikiProject Cooperation talk page or at WP:COI. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 22:26, 14 March 2012 (UTC)


You did a really great job, Ocaasi. I don't think I have much to offer here. SilverserenC 17:57, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Agreed. A few things though - some of the quotes are way too long IMO - maybe try to pick the main points out and summarise them instead? As I mentioned before, per WP:UNDUE I would favour moving content from Bell Pottinger and Portland here and removing most of the content from those articles. SmartSE (talk) 16:29, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm a bit of a chronic over-quoter. If you'd like to take a stab at summarizing/shortening anything, please go ahead. Ocaasi t | c 16:34, 19 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm giving it a read-over now and one thing I'm trying to do is paraphrase the quotes. There's also some editorializing in the lead-in to quotes - people don't say, they argue, claim, criticize or defend. Nothing huge, but it's there, I'm trying to address it when I notice it.
There's also a section that doesn't really make sense, the "Incidents" subheading in the Bell Pottinger section. I've put in an invisible comment but don't understand what it's saying well enough to correct it. I did the same thing in the "other" heading where it discusses (or actually doesn't discuss) David Rivera's edits.
As a general comment, the lead reads more like something you'd find in WP: space rather than mainspace to me...not sure how to address it. Overall the page straddles the line between a list, a general issue and a selection of incidents that would normally be dealt with on individual company pages (or {{main}}'s if they're sufficiently notable). I wonder about splitting it into perhaps two pages, one being a general one about the issue, the other being a list with brief summaries of the more notable ones. An idle thought...
Incidentally, the "PR industry response" section is pretty long, I'm not sure if it's undue weight on what really comes down to just two or three organizations representing a fairly limited set of stakeholders having a talk with Jimbo. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 17:32, 20 March 2012 (UTC)
Hey WLU, thanks for your read-through, as well as others'. I went ahead and shortened the quotes at the bottom. They're still on the long side, but at least fluff was removed. I see what you mean about editorializing quotes; I thought those descriptions were obvious by the quote, but I don't have a problem with 'said'. I looked at the Bell Pottinger Incidents section, and aside from some grammar tweaks, I'm not sure what is unclear. Can you help me understand better (so I can help you :). I tried to make the lead reflect the article; if you can suggest any changes that would be great. I think the page's list-ness is part of the sheer number of incidents that have occurred; I wanted to catalog them without going into detail for each one, so that readers could look them up if they wished. The length of the PR response section is partly due to the Deletion debate at Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement (CREWE) which just closed as a no consensus keep. If this article goes live, either CREWE will be merged here or the CREWE section in this draft will be summarized. The public relations response, although lengthy, is substantially different from the other sections in the article which deal with individual incidents, because it actually discusses a part of this story that is unique and evolving. There will always be new incidents, many of them not noteworthy, but the industry response here may be a game-changer in terms of how it deals with Wikipedia and vice/versa. Thanks again for your efforts. I'm not confident the article's ready yet, but it's definitely getting incrementally better. Ocaasi t | c 04:20, 21 March 2012 (UTC)
Regarding BP, it says "Bell Pottinger's accounts were discovered by blogger and SEO consultant Tim Ireland, The Independent, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ)." All three discovered the accounts? That's the part that's unclear to me (and I would probably be able to figure it out if I read the sources, but, y'know, lazy). Might want to stitch this into the narrative, it seems odd coming after the overall summary of the incident. Part of the issue might be that I don't have the context to see the gaps.
I think the lead seems odd just because it is a proto-Wikipedia article that talks about Wikipedia. Including reference to wikipedia policies and user accounts on a mainspace page just looks odd, I think I've mentally partitioned them and my brain doesn't like them hanging out together.
Regards the pre-quote editorializing, since I've never read the sources they really do look odd, and I wouldn't say they're self-evident from the quotes themselves. They may be accurate, but IMHO letting the quote say everything is a better practice. But that's just MHO and I admit it's a bit of a personal preference.
I think more than anything this page illustrates my own failing - I have a hard time dealing with topics that aren't self-contained and as a result I tend to avoid news and BLP-type pages. I think it could go live, it's much more polished and sourced than most pages and it might benefit from the large-scale attention it'd get in mainspace. WLU (t) (c) Wikipedia's rules:simple/complex 17:41, 21 March 2012 (UTC)

Article moved live[edit]

Thanks for the great feedback and copyediting. I thought it was ready-enough, so I moved it live. More comments or suggestions or edits welcome. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 02:58, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Title and Scope[edit]

There have been some suggestions that this article might be better titled Conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia with 'Paid editing on Wikipedia' as a redirect. Some of the incidents are not obviously paid advocacy, although they fall under the broader category of conflict of interest. For example, the Israeli-Palestinian editing conflict, or Jimmy Wales' edits. I like including these along with PR agencies, governments, and companies, because they are similar in nature. But I don't want the title to be too narrow. What do you think? Ocaasi t | c 11:32, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I think this is a good idea. The current article has extensive coverage of "scandals" related to COI editing of various forms, not just from paid editing. Maybe also possible to split the paid-editing-centric material into a new article that includes more coverage of the current state of the industry. Eclipsed   (talk)   (COI Declaration)   11:43, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I don't agree. I found it by noticing its title. Paid editing/advocacy/operative is the Skeleton/Backbone. COI is just some of the meat on those boneds. Great job BTW Ocaasi. ```Buster Seven Talk 12:26, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
It's probably more important that the article defines the scope and contents correctly; for 'finding it' there are always redirects. Ocaasi t | c 15:55, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd keep it as is. Paid editing is the core and COI editing is just a bit of related frills. If COI was made part of the core - it could result in an endless, badly-sourced multiple-COI inviting discussion page rather than an article! Smallbones (talk) 18:35, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • The possibility exists for an article regarding known campaigns to influence Wikipedia; the question is whether enough has been published externally to adequately reflect what has happened here. A problem this article itself has, lack of adequate externally published information. User:Fred Bauder Talk 21:53, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I've seen plenty of reliable sources discussing paid editing on Wikipedia. We should be able to have a fine article on the subject. Though I do think we should keep the article at paid editing and not conflict of interest editing, as that's a bit too broad and would invite too much unnecessary junk info. Keeping it at paid editing does mean that some of the section included should be removed, as they don't qualify as paid editing, but there's more than enough incidents that do qualify. SilverserenC 22:06, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Actually, thinking it over, i'm okay with Conflict of interest editing. We just need to keep an eye on the article, that's all. SilverserenC 22:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
  • No decision has been made regarding scope of the article or what its title should be. There are issues; particularly with the wide gap between internal information and external published information. User:Fred Bauder Talk 22:32, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
How I look at it. Paid editing and COI are two separate but often overlapping concepts.
  • Paid editing could include GLAM, WMF employees, university employees and so on, like Jimbo says
  • COI editing includes a whole host of things beyond what's in the article
What we're talking about is a paid editor who also has a COI. Paid COI or what the COI guideline calls financial COI. Of course, it would be ideal if we could find a more colloquial term, but... Disclosure: As a paid editor I have a COI with the subject. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 15:26, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm looking to add a clarifying sentence, such as "Not all COI editors are paid (for example independent political activists) and not all paid editors have a COI (for example Wikipedians in Residence)". But I can't really support it with a source, even though I think it's accurate. Any suggestions? Ocaasi t | c 15:47, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
According to the COI guideline financial COI includes "you are receiving monetary or other benefits or considerations to edit Wikipedia as a representative of an organization (whether directly as an employee or contractor of that organization, or indirectly as an employee or contractor of a firm hired by that organization for public relations purposes)."
Even though Wikipedia is not a secondary source in this case, it seems like the best one to use for a statement like "Wikipedia defines financial COI as," which can be juxtaposed with a secondary source for "Wikipedia also copes with other forms of COIs such as subject matter experts, POV pushers..." and "the GLAM project does XYZ." Leaving the reader to form their own opinions on what categories these types of editing fall under. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 20:53, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Some not paid for GLAM involvement[edit]

A note: I know that Liam Wyatt (User:Wittylama) wasn't paid for his stint at the British Museum, and I think there are probably others that are in a similar situation (Lori Byrd Phillips?). The article uses phrases like "hired" that misleadingly imply that they were paid (despite not saying that directly). This is particularly relevant in Liam's case, since his British Museum job was done out of his own pocket because he was concerned about COI. Some Wikipedians-in-Residence have been paid, some have taken academic credit, et cetera. I don't want to correct the article directly—I've worked with them in person, I care about them and their roles, and thus don't want to edit with a certain COI—but the variation in paid status among Wikipedians-in-Residence is probably relevant to the article, and the current wording can definitely be improved. I'll see if I can find a decent source showing that Liam wasn't paid, but in the meantime, I'd appreciate it if someone would change the wording on good faith. Thanks, {{Nihiltres|talk|edits|}} 14:32, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Here's a possible reference[1]
  1. ^ Cohen, Noam (June 4, 2010). "Venerable British Museum Enlists in the Wikipedia Revolution". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 March 2012. "Mr. Wyatt, 25, the first Wikipedian in residence, is a Wikipedia administrator from Australia. His position is unpaid, but Mr. Wyatt said the mission was worth subsidizing with his personal savings." 
Thanks. Eclipsed   (talk)   (COI Declaration)   15:12, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for the corrections. I did make the assumption that all Wikipedians in residence were paid. I'll neutralize the language where appropriate and look for more details about who was paid and who wasn't. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 15:57, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Briefly - the article looks ok. I'd think I'd mention that the COI guideline goes back to 2004 (as "Vanity Pages") and was updated in October 2006 to be Conflict of Interest - better check details. A couple of other things I might add are mere details.

However, about WP:GLAM and paid Wikipedians-in residence. I think there have been 2 or 3, with roughly 10 others being unpaid. They are short-term internship type positions, completely transparent and overseen by non-paid Wikipedians. Their jobs basically come down to encouraging Wikipedians to take advantage of the public non-profit institution's resources and encouraging people within the institutions to help donate material (e.g. photos and artwork) to Wikipedia. I don't think any of them have directly edited their institutions main article. Only one of the names mentioned here is correct.

So in short, on paid WiRs there doesn't appear to be anything totally outrageous or malicious, but the text is wrong both in detail and in its overall emphasis. Smallbones (talk) 18:09, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

I was hesitant to use Wikipedia as a source for anything. Can you find a published reference for the history of the policy re:"Vanity Pages" and the October 2006 changes?
I'm not sure you mean by 'only one of the names mentioned here is correct', correct in what way? I looked for any published sources about the WIR positions and this is all that I found. If you can contribute others, or edit the section to better reflect the program, or its emphasis, please do. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 18:36, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
WP:GLAM (informally) "oversees" this type of thing fairly actively, in part via a closed mailing list. The closed list makes sense here because some personal or sensitive stuff is discussed, including material from the GLAMS themselves. But given that it's a closed list, I shouldn't give out some info and certainly couldn't cite it! But only one of those named is, I believe, paid by the institution. I sometimes follow that list and do work (as a volunteer) with WP:GLAM (does that give me a COI?)
As far as the history of COI see [[47]] and hit "earliest". I know, that's a primary source, but sometimes these things are allowed. The October 2006 change seems quite obvious, but I'm not entirely sure what caused it. Smallbones (talk) 18:54, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Somebody put up a COI notice on this section (which I deleted), asking for help with a COI. Perhaps somebody misunderstood what i said above. I don't think I have any serious COI here, just some info that I can't cite and won't put in the article (actually this is quite common in editing, but mostly for material where I forget where I got it from ;-) ). I did some minor editing - mostly rearranging - in the GLAM section. I removed the name of one editor for which there was no cited material saying he is paid. The article didn't exactly say he was paid, but the placement or context certainly suggested it. I don't guarantee the truth of the paragraph, but there are now at least minimally reliable sources for everything there. If anybody thinks the rearranged material is worse than the original, please revert it. Smallbones (talk) 17:57, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

Fred Bauder, page move, etc.[edit]

Fred was making some fairly significant cuts from the article, including the entire WikiScanner section, because it was not obviously 'paid editing'. That's a fair criticism and the better solution than removing the content is just moving the article and tweaking the introduction to make the main topic conflict of interest editing with paid editing/advocacy as a subtopic. I regret doing this without broader discussion, but frankly I'd rather see the article maintain its comprehensive coverage of incidents rather than remove several of them because of a title-related technicality. Feedback welcome. Ocaasi t | c 22:18, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

The article is about paid editing, regarding which there are at least some published information in reliable sources. User:Fred Bauder Talk 22:25, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Although Kohs' press release is not a reliable source in the general sense of the word, it is a reliable source for Kohs' actions and views. I agree with Orangemike there, but I'm willing to discuss it. Ocaasi t | c 22:19, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

We do not accept advertisements or publish press releases. User:Fred Bauder Talk 22:25, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I seem to remember that one or two orgs busted by Wikiscanner came out and said it must have been "some employee," because they didn't do it in any official capacity. There was a good discussion about this (conceptually speaking) on the Signpost article in 2007. I couldn't refind reliable sources for it, but if any could be found, the reactions of the accused would be a good addition. I have a COI as a paid editor.User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 15:46, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

Possible reference[edit]

Here's a possible reference about paid editing and COI issues. I may be biased because the article discusses a company I have a connection to, so would rather others judge the WP:RS of this:

Thanks. Eclipsed   (talk)   (COI Declaration)   22:17, 25 March 2012 (UTC)

Close paraphrasing[edit]

I have received some criticism that articles I recently wrote were too closely paraphrased from reliable sources. I am tagging the page so others can review the text and we can work on improving any instances of close paraphrasing. Ocaasi t | c 14:12, 28 March 2012 (UTC)

I do think it is up to you to clean up after yourself on this or just remove the entire affected sections. At the very minimum - you should tell us which sections you think are most closely paraphrased so we can concentrate on them. Smallbones (talk) 17:43, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
I'd start with the Bell Pottinger section. If that's okay, the rest of the article probably is too. If it's not, there's more work to do. I'm sorry about this. It wasn't my intention at all and I was surprised at how many instances of CP were discovered in my last article. Ocaasi t | c 17:58, 28 March 2012 (UTC)


Some images that could be useful

Thanks. Will add! Ocaasi t | c 16:27, 29 March 2012 (UTC)
Do you mind if I resize some of the images? They're a bit tiny. Don't suppose anyone would call me out on COI for that ;-) User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 00:57, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
No, go for it. Just try to keep them from spilling over into sections where the content is unrelated, that's my preference at least. Ocaasi t | c 01:06, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
Awww, that explains the small beer image. Here's a couple more multimedia. Maybe we can ask PhilGomes for a picture. The tail-end is still bare on multimedia. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 04:45, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
[[File:CandidateInterview08 Greg kohs.ogg|]]
Interview with Gregory Kohs about his candidacy for the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation, where he discusses MyWikiBiz and his discussions with Jimmy Wales

Problems playing this file? See media help.
Microsoft hired Rick Jelliffe depicted above to edit the entry on Microsoft Office Open XML.


I am failing to see why paid or unpaid Wikipedian-in-Residence involved in upload of images from various museums would be perceived as potential COI. Commons is a separate project which does not have any COI policy and is generally happy to take any image from anybody as long as image is in scope and proper license is provided. Mentioning that Wikipedian-in-Residence were involved in uploading images to Commons in this article suggests that that might be considered COI situation. That is misleading and should be corrected. --Jarekt (talk) 14:31, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

WP:COI states that being financially compensated to edit Wikipedia qualifies as a COI. GLAM editing, however, is an exception to the 'strongly discouraged' stance in the guideline, because the practice is not controversial and is seen as providing a benefit to the encyclopedia. I tried to make that clear in the introduction of the section. What else would you change? Ocaasi t | c 14:50, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
I think we should remove mentioning of image uploads to commons as COI and restrict the article to wikipedia edits only. Current inclusion of image uploads in the article implies a problem, and reminds me of this weekend Doonesbury strip. Also I assume that most Wikipedia edits, by paid or unpaid Wikipedians-in-Residence, are also OK with the only possible exception being articles about their institutions. --Jarekt (talk) 15:40, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
Oh, so it's just a which-project issue for you. I'm not trying to say that any GLAM edits are controversial, btw. I'm not sure I think mentioning Commons is out of scope, at least not moreso that the other GLAM edits. It's not like Commons is a completely separate project; we use thousands of their images. I'm considering how to resolve any ambiguity in this section, but I'd like some other people's suggestions or input. Ocaasi t | c 15:54, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
May be include GLAM section in a larger section on exceptions to COI. As for Commons, it is a related project, for sure, but it operates under different policies. For example it is OK on Commons to have user names named after their institutions like commons:User:BrooklynMuseum (as long as it is controlled by a single person) we also do not observe WP:NPOV, WP:NOR, etc. --Jarekt (talk) 16:04, 30 March 2012 (UTC)
@Jarekt. One key difference between GLAM and many other potential COIs is that we sought guidance first - Wikipedia_talk:GLAM/BM/Archive_1#COI_.2F_paid_editing. That isn't to say that the issue can't be reopened, and I'll leave it to uninvolved editors whether that thread should be linked in this article. ϢereSpielChequers 16:10, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

I'll suggest that GLAM participants more or less leave this alone (as I should have). There is nothing accusing or inflammatory here. But the real objection is whether the section is out of place. By putting the section here it looks like Wikipedia:WikiProject Cooperation (a very, very terrible name - you don't have to be paid to cooperate on Wikipedia!) are using GLAM as an example of how paid editing can work well. That context just makes mention here completely out-of-line. I'd prefer the article be moved out of article space for the time being. It's great as a history of paid editing and related topics (but not of all conflict of interest editing - a bottomless pit), that should be in user space or an essay - but it carries too much ideological baggage to be an article (for now). Smallbones (talk) 01:58, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Is this section notable at all? There has been media coverage of WiR positions of course, but I've never seen any mention of potential COI in them, unlike some internal discussions. Putting the section in this article seems WP:SYNTHESIS and WP:UNDUE to me. RS media coverage of other COI areas has been extensive, but not here. Johnbod (talk) 17:05, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
    That is a good point. I see no references that have linked any WiR efforrts with "conflict of interest" editing or similar problems. Which makes this article the only significant source to suggest such a connection. Removing the section to this talk page for reference. – SJ + 23:48, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Wikipedia partnerships with galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM)[edit]

The GLAM project works with non-profits to improve content on Wikipedia

Although not implicated in any controversy, many Wikipedia editors have partnered with galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, to assist them in sharing their content on Wikipedia and its sister projects.[1][2] Most of the Wikipedians are volunteers, but a few have worked in paid positions.

Liam Wyatt was the first Wikipedian-in-Residence, working at an unpaid position at the British Museum in 2010,[3][4] organizing events and encouraging editing of relevant articles, but not editing them himself.[citation needed] In 2011 the US National Archives and Records Administration took on part-time paid Wikipedian-in-Residence Dominic McDevitt-Parks, who worked on transcribing archived documents into searchable text on Wikipedia's sister project Wikisource.[5][6][7][8] McDevitt-Parks helped upload about 90,000 documents to Wikimedia Commons, the Wikimedia image repository.[9]

The British Library sought out its own paid Wikipedian-in-Residence for several months in 2012, offering an annualized salary of £30,768 for "reviewing, improving and creating content" on the encyclopedia as well as offering training sessions at the library.[10][3]

Lori Byrd Phillips was a Wikipedian-in-Residence at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis;[1][11][12] she also worked on transferring images from the museum to Wikimedia Commons.[13]

  1. ^ a b Česky (2012-02-28). "Wikipedia:GLAM - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  2. ^ Solon, Olivia (2011-01-11). "A Decade Of Wikipedia, The Poster Child For Collaboration | Epicenter". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  3. ^ a b Geere, Duncan (2012-02-23). "The British Library is looking for a Wikipedian-in-residence (Wired UK)". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  4. ^ Noam Cohen (2010-06-04). "Venerable British Museum Enlists in the Wikipedia Revolution". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-18. 
  5. ^ Lipowicz, Alice (2011-07-13). "NARA enlists Wikipedia volunteers to help put historic documents online - Government Computer News". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  6. ^ "National Archives hires Wikipedian in residence - Baltimore Sun". 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  7. ^ "National Archives hires 'Wikipedian in Residence'". 2011-06-01. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  8. ^ "Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Go To College". Fast Company. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  9. ^ Pulley, John (2011-11-07). "National Archives to launch Citizen Archivist Dashboard". Nextgov. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  10. ^ Andrew Orlowski (2012-02-16). "British Library seeks taxpayer-funded Wikipedia-fiddler". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  11. ^ Report. "Museum Hires First Wikipedian-in-Residence - Newsroom - Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  12. ^ "IUPUI student is serving as "Wikipedian in Residence" at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  13. ^ Jennifer Messmer (2011-04-01). "What’s that Wikipedian-in-Residence been up to? - Children's Museum Marketing | The Children's Museum of Indianapolis". Retrieved 2012-03-14. 


Here are a bunch of suggestions starting from the top of the article down. Hopefully they are helpful. Cheers User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 02:22, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

  • "they would be intentionally or unintentionally biased"
Should it be "may" instead of "would" be bias?
  • "scandals have risen around conflict of interest and paid editing"
instead of "around" maybe "due to"
it also seems a bit broad "COI and paid editing" when the situations that create a scandal are more specific
finally I would call them "controversies" instead of "scandals." Some incidences were controversial, but weren't really scandals.
  • "Public relations firms offer services related to the monitoring and editing of topics on the encyclopedia"
This seems broad. Maybe put "some" in front of it? I do not know how common this is.
  • "improve guidance and develop best practices in this area"
I would add "for PR practitioners." A lot of SEO professionals edit Wikipedia and are arguably more advanced (and often dubious).
  • "strident opposition to paid editing"
Meh, I don't know, maybe strident opposition to direct editing? He supports Joe Desantos and the quote calls out direct editing.
  • "there are some exceptions"
There are probably more exceptions than listed, but this is tricky. We should at least add grammatical edits per policy and maybe {{request edit}}. Up to you.
  • "revealed" in the Jimmy Wales section
I just don't like the word "revealed" unless there is some indication Jimbo tried to hide it. Otherwise it wasn't revealed, but "noticed" maybe.
  • There's a couple in the Jimbo section on reactions that could probably be taken out.
  • "One of the first revelations of Wikipedia editing by involved parties involved"
I would just start this off with "In 2006 the US congress..." to avoid using "involved" twice and the word "revelations." I would also suggest cutting "In response to the revelations"
  • "Kohs stated that he intended to keep articles which his company wrote objective and well referenced"
There's something a bit awkward about the phrasing here
  • The sentence mentioning The Chronicle of Higher Education doesn't need parenthesis
  • "The method worked"
Is this supported in an RS? I didn't check, just asking
  • on,"'.[23] Wales also said that paid editing was "tricky", even
Grammar check
  • "more balance" in the Microsoft section
This is supported by the source, but other sources say "to correct what the company was sure were inaccuracies" - maybe include both? On the other hand, I think this quote is worth including, that they were looking for someone "independent but friendly"
  • You use the word "revelation" a lot ;-)
  • "raising questions about Wikipedia's credibility"
I would suggest "raising questions about the effect of paid editing on Wikipedia's credibility" as oppose to whether the entire site is credible
  • Wikiscanner
There's a lot of citations here for something like "Responses of the accused varied, with some admitting to edits, others saying leadership did not direct any of their employees to edit and some suggesting their edits were made in good faith. Most of the edits picked up by Wikiscanner were harmless, but it was mined for the most salacious..."
  • "scandal" under Bell Pottinger
As much as it pains me to say it, I would use "controversy" again, being many reliable sources were sympathetic to their defense that they only made good faith edits
  • but emphasized that the company did not do anything illegal.
Suggest "but claimed" instead of "but emphasized" as they are not legal experts that can make a statement of fact on that matter. It could also make sense to juxtapose this sentence to the false identity they created that was in a lot of the media articles, as this is directly relevant to the legality of their editing.
  • "reacted strongly"
Meh, this is probably true, but...
  • [57] and "That their strongest true"
Grammar check. Also, along the same lines of excessive quotes, the latter half could probably be lopped off
  • Bell Pottinger
There's a lot of quotes here and it gives a lot of air-time to a view sympathetic to Bell Pottinger, but reliable sources weren't THAT sympathetic. I feel we could cut down on the reactions
  • Newt Gingrich: "came to light"
Same as before. Nothing can be "brought to light" on someone engaging in the Talk page in broad daylight for a year
  • "but he also tried to remove negative details which he thought unduly biased the articles,[70] including details about Gingrich's extramarital affairs, information about his financial expenditure, ethics charges against him, and his political positions on controversial issues.[70][71]"
I think this is referring to the edits he made in 2011? Would be good to get a bit of chronology there
  • UK Parliament
If there isn't a main article with this information it would be interesting to note that they also edited articles on Pringles and sexual slavery. While Wikipedia may not like this stance, I feel it's important for companies to know that employees editing Wikipedia at work can humiliate their employers even if those edits are not COI
  • "Incidents of involved editing continued to be discovered throughout the end of the decade and into 2011."
This could probably be cut
  • "block all edits Scientologists"
Change to "all edits from the IP addresses and usernames associated with the church of scientology"
  • "Although for most of the history of Wikipedia...
This section reads a little POV to me. Maybe it's just me
  • CIPR section.
It's really long with a lot of quotes. Both of the huge blocks of quotes could probably be cut IMO.
  • Should we include Wikiproject Cooperation and/or PAIDWATCH??
  • I am often a paid editor
  • I was formerly in the CREWE Facebook group mentioned in this article
  • My background was traditionally in public relations
  • I have personal opinions about many of the incidences of paid editing
  • I am not a PRSA or CIPR member. I have no personal opinion/bias about these organizations mentioned in the article, save I feel PRSA could be more humble in asking Wikipedia for guidance as was done in the UK.
  • Ocaasi wrote a majority of this article and we have had civil disagreements in the past on similar topics. We have also collaborated on an off-wiki educational PPT, on Wikiproject Cooperation and probably in other areas.

Thanks for these edits! I made almost all of the changes, all of the grammatical ones, and most of the POV-related ones. I trimmed quotes, changed scandal to controversy in some places, tweaked phrasings for accuracy. I didn't address:

  • Responses of the accused varied, with some admitting to edits, others saying leadership did not direct any of their employees to edit and some suggesting their edits were made in good faith. Most of the edits picked up by Wikiscanner were harmless, but it was mined for the most salacious. ['mined for the most salacious' is good, true, and perhaps implied. I'll look again]
  • I would suggest "raising questions about the effect of paid editing on Wikipedia's credibility" as oppose to whether the entire site is credible [I think the effect was actually on the entire site's reputation]
  • If there isn't a main article with this information it would be interesting to note that they also edited articles on Pringles and sexual slavery. While Wikipedia may not like this stance, I feel it's important for companies to know that employees editing Wikipedia at work can humiliate their employers even if those edits are not COI [This is tangential and I'm not sure I can support the 'humiliate' with sources. Will consider]
  • include Wikiproject Cooperation and/or PAIDWATCH? [No RS mention WikiProject Cooperation or PaidWatch. The best we can do is a See Also]

Those changes might be made at a later time. But I'm happy to discuss them. Thanks again.

Thanks Ocaasi!
Nice catch. Even though employees editing at work gets lumped into the same media stories, it's not COI editing. Some notes on the other ones:
  • For Wikiscanner we could probably borrow from the Wikiscanner Wikipedia page: "According to Wired, which first broke the story, most edits were "fairly innocuous".(source Wired asked users to submit "The most shameful Wikipedia spin jobs"source" This is less POV than my hatchet job at including it.
  • RE Wikipedia's credibility, the source literally says "the effect such payment has on the credibility of the site." Though there may be other sources that support the current language.
  • My blog post could be used for Wikiproject Cooperation as it was used for CREWE. There's also this one on Newt Gingrich if you're interested. It was in a SignPost story on the issue, but I would say there are arguments on both sides on whether it is a reliable source for such a controversial issue. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 15:37, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I will update the Wikiscanner one. And I'll update the site credibility one. I originally used your blog for WikiProject Cooperation, but Fred Bauder removed it as non-RS. Ocaasi t | c 16:16, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough. I promise my ego is only a little bruised ;-)
It's still cited four times in the CREWE article, so it may need to be taken out over there. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 01:24, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

Social Fresh a reliable source for basic info on Wikiproject Cooperation?[edit]

  • Link:
  • Content: WikiProject Cooperation A project page on Wikipedih with... a mentor program, a help page, links to useful documentation and instructions for companies looking for brief factual corrections.
  • Question: Can this be added as a reference for the brief WikiProject Cooperation section? Fred Bauder removed it as a blog or SPS. It is a blog, and it's self-published, but it's a seemingly established social media company and the information is just basic details about what the WikiProject offers. Thoughts? Ocaasi t | c 01:34, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
It looks like you found other sources, so I think we're all set. It's not self-published, because I submit my articles to the site editor, but meh. My 2 cents though, does it really belong under "PR industry response?" It was founded by a volunteer and I think only has 3 PR people as project participants. Maybe it fits under "Wikipedia community response" or under its own sub-head until there are more reliable sources on similar topics. Anyways, I'm probably running you ragged. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 03:25, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
Site editor, that's a good start. "PR industry response" was the closest fit among existing headers. It's really more "PR industry response and collaborative on-Wikipedia groups". I didn't mean to tag WikiProject Cooperation as a PR initiative, so you're right that the header leaves something to be desired. I'll try to think of a more general header that still keeps the content grouped, since I think it shares a common theme of a new wave of efforts to address paid editing problems. Running, yes. Ragged, not yet. Ocaasi t | c 09:34, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
"COI Collaboration efforts"? User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 05:29, 4 April 2012 (UTC)


{{Request edit}} Please could an editor change "admitted" to "confirmed". "Admitted" sounds like there was some secrecy or duplicity involved, which there never was.

Microsoft knew they should not edit themselves. They wanted to get the entries corrected for what they though was bias. I think my mistake was that when I wrote that they had offered to pay me to edit Wikipedia, I didn't realize the number of ill-willed people who would assume that "edit" meant violating rules and doing things in secret: when in fact what I eventually did was to limit myself to the Talk pages, which the Wikipedia editor assigned to shepherd me had told me was the correct way to handle this situation: disclosure and raising issues for community discussion and editors' decisions in the Talk pages. I think the section in the Conflict of Interest might like to point out that in fact there was no conflict of interest problem, because things were done the right way: it would be good for the page to clearly say what the right way is, for people who find themselves in controversial situations.

Finally, please note that getting the ODF entry altered was not part of the offer or deal, which was about what Wikipedia had about OOXML. Microsoft wanted better information on OOXML, not worse on ODF, since they felt that OOXML had a decent technical approach for the standards debates. Looking at my original blog entry, I can see that was not clear, and maybe that contributed to the Slashdotter's panic. This section perpetuates the misapprehension.

Rick Jelliffe (talk) 15:20, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with 'confirmed'. Thank you for clarifying what happened, though as you likely know we can't use information not present in the published sources. If you have any newspaper articles which accurately describe your role, you could certainly link to them and we can consider their content for incorporation. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 16:11, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
And we are subject to the media's misunderstanding of the issue, because assuming any corporate activity on Wikipedia is corrupt has been engrained in their minds through repetition. I wonder if there isn't some off-wiki work that can be done to get the facts of the case out in a reliable source. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 03:31, 3 April 2012 (UTC)
I started writing a blog on the Microsoft story and looking into Rick's edit history (edit histories always tell the truth). It turns out his depiction doesn't appear entirely true. For example, he made a direct edit to the Code page with an edit summary "reduced anti Microsoft bias" and edited his own article claiming the word "pay" was borderline defamatory. He removed 546 bytes of a section on Microsoft's complaints about competitors under the summary "removed argumentative editorializing" and there appears to be several waves of direct editing over the years I can only reasonably suspect was funded by Microsoft. I didn't look into whether these edits were reflective of Talk page discussions, but... User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 00:09, 6 April 2012 (UTC)
If my blog is a reliable source, I think this would help balance the section on Rick Jellifire with his point of view. Key statements:
  • Jellifire was later upset by the media's depiction that his Wikipedia participation had presumed ill-intentions.
  • He said he used Talk pages and improved pages with the oversight of the Wikipedia community.
  • Among other edits, Jellifire continued to make pro-Microsoft edits for years after his Microsoft engagement, stating that he was doing so as a volunteer and no longer had a conflict of interest. User:King4057 14:50, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

Connected Contributors[edit]

I saw the back and forth in the edit history with Selina on connected contributors. It's kind of silly because every Wikipedia editor has a close connection on articles about Wikipedia. Nonetheless, I added the close connection template to the top for those who wish to disclose. This seems like the best approach to provide visibility into COI editing without implying it has resulted in a problem in the article. The template says "personal or professional" so anyone can use the template even if their COI is not as overt as paid editing.

Cheers. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 03:14, 2 April 2012 (UTC)

See also section[edit]

Why is there a link to a PDF presentation? Or for that matter, why does it exist? It seems most unusual and there is nothing in it that couldn't appear as a Wikipedia: or User: space page.

Also, the number of self-references in this section is disturbing. I propose we trim the fat.-RunningOnBrains(talk) 08:41, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

Per WP:SEEALSO, the links to non-articles should not be in the "See also" section. I suggest that we move them to the "External links" section.
Then, of course, there's the issue of the number and appropriateness of the links. I agree that there is fat to trim. I don't see the need for the history of the COI guideline. There's no need for the Reward Board link, since it's already used as a reference. -- JTSchreiber (talk) 04:36, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Trimmed the fat -RunningOnBrains(talk) 19:40, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Arguments Section[edit]

I feel like what's missing is an "arguments" section. We have all this history, but not a single place that consolidates all majority and minority viewpoints on the issue itself. Why do people edit with a COI and why does it often end disastrously? We could have a section up top that outlines the issue itself using mostly the same sources and information. Thoughts? User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 22:22, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

I think if we're going to have a consolidating section like that, then we also need sources that consolidate it. Otherwise we might be verging on synthesis. SilverserenC 22:25, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

WikiScanner section[edit]

Any objections to turning the giant paragraph listing the COI entities into a proper list? Having a single sentence with four dozen organizations and twenty references is a bit painful to read. 28bytes (talk) 17:38, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

Wouldn't the list be enormous and even more unwieldy? One option, if the section is really a problem, is to cut out any multiple references. Ocaasi t | c 20:02, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
An enormous sentence vs. an enormous list is perhaps an aesthetic call, but I have to think it would benefit from some white space one way or another. It seems way too dense the way it is. 28bytes (talk) 20:13, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Purely as an aesthetic call, I would suggest a list with two columns. It would still be relatively condensed and not unwieldly, but slightly better formatted. User:King4057 (COI Disclosure on User Page) 07:19, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

The latest report[edit]

To do: Incorporate the below sources where appropriate into the article. It's currently out of date by 1 year.


Yes check.svg DoneProbably the most comprehensive coverage of the PR/Wikipedia relationship to date by IABC came out today. Corporate Minion 14:50, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Recent events[edit]

Yes check.svg Done

  1. Yes check.svg DoneNew Tory party chairman Grant Shapps deleted O-level entry and information about donors to his private office
  2. Yes check.svg DoneIdaho Employee Catches Flack For Wikiediting
  3. Yes check.svg DonePhilip Roth Spars With Wikipedia via The New Yorker and [48]
  4. Yes check.svg DoneGibraltarpedia and Untrikiwiki and [49] and [50] and [51] and [52] and [53]
  5. Yes check.svg DoneVonage
  6. Yes check.svg DoneFinsbury [54] [55] [56] [57]
  7. Yes check.svg DoneGEO GROUP [58] [59] 03/04/2013
  8. Yes check.svg DoneOccupy Melbourne [60]
  9. Yes check.svg DoneBP (proposed talk page drafts) [61][62]

Ocaasi t | c 17:17, 10 September 2012 (UTC)

Copy edit[edit]

I'd like to do a copy edit of this article at some point, and I thought I'd note it here just in case someone wonders what I'm doing. It would include creating a tighter lead, tightening the writing in general throughout, removing any non-RS sources, and balancing the sections to that there's a proportionate amount of coverage in relation to the amount of coverage incidents received in the media, per UNDUE. Hope this is okay. SlimVirgin (talk) 22:06, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks Slim. I think that's just what was needed to get this up to B class, or maybe even good article status. My only complaint is that the lead now doesn't reflect any of the Reception section. Would you add a paragraph there? Ocaasi t | c 18:04, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
I took a shot at summarizing it. It's pretty direct and I think uncontroversial. What do you think? Ocaasi t | c 18:48, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi Ocaasi, I haven't finished the copy edit. I'd like to remove CREWE, the Wikiprojects and the others from the lead again, per UNDUE. The lead and article should summarize the key points raised in the mainstream media or by academic specialists, with primary sources used to expand on those points where appropriate. There's currently nothing in the article about the media/political response, and there wasn't much in the media about CREWE and the Wikiprojects.
What I'm intending to do after the basic copy edit is expand the reception section to cover the reception in the media, then write a paragraph in the lead summarizing it. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:43, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I'll check in again once you've done that. I think CREWE, PRSA, CIPR, and IABC were covered fairly well in PR industry publications. The Wikiprojects less so, but it would be unfortunate not to mention them if there's minimal sourcing which would support it. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 21:05, 28 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. They may have been covered in PR industry publications, but at least some of the time the people involved in those groups wrote the articles, so that becomes problematic. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:20, 28 March 2013 (UTC)

Possible article notice?[edit]

In reaction to the BP situation, I've drafted a notice that I think would be helpful in informing readers of such situations. Still tweaking with the language. Input and suggestions appreciated. It is at Coretheapple (talk) 19:54, 28 March 2013 (UTC)


I realize that the Talk Page is not a forum but I'm a little confused by some of the conspiratorial tone to this page. I know students and faculty that edited their university's Wiki article, members of professional or charitable organizations who edit theirs, employees that tinker with their company's profile page, people working on a film who update production information, fans of a sports team working on that team's page. It's prevalent because often these are the people who care enough to spend the time working on the article. I'm not denying that there could be a conflict of interest, just that it happens, and I think it happens a lot.

The primary failing of those individuals mentioned in this article is that they worked on a computer that could be traced back to their offices. If they had made edits at some wireless cafe, there would be no scandal.

My point? I think that this kind of behavior happens on Wikipedia all of the time but it makes the news when it's a public official, a big PR firm or large corporation. While it needs to be stated in a nuanced way, I think these few examples are just those who "got caught" and don't deserve to be demonized in a way that makes it look like these companies/people are the only ones who ever edited an article on an organization they worked for, participated in or studied at or promoted.

For example, if you looked at articles of individuals and organizations in the entertainment world, you'd find a lot of self-edited profiles. That's not saying it's okay, just that it's common. If I tagged every acting/music profile I see that lacks a NPOV, I'd be busy for days. Newjerseyliz (talk) 13:21, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Incidents/GEO Group[edit]

(From the UP, the Florida Atlantic University (Press) Student Magazine w/link below)

The “View History” tab of the article revealed that the editing was made by a Wikipedia user by the name of “Abraham Cohen.” Abraham Cohen also happens to be the name of former Student Government President, who graduated in 2009, and now works as the GEO Group Corporate Relations Manager.
The UP emailed Cohen about the change to the article at 2:12 p.m. At 2:18 p.m. GEO Group’s Wikipedia article was re-edited, by the same user identified as “Abraham Cohen,” and the Controversy section was back along with citations that had also been previously removed.
At 2:41 p.m. Cohen wrote:
“As a matter of policy our company as most companies in the world routinely updates our Wikipedia page to reflect accurate and factual information. It is never our intention to delete information that has been posted by other users but rather to provide supplemental information that is factual and accurate…Our social media team uses a common log-in which is registered to my name. Upon receiving your email I checked with our social media staff and realized that some of the information on the page was accidentally and temporally removed, while they were in the process of conducting our routine updates. That information was immediately added back with all the other updates the team was working on as soon as it was brought up to my attention.”
The supposed "common log-in" had never been used before nor has it since. GEO's and Cohen's "explanation" of the "accidental" removal solely of content embarrassing to the corporation is frankly ridiculous. His edits had been preceded in the past by similar whitewashing by GEO spokesman Pablo Paez User talk:Pabloepaez who is also an FAU graduate (2002) and former student body president.[1] Activist (talk) 05:35, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

New incidents[edit]


User:Ocaasi, how about copying and pasting this at Talk:Wiki-PR, since that article might be kept as a stand-alone? Best. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 13:40, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Hey Biosthmors, I'm going to summarize it here either way, as it's a major incident, per WP:SUMMARY. If you want to paste it over there, go for it! Ocaasi t | c 13:52, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
I moved it to Wiki-PR editing of Wikipedia, to focus on the meat of the reliable sources, FYI. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 16:29, 23 October 2013 (UTC)

Proposed merge with Wiki-PR[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was that the merge is declined Fiddle Faddle 08:27, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

The article on Wiki-PR is unlikely to show a notable corporation. INstead, the article focusses on the controversy about paid PR editing on Wikipedia. It seems to me that conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia is a far better location for that information, properly cited, than an article on Wiki-PR which resembles a WP:COATRACK rather than an article on a pretty non notable PR company. Fiddle Faddle 11:20, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose There are new articles coming out as I write this, and they are going to help improve the article, as they are a lot better than the original ones. Kevin Rutherford (talk) 15:32, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Question I am a little confused with the word 'article' being used in two senses. Would you mind clarifying your comment, please. It;s probably because I am tired, but my brain is failing to function on your sentence. I understand that you are opposing, but your rationale is something I am struggling with. Fiddle Faddle 21:41, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Thanks. All is now clear. Fiddle Faddle 12:46, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. Wiki-PR is only notable for their conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia. If the article is not merged, it should probably be renamed to Wiki-PR conflict-of-interest controversy, as this controversy is going to dominate that article. To dedicate an entire article to this controversy immediately, on the expectation that it will become a major story in the media, strikes me as WP:RECENTISM and WP:CRYSTAL. If it does become a major story, it can always be spun off. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 22:54, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment/Waiting - It is a bit weak to say that Wiki-PR is notable right now, except for the current stain on our history. However, it seems that organizations like the Chartered Institute of Public Relations have noticed the issue itself and may show how notable the article is. In addition, I will say that I do not like this proposal at the moment since the article should be a PR article, while the request is for this incident to be merged with this article. I feel that the info should already be included on this page, as it is an incident that has already occurred, not "merged" since that would just basically be deleting the Wiki-PR article to added info that should already be present here. --Super Goku V (talk) 23:11, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Wiki-PR is a company. Readers will want information about the company apart from COI. Besides, if they learn to behave themselves, then their COI will mitigated.--Nowa (talk) 23:54, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Too early to propose. Content is improving and sources are evolving. Let it sit for now. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:44, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Your removal of the merge to banner form the article has been reverted. Your opinion is respected, as expressed here, but this is a matter upon which consensus must prevail. Your removal of the banner hampered such consensus building. Fiddle Faddle 12:53, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
You can read my edit summary. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:55, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
You have removed the banners both here and at Wiki-PR for a second time with no discussion. I will reinstate them once more. Consensus building is not yours to interfere with, it is yours to submit to. WP:BRD applies.Fiddle Faddle 13:02, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Is the current consensus not no consensus? We'd be much better off without a tag for now, in my opinion. It's simply too early to waste people's time with such obnoxious "consensus building". Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 13:04, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
Such matters need to run for sufficient time to gain views. It is not for a random participant in the discussion to choose to grab hold of the discussion which has hardly started (0.9 probability) and seek to cancel it by removing the legitimate advertisements for it. This one strated on 22 October. Shutting the discussion down the very next day is undemocratic. Fiddle Faddle 13:14, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
After judging the current consensus, I see no reason to accede to a tyranny of one. I'd be interested to see of this tyranny will double itself? ;-) Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 13:23, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
If, by that, you mean me, please note that in a simple !vote count there are two folk who believe that the merge should take place, one opposes, and two consider that time should elapse. It is not, howeevr, a ballot, but a discussion. Weight of num bers does not win the day. There is no tyranny here except the need to determine a true consensus. Short circuiting such a process hampers the building of the encyclopaedia. It would be different if loads of editors arrived and expressed opinions suggesting it to be closed early. To be clear, though I believe that a merger of the then article as proposed at the time ought to take place (disregarding the edits between since the history is available), if others disagree with me and consensus goes against the proposal, so be it. But we do not take the discussion venue away because someone wishes to do so very early on. Your point is made, and emphatically. It is your point and whoever closes this in time will note it. Fiddle Faddle 13:40, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment. Shouldn't this be withdrawn, given the page move? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 13:52, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The redirect will handle it. Fiddle Faddle 13:58, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • The tag at the top of the article was inaccurate, but I fixed it. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 14:05, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Question. Is the only thing driving media coverage about the editing of Wiki-PR related to conflict-of-interest? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 14:08, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There are numerous reliable sources that feature Wiki-PR in particular. Therefore we easily satisfy WP:CORP. As for Wiki-PR only being known for conflict of interest editing, that may be true, but it doesn't justify a merge. There are lots and lots of articles on businesses (and other subjects) that are only known for one thing. This is fully supported by policy (e.g. WP:BEGIN:"For topics notable for only one reason, this reason should usually be given in the first sentence." --Dr. Fleischman (talk) 19:27, 23 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose It's overwhelming obvious now with all the sources given above that a separate article is needed, as well as a summary here. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:13, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Question As proposer, It seems obvious that the great majority of opinions are expressed as oppose. Unless anyone wishes to continue to keep this open I am content to concede that my opinion is against the emerging consensus. I suggest we give it until 23:59 UTC today, 24 October. If no opinions in favour of the merge have appeared by then I am content to have this closed as a failed proposal by the next passing editor. Fiddle Faddle 17:19, 24 October 2013 (UTC)
While I still do not like this proposal, I will state that I still feel that this info should be given a section on this article. Just not to the degree of a merge. --Super Goku V (talk) 03:17, 25 October 2013 (UTC)
On the inclusion of the information, I agree with you. Fiddle Faddle 08:24, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.


I am a frequent COI contributor and was just gleaming through this article. I noticed it contains a "Reception" section, which is the title we normally use for balanced reviews published by credible, independent academics and media. However, this section is actually used mostly to communicate the PR community's point-of-view. I would suggest it be renamed to something more representative of its contents. CorporateM (Talk) 15:44, 28 October 2013 (UTC)

Advocacy is against POLICY[edit]

I've reverted User:Biosthmors rewrite of the lead. "Controversy" is an excellent term to describe what's happening here, not simply "events" and WP:NOT is a WP *policy* which prohibits advocacy, not simply a guideline. Smallbones(smalltalk) 12:22, 8 November 2013 (UTC)

That doesn't make any sense to me. The gist of what I did was to define the subject per WP:First sentence. What's wrong with following MOS:LEAD? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:57, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Fixed. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 12:59, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
This edit violated WP:PRESERVE and I see nothing on talk. And there was nothing that discussed content in the edit summary either. Why is that? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 13:32, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
I apologize if I used revert language that was hasty. I see you made a good faith effort Biosthmors to address the issue. I went ahead and tried to combine the old lead and both of your added perspectives to reflect how the COI guideline defines conflict of interest, how it's typically used, what the guideline advises, and what the advocacy policy states. They're all related and I think they should be in the lead. Again, my apologies if I escalated the tension here rather than reduced it. Cheers, Ocaasi t | c 13:49, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
No worries. Thanks for the note. But what's the point behind saying COI editing is strongly discouraged whereas advocacy is forbidden? I see a logical contradiction here. COI editing by definition is advocacy and therefore it would be forbidden. No? Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 14:07, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
It depends what you mean by "conflict of interest editing". Editing with a conflict of interest is discouraged by the guideline, and with a paid COI strongly discouraged. Advocacy, on the other hand, is always prohibited. So it depends on whether editing with a conflict of interest (which is a state of interests and relationships that outrank Wikipedia's) involves actually doing something that goes against neutrality. If you think that doesn't quite make sense, then you need to work on tweaking those policy pages as the lead currently reflects our somewhat jumbled and vague state of affairs. Ocaasi t | c 10:38, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Ha! I choose to edit Wikipedia pages and not Wikipedia policies and guidelines. ;-) The first sentence is definitional and it clarifies what I mean. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 15:03, 8 November 2013 (UTC)
Ocaasi, your comment above is unsigned, FYI. Biosthmors (talk) pls notify me (i.e. {{U}}) while signing a reply, thx 05:31, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Detailed analysis[edit]

This German-based report apparently offers a systematic analysis of conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia by PR reps, however the machine translation I used was not good enough to make it very readable, so I gave up on trying to understand what it says. CorporateM (Talk) 16:17, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Google Translate provides this rather poor translation of the abstract, but it does give an idea of the contents:

The fact that this openness can also have downsides , shows a current Case : Hundreds of "Paid Editor " - ie paid commercial writer - are in the tight - lish Wikipedia behalf of their clients operate more polished image and Article have been distorted . Wikipedia thereupon blocked over 250 user profiles. this shows that there seems to be more than a mere suspicion that the reference is increasingly perceived as a PR tool and used. The enormous importance wakestion of Wikipedia as an information, guidance and interpretation of source Greed in companies , celebrities and other public actors reindeer, exert on the electronic " world knowledge" influence. It is surprising in this context that concealed PR in Wikipedia so far both in science and in journalism , with little attention ness has been investigated . Most individual cases were discussed , too rarely been de to the topic comprehensively and systematically approached . The present study attempts to fill this gap and to make clear which actors with what means try in their favor on Wikipedia content influence to NEH-men</blockquore>

It would be nice if a German-speaking human being could take a stab at this. Coretheapple (talk) 22:33, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Maybe we could ask one of those "celebrities and other public actors reindeer" to do the translation? :-) 23:06, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Terms of Use and paid editing/advocacy, legal or not?[edit]

Speedily closed as out of process. TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 02:23, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

  • Terms of Use ban paid edition/advocacy?
If yes,
    • Then it is illegal and WMF can sue the companies and freelancers related?
    • Why WMF dont sue the companies?
If not,
    • then why WikiExperts and Wiki-PR changed his services and now outsource the edits?
    • Why the another companies not?
    • Why Wikimedia Foundation dont ban it?
  • If in a future, Terms of Use include ban paid edition/advocacy explicitly, then its illegal, and WMF can sue the paid editors?
  • All paid edition are covert advertising, and therefore, is illegal in Europe, among Directive 2005/29/EC?
  • Are a future COI policy, or the actual guideline irrelevant because paid editing/advocacy editors can argue WP:IAR? JackT7 (talk) 10:26, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Speedy Close You seem to be requesting our opinions on the legality of certain actions. An RfC is not the place to make legal judgements. Maybe ask this on some stack exchange site or something? I suggest closing the RfC. 0x0077BE [talk/contrib] 01:35, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Links to failed proposals[edit]

TeleComNasSprVen left the following message on my Talk page, and with that user's permission, it is copied here. Jytdog (talk) 21:29, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

Hello there,

I received a message today that you have reverted me on the Wikipedia-conflict-of-interest topic; may I ask if you can explain to me your reasoning for doing this? I'm afraid that keeping those links in may serve to bias the article from a Wikipedian point of view, as Wikipedians are wont to do, because the proposals primarily point out the merits and demerits of allow conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia rather than leaving the outside reader to judge it for hisself/herself. The proposals by nature are non-neutral, and including them in the article would violate Wikipedia's spirit of "No original research" and "Neutral Point of View". Cheers, --TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 08:04, 19 June 2014 (UTC)

I do not agree and would be happy to discuss! May I copy your content to the article Talk page, and respond there? Jytdog (talk) 12:15, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
Sure! You may copy any part of my message as you wish. --TeleComNasSprVen (talkcontribs) 15:12, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Answering now! So the reason I reverted that change, is that I think it is really important to have those failed proposals linked here. They were the community's reaction to these incidents, and the Talk pages associated with them contain the community's discussion of the breadth of the community's reaction. The fact that they all failed, should be a sign to anybody that the community is not unified in any way with regard to these events. Thank you for not re-reverting and for Talking instead! Jytdog (talk) 21:29, 21 June 2014 (UTC)