Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard

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Welcome to Conflict of interest Noticeboard (COIN)
This Conflict of interest/Noticeboard (COIN) page is for determining whether a specific editor has a conflict of interest (COI) for a specific article and whether an edit by a COIN-declared COI editor does not meet a requirement of the Conflict of Interest guideline. A conflict of interest may occur when an editor has a close personal or business connections with article topics. An edit by a COIN-declared COI editor may not meet a requirement of the COI guideline when the edit advances outside interests more than it advances the aims of Wikipedia. Post here if you are concerned that an editor has a COI, and is using Wikipedia to promote their own interests at the expense of neutrality. For content disputes, try proposing changes at the article talk page first and otherwise follow the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution procedural policy. Sections older than 7 days archived by MiszaBot II.
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You must notify any editor who is the subject of a discussion. You may use {{subst:coin-notice}} to do so.

Additional notes:
  • This page should only be used when ordinary talk page discussion has been attempted and failed to resolve the issue, such as when an editor has repeatedly added problematic material over an extended period.
  • Be careful not to out other editors. Wikipedia's policy against harassment takes precedence over the COI guideline.
  • The COI guideline does not absolutely prohibit people with a connection to a subject from editing articles on that subject. Editors who have such a connection can still comply with the COI guideline by discussing proposed article changes first, or by making uncontroversial edits. COI allegations should not be used as a "trump card" in disputes over article content.
  • Your report or advice request regarding COI incidents should include diff links and focus on one or more items in the What is a conflict of interest? list. In response, COIN may determine whether a specific editor has a COI for a specific article. There are three possible outcomes to your COIN request:
1. COIN consensus determines that an editor has a COI for a specific article. In response, the relevant article talk pages may be tagged with {{Connected contributor}}, the article page may be tagged with {{COI}}, and/or the user may be warned via {{subst:uw-coi}}.
2. COIN consensus determines that an editor does not have a COI for a specific article. In response, editors should refrain from further accusing that editor of having a conflict of interest. Feel free to repost at COIN if additional COI evidence comes to light that was not previously addressed.
3. There is no COIN consensus. Here, MiszaBot II will automatically archive the thread when it is older than seven days.
  • Once COIN declares that an editor has a COI for a specific article, COIN (or a variety of other noticeboards) may be used to determine whether an edit by a COIN declared COI editor does not meet a requirement of the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest guideline.
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Category:Requested edits is where COI editors have placed the {{Request edit}} template:

Spammy behavior by two likely related editors[edit]

Thammondthuzio has been creating a slew of stub articles about lesser-known athletes, based largely on some questionable sources. (See Special:Contributions/Thammondthuzio for a complete list of the articles in question, as well as User talk:Thammondthuzio for a record of the discussions about this problem.) The underlying problem is that almost all of these athletes have profiles on the website thuzio.com (clearly associated with this editor), a service providing "unique experiences" with former and current athletes (play a round of golf with your favorite retired basketball player, have your favorite ex-water skier phone you for a 10-minute conversation, etc.) which leads to the impression that these Wikipedia articles are being created specifically for the purpose of giving these clients more "heft." I have specifically asked about this issue, but have received no response.

As of 10/6/2014, TaylorWiki18 has begun in the same pattern: stub articles about minor athletes, most of whom are Thuzio clients. (Perhaps the fact that not all of the article creations are clients is intended to legitimize their edits, or perhaps the articles about non-clients just reflect clients they haven't yet signed.)

The articles themselves are not exceptionally promotional, but they are terribly sourced for the most part and the pattern is disturbing.

I had originally posted this note at WP:ANI, but was told that this is probably a more appropriate venue. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 12:44, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Bumping this thread, as it seems to be going completely ignored. I was informed at WP:ANI that this was the appropriate forum for this topic, but if no one is willing to take up the matter, I'll bring it back to WP:ANI. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 16:38, 9 October 2014 (UTC)
Revived thread at WP:ANI. The spammy nature of this behavior requires more immediate admin attention than this board will generate. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 13:03, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
I put a comment on WP:ANI. Neither of the editors in question has ever replied to any warning or request on their talk page. If they won't even talk to anybody, it's tough to resolve the issue on the COI board. So I suggested a short block to stop the flood of stub generation and get their attention. John Nagle (talk) 06:09, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
Both editors have stopped editing since October 7th. No urgent action seems necessary. John Nagle (talk) 05:21, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

COI and biographical article creation question[edit]

I'm current a post-doc in a prestigious lab, but the professor does not have a WP biographical article (not surprising - the coverage of academics is very, very spotty). I'm quite sure they meet notability guidelines, however, we're obviously worried about COI issues, since I am, after all, an employee/advisee under this researcher. Is this sort of thing acceptable, or should a faculty's bio page be off-limits to their lab members? If unacceptable, am I allowed to somehow nominate the page for creation, so long as I'm totally hands-off after that (easiest way to write articles ever)? HCA (talk) 20:47, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

It would be a COI issue. See WP:COS for guidance. In general, it is inadvisable to create an article for your employer. Also bear in mind that once the article is created, others will edit it, and if they add well-cited unfavorable material, it will stay in the article. It could be unwise to place yourself in a position where you could be pressured to make the article more favorable. --John Nagle (talk) 05:53, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
I figured as much, but at least this way I have confirmation. Thanks! HCA (talk) 16:12, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
  • HCA, if you tell me the name of the professor (at my Wikipedia talk page) and provide at least one source that mentions his works, I'll try starting a short article, if I feel the person passes WP:NACADEMICS. --TitoDutta 15:32, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
  • As an alternative, it might be worth leaving a little info on your subject at WP:RA. EricEnfermero HOWDY! 01:58, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Envision Media[edit]

Today, Stiki showed me an edit by User:Envision Media removing some information from the article Shaynna Blaze. I initially suspected it to be some agency, but didn't bother, just let Stiki leave a warning and moved on. Later on, when going thru my contribs, I noticed that the user had responded to my message, or rather put up a line on the top of their talk page stating that they work with Ms Blaze and she has asked that the information I deleted stay removed.. This can either be classified as Conflict of Interest or as Paid Editing, both of which AFAIK are frowned upon as non neutral. --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 20:36, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

  • You were right. But I could not find anything that mentions "1963" as her birth-year in this reference. If they may remove it if that is not in source. --TitoDutta 15:29, 14 October 2014 (UTC)
This looks like one of those cases where a PR firm with no clue about Wikipedia tried to edit an article about one of their clients. Try to educate them, please, rather than biting them. I asked on their talk page why they wanted that reference deleted, since it seems to be a rather favorable article containing nothing embarrassing. No answer yet. John Nagle (talk) 05:13, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Hello, obviously I have no clue how to use Wikipedia, and I'm not even sure how to use the talk section... but I am not a PR firm and I've never used Wikipedia before the other day. However, Ms Blaze asked that her former name be removed, and the alleged birth year - the reference to the URL #1 was accidentally removed. Try to cut me some slack please, as a first timer. I work with her doing videos, and I was not paid to edit the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Envision Media (talkcontribs) 05:55, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
There's a Wikipedia policy on this: WP:BLPPRIVACY: "With identity theft a serious ongoing concern, people increasingly regard their full names and dates of birth as private. Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that have been widely published by reliable sources, or by sources linked to the subject such that it may reasonably be inferred that the subject does not object. If the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth, or the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year." Right now, there's no date of birth in the article, and the original name is not given, even though Wikipedia normally lists the original name and stage name of actors. The link to the Herald Sun article remains. Is that OK? John Nagle (talk) 07:42, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
Great news, thank you very much Envision Media (talk — Preceding undated comment added 22:34, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────John Nagle is right in all he says, including about not biting. But there's more than one policy that's relevant here, Envision Media. I'd like to draw your attention to WP:PE, and especially to where it says "Advertising, promotion, public relations, and marketing are prohibited by our policy WP:NOT". I mention it because I see on the website of a company named Envision Media this text:

For the past 6 years I have been been involved at the grass roots level of brand building for well known Australian TV Interior Designer, Shaynna Blaze, which has encompassed video production for her youtube channel, plus the initial setting up & integration of her social media channels.

I don't imagine your company has done 6 years work without financial reward? I believe that you have a conflict of interest at that article, and should refrain from editing it; you are of course always welcome to make suggestions for changes on the talk page. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 00:05, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

That user has now been blocked for a violation of the user name policy. That's entirely correct, and they do have a COI problem as well. However, the editor behind Envision Media can create a new account, if they wish, and request edits on the article talk page. That's allowed, and encouraged. However, they should not edit the article directly. The editor does not seem to have deliberately done anything wrong. As COI problems go, this is minor. John Nagle (talk) 05:40, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Hi Nagale and Justlettersandnumbers, I didn't mean to bite the user. I merely creates this discussion and invited the user to join in the discussion. Isn't that the way things are done here? --Rsrikanth05 (talk) 12:44, 17 October 2014 (UTC)

Tony Cragg[edit]

Four SPAs: Andrewplissongallery unambiguously declares a COI here: "I am editing this article on behalf of Lisson Gallery at the request of Richard Deacon. Should any of the information provided needs to be verified, please contact info@lissongallery.com"; the information turned out to be copied directly from the website of that gallery. The other three editors have curiously similar names, and a very similar editing style, but have not made similar declarations. Not everything they've added to the article is necessarily bad (unfortunately our coverage of this really rather famous sculptor is embarrassingly weak, so removing all of it would leave essentially nothing at all).

One IP: has edited three other articles: Lisson Gallery, Matt O'dell (who has shown at that gallery), and Tim Flach (at first glance unconnected). WHOIS for this address gives netname: LISSON-GALLERY-LTD-NETID10716. This appears to be undeclared paid editing. Going back now to check for more copyvio. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 22:06, 15 October 2014 (UTC)

Tony Cragg is now listed at WP:Copyright Problems. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:47, 15 October 2014 (UTC)
I did some cleanup on the article, which looked like a textbook example of keyword spam. Looking up the gallery in Google, the entire first page of Google results is from their own self-promotion on social media. There were more artists listed there than in articles for major museums. I took out much of that. I found two reviews of shows at the gallery in major publications and put in references to them. It's a known, legitimate gallery, but the article needs more press references and fewer uncited lists of artists. There's potential for a good article here. COI editors from the gallery: if you want better coverage, take some pictures of your better works, get all the rights to release them under Wikipedia's license, upload them to Wikipedia, and put a note on the article talk page. Someone will link them into the article. John Nagle (talk) 20:20, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
Nice work, Nagle. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:52, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Please can someone confirm that the article is being worked on? I will happily add more press references but there is currently an error message on the article that reads 'Do not restore or edit the blanked content of this page until the issue is resolved.' I am keen to improve Gragg's article but at the moment I am not sure how to go about doing so. Please advise.AndrewViolaBowen (talk) 12:47, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
AndrewViolaBowen, the article will be at WP:CP for several days, and should not be edited in that time; but you are free to post on the talk page, as I suggested here. It would also be helpful if you would clarify the connections, if any, between yourself, Cragg, the Lisson Gallery and the other editors, particularly those also called Andrew. This is optional unless you are a paid employee of either the artist or the gallery, in which case it would become obligatory. I repeat here what I said at my talk: I am willing to help write a page on Cragg. Justlettersandnumbers (talk) 23:52, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
has anyone emailed info@lissongallery.com to inform them of our Terms of Use and ensure that their employees and interns declare their COI? i am willing to do that if no one else has. Jytdog (talk) 21:50, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Vic Mignogna[edit]

Bkmyers declares COI on talk page [1], and her web page.[2] She modified her son's article [3] to say he grew up in Greensburg which is a town in the Pittsburgh area, although the news article [4] says he grew up in Pittsburgh. Another user has reverted [5] with comments that Bkmyers's information is correct. I don't have a problem with her correcting information, but the article should be monitored so that it doesn't become overly dependent on primary sources as it gets another overhaul. -AngusWOOF (talk) 07:44, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

Adding Fireicefalcon to the COI list. Runs Vic's online store [6] and has personal knowledge about Vic and Michele Specht. Informed about using secondary sources and how to avoid original research [7] [8] -AngusWOOF (talk) 16:56, 16 October 2014 (UTC), updated 20:47, 16 October 2014 (UTC)

92.236.96.38 and BJP[edit]

(basically all things Hindu or India)

My attention was called to this user (who I will call 92') by a comment on Talk:Ayurveda in this edit, where 92' wrote "The bjp Of india asks If you can write the details on this page of the product used in the american studies, they wish to know what you mean by "Ayurvedic products" as this is too vague."

I asked 92' what his/her relation to the BJP is on 92's Talk page, and 92' replied on my talk page here, with a denial of any connection to the BJP ("1. I am Not the Bjp 2. I do not represent the Bjp 3. I have no affiliation with the Bjp 4. I am not paid by the bjp or any other person") but didn't explain the comment. When I asked for an explanation of the comment, 92' answered: "A indian News channel spoke about how the Bjp of india is looking into controlling the safty of Ayurvedic products by finding out the products which are seen as hazardous, hence why i put "The bjp Of india asks If you can write the details on this page""

This made little sense to me, and led me to go look at 92's contribs, and I found many Talk comments and edits promoting India/Hinduism (like this and this).

But most disturbingly for this Board, '92 made two suggestions to editors to post requests for help with Wikipedia editing disputes on something called "local circles", here and here in violation of WP:CANVASS and WP:MEAT. What 92' promised these editors they would get through local circles, was: "As the group is a non paid organisation by the people of indian, anything which you feel troubled about can be given to the page and it will be handed to Mr Modi within one or two weeks, after that the issue will be raised and writers will be sent to help you out with full backing of refs and publishes. " The local circles page is a vehicle of the BJP, per this. "Modi" is, I reckon, Narendra Modi, prime minister of india and a leader of the BJP.

Despite 92's statement of denial quoted above, it is somewhat hard to believe that this person is not at least affiliated with the BJP. It could just be an issue with WP:ADVOCACY but I wanted to raise the issue here first. Jytdog (talk) 19:59, 19 October 2014

Jytdog at what point did i say i was a member BJP? what point did i say i was a paid member of the BJP? what point does my interest of indian culture and history link me to be a affiliated member of the BJP?
You cannot go around accussing people with Your own hidden agendas!
First of all I am NOT a member of that group, nor have i ever stated to be a member of localcircles which is actully a Community group that acts just like facebook, the only difference is that you give your views on how to improve education and child safty and other areas lacking in nations across the globe, its OPEN TO THE PUBLIC and is unpaid.
Second why did you not place the information i wrote to you on Your talk page? surely you cannot be that low that you had to only show your own information to get a bias response?
So what else did you add to claim me as a BJP paid member?
"and I found many Talk comments and edits promoting India/Hinduism" yeah thats because i LOVEEEE indian history and it's culture! have i broken a wiki passionate crime of history?
"it is somewhat hard to believe that this person is not at least affiliated with the BJP"
the accsussed (ME) has stated that nothing in my write ups claim me as a paid or a member of the BJP, The best you got is a community group on childs education and safty of women via a open public page 92.236.96.38 (talk) 23:09, 19 October 2014 (UTC)Caplock
I said that I had concerns. My reasons are stated above, with difs (including the link to what you wrote on my Talk page. This is a noticeboard in which editors can raise concerns like this. Others will decide if they have validity or not. Jytdog (talk) 00:15, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Shabbos App[edit]

On October 1, User:Petertrd created this article. This was the user's first edit on Wikipedia, and all of the user's subsequent edits have been to this article. User:Yossigoldstein and User:Yehudalevi2 have also edited the article substantially. Both are also single purpose accounts, all created at around the same time, and all with edits solely on this article (except for one edit to another article about the subject of this one). In addition, Yossi Goldstein and Yehuda Levi are two of the developers working on the app which is the subject of the article. Although warned, Yossi Goldstein continues to edit the article.

All of the edits in question have been promotional. I'd like to have these three users barred from editing the article, and if possible, I'd like to have them IP checked to ensure that they are not the same user, sockpuppeting, and if they are, I'd like to have the IP banned as well. - Lisa (talk - contribs) 17:53, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Lisa you need to bring the sock puppet concerns to WP:SPI - the folks there have the tools to check for sockpuppeting and no one else does. So am ignoring that.
Yossigoldstein and Yehudalevi2, please read WP:COI:
  • under the Terms of Use of Wikipedia, if editing Wikipedia is part of your job (and at startup, everybody does everything), you must declare your relationship to the subject of the article. must. I am placing a notice of this on your Talk pages and will be watching to see if you comply. If you do not, we will need to escalate this, which will likely lead to a block or ban from Wikipedia. This is very serious.
    • additionally, per the WP:COI guideline, you should not directly edit the article, but instead should request edits on the talk page.
there is insufficient evidence to say much here about Petertrd, at least for now. Jytdog (talk) 21:24, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
Since this is an article about a future product from a vendor with no track record, WP:CRYSTAL applies. The product is supposed to ship December 1. Deleting the article now would be appropriate. We can revisit this if and when the thing ships. John Nagle (talk) 22:58, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Theodore Shulman[edit]

GS has mentioned Shulman repeatedly on other talk pages and seems to know a lot about him. In editing the biography, GS has access to information about Shulman that does not seem to be public knowledge. GS is also the driving force behind the currently open Shulman AfD. I asked GS if he has any connection to the subject, he denied any knowledge of Shulman but something just doesn't smell right here. Juno (talk) 21:05, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

please provide difs for your evidence of a close connection. Nobody can consider this seriously without more to work with. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 21:14, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
  • in your first bullet point, you provide no dif that is not common knowledge nor of the "odd story"
  • second bullet has no special knowledge that I can see.
  • third bullet is very discrediting for you. GS added "first" ("first prochoice terrorist") to the content, and the title of the source that was already there includes the phrase "First prochoice terrorist". absolutely zero special knowledge there. about supposed secret knowledge of the plea deal. The comment linked-to is from Oct 2014. Plea happened two years ago. there are sources the Shulman article that describe the plea deal in detail. that link was to the FBI press release; the motherjones article has the rest. nothing secret here.
  • fourth bullet also has nothing about a COI in it.
bottom line, GS is clearly passionate here but you demonstrated zero "insider knowledge" from which one could infer a COI or other connection. Some of the posts you linked to were soapboxy but the abortion debate brings that out in most everybody involved in it. Possibly WP:ADVOCACY issues is all I can say, but your bringing a really empty COI case points to the same issues for you. Jytdog (talk) 22:37, 20 October 2014 (UTC) (amended, looked at the wrong dif somehow)
Third bullet point doesn't refer to the term "first", but to the fact that he knew the language on the plea deal which was not in the source. Juno (talk) 22:45, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
thank you for pointing that out. i amended the statement above. still no leg to stand on for you - no evidence of "insider knowledge". Please be aware, and self-aware, that people are passionate about these issues. WP:ADVOCACY (please do read that!) is one of our biggest problems at Wikipedia - really hard to manage. Each person choosing to work on controversial articles needs to stay calm, not lose the assumption of good faith (so hard!!), and bring the most excellent sources they can, and really strive to write NPOV content. articles like that demand our best. filing a COIN thread on such a thin basis is not reaching for your best. hang in there. (read WP:Controversial articles too!) Jytdog (talk) 23:09, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
RE: "Knows the class of felony that Shulman got". The FBI press release clearly details the name of the crime to which Shulman pled guilty ("interstate threat to injure another person"); anyone with access to the Federal Penal Code can look up the class of felony that crime is. No insider knowledge here! Goblinshark17 (talk) 23:44, 20 October 2014 (UTC)
no need to pile on GS. you are being pretty advocate-y yourself and you should also hold yourself to a higher standard of sourcing and writing NPOV content when editing and civility in edit notes and comments on Talk. I think this thread is done. Jytdog (talk) 00:07, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Lissa Lauria[edit]

User has acknowledged a conflict of interest, (on a drive-by IP editor's talk page, for some reason), and has been promotionally owning Lissa Lauria, an article about an obscure actress/musician which the editor refers to as "our client". Looking at the article's history, there's also clear signs of naive sockpuppetry, too. I tried to start a discussion about this on the editor's talk page, but no response, except for this at the helpdesk, which is obnoxious, since the editor never even bothered to try and discus this with me. Somebody else want to take a crack at this? Grayfell (talk) 23:47, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

I've tagged the article for COI, and the talk page with a "connected contributor" warning about him. --Orange Mike | Talk 00:50, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

Bert Martinez[edit]

Bert Martinez's company created an article on him which is based on self-published books, press releases and trivial mentions in press. Now they are offering a Wikipedia program for $750 to create articles on others - www.bertmartinez.com/wikipedia-program/ . 99.229.119.114 (talk) 05:30, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

The articles Everybody's Goin Thru Something and Joe Vitale (author) also seem to be maintained by them! 99.229.119.114 (talk) 05:32, 21 October 2014 (UTC)