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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Help answer requested edits
Category:Requested edits is where COI editors have placed the {{Request edit}} template:

Multiple bourbon related articles[edit]

This IP address is registered to Buffalo Trace Distillery, a major US producer of bourbon, and has been editing multiple articles related to bourbons produced by that distillery. I spot checked a few and found some were maybe ok but many are problematical, and reverted a few. I don't have time or resources to go through them all. Kendall-K1 (talk) 00:09, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

Here are some example problem edits: [1] [2] [3] Kendall-K1 (talk) 04:28, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict) Also these

And more. But I think the worst of those edits have been taken care of already. Buffalo Trace is owned by The Sazerac Company. As you can see on the IP user's Talk page, I've been bumping up against this editor's strong pattern of biased editing of articles related to Sazerac products for some time now. (There have also been a couple of other accounts making biased edits about this company and its products.) I think I tend to be rather tolerant of COI editing, but this editing pattern has been a bit irritating. I also note that all of the IP's edits seem to be related to either this company and its products, or to those of its competitors. There seems to be no off-topic recreational editing happening here (except for one vandalistic edit in July 2010 and one possibly constructive one in November 2008). —BarrelProof (talk) 04:50, 12 August 2014 (UTC)

This has been going on for four years or more: [4] Maybe time to request a block? Kendall-K1 (talk) 04:59, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps – at least a brief block to get their attention – but like I said, I think I tend to be rather tolerant of COI editing, and although the IP's edits seem consistently biased, they don't always seem entirely unhelpful. —BarrelProof (talk) 05:06, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
I think much more than a brief block is in order, this is the kind of editing that makes people question the integrity of the project, a problem far more detrimental than most issues. Also a brief block is unlikely to get noticed as this IP seems to do drive-by editing and then disappear for months.CombatWombat42 (talk) 15:08, 12 August 2014 (UTC)
Perhaps the brand articles should just be merged into the corporate article. Wikipedia isn't a product catalog. The individual brands aren't particularly notable. There are brand reviews available. Cracked.com on Kentucky Gentleman: "The concept of mixing nearly equal parts of bourbon and grain alcohol appealed to a demographic of bourbon lovers who do not want any recollection whatsoever of the night before. Its cheap price and convenient pint, liter, and half gallon sizes appeal to many college students and mobile home residents throughout the United States." [5]. That and Wikipedia are the top references in Google for the product. The Whiskey Reviewer site says: " The phrase “Kentucky Gentleman” implies a certain Southern genteelness, and frankly, no one possessed with such grace and class would ever stoop to drinking anything resembling Kentucky Gentleman whiskey."[6] Chowhound: "So what is this stuff, paint thinner"[7]. Suggest either merging the brand articles or putting in some of those reviews. John Nagle (talk) 07:27, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Certainly, Sazerac is not the only company – or even the only bourbon company – for which there are distinct pages for individual branded products. And the brands do have individual characters and histories that transcend companies – alcoholic beverage brands often have tangled histories where distilleries and brand names have been sold from one company to another or the companies themselves have been purchased or the production process has been contracted out to third parties. I would certainly support adding negative information to pages where appropriate and adequately sourced – that makes a Wikipedia article much more interesting than what you would see on a product label or a company web site. (I personally added the recent news that Kentucky Gentleman was declared too unhealthful to be allowed on the Russian booze market – information that the IP in question then tried to remove from the article.) —BarrelProof (talk) 21:44, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
I created Category:Sazerac Company brands to get a better sense of which pages are involved. The sheer number of interchangeable whiskies, and minimally sourced articles, makes me think I must have missed a few, though. Grayfell (talk) 22:11, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Probably, you haven't tried Blanton's. Blanton's and Kentucky Gentleman are about as far from being interchangeable as such things can be. —BarrelProof (talk) 22:32, 13 August 2014 (UTC)
Good point. I have tried Blanton's, and, unfortunately, many of the cheaper ones as well. With that many labels, there are bound to be a few outliers. I was more thinking of Kentucky Gentleman, Kentucky Tavern, Ten High, Old Thompson, etc. There are so many labels that I wouldn't be surprised if I missed a couple when populating the category. Grayfell (talk) 00:05, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Based on the descriptions of their formulations, the drinkers of Kentucky Gentleman, which The Whiskey Reviewer calls "very downmarket wino fuel" at 51% straight bourbon, are probably considered real snobs by the Old Thompson clientele, whose product is only 20% straight whiskey. Kentucky Tavern is 100% straight bourbon (and seems pretty well respected as a value brand, and I think it's aged at least four years, although I'm not sure), so it's definitely a big step up from those. Ten High apparently made a move downwards in 2009. I guess they're trying to cover all segments. —BarrelProof (talk) 01:31, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
BTW, it looks like you've done a very good job of finding the relevant articles and placing them in the new Category. (I'm not sure Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve belongs there, since they don't actually own that brand name, but they do produce it and do list it on their web site.) You're right that there does seem to be a rather large number of brands produced by Sazerac and that many seem in similar market segments. —BarrelProof (talk) 03:16, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
Readers here may also find some of this other information interesting in regard to (somewhat clumsy) COI editing relating to this company:
BarrelProof (talk) 17:54, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
I considered posting a {{coin-notice}} on the additional user talk pages mentioned above, but have not done so. Neither account is currently active (no edits for more than a year), so I think it would be "beating a dead horse" to do so. However, I thought that if we're discussing COI edits relating to that company, those prior encounters might be worth mentioning. —BarrelProof (talk) 19:05, 15 August 2014 (UTC)
Articles for every brand of down-market booze are probably excessive. Frank-Lin Distillers Products in California alone has over 2000 brands.[8]. (They're all made from beverage-grade ethanol, de-ionized water, and flavoring.) Sazerac seems to be a similar kind of company. Some merging of brand articles into manufacturer articles might be worthwhile. John Nagle (talk) 04:18, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Another biased/COI user, Buffalotrace (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log), has also been involved. That user popped back up today and made obviously biased edits to four articles about Sazerac products. Three of the four were reverted before I noticed them. I reverted the fourth. Upon mentioning this here, I added a {{coin-notice}} to the additional user's Talk page. —BarrelProof (talk) 17:26, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

That username also violates WP:CORPNAME. Kendall-K1 (talk) 11:44, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
And now reported as such to WP:UAA.--ukexpat (talk) 14:59, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
Blocked.--ukexpat (talk) 17:03, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Jack Evans[edit]

Please check out what's been going on within the last 24 hours at Jack Evans (D.C. politician). A person, User:Evansjack1, claiming to be the Washington, D.C., Council member the article is about, has been repeatedly tearing out well-sourced sections of the article he claims are false and ignoring all attempts to explain the workings of Wikipedia in general and the specifics of WP:COI with him. —Largo Plazo (talk) 14:10, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Evans has been warned multiple times about his COI editing in this article (essentially trying to whitewash his past). I believe a temporary block is in order to reinforce the warning messages he has received and to allow other editors time to sort out the issues. Once his block has expired, I would recommend a topic ban, disallowing any edits to this article and only allowing talk page edits to request changes, as would be appropriate for any COI editor. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 20:00, 14 August 2014 (UTC)
There's discussion on Talk:Jack Evans (D.C. politician) on how he had some good points and the article has been posted to WP:BLPN. However, the COI user should still not be editing, and yet he has done so twicethree times after his block ended (reverted both times), despite an embarrassing report about his activity here in the local press. Interestingly though he'd left his phone number at User talk:TheQ Editor and urged that it be used to verify that he is Jack Evans, when the reporter called Jack Evans' office he got a refusal to confirm Evansjack1's identity. Technically, I guess the jury's still out on whether this is really Jack Evans.
As for the week-long protection on the page, it didn't prevent his edits, why is that? Did he get autoconfirmed somehow? —Largo Plazo (talk) 18:09, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
No response? He's edited the article another four times since I last posted, despite warnings and despite consistent reversions of his edits. —Largo Plazo (talk) 11:35, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Cyogerst[edit]

Cyogerst (talk · contribs) on the following articles:

I first came across this user when he created a highly promotional, unsourced biography for Jimmy Houston, a TV host, that also engaged in copyright violation. I rewrote the page from scratch and figured that would be the end of it. However, when I checked the user's other edits, I discovered that he was making promotional and biased edits on other related pages. In this diff he discloses a conflict of interest while whitewashing the article. Right now, my primary concern is Roland Martin (fisherman), but I believe him to have a clear COI on all three articles. I attempted to discuss the matter with him, but he has persisted in making biased edits despite my attempts to steer him toward the biography noticeboard and talk pages. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 17:38, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Hello, I was not aware of the COI issues when I reposted the edits. Your initial emails went into my junk mail folder and I did not see them immediately. When I saw them, I only went in and created links to some of the information that was allowed on the page. In regards to whitewashing, the controversy section on Roland Martins page I argue that that content is not justified for his page because inability to attend to every fan request is commonplace for any public person. Therefore, putting it in the Wiki page appears to be libelous and biased against the persona in question. I greatly appreciate your feedback and links to help me understand the regulations about promotional content and conflict of interest and I will only post sourced material from now on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.149.133.146 (talk) 17:49, 17 August 2014 (UTC)

Having examined the material in question, I agree that it is trivial and does not belong in the person's biography. It is not "whitewashing" to remove a single media reference from 23 years ago that is both undue weight and is being misrepresented as some sort of ongoing "controversy." There is no evidence that it is of encyclopedic import to his biography. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 23:37, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Robertleavitt[edit]

Would someone be able to look into Robertleavitt (talk · contribs)'s contributions and let me know if this looks as though they're working for Lincoln Technical Institute? They have been adding links to the school on various pages, although I am unsure if they qualify exclusively as being a COI editor. Thanks! Kevin Rutherford (talk) 01:46, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

WP:SPA seems to apply. Even without a COI, this runs counter to WP:PROMOTION. Kendall-K1 (talk) 03:05, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Advisor shares possible employee editing[edit]

I noticed that the Advisor shares article had an unusual amount of activity and then was put under protection. I looked at the history and am convinced that there is a COI with the company trying to hide inconvenient facts about its history. I did a search and realized that someone else had brought this up but not gotten a response. I'm new to the COI rules but have been a longtime reader of Wikipedia. Can someone please look at the below claims, which I copied and pasted from the archive below and possibly do something about them?

I strongly believe that employees of Advisorshares, fund.com and/or Arrow Invesment Advisors are editing the “Advisorsshares” and "Fund.com" Wikipedia pages. First of all, Advisorshares and Arrow Invesment Advisors are both based in Maryland and there have been an unusual amount of ip edits in the history sections that come from near both firms headquarters in Maryland according to Wikipeida’s suggested geotag sites. In fact one edit on the Fund.com page from March 20, 2014 the ip address 71.178.252.123 traced back to ARROW INVESTMENT ADVISORS using the WHOIS tool. Other IP address from around the firms’ headquarters in Bethesda Maryland, include: 50.242.249.233, 70.192.219.184, 96.231.135.99, 75.103.6.172, 96.231.154.15, 72.83.136.15

An account with the username “AdvisorShares” made an edit before it was banned on Feb. 14, 2014. There’s a large possibility that this was a paid employee of Advisorshares trying to put an ‘official’ entry, which is just firm marketing material. This account was quickly blocked by IronGargoyle.

These two usernames seem to be sock puppets of the same user (probably an Advisorshares or fund.com employee): UserNameUnderContruction which edited the “Advisorshares” page and “ETFinvestor” which edited the Fund.com page. They deleted basically the same sentence on May 26 and May 27 respectively. On the Advisorshares history it took away 331 bytes in the history and on the fund.com page it took away 337 bytes. Other possible sock puppets of this same user include, Babylon1894 and Jigsaw574.

UserNameUnderConstruction has been warned twice on their talk page that if they are a paid employee of a company whose page they are editing, they need to declare it. Both times they avoid answering if they are a paid employee or representative and claim that other users can’t make such assumptions. UserNameUnderConstruction has twice accused use "Sargdub" of being a sock puppet of ETFCanadian on the talk pages of Advisorshares and fund.com, even though Sargdub has been a user since 2010 and is from New Zealand Icelandicgolfer (talk) 17:40, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

@Icelandicgolfer:Maybe some aspects of this could be dealt with through a Sockpuppet investigation. Chris Fynn (talk) 18:47, 20 August 2014 (UTC)
@CFynn: thank you for the suggestion. I tried to do what you suggested but not sure if I did it correctly. Submitted an abbreviated sock puppet complaint but for some reason after I submitted it, the final version had the text repeated multiple times in a row.Icelandicgolfer (talk) 23:04, 20 August 2014 (UTC)

Family relationships and COI[edit]

I am thinking of working on the bio of my spouse's great-great-great grandfather, and I was wondering if that relationship is close enough to require a COI declaration on the article. And yes, I did create the article (back in 2005) but have not edited it since it occurred to me that it might be a COI issue (except to add an image to the article several days ago).

Am I correct to think this isn't worth a COI note? (I have no vested interest in making him look good, or bad.) Guettarda (talk) 18:41, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

You are correct IMHO.--ukexpat (talk) 12:50, 22 August 2014 (UTC)

Warren Rodwell[edit]

If you look at the article Warren Rodwell it was created by WarrenRodwell and edited by him. I believe there is a conflict of interest as he is editing and writing about himself which is discouraged. Is this a conflict of interest, and if so, should sanctions/restrictions be applied? 1999sportsfan (talk) 14:01, 22 August 2014 (UTC)