Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard

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Editing by PR people or "Media Contacts"[edit]

If an article is edited by someone who actually works for a company, are they expected to declare their COI? See recent edits to Viadeo which appear to be by an editor with such an association. 220 of Borg 16:21, 10 June 2013 (UTC)

Even if you don't believe in the "bright line" rule, HELL YEAH! --Orange Mike | Talk 12:32, 11 June 2013 (UTC)
Thank you Mike. I see you have advised editor of COI issues, and 'restored' the page. From my reading of policy (apart from PR COI and the possible use of un-encyclopaedic PR 'spin') the fact they work for a company means they are essentially doing paid editing(shudder) Face-wink.svg is that correct? --220 of Borg 00:21, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Paid editing is not currently taboo here; but the fact is that the vast overwhelming majority of it is WP:PROMOTION, violates WP:NPOV, etc. --Orange Mike | Talk 14:57, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
I've been through with this very issue many times. They're strongly encouraged to disclose it, yet what I have been advised is that its against civility rule to try to force them to come clean. Cantaloupe2 (talk) 17:37, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
A simple, direct question such as "May I ask if you have a conflict of interest on this?" is acceptable, but shouldn't be repeated needlessly, nor combined with any accusation. If a person declines to answer, or later seems to have been misleading in their answer, other editors may feel free to draw their own conclusions. Smallbones(smalltalk) 17:54, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Sufficiently shameless actions may fall under the purview of the duck test. Nonetheless, Cantaloupe and Smallbones (not deceased) are right: under WP:OUTING, we cannot force another editor to confess their COI. --Orange Mike | Talk 18:25, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Note also that the use of first person ("I", "me", "we" or "us") in article text or when referring to the subject in a discussion can be considered tantamount to an admission of identity and COI.--Orange Mike | Talk 18:29, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Glad to know that I'm (not deceased). I guess that was put in because I occasionally ask simple direct questions like "May I ask if you have a conflict of interest on this?" and nobody has killed me yet. To Orange Mike: May I ask if that was what you were referring to, or did you have another outcome in mind? :-p Smallbones(smalltalk) 20:17, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
No, no, no: I was making reference to the excellent early mystery novel by Michael Gilbert: Smallbone Deceased. If you have not read it, you really should. --Orange Mike | Talk 20:44, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
These Smallbone's are everywhere, but the only one worth a damn is Penelope Smallbone. Smallbones's of course are the exact opposite. Still, I'll likely get the book. Smallbones(smalltalk) 21:05, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
"Working for the company" covers a lot of ground. Is a student who works part-time at a student job on campus "working for the university" in a sense that COI cares about? I don't think so. How about a janitor or someone doing data entry for the payroll department? That's not much of a risk.
Similarly, "we" and "us" could mean that we've got a copyvio from their website rather than a COI situation. You need to consider all the facts and circumstances. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:16, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
"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. " Is a student who works part-time at a student job on campus "working for the university" in a sense that COI cares about? - Yes, certainly it has the potential for COI as Wikipedia finds harmful. How about a janitor or someone doing data entry for the payroll department? That's not much of a risk. Not much of a risk unless the janitor is putting the aims of their employer above the aims Wikipedia. While the risks of a janitor's edits being inappropriate may be less than the edits of someone directly from the PR department, the risk is clearly closer the the PR Department than to zero. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 20:05, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
I disagree. If we declare an unconnected editor to be zero risk, and the PR department to be "10" on the usual arbitrary scale, then I'd put the janitor around 2 or 3. I'd put the sales staff or CEO up around 7 or 8, but the janitor? How does the content of the Wikipedia page advance his interests? It's not like a whitewashed article will improve his pay (unlike the sales staff's commission checks), his job prospects (unlike the CEO), or his work conditions (because people aren't going to stop making a mess in the staff kitchen as a result of a pretty Wikipedia article). WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:41, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Any employee, whether a janitor or a student-worker, risks reprimand or losing his or her job by writing adding content that might be seen as disparaging by the employer. That alone is sufficient to create a COI. And if the student worker has been hired by the university's PR department then that's even worse, as a future job reference or letter of recommendation could very well be affected by his or her editorial judgment. Besides, it would be overly intrusive to inquire into the details of an employee's compensation. Hence the bright-line rule of WP:NOPAY. --Nstrauss (talk) 17:32, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

COI submissions page similar to AfC[edit]

I was up until about 3 a.m. whipping up an AfC-like submission page for COIs to request corrections, contest unsourced material and (after reading some disclosures) offer content for consideration. It comes to mind that I've seen posts several years old where editors have pondered why this doesn't already exist and it seems like a no-brainer.

It needs some coding work before the forms would actually "work" but I would be interested in (a) anyone who can help code the forms and (b) any thoughts generally. CorporateM (Talk) 16:30, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

This is also being discussed here[1] and here[2], and perhaps others not on my watchlist. Coretheapple (talk) 20:25, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the idea was for any discussion to take place on the Talk page of the "Article" but I suppose discussions tend to get distributed. I posted on the Talk page of COIN, COI and Help. CorporateM (Talk) 21:38, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
and some user talk pages, I see. Coretheapple (talk) 22:19, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

COI: Government of Serbia[edit]

Hi – I'm notifying people here that I work for Bell Pottinger (see my talk page for more info) and have proposed minor edits to a number of articles on behalf of my client, the Government of Serbia. Those articles are: Accession of Serbia to the European Union, Government of Serbia, National Assembly (Serbia) and Ivica Dačić. See the talk pages for details and feel free to chip in on any/all of these suggestions. Many thanks. Vivj2012 (talk) 14:05, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Voice intro project[edit]

Pigsonthewing recently left a message on the COIN main page about the Wikipedia:Voice intro project. He suggested leaving the template {{Voice Intro Project invitation}} on COI editors' talk page to invite them to make a short recording to add their voice to an article.

I'd like to bring this up here because I think it's a great idea. Regardless of your feeling about having the recording available to readers (listeners?), I think it's a good way to show COI editors that while they may be crossing the line by editing their own article, we value the possibility of them being able to contribute to Wikipedia as an expert on the subject (I assume they're an "expert" on themselves).

This is probably jumping the gun as the project is very new but it seems logical to create a template that encompasses a COI warning and Voice Intro Project invite. That may be too much information to take in at once as a new editor but maybe not. Just thought I'd throw the idea out there and see what sticks. OlYeller21Talktome 18:57, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Thank you; that was my thinking, too. Happy to answer any questions. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:05, 5 August 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation sends cease and desist letter to WikiPR[edit]

Please see the relevant WP:AN discussion: WP:AN#WMF cease and desist against WikiPR. Thanks Ross Hill (talk) 21:09, 19 Nov 2013 (UTC) 21:09, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Is this the first instance of COIN being notified of what may be the biggest case of COI editing in Wikipedia history? I ask only because I want to assume it's not and that the searches I've done, missed something. If this is the first time, I can't help but be disappointed.
When I read about this case, up to that point, COIN had not been notified, even after the AN discussion called for all would-be-interested parties to be notified and the same discussion had been closed. Just to be as clear as possible, the noticeboard created to deal with conflicts of interest on Wikipedia, was not notified or consulted about perhaps the biggest case of COI editing in the history of Wikipedia. I guess we have nothing to offer to the situation? OlYeller21Talktome 05:11, 23 November 2013 (UTC)

Hatting a discussion[edit]

I generally use the collapse instead of hatting. But in this case (the Gabriel COI) I hatted as that is certainly not a COI concern. But, as always, feel free to revert should anyone not agree.--Mark Miller (talk) 12:03, 8 December 2013 (UTC)

Request for general input[edit]

As some readers here may know, I operate a part-time consulting business helping companies manage their conflict of interest, behave appropriately and comply with Wikipedia's content standards, creating some GA articles in the process.

The area that I am asking for input is that I feel many of my volunteer edits create a high-probability of the appearance of conflict of interest. For example, there are sometimes cases where I have edited an article on an organization as a volunteer that by chance later becomes a client, or where I have improved articles on a particular company and later obtained a COI with a competitor. I also have multiple clients that compete with each other.

In some cases like Credit Suisse I obtained images and hard-to-access sources from the PR rep at the company. This doesn't seem problematic, but in other cases other covert paid editors have been disruptive to my editing or disclosed ones (or volunteers working with them) have asked for my help in my volunteer role, only to get upset when I do not make their desired edits. Others have asked for and praised my input on COI discussions in general, while at least one editor states I have a COI with any kind of Wikipedia policy and should abstain completely.

I write a lot of articles on PR topics, including PR orgs, but many of my clients are PR agencies that may compete with them (that may be a bit too many dots for any reasonable editor to convincingly connect).

The point is I am in a position where nearly anywhere I edit where I am not actually conflicted, could to a speculative editor create the appearance that I am and I'm not sure how to avoid it, though in most cases I think the community is pretty good at dismissing the nonsense COI accusations typically made by POV pushers anyway. CorporateM (Talk) 20:22, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

other covert paid editors have been disruptive to my editing Yes, I've noticed that it appears that a certain paid editor, who appears to have been banned a few years ago, has been targeting you now and again, and that you have also been targeted outside of Wikipedia, such as by disclosure of your real name, which is against Wikipedia rules. I can understand your concern about this. It's hypocritical and cynical that you have been targeted by competitors and would-be competitors. However, I think that you would do a great deal to defuse these attacks if you would list on your user page the articles that you have been paid to edit. That would alleviate a lot of the confusion that exists concerning areas where you have a COI and don't have a COI. You have a great deal on your user page, but the elephant in the room - the articles you are and were paid to edit - is not stated. You opine a good deal on COI editing, and yet make only rather frustratingly vague and uninformative statements about your own paid editing activity. Also, when you edit articles where you have a COI, it might also be helpful to other editors if you would disclose on a regular basis that you have a COI. As you know, paid editing is not contrary to Wikipedia rules, and disclosure to either editors or readers is not mandatory. However, by not providing disclosure you do open the door to the kind of attacks that I've seen. Just a friendly suggestion. Coretheapple (talk) 21:37, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I use to maintain a list of COIs on my userpage, but this resulted in stalking and harassment. That user was eventually banned, but it was quite an ordeal. The same goes with disclosing my real-life identity, which led to off-wiki harassment on Twitter and other places quite some time ago. However, I will consider whether I should maintain a list again. I think I would have an easier time now getting an admin to deal with those types of situations. While I don't think it would alleviate the problem that any volunteer edit I am likely to make could create speculations about my motives, it could help. I have also become more consistent about Connected Contributor tags, after you brought to my attention that some disclosures were being archived. CorporateM (Talk) 23:03, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
I think transparency is definitely the answer in the particular circumstances that you describe. You say: The area that I am asking for input is that I feel many of my volunteer edits create a high-probability of the appearance of conflict of interest. For example, there are sometimes cases where I have edited an article on an organization as a volunteer that by chance later becomes a client, or where I have improved articles on a particular company and later obtained a COI with a competitor. I also have multiple clients that compete with each other. It's very difficult to address this in the abstract. What you've described is a natural byproduct of running a business of editing Wikipedia articles when your clientele is not known to editors without an extreme amount of research and combing through your edits. You can certainly continue to run your business without disclosing on your user page who your clients are, but to be frank it is hard to sympathize with an editor who does so and then runs into adverse consequences from lack of disclosure and transparency. Coretheapple (talk) 01:26, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
A while back I listed myself at Wikipedia:WikiProject Cooperation#Project participants as being willing to evaluate suggestions by paid COI editors, especially in the areas of engineering and technology. As a result I have made several edits suggested by CorporateM. In every case I carefully evaluated the suggested edit (perhaps asking for modifications) and only posted it when I felt that it met our standards for sourcing and NPOV. I have actually been accused of being a paid editor for this. I have been around long enough that such things don't bother me, and I will be happy to help in the future, but I am concerned that this sort of thing could lead to exactly what we don't want; paid COI editors not declaring their COI and editing under the radar. I think that we, as a community, need to be protective of anyone who follows the advice found in Wikipedia:Plain and simple conflict of interest guide. --Guy Macon (talk) 02:50, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
The problem with editors saying they are paid editors on their user page, but not disclosing their clients, is that they're not transparent or open, but for all intents and purposes are doing little more than advertising their services. While some editors may indeed circle the wagons around such an editor, it leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth. Suspicions do develop about where their loyalties lie, what edits they do are paid and what are not, and these are natural and understandable. CorporateM asked for advice. I can't think of better advice than for him to be transparent. Our purpose here is to identify and deal with conflicts of interest, not to function as a Paid Editor Support Group. Coretheapple (talk) 03:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Consider this edit:[3][4] I made the edit, not CorporateM (although he did request it). I put my name on it, and I stand by the result. Also, it is in Category:Implemented requested edits, where you or anyone else can check it and others like it. Shouldn't I be the one doing the disclosing? --Guy Macon (talk) 04:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

although he did request it. Right, because he was (if I understand your implication, as he has made no disclosure on his user page) paid by Money Management International to make that edit. That's what I'm talking about. He asked what he can do to make himself more welcome at Wikipedia. It's simple: transparency. You or others putting the wagons in a circle and being a Paid Editor Support Group are going to make him feel better in the short term but are going to create resentment and, I suggest, fuel the kind of harassment he is getting from his competitors in the paid editing community, especially the one who was banned and has been outing him on an exterior website. Re the disclosure that I'm suggesting: this is not some kind of new frontier of conflict of interest disclosure. It's pretty basic and actually substandard by most standards because the reader is given no such disclosure. Only on Wikipedia, which is still in the Dark Ages of COI, would we be even having this conversation. Coretheapple (talk) 05:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
The reader? Wouldn't the reader be someone who is reading our Money Management International page, and possibly looking at the edit history and talk page? Those pages clearly show who made the edit and who requested it. Please explain in detail how a user is expected to show up on CorporateM's user page without first seeing the page and looking up who made the edit. I can only think of one reason why anyone would want someone to list who his customers are in one central location, but I am going to assume good faith and assume that the obvious purpose has not occurred to you.
And by the way, please keep your snarky "putting the wagons in a circle and being a Paid Editor Support Group" comments to yourself. Just because we disagree about how to handle COI editors, doesn't mean you have to make personal comments. It does not strengthen your argument. Quite the contrary, actually. --Guy Macon (talk) 05:43, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Aren't we all here to help CorporateM and give him information and advice he can use? He asked for our help, and he got it from me and not, with all due respect, from you. The status quo is not working for him, if I understand his post correctly (and if it was working for him then I do not understand why he is posting here). Giving paid editors love and support and tenderness is not going to aid them in the kind of resistance they're getting for just the fact that they are paid editors, since virtually none (except for direct employees) state on their user pages who employs them. No amount of support in the world is going to make them more welcome. The paid editors who are make that disclosure do not have the problems that he articulates. If I am "User:JoefromAcme" there is no doubt that when I edit Acme or make a suggestion on Talk:Acme that I have a COI. CorporateM will find that the ambiguity and doubt that follows him will cease if he simply discloses as a few others have. You don't have to live with the consequences of his nondisclosure; he does.
To answer your first question, no, disclosing on their user page won't help the reader one bit. The reader will not look in the editing history and will not find his way to the user page. That's my point. We're talking about a level of disclosure that would not help the reader, but would help CorporateM and only CorporateM, by helping remove some of the resistance and contempt that he is getting. He asked for advice, not support. You're giving him the absolute opposite of what he needs, if he is going to be more accepted by the Wikipedia community, which I understand as being the issue here. You can't force Wikipedians to accept him or any other paid editor or any other editor, for that matter. Keep in mind how he concluded his post: The point is I am in a position where nearly anywhere I edit where I am not actually conflicted, could to a speculative editor create the appearance that I am and I'm not sure how to avoid it, though in most cases I think the community is pretty good at dismissing the nonsense COI accusations typically made by POV pushers anyway. To me, the answer being "transparency" is almost ridiculously evident. Coretheapple (talk) 05:59, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Assuming, of course that what you think he needs is what he actually needs. You think that revealing his customers will help him. I think it will hurt him. Unlike you, I use my legal name (confirmed by the WMF) and have made my home address, phone number, and email address public. What I have not published is my customer list. He asked for advice, you gave it, and I think it was bad advice. I gave my advice, and you think my advice is bad advice. Then you started begging the question. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:19, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Are you serious? Are you seriously suggesting that whether or not a paid editor discloses his clients is the exact same thing as a Wikipedian who is a tailor or shoemaker disclosing his clients on his user page? Are you joking? Coretheapple (talk) 06:34, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm also curious to know why you think it's bad advice. I've encountered a lot of COI and paid editors. If I had to construct a graf, it would show a direct correlation between transparency and acceptance. The ones who disclose the most have the easiest time on Wikipedia, and have the added advantage of being able to openly advertise on Wikipedia and to work the system to their advantage, if they know how to do so. Coretheapple (talk) 06:48, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
We could ask some of them how they think listing their clients on their user page has worked out for them. My opinions on this are just theoretical, and unless you are a stealth paid editor (not even remotely plausible) so are yours. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:34, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
It is not theoretical - I use to maintain a list of COIs and it directly resulted in stalking and harassment. Core, it seems like you are saying my disclosure is an advertisement, then are asking me for more disclosure, but in truth I think no matter how much disclosure I provide, you would still ask for more. I've invited you to my Talk page previously to discuss your concerns and not only did you decline my invitation, but you immediately followed it up by airing your concerns on more public pages. While I appreciate that you are making an effort to be polite, the fact that you are only willing to discuss it where other people are watching and without filing any kind of formal complaint gives me the impression that you are looking for attention/an audience. I understand that you may be frustrated because you feel strongly that you are correct and it feels like nobody is listening, so the reflex may be to grab a larger microphone and respond to every post. I think if you continue down this path, you will find yourself increasingly frustrated. People will listen even less over time because you are so aggressive about making sure they hear your perspective. My suggestion would be to take a step back, absorb other points-of-view and allow discussions to grow with a more diverse range of editor input. Contribute to Wikipedia in a manner you enjoy. CorporateM (Talk) 18:46, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually CM, I've been a bit concerned too. When I first encountered you, I assumed you were following the bright line because you seemed to be promoting it. Then I saw you were writing or rewriting articles for clients, and then I saw you indicate to Jimmy Wales that you only or mostly make minor corrections. [5] So any clarification would be helpful. Also is it not a bit problematic that you start editing articles as a volunteer, then take that person or group on as a client? That would make being neutral even harder than usual, if there was a feeling that business could come from every edit. Would it make sense to draw a bright line there, that once you edit something as a volunteer, you don't accept payment for it? SlimVirgin (talk) 19:16, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I'm just trying to help you with the problem that you presented here. However, the fact remains that all of your problems stem from the fact that you are a paid editor. I genuinely believe that if you begin to be transparent about your activities - and you are not transparent in any way, shape or form - that you will have fewer problems than you have. However, that's just a suggestion. There is no proposal on the table to require paid editors to disclose their clients, and in one of your posts above you said you were considering it. I encourage you to do that. You are never going to get universally loved or even respected for your paid editing, and I think that that's something you have to accept. You have the upper hand, your business is sanctioned by Wikipedia, you have a lot of support. I also don't think it's realistic to expect that you will consistently be able to persuade people who respond to you on Jimbo's and other talk pages to "take it to the user page" just because you do not like what is being said in public forums about your business model and the techniques that you use and don't use in running your Wikipedia-based business. (And not just by myself. Jimbo Wales, 10/10/2013: "I agree that the practices that CorporateM is exploiting need to be addressed and are wrong"[6]) Coretheapple (talk) 19:19, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
If you are having issues with a particular editor, I would report them for wikihounding, however short of that by choosing to be a paid editor, you are also choosing to be monitored more closely to ensure you consistently and constantly abide by NPOV. Saying that your edits, volunteer are not, are being closely checked is a positive sign that the community is doing its job--watching for those with admitted potential weaknesses as neutral editors, and ensuring their impact on the encyclopedia is constructive. I would welcome the additional attention you are receiving, as it is a sign of a vibrant and dedicated community--the kind that can ensure the functionality of Wikipedia for years to come, and the health of Wikipedia is required for the health of your enterprise. The byproduct that comes from some of your edits not being COI-driven, is likely a higher burden on Wikipedia than yourself. By volunteer editing and simultaneously remaining a gun for hire, you are presenting Wikipedia with the task of monitoring a higher volume of edits than perhaps necessary. So anything you can do to ease that burden on the community is likely helpful. If you take that point of view, instead of viewing close-monitoring as something you shouldn't have to deal with, I think you'll see that the extra burden the monitoring adds to your business is a benefit to the community and not a problem within it. Jeremy112233 (talk) 19:58, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I've struggled with this subject myself at times. I edit anonymously, I give sparse personal information about myself and I am careful about who I talk too off of Wikipedia. I try to be non-controversial as an administrator but people still get angry at me; my user page and talk page have been vandalized many times and I've had my edits stalked and undone out of resentment (that happened to me just days ago). I have a family in real life and who knows what kind of obsessed person might try to harm me or those close to me because of something silly like blocking them from editing an encyclopedia web site. So I can't criticize anyone for trying to protect their privacy. And if CorporateM has had actual stalking as a result of posting personal information I have to advocate that they maintain that privacy. I do think that SlimVirgin's concerns above are valid, and so are her suggestions. But whatever solution there is, I don't think it should include a sacrifice of privacy.
I do think that Jeremy112233 is also totally spot-on. One of the main reasons we have a COI noticeboard is to identify editors who require a closer scrutiny. That's the trade-off. That applies to both paid and unpaid editors who may have a conflict of interest. -- Atama 20:06, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Cool, I think sometime soon I will start working on putting together a list. I will have a few admins on speed dial when it results in harassment/stalking, but I will tolerate that repercussion as a necessary drawback to disclosure. To address user:Slimvirgin's concern, I will provide links next to each item on the list to a tool that shows the direct edits I have made, so it is easy for editors to verify the edits I have made directly are acceptable trivial edits (or not). I will also cut back on my editing on company articles and focus my volunteer edits on the many PR-related articles I want to improve, where COI accusations are less likely to occur, etc.
I think it is a delicate line. I do make routine announcements on my Talk page regarding articles where I have a COI for the explicit purpose of encouraging editors to stalk those contribs (constructively) and I have always been willing to accept the drawback of disclosure being that I am sometimes treated unfairly as a result, so I should continue to accept that trade-off. CorporateM (Talk) 21:09, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Atama that you're not being asked to violate your privacy. I'm wondering whether listing articles you've been paid to work on would be privacy violating, if you stuck to that (I've just seen you add where you used to work, but I don't think you need to do things like that). Another option would be to create a second account that you only use when being paid. SlimVirgin (talk) 01:15, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for commenting all. I've started working on a more comprehensive user profile, but it's 4 a.m. and time for me to turn-in. Of course my COI works go through a Bright Line review, followed by a GA review, but both are often drive-by, lots aren't GA yet, etc. so editors may feel compelled to check them out for themselves, or even stalk me with an interest in collaborating/being helping (I can hope). There's also some older ones that are not as good and I've started circling back to many of them to bring them up to GA. I will need to dig to find some articles where I have had a COI in a more historical manner.

Any additional feedback on my user page or otherwise is welcome! CorporateM (Talk) 09:06, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

I like it a lot. I think it is a major step forward. Coretheapple (talk) 20:57, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Hi CM, re your question on my talk page, I said I'd reply here. My concern was that you seemed to say you make only minor edits, but at the same time appeared to be writing/rewriting whole articles. I think keeping a list of articles where you've contributed as a paid editor (whether directly editing the article or not) will help a lot. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:50, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes I'm assuming that this is a list of articles whose subjects have paid you, whether or not you've edited them directly. I've seen situations, not involving you, in which paid editors have posted on the Reward Board, offering cash rewards, in effect subcontracting out their work. With that caveat, I think that this kind of disclosure can be held up as an example of the kind of disclosure that is needed as long as we have paid editing. And if you are unfairly hassled as a result of this kind of disclosure I think you'll find that you get support from beyond the immediate circle of people who support paid editing. Coretheapple (talk) 22:04, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification User:SlimVirgin. I presume you must be referring to Guthy-Renker last year. For background, you can see I was given the "go ahead" (Request Edit | G) template here and was told to make the edit at COIN here. You can also see the article before my involvement here. A lot of editors aren't comfortable with proxy editing, which is why I created the Request Edit G template so I could ask an editor for unambiguous approval that way.
If you are still concerned even knowing this context, then I think it would be worthwhile for us to consider nominating Template:Request_edit/proceed for deletion, if its use is improper. CorporateM (Talk) 02:14, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

RfC to allow role usernames[edit]

An RfC regarding allowing role accounts Gigs (talk) 15:53, 24 March 2014 (UTC)

A contradiction?[edit]

I was just noticing that WP:COI says "If you want advice about a potential conflict of interest, see Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard" however, the description of this noticeboard only says that its purpose 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." In other words, at WP:COI, we tell editors with a COI to come here for help or advice, but then when they come here, we tell them that the only purpose of this board is for reporting violations. CorporateM (Talk) 21:05, 28 June 2014 (UTC)

George M. Church[edit]

George M. Church (edit | talk | history | protect | delete | links | watch | logs | views)

I am moving here a discussion on my COI/POV and OR objections to Prof Church and his wife Prof Wu being the most substantial contributor's to Prof. Church's article here at the English Wikipedia. The discussion at the BLP noticeboard is not moving in any solid constructive direction. My request that these two editors be asked not to edit this article is not being discussed. The matter that Original Research is required for primary sources to be used to make claims vis-a-vis being first in a scientific discovery is not being discussed. And the fact that such claims, whether based on primary or secondary source, constitute COI and POV issues when the person making the edit is the author of the article (or his wife) is again not being discussed. Instead, focus has been on technical matters, or why I have not just fixed the tens of issues myself. I ask this noticeboard to address the basic claims of COI, OR, and POV issues. Following is the collapsed introduction to the issue, and links to the other discussions that have already taken place.

Further discussion appears, as already cited, at the George M. Church talk page (linked in the Extended content), and here, at the BLP noticeboard, [9]. There, comments by FreeRangeFrog and NinjaRobotPirate are particularly useful (see also my responses). At the original Church Talk page, data are given indicating that more than 65% of all current content originated with Prof Church and his wife, her latest entry contributing about half in 2013. There is occasional whittling away at editorializing and POV matters (e.g., see [10]), but who has time and interest to move the article to objectivity, if these two interested parties contribute so?

Thank you here at COI for your attention to the matter, of the non-independence of a Professor and wife contributing the largest part, and so tone and direction, of the Professor's English WP page. Cheers. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 23:45, 4 August 2014 (UTC)

@Leprof 7272: There already has been an extensive discussion above and at COIN at the Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard and at the article's talk page, and there is a clear consensus that these attention tags do not belong in this article. If you have any remaining concerns, it would be far more productive fix what ever deficiencies you think are present and move on. Boghog (talk) 05:56, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Most of Boghog's attempt to tell this forum what should interest them is addressed below, in response to the substantive content from Keithbob. In re: the singualar "just fix it" point from Boghog: I have addressed this twice already at BLP, and this editor chooses to ignore the argument there, and re-raise the matter here. This is indicative of the bias, wastefulness, and lack of focus on the fundamental issues.
My original proposal — that Profs Church and Wu desist from edits to this family-related WP article — is intended to set the stage, so that the article can indeed move in the direction of objectivity via third part ("just fix it") edits. But first things first. Right now the article is a mix of autobiography and spouse's positive biography, and decidedly non-independent. Whether it is allowed to continue this way — for these two to make intermittent large biographical data dumps that others then have to analyze and deal with — is the COI matter. I again invite editors to address the facts of the case — proportion of non-independent material, reliance on primary sources published by the non-independent editors themselves to make arguments in the article, tone of article as a consequence of these editor's contributions (ignoring media controversies), etc. Once the fundamental problem is addressed, such a "fix it" course can of course be pursued. Until the fundamental issue is addressed — e.g., until WP makes clear that it wants persons other than the subject's family providing the bulk of material for the family article — than the article remains one by and for this family, non-objective as a consequence, and a significant wste of time as a focus of other editors who would wish to contribute. See also above in re: controversies. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 19:56, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
This issue does not belong at COIN. The controversy is about LeProf's overuse of clean up tags which was discussed on the article talk page AND discussed again at length at BLPN [11] where I was first introduced to the issue. From what I've seen most people (including myself) disagrees with LeProf and it appears they are forum shopping. Furthermore, my understanding from the talk page is that the article subject has not edited the article for years.-- KeithbobTalk 04:01, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
First, the matter of fact regarding the involvement of the non-independent parties is misstated by otherwise respected Keithbob; while it is true that Prof Church has not populated his page for several years, Prof Wu (spouse of Prof Church) doubled the size of the article in 2013 (see Talk page at George M. Church for records of their edits). Together, they have contributed >65% of all the accumulated bits of information, but even this is deceptive, because the vast majority of the rest is markup apparatus. In terms of actual biographical content in the article, the vast, vast majority comes from these two non-independent editors. And as repeatedly noted, thier contributions set the purely positive tone and create the Church-promotional nature of the article. (While Prof Church may indeed have discovered/first reported all of the things currently listed in the article, that he or his wife are the ones saying that he did, and based almost entirely on citation of his own published primary sources, should, objectively speaking, constitute a serious issue for WP. It certainly does, on a regular basis, for small, less illustrious enterprises.)
Second, the BLP noticeboard has not dealt with fundamental COI/POV issues, or I would not have taken the matter here; to the extent it has, there is not yet a clear consensus. What consensus seems to be developing regards a negative view of tags — and not the fundamental COI/POV issues raised (see below). Moreover, much discussion there has a decidedly personal, and off-point (and as noted there, involves "followers", such as Launchballer, Boghog, and RHaworth, and not unbiased, objective third-party editors). As a consequence of this personalization — which broadly objects to my tags, and long explanations of the same, and to my relative illiteracy with WP tech like linking — the issues are not receiving due attention. That three editors followed me to this discussion, on an article they have never edited, is not germane to the fundamental questions of Profs Church and Wu (spouse) involvement in Prof Church's page.
Third, in terms of history, it was I that proposed to Randykitty that we take this matter to a Noticeboard; she then selected BLP without discussing with me. As one of the two editors initiating this matter, this would have been, and is, my first choice of Noticeboard; I am not forum shopping. It is up to the participants in this forum to decide if the matter falls under the jurisdiction of this noticeboard, and not for others to circumvent your attention.
Finally, as I have repeatedly and clearly have stated, the issue is not the tags, which I concur can be consolidated, and some removed (later, or sooner). The issue is the fundamental question of whether a Professor and his wife populating the vast majority of content of the Professor's wikipedia article page constitutes COI, given that the populating has set the tone of the article, and has introduced repeated cases where the article essentially says "I discovered..." (with sourcing to the professor's own primary sources). This is the fundamental issue not being addressed at the other Noticeboard, and hence I ask that it be addressed here, where the stated aim of the Noticeboard is to attempt to address such issues. Again, it is up to the participants in this forum to decide if the matter falls under their jurisdiction, and not for others to tell them it is not. Thank you for your kind attention. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 19:35, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

Here is the most important "diff", to show what was added in the 13.8 kb text addition by Prof. Wu (Prof. Church's spouse, see Church article lede) in June 2013‎. Thanks to another editor for making clear the importance of this, and how to best present it to this noticeboard. See: [12]. Here is the diff comparing her contribution, to today's version: [13]. Note, because of changes to citation formatting, the post-Wu contributions seem more significant than they are; the sections misalign in the diff, and indicated changes are substantially to format and referencing. Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 20:12, 5 August 2014 (UTC)

The above post is clearly forum shopping. Boghog (talk) 21:28, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
The matter of forum shopping is addressed under Third,... above. I began this discussion, yet have no say in which Noticeboard it should be considered? BLPN was not my choice, and it clearly has not produced discussion addressing the fundamental COI/POV issues. Please, consider leaving it to this Noticeboard's participants to decide if they wish to review the matter. Stop ordering others about. I have taken it with humour; others may not. Otherwise declare your bias. Yes, you are an opponent of tagging to mark articles with serious deficiencies. But you also have a continuing personal issue with me, that leads you to follow me about. Please, stay out of the discussion. Can't others at Wikipedia be trusted to find the right, without your pronouncements? Le Prof Leprof 7272 (talk) 22:25, 5 August 2014 (UTC)
Whatever the problem is cannot be seen because there is too much noise concerning some philosophical point regarding an edit made in the past. The only disruption at George M. Church at the moment appears to be coming from an editor who is fighting for a principle—please drop it, as what matters is the article content. It's quite understandable that someone might add material to a bio at a wiki—it's not illegal, and there is no policy or ToU clause that prohibitss it. It's only a problem if an advocate disruptively insists on owning the article, and that does not appear to be happening, except for some pointless bickering over tags. Johnuniq (talk) 23:36, 5 August 2014 (UTC)