Wikipedia talk:FAQ/Organizations

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No AfD participation[edit]

We should tell people not to participate in AfD's of articles where they are the subject. That's part of the COI guideline. People also shouldn't edit their own articles. Yes, some non-controversial edits are OK, like fixing spelling and reverting obvious vandalism, but with AfD, nothing good comes from having the subject argue their own notability. Jehochman Hablar 06:40, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

  • I wouldn't go that far. Yes, it's going to be a problem if they bicker with every participant, but they are allowed to produce an argument against deletion, especially if they can make it based on Wikipedia policy. --W.marsh 12:44, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
  • No, it's not banned. From WP:COI:

Wikipedia is "the encyclopedia that anyone can edit," but if you have a conflict of interest avoid, or exercise great caution when:

  1. Editing articles related to you, your organization, or its competitors, as well as projects and products they are involved with,
  2. Participating in deletion discussions about articles related to your organization or its competitors,
  3. Linking to the Wikipedia article or website of your organization in other articles (see Wikipedia:Spam);
    and you must always:
  4. Avoid breaching relevant policies and guidelines, especially neutral point of view, verifiability, and autobiography.


I would avoid taking an overly negative or aggressive tone. I would rather us try to work with these people and show them how they can help us, rather than scaring them off and making them use more underhand tactics. Kamryn Matika 13:37, 29 June 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, I wrote some of the above text. I'll try to strike a better balance. Jehochman Hablar 15:17, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Great job[edit]

I've changed this from an essay to an FAQ page and linked it into the other FAQ pages. There is a real need for this page. The essay tag made it look like something that can be ignored. I don't think there is anything controversial on this page, it just restates policies and guidelines found elsewhere. It should be linked wherever appropriate. -- SamuelWantman 07:57, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Wow - looking good :) I love Wikipedia! Being able to knock something up in twenty minutes and then have a bunch of other people come along and improve my work of their own accord is the best. I'm hoping more people who deal with this kind of user frequently will come along and add other stuff that commonly comes up. I think the next stop now is making this page as visible as possible to the right people. Kamryn Matika 14:00, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Business, Business', Businesses or Businesses'?[edit]

I've renamed this as "Business'" in line with the other plural possessive FAQs. Business can be used as a plural, and "Business'" would be pronounced "biznesses". If we used the possessive of the alternate plural "businesses" that would lead to "biznesseses". I've never come up against this usage question before. Anyone know what the acceptable plural possessive is for "Business"? -- SamuelWantman 09:47, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Visibility[edit]

Based on the AN/I thread, this FAQ will hopefully actually answer FAQs without the need of e-mailing OTRS. So, I think we should make sure those people have a reasonable chance of seeing this page when heading towards OTRS. When ready, this page should be linked to prominently from Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem/Factual error (from enterprise), which seems to be where you'd end up if you were a COI and clicked on "Contact us". --W.marsh 12:45, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

We can also make a "corporation template" and put it in talk pages of articles about corporations (similar to BLP articles). That template would redirect user to this instruction.Biophys 13:36, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Contradictions between company web site and independent sources[edit]

We should tell in FAC that in the case of such contradictions, we are going to use independent secondary sources about the company (which satisfy WP:SOURCE) rather than information that company provides itself.Biophys 13:29, 29 June 2007 (UTC)

Repetitions[edit]

The sections "Why doesn't Wikipedia have an article on my company?" and "I think my company deserves an article on Wikipedia but none exists. What can I do?" cover very similar ground (even their titles are similar). Anyone mind if I try merging them?

This is a great article and (I hope) will save us a lot of repetitive explanation. Raymond Arritt 18:11, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I think they're different... but perhaps "How do I create an article?" should be trimmed for redundancy. From what I recall OTRS gets a lot of outright demands that Wikipedia write an article for some random company or business venture, as odd as that sounds... this seems like something the FAQ should clearly address. --W.marsh 00:37, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. Now that you explained it, I see. I'll add just a few words to try to make the reasoning clearer. Raymond Arritt 01:31, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Examples of good articles and featured articles about corporations[edit]

Wikipedia:FAQ/Organizations does not seem to direct the reader to examples of good articles or featured articles about businesses. WP:GA#Businesses groups several good articles about businesses together; WP:FA, on the other hand, has articles about businesses appearing under several different headings. I think it would be helpful to include a list of links to articles about businesses which have attained good or featured rank. That should give the reader concrete examples to help him or her understand the sometimes abstract policies and guidelines. For all we know, businesspeople who want to create articles about their businesses on Wikipedia may have only viewed a few articles, perhaps of low quality (for example, articles by and about their competitors, which for all we know might have escaped scrutiny thus far). Since only a tiny fraction of articles on Wikipedia are good or featured, articles that turn up under random browsing will usually have problems, and may mislead someone who assumes those articles fully exemplify what Wikipedia is trying to be. --Teratornis 22:56, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

If we were to point someone to a good or featured article about a business, it should be with a caveat that the articles were written by many community members, working together. We should not give the impression that good or featured articles about businesses are often written by people who represent the company. Is there any business article that you are aware of where a representative of the company participated in the creation or editing of the article, and there contributions were accepted without controversy? That might be a useful example to highlight. -- SamuelWantman 00:38, 1 July 2007 (UTC)
  • I think that's a good idea... from recent experience trying to submit work in good faith to another site, and it kept getting rejected for vague reasons, I just felt like "Well if you'd show me something acceptable then I'd know what to do". A question could be like 'What would an acceptable article look like?' or something along those lines. I created a "good idea, bad idea" table like this in a minor essay I wrote at User:W.marsh/Blatant advertising. --W.marsh 00:40, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

A missing FAQ[edit]

I believe there is a missing FAQ: "My boss told me to advertise our business on Wikipedia. How do I do that?" or "I'm (so and so) in the Marketing Dept. of (some company) and I want to advertise our business. What do I do?" In other words, I feel there should be a FAQ entry specifically for marketing people that tells them that Wikipedia is not a bulletin board for advertisements. The last FAQ listed ("What can I upload?") gets into the PR thing, but I don't think a PR person would look at the "What can I upload?" title and read what it says. Perhaps, it can be retitled "Can I advertise my company? What can I upload?" -- Kainaw(what?) 02:50, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

I added this at the beginning, as it is perhaps the most important thing we need to state. It's a bit short and to the point though - feel free to reword. Kamryn Matika 03:34, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Excellent![edit]

Wikipedia has really needed this. Kudos to the editors who created it. IPSOS (talk) 23:10, 10 August 2007 (UTC)

proposed addition[edit]

I think something people wonder is "How do I work with Wikipedia on an article about me or my company?" or something similar. As Wikipedia grows it's not realistic for us to expect people to just stand by and have no say in articles about them, so we should explain constructive, helpful ways people with a "conflict of interest" can participate in Wikipedia. It's a bit naive to say "don't edit the article, just propose changes on the talk page" - anecdotal evidence suggests this doesn't often result in the desired edits being made, even if they're good edits. I'm a bit stumped as to the best way overall to work on an article where you have a COI, other than just citing everything to published sources, which might be a bit tough for new users. Any thoughts? --W.marsh 01:42, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

  • Or maybe this is already covered... sort of, over questions 2,3,4 and 5. --W.marsh 01:49, 11 August 2007 (UTC)
Two possibilities: Wikipedia:Bounty board and Wikipedia:Reward board. --Teratornis (talk) 16:39, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Great idea, but needs more stuff on images[edit]

I had been thinking for a long time we needed a page like this and was going to propose it, until I stumbled across this. It's what we need for these situations, which we're having more and more of.

However ...

We need to explain our licensing policy much better re images. Many companies upload their logos, which cannot take the GFDL unless they change the licensing on the original logo. But as written, a PR person could easily be led to think they can just license it under the GFDL. Logos are on the fair-use whitelist, but as such they need two tags:{{logo}} and {{fair use rationale}}. The latter needs to be filled out as well.

Also, logos need to be low-res to comply with the fair-use criteria. We also prefer they be in .PNG or .SVG format (although there are some who think we should refuse the latter because the scalability defeats the purpose of keeping them low-res).

And we should address photos taken of company facilities or products as to how they are impacted by the replaceability rule. Most of the former are going to be considered replaceable (unless, I imagine, they are areas not accessible to the general public, most visitors or even most employees). Most of the latter will be considered replaceable unless the product is either not yet on the market or long since off it.

And another thing: When PR people themselves take photos, it's likely they will legally be works for hire and thus the company, not the PR person, will own the copyright. They need to get some sort of release for this from their lawyers/legal departments.

And then, if they've managed to effectively create a free image, those free images ought to be uploaded to Commons, not here.

I hate to seem to be proposing instruction creep, but since many Wikipedians themselves don't fully understand the new, tighter image policies, we can expect even less of non-Wikipedians. I've already had to explain this to a few corporate people. We have logos and other company-created images all the time that might well be kept but, because of this lack of understanding, are routinely deleted for lacking source, lacking licensing, lacking fair use rationale etc. The new image upload page helps generally but the copyright issues grow more complex with company employees uploading images created by their companies. We need to try to explain them here.

Shall I go ahead and try to draft a question or questions explaining this more perfectly? Daniel Case 15:33, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

I would say yes, but see WP:CFAQ to make sure you are not duplicating content. It's better to link to content rather than duplicate too much of it (because it's hard to maintain multiple copies when policies change). Also, I mildly disagree with several points in WP:CREEP and I would like to write a counterpoint essay, "Do not fear complexity." Wikipedia needs lots of instructions to cover the vast number of situations, problems, and tasks that come up in the course of building the world's largest do-it-yourself collaborative project. Anything that we have to explain more than once belongs in a formal instruction document. Otherwise, we have humans doing the repetition of re-writing and re-thinking instructions every time they use them instead of the easier method of reading or citing a document. We have efficient tools for organizing our instructions, such as these FAQ pages, and the Editor's index. We have efficient tools for searching our instructions, such as {{Google custom}}. We provide near-real-time assistance from actual humans for finding and interpreting instructions, on the Help desk and other instruction pages. The author(s) of WP:CREEP might study the Help desk, to see how we use our instructions to fend off chaos. The fact that Wikipedia has such extensive detailed instructions is fundamental to making Wikipedia work. Of course for a given procedure, we want the instructions to be as efficient as possible, with no wasted steps - we should not "creep" a given procedure with extra steps that are likely to be extraneous. But we have many procedures, and we need written instructions for all of them. --Teratornis (talk) 17:37, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

On "I think my company deserves an article on Wikipedia but none exists. What can I do?"[edit]

I think this section is not very clear: Where should they ask the article creation? We tell them to go on "an appropriate related talk page" but honestly I have no idea, despite being here for long, where I should look (WP:AFC tells us it is not for registered users). -- lucasbfr talk 18:49, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Create the article in your user space. Make sure that the article cites at least two sources from mainstream or scholarly media. Then once it's ready, link to it in a related talk page. This could be the talk page of an article about the kinds of goods and services your company sells (e.g. cola for an article about PepsiCo) or the talk page of a WikiProject that maintains articles about the kinds of goods and services your company sells (e.g. WikiProject RPGs for an article about a publisher of tabletop role-playing games). Are there any subject areas on Wikipedia that still aren't covered by a WikiProject? --Damian Yerrick (talk | stalk) 20:17, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
It's much better, thanks! -- lucasbfr talk 08:18, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Corporate wikis[edit]

I believe WP:BFAQ needs a page to address questions like this which come up occasionally on the Help desk:

Namely, some people look at Wikipedia and wonder if they can use Wikipedia itself to function like their own corporate wiki. Since WP:BFAQ does not yet address this question directly, I will add an entry that does. --Teratornis (talk) 18:42, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

I added the section: WP:BFAQ#CORPWIKI. --Teratornis (talk) 21:40, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Thanks[edit]

Good to find this FAQ; I already knew about COI and WP:AUTO, this helps with various corporate-article duels out there. I don't suppose there's a Wikipedia:FAQ/Politicians or Wikipedia:FAQ/Politics is there? I'm thinking Enviropoliticians/activists as much as legislators/leaders/party hacks....Skookum1 (talk) 04:42, 29 July 2008 (UTC)

New section on page protection and official versions[edit]

I'm going to add a section saying something to the effect of "We will not prevent other people from editing your article". For whatever reason, I see a lot of businesses asking us if we can deny editing to everybody except their marketing people, and I'd love to head that question off as diplomatically as possible. - Jredmond (talk) 17:26, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Does this article apply to Government Employees?[edit]

  • On the WP:COI talk page someone opined this FAQ applies to government employees. If it does, the FAQ should explicitly mention them.
  • Also, given that most govt employees have the arm of the law behind them, I would say that employees editing from work or home on issues related to their job or employeers need a higher standard of disclosure and should do so only by declaring themselves govt employees, either in signature or in edit summary. (I personally would like to go further and see their allowed edits only be to put a tag on information citing the problem with it, leaving any deletion to non-government employees, including alleged defamation in Biographies.
  • Of course, on the other hand, their outing themselves might intimidate others into following their edit suggestions and/or deleting material that shouldn't be deleted! So any government employee editing of material related to their jobs might be problematic. Any thoughts?
  • I have not had a problem with people who appeared to be current govt employees, but lately have had quite a problem on a couple articles with people I suspect possibly might want jobs in, or currently work for, the incoming federal administration.Carol Moore 20:24, 13 November 2008 (UTC)Carolmooredc
If this FAQ applies to govt, then we need to review the remarks regarding citing your employer website. Federal government sites are regularly cited in Wikipedia as authoritative sources. It seems odd that a recognized authority couldn't be cited by some editors. Kos42 (talk) 00:15, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think the problem should be proposing on talk or in some cases citing of relevant info from company or govt web sites. The bigger issue is deletion of WP:RS critical or negative information about a law, regulation or official, the issue I've run into with current or prospective govt employees. I address in proposal below.
Taking a quick look at the article here's first list of changes I think it needs:
  • "Any level of government" added to title
  • "Any level of government" added to lead
  • Change "company" to "company or employer"
  • "Allowed to edit" section: mention employees of govt agencies can create articles about or describe govt laws and regulations relevant to (their agency *or* their governmental entity -local, state, federal???) that already have become law or gone into effect without discussion on the web page, but not ones currently under consideration, since that might be considered lobbying.
  • Government employees should not delete negative WP:RS information about their employer, its officials or relevant or regulations from the article, unless it is unsourced libel against individuals, and avoid any behavior that might be construed as intimidating critics of the agency, official or law or regulation (Language needs tweaking)
  • Any relevant changes in WP:COI Carol Moore 14:42, 17 November 2008 (UTC)Carolmooredc

I recommend simply changing all uses of "company" or "business" to "organization" without distinguishing between types of organizations. WAS 4.250 (talk) 23:55, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Replying on both WP:COI and WP:FAQ/Business: As long as in the texts "organizations" is described something like as "corporate, private, church, charitable or governmental." Anyone else have a comment or should one of us just edit article to get your attention? Carol Moore 21:49, 21 November 2008 (UTC)Carolmooredc

Changes made[edit]

Per the above discussion, I made relatively limited changes to this article (as I did on WP:COI to no objections), so that it applies equally to all sorts of organizations. Then after those are reviewed by everyone I'm going to change name of page to FAQ/Organizations and edit as many pages as I can find that link to it. So scream now if you don't like the latter idea. ;-) Carol Moore 16:34, 28 November 2008 (UTC)
Given not major problems with edits above I've now changed the name and the following links to it, found in part through search of Wikipedia, most returns being in some Archive.
  • Removed temporarily and will figure out how to create new shortcut later: {{Shortcut|WP:BFAQ|WP:BUSFAQ}} template
  • Removed and not sure of purpose of: {{Shortcut|WP:BFAQ#NOTES}} template
What did I miss?? Help fixing short cuts welcome since I'll have to study up on otherwise. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:17, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Re name change[edit]

I'm sorry I haven't been following the discucssion that led to this name change, but wanted to mention I've been confused sometimes whether to apply WP:Business or WP:Companies....now that WP:Business is now WP:Organization (WP:Organizations?) does it not also imply that WP:Companies shoudl also be merged to WP:Organizations....???Skookum1 (talk) 16:39, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

WP:Companies comes up as Wikipedia:COMPANIES which is a wikiproject and stays the same. The only thing that would be changed would be if they had a FAQ/Business to FAQ/Organization, but I don't see such a link. I did add it as a link to WP:Organizations CarolMooreDC (talk) 16:52, 4 December 2008 (UTC)
Should this FAQ page be called "Organizations" instead of "Organization"?--Commander Keane (talk) 02:16, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
Probably. I guess it was just following in steps of "Business" as opposed to "busineses" but obviously that doesn't make sense on closer inspection. Who has energy to do it? There are a few links that have to be changed in various articles and the template. CarolMooreDC (talk) 01:39, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Conflict of interest guidelines[edit]

I'm trying to get the conflict of interest guidelines rewritten to be clearer in terms of what is allowable from people with conflicts of interest. At the moment they seem to allow most edits, but there are also several parts saying COI editing is strongly discouraged. It is not clear whether COI editing is generally unacceptable or only when it results in bad edits. I have written a proposed revision of the guidelines, but because of my own conflict of interest I really don't want to make any kind of change without consensus. Obviously this FAQ links with COI in several ways, so please comment at User talk:Helenalex/coirewrite or on the conflict of interest guidelines talkpage. --Helenalex (talk) 08:12, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

That's a good idea. Please continue... +sj+ 05:59, 10 June 2009 (UTC)


Organization accounts[edit]

"Can my organization have an account?" is currently broken. It says:

For copyright reasons, it is against policy for two or more people to share an account for any reason. If there is evidence that an account is being shared it will be blocked.

1. I have no idea where this comes from. I care a lot about the subject and know of no copyright reason for two people to be unable to share an account. That's like saying that you cannot have a pseudonym because you have to have copyright attributed to your real name, which is hardly the case.

Additionally, usernames that match or include your organization's name, or website name, are usually viewed as inappropriate under Wikipedia's username policy. Instead, please have your organization's representative register an individual account that doesn't reference your organization and then declare the affiliation on the account's user page. Corporate usernames are very often blocked on sight.

Both parts of this are confusing and at cross-purposes to transparent editing. Asking people to be less descriptive in their usernames because corporate names offends someone (the reviewing editor?) doesn't improve transparency and seems silly. And blocking well-intentioned usernames on sight for any reason is rash. It scares away good contributors and often adds nothing to the encyclopedia.

This and related COI policies need to be rewritten in a positive way, teaching people how to share what they know about their own work and organization with others. Many people come to want to edit WP to add things that they work on every day, including their organization's projects. Asking them to work on talk pages and in their userspace, create new pages only after discussion elsewhere, ask others to filter writing about themselves or their direct projects, and be gracious about revisions from others are all useful steps. +sj+ 05:59, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

FAQ on non-profits?[edit]

One thing I see come up constantly with organizational editors is that they often claim that either their group is non-profit or not a company, or they claim they aren't trying to make money from their activity. Obviously, this doesn't alleviate concerns like WP:COI. I'm thinking we should add a question on this to the FAQ. It's part of the conversation so routinely that it might help. Any thoughts? Mangojuicetalk 21:38, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Sure, makes sense. - Dank (push to talk) 21:54, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
In my experience they may have received a message which is very carefully worded to make it absolutely clear that promotion even of a non-profit organisation is unacceptable, and yet they still come up with the defence "but you don't seem to realise: we are not making a profit, so it must be alright". Consequently I doubt that the suggestion would help, but I suppose there is no harm in trying. JamesBWatson (talk) 20:15, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

On "What do I need to know about the CC-By-SA license?"[edit]

The section says "Please be aware that all text on Wikipedia must be explicitly licensed under the CC-By-SA at its original point of publication". However, doesn't Wikipedia also accept text that is compatible with CC-By-SA (eg, CC-By or Public Domain)? Bk314159 (talk) 13:44, 18 August 2010 (UTC)

Light Infantry.

My son in in the 82nd, and he asked if the 82nd was a light infantry unit. I told him, I'm pretty sure it is, I trained with the 82nd back in the 80's when I was with the 7th Infatry (Ft.Ord). At the time I thought the 7th ID was the first light infantry division for the modetrn era. Yet, I type in the word light infantry on wikipedia and 10th Mountain is designated light infantry in parenthesis and the 7th and 25th in Hawaii, are designated (light). I remember doing 100 mile road marches in five days as standard SOP in planet Ord (Ft. Ord)I'm not sure if other divisions did it. I just want to know if Ft. Ord is light or light infantry. Appreciate any clarification Wikipedia can provide this old lightfighter.

Gimlet out.

Hughes —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.231.238.68 (talk) 09:32, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

Awkward[edit]

  • "While a list of the notable services your organization provides might be appropriate, such a list should only include those that are a part of the primary mission and are necessary to adequately describe the organization."

What are we trying to say here? I can't tell what this means. causa sui (talk) 16:27, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

"List only the most relevant services, without advertising." --Hroðulf (or Hrothulf) (Talk) 14:01, 25 October 2011 (UTC)