Talk:Virgin Unite

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Please remember that this is a page for discussing the content of this article. Off-topic posts may be removed.--Docg 13:54, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Early discussion[edit]

Oh come now. We can do better than this....they are giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to wikimedia, after all...-- 03:12, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

All the more reason not to give them special treatment. I notice this article was created only hours before the announcement of their donation, by Virgin United (talk · contribs), no less. WP:COI, anyone?  Anþony  talk  04:58, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Hundreds of thousands? I don't know if that's true. How many days are they matching, total? Anyway it's a drop in the bucket to Virgin. This article seems reasonable, though. 05:19, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I guess we shouldn't really give any entity "special" treatment, but assuming we can make an article encyclopedic, I think every entity should have an as good treatment as possible on Wikipedia, completely regardless what. I don't see this as a conflict of interest at all, as it would be in many people's interests here knowing what they can about one of our fundraisers! -- Northgrove 05:43, 28 December 2006 (UTC) 05:41, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes, hundreds of thousands. You see that person who donated $268,000 dollars? That was matched by them.Xcfrommars 05:45, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
The $268k was the last batch of donation matching coming through; it was simply an administrative processing (Danny adds cheques, etc into the system manually) and I don't believe it was intended to be matched by Virgin. In fact, if memory serves, it was processed before midnight UTC, so even had it been a normal donation I doubt it would qualify. Shimgray | talk | 11:36, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
As for the user who first created the article, Virgin United, I blocked him because of impersonation reasons. What happebed with the 268,000 USD was that it wasn't Virgin that donated the cash, it was a person who wanted to stay nameless and not affliated with WMF nor Virgin. The Talk:Main Page has the reason why the donations seem a bit screw today. User:Zscout370 (Return Fire) 06:19, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I almost speedied this article as spam because of that... MER-C 07:03, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Think Wikipedia:WikiProject No ads#Members will start a fork like the Spanish did? -- Jeandré, 2006-12-28t11:24z

Virgin Unite and Wikipedia[edit]

If we're to apply our own standards, isn't wikimedia:Wikimedia thanks Virgin Unite more of a self-published press release? It seems unlikely that any third-party news organizations will care to mention it. I'm sure Virgin has donated to plenty of organizations before, the only thing that's different here is that the donation affects this site, making it a self-reference.  Anþony  talk  07:32, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I don't follow much of the stuff outside of Wikipedia itself, but is that page still governed by Wikipedia policies? I doubt that having an entire Wikipedia article related to the event would be necessary, but as the Wikimedia namespace, I think, is dedicated to events regarding Wikimedia sites, perhaps the page is fine, regardless of whether it's pretty much a press release or not? Forgive me if I'm entirely wrong in what I say, I am very tired, and I don't know much about things outside of Wikipedia --Dreaded Walrus 09:35, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I do think you misunderstand me and you're forgiven, but the misunderstanding probably has more to do with how I phrased my comment. I'm not really talking about wikimedia:Wikimedia thanks Virgin Unite itself. It's of course all well and fine for the foundation to have a page thanking its donors. I'm just asking if we should use it as a source for this article. Typically, we determine if something is important enough to be mentioned in the encyclopedia if other people have taken note of it first. Organizations typically can't be trusted to be objective about their own actions, so press releases and statements on their websites aren't enough to tell us it's important. For the rest of the world, Virgin donating a few hundred thousand dollars (approx.) to Wikipedia is probably not a note-worthy event. I may be wrong though, tomorrow there could be news coverage of it, rendering this all moot.  Anþony  talk  11:55, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Yes. With the clarification, I agree entirely with what you are saying. As it happens, currently Google News has 7 results for "Virgin Unite", which rises to 21 once the "similar results" filter has been turned off. Quite a few hours ago, not too long after this article was created, it was merged into the Virgin Group article by User:Proto. I still feel this is the appropriate action for now, as the news results show that this venture is currently not very notable outside of what it has done for Wikipedia's finances. Though I might be wrong. --Dreaded Walrus 12:05, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I' say that being the principle subject of a Forbes magazine and a New York Times story suggests otherwise (see "External links" in the article). --Calton | Talk 12:26, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

POV tag and self-reference[edit]

I've just removed the POV tag. At the moment, this article does not contain any reference to Virgin Unite's donations to Wikipedia, and the article seems to me to be drily NPOV, which is as it should be; Virgin Unite, or any other donor, should be treated no more or less favorably than any other organization.

Their donation is now a matter of [very] public record, and while there's no need to hide it or pretend it didn't happen, there's no pressing need to mention it in the article either. I think keeping the article strictly NPOV, and simply not mentioning any donations to the WMF makes sense here; it helps to reduce any possible grounds for being accused of advertising, and removes unnecessary self-reference to Wikipedia within Wikipedia at the same time. -- The Anome 13:56, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I disagree. If this organization gave several hundred thousand dollars to another organization, can you tell me how that wouldn't be noteworthy? If we don't put it in the article, it appears that Wikipedia is hiding something. I'm putting the POV tag back for now and ask that if anyone does not agree, we continue to talk here. I won't make an edit in regards tothe donation until we can all hash it out here on the talk page. Just H 18:36, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
The easy thing to do would be to wait and see if any news sources talk about the donation. Certainly that would justify a mention in the article. --Maxamegalon2000 19:56, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
  • Having read the threads on this page I removed the POV tag again. Can anyone see the supposed neutrality failings? I can't. Guy (Help!) 21:33, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Repost: Advertised donation biases this article: new NO ADS policy required (re: NPOV tag)[edit]

The following text was censured from this discussion:

The matching donations by virgin is obviously extremely dangerous and clear evidence that Wikipedia needs a strong, PERPETUAL and committed "ABSOLUTELY NO ADVERTISING" policy and it needs it now! This article has effectively become a cheap advert for virgin foundation and -- by extension -- Virgin group. Accepting and advertising these corporate-based funds could go down as Wikipedia's biggest mistake to date. Would we accept and advertise a corporate donation or grant from one of those supposedly independent "public interest" or "research" groups funded by the tobacco or oil industry? This is a very slippery slope indeed!
My point is not to debate whether the virgin foundation is a positive contribution to society or a cynical white wash (though the article itself should surely cover this issue as it has been debated extensively in the media). The point is it that every edit to this entry will now be judged in terms of whether wikipedians are being soft on the foundation because of financial contributions or, conversely, harsh in order to prove that we're really very objective! But the situation is worse... The virgin icon is now being plastered on the Main Page and across wikipedia pages of countless topics in multiple languages! Such practices do not engender confidence in an encyclopedia! By having a logo on unrelated entries, the "donation" is insidiously tainting every ad-tagged article and undermining the neutral POV policy wholesale.
For now I have added a NPOV tag, but really this is only a temporary and inadequate fix. A simple criticism section won't suffice here. There needs to be a new Wikipedia-wide policy implemented as broadly as these icons have been plastered. It's time to go beyond the wishy-washy "no immediate plans for advertising" and make "no advertising" a permanent and perpetual pillar of Wikipedia. That's the only way to fix this article and its essential for ensuring that Wikipedia continues to forward and uphold the highest principles. OFW (Open and Free Wikian), December 28, 2006. ".."

I have reposted it because: (a) it explicitly points out that the article is biased by not mentioning the controversies relating to the Virgin group as a charity organization. This isn't a self-reference issue. As already mentioned the ethics and potential conflicts have been debated extensively in the media (b) More urgently, Virgin Unite is presently being linked to throughout wikipedia thereby effectively turning this article into an advert. If you don't see this as a problem that directly impacts the article then reply as such without deleting the critique. The point is that if we add a criticism section it might help fix the some of the content issue but won't address the deeper problem that the content may now be perceived to be funded by Virgin and therefore inherently biased. If you disagree with my claim that "a no ads policy" is needed to ultimately protect the integrity of this article, then explain why. Don't use the fact that I posted anonymously as an excuse to censure. OFW (Open and Free Wikian). 14:44, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Sorry but do you understand NPOV? There is nothing in this article which violated NPOV IMHO. The fact that we recognise that Virgin Unite is matching donations doesn't affect NPOV. If we were saying "Virgin Unite is the best company in the world" then perhaps but we aren't. We're simply acknowledging the fact on the site notice, not on the article (and we shouldn't since it isn't noteable). The fact that we are acknowleding them, seems to make some people think that Virgin Unite is the worst charity in the world, so I don't get how acknowleding them is violating NPOV Nil Einne 15:31, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
If I look right now at the discussion page header guess what logo (other than Wikipedia's) I see? That's right: Virgin United. Same goes for the article, the main page, and other Wikipedia entries. You can claim that it doesn't affect the content or the perception of this article but it does. It also changes why people arrive at this article. I was researching a completely unrelated topic and wanted to find out how virgin got its logo posted on the page! So in many ways you answer your own question regarding neutrality. The fact that the ads ARE eliciting a reaction (positive or negative) in readers means that there is a bias that is a direct result this promotion. Even if the funding only resulted in an attentional bias -- that readers are more likely to end up here -- it's a critical issue. Attentional bias and emotional reaction are precisely what corporate advertising is meant to do, nothing neutral about it. OFW. 16:14, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
You might be interested in Wikipedia:WikiProject No ads. - BanyanTree 16:51, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I see one tiny logo, not an advertisement. I also see ad in the singular. A logo is not an advert - is the WMF logo up there an advert, raising money for the WMF charity? Just like the VU logo is there raising money for a charity? And yes, more attention is being paid to this because of the fundraising drive, just as the only way to improve a generally neglected article is when the subject dies or is particularly in the news and becomes a focus of attention. Besides which, can a charity really be considered advertised? Advertising tries to raise the sales of a product, making a company more money. In this case, the fundraising has benefited Virgin Unite by bringing them into the 'public eye' as well as wikipedia. Both charities. I'm sure if you made a several hundred thousand pound/dollar donation as the charity section of a major company, you would have your own article. RHB 17:21, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
A small log is an advert and it's affecting the content of this article whether you realize it or not. Some of the most effective adverts are small or brief. See the "Advertising" entry in Wikipedia, especially the section on "Negative Effects on Communication Media" for ways ads can effect content directly -- or even worse -- by actually changing the medium over time. When wikipedia places a corporate Logo over an article it is essentially publicizing that these are nice folks, which is a POV. In this case, the use of the Virigin Unite Logo on the header is not a particularly subtle example, it is a direct variation of the Virgin Group corporate logo, which just happens to be the owner of the foundation discussed in the article. The problem in this instance is that even if we manage to eliminate the header logo from this particular article, it's still showing up everywhere else on wikipedia and so it taints this very entry by implying that Wikipedia community sees the VG as "generous", will have no qualms about advertising this opinion within it's content or furthering the branding of the virgin group. It also suggests that Wikipedians may be self-censoring the article and/or relevant discussion to show appreciation or even to please the donor. Whether this self-censuring is happening or not (it is) and whether the policy is official or not, is ultimately immaterial: the corporate logo, no matter how small, raises the doubt about the neutrality of the content. OFW. 20:44, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Noone has censored this article. Many editors have commented that the article is entirely NPOV. For an article created less than 24 hours ago, its doing pretty well. Branson did comment he was giving away $3bn (?) or so over 10 years, probably through this charitable arm, so this article can only grow. I would guess it ultimately comes down to whether your prepared to fall back slightly to hold the line, to give an analogy. RHB 22:47, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't get why people are so worked up about this. IMHO, it's far, far better then Virgin Unite is so public. This way we can watch the article and ensure there isn't any bias creeping in and the foundation isn't being influenced. Large anonymous donations by companies and individuals are of more concern. We don't know about these, so if the foundation were to be influenced we may not notice. Who knows who it is? George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Dick Cheney, Richard Branson... Nil Einne 09:51, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Standards applied haphazardly[edit]

Personally, I don't have any problem with a User:Virgin United creating an article about Virgin Unite, if that policy held up throughout Wikipedia. My stance has been, and always will be, that the CONTENT of an edit should be rigorously judged by the Wikipedia community. The EDITOR, however, should not be judged. If Saddam Hussein could write a neutral article about honeybees, then his edits should stand. If he could even write a neutral article about the Sunni-Shia conflict in Iraq, then his edits should stand. It is not up to the Wikipedia community to decide if Saddam has a conflict of interest on one topic or another -- it IS the community's responsibility to determine if he writes with a non-neutral bias. Simply, judge the CONTENT, with blinders on as to who wrote it. If bias becomes the editor's consistent flaw across many, many articles, THEN you may begin to reject the EDITOR.

Instead, Wikipedia consistently takes the lazy path and shamelessly judges the EDITOR on the first pass, regardless of how strong the content is, whether it was paid for or not, or whether it was independently reviewed and posted by another respected member of the community or not (see User:MyWikiBiz). With that in mind, when MyWikiBiz authored such NPOV articles as the one about Arch Coal -- originally posted by J.Smith (copying from MyWikiBiz's own GFDL website), I expected that the community should treat the article fairly. Instead, Jimmy Wales summarily deleted Arch Coal, because he didn't like Mr. Kohs any more apparently, personally, as a human being -- despite having written a few weeks earlier in a public forum that Wales thought MyWikiBiz posting content on its own GFDL website would be "mutually beneficial" to the Wikipedia community. The Chairman Emeritus deleting articles out of personal spite is a vile way to run an "open" encyclopedia. The juicy irony is, nobody paid anyone for the authoring of that Arch Coal article, according to MyWikiBiz. It was just an experiment to prove that, no matter how neutrally one might write an article about a company that couldn't possibly benefit from an article on Wikipedia, if it was discovered that someone who gets paid for his writing on other topics was the original author, it would get nuked. Sure enough, Wikipedia complied.

So, I don't think what User:Virgin United did was wrong. Look at how Wikipedia now benefits from (a) having a nice community-modified article about Virgin Unite, and (b) all that luscious dough from Virgin Unite. Who has really been harmed in this process? Nobody.

But, because Virgin's dollars were bigger than MyWikiBiz's (rejected) donations would have been, Virgin is labeled a hero, and MyWikiBiz is cast out as a pariah. Shame, Wikipedia. --JossBuckle Swami 14:38, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

MyWikiBiz was purposely commercialising the process of creating Wikipedia articles, a process which has been a pillar of Wikipedia since the beginning. Virgin Unite, on the other hand, was simply misguided. They were like the scores of other companies and celebrities who were unaware of our WP:SELF policy, and likely never would have created the article if they knew better.
So you see, I'd rather side with someone who didn't know it was a faux paus, than someone who wanted to ruin the heart and sole of Wikipedia. -- Zanimum 17:49, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
From his/her contribs, no, Virgin United (talk · contribs) didn't do anything wrong. However, Wikipedia discourages using the name of a real-world entity unless you can verify that you represent that entity. See Wikipedia:Username. Virgin United has been blocked pending confirmation that the account is owned by someone from the Virgin Unite organization.[1] If the user actually represents the orginization, they will be allowed to keep the account.[2]  Anþony  talk  23:18, 28 December 2006 (UTC)


What's the point of directing people to a German article that doesn't exist (="Diese Seite existiert nicht") yet???? --Camptown 17:56, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

That article exists and your link works. Considering that you are revert warring with three users, I think you should assume that something is wrong on your end. Try purging your browser cache, but do not remove the interwiki again. - BanyanTree 17:59, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
OK, please, tell me what the article is about! Problaby hard, as right now, the page only tells you that the article you're looking for does not exist! --Camptown 18:02, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
From what I can see when I click the link you provide above, the article is about Virgin Unite. If you so desire, here is the full transcript of the article (sans formatting)
Sorry about the block of text there. But as you can see, the article does exist, and you seem to be the only user unable to view it, so it is a problem on your end rather than an article that doesn't exist, therefore it should be linked. --Dreaded Walrus 18:14, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
(Edit: I've just removed the thing now. I think I'm going to post it in a user subpage temporarily, so that User:Camptown can see it) --Dreaded Walrus 18:16, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I couldnt see it myself until I purged my cache (Ctrl+R+F5) in Firefox. RHB 18:17, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I am using Firefox too, but I could see it. Either way, I've posted a version of the article (without categories and interwiki links, which I am assuming shouldn't be included in userspace) here, just to show that it actually does exist, incase clearing cache doesn't work for User:Camptown. :) --Dreaded Walrus 18:21, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

The donation[edit]

Some people imply that Virgin Unite is "giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Wikimedia". Hopefully, I am wrong, but I understand that Virgin Unite is only going to match donations received today, and that is probably not more than, say, 25,000 USD... Seems pretty low for this remarkable stunt of publicity. Anyway, the donation should probably not be mentioned in this article, but rather in an article about Wikipedia donations and fund raising in general. --Odengatan 18:59, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

Well, the last donor to match funds for a single day donated $286,000, so I'm not so sure. --Maxamegalon2000 19:15, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
The $286,800 is from the anonymous matcher, not Virgin Unite. MESSEDROCKER 20:48, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
I know. I'm just saying that the the assertion that the donation by Virgin Unite will be "probably not more than, say, 25,000 USD" isn't supported by the amount donated by the anonymous matcher. If the previous day's total was $286,000, it seems that today's total will be significantly higher than $25,000, unless I'm missing something here. --Maxamegalon2000 20:54, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
It is not hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's capped at an amount lower than that. You'll have to ask the Board if you want to know how much it actually is. Angela. 21:03, 28 December 2006 (UTC)
Didn't the anonymous matcher actually match funds received during several days? --Camptown 00:38, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
Looking at the page RHB linked to below, I think you're right. I'm going to slowly slink towards the corner now. Stop looking at me. --Maxamegalon2000 00:53, 29 December 2006 (UTC)
I think it'll be around $45k for them to match: [3] Do the fundraisers run for 24hours? From which timezone? RHB 23:28, 28 December 2006 (UTC)


This is a well-referenced, NPOV article about a noteworthy subject. Whether Virgin gave a zillion dollars to Wikipedia or blew up its servers and called our mothers a bad name is irrelevant. House of Scandal 12:05, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

I agree. The same NPOV label (if not so well-referenced) could have been said for the original Arch Coal article, but Jimmy Wales wasted no time in nuking it. If there's a rule on Wikipedia, there's always at least one admin or office employee who will use it one way for their personal whim, then interpret it another way when their whimsy changes direction. --JossBuckle Swami 14:21, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. However if any organization, be it charity or terrorist, blew up our servers, that would be notable. -- Zanimum 18:49, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

Did the money come in?[edit]

So, the last I heard was Ral315's Signpost article which stated that the money had not yet been received. Has it yet arrived? Ancheta Wis 05:11, 12 January 2007 (UTC)