User:Ocaasi/coiquestions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Past RfCs on paid editing – Requests for comment/Paid editing (2009) and Requests for comment/COI (2012) – are reflected in our current COI guideline, which strongly discourages COI editing. The guideline very strongly discourages editing where an external financial relationship can reasonably be assumed to interfere with someone's ability to act as a disinterested editor. The guideline says: "If you have a financial connection to a topic (as an employee, owner or other stakeholder), you are advised to refrain from editing articles directly," and to disclose the connection if engaging on affected talk pages.

Not all conflicts of interest are financial, and not all paid editing is problematic. There are benign forms of paid editing, such as Wikipedians being paid by museums to upload their material, that the community regards as acceptable. This RfC is intended only to address the specific subset of paid advocates, editors whose client/employer relationships imply or requires advocacy: corporate, legal, and public-relations representatives, and independent contractors hired by them who write or edit articles for their clients.

The guideline[edit]

Extended content

If either of the following applies to you:

  1. you are receiving monetary or other benefits or considerations to edit Wikipedia as a representative of an organization (whether directly as an employee or contractor of that organization, or indirectly as an employee or contractor of a firm hired by that organization for public relations purposes), or
  2. you expect to derive monetary or other benefits or considerations from editing Wikipedia (for example, by being an owner, officer, or other stakeholder of an organization; or by having some other form of close financial relationship with a topic you wish to write about),

then you are very strongly discouraged from editing Wikipedia in areas where those external relationships could reasonably be said to undermine your ability to remain neutral.

If you have a financial connection to a topic (as an employee, owner or other stakeholder), you are advised to refrain from editing articles directly, and to provide full disclosure of the connection. You may use the article talk pages to suggest changes, or the {{request edit}} template to request edits. Requested edits are subject to the same editorial standards as any other, and may not be acted upon.

The writing of "puff pieces" and advertisements is strictly prohibited.

Question 1: Status[edit]

Not all paid editors have a conflict of interest or are regarded as paid advocates. For example, a Wikipedian in residence in a museum is not a paid advocate or an editor with a COI. But:

  • a) Corporate, legal and PR professionals, and the freelance writers they hire, should be regarded as paid advocates on articles related to those they represent, by the very nature of the client/employer-employee relationship.
  • b) Corporate, legal and PR professionals, and the freelance writers they hire, have a conflict of interest, but whether they should be regarded as paid advocates on articles related to those they represent depends on their behavior and edits.
  • c) Other, please explain.

Question 2: Article editing[edit]

Regarding direct editing of affected articles by paid advocates:

  • a) Paid advocates should be confined to talk pages and not allowed to edit affected articles directly – except for emergencies (such as removing libel) or fixing typos and unambiguous errors.
  • b) Paid advocates should be allowed to edit affected articles directly.

Question 3: Talk pages[edit]

In general, talk page contributions from paid advocates should be:

(a) encouraged
(b) encouraged for images, factual corrections, and citations, but discouraged for major re-writes
(c) discouraged
(d) it depends on the editor's commitment-level, skillset, and ability to follow our rules

Question 4: Community engagement[edit]

Note: these options are not mutually exclusive, and the third one goes without saying (see talk):

Editors with a financial conflict of interest who propose changes on the talk page of affected articles, or at relevant noticeboards should:

(a) be permitted to edit affected articles directly if no response is forthcoming
(b) should expect timely responses for certain things (blatant coatracking, BLP, important corrections), but not for others
(c) there is no site-wide obligation for volunteer editors to respond

Question 5: Disclosure[edit]

When engaging on affected talk pages, or writing about their clients on noticeboards, paid advocates should:

(a) be required to disclose their COI
(b) not be required to disclose their COI

Question 6: General sentiment[edit]

note: a and c are two relative extremes, and I suspect most editors would prefer an in-between option, so i added b. it's also muddied by raising the issue of editing affected articles which is the focus of question 2. (there are forms of engagement besides editing which are far less controversial.) Paid advocates represent:

(a) a threat to the neutrality and future of Wikipedia; our policies should send a clear message that paid advocates are not allowed to edit affected articles
(b) a challenging form of conflict of interest; our policies should emphasize great caution in editing articles
(c) a potential asset; our policies should encourage paid advocates to edit affected articles neutrally and transparently
(d) other, please explain

Question 7: Terminology[edit]

These editors should be defined as:

(a) "paid advocates"
(b) "acting on behalf of an organization or individual that has a potential COI"
(c) "editors with a financial COI"
(d) "Wikipedia marketers" or "marketing editors"
(e) Defined through examples: "public relations, Wikipedia consultancies, marketing, etc."
(f) other, please explain