Wikipedia:Articles about ongoing enterprises

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Archived Text[edit]


Editors must take care when writing articles about ongoing enterprises, which must adhere to our content policies:

Be firm about high quality references. Unsourced or poorly sourced negative material should be removed immediately from both the article and the talk page. [1][2] These principles also apply to poorly sourced information about enterprises in other articles. The responsibility for justifying controversial claims in Wikipedia rests firmly on the shoulders of the person making the claim.

Rationale[edit]

Well-founded complaints about articles about ongoing enterprises from their subjects arrive daily in the form of e-mails to the Wikipedia contact address, phone calls to the Foundation headquarters and to Jimmy Wales, and via postal mail. These people are justifiably upset when they find inaccurate or distorted articles, and the successful resolution of such complaints is a touchy matter requiring ongoing involvement of OTRS volunteers and paid staff.

Frequently the problem is compounded when an agent or employee of the enterprise attempts to edit the article about the enterprise to remove problematic content. Since such people may not be regular Wikipedians, they are unaware of our policies, and are often accused of vandalism or revert warring when they are in fact trying to edit in good faith.

Accordingly, editors must take particular care with writing and editing articles about ongoing enterprises with these key areas in mind:

  • The article itself must be edited with a degree of sensitivity and strict adherence to our content policies;
  • If an agent of the enterprise edits the article, it is desirable to assume good faith; however, WP:VAIN still applies;
  • If an anon IP address or a new account turns up to blank a page about an enterprise, or a section of it, it may well be an agent of the enterprise. Try not to act aggressively, but instead engage the person in dialogue, and check that the article in question does not contain any unsourced or poorly sourced criticism. If it does, attempt to find sources for the unsourced material, and as a last resort, delete it.

Writing style[edit]

Articles about ongoing enterprises should be written responsibly, conservatively, and in a neutral, encyclopedic tone. While a strategy of eventualism may apply to other subject areas, badly written articles about ongoing enterprises should be stubbed or deleted.

The article should document, in a non-partisan manner, what reliable third party sources have published about the subject and, in some circumstances, what the subject may have published about themselves. The writing style should be neutral, factual, and understated, avoiding both a sympathetic point of view and an advocacy journalism point of view.

Remove unsourced or poorly sourced positive material[edit]

Editors should remove any positive material that is either unsourced or relies upon sources that do not meet standards specified in Wikipedia:Reliable sources from articles concerning ongoing enterprises. Wikipedia does not accept advertising, or articles which are in effect advertising. See WP:ADS. Editors who re-insert the material may be warned and blocked. See the blocking policy and Wikipedia:Libel.

Remove unsourced or poorly sourced negative material[edit]

Editors should remove any negative material that is either unsourced or relies upon sources that do not meet standards specified in Wikipedia:Reliable sources from articles concerning ongoing enterprises and their talk pages, and may do so without discussion; this is also listed as an exception to the three-revert rule. This principle also applies to material about ongoing enterprises found anywhere in Wikipedia. Administrators may enforce the removal of unsourced material with page protection and blocks, even if they have been editing the article themselves. Editors who re-insert the material may be warned and blocked. See the blocking policy.

Administrators encountering articles concerning ongoing enterprises that are unsourced and negative in tone, where there is no NPOV version to revert to, should delete the article without discussion (see WP:CSD criterion A6).

Jimmy Wales has said with respect to biographies of living persons:

"I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced. This is true of all information, but it is particularly true of negative information about living persons." [1]

He considers "no" information to be better than "speculative" information and reemphasizes the need for sensitivity:

"Real people are involved, and they can be hurt by your words. We are not tabloid journalism, we are an encyclopedia." [3]

While articles about enterprises are not as sensitive as biographies of living persons, the same general principles apply to articles about on-going enterprises.

Template[edit]

{{Enterprise}} may be added to the talk pages of articles about enterprises so that editors and readers, including subjects, are alerted to this policy.

Reliable sources[edit]

Any assertion in an article about an ongoing enterprise that might be defamatory if untrue must be sourced. Without reliable third-party sources, such information will violate No original research and Verifiability, and could lead to libel claims.

Information available solely on partisan websites or in obscure newspapers should be handled with caution, and, if derogatory, should not be used at all. Information found in self-published books, newspapers, or websites/blogs should never be used, unless a product of the enterprise (see below).

Using the enterprise as a source[edit]

In some cases an agent or employee of the enterprise may become involved in an article. They may edit it themselves or have a representative of theirs edit it. They may contact Wikipedians either through the article's talk page or via email. Or, they may provide information through press releases, an enterprise website or blog, or a published history of the enterprise. When information supplied by the enterprise conflicts with unsourced statements in the article, the unsourced statements should be removed. When information supplied by the enterprise conflicts with properly sourced statements from reliable sources, both should be noted. See WP:NPOV.

Information supplied by the enterprise may be added to the article if:

  • It is relevant to the enterprise's notability;
  • It is not contentious;
  • It is not self-serving;
  • It does not involve claims about third parties, or about events not directly related to the subject;
  • There is no reasonable doubt that it was written by the subject.

A enterprise website may be listed in the external links/further reading section, even if not used as a source.

Notable enterprises[edit]

In the case of significant enterprises, there will be a multitude of reliable, third-party published sources to take information from, and Wikipedia articles should simply document what these sources say. If an allegation or incident is notable, relevant, and well-documented by reliable published sources, it belongs in the article — even if it's negative and the subject dislikes all mention of it. If it is not documented by reliable third-party sources, leave it out.

Material from primary sources should be used with care. Where a fact has first been presented by a verifiable secondary source, it is acceptable to turn to open records as primary sources to augment the secondary source. Material that is related to notability, such as court filings of enterprises notable in part for being involved in legal disputes, are allowable, as are public records where they are publicly available and where that information has first been reported by a verifiable secondary source. See also WP:V.

Enterprises which are not notable[edit]

The rule of thumb should be "do no harm." Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid. It is not our job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about an enterprise.

Critics[edit]

Malicious editing[edit]

Editors should be on the lookout for the malicious creation or editing of articles about enterprises. If someone appears to be pushing an agenda or a biased point of view, insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the enterprise's notability.

Opinions of critics, opponents, and detractors[edit]

The views of critics should be represented if their views are relevant to the enterprise's notability and are based on reliable sources, and so long as the material is written in a manner that does not overwhelm the article or appear to side with the critics' material. Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to critics in case you represent a minority view as if it were the majority one. If the criticism represents the views of a tiny minority, it has no place in the article. Conversely, the position of the enterprise should not be overemphasized.

Criticism should be sourced to reliable sources and should be about the subject of the article specifically. Beware of claims that rely on guilt by association.

Use of categories[edit]

Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers, so the case for the category must be made clear in the article text. The article must state the facts that result in the use of the category tag and these facts must be sourced.

For example, Category:Criminals should only be added when the notable crime has been described in the article and sources given, and the enterprise has either been convicted or has plead guilty.

Caution should be used in adding categories that suggest the enterprise has a low reputation.

Dealing with edits by the subject of the article[edit]

While Wikipedia discourages people from writing new articles about themselves or expanding existing ones significantly, subjects of articles remain welcome to edit articles to correct inaccuracies, to remove inaccurate or unsourced material, or to remove libel.

Jimmy Wales warns other editors to think twice when encountering such attempts:

"...reverting someone who is trying to remove libel about themselves is a horribly stupid thing to do." [4]

Anonymous edits that blank all or part of an article about an ongoing enterprise should be evaluated carefully. When the enterprise involved is not especially notable, such edits usually are not vandalism but rather an effort by the subject of the article to remove biased or inaccurate material. RC patrollers and others who become involved should be careful to be sure who they're dealing with in such cases, and the use of inflammatory edit summaries or vandalism-related talk page templates should be avoided.

Dealing with articles about an enterprise[edit]

If you have a query about or problem with an article about an enterprise, you can contact Wikipedia via email. Alternatively, please refer the editors on the page to this policy. If you need help in enforcing the policy, contact an administrator. See Wikipedia:List of administrators.

Legal concerns[edit]

If your enterprise is the subject of an article and you have a legal concern, please contact:

Wikimedia Foundation Inc.
200 2nd Ave. South #358
St. Petersburg, FL 33701-4313
USA
Phone: +1-727-231-0101
Facsimile number: +1(727)258-0207
Email: info "at" wikimedia.org (replace the "at" with @)

See also[edit]

Relevant policies:

Relevant guidelines:

Articles about ongoing enterprises that have been contentious:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jimmy Wales "WikiEN-l Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information", May 16, 2006
  2. ^ Jimmy Wales "WikiEN-l Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information", May 19, 2006
  3. ^ Jimmy Wales. "WikiEN-l Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information", May 19, 2006
  4. ^ Jimmy Wales. "WikiEN-l Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information", May 19, 2006

Further reading[edit]