Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard

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Welcome to Conflict of interest Noticeboard (COIN)
Sections older than 14 days archived by Lowercase sigmabot III.
This Conflict of interest/Noticeboard (COIN) page 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. 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. Post here if you are concerned that an editor has a COI, and is using Wikipedia to promote their own interests at the expense of neutrality. For content disputes, try proposing changes at the article talk page first and otherwise follow the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution procedural policy.
You must notify any editor who is the subject of a discussion. You may use {{subst:coin-notice}} ~~~~ to do so.

Additional notes:
  • This page should only be used when ordinary talk page discussion has been attempted and failed to resolve the issue, such as when an editor has repeatedly added problematic material over an extended period.
  • Be careful not to out other editors by posting personal information here. Wikipedia's policy against harassment takes precedence over the COI guideline. If private information is needed to resolve COI editing, and if the issue is serious enough to warrant it, editors can email with the evidence, or email any functionary for advice. Functionaries and members of the Arbitration Committee will review private evidence and take any necessary action.
  • The COI guideline does not absolutely prohibit people with a connection to a subject from editing articles on that subject. Editors who have such a connection can still comply with the COI guideline by discussing proposed article changes first, or by making uncontroversial edits. COI allegations should not be used as a "trump card" in disputes over article content. However, paid editing without disclosure is prohibited. Consider using the template series {{Uw-paid1}} through {{Uw-paid4}}.
  • Your report or advice request regarding COI incidents should include diff links and focus on one or more items in the COI guideline. In response, COIN may determine whether a specific editor has a COI for a specific article. There are three possible outcomes to your COIN request:
1. COIN consensus determines that an editor has a COI for a specific article. In response, the relevant article talk pages may be tagged with {{Connected contributor}}, the article page may be tagged with {{COI}}, and/or the user may be warned via {{subst:uw-coi|Article}}.
2. COIN consensus determines that an editor does not have a COI for a specific article. In response, editors should refrain from further accusing that editor of having a conflict of interest. Feel free to repost at COIN if additional COI evidence comes to light that was not previously addressed.
3. There is no COIN consensus. Here, Lowercase sigmabot III will automatically archive the thread when it is older than 14 days.
  • Once COIN declares that an editor has a COI for a specific article, COIN (or a variety of other noticeboards) may be used to determine whether an edit by a COIN-declared COI editor does not meet a requirement of the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest guideline.
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Community banned per discussion at AN; this discussion is redundant. Tol | Talk | Contribs (formerly Twassman) 20:40, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Additional possible conflicts of interest:

The Arbitration Committee has published a motion indefinitely banning Tenebrae from mainspace edits (broadly construed) to Frank Lovece and Maitland McDonagh "due to a conflict of interest". The committee was apparently contacted by multiple editors following publication of an article in The Daily Dot. The motion does not make clear or even hint at the extent of Tenebrae's 15 year history of promoting Frank Lovece.

I compiled this list mostly just by going through Frank Lovece and looking at some of the blue links. It does not include the literally hundreds of references to Lovece in articles, generally as a film critic (currently 379 hits for "Lovece, Frank" and 104 hits for "Frank Lovece"). I'm starting a discussion here in hope that a more complete list can be generated and the articles checked over. Mo Billings (talk) 21:05, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

[1] is probably a better starting point than those. Izno (talk) 21:48, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
Lovece without the Frank appears to be mostly false positives [2]. Izno (talk) 21:51, 23 March 2021 (UTC)
Try 'Lovece' and 'Newsday'. [3] AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:28, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

It should be noted that Tenebrae previously admitted to editing as an IP in a manner which led to a block.[4] It should also be noted that an external source (the Daily Dot linked above) has linked Tenebrae with several other IPs and named accounts, such editing similarly promoting Lovece and his employer Newsday. While any sockpuppet investigation might well be turned down as 'stale', I would suggest that the circumstantial evidence for socking to promote a CoI might be seen as a great deal stronger than is customarily seen as sufficient to sanction a contributor with less history. Such edits also merit investigation. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:22, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

I've edited out the link to the article, because I think that leaving such a link likely violates the WP:OUTING policy. I hasten to add that I don't think that anyone did anything with bad intent, and admittedly, the decision by ArbCom comes awfully close to saying the same thing. It's enough to say that Tenebrae has an apparent COI here, without getting into who Tenebrae might or might not actually be in real life. I hope that no one will restore the link. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:50, 23 March 2021 (UTC)

You have got to be kidding. The Daily Dot article on the Tenebrae COI issue is already out there. It has been published. In a source widely cited as 'RS' by Wikipedia. An ArbCom member has just, on an external forum, issued thanks to those partly responsible for its publication (I'll not link it, but I'm sure you can figure out where). Not linking the Daily Dot here seems like sheer pettiness at best, or an attempt to sweep the matter under the carpet at worst. Per WP:AGF, I'm going to assume the former. I suggest you reconsider. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:26, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
We have advised the oversight team that after careful review, we do not believe linking to the article constitutes suppressible outing. The article includes Frank Lovece's denial that he is Tenebrae, and per WP:RSP the Daily Dot is considered a generally reliable source for internet culture. Whether any link to the article should be on-wiki is therefore purely an editorial decision. It really does not matter if Lovece and Tenebrae are the same person or not, the COI is manifest and well documented. Beeblebrox (talk) 01:05, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Per the above, the Daily Dot article can be found here: [5]. AndyTheGrump (talk) 01:16, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I've restored the link in my original post. Since it was used on the ArbCom talk page where the motion was being discussed, I assumed that there would be no issue using it here. Mo Billings (talk) 02:33, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
No, I was not kidding, but after the clarification from Beeblebrox, I'm fine with the link being restored. Wikipedia quite properly takes the harassment policy very seriously, and it's reasonable to be cautious. As I said before, I don't think anyone did anything wrong. And I apologize to anyone who felt that this got in the way of the discussion here. We are all just trying to do the best that we can. --Tryptofish (talk) 16:52, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
In order to satisfy the confusion over the application of WP:OUTING I have started a discussion here to alter the policy such that this situation doesnt continue. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:32, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Just a note that the sanction is: "Due to a conflict of interest, User:Tenebrae is indefinitely banned from any mainspace edits related to Frank Lovece or Maitland McDonagh, broadly construed", not just from the Frank Lovece or Maitland McDonagh articles themselves. So it should already cover the articles listed above which have a direct connection to one or the other. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:43, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
It should probably be pointed out at this juncture that even if Tenebrae never edits Wikipedia again, the successful 'product placement' of Lovece and his employer into many highly-visible articles is going to stand, unless something is actively done to rectify it. I see no reason to assume that Lovece isn't capable of writing competent movie reviews etc, but I likewise see no reason to assume that where it not for Tenebrae's efforts, other equally-competent reviewers might have been cited instead, in a more balanced (or at least less blatantly unbalanced) manner. This isn't just a problem with a contributor, it is a problem with the way Wikipedia articles have been systematically misused. They need fixing. AndyTheGrump (talk) 11:09, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I agree. He even inserted McDonagh into the lead of Tenebrae (film), which seems especially egregious. I've removed that one. But yes, I think the chronic promotion should be undone (though I'll have precious little time to help, myself, unfortunately). Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:34, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
AndyTheGrump, just coming to this. I’m not in a position to organize an effort for some nearly 400 articles, but if someone did, I could help rewrite movie review sections. Feel free (you or whomever) to ping me. Innisfree987 (talk) 16:38, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I'd like to recommend that folks take a look at the thread posted my @Only in death: at WT:Harassment#Outing. I do have a COI concerning this discussion in that I write about similar situations in The Signpost. The possible addition 'Add a sentence to outing (this is an example) that states that the section "does not apply when reliable sources have made the connection between a wikipedia article and a wikipedia editor engaging in COI editing." ' would help in general, but I believe that would usually be allowed now for the type of PAID/COI story I write about. The only thing that concerns me is that when you add something as sensible and concrete as that then some people conclude that the addition is the absolute limit, whereas I think there's a bit more allowable.

I'll give 3 concrete examples that may be in the next issue:

  • High gov't official and Wikipedia named in multiple RS, the affected articles very obvious. (No problem IMHO)
  • Notable person receives gov't benefit. COI editor named here and in SPI investigation and indef blocked. (be careful, but should be publishable in SP)
  • Criminal indictment, Wikipedia not named in press but major PR effort by the firm is. Had been mentioned here, and *mirrors* a previous case mentioned in the Signpost. Enough for me to investigate. One declared paid editor editing the article, many SPAs, a few socks blocked for other articles also edit the article. (be very, very careful but should be OK for The Signpost. No outing because just 2 real world names (the indicted people - now on the lam, who probably aren't the Wikipedia editors) and no workplace given except possibly a company that has been bankrupt and closed for 2 years.) Smallbones(smalltalk) 14:42, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
As a note, I do not think the policy considerations should be discussed here. WT:HARASS seems to have a start on it already, and I expect WT:COI not far behind. COIN should be for the notification and/or possible cleanup associated with this case. Izno (talk) 21:42, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
As I mentioned at WT:Harassment#Outing I'm reluctant to change the rules to allow outing in cases of COI. However, paid editing situations do pose an interesting situation. Here we have not a violation of a guideline but of the Foundation's terms of use and Wikipedia policy. That's a different kettle of fish. I think that Smallbones raises some good points above. Coretheapple (talk) 21:29, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
  • FYI: [6]. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:40, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
    • Journalism and the online information community.pdf
      What this demonstrates, surely, is that whistleblowers observing a situation like this should not waste their time here, but do what whistleblowers everywhere do: go to the press. That tends to galvanise action within Wikipedia more than years of wrangling.
    • Generally, there is a shortage of in-depth reporting on Wikipedia (see WikiConference USA presentation right) – partly because Wikipedia is fairly impenetrable to outsiders, but partly also because Wikipedians rarely reach out to the press. The resulting lack of public scrutiny is ultimately to Wikipedia's detriment.
    • I hope to see more Daily Dot articles by Michael in the future! --Andreas JN466 17:36, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
The editor at the very top of that WikiConference USA list runs a paid editing service. Was there much discussion about in-depth investigative reporting into paid editing? Coretheapple (talk) 19:49, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Yes, with prominent examples: WikiPR (another story broken by the Daily Dot that was going nowhere in Wikipedia itself), Orangemoody and the IIPM ([7])– which you wouldn't have to ask me about if you'd bothered to read it (Slides 11 to 12). As for William, he runs a white-hat service and is two of my favourite Wikipedians (User:WWB, User:WWB Too). Do you have a problem with him? --Andreas JN466 20:19, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
I also was wondering if you felt there was a conflict of interest in the Daily Dot article being authored by a banned editor who had a problem with Tenebrae. That OK? No problem there? I think it's peculiar. I don't see most reputable publications allowing that degree of COI. Don't get me wrong, after wading through the two garbage biographical articles at the top of this section, I feel no sympathy for Tenebrae whatsoever. Coretheapple (talk) 22:35, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Well, then please consider the fact that if it hadn't been for Michael, this fellow would most likely have been at it for the next fifteen years, constantly massaging those biographies. It took that Daily Dot article to get things moving here in Wikipedia, just like it took the "sockpuppet army" article to get the WMF to move on paid advocacy. The Wiki-PR situation had been known for over a year, and nothing was done until the Daily Dot article dropped. Within months, the WMF terms of use were updated. Things are better as a result of that story, which is basically my point.
Now, the Daily Dot article on Tenebrae actually provided a disclosure of Michael's involvement here, including his ban. This is more than Wikipedia did all those years with Tenebrae's favourite articles. And in the world outside Wikipedia no one cares whether someone is banned here. Moreover, many of the journalists covering Trump, or Zuckerberg, or whoever, "have a problem" with the gentlemen in question. Think about Mahesh Peri, the journalist who first went after IIPM in India, at considerable cost to himself, including libel suits – should he have stopped writing about IIPM because he "had a problem" with them, and thus a "degree of COI"? Hell no. This sort of history is why and how some people become investigative reporters, and good ones too. Without Peri, IIPM and Wifione would still be at it. --Andreas JN466 23:27, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
If Wikipedia starts discounting external sources because the author 'has a problem' with a Wikipedian, or because the author is banned here, it may as well give up any pretence whatsoever at neutrality (i.e. assessing sources according to their credibility for what they say, not the specifics of who they are saying it about), and rename itself the Wikipedia Chum's Mutual Protection Society. Tenebrae is now banned because external sources aren't obliged to behave according to the rules (inevitiably applied in a partial manner - see how frequently less-connected contributors get 'outed' and booted off for 'CoI' without anyone blinking an eye) that the 'community' has set up to protect it's own anonymity at the expense (as demonstrated here) of its trustworthiness as an encyclopaedia. The internal system failed, miserably, to do anything about an issue which has been self-evident to outsiders for years. Or rather, it did something about it, by handing out bans etc to those that pointed out the problem. Rejecting sources because they point out that Wikipedia has been sweeping things under the carpet really wouldn't look good. AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:21, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
To me COI is akin to a minefield. Once the mines care cleared, you can deal with the problems in articles without COI editors breathing down your neck. The question is how do you clear the mines? That's what it comes down to. Using the "reporting" of banned editors out to settle an old score smells to me. It doesn't make the COI less toxic but I still don't like it. That's all. Your mileage may differ. If you feel that strongly about Tenebrae, perhaps you could join me in cleaning up the crap he left behind? Coretheapple (talk) 02:52, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
I am not aware of a specific conflict between Tenebrae and Hillbillyholiday, but a search pulls up these two discussions at ANI from 2017 and 2018. Tenebrae appears to be a minor player in the dispute. I suggest that the comments of Frank Lovece regarding the motivation for the Daily Dot article may be self-serving. Mo Billings (talk) 03:27, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
The author's conflict with Tenebrae is acknowledged in a note appended after the Dot article appeared. Quoted above. So happy there is so much passion over this. I trust that all those messes Tenebrae created will be cleaned up real fast now. I'm taking Maitland McDonagh off my watchlist, as I have every confidence that its sourcing and tone issues will be rectified without further delay. Don't bother nominating it for deletion, as that was just tried unsuccessfully. I suggest running database searches. I noticed that there was no mention of the article subject's father, who was very prominent, far more prominent than her. That was an odd omission and perhaps there are others. Have fun! Coretheapple (talk) 13:03, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
@Coretheapple: I'm not sure how to take your comment. Is it intended as sarcasm? In any case, I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Mo Billings (talk) 21:54, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
  • I don't know about the other articles at the top of this section, as they are out of my area of interest, but the two BLPs (Lovese and McDonagh) need work. Their sourcing is shaky, the tone of the latter is promotional, and both may benefit from being stubbed. Coretheapple (talk) 18:43, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Anti Defamation League citation advocacy[edit]

The user disclosed in their profile that they work for Anti-Defamation League, which is considered reliable on WP:RSP. I have noticed that majority of their edits consist of working ADL sources into different articles either by working it directly into prose, or requesting it through talk. Regardless of how respected the viewpoint of the source is, when the publisher representative become proactively involved in utilizing its sources on Wikipedia and push the sources outside of natural editing process from those not connected to the editor, it disrupts the due weight and neutrality uninfluenced by those who holds stake in particular sources being cited.Graywalls (talk) 22:14, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

This is a long-term issue. I first sent this user a COI warning on Feb. 3. That was in relation to the GameStop short squeeze, a major page at the time (ITN and tons of pageviews), which they had added a whole section to in relation to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, sourced only to the ADL [8]. (After some discussion, it was removed by consensus.) Since then, it appears the same editor has directly inserted ADL content into several major pages without going through Talk. Some of these are related to right-wing extremism (Three Percenters, Parler, Boogaloo movement), but there's now edits to the main article COVID-19 pandemic and several edits directly to Anti-Defamation League, which I would think is a no-go. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 22:31, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I think this merits a good discussion, not just ADL, but on the general concern of publishers and source representatives directly citing their own publication into articles repeatedly. As far as the edits they've made to the ADL article itself thus far, I don't see a problem with it. They didn't add or remove any contentious contents in prose or promotional links and they've disclosed their affiliation. The edits on that page was updating/housekeeping to keep things current. Graywalls (talk) 22:39, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I generally oppose the whole idea of "they have a COI, but the edits are good" exception because it isn't fair to those COI editors who follow the rules and make suggested edits on talk pages. We want to reward that sort of behavior and discourage COI editors making edits to pages where they have a COI. --Guy Macon (talk) 23:32, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I don't necessarily encourage it, but I wouldn't call simple update edits COI. By the way, even if the editor was to suggest edit, if overwhelming majority of their participation is making sales pitch to numerous talk pages to add their affiliated source, that absolutely ought to be considered advocacy editing by proxy. Graywalls (talk) 23:50, 24 March 2021 (UTC)
I have to disagree on both counts.
Re: "I wouldn't call simple update edits COI" please read Wikipedia:Best practices for editors with close associations. If you have a COI you shouldn't make even simple edits to any page where you have a COI (our guideline makes exceptions for reverting vandalism and enforcing biography of living persons policy). The problem with "I wouldn't call simple update edits COI" is that you are depending on the person with the COI to decide whether the edits are allowed, and their judgement cannot be trusted.
Re "even if the editor was to suggest edit[s], if overwhelming majority of their participation is making sales pitch to numerous talk pages to add their affiliated source, that absolutely ought to be considered advocacy editing by proxy", Again, read Wikipedia:Best practices for editors with close associations. We specifically advise COI editors to make suggestions on article talk pages and let others decide whether to implement them. As long as they follow Wikipedia:Best practices for editors with close associations#Don't push they are perfectly free to suggest adding a link to their affiliated source. The problem with "even if the editor was to suggest edit[s]..." is that you leave no way open for a good-faith paid editor who wants to follow the rules to try to convince the other editors to implement their preferred version. This strongly encourages undisclosed paid editing. --Guy Macon (talk) 16:48, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
What I wanted to convey is that laying everything out and asking someone else to hit the switch to game the system around not being allowed to hit the switch yourself. If the intent is clear that what they're trying to do is elevate their own organization and vast majority of their effort is to push their advocacy goal, it still would be the same thing. Think of it like people who bring children to get around "1 per customer" on things that are clearly not being purchased in a way that relates to the kids. The kids are really not the "customer" in that case even though they get around on technicalityGraywalls (talk) 17:51, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

A couple things: some of the arguments here make it seem like we don't allow people with a disclosed COI from adding material related to that COI to articles, or that it automatically creates a WP:WEIGHT problem. That doesn't align with what WP:COI actually says. We need reasons to remove these edits (why did this need reversion as "spam" or this, which was reverted even after Jorm took responsibility for the edit) other than "you have a COI". OceanicFeeling123 has disclosed the COI and, in all of the cases where someone disputed it, has not restored any of the material as far as I can see. In most cases, their edits appear to be a single sentence citing ADL research. If it were an unreliable source, if it weren't sufficiently related to the subject, etc. I could justifying a mass rollback, but what we're talking about here are 1-3 edits to each of 15 articles over a 5 month period. That's not a flood of refspam or shoehorning research into tons of articles.

I said above "in most cases...", but in a couple cases, they added new sections to articles based just on ADL sources. That's a big mistake. Also they edited the ADL article directly. Also a big mistake. OceanicFeeling123, three pieces of advice: (1) use other sources, too. if you mix ADL and other reliable sources (perhaps sources which cover the ADL research) that presents less of a WP:WEIGHT issue; (2) never create a new section if you only have one source, especially in a contentious topic area. It looks like that happened in 2 or 3 of the cases in question, and immediately waves a WP:WEIGHT red flag; (3) don't edit the ADL article itself. It's not strictly forbidden, but nearly everyone is going to be skeptical (if not cynical) of an employee editing an employer article. Use the talk page. In fact, if you want to be safe, you could always use the talk page to propose changes, but as I said above, it's not required. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:54, 24 March 2021 (UTC)

The pattern I noticed is that there's nothing substantial they have done, other than to insert ADL's position, generally into highly viewed article. Even if the edit was done indirectly, if the purpose appears to be elevate the visibility and relevance of their employer's standing as a reference, that would be advocacy editing. Even if the inserted sources are well respected like BBC or NY Times, if these edits were to be done by their public relations representatives and pretty much all of their edits consist of adding link to, or adding prose using their own sources, that creates a COI issue. There isn't a firm threshold of quantity before it reaches "spam" status, but it's a matter of being an apparent single purpose account that exhibits the appearance of elevating the profile of the reference being used. When such is the apparent intention, going to numerous articles and bouncing it off the talk page to find a place for their employer's publication doesn't change the intent. Graywalls (talk) 00:12, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
I think WP:REFSPAM is relevant here. The only gauge on how much is too much is the very vague "multiple articles." If you're a lawyer, that means two; if you're an average person, as I expect most of us are and I expect who the rule was primarily meant for, it means a little bit more. Regardless, both thresholds have been hit here, and as Graywalls notes, the editing appears to be done with the intention of promoting the ADL. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 02:17, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
@Rhododendrites: I don't like the fact that COI editors can directly edit pages they have a COI with, but they can (I would like to see that policy change to disallow direct editing of pages one is in conflict with). In any case, I checked the edits the user made to the ADL page and they are all perfectly fine. The rest of the article-space edits, with seem to all begin with According to the Anti-Defamation League and end with an ADL source, are clearly advocacy of ADL product.--- Possibly (talk) 02:29, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
Indeed. To be clear, the framing of what I said above as "advice" and "mistake" was intentional. Practically speaking, someone working for ADL editing the ADL article is a mistake that I would advise against. It is not explicitly against the rules, however, as you note. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 02:37, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

I've counted the number of times they used the format "According to the ADL (or) The ASDL reports... (ADL ref)", and come up with 16 instances. There are perhaps three or four other times when they just inserted ADL sources.--- Possibly (talk) 02:46, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

comment so there is more going on. As I dig further, I am finding other accounts created in May 2020 exhibiting similar pattern and some with disclosure saying they're associated with ADL. I'm not so certain if they're actual people working in coordination with ADL, or if they're falsely claiming to be associated. I've started an SPI discussion. Graywalls (talk) 08:02, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

Hi all, thanks for sharing your thoughts. As I state in my user page I work at the ADL. Last spring we started a staff editing project where 8 staff members received editing training. We organized ourselves on this Wikimedia dashboard and all committed to transparently disclosing our COI:

Most of my edits have been short, a couple of sentences each, in which I cite trusted ADL reports, don’t state personal opinions, and include content in articles and article sections related to extremism, xenophobia, racism and antisemitism.

Other staff members have been following a similar pattern related to their areas of expertise, especially as the U.S. has seen an upswing in hate groups and militia activity. We are tracking these trends and want to contribute to documenting them based on the research our organization conducts.

We cite ADL sources because they are highly reliable in this area, but we are not just here to promote our organization. Believe it or not, I actually care about contributing reliable information to Wikipedia on the issues I’m familiar with. I welcome your advice and mentorship, but please don’t assume the worst about me.

I totally understand the need for extra sensitivity when editing the ADL organization’s Wikipedia page, and I can make sure myself or other staff members address proposed edits, even minor housekeeping ones, on the talk page from here on out.

Please feel free to ask me any questions. OceanicFeeling123 (talk) 19:35, 25 March 2021 (UTC)

I have added the users mentioned on the Outreach dashboard to the list above. @OceanicFeeling123: are all the editors listed at the top of this thread paid employees of the ADL? This looks a lot like paid editing without proper disclosure... there's a sort of roundabout declaration of paid status ("I work for the ADL), but not the standard required one where client etc are listed, as well as articles with which they have a COI.--- Possibly (talk) 19:45, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
Also,, I cannot see how this is not paid advocacy. The organization does admirable work, but neutrality is not served by paid employees of a source placing their publications in articles. That has to stop immediately, and ADL should post proper PAID and COI disclosures, and use talk page requests when trying to place ADL sources. --- Possibly (talk) 19:52, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
Possibly, yes, those are my colleagues, and we work for the ADL. We disclosed that plainly and never sought to hide our affiliation. By "work for" we meant "paid by" and that's generally synonymous. We are not paid just to edit Wikipedia, it's a small part of the work we do on hate and extremism. We wanted to share some of that expertise on Wikipedia because we think our reports are valuable in this time of significant uncertainty and violence. We cited ourselves because Wikipedia generally views ADL as reliable in this subject area. I hope you see that we were selective and thoughtful in what and where we cited ADL over the last months.OceanicFeeling123 (talk) 19:55, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
Possibly, WP:CITESELF is not necessarily paid advocacy when the sources cited are highly relevant and reliable for the claims made. ADL reports are well-researched and highly regarded in the field. We only cite them where they are most useful for readers. I don't agree that this is paid advocacy and think organizations engaging with Wikipedia can be to the encyclopedia's benefit, too. With full disclosure, I think this is also in line with the COI policy as written.OceanicFeeling123 (talk) 20:00, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks. you left out the part of WP:SELFCITE that says "adding numerous references to work published by yourself and none by other researchers is considered to be a form of spamming." I know you think you're neutral and unbiased, but as an actual neutral party without involvement with the ADL or the subjects you have been editing, I see your placement of ADL sources as plain old paid advocacy by an organization trying to promote its interests. Other neutral editors will weigh in here their views. --- Possibly (talk) 20:05, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
I have negatively noticed the ADL-content-pushing at GameStop short squeeze, where in my personal opinion it has even conflicted with ADL's own goals by displaying antisemitic propaganda in a way that makes it look more legitimate than it is. Regarding disclosures, I disagree about "Affiliated with ADL." at User:Editorialist832 being a proper disclosure if paid contributions have been made using the account. Without disclosure in the edit summary, and without any edits to the Talk namespace, a short "Affiliated with ADL." does not seem to meet the requirements of WP:PAID. Similar concerns apply to FavoriteIrisFlower, who has at least mentioned "FYI, I work for ADL." on one single article's talk page when making an edit request (Special:Diff/1011576416). All in all, WP:COI exists for a reason, and these editors chose to directly edit articles against the explicit recommendation not to do so, and now their behavior is being discussed here because they underestimated the problems. Choosing to ignore the "discouragement" at WP:COI almost always leads to problems, and ADL's good-faith attempts have turned out not to be an exception from this rule of thumb. Every COI editor thinks they're helping the encyclopedia, and 99% of them are wrong. ADL does not entirely unambiguously belong to the other 1%. All I personally would like to see is an official acknowledgement of this by ADL, and a more careful approach to promotion. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 20:37, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
another comment Wikipedia policy prohibits shared accounts, for example CompanyEditor is not allowed, but CompanyEditorJane is allowed. Nonetheless, the very similar advocacy type edits through generic sounding name suggests it is planned to escape scrutiny by spreading insertion of ADL contents across many accounts (whether they're each only used by one person only remains unknown). I looked at their form 990 and it looks like they have almost 500 employees altogther and with this said, it's very odd that they have no less than 8 employees editing Wikipedia as it seems absurdly many. I think it clearly falls foul on meat puppetry operating under the direction of management. Graywalls (talk) 21:32, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
The sentences being inserted come across as something like photo-bombing or when you see a paid product placement of, say, a can of Budweiser or Coca-Cola in a movie. I agree with ToBeFree describing this as ADL-content-pushing. I also have an issue with WP:Notability. If the ADL were the only source of information about the antisemitic nature of these people and groups, that'd be one thing. But they aren't. In the Parler case for example, there was a lot of info in the article citing out to a variety of RSes about antisemitism before the ADL line was dropped in. Did the ADL sentence really add any significant information to the article beyond the extensive evidence the article already cited? Was ADL research used by those other journalists (or cited by them)? If what was happening is that those other RSes were establishing the notability of ADL's research by citing it, that'd be one thing. But I don't think they were. So again, having an ADL employee come along and drop it an ADL-pushing sentence where it doesn't really add much of anything of value to the article but does serve as a billboard for ADL seems off. That's one reason the COI strictures exist -- to avoid situations where adding the info comes across as self-serving. Novellasyes (talk) 21:37, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
I agree, but I'd also like to note something else; if ADL is in fact the only one covering anti-Semitism re a particular topic (i.e. GameStop short squeeze), then it's almost certainly undue weight – and definitely undue to have an entire section on. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 21:41, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
This POV pushing advocacy of their contents raises question if their published contents may contain bias to support their point of view. The POV pushing never came up in discussion about the source in RSP Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Perennial_sources. Anyone else feel another discussion about possible bias POV pushing would be useful at sources? It certainly makes me wonder why all these accounts were created in a very short span of time on the same day on May 19,2020, with the exception of OceanicFeeling123 which was created two days later. Graywalls (talk) 22:26, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
I mean, it's possible they just had a staff meeting or something where they discussed doing this and made the accounts then. Whether or not we find that behavior objectionable is another thing, but I don't think it's that relevant to the reliability of the source. The point is, if the New York Times did this instead of the ADL, we would probably go through the same kind of process and likely reach the same conclusion, but it wouldn't affect its status as an RS, in my view. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 22:58, 25 March 2021 (UTC)
What I was suggesting is a possible shift in organizational culture in which POV pushing, sensationalism and advocacy affecting neutrality could be permeating into editorial process on their publications too. Graywalls (talk) 00:15, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
comment @Beyond My Ken:, you have been mechanically reverting every single instances of WP:ADVERT source insertions I have removed, marking them as "minor edit" or vandalism reversion. Per WP:ONUS, the burden to establish consensus on questioned contents falls on those looking to restore them. Please do not continue to go against guidelines. The contents have been removed to preserve neutrality of source presentation. Please engage in this discussion instead. Thank you, Graywalls (talk) 01:53, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Yes, since the ADL is a reliable source, your removals seemed to me to be unjustified, so I restored them. I then asked you on your talk page to respect WP:BRD and not re-remove the material until there was a community consensus about your edits, but you chose instead to violate BRD and restored your deletions. Other editors here may choose to put this material back into the articles, preserving their atatus quo ante, until a consensus is reached either confirming your opinion of the material, or deciding that your deletions were, as I think they are, totally unjustified.{{pb}|}The ADL has been examined a number of times at RSN and found to be a reliable source, so the net result here is thatyou are removing information sourced to a reliable source from Wikipedia articles, thus harming them. That's not a good thing. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:02, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
  • I'd also like to point out that Graywalls' edits appear to be attempts to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS, and may well be an indication that they are editing from a personal political PoV, and thus a violation of WP:NPOV. Beyond My Ken (talk) 02:06, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Under ordinary circumstance, that's reasonable, but what's happening here with ADL using eight accounts to inject their own publications goes against a normal editing process, thus I have removed them. That is undue emphasis and exhibition of the organization's own publications by the directions of their communications department. This has nothing to do with my personal political POV, and such allegation is unwarranted. Regardless of the political stance of the source inserted, if a publisher/media source was pushing and carpet bombing their own articles using 8 accounts into popular articles, it's a problem. As I have said earlier int his discussion, it'd be a problem regardless of how reliable the source is considered to be. I welcome thoughts from other editors, but please do not re-revert disputed contents prior to consensus having been established. Graywalls (talk) 02:12, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
This is what we usually call refspam. Plain and simple. MarioGom (talk) 08:51, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Given that this is a coordinated effort by 8 users, discussing overall issues may be a problem. Is any of these accounts designated as a main point of contact to discuss problems with ADL's Wikipedia editing project? Thank you. MarioGom (talk) 09:01, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
    OceanicFeeling123: Are you the main contact? MarioGom (talk) 09:02, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
    • @MarioGom:, the only thing conclusive is that there are at least those 8 disclosed accounts. 8 user accounts, not necessarily 8 unique individuals. Graywalls (talk) 09:23, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
      I see indications suggesting this is not sockpuppeting. Otherwise, I would have reported it directly. I think it may be more productive to focus on the WP:REFSPAM issue. MarioGom (talk) 13:48, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
I do not think is a COI, since the edits were not made to articles about the ADL. It's really an issue of Citation spam. COI allows Citing yourself: "Using material you have written or published is allowed within reason, but only if it is relevant, conforms to the content policies, including WP:SELFPUB, and is not excessive." TFD (talk) 13:07, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
The "conflict" of interest is that deploying numerous employees with the organizational goal and interest of elevating the employer's status and reputation and making their own opinions relevant, is conflicting with the overall mission of Wikipedia, thus "conflict" exists. Graywalls (talk) 17:39, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Graywalls, Sorry, but I can't find that in COI. Can you provide a direct quote from it? TFD (talk) 02:45, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
  • Comment - the blanket removal of content was wrong-headed, reactionary, and to be quite frank, just plain stupid. The "offending" material should have been flagged in the talk section of each article first and discussed before deletion, a single editor excitedly running around deleting stuff has created disruption. Should have sorted issues with ADL here at COI/N first, then had discussions about content removal. Acousmana (talk) 13:38, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
    • I agree with this sentiment and have partially restored the deletion from the Parler article. It seems silly to me to demand that another user seek consensus and provide onus for restoring something back to the status quo ante, rather than doing so before making those changes and even before reaching consensus on this noticeboard. Seems a little backwards to me. BirdValiant (talk) 17:26, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
    • @Acousmana:, there's still no reason to leave combative Special:Diff/1014319555 and hostile edit summary such as this. I believe that others in articles simply didn't notice the convert advovacy edit leading to a delayed discovery. It took some digging around before I realized there were 2-3 accounts used, then I only became aware there were eight accounts being used after one of the corporate advocate for ADL disclosed there were eight accounts being used on behalf of the organization. I don't believe that people in those articles knew either. Had they put in the edit summary saying something like "1 of the eight employees tasked with promoting ADL here adding link to our company's own research", it may have been reverted much earlier. Graywalls (talk) 20:22, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
      • @Graywalls: there's also no reason to run around panic deleting content and citing "no consensus" + "onus" to everyone who objects, that's counterproductive, and is in itself "combative." Your intentions can easily be misconstrued. Acousmana (talk) 09:45, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
  • The first question should be whether the edits improve the articles. If so, simply having a disclosed COI is not a good reason for mass removal. It's even less of a reason to get into edit wars with multiple editors without a COI who viewed the material as a positive addition.
    I don't agree that it's "refspam plain and simple". When we talk about refspam, we're typically talking about the addition of sources which don't actually improve an article just to get a name/link in there. While, as I wrote above, it's not great that they're only adding ADL sources and they should endeavor to incorporate others, too, it seems like it's being done in a thoughtful way intended to improve the article, and when people have objected they have not restored the material. So while not ideal, it's also not a big problem. As above, they seem to be open to suggestions, too. You can find various examples of "COI done right" throughout the lists of Wikipedians in residence, who often work with organizations to figure out how to incorporate material from that organization in a way that improves Wikimedia projects and which are in line with policy. The benefit of working with an experienced WiR, of course, is that they would've probably avoided the mistakes I noted above.
    Getting into a possible shift in organizational culture in which POV pushing, sensationalism and advocacy affecting neutrality could be permeating into editorial process on their publications too., combined with edit warring with people who don't have a COI, suggests this isn't a pure dispute over COI/promo but more about a problem with ADL as a source, which is concerning but outside the scope of this board. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:21, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

Comment: I've notified the remainder of the accounts listed at the top of this discussion about the discussion per policy. This is clearly an organized effort by an organization to (as it says on their dashboard page) add their own content to Wikipedia. That's concerning, as in addition to the COI policy and the related WP:REFSPAM, Wikipedia is not a soapbox. At the very least, these editors need to be held to a higher standard; they should be editing in accordance with WP:COI, disclosing their their COIs more clearly and more often, using edit requests for non-trivial changes, et cetera. 17:05, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

What they're doing is clearly absolutely prohibited. Their effort should immediately stop, perhaps a TBAN, to the organization itself prohibiting edits related to the addition of ADL contents since they're clearly WP:NOTHERE to improve the encyclopedia in a away consistent with Wikipedia's purpose. Graywalls (talk) 17:43, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
Given the apparently productive and good-faith conversation going on below, I would suggest to Graywalls that they strike the allegation of WP:NOTHERE in the above comment. It is by no means clear at this point in time that ADL employees are not here to collaboratively build an encyclopedia. To the contrary, I see every indication that they were simply unaware of existing best practices and intend to abide by them going forward. Generalrelative (talk) 01:13, 27 March 2021 (UTC)

I noticed the heavy self-sourcing on the Anti-defamation league article, which I have been cleaning out, and this explains it. I think we should assume good faith on the part of ADL employees , as it seems like they tried to demonstrate transparency on an individual basis (though group editing is a whole 'nother beast). At the same time, a bright-line rule against adding ADL materials directly into articles is probably warranted, based on what I've seen so far. If the ADL and/or its representatives wants to improve the project, so much the better, but this must be balanced against COI--and there is no balance in adding one own org's materials. Freelance-frank (talk) 13:33, 1 April 2021 (UTC)

ADL response[edit]

Hi all,

I appreciate this feedback and criticism, and upon reflection and reviewing the Wikipedia guidelines more closely, I realize we can do a much better job with regard to COI. I appreciate that you have taken the time to educate me. I have some ideas that I’d like to run by you as a protocol for editing appropriately moving forward:

  • Use standard COI disclosure templates such as {{paid}} to unambiguously communicate our status as paid editors on our userpages.
  • I can see now the lack of transparency over the number and identity of ADL paid editors could invite suspicion of sockpuppetry or meatpuppetry. We will link to our Dashboard from every editor’s user page. Therefore, any editor will be able to see a list of our editors and all our contributions.
  • Though the ADL is considered a reliable source about extremism by Wikipedia, it is not the only one. We will reflect more of these other groups in the content we write and citations we add, reflecting the best available sources, not the ones that happened to be published by ADL.
  • We will be more cognizant of due weight, taking into consideration that fringe viewpoints do not merit inclusion.
  • Restating a point earlier, we will immediately cease directly editing the article for Anti-Defamation League. Any suggestions will instead go on the talk page.

Employees of the ADL wanted to learn how to edit Wikipedia because of its importance in providing accessible information to the public. As relatively new editors, we have a lot to learn. As paid editors, though, I know the onus is on us to do better. Thank you for pointing out these shortcomings so we could address them. In the future, I can be regarded as the point person to address concerns with the ADL editing initiative. OceanicFeeling123 (talk) 18:20, 26 March 2021 (UTC)

@OceanicFeeling123: regarding ADL employees inserting ADL sources directly into (any) mainspace articles, does ADL commit to stop doing that, and instead use talk page requests? This is a major part of why this thread exists.--- Possibly (talk) 18:26, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
additionally, if the suggested addition are blog entries written by the user proposing the edit, I'd like to see more transparent disclosure, such as "I would like to propose the blog entry, I have written for ADL". However, if this is a part of the ADL's corporate mission to make their contents stick into articles as references, I still see it being inherently in conflict with the mission here. By the way, @OceanicFeeling123:, do contents have the same editorial process as the contents on rest of the page, or are they more of "opinions of individual author"? Also, are these eight accounts the only accounts ever used to make edits on behalf of ADL formally and informally? Graywalls (talk) 18:36, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
I see no issue with the self-imposed restrictions above. If edits are problematic, we will of course find ourselves back at some noticeboard. regarding ADL employees inserting ADL sources directly into (any) mainspace articles - again, if someone with a COI is following our policies and improving articles -- disclosing their COI, adding such citations only in specific contexts, with other sources, never restoring them when challenged, etc. I don't see this as a big problem. You'd need to propose some sort of sanction to require it (one which I would oppose at this point). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 00:51, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
@Rhododendrites: Usually I would agree, but I think our COI rules were conceptualized for single editors, and not well-paid teams of editors (nine editors, in this case) inserting reliable sources that they also happen to have produced. --- Possibly (talk) 01:02, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
Ok, but if you feel that what exists in the policy shouldn't apply, and that something else should, the next step is finding consensus to change the policy rather than apply one that doesn't exist (also when did they become "well-paid"? I mean, maybe they are, but ?). — Rhododendrites talk \\ 03:45, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
Ok first, I love the ADL, even being a Canadian. But this is a $100 million per year + organization. And they have arranged nine staff on a sort of Wikipedia source placement offensive. I am not saying the COI rules do not apply; I am saying that this is quite a large operation and a unique situation (RS publisher placing RS) that might bear more scrutiny than the usual COI case.--- Possibly (talk) 04:35, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
I too have never come across something quite like this. If the director of corporate communications uses ten accounts directly, that is clearly sock puppetting. If they bring in ten employees into huddle room and direct them to make the specific instructions to make the same edits the director would've like to make themselves, that's constructively the same thing. It's a tricky one, because account must be only used by one individual, so shared account wouldn't be allowed, but when the guidelines were written, this kind of thing was likely envisioned. Even if they didn't know the rules, I personally don't see a reasonable justification for having that many different accounts signing up all at the same time and making edits almost simultaneously. The fact that there's a coherent consistency in starting the sentence with "according to ADL", that's a plausible cause to suggest they were editing under specific instructions from above. I don't think my suggestion that they maybe WP:NOTHERE is off base when you read the very first item even though one editor suggested I strike it out because they said they won't do it in the future. We shouldn't make baseless allegations, but this isn't baseless. Whether or not they were aware of the rule, the appearance of strategic corporate advocacy effort is rather clear. What's even questionable is that four of those accounts with names that look unrelated at first sight edited on the same article QAnon while subtly disclosing they're affiliated with ADL, just enough to be able to say "it was disclosed". So it does have an appearance of gaming the system. Graywalls (talk) 07:24, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
A minor point, Graywalls, but your representation of your previous comment here isn't quite accurate. Above you stated they're clearly WP:NOTHERE to improve the encyclopedia in a away consistent with Wikipedia's purpose. Here, on the other hand, you characterize this as a mere suggestion that they maybe WP:NOTHERE. As I pointed out specifically in my comment above, it's the assurance of certainty which I take issue with: it is by no means clear at this point in time that ADL employees are not here to collaboratively build an encyclopedia. It's fine to be suspicious in a case like this, and I do sincerely commend you for doing the detective work to bring this to the community's attention, but let's all be careful to avoid prejudging the outcome. Generalrelative (talk) 22:55, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
I saw this referenced by Rhododendrites earlier, and thought it might be worth asking: would it be better, or even possible at this point, for the ADL to reach out to WMF for a meta:Wikimedian in residence program? As researchers and professionals, they certainly could help provide assistance on topics relating to anti-Semitism and far-right politics, things that Wikipedia has notably had challenges covering (as reported in the press) and something they've clearly shown in interest in doing. I'm just wondering, logistically, if there's a way to go about setting up a system like that, or if we deemed it's too late – some sanctions similar to the ones voluntarily proposed by OceanicFeeling123 already exist for that project, and then it'd be handled by the corporate end rather than volunteers. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 19:40, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
WMF does not, to my knowledge, typically set up Wikipedian in Residence programs (it occasionally funds them, but most are external). Since ADL is a NYC organization, I'll leave you a message with my Wikimedia NYC hat on if you want to have a conversation about Wikipedians in Residence, etc. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 00:57, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
Having direct input from the ADL (which, I remind everyone, we consider to be a reliable source) could do a lot to improve the encyclopedia, but WP:BPCA is the framework we have worked out for that to happen. --Guy Macon (talk) 22:01, 26 March 2021 (UTC)
  • The explanatory supplement is about "close association with the subject of a Wikipedia article." Since none of the edits made by the ADL employees were about themselves or the ADL, the supplement (indeed the entire COI guideline) does not apply. TFD (talk) 04:05, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
  • A few were, but they've already said they wouldn't be doing that again in the future. I see no reason not to move forward with the assurances they've made. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 04:11, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
  • I am hearing two stories here. At the top of this thread I read "I have noticed that majority of their edits consist of working ADL sources into different articles either by working it directly into prose, or requesting it through talk" Now I am hearing "none of the edits made by the ADL employees were about themselves or the ADL". Or do you (TFD) consider ADL employees working ADL sources into different articles to not be a close association? If so, there are a boatload of people who will disagree with you on that. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:37, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
  • I am merely relying on the wording of Wikipedia:Conflict of interest. It is specifically about making edits to articles about one's self and people one is paid by. If you think it should include situations such as this one, then you need to get the guideline changed. If on the other hand you think that these contributions add bias or are refspamming, then you need to provide actual examples of contributions that should not have been made. There was a previous discussion now at Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard/Archive 139#2nd RfC: Do alternative medicine practitioners have a conflict of interest? The consensus was the guideline "only says that COI "involves contributing to Wikipedia about yourself, family, friends, clients, employers, or your financial and other relationships" but does not say anything about broad areas of interest or general competence." TFD (talk) 21:09, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
@The Four Deuces: I think you are reading that wrong. Contributing sources written by your employer that begin with "According to the Anti-Defamation League..." and end with a source produced by the ADL is contributing to Wikipedia about (your) employer. You're making the argument that a company that places self-published material about themselves ("According to a big soft drink company, sugar in moderation is not so bad for you.." insert source by soda company) has no COI, but they do. It does not matter if it's the soda company or the ADL; both examples have a personal, business-related interest in promoting their product that may impact on their neutrality. Their interest in editing Wikipedia is conflicted, between the neutrality desired by Wikipedia and the promotion of company product desired by the employer... could it be any clearer?--- Possibly (talk) 21:35, 27 March 2021 (UTC)
I am making the argument that if it isn't mentioned in the COI guideline it isn't a COI issue. While it may be right or wrong, it doesn't come under this guideline. If you think it should be in the guideline, then there is a procedure to do that. As the RfC I mentioned showed, broadly considered it is in the interests of practitioners of alternative medicine to advance alternative medicine because then more people will use their services. It's also within the interests of mainstream medical practitioners to explain mainstream medicine, because then more people will seek their services. But it doesn't come under COI guidelines unless they edit articles about their own practices. I think the issue that some editors have is that they feel the extremist organizations the ADL investigates are correct in their views and that any criticism of them is biased. But mainstream scholarship sees these organizations as extremist - whether anti-Semitic, racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, misogynist or whatever non-mainstream views they espouse. TFD (talk) 03:20, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
"Citing yourself" is explicitly listed at "other categories of COI" (WP:SELFCITE); I also believe that the sentence "Conflict of interest (COI) editing involves contributing to Wikipedia about yourself, family, friends, clients, employers, or your financial and other relationships." at the very top of the COI guideline describes the edits pretty accurately. The RFC describes a different situation, not people citing themselves while explicitly inserting their employer's name into articles. Additionally, per Special:Diff/1014209904, the editors have received compensation for their contributions, making the section about "Paid editing" and the WP:PAID policy apply to them. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 09:43, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
"I think the issue that some editors have is that they feel the extremist organizations the ADL investigates are correct in their views and that any criticism of them is biased." Having concerns about this type of paid editing does not make you a neo-Nazi – let's get that out of the way right now. Also, any argument that boils down to "it's not about right or wrong, it's about what the rules say" means we need to start then considering WP:IAR. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 11:22, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

AFAICT, none of the articles were about neo-Nazis. Since "Citing yourself" is allowed in Wikipedia, you need to show how these edits damage the project. Dispute lengthy discussion, no examples have been provided. TFD (talk) 14:45, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

@The Four Deuces: This is incorrect. See the comments about GameStop short squeeze at the top of this section and the discussion at Talk:GameStop_short_squeeze/Archive_2#Conspiracy_Theories for one example. Also see my comments about what I believe to be incomplete disclosure per WP:PAID by some of the listed editors. Also, per WP:ONUS and WP:COIRESPONSE, the onus for achieving consensus and explaining why the content should be included is on the editor(s) with a COI, not the other way around. ~ ToBeFree (talk) 16:04, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I missed that example because although the edit was about the Daily Stormer, GameGate isn't a neo-Nazi topic. (Although I posted to that discussion, it had slipped my mind. I posted my comment after reading about the discussion on a noticeboard. In fairness I said that since the ADL was the only source for the information, it lacked weight for inclusion.) The ADL also writes about Stop Islamization of America, Act! For America, the Center for Security Policy, the Family Research Council and other more popular groups which are not neo-Nazis. Many editors object to inclusion of these organizations as hate groups which can be seen through discussions on the SPLC talk page. TFD (talk) 20:14, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
  • The ADL rep says Though the ADL is considered a reliable source about extremism by Wikipedia, it is not the only one. We will reflect more of these other groups in the content we write and citations we add, reflecting the best available sources, not the ones that happened to be published by ADL. That is not sufficient in my opinion. ADL needs to stop promoting its work by adding itself as a source. If it wishes to add such material, it should put in a request on talk pages. I don't think we should accept this bland assurance as sufficient. I haven't seen anything further from ADL on this point and I hope that I missed a stronger statement in keeping with Best Practices. If not, that point needs to be pursued further. Coretheapple (talk) 19:34, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
I would give it more time. They're likely a M-F 9-5 operations, like a lot of corporate business. Graywalls (talk) 21:47, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
@Graywalls: It's also the Passover holiday. However, I don't believe that their responding or not responding, for whatever reason, is material to the need to deal with their self-promotion forthwith. Coretheapple (talk) 22:56, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
With the evidence we have and general agreement by multiple editors that they have advertisement intent, it should be acceptable to remove every ADL based contents they have added. Tolerating this means that going forward, every news outlet and sources that would be considered reliable as a go ahead to give it a go and worst that will happen is that it'll get removed. When I'm editing an article, I sometimes use local sources. This isn't to be seen as an invitation for whatever media outlet to add "according to our publication...". We can't arbitrary tolerate ADL doing this while not allowing others, so the best practice is to not allow it at all, and remove relatively clear instances of self promotion upon discovery. If the accounts that were doing it were more clearly labeled, such as "ADLpublicist-Adam, ADLpublicist-Jason, ADLpublicist-Hannah" that more clearly described what they were here to do and their association and made the same exact changes they did, I think they would have been reverted very quickly. Delayed discovery of COI editing shouldn't be considered the same as consensus through time. Graywalls (talk) 20:58, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
@Graywalls: I agree, and I would add that ADL has a perfectly understandable financial interest in spreading itself around Wikipedia, which is why there seem to be so many COI accounts. It is a nonprofit that relies on public contributions to stay afloat. I know that because for some reason I am on an ADL mailing list, and every few days I get another email, and every email contains a fundraising pitch of some kind. Every mention of the ADL in Wikipedia articles is one more feather in its bonnet from a fundraising perspective. From a COI perspective their activities are no better than any profit-making enterprise that seeks to promote itself on Wikipedia, and it should be treated as such. If they are such white hats as they claim to be they'll abide by our rules and our Best Practices, and if they don't then they should be treated like every other sefl-promoting entity. Coretheapple (talk) 22:51, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

ADL second response[edit]

Based on the comments after my last response, I think I can provide more clarity about some points that have been made:

  • Our initial understanding of weasel words and contentious labels led to our overuse of in-text attribution (“According to the ADL…”). We were trying to be careful and transparently link statements to their source. Several respondents here think we should scale that back, and this makes sense in an encyclopedic context. Thanks for that guidance. From now on, we'll only attribute directly when necessary to comply with other policy requirements.
  • I think we have largely agreed to most of the practices suggested to us, and will better follow all rules and policies moving forward. At the same time, the best practices offered represent the views of only some editors, and I’m not sure I can commit the ADL to following something that is not backed by community consensus.
  • The characterization of the ADL as a “well-paid team of editors” who are sitting in a “huddle room” planning on how to “carpet bomb” articles is simply not true. The reason there are eight accounts, not one, is that we are not improperly sharing a single account. Different ADL employees are experts in different areas of extremism, so we hoped that each could contribute some of their subject matter expertise by learning how to edit. The entire volume of edits to mainspace has been only 62 edits across ten months.

To be involved in the work of collaboratively building an encyclopedia that is committed to intellectual rigor and critical thinking massively appeals to us, and exemplifies our values. We want to be a constructive part of the process, especially at a time when extremism and hate online is on the rise. Thanks, OceanicFeeling123 (talk) 18:29, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

This sounds to me like you are going to continue inserting ADL sources into articles. You're weaseling your way out of many requests to use the talk page. I would support some kind of restriction requiring ADL accounts to use the edit request process when inserting ADL-authored sources.---Possibly (talk) 18:38, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Yep. Looks that way. I agree with Possibly. Just a gentle and friendly word to the ADL that I am a fan of your work. That's probably how I wound up on your mailing list (mentioned above). But you're not making things easy for the volunteers on this page, you're consuming a lot of time that could be spent in more productive pursuits, and not doing yourselves any favors. Coretheapple (talk) 18:50, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
What's taking a lot of time is that our guidelines aren't clear, leaving some to think an ADL employee is not allowed to add material to an article cited to ADL no matter what, even when otherwise compliant with Wikipedia policy, and others to think they can do so if done transparently and in line with policy to improve articles. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:33, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
There's no question that our COI guidelines have loopholes wide enough to drive a truck right through them. The question is whether ADL wants to get behind the wheel and fire up the engines. On this very page I got into an argument with Jayen466 about whether Wikipedia can handle COI situations, with Jayren arguing that sometimes you need to go to the press and I arguing that such a step is rarely necessary. The ADL's stalling is convincing me that his position has considerable merit . Coretheapple (talk) 22:35, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Loophole that someone is driving through or activity that simply isn't disallowed except insofar as a few people say so adamantly in a given case? — Rhododendrites talk \\ 22:51, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

Disclosure and clarification request to ADL[edit]

@OceanicFeeling123:, I'm going to ask one more time. Are these eight accounts the only accounts ever used to make edits on behalf of ADL formally and informally? Spreading out edits to multiple editors under the company/org's directions don't increase the allowance of promotional/advocacy contents.Graywalls (talk) 22:54, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

Despite the "second response" above, I am still waiting for a clear answer to my question:
Is the Anti-Defamation League willing to make a commitment to follow Wikipedia:Best practices for editors with close associations?
It's a simple question. Either the answer is yes or there are specific best practices listed that the ADL has decided not to follow. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:29, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
@Guy Macon: you asked that five days ago, and it has gone unanswered. I'm wondering if we need to have an ANI-type discussion, here or at ANI, where it could be proposed that ADL, for example, stop inserting their own sources and use talk-pages instead. @ToBeFree:, is that allowed, i.e. are COIN editors allowed to come up with editing restrictions via discussion?--- Possibly (talk) 03:45, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
I was thinking much the same thing. I have the following on a post-it note by my monitor:
Possibility #1: well meaning ADL employee who is learning how we do things.
Possibility #2: public relations professional who is learning exactly how much they can get away with.
looking at the response, which was
"I think we have largely agreed to most of the practices suggested to us, and will better follow all rules and policies moving forward. At the same time, the best practices offered represent the views of only some editors, and I’m not sure I can commit the ADL to following something that is not backed by community consensus"
I am convinced that we are dealing with #2. Just read WP:BPCA. Can you think of anything -- anything at all -- on that page that a good-faith editor with a COI would not be willing to follow? I have worked with multiple COI editors who not only don't have a problem with it, but are relieved that they have a way to correct errors and influence what is in articles without being constantly reverted.
So I think we should post an RfC with a simple question. "Is it the consensus of the Wikipedia community that the Anti-Defamation League should follow WP:BPCA? If your answer is 'no' please specify which parts of WP:BPCA the ADL does not need to follow." Then we should all respect the decision the Wikipedia community makes whether we personally agree with it or not. --Guy Macon (talk) 07:07, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
No, we don't need a proposal that dissects an essay. Just ask whether ADL should be banned from adding citations to ADL to articlespace. As far as I can tell, that's the only thing that they haven't agreed to which some feel they should be required to do. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:08, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
Point well taken. I guess that's why they pay you the big bucks. :) --Guy Macon (talk) 13:58, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
There's no question that Possibility No. 2 is what is happening here. As I noted earlier, the ADL is no less a commercial enterprise than any other organization whose employees come to Wikipedia to advance its cause, in this case by adding ADL citations. It should not be doing that. Coretheapple (talk) 14:51, 1 April 2021 (UTC)

@GeneralNotability and MER-C: to see if they have any idea on Possibly's question... Graywalls (talk) 05:59, 1 April 2021 (UTC)

Those eight weren't the only ones. Hersei (talk · contribs) was discovered by, I believe Possibly, which they have added to the list. OceanicFeeling123 only opened up about using eight accounts after I started noticing several accounts being used, then opened a SPI. This lack of transparency is not looking good and I maintain my concern that ADL is probably WP:NOTHERE. The Hersei account maybe the "master". This one was created in 2018. Graywalls (talk) 06:57, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
looking at the last disingenuous response - from what everyone assumes is an ADL representative - re:"not sure I can commit the ADL to following something that is not backed by community consensus," escalation makes most sense, waste of time trying to hammer it out here. Acousmana (talk) 12:55, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
Graywalls, assuming you're referring to are COIN editors allowed to come up with editing restrictions via discussion, I do not believe that COIN can authorize community restrictions on accounts (if nothing else, it's not like there are a lot of admin-types watching the noticeboard...); pretty sure that's something only AN could impose since it's the dedicated "community consensus" venue. GeneralNotability (talk) 01:18, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
And now that I've read this entire nightmare of a discussions, here are my thoughts:
  • As far as I can tell, all of the ADL editors (at least, those mentioned on the dashboard) made a good-faith attempt to disclose their relationship with ADL, even if it was not using the specific templates that we normally ask for.
  • The deliberate addition of links to the ADL website by employees of the ADL violates the spirit of our WP:COI policy, particularly WP:ADVOCACY and WP:SELFCITE.
    • Adding citations to ADL does materially benefit the organization - let's be honest, being cited repeatedly in Wikipedia is generally good for your organization's visibility, and adding one's organization's perspective on various events to Wikipedia articles makes me think of this XKCD.
    • While ADL is deemed generally reliable at RSN and is widely used (if I'm reading the report right, COIBot says that over 14k edits on enwiki have added a link to it). In other words, their additions are not going to tip the scale from "little-used" to "widely-used". However, as noted above, these additions have largely been on high-traffic pages, where the addition of links will be significantly more visible.
  • Being an RS does not exempt you from the SELFCITE expectations.
  • I harbor some concerns about the neutrality of ADL editors even in edits not directly related to ADL. The ADL is, after all, an advocacy organization, and so I am concerned that organization's goals will be more important than the neutrality of Wikipedia. That's the textbook definition of COI.
  • It is unclear to me whether the ADL blog is considered an RS, and these folks have added several links to the ADL blog.
So, what now? Their intentions may have been good, but this is still advocacy editing (both on behalf of the organization itself and the organization's cause), and that fundamentally undermines the goals of Wikipedia. I will accept nothing less than agreeing to not make edits in mainspace relating to the ADL, including addition of links. If they want to add a link to ADL, they can request it on the talk page just like any other paid editor. If I do not receive this commitment, I am prepared to treat these editors as normal uncooperative COI editors and hand out partial blocks. GeneralNotability (talk) 01:57, 2 April 2021 (UTC)

Somebody mentioned press above. Consider the counterpart headline: "Wikipedia editors single out ADL to apply a rule that isn't written anywhere".
I would urge reframing any proposal to be about actually disallowing the practice several people are saying is disallowed in this thread: an organization's employees adding citations to that organization in articlespace. I would even consider supporting that.
What I won't support is singling out an organization that seems to be making an effort to do it right. One which has mostly contributed edits that have been compliant with policy, including many that other editors have since restored after they were mass reverted, which has agreed to use non-ADL sources as well, which hasn't restored material when challenged, which has agreed not to edit the ADL article itself directly, which is actively engaging in discussion, and which has committed to be more careful of weight issues/new sections, etc.
For better or worse, an organization's employee transparently adding a selfcite in compliance with content policies isn't disallowed by policy. Maybe it should be, but that should be done at the policy level rather than singling out an organization that's trying to do it right. Alright, I've said enough through this thread. I'll shut up until/unless there's a proposal/RfC. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:44, 1 April 2021 (UTC)

press? that's just silly. If the rep (PR employed by ADL? ADL staff? has this been established yet?) is citing consensus as a determining factor, then fine, escalate to the RFC, not such a big deal, the more input the better. Acousmana (talk) 14:01, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
Just to be clear, I'm not advocating/suggesting/condoning anyone going to the press over this (nor do I think it would make a particularly compelling story one way or the other at this point). I only mentioned it because it came up above. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:38, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
yes, I know you aren't, spotted the suggestion, per Wikipediocracy, that would be hyper-reactionary at this stage, and yeah, not exactly compelling news. Acousmana (talk) 14:41, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
I had suggested that they are risking adverse publicity and they are, and this very discussion alone could be grist for adverse publicity. I am surprised it hasn't happened yet, but it still may. I have nothing against the ADL, I was a donor at one point, but its behavior here is not good. Coretheapple (talk) 14:51, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
no such thing as bad publicity. Possibly two issues are being conflated by some: 1) the nature of the content added; 2) the nature of how they went about adding it. The problem I see, based on the information at hand, is with 2. ADL (their rep, whoever), has stated that consensus should determine whether or not 2 is a problem, so fine, Move to RfC and get wider community input. Acousmana (talk) 15:14, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
Well I don't know what you mean by "no such thing as bad publicity." Time will tell but I personally, speaking remember as an occasional though not recent financial supporter am deeply dissatisfied with their behavior here. They need to stop promoting themselves by adding links to ADL publications to articles. Full stop. Maybe they can get away with it but they're doing the wrong thing, they're exploiting Wikipedia rules in favor of their COI, and they are wasting volunteer time. The latter is always a problem in COI situations and my patience for such conduct is fast eroding. Coretheapple (talk) 22:51, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
To expand on what Rhododendrites said, the NYC chapter is prepared to offer direct and personal guidance to any local area group prepared to edit WP in good faith. Had they asked us to run an editing instruction section for them, I think we would have advised them to go about adding content sourced to the organization only very cautiously, and with full disclosure. I personally would have gone further, and advised them to limit their involvement to writing articles within their fields of interest that use other sources than the ADL entirely, and to assume that their organisation is so well-known, and so reliable, that other editors would have looked at their publications for references. And I would have said what seems to have been neglected in this discussion, for the ADL to edit any article relating to its field of advocacy is COI, and must be declared. It is just the same as if any other orgnaization had edited articles pertaining directly to their field of interest--this is coi and must be declared. It's COI no matter how strongly any or all of of us support the organization. (I must add a coi declaration of my own: Although I disagree with some of its positions, I support this organization to the extent that I have repeatedly contributed money to it. I don't think that affects what I say about it here, but it is a coi, it involved money, albeit small amounts, and therefore needs to be reported).
We do not want any advocacy group contributing to our articles in public affairs; and in particular, the section on Political positions is not in my opinion NPOV, and in particular the controversies between the ADL and some generally left-wing Jewish groups about Israel deserves a distinct section to highlight its controversial nature----but here I have another COI--I am also a contributor to organizations that are very sharply opposed to ADL's views of the present government of Israel.
I feel this is especially wrong because it is an organized attempt by an advocacy group , not the actions of an individual member. I refer people to WP:Requests for arbitration/Scientology, back in 2008, and related earlier cases; despite the extreme differences between the two organizations, the same principles hold. Coordinated editing of WP in support of a group's objectives is a violation of not only COI, and the rule that only individuals can edit, but of our very basic policy of WP: NOTADVOCACY. DGG ( talk ) 20:04, 1 April 2021 (UTC)
To respond to something Graywalls wrote, it does seem, contrary to what you claim, as though this is your #1 scenario, and not your #2 scenario. You said above: "Possibility #1: well meaning ADL employee who is learning how we do things. Possibility #2: public relations professional who is learning exactly how much they can get away with" and then you said you were convinced it was #2. But if you look, these editors engaged an experienced Wikipedia editor and administrator to train them (follow OceanicFeeling123 subpage and comments to;), presumably including on COI, and that experienced editor's page also discloses that they are training ADL. And the ADL editors all self-disclosed their affiliation, so that while they are complying with WP policy as it currently exists, they appear to have tripped over what many Wikipedians involved with COIN prefer and believe to be best practice and particularly important for advocacy organizations. But again, they did disclose their affiliation, they did engage a Wikipedian of serious experience and reputation in the community to train them, they've answered the concerns set out here, they are stopping editing as a result, and considering a WIR. etc. Whatever else we discuss here, I think that shows good faith, as noted by GeneralNotability and others, and the tenor and tone of this discussion should reflect that. I don't see any problems with their content, although I realize that's not the point here. There are a number of things they can do going forward, if they do go forward, which have been spelled out in this discussion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Yaks'nYurts (talkcontribs) Yaks'nYurts (talkcontribs) has made no other edits outside this topic.

ADL again[edit]

Thanks everyone for your feedback on editing policies. The nine of us have decided to stop editing and take time to reevaluate. We're not aware of any other ADL editors (though there are about 350 staff in our organization)...In any case, consider our 'course' complete.

note: Hersei was here well before the ADL training began. They weren't part of the training, so they weren’t on the dashboard. They are on the dashboard now and know not to edit the ADL article.

We are sad to see our well-sourced contributions removed about the intersection of misogyny and white supremacy, the aftermath of the storming of the U.S. Capitol, the spread of conspiracy theories on social media, and misinformation about Antifa. This information is vital to the public. We still believe our expertise offers value to the editing community and to readers.

Our aim was always to collaborate rather than advocate. We value Wikipedia and hope to find a way forward with the community. We listened to your ideas and are thinking of looking into a Wikipedian-in-Residence as one possibility.

Have a great weekend and thank you for your input and guidance. OceanicFeeling123 (talk) 21:43, 2 April 2021 (UTC)

I don't know what you're referring to about "well-sourced contributions" being removed, so I can't respond to that and you haven't provided links. I will say that I'm disappointed that people keep making the same points over and over again about your self-promotion and we don't seem to be getting through, and after expending a great deal of time that could have been put to better use we get a lump of self-pity thrown in our faces. Coretheapple (talk) 22:30, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
Graywalls meticulously went through and reverted all edits made by ADL employees. Some of those edits were later restored, and editors had a debate about it above. (I'm really not a party to that debate nor do I care to be; don't shoot the messenger.) AllegedlyHuman (talk) 02:34, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
While I haven't seen the edits in question, I think that as a general proposition reverts of the type Graywalls performed are entirely justified. Coretheapple (talk) 14:44, 3 April 2021 (UTC)
@OceanicFeeling123:, Your organization's belief that "we're important" and your own publications are vital to the public and believing that they should be included, and including them on this believe is in fact what prevents your organization from being able to maintain NPOV, whether aware or not. Not any different from Fox News putting things in their own perspectives believing that they're absolutely fair and balanced and NPOV. Wikipedia does not lead, we follow. So what you claim to be "our expertise" can wait. If scholarly journal decides to include it, or it is included in mainstream media, then perhaps it could become relevant, but the insertion should not be made by your organization. Graywalls (talk) 22:58, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
@OceanicFeeling123: Our aim was always to collaborate, yet I can't help but notice that in this entire time-wasting thread, ADL is the party that is that is not collaborating; you want it exactly your own way and have wasted lots of editor time while ignoring copious community objections to the way you are going about it. What we like to see from paid editors with a POV problem is the answer "sure, we will use talk page requests and not edit articles directly". That lets all the very skilled editors you see above stop wondering if the project is being damaged by your advocacy, allowing them to return to building the wiki. I'm really not sure why you had such a problem following the same procedures we ask of other paid editors with an obvious POV problem. That said, if the ADL does return to advocacy editing of the type described above, I think we will need to revisit some kind of formal editing restriction, which seemed to be right around the corner in the discussion above. Several of the accounts have also still not bothered to properly disclose, despite repeated requests.--- Possibly (talk) 23:12, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
It is entirely impossible for them to maintain WP:NPOV over a sustained period. Their worldview is too predominant. I agree some kind of editing restriction is required, as they're certainly not servicing this board. I think certainly once in place, the work will need to be checked for a time. scope_creepTalk 23:47, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
At this point, would it be objectionable to revert their contributions that ends up accomplishing what they were trying to accomplish as we editors customarily do with spam contributors? As someone experienced with dealing with COIers, it even took me a while to realize how they were using so many accounts. I don't believe that anyone that are not specifically looking for it would notice it. I make the case that it should be seen as having just happened due to delayed discovery of WP:CITESPAM from strategic corporate advocacy edits with ambiguous disclosure. Graywalls (talk) 07:32, 3 April 2021 (UTC)

Article in the Forward[edit]

This discussion has been summarized in this news article (just fyi). Schazjmd (talk) 23:05, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

What is the WP shortcut term for that, something like "unintended consequences"?--- Possibly (talk) 23:12, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
Tagging Graywalls, Rhododendrites, and DGG to make sure they saw this story too... congrats, I guess? This whole situation was a nightmare. Also, it looks like they got a scoop which we couldn't: "the organization hired an experienced Wikipedia editor last May to train eight of its staff to contribute" to Wikipedia. Don't know if that changes anything. (Hope it doesn't, so we can all put this to rest. Maybe this'll get in the Signpost, too... yippee. *sigh*) AllegedlyHuman (talk) 10:18, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
At the time I said They didn’t add or remove any contentious contents in prose or promotional links and they’ve disclosed their affiliation. on the ADL's article itself, I was only talking about OceanicFeeling123's edits and I was completely unaware of Hersei (talk · contribs)'s very extensive edits, because I didn't investigate every contributor's user page. I mean, who does? It's time consuming to manually check people's user page and this isn't something I do without a compelling reason. I wonder what "experienced Wikipedia editor" they hired thought doing this was a good idea. Graywalls (talk) 10:35, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
Shocking: journalist takes quote out of proper context. Sorry it happened to you, though. I too am curious about this new development, but I don't know how much it affects the situation – if ADL's not going to be editing anymore, or at least for the foreseeable future, it appears this grueling, protracted discussion has neared its natural conclusion. AllegedlyHuman (talk) 10:45, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
The good thing that came out of that is that there's no reasonable doubt about ADL's involvement. I'm curious if someone reached out to the press, or if they noticed it on their own. Graywalls (talk) 11:49, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
Rosenfeld contacted me, interested in these events and the broader context of organizations editing Wikipedia. I've posted a TL;DR of what I said on my talk page to avoid belaboring what is otherwise a resolved issue here. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 14:58, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
fwiw, I consider the Forward article to be an accurate representation of the discussion. (but, also fwiw, I have a personal and financial coi there as well.) DGG ( talk ) 18:18, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

Dhruva College of Management[edit]

Editor seems responsive to consultation on COI. ☆ Bri (talk) 15:36, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The article was nominated to the AFD. The creator has disregarded a call for discussion on the article talk page and on the user talk page and is introducing advertising content and links which indicates some COI and hence this report. Vikram Vincent 13:28, 28 March 2021 (UTC)

Closing this report post-discussion with the editor. Vikram Vincent 16:41, 28 March 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

William Scott Page[edit]

The history and tenor of this article is as fishy as the sea. I would not be surprised if later substantive contributors to its advertorial tone were the same editor under a different name, or another UPE. BD2412 T 01:18, 29 March 2021 (UTC)

Miaminsurance (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
Miaminsurance seems suspect too, BD2412. Their username is the same as a former insurance company web domain in Florida, where Scott Page's company is based, and their first edit was to pick up on editing the draft left by the obvious PR account you linked to above. Their editing since has mostly been to companies and they have lately been posting on article talk pages asking for possibly stale COI templates to be removed, though I think not on articles they've edited. Fences&Windows 18:09, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
@Fences and windows: I agree with your analysis. BD2412 T 18:27, 29 March 2021 (UTC)
  • I do not have a relationship with Page. I am familiar with him because he ran a company that helped many people with HIV/AIDS in the 80s/90s. His company was targeted by a ponzi schemer which was huge news in my community. The story was eventually profiled on American Greed. I am not in the insurance industry but I do know of Page. If based on this description, you think I have a conflict, I will add it to my page. I have been more active on Wikipedia and was following a debate about the COI template. I checked a bunch of pages that had the templates on them but did not have any discussion as to why they were marked as COI. Honestly, it was a test on my part to see if anyone would react to it. Please advise. Miaminsurance (talk) 01:28, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
Thanks for the comments, Miaminsurance. If you do have a WP:COI or you are WP:PAID to edit on any articles, please declare this. Knowing of someone or an organisation is not, however, a COI. Testing the COI templates is a bit WP:POINTy - COI templates are a touchy area as you know, so it'd be best not to do mass challenges. It would on the other hand be helpful to check the history to see edit summaries and whether any major contributors added promotional wording and then see if the page still needs cleaning up. Fences&Windows 12:28, 4 April 2021 (UTC)
Miaminsurance is CU-confirmed to Lesscynical (talk · contribs) and related to IrishChick2012 (talk · contribs), see SPI. They're also related to this paid editing operation. Blablubbs|talk 08:49, 14 April 2021 (UTC)

Yale Precision Marching Band[edit]

This article is completely beneath WP standards in at least a dozen respects, but it seems that COI is probably the lowest-hanging fruit among them. I don't care if it's Yale, or maybe my point is that this article would never have survived if it had come from Sam Houston State University. This kind of vanicruft self-aggrandizingly sly article is not appropriate for a global encyclopedia. I invite other thoughts, but, more constructively, other editors taking the time to get rid of the material that needs to be on some blog somewhere, but certainly not here. Thanks. Julietdeltalima (talk) 16:20, 30 March 2021 (UTC)

I trimmed some of the unsourced material. It does not sound like a COIN issue.--- Possibly (talk) 16:37, 30 March 2021 (UTC)
I gave it bigger trim. There were embedded links and sections with no reference with a tag since 2015. No doubt there will be somebody in to update it. scope_creepTalk 08:26, 3 April 2021 (UTC)

David nesenoff[edit]

self promotion of their personal business using descriptions which show strong partiality and use self created references (YouTube account) as citations. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ramahamalincoln (talkcontribs)

Gave them a COI warning, that should be enough for now. GeneralNotability (talk) 14:26, 2 April 2021 (UTC)
I gave the article a wee trimming. Can somebody check the tags, see if they are still valid. He is notable, no doubt. scope_creepTalk 08:33, 3 April 2021 (UTC)

User Moving On With Brit[edit]

Reported user is a sock, now blocked ☆ Bri (talk) 15:03, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Moving On With Brit has declared a relationship with [9], and appears to be the owner of

The editor has declared to including as a reference to multiple articles [10], stating [11] Multiple is subjective 3/70 is little and "avoid" does not say or mean never

The editor appears to be a spammer and self-promoter, trying to obscure her spamming with other (mostly unreliable and largely promotional) references chosen indiscriminately with respect to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines for references. I've cleaned up much of it, and it appears @Praxidicae: has done subsequent cleanup. Prior removals were done by @Kuru:, @Schazjmd:, and @S0091:. Hipal (talk) 20:53, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

The editor (me) is not a spammer trying to obscure her spamming with other (mostly unreliable and largely promotional) references chosen indiscriminately with respect to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines for references - this is an insult. I just found the page where you and Praxidicae reverted all of the edits - all of which were done over the last few days. Go back and check the sources! Do you want people to update references or not? Seriously, in some cases, all edits have been wiped out and there were hours of edits done! Those pages are now back to being citation-less. No spamming whatsoever. I was told about what constitutes reliable earlier (aka no other wikis, fandoms etc) the rest are legit ................. Nikki— Preceding unsigned comment added by Moving On With Brit (talkcontribs)
@Hipal: do you happen to have diffs for the link additions? I checked and could only see one instance out of many.--- Possibly (talk) 21:08, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
Moving On With Brit admitted to adding three. I don't believe there were more. [12][13] --Hipal (talk) 21:26, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Here you go: all last two days only you and Praxidicae - the others you mention were because I added bad sources like fandom etc (before I knew). And, in some cases articles like Jerry Lee Lewis - the source is the same - his own website!

While I see some possibly good sources, on the whole they are adding blogs including their own as citations. If it's not already clear to Moving On With Brit, blogs are generally not reliable sources including your own, . Slywriter (talk) 21:19, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Except, in some cases there is no .gov, .edu citation to be had. I spent hours trying to find some of these - they don't exist on all of the sources you are specifying. This feels ridiculously biased to me and I would ask you to look through them all again. Nikki

This noticeboard is for addressing conflict of interest concerns. I strongly suggest you focus on those. --Hipal (talk) 21:45, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
Not being able to find a reliable source doesn't suddenly make blogs acceptable sources. reliable sources and are webblogs reliable sources? cover the issue. Slywriter (talk) 21:55, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Seriously, have you downloaded a list of all the citations on Wiki? First, of all the term blog does not apply universally and it certainly does not mean it is an unreliable source. Some websites deemed as blogs have as high of a DA as Wiki - so is it a DA/PA game or is it censorship of what the editors deem acceptable. If an editor wants to assess the merit of content they need to review it. Not a clean sweep of "opinions" on what's creditable vs. not. Moving On With Brit (talk) 22:04, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

You can disagree with the policy all you want, doesn't change a thing. Top 10 lists, travel sites and other website written by those passionate about a topic are not acceptable sources by wikipedia guidelines. Exceptions exist for websites and writers that have become subject matter experts or a record of reliability which are recognized by other reliable sources as being informative and accurate on the topic. No evidence has been presented that the citations used have met this high bar.
And citing your own blog is a clear conflict of interest especially citing prior to disclosure. Now that it's been disclosed, it will still fail as a reliable source, as there is also no evidence provided that it meets any of the standards set forth in the two links provided above.Slywriter (talk) 22:18, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Let's move on. This is not a court hearing! Citing a website you are associated with is clearly not a violation per Wiki's guidelines. The legal verbiage needs changing for this to be absolute - it's vague at best. And, plagued with holes. This said I've been honest and I did hours of work and updated tons of absolute nonsense that needed help. I think it's best if all my contributions are undone. This way no one can accuse me of being a spammer or a self-promotion artist. And, given that in most cases the editors chose to revert every edit - it only makes sense to do this for all my edits. Would it be best for me to do this or would it be best for a wiki editor to do it? This way, we can be assured that I've not violated any rules, that my hours of editing will be universally lost vs. cherry-picking what suits.

I won't be editing anymore, there is way too much bias here. Far too much self-righteousness. And, if I were here for spamming purposes (which I am not) there are quicker and easier ways to do it than actually edit articles.

Moving On With Brit (talk) 22:32, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

Moving On With Brit, adding references to reliable sources in articles is very welcome. Adding references to unreliable sources isn't. If you would familiarize yourself with what is considered a reliable source on Wikipedia, you'll understand the objections to some of the cites that you added. Schazjmd (talk) 22:37, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

I did.......... read it back to front a few times. Objections are a bit like opinions. I'll leave it there :) Moving On With Brit (talk) 22:39, 5 April 2021 (UTC)

(23:50, 5 April 2021 by Maravelous redacted --Hipal (talk) 15:32, 6 April 2021 (UTC)) Yes Maravelous I most certainly am - but I'm over it. I've asked the group to remove all my edits. Only right considering this user and one other spend two days removing ALL edits of mine. And, have since gone back and undone even more edits. Moving On With Brit (talk) 23:53, 5 April 2021 (UTC) SIGNED Moving On With Brit (talk) 23:53, 5 April 2021 (UTC) - Happy community :)

I find that unhappy people tend to flex imagined power online and then pretend they matter. Sorry for your loss. Good luck. Maravelous (talk) 23:56, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
Marvelous, I would strongly consider striking your second comment. Regardless, do not continue along those lines here. This thread and board are about Conflict of Interests. no personal attacks is a pretty bright line and you are swaying on it. If you feel you are legitimately being harassed then head over to WP:ANI to address the issue.
Moving On With Brit, you have been advised of the guidelines. Your unwillingness to accept them is not something anyone here can assist you with. You can log off and never edit again but be advised that your edits will remain, as they are now licensed to Wikipedia. You agreed to those terms when you clicked publish. Slywriter (talk) 00:08, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
I'm sorry, did you find something that touched a nerve in my posting? I will check out ANI as you suggest, but yeah, your advice is unsolicited. Also not sure about your "opt in" legal advice to the other user but you do you. Maravelous (talk) 03:24, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
You're likely to be blocked or banned if you continue to stalk, harass, and disrupt like this. --Hipal (talk) 15:34, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

Of course, they will - cause it suits the narrative. As mentioned time and time again total bias. I followed "the" guidelines. Let's not go back and forth on that. This is not a trial, and I need no assistance in defending myself. I cab represent myself. Now, perhaps the stewards of righteousness will look into the behavior and history of some of the "editors" that have ambushed people, made false and defamatory accusations, and have a history of diluting legitimate contributions. A little bit of research outside of "Wiki" might be of assistance here.Moving On With Brit (talk) 00:28, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

  • When I looked closer at the site being promoted in some of the links that Moving on With Brit has indserted ( I see affiliate links and the odd thing for sale. That means the site is a money generator, making the insertion of links a financial COI. So there's that. Assuming there are no more links inserted form that site, as suggested above, we are fine. --- Possibly (talk) 01:31, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
  • This can be closed, as it turns out Moving On With Brit was a sock and is now blokced.--- Possibly (talk) 06:18, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Draft:Tank Cleaner[edit]

Blocked ParvinderWraich for self-promo and the other account in the SPI as probably UPE/undisclosed COI. GeneralNotability (talk) 23:57, 9 April 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

User:Redi Productions created Draft:Tank Cleaner on 24 February but was soon soft blocked for username violation and immediately User:PavinderWraich continues editing it, removing review comments on several occasions and being warned about COI editing here, here , here, here and here by User:Spiderone. Redi Productions is the name of the company producing the film Tank Cleaner and Pavinder Wraich is the director and the author of the screen play. No response has been made to any of the warnings and despite the warnings Draft:Tank Cleaner was again submitted for review at AfC.  Velella  Velella Talk   13:57, 1 March 2021 (UTC)

@Velella: you need to notify the user ParvinderWraich mentioned above. See top of this page. Possibly (talk) 20:26, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
Apologies. Now done.  Velella  Velella Talk   21:09, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
ParvinderWraich has ignored every warning and still hasn't declared their obvious UPE. Possibly (talk) 21:30, 1 March 2021 (UTC)
And now he's created an autobiography (talk) 13:27, 3 March 2021 (UTC)
(this thread was archived to Archive 168 at this point on 7th March with no resolution)
And still it continues with all the reviews of the Draft removed and the re-submitted for review with the addition of a single unreliable sources that showed that two people had reviewed the film. Is there nothing that can be done to deal with this COI ?  Velella  Velella Talk   22:11, 5 April 2021 (UTC)
I did strike this report through as the issue is now at SPI as it appears to be sock editing rather than the original editor  Velella  Velella Talk   11:58, 6 April 2021 (UTC)
@Velella: Yeah, but somehow the <s></s> tags weren't closing properly and the report I added after this one was also showing as struck.
@Velella: It is helpful to explain why you wanted to strike a post, as you have now done. You shouldn't strike other people's posts, although that could have been done by mistake. I would suggest linking to the SPI from this page and updating with the result when available. TSventon (talk) 15:34, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Afe Babalola[edit]

Bosundipe has been blocked indefinitely (by Smartse) as a promotion-only account.
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Bosundipe has repeatedly rewritten the Afe Babalola article to turn it into a kind of hagiography rather than adhering to a neutral tone required by Wikipedia. He has been warned about this several times (see his user talk page) but has made no attempt to discuss the issue. Also, the adulatory text that is added appears to be copied from various sources, including his profile at the website of the university he founded. WikiDan61ChatMe!ReadMe!! 11:45, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Groundfloor and paid editing[edit]

TyronTO has previously removed the COI tag [14] at Groundfloor (company), which I reverted, suspecting paid editing again. They added a paid disclosure to their userpage after my reminder. Their latest edit [15] is marked minor and I haven't had time to review it other than to note it isn't what we usually call minor in size (over 4 kB). ☆ Bri (talk) 23:56, 6 April 2021 (UTC)

A paid editor shouldn't be working like that, nor requesting such edits be restored in their entirety without a lengthy explanation.
I reverted the most recent edit with instructions to work from edit requests on the article talk page that are at most a section at a time. Glancing at the refs, I think they need a careful review. --Hipal (talk) 02:25, 7 April 2021 (UTC)
About half of that edit was sourced to, which says of itself "Crowdfund Insider is the leading news and information web site covering the emerging global industry of disruptive finance including investment crowdfunding, Blockchain peer-to-peer / marketplace lending and other forms of Fintech." In other words, it's a promotional source. --- Possibly (talk) 02:39, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

I reverted [16] editor at MinIO, same sorts of problems, not disclosed on their userpage so I am presuming more forgetfulness AGF. ☆ Bri (talk) 04:08, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

pblocked from mainspace (went for all mainspace since after "forgetting" to disclose once, I'm not really willing to extend much trust here. GeneralNotability (talk) 00:01, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

Westwood Park, San Francisco[edit]

I am reporting to this notice board after the admin Deepfriedokra referred me here. Originally I had a sockpuppet investigation underway for a user disruptively editing this page, and using two accounts and two IPs to remove content with no other explanation than “Biased”. I roped in Deepfriedokra to help with my investigation. They told me to come here because it looked like a conflict of interest, and that some of the edits by the accounts in question sounded a bit promotional. That’s why I’m here.

The user in question’s name was Reiksnza. Then they created another account called Reiksnzaw, and after being reverted using that, proceeded to edit from two different IP addresses afterwards. I’m not sure how else to explain it. If anyone could help, that would be great. HelenDegenerate (talk) 19:40, 7 April 2021 (UTC)

SPA editor adding unstructured lists of investments to investment/fintech companies[edit]

Seemingly a SPA editor who says she hasn't got a coi. The editor is adding long unstructured lists of company investments, often reams of blue links to company articles of that type, often with no references. It's is pure advertising and tendentious editing. This is an example: August Capital. I asked about it and she offered a very simple slogan Capitalism needs transparency!. I posted a paid notice, said she wasn't being paid, but there is some kind of COI. It is all the same type of company. scope_creepTalk 11:53, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

Where is the information coming from? scope_creepTalk 12:17, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
This looks more like WP:NOTHERE as they seek to right great wrongs through advocacy. This talk page comment Special:Diff/1016301102 sums up their position. Slywriter (talk) 12:54, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
pblocked them from mainspace. GeneralNotability (talk) 00:04, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

Alexander Repenning[edit]

Both users were brought to my attention by IceWelder, who found a connection between the two users and the pages that they were editing. Username represents a company headed by Repenning named "AgentSheets Inc. (Dragentsheets) and has edited pages related to Repenning and Repenning's field of interest (information technology and computer science) for the past 14 years. On one occasion, Dragentsheets signed off on a talk page with the name "Alex". A related account, KaptainFire, has also been editing articles related to Repenning and Repenning's field of interest, and uploaded File:The Computational Thinking Process.jpg, which Dragentsheets warred over on Computational thinking. Among both users' contributions include questionable addition of links to AgentSheets which appear borderline promotional and (assuming that this is Repenning editing) addition of self-made research papers and primary sources on articles. All linked pages above have evident issues with encyclopedic tone and have a biased point of view. Chlod (say hi!) 13:39, 8 April 2021 (UTC)

I'm guessing "Dragentsheets" = Dr. AgentSheets. Woodroar (talk) 14:14, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
That's right. IceWelder [] 14:16, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
In addition to the above, KaptainFire identified as Repenning in these revisions on Commons. IceWelder [] 14:16, 8 April 2021 (UTC)
With a name like that, its no wonder. It all goes back to his product. scope_creepTalk 19:10, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

La Voce di New York[edit]

This individual works with that website (see for example) but refuses to disclose his COI. He went berserk and keeps accusing me of having some kind of "counter-COI", of being a "hacker", a "vandal", a "hater", a "cyber-attacker" you name it… just because I nominated his article. —Mᵒdᵘlᵃtᵒ.📩 08:11, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

I DO NOT work for La Voce di New York anymore that someone with a Facebook profile works for Facebook. I did not receive any compensation from them, I do not have any plans to receive compensation from them, my job is in a totally unrelated field, and I don't own shares/stakes in VNY (nor do I plan to own), I am not part of any board or editorial board. So, I maintain that there is no COI. I have simply been following the newspaper close enough that I know about it and figured that creating an article draft and submitting it was the right thing to do about a newspaper that, while a US newspaper, is highly regarded among Italian expats in the US and among journalists in the Italian news media landscape. VNY accepts contributions from anyone, not only professional journalists but also academics, field experts, and everyone who has something meaningful to say about a wide range of topics. As an aside, while I have no COI, I did not hide that I wrote articles for them in the past (Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/La_Voce_di_New_York). Anyway, all of this discussion is not relevant. Whether I have a COI or not, and I think I don't, I did not publish the VNY article. Rather I followed the same process that someone with a COI would follow: work on an article in Draft mode and submit it for an admin to review and decide whether to promote to the Article space. Also, I have always declared myself open to address any changes that other users would suggest. As an important aside, I have asked the reporting user to clearly state that he does not have a COI in VNY, but the user has carefully avoided addressing that question User talk:Modulato#La_Voce_di_New_York_and_WP:COI. Passani (talk) 11:47, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
Having written for them in the past does create an apparent COI for Passani. Had the discussion at the article's AfD stayed on the merits of the article (subject's notability, coverage in reliable sources, etc.), then I'd say there's nothing to see here, move along. However, the way the discussion turned toward Modulato's motives changes the optics: it looks less like a good-faith effort to defend the article and more like an attempt to preserve the article either due to ownership feelings toward it or the COI motivation of wanting to have a byline in a notable publication. —C.Fred (talk) 16:11, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
This interpretation is all wrong. I simply reacted to what appears to me as a fully fledged cyberattack on the article staged by sockpuppets and meatpuppets. I think I have enough evidence to demonstrate it, but I am not sure who to trust at this point. Can someone please advise on how to escalate and report this? User Modulato has a HUGE undisclosed COI in NVY. And when I say HUGE, I mean REALLY HUGE Passani (talk) 17:38, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

SPA user adding self-published sources to articles[edit]

Hello, I hope this is the right place to put this. I saw a suspicious edit on my watchlist and after looking through Tegiap's contributions I noticed that their only edits consist in adding references to self-published papers by a single author to various articles. I think these edits need to be reverted, is that correct? In any case, this is my first time posting here and I'm looking for advice :) Thanks! -- Mvbaron (talk) 16:24, 10 April 2021 (UTC)

yes, this is the right place. Good catch. Tegiap seems to have been adding sources written by R.R. Trail, starting in 2008. I would not day that that was their only contribution, but it is concerning. Let's hear what they have to say by, way of explanation. --- Possibly (talk) 18:46, 10 April 2021 (UTC)
Tegiap is edit-warring about the same self-published, non-RS content above, and which I have tried to contact them about on their talk-page, in edit summaries, and here. Mvbaron (talk) 06:54, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
I looked more closely at their contribs; they ,have frequently added the thesis work of R.R. Trail, going back to their first edit in 2008, 13 years ago. Much of their contribs concerns adding Trail as a source. A small selection includes 2021, 2019, 2016, 2015 and so on. 2014 was spent adding sources on the author Anna-Marie Cushan, published by Ondwelle, which also publishes R.R. Trail. Those appear to be the only two authors they publish. so, yes, this does seem like a 13-year campaign to place self-published work. --- Possibly (talk) 07:14, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
Appears to be resolved.--- Possibly (talk) 23:17, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Ireland’s Late Late Show.[edit]

New to Wikipedia I was pleased to add the name of Tom McGrath, Producer as the person who introduced the idea of the Late Late Show. This fact has been recorded many times in newspapers and on RTE. I am now aware that I should perhaps have first used talk and also I would mention that now 85, I am a younger cousin of the producer who died more than 25 years ago. Baile Atha CliathachBaile Atha Cliathach (talk) 13:28, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Space and Missile Systems Center[edit]

Has been replacing sourced article content with what reads to be promotionally written content which the user claims are "Language & date edits provided by the SMC historian." Put notices on the user's page, but no responses. Garuda28 (talk) 18:20, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

More notices have been placed, but no response and the user continues to edit.--- Possibly (talk) 21:32, 13 April 2021 (UTC)


Muhur has been warned to cease hounding other users and partial-blocked from editing Medical device. There's an ongoing conversation on Talk:Medical device regarding the content; if a user without a COI feels that the content is worth adding, they can do so. Muhur is also advised going forward to be wary of exhausting the community's patience. OhNoitsJamie Talk 13:38, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Muhur and I have been having a bit of a disagreement about some self citations that he added to Medical device. He's moved to using the talk page now, so fair enough, that should be fine. What is not fine, though, is that Muhur has now taken to following me around and leaving trolling comments on the talk pages after I open discussions, see here and here. I would greatly appreciate it if some uninterested parties could take a look at the situation and have a word with whomever is in the wrong here, even if that turns out to be myself. - MrOllie (talk) 21:27, 12 April 2021 (UTC)

Dear MrOllie. Thank you for asking for clarification. I do not consider myself as "trolling" or "silly". I am actually not used to such interpersonal dealings. I informed other users that were confronted with COI issues about the user who confronted them. A user that may respond with degradation due to mockery regarding COI questions. I do not consider such behaviours as "irrelevancies". The web tells many things about busy wikipedia users such as MrOllie, and since it would be indeed silly to trust such sources, I took the chance to ask directly. Unfortunately this ended in a very unexpected behaviour, rather than a simple answer.
Moreover, I do not consider the disagreement mentioned above as "a bit", see our discussion. I moved to using the article talk page because of a very kind hint of the Wikipedia help team. I wonder why an advanced user as MrOllie foremost invites unexperienced users (as I am) to discuss their issues on his talk page, rather than on the article talk pages. Thank you for your thoughts. Muhur (talk) 22:46, 12 April 2021 (UTC)
If I understand this right, Muhur was caught adding material for which he has a COI (re: Dr. Muehlematter) and ever since that he spends most of his time wasting other people's time on talk pages. I'm getting that from his Xtools contribs (talk pages: 50 edits, article space 7 edits.) It sounds ideally like a WP:NOTHERE item for ANI, but maybe it can be dealt with faster (and less traumatically) if we ping someone appropriate like @GeneralNotability: or @MER-C:.--- Possibly (talk) 23:13, 12 April 2021 (UTC)
I think Possibly's summary falls short. I think missing guidance and mockery from advanced wikipedia users lead to 50 edits on mainly 3 talk pages. One has to consider, that an experienced user with up to 120457 edits, many of them regarding possible COIs, refusing to answer a COI question, responding with mockery and calling this question silly, may have a disturbing, great impact on the Wikipedia community (and especially on unexperienced users like Muhur). I just learned that this page is for determining whether a specific editor has a COI for a specific article. I am not sure to which article MrOllie is referring. If he refers to medical device, you will find my COI statement that I made days ago on my talk page. Thank you for your considerations. Muhur (talk) 00:03, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
MrOllie has already answered your question. You are just trolling, wasting everyone's time. Have you considered making some constructive edits to Wikipedia? --- Possibly (talk) 00:07, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
So what was MrOllies answer to: "Do you, or have you, or expect you to receive compensation for any contribution you made/make on Wikipedia?". If you want to discuss this matter, please open a new section here regarding MrOllie. Thank you. I think my edits here might be considered constructive for other users who share my opinion on this matter. Again, I did not open this section and I think you are not talking about the aim of this section (determining whether a specific (i.e. Muhur) editor has a COI).Muhur (talk) 00:24, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
I'm feeling generous right now, so I've pblocked Muhur from Medical device (and, for good measure, blocked the role account that they followed MrOllie to in order to complain). I will not have much patience if they continue bludgeoning or following other folks around. GeneralNotability (talk) 00:39, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Dear GeneralNotability. You blocked me from Medical devices because of ongoing COI and SELFCITE issues. As a new user I try to understand this. How did you draw this conclusion? According to the initiator of this board section, these issues were "fine" (I tried to follow the advise by naively editing my content on the artice page directly rather than moving to the talk page (which is the desired solution as I learned meanwhile)). Moreover, I do not unterstand your remark "I'm feeling generous right now". What do you mean by that? Thank you for clarification. Muhur (talk) 19:05, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
I assume you'v read WP:SELFCITE and WP:COI, as well as WP:MEDRS. Do you explicitly deny that you have conflict-of-interest with the study link that 100% of your edits revolve around? OhNoitsJamie Talk 19:38, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Yes I read these topics. I never denied a COI regarding my contributions, see my statement on my talk page. Muhur (talk) 20:48, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
I drew the conclusion that you are trying to cite a study you are involved in based on the discussion in this thread. When I said "I'm feeling generous" I mean "I'm only going to partially block you from this one article, instead of judging that you're uninterested in building a collaborative encyclopedia and blocking you completely." SubjectiveNotability a GN franchise (talk to the boss) 20:09, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for clarification. Yes I cited studies where I have a COI, but in my opinion I did it according to this guide. I hope you resisted temptation regarding NOTHERE since you saw my interrest in building a collaborative encyclopedia (one reason why I moved the issue to the talk page, as soon as I learned about it (and yes, I wish I would have been clearly informed about this possibility immediately)), rather than because of your feelings. Muhur (talk) 20:48, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Now, GeneralNotability and Ohnoitsjamie, I really need your help regarding the potential Elephant in the room: Muhur (talk) 20:56, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
I'm not sure what elephant you're talking about, but the rest of us have wider interests than the inclusion of your study in a Wikipedia article. OhNoitsJamie Talk 21:20, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
I used an idiom to refer to a help request that everyone can read below but no one wants to answer since it might be uncomfortable. Obviosly many users have time to trample on missteps of new users, despite I already asked unprejudiced users to decide upon what to do with the references I gave and the initiator of this section already acknowledged this. The avoidance of my particular help request indicates, that it might be a true elephant in the room. Muhur (talk) 09:31, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining what an idiom is, that's most helpful. I'm closing this issue, because as I alluded to above in a non-idiomatic fashion, you seem to be the only one here who thinks that including a link to your study is of the utmost importance to the Medical device article. You've already suggested that edit on the article's talk page; if someone there thinks it's worthy of inclusion, they can add it. OhNoitsJamie Talk 13:38, 14 April 2021 (UTC)
Dear GeneralNotability. Where can I settle this issue that was discussed in this section? I think this board is not the right place since this issue is not related to a single article. Thank you for your help. Muhur (talk) 01:41, 13 April 2021 (UTC)

Any further hounding of User:MrOllie will result in a free upgrade of your current partial block to a full one. OhNoitsJamie Talk 01:48, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Is my creation of the redirect Nowhere at the Millennium of Space a violation of the COI guidelines?[edit]

Nowhere at the Millennium of Space is a project very similar to the album Everywhere at the End of Time, aiming to replicate it with music from the 1980s to the 2000s. I did contribute a bit to it during its production, but those contributions never made it in the final product. I'm wondering if this is enough for me to need to declare a conflict of interest, and if I would need to delete the redirect. Nowhere at the Millennium of Space is briefly mentioned in the Everywhere at the End of Time article, so I think the redirect could stay. InvalidOStalk 12:16, 13 April 2021 (UTC)

It is at very least sufficient COI that you should have declared your COI either in the initial edit summary for the redirect page or at Talk:Nowhere at the Millennium of Space -- yes, redirects can have talk pages. I suggest you go add one to the talk page now. It is a sufficiently cromulent redirect that, while there is an argument that you should not have done it, it should not be undone. --Nat Gertler (talk) 12:30, 13 April 2021 (UTC)
Alright. I'm pretty sure the mention of Nowhere at the Millennium of Space was removed from the article, though. InvalidOStalk
It was. Only source was Bandcamp as well. I'll make sure to declare a COI in the future if it ever reappears. Just gonna G7 it for now. InvalidOStalk 01:08, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

AAR Corp (again)[edit]

The AAR Corp, a page with historic COI problems, has another likely-COI editor working on the page without disclosing the COI: Fgbwashdc. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 18:54, 13 April 2021 (UTC)

IphisOfCrete sockfarm[edit]

This sockfarm with 16 CU-confirmed socks seems to have been very active at financial company articles, possibly entertainers, entertainment productions, and some other orgs as well. Does anybody here have more information on who they are so they can be added to WP:PAIDLIST appropriately? A sampling of their creations or interests is listed above. ☆ Bri (talk) 21:12, 13 April 2021 (UTC)

Small Ashok Soota walled garden[edit]

Promotional editing on pages related to Ashok Soota. The user Vtamagond has not replied to any of the COI messages that have been left (starting about a year ago) on his/her talk page. --- Possibly (talk) 07:22, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

Account was blocked for spamming.--- Possibly (talk) 19:06, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Sandy Roberton[edit]

The article on this British record producer has been edited by several apparently COI editors, most recently and most extensively by Treasure Chest Boy who has said in the edit summary here that they are the article subject. They have not responded to any messages on their talk page, or on the article talk page. Some of the edits are unproblematic - changing referenced information to no great effect, marking major edits as minor, and so forth - but the article could benefit from some admin oversight. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:28, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

Using Wikipedia for Content Marketing, SEO[edit]

For the interested. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 17:37, 15 April 2021 (UTC)

SEO is a species of vandalism: changing Wikipedia, not for any valid reason, but for your own commercial purposes. --Orange Mike | Talk 17:54, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
It links to How to Create a Wikipedia Page (Step by Step), which apart from neglecting to mention that we don't want articles "about yourself or your company", is a surprisingly good introduction to notability and article creation. It seems like paid editors have gotten savvier over the years and better understand how Wikipedia works. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing. – Joe (talk) 20:03, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
Yes that is quite an excellent guide, setting aside the disagreeableness of their business. At the same time, they only seem to be interested using WP as a means to an end; their account here does not extend to any interest beyond their own page.--- Possibly (talk) 23:26, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
Nice, they're encouraging people to create copyright violations on their own website. TAXIDICAE💰 23:31, 15 April 2021 (UTC)
Agree, surprisingly good, and "good guy". I suspect "dark arts" versions don't get as openly published. Gråbergs Gråa Sång (talk) 12:39, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Epos 257[edit]

This editor has been around for over 18 months and their first edit was to declare that they've been paid by the artist Epos 257 for their contributions to Wikipedia. Over those 18 months their only edits have been to what was a draft about the artist. So far so good. However that draft is now in mainspace, and the editor has not paid any attention to the two messages I've left them on their talk page about the need for them to make edit requests now, rather than edit the article directly. They just need a bit more weighty encouragement to do so. Curb Safe Charmer (talk) 13:53, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

I would like to apologize, next time I'll do it as you say...I´m sorry — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jiří Gruber (talkcontribs) 15:06, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
@Jiří Gruber: One hour after your apology, you created a new article Fire Mountain (art project) which is about the work of the artist that pays you, so I don't think you've really understood your responsibilities as a paid editor? Curb Safe Charmer (talk) 15:31, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
I´m sorry once again, I hope it's better now :( — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jiří Gruber (talkcontribs) 16:37, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Mark D. Siljander[edit]

The user at issue has a user page stating that he/she is "paid employee of the nonprofit associated with the work of Mark Siljander." There has been repeated inappropriate COI editing from this account over a series of months. The specific flavor of COI editing here is promotional whitewashing: removal of well-sourced, cited, appropriately weighed content; inappropriate threats in edit summaries; use of multiple accounts, etc. Neutralitytalk 17:15, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

  • The COI editor is now edit warring. Neutralitytalk 18:20, 16 April 2021 (UTC)
  • I am going to indefinitely block the COI editor. This is a clear case of a user who is here to promote and not to improve the encyclopedia, and the editor is now removing my comments on the article talk page (despite a clear warning that such deletions are unacceptable). I have been warding off the promotion here, but I do not think that I am sufficiently involved to preclude my block. To the extent that I'm involved, I think the COI and other considerations are so obvious that I think this is in IAR territory. If any other admin believes this should be handled in some other way, I give permission to modify the block or to give a conditional unblock. Neutralitytalk 22:16, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

As a COI editor, I request the two following edits:

1) The Justice Department's press release states, "It is important to note that the indictment does not charge any of the defendants with material support of terrorism, nor does it allege that they knowingly financed acts of terror." [1]

2) Judge Nanette Laughrey is quoted during sentencing saying: "But the truth is, when you look at this objectively, this is not a case about [Siljander] aiding a terrorist, it just isn't..." [2]

Please endeavor to publish without personal bias and with a complete and accurate context. The following reference provides a decent summary overview which indicates all ties to terrorism were merely alleged and suspected and that no defendant was charged with any such violation or association with terror funding: [3]


--GWaldron88 (talk) 17:57, 16 April 2021 (UTC)


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Transcript of Sentencing Proceedings" No. 07-00087-07-CR-W-NKL, January 11, 2012 reference line 20-22 on page 36 of the transcript.
  3. ^
Our article does not say, at any point, that Siljander was ever charged with or convicted of terrorism. It says, correctly, that he was convicted of obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent for a specific, now-defunct organization with ties to terrorism.
Your attempts to promotionally edit are unacceptable and are not going to work. Our article summarizes, accurately, the reliable sources, such as this Wall Street Jounrnal article ("Former Congressman Gets One Year For Lobbying For Terror Sponsor ... Siljander was indicted in 2008 and pleaded guilty in 2010. He admitted that he lobbied on behalf of IARA and repeatedly lied to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and prosecutors about it in two separate interviews.").
I have also removed your {{request edit}} template. As the template documentation specifies, this template is for article talk pages, not for noticeboards. Neutralitytalk 18:20, 16 April 2021 (UTC)

Tushar Rayate[edit]

He created Tushar Rayate, which was speedy deleted in 2016. Then he created it this time again. It is possible that this is probably an autobiography, probably because of his name or conflict of interest, which can be he is talking about his boss at work, the manager, or the owner of the company he’s working at. Kaseng55 (talk) 06:17, 17 April 2021 (UTC)


Added an external link to a website that has the same name as the username as seen in a contrib to Wireless. Kaseng55 (talk) 16:50, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

An advertiser and spammer. scope_creepTalk 19:12, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

Benjamin Smith (executive)[edit]

I came across Benjamin Smith (executive) after seeing this request for help posted on Wikipedia Commons. The article’s recent history shows some edits made by two WP:SPA IP editors in November 2020 and April 2021 which might be connected to the subject in some way, possibly even undisclosed paid editing. Prior to that, some other IPs appear to have by trying to add content related to a bonus controversy to the article since April 2020; so, the most recent edits could be an attempt to try and remove that. The edits made by Ben.lipsey trying to add a photo aren’t too much of a COI issue, but only registered account user’s can upload photos to Commons. So, it’s possible that the IPs and Ben.lipsey are one and the same and the IPs’s edits do appear to be COI related.

Would some others mind taking a look at this and assessing whether there’s anything to be concerned about here? The image copyright issue will be resolved over at Commons; it’s the edits made by the two IP accounts which need some assessing. —- Marchjuly (talk) 21:34, 17 April 2021 (UTC)

Thank you for taking a look at this Neutrality. I would've gone to the article's talk page first, but the three accounts mentioned above appear to be one-off SPAs and the article doesn't seem to be one that is very highly watched by others. -- Marchjuly (talk) 23:43, 17 April 2021 (UTC)