Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard

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Welcome to Conflict of interest Noticeboard (COIN)
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. Sections older than 14 days archived by MiszaBot II.
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Rocket Internet[edit]

inlink study (6 August 2015)
subsidiaries, investments, etc.

The Nigerian dot-com startup scene is a fascinating subject documented at Yabacon Valley. Unfortunately, billion-dollar IPOs plus shady business practices equals lots of COI articles on Wikipedia. I've listed here Rocket Internet and several of its creations. The list of SPA editors probably is quite extensive, I've just tapped a few here. @Garchy: you nominated the executive articles for speedy deletion. — Brianhe (talk) 14:11, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Addendum. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Kaymu may have been compromised by undisclosed, conflicted editors. @DGG: you nominated the article for deletion. — Brianhe (talk) 15:47, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

The problem, as usual with such articles, was whether the references were truly substantial, independent, and reliable. For many articles, fair people can think either way. In past years, I would usually give articles the benefit of the doubt. Now, for articles on companies, especially new companies, I increasingly think the opposite. For this particular article, I continue to consider the references (except possibly PCWorld) either general with merely a mention of the company or essentially press releases, & many of them from unreliable sources. But a really good press agent can get reliable sources to write respectable articles, and once there is a buzz in even the unreliable press, reliable sources tend to cover it. Our rules are inevitably helpless against such methods, because we must reflect the Real World, which is full of promotion and unreliability. (Incidentally, I just removed a list of the miscellaneous products they sell, which I considered a promotional product catalog.) If someone wants to renominate it, I'll comment.
More generally, perhaps every author of an article on a company should be required to certify in a positive way they have no financial connection. This might have more deterrent value than merely a rule against it. DGG ( talk ) 16:32, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
I just placed a tag for merging Kaymu Bangladesh to Kaymu. DGG ( talk ) 17:13, 22 July 2015 (UTC)
Multiple SPAs are arguing against the merge proposal, including this IP who appears to be speaking as two people, either accidentally or on purpose. — Brianhe (talk) 19:49, 28 July 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Added a new editor and another article in the Rocket Internet group. Brianhe (talk) 19:22, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

Added a bunch of articles based on inlink study to Rocket Internet. It's fairly clear there's been a program to write up many if not all of their companies. Added ‎Wintertanager in connection with inlink analysis: his edits appear in the last 30 days on Lazada Group‎, Lazada Philippines‎, Online Revolution‎, Lazada Indonesia‎, Askhanuman‎, and E-commerce in Southeast Asia. this linkspam is a typical addition. Not to mention creation of Lazada Group‎, a Rocket investment, with squidgy History-Management team-Funding sections. He has denied being a paid editor. — Brianhe (talk) 20:07, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Linkspam??? This is crazy. After I created the article for Lazada Group, I did a WP search for the term "Lazada" and added the WP links where there were none. Isn't that what I'm supposed to do????????? If not, what should I have done? Please let me know. You're making it seem like I have some kind of connection to these pages, when, very simply, the above pages were where 'Lazada' was listed!!! As for the sections in the article you mentioned, if there is an issue with Management team, just remove that section! I kind of agree, probably isn't relevant. Funding IMO is another matter because all of the notable news - article after article - is about their funding. Seems highly relevant and not 'squidgy' at all. But if you want to remove that because it violates some WP rule (not sure which one!), then go for it. I'm so over it. Don't lump me in with a bunch of low quality pages or people I've never heard of - I stand by the one I just made and spent a lot of time on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wintertanager (talk) 21:20, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
You've been on Wikipedia long enough, and certainly have worked enough corp articles, to know about WP:ELNO and WP:ELMINOFFICIAL. Your overuse of punctuation is not persuasive. If you're lumped in with crummy contribs to crummy articles, that's your own problem. In more fancified language, your edits are indistinguishable from those of a hired gun, and the onus for explaining it is on you now. Brianhe (talk) 22:46, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
How am I in violation of WP:ELNO and WP:ELMINOFFICIAL? I placed one link to the official website! Someone else went in and added other external links to the page I created, if that's what you're referring to. If not, please let me know which point I am in violation of for the two tangible WP rules you site above because I honestly don't understand. I also disagree that my edits are 'indistinguishable from those of a hired gun'; can you be more specific? The page I created is neutral, encyclopedic and well sourced. Wintertanager (talk) 23:15, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Either you added the links to the sub's, or someone-not-you in Bangkok has ESP and added them an hour after you created the article. Occam's razor. Logically, there is a third possibility, that you colluded with corporate interests in Bangkok, but I ruled that out AGF. Brianhe (talk) 00:05, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
Ironically I looked up this IP before coming here and can assure you I live very far from Thailand! I don't think someone watching any of the pages you list above would need ESP, but rather a simple email notification when Lazada WP links were added to those pages by me. That is a much better use of Occam's Razor and a more plausible explanation for a few dumb links added to the page by an anonymous user (you are right, I do know that one should only add one link to an official site - exactly what I did!). It is absolutely unfair that you are holding me responsible for another user's edits 4000 miles away that have not a thing to do with me. Wintertanager (talk) 00:52, 7 August 2015 (UTC)
Wintertanager, I've thought about what you said and think things have become a bit too confrontational here. I'm willing to stipulate that the IP was a party not connected to you, but that still leaves a lot to be explained. Your statement that you have a diverse editing history really doesn't wash; uploading a dozen or so California bird pictures just doesn't compare to the years of editing that I've already talked about at the other case. If you just come out and say you realize that you had some connection to one or more of these topics, it's OK, this isn't a trial. There are non-onerous disclosure rules to follow, and others who have come to COIN have done it and continued to participate at Wikipedia. I don't think scrutiny on your edits will necessarily increase beyond what it would have been once this case was opened. So the ball's in your court if you want to say anything. — Brianhe (talk) 16:53, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Looks like a rather large sockfarm has been operating on Foodpanda / hellofood. Master might be User:Mushroom9. Also Carmudi SPAs. One of the more insidious aspects of this case, but what makes it an interesting test case, is the billions of Western dollars (Euros actually) behind the European-based, highly tech savvy corp interests, paired with many willing, and I'm sure disposable to their masters, developing nation editors; this is Rocket Internet's explicit business development model, replacing the word "editors" with "consumers". Question for COIN team. What do we do now? Obviously I've poured some time into this, as it is one of the more egregious cases of probable corporate-sponsored abuse of Wikipedia. Do we have a WP:COVERT case here, and if so what happens as a result? There's one outstanding SPI (here) but experience tells me the accounts are unlikely to be connected. Blocking accounts on a reactive basis is likely to be a whack-a-mole exercise, but maybe it's a worthwhile gesture. I'll be disappointed if this doesn't move forward, because it seems to be a model case of what we're trying to stop at this noticeboard. We really need to figure out a plan. — Brianhe (talk) 18:43, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

@Brianhe: We do what we always do when big, powerful groups manipulate Wikipedia for nefarious purposes. We make as much noise as possible, go public, contact the media, and drag their name so far through the mud that it counteracts years of promotional wrongdoing. Winner 42 Talk to me! 22:49, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Meanwhile, back at Startup studio, which promoted a specific brand of business incubator, there's a proposal to merge that article into Business Incubator. A COI editor has now deleted the merge template three times, and has been reverted three times by three different editors. Please take a look and comment on the merge proposal. Thanks. John Nagle (talk) 21:40, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
Reduced hype level at "foodpanda". That article looks OK now, except that the country flags could go. John Nagle (talk) 21:53, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
Foodpanda / hellofood was vandalized in this edit. [2]. The name of the CEO/founder was changed by an anon. The plausible-looking change did not agree with the company's own site.[3]. Rolled back edit. Please watch for similar bogus edits. Thanks. John Nagle (talk) 20:03, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Jane Wesman Public Relations and others[edit]

Looks like some questionable stuff, including a bit on the founder of a PR firm, was created by one editor. Needs a look-see. I found some significant problems with Agostino von Hassell too, which looked a whole lot like a vanity bio, including a probably false portrayal of the subject as a U.S. Marine. Brianhe (talk) 04:27, 3 August 2015 (UTC)

Second editor for Agostino von Hassell and his father [4] suggests connection. Brianhe (talk) 14:38, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
@Sitush: you seem to have some more knowledge of this situation. Brianhe (talk) 20:05, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
I had dealings with the Belesis and John Thomas Financial articles, yes. Both have been very promotional/whitewashed and included wild claims that could only be substantiated to poor sources. I know nothing of the others that you list, nor can I recall whether any of those accounts were involved. - Sitush (talk) 20:09, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Interesting. The "art editor" created Thomas Belesis and has an interest in SEO [5] and online reputation management [6]. Brianhe (talk) 20:20, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Removed much of the peacocking. John Nagle (talk) 20:30, 3 August 2015 (UTC)
Agostino von Hassell has a problem. The article is carefully written to give the impression that he has a military background. His illustrious military ancestors are mentioned, there's a picture of him in uniform, and a long list of his military publications. But there's no mention of him having actually been in the military. Ripoff Report (not a reliable source) says he wasn't.[7] The picture of him in military uniform can be seen at higher resolution, but there's no insignia of rank. That's what civilian contractors and journalists wear in war zones. John Nagle (talk) 19:58, 4 August 2015 (UTC)
I noticed the consumer reports this afternoon. Retitled the image in the AvH article, and was considering cropping it because the military-style clothing (note complete lack of insignia) is misleading. And saw this a few minutes ago: von Hassell was a John Thomas Financial spokesperson. Brianhe (talk) 03:39, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
Oh, joy. Keep at it. I removed the "early life and education" section, which was all about his illustrious and notable ancestors, but had nothing about him. Clearly there's a pattern of promotional editing here. John Nagle (talk) 04:23, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Added SimpleStitch, a familiar name here at COIN. Active at First Manhattan Co. in the last 24 hours. Brianhe (talk) 05:00, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

SimpleStitch looks to me to be doing PR for these firms, which would be a problem if declared and a violation of ToS if not. Guy (Help!) 17:45, 5 August 2015 (UTC)
He says he is not, but is not able to say it here for whatever reason, although I have told and reminded him to do so. Looks non-responsive to me. — Brianhe (talk) 20:19, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────SimpleStitch was just blocked for sockpuppetry. I'd recommend a thorough re-look at these articles for other accounts that may have been used to edit. — Brianhe (talk) 03:25, 17 August 2015 (UTC)


This is in addition to the separate #Rocket Internet stuff listed above (diff). The articles listed here are a reverse chronological record of virtually his entire editing history, which is obviously centered on publicity-seeking entities.

Attention is called to extensive editing history on former Ogilvy and Mather (PR) exec M. T. Carney and talent agent Michael Ovitz. The editor has been advised explicitly about our COI policy on 10 February [12] by DissidentAggressor, and reminded/asked with this comment on 8 May and this comment on 9 May, then asked explicitly again by me 6 August [13]. The reply to the last is here. — Brianhe (talk) 20:19, 6 August 2015 (UTC)

MT Carney is notable for several reasons: 1. (female) former President of Marketing for Disney; 2. founder of largest nail salon chain in U.K. and 3. founder of Naked Communications, an innovator on many levels. The 'extensive editing' was over semantics with her name (changed from MT to M.T.), no more or less 'extensive' than the other editors who participated! Wintertanager (talk) 22:00, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
See also Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Amanda_Rosenberg#wintertanager - discussion about Wintertanager's desire to wikiwash well-sourced negative info out of article about girlfriend of Google Executive Executive Sergey Brin, former girlfriend of Hugo Barra (mentioned above). COI discussed there too.
I'd advocate a topic ban on companies and their executives (including producers and directors). The pattern is more than clear and fairly wide ranging. The Dissident Aggressor 20:28, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Can you find any non-contentious edits by this editor at all? Guy (Help!) 21:08, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Wikiwash???? You cannot blanketly call BLP absolutley valid objections 'Wikiwash' - the page you refer to was removed entirely by other editors. Wintertanager (talk) 22:00, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
I address the "Rocket Internet" COI above - literally I created a page for Lazada Group and, when finished, did a WP search for the page name 'Lazada', and linked those previously unlinked terms. Isn't that exactly what one is supposed to do when one creates a new page? But no, somehow I have now 'edited' all of these related pages - how was I supposed to know that they were part of some larger investigation into Rocket Internet. I have nothing to do with that and encourage you to pursue it further. Wintertanager (talk) 22:00, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Why are my contributions suddenly contentious? To date I had thought they were valuable and good and relevant to a user interested in them; apparently not. And 'this editor' is me. I am a pretty reasonable guy, try communicating with me rather than condeming me. Yes I tend to write about tech related subjects now (not sure how those qualify as 'attention-seeking' - would love to know that criteria) - I believe I do so according to WP's rules, better so than the vast majority of editors out there. As for other contributions, there was a time when I was into photography and contributed photographs to WP of native birds, plants and insects including the black necked stilt, black phoebe, salt marsh fleabane, green lynx spider, bush goldenrod, bush sunflower, fiery skipper, etc. Lovely photos, however I stopped when the stilt accused me of a COI with the spider. Wintertanager (talk) 21:48, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
To say your edits are suddenly contentious is a farce. Your edits are so contentious that the only way you escaped being blocked in May was to agree to voluntary sanctions. There are more discussions of this editor using Wikipedia for PR purposes in that thread.
Beyond that thread, there is some pretty hard evidence of your COI presented in this discussion. The Dissident Aggressor 22:04, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
That is absolutely true (voluntary sanctions ruling), and I felt badly about how I initially reacted to those edits, especially when other editors agreed that I had removed a tag when I shouldn't have. I absolutely respected that voluntary sanction and privately apologized to you as well. I meant what I said then - I learned a lot about what you objected to in my entries and have since respected every edit you made. Wintertanager (talk) 22:09, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
I stand by that discussion. Wintertanager (talk) 22:11, 6 August 2015 (UTC)
Please note that I have undone the refactoring/splitting of both my and Brianhe's comments above the best I can. The Dissident Aggressor 00:54, 7 August 2015 (UTC)

I believe the evidence and pattern of edits is clear and agree it is problematic. I propose a topic ban on this editor for companies and their executives (including producers and directors). The Dissident Aggressor 18:05, 10 August 2015 (UTC)

Obviously, I agree with the proposed topic ban. Question, would this extend to de-prodding such articles or contributing to AfDs, including those concerning the articles created by same editor? — Brianhe (talk) 23:31, 10 August 2015 (UTC)
A topic ban is a topic ban. No edits on the topic - no deprod, no afd. The Dissident Aggressor 17:08, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
I have contributed many quality articles on notable subjects that previously either lacked an entry altogether or were very poorly constructed, heavily biased and not compliant with WP's rules. I'm quite proud of those; they took me a lot of time and effort to do well. I am interested in tech and business, think I have every right to be and shouldn't have to justify at all any more than I have already. I think it is incredibly unfair to ban someone so harshly - Wikipedia has always had fair and reasonable policies to users and this is absolutely the opposite. I would like to continue contributing on the very issues I know about that could benefit the larger community. The only thing you have really accused me of is on writing in too narrow a niche. Sorry! How long does such a ban last? Permanently? What aside from a list of pages I have worked on is your criteria for a ban? Is there any recourse for me to follow if I feel this is unjust? (which I do). It has been a frustrating experience to say the least; I don't believe you should have the right or power to make a decision like this. Why not instead let me know where I need to correct something I have contributed, and I will! I think one of the things you have in me is a willingness to understand what you have objected to in my contributions and a sincere desire to fix those things if they exist. Those editors who have reviewed my contributions have largely been very favorable, and when they haven't I have joined with them in improving the quality of the content and addressing whatever legitimate issue arrises. But honestly, it doesn't really seem to matter at all how I defend myself; you're minds are made up and I am utterly helpless to do a thing about it. Wintertanager (talk) 22:58, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Your recourse is this discussion - it's a noticeboard. We work by consensus. So far nobody has come to your defense. The opportunity is now if any third parties (with a history of constructive contributions) who want to speak up for Wintertanager and say that the the fact that s/he appears to be promoting a series of mostly connected tech executives, producers and directives in violation of NPOV has another plausible explanation. Wintertanager's actions speak for themselves at this point.
As for clarification of the scope of the proposed ban, it is self-evident and no clarification is needed : You would be prohibited from editing articles about companies and executives (including producers and directors).
Such a ban, if enacted, would be indefinite. The Dissident Aggressor 03:21, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
The Dissident Aggressor, what is behind your extreme interest in going after me specifically? Shouldn't you recuse yourself based on YOUR history? You are hardly impartial. On page after page, why is it that you are always the one adding tags, leaving comments on my personal page, etc.? Why, for instance did you just add a COI tag and 'Advert' tag on the Lazada Group page (which you made virtually no revisions to, because there are no issues to revise), when none of the other flagged pages for Rocket Internet, all of which are low quality, poorly sourced, transparently promotional,etc. ( i.e. pages with actual issues) contain any such tags? WP:HARASS - "the purpose is to make the target feel threatened or intimidated, and the outcome may be to make editing Wikipedia unpleasant for the target, to undermine them, to frighten them, or to discourage them from editing entirely." You have certainly accomplished that. (Wintertanager) 22:19, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
Don't think you can deflect this onto DissidentA. Let's forget about him, let's talk about your editing -- content not person, remember? There's now many kB of text in this case, contributed by several editors, and it won't go away that easily. You call the investigation "unfair", decry the "right or power" of anybody to conduct it, and appeal to stuff like "harassment" and your own supposed feelings of injustice. Do you have anything but hand-waving to say to the specific issues raised here? Are you really going to hold up Jeremy Frommer to the light of scrutiny and say it's not a resume but a neutral, well-written article? Don't insult our intelligence by implying you can spin a roulette wheel of all the unwritten-about people in the world and all it comes up with is "serial entrepreneurs" and hedge fund managers. Brianhe (talk) 22:40, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm not deflecting anything, though I do believe he should recuse himself. I didn't contribute Jeremy Frommer, I made a few edits on it many years ago. What 'serial entrepreneurs' are you referring to; every page I've created has easily met notability. Please, please talk about my editing. I would love that. That's all I've been talking about. I maintain, again, that my editing adheres to all of WP's principles: neutral, encyclopedic, well-written, notable and well sourced. Have I become better at it over the years? Yes, so has everyone here. The latest page I've contributed, Lazada Group is all those things. However now it has tags added that I believe are unwarranted and should be removed. I'm not going to touch them obviously, but someone should. The topic - the content - is absolutely notable and Wikipedia would be improved with an enclyclopedic entry about it, which did not exist before I created the page. That page should be neutral and encyclopedic, I believe that very passionately, as - I assume - do you. But what I notice is a lot of tags and no effort to actually improve the page. So yes, let's talk about content - I invite you: edit the page, improve the page, fix whatever it is you deem broken. I encourage you to. I, like you, want pages that resonate with people genuinely interested in these topics. Nothing more and nothing less. Wintertanager (talk) 22:59, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Hey all, I have been away for a while. I reviewed a bunch of this, and from what I can see, no one has asked the direct questions to Wintertanager, nor has he/she directly answered, so please allow me to do that.... Wintertanager:
a) Do you have any connection with any of the people or companies you have edited about? (by that I am asking if you know the people, if you work for the companies, or work for an agency that works for/with the people or companies)
b) Have you ever been paid, or expect to be paid, for editing Wikipedia?
Please do answer simply and directly. A "yes" on either question would mean you have a conflict of interest (COI). Editors with a COI are and can be part of the community - we just ask them to do a few things differently. (to disclose the COI, and to work with a form of peer review) But please do let us know. (if the answer to either is "yes", please do be honest about it - you would be amazed at how much better things go, when things are made transparent; if the answer is no, then say "no" - I will have some suggestions on how to possibly move forward in that case) Thanks! Jytdog (talk) 23:04, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes Jytdog, I have a COI. I'd appreciate your advice on how to proceed. Wintertanager (talk) 01:16, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Brianhe and DissidentAggressor please refrain from commenting here while Wintertanager and I talk. Please. I'll have something to say to each of you in bit, but please hold back. Thanks in advance.
Wintertanager, thanks for disclosing that. Step by step here. Would you please disclose the nature of your COI? Please do keep in mind that the Terms of Use require that if you are being paid, that you disclose your " employer, client and affiliation". Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 02:34, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Jytdog I currently edit on behalf of Lazada Group. I am self-employed. Wintertanager (talk) 16:01, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for answering, about your current client. So here's the situation as I see it, Wintertanager. I am going to be frank and clear here, as I was frank and clear when I simply asked you the questions. I apologize in advance, as this is kind of long.
On the one hand, it is baffling to me that nobody has simply asked you the questions, directly and clearly, in all this time. I think you've been ... not well served by the community, in that regard. On the other hand, p You have been directly asked in the past, and [here said no]. People have brought up the issue with you, with notices and statements, that you simply skipped around instead of answering directly. (They give you those notices and make those claims, looking for a direct response. It is a little passive-aggressive-y to me to give a notice and not ask a question, but that is beside the point) More importantly, you have been made aware of the Terms of Use that kicked in last summer, and you have not fulfilled the positive obligation it put on you, to disclose your paid editing. And even here, you frankly lied when you wrote "I, like you, want pages that resonate with people genuinely interested in these topics. Nothing more and nothing less." There is definitely a something "more", in that you want to please your client so you can get paid; and you want these edits to stick, so you can show them to future clients to get more work. So you have dug yourself a big hole, and taken up a bunch of the time of DA and BrianHe, and the community - all of whom are volunteers and could have been building content.
That is all behind-the-scenes stuff.
Probably the more important issue, is that you have added just a ton of bad content to WP, and this harms the encyclopedia. Many people have told you this, many times, and instead of taking that on board, you have protested that you think your editing is OK, and/or asked people to identify specific issues that need fixing. But here is the thing that you haven't been understanding (and that our WP:COI guideline talks about. If you haven't read that with a goal of learning, I urge you to do so) When you edit with a COI, it is almost impossible to edit neutrally. You come to the topic with a bias - you see the topic with a bias. And that comes through in your editing. You can't see it, but others, who are not conflicted, can. And they have. Biased editing hurts Wikipedia; readers come across that, and they lose trust in us. When they lose trust, WP becomes less valuable to the world. And to your clients. And to you, as a paid editor. And by taking up the community's time to deal with it (not only by fixing the content, but by dealing with you behind the scenes) good content that could have been created, hasn't been. When you do bad things, more bad things ripple out from it. The opposite is also true.
So you are really at a fork in the road here. So is the community.
As for the community - You have done enough damage, that the community could decide to indefinitely block you now, or place a topic ban on you. Or not.
As for you... you could start taking the high road, carefully and with full transparency, or not. If you choose the high road, that would mean:
* fully disclosing all your past and current paid editing (employer, client and affiliation) and promising to do that going forward (and doing it), Ideally you would make all those disclosures in one central place, like your User page, in addition to disclosing on the article talk page (ideally with the {{connected contributor}} template in the header, which endures when Talk pages are archived)
* putting new articles you create through WP:AFC with a COI disclosure, instead of creating articles directly (this provides peer review, to address bias before the whole articles go live)
* instead of directly editing existing articles, using the "edit request" function to propose content changes on the Talk page (this also provides peer review, to address bias before edits go live
Those two things - disclosure and peer review - are how Wikipedia works with editors who have a COI to manage their COI. As I wrote above, people who have a COI are part of the community, but we ask them to do some things differently. I recognize that going through peer review is not as efficient as editing directly, but Wikipedia doesn't place a high value on efficiency - there are no deadlines here, as we say. On your side, doing those different things is what allows trust within the community; the distrust your behavior so far has engendered is what happens when people don't work with the community to manage their COI. It is not pretty to see that distrust, and it must have been very unpleasant for you to live with it, and having that distrust rolling around the community harms the community. It doesn't have to be that way. If you choose this road, you will find (eventually) that things will go more smoothly for you, when you are transparent. Not as efficient, but more smooth.
That is all the "high road" path. You could choose to half-disclose, or continue with other not-fully-transparent behaviors, but by now I don't think the community would have much tolerance for that. It would probably lead to more misery and drama and ultimately, probably, to an indefinite ban for you.
OK, that was long, but that is how I see things. So you have some agency here - what path do you choose? (Please know that if you choose the high path now, you are going to have to endure and accept some mistrust and close monitoring. It takes time to build trust) Thanks for your patience. Jytdog (talk) 17:05, 15 August 2015 (UTC) (amended per markup Jytdog (talk) 18:55, 15 August 2015 (UTC))
Actually, W was asked, via a template that was called brashly direct by another editor, and W replied in the negative here. Brianhe (talk) 17:51, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, I missed that. I am sorry for missing it and the the judgements I made based on that miss. Struck and added above. You actually did that very clearly, and in my view, well. Jytdog (talk) 18:55, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Anyway, Wintertanager, the ball is in your court here. Jytdog (talk) 18:56, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I am interested in taking the high road, that is why I have made this admission. I am happy to comply with the suggestions you make; indeed it will alleviate anxiety and allow me - abiding by the path you have suggested I pursue - to submit entries and edits, albeit inefficiently. In terms of your other points, I understand your perspective regarding one's personal blind spots to unbiased editing and will adhere to what you suggest above to alleviate those concerns. When it comes to content I don't think I very much disagree I have "added just a ton of bad content to WP". I stand by Lazada Group as a notable, neutral, encyclopedic, well-written, and well sourced and - if that is not so - I encourage someone to identify tangible issues with content for the sake of the community and the quality of the encyclopedia. If the page does not adhere to WP's principles, I urge and encourage steps taken to fix that page, and yet those content-related steps never seem to transpire. Wintertanager (talk) 21:58, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Thanks for reading that slog and replying and for agreeing to follow the COI guideline and Terms of Use going forward. As I wrote above, from what I can see, the community is pretty close to indeffing you. They may still do. I recommend you post a full disclosure of your paid editing on your userpage sooner rather than later.

With regard to the Lazada article... Part of the picture you may not be seeing yet, is that none of us who work at COIN love going around behind paid editors and cleaning up after them. We don't care about Lazada - we care that the WP article on Lazada is decent. I will take up some of my weekend to clean up the article and you will get a sense of what a NPOV view of them actually looks like.

But really, your nod toward understanding what COI says about inherent bias is, to be frank, arrogant baloney. The Lazada article is promotional. I see DissidentAggressor has been over it once and tagged some things - what he doesn't seem to have done is go read about Lazada so he could bring sources to tell the story, warts and all. (the article depicts one glorious rise with no hitches, which seems pretty fake - no company is without failures along the way.) And there is not a word about profits (the reason why a company exists), which if they are anything like Amazon in that regard, they have none of. And... a quick google search for "Lazada profit" brings up the story pretty quickly. Nothing about that in the article. What advocates don't add to articles is often more telling than what they do. I came across an article about a guy who made all his money running porn websites (not Jimbo); the article didn't mention where he got his money. Paid editor wrote that.

Anyway, if you have questions about best practices for following the the COI guideline, feel free to ping me. And again, the community may still indef you. I wouldn't oppose it, based on all of your behavior to date. There is a strong tendency in WP to mercy in order to retain editors, but paid editors strain that. That is all I have to say. Jytdog (talk) 23:05, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Okay fair enough Jytdog, I appreciate your candor and I think inclusion of the profitability story makes a lot of sense. I agree with your statement that 'We don't care about Lazada - we care that the WP article on Lazada is decent'. That's what I want as well. I encourage you to add the 'whole story' if it is notable and sourced. I believe that for anyone interested in tech in Asia, growth of e-commerce in emerging markets, etc. Lazada Group is highly relevant - much like Alibaba and other companies - it needs a WP article and I'm proud of the fact I helped contribute to it, provided that contribution was neutral and encyclopedic. If it isn't, all I can say is I genuinely wanted it to be and hope my entry facilitates the evolution of the page (unlike most of the pages flagged here). I do feel like you are warning me: 'you want to see what a NPOV is really like? Wait until I get through with it!' How is that any different than the 'bias' you claim I have? Add warts, but not for the sake of proving to me what a page looks like with warts; add them for the sake of providing a qualitative, well-rounded page for an interested audience. Honestly, here is what I don't understand: you claimed that I "would be amazed at how much better things go" if I came forward and admitted a COI. Well I did come forward and I am not amazed at all! It appears there is no difference between having done so and not having done so. I would warn anyone being told that there is a 'positive alternative' to coming forward as a viable participant in the community, subject to certain rules, etc. - when - from what I can see - there is no such thing. Lastly, I have added my COI to my user page (or, am doing second after I hit save here) to comply with your request. I do hope there is some solution here; I don't want to stop contributing to WP and I do believe I have value to add in my contributions. It has been stressful to have such antagonism towards me and I would like to resolve that antagonism. If there is indeed a path to redemption in your and other's eyes, I am likely more willing to take it than you would imagine me to be. Wintertanager (talk) 01:09, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Here is the issue WT - What I was looking for was you stepping all the way through. You gave a partial disclosure (only who is currently paying you) and a bunch of attitude. All the way through would have been something like: "I have lied a lot and I am sorry to everybody for causing all this drama. With regard to the editing I've done, I've done the best I can to make the articles neutral, and I hear you, that the articles need work. I will get right on with making the disclosure of all my paid editing, and hope we can work together in a better way going forward. I know it will take time for you to trust me." Simple. As for your accusation that I am going to spin the article negatively - all I have to say to that, is meh. Jytdog (talk) 02:05, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
I understand and appreciate your perspective Jytdog, although what you call attitude is my honest point of view. I have a COI on some but not all of past pages I have worked on. I would risk personal liability to disclose more than that. Therefore I've pledged on my user page that I follow your COI criteria for all edits/pages moving forward. I apologize for lying; it was a position that made me very uncomfortable and ultimately led to me coming forward. Wintertanager (talk) 15:08, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
When you say that you "risk personal liability" are you saying that you signed conflidentiality agreements that prevent you from disclosing that you edited for pay? Jytdog (talk) 15:31, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
I said no such thing, but the former is possible. And now, I see through my coming forward that pages I've contributed to are suddenly subject to more tags, chainsaws, etc. - no focus on content, just a lot of tags. I see there is a much greater price to coming forward than you portrayed; there is no benefit at all, rather punishment. "Editors with a COI are and can be part of the community - we just ask them to do a few things differently" and "you would be amazed at how much better things go, when things are made transparent" are false. Wintertanager (talk) 16:17, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
You wrote that you "risk personal liability" if you disclose past paid editing; the only situation I can imagine where you would have that, is if you made a contractual agreement to not disclose the relationship. I know that you didn't say that you had signed any such thing; I was just trying to understand what personal liability you might face. In any case, I told you that you would face more scrutiny. The benefit of coming forward is that you have a chance of actually building trust and establishing a presence here as a paid editor who honors WP's policies and guidelines. There are a few who do that. Like I said, you either come all the way through to transparency and work on building up trust from the very deep hole you are in now, or you probably get indeffed. The high road is not easy, but because you are in a deep hole, it was really your only way forward. I say "was" because it appears that you are not actually taking the high road. That is your choice. So be it. Jytdog (talk) 16:22, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Looks like the conversation with Jytdog has wound down. Recommend a topic ban proposed above by DissidentAggressor for unwillingness to comply with TOS by disclosing "employer, client and affiliation", specifically past clients. — Brianhe (talk) 15:39, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

  • I am now in favor of the community taking action here. I think the topic ban is poorly defined, though. Instead, I propose an indefinite block for WP:NOTHERE - in this case, violation of the ToU and violating WP:NOTADVOCATE with all the WP:NPOV and WP:TENDENTIOUS problems that come with that. In my view, any admin could do this without polling the community, but that would come down to what the admin is comfortable with. Jytdog (talk) 14:30, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
* Support community ban. The Dissident Aggressor 16:52, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Jerry Speziale[edit]

I'm unsure whether to post this here or at BLPN, but since I'm pretty convinced there is a COI involved I'm putting it here.

I need help with this article, it was recently re-worked by @Drmies: and myself from this utterly-over-the-top piece of puffery to something more NPOV and reliably sourced. Unfortunately, the IPs and SPAs above seem very determined to return the article to something resembling its former state: removing well-sourced info that reflects negatively on Speziale, adding unsourced content to make him look good (some of which directly contradicts what reliable sources say), adding copyright violations, altering direct quotes from sources, etc. It's a mess: I've been doing my best to keep the page in order and accurate, but the volume and frequency of edits makes this a lot of work, and I am uncomfortable continually reverting them/don't want to be "owning" the page. Please help me watch this page and keep it in order.

As far as a possible COI: the edits are clearly promotional in nature, and the IPs trace either to Paterson, NJ (where Speziale is a police official) or Wayne, NJ (a suburb of Paterson). One IP location search I did even identified the 108. IP as belonging to "Patterson PD."

I've made every effort to engage these editors, but they've been unresponsive except for a legal threat made today by City Government. Given the legal threat, it would be good for someone else to look the article over for BLP violations as well. I don't think there are any, but this guy has had a lot of controversies over the course of his career, and there has been a lot of back-and-forth editing over the past few days. It may be worth noting that there have been a couple other IPs and SPAs who've shown up to add negative information about Speziale, and that he is very much "in the news" (with some potentially unflattering stories) in NY and NJ lately. Some content had to be rev-del'd a couple weeks ago. Fyddlestix (talk) 15:54, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

  • Fyddlestix, thank you for filing this. I agree completely, and I just reverted another dozen such promotional edits. Given my involvement with the article I should probably not act as an admin, and one would not want to semi-protect an article like this, but we may have no choice. Well, blocking the IPs. Maybe. But this has gone on long enough, and even in its more slimmed-down version, the article is still way too long/detailed. 15:58, 9 August 2015 (UTC)
  • In other news, I just deleted User:City Government/sandbox for being a legal threat (signaled by ToonLucas22)--it is so obvious that any admin could have made that call. That user should probably be blocked for it, and for a username violation, but I'll leave that to the next admin. And perhaps an SPI should be filed as well. Drmies (talk) 16:05, 9 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm 90% certain that all three users are the same person, actually - if you look at the page history, it's pretty clear that both IPs have briefly logged in as City Government to upload/add a (copyrighted) image on separate occasions, before logging back out to continue editing as an IP - all in consecutive edits within a few minutes. I warned City Government about editing while logged out yesterday, and was going to file an SPI if it continued. Fyddlestix (talk) 16:15, 9 August 2015 (UTC)
I soft-blocked the account on the basis of WP:ISU only, he is free to create a new one if he wishes. Looking at the diffs, what he seems to want is to add some balancing material to the controversies he's been involved in, which is fine except that he also added an OR narrative to it rather than just say what the sources say. That's what stopped me from pulling the trigger on a full NLT block, since he did not amend or remove any of the existing material. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 22:49, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

IPs are back at it, see recent edits and this post at BLPN. Honestly think this article needs protection at this point, the issue goes all the way back to its creation. Fyddlestix (talk) 13:43, 11 August 2015 (UTC)

See this SPI from 2011 too. This is a long term project for someone. Fyddlestix (talk) 15:14, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Concur. At the very least, this may push the IP's to use the article talk page. Ravensfire (talk) 14:26, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
I wonder why the extreme zeal in this case. The article isn't getting particularly high pageviews -- up to only ~300 per day, lately. Brianhe (talk) 15:03, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
  • I've had enough of this. I'm reverting the IP's latest batch, and I'm going to block them. Drmies (talk) 17:38, 11 August 2015 (UTC)
Appears to now be using Festa Legal (talk · contribs). Ravensfire (talk) 14:25, 12 August 2015 (UTC)
Festa Legal was blocked for a username violation, but Factser (talk · contribs) has since appeared, and (talk · contribs) is right back at it now that their block has expired. Fyddlestix (talk) 01:38, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I have requested semi-protection, hopefully the admins over there will see the need for it. Fyddlestix (talk) 01:59, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
A (hopefully final) update: the article has been semi-protected for six months, and two different editors have gone over it to remove excessive/undue material. I think the article's in pretty good shape now, but it needs watching to make sure that it isn't targeted by COI editing or socks in the future. If past behavior is any indication, it's probably only a matter of time before the person or persons who've been messing with this page get auto-confirmed accounts and start puffing it up again. I got a note about the article on my talk page just this morning, from a newly-registered account. Personally I'd really like to not waste any further time on this article, so would very much appreciate it if people could help keep an eye on it. Fyddlestix (talk) 17:10, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
New legal threats (at least, I think these are legal threats) have just been made on the article talk page. [14][15] Fyddlestix (talk) 21:30, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
They also mention "slander and libel" on their userpage [16]. I reverted the edits to Talk:Jerry Speziale only. Brianhe (talk) 21:56, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

BeenAroundAWhile irregularities[edit]

creations - not disclosed as paid (or disclosure not currently visible)
creations - disclosed as paid only in edit summary (first edit on article)
creations - properly disclosed on article's talkpage
others edited with irregularities

I've noticed some disturbing irregularities in BeenAroundAWhile's paid editing disclosures. He appears to have begun paid editing in December, 2014, but not all of the articles that look really paid-ish have disclosures. The case of his most recent creation, Sadkhin Complex, is especially perturbing, where he created a disclosure on his userpage, but then deleted the disclosure a little more than a week later. We also have a username change in this case, which isn't wrong but fits a pattern that's been seen at the noticeboard before. Listed above are his creations since December, 2014 and their status near as I can tell.

There's some other funny stuff that's not totally ready for a write-up yet, but Lisa Gale Garrigues, Intervals (software) and Tejon Mountain Village caught my eye. Brianhe (talk) 03:01, 13 August 2015 (UTC)

Followup. Quercus77 was a SPA who edited Lisa Gale Garrigues. The connection is not obvious in the article history, but BAAW's final edit in the cycle that created the article (after which he didn't re-visit it for over four months) was followed less than three hours later by this edit cycle of the same material in Quercus77's sandbox. Too close to be coincidental. Then there's an IP who both edits the Garrigues article on Quercus77's heels, and edits BAAW's sandbox in 2014. — Brianhe (talk) 03:44, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Further followup. Jennifer E. Flanagan was edited by BAAW and SPA KT44 within 2 minutes of one another. Looks like collaboration on a CEO biography. — Brianhe (talk) 04:49, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
OK, getting started on this.
  • - flagged as ad, but notable enough to keep. Just needs some toning down.
  • Revel Body - marginally notable, but probably fails WP:CORP. Proposed deletion.
  • Slice, Inc. - notable company with good press coverage, terrible ad-like article. Removed heavy PR type content.
  • Facial water - began as an ad, but all product references were removed and it's now a critical comment on a form of expensive water.
John Nagle (talk) 05:09, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
Further followup. Link insertion to Fletchers Solicitors has occurred both with and without disclosure of paid editing (yes it is now a redlink, it has been deleted four times). This looks like wikiwashing at Ripoff Report. Apparent collaboration with SPA Ron Jay at Ronald Rand including removing COI tag. The article's creator signed the talkpage as "Rita Fredricks Saltzman Vice-Chair of SPI", who is a professional PR person. — Brianhe (talk) 05:43, 13 August 2015 (UTC)
To sort out the above, I did paid work on the, Revel Body, Slice Inc., Sadkhin Complex and Facial Water articles. I believe I made the disclosures required at the time concerning my paid work, although I might have missed some where the editing was minor. I have not been paid for work on any of the other articles mentioned above (and have forgotten some of them because the editing was so minor). I must stress that I did the editing – even the paid stuff – in WP:good faith, believing that all of the entries indeed fulfilled Wikipedia policies regarding WP:Notability, but of course it's a cooperative venture, so I stand ready to see my stuff heavily edited or redacted (even improved), as we all do, and I have learned from the experience. I also stress that some folks simply don't know how to write and submit Wikipedia articles, so they stand ready to ask others to do so for them, and to offer payment in return. This is legal in our society, and it is called free enterprise. I have also helped other people with articles on a volunteer basis, from the goodness of my rather large heart, and I have no intention of declaring "nonpaid editing" in connection with any of my charity. I will continue to do my part to help these people out to the benefit of both them and our encyclopedia. It is very frustrating to have to defend myself from incendiary postings such as the above, based partly upon my perfectly legal and (to some) even praiseworthy work and partly upon some rather nebulous stitching-up of cobwebs. It smacks of WP:Harrassment, the reading of which I commend to all concerned. Yours sincerely, BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 15:43, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── @BeenAroundAWhile:, your appeal to free enterprise is as irrelevant here as appeals to the First Amendment. Wikipedia is a volunteer-run charity funded project, it is a private, not a public space. What you see as "free enterprise", others see as evil. Making money off the back of volunteer efforts is not noble, is not an exercise of any rights, it is a shitty trick which people can get away with some of the time. You do not get to claim credit for "helping" people with articles out of your "charity", because that is what we all do. All of us here give our time and resources gratis, your making money out of it is the exception not the rule.

You need to be aware that a lot of us do not like what you are doing. Paid editing is evil for two reasons: the paid editor has a disproportionate motive to protect the content, and the burden of checking for neutrality falls on people who are not being paid for their efforts. Not only are you essentially taking money under false pretences, because you have no right to make any warranty of inclusion, but you are also risking your customers' reputation, because as and when it becomes known that their article on Wikipedia is paid advertorial, that can reflect extremely badly on them. Do not underestimate the extent to which some of us despise this kind of thing. Guy (Help!) 08:05, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

Sudip Bose[edit]

I'm recusing myself from editing this due to potential personal COI, but do feel comfortable pointing out potential issues in the article for others to consider.

  • Article was constructed by a SPA and has had little input from regulars.
  • The infobox education field is unusually populated.
  • Repeatedly refers to subject with honorific against WP:HONORIFIC guideline.
  • Military medals are self-cited (
  • Circular references against WP:CIRCULAR guideline.

Cheers Brianhe (talk) 16:24, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

The subject is notable, but the promotion was excessive. I trimmed some of that, and put "citation needed" on a few claims. John Nagle (talk) 06:00, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Shaw Academy and others[edit]

Noticed an editor had created an article on a filmmaker which also has an abandoned, but fairly complete, version in another user's sandbox (a three-edit SPA). This isn't wrong per se, but is troubling as it is something seen before with suspected cases of failed article-for-hire contracts. this conversation with Y shows that he'd had trouble starting out, but this and his next attempt were remarkably complete drafts of high-tech entities. This edit on 1 August 2014 by a user with a name indicating a connection says "my acceptation" in the edit summary, a strange thing to say. Finally I'd like to hear from BeenAroundAWhile what his connection to the subject is. Brianhe (talk) 18:54, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

So I'm spot-checking the user's first edits preceding the creation of .app (gTLD), of which there were exactly ten made within ten minutes. At least this one is completely bogus, introduces a falsehood into the article, clearly made just to run up the edit counter. Probably this also. Brianhe (talk) 23:04, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
I will admit that I had a COI when I wrote my sandbox article. I was working for Carroll at the time. But I also was committed to sticking very closely to Wikipedia guidelines for neutrality and using reliable sources. I abandoned the article after I stopped working for Carroll. I have no connection to any of the other users. To my eye, the published entry for Carroll reads very, very differently from what I created. I do not think it was based on my work. I also think that Carroll's contributions to Digital Post Production Workflow are significant and recognized in Hollywood, if largely undocumented in public sources, which is why I was willing to write the article in the first place. Edit: To be clear, I was not hired to write the article. I wrote it while employed by Carroll.Mashimaro3277 (talk) 19:39, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
User:Mashimaro3277, if you wrote it while an employee as part of your duties, it would have come within the policy requiring disclosure, except that this policy was not yet in force at the time. See our Terms of Use, particularly with respect to paid contributions without disclosure DGG ( talk ) 06:37, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough, but it was never published (as far as I am aware), so I figured it was fine. Like I said, I abandoned the article over a year ago. I do not think the current article is based on mine, regardless of the source. Mashimaro3277 (talk) 0:42, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
@Smartse:, @DGG: I have located compelling evidence off-wiki that the Carroll bio or something very similar at near the same time was a work for hire for which BeenAroundAWhile received completion feedback on March 24. At this point, given the cloud over his disclosure discussed in the other case here, I suggest you should consider admin actions. I will email my evidence to oversight as advised in previous cases of this nature. Brianhe (talk) 06:23, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Where were you advised to mail to oversight? it doesn't seem within the remit of s oversighter. I'd suggest arbcom, and when we get it, we'll figure out to to handle it. (unless they already advised you and I missed it) We need to develop a formal procedure for dealing with this sort of thing. The question it poses is whether to run a spi, under the assumption they will have written more such articles, but I'm not sure it falls within present Checkuser policy, which needs clarification and perhaps even extension to deal with this sort of situation. DGG ( talk ) 06:37, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Not oversight, my mistake -- functionaries was who I was told to use before. That's sort of equivalent to arbcom if I understand correctly? This is where I was told to use the functionaries email list, when I see you have confirmed, I will press send. — Brianhe (talk) 07:14, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
@Brianhe: If it is really clearcut and therefore a sign of BAAW gaming the system then I'll act on it. Can you email it to me? SmartSE (talk) 11:58, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

List of current and former McKinsey & Company consultants[edit]

A while back I asked whether the community was comfortable with me directly editing this article with a conflict of interest. Because it's a List page that only needed copious amounts of tedious labor to find sources and verify alumni, it seemed like the opportunity for bias was not significant and editors agreed. The article at the time was almost completely original research.

Since then, I've added 244 citations and verified the latest job titles of hundreds of alumni listed on the page. I just thought I would post here again saying "I'm done" in case anyone wants to verify that I did not incorporate any COI edits and to request that editors verify the tags saying the article is unsourced can be taken down now that they have been adequately addressed.

Thanks in advance! CorporateM (Talk) 20:48, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

Well, it's a nice list, but does it have a place in Wikipedia? Probably not. How about converting it to a category, adding that as an attribute of notable people with histories at McKinsey? John Nagle (talk) 05:51, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I think we can have both.Lists and categories are complementary--the list indicates the position, which is helpful information for navigational purposes. Of the 20% or so on the list without articles, at least half are obviously qualified as the CEOs of major companies, and a reasonable case could be made for most of the others. DGG ( talk ) 06:44, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I am in complete agreement with DGG on this. I have disagreed with CorporateM on another article in recent weeks. This is useful, encyclopedic content. The red links provide useful leads for expanding the encyclopedia.— Preceding unsigned comment added by Cullen328 (talkcontribs) 08:00, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if we could get rid of List pages alltogether by making categories capable of including red-links. Anyways, many of our Featured Lists are actually lists of alumni and are much more trivial than this one. As posted originally, I was hoping someone could review the tags. For example, the tag "needs additional citations for verification" I would hope is no longer applicable, now that it has 200+ citations. CorporateM (Talk) 01:19, 16 August 2015 (UTC)


Have blocked this user for a few months due to ongoing copy and paste issues. Their material is also very promotional. And they appear to be a paid editor. Help with clean up / review appreciated. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 23:30, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

User has disclosed or at least partly their paid editing. With the issue of long term copyright issues I am hesitant to unblock and allow them to return to editing as I assume problems will recur. Others thoughts? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 12:16, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
The disclosed list is incomplete. I can understand that there may be valid reasons for not fully disclosing past jobs, but it is a bit of a problem when someone is requesting that we trust that they will abide by policy in the future, when at the same time they appear to be misleading us when they incorrectly claim to have fully disclosed past work. - Bilby (talk) 15:02, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

EBY3221 revisited[edit]

In light of this post an AN which links this user to a group of SEO companies, the long list of AFCs that EBY3221 (talk · contribs) accepted and which were listed in this previous thread most likely need looking at more closely as none of them recieved much attention last time round. SmartSE (talk) 14:06, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

Sigh. OK, let's get started.
  • Fifth Street Asset Management and Leonard M. Tannenbaum seem to have already been toned down; both contain strong negative sections. Both are notable.
  • Musica Orbis is an article from SPA Kitbraz. Marginally notable band. Put a proposed deletion on it and added some "citeneeded" tags, but others had already removed much of the original research.
John Nagle (talk) 19:22, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
@Nagle: If new suspicious editors come up during this process, do you want to list them here, or in a new case? — Brianhe (talk) 20:19, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
No preference on procedure. John Nagle (talk) 05:58, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
Proposed deletion of Sara Andreasson. Subject of article is a design student with some minor student works. How did that get in? John Nagle (talk) 05:58, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Music community[edit]

I feel nauseated bringing this up, but there's a controversy over the creation of Music community, perhaps for pay for a new TLD applicant. You can read about it at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Music community. The author is a cornerstone of the Wikipedia community but I think in fairness to the process I should at least mention the case here. Brianhe (talk) 22:36, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

I agree that article is an OR mess and should be deleted as too broad and vague. As to the question of COI in this case, difficult to tell. We'd need honest disclosure or an explanation, and I fear that could devolve into a mess given the standing of the creator within the community. It could be coincidence. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 20:04, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
I find it fairly unlikely that Dr. Blofeld has a COI in this matter, he displays none of the qualities that COI editors typically display (SPA editing, promotional editing, overt bias, etc) so I think there is no action to be taken here. Winner 42 Talk to me! 22:43, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
The AfD is a mess, too, with someone proposing a "Reset", and excessive off-topic discussion. Please visit and try to bring the AfD to some conclusion. I doubt that "music community" is a subject for a coherent article rather than a WP:COATRACK, but others disagree strongly, and have rewritten the article so that it's not as awful. The AfD could go either way. Right now, the COI problem there seems to be have been resolved. Thanks. John Nagle (talk) 05:18, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Jackson Peebles[edit]

The above user appears to be Peebles' sister, and has made an edit to the article about her deceased brother. I question the neutrality of her edit to this page, though since she knew him so well she can hardly be blamed for this. Everymorning (talk) 18:02, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

I am not convinced we should have an article. It might merit a mention somewhere else. Guy (Help!) 07:46, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I agree - looks like a deletion candidate to me.--ukexpat (talk) 18:59, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
His sister has contacted me via e-mail requesting assistance. I am not sure how to proceed... I would like to forward the email to an administrator to assure the proper decorum is followed. I have informed User:Go Phightins! Diff. . Buster Seven Talk 22:39, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
@Buster7, Everymorning, JzG, and Ukexpat: Hi all. Buster, I would be happy to review the email that you received; go ahead and forward it along. My first impression is that the article is probably a deletion candidate, although he has received some local news coverage regarding some advocacy he did prior to his tragic passing. The COI issue notwithstanding, we should proceed delicately. Go Phightins! 03:46, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes check.svg Done Thanks, B> . Buster Seven Talk 06:38, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Have not received the email? Go Phightins! 19:08, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
OK. I tried to forward again @ 2:52. . Buster Seven Talk 19:55, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Got it. At this point, I think we need to let the deletion process run its course. Go Phightins! 23:37, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Agree. Best for all concerned. . Buster Seven Talk 23:44, 18 August 2015 (UTC)


I came across this due to some cross-involvement with another COI, because an involved user here commented on an AfD I initiated and was watching, probably because it was on the same page as FreeWorldGroup. I should have reported it earlier, but I will indicate that said involved party here took issue with a comment I made in reply, as he apparently feels that AGF is an excuse for not listening to what editors are telling him.

According to the AfD for this article, there seems to be a "we" of new users working on this article, and getting information directly from the company. These are Flobberz (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) and Icamenal (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log), both new users, and both thus far SPA to the FreeWorldGroup Article. Users are three days old, and have editing nothing else.

One unsigned comment from Flobberz on the FreeWorldGroup AfD indicates that he is a moderator on the site and friends with the owner [17], from whom he is getting information. Flobberz then admits the article isn't notable, "because you have to be friends with the owner to get info". but doesn't apparently care: [18]. He also commented on his userpage that he pretty much doesn't wish to follow policy: [19], and every image Flobberz has uploaded has improper licensing.

Icamenal is less argumentative, but is still an SPA at this juncture. The article may or may not be kept (as I'm unfamiliar with notability for Internet sites), so this is an issue that will need to be dealt with if that is the case. MSJapan (talk) 22:17, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

I left a comment at the AfD. I will also be launching a SPI to look into whether sockpuppetry is involved with these two accounts and JSwho (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log). Winner 42 Talk to me! 22:40, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
I have started a thread on GAR to request GA reassessment of Wyangala, which was JSwho's only edits other than his recent edits. There's no way to tell if the review was legit, and yet it went through. I'm really surprised nobody picked up on that a long time ago when it happened. MSJapan (talk) 22:57, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
SPI is here. Winner 42 Talk to me! 23:02, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
According to the results, it looks like we have a different socking problem between Fvalzano, JSwho, and that Wyangala article. MSJapan (talk) 13:18, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
I am entirely unsurprised. Guy (Help!) 13:31, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Wyangala is a well-written history of an obscure town with 277 people. It's a bit bloated; the list of distances from other locations and the monthly temperatures I deleted as listcruft. But it seems to be reasonably harmless. FreeWorldGroup is gone. Anything else? John Nagle (talk) 05:49, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Richard L. Atendido[edit]

Autobiography by a village-level politician. Initially deleted several times for copyright problems, this seems to have leaped that hurdle. I've prodded it, but wonder if this meets WP:POLITICIAN, and if not, we have an issue with the subject's determination to see himself represented here. 2601:188:0:ABE6:5D65:637D:D70A:E45F (talk) 16:53, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

On the face of it, I don't think he meets any of the three tests at WP:POLITICIAN. When it's deleted it should be WP:SALTed too.--ukexpat (talk) 18:55, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. He'd have to win office one level higher than mayor of a village to qualify by holding office, and he's only a candidate for village mayor now. John Nagle (talk) 05:26, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

Charlotte Fire Department[edit]

Multiple times now users who are clearly members of the Charlotte Fire Department have made edits to the page in attempts to promote their department. Obviously there is no issue with updating information that is flat out incorrect, but users continue to remove the section about Notable incidents which talk about two fire truck crashes that occurred and made national news.

Edits made today by CharlotteFire (see this diff), introduced content that was 100% copied and pasted from what appears to be a press release? See this comparison on Earwig's Copyvio Detector. Additionally doesnt CharlotteFire violate WP:GROUPNAME?

Please also read this attempted dialogue in which I attempted to counsole and assist Flame37fighter on how to make appropriate edits. I am not sure what the best way to move forward is. --Zackmann08 (Talk to me/What I been doing) 19:52, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

As of right now, the article looks OK. The brochure material has been deleted, and the negative info has been restored. The user name / role account issue remains. The user probably needs to be advised to change their name. John Nagle (talk) 19:37, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Account softblocked. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 21:58, 19 August 2015 (UTC)

Texas A&M University School of Law[edit]

Texas A&M University is facing a lawsuit over the purchase of the law school from Texas Wesleyan University. The user noted appears to the the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the case. I removed a paragraph from the article to the talk page and pinged Jytdog—despite our past differences, he is the best I know in the COI field. I'm out of the matter after this, as I attended TAMU and don't want to have a problem with COI. GregJackP Boomer! 23:30, 17 August 2015 (UTC)

@GregJackP: on the other editor's talkpage, you wrote "...and legal threat" but I don't see any. Can you please clarify? — Brianhe (talk) 23:54, 17 August 2015 (UTC)
WP:NLT states in the last sentence of the lead Editors involved in a legal dispute should not edit articles about parties to the dispute, given the potential conflict of interest.. GregJackP Boomer! 00:03, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Not sure what to make of this. The controversy over whether alumni of the old school retroactively become alumni of the merged entity seems to take up too much of the article. John Nagle (talk) 05:31, 20 August 2015 (UTC)
Indeed, I am lead counsel on the case against TAMU School of Law. When I read what was originally there, it seemed lopsided, so I added what I thought was interesting facts from the case. Nothing original or controversial - all of the facts I added were listed in the suit and undisputed, and I think interesting to the reader. Of course there is a COI that every editor must live with, but it seems that a TAMU editor removing the paragraph in order to remove what he sees as a conflict of interest to avoid a conflict of interest is itself a conflict of interest - yet he had no problem removing the information he found offending before handing the issue off for others to handle. It is reasonable and expected that a TAMU page would be edited by a TAMU alumnus; it is also reasonable to include a synopsis of the dispute that is fair. The dispute is ongoing and current, so an entry regarding the dispute on a 'living' page of a relatively new entity would be expected to be larger in comparison to the rest of the article as time goes on. When it is resolved, I would expect that the information might be condensed. The 'fixed' paragraph is not properly written and needs editing, but seeing that I attempted to fix it last time and my work summarily removed, I am not going to bother. Wnorred (talk) 21:59, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Shane McAnally[edit]

Ellesmacksongs (talk · contribs) has openly admitted to being an employee of Shane McAnally and their edit summary strongly smacks of WP:OWN. Their edits in particular seem to be whitewashing any mention of the artist's 1999 debut album and single "Are Your Eyes Still Blue". Could someone please set this user straight? Ten Pound Hammer(What did I screw up now?)

Looks like he's been given the usual warnings and reverted. Let's see what happens next. John Nagle (talk) 05:35, 20 August 2015 (UTC)

AfD of interest[edit]

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/The National Society of Leadership and Success (3rd nomination)

COI Editor / Name Violation[edit]

An editor named Cariboukid has started aggressively inserting WP:PROMOTIONAL material in the article Caribou Coffee. BlueSalix (talk) 03:17, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

What??? Cariboukid has made one edit to Caribou Coffee since 2011, and it was to mention when the company changed its logo. His only other edits to that article were four years ago to post images of the current and former logos [20]. I fail to see anything aggressive or promotional. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:22, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
While we'll have to agree to disagree on that point (more than 15% of his/her lifetime edits have been to Caribou Coffee's page and he/she is aggressively reinserting promotional text, without discussion, that was been removed), the undeniable fact is his/her name is a violation of WP:CORPNAME. BlueSalix (talk) 03:29, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Please post a diff to promotional text Cariboukid has inserted. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:32, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Please don't attempt to reframe the discussion. The substantial point is that "Cariboukid" is a violation of WP:CORPNAME since the name is clearly not incidental or coincidental if more than 15% of his/her lifetime edits have been to Caribou Coffee. (The secondary point, COI Promotionalism, is diff'ed here: [21].) BlueSalix (talk) 03:35, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
""Caribou kid" would fall under the exception given in the policy you cite, "usernames that contain such names are sometimes permissible; see under Usernames implying shared use below...usernames are acceptable if they contain a company or group name but are clearly intended to denote an individual person". The username is thus irrelevant, except insofar as informing us of a possible conflict of interest, would be a problem if the editing was promotional. The text added in Cariboukid's single edit to that page this year is as follows, "Caribou announced a corporate-wide rebranding, and began using the stylized "coffee bean caribou" logo on March 1, 2010." I do not consider this text promotional. And certainly, a single edit in four years cannot be considered "aggressive". Someguy1221 (talk) 03:42, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
We have (a) an editor with a COI-designated username "Cariboukid", (b) a pluarlity of whose lifetime edits is to Caribou Coffee, (c) inserting extremely UNDUE material without discussion (the "re-branding" formed a minor part of the company's history and received limited RS coverage). Taken in whole, a reasonable person under reasonable circumstances would see this is a violation of our COI editing guidelines. If you want to green-light this, that's your bailiwick. I've done my duty by bringing it to the community's attention and my involvement here is now done. Thanks. BlueSalix (talk) 03:47, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
I'd recommend having a conversation with the editor before proceeding here. This noticeboard is really most effective in cases where the editor is non-cooperative or non-communicative, or the issue is much bigger in scope issue than this. Also, the name issue should be reported at WP:UAA instead. Brianhe (talk) 03:45, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
I have reached out to BlueSalix directly via their user talk page to discuss, hopefully bringing this to an amicable close. Cariboukid (talk) 16:37, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
Contrary to the assertion above, we have an editor of four years' standing with a name which fairly clearly refers to an animal, who has edited an article which contains some letters in the same order as the first portion of that name eight times out of 71 Mainspace edits, less than twelve percent of those edits. I think we can safely say that this does not have the appearance of a COI violation. He has more edits to each of Stride (gum) and Delta Connection destinations; the name similarity is likely irrelevant. Cheers, LindsayHello 17:30, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

SimpleStitch sockfarm[edit]

page creations

The list of editors above is the confirmed socks from WP:Sockpuppet investigations/OnceaMetro. OnceaMetro himself was not confirmed but was discussed here earlier in the Raymond James Financial case and is blocked for advertising and TOU violations.

Notes on this case. A quick check reveals that this sockfarm has worked on many CEO and Hollywood biographies. The name Ogilvy keeps coming up in COIN for some reason, in this case and before. The speed at which the operator of these accounts addressed each subject (usually serially in 1-2 day intervals) indicates to me that there was a worklist coordinated with a PR agency, highly suspect paid editing. This is a characteristic of the Wikipedia editing firms, some of which involved in WP:LTA cases, who "monitor" subjects for a fee. This quantity of stuff is probably at least one person's steady source of income if I understand the going rates correctly.

I'll probably have very little time to develop this today, then will go on a weeklong wikibreak. Brianhe (talk) 15:19, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Kevin Kimberlin is going to need its own case. CEO biog., created by one of the above in 2007 and apparently nursed since then by a few SPA editors.

Seyoda's edits are mostly "clean up" type on a similar-looking group, listed at User:Brianhe/COIbox21. Consistent with a portfolio of clients.

SimpleStitch's history is analyzed at user:Brianhe/COIbox20. Just added his top nine articles here, from the contrib surveyor tool. Brianhe (talk) 17:28, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

If the list above is too broad, here's a shorter representative list of articles with strings of pretty clear redlink/SPA actors:

This might even be fertile ground for finding more undiscovered socks related to this farm. Interpublic is a doozie, and this edit almost tells you where to go looking next. Maybe the blatantly self-edited advertising/PR agencies Avrett Free Ginsberg (from corp IP), Campbell Ewald or FCB (advertising agency) for starters.

This might be a non-productive detour, but Monstermike99 turns up in the history of one of the articles in the short list above. He and OnceaMetro (both now indeffed) both appear in a Signpost special report with this comment "The accounts Monstermike99 and OnceaMetro continue to edit Wikipedia, including a number of articles on CEOs, hedge fund managers, and other business and finance executives. According to the editor interaction analyzer tool, articles that both accounts have edited include those on investor Jonathan M. Nelson, Time Warner CEO Steve Ross, and hedge fund manager Steven A. Cohen. A former Sony vice president founded an eponymous company in January that refers to itself as "a corporate, crisis and financial communications firm."

A final forensic note, all editors were each highly active between 1200 and 2000 UTC with a combined total of >1000 edits for fairly robust analysis. If US East Coast, they'd be working approximately 7 or 8 AM to 3 or 4 PM. — Brianhe (talk) 23:14, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Steve Kuhn (executive) was previously created by a sock of Morning277. It may be worth seeing if there is any other crossover or behavioural similarities between them. SmartSE (talk) 21:59, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes and no. On the "yes" side, it does appear generally consistent with his English level, interest set, and editing hours. I did a fairly intense behavioral analysis of SimpleStitch at Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/OnceaMetro#29 July 2015 that could be used as a starting point. The analysis includes a lot of wording quirks that could be tipoffs. On the "no" side there are some Indian English quirks like the use of capital letters here. We should take care though in turning a correlation into an equality; it's possible he's sharing accounts with collaborators in the subcontinent. Brianhe (talk) 01:22, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Are there any serious article problems? Negative info being deleted? Promotional content? Most of these articles are about big companies, where notability isn't an issue. Are there any non-notable companies in the list? John Nagle (talk) 06:52, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Starting to see the problem - happy talk. I just added Providence_Equity_Partners#Major_losses. It turns out that in the last few years, Providence Equity made at least five really bad large investments in companies which then went bankrupt, lost billions, and was heavily criticized in the New York Times and the financial press for over-expansion and bad decision-making. The Providence Equity article somehow never mentioned those events. Please check other business-related articles in this set for significant omissions like that. Thanks. John Nagle (talk) 07:24, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Have a look at The Plaza Group and its glowing paragraph about its CEO. It uses as a source a Forbes article with the title "Credit Suisse Says Investor Stole Hundreds Of Millions From Funds Unit". However, in the article, nothing is said about alleged billions in financial irregularities or outright theft from Credit Suisse. It is mentioned at Louis Reijtenbagh but in the context of an "amicable settlement". — Brianhe (talk) 15:26, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
I proposed deletion of The Plaza Group. It's just the investment unit of a family office, investing in "distressed debt" on behalf of one rich family. There are at least four more notable businesses called "The Plaza Group". It might be part of Louis Reijtenbagh, but doesn't rate a standalone article per WP:CORP. John Nagle (talk) 18:45, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Added a mention to Louis Reijtenbagh of his art collection being seized by NY marshals for unpaid debts. There's a strong flavor of "positive info only" to these related articles. Keep checking, please. John Nagle (talk) 20:05, 24 August 2015 (UTC)


Maximus is the creator of ConEmu, the article about ConEmu, and the primary contributor to the article. Most of the article content, in fact, can be attributed to him. Many websites or forums that post information or questions about ConEmu are read or answered by Maximus himself. You could say that he is his own publicist ;)

Maybe this utility is very popular among some communities, but the article doesn't really explain much other than features of the software and what it was originally intended for. If anything, this is just advertising the software (which apparently hasn't reached popular tech news outlets yet.. hmm...).

Wikipedia often frowns upon the editing of an article by somebody who is directly related to the subject which the article covers; can this case be strongly considered as COI?

(PS: I am knowingly posting this as unregistered because Maximus might recognize me if I log in as registered, and because my password is 20 characters long and I don't have my offline PW safe on this location.) (talk) 18:49, 21 August 2015 (UTC)

Proposed deletion. Minor piece of software. Fails WP:PRODUCT. John Nagle (talk) 22:17, 21 August 2015 (UTC)
Proposed deletion template was removed by anon (talk · contribs) without explanation. Started AfD. John Nagle (talk) 19:17, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
The fact that this article is proposed for deletion has no bearing on the COI discussion, so bringing it up here is a red herring. Let's keep the deletion discussion on Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/ConEmu.
The fact that the ConEmu author answers user's questions about his project on various community sites is not relevant to COI either. What the author does on other websites is their own business. The only relevant aspect here is their actions on Wikipedia.
Looking at the history of the ConEmu page, it is clear that the author has indeed started the Wikipedia page in late 2012, but practically all edits after 2012 have been done by people other than him. He has done only one edit in the 2.5 years since 2012, other people have maintained the article since then.
Therefore it cannot really be said that the author is actively "interfering" with the Wikipedia article in recent years, nor is there any controversy associated with the project that the author might be trying to "cover up" (which is really what most COI disputes on Wikipedia revolve around).
Finally, there is no actual commercial interest here (the "financial interest" part of WP:COI). The ConEmu product itself is completely free and open source, the author does not charge any money for the software, nor are they being paid for any services related to the software. Grnch (talk) 05:21, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
It is very clear that Maximus is the dominant contributor both by # of edits and amount of text added - see here. Also, COI is not limited to money-making. Nonprofits come to WP all the time to promote themselves, for all kinds of reasons. COI addresses this in WP:SELFPROMOTE. The policy issue is WP:PROMO and the content concern is WP:NPOV. Jytdog (talk) 05:27, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Can you point to any specific WP:NPOV concerns in the actual text of the ConEmu article itself? As far as I can see, the article does not make any value judgments or comparisons to other software (e.g. "ConEmu is better than X") that could possibly be construed as a biased POV. There is no real POV expressed in the article to speak of, it's just listing some basic facts (with references) about the software.
As far as WP:SELFPROMOTE goes, I just don't see any wording in the article that heavily "promotes" the software or its author (unless you count the mere existence of a Wikipedia article as some sort of undue promotion?). The article itself seems pretty neutral and factual. I don't think COI is a black and white issue. There just isn't that much at stake here for it to be a real concern. Grnch (talk) 05:44, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
I don't have a strong opinion either way. I started the AfD because an anon with no editing history deleted the "prod", which is a bit suspicious when COI issues are active. Let the AfD run its course, and let that resolve the notability question. John Nagle (talk) 06:46, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Three editors have recently commented favorably on Talk:ConEmu, opposing deletion. All are new editors with no edits on other subjects. Hm. John Nagle (talk) 07:36, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
See this for why you're seeing new users pop up. Ravensfire (talk) 12:29, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Grnch the COI is indisputable. The only open question is the extent to which it has screwed up the article. It may be little to none, but the COI is very clear. Jytdog (talk) 13:12, 24 August 2015 (UTC)
Jytdog, yes, that was my point. I am not disputing the existence of COI, I already acknowledged that the article has been started and initially written by the software author. I am just saying that the article doesn't seem to exhibit any detrimental effects because of it. I apologize for not making my point clearer. Grnch (talk) 15:26, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Bruce Loveless[edit]

User:Bfloveless Is making lots of edits to the Bruce Loveless article, including repeatedly removing a paragraph about an incident from 2013 that is sourced. Beach drifter (talk) 20:31, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

Right now, the article seems OK; the deletion was reverted and the COI editor given the appropriate warnings. I cleaned up some formatting problems with the list of decorations, and removed the JCS badge (it's not an award, it's just a service badge). John Nagle (talk) 19:31, 23 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your attention and your edits. Beach drifter (talk) 21:22, 23 August 2015 (UTC)

Help with MetLife?[edit]

Hi everyone, I'm looking for help in reviewing some proposed changes that I have for the MetLife article on behalf of the company. I've suggested creating a new Operations section on the article's talk page to help improve the organization of the article. In each of my posts, I've been careful to identify myself as having a financial COI, as I am currently a paid consultant working for MetLife, on behalf of their PR agency, Burson-Marsteller. For this reason, I have not and will not edit the article myself, and am looking instead for editors to look over my proposed changes. Although I've reached out at a few relevant WikiProjects (the business-related ones tend to be very quiet…), only a small part of the request has been reviewed and completed to date, by an editor who said that they just completed what they had time for. I'm hoping someone on this noticeboard might have some time to review what I've suggested, and—most importantly—will be able to make sure it's appropriate from a neutrality perspective. Thanks, 16912 Rhiannon (Talk · COI) 15:20, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

Yes, the de-mutualization and who profited from it should be covered in greater detail. So should the "too big to fail" lawsuit and decision. So should the 2012 failure of the Fed's stress test. Most of the "products" section reads like an ad and needs to be compressed. Lots of work to do there. John Nagle (talk) 05:43, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Hi John Nagle, thanks for your reply here and for the edits and notes so far over at MetLife. I've replied in more detail there, but just wanted to follow up here so that you knew I'd seen this note. Thanks again, 16912 Rhiannon (Talk · COI) 14:39, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

COI and edit-a-thons[edit]

I've been recruited to serve as the technical adviser for a planned edit-a-thon (EAT) sponsored by a local art museum. The salient points are these:

  • I've never before had a relationship with the museum. (They found my name on our local meetup page.) I am and will be serving as an uncompensated volunteer. I have made it clear to the museum that in terms of my loyalties I consider myself to be a Wikipedian first and a volunteer for the EAT second and that in the event of any conflict I will always put the interests of the encyclopedia ahead of the interests and desires of the museum.
  • The individuals with whom I am working to plan the EAT are museum employees.
  • I consider part of my job to be to not only to help with the technical aspects of writing articles such as syntax, sourcing, article style and order, the use of tables, images, infoboxes, and the like, but also to be to monitor compliance with Wikipedia policy such as copyright and, most importantly for this discussion, NPOV and to do what I can to prevent violations. The employee organizers happily accept my participation with that understanding.
  • Some and perhaps all participants other than the employee organizers and me will likely be regular non-employee volunteers at the museum. Of that group all or most serve in an ongoing role as volunteer-only docents.
  • Though many of the article topics to be written or improved will be almost entirely independent of the museum (e.g. artists represented in the museum's collection), the museum has a particular desire to see its own article — which is now only slightly more than a stub — improved as part of the EAT. The employed organizers understand and have agreed with me that they or other employees cannot be the ones who will work on the museum article.

That brings me to my question: Can participants who are regular volunteers at the museum, but not employees, edit the museum's article under my guidance without infringing upon the COI policy? If we get participants who are not regular volunteers I intend to try to get them to agree to work on the museum's article rather than the regular volunteers, but I'd like to know in advance if it's likely that someone will raise an objection if that does not prove to be the case and only regular volunteers are available to work on that article. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 21:36, 24 August 2015 (UTC)

"The museum has a particular desire to see its own article — which is now only slightly more than a stub — improved as part of the EAT." Bad idea. Recruiting editors for promotional purposes is frowned upon. Please read WP:MEAT. Best to leave the article alone. However, uploading pictures of art for which the museum can release rights to Wikimedia Commons is permitted, and indeed, approved of. John Nagle (talk) 05:35, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for that, but I'm afraid that reply is simply incorrect and confuses meatpuppetry with COI. The first sentence of the header box of MEAT is, "Do not recruit your friends, family members, or communities of people who agree with you for the purpose of coming to Wikipedia and supporting your side of a debate." and the first sentence of the text is "High-profile disputes on Wikipedia often bring new editors to the site. Some individuals may promote their causes by bringing like-minded editors into the dispute." (Emphasis added in both.) Meatpuppetry, like sockpuppetry, is about bringing shills into a discussion in order to bolster your position, not about asking non-employee editors to help to improve your article. I recognize that there may be an issue here (or I would not have asked), but meatpuppetry's not it. The use of non-NPOV promotional language or material could also eventually be an issue, but it's an issue about how it's done, not if it's done. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:03, 25 August 2015 (UTC)
There's a bit of room to move. Mostly COI is a guideline, with the policy aspect coming from the Terms of Use. This wouldn't fringe on the Terms of Use, so that part is fine. There would be a risk of a COI, in the sense that if you are a regular volunteer at an institution, and you then wrote about them in an article, you would be more inclined to write positively as (to an extent) there is potential that you would have an interest in displaying the institution in the best possible light. However, that is considerably less than the COI that an employee would have, and would, I expect, be manageable if working alongside a neutral and experienced editor such as yourself.
To put it another away - it isn't ideal, as the ideal is that all articles are written by neutral, knowledgeable and largely disinterested editors. This isn't exactly a common state, though. Accordingly, my view would be a situation where people who are not employees, and do not have a financial stake in the institution, are upfront about their relationship, work with a neutral and skilled editor, and are not writing about a controversial issue, is not a particularly bad situation and may well result in an overall net benefit for the project. - Bilby (talk) 03:39, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for that analysis. That's how I figured it as well, but wanted a second opinion. Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:53, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

"Leading Physicians of the World"[edit]

Just received an invite from this group. And with flattery being a common form of scamming I decided to look into it. Found this [22][23][24] which sort of confirmed my suspicions.

I imagine that all pages that include this vanity press are paid for. For example:

Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:23, 25 August 2015 (UTC)

A couple more suspect sites
Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:51, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Interesting. They have the same address [25] and [26] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:57, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Proposed deletion of Thomas_A._Narsete. Can't find anything that looks like a substantial reliable source. The other two are probably notable enough, but the articles need some toning down of PR language. John Nagle (talk) 05:31, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
The editor who is likely paid removed it.Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 16:53, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, "prod" removed by SPA who created article. Sent to AfD. Sigh. John Nagle (talk) 17:57, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
David Sherer has a PR firm.[27] Notability there is marginal, too. John Nagle (talk) 18:31, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Stephen Whittington[edit]

The subject is clearly notable, but the biography has for years been most carefully maintained by this account, who also adds many external links to related articles, including Mr. Whittington's musical performances and Mr. Whittington's writings, often self-published, which are used as sources as well [28]; [29]; [30]. In short, there appears to be a lot of self-referencing going on. Thoughts by editors with knowledge in this field will be appreciated. Thank you. 2601:188:0:ABE6:E912:650D:B93C:F627 (talk) 02:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

I added some "citation needed" and "verify" tags. There's uncited material which reads like personal reminiscence. John Nagle (talk) 05:17, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank you. The concerns are more far-ranging, though. The account adds original research to multiple articles, or cites online essays by Mr. Whittington and adds them as external links. Looking into this requires some time and effort, and I had hoped to receive some feedback re: the appropriateness of this edit history. But if there's little or no oversight to such involvement, I'll start adding links to my online publications, and use myself as a source. 2601:188:0:ABE6:91EC:4CDC:7CD6:827C (talk) 14:30, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

EveryMedia Technologies[edit]

Prior discussion is at Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard/

Other accounts Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Kabir Vaghela

Added the following at 15:01, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

There are numerous articles and numerous sockpuppets, the above account and article are the primary, and many of the pages of the clients listed on the website of the company have been targets here. There are at least fifty accounts so far and a similar number of articles. —SpacemanSpiff 12:57, 26 August 2015 (UTC)

Brickell Flatiron[edit]


User: Grump International has edited entries for Ugo Colombo, a major real estate developer based in Miami; for Vanessa Grout, the president of Ugo Colombo's company; Brickell Flatiron, a Miami building owned by Ugo Colombo (Grump's contribution to that article was described on User talk:Grump International by User: B137 as violating WP:NPOV and borderline spam, likely to be removed); as well as for Zaha Hadid, an architect with many major projects in Miami, who is associated with Ugo Colombo for high-end Miami real estate projects (e.g. both were "winners" in a 2012 proposal for the Miami Beach Convention Center[1]); and 520 West 28th, a New York condominium designed by Zaha Hadid. User: Grump International was given special permission, via e-mail, by 3GATTI, a firm owned Italian architect Francesco Gatti, to upload a photo to accompany the article Grump wrote about Gatti.


  1. ^ Bernstein, Fred (27 September 2012). "Corruption Inquiries Curb Miami Projects". Architectual Record. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 

Promotional tone inserted by Grump International in these articles includes:

  • 520 West 28th: Hadid has stated of the design that, “Our design is an integration of volumes that flow into each other and, following a coherent formal language, create the sensibility of the building's overall ensemble.”
  • Brickell Flatiron: Artist Julian Schnabel is in charge of the interior design of the public spaces in the building, showcasing design, art and furniture reflected in the artist's color palette. In June 2015, the Miami Herald wrote on the building's progress, reporting that, "the 64-story glass skyscraper called Brickell Flatiron, is in a more advanced stage of planning, with about 40 percent of units under contract and construction scheduled to start by year’s end. Brickell Flatiron will have 35,000 square feet of ground-floor restaurant and retail space, 548 condos with wide, curving terraces, and a top floor devoted to amenities including a gym, pool and spa."
  • Francesco Gatti: Its ceiling was described by Interior Design as, “Layers of white fiberglass sheets descend from overhead to form cozy little spaces connected by a meandering path. Along the route, customers encounter the clothing and accessories, snuck into various folds.” and "He is an advocate of artists working in developing countries in order to be a part of their cultural development." cited to the article subject's website.

I have notified User: Grump International on their Talk page of WP:COI policies and asked that they disclose their COI and refrain from direct edits. He deleted my request and wrote an attack on me, so I have moved the discussion here.

I originally looked at the User: Grump International account because I did not think his/her nomination of the article Ronen Shilo for deletion should count toward consensus because he/she seemed to have an undisclosed bias in that matter of articles related to Shilo.

I have a disclosed WP:COI as I have a paid consulting relationship with Conduit, where Shilo is CEO. Please see Talk:Conduit (company) for specifics about Conduit or USER: BC1278 for a general description of my paid COI. I go to great effort to work within all Wikipedia policies and beyond, as I disclose my real name and affiliations. I never make direct edits where I have a COI, working only on Talk pages.

An undisclosed COI with regard to Colombo, Hadid, Gatti et al. is very relevant to the proposed Ronen Shilo deletion because it demonstrates User: Grump International has a history of not disclosing bias.

I'm sorry that this seems as if I'm hounding User: Grump International, but the article about Shilo and his company and Internet platform, Conduit (publisher network and platform), has been repeatedly attacked over five years and resulted in the article being placed in protected status because of recurrent attempts to source controversial allegations with online discussion forums and other unreliable sources.

In discussing User: Grump International nomination for deletion, Wikipedia admin user:Graeme Bartlett said that "the deletion nominator is almost a single purpose account, but one that looks to have had previous experience before using this login due to their knowledge of procedures here and skill in Wikimarkup." Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ronen Shilo

These multiple challenges and changes to the Conduit-related articles were almost the only things User: Grump International had done unrelated to real estate, at the time (aside from undoing a revision on Arthur Ashe.)

I'd therefore request that an admin also do a WP:CheckUser on this account.

The attacks on Conduit (publisher network and platform) continued after the article came off protected status, so on my Sandbox I proposed an update. User:Graeme Bartlett split the article into two, creating a new entry just about the company at Conduit (company). The new article is almost entirely taken from the old article, with unreliable sources like online forums removed, but significant criticism of the company left in tact.

User: Grump International then simultaneously proposed deletion of Shilo, and placed warning flags on Conduit (company) and Perion Network stating they read like news releases.

I repeatedly tried to engage User: Grump International for specifics into where he saw WP: NPOV issues on Conduit (company) and encouraged him to fix them or ask me to fix them, but he refused. I informed him that the article, while newly named and updated, was the work of more than a dozen editors over five years, including two Wikipedia admins. The admins had to work very hard to remove repeated attacks, so there's reason to be concerned this is happening again.

Some individuals really disliked the company's software and tried to use Wikipedia to express their personal opinions. Unfortunately, eventually the article became unprotected and many the attacks based on online forums and unreliable sources were placed back in. For details on unreliable sourcing, please see Talk:Conduit_(publisher_network_and_platform)#Request_for_assistance_correcting_poorly_source_material)

The closest thing I could get to an explanation from User: Grump International about all his/her actions was on the Shilo deletion nomination page: "I just don't see how Wikipedia needs this suite of articles on a fairly narrow subject. Ronen Shilo, Perion Network, Conduit (publisher network and platform), the now deleted Como page, Conduit (company)--just feels like spam to me." The details probably aren't relevant here, but Conduit was the largest Internet company in Israel with more users (260 million) than Twitter until a couple of years ago, and Perion is a NASDAQ public company. Their WP:NOTABILITY is clear.

As the admin user:Graeme Bartlett has noted, User: Grump International shows sophisticated knowledge of Wikipedia procedures and skill in Wikimarkup. Yet only had a handful of edits prior to the Conduit issues. Since I brought undisclosed bias to Grump's attention, the editor became more active in other subjects, to buff up the account.

I'm seeing this matter through because my responding to unjustified attacks from a an undisclosed COI editor is enormously time consuming. I tried my very best to directly engage with User: Grump International about his COI and the nature of his issues with the Conduit-related articles, but I've been met with hostility and no specifics.

So I'd request that User: Grump International and related accounts be dealt as per policy as an undisclosed COI and an undisclosed alternate account. BC1278 (talk) 21:37, 26 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278


@Graeme Bartlett: You were mentioned above but userlinks were busted. I see no serious problems with article Brickell Flatiron at this time; "showcasing design, art and furniture reflected in the artist's color palette" is a little flowery but probably OK for a description of interior decoration. Haven't examined any others. Brianhe (talk) 22:18, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
"Grump International" would appear to violate our username policy, though I'm guessing it may be nothing more than a humorous username.
So the coi is assumed based upon the edits? --Ronz (talk) 22:34, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm a paid COI editor who discloses and follows Wikipedia policy as best I can. I see a cluster of articles all about the same real estate businesses and related-business projects, plus a special permission from one of the companies to use a photo, and I know it's an undisclosed COI, even if the edits themselves aren't NPOV violations. But I've only been at this a couple of years so I don't know your standard of proof here on this board. I am trying to raise the standards for COI editing - I won't work with someone who isn't clearly notable, understands I will only write with NPOV as best I can, and is on board with my full disclosure of conflict. I think a WP:CheckUser should probably settle the matter as this is pretty clearly an alternate account for User:Grump International's COI activities.BC1278 (talk) 22:47, 26 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278
@BC1278: Please prefix usernames with "user:" or you just get a redlink to a nonexistent article. Alternate accounts aren't prohibited in all cases, but they are prohibited for evading scrutiny. In this case, if the conflicted editing pattern is as clear as you say it is, I'm not sure you could say that (hypothetical) multiple accounts are even evasive. It'll take an admin to make that determination. Just a final thing, I'm no fan of COI editing, but I'm not sure what you're asking for here. Brianhe (talk) 22:55, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
@Brianhe: I'm requesting that at the least, this account User:Grump International be declared a COI with regard to these articles; as such, that User:Grump International be required to disclose COI on his user page and on all his activities related to these entities (prior and going forward); and that if this as an alternate account, after being check by WP:Checkuser that it be terminated because setting up an undisclosed alternate account just for COI editing is as serious a violation of WP:COI as there is. The main account should also be put on notice of some sort - and I'd be willing to go through other edits looking for undisclosed COI if I had the user name and IP address of the main account. Usually I just roll my eyes and leave obvious undisclosed COI editing alone, since there's so much of it, but this editor is using an undisclosed COI account for unjustified attacks he/she won't engage in conversation about and undisclosed biases in consensus decisions.BC1278 (talk) 23:07, 26 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278
I proposed deletion of Brickell Flatiron and 520 West 28th. The first is a proposed building; construction hasn't even started. WP:CRYSTAL applies there. The second is supposedly under construction, and is only an 11-story condo in NYC, which isn't notable for NYC. This is blatant promotion of condos under construction and for sale. Wikipedia is not a place to sell condos. John Nagle (talk) 23:40, 26 August 2015 (UTC)
Nagle, did you note that the Flatiron is the proposed construction of a new tallest building in Miami, and has RS coverage? Maybe we should continue on its talkpage.Brianhe (talk) 00:12, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
The relevant policy is WP:GEOFEAT: "Buildings, including private residences and commercial developments can be notable as a result of their historic, social, economic, or architectural importance. They require significant coverage by reliable, third-party sources to establish notability." That's a reasonably high bar. WP:CRYSTAL says "Although Wikipedia includes up-to-date knowledge about newly revealed products, short articles that consist only of product announcement information are not appropriate." This building would be notable when built, but it's not clear if it's notable prior to construction. I'd suggest holding off until construction is underway. Groundbreaking is supposed to be in October; Wikipedia can wait, even if the COI editor would prefer getting that sales info out to the public early. (The project construction is financed by prepaid deposits from condo buyers, hence the rush to get it into Wikipedia.) John Nagle (talk) 04:44, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Sounds good to me, didn't know that you couldn't create articles on buildings under construction (I've seen a bunch on here that someone should go through and delete alongside this one). Again, no COI here, and I do not care in any way if you delete even all my contributions. I just think it is odd that someone is using this to bully me, in order to further their own financial gain. Do not care either way. Grump International (talk) 15:22, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Grump International did not just edit the article about the building. The user edited articles about the developer of the building Ugo Colombo and a heavily promotional piece about Vanessa Grout, the president of his company. This same pattern is evident in the article 520 West 28th written Grump International, a blatantly promotional article about a small proposed New York condominium (which has now been nominated for deletion by another editor) and Zaha Hadid, its developer. We know Grump International had contact with Francesco Gatti because his company wrote to Wikipedia to give permission to use a copyrighted photo uploaded. Grump International also patrolled the article about Intern architect, suggesting professional involvement in this field (and making a 2,000 word deletion as promotional on only the fifth article Grump International ever touched with this account, using Tag:section blanking, advanced Wikipedia mark up language.) Grump International must have alternate account(s) where they picked up this knowledge; their behavior on Conduit-related articles suggests Grump International is a sock puppet as well as a COI account. Since the Conduit and Shilo have consumed enormous amounts of admin time in the past, as protected or semi-protected, as they've come under attack, I'd rather deal with the likely sock puppet Grump International and uncover his/her alternate account(s) now than have to address more attacks for years. The original Conduit article is again filled with attacks, sourced to online discussion boards and the like (it was much worse before a small clean up by user:Graeme Bartlett)
Again, I'd suggest a WP:Checkuser

Comment' - The username was intended to be humorous, so no I am not affiliated with company called "Grump International". I live in Miami and love architecture, and threw up some edits regarding it. I notice that BC1278 has specifically left out the other edits I have made, but whatever. Feel free to take them all down if their of issue as I have no real affection for them. I do think it is a little weird that BC1278 is using this page to bully me so that he can continue to make promotional edits on behalf of his clients without them being labelled a such, but hey, that's above my pay grade. He claims that no one is forming consensus on his edits, but perhaps that's because they are blatantly promotional and spammy. Maybe WP:HOUND would apply here with trying to persecute me for not agreeing with him about the neutrality of what he wants for his clients, but again, I don't care enough to make a fuss. Grump International (talk) 14:50, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Also, I have no conflict of interest on Wikipedia, just to be clear here. Just a rapidly fading interest in Wikipedia's look at east coast buildings. And apparently now a confusion about why adding what's in a building is antithetical to the page about a building. Feel free to remove if so. Grump International (talk) 14:56, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
@Grump International: I'd like to ask you the specific questions about COI and sock puppetry so we get that on the record:
a) Do you have any connection with any of the people or companies you have edited about? (by that I am asking if you know the people, if you work for the companies, or work for an agency that works for/with the people or companies)
b) Have you ever been paid, or expect to be paid, for editing Wikipedia?
c) Do you have an alternate account(s) on Wikipedia (or IP addresses used as accounts) and if so, what are they?
d) Have you contributed to Conduit (publisher network and platform) using an account other than User: Grump International?
d) If you don't have alternate accounts, given our small number of edits and almost total lack of interaction with other editors prior to your mark ups and nomination for deletion of Shilo, how/when did you acquire your Wikipedia mark up and policy skills, evident in the deletion nomination of Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ronen Shilo, the mark up and Talk discussion in Conduit (company) and your own tirade against COI editing on your use Talk page User talk:Grump International?
Please answer directly, by number. I suggest you fess up if you have a COI and alternate account(s) because other editors on this board are far more skilled than me in tracking COI and have access to WP:Checkuser to track sock puppet account. They're more likely to be forgiving and let you keep your accounts if you admit any wrongdoing now.
As to Grump International's defense that they've done other edits not related to real estate, these came after Wikipedia admin user:Graeme Bartlett noted about Grump International that "the deletion nominator is almost a single purpose account, but one that looks to have had previous experience before using this login due to their knowledge of procedures here and skill in Wikimarkup." Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Ronen Shilo Prior to that, everything Grump International edited was related to real estate, with the exception of one reversion for Arthur Ashe, the rewrite of one short sentence on Porosity and the challenges related to Conduit.
And as to what Grump International said about me, I never make direct edits on Wikipedia where I have a COI (unless an independent editor first reviews proposed changes and specifically asks on the article Talk page that I make a change as a matter of convenience for them) and I always disclose I have a COI. Everything I've done for a client has been vetted by volunteer editors. (When Grump International identified that they saw a problem with an article where I had a COI, I asked Grump International multiple times to fix any issues, or to work with me to review problems section by section. But Grump International refused, preferring to leave a warning label on the article than to improve it.) Sometimes it takes several weeks for a volunteer to get to a proposed change to an article, but that's the proper procedure. I only take on a client where the subject is clearly WP:NOTABLE. I turn down perhaps half of those who ask for my help. I'm not going to write about small proposed condominium buildings or local real estate agents, as Grump International has. Nor am I going to contribute to a puff piece like Ugo Colombo, as Grump International has, and omit that he was accused by the police of paying a bribe to win the bid to build the Miami Convention Center.[1] I carefully go over WP:COI policy with my clients so they'll know what to expect. I'm not going to omit or challenge content about them that's negative if there's a RS. If they don't like that, then I tell them I shouldn't work with me. This is a small part of what I do in my business life (and I disclose my real name and credentials at User: BC1278), so I have no trouble telling clients I won't do what they ask if it's against Wikipedia policy. I have my personal, real-life reputation at stake, plus lots of other Wikipedia articles to think about. I'm not not going to jeopardize all the other work I've done just for one client asking for a violation of policy. My paid Wikipedia COI consulting came about only because I work in an industry, tech, where many people have no idea how to handle Wikipedia. When there's been any question about NPOV content, a volunteer editor either takes care of it themselves or asks me to propose alternate language on a sandbox or Talk page. I'm not perfect but I've improved. I've certainly had editors remove language I've proposed where they see NPOV issues. If I disagree with edits, I will ask other editors to get involved so they reach consensus. And when I see an article like Conduit (publisher network and platform), which Grump International contributed to recently, filled with biased content sourced to online discussion forums or no sources at all, I'm appalled and I'm pleased to try to work with other editors to bring it up to Wikipedia standards. You can look at my proposed edits at Talk:Conduit_(publisher_network_and_platform)#Request_for_assistance_correcting_poorly_source_material Here, even though the problems are severe and obvious, I'm going to have to wait for a volunteer editor to look at this since I have a COI. This is how it's supposed to work.BC1278 (talk) 17:10, 27 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278


  1. ^ Bernstein, Fred (27 September 2012). "Corruption Inquiries Curb Miami Projects". Architectual Record. Retrieved 26 August 2015. 
Also, just to state real estate connection, "Grump International" is a play on Trump International, another condo/developer duo such as the ones Grump International writes about. Because Grump International probably intended this account to be single purpose on this subject.BC1278 (talk) 22:45, 27 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278
@Nagle:@Brianhe:@Ronz: May I have some advice? Perhaps I mislabeled this thread. I'd like the account of User:Grump International to be looked into because he's using it as an obvious undisclosed COI and alternate account to avoid detection. I'd like an admin to determine whether my complaint is justified and determine a course of action. Do I need to start a new thread with the user's name instead of the name of a questionable article the editor contributed to? I think I've said everything I need to say about this editor's activities for admins to make a judgment, but I can start a new thread if need be. User: Grump International has also not yet answered the detailed questions I asked that spell out the specifics of COI and improper use of alternate accounts. Ultimately, uprooting this one account won't be enough because the editor is obviously using a sock, so someone with authority needs to WP:Checkuser to be more effective. It's not just the run of the mill undisclosed promotional COI editing which is troubling - it's the use of a sock to attack: edit and tag and challenge and try to delete articles where they have a negative bias and possible undisclosed COI. Thanks.BC1278 (talk) 22:03, 28 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278
I wouldn't worry about the thread title, as I myself have flip flopped between using the name of an article and the name of an editor. Sometimes it's hard to tell which to use when there's a group of editors (or socks, especially) and a group of interrelated articles. I think the thing with checkuser is touchy; if you don't know already, its use is exceedingly sparing and usually starts with some fairly compelling evidence. You might go ahead and open a sockpuppet investigation if you think you have enough to go forward with. I'll tell you right now, I've been knocked back on my heels there many, many times, but maybe it's worth it in the long run to start a "paper trail" on some of these actors. Probably the best you can hope for is to expose the articles to the light of inspection here, and usually appropriate action follows, either cleanup, or outright deletion via the usual processes, if warranted. If you hang out here some more you'll see how this works; it probably took me several months to really understand what to expect. Bottom line, instant satisfaction should not be your expectation. — Brianhe (talk) 22:15, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
@Brianhe: Thanks. The undisclosed COI is self-evident to me, so I came here first. For sock puppet accounts, I know enough to spot one but not enough to present more than a common sense case (very sophisticated use of mark up and Wikipedia policy citations after only a handful of edits). It would seem to me rather common sense to check if a suspect user account is sharing the same IP address with another user account making edits to the same articles, but perhaps there's privacy policy at play here I'm not aware of. I'll go check out that board.BC1278 (talk) 22:35, 28 August 2015 (UTC)BC1278

SEO firm, August 2015 advert[edit]

No known NEW articles to link to yet. However, a new SEO firm ad "We are an SEO firm looking for someone who can publish Wikipedia entries" has been responded to by operator of Sclarke1129, MayFlowers2014, TejaswaChaudhary, LogAntiLog aka OWAIS NAEEM, Worthywords, the former Hilumeoka2000, and others with claimed and documented history of completed Wikipedia SEO/corpspam jobs. Note that OWAIS NAEEM invokes David Carter (entrepreneur) via his Elance historyportfolio, this article is ripe with more suspicious editors, some of whom have had inconclusive SPIs. Also note that many of these accounts are blocked, so obviously the operators are using, or are prepared to use, sockpuppets to complete the work. — Brianhe (talk) 01:57, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

The David Carter article contains the memorable line "He often referenced his mother as his inspiration in various interviews" And see the two articles on his firms linked to in that article. A7 + G11, in my opinion. DGG ( talk ) 17:01, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Perion Network[edit]

This Perion Network thing smells like paid editing, complete with a press release for one of the citations, and a fawning section on corporate philanthropy. A discussion between DGG and Nmwalsh, where DGG expressed concern about lack of complete disclosure, petered out earlier in August. I think he needs the standard message re TOS client/article disclosure requirements. — Brianhe (talk) 08:54, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

I am a declared paid editor. Check my User page. This page has already been rewritten with new citations. Nmwalsh (talk) 10:52, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
The article still contains promotional language: e.g. "Smilebox is an application that lets users easily create slideshows and other digital photo album" It lists too many executives--it's usual to list only the ceo for companies this size.; it still contains titles-- we don't use "Mr." . It's wordy: "In August 2011, Perion made its first acquisition and acquired the Redmond-based Smilebox for $32 million. " should be "In August 2011, Perion acquired the Redmond-based Smilebox for $32 million. "; "they changed their name to Perion, the Hebrew word for productivity, to reflect the new company’s strategy." should be "The firm changed its name to Perion, the Hebrew word for productivity." It has jargon: "came on board" . It uses undue emphasis: we do not normally use italics for product names. It makes unsupported assertions: Ref. 14 does not reference the sentence its attached to. The philanthropy section is still trivial, especially the second sentence.
None of this is blatantly promotional, and I wouldn't consider it G11. But it indicates the difficulties paid editors inherently have in creating articles here--even good and honest ones still automatically think in terms of press releases. One of my working rules of thumb is that anything that would make a good press release will not make a good encycopedia article.
And of course there are probably a few hundred thousand similar articles, thousands among them much worse than this. It will be a long time util we remove or rewrite them, but at least we should not be adding to them. DGG ( talk ) 16:57, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
@Nmwalsh: thank you for reminding us of your for-pay status, but I already knew that. Per TOS, please tell us where is the disclosure that this article was done for pay, and who was the client. Are there others that have not been disclosed, among the 35 Wikipedia specific or "private jobs" listed under your name on Elance in 2015? — Brianhe (talk) 18:05, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Thank you for the advice. I am now marking all my paid edits with "Paid edit" I wasn't sure how to do it before. I will continue to improve this article. Nmwalsh (talk) 08:02, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
As this came up in a recent ANI discussion, please read through WP:PCD for exactly what you need to disclose. The larger ANI discussion may also be helpful with regards to the disclosure requirements in the Terms of Use. Ravensfire (talk) 14:14, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
  When you work on an article, for which you have a close connection (paid financial connection or otherwise), there is this template you can stick on the article's talkpage: {{Connected contributor}} which for instance would look like {{Connected contributor|Nmwalsh|Perion Network|declared=yes|otherlinks=Paid editing: <ins>NameOfSpecificEmployer is my organization, and NameOfSpecificClient which is an</ins> entity connected with the topic of this article, have compensated me financially for my edits.}} or something like that, placed into Talk:Perion_Network. Also nice to have 'paid edit' in the summary, but the talkpage-thing is a nice one-liner that covers times when you might forget. Of course, make sure you have just the one username, and don't edit without logging in, so that the talkpage notice stays connected to the edits you make under your User:Nmwalsh online-persona. Hope this helps, (talk) 16:39, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
I'm not sure that template covers everything that needs to be disclosed per the ToU. From WP:PCD, paid editors need to disclose their employer, their client and affiliation. So something like "Editor Foo, employed by PR agency Bar, hired by company Baz to edit this article" is what's needed someplace. That can be on the editors user page, the article talk page or the edit summary for each edit. In an ideal world, all three would happen. Full disclosure of all articles on the user's page, full disclosure on each article talk page for that article and an edit summary that mentions it's a paid edit. Ravensfire (talk) 16:49, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
Okay thanks, did not know that. Have inserted the appropriate factoids. Agree that doing all three is best (suspenders and belt), since if you forget to do one, you are still mostly covered by the other two. (talk) 17:14, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
FYI - just started this discussion on ANI on the comments I made. Ravensfire (talk) 17:01, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Atlantic Coast Media Group[edit]

First of all, this is a recreated article that was deleted as promo/spam in 2011: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Atlantic Coast Media Group. You think this is a "lifestyle" magazine company like OCEAN Style, right? Wrong. It's a skin cream company with some connection to Christie Brinkley. Article created by throwaway SPA (Anrd8) and looks well referenced at first glance, until you notice half the cites are to the company itself, and the other half are questionable sources like or passing mentions in legit media. My notes tell me that the other editor (Bhupesh4381) created a link to this article on April 18, which appears to have been deleted now; maybe an admin can confirm. However, this looks very much like insertion of a SEO link in another article, and this is just old-fashioned linkspam. It appears that he created another advert, Keranique around September, 2014. Atlantic Coast Media Group owns the brand Keranique. Hey look, Keranique was also a recreation of a deleted spamicle created by another SPA: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Keranique. Brianhe (talk) 06:10, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Not surprisingly, the ACMG article does not mention this 2013 class-action consumer fraud settlement. Brianhe (talk) 06:54, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

request for eyeballs on Template:Request_edit/Instructions#Current_requested_edits queue[edit]

I've regularly sent folks with COI to the {{edit_request}} mechanism, where they leave a talkpage note, and some unbiased disineterested reviewer comes along to help them out. But this is only good advice, if some reviewer shows up to do so, in a reasonably prompt fashion. The queue has been stalled for most of August. Can some folks please help declog? Thanks, (talk) 16:29, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

If you or others decide to build a business editing Wikipedia on the backs of the volunteer community, that is not the volunteer community's problem. We do not exist so that you and others can make money. If you or others get impatient and decide to edit directly, you will lose editing privileges. It is a dicey proposition to build a business model that exploits a public good and relies on exploiting volunteers to actually execute, but that is what you and others chose. Jytdog (talk) 16:35, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, thanks for the reminder Jytdog; but as you know, paid editing is not the only kind of COI, most of the people I help are BLPs trying to edit their own woefully-outdated articles. And I've seen you personally working the queue, as well, so thanks for that. But I'm posting the note here, so that other people can also volunteer to work the queue, if they so wish. I'm not under any COI, so I'm free to edit directly in mainspace, but I'm trying to train the people that are under COI how to do things properly (aka without needing my help personally every single time). My training-sessions are not working, because the queue is clogged, and has been all month. Do you recommend I just send editors with COI over to the folks on IRC, or to WP:TEAHOUSE, rather than using {{edit_request}} any further, since that seems not to be as speedy as it once was? Or is the current stalled queue just an anomaly, and I should continue recommending Template:edit_request for people that have COI? (talk) 16:45, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
if your primary concern is helping subjects of BLP articles, perhaps BLPN would be better. Jytdog (talk) 16:59, 28 August 2015 (UTC)
Okay, thanks, will try there. (talk) 17:08, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

BREAKING CHANGE: update being made to Template:Connected contributor[edit]

Hey all,

Just dropping a note that there is consensus to merge Template:Connected contributor and Template:Connected contributor multi at a recent AfD, which is currently being worked through by a bot to make this happen. While this is going on, you may notice a few strange things happening with the template, as the legacy code I've introduced is still far from perfect.

Once this change is complete, unfortunately, some of the code has been changed. A single-user example will then use {{Connected contributor| User1 = Username | U1-EH = yes | U1-declared = yes |U1-otherlinks = |U1-banned =}} (for full details, see the template). It will no longer support the old format using unnamed parameters.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this will mean this is better overall, Mdann52 (talk) 18:19, 28 August 2015 (UTC)