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Wikipedia:Paid editing (proposal)

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For the failed Paid editing guideline, see Paid editing (guideline)
For the Wikipedia and Wikimedia policy on paid editing, see WMF:Terms of Use and WP:PAID.

Paid editing on Wikipedia is defined as writing or editing on Wikipedia in return for money, or similar inducements. This includes inserting or deleting content to the advantage of the editor's employer or client into or from an article, talk page, or policy. Many, but not all, types of paid editing are forbidden. For example, paid editing of a talk page is generally acceptable, but undisclosed paid editing of a policy page is forbidden. All paid editors are required to disclose their paid status on both their user page and on the affected article's talk page.

Paid editing is a type of conflict of interest (COI) and paid editors must follow the guidelines on COI very carefully. Other types of editing may be considered similar to paid editing, such as editing Wikipedia for a graded class project, or editing an article on a relative's business without the relative's knowledge. These are not considered paid editing unless the editor's employer has some control over the editing process. These types of editing may be conflicts of interest, however. See Wikipedia:Conflict of interest#Financial for guidance on financial conflicts of interest that are not included in the definition of paid editing.

Prohibited paid editing

Paid advocacy is any contribution or edit to Wikipedia content that advocates for your employer's point of view. Advocacy of any sort is prohibited by our policy on neutral point of view, and paid advocacy is considered to be an especially egregious form of advocacy. Editors such as employees of public relations firms, lobbyists and lawyers, who advocate for their clients outside of Wikipedia must be especially careful not to edit their client's articles on Wikipedia, as they may be presumed to be paid advocates.

Paid use of administrators' tools by Wikipedia administrators or bureaucrats is incompatible with the duties these people have freely accepted. Accepting pay for the use of administrators' tools is a betrayal of the community's trust and is grounds for summary removal of these privileges, to be reinstated only upon appeal to the Arbitration Committee.

Undisclosed paid editing of policy pages, requests for deletion, requests for comment, peer review and similar pages is prohibited. Paid editing on these pages must be clearly disclosed on the page as well as on the editor's user page, and depending on the specific case, other editors may assign less weight to or discount paid opinions in the same manner they would discount the opinion of a sockpuppet.

Advertising for paid editing services is prohibited. This includes

  • advertising services as a Wikipedia editor, administrator, or bureaucrat,
  • bidding on advertised jobs to edit on behalf of, or to advocate for, the benefit of the employer, or
  • actively seeking payment for taking on a particular position in any editorial decision, or policy dispute.

Any of these activities may result in a block.

Safe harbors

Individuals and organizations who make a good faith effort to edit according to the following procedures will not be in violation of this policy.

Correcting violations of the policy on biographies of living people (BLP) – Anyone who discovers any material that violates BLP policy is encouraged to remove the offending material, report it on the article's talk page, and make a report to the Biographies of living people noticeboard.

Bounty and Reward Boards – Individuals and organizations may wish to have an article created on a specific topic, or have an already existing article improved, but they do not feel they have the time or skill necessary to develop the article, and they want to ensure they do not violate any Wikipedia rules such as the need for a neutral point of view. Requests for article development may be made at:

These boards operate on the principles of transparency, community oversight, and open competition, and so are considered acceptable forms of payment for editing.

The reward board is also a safe harbor for editors who want to receive payment for writing or editing articles. They should direct any inquiries on paid editing to the reward board and then perform the required work through the board, following its rules and procedures. If the only paid editing they perform is through the board, they are not required to make any other disclosure on paid editing. Editors must still maintain editorial independence and follow all Wikipedia policies.

Posting freely licensed articles on other websites – Individuals and organizations may wish to select paid editors to write high quality freely licensed articles that they would like to have published on Wikipedia. This practice is encouraged, and anyone may be hired to write the articles – including Wikipedia editors. The only requirements are that the material is properly licensed (e.g. CC-BY-SA 3.0), and that it is first published on a website other than Wikipedia. The author may then indicate on Requested articles, a Wikipedia talk page, or a Wikipedia project that high quality freely licensed articles are available. Wikipedia editors may then copy the articles to Wikipedia and further edit them if necessary, if they believe them to be of reasonable quality and compliant with Wikipedian policies and guidelines. A Wikipedia editor who authors an off-Wikipedia article for pay may not post it directly to Wikipedia – an unpaid editor with no conflict of interest must make the decision on whether to include the material on Wikipedia – and the paid author may not edit the article on Wikipedia unless the author is declared on Wikipedia to be a paid editor, in accordance with this For more information on licensing external content for use on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Donating copyrighted materials.

Examples

Who is a paid editor?

  • A part-time employee of a PR firm writes an article on one of the firm's clients.
Even if the employee did not get a direct order to write the article, it can be presumed that the PR firm can exercise some control over the content of the article via the employee's paycheck.
  • A salesperson, who is paid mainly by commission, writes an article calculated to increase her or his company's sales.
Since the article is expected to increase sales, and thus her or his pay in the form of commissions, she or he would be considered a paid editor.

Who is not a paid editor?

  • A business owner writes a Wikipedia article about his or her business.
The business owner definitely has a conflict of interest, but is not considered to be a paid editor because he or she is not being paid by an employer to write the article. If the business owner paid other people to write articles, they would be paid editors.
  • A graduate student, who is paid a stipend for teaching or research, writes articles on the area of his or her expertise for Wikipedia.
Since graduate school stipends are paid for pure research or for writing research publications, it's clear the student is not being paid by an employer to write a Wikipedia article.
  • A summer intern has little to do at work, so writes several articles about topics related to the firm.
If the intern's pay is not tied to the editing, and the firm does not control or direct the editing in any way, the intern is not considered to be a paid editor. But if it is done as work, with the approval of the company, there could be a conflict of interest.

Prohibited activities

  • An editor advertises article creation or maintenance of articles about a corporation for a fee, even if disclosure of this arrangement is made and no guarantee of outcomes is made.
  • An editor is obliged to make edits in the article namespace on behalf of his or her employer as part of his or her job description or duties.
  • An editor responds to a freelance jobs board posting to write and submit content on Wikipedia.
  • A political consulting firm or public relations firm hires an editor to edit Wikipedia articles to promote a particular point of view.

Normally acceptable editing

Note that these are not safe harbor categories and that additional circumstances might make any of these examples unacceptable.

  • A non-governmental organization without specific financial interest in the content rewards an editor with a prize for creating a high quality web resource.
  • An employee of a company notices a mistake in an article in which his or her company has an interest and brings it up on the article talk page, or contacts another user or administrator to request the content be examined.
  • An editor adds Wikipedia editing as a line on a resume or curriculum vitae as an indication of writing skills or public service.
  • An employee of an organization or company corrects an undisputed factual mistake in the article about the employer. If the correction is later disputed, the paid relationship must then be disclosed.
  • An employee of a company or organization creates content on that group's website, intending for it to be disseminated through the wiki culture (the content is freely licensed, uses neutral language, is well-referenced, etc.), and then notifies relevant wikiprojects of the material and the conflict of interest, hoping they will decide to use all or part of it.

See also