- For Wikipedia guidelines on people editing articles on topics they are personally, financially, or ideologically connected to, see Wikipedia:Conflict of interest. If you are looking for Valued images, see Wikipedia:Valued pictures. Or you may be looking for Wikipedia:No vested contributors.
|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.||
Editors who are heavily involved with the editing of a particular article may have a vested interest in the outcomes of decisions relating to that article, such as merge or deletion requests. This does not mean that such editors' arguments should be dismissed as arising from a Wikipedia:Conflict of interest.
Beware of using the argument of "vested interest" in content disputes: Discuss the issue, not the editor; and never suggest a view is invalid simply because of who its proponent is.
What is a vested interest?
Editors who spend a particularly large amount of effort on specific pages on Wikipedia may have an emotional attachment to the work they have done. This may result in a bias towards one side or the other in debates concerning those pages.
Editors with vested interests should certainly not be excluded from such debates: the perspective of the editors involved in an article is one that ought to be allowed, and indeed should probably be represented in most debates. (This is why, for instance, deletion tags must be placed on pages listed for deletion, so that the editors of those pages can see them).
It is not generally considered important for an editor to disclose a possible vested interest when participating in a debate. If another editor believes that a vested interest of another user should be considered, they should be careful to:
- remember to assume good faith and remain civil;
- not take an accusatory tone, in particular by describing vested interests as "possible" vested interests;
- explain the relevance of the vested interest to the argument, so as to not make an ad hominem argument; and especially
- not confuse a vested interest with a WP:COI-type conflict of interest issue, which is much more serious.