Wikipedia talk:Articles about ongoing enterprises

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WP:CORP[edit]

This should be official Wikipedia policy[edit]

I am suggesting that this article should become official Wikipedia policy. It should be self-evident. An ongoing enterprise could be libeled by a Wikipedia article just as easily as a living person, and WP:BLP is already official policy. Think about how badly a libel suit could hurt Wikipedia.

There's a federal law that would probably provide immunity in most cases, but it hasn't been tested in court. In particular, if a Foundation employee is aware of a false statement in an article about a living person or ongoing enterprise, and does nothing to remove it, Wikipedia could be vulnerable to civil liability in spite of this law.

Even if Wikipedia eventually wins the lawsuit, it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees. And here's the killer ending, mystery fans.

Wikipedia just finished a fundraiser that took two weeks to raise $1 million. A Fortune 500 company makes that much money in profits before the CEO finishes his first cup of coffee in the morning. They could afford to engage in certain tactics during litigation that would bankrupt Wikipedia before the case could be dismissed.

Wikipedia needs policies that will empower administrators, and even ordinary editors whose hearts are in the right place, to protect the project. Dino 00:09, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Why not amend the existing policy instead of making a new one that is basically identical, and in large parts word-for-word the same? Christopher Parham (talk) 00:38, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
That's a good idea. The existing policy is called WP:BLP and your proposal might require a name change. Also, the policies aren't quite identical. This one addresses the possibility of edits by PR employees of a corporation, press releases, self-published corporate websites and other factors that you don't normally encounter when writing about someone like Jerry Pournelle, for example. He's just a science fiction writer. He probably doesn't even have his own website, and he certainly doesn't have PR employees or generate press releases. This seems to be a person who is representative of the people protected by WP:BLP.
Corporations and other ongoing enterprises, even the small ones, have employees who duties include PR. This could prove to be problematic. We need a policy that addresses edits by such employees. Dino 01:19, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
Dino: WP:COI seems to address it pretty succinctly... "If you fit either of these descriptions: 1. you are receiving monetary or other benefits or considerations to edit Wikipedia as a representative of an organization (whether directly as an employee or contractor of that organization, or indirectly as an employee or contractor of a firm hired by that organization for public relations purposes)... then we very strongly encourage you to avoid editing Wikipedia in areas in which you appear to have a conflict of interest." Caknuck 07:13, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
I'd certainly support changes to WP:BLP to ensure it is clear that the rules there apply to corporations as well as individuals. I don't think any additional rules beyond what are described there are necessary.
(BTW: Pournelle has a rather extensive web site -- probably better to pick a different example!) JulesH 08:27, 18 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I'd agree that the best way to go around this is to edit BLP to expand it, rather than create a semi-redundant page to the side. >Radiant< 12:16, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I support the proposal, by analogy with BLP. YechielMan 19:51, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I support having organizations covered under BLP or similar policy. --Aude (talk) 21:16, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
    • Given that there is an arbcom case, I need to look it over and see what comes out of it. But, agree in principle that articles about corporations need to be watched more closely for compliance with policies. --Aude (talk) 15:38, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I 100% support this proposal, and the above comments on BLP. Alex Jackl 00:58, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I continue to oppose it as unnecessary in the vast majority of cases. We should always be factual and neutral in our presentation of subjects. But organizations are not people. They are granted fundamentally different rights under law and in the common expectation. They do not need the somewhat draconian controls and protections that have proven sometimes necessary for biographies of living persons. The ordinary controls of editing, consensus-seeking and if necessary the blocking of vandals are sufficient. The unintended consequences of this proposal outweigh the potential benefits. Rossami (talk) 01:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I support this, either as a separate policy or as an update to BLP. I'd be interested though, for Rossami to expand what s/he means by "unintended consequences". As I see it, BLP pertaining to individuals is simply a "stricter" form of NPOV and RS which is what all articles should be compliant with. I think expanding this is good for the project in general and I note that COI still applies. <<-armon->>
    • BLP is already creating edit wars because it exempts editors from the three revert rule and encourages a very aggressive stance in editing. As you say, it is a stricter form of NPOV and RS and it has been used as a blunt instrument at times. For articles about controversial figures, there are serious claims that BLP is being (mis)used to stifle coverage of the controversy. (Whether you consider it proper use or misuse depends, of course, on your point of view in the particular controversy.) The normal processes of editing by consensus-seeking are suspended and we get an increase in appeals for admin intervention, etc.
      Now for articles about living people, I agree that these process-costs are justified. I don't see the same need to suspend normal editing for companies and other organizations. Rossami (talk) 14:07, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
      I disagree with your assertion that BLP creates more edit-warring. Someone who breeches 3RR better have an airtight case or they will be blocked. I submit that for every article that BLP inflames editing, there are just as many where it stops it, because someone wanting to inject POV know they don't have the RSs to back it up. As for stifling reporting of controversy, if there are multiple RSs reporting it, it will be included, perhaps not every minor one, but then, they probably shouldn't be anyway. I'm skeptical that this really is a suspension of normal editing (or at least, it shouldn't be) or that it will "increase the process costs". However. even if they do marginally, I can see a couple reasons why they can be justified: 1) Misinformation regarding companies and orgs can have real bad effects on real people's reputations and livelihoods (for example, imagine a companies stock falling on the back of rumours disseminated here) and 2) companies and orgs can have much deeper pockets than the typical individual does, while an anon POV-pusher has very little at stake, the project as a whole, and the foundation in particular has a lot. If we're going to write that Microsoft eats babies, we had better be able to back it up with verifiable, reliable sources. <<-armon->> 10:56, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

What are some examples of on-going enterprises? Tom Harrison Talk 13:25, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't think this is needed, yet. WP:V and WP:RS are plenty. BLP is taking exceptional action to protect living people, I don't see an existing need to extend that. Anything in an enterprise article that refers to a living person should still fall under BLP. HighInBC (Need help? Ask me) 14:06, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • You want an example of an ongoing enterprise? That would be Free Republic. Coincidentally, User:DeanHinnen, who revived this proposal form rejected status, is a member of the legal team for Free Republic whose conflicted edits and proposals to that article based on unverifiable original research have resulted in an arbitration case. If this were made policy, and then applied retro-actively, it might let him off the hook. Not that he's pushing a barrow or anything, you understand.
He asked ArbCom to make this formal policy as part of that case. I don't believe they will.
I strongly recommend that this be returned to inactive status until the dust has settled on the ArbCom case. Guy (Help!) 14:19, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree. This is not a good context in which to set up such a potentially far-reaching policy. Tom Harrison Talk 14:40, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Dean's COI re: Free Republic notwithstanding, I think the idea has merit. My cursory look at the page revealed a hell of a lot of dubious sources, OR, and POV-pushing the other way. In any case, I agree with you guys and Jossi that this can wait until the arbcom is over. <<-armon->> 10:56, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose at this time. This is just adding an additional layer of "rules" on top of WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:RS. It has not been demonstrated that this is necessary. Beyond that, there is an active ArbCom that may weigh in on this and it would be prudent to wait until that process has been resolved.--Isotope23 15:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose making this official policy at this time. WP:V, WP:NOR, and WP:RS address this adequately, and WP:BLP is a special case. we don't need special cases for all sorts of other things and "ongoing enterprises" is way too broad a categorization anyway. If there is demonstrated need for this that is not easily addressable by existing policy, maybe. but otherwise ...WP:CREEP prevails, no new policies without need. ++Lar: t/[[cLar|c]] 17:26, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I think that this is unnecessary, given the other policies that already cover the same types of things. -Hit bull, win steak(Moo!) 18:27, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
  • STRONGLY Oppose. I agreee this is unnecessary. But it is worse than unnecessary: the net effect of this change would be to give POV wikilawyers more authority to try to intimidate and throw their weight around while protecting their favorite pages and keeping them POV. This is really a horrible idea. Jgui 20:49, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Please note Special:Contributions/Jgui. This is a single issue editor who doesn't appreciate other editors' insistence on a compliant article, on, ironically enough, an ongoing enterprise. <<-armon->> 10:56, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unnecessary policy. -Will Beback · · 02:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
  • It was rejected once, and I do not see the current ArbCom case on Free Republic to assert any specific influence in that early rejection. Let's wait and see what remedies the ArbCom comes up with and then decide if having a policy such as this would be beneficial. ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 02:17, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose as unnecessary and I further suggest that any 4th revert based on BLP claims require Admin approval. BLP is being misused for partisan purposes to delete sourced RS V criticism in article mainspace, talk pages, and even on user pages. - FaAfA 20:38, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Oppose at this time (for the reasons spelled out above by others) semper fictilis 19:20, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
  • 'Oppose on the simple basis that there is not sufficient consensus, and flexibility is needed. The detail prescriptions about editing , while I agree with them, are much too specific for policy.DGG 00:12, 21 March 2007 (UTC)

COI edits[edit]

There was a recent signpost article about government agencies (thier IP addresses) editing articles about themselves. I speculated that such edits happen as often with articles about corporations. I started going through the list of S&P 500 companies and picked out a few (not to single out these particular companies, these just happen to be near the beginning of the alphabet):

No need to continue looking through articles in the List of S&P 500 companies. Article statistics can be viewed using this tool: http://vs.aka-online.de/cgi-bin/wppagehiststat.pl

I found these results to be alarming, however even with those IPs, we shouldn't "bite the newbies" Maybe those folks are not aware of WP:COI. After being informed of it, and they continue the behavior then it is a problem.

Examining the situation involving the NIDA, I found that this (and similar) articles are edited infrequently and watched by few. Thus, COI edits can get in easily without anyone noticing. With the article, last edits before the NIDA IP edits occurred in March 2006. This material was added in April 2005 by User:Rad Racer who has since left the project and thus not watching the article. The next edits occurred between August 28 - September 29, 2006 by person(s) associated with NIDA, essentially stubbing the article and stripping out the controversy sections which was the bulk of the article. I assume good faith of Rad Racer, but don't know enough about NIDA to be able to judge how accurate or not the criticism section was or what (valid or not?) concerns NIDA had with it. When a living persons bio gets blanked, we need to consider the possibility that they were removing erroneous or libelous material. I think this case should have been treated like Living people bios. This editor was never asked on their talk page about their edits, informed of WP:COI and other policies. After the NIDA edits in September, the next edits were not made until January 5, 2007, and deleted material restored on January 25. While the fact that NIDA blanked the article is regrettable, it's also regrettable that Wikipedians were not paying any attention to the article for so long and no one tried to work with that IP editor back when those edits occurred.

I think these articles need to be watched more closely for both COI edits and vandalism/libel/errors. I'm not sure the best way to do that, but think having WP:BLP or similar policy covering these types of articles would be helpful. --Aude (talk) 21:16, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

  • That's COI, though, not what this proposal is about. Dino wants to be given a latitude to push changes despite demonstrably failing V, NOR, COI and RS, if you read the ArbCom case. Guy (Help!) 14:33, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not following the Arbcom case closely, but many times find that COI edits consist of removing libelous, extreme POV, or erroneous information. By having Category:Living people and this policy, Wikipedians are watching these bios more closely. I went through each individual edit to the Allstate article. There's been significant spamming of external links to the page, including attack sites - "AllstateInsuranceSucks.com" and a page on "Allstate Insurance and Scientology" which made some very strong critical claims. In June 2006, someone added a big section to the article itself on "Scientology Infiltrates Allstate", which was then deleted by someone from the company [1], which was restored by a Wikipedian [2], deleted by Allstate and reverted a few more times. At the end of June, someone drastically trimmed the section [3] and it's now gone entirely. From now on, I'll 'adopt' this article and watch it, maybe find some WP:RS material to add, and watch a few other corporate articles. But there are so many articles to be watched. People that hate the companies will insert criticism, often poorly sourced. With many inadequetly watched, then it's likely that the company itself will come along and cut out anything critical. We need more Wikipedians to watch them for compliance with our policies and make articles neutral and comply with WP:RS. --Aude (talk) 15:36, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't see how having this as policy would appreciably impact the situation you've outlined Aude. The edits coming from Allstate affiliated individuals would already be covered under WP:COI if they were taking out verfiable information from reliable sources (which in this case I don't think is true, but that is another issue). the insertion of the "Scientology Infiltrates Allstate" section and "AllstateInsuranceSucks.com" link are covered by WP:V/WP:RS and WP:EL respectively. I've run into a similar series of issues on other articles and at this point making sure that articles meet the core policies of WP:V, WP:NOR, WP:NPOV as well as relevent guidelines like WP:EL, WP:RS, and WP:CORP should be more than sufficient. All that is needed is for Wikipedians to watch articles where there is a high potential for POV-pushing based on poorly sourced, skewed sources, or "information management" by involved parties (Wal-Mart for example). Right now I don't see any evidence that the current policies and guidelines are insufficient; they just need to be followed.--Isotope23 16:11, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
But they aren't. If the articles were neutral and well-sourced, I don't think COI edits would be as big of an issue. It's because of how poor and inadequately watched these articles tend to be, that the companies come along and "fix" the articles themselves. In particular, nobody was watching the NIDA article. I'm as much to blame for not watching the articles, but there is only so much I can put on my plate to monitor. The issue needs more awareness, and maybe a tag like Category:Living people would help for watching recent changes to these articles. --Aude (talk) 16:46, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I just read WP:COI.
The insertion of the "Scientology Infiltrates Allstate", etc. are *not* covered. The reason is this: If this was a BLP case, the person in question would be allowed to edit the article to remove unsourced negative material. But according to COI, people from the company are not allowed to edit the article to remove unsourced negative material.
Why is it I can remove unsourced text from an article about me saying I'm a Scientologist, but a company cannot do the same thing?
(And please don't tell me that WP:COI does allow a company to remove such text. It's worded so strongly that anyone who reads it--particularly a new person--and doesn't pay attention to slight nuances in wording is going to read it as not being able to remove it.) Ken Arromdee 17:38, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Define "ongoing enterprise"[edit]

While I have a lot of sympathy for this proposal, I'm concerned about how we would define an "ongoing enterprise" and how much wikilawyering we would get about the limits of that definition. For instance, would slashdot fit? Daily Kos? Pirate Bay? The Free Software Foundation? (Can you tell that I'm a computer/blog nerd?) A lot of wikipedia editors would hate to have BLP-type constraints when editing articles that mention Microsoft. Then there's whichever political party you don't vote for ...

Would the 3RR apply to unsourced negative statements about ongoing enterprises? I can make a case either way.

Hmm. I'm really undecided here. Probably we should try to improve in this area, but I'll have to leave it to wiser heads to work out concrete policy/guidelines. And now I will tiptoe away from this topic ... CWC(talk) 14:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

How about the Roman Catholic Church, the Government of Paraguey, or the Democratic party? Tom Harrison Talk 14:36, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure where to draw the line, but we need to be very insistent on reliably sourcing material in such articles. --Aude (talk) 15:47, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Daily Kos, slashdot, Pirate Bay and the Free Software Foundation are all ongoing enterprises. In fact, Truthout.org is the subject of a current Foundation action that stubified the article after a Truthout reporter, Jason Leopold, reported that Dick Cheney was about to be indicted in the Valerie Plame investigation. This shows a need for a change in policy. The Wikipedia community should police itself, and have the necessary tools to police itself, without intervention by the Foundation.
The Roman Catholic Church and the Democratic Party are also ongoing enterprises. Of all the entities that were listed here, only the government of Paraguay wouldn't qualify, in my opinion. There are certain provisions in US and UK law that would make it very difficult for a government to prevail in a lawsuit for libel or defamation. But individual persons serving in the Paraguayan government are protected by WP:BLP, and the ruling party (if this proposal succeeds) would be protected by WP:AAOE.
Aude, there appears to be a widespread disregard for WP:RS and WP:V as written, particularly since those policies indicate that unsourced or poorly sourced negative material should just have a "needs a cite" tag slapped on it. Jimbo Wales has been crystal clear about those policies with regard to living persons, but ongoing enterprises haven't yet received the same attention. I'm saying that they should.
The self-policing resources of Wikipedia are not unlimited. We do not have enough people protecting the project. I'm saying that because there's a limited number of people reviewing these articles for possible libel, each one of those people should have more firepower available. This isn't just about the money that a libel lawsuit could cost. It's also about the reputation of Wikipedia as a neutral and reliable encyclopedic source.
If there's criticism against an ongoing enterprise from a reliable source, then it should be reflected in the article. However, the article should not be overwhelmed by the criticism. Wikipedia must not be put into a position of appearing to side with the critics. Also, we need to be very firm about the reliability of such sources.
Thanks everyone, for your constructive input. Dino 20:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Amazingly, Dean forgot to mention Free Republic, a website for which he is a member of the legal team and currently engaged in an ArbCom case in respect of his actions against those who seek to include material critical of the site. I'm happy to remedy this minor oversight on his part. This would be a much better example than TruthOut, since we have many of the participants here, whereas in the latter case we'd have to ask Kelly for details, and you don't appear to have done that, so your reasoning appears to be pure speculation. Guy (Help!) 23:42, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Dino: Could you please source your claim that : "Truthout.org is the subject of a current Foundation action that stubified the article after a Truthout reporter, Jason Leopold, reported that Dick Cheney was about to be indicted in the Valerie Plame investigation." I know the article has been 'officed' for quite a while, but I didn't think it had anything to do with Dick Cheney. Truthout received a lot of valid criticism for claiming that Karl Rove would be indicted, but I never read anthing there saying that Cheney would be indicted. Maybe I missed it. Source? Thanks - FaAfA 20:32, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

My mistake, it was Karl Rove, not Dick Cheney. I don't follow the Jason Leopold saga closely enough, I suppose. Dino 21:40, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Canvassing[edit]

  • NOTE: - Some users may have been made aware of this discussion, solely due to active canvassing by a certain editor... Smee 15:02, 21 February 2007 (UTC).
  • I was so notified. I expect the outcome of that canvassing may not be quite what was expected. ++Lar: t/c 17:01, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Where we're at and where we're going[edit]

5 support proposal (me, YechielMan, Alex Jackl, Armon, Ken Arromdee [I think])
2 expand BLP to include ongoing enterprises: (Christopher Parham, JulesH)
5 wait and see what happens at ArbCom: (Aude, JzG, Tom Harrison, Isotope23, Jossi)
6 oppose: (Rossami, HighInBC, Lar, Hit Bull Win Steak, Jgui, Will Beback, Kevin Murray)

What would have to happen at ArbCom, in order to get the "wait and see" crowd on board? If the Committee refuses to take action on the policy change proposal there, but takes action against one or more of the parties for adding poorly sourced negative material about an ongoing enterprise to an article, would you change your vote? Dino 20:19, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

m:Polls are evil. Wikipedia is not a democracy with voting, but rather it works by consensus. --Aude (talk) 21:44, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree, but how do we determine when consensus is reached? Dino 21:47, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Good question. Because it's policy, it's going to need a fairly broad one as well. I'm going to shift to the "wait" column for now, but I support either of the first two options. <<-armon->> 11:00, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Then let's wait. Dino 18:35, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
  • In order to get me on board User:DeanHinnen would have to have absolutely nothing further to do with it. Sorry, I don't trust his motives, not at all, not in the least, not even slightly. His entire aim here is to further his own interests, that's all he's ever done on Wikipedia, and it's all he's ever expressed an interest in doing. Consensus is reached when the community decides it is, WP:BLP was elevated to policy because of the personal intervention of Jimbo and I don't see that happening here, because Jimbo's attitude to corporate entities (especially political extremist websites) is, by my reading, fundamentally different to his attitude to human beings, and for good and sufficient reasons. Guy (Help!) 23:31, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
It's truly unfortunate that you find your contempt for me more important than any desire you may have to protect Wikipedia.
With all due respect to Jimbo Wales, Wikipedia is not his personal plaything. Nor do I believe he wants it to be. And it certainly isn't yours, sir. We don't need to have you on board in order to have a consensus on this issue, sir. There are others here who recognize that an ongoing enterprise, even an "extremist political website" (and I'm sure you mean Free Republic), can be libeled by a Wikipedia article, particularly since there are extremists of the opposite persuasion who are dedicated to pumping the article full of whatever unsourced or poorly sourced criticism they can find.
I want to protect Wikipedia from such an event. Just one such event involving a Fortune 500 corporation could bankrupt Wikipedia. Even without the money issue, there's the reputation of Wikipedia to consider. With literally millions of man-hours poured into it by some of the most brilliant and educated minds in the world, one would think that it would have a reputation as a reliable, neutral encyclopedic resource by now. But it doesn't, in part because these reckless partisans cannot be controlled effectively under current policies. Dino 00:29, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Add me to the object list. WP:BLP is becoming an excuse to create Positive/Sympathetic POV articles, not NPOV ones and I object to anymore stretching of that. I've watched PAID public relations people remove information about their organization when it was directly sourced to a report to Congress from the United States Department of Justice. I've got no interest in having someone claim that their removal is inline with this new BLP-CORP policy. SchmuckyTheCat 01:36, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Dino, I find your reasoning to be rather flawed. First, if there were actual legal hazards, I'm sure the MediaWiki board and/or their lawyer would inform us. I'm not a lawyer and I suspect you aren't either, so any reasoning we base upon our understanding of U.S. law is likely to be incorrect. Second, I think you're quite wrong that Wikipedia is considered unreliable because of "reckless partisans"; indeed, criticism tends to focus on other areas (such as "lowest common denominator"). And third, Schmucky has a good point that paid POV pushers are potentially problematic, and this would likely be worse for commercial institutes. We should be extremely careful about creating policy in such areas. >Radiant< 09:00, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Radiant, I love those colors.
First, if there were actual legal hazards, I'm sure the MediaWiki board and/or their lawyer would inform us.
It's my observation that they've tried to stay out of the internal working of Wikipedia, relying on community solutions unless there's no alternative. Maybe I'm wrong about that; I've been actively participating as a Wikipedia editor for a grand total of 32 days, so what do I know?
I'm not a lawyer and I suspect you aren't either ...
Me? A lawyer? I would neither confirm nor deny such an ugly rumor. ;-)
Second, I think you're quite wrong that Wikipedia is considered unreliable because of "reckless partisans"; indeed, criticism tends to focus on other areas (such as "lowest common denominator").
I did say, "in part." The criticism I've heard is that it's too easily altered by people who have agendas that are inconsistent with the idea of a neutral encyclopedic resource. Some of them are corporate PR flacks. Some of them are employed by political campaigns. Some, but certainly not all of them are random radical nutcases (the "reckless partisans" I've referenced). Some are adolescents who want to turn this into the world's most comprehensive resource for Pokemon trivia, or comic book trivia, or video game trivia.
To resist these pressures, this place needs better supervision. Recruiting more admins isn't going as well as one might hope. So, as I've said, each of the limited number of people available to review these articles needs more firepower at his disposal. By this, I mean better policies: unambiguous and clear policies that allow admins and others to take decisive action, when it is warranted, to protect Wikipedia.
The most frequent targets of editors who are "on a mission" are articles about living persons. That's already been addressed by a splendid policy. I am suggesting that articles about corporations and other organizations are not far behind, as favorite targets of editors "on a mission." Those who believe that such organizations do not need or deserve such protection may wish to bear in mind that even the largest and most profitable corporation consists of shareholders, employees and their families, many of whom might be harmed financially by false claims that damage the company's reputation.
The concerns that have been raised about corporate PR flacks who whitewash articles are quite valid. We need a policy that addresses them as well. The goal here is not whitewashed articles, but balanced, well-sourced NPOV articles. Thanks for your thoughtful input. Dino 21:59, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Redundant to Organizations and companies[edit]

This proposal is redundant to and in conflict with the guidelines for Organizations and companies. This should be deleted immediately to avoid further confusion. --Kevin Murray 20:26, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay then. Things seem to be happening very quickly elsewhere. Perhaps the proper course of action might be modifying WP:ORG to bring the editing policy into line with WP:BLP. What do you think? Dino 21:42, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • This seems reasonable and I would be pleased to work with you on this project. As a starter, will you pull out of this proposal what you feel is lacking at ORG, and post it to Wikipedia:Articles about ongoing enterprises/unique? We could then collaborate to fine tune before proposing the addition to ORG. Kevin Murray 21:58, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I've got a lot of other irons in the fire, but I'll be contacting you. Thanks for your contribution to this effort. Dino 22:08, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Deletion is probably overdoing it, but Kevin is correct in that it's overlapping. A merge and redirect would be useful. >Radiant< 10:37, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
    • I don't see much reason for a merge. Since this has not reached consensus it seems inappropriate to specifically merge; however, I support Dean in modifying ORG to achieve his purpose. I think that we should develop an essay whcih is linked from WP:N discussing the reasoning. I think that a simple redirect is appropriate, unless there is a consensus otherwise. --Kevin Murray 20:39, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

The problem with that, Kevin, is that this entire discussion and proposal called WP:AAOE has nothing at all to do with notability. It addresses edits by company employees and members of organizations, and how to deal with their COI issues. It also deals with the issue of libel. It has nothing to do with WP:N.

Right now, WP:ORG is all about the question, "Is it notable enough to have a Wikipedia article about it?" WP:AAOE deals with the follow-up question, "Since we have already decided that it's notable enough for an article, how do we avoid and/or deal with certain problems when writing the article?" So linking an essay from WP:N wouldn't be good. Linking it from WP:COI and WP:LIBEL would be good, perhaps WP:BLP as well.

Also, I think that the issue of consensus is awaiting resolution of the ArbCom case. So developing a discussion about a merge, and starting the ball rolling by getting folks to start thinking about it would be good. Dino 16:59, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

  • I think I see your point, but would have to research a bit to see whether I agree. Where BLP overlaps your purpose, could the coverage there be expanded and the name modified to the broader purpose (not an easy assingment)? --Kevin Murray 18:00, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
An impossible assignment, Kevin. BLP deals with people (individuals) and the notability guidelines regarding people should be merged there, IMHO. BLP has only reached its current status in response to the direct intervention of Jimmy Wales in the wake of the Siegenthaler case. I believe that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That's why I'm trying to elevate this to policy status somehow, before there's a Siegenthaler type case that involves a corporation or other entity (rather than an individual). Also, there is powerful consensus against any further substantial modifications of BLP. Dino 18:44, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
It seems that this has not received support and should be tagged as rejected. --Kevin Murray 03:05, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
  • This page was made in response to a real problem (with OTRS, no less) so it should not be rejected out of hand like that. >Radiant< 09:55, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
  • Please be more specific without buzz-words. --Kevin Murray 11:04, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
    • Buzzwords? I wasn't aware of any... oh, WP:OTRS. You can look it up in your favorite encyclopedia :) >Radiant< 10:04, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Doesn't this just duplicate WP:CORP as well as a number of other pre-existing policies? Fagstein 07:43, 12 August 2006 (UTC)

WP:CORP deals with notability. Fred Bauder 01:47, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
And everything else is covered under other policies. Is there anything new policy-wise here or is it just an essay about writing articles on corporations? Fagstein 05:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I think so. Fred Bauder 09:44, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I gather from the "Rationale" section that the problem is that complaints from companies are creating an administrative load on the Wikipedia office. Libel (at least in the US) to the point of actually losing a libel suit, isn't really the issue. Is that correct? --John Nagle 16:51, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
I doubt the current load is significant. I think the issue is fair articles and avoiding litigation, more than the prospect of losing a suit. Fred Bauder 17:52, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

It appears that Dino, the major proponent of this proposal has retired from WP as of early March. No progress has been made toward consensus, thus the proposal should be marked as rejected. --Kevin Murray 18:43, 27 March 2007 (UTC)

Nice start, but...[edit]

Almost all the primary information (Stuff from Jumbo) relates to WP:BLP withg a little note "about the related policy on living persons". I strongly suggest someone ask him about this proposed policy and if he likes it, ask him to do another mailing list post explicitly dealing with this , so we don't keep having to say "He said this about BLP, but this is about the same thing, so it applies here too" over and over. 68.39.174.238 15:11, 13 August 2006 (UTC)

Balancing the policy[edit]

The proposed policy was almost pro-advertising. With that policy, most company articles would be puff pieces. I've made some changes to balance it more. --John Nagle 19:52, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Balancing user rights is not sufficient because of the growing practice of astroturfing. A growing number of professional spin doctors are defending corporate reputations on the internet, and I have seen at least one case where they are using extensive wikilawyering to do it. This policy would really help them. In order to compete against their greater resources (they're paid to do this full-time!) volunteer critics should be given more freedom than corporate cheerleaders.--Yannick 02:33, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

How big a legal problem is this?[edit]

How big a legal problem is this?

I don't want to see Wikipedia turned into a business directory, full of puff pieces. The bad news belongs in there too. Here are a few pieces of bad news about companies I've added, all currently in Wikipedia.


  • (From Moller Skycar): In 2003, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Moller for civil fraud (Securities And Exchange Commission v. Moller International, Inc., and Paul S. Moller, Defendants) in connection with the sale of unregistered stock, and for making unsubstantiated claims about the performance of the Skycar. Moller settled this lawsuit by agreeing to a permanent injunction and paying $50,000. In the words of the SEC complaint, "As of late 2002, MI's approximately 40 years' of development has resulted in a prototype Skycar capable of hovering about fifteen feet above the ground."


  • (From PowerBook):
    Model and serial number location on PowerBook battery
    On May 20, 2005, the Consumer Product Safety Commission ordered a recall of some Apple Powerbook G4 batteries. The official CPSC recall notice states that an internal short can cause the battery cells to overheat, posing a fire hazard to consumers. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. The defective batteries can be returned to Apple for replacement. Approximately 128,000 defective units were sold.
The following units have been recalled:
Computer model name Battery model number Battery serial number range
12-inch iBook G4 A1061 HQ441 – HQ507
12-inch PowerBook G4 A1079 3X446 – 3X510
15-inch PowerBook G4 A1078 3X446 – 3X509
Both fires and battery explosions have been reported.[4]

We need more of this, not less. WP:VAIN seems to encourage this practice, discouraging puff pieces - live by the hype, die by the hype. I don't want to face pressure to remove negative info like that. --John Nagle 23:38, 14 August 2006 (UTC)'

Bad news should be included, and these are all important enough. However, Wikipedia is not a consumer rights magazine. Consumer warnings ("Consumers should stop" etc.), I think, should be deleted. Fagstein 16:54, 24 August 2006 (UTC)
The "consumers should stop" language is from the CPSC. --John Nagle 20:41, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

How to stay out of libel trouble[edit]

The place to go for guidance on this is here:

The Associated Press (1998). The Associated Press Stylebook and Libel Manual. Perseus Books. ISBN 0201339854. 

This is the working journalist's guide to libel law. It tells you how to stay out of trouble without being overly conservative. If Wikipedia management is worried about libel suits, that's the place to look for policy guidance.

On a personal note, during the dot-com boom and collapse, I ran Downside, a web site devoted to predicting which dot-coms would go under and when. Predictions of corporate "death dates" were generated by automated processing of company SEC filings. The accuracy was suprisingly good. I received hate mail and occasional legal threats, sometimes from CEO-level people. But nobody ever actually sued. They knew they'd lose. So don't cave in to corporate pressure when you don't have to. --John Nagle 02:47, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Customer opinion sites[edit]

I've just posted a concern about linking to customer opinion websites on WP:WPSPAM:

What does everyone think about linking to websites which contain customer opinions?

For example consider http://www.airlinequality.com/ which contains passenger opinions on airlines (all links). I beleive such a site doesn't meet any of WP:ELs "when to link" guidelines (for #4 it's hard to consider it neutral & accurate) and hits against some of the recommendations on when not to link:

  • 2: "Any site that contains factually inaccurate material or unverified original research, as detailed in Wikipedia:Reliable sources"
  • 9: "Blogs, social networking sites (such as MySpace) and forums should generally not be linked to unless mandated by the article itself."
I wonder if there's a parallel here with the WP:BLP policy which is applied to biographies of living people... And has recently spawned a Wikipedia:Articles about ongoing enterprises proposal?

Your comments welcome at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Spam#Customer opinion sites. Thanks/wangi 21:09, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Definition of ongoing enterprises[edit]

What is the definition of "ongoing enterprise"? Cub scouts? IBM? Democrat party? Israeli government? Mafia? A child-porn ring? A terorist organisation? Why? What is the criteria? Why is that criteria used for this policy? WAS 4.250 11:35, 23 August 2006 (UTC)

Your question illustrates a major question. What is the basis for distinguishing between The Hunger Project, IBM and Hesbollah? Each could claim libel. Fred Bauder 12:45, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Is this a proposal that we should apply BLP for every statement anywhere in wikipedia even on talk pages if someone somewhere could claim libel? WAS 4.250 13:32, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
Not at all, just something to think about. Fred Bauder 17:54, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
My understanding, that may be wrong, is that "ongoing enterprises" refers to "commercial ongoing enterprises", and not to movements, political parties, etc. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 18:39, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
My understanding is that BPL has to do with morality, wiki-love, and the fact that the whole point of a free great encyclopedia for all mankind is that is a good thing good people volunteer to help. I see no reason to extend that to not-livings-humans. Staying legal is a concern in every article and while a special consideration is due living people, I don't feel the same way about IBM. I believe we should maintain the distiction between saying "Fictional Tobacco company Predident John Smith is morally guilty of mass murder" which is covered by BLP versus saying "Fictional Tobacco company is morally guilty of mass murder" which is not covered by BLP but is covered by Verifyability, no original research and NPOV which is quite sufficient. WAS 4.250 23:52, 23 August 2006 (UTC)
I understand the need to be extra careful not to hurt living people. I am not so sure about being extra careful not to impugn the Boy Scouts of America, Skull and Bones, or Macedonia. I certainly do not think we should be more careful of for-profit organizations that of non-profits. Tom Harrison Talk 01:14, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Quote not supported by reference.[edit]

Moved this from the article to talk, because that quote isn't in the reference. "Addressing the question of biographies of living persons, a subject analogous to articles about ongoing enterprises, Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, said: We must get the article right. [1]" Wales doesn't seem to have said that. The closest he came was to say "And the few people who are still sort of in the old days, saying, "Well, you know, it's a wiki, why don't we just... ", yeah, they're sort of falling by the wayside, because lots of people are saying actually, we have a really serious responsibility to get things right." --John Nagle 19:16, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

When should this policy in the works be taken seriously?[edit]

The ongoing enterprise article has been helpful to me and I saw the enterprise template and added it to the Starbucks article. But another editor removed it the next day saying it is only a proposed policy. Should we not be using the enterprise template afterall? And should we be using the proposed policy as a guide now, or ignore it until it becomes official policy? Thanks for any input you can provide. Mr Christopher 19:10, 1 September 2006 (UTC)

The enterprise template was mis-worded given that this is just a proposal. I've fixed that. As for your other question, policies become policies because they are widely supported by the community. If you feel that this proposal should become a policy, you should follow the proposal right now. If the community is in agreement, other people will start to do so as well. If a lot of people disagree with it, then that should become pretty obvious really quickly. Note that this is not an opinion on the validity of the proposal itself, just a suggestion as to what you should do if you feel the proposal is valid. JYolkowski // talk 19:46, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
I have upgraded this to a guideline. If there are objections, please revert and provide proposal to reach consensus on how to get it there. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:23, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Sorry... does not seem we are ready yet. The text needs work... ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:26, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
This proposal should be neither a guide nor a policy. We should not have a certain sensitivity for IBM. Following all our other rules with regard to IBM is quite sufficient. Special sentitivity for humans, not organizations or statues or books or professions or countries or religions or ... WAS 4.250 12:03, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
How do you send a proposed policy to AfD? --John Nagle 16:56, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
Same as any other article, but some version of this will be policy, simply because of the potential legal liability. As an alternative, I suppose we could shut the site down. Is there consensus on that?Fred Bauder 19:47, 2 September 2006 (UTC)
That comes close to being a legal threat (WP:LEGAL). What we're reading here are unsubstantiated claims that there's a legal problem. There probably isn't. Here's a list of almost every Internet defamation and libel case. Find one where a service provider in the United States lost. Also check out the Chilling Effects database. Companies complain about "defamation" now and then, but they don't win cases on it in the US unless there's malice. Please read the Chilling Effects Defamation FAQ. I'd recommend that Wikipedia staff worried about this talk to ChillingEffects.org staff; they're the experts in this area. --John Nagle 04:39, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Then let Wikimedia lawyers write it and Jimbo declare it as policy. WAS 4.250 00:02, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Sure, but they can benefit from our collective input in this regard. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 00:05, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Generally, we do not AFD good-faith policy proposals. Instead, we discuss them on the Talk page. If the consensus becomes clear that the policy proposal was not a good idea, it is tagged either with {{historical}} or {{rejected}} but kept as a reference for future discussions. Rossami (talk) 18:57, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

Redunadant with OFFICE[edit]

Apparently the whole point of this was "legal liability". OFFICE was created for that, so this proposal seems redundant to the extent that is is needed at all. If "legal liabilty" is the excuse for it then OFFICE makes it redundant. WAS 4.250 00:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Office has a very small staff, really only 2 people. We need to get the 1000 administrators and the 100,000 users involved also. This needs to be routine Wikipedia practice. Fred Bauder 00:19, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Why aren't you helping us work on the problem? Fred Bauder 00:19, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

"Remember what we are doing here. We are building a free encyclopedia for every single person on the planet. We are trying to do it in an atmosphere of fun, love, and respect for others. We try to be kind to others, thoughtful in our actions, and professional in our approach to our responsibilities." Jimbo Wales 16:49, 26 August 2005 (UTC) [5]

I help with THAT. WAS 4.250 05:44, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Great. Then allow others to work on this if you are not interested. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:08, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
Tough cases that cannot be dealt by concerned editors, can be brought to the attention of WP:OFFICE. There is no replacement for the eyeballs and concern of all our editors. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:16, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Application of verifiability, no original research, and NPOV is important for every article. Special sensitivity (enhanced awareness for privacy rights and morality concerns) is for living people. Providing special sensitivity for IBM is nonsense. I note Fred has changed the actual proposal to take some of this into consideration. Perhaps a litle more tweaking to say hardnosed application of verifiability, no original research, and NPOV anywhere in wikipedia that legal liability comes into play and don't limit that to enterprises. WAS 4.250 03:48, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

There is no contradiction between a policy of NPOV, V and NOR and this proposal. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 03:52, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Libel-Protection Unit[edit]

Wikipedia:Libel-Protection Unit so far only deals with biographies of living persons. Fred Bauder 00:33, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

The Wikipedia:Libel-Protection Unit is a proposed monitoring group that doesn't even exist yet. WAS 4.250 05:40, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

...but that have already a few users engaged, as well as a noticeboard @ Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 23:13, 3 September 2006 (UTC)
LPU is an active monitoring group currently determining specific focus and processes by consensus before beginning active monitoring. Spin! Electrawn 01:28, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Two real cases[edit]

Livedoor[edit]

Livedoor says:

"Livedoor's registered headquarters is located at 16-9, Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, 160-0021, Japan, but its principal corporate offices are on the 38th floor of the prestigious Roppongi Hills Mori Tower at 10-1, Roppongi 6-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo, 106-6138, Japan. US headquarters is located at 7300 Corporate Center Suite 303, Miami, FL 33126 and Innovation Interactive NYC office is at 18 W 18th St, New York, New York 10011."

This kind of detail about living person is not appropriate and is deleted inder BLP. This Ongoing enterprises proposal was modeled afer the BLP policy, yet enterprises are public in critical ways that living people are not. WAS 4.250 04:42, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, some advertise their address, some hide it. And, as in this case, have different addresses for different purposes. But to tie it in with BLP, it would be inappropriate to include the home phone of the CEO, or his home address. Fred Bauder 16:34, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Enterprises, as opposed to individuals, have to make certain information public through filing and registrations with government entities. While individuals may have a "right to privacy" via the legal system, enterprises have no such protection. Can you put your business phone on the US national do not call list? Nope! The CEOs home address and phone is protected by that right to privacy precedent, but his office phone, office email and office address are not. Still, putting CEO stuff in a wikipedia article is Advocacy journalism and a good example of WP:NOT Electrawn 01:25, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Tokyo Stock Exchange[edit]

Tokyo Stock Exchange says:

"During the initial public offering of J-Com on December 8, 2005, an employee at Mizuho Securities Co., Ltd. mistakenly typed an order to sell 610,000 shares at 1 yen, instead of an order to sell 1 share at 610,000 yen. Mizuho failed to catch the error; the Tokyo Stock Exchange initially blocked attempts to cancel the order, resulting in a net loss of 347 million US dollars to be shared between the exchange and Mizuho. Both companies are now trying to deal with their troubles: lack of error checking, lack of safeguards, lack of reliability, lack of transparency, lack of testing, loss of confidence, and loss of profits. On 11 December, the TSE acknowledged that its system was at fault in the Mizuho trade. On 21 December, Takuo Tsurushima, chief executive of the TSE, and two other senior executives resigned over the Mizuho affair."

It is based on firm evidence in the sources section. Morality concerns for living people indicate the morality of providing accurate data on enterprises that can harm living people through profit based desicions. Not including data that can harm a company can harm the public. WAS 4.250 04:42, 4 September 2006 (UTC)

Yes, but that is true also of perceptive original research. If someone has personal knowledge of fraud, disclosure here could help the public, but still violate NOR, in addition to exposing Wikipedia to liability. Not all that is true can be proven. Fred Bauder 16:38, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
If the material above was described in a reliable source, Wikipedia is off the hook, as we are merely citing that source. But when editors develop original material (even if it is super interesting from a journalistic perspective) we are failing policy and making ourselves liable. As per WP:BLP we need to exercise extra caution, and this is an excelent example why we should have this as a policy. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 21:40, 4 September 2006 (UTC)
Both companies are now trying to deal with their troubles: lack of error checking, lack of safeguards, lack of reliability, lack of transparency, lack of testing, loss of confidence, and loss of profits. This statement is an opinion. If its citeable, make it a direct quote.

The entire incident is notable for its severity in one persons action affecting the bottom line of two companies so greatly. The entire paragraph may be WP:NPOV#Undue_weight, but I am not for that particular argument. Electrawn 01:19, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

It is an accurate summary of the sources. WAS 4.250 05:31, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Merge with BLP[edit]

Please justify the Merge idea or delete it. It makes no sense. BLP is a well defined policy. This is not even a fully defined proposal. What it applies to is not identified. What is to be applied is debated and modified. Merge what? This proposal is not well defined enough to be able to be merged. WAS 4.250 08:34, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

Agreed, the merge is the wrong way to go. There will be parallels and differences between the two standards. If anything, it looks like this started as a cookie cutter copy of BLP and we are now trying to work out here what the differences ought to be. BLP started 17 December 2005 as a proposal, was upgraded to a guideline at some point, and was upgraded to policy on 18 July 2006 (on the it is being so used basis), and the community as a whole is still coming to realize that BLP is a policy and figure out how to apply and work with it. If it still looks like basically a cookie cutter copy of BLP this time next year, then merging will be a good idea. For now, let's work out what this ought to be. GRBerry 15:21, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

This page does not seem to have a high visibility, or at least I had never heard of it until I inquired on the BLP page about a similar thing for companies. Ansell 02:47, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Agree that the merge is the wrong way to go. As for visibility, the official place to look is Category:Wikipedia proposals. You can mention it in Wikipedia:Village pump (policy) if you want it to get more attention. --John Nagle 06:03, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed. The merger proposal is a bad idea. As was said in the section above, different expectations of privacy apply. Since I can't find anyone actually arguing in favor of the merger, I'm going to remove the merger tag.
The next question is how soon we start debating whether to tag this as {{rejected}}. Once we get to the standards that really apply to companies and other organizations, you're back to our regular standards of verifiability, etc. Rossami (talk) 18:50, 13 October 2006 (UTC)

FYI[edit]

"Law.com: What is your liability for inaccurate information that's posted on the Web site?

Bradford A. Patrick: Our belief is that since every post is attributed to an individual, is time-stamped and is retained in the database, the foundation itself is not publishing that content. We view individual editors as responsible and have prominently displayed on every edit page that individuals are responsible for their own contributions. We take the position that we are a service provider and are protected under §230. We try to emphasize to everyone who posts that they, as publishers, have responsibility for what they add. "[6] WAS 4.250 06:18, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Our good defense does not abrogate our responsibility. Fred Bauder 12:48, 7 September 2006 (UTC)
Morally, yes of course. But some have said that efforts (some? all?) to assume responsibility create responsibility in the eyes of the law so that the more sucessful we are at this, the more legal liability. I'm not a lawyer. While this may not be your specialty, you are a lawyer. So, without giving legal advice, can you shed light on this? WAS 4.250 04:09, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Neither you nor I are employes or officers of the foundation, thus our efforts to remove unsourced negative material does not constitute editorial control by the foundation itself. Fred Bauder 16:55, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
Highly questionable. The Foundation owns and operates the servers. Foundation employees have ultimate control over the software on the servers. This software determines who has permission bits assigned within the hierarchy of admins, bureaucrats, stewards, etc. These permission bits collectively play a huge role in shaping the content on Wikipedia in terms of blocking editors, banning editors, deleting articles, and protecting articles. 68.91.90.53 23:31, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

Test Case: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod[edit]

The following was added yesterday to the article about a church body:

and is sometimes derisively referred to in ELCA circles as the "Misery Synod".

No citation information provided. I reverted as uncivil. Were this proposal a policy, I would assume it would be removable under it. --CTSWyneken(talk) 15:01, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

That's just verifiability, per WP:V. The term "Misery Synod" does appear in a few hundred places, but most of them are blogs. It's a good candidate for Urban Dictionary, but not Wikipedia. --John Nagle 16:52, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Restored "fact" tag[edit]

I put a "fact" tag on "Well-founded complaints about articles about ongoing enterprises from their subjects arrive daily in the form of e-mails to the Wikipedia contact address, phone calls to the Foundation headquarters and to Jimbo Wales, and via postal mail." That unsubstantiated claim doesn't belong in the policy without substantial backup. Discussion here hasn't established that there's a real problem, and putting that line in the article lead asserts that there is. I know that it's not customary to require WP:V in a policy, but because that's being used as justification for the policy, it's appropriate and necessary.

Let's see a monthly summary of complaints for the last year. Then this issue can be discussed effectively. Thanks. --John Nagle 18:31, 20 September 2006 (UTC)

I have emailed the principals. Fred Bauder 19:06, 20 September 2006 (UTC)
Thanks. We need more hard data on this. --John Nagle 03:25, 21 September 2006 (UTC)
Any hard data yet? It's been a few weeks. --John Nagle 05:58, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

General values/numbers[edit]

Could they be posted here for public review, without getting into specific names? I think this may be a bad idea; as organizations/groups/companies and corporations are not people. Negative press and sourced facts are that; and we don't have to concern ourselves with the hurt feelings of a given political party or corporation, in the same regard as we do a living human being. · XP · 16:29, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

I guess it depends on whether WP:BLP, as our only specific effort to prevent Wikipedia:Libel (with the possible exception of WP:OFFICE) , is viewed only by its ethical considerations, as opposed to its Legal considerations. I believe this page is more about the legal considerations involved, something which we cannot just ignore. Ansell 04:06, 13 October 2006 (UTC)
Certainly, the legal comes first, and then consideration for the ethical. What I mean is that if negative press about Megacorp, LLC is uncovered by a reliable source, it would be negligient to not report on it at least in passing. For example, a very small incident could be handled safely by a line or two, with a link or two to RS detailed it more fully. I simply mean that this proposed policy should not be used to shield organizations or corporations from "bad press" simply because Google or other SE results will have disproportionate weight via Wikipedia being what it is. The goal is not to assist in spin control or minimizing negative associations for the subject of an article, but to be the sum total of human knowledge as Jimbo has said. And, of course, companies are not and never will be people to have hurt 'feelings'. · XP · 16:38, 13 October 2006 (UTC)