Wikipedia talk:Conflict of interest

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Sources on conflict of interest[edit]

(chronological)

Jdog drafting "If concerns about COI remain..."[edit]

(edit conflict)Jdog added this to the COI rules "If concerns about COI remain after considering these other options, raise the issue in a civil manner on the editor's talk page, citing this guideline, or open a thread on WP:COIN." I asked him to discuss on talk. at a minimum he should open the thread. furthermore, he ignored the flag which states "Editors discussing proposed changes to WP:COI or related pages should disclose during those discussions whether they have been paid to edit Wikipedia."

of course buddy Roxythedog re-reverts me (minutes later, nothing else to do) in the well known tag team -edit warring manner, that brought jdog to ARbcom in the first place. I CLEARLY wrote to discuss. Rdog you are wrong. your tactic to push and WP:BAIT with your aggressive behavior is a shame and known to everyone. --Wuerzele (talk) 19:55, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Still waiting for you to explain Jytdogs alleged COI per your, and my, edsum. -Roxy the dog™ woof 20:00, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

(edit conflict) I was busy replying the WP:hounding Jdog on my talk page (where he posts though not allowed) so he beat me with his above post facto entry! And he is not discussing here!

Jdog knows the rules and how to manipulate them, and here is an immediate example: discussing a controversial issue POST facto, after someone tells him to.--Wuerzele (talk) 20:05, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Still waiting for you to explain Jytdogs alleged COI per your, and my, edsum. -Roxy the dog™ woof 11:15, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
rdog you and wait ? you reverted me. I owe you nada. dont play games, ask your friend.--Wuerzele (talk) 05:09, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Several editors accused Jytdog of COI a few months ago, he identified to a neutral admin who confirmed that he had no COI. I can not remember where the thread is but Jytdog can likely point you to it. Wuerzele should really retract their accusation unless they have evidence else they are simply making a personal attack. JbhTalk 13:17, 20 January 2016 (UTC)
really? and you jhunley should really retract if you "cannot remember where the thread" is. have jdog produce it. you assume bad faith fabricating a WP:PA. --Wuerzele (talk) 05:09, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
It is in plain sight on my user page. User:Jytdog#Self-initiated_COI_Investigation. You have still have not supported your allegation, and you have been asked now by three people. Jytdog (talk) 05:22, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
@Wuerzele:, it is a personal attack to allege that someone has a paid-editing COI without providing any reason, evidence or other proof of COI. I may take this to the dramaboards since you are persisting in tendentious and disruptive discussion. Jbhunley said "I can not remember where the thread is but Jytdog can likely point you to it." preempting your comment of "you jhunley (sic) should really retract if you "cannot remember where the thread" is. have jdog (sic) produce it. At any rate, Jytdog has provided the link and a direct link to the self-investigation can be seen here, at the COI/N archives, which found Jytdog to be COI-free. Unless you have proof Wuerzele, you are essentially continuing with your ArbCom-found battleground mentality and incivility, which may require Admin intervention at the dramaboard. Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 05:42, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
oh you too waiting ? drcrazy! have you had any dealings with jdog ? no ? how about checking him out before writing, while waiting ? he used to run COIN, shouldnt he know better to disclose? but then he wrote half the rules here. read teh arbcomGMOcase evidence page about him.--Wuerzele (talk) 05:46, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Still waiting for actual evidence stating Jytdog to have a COI to be provided per WP:Casting aspersions, WP:No personal attacks and WP:HARASS. If you, @Wuerzele:, can't find/link any ruling that Jytdog has a COI then you need to stop accusing him of COI or you are only casting aspersions that can and will result in blocks. All you are providing for your "evidence" is something regarded as speculative and rumour-mongering in an ArbCom case that made no ruling to the effect of "Jytdog has a COI, don't edit this area". If you really want to, go start a discussion about Jytdog's alleged COI and provide some evidence. As it stands, you are not proving that Jytdog has a COI, you are proving that you have a COI when dealing with any area related to Jytdog and should likely receive an interaction ban to stop your currently baseless arguments. You can try this one voluntarily or have it imposed, that simple and it avoids all this drama.
You have been warned by Jytdog to stop attacking them, and I am backing the warning since you apparently disregarded it since it came from Jytdog. If you do not cease and desist in your attempts to allege their COI exists without evidence, I will take the matter to ANI for community discussion.
Also, for the sake of whatever deity or entity you pray to or believe in, use some form of a text-editor to clean up and copyedit your comments so that I don't feel like I'm reading some teenager's graffiti tags! There is currently an issue of competency, in writing and evidence-based arguments, on this talkpage that is readily apparent in each and every one of your comments so far.
Finally, I have had previous experience in editing with Jytdog and found them to be reasonable at the time (round about when the ArbCom case was happening, IIRC). And at any rate, I don't give a Vandal's edit about the history of the user when they are being blatantly attacked in the manner you have conducted yourself in. You had your go during the ArbCom, now drop the bone. Sincerely, Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 05:42, 22 January 2016 (UTC)

discussing the edit Jdog made[edit]

so, since everyone has had it all out on me, all the accusations of malice out of the way , i invite the esteemed editors (except rdog) to discuss jdog's edit. content, yes! the content that s still in , men!

I reverted it because

  1. jdog has a COI since AT LEAST October 2015, not declared it formally,. he wasnt sure what to do as he admits. he added the sentence to the COI guidelines which is crazy. you dont edit guidelines that pertain to you r situation. How does this look, gentlemen? You should ask jdog to retract his edit! instead you let rdog bully me and chime in without thinking.
  2. jdog has QUIETLY started a disclosure on his talkpage, today. NOT HERE as the guidelines, I cited "Editors discussing proposed changes to WP:COI or related pages should disclose during those discussions whether they have been paid to edit Wikipedia."
  3. jdog SHOULD have discussed on talk BEFORE making a controversial edit like that. Its a standard rule. and he should discuss here ! why are none of you asking him? pretty obvious to me....

the problem I have with his sentence is that it puts the burden on other editors to "raise the issue/prosecute", not on the editor that knows they may be in conflict brushing the law.

I am asking for input by people that edit this page like slimvirgin, Jusdafax, smallbones and I forget who else is usually here, oh Viriditas.--Wuerzele (talk) 05:46, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

I am not a paid editor and never have been. You continue to make random attacks against me. Crazy. Jytdog (talk) 06:14, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
and for what it's worth, the section in which I made the edit, is about what to do if you encounter what you believe to be, or what is declared as, conflicted editing by another editor. your objection makes no sense. and in any case slimvirgin already made an edit here about an hour before you wrote your comment above, and better incorporated what i did. Jytdog (talk) 06:26, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
That being said, it is not wise for an editor with a COI to edit this guideline directly. AlbinoFerret 15:33, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
There is no one on the planet who has no potential COI in Wikipedia. The question is whether a person edit articles where they have one. I don't. Jytdog (talk) 03:17, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Happy to discuss content, not contributors, which is what this should have been in the first place, i.e. not an attack on Jytdog but calm and civil discussion about their edit, and their edit alone. The addition of " If concerns about COI remain after considering these other options, raise the issue in a civil manner on the editor's talk page, citing this guideline, or open a thread on WP:COIN." seems blatantly obvious, regardless of conduct/COI concerns, however it was merely a repetition of the opening line of the section and was ultimately removed because of that sole reason. Cheers, Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 05:42, 22 January 2016 (UTC)
to be very clear, slimvirgin's edit kept the idea i wanted expressed and said it more elegantly. there is now advice about what to do if you are concerned someone has a COI, which is what i wanted. Jytdog (talk) 18:26, 24 January 2016 (UTC)

Requesting diffs for proposals[edit]

How do others feel about WP:Diff editing for COI proposals? The situation might be that someone wants an edit. A Wikipedian responds by telling them to edit the page, self-revert, and share the diff.

The situation that I want to address is that COI editors making requests often make ambiguous requests. Personally, I would prefer for them to make particular edits, immediately undo their action, then ask "Is this okay?" In this method, there is no uncertainty about their request and also there is no request made for a Wikipedian to do editorial labor. The Wikipedian's time can be used only for a critique.

The problem with this is that the rules suggest "no COI editing". I would argue that if there are two "edits" done, one to change and one immediately after to revert, then this does not count as editing.

I was looking at Template:Request_edit/Instructions#Current_requested_edits. From my perspective, one of the major problems here is that in most cases the COI editor does not make a clear request, so their proposal is difficult to evaluate. I was wondering what would happen if the burden of making a diff were directed to them, rather than to the volunteer labor pool. Blue Rasberry (talk) 19:39, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

In my view the big thing we want to teach editors considering an article where they have a COI, is that you don't touch the article directly. Of course the COI guideline is clear that it is totally OK to revert outright vandalism, and OK to update uncontroversial facts... but the simple, high-level the thing we want to teach them - especially new editors who are here only b/c of their COI and don't much care about WP per se, is that directly editing the article has the aura of haram and they should just avoid it. This notion of editing and then reverting is technically OK but that is pretty sophisticated and also confusing with regard to the high level message. Also there are a class of COI editors who do something that looks like an edit-then-revert but actually leave changes behind (often changing the link in a ref to some spammy site), and including this instruction would only make it harder to detect those slimey editors. Finally, the work that you have to do, to create a dif, is the same work that you have to do to create a concrete edit request. Type, format refs, etc. But this proposal has the extra step of presenting a diff, which new editors often understand even less. I do get it that the in-context diff is much more clear. Overall I don't much care for this idea. I do appreciate the desire to help people comply with the guideline better and more efficiently. Jytdog (talk) 19:59, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Abuse of Wikidata for SEO purposes[edit]

There is a discussion at ANI of editor who works for an SEO business who has been violating the ToU, WP:PROMO, and the COI guideline here in WP, and who also (ab)uses Wikidata to benefit his clients. The thread to deal with his en-wiki activities is here: Wikipedia:Administrators'_noticeboard/Incidents#SEO_editor_-_requesting_site_ban. Here is an article in an SEO trade rag written by our editor about how to use WIkidata to benefit clients; the editor formerly had this posted on their User page (see here).

I wanted to open a discussion here, about his abuse of Wikidata. It seems to me that we in en-wiki have no reach into our sister project, Wikidata, and that our guideline cannot address activities in sister projects. But it seems like we should make sure the community there is aware.... I have no idea how Wikidata works or is structured, but wanted to open the discussion about what if anything we should do, per Brianhe's remarks at the ANI thread. Jytdog (talk) 20:15, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Recommendations for COI page[edit]

The following are my recommendations for improving the instructions on this page:

  1. Difference between COI on Wikipedia and as practiced elsewhere, in that it's a voluntary self-disclosure regime, and not enforcement system.
  2. Optional declaration COI, explain the purpose and advantages of COI disclosure. Also, it should be possible to disclose a general COI on a editors talk page, rather than an article.
  3. More information about encouraging compliance politely.
  4. Explain how privacy can be maintained, by making a broader declaration, rather than a specific company/organisation?
  5. How to check if an editor has disclosed COI?
  6. People quit jobs, so how do they return to being COI free?
  7. Treatment of editors with declared COI will be different from non-disclosed COI, or suspected COI issues. These should be separate sections or maybe clear process to follow.
  8. The best way to get help on COI
  9. Options to repair an article written commercially

Travelmite (talk) 19:10, 3 February 2016 (UTC)

Travelmite, I think your points 4-8 are very good questions, pointing to very good suggestions. fresh eyes on a stubborn WP problem.
Have you considered opening an email account for wikipedia, so people can email you? --Wuerzele (talk) 20:10, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Just imagine all the extra spam I would get! Travelmite (talk) 21:02, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The first two questions are based on incorrect assumptions/understandings about Wikipedia and the RW. There is a big tension here between the absolute value placed on privacy/anonymity and protected by strict enforcement of WP:OUTING and the desire to protect the integrity of WP via a) the mandatory disclosure of paid editing and b) the strong encouragement to disclose other kinds of COI. The present COI guideline discusses that tension somewhat, but it doesn't go into huge detail on it. One reason for that, is that we want the COI guideline to be clear and persuasive. We want editors with a COI to grasp what the concept means here in WP, and to follow what the guideline says. SlimVirgin is the dominant editor of the guideline and she has done a great job making and keeping it clear and persuasive. I just pinged her so she is more aware of this conversation. Jytdog (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I am sad to say, my main impression reading the whole is a "toothless-tiger". Yes, get her thinking about it too. Good idea. Travelmite (talk) 07:09, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Questions 3, 5, 7, and 8 are addressed somewhat in Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest#How_to_handle_conflicts_of_interest. Travelmite have you read that section? I would like there to be more help in that section, but the stuff you want is addressed there somewhat. With regard to 7, everybody should be treated the same, in terms of dealing with them in a civil manner, and talking with them when they violate a policy or guideline. Not sure what you are getting at here. Jytdog (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Yes, I have read it. On the policy idea page, people have written that declaring COI is the "kiss of death" Travelmite (talk) 07:09, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Question 4 is interesting. It is what I did in my disclosure but I think working in a startup is not common. Not sure it is worth going into, in the guideline. Others may have other opinions. Jytdog (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
A specific COI declaration will reveal privacy details, eg "I am the manager of XX company". Two clicks later, and everyone will know all your other interests. Travelmite (talk) 07:09, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Question 6 - yes external relationships change, so it is just a matter of updating the disclosure. This is not a big deal - not sure why you are bringing it up. Jytdog (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Here is a scenario: A person declares and follows this advice. They quit and then they want nothing to do with the company. Can they delete it, or should they say they have quit? Also, what is the intersection of a persons ongoing CV and the main achievements of an company? There's a lot of time-related stuff at least to consider. Travelmite (talk) 07:09, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Question 9 is really important and I am glad you are bringing it up. It is about content, and the way you deal with content is on a sentence-by-sentence and source-by-source basis, without considering who contributed it. The content and sourcing either complies with content and sourcing policy and guidelines, or they don't (or they could be improved) There is all kinds of bad and mediocre content/sources that get into WP for all kinds of reasons, and you can fix them without discussing where they came from at all. In the work I do on COI, I try to not touch the content at all while I am discussing COI matters with the editor in question, to avoid even the appearance that I am using an accusation of COI to "win" a content dispute, and also to avoid complicating what is already a delicate discussion with the editor. COI matters and fixing bad content should be kept really separate while the discussion about whether a COI exists, and how to manage it, is "live". Once it is settled things are different - but even then, the sourcing and content PAG are what govern content and sourcing. Period. It may be good to discuss this in the Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest#How_to_handle_conflicts_of_interest section. Jytdog (talk) 21:56, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
I just want to emphasize that again - with a very few exceptions, you cannot make a change to any bit of content or sourcing because you think the editor who made them is conflicted (or you don't like them, or whatever) §. Content and sourcing are governed by NOT, OR, NPOV, and V, and sourcing is governed by V, RS, and MEDRS. That's it. It is really important you get this, Travelmite. Jytdog (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for you answer. In writing these guidelines, it's not a matter of what I think per se. Anyone in govt plus whole professions (accounting, legal, procurement) are trained up in a certain way about COI. Anyone in management is ordered to spot and weed out COI. In other countries, it's part of doing business - what a nightmare! To take your excellent analogy about "barkstaff" - at one point I saw three managers lose their job, and four managers grilled at state-level integrity commissions about how they overlooked "barkstaff". One of them had a heart-attack over it. Can you imagine how ingrained that system is? As Wikipedia is working to an alternative set of rules, it's not adequately explained here. As they say, there are no stupid questions. Travelmite (talk) 06:13, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Wow you completely missed the point I was emphasizing to you. Hm. How you are thinking about these things matters, as you are the one campaigning to change things. It is important that you are grounded in how WP actually works, and you are not yet. Jytdog (talk) 13:02, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Comment on § above: Please, let's just move away from such theorising. Privacy is prioritised. I won't even hint about it here. Let's not use it as a case study. Travelmite (talk) 07:40, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Travelmite, you're correct that Wikipedia seems to be decades behind the rest of the world when it comes to handling COI. There are lots of reasons for that. It's partly that we have no staff dealing with it, partly that we often don't know which organizations accounts represent, and partly that there are editors who don't oppose COI editing, or don't strongly oppose it. So we don't have a policy on COI editing; this is just a guideline. We do have a policy on paid-editing disclosure; see WP:PAID. SarahSV (talk) 06:21, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
The universe provides ample time to catch up. I have several ideas on how to proceed. SYSTEM A: Step 1: Identify potential issues without criticism. Step 2: Identify in a simple way where the common ground lies (the issues everyone agrees are worth solving). Step 3: Just focus on that to build up good will. SYSTEM B: Step 1: Pose question Step 2: Another person makes just the minimal change to the text to clarify that question in the text. ALSO: It is necessary for the COI team to be reasonably united for it. The critics will make their case known in due course. Otherwise even the wheel couldn't be invented. Travelmite (talk) 08:25, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
In general you continue to ignore the reality that privacy is an absolute value in Wikipedia and that changes to content need to be based on content policies and guidelines, not contribiutors. Both are essential things that anybody trying to be serious about COI in WP must have solidly in hand. To the extent that you continue to campaign about changing how we deal with COI and you continue to ignore those things, you will be wasting your time and everyone else's, and worse, you will harm the overall effort to strengthen the guideline. There is a significant chunk of the community who are strong advocates for privacy and push back on any effort to strengthen this guideline and you will just give them fodder to resist and perhaps erode this guideline and even efforts to enforce it. And as for your citation above from an alarmist (a subset of the privacy advocates) - about "kiss of death" - your own behavior with regard to Miesianical is exactly the kind of thing they are talking about. You were told over and over that your behavior was out of line yet you persisted until you were blocked. You are not thinking straight yet, with the whole picture in mind. Jytdog (talk) 11:29, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
To see what I mean about community opinions on privacy and managing COI, and about "content not contributor", please have a look at this RFA, especially the concerns raised in the questions and in the oppose !votes. Wikipedia:Requests_for_adminship/Brianhe Jytdog (talk) 12:56, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
These are all symptoms of a broken system. All the reaction to what I did, was the FEAR I was about to reveal someone's name, and it still has not happened. I could theoretically argue that your behavior was out of line, or anyone's behaviour was out of line. No, let's not. People get tired of personal stuff. It's wearisome and causes endless bitterness. They stop volunteering their precious time. Whether an alarmist or not, the "kiss of death" comment still makes a point - you cannot have a good COI system if people think their privacy is gone. Travelmite (talk) 14:03, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I am trying to analise the different positions of editors about adminship. The opposition is not policy based, but about relationship politics. Some of the "oppose" support his COI work, but different levels of reaction to his bedside manner. Travelmite (talk) 15:51, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
Travelmite my bringing up your behavior was not to criticize you, it was to try to make you aware that you don't seem to be grasping the strong concern in the community to protect privacy and focus on content, not contributor - the same concerns that are being raised at Brian's RFA. Those concerns are 100% policy/guideline based -- "content not contributor" is based on the AGF policy and the harassment policy and the talk page guideline. Folks at the RFA are raising concerns that Brian will be too focused on contributor, not content. Please review the questions raised and the Oppose !votes with that in mind. If you want to work on improving how we manage COI you have to be dealing with that. And you are kind of getting to the heart of the issue when you write "you cannot have a good COI system if people think their privacy is gone" but that is kind of off -- the issue is that our ability to manage COI in Wikipedia is intrinsically limited by the privacy policy. This is as real a force as gravity here in WP; we cannot work around it or pretend it doesn't exist. Some of the people opposing Brian at the RFA are concerned he doesn't take that reality seriously enough. Anyway, I am going to stop engaging here... I don't think my communication is effective. Jytdog (talk) 17:23, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

It's very difficult to prove an editor is breaching COI, without outing that editor. GoodDay (talk) 16:17, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

This is true. Another reason for developing improvements on this page. This information shouldn't be vague. How do you get help before putting your foot in it? Travelmite (talk) 17:04, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
IMHO, if you suspect any editor of pushing a PoV on any articles? then you should be questioning their edits (not the editor) on WP:ADVOCATE and/or WP:NPOV. That way, you will avoid outing. GoodDay (talk) 19:20, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I've got to agree with you. POV pushing is way more problematic and difficult to sort out. Editors who may be "paid" are often much more cooperative about reaching a solution to the issues. They are just not interested in wasting their time over some bitter tirade! --MurderByDeletionism"bang!" 19:58, 4 February 2016 (UTC)
I've seen a lot of that, which is why always check the talk page for bullying and complaints. You guys have more experience with what is going on here, but the business world is shifting it's model. Most businesses are ethical, but traditional media is beginning to fail them. Distinctions between advertising and editorial are blurring. Every PR/marketing manager is shifting to a social media model. Has it occurred, that we all could be correct. If you guys support a self-disclosure system that maintains privacy, at least make it work properly. Travelmite (talk) 06:18, 5 February 2016 (UTC)