Wikipedia talk:No paid advocacy

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Paid Editing Proposals
In November 2013, there were three main discussions and votes
on paid editing:

No paid advocacy (talk) (closed: opposed)
Paid editing policy proposal (talk) (closed: opposed)
Conflict of interest limit (talk) (closed: opposed)

After a year of analysis, it boils down to being simpler than it looks[edit]

I've been analyzing this for a year and came out with, once the haze is cleared away, it being simpler than it looks:

  1. If interests (which conflict with the goals of Wikipedia) are influential enough to overwhelm the person's fortitude then, if they edit unconstrained, they will edit against the golden rule at the top of wp:coi.
  2. If #1 is the case, and they disclose that they have a high-risk-of-COI-editing situation at an article, their reduced clout combined with the normal editor and article processes will prevent problematic editing. It will go smoother if they follow the wp:coi editing procedures, but they are not essential to this. However, I've learned that some COI editors WANT the guidance of COI-editing rules either because they simply want the guidance and a rulebook to follow, or to deflect improper requirements and expectations form the persons paying/controlling them.
  3. If #1 is the case, and they don't disclose it, then they are beyond the reach of policies and guidelines (and so such are worthless in that case) and problematic COI editing will occur.

So, what matters above all is encouraging disclosure in every possible way if they have a high-risk-of-COI-editing situation. Including letting them simply say "I have a high-risk-of-COI on this article" with no further questions (which could tend to out them) on that then allowed. And the top of that "high-risk-of-COI-editing" list is paid advocacy. So a more narrowly written version of the proposal of this article, but which requires disclosure (not ceasing of editing) should also be included. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 01:44, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps, but why or how would anyone "edit unconstrained" (per #1)? All edits are constrained, sooner or later (and the more significant the article the more likely it's sooner), by other editors reviewing the article content for compliance with WP:NPOV, WP:IRS, WP:N, etc. If the edits are in compliance with those content-specific policies, what is the problem, even if they go against the golden rule at the top of WP:COI? I just don't get it. --B2C 01:57, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
Good points. First, at the detail level, I meant no special COI type constraints. But my answer to your general question is that in many situations, editors are often given a lot of latitude via a range of mechanisms and realities (e.g. "benefit of the doubt" or the dis-functionality / practical unusuability of wp:undue/wp:weight) And if they edit in a situation where conflicting-with-Wikipedia interests have dominated over their fortitude, they will (within that discretion) do problematic editing and inevitably be out of compliance with those guidelines. Sincerely, North8000 (talk) 03:14, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
As well as any policy that is developed, the health of Wikipedia will depend on the collective will of the editors to make sure information about the policies is made clear to editors who sometimes don't want to understand. Recently an editor asked for an article to be removed because his product was no longer being sold, and wanted to replace it with instructions on how to switch from another product to his new product. The old article, it turns out, was a direct copy of the company's web page about the product, and no one had noticed for several years. —Anne Delong (talk) 16:19, 14 November 2013 (UTC)
I guess that that was an extreme version of that "latitude"  :-) North8000 (talk) 16:59, 14 November 2013 (UTC)

I'm sorry, I still don't get it. While it's theoretically possible for an editor paid to advocate for a given interest to edit such that 100% of his or her edits are non-compliant with our content-based policies, the reality is that the vast majority of their edits will be in compliance, and a small percentage will not comply, but most of those problems will, sooner or later, be rectified. In other words, a given paid editor is objectively no different than the average editor. The nature and motivation for their problem edits might be different, but, quantitatively, they are likely to be less problematic than the average editor, because the vast majority of their edits are likely to be of high quality.

The amount of work on WP is endless. Most of the work done by most editors moves us forward, but some of the work done by all editors takes us backwards. But as long the number of steps forward are greater than the number of steps backward, we are making progress. The typical vandal is a problem because virtually all of their edits cause work for others. But the edits of a typical paid advocacy editor are not like that at all. First of all, to be able to be effective, such an editor needs to establish a good reputation. The only way to do that is by establishing a history of quality editing. That allows them to maybe get away with, for example, softening something in an article to favor a client once in a while. If you put on blinder and look at only those edits, yes, it's tempting to wring your hands and maybe emit some smoke from your ears. But if you calm down for a second, and think about the total contribution of such an editor, which is what is ultimately at stake, isn't it a net positive for Wikipedia? Why discourage this in any way? --B2C 00:05, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

User:Born2cycle, I appreciate that you are opposed to having a COI policy but you appear to be trying to make an argument based on pure hand-waving. What data do you have that supports your claim that "the reality is that the vast majority of their edits will be in compliance, and a small percentage will not comply, but most of those problems will, sooner or later, be rectified."? Also, would you please clarify whether it is really essential for your argument, if this claim is true or false? This is a hard enough conversation without people making unsupportable claims about reality. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 00:11, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
B2C, a COI is problematic in terms of editing on WP. It does not necessarily mean that all edits made by a paid editor will be bad or non-compliant or whatever. I don't know if anyone has suggested that. But where's the data to support what you're saying about the overall quality of such editors' contributions? Omnedon (talk) 01:02, 15 November 2013 (UTC)
B2C, you wrote" ...to be able to be effective, such an editor needs to establish a good reputation. <...> That allows them to maybe get away with <[some unclean act]>. FUI, this is exactly a typical modus operandi of dedicated "enemies of wikipedia" (unlike drive-by vandals). (I know exactly what you mean by "softening": just days ago I had to fix a marketroid edit which replaced a sentence about bankrupcy of a company with a paragraph about "‎Insolvency in self-administration" (it means 'banckupcy' just as "I am disinclined to acquiesce your request." means "No!") cut out from a corporate press-release). Staszek Lem (talk) 01:38, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

First, to avoid a totally confusing conversation, we need to acknowledge that "COI" is given two completely different conflicting meanings within Wikipedia, (even within wp:coi) and that neither of those matches the (third) real world meaning. The two Wikipedia meanings are:

  1. A situation out of compliance with the "golden rule" definition exists. I.E. when the strength of conflicting-with-wikipedia intersest is stronger than the person's fortitude
  2. The trappings of high-risk-of-coi situation exists. Paid editing that serves the interests of the payer is an example of this. wp:coi also hints at a ridiculously wide range of other situations as being a COI, while completely missing other huge ones.

In the real world, COI generally means a financial interest that a person has which will be directly impacted by a decision that they are involved in making, where, in that role, they are supposed to be acting on behalf of an organization or constituency. Proposed policies have been trying to create rules based on #2 (the trappings) which is usually a mis-fire.North8000 (talk) 18:02, 15 November 2013 (UTC)

Wikimedia Foundation sends cease and desist letter to WikiPR[edit]

Please see the relevant WP:AN discussion: WP:AN#WMF cease and desist against WikiPR. Thanks Ross Hill (talk) 21:09, 19 Nov 2013 (UTC) 21:09, 19 November 2013 (UTC)

Two more to go[edit]

I'll expand a bit on Mdann's closing statement when I close the RfC at WT:Conflict of interest limit, since the result there depends in part on the discussion here. The vote and discussion (not an RfC) at WT:Paid editing policy proposal still needs closing, for anyone interested. - Dank (push to talk) 15:12, 20 November 2013 (UTC)

WT:Paid editing policy proposal is done. (Thanks Mdann). - Dank (push to talk) 03:45, 21 November 2013 (UTC)

Under discussion: a 'paid contributions' amendment to the Terms of Use[edit]

Proposal on Meta. Linking to this and the two contemporaneous proposals as related closed discussions. – SJ + 10:05, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks, that is great news!! Jytdog (talk) 12:07, 24 February 2014 (UTC)