August 19, 2014

Changes at Wikimedia: All Wikipedia Contributors Must Now Disclose Any Paid Advocacy Editing

share save 171 16 Changes at Wikimedia: All Wikipedia Contributors Must Now Disclose Any Paid Advocacy Editing

From a Wikimedia Blog Post:

Today, we’re making an important change to our Terms of Use. This change will clarify and strengthen the prohibition against concealing paid editing on all Wikimedia projects.

Half a billion people use Wikipedia every month as their source of knowledge. Wikipedia’s community editors work tirelessly at maintaining the accuracy, transparency, and objectivity of the articles, which requires identifying conflicts of interests and removing bias. Editing-for-pay can be a source of such bias, particularly when the edits are promotional in nature, or in the interest of a paying client. The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to continuing to support the Wikipedia community’s efforts to keep articles free of promotional content.

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As explained in October of 2013, we believe that undisclosed paid advocacy editing is a black hat practice that can threaten the trust of Wikimedia’s volunteers and readers. We have serious concerns about the way that such editing affects the neutrality and reliability of Wikipedia.

The change to the Terms of Use will address these concerns in a variety of ways. First, it will help educate and explain to good-faith editors how they may continue to edit in the spirit of the movement and mission, through simple disclosure of their affiliation. Second, it will empower the community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny. Finally, it will provide an additional tool to the community and Foundation to enforce existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing.

Read the Complete Blog Post For Specifics About the Change

Read the Full Text of a Letter From the Wikimedia Board of Directors

From the Letter:

Several editors raised concerns about the impact of this amendment on good-faith editors, such as first-time editors who aren’t familiar with our rules, or editors who work on projects with GLAM (galleries, libraries, archives and museums) or with universities. We ask everyone to be respectful of others and to help enforce existing community practices and policies about privacy and harassment, even in cases of suspected paid advocacy editing. The amendment is not intended to impact participants in GLAM projects, or professors, when they are writing about topics of general interest on their own, rather than writing about their own institutions while being compensated directly quid pro quo, for example.

share save 171 16 Changes at Wikimedia: All Wikipedia Contributors Must Now Disclose Any Paid Advocacy Editing
Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.