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Major Wikipedia Donors Caught Editing Their Own Articles

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the edits-against-humanity dept.

Wikipedia 125

An anonymous reader writes "As reported before on Slashdot, one of the most terrible sins on Wikipedia is to edit articles for pay, or otherwise violate the 'neutral point of view' policy, per their co-founder Jimmy Wales. And yet, the Wikipedia-criticism website Wikipediocracy recently began a study showing that dozens of the Wikimedia Foundation's largest cash donors have violated that policy. Repeatedly, and wantonly. In short, they wrote articles about themselves or their companies, then gave the WMF big donations — and were not confronted about violating the NPOV policy." Do the proposed TOS changes address this? Note that they also found that many of the donors adequately documented their conflict of interest.

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Spin Baby Spin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454231)

All that money has to buy something. The donations are likely part of the advertising budget.

Re:Spin Baby Spin (3, Insightful)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46455195)

It's worth noting that the Wikipedia article on the game was created four days before the launch of the game's hardcopy version. Basically, it would have supported the launch. In the 2013 Christmas season, the article got over 120,000 views (around 4,000 views a day throughout December 2013). Smart marketing.

Shocked! (3, Funny)

sycodon (149926) | about 5 months ago | (#46455561)

one of the most terrible sins on Wikipedia is to edit articles for pay, or otherwise violate the 'neutral point of view' policy,

I'm shocked, shocked to find that illicit editing is going on in here!

Where is the big problem? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454241)

Editing your own article on Wikipedia is not prohibited as long as you disclose your conflict of interest and follow the rules, so I have trouble seeing how this submission is anything other than yet more manufactured controversy and/or anti-Wikipedia astroturfing.

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#46454545)

I personally have no problem with someone editing an article on themselves as long as they're accurate, fair, and open about it. Should a company or individual be obligated to allow inaccurate information about them to remain in an article even when they KNOW it's inaccurate?

Re:Where is the big problem? (2)

edibobb (113989) | about 5 months ago | (#46455177)

It's not the inaccuracy that matters, it's the completeness. I may write an article about my company and omit the fact that the FTC has fined me seventeen times for cheating customers. When a company PR hack writes a Wikipedia article, you can bet it will present the company in a move favorable light.

This is not limited to companies. Political parties hire people to write Wikipedia articles on even their most minor elected and appointed officials. While naturally unbiased and accurate, they consistently portray the person as a great and brilliant humanitarian and sage.

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46455367)

it's not just what is added, but also subtracted from previous users. Some times you can look at the history of an article and find out it had a lot more information previously, but someone decided to subtract content even though it was relevant and factual.

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 5 months ago | (#46455761)

And sometimes you can find out it had a lot more information previously, but someone removed it because it was untrue, false, libelous, or, cardinal of all sins, lacked citations.

The reality is that you can't really know why that information is gone without more information. It may have been removed legitimately. Or it may have been removed as part of a whitewash to clean up an image. So now, which is the better article? The one before or after the subtractions? We don't necessarily know.

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455833)

One of the downsides of having a free-to-edit encyclopedia is the difficulty in policing against bad actions like this, especially on articles visited infrequently. However the state of the articles on most of the major political players and products would seem to suggest that the editors have a low tolerance for the removal of bad news.

The False Promise of Neutrality (2)

sahuxley (2617397) | about 5 months ago | (#46454633)

To me, the problem is that it breaks promise of neutrality, and deceives anyone who believes it's a neutral piece. I don't fault anyone for spinning their story in a way that benefits themselves; that's inevitable. But don't show me a NPOV policy that implies otherwise.

Re:Where is the big problem? (0, Flamebait)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46454657)

I guess you missed the part where it's shown that User:Jsdillon never disclosed his conflict of interest as the co-creator of Cards Against Humanity, when he created (then later edited) the Wikipedia article about Cards Against Humanity. So, this is neither manufactured nor astroturfed... but nice try, Jimbo.

Re:Where is the big problem? (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#46454723)

Wikipedia has some really bad rules about editing and information - no "original research" for example, so basically nothing can be added to the sum total of human knowledge as Wikipedia considers it, until its been posted on some blog somewhere first...

I've seen Games Workshop fictional universe articles pop up with the "needs third party citations" label, as apparently the original source material isn't good enough for Wikipedia...

Re:Where is the big problem? (3, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 5 months ago | (#46454793)

until its been posted on some blog somewhere first...

No, that would be ridiculous. It has to be posted on one blog and linked to from another blog.

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

zerosomething (1353609) | about 5 months ago | (#46455163)

until its been posted on some blog somewhere first...

No, that would be ridiculous. It has to be posted on one blog and linked to from another blog.

Right!. That's how scientific research works too. Write a paper for a journal run my you and your friends then right a new paper sighting the published one and submit to a more prestigious journal, who's reviewers are also colleagues. Now it's all fine

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | about 5 months ago | (#46455791)

Right!. That's how scientific research works too. Write a paper for a journal run my you and your friends then right a new paper sighting the published one and submit to a more prestigious journal, who's reviewers are also colleagues. Now it's all fine

I see what you did there.

(It's "citing". I'd tell you to look up that word in wikipedia, but I'm guessing it's been illicitly edited by some research journals trying to skew the definition their way.)

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about 5 months ago | (#46456447)

You missed "right a new paper".

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#46456641)

You missed "right a new paper".

Yeah, and two other egregious errors in that sentence, too.

Or maybe we just need to understand the true meaning of the sentence: "then right a new paper sighting the published one and submit to a more prestigious journal"

In other words, I take a new paper in the works and make it "right" by including research literally gleaned from the previous paper while staring at it ("sighting") and copying it.

Perhaps the GGP was actually talking about plagiarism and falsifying research to fit an agenda.

Re:Where is the big problem? (3, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 5 months ago | (#46454797)

Makes perfect sense for their intended purpose. Wiki pages are supposed to be accepted knowledge not ground-breaking and controversial theories. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia not a science journal.

Re:Where is the big problem? (2)

PrimaryConsult (1546585) | about 5 months ago | (#46455399)

The side effect of the rule is perpetuating no longer correct information. For example: a wikipedia entry states that a building is slated to be demolished, but the demolition hasn't begun, since that is what the last cited source has. However, looking out my window, I can see they have finally started demolishing it. Even if I provide a picture of the demolition, I cannot update the article and be within the rules, until the local paper is bored enough to run a story about it (which may never happen).

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455945)

Yes, that's how documentary evidence works. The assumption on the part of the reader is that there may be undocumented events that are not included in the formal record.

Re:Where is the big problem? (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455207)

On the first point, the whole point of an encyclopedia is that it's not the author's own feelings on the subject, but a disinterested report of the general consensus on the material. On the second point, a regurgitation of the contents of Codex Chaos (or whatever) is not only of less scholarly value than the source (the most accurate and complete it can ever be is a copy-and-paste), it's the kind of thing Games Workshop has a long and storied history of suing people into the dirt over. So it has no business showing up in there.

Reference books are not a forum for hashing out a complete scale model of the universe.

Re:Where is the big problem? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46455413)

> until its been posted on some blog somewhere first..

That's typical of CONservatives. They're not smart enough to think for themselves so they need someone, in their case it's usually a religious figure, to tell them what to think. They have no original thoughts which is why Wales hates original research. He wants others to tell him what to think.

It really sucks that the CONservatives have ruined Wikipedia. It had so much potential before the deletionists took it over and started deleting all of the facts they could. We need a non-religious site to replace it.

Re:Where is the big problem? (2)

Tx (96709) | about 5 months ago | (#46454735)

"Editing your own article on Wikipedia is not prohibited as long as you disclose your conflict of interest and follow the rules[...]"

That's just the point though, they are not following the rules. FTA; "While the research behind the 144 named donors who gave more than $5,000 to the WMF is not yet complete, it is already clear that several dozen of them are not widely notable enough to have a Wikipedia article associated with them", "While a few have adequately disclosed their conflict of interest, most have not."

"[...]so I have trouble seeing how this submission is anything other than yet more manufactured controversy and/or anti-Wikipedia astroturfing."

If they are getting away with not following the rules because they are donors, then that is different from people who don't obey the rules for other reasons.

Re:Where is the big problem? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about 5 months ago | (#46454767)

Editing your own article on Wikipedia is not prohibited as long as you disclose your conflict of interest and follow the rules, so I have trouble seeing how this submission is anything other than yet more manufactured controversy and/or anti-Wikipedia astroturfing.

In slashdot's defense, they did use the *link to the wikipedia page* of wikipediocracy in describing their role. A golf clap is in order.

Not being confronted about NPOV is the problem (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | about 5 months ago | (#46454887)

Did you read the summary past the first sentence or so?

"In short, they wrote articles about themselves or their companies, then gave the WMF big donations and were not confronted about violating the NPOV policy."

That said, I've routinely come across articles on Wikipedia that were not tagged NPOV yet were clearly cut+pasted from marketing material or written in that unmistakable tone. It's especially common on articles that aren't very popular.

Example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Y... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Not being confronted about NPOV is the problem (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455241)

You only get confronted for breaking the policy if you break the policy. NPOV isn't a set of rules on who can edit what, it's a style guide.

Conflict (4, Insightful)

Ksevio (865461) | about 5 months ago | (#46454247)

It's true that in theory, it's a conflict of interest to edit an article about one's self/company, but these are also the people most knowledgeable on the subject and have the most to contribute. I imagine the people who are large cash donors aren't trying to do it as a bribe, they're just heavy wikipedia users that wanted to help the site. Ideally they should document a conflict of interest, but that's not very clear how it should be done.

Re:Conflict (5, Informative)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46454315)

Ideally they should document a conflict of interest, but that's not very clear how it should be done.

Like this [wikipedia.org]

Re:Conflict (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46455345)

According to EU law on deceptive advertising – and potentially, too, FTC guidelines in the US – there has to be a disclosure to the reader on the article page itself if companies write or contribute to their own Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia does not enable such disclosures. Enabling them has never been up for discussion. (For EU law, see the German frankincense – "Weihrauchpräparate" – judgment, which was quite clear on this matter.)

Re:Conflict (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46455381)

For an English-language write-up of the German court judgment, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] in the English Wikipedia.

Re:Conflict (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455885)

Didn't his choice of username already disclose his interest? You don't have to be Dirk Hatchett, Internet PI to figure out that that the JsDillon writing the article about Josh Dillon might, in fact, be Josh Dillon.

Re:Conflict (-1, Flamebait)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 5 months ago | (#46454353)

Part of the conflict has nothing to do with being the most knowledgeable on the subject, but actually raising the subject in the first place. For example, some unknown startup might write its own entry as an advertising vehicle. Of course, they're the most knowledgeable about the subject - themselves - but the subject isn't notable in the first place. It's just a thinly veiled ad for the company.

Similarly, intelligent design is an uninteresting, unimportant subject compared with accepted science facts. Obviously, intelligent designers are the most knowledgeable about their own claims, but they shouldn't be contributing articles about themselves - that would just be adverts for their cause - making their cause seem bigger and more important than it is to attract new followers and stay in the news.

There's an argument to be made that new articles about a company should be *creatable* only by third parties without a connection to the subject, who can judje if creating a page is actually meaningful or desirable. Most companies, especially the unknown ones, would then never get an article. Only once an article about a company already exists does it make sense for that company to submit edits for facts.

Re:Conflict (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454535)

Of course, they're the most knowledgeable about the subject - themselves - but the subject isn't notable in the first place. It's just a thinly veiled ad for the company.

Yes and Wikipedia is very heavy handed about this. Several years ago, I created my former companies Wikipedia page. Being a manufacturer for over 110 years, pioneering some different kinds of processes (and winning engineering and design awards), we wanted to get our page started. But being green it wasn't long before someone came along and marked it as "non-notable" as I hadn't linked to many notable 3rd party articles. Which was easy enough to fix, it was more than I was ignorant of the Wikipedia process but simply wanted to contribute.

So, the concern of these "start-up companies" using it as easy marketing I think is overdone. First, their article should be removed due to the non-notable clause. Second, I just don't think Wikipedia is much of a marketing tool. Is it more than nothing? Sure. Can it be filled with exaggerated claims and marketing fluff? I'm more than confident that such writing will be quickly knocked down without references backing it up.

So such concerns seem to be more theoretical talking points than actual.

Re:Conflict (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 months ago | (#46455485)

I think Wikipedia falls along the path that many potential buyers take. Wiki articles are usually very highly ranked by search engines, and tend to float near the top of results. When people start researching an upcoming purchase, many look at Wikipedia as a less-biased source of information. (Like you, I tend to think that people who read Wikipedia articles for such information are also somewhat more adept at spotting marketing materials, and are slightly less likely to be duped by them.)

These articles may not have specific products featured (although many do), but they can certainly steer the consumer in the direction that best aligns with their business, and that may or may not be in the best interests of the reader.

Re:Conflict (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 5 months ago | (#46454361)

It is in some ways a tough question. If Wikipedia says your organization was founded in 1999, and it was founded in 1989, shouldn't you edit it? What is a donor supposed to do when there is an inaccuracy like that? I guess the point of the article wasn't the quality or accuracy of the edits so much as the ignoring of the terms of service at the time, presumably implying that the donations incurred immunity. It is unclear if non-donors received a higher level of reaction to the same thing.

Re:Conflict (1)

Pope (17780) | about 5 months ago | (#46454803)

You should be able to edit it, but WP requires that change to have a 3rd party source, which frankly is a bit ridiculous, but I can totally understand why the rule is there.

Re:Conflict (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46455409)

Well, in the example given in the WO post, the article on the game was apparently created (or rather recreated) four days before the launch of the hardcopy version. Complete with positive reviews. Tell me the company didn't have an interest in that.

Re:Conflict (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455983)

That is simply not true. This is the article as Josh Dillon wrote it before deletion:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde... [wikipedia.org]

This is the totality of his second batch of edits, after the article was revived:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde... [wikipedia.org]

Re:Conflict (2)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46456067)

The article was demonstrably (re-)created on 11 June 2011, four days before the launch, after the earlier version by Jsdillon had been deleted. See https://en.wikipedia.org/w/ind... [wikipedia.org] (go to the oldest contributions). Do you think that re-creation was unrelated to the launch four days later? I don't. (Note that someone at Wikipedia has restored the earlier, pre-deletion edits by Jsdillon since this was published; the December 2010 edits were invisible before, and Jsdillon had only 11 edits showing in the contributions history.)

Re:Conflict (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 5 months ago | (#46454389)

The OP talks of violation of the NPOV policy, but that is not what is happening. They are violating to COI (conflict of interest) policy. Violation of NPOV is easy to determine by reading the article, because a NPOV violation applies no matter who wrote it.

COI violations are less easy to determine if you do not know who the editor is.

Re:Conflict (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about 5 months ago | (#46454395)

Employing PR agencies to edit articles is very bad for the wiki. Once such practice is discovered and proven conclusively , The admins should lock the article and only include content after review.

Re:Conflict (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#46454405)

This. In fact, I think it is accepted that people with potential bias do and should edit/create articles when they are needed. They should not take a good article and edit it to be more positive for them or their employers, but if something is missing they should add it.

Re:Conflict (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#46454765)

They should not take a good article and edit it to be more positive for them or their employers, but if something is missing they should add it.

Unfortunately, such editing is extremely common, especially around times of great discussion. Usually what happens are things like "Controversies" get edited down or completely deleted. Then someone puts it back, and then a PR editor removes it again and the edit war continues.

It's been shown a lot of those edits have been done by people associated with the page - be it a company wanting to remove "black marks" and legal troubles from their page, to people removing controversial opinions or negative information.

If it turns out donors are doing it to appear more positive by removing negative listings in their page, and they're getting away with it without confrontation, that is the worrying trend. Because normally someone challenges removal of negative information and the section gets locked down.

Re:Conflict (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#46455253)

If they are a donor or not should not matter. People who edit Wikipedia a lot are likely far more likely donate. And simply being an expert in Quantum Mechanics makes you biased in any opinion you have relating to this field, but at the same time Wikipedia needs QM experts to write in the QM sections. Most editing in Wikipedia is done by people who are highly biased, but the theory is that you get enough biased people together and include everything they do agree on, and it will work out as a decent article in the end.

Re:Conflict (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46455461)

It has to be said that often PR agents or article subjects start editing the article because someone has turned it into a hatchet job, and nobody cares. Risker, a longstanding member of Wikipedia's arbitration committee, recently said, on Jimbo Wales' talk page: "You remember when the press made a huge deal about people from Congress editing the pages of congressmen, and when the edits were actually reviewed, almost all of them were (a) cleaning up vandalism, (b) fixing errors of fact (c) updating factual information (e.g. voting records) or (d) removing BLP violations. Everyone got all upset about "congress" editing its own pages - until they realised that their interests were the same as our interests.(For the record - I personally reviewed about 75 of those edits and there wasn't one that I looked at that should have been reverted, but several that did get reverted and shouldn't have been.)" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Who else would provide the info? (1)

glennrrr (592457) | about 5 months ago | (#46454433)

For example, I have need for the data about all the radio stations in the U.S. Who else but the radio stations themselves would have set up those pages?

Re:Who else would provide the info? (1)

Pope (17780) | about 5 months ago | (#46454815)

The FCC could have, or a radio advertising network could have same info. Someone with access to that info could make the page. Whether that WOULD happen is another matter.

Re:Conflict (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 5 months ago | (#46455809)

these are also the people most knowledgeable on the subject and have the most to contribute.

How true. Most people don't realize that I am a demi-god with an IQ of 324; only I can add those unique facts to my Wikipedia page.

Kind of assumed this already (2)

Huntr (951770) | about 5 months ago | (#46454265)

I'm sure others will tell me why I'm mistaken, but this doesn't bother me so much, mainly because it doesn't surprise me.

Basically, you're telling me that a document that can be edited by anyone is being edited by people to show themselves in a more positive light, ToS be damned.

Well, yeah.

Re:Kind of assumed this already (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46454755)

What we really want is for Wikipedia to enforce every one of its own rules with an iron fist, of course, whether the result makes any sense or has a positive effect upon the project at all. Right?

I'm shocked! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454269)

I'm shocked, shocked to find non-neutral points of view in Wikipedia!

"...were not confronted..." ? (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | about 5 months ago | (#46454277)

Wait, this is Wikipedia. How could they not be confronted, when anyone can do the confronting, even the writers at Wikipediocracy.

Re:"...were not confronted..." ? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 5 months ago | (#46454347)

Wait, this is Wikipedia. How could they not be confronted, when anyone can do the confronting, even the writers at Wikipediocracy.

Perhaps they were well sourced neutral contributions, and no confrontation was needed. You are right, its a non story. Hell the people writing TFA could have gone and confronted the people themselves!

Re:"...were not confronted..." ? (1)

gsslay (807818) | about 5 months ago | (#46454435)

Because there was nothing to confront them about. NPOV was not violated and the OP is talking bunk.

I've read the article that is mentioned in particular. A minor page about a card game. A few things might be better worded, but I see no flagrant violations of NPOV. Yes, one or two contributing editors may have had a conflict of interests, and probably shouldn't have been editing it. But the article as it stands is broadly neutral and reasonably cited.

If this is the best example that Wikipediocracy can produce of this outrageous practice, then I doubt Wikipedia has anything to worry about.

Re:"...were not confronted..." ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454623)

Note who the author of Wikipediocracy TFA is: Greg Kohs [wikipedia.org] . Seems someone is butthurt.

Re:"...were not confronted..." ? (2)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455611)

Note that the author made clear that the Cards Against Humanity editing was merely "a 'mid-grade' violator of conflict-of-interest norms". And note that he said that more reports would emerge in this series, which would suggest that there are worse offenders waiting in store. Yet, we see the typical low-grade reading comprehension folks who jump to words like "butthurt" and "doubt... anything to worry about". It is no wonder Wikipedia is trusted by so many people, considering how many people can't read a short blog post and come away with accurate conclusions!

Re:"...were not confronted..." ? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46455897)

There are worse offenders than someone who edited an article about himself while using his own real-life name as a handle? What's next, a guy who corrected a spelling mistake on his high school's page without bothering to log in first?

Re:"...were not confronted..." ? (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46457199)

No, how about an organization that dropped Bell Pottinger as their PR agency, after Jimbo Wales blasted Bell Pottinger for "ethical blindness"; then the organization hired a new PR firm, which quickly went about puffing up the organization's Wikipedia article without disclosing who they were or that they were hired to promote the organization? Let me know if that's an acceptable situation as far as you're concerned.

Also, "An anonymous reader writes" (1)

Beorytis (1014777) | about 5 months ago | (#46454299)

Did the anonymous submitter disclose their ties to Wikipediocracy?

Re:Also, "An anonymous reader writes" (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#46454517)

Of course not, do as I say, not as I do!

Re:Also, "An anonymous reader writes" (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455635)

Does Slashdot have a policy against conflict-of-interest contributions? (Full disclosure: I wrote the blog piece in question. I did not issue the notice here on Slashdot.

edit articles for pay is not a sin (1)

dotmaudot (243236) | about 5 months ago | (#46454425)

As long as documentation is given that somebody is paying for editing an article, and of course if the contributed text respects NPOV (and the subject is considered worth to be present in Wikipedia), there is no problem at all. After all, you may use Wikipedia articles in a commercial work: it is sufficient that it is released under CC-BY-SA. So what's bad in being paid for writing?

Re:edit articles for pay is not a sin (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455641)

Please discuss this with Jimmy Wales and Geoff Brigham at the Wikimedia Foundation. They disagree with you, and the recently terminated employee Sarah Stierch is concrete evidence of this.

Non sequitur (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 5 months ago | (#46454427)

Companies and individuals edit articles about themselves, if they ARE or ARE NOT donors.

Please explain the logic that says you should not donate to Wikipedia, if you have edited an article about yourself?

OK, just because you edited your own article doesn't mean it's not NPOV. But let's say it was biased in your favor...

So what if the article is not NPOV? Other editors will participate in its development.

Also, if you can't prove your notability beyond a shadow of a doubt, there turn out to be an army of deletionists visiting all the articles who will be more than happy to nominate you for deletion in a few heartbeats.

Re:Non sequitur (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 5 months ago | (#46454479)

I think the angle they are trying for here is suggesting that they were not confronted about editing articles about themselves because they were donors. That is implying that others who are not donors were confronted about editing articles about themselves. In other words, the donation is buying them out of the policy against editing articles about yourself.

I don't think the article actually presents any evidence to support that insinuation, but I think that's what they're aiming for.

Re:Non sequitur (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455679)

I believe you'll see over time (in the forthcoming series) that the real insinuation is whether the Wikimedia Foundation is correct to keep the gifts from donors who especially brazenly violate Wikipedia's community norms (and potentially, Terms of Use).

Re:Non sequitur (1)

ttsai (135075) | about 5 months ago | (#46456119)

Instead of restricting edits, why not follow the existing guidelines about open disclosure? There are guidelines about declaring and displaying conflicts of interest. However, there don't seem to be any guidelines that explicitly address the implicit conflict of interest in being both a financial donor and an editor (at least I don't see it). I think donors should be able to edit, but they should not be able to edit without disclosure.

In a way, the donor-editor conflict of interest is nastier than the editor who edits an article about himself because the integrity of Wikipedia is called into doubt. This is easy to address with disclosure. Hopefully Wikipedia sees that.

Caught??? (2)

Pheran (104478) | about 5 months ago | (#46454449)

If they "adequately documented their conflict of interest" then they were not "caught."

Physician, heal thyself? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 5 months ago | (#46454451)

Wikipediocracy, the Internet’s foremost Wikipedia criticism community, has embarked on....

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Misunderstanding of Neutral POV (4, Informative)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 5 months ago | (#46454471)

The summary seems to have the wrong idea about what the NPOV policy actually means. Straight from the link it provided to Wikipedia's definition:

Editing from a neutral point of view (NPOV) means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic. All Wikipedia articles and other encyclopedic content must be written from a neutral point of view.

Note that it does NOT indicate who can or cannot participate in editing an article. So long as their interests are disclosed, it's quite possible that people with vested interests in a subject will be able to contribute more meaningfully to a page than those without firsthand experience on the subject. Their contributions may in some cases need to be revised by others to better conform to NPOV, but they may bring to light facts and sources that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

It's one thing to edit articles for pay--where your obligation to your employer exceeds your obligation to the policies of the site--but if you're just someone with an opinion or a vested interest, you should be perfectly capable of setting those aside in order to help construct pages that are balanced, fair, and neutral in their approach to the subject at hand, and that's exactly what I've seen people do. Though, I'll certainly grant that the cases where someone hasn't done so are much more memorable. ;)

And is it really any surprise that the people donating to Wikipedia are the ones editing it? It's a self-selecting sample: people donate to Wikipedia because they're the ones getting the most out of the site, rather than the other way around, which seems to be the perspective that the criticism is coming from.

Not that bad as policy violations go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454503)

This is from HRIP7 in the comments section who actually examined the edits of the the article's example of a conflict of interest case:

Hmm ⦠the eleven edits by Jsdillon, ten of which were made within the space of one hour on 12 June 2011, are a little underwhelming at first glance, as four of them are self-reverts. The net effect of these ten edits was to add the names of the creators of the game to the article, to change âoerandom chanceâ in the infobox from Low to Medium, and to change the number of players from 2+ to 3+.

His edit the next day changed the number of players from 3+ to 4-20+ and the targeted age group from Intended âoeFor Adultsâ to 17+, and added a picture of the product.

This edit by Hyperfine Cosmologist is more interesting in that it says hard-copy distribution would begin 15 June 2011. The edit was made the very day before that launch date, on 14 June 2011.

The article itself was (re-)created on 11 June 2011, i.e. four days prior to sales launch. Page views predictably spiked in mid-June 2011, although the overall total was relatively modest (the article was viewed 3,030 times that month, most of these page views occurring around the launch date).

The timing does suggest that the article was created to support the productâ(TM)s launch, and it probably enhanced sales to some extent.

The page had healthy page views in last yearâ(TM)s Christmas season: 121,047 in total in December 2013.

If this is an example of the worst case of a conflict of interest violation that Wikipediocracy can find, the all I can say is big fucking deal. Ironic that article is written by Greg Kohs who owns a business [wikipedia.org] that offers to write Wikipedia articles for money.

Re:Not that bad as policy violations go (0)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#46454895)

I sincerely doubt that Greg Kohs is bearing any grudge whatsoever about being banned from Wikipedia for paid editing.

Re:Not that bad as policy violations go (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455853)

Strange as it may seem, I wasn't banned from Wikipedia for paid editing. That is a well-worn myth... but it's still a myth.

Re:Not that bad as policy violations go (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455749)

Clearly there is some reading comprehension problem afoot. The blog post clearly says that Cards Against Humanity is "an example of a 'mid-grade' violator of conflict-of-interest norms on Wikipedia". The high-test violators will be trotted out in future installments. You'll see how paid PR managers have carefully manipulated the content of some donors' articles. So, please save your "big fucking deal" for a time in the future where you're a better reader. (And, you mean "Appropriate", not "Ironic". If Kohs is an expert at paid editing of Wikipedia, who better to analyze the evidence pointing toward paid editing on Wikipedia?)

wikipedia is only good for obscure shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454505)

looking for 15th century german dukes and shit, it's great, looking up politicians and large corporations, not so much

Drama Queen Slashdot (2, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | about 5 months ago | (#46454511)

So some people made donations, then followed all the rules for editing their own stuff ... and you're getting your panties in a twist because?

No one is even bitching that what they wrote was misleading. The entire complaint is simply that it happened at all.

Thats fucking retarded, shut up and crawl back in your scumbag, drag others down to your level hole. Slashdot should go with it for posting this kind of crap.

What the fuck is wrong with you people, most of the big donators are fucking editors, these people are 'in to' wikipedia, of course they edit stuff THEY KNOW ABOUT ... which is THEIR STUFF.

Unless they are lying, misleading or misrepresenting, then whats the problem? Come up with an actual problem with what they did before you blow it out of proportion.

They followed the rules and aren't a problem, STFU FFS.

Re:Drama Queen Slashdot (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455765)

Can you show where Dillon followed Wikipedia's "WP:COI" guidelines, especially the part that encourages self-disclosure by conflicted editors? I doubt it.

Re:Drama Queen Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46456185)

Nice reply, replete with passion and expletives. So, uh, which one of these donators do you represent?

Re:Drama Queen Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46456553)

Stupid people like you are not likely to even know if the articles are lying, misleading or misrepresenting the subject. That is what they are counting on.

PS. We know you are under-educated because you try to use profanity instead of logic. You might not comprehend the preceding sentences so let me put it into words you can understand. Fuck off.

Neutrality (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454569)

The neutrality of this article has been disputed.

Who cares? (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 5 months ago | (#46454617)

Does it matter as long as they provide sources for the information they add to wikipedia?

The article's example is quite poor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46454647)

The article's example is quite poor.

Basically, one of the founders of Cards Against Humanity created an article for the game which was correctly deleted as self-promoting. Later, someone else created an article for the game (which I think everyone can agree meets notability requirements). After that occurred, the founder who had previously created the article made a series of several small edits to minor details--changing the number of players in the game's infobox, for example. Later, someone from an IP address made an edit to the article.

Then a few years later, Cards Against Humanity (itself a Creative Commons project) donated to Wikimedia and there's no evidence anyone involved with the game is still editing the article.

Certainly the initial article creation was ill-advised, and maybe you could argue the person in question shouldn't have made the edits, but this is hardly a smoking gun about widespread Wikipedia corruption. Although the article purports that this was a mid-level example of donor abuse, it seems more like an incredibly minor case to me.

Re:The article's example is quite poor (1)

Andreas Kolbe (2591067) | about 5 months ago | (#46455555)

The article creation was also *well-timed*, just four days before the sales launch of the hardcopy version, with staff clearly involved. That's a marketing effort, not encyclopedia writing. Like most Wikipedia articles on companies. Look at Wikipedia articles on, say, management consulting firms, or law firms. They're generally ads, written by single-purpose accounts that you can generally assume to be staff members or PR agents.

Conspiracy nutters (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | about 5 months ago | (#46454819)

For people who hate "deletionists [google.com] ", they are remarkably concerned over an article [wikipedia.org] 's resurrection.

Reviewed by volonteers, donated to Foundation (1)

yurik (160101) | about 5 months ago | (#46454885)

Disclaimer - I work for the Wikimedia foundation, but expressing my own opinion.

Donations go to the Wikimedia Foundation, covering various technology/organizational costs, but the foundation is not involved in the actual editing or reviewing process - that has always been done exclusivelly by the community. Donations would never affect the content of an article simply because its a different group of people - those who receive the money spend it on internet/development/building/conferences, while volonteers independently decide what should stay and in what form. An analogy here would be donating money to ISP to support the service, while abusing one of the web sites on the web.

Re:Reviewed by volonteers, donated to Foundation (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46455889)

According the Wikimedia Foundation's most recent Form 990 (which I am sure Yurik hasn't read), less than 51% of donation dollars are actually applied toward the program services that any 501(c)(3) is obliged to support, to fulfill the charitable mission of the organization. That is an abysmal program efficiency ratio (most good charities strive for ratios of 80% or 90% or higher), so please don't lie to us about the money being spent on internet/development/building/conferences. Only half of the money is being spent on mission-fulfilling endeavors. Also, it is a lie to say that "volonteers" (sic) independently decide on Wikipedia's content. What is WP:Office actions, otherwise?

Re:Reviewed by volonteers, donated to Foundation (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46456059)

Also, if you think that the Wikimedia Foundation doesn't pay close attention to the articles about their donors, I have a bridge that I'd like to sell you, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde... [wikipedia.org]

This just in! Money talks! (1)

gmclapp (2834681) | about 5 months ago | (#46455291)

News at 11.

They're Republicans (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46455325)

What else do you expect from their kind? We knew from day one that Wikipedia was biased, and their continuous spewing of hate for progressive causes, like Occupy, proves that they hate the people and represent corporations. Just look at how the deletionists have destroyed the site. They try to stomp-out facts as fast as they can. They really have ruined it. Wikipedia had so much potential to be a source of information. Too bad the deletionists and CONservatives have ruined that.

Re:They're Republicans (1)

AdamWill (604569) | about 5 months ago | (#46455633)

Compare and contrast with the other AC whining about evolution below.

When you're being accused by nutters from both sides of being biased towards the other side, I'd say you're doing a reasonable job of being neutral. See also: the BBC.

Of course they did it (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 5 months ago | (#46455431)

Of course they did it. 99.9% of the people on this planet are fucking assholes.

Not neutral (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46455557)

But Wikipedia isn't neutral, they refuse to teach the controversy on the evolution page, and also fail to tell the conservative point of view.

The Wikipedia article on Conservapedia is hardly neutral.

Inaccurate description of NPOV (1)

AdamWill (604569) | about 5 months ago | (#46455617)

From summary (and presumably TFA):

"one of the most terrible sins on Wikipedia is to edit articles for pay, or otherwise violate the 'neutral point of view' policy"

but...that's not what NPOV is about. NPOV isn't a conflict-of-interest policy. It doesn't say anything about editing articles for pay.

They need a better example (1)

Animats (122034) | about 5 months ago | (#46456031)

The article lists only one Wikipedia article, and it's for a silly game. The article isn't particularly bad, although it could be trimmed a bit. It looks more like fancruft than promotion. A better (worse) example is needed.

Re:They need a better example (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 5 months ago | (#46456099)

Both the original article and this /. story are both not-so-subtle ads for CAH.

Well played.

Re:They need a better example (1)

thekohser (981254) | about 5 months ago | (#46457085)

A better (worse) example is needed.

Stay tuned, Animats. Stay tuned. One donor hired a new PR firm to puff up their Wikipedia article with thousands of bytes of content, because their previous PR firm was Bell Pottinger, and they felt compelled to get rid of them. (You may recall the highly-publicized interaction between Jimmy Wales and Bell Pottinger -- http://www.independent.co.uk/n... [independent.co.uk] )

What about the no-ad policy then? (1)

sectionboy (930605) | about 5 months ago | (#46456849)

Wikipedia maintains their no-ad policy on the ground of preventing potential "conflicting interest", yet I don't see how a small ad word buyer can have more influence than a donor cited in TFA. It's more of an ideological reason than anything else, very much like their debate of adopting mp4 video format.

No Problem (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 5 months ago | (#46456903)

I fail to see any problem provided that the information is accurate and that is ensured by the very nature of Wikipedia's open editing. If someone puts up false information someone else quickly corrects it.

Wiki is beautiful.

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