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Grants:IEG/Wikipedia and Public Relations: Instructional Video and Webinar Series

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status: idea
Wikipedia and Public Relations: Instructional Video and Webinar Series
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Produce a noncontroversial, effective video guiding PR and Corporate Comms in working with Wikipedia (based on WP:PSCOI) and W:EN:WP:COI+ while expanding awareness and participation in these best practices protocols.
created on: 22:17, 29 January 2013‎

Project idea


Many editors are exploring the topic of conflict of interest editing. In the meantime, many major PR organizations and Corporate Communications (CC) departments are left with mixed messages and vague advice. The most common message in the media--typified by Jimmy Wales--is that direct editing by a paid advocate is not ok. But there is little practical guidance for how to interact without making changes directly. This project would take the non-controversial, introductory, practical guidance from The Plain and Simple Conflict of Interest Guide and use it to produce a series of outreach tools to educate PR/CC professionals in how to constructively interact with Wikipedia within our policies and in a way that won't attract negative attention or media backlash. It would also begin outreach to PR firms, corporate communications departments, and paid editing consulting firms to bring them on as participants in the COI+ program, which seeks to create a transparent protocol for best practices regarding interaction with the community.

Project goals

  • Collect, synthesize, and leverage best practices for PR/CC editors on Wikipedia.
  • Improve awareness of proper editing practices, policies, and social norms among PR/CC professionals.
  • Reduce uncertainty and hostility among and between PR/CC professionals and Wikipedia editors.
  • Create an ongoing platform for educating PR/CC editors
  • Guide paid editing freelancers towards best practices

Open questions

  • Could this idea be pursued even while communities like enWP and deWP are actively investigating paid editing practices?

Project plan




Scope and activities

  1. Review PSCOI for comprehensiveness, accessibility, and fit within policy.
  2. Script a video based on PSCOI
  3. Create multimedia slides/content to accompany the video
  4. Produce the video
  5. Distribute the video
  6. Offer ongoing weekly webinars for PR/CC professionals to review guidance
  7. Attend/speak at at least one PR/CC conference
  8. Active outreach to public paid editing professionals to compel them to join and follow the best practices of COI+

Tools, technologies, and techniques

  • Outreach to public relations organizations, corporate communications departments, and paid editors
  • Interviews with paid editors, editing consultants, and PR organizations
  • Interaction with German Wikipedia's Paid Editing research project and User:Bilby's paid editing research
  • Userboxes for COI+ participants and helpers



Total amount requested


The total budget amount is $8000

Budget breakdown

  • Travel and fees to attend public relation conferences $2000
  • Produce a video explaining best practices for COI editors $2000
  • Project management expenses $4000

Intended impact:


Target audience


The target audience is paid editors, Public Relations organizations, Corporate Communications departments, Wikipedia consultsnats, and the Wikipedians who work with these various actors.

Fit with strategy


This is a unique project because it seeks to minimize harm rather than improve opportunities. Paid editors are generally viewed as a problem demographic with which the Mission goals conflict. The effort of this project would be geared towards avoiding acute media embarassment from exposed editing debacles, as well as improving the general relationship between Wikipedia communities and paid actors who already do or seek to interact with us. I believe that by reducing the conflict with paid editors we can improve the overall editing culture on Wikipedia, reduce friction and conflict, and improve our reputation for reliability.



The PSCOI and COI+ components would be integrated into existing policy, guideline, information, and wikiprojects related to conflict of interest and paid editing. In particular, WikiProject Cooperation, WikiProject Paid Advocacy Watch, the Conflict of Interest Noticeboard, Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement (CREWE), and other project pages would be consulted, and with consensus, updated to link to and facilitate expansion of the PSCOI guide and COI+ agreements. Designated COI+ helpers would be sought out and empowered to continue regular project maintenance. Materials relating to outreach and education of paid editors would be made available for the community and other editors to continue using.

Measures of success

  • Numbers of COI+ participants and COI+ helpers
  • Numbers of COI+ video/webinar participants


  • Ocaasi - I've have spent a good portion of the last 3 years working on all aspects of the paid editing debate. I've written about the littered history of bad actors who have damaged our reputation (and theirs) with biased editing, composed help guides for those with little clue how Wikipedia really works, and spent time with corporate/for-profit editors who have good intentions but often little understanding of our policies and procedures. My motivation has been to research the issues we face surrounding paid editing, and do what I can to streamline and refocus our efforts to work on them:
  1. I assisted hundreds of paid editors through the irc-en-help channel, Articles for Creation, and OTRS
  2. I voluntarily advised representatives from Monitor Group, Occidental Petroleum, Eli Lilly, and the U.S. Government about our policies and guidelines.
  3. I wrote the bulk of our Wikipedia article on Conflict of interest editing on Wikipedia
  4. I conducted the Signpost series Does Wikipedia Pay?
  5. I put together a 'simple ruleset' for COI/PR editors: The plain and simple conflict of interest guide
  6. I gave a speech to the Public Relations Society of America called Learning to Speak in Wikipedia's Language
  7. I joined WikiProject Cooperation and the Wikipedia/PR Facebook called Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement (CREWE)
  • (Along this journey, I never received payment or compensation for any of my work)



Community Notification:


Please paste a link to where the relevant communities have been notified of this proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions, here.



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