Talk:Terms of use/Paid contributions amendment/Archives/2014-03-07

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Latest comment: 10 years ago by TalentScout8 in topic Feedback


Privacy and free speech

Are anonymity & pseudonomy now lost?

Determining "compensation" seems very vague; lots of people poke at Wikipedia during working hours. Are they "being paid to edit"? Do they still have a COI about their employer even if they hate their job and don't have any respect for them? What about voluntary affiliations that don't pay, but may be as strong or stronger than a paid affiliation?

More generally, forcing people to disclose their employer is .... rather personal information, which strikes me as incompatible with the notion that our users can be anonymous (or rather pseudonomous, using usernames and keeping their real-world identities private).

If we're going to go that route, we should stop pretending we respect anonymity of our contributors and perhaps go for a true Real Names policy... which of course would crash community participation from many sectors (people at risk for harassment, people who worry they may be at risk of harassment, etc; and of course people at risk of being stalked and murdered, or arrested and tortured and executed).

I'm not sure I'd support that; while "Real Names" has done well by me (as a white male upper-middle-class knowledge worker in a liberal democracy, which is relatively safe) I don't think it's for everybody. --brion (talk) 20:56, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Real names are needed if we speak about real money. The Wikimedia can protect the privacy of its donators, but not the privacy of those to whom it gives money (or at least, the benefitor should give a proof of identity to the Foundation, by a secure mean, if this person really requires protection (e.g. an LGBT group in Russia, in Iran or in many anti-LGBT African countries where they risk jail or even death penalty for their online promotion activities; but such risk should not be considered in countries where their activities are perfectly legal and adequately protected by national laws and constitutions, such as LGBT groups or individual in the European Union, USA, Canada, Japan and some others; the protection by anonyity may be requested on a case per case basis: such cases could be discussed publicly to see if someone in a given country may request for anonymity, but even in this case that person or group should proove his identity to the Foundation that will keep it as secretely as possible, just like for donators: a public forum may ask question to the Foundation, that will forward them to the requester; the requester will reply privately to the Foundation, and then the Foundation will report the anonymized answer to the community for evaluation of the general situation; if the situation concerns lots of people, the question should be debated for the whole group of these persons without detailing them: a policy may be adopted about them, and the Foundation will apply it consistently, but securely). verdy_p (talk) 21:22, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Also there may be situations where some people ask for online anonymity to get some financements for being able to report about some emergency situations (e.g. today for news reports in Ukraine or Egypt), in specific cases where (even in "free" countries like USA) they could take a risk (imagine the situation of another people revealing things about US NSA activities : that person risks years of jail even in US for only reporting the truth to the world !). However in such situation the Foundation may not be able to offer the protection itself (being subject to US law) and could transfer the money to be given and controled by another trusted Wikimedia chapter (e.g. in Europe such as Wikimedia CH in Switzerland, or Wikimedia Sverrige in Sweden, and possibly even Wikimedia Russia for protecting US citizens).
The Foundation would have to trust these Chapters about its control on the final benefitor (located in another country where the benefitor asks for protection of his anonymty), but the Foundation will request to the chapter some aggregated acounting reports about these exceptional extra grants. After all these large chapters also have already good accounting practices. If needed, an amendment to the agreements linking the chapter and the Foundation may be signed to help secure this type of transfer relayed by the chapter protecting the anonymity of the benefitor.
And the Foundation should then inform candidate benefitors that they can choose one of these other chapters to request anonymity directly to them. The chapter would create an online account for that benefitor (with a tracking tag informing the community that the user is anonymous and protected by this chapter according to the signed agreement beween the chapter and the Foundation). verdy_p (talk) 21:34, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Verdy p as to "real names are needed if we speak about real money". Paid editors will need to give up some anonymity in order to make proper disclosures. That needs to be the price of being paid to edit, by the nature of that activity, and I don't think WP needs to apologize for that.
If an individual is paid to edit, I think it is acceptable for that person to have a separate account for that purpose. If he or she wishes also to contribute in an unpaid capacity, a separate standard anonymous account is also acceptable for that activity. If WP is unable to allow such dual accounts, then there is a question of individual rights wrt what their employers (or compensators) demand of them. If WP is unable to resolve such issues satisfactorily, then I think it would need to consider a complete ban on paid editing in order to preserve its goals, just as a practical matter. Evensteven (talk) 21:45, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Standard anonymous accounts are absolutely NOT anonymous. IP accounts are definitely not secure enough as they can be easily traced backed to the user by any one else through public logs of the wikis. What we need are standard registered accounts that are created and controled by someone whose real identity has been secured by the Foundation (or by one of its trusted chapters taking the control, for the Foundation, on how the money will be spent by that anonymous benefitor, that chapter being alone to know the identity of that benefitor for whom the Foundation cannot secure itself the anonymity, such as another Snowden reporting to the world about NSA activities and that would want protection of his anonymity by Wikimedia CH or Wikimedia Russia). Such registered account would have a tag indicating Account secured and protected by the Wikimedia Foundation in USA, or Account secured and protected by Wikimedia CH in Switzerland.
If the account is protected by a trusted chapter, ONLY the chapter will know the identity of that person. The trusted chapter takes its own responsability to control that user but NOTHING (except national laws directly applicable to that chapter) would require that chapter to reveal privately to the Foundation or publicly to the world the real identity of that user and this would be the essential part of the signed amendment linking the trusted chapter and the Foundation. Ideally, the trusted chapter would host an anonymizing proxy for that autorized user, in order to connect to the Foundation servers. The Foundation servers will know that the user comes from that trusted proxy (e.g. Wikimedia CH) but nothing else (so any US agency investigating in the logs of the Foundation will find nothing about that user whose privacy rights are protected by another country). verdy_p (talk) 21:53, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Also this possibility of offering anonymity by proxying users could be given to other partner trusted organizations (such as Reports Without Borders, whose seat is in France, or the Red Cross International Comity that actively promote the use of TOR, The Onion Routing network, to secure and protect local reporters and humanitaries working in dangerous countries, for promoting education, health and development of political rights and justice).
I think that this could be the base for cooperation with other wellknown organizations in the world defending Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, and Equality. A single organisation located in US cannot do that alone without help from partner organizations exempted from US laws, only because it is subject to US law and US law does not always protect these freedoms on a worldwide scale. verdy_p (talk) 22:22, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
So This type of protected account should not be accepted with weak passwords, and should have their password updated regularly or in case of some knows security alert. The password used should also be unique for this account. There exists excellent tools to help users secure their multiple accounts without forgetting them or have to type them in a complex way.
Another note: these trusted accounts, anonymized, protected, and possibly proxied by trusted chapters or organizations, need to have strong password protections. This type of account should not be accepted with weak passwords, and should have their password updated regularly or in case of some knows security alert. The password used should also be unique for this account. There are excellent tools to help users secure their multiple accounts without forgetting them or have to type them in a complex way.
I can cite Dashlane (sorry if this looks like advertizing, add other names if your can...) which works really well (but unfortunately still not on Windows Phone devices; it works on desktop/server Windows, Linux, MacOS; on mobile OSes it works only on Android and iOS) and that is securet only because they are NOT known even to the site proposing it (decryption of the password wallet, is performed only on the local device used by the password owner). But there are possibly others (but most of them are storing user password in clear text on their servers, and we know now that large servers can be comprimized with millions passwords stolen: avoid these other tools completely) ; for now; I've not found any equivalent to Dashlane to secure personal wallets competely out of control of central servers, and that's the only reason why I cite it. correct me if I'm wrong, but other similar tools exist nowhere else
And I think this type of tool (protecting personal wallets out of control of any central server) is now essential to protect our online privacy (such as HTTPS, or any IP-based protocol like IPSec or the whole PKI broken by the need to certify his identity to a large company you cannot really trust: all these online protocols are clearly not sufficient as they are controled by a central authority whose data can be, and has too frequently been compromized by various attacks). Today's attacks against central servers have changed scale radically: they are now regularly stealing millions of accounts (think about large online gaming platforms, lots of banks, and wellknown brands of malls; as well as lots of official governement sites), that NO company wants to warranty or indemnize. The time of centralized servers or authorities is defintely over: you cannot trust at all any large central authority as an universal proxy for protecting your privacy (even when you are not connected to the Internet and when you have switched off your mobile phone !!). In other words: everyone should use unique passwords for each site, and avoid delegating any part of the control to any central server, even if it's named Google, Yahoo or Facebook (OAuth for example will stop working soon). verdy_p (talk) 22:54, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
In the amendment I see no requirement to bind information about the employer to your personal account. Nothing prevents one from creating a separate account (or even edit IP-ously) for paid contributions. I would even go one step further: the employer may create its official account and treat contributions to Wikipedia the same way as sport sponsorship, organizing public events or maintaining a historical building in its homecity. And in a case of a separate company account no anonymity is lost - it's increased, as now not a single person performs edits. --Wikimpan (talk) 21:02, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

What counts as compensation

Free time at work, or related to occupation?

It's not about paid editing. People can edit wikipedia during free time at work (eg when something is compiling) and add information immediately relevant to their occupation (eg details about a commercial compiler or modelling software they use). This will technically be paid editing, but it will not be conflict of interest, unless their work involves coding the darn thing. Gryllida 01:15, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

No. They are not being paid to do the edit so it is not paid editting. Filceolaire (talk) 16:56, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
-->On the other hand, the notion that a person adds information to an article based on their own first-hand knowledge of the subject matter, without reference to or reliance upon a verifiable, published source, preferably secondary or tertiary, falls under the Original Research prohibition policy, does it not? While Wikis in general are designed to encourage this kind of information sharing and user-content creation, Wikipedia policies specifically restrict user-created content to encyclopaedic and verifiable citations of published sources. That is the important difference between the project wiki for your compiler or modeling tool project on your work server, and Wikipedia specifically. This principle of "no original research" is one of the cornerstones of Wikipedia and one of several important principles to keep foremost in mind. JoGusto (talk) 12:46, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You also have situations where an employer is not paying an employee to edit an article, but the employee notices a mistake on their own, and updates it either while at work, or at home. They are not being paid to edit the article, and might even get in trouble for doing it on company time, but at the same time, they do have a vested interest in making the company look good (or look bad if they are disgruntled). How does this fit into the new requirements? There can be obvious bias, but they are not being compensated in any way for editing the article. 04:44, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Disclosure and notification

Extra User Accounts for commercial Use

People who get paid to edit Wikipedia for their companies should open a new account for each national business entity (let's say Microsoft Iceland). By opening a new account they are under extra scrutiny and contributions can be easily attributed to them, wild edits by corporate users could be edited out (much like with the stable versions), and the affiliation would be clear to anyone looking at the contributors list. As businesses are legal entities it would make sense to attribute a single user to each corporate edit. Paid contributors would have to use this account - or create it and later transfer it to the company. What do you think? --Gegohouse (talk) 13:33, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

This is exactly what I have been thinking. Going yet further, paid-editing accounts should be in a separate user-namespace (instead of "User:..." for example "Paid:..."). That would be structured data, and that would make it easy to identify paid advocacy edits in the version history and would avoid any need for an additional edit comment, a flag, or a comment on the talk page.
Just to be clear: the use of these accounts should be available & obligatory only for clear situations of paid advocacy editing, that is, if PR activities are explicitly paid for (or explicitly mandated as part of another paid activity or employment) by an organization or group. Not for all types of COI. And of course a person should be allowed to use their own private User:... page plus one or more Paid:... identities without this being considered sockpuppeting. --Chris Howard (talk) 21:41, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree that it is best practice to create an account specifically for editing that is paid. Otherwise it becomes a mess when you are later no longer employed by that company. People should not have to put their entire resume on Wikipedia, because they worked for some company and happened to edit a wikipedia page about the company while working for them. 05:01, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Confidentiality clauses?

What about the potential scenario where an editor (for example) is working for an agency and is prevented by a confidentiality clause with their client from disclosing the clients identity? Such confidentiality clause/ non disclosure agreement may not be specifically aimed at Wikipedia but may be intentionally or unintentionally affected by it. Perhaps I'm foreseeing things that won't exist or or could this be a very real issue with requiring disclosure of the client?

In order to clarify any uncertainty from this comment; I am in favour of requiring the disclosure of the client if this idea is approved. However although I support the idea in principle I have yet to decide whether to support the implementation or not. --Wintonian (talk) 18:57, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello, Wintonian, under this proposal, a user may not edit Wikipedia if they have a confidentiality clause that does not allow them to disclose their client. However, if their confidentiality clause would require them to violate astroturfing laws by misrepresenting their connection, they may have issues under the current terms of use as well. My perspective is that the proposal should be narrow enough to avoid requiring disclosure when it's not needed, so I am interested if you have a specific scenario in mind. Thanks for raising this question! Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 18:31, 6 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, No I didn't have any particular scenario in mind, nor is this an area in which I am experienced. However it was something that came to mind but didn't see mentioned anywhere. As for my lack of expertise if there are examples then I leave it to others to come and offer them up for discussion. -- 22:58, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Questions of context

The amendment is meaningless

Is evident that WMF board has a lot of free time and is wasting it in fix something that is not broken. I state here three arguments that show you how that amendment is stupid.

1.- Violates the open and collaborative spirit of Wikimedia projects

“Projects to serve the interests of a paying client while concealing the paid affiliation has led to situations that the community considers problematic.”

Just as copyrighted stuff has led to situations that the community considers problematic, just as contributions made by non experts has led to situations that the community considers problematic, just as non-neutral editions have led to situations that community considers problematic, just as bad behavior in discussions has led to situations that the community considers problematic, just as everything than free and collaborative project just as wikimedia have led to situations that the community considers problematic.

Most of WM projects work with a few, clear and general rules that allows to keep the objetive of each project. Power of these rules lies in the work of the community to verify and change violations to rules. If there is an “amendment” to each “situation that the community considers problematic” we will create an enormous, bureaucratic and powerless web of rules to solve anything. ¡Use common sense!

Most important, with that disposition you are LABELING individuals in the aim to avoid “conflicts of interest”. Then, Baptists have to state that they are baptists and they have to avoid edit content related to the Pope because they could incur in “conflict of interest” just as the fans of Elvis Presley have to state that they are Elvis’ fans and they have to avoid edit content related to The Beatles, why not?

This “amendment” only leads to seed the distrust in WM community without a clear benefit but with the idea that labeling editors and his contributions are right and useful in some way.

Paid contributions should be managed (and actually are managed) as this:

  • In good faith: give thanks to people than paid to make grow WM. Actually is a donation.
  • In bad faith: revert the contribution and, if the user keeps making inadequate contributions, ban him.

Follow a basic principle can help us to avoid that policy entanglement: asses the quality of a contribution not the individual behind it. (ward off the “ad hominem” fallacy)

2.- Violates the privacy of individuals

“you must disclose your employment, client, and affiliation when making any type of paid contribution to any Wikimedia project.”

Request that information could allow identify individual editors.

3.- Non enforceable rule is dead letter

How you can demonstrate that somebody is making a paid contribution?

That is the question that supporters of the “amendment” should solve before to propose that absurdity.

Sure, we can find a lot of biased editions in WM but, these material can be produced by:

  • People with biases due to lack of information.
  • Fans, supporters or activist to some cause or celebrity.
  • Employees, servants or other kind of people whose editions are based on loyalty.

Which is the distinction between these assumptions and the paid contribution? Are the “five pillars” of Wikipedia insufficient to treat that issue?

After all, you are allowing to act, as the Spanish Inquisition, based only in the “suspicion” than somebody is making paid contributions. That is good for the discretional power of WM administrators not to the WM community. Labeling editors will have consequences.--SirWalter (talk) 05:22, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

1: Experience has demonstrated the basic principle you suggest, while good, is insufficient to guarantee the high standard of quality Wikipedia strives for. The proposed amendment provides a mechanism by which potentially inappropriate content can be clearly recognized as such.
2: I don't see any reason Wikipedia should tolerate paid anonymous editing. And your privacy was comprised when you logged onto the interwebs.
3: No one said enforcement would be easy. Without an explicit policy in place, however, enforcement is a "dead letter." 10:50, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Let me extend some ideas.

  • The “free enciclopedia” is based on liberty to edit

Basic principle of Wikipedia has been insufficient to guarantee the high standard of quality Wikipedia strives for since the beginning of Wikipedia itself. Criticism about low quality editions, recurrent vandalism, stubs instead of full articles, wars of editions and more has been part of the environment of Wikimedia projects always and it will remain just like that. Unless that WM starts to forbide anonymous contributions, requires real names to edit, demand Ph.D grade to edit a specialized theme, and to request that editions have to be reviewed by specialist before to be published. Wikipedia will solve his quality problem but it will not longer free.

Main problems of quality still remains, not due to lack of policies to deal with it but due to lack of people than are working in that. Paradoxically if, instead of goofy things (like visual editor), WMF spend money in pay people dedicated to work in basic maintenance tasks, real administrators could have time to work in solve controversial editions.

Of course, you can request that paid editors state they are paid and that they have to label their editions as “paid editions”.Then, why not request to vandals that state that they are vandals and that they have to label their editions as “vandalism”? The underlying principle of the amendment is equally absurd.

  • Paid advocacy is a chimera

But, in contrast with vandalism, that is well recorded in the WM scope. I can not find the records or evidence that proof, not only that paid contributions are a problem, but that they actually happen. I encourage the WMF staff to post here the major evidence their have about paid advocacy and how it is affecting the WM proper performance. If have not proof for paid advocacy we have here not problem to try to solve.

Is interesting that former discussions are not based in the records of problematic behavior but in a apocalyptic scenario about how WM will fall down if we open the door to (imaginary) paid advocacy. In my experience in Spanish Wikipedia I have found very few articles clearly edited by the staff of politicians or artist. Actually, those articles were not bad, they only requires some improvements (remove promotional content, for example) but, MOST articles of Wikipedia requires some improvement. At last, this only means that we are in Wikipedia “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”.

Arguments against paid advocacy maintained by Jimmy Wales—the man who fought to keep advertising in Wikipedia—are like that: “ I do think we should think about asking the Foundation to invest more resources in helping us to defend Wikipedia against the forces of darkness” [1]. If you can not show what are those “forces of darkness”, you are believing in a conspiracy theory not in a real facts.

But, here you are avoiding a very important fact: a lot of companies, artist or politicians have a big entourage of “fanboys” ready to serve to their lord (think in Apple Inc. for example), why will these companies pay for something that they can get for free?--SirWalter (talk) 20:08, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Postscript: at the moment when I wrote opinions above I lost comments about the WikiPR case. This leads us to an harmless situation to a serious situation because WMF legal department is TRYING TO FOOLING US. Wiki-PR incident is not mentioned in the Background of the amendment not in the Introduction of this discussion, but that is the origin of the whole discussion. Wiki-PR was the sufficient relevance to have his own Wikipedia article… in two languages, and to some editors proposed to erase the article because of lack of relevance. For further reference I recommend to track these cases and cases that I had to investigate because nobody of the proponents of this discussion mentioned it in any sense. But, instead to recognize a situation and ask the community how to deal with it, legal department built a change in the Terms of Use and beg us to approve it, that occurs because a situation happened in the English Wikipedia that are not reporting in this discussion (by the proponents), but changes of the terms of use will affect the global WM. How the legal department hopes than editors of Wikis in other languages realize the real background behind this proposal? This is what is called LACK OF TRANSPARENCY of the legal department. Shame on you. Finally as Ivan Shmakov states below the “Wiki-PR case” was successfully resolved despite the lack of the proposed text in the ToU. The amendment is doubly stupid.--SirWalter (talk) 08:59, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks SirWalter. I may not agree with everything you say, but I do appreciate and think about your arguments quite a bit as we think about how to address some of the issues that you have elaborated on. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 16:19, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Ungrouped Discussion

evidence of edits under influence indirectly paid, which will never change

In the French version of Wikipedia, it is very easy to see biased articles - more or less indirectly paid - by retired employees of firms, even inside Wikipedia, who block and supress some modifications, which point out difficulties or even proven information, that are not favorable to these firms !! Some articles are trusted by theses persons, and it is impossible to change the optimistic presentation of these as, for example, on heat pumps; geothermy; motors; nuclear problems; EDF; etc.. .

You can write edits including equations difficult - or outright impossible - to understand by 99% of readers, but if you try to explain the pratical consequences of theses equations in simple terms, your writing is suppressed by members of Wikipedia who, while are not paid directly, are under strong influence of these firms (sometimes as former employees). Thus,since they are not directly paid,they will feel justified in continuing to suppress many edits, that are not advantageous to their former employer(s).

Let's consider, for example, heat pumps and geothermy in French: it is impossible to explain - simply - how to verify if the dimensions [of the various components] are adequate, without this clarification being suppressed, when many [users] have paid for geothermal heat pumps of too small underground size, that are not working !! In diffusivity it is not possible to explain the elementary meaning of the equations which are useful in geothermy. The same is true for the Pantone system, where [there are] big errors which are impossible to suppress !! Thus it is nearly impossible to suppress theses bias, even inside members of the Wikipedia, under influence of indirectly paid writers .

The only way is to discuss freely the reality and to have the possibility of asking competent judges, even of a foreign country, to solve the discussion on valuable arguments. Such is not the case [at present] in

I no more contribute to for this reason !!

I added this comment on Sunday 23rd of February and I can again give a sample of evidence of edits and suppression under influence of lobbies, indirectly paid, which will never change, with Jpjanuel - retired from the French energy and electricity firm EDF and GDF in France - who suppress systématically and in a few minutes, any correction on geothermy in French - explaining practical problems of French solutions in geothermy such as the freezing of the ground - which happens in too small, undersized systems, as it often happens in France. ABACA seems [to be a] similar case modifing diffusivity without understanding and leaving a basic error. This retired person - Jpjanuel - is not paid, but [whilst] remaining inside the French Energy lobby, writes and suppress [as he/she pleases] !!

I ask, how is it possible to correct such basic scientific errors, existing within Wikipedia France, over several years, in consequence of suppression or modification of edits - by such members of lobbies inside Wikipedia France - who are themselves unable to see and understand these basic errors ???

It is absolutely necessary to have a Court of Appeal against decisions, that, as an external, even foreign,body, is qualified to assess and understand the scientific arguments, thus being able to arbitrate on real scientific grounds.

Even discoveries recently published in the revue Nature are suppressed in edits in Wikipedia France  !!

As 'dedereu' scientist, I am so disgusted, that I no longer write in wikipedia fr because it seems impossible to fight such lobbies ( nuclear and heat pumps; automobile manufacturers and so forth) with so many people lobbying inside Wikipedia France. I have asked to suppress my account, but in Wikipedia accounts are perpetual !! You have only my IP.

In consequence, many French teachers advise their students to not trust Wikipedia France, for this basic reason of wrong statements impossible to correct !!

-- 19:26, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Proposed amendment is culture specific

The proposed amendment is in no way guaranteed to alter anyone's behaviour, and potentially could do so for the worse by inhibiting more honest contributions. Protection of the consumer is already done by local laws, especially by those US laws mentioned in the description. As well, appropriate standards of behaviour are already covered in the TOU as they stand. In terms of deciding whether a contribution is valid, I do not think knowing whether or not it is a paid contribution is helpful. The only reason I can think that this amendment would be useful is that it corresponds well with the current practices that exist in the US. For this reason I object to it - US culture is particularly litigious, and overly concerned with money. There are many reasons why someone would be editing an article with bias or less than ideal intent - why single out paid employment? I realise that Wikipedia is based in the US, but I don't see why this particular view of the world should start to impact Wikipedia.

I once tried to work on articles about Venezuela. It was clear that one editor was "professional." He had around him a "team" that might not have been paid, but they all acted off the same sheet. Nothing was allowed that was detrimental to the Ultimate Leader no matter how reliably substantiated it might be. I don't know how you could have got him to reveal the fact that he was paid. This sort of thing is probably endemic in third world countries, though more accurate articles were available on Iran and North Korea!
Not too sure what is meant by "culture specific." Are there cultures who venerate people who masquerade under "amateur" but are really professional? The policies will be language specific, once enforced. Do the English, Canadians, New Zealanders, etc. like liars? I am not aware of this cultural difference. Student7 (talk) 20:11, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
How do you know that person was being paid to put forward that point of view? In fact, Wikipedia has known for years that the groups most dangerous to the dissemination of unbiased, neutral, accurate information are those who have a firm belief or opposition about something: it could be a firm belief in a spiritual group (or alternately, a firm belief that a particular group is a "cult" or similar), a nationalistic perspective, one that is politically motivated, or a personal philosophy (e.g., animal rights, opposition to nuclear/wind/petrochemical energy). The Venezuelan articles are a case in point on English Wikipedia: heavily edited by those who agree with the ruling party and thus unbalancing the articles. To give a few examples where there are definitely belief-based biases, often with allegations of "paid" COI:
  • Scientology and other new age religions/philosophies (believers vs. detractors);
  • Climate change (biographical articles of minor scientists who did not agree with a particular report were created with little info on their actual accomplishments, but multiple paragraphs about the scientist's [obviously wrong] opinion on climate change);
  • As an added bonus, editing by acknowledged experts in the subject - conflict of interest, or increased accuracy of Wikipedia coverage of the topic?
  • articles relating to polarizing political figures (almost invariably written by detractors, often with individual articles for every negative news bite)
  • articles on geographic areas/regions that are the subject of historical dispute (far too numerous to mention, but including just about all of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, large parts of Asia, and at least some of Africa)
In every case I have identified above, allegations about paid editing have been raised; however, the editors raising the allegations were often as biased (if not more so) in their editing than those they accused of being paid. The real danger is not paid editing, it is biased editing, and it applies to every subject and every Wikipedia, Wikitravel, and Wikinews (other projects, not so much). It applies to Wikidata even more strongly: given its intention to "supply" identical information throughout the WMF projects and beyond, there is a very strong motivation to get one's biases accepted, and any changes will only need to be made in one place, not hundreds.
I first encountered verifiably paid advocacy editing shortly after I started editing Wikipedia (the article of someone essentially unknown at the time, as part of the publicity campaign to make her an international "celebrity"), and it pretty quickly became apparent to me that paid editing was directly correlated with subject areas that had low notability standards. Raising notability standards — a project-level issue — would result in a major reduction in opportunities for paid advocacy editing. Risker (talk) 02:22, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Good post, Risker. Especially the points about Wikidata and notability. Andreas JN466 04:23, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Spot on! Although I would say that the monetary influence is probably just as big a problem (if not more so) in many European countries. I think the biggest problem for wiki coming from the US is politically motivated advocacy. One of the commenters above who was strongly opposed to this amendment used as the reason for his/her opposition that, "everyone is entitled to their advocacy!" Is Wikipedia suppose to be a place for advocacy??? Wiki is suppose to be about sharing verifiable knowledge and fact that may otherwise not make it into less voluminous sources. Its NOT suppose to be a platform for pushing political or social causes. Using it to try to rewrite history or to "muddy up" scientific fact is a gross violation of the goals of wiki. Most people in this discussion say this is needed to combat corporate influence. That is really a red herring. Its really clear that the biggest threat is not Paid Corporate interests. If you go to a wiki article on GE or Cuba that someone is watching to make sure any statements are not too negative. The problem is paid and unpaid activist and political operatives! Does it bother anyone that the White House has a whole department full of interns whose sole purpose is to respond to every negative comment posted on twitter or Disqus and monitor every edit to wiki for the purpose of burying potential scandals or slimeing their opponents? Political co-opting is the biggest threat. Wiki should not allow the truth to be edited by the victors or the losers? This amendment is a start, but its only a start. 09:06, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Will this do anything?

Who asked for this to be developed?

I think these cards should be on the table. Did Legal and Community Advocacy come up with this idea on its own, or was it directed by the (entire) Board of Trustees to do this? Is there a Board motion that requests this? Is this the idea of one or more Trustees, but not the majority? Or is this something coming out of the ED's office? Risker (talk) 05:09, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

It looks like someone from the WMF was the first to create and edit the page. It is shown in the History Page of the Introduction. You can find his user page and he also has a different more official page. It says you can email him. Peoplez1k (talk) 06:29, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
The is a WMF legal initiative (as pointed out above), though the idea was discussed informally with Board members. This is an important discussion that merits a community discussion. We are listening to the feedback and may make changes based on that feedback. We will then determine whether the final version should be reviewed by the Board. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 12:49, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

We'll never know the exact social dynamics (barring an extreme leak). I'd say the impetus was obviously from the company "Wiki-PR" blowing off (politely) the legal cease-and-desist letter sent by the Wikimedia Foundation. See the article "PR Company Says It Was Demonized By The World's Biggest Internet Encyclopedia". The key is this paragraph:

I don’t know. I’ve read their terms of service over and over again. I see nothing about sockpuppets in there. I see nothing about paid editing. I see nothing about any of the terms used in the cease-and-desist letter.

[Editor's note: The closest item in the Terms of Use discussing a violation is this: “Attempting to impersonate another user or individual, misrepresenting your affiliation with any individual or entity, or using the username of another user with the intent to deceive.”]

Thus, for no terms-of-use violation, the WMF response is to change the terms-of-use, to make it a terms-of-use violation. As to who drove it, did someone at WMF legal scream "Our tiger shall not be denied!" versus someone on the board ranting "They won't get away with it, land-sharks, attack!"? Only the people involved are going to know, and transparency is not going to apply here. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 07:04, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Even without amending the ToU, Wiki-PR was in violation of it. Specifically, at a minimum, this clause from section four: "With the intent to deceive, posting content that is false or inaccurate." I should really put a better on-wiki breakdown of it (I think my last good breakdown of it was in CREWE on facebook,) but this article is a fabulous example of their style of ToU violation. Kevin (talk) 07:28, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
While that's certainly a "PR" article, can you give more detail on the "false or inaccurate" aspect? That violation wasn't clear to me on a quick read. Remember, the standard is how a court would construe those terms, not mere puffery. This is not to endorse the article as good, only to say that terms-of-use violation is a higher standard to meet than PR-flackery. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 12:32, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I find it troubling that the WMF is making an effort to steer the attitude of the community away from its previous stances to suit its own agenda. Can't help but see the hypocrisy in this... Jeremy112233 (talk) 17:08, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm not noticing that at all. The community is pretty strong willed and used to making up its own mind; it has rejected Foundation proposals before and will again. Do you see a community groundswell to endorse paid editing, that this is attempting to "steer away" from any "previous stances"? If anything, previous community stances have generally been closer to "no paid editing, period" than "no paid editing without disclosure". FT2 (Talk | email) 21:36, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't see what you mean by that. On English Wikipedia proposals very similar to that roundly failed just 4 months ago. Are you saying the Wikimedia and English Wikipedia communities are so very divergent? 23:01, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I see key differences; your impression may differ of course, so we may disagree.
  • The English Wikipedia proposals were local project proposals. The two closest to this (w:Wikipedia:Paid editing policy proposal and w:Wikipedia talk:No paid advocacy) were both rejected, but it's worth reading the detail -in both cases (!) the ideas were not rejected outright; the closers concluded on both that they were rejected as written. This suggests the issue with both was not rejection of the idea, so much as inadequate drafting and a split consensus over whether disclosure was harsh enough with many preferring an outright prohibition.
  • The history of specific paid editing incidents tends to support this - a quick check shows what happens when paid editors have been found out, and the community reaction to their discovery (and frequent insta-banning). So it's very clear there is a strong view that it simply shouldn't be allowed, almost enough for a "completely forbid" proposal to pass. Among those rejecting a "simply ban" proposal, a "disclosure should be enough" view seems to be common. Putting those together, it seems the community is in the unfortunate position that there are essentially 3 mutually exclusive options discussed (forbid/ban; require disclosure; do nothing as existing content policies should suffice) and none of the 3 command an outright majority, although a majority would endorse "disclosure at minimum"; but no !vote on any of these 3 positions gained a majority in the recent community discussions as a result.
  • A WMF policy and an enwiki policy are fundamentally different. As the server system owner, WMF can stipulate a legal policy rather than a mere social one, and can enforce without risk of outing. In the closest policy to this, which was rejected "as written", a major concern over a social policy was specifically related to community handling, namely that with a social policy one may have to prove the infraction to peers on a wiki, in conflict with w:WP:OUTING. As a legal site policy by the site owner, a WMF policy implies no need to present "outing" evidence of identity to convince peers worldwide, and also has a legal effect rather than a social one. It can be handled without public outing, negating a major concern for a community policy, and has a level of legal standing that a mere social policy cannot have and which may carry weight where a social policy would not.
Essentially it seems the community is consistently within a hairsbreadth of some policy on paid editing, either a ban or a disclosure requirement, but falls between two stools (outright ban, or disclosure, with neither getting a clear majority), and as the closers summarize, English Wikipedia's community so far chooses neither as presently drafted (important qualifier!). In addition the community can only instigate a social policy, and a social policy is extremely problematic for enforcement (since local social policies unlike WMF ones generally need to be executed on a public wiki where outing is a real concern). I therefore don't see the proposal of a WMF policy of the lesser of "ban" or "disclose" as ignoring or corralling an unwilling community into something it doesn't want. I see it as closer to a minimum that the community does seem to want (or stronger) but hasn't found a way to reach. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:23, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Oh, I think it's simpler than that, FT2. A cursory glance at both proposals you linked include virtually no input from one set of key stakeholders: the reader, likely represented by IP !votes/comments. This page tells a much different tale. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 12:00, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
I think we're answering two different questions here (and I probably should have noticed that, so good catch!)... I answered "Who asked for this, and is WMF obnoxiously pressing for change in the face of editing community rejection?" (Answer = no, but needs explaining why), and you answered "Was the original community dialog sufficiently informative and embracing of the key stakeholders?" (Answer = yes for a usual local policy but no for a general one, and worth expanding to get better oxygen/input either way). Both were probably relevant though - good catch. FT2 (Talk | email) 21:29, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
As per w:en:Wiki-PR editing of Wikipedia, the “Wiki-PR case” was successfully resolved despite the lack of the proposed text in the ToU. Isn’t it indicative of the fact that the “community policies” (which are referred to in the ToU) are already sufficient to handle the cases like that? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 00:49, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Not really - anything can be "handled" but that doesn't mean "handling" is optimal or best. In this case, a social policy or requirement, isn't going to ever have the gravitas or weight of a legal policy or requirement. Not everyone would respect these but probably at least more will respect the former than the latter, and it adds extra levels of options to handle truly extreme perpetrators. The community did "handle" the Wiki-PR case, but it makes the question obvious: should more weight, hurdle or deterrence be in place, to rebut undisclosed paid editing and also to deter more of it even when undetected (or add impetus to transparent disclosure), than a mere social policy and "handling when detected" can ever provide? FT2 (Talk | email) 01:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
If the current ToU does not explicitly require the users to abide by the community policies of the particular projects, then, well, didn’t we just miss a bigger issue to consider? — Ivan Shmakov (dc) 04:33, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I'd like to say "yes" but the answer is "not sure/probably not", because local community policies tend to be interpreted according to "commonsense and consensus of editors" so they aren't legally robust, they won't need or contain wording that has legal precision, they aren't designed for ability to stand in a legal issue, except in very obvious blatant cases. They are intended to guide and the rest is done by "what editors think considering their intention", which isn't legally robust. In simple terms a community policy can say "don't bother wikilawyering" to deal with an issue, but a legal clause cannot fall back on "you know what we mean and if not the community will interpret it at the time". Not least "when is a policy, a policy" (anyone can edit them, there is no formal process to endorse a specific wording, so at what point is a wording on a policy page deemed to be a community policy). They would have to be more certain in a legal sense, for a simple "follow community policies" to carry much/any legal weight, and for that to be all that WMF needs to do. Might still be worth saying though. FT2 (Talk | email) 16:16, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oh for heaven's sake, everyone can cut out the conspiracy theories here. It was a straightforward question. I asked it because it makes a difference whether the Board or ED has asked for an amendment to the TOU, or whether the LCA Department is doing this on its own initiative. This is not a proposal to add paid editing to the TOU, it is a proposal on how to add paid editing to the TOU. I do not think it is within LCA's scope to bring this forward to the community, absent a directive from higher in the chain of command. We all know that at least one BOT member has been openly advocating banning paid editing for many years, so it is not far-fetched to wonder if the BOT as a whole has asked this to be added, but it is now clear that they have not. Perhaps LCA should be paying attention to the fact that the Board has steadfastly refused to take up this particular issue over the course of many, many years, despite its most prominent member being a public advocate of this position.

    At this point, I think this proposal should be withdrawn. It is clearly misunderstood by a significant number of participants in this discussion (just looking at the number of people who think that the WMF is paying editors somehow or other). If you would like to have a discussion, I'd suggest starting with "Should we, as the Wikimedia community as a whole, consider including some active constraints on paid editing on all of the WMF projects?" instead of handing us what is essentially a fait accompli decision to amend terms of use with the community's only option to suggest wording changes. There seems to be no understanding of how this would fundamentally change the ethos of every community, and override many decisions already made by many communities. There seems to be no understanding of the fact that accusations of paid editing are already used on a daily basis in attempts to abrogate the core editing principles of Wikipedia, and that this would be used as a weapon to lock articles in biased points of view. Yes, I understand that the notion of paid editing can be used to negatively affect the perception of the Wikipedia brand (and let's be honest, it's all about Wikipedia, nobody cares if a paid editor reviews documents on Wikisource). That calls for the same Legal and Community Advocacy department to fill its multiple open positions on the Communications team, and to develop messaging that is consistent with the fact that lots of very respected editors participate while being paid, or during their working hours with the consent of their employer - up to and including Board members. Risker (talk) 04:57, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Endorse this in the big picture. Maybe ask for further feedback anew on a basis closer to that which Risker lays out, as version 2? Explain the pros and cons of such policies, and main options if any, then ask for feedback 1/ whether people feel it will improve the encyclopedia or damage it, and why, and 2/ would they endorse a rule about commercial editing and if so what rule. That should get a bit clearer thinking on the issues. FT2 (Talk | email) 16:32, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Risker seems to want to change the rules in the middle of the feedback, while the position she supports is being overwhelmed by a ratio of 4 to 1. If we could call the "snowball rule" here, the feedback would already be over. If she believes some technical rule has been broken, all she needs to do is inform the Board that this feedback is going on (despite their wishes?), and cite which rule she thinks is being broken. But there is no rule that she's cited, and I'm certain that the Board knows that this feedback is going on.

As far as her original question: who put this proposal forward? That's been answered several times above. If you want a more descriptive answer, here is what I imagine happened. The ED, the Board, and the Legal Department all read the papers (e.g. the SignPost) and all know about the Wiki-PR. (Correct me if I'm wrong) They all talk about it together and in effect ask each other "Who has a solution?" (as they should) They even talk about it informally at and around Board meetings. (as they should) The Board likely asked the ED or Legal to come up with their best ideas and present them. The Board can't decide the issue presented here until it gets feedback, but were likely pleased enough with the proposed solution to say something like "take it to the community and see what they think." Frankly, I don't think they would let it get this far, if they weren't prepared to to vote for it - given positive feedback from the community. While I don't guarantee each step in the process worked exactly this way, I can't imagine any how any major proposed policy, ToU change, etc. change would work much differently according to our rules.

And finally, I have to say that this is all about one simple change: paid editors will have to disclose their paid edits and name their employer. That's it - no outing of editors required. The Wiki-world won't fall apart. Simple disclosure of paid edits. Four to one in favor.

Smallbones (talk) 22:46, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Oh Smallbones, how simple you make it all sound. You're obviously speaking from a very free, Western country where there is no chance at all that you can be imprisoned for writing about...well, just about anything your heart desires on Wikipedia. The same cannot be said for those who live in China, or Iran, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt, or several eastern European countries. We have editors who literally put their personal safety, their livelihood, and what liberty they have at risk to freely share knowledge here. Free as in libre, not free as in beer. But students at universities all over the world will be proscribed from updating factual information about their alma mater unless they're willing to link to the fact they're students there, as will their professors writing in their area of expertise. It (probably) isn't a big deal for most people in democratic English-speaking and European countries (although there are some editors for whom even this statement is not true); it means genuine danger to people in much of Africa, the Middle East, and a good part of Asia. But let's just look at what this proposal really says. Municipal employees will have to declare they are paid editors when editing about their city (it increases the profile of their employer); healthcare workers if they edit any articles on which they have advanced knowledge (they could potentially benefit financially if more people decide they have that illness); the editor who writes about an artist whose work they have on their wall (we all know that a Wikipedia article is a sign of notability, which will increase the value of the artwork). Indeed, it would take a lot of work to find someone with more than 5000 edits who has never edited anything for which this proposed amendment would not require them to make a disclosure of some sort. Just looking at people whom I know some personal information about and who have commented on this page, I've yet to find anyone who wouldn't have to make a disclosure under this proposed amendment. Depending on how expansively these rules are interpreted, I could even find myself running afoul of the TOU. And I say that as someone who didn't even know whether or not her employer had a Wikipedia article until someone else pointed it out to her. Risker (talk) 05:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
FT2, thanks for your especially clear comments above. Risker, yes it is within LCA's scope to discuss and propose changes to the TOU, and to other sitewide legal policies, at their discretion. Given the high quality of the public LCA consultations in recent years, I expect that they will gracefully handle misunderstandings and concerns in any recommendation that they make. SJ talk  00:31, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

@Risker - I agree with much of what you say in terms of a descriptive perspective (laying out the situation), but sadly that does not go far regarding a prescriptive perspective (what people *should* do). In specific, I have found lack of understanding matters very little in politics. Now, "Legal and Community Advocacy" works for WMF. They don't work for "the community" (sigh, repliers, no quibbling please). WMF did a high-profile action against Wiki-PR. Wiki-PR was, well, let's say not quaking in their boots. What's likely to result from that? Legal threat version 2.0. And here we are. As Sj just pointed out above, this is what LCA has power to do ("sitewide legal policies, at their discretion"). Politically, I'd say this proposal is a stark example of the tension between the worldview that WMF exists as a support organization for the Wikipedia volunteers (an emotionally popular but factually mistaken view), versus that Wikipedia volunteers are privileged to be unpaid labor building WMF projects (love-it-or-leave-it). That is, which side's interests take priority when in conflict with the other? LCA's job is first and foremost advocating what's good for WMF and Wikimedia legal (disclaimer - this isn't intended as a criticism, merely stating a fact). Regarding any enormous mess that creates for those who have to deal with the fallout of ill-considered policy changes, well, that's an old story. Take solace that "meme-hustlers" will be able to get popular conference speaking gigs and big consulting fees telling the tale of the happy helpful people who cheerfully work for free to resolve the conflicts created by the decisions of upper management (what could please some corporation executive more?). -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 09:50, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

(off topic reply) My experience is that most issues are either community originated (not WMF), an inherent part of the compromises of writing in an extremely diverse world, or human nature which even nation states haven't found answers to. WMF is miniscule whether by number or effect compared to the community's self-originated policies. Many individuals - whether for reasons that you may endorse or disparage - express in their actions a real wish to produce works unpaid for others' free use under a license that explicitly says "anyone may reuse anyhow". They do it on Wikipedia, they do it in software (Apache, Linux, and a huge amount more that runs most of the web), they release rights to their photos on Flickr and often to their videos on Youtube. Some people set up websites to release their work freely even if they could choose more mercenary or controlled ways to benefit from their own work, and even where massive choice exists (software authorship). Linux contributors do it whether or not a Linus Torvalds gains speaking opportunities or fees, although they could easily switch to other similar systems if they wanted, and the same in a hundred other projects of note. From here it looks like exactly what the wider unconnected readership would approve of: individuals' work, small in itself, is being enabled to combine with the work of others, and going out into the world, and nobody however powerful can specify and fix the content in stone (beyond agreed legislation) against the broad view of 100,000 individuals in hundreds of countries fiercely defensive of their editorial approach. We can debate this courteously and without ad hom, a little more, if you want, perhaps in email where it's less off-topic. Bottom line - I don't think your view holds up. FT2 (Talk | email) 18:17, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
@FT2 - I doubt we will convince each other on the broad philosophical issues (note, I'm a big supporter of what I call the "Light Side" of Open Source, as an economic efficiency argument in allocating development costs among businesses - but not what I call the "Dark Side", businesses expecting programmers to work for free). However, what I'm trying to express here is that in this discussion, it strikes me that ground-level people such as Risker and LauraHale have made cogent arguments as to why the proposed amendment in specific is a bad idea with serious unintended consequences. Yet this seems to be brushed off by the higher-ups, in a way very familiar to any engineer who has ever attempted to explain to management that marketing's proposed wonderful new feature is a disaster because it'll wreak havoc on a delicate system (thank-you-for-your-feedback, yadda-yadda-yadda, goals, objectives, blah-blah-blah - which means "management doesn't have to clean up the mess, you do"). It's a classic hierarchical power relationship, with "benefits" flowing to the top and "costs" shifted to the bottom. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 22:50, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
(again off-topic, @Seth) Thanks - that's actually not a bad comment. I think if you stuck to plain unvarnished statements, it would get taken as insightful input. I'm familiar as heck with the setup you describe. The difficulty is that you don't write that way most times I've seen. You write with appeal to emotivity and rhetoric, hyperbole, exaggeration - a bit like a fanatic would (I hope I can express how it can come over and not be offending), the results as posted seem mostly rhetoric and hyperbole - and from me at least it usually gets what overstated exaggerated simplistic writings lacking visible merit on the facts, usually get. After all, that style is usually used to cover up more than reveal, especially by people who write in the media as part of their living. By contrast, the points in your second post are plain stated and reasoned. Your first post derails itself - WMF is evil for allowing speaking opportunities (can I see your writing about how Linux coders are naively supporting a power structure for Linus to get conference opportunities? And whoever runs myriad other high profile open source projects - Apache, MySQL, Redhat, Folding@Home, whatever, or whoever builds commercial structures on top of their volunteers' work). So the impression created from here is usually that when you criticize, you pick and choose, you don't have a real complaint so much as a "bee in the bonnet". Again I should emphasize this is meant cordially and respectfully, as feedback, not to be offensive, though I accept it could come across otherwise it's truly not my intent. For a good example, look at the ending of your first and second posts compared:
First post ends - "Take solace that "meme-hustlers" will be able to get popular conference speaking gigs and big consulting fees telling the tale of the happy helpful people who cheerfully work for free to resolve the conflicts created by the decisions of upper management (what could please some corporation executive more?)."
Second post ends - "[W]hat I'm trying to express here is that in this discussion, it strikes me that ground-level people [] have made cogent arguments as to why the proposed amendment in specific is a bad idea with serious unintended consequences. Yet this seems to be brushed off by the higher-ups, in a way very familiar to any engineer who has ever attempted to explain to management that marketing's proposed wonderful new feature is a disaster because it'll wreak havoc on a delicate system (thank-you-for-your-feedback, yadda-yadda-yadda [] - which means "management doesn't have to clean up the mess, you do"). It's a classic hierarchical power relationship, with "benefits" flowing to the top and "costs" shifted to the bottom."
See the difference in explanatory style, in the final sentence(s) where supposedly one summarizes and wraps up what one means to say? That's what comes over, and why I feel your second comment above may come over as cogent or meritorious observation while the first declares itself "sound and fury". Again, this is off topic though. Email? FT2 (Talk | email) 10:20, 1 March 2014 (UTC)


Ich erkenne keinen Handlungsbedarf seitens der Wiki. Die Nutzungsbedingungen scheinen rechtlich ausreichend zu sein. Die zusätzliche Sicherstellung wird den Ottonormalverbraucher ohnehin nicht erreichen: Für ihn ist die schnelle Information wichtig, Fußnoten oder gar Informationen zum Schreiber auf dessen Benutzerseite usw. werden selten gelesen. Somit vertraut er auf die Qualitätssicherung, zumal das auch die Medien tun.

Einem bezahlten Schreiber wird kaum nachzuweisen sein, daß er eigene Interessen verfolgt, die nicht dem Gemeinwohl und einer neutralen Aufklärung dienen, aber das geht auch unbezahlten so.

Der Flut von einseitigen Interessen kann nicht anders als über die Qualitätssicherung begegnet werden. Die zunehmend hohe Nachfrage nach unbeeinflusster Wissensvermittlung stellt einen nachzukommenden Bildungsanspruch dar. Deutschland könnte sich an Wiki zunächst über den Topf der Gebühren (Gez) für öffentliche Aufklärung prozentual beteiligen. Kreisquadrat (talk) 19:17, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Moin Kreisquadrat; mir ist nicht ad hoc ersichtlich, wie das Ausbuchstabieren der minimal-verbindlichen Transparenzregulierungen, die hier von der Rechtsabteilung vorgeschlagen wird, sich zu deinem GEZ-Punkt verhaelt und waere mithin fuer eine Erlaeuterung dankbar. Gruss und Dank, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 23:57, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Hallo Jan, ich war schon bei der Umsetzung der Idee, die Qualitätssicherung zu verbessern und dafür brauchts nunmal Geld (für Technik, Personal usw.).

Wenn ein Artikel den Ansprüchen genügt, dann ist es egal, wer ihn geschrieben hat und ich meine, daß das nur über die QS gehen kann. Schau' Dir meine Versuche zum Thema Sepa an, die ich anschließend entfernt hatte, weil keine Rückmeldung kam und mir und vielleicht auch anderern das Thema zu heikel war: Schade, denn dort stand (oder steht noch) ein Artikel, den kein Laie versteht. Wenn Wiki damit anfängt rechtlich unnötige Transparenz zu fordern, so hatte ich das jedenfalls verstanden, dann ist das der erste Schritt zur Aufgabe einer freien Enzyklopädie. Wie schon geschrieben stellt es für professionelle Schreiber mit einseitigen Interessen kaum ein Problem dar, die erhoffte Transparenz zu verschleiern. Einen bezahlten transparenten Schreiber im Sinne eines neutralen Artikels halte ich für unwahrscheinlich. Vorstellbar wäre aber auch, daß ein Bezahler nicht der Arbeitgeber (z.B. die Kirche) ist, sondern ein gemeinnütziger Verein (der andere Ziele hat) und was schreibt er dann in seine verbindliche Transparenz, ohne den Job verlieren zu wollen? Zudem besteht die Gefahr der Ausweitung von Reputationsheischerei. Beispiel Professor und Student (Student wird bezahlt von Mutti, die eine Firma hat) oder sonstige Abhängigkeitsverhältnisse. Dann könnte es unter Umständen schwer werden, wenn sich jemand Drittes zum Thema äußern will, von dem man augenscheinlich nicht weiß, was er außer dem Interesse an freier Verfügbarkeit von Wissen und einer verständlichen Darbietung zu bieten hat.

Du formulierst es schön: Das Ausbuchstabieren minimalverbindlicher Transparenz. Wo sieht die Rechtsabteilung den Grund für eine erforderliche Bestätigung durch Klarnamen und weiteren Eigenauskünften? Ich hab's nicht verstanden, aber vielleicht hilfst Du mir auf die Sprünge? Dankeschön. Kreisquadrat (talk) 18:29, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Was die Rechtsabteilung hier zu veraendern vorschlaegt, ist in gewissem Sinne ein Minimum aber keines, dass nach meinem Verstaendnis z.B. aktueller bundesdeutscher Rechtssprechung ueber die rechtlichen Erfordernisse hinausgeht. Das OLG Muenchen, das die momentan einschlaegige Entscheidung zum Themenkomplex vorgelegt hat (Zusammenfassung der Signpost ist im letzten Satz der zweiten Frage der FAQ verlinkt), geht ueber die hier vorliegen Entwuerfe qua seiner Auslegung des europaeischen Wettbewerbsrechts deutlich hinaus. Die WMF addressiert hier mithin nur ein globales Minimum, auf das die jeweiligen Gemeinschaften dann projektweise aufbauen koennen. Gruesse, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 14:37, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Jan, mir fiel heute siedend heiß ein, daß mein letzter Beitrag zum Sepaartikel womöglich abwertend überkam: Dem ist nicht so, weil ich nachvollziehen kann, wenn aus fachlicher Sicht berichtet wird.

Aber nun erstmal Danke für den Hintergrund, ich steck momentan nicht so in der Sprache drin (in der Syntax auch nicht), aber denke, das Anliegen verstanden zu haben. Warum wurde dies nicht gleich so deutlich formuliert und stattdessen die Diskussion auf eine bereits erfolgte Auswahl von Reaktionsmöglichkeiten angezettelt? Diese Frage hilft nun nicht weiter, aber andere vielleicht. Es scheint sich um ein schwebendes Verfahren zu handeln, dem dringend Argumente fehlen. Nach meiner Auffassung der Wikiphilosophie müssen die aus der Allgemeinheit bedient werden, das stellt in meinen Augen keine Schwäche, sondern Stärke dar.

Natürlich liest der Nutzer die Diskussionsseiten im allgemeinen nicht: Diese sollen und stellen lediglich die Möglichkeit zur qualitativen Verbesserung des Artikels dar. Es handelt sich dabei also keinesfalls um die Möglichkeit eines Wettbewerbsaustauschs,sondern um eine offene Diskussion, deren lebendige Arbeit unverkennbar und vielfach nachzulesen dem Anspruch einer geforderten und freien Enzyklopädie nachkommt.

Wo ist eigentlich das Problem? Dazu folgende (chaotische) Überlegungen nach Anlesen der erwähnten Signpost. Es besteht zunächst nur ein Vorwurf und die Wertung eines Gerichts. Die Möglichkeit zu unlauterer Wettbewerbsgestaltung sei gegeben. Natürlich ist sie das, weil die ebenso in der Kantine eines anderen Unternehmen geschehen könnte. Beispiel Altersheim mit öffentlicher Kantine, wo sich die Besucher über Vor-und Nachteile der Konkurrenz austauschen. Man kann ja woanders hingehen: Der Markt ist offen.

Der Unterschied zu Wikipedia besteht darin, daß keine Konkurrenz verfügbar ist. Warum nicht, denn die Möglichkeit besteht für jeden.

Die Nachfrage einer gelebten und jederzeit öffentlich nachvollziehbaren Unternehmensphilosophie kann schon aus diesem Grund keinen Anlass für Vermutungen hinsichtlich Vorteilsmöglichkeiten bieten, weil sie sich einer freiwilligen öffentlichen Kontrolle unterwirft, die es jedem Menschen ohne Ansicht auf Herkunft, Bildung usw. erlaubt einen Gesellschaftsbeitrag zu leisten, solange er nachvollziehbar und belegt ist. Das ist sehr viel unbequemer als in anderen auf Gewinn ausgelegten Unternehmen und muß bei einer Urteilsfindung berücksichtigt, bzw. stärker herausgestellt werden.

Die Frage nach unlauteren Wettbewerb stellt sich somit nicht.

Selbstverständlich ist die Frage der Qualitätssicherung in jedem Betrieb im ureigenen Interesse zu stellen, damit es bestehen kann und natürlich muß der Gesetzgeber unter zuhilfenahme seiner Möglichkeiten Qualität gewährleisten. Diese Frage beantwortet Wikipedia durch die Öffentlichkeitskontrolle und unterliegt damit bereits strengeren Anforderungen, als sie an jedes andere Unternehmen gestellt werden. Es stellen sich die Fragen nach der Gleichbehandlung von Unternehmen und öffentlicher Interessen.Kreisquadrat (talk) 21:40, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Hm, dass dies ein grundlegender Vorschlag ist, auf welchem aufgebaut werden kann bzw. ueber welchen ggf. rechtlich hinausgegangen wird, steht bereits drin ("Geltendes Recht oder Richtlinien der Gemeinschaft oder Stiftung, etwa betreffend Interessenkonflikte, können bezahlte Beiträge weiter einschränken oder umfangereichere Offenlegung vorschreiben.")
Das Argument des OLGs bezieht sich auf die Offenlegungspflichten seitens Unternehmen zu geschaeftlichen Handlungen. Der Leser ist dabei weniger zentral (d.h. er/sie ist addressiertes Objekt, nicht handelndes Subjekt) als die Relation zwischen den Wettbewerbern (Wikipedia ist kein Wettbewerber, sondern der oeffentliche Raum in welchem diese handeln woll(t)en). Wikipedia, so das Urteil stark auszulegen sein sollte, ist grundlegend kein Raum fuer wettbewerbliche Handlungen - mithin waeren die mesten bezahlten Bearbeitungen gemaess einer solchen Auslegung des OLG-Urteils wettbewerbsrechtswidrig. Unternehmensphilosophien an sich sind nicht Gegenstand des europaischen Wettbewerbsrechts.
An dem Punkt muessen wir aber nur bedingt stehenbleiben, denn das OLG diente mir oben primaer als illustrierendes Beispiel fuer Rechtslagen, die ueber den Richtlinienentwurf hinausgehen. Beste Gruesse, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 08:31, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Hallo Jan, also besteht kein Zugzwang seitens der Rechtsabteilung. Wikipedia und Wikimedia (darüber weiß ich so gut wie nix und beziehe mich daher auf WPedia) stellen demnach eine global wirkende Öffentlichkeit dar und folglich denke ich schon, daß es sich unbedingt um die Philosophiefrage handelt. Stellt Wiki eigene Regeln auf, die in diesem Fall die Nutzung einschränken, dann wird der ursprüngliche Gedanke nebst des eingestilten Vertrauen ins Gegenteil gedreht. Gedacht war nach meinem Verständnis eine wirklich unabhängige Plattform, die sich nur über die Qualität definieren kann und die die wesentliche, weil andauernde Herausforderung ausmacht. Wiki ist momentan nicht mehr wegzudenken. Das ist alleine der Befriedigung einer globalen Nachfrage zu verdanken und mit Sicherheit eine bleibende, wenn daran festgehalten wird. Kreisquadrat (talk) 20:20, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Moin Kreisquadrat. Regelungsbedarf besteht zumindest nach kalifornischer Rechtslage durchaus, denn unter den Regelungen dieser Jurisdiktion sind die Nutzungsbedingungen (vereinfacht und afaik) die rechtlich jeweils grundlegenden. Die Stiftung unterliegt kalifornischem Recht. Die globale Situation ist mithin deutlich anders gelagert als in dem von uns oben diskutierten bundesdeutschem Beispiel, welches ueber die vorgeschlagene Position hinausgeht ohne diese aufzuheben (sondern sie erweitert). --Jan (WMF) (talk) 23:10, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Will this do anything?

Actual examples

Let's look at a few real-world examples.

  • Wilson Engineering Services derives over 60% of its revenues from PetroChina and its subsidiaries. If an employee of Wilson Engineering edits the Wikipedia article about PetroChina, does the proposed policy demand that the editor disclose their employer, or the employer's large client, or both, or neither?
  • Envestnet's largest client is Fidelity Investments. Fidelity accounts for about one-third of Envestnet's revenues. If an employee of Envestnet edits the Wikipedia article about Fidelity Investments, does the proposed policy demand that the editor disclose their employer, or the employer's large client, or both, or neither?
  • The Albuquerque branches of Fastsigns name Eclipse Aviation as their biggest client, but representing only 4% of the Albuquerque-area revenue. Certainly, this would be far less than 1% of all Fastsigns revenue globally. If an employee of Fastsigns edits the Wikipedia article about Eclipse Aviation, does the proposed policy demand that the editor disclose their employer, or the employer's largest client, or both, or neither? Does it make a difference if the Fastsigns employee is located in New Mexico, than if he is located in New York (where presumably there is zero Eclipse Aviation signage activity)?

I have a feeling that a purist is going to say "all possible financial conflicts of interest in one's editing must be disclosed". However, the average person will surely see the point of ridiculousness set in somewhere on the low end of the revenue spectrum. If UPS makes deliveries of packages between two offices of Edward Jones investment advisors, then clearly Edward Jones is a client of UPS, and it establishes a potential conflict of interest should a UPS driver wish to edit the article about Edward Jones. And not just the driver who knows that Edward Jones is a client -- but every single UPS driver on the planet, who may or may not even be cognizant of the fact that Edward Jones helps them earn a paycheck. What a purist would say is that EVERY EMPLOYED EDITOR is best off disclosing who their employer (or employers) might be. What does that say about Wikipedia's policies about privacy? I think more than a few people on this page have not thoroughly thought through the implications of this policy. Or, are we saying that you're only required to disclose your financial conflicts if you are specifically paid by someone specifically to edit Wikipedia? The work-around to that is simply to modify all paid editing contracts to say, "payment is for enhancement or other modification of popular community-sourced reference media", without mentioning Wikipedia specifically. When called out as a "paid editor" who is violating the new Terms of Use, the editor will merely need to respond, "I have not been compensated, nor expect to receive compensation, for any contribution to any Wikimedia projects". -- Thekohser (talk) 16:58, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

If there is payment anyhow, Wikipedia is no longer the "free" encyclopedia.

There should NOT be payments for contributions.

If there is a payment for contributions, an explanation of why that is paid and the rest not must be explained.

If there is any payment for a contribution, be it to an individual or to a company/firm/organization, full disclosure should be clearly provided, in the case of an individual his nationality and affiliation with third parties given, and in the case of a company any possible conflicts of interest stated, including the company ownership etc.

I have noticed already bias and straight non-neutrality in some articles, and others have the same type of information in a format that is (I believe) external to Wikipedia. For example for articles about countries, and in particular "economy of countries" there is now a graph of squares representing the share in percentage of that country's economy. This seems to me done (but I don't know if that is the case) by someone employed by (or directly by) an Anglo-American consulting firm. Then some articles are semi-protected or fully protected or simply someone has decided that no more addings are allowed, even when the article is extremely poor! If individuals are not allowed to build obejectively an article but then Wikipedia pays someone to do that instead, what is the point of allowing anyone in the first place?

I think you might be confused. The question at hand is "should editors be required, by their own admission or some other mechanism in place, to disclose their affiliations / possible conflicts of interest when they are paid to edit an article?". Wikipedia isn't the group doling out money to paid editors - it's private companies. Ellomate (talk) 23:50, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
You are misusing the term "free" in the same way that I would be misusing it if I said, "If slaves are allowed to edit Wikipedia, it is no longer the 'free' encyclopedia." -- Thekohser (talk) 16:32, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Only unpaid volunteers should be permitted to edit Wikipedia under any circumstances. The original "volunteer" nature of Wikipedia is what has made it one of the world's best sources of information. By allowing paid contributions of any kind to Wikipedia, it suddenly becomes far less trustworthy, renders it subject to all sorts of potential legal liability, and begins to shift the politics of Wikipedia away from the rough democracy that it now is, and towards some sort of a thinly veiled corporate plutocracy. Is this really acceptable to Wikipedia? Scottperry (talk) 17:15, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Allowed or not, it is happening. E.g. look at the article Product information management. I was started by a Wikipedia Amcathra who did't do anything else but creating the article. If you look at the german counterpart, the article Produktinformationsmanagement, it was created ten days earlier, but there the editors didn't even bother to create a dummy user, the left their IP instead which belongs to the Swiss based company hybris GmbH. The english article at least is flagged, the german not, and unfortunately this is typical for the german Wikipedia. --BerlinSight (talk) 18:56, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Your logic: if someone buys/sells icecream in a public park, that park is no longer public. Really??? Is it a private park then?
6birc (talk) 03:01, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Counter-position: If you have to disclose when somebody decides to pay you for editing Wikipedia even though you already do it all the time and would do it anyway even if unpaid, then Wikipedia is no longer the LIBRE encyclopedia. X-Fi6 (talk) 19:45, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Take the issue of false flag operators seriously, please

As the US Supreme Court decision in Citizens United should make clear to all of us, firms are now in a position to dominate our culture completely; this state of affairs is an inevitable result of corporate personhood. In view of this situation, it is incumbent upon us to be prepared for all of our institutions to be attacked.

Because Wikipedia has become a large and popular entity, it has become a target, and the proposed changes to its terms of use are a step in the right direction, because they demand transparency. Sure, the proposed changes can be criticized for not going far enough or for being too easy to circumvent. But I believe that one single aspect of the picture is persuasive on its face: the corporatocracy has the wherewithal to accomplish the subversion of Wikipedia, notwithstanding their fewer numbers, and they have already commenced the attempt. In the face of this reality, we now must work out whether any project of the kind Wikipedia represents can survive.

One significant aspect that hangs in the balance is Wikipedia's credibility, both as a source of information and as a venue for people (such as myself) to bring a world of knowledge to the world of humankind. A tainted Wikipedia, a Wikipedia that cannot be trusted, can attract neither readers nor contributors.

  • I suggest that paid-for content be rendered in a contrasting color of type (say, purple).
  • Alternatively, surround such content by banners labeled "Paid Content" (similar to those thick inserts in Scientific American or National Geographic), and charge the patron a fee.
  • Also, if an editor is acting as an paid agent, he should have restrictions on his ability to alter existing content.

One might argue, "How do you justify saddling a person with these special burdens?" I do so by forming a distinction between contributors working for free, as most of us have done from early times, and those who are using Wikipedia as a vehicle for their revenue stream, that is, paid agents. There is arguably a presumption that the latter category is less trustworthy merely because of the existence of pecuniary interest (or rather that their trustworthiness redounds to their paymaster instead of to the wikiworld). ArthurOgawa (talk) 10:13, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Excellent points all around. Whatever the outcome of this proposal, I definitely agree the central real issue is "we now must work out whether any project of the kind Wikipedia represents can survive." Evensteven (talk) 00:40, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

I strongly support "that paid-for content be rendered in a contrasting color of type (say, purple)". I think that using color to further differentiate paid-for content increases the likelihood that the reader is made aware that the content was procured by monetary interest. As ArthurOgawa states, "There is arguably a presumption that the latter category is less trustworthy merely because of the existence of pecuniary interest (or rather that their trustworthiness redounds to their paymaster instead of to the wikiworld)." As BrekhusR puts it, "It is important that paid editors disclose that they are being paid. Readers are free to make of that information what they will". Bitobum (talk) 05:34, 25 February 2014 (UTC)Bitobum

A point of principle of what the Terms of Use are meant for

I wish to raise a point of principle in opposition to this amendment. (I haven't yet entirely decided whether I really oppose this proposal, but simply want to share my thoughts.)

Currently, most of what is in the Terms of Use is essentially common sense and fairly standard for a (US-based) website. Don't harass others, don't do things that will get the WMF sued out of existence, don't break the law, don't put too much load on our servers. The only exception to that is the section on licensing, which is why (a summary of) that part is repeated before every "save page" link.

This amendment, however, isn't any such thing. It's a surprising clause. In some countries (such as Germany, § 305c BGB), surprising clauses in general terms of use are actually void. I don't know if that law is applicable here, but that's beside the point: I think morally it isn't a good idea to put things into terms of use that aren't, really implied by common sense anyway.

What exactly is the reason you are trying to do this globally, not locally with the consent of each community? Is it only so that you can say "you didn't just break community policies, you broke our terms of use"? I'm fairly sure that even if that is what you want to do, you can simply put a list of the projects that have found a consensus for it into the Terms of Use or an accompanying page which you refer to in the ToU. It seems unusually centralistic to force this on all projects, including projects that are still in the stage of being happy to have any content at all, and that don't yet need or want to care about these issues. darkweasel94 (talk) 22:56, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

I understand the concern about surprise, but I don't think this is a "surprising" clause in any meaningful sense. As we mention in the FAQ, in many places local laws may require much stronger disclosure; and the reaction of many casual readers to last year's WikiPR situation indicates that many (if not most!) of our readers already assume that disclosure is required (or that paid editing is prohibited altogether). If there is any surprise here, for most people it is likely to be that the ToU requirements are fairly mild.
I also don't think this is a correct assessment of the relevant laws, but even if the correct legal standard were "surprise" I don't think this would be a problem, so I won't get into much detail on the relevant legal standards.
(I think the question about trying to do this elsewhere has been covered in a variety of places above, and I'm trying to put together a FAQ on that, so I will not repeat those answers here.) —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 23:04, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
If the legal regime in which WMF operates already impose disclosure requirements, what is the purpose of this ToU amendment? What is next: will it become against WMF "Terms of Use" for editors to cross the street against a red light, for editors to steal other editors cars, or murder them? Will the WMF be inlining the entire set of statues of country X?
Just like you can't enforce crossing the street against a red list, we can't enforce FTC rules, or German/EU false advertising rules (linked elsewhere in the discussion), ourselves. This gives us an additional tool to do enforcement when necessary without having to rely on government bodies. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 21:07, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
So the point of this rule is not because the law demands you to make it a policy, or that even in the absence of policy, the law demands editors disclose all on their own, but simply a means to enforce (pretty much arbitrary) Wiki Rules and Regulations? Or, if you want it bluntly, the entire rationale given for the amendment is more or less dishonest?
Given that this is your website and you are, like anyone else who runs a website, free to management in in whatever way you wish, why not just erase the entire rationale for this amendment and replace it with your one line comment, above? Insisting people disclose about X isn't much different that demanding they edit while wearing purple wigs when the argument offered for "X" isn't much better than the one I could invent for purple wigs.
I am completely serious: erase it all and just say "We need to do this for the purposes of enforcement of other Wiki policies." and move on. 03:46, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Like I've said above, this whole thing smells like some other goal is trying to be achieved. I speculate that the WMF wants to use "ToU violations" (aka "trespassing") as the means to bring civil and/or criminal proceedings against vexatious editors. 19:45, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Oops, this fragment was mine as well. Somehow it was disconnected from the original comment. But, imagine that, it looks like I was actually correct! 03:46, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
@LuisVilla - when you talk of "additional tool to do enforcement when necessary", that gets to a key aspect of this amendment which troubles me - it "criminalizes" (puts in TOU violation) a wide swath of users on a strict-liability basis, and then relies on "prosecutorial discretion" (enforcement when necessary) to sort out who will be taken to task over the issue. Frankly, the WMF doesn't have an unblemished record here when it comes to inspiring confidence over legal threats. Even if I'd hypothetically trust the current legal team to make the correct calls, there's no assurance its successors would be as good. And when such conditions are put in Terms-Of-Use, I think that's a lamentable situation, not an argument for other organizations to follow suit -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 03:49, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Please require a standard "PAID EDIT" tag in the edit summary, to SIMPLIFY DISCLOSURE DISCOVERY

Permitting the conflict of interest disclosure to be hidden in talk pages and user pages would make it far too difficult for other editors to notice the disclosure when reviewing edits, as they would be forced to exhaustively search both the user pages and talk pages for all edits. Please SIMPLIFY THE DISCLOSURE DISCOVERY ALGORITHM by requiring a standard "PAID EDIT" tag in the edit summary, and mandating a SINGLE place -- the "Conflicts of Interest" section of the user page -- for disclosure details. (The Talk page is not the right place for conflict-of-interest disclosures.) This requirement will be easy for paid editors to follow, and will allow other editors to easily and predictably locate disclosure statements. -- DavidBooth (talk) 18:56, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

To make this change to the current proposal, I suggest changing the following wording:

You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:
        a statement on your user page,
        a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
        a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.


You must make that disclosure by: (a) including the upper case words 
"PAID EDIT" at the beginning of each relevant edit summary; and (b) 
including a statement on your user page in a section entitled "Conflicts 
of Interest".

-- DavidBooth (talk) 18:56, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Also, to simplify and encourage compliance, a mandatory checkbox could be added to the Edit page: "This [ ] is / [ ] is not a paid edit.", where "paid edit" is a link to a more explanation. -- DavidBooth (talk) 18:56, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

This has been discussed in #Why not require all three types of notification? darkweasel94 (talk) 19:28, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Possibly a template as an alternate method of disclosure, discussed in #Standard template. Felixphew (talk) 20:04, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
This is great! I love the idea in the proposal that the disclosure must be made in the edit note in addition to the article Talk and Userpage; the disclosure in the edit note needs to be standardized so that paid edits are easy to find and audit. I was thinking something clear short and 'PAID EDIT' is perfect. But even better, is the checkbox. I love the checkbox idea - super standardized. It should show up super clearly in the history, somehow, too. And, if anybody has checked that box, it would be great if checking that box led the wiki software to automatically put a template on the checker's Userpage, where all of that editor's paid edits appear. The key thing is to be able to audit and that requires standardization that IT tools can easily work with. Would these things be hard for the techies to implement, I wonder? Thanks for these great ideas. Jytdog (talk) 16:04, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Sorry when I commented on this earlier, I did not notice the "not a paid edit" option in the checkbox. There should be a checkbox only for "This is a paid edit." We AGF by default. Jytdog (talk) 07:46, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Endorse a "This is a paid edit, or an edit as part of my work" or similar. Excellent idea.
However I'd make it a stronger version: "I confirm this edit is/is not connected to my work, or any activity for which I expect remuneration." Much harder to escape peer and media censure, if avoiding the policy requires a blatant and direct dishonest statement. Many people would shy away from dishonesty in the face of a clear "black and white" choice, because of impact on their reputation if caught, and will choose to disclose or not edit (either is ok for paid editing); it would also sent a much stronger signal that we're serious, when the UI change is live and discussed by the media. FT2 (Talk | email) 21:29, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
The "not-conflicted notice" idea goes too waaaaaaay too far in my mind. i would quit wikipedia before i submitted to something as bureaucratic as this. please AGF, for pete's sake. Jytdog (talk) 07:43, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Just like we introduced the "cite.php" code in 2004, and now cites are pretty ubiquitous and most people know they need to cite statements that may be challenged, perhaps all users should be required to disclose if an edit may have a serious COI? The wording can be softer. FT2 (Talk | email) 17:36, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
The standard we implement should enable easy discovery by human users (both readers and editors) and foolproof auditing by software tools of all editing by advocates - whether paid or voluntary. User:DavidBooth's proposals make sense for paid advocates, but if implemented, should also cover voluntary advocates. We need to make it much easier than it is now for all users to find out what biases an editor brings - particularly when the editor cannot fail to understand their own conflict of interest, because they clearly know that their editing is advocacy rather than NPOV editing.
We should therefore require each and every edit that advocates anything to include the words "PAID ADVOCACY" or "VOLUNTARY ADVOCACY", as appropriate, as the first words of the edit summary. But it's more important to inform readers than editors! Using a checkbox could make the reader's task easier, supposing that we can use it to clearly identify those words on a Wikipedia page whose neutrality has (very likely) been compromised, and how; and further, of course, supposing that we have the technical resources to develop this change. If so, I'd suggest we have two checkboxes, one for each kind of advocacy, viz. "[ ] This edit is paid advocacy" and "[ ] This edit is voluntary advocacy".
The preceding comments all presuppose that the Wikipedia community wishes to allow any such advocacy at all! In a perfect world, I'd suggest we don't want it, but in the real world, we may sometimes learn more by letting others uncover their own prejudices for us ... yoyo (talk) 15:16, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I would say we also need to include a checkbox for "Edit by Unpaid Volunteer Advocating on this topic" or something along those lines. The worst bias and distortion is often not by paid professional editors, but overzealous volunteers. 09:33, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I like both of the checkbox suggestions: Paid and Unpaid. Jlaroe (talk) 17:35, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

The recommendations to require notification on EVERY edit, not just buried in a user page or talk page makes excellent sense. The idea of check boxes for several types of disclosures is a good way to be clear in the community that advocacy takes more than just paid forms.Cygnature (talk) 05:09, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree that burying disclosure in user or talk pages will not work, for the simple reason that editors on the whole don't tend to open all the user and talk pages of their co-editors. The people who need to see this disclosure the most, editors of the article which is edited by someone who needs to disclose his affiliation, won't see it unless it's mentioned in the edit summary one way or another. In addition, auditing becomes a lot harder when disclosures aren't put in the edit summaries since the link between a specific edit and user or talk page content tends to be ephemeral, if it exists at all. The issue that edit summaries must be short remains, but maybe some scheme can be implemented to link an edit to a specific disclosure statement, either by extending Wikimedia or by some short standard tag in the edit summary, say ‘[DISCLOSURE#1234]’ or some such that could be turned into a link by site JavaScript.

Checkbox when Editing

I like the idea of a checkbox appearing when you edit, but I would make more choices to reflect the reality of editing Wikipedia. The checkbox I would suggest include:

  • I was compensated for this edit.
  • I am affiliated with a company, person or entity mentioned in this article.
  • I work in this industry or field, but am not affiliated with anything in this article specifically.
  • I have not been compensated and am not affiliated with anything in this article.

People can check more than one box, as appropriate (for example, I have not been compensated, and I work in this industry).

On the user's profile page, there could be sections created automatically for each checkbox, with a list of articles and edits where that checkbox applies. This would help editors and readers identify edits that are paid and may have a potential conflict of interest, and would help people comply with disclosure laws, where applicable. It would also make sure that people are aware they need to disclose at the time of the edit, and not have to depend on someone reading the terms of service to realize they have to disclose. 05:21, 2 March 2014 (UTC) and 05:31, 2 March 2014 (UTC) and 05:34, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I'd suggest showing these checkboxes only on the first time when a user edits, plus a text box to enter the company the user is affiliated with. The choices are permanently saved in the database with the corresponding information. Showing the checkbox every time when you edit is quite counter-productive and intrusive, at least for WikiGnomes like me who always does various clean-up work. Zhaofeng Li (talk) 05:57, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
It could be setup so that if nothing is checked, it assumes it is uncompensated and unaffiliated. You can also have it setup so that you can set a default setting, where it automatically checks certain ones for you, but still allowing you to change it for that entry if needed.[1] 06:57, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Moving this here - it is a link to a personal blog of an individual and had been added as a 'reference' to this section: (Simply moving this without comment.) Risker (talk) 07:02, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Is the edit summary backed up?

I think the idea of an edit summary tag is great, but I am not sure if it is sufficient. I do not know if the edit summaries are backed up together with the page. This means that, if somebody copies the Wikipedia pages (or, in the unfortunate case when a disk crashes and needs to be recovered from backup), the information about which edits are paid might be lost. --Erel Segal (talk) 12:44, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Yes, the edit summary is backed up in the database and connected to each edit. You can download a dump of Wikipedia and get each edit summary! Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 01:30, 4 March 2014 (UTC)


Hi legal team, thanks for this reasoned development. I've long supported disclosure and transparency as the best practice for dealing with paid editing.

I have a government-power concern to match this money-power proposal. We saw what happened to Aaron Swartz, with the government's severe interpretation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In part, it raised felony hacking questions for deviation of terms of use, as 'unauthorized access'.

Of course, WMF isn't the US Justice Department, but I want to make sure we are not criminalizing behavior that our editors may inadvertently, or somewhat harmlessly engage in. What is the calculus when forming a terms of use so that it does not expose editors unnecessarily to judicial overreach?

I say this under the presumption that we want most paid editors to follow this disclosure policy, but want few of them to wind up with felony convictions for hacking.

Some reading

What do you think? Best, Jake Ocaasi (talk) 20:47, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Jake aka Ocaasi is correct here. There might be unintended consequences to the modification of the TOU in this way. Frankly, nobody reads the TOU before they come write up an article on their garage-band, or on their startup-company, or similar. In fact, we don't want beginning contributors to have to read the TOU. That is one of the main points of the fifth pillar, and of the lack of a mandatory registration requirement. Can somebody from the legal department weigh in on the risks to the readership, once this TOU-amendment is in place? If there *are* risks, such as outlined in scenario #1 and #2 below, can we tweak the language of the TOU to make sure nobody has standing to sue editors but the WMF?
  Scenario #1. There is a large group of readers in a first-world country, that are involved in some kind of political movement which is not appreciated by powerful interests. These powerful interests (the bad guys) decide that a good way to stymie the political movement in question, is with lawyers. So, they begin collecting information about wikipedia editors that are involved with the political movement. In particular, they look for wikipedia editors that at some point violated the TOU, by editing articles where they had compensation coming (the band/startup/boss/similar). Then, the bad guys sue these wikipedia editors, for violating the TOU. Is this a plausible scenario, legally speaking? Can some uninvolved third-party bad guys — i.e. not the WMF or any other part of the wikiverse — take editors to court for violating the TOU?
  Scenario #2. Same as scenario #1, except this is a third-world country. There are a lot fewer legal restraints on the bad guys. The country in question has a very weak legal tradition generally, and consumer protection is almost non-existent; corruption is extremely high. Can the bad guys do bad things in this scenario, that might not have been plausible under scenario #1, because of stronger requirements upon standing to bring lawsuits, or upon due process, or whatever? Thanks. 05:20, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the question, Jake. I knew Aaron for many years, so I take the CFAA issue quite seriously, as does the entire legal team here.
This amendment doesn't change much from a CFAA perspective. The entire problem with how prosecutors have wielded the CFAA is that they've defined "access without authorization" very broadly. That means that a lot of the problem occurs the moment you have a terms of use or any other policy that has any access restrictions at all. Terms of Use are the obvious/high-profile situation, but any other policies that restrict access can also have the same problem. Adding one more clause doesn't change the analysis very much, and there isn't much you can do when drafting to prevent overreach - either it is a restriction on access, or it isn't, and even when it isn't, a determined prosecutor can probably twist it into one if they want to.
It might be worth noting in this context that a prosecutor who wanted to use the CFAA against a malicious paid editor could have done so before this change, based on the existing ToU language, especially in the case where the paid editor was on notice (because of SPI investigations, etc.) that their activities were problematic and prohibited by the community. That said, prosecutors are unlikely to do so without WMF's support (since we're the "victim" in this case), so hopefully the problem should not come up.
Hope that answers your question; let me know if not. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 02:42, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
@Luis Villa - I think there's a problem in your chain of reasoning above, at the point where you claim "Adding one more clause doesn't change the analysis very much". One aspect which bothers me about the proposal, is that it creates a "strict liability" offense, where lack of an affirmative action puts someone in violation. Hypothetically, that strikes me as something a prosecutor would find very easy to use, as opposed to other provisions which might be more difficult to establish to the necessary standard of proof. When SOPA was at issue, WMF legal certainly didn't say that there's already so much to deal with regarding removing copyright violations, that adding one more task of putting a few pirate sites on a blacklist doesn't change the analysis very much! After all, WMF legal obviously believes this terms-of-use amendment would give them additional power which would let them do something more readily than before, so that argument also applies to a prosecutor (this is again rebutting the idea of minimal change). Note also the Aaron Swartz case proceeded without the "victim"'s support, quite explicitly, so that part of your statement has a problem too (I know, you said "unlikely", but it's not clear how much that's really so). Given all the kitchen-sink legal bluster sent to wiki-pr - "This practice also gives rise to a number of potential legal claims, including statutory and common law fraud, unfair business practices, breach of contract, and trespass to chattels" - it doesn't seem a big leap to imagine that "CFAA violation" might be added in as some sort of threat or more bluster, especially if matters escalate. -- Seth Finkelstein (talk) 08:50, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Another CFAA-related comment

For blatant, bad players, would it be possible to pursue a criminal complaint under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, in the event that violations of ToS are considered criminal? This Slashdot article mentions the possibility that the USSC might rule on whether that can happen. I'm personaaly hoping that they don't allow it, but in the event they do, using that additional artillary to deal with paid contributors could make people think twice, if they are on the hook for felonies with jail time. 01:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for your comment, I have moved it down here so that it is near Ocaasi and 74's expressions of concern about CFAA, as well as my followup. I hope that those answer your questions about the CFAA, but let us know if not. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 02:53, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, I'm just glad someone has considered the issues. But, and I may be extremely unpopular for suggesting this, I think that WMF should look more seriously at actively using the CFAA as a weapon against undisclosed paid contributors. The discussion above seems focused on making sure that no one is caught by an overzealous prosecutor. We absolutely have to do that too, but while such a draconian interpretation of the law exists, we may as well use it to our advantage. I would think/hope that WMF can always retroactively give authorization to someone to make edits if a prosecutor started going after the wrong people. 10:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

governments manipulate the mainstream opinion, commercial entities don't care about being truthful

And in the face of that, how does this policy improve wikipedia? To give a hint where it should: mainstream opinion . There should be policies which favor wikipedians adding 2+3 together and however else you can make sense of the world properly. Instead there are policies which make it 4 if enough sources imply that. It is a shame. 03:59, 24 February 2014 (UTC) Is this a contest in blind wishful idealistic thinking or what? 04:02, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Hey 37, this is actually a very insightful point. If a corporation/government/whatever wishes to influence wikipedia, they don't have to pay editors to do so. Wikipedia has policies that we follow what published sources (television/newspapers/professors) say about a given subject-matter. Of course, the media and academia are heavily dependent on corporate and governmental sources for 99% of the funding.
  Therefore, fortunately or unfortunately, wikipedia is always going to be slanted towards what big corporations and big governments want the citizenry to believe. w:The Man! You cannot always trust what you read on the internet, whether in wikipedia or otherwise. Nothing will change that, for sure.
  The point of this TOU-amendment, is that when some politician pays a staffer to *directly* edit the wikipedia article about that politician, the staffer (under this new amendment to the terms) will legally have to disclose that they are receiving compensation for their editing. Same for if a corporation pays an employee to edit articles about the corporation's products. Right now, they are encouraged to do so, but not required.
  Still, even if this amendment were to pass with flying colours, and be implemented tomorrow, that will not prevent politicians and corporations from influencing wikipedia indirectly via the media and academia. Furthermore, politicians and corporations would *still* be able to pay people to edit wikipedia directly; the amendment only legally requires that the conflict of interest is disclosed, not that the paid editing cease. Hope this helps, and thanks much for improving wikipedia. 04:59, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification, I entirely agree with you and am glad that you made the mentioned realizations. However, I read the comments of Jimbo Wales on it. That plus the impression I got of the discussions going on around this topic, lead me to believe that the impact of the proposed TOU change is highly overvalued. If not elusive in the sense of superstitious means of protection against willful manipulation. Maybe it is better than nothing, though in the face of much more urgent and grave dynamics surrounding conflicts of interest and other factors influencing information quality on wikipedia, I perceived the effort and extreme focus of users on the desired effects, by means of implementing this policy change, as highly disproportionate if not plainly naive. And judging by the lack of effort to implement more solid and fundamental policy changes with much higher impact, if not the complete ignorance towards merely considering those changes, even offensive. 09:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Ungrouped discussion 2

Yo paid editing is bad


i oppose182.19.20.14 04:42, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I oppose paid editing.

I do not care, which counts as oppose as no support for change. Wiki's reputation sucks anyway for impartiality.

To be clear, the proposed amendment does not endorse paid advocacy editing. You can read more here.

I strongly oppose this.

STRONGLY SUPPORT - Transparency Always Trumps Accountability!

Strongly support - First, with an author's or editor's disclosure of a paid and compensated affiliation, especially regarding any type of intellectual property, it also implies that such an entry or edit can become the property of and would be "owned" by Wikipedia.Org, and not the "paying party"! So if a reader wished to quote or otherwise refer to an entry, that person would merely need to include the citation reference(s) linking to or attributing Wikipedia.Org. This single benefit of this "Paid Contributions disclosure amendment" is worth its price in gold for the User communities!

I don't think this amendment is strong enough -- an Exxon or Exxon PR firm employee can always say he was editing a climate-change page in his spare time. The wording shouldn't be "paid to edit" but "can't write on a topic related to the business of the editor's employer without disclosing the conflict." And often negative facts about individuals or organizations are deleted by their relatives, friends or supporters. Editors should have to disclose if they're closely associated with an individual or organization when they delete negative, documented facts.Wombatjpw (talk)wombatjpw

I agree with user Wombatjpw. I believe the disclosure should require the specification of closely associated to, if any form of affiliation exists. This may contribute to the prevention of rationalizing type of identification, x person (omitting he/she is an employee, or contractor for organization, but writes on his/her free time) vs. x person, employee, or contractor of X organizationVeronica2020 (talk)Veronica2020

I strongly support this change and would like the change to include both direct and any indirect benefits that someone may receive. I guess that having something that is broad and yet enforceable is difficult, but I do hope this can be achieved. 18:10, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I strongly support this change. I would like to see it strengthened to include both direct and indirect benefits the writer may receive. I would also like to see strengthening of WP policy against removal or "toning down" of documented facts, pro or con, from any article by anyone but especially by paid writers. I would like to strengthening of WP policy against any harassment of non-paid writers by paid writers. -- Jeff.Hull (talk) 04:03, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Support. Biting the Bullet

This is a very old type of topic. The question more generally is, do you sell out your original revolutionary ideals for the money to keep the revolution going? If you do, how can it be said to be a revolution? If you don't, you look failure and loss of previous sacrifices in the face. There is a host of corollary problems. What if a revolutionary leader or leaders profit from the revolution? You can see the problem I am sure. WP needs the money, no doubt. Its existence has been and will be in question, no doubt. WP has taken previous money without looking carefully at the source, no doubt. WP has favored money contributors, no doubt. Articles from paying contributors have been favored, no doubt. Non-payers have been thrust aside, no doubt. But now, the question has come up! How badly DO you need the money? How far from its original goals shall WP be allowed to get? I've seen editor after editor, honest administrator after honest administrator, be harassed and driven off WP. Along with it has been a deliberate downgrading of articles by phony administrators in temporary power. They don't do that for nothing, you know? I don't much contribute any more, as most contributory work is not contributory. But, now that the issue has come up, why not face it? I think there is still a lot of value in WP. Why not defend it? Is this not a step in the right direction? Maybe the product is worth biting the financial bullet. If we do not move, WP will degenerate finally into a long series of commercials, solvent ones, no doubt. I vote for the measure.Botteville (talk) 13:13, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

@Botteville:, your analysis at the top is very good for most revolutions, but I think that Wikipedia has avoided most of the problems you note.
  • Wikipedia does not accept money for advertising, and would not get any money from the passage of this amendment.
Well, that is not quite what I meant. I will elucidate. Money gets contributed, let us say x dollars. If you now demand disclosure of powerful people and organizations who contribute, they will probably stop contributing! Thus the price for demanding forthrightness is the difference between x and the income after demanding forthrightness. In that sense forthrightness is an overhead. That is what I meant. Such a policy WILL cost WP contributory funds. Now for the advertising, I meant not just advertising but any sort of view people have to pay to publicise. For the rest of it you seem to have misunderstood. You say that I am saying the opposite from what I did say. I am saying, WP will lose money from this amendment! If you want money from people, you do not threaten them!
Wikimedia Foundation financial development 2003–2013, for reference.      Support and Revenue      Expenses      Net assets at year-end For more precise data see en:Wikimedia_Foundation#Finances. --Andreas JN466 15:46, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
  • The movement and the WMF are financially secure (at least in the short-term), getting something like $40 million in donations last year mostly from small donors averaging something like $15 per donation (Those who know the exact numbers, please correct my estimates)
If they are financially secure, why are they dunning us for money all the time? That is not security. Moreover, income is always balanced against expense. This note of your does not seem honest to me. You hasten to assert what WM denies many times a year by running fund-raisers. If they are secure, why should anyone contribute? Frankly, I'm disappointed. You seem like a fraud to me, another one of those professional hypocrites with a stake in not passing the amendment.
  • This amendment is only about those editors who make money for themselves and their non-WMF employers by placing hidden advertisements and other self-serving material into our articles.
To make an analogy with your analysis. (removed - this just confused everybody!) Smallbones (talk) 14:08, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think this amendment is only about that nor did I understand your strange analogy. As to whether you talk the talk and walk the walk, I'd say you don't even talk the talk. Mr. glib, at this point I got you pegged as one of the very people the amendment is aimed at. If someone has the guts to propose such an amendment it is clear to me that they are clear-minded and persistent so my guess is eventually they will arrive at a solution and WP will be able to do something more.Botteville (talk) 15:32, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
PS. I do see the graph. From an accounting point of view that is a phony also. The problem is the "net assets" column. Income is clear, and expenses are clear. These are the main items on an Income Statement. What is a "net asset?" It can't be profit, which income less expenses. In the first item, the "net assets" is made identical to the Income. But what about the expenses? Obviously the column is either phony or tracks something totally unexplained by the Income Statement items. It isn't good accounting, or any accounting at all. Any free acquisition of assets is income, I guess not reported here. Assets increase if the profit increases, but there seems to be no correlation here. I suppose by "net assets" you might mean assets less liabilities. Those are items on a Position Statement. Why is the graph mixing Income and Position statements? Wales must have borrowed quite a lot of money to get those assets. Why does that not appear? Frankly this graph seems to be pure BS to me. WM is non-profit, so the huge profits shown have to go into the capital or tp pay back the liabilities. What are you trying to do, get WM in trouble with the government? How about disclosing exactly who YOU are?Botteville (talk) 17:45, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I think we are totally misunderstanding each other. It's best to just leave it alone at this point. I have removed the analogy above - it confused even me!
I'm very familiar with accounting (over several decades) and the graph looks right to me. In brief: donations (the green line) minus expenses (the red line) = the change in assets over the previous year (the black line). Assets seem to be held in cash equivalents or short term investments, as I recall, which is a very conservative strategy.
As far as personal disclosure. I'm a comfortably retired university prof and have never taken any money from anybody to edit Wikipedia. From 2 unpaid situations, briefly working with fellow editors and WMF employees, I've disclosed my identity and more (with documentation) to the WMF. Folks who know about the struggle against paid editing all know of my dedication; you might want to check my contributions to the Signpost on this topic over the years. Smallbones (talk) 18:32, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Botteville, you may be interested to view the completed IRS Form 990 for the most recent year, which (as with all years) is posted to (specifically, here for 2012). I think that will answer your financial questions. Disclosure: I am a paid employee of the Wikimedia Foundation, though not in an accounting or finance role. Philippe (WMF) (talk) 11:30, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your disclosure Philippe. If I were sitting there right next to you and also worked for the foundation I think we would agree on some things and disagree on others. I would point out, you DO have a bias. YOUR boss is James Wales, so you cannot always say and do what you really think. It isn't that I hold it against you; after all, WP cannot function without a structure. I recognize this organization and method as an experiment. Like everyone else, I wonder if it can succeed. I am sure all of you there including James have had the same doubts. Encountering the obstacles I had the same reactions as all the other complainers you read on this page. I could have joined the great fight to destroy WP. That would have been a negative approach. I prefer to help it be better if I can. I'm participating in this discussion, but frankly I find I cannot do much on WP and still undertake the creative writing I am trying to do; moreover, WP writing is mainly presentational although it is not true that it is non-creative. Well, I still say I think WP may take a hit financially if disclosure is promulgated. On the whole however I am much happier with disclosure. Sometimes you have to know to whom you are speaking. For myself I'm a retired technical writer not so comfortable as you. I reached the wrong working age just about when the bottom fell out of the market. I have quite a varied background, some military, some engineering, some liberal arts. Politically I have tended to be more on the radical side, but often I'm quite independent. I don't know if that says anything. Well the rest of my day is scheduled to help someone move. Again, I feel better talking to disclosed people instead of to the shadows and spooks and my feeling is most people will also. If you can find a way to continue with that, that would be fine with me. I got to go now. I will pick up on this when I get a chance. Maybe I will resume some editing. Adios Amigo (I'm English).Botteville (talk) 13:09, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Botteville, because I'm a Wikipedian at heart, I want to correct a couple of factual inaccuracies in what you said. :) Jimmy (not James, his actual name is Jimmy) Wales is not my boss. Geoff Brigham is my boss, and Sue Gardner his. Now, the Board of Trustees (of which Jimmy is a holder of one-of-ten seats) is Sue's boss, so my eventual boss, I suppose but he's not my direct boss, and our Board is very good about not doing staff management. I don't agree with you that donations will take a hit if this is passed. I actually suspect that it won't move the needle on donations one way or the other. People give to Wikipedia because of what it is. For the most part, they won't even know about this rule. (Further disclosure, I ran the fundraiser for one year - 3 years ago - so have done some study of our donors. But I don't pretend to be up to date. For that, you need Megan, the Director of Online Giving, who is an absolute genius at anticipating our donors. And I'm still a paid employee of the WMF (they didn't fire me yet! <grin>) Philippe (WMF) (talk) 08:42, 27 February 2014 (UTC)


Although I'd prefer it if it said "... AND on the talk page AND in the edit history ..." If you're being paid to say something then let others know that your words are not your own Chrisboote (talk) 14:30, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I mostly second this. Searching the edit history is tedious, having to look at three places to find the information even more. At least notes on the user page and in the edit history should be mandatory. --BerlinSight (talk) 19:24, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree. 21:15, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

It is against the wiki ethos - although reality is time is money blah blah (in a modern world.) It is a tricky one. If payments are increasingly made someone will have to pay and that usually lands on the pocket of those who can least afford. Also when money is included, so is corruption. What do you call a person who makes love for money? I would prefer on multi-level reasoning that wiki stayed free of filthy lucre. It is an oasis and an oracle in an otherwise barren world. Thus I say no (to paid contributions.) 'nimrod' griffin. Griffmayo (talk) 15:52, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

To be clear, this proposed amendment is not an endorsement of paid advocacy editing. You can read more here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 21:07, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree with the above statement. --Daniel_podgaichenko (talk) 06:15, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

The paid contribution will create negative SEO for Wikimedia, where Google will dis-value all Wikipedia links and pages.

As an Argentinian

I can agree with these new Terms of Use. Several articles in the Spanish Wikipedia are highly biased, probably written by so called "militants". These people have often been exposed for being paid to tweet in support of political organizations. It wouldn't surprise me if they were paid to edit Wikipedia, as well. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)

Osip Goth (moved from Support vote - too long and clogging up the numbering

Support + Ideas. The key to fixing responsibility for the truth of contents is the truth of personal integrity and the only way to reach this goal is to publish by real-name as I do. This did cost me much trouble of discussions and deletions even in an unrelated cross-topic way of editorial misconduct since I do not operate with dissociated identities. I am n designing medical databases as entrepreneur and tried to give some valid ideas directly from the person who designed and curated them. I caught the shit for this.

  1. At no time there was a problem of matching me as a wikitxt contributer and developer of those resources which I created. Sure, there is a difference between getting a topic relevant vs faking the wikitxt of an already accepted item - I failed the former; there are no similar ressources out there than I created, but in the intention of creating negative propaganda on competitor's subjects, I had the opportunity to get into some kind of revenge by anon-ip. Everybody can fake-down an article even by adopting an advertisment-like style to make a formerly well-written article subject to neglect, not by omitting essential properties and so on. So, any edit done in explicit fraud may be done in support of someones interests, but no-one would sign that minor non-contential edits should be in someones economic interests. If I like a product as a satisfied customer, I would describe it in a supporting style, if I see that by brother scanner needs ink at 50$ even to scan and the pdf-scans are single-page-image-pdfs, I would personally retract from buying brother officeware, but I am not selling or promoting or affilling items from a competitor, and, as anybody would say, there is no much more conflict of interest than to have thrown away 100$ for trashware. Had I to declare me beeing a screwed ( de-en) customer ?
    So, it is more important to let people positively state where they feel to write beyond obejectivity on a by-case base. There is no COI when I as a physician describe MDSC cells whereas I am creating useful medical databases because there is no overlap of interests. I would not see any COI in the MDSC topic even if I had to cite my former employer as hospital physician. I do not see any CPOI in my rivets image which is the same in amazing dot de as well as in the german wikitxt on that topic because it is a valid complementary graphical description. The pic is not misleading, since it shows a superb low-cost product extension available from any building-supplies-store ( baumarkt de-en).
    Remeber, if I had wirtten on the pic a-generous-gift-from-the-leading-vendor EGO (Im not...), this well-done piece-of-work would have been discarded as advertisement. So I omitted explicit signs of identity.
    Some companies are interested to see at least content-valid articles so it could happen they would edit stuff that a w202 has 1798 ccm not 1789 ccm. Maybe, a solution to the whole problem should be a complementary page (article,discussion,dependent-contributions) showing who by freename on behalf of whom by did modify a paragraph in which intention. If I run a wikitxt page edit, it would yield 10 versions until style and typeset would be correct, so the Edit-summary box is the least useful site to show the COI declaration. And the users home page either - or has ip a users home page or something with an own personality ?
    O.G on behalf of his own as enwiki editor and dewiki author and disillusioned customer of officeware discussing his experience in contributing wikitxt as an entrepreneur concerning his own work and pledging for a full COI page covering conflicts on an per-edit-session base
    So, readers can expect where the bias is located: Nobody scans the bulk page (article-history) which edit was done by whom and who of them explicitely outs himself of having conflicts. This is of use to editors trying to save contents as objective and valid, but it would be useless to those ppl who came into wiki to read shortly why a canary sings his song.
    Hope I have contributed at least one well-suited idea - that of the third page - with my topical COI of having enwiki editor status.
Conflict of interest
*Article: Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment
*User: Ossip_Groth
*in the interest of wiki user/topic unknown
*with explicit name  enwiki-dewiki 
*states the following conflict-of-interests:
enwiki-editor on wiki integrity
disillusioned-customer on officeware
entrepreneur on articles of his own products
--Ossip Groth (talk) 17:04, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
  1. The inserted template coi_experimental seems to avoid that numbering continues!! Could anybody repair this?

A WP:V/NOR/NPOV article is paid for - do we ask them to stop? Delete?

Seriously, if PR Firm X or Congressional Staffer Y put together content that follow our core policies, and we figure out the connection, would we demand that they cease and desist from neutrally reflecting reliable sources to produce articles that would otherwise merit GA etc.? Would we delete and ban?

It just seems that if the problem is various organizations, paid or not, systematically violating our existing policies, then that is what we should discuss. If they commit fraud while violating of our policies, then lets talk about that. Otherwise we'll find ourselves down some of the slippery slopes discussed by others here.

And of course those willing to violate our core-policies won't mind violating one more policy. And by "our" policies, I mean ENWP, since we all know that that is what is being discussed. Disappointed [and opposing], Fmrvetwp (talk) 23:22, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Agreed. So what if it was paid for? As long as it is NPOV, properly sourced and compliant with excisting guidelines. 15:38, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for your views. I think if a undisclosed paid editor is acting in good faith, the community should give them a gentle reminder that the terms of use require disclosure. I don't see good edits removed, but I could see community members wanting to review those edits for NPOV given that interested parties have paid for the edits. Also we address some other points here. Thanks again for taking the time to comment. Geoffbrigham (talk) 15:55, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Flip on its head - if an article is written by a paid editor for some commissioning person or company or organization, and it happens that paid editor is careful and fair, informed about our policies, takes effort to comply and search out balanced NPOV even if that might not be to their client or employer's favour, and the end result is WP:V/NOR/NPOV, then why exactly can editors and the public not be told the edit was paid for (which doesn't impact personal pseudononymity or right of editing) so that it can have the extra scrutiny and eyeballs it might merit, and the community can clearly agree it's neutral and so on? FT2 (Talk | email) 01:39, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Agree with FT2. This change in the ToU doesn't require anything except disclosing that an edit was paid for, and who paid for it. It does not require outing editors. It does not require deleting articles. It *allows* independent editors to identify paid edits and to check whether they are WP:V/NOR/NPOV. It *allows* independent editors to check whether there has been abuse. And there clearly has been abuse by firms like Wiki-PR, and we need to be able to clear it up more efficiently.

This change in the ToU is *not* as strong as I'd like it. I believe that the chance of abuse is so high with *commercial editing of articles* that we might as well ban the practice. There would still be ways, however for a business to get material into an article, e.g. they could post the material on their own website and encourage independent editors to quote them. Smallbones (talk) 16:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm not sure why FT2 deleted my comment - I'd guess by mistake because of an edit conflict. But who knows, maybe I don't agree with him! Smallbones (talk) 21:48, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't delete people's comments other than in the most extreme grossly improper cases (having been an oversighter), at least not deliberately. Please reinstate anything that may have been killed by any edit conflict and sorry if it has happened. FT2 (Talk | email) 10:26, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I support this change

I think commercial, business, and government editors should have to identify themselves. I have read many articles on say a company or a president where it's blatantly edited by one of their cronies to portray the article's subject in a positive light. At the very least, their corporate/government IPs should be logged and flagged as identifiers, to warn other Wikipedia users of their edits and draw suspicion/verification. Allen649 (talk) 09:44, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Shouldn't paid staff and governors of organizations that have an avowed advocacy mission be subject to this as well. Those staff and governors, if they edit any article related to their organization's mission are likely to be pushing their POV. These organization exist for the sole purpose of pushing a POV (advocacy). Why single out businesses or commercial organizations? --Mike Cline (talk) 16:57, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree Mike. Allen649 (talk) 23:09, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree Mike, "Shut er' down" (as "uncandidLover1982" so lovingly puts it) before ulterior motives and illicit subliminal messages draws us further yet from our once god fearing peace loving country that Benjamin Franklin perceived- nay dreamed we would propagate towards. For that to happen, we must completely shut wikipedia down, as you so keenly alluded to in your comment. Rest assured, you are far from alone in your idealism. You have my unconditional and inextinguishable support in pressing this petition.


As an occasional editor but frequent reader of WP articles I support this idea. A lot of opinions, pro and con, ventured above seem to be driven by specific personal experiences of edit and moderation wars from people deeply involved in the WP/WM community - their involvement is doubtless very valuable (certainly I value it) but their opinions are necessarily unrepresentative of the bulk of users. To me the issue is very simple - undisclosed paid editing is not good for WP, and the policy should clearly state that it is not allowed. Or in the terms of the amendment, that disclosure should be made in the case of paid edits. Objections may certainly be made that the policy is not enforcable, and problematic edge-cases proposed, but these are not valid counter-arguments to the amendment. They are observations that the world is a complex place.

My personal wish (that it is unlikely to come to pass, I concede, simply because popular content would be removed under this scheme and so usage would dramatically decline in the short term) is that the whole issue of undercover shills be circumvented by a radical change to the interpretation and enforcement of the Relevance and Notability criteria. Articles on living people - get rid of them. Articles on extant commercial entities - get rid of them. Once they're gone, what's there left that anyone would want to secretly pay for? Already Google and soon the children of IBM's Watson, Wolfram Alpha etc. will return you all the factoids about a celebrity or company that you care to ask for within a search result. You don't need to visit the WP page. WP should play to its true strength, which is not a repository of factoids, nor opinions, nor even informed journalism, but as a collection of curated Articles written in an informative, didactic style. You know, like... an encyclopedia. Controversial I know. Delocalizer (talk) 13:42, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Would you agree with eliminating all articles on extant organizations and closely related topics as well whose explicit mission is the advocacy of POV? --Mike Cline (talk) 17:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
That wouldn't be relevant to the question or his comment though. We have policies to help articles with such issues be improved, and to mandate that certain editorial approaches aren't allowed. Wikimedians can write fairly NPOV articles on POV bodies and ideas easily enough and we routinely do; since any topic can have a slant, any NPOV topic is evidence that slants can be neutrally covered. So probably nobody here is interested in eliminating articles (especially those on organizations, even those with non neutral goals)... or eliminating any editorial input.
The aim (as I see it) is more like, 1/ transparency of editorial motives of one specific subgroup that may have resources and persistence about the norm, and a motive or intent to slant our neutrality, 2/ to require disclosure of a financial motive, mainly so the article can gain more scrutiny, better editing prevail, and 3/ for those editors who do not value neutrality and who want to benefit from POV editing to the point it suits them to hide a commercial finance motive, to place them formally in breach of a legal not a social policy if/when they do so. Reducing some bad writing of articles, perhaps, or making it a little less easy to feel safe covertly doing so. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Well put. I would only add that the idea of getting rid of articles on commercial entities and living people is not motivated by a belief that these are bad in principle, but by a pragmatic approach to what I see as an optimization problem - there are finite editorial resources available to maintain the quality of Wikipedia; it seems to me (as an admitted outsider) that a disproportionate quantity of those resources is spent resolving POV controversy relative to other quality issues; the quickest and dirtiest fix for that is to get rid of a large category of causes. I don't think it would harm the mission, and it would play to a strength. Delocalizer (talk) 04:16, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

A look from an angle not quite right?

I wonder if the folks behind the amendment have this particular view on the issue: See, we’ve got a problem. So let us think of a rule to solve it!

The problem, so to say, is that it’s not rules that make Wikipedias and various other Wikiprojects neutral (or otherwise healthy): it’s the people that do. Should there be no user to notice the biased edits, or should there be no administrator to delete the pages and block the offender, – the rule is of no use anymore.

That is, as long as there’re 100 well-behaving Wikipedians per one mean advertiser (or “Hey, I’ve just got it off the Internet!” photo uploader, or someone else along that line), – the offenses will be duly noted and acted upon. But if, on the other hand, there’s no community to take action, the most complicated and well-intended rules won’t help the project to retain its credibility.

True, this amendment alone wouldn’t result in anyone ceasing to participate. Not any noticeable share of the community, anyway. But add a dozen more, and the particular implementations in the rules local to a project on top of that, and the impact may become visible.

And I’ve seen it all over the place: the articles on Wikipedia citing no reliable sources whatsoever to prove the notability of their respective subjects – for half a decade; the files at the Commons attributed to someone else than the uploader, but with no proof of the licensing information stated; or (my personal favorite): the files at Russian Wikibooks lacking any attribution or licensing for years (including a few whole textbooks in PDF, claimed to be under CC BY-SA, but presumably restrictively licensed, that I’ve just nominated for deletion.) And all that in spite of all the rules strictly prohibiting just that.

The cause? The lack of manpower.

But yes, the rules are good.

Ivan Shmakov (dc) 21:17, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


I support these ammendments. Transparency seems to be the most appropriate way to address these concerns.

Solifidist (talk) 22:00, 26 February 2014 (UTC)


I agree, having read thousands of pages, and often returning to pages months later - the 'planned' or 'commercial' editing shows. I suggest that paid be tagged as commercial input. All too often I know something is wrong. Only twice have I tried to comment. both time I got a hack back telling me to stay out. O.K. I always tell my staff to use more than reference. Wk is fine now show me the bound copy.

Sadly all to often the bit 'lacks sufficient sources' pops up. Not everything will have a source or a pre-positioned paper on the topic.

Then there are the pages that are no longer there... (repository or current linguistic stream?)

Tag the paid or planned or commercial editing, this will allow the reader to consider the source.

regards dan

  • I agree with the amendments and the public should know the background of the contributors. If wiki is going to have meaning it must make every attempt to prevent being overcome by special interest groups and disinformation that can harm us all. That is to is getting harder and harder to find pure research that is not subject to the bias of the sponsors. Keep up the good work Wiki!

No Paid or Unpaid Editors Abolition of Wikipedia and its Open Door Editing

This policy is completely idiotic. Everyone knows that wkikipedia can be edited by anybody and that ANYBODY can create their own 'sources' to pretend to support any article in part or in whole in a medium that is electronic. One of the most important and insane examples are propaganda articles like the ones about F.Y.R.O.M. where the title is listed that references a non-existent country, and where the body of the article clearly supports that propaganda - propaganda that is, in fact, panned by every logical scholar. When people edit the page to put in FACTS, the master's who run wikipedia ban the people who make the factual edits and reinstate the original propaganda texts that were in the article. This clearly shows that the wikipedia owners SUPPORT propaganda!! Same thing happens on articles about Japanese island articles which have been edited with chinese propaganda!!! So if these things happen, how can you have paid or even unpaid editing?! The only solution is to stop this poison since wikipedia will not remove propaganda pages like this!! So my support is the abolition of wikipedia since we can't have scholars exclusively write articles who know NOT to write propaganda pages like FYROM, among other things. But of course this edit on the comment page will probably be removed or sited for some reason or another on their main page for what ever bull**** reason - which will be further proof that wikipedia supports the cultural genocide of my people and others.

With no due respect, Johnny P.M.

I fully agree in principle. See my pointing out of things below ("Judenstern tag…").--Paracel63 (talk) 11:10, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
This is completely misinformed. There is no "editor in chief" who determines editing. There are no "masters" who run Wikipedia. Wikipedia is written by millions of different members of the public from all around the world - and only by them. It is legally owned by a Foundation, but they operate the systems which support the website and are not the creators of the encyclopedia's content. So if you find content is removed or missing, which you wanted or expect, it isn't because some god-like editor in chief or "master" (!!) removed it. It is because the editing community - who come from all countries, all ethnicities, all political views - have either removed it, or don't feel it should be reinstated, or (much more often) they haven't agreed it meets our standards. Wikipedia is a reference source, so a lot of things you might want it to say - it won't. A lot of smaller topics you might want it to cover - it won't. If you expect Wikipedia to show your preferred view and your preferred scholars over the wider majority view of the world and the evidence provided of how the world generally (not just your "side") sees it - it probably won't. That is the policy agreed by its users and editors, millions of people worldwide, not any "masters".
It is harder to get neutrality in areas where many people feel strongly in different ways, such as F.Y.R.O.M., often with good reasons and scholars on both sides, but anger and "hot air" is never going to get you anywhere on Wikipedia, except as you have found, a block or ban.
If you educate yourself, you'd find that we have tight policies about the content and writing we allow on Wikipedia, and you'd find what those policies are and why they exist. If you write angrily and without satisfying other editors of the quality of your changes, then it's probably no surprise one of millions of members of the public - in America, Japan, the UK, Australia, wherever it may be - decides it really isn't high enough quality and may remove it. If they are wrong, then reasoned evidence is needed to change that opinion, or it'll keep happening. FT2 (Talk | email) 14:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
"Preferred views and preferred scholars"? are you on drugs or something?? Propaganda is propaganda. And what I stated is completely valid. Contrary to your brainwashed reasons, it doesn't change the fact that that article needs to be completely removed on the basis that it promotes irredentist aspirations and references to a non-existent country. And the continued promotion of such propaganda directly supports the arguments that wikipedia like many others are seeking the cultural genocide of my people!! A fake country with a fake language, fake symbols, cities full of perverted copies of ancient Greek statues, youth full of fanaticism against their neighbors, people absolutely cut from the truth and their Past (a past history btw which started after WW2!!). Besides, it is a non-existent country, by the way, which contains the ONLY PEOPLE in history to have stolen others history simply because they are in denial about the fact that they have NO history. So please stop pretending like most people accept your idiotic propaganda-supporting and wake up. I already gave you reasoned evidence!! are you blind?! - Johnny P.M P.S. about your "majority of the world" bullshit, that is how propaganda is promoted!! and the more idiots perpetuate it the worse it will get!! So please don't insult my intelligence by saying that "the majority of the world" believes something that is contrary to historical FACT!! - Johnny P.M.
Writing ad hominem comments attacking people who bother to try and help ("on drugs.. brainwashed.. pretending.. your idiotic propaganda..") is hardly going to make you sound like someone that can be reasonably talked with to discuss such an issue. Given we have a policy for blocks and bans for personal attacks, and you have had warnings about it, consider whether this is the same way you got blocked or banned? Not for writing about Yugoslavia, but for focusing on how much you could attack others and declare you are certainly 100% right and they are "brainwashed" "idiotic" propaganda pushers?
I think you may need it said without euphemisms. So here's the thing. I, personally, as an uninvolved editor, don't give a care per se about "your side", or "the other side", in whatever real-life dispute you may have. I, personally, don't care which of you is right or wrong, or whose version of history is right or wrong, in your off-Wikipedia matters. If I were inclined to edit this area, I would make decisions based on our policies and not your personal view. I don't know any people personally who are strongly engaged in either side of your real-world argument, and yours is one of a thousand real-world geopolitical disputes where people feel similarly strongly (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Crete, Ireland, Kashmir, Palestine/Israel, Rwanda, Spain, you name it).
I do care that you have been blocked or banned, because if you could edit again, then you might be able to contribute more in the end to topics that interest you and others. But I wouldn't invite that if you can't collaborate to make your editing presence a positive thing. I care how you behave when you are a guest on Wikipedia, which is a precondition to editing. I care that you follow site policies when a guest on Wikipedia and that you don't attack other editors, that you treat people on the other side as cordially as your own, that you listen when editors who aren't involved tell you to cool it or cut out some behaviors, and that you understand Wikipedia is not going to be saying your view in the way you want it said, because other views exist too. I care that you follow our site's policies on sourcing and balance and original research, which aren't perfect by far but seem to be the best we have and apply to every other topic and to yours as well, and I care that, if you believe other editors aren't following them, you handle that concern like our site dispute policies say, even if that doesn't always get you the answer you want. These are all conditions for any dialog or editing our sites. I also care that you are arguing all of these on this page that has nothing to do with the proposal, and so it's pointless on this page. If it has a point elsewhere then write it elsewhere. If you tried and it wasn't heard, then learn to write to your fellow editors in a way that doesn't get you blocked or banned, or write it on a non-Wikimedia website. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:03, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
It seems that all of you have had your collective asses handed to you by corporations who have thoroughly taken over your minds, because it seems you only perpetuate the propaganda of which I spoke by making it seem that everyone who supports the facts are all crazy except for you. And to the last person who wrote something: instead of addressing the issue you create your own fantasy where you say i've been blocked and banned. When exactly did i ever that happened to me????? Last i checked when someone is banned and blocked it happens with their IP. So as you can see i'm not the crazy one here since i'm still am able to write. So don't you dare insult my intelligence by saying that "you made a mistake in interpretation" or some similar bullshit, because we both know which one of us is the one lying here. And by the way, since you you LOVE lying through your teeth, as per wikipedia's usual tradition, i'd like for you to show me a screen-shot of where these fantasy blocks or warning are? can you produce a screen-shot? the answer is: no, you can't. SO STOP SIDE-STEPPING THE ISSUE THAT I PRESENTED! This isn't some philosophy class where there are multiple vague answers where only you are correct and the factual arguments are all wrong. But please continue your bullshit propaganda tactics. I'd be really amused to see what other syllogistic fallacies you guys are going to pull out of your asses to to protect a propaganda engine like wikipedia, where everything is permitted and nothing is scrutinized by educated people. P.S. to the replier that mentioned "people trying to help", how are people helping by promoting Tito propaganda and making it seem like everybody is crazy except for the propaganda-pushers?? the answer is: you're only helping your own denial. Johnny P.M. 22:14 1/3/2014
The first issue on Wikipedia is editor's conduct. Because with good conduct, good articles become possible. Without good conduct, good articles are not possible at all. It is like how good waterproofing is needed for a house. You don't live in the waterproofing, you don't even need to see it if it's done right, but you need it before anything like decoration or heating to make a home. Without good editor conduct no article can be okay. So that's first. So, although you might want to argue about it, when you discuss bans, your own conduct and courtesy is the very first, important, thing, before any question of what content you want in an article. Words like you use simply don't allow a community to edit, so people who constantly speak in the style you show above, generally aren't allowed to edit until they agree to stop talking that way to others no matter what others may do or what the article is like. So it goes from warnings to blocks to bans. Decide not to interact that way and keep your word to be different when discussing and disagreeing, and all that will change. Your call. FT2 (Talk | email) 13:58, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
So, you FT2, or whatever your name is, instead of addressing the issue, you ALSO support this irredentist propaganda engine by spewing your own non-sense. You continuously avoid the issue, like everybody else, with a strangely reminiscent 1984 attitude, by making it seem like everybody else is nuts except you. Nice try. It doesn't work on me. And you continue to perpetuate other peoples lies: you still haven't shown me a screen-shot with proof of what you say about me. But please continue to make a fool of yourself, and making yourself look like a Henry Kissinger clone. It provides much amusement. Please continue embarrassing yourself by avoiding the real issue here. You're not fooling anybody. - Johnny P.M
It's good sense. If someone comes into your own home, with a foul mouth, assaulting your other guests, and acting bad, you probably do the same - you ask them to behave, then ask them to go. Wikipedia is this community's home. There's no place on Wikipedia for editors who cannot work with other editors calmly and fairly. But I will address the issue of the article very directly: "Johnny has got a ban or block for behavior, but many other editors can still work on the article, who will behave well and help write it without getting blocks and bans. But Johnny doesn't want to be one of them." We manage without Johnny and his attacks on others, and the article will end up improved in future. If Johnny changes then we might let him back to be part of the effort to edit the article, and hear his views, if he acts properly in our home. FT2 (Talk | email) 19:26, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
And again instead of addressing the issue, you continue to spew lies. SHOW ME A SCREEN-SHOT!! WHERE IS IT?! Show me proof that that has been done to me!! But you don't!! Instead you continue to troll me because you can't provide any facts about my original subject!! - Johnny P.M.
What is the issue you are addressing here? It changes on each paragraph rant about something.KendoSnowman (talk) 12:28, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I AGREE with most of you. I think there is no solution to this problem. What I can offer is, first, education systems must equip students with i-critical thinking, ii-deductive reasoning, iii-rational minds so that they can think on what they read, instead of believing blindly. Second, ALL WIKIPEDIA PAGES must start with a DISCLAIMER cleary WARNING the readers on the possibility of i-WRONG INFORMATION ii-PROPAGANDA iii-PAID EDITORS about what they read so that they dont rely on WIKI alone.

All paid edits should be clearly identified in the article

Actually there should be no paid edits, but if they are allowed the reader should know what they are reading is commercial advertising.

  • Whilst I wholly agree with this in principle there is a serious problem in practice - It's very difficult to see how the issue could be policed with 100% reliability. For example, many guitarists and bassists credit their sound to the make of strings they use. How might an editor distinguish between a contributor making a factual observation and something paid-for by a company? Using the same example, would it be observation or advertising to state the simple fact that that Roger Waters, Herbie Flowers, Paul McCartney, John Entwistle all play (or played) strings from the same manufacturer, or that Hendrix also used that company's guitar strings during his time in London? How could the editor distinguish here between the contributor who makes such a statement as an observation (albeit perhaps also with some element of admiration for the company's products) and a contributor paid (in cash or in kind) by the manufacturer? Pr0t0type (talk) 09:35, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree with the above, compensation for contributions is only going to bring bad outcomes, you know the old saying 'money is the root of all evil'? As a suggestion for the alternative (i.e. the wrong option), there should be some kind of dishonest disclosure clause that you have to check off when making a paid contribution, where the consequence would be serious penalties if found to be in breach. 03:51, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia guidelines state that an article should be NEUTRAL and the subject should be NOTABLE. If the article is neutral, and the subject NOTABLE, what does it matter if the writer is paid or not? That is what puzzles me. Yes, apparently people seek to have Wikipedia pages made for advertising or promotional purposes - and those pages are removed as they should be because the individual isn't notable. Content that is purely advertising is also easily determined (although I think some editors have a weird idea of what is "purely" advertising. Is it advertising for a guy who has has 20 books published by real publishers (as opposed to self-published as ebooks) to have all his books listed? Can't it be assumed that people interested in this person would actually want to know how many books he's had published, and their titles?

Yes, "Out" the paid editors.

Their motivation is money, not public discourse. They're editing with their employers' agenda in mind.

  • Certainly, where this is proven beyond reasonable doubt I would agree entirely. If an editor or contributor is repeatedly guilty, some means to ban further contributions from them would be good. This ties-in with an earlier point I made, that edits should only be accepted from registered contributors. Since registration costs nothing more than a few moments of a contributor's time, I don't think this in any way conflicts with the "open to all" ethos of Wikimedia. Pr0t0type (talk) 09:41, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

You could ban them by banning the IP address however that might not always work they would just need a new computer but good idea.````

Out with the paid editors

I agree with the above statement. --Fox1942 (talk) 06:15, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree too. - Outwu (talk) 21:00, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Churches and other organizations.

The amendment doesn't go far enough. Other organizations such as churches should be required to make disclosure when editing pages. Some medical pages such as ECT are constantly monitored and edited by some churches with motives unrelated to health, and, no doubt, the contributors are unpaid. John

Actually, I agree with this. "Paid editing" is an easy catchy expression, but while fine for a community policy where wikilawyering will be blocked by simple consensus, it's very inadequate for a legal clause that requires certainty to have any kind of meaningfulness. Examples:
  • Editors may expect future payment (noted way above) rather than be paid now;
  • Editors may receive benefits in other forms rather than payment or compensation;
  • Voluntary bodies such as religious and political organizations, and lobbyist and protest groups, may have substantial organizations and unpaid persons organized, who for the purpose are akin to unpaid employees or engaged for the task and paid editors in all but actual pay (John's point);
  • A business owner is neither a paid editor nor an employee of their business;
  • A colleague or contact who "does a favor" for a person or organization in exchange for a favor, or because of a long line of "scratch each others back" return favors, is neither an employee, nor paid, nor compensated.
Can the wording be modified to try and catch these obvious loopholes, if we are going to do anything here, rather than merely cause such editors to thumb noses and fix themselves up to be legally unpaid or not expecting pay? Something like this, perhaps:
"These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. It is considered deceptive and misleading to edit on behalf of yourself and your business, or any other person, organization or business you are closely connected to, for their benefit, if you have not openly stated that this is the case. It is also deceptive and misleading to allow the impression (even by silence) that you are unconnected with any organization, person, voluntary group or entity whatsoever connected with your edits, if you do have a close connection or a commercial or contractual relationship with them, or voluntary participate more than trivially in their work, or there is any kind of understanding under which you edit Wikimedia projects to achieve a benefit for them or their purposes. To ensure compliance with these obligations, you must disclose..."
FT2 (Talk | email) 14:18, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

So in essence, this new amendment might become an umbrella to cover all organizations (incl. paid/gov.)? Allen649 (talk) 23:12, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree that you need to carefully consider churches and religious organisations that may have a policy of significantly expanding their presence on Wikipedia to create the impression that they carry more weight in society than is the case, for example starting a project to create pages for all holders of a fairly minor religious office. The only way to distinguish between a helpful edit by an employee and a puff is whether the page is proportionate. I appreciate this is more difficult than the change you are proposing, which is designed to inform readers' decisions about whether there might be a commercial motive behind an edit. DZNRKkCV (talk) 11:42, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not paper. "Detailed subtopics and sub-subtopics enrich Wikipedia with information. There is no reason why there shouldn't be a page for every Simpsons character, and even a table listing every episode, all neatly cross-linked and introduced by a shorter central page." Also Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia (WP:INKLESS).
6birc (talk) 13:30, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Just because Wikipedia is cheaper to distribute than a paper encyclopaedia, does not absolve contributors from the necessity of of applying the principle of 'notability' to an entry. It may be that every Simpsons' character is notable-that does not mean that every officer of every church is. For example, one of the two objectives of WikiProject Anglicanism is "To increase the number of articles related to Anglicanism and the Anglican Communion in Wikipedia".
The project calls on 'all Anglican editors'. While the Anglican church might be a charity, it has a large number of members who are remunerated and the WikiProject Anglicanism has the characteristics of an 'in-house' or corporatist project which coordinates editors to pursue a subjective point of view.DZNRKkCV (talk) 12:32, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Remember when Wikipedia was about content?

Look at the amount of time and effort that so many people have put into proposing and debating these rules, and imagine if all that same time and effort had instead been devoted to adding and improving content. That would have improved Wikipedia far more. If people are more interested in making and enforcing regulations than in building an encyclopedia, maybe they'd find more fulfillment someplace else.

Incidentally, this is why I don't give to Wikipedia's fundraising drives - because this is what that money gets spent on. -J. Conti 05:09, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

  • With greatest respect, I believe this post misses the point. The issue is all about building and improving an openly available encyclopedia; but, by the same token, the sources of material in that encyclopedia need to be controlled a little, to avoid the spread of bias, misinformation and vested interest, which if allowed to roam rampant and unchecked, would detract greatly from the validity and usefulness of the encyclopedia. The whole purpose of a good encyclopedia, after all, is to be repository for factual information, not a platform for advertising.
On that basis, I believe this discussion is entirely relevant and necessary.Pr0t0type (talk) 09:59, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Disagreement: Wikipedia is very much trending to mutate into a machinery of indecipherable bureaucracy, becoming more and more distant to perfectly valid common sense realizations and more repellent to addressing necessities originating outside of the system that extensively conflict with its life-long refined and extended rule sets, thereby defeating it's original purpose (reminder: to be an encyclopedia). If you favor the outcome of any rule within any rule set used to justify statements, in ignorance of otherwise feasible and truthful assessments of statement validity, you will inevitably favor those entities who exploit the limits of that system. Mostly forgotten here is the fact that information quality, and both reductionistic or holistic logical coherence, is not merely a theoretical myth or the result of someone's opinion. To my knowledge, there are zero rules or policies on wikipedia that address to replace, improve, remove or merely flag information containing presentable factual and logical contradictions of any kind over the act of simply replicating it, if it is not contradicting the myriads of wikipedia policy specifications (supposing there is actually someone present in the individual situation who knows and can "navigate" through all those). In fact, wikipedia enforces the latter and discriminates against the former. That is because in effect, information on wikipedia is founded on the popularity of opinion, and thereby also the popularity of opinion on quality of those opinions, and not the absolute logical coherence of supplied information (which you would rather aim at when creating an encyclopedia), which is admittedly a lot harder to grasp and demonstrate, but which it, as an organizational entity, doesn't even consider once. Given the extreme amount of bureaucratic resources spendings and sheer force of user contributions nowadays, I find it pretty obvious that the mentioned fundamentals are nothing more than inappropriate, misdirected and largely to blame for the manifestations of most persistent deficits. Such as ridiculously high organizational cost and the manipulation of information on wikipedia, failing to accomplish due proportional effects on content improvement. Also see this comment: [2] C0NPAQ (talk) 11:06, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Things change, Wikipedia has changed drastically. Now pages have monitors, editors, and there's helluva lot more structure at Wikipedia. There's ongoing development too, like the visual editor. Without these constant and consistent changes, Wikipedia may be very well replaced by a better competitor in the future [however unlikely that is or is not is beyond me]. Allen649 (talk) 23:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

J. Conti is absolutely right. This whole debate seems to be trending just one way. Everyone is focused on controlling paid editing, but why? They assume all paid editing must be bias and fact distorting because, well, its paid. But just maybe, the whole reason someone is having to pay a professional editor is to fight a well organized volunteer smear campaign. WIKI is suppose to be about content. Its not for pushing personal or political agendas. Again, the rel threat here are those volunteer groups that have hijacked specific pages on controversial subjects, turned them into their own political manifesto and now want to lock out anyone who tries to restore any sense of objectivity. The commenter warning about religious groups sounds exactly like one of these activists who would like for certain topics to have gatekeepers. This control of information is exactly how the truth gets rewritten. This is the kind of bias that needs to be prevented and it more often than not is volunteer advocates who are the most guilty. 10:26, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I disagree. The only thing this amendment will change is the fact that paid editors will disclose their affiliation. Any paid edits which are unbiased and true will not be reverted or prevented just because they're paid. So, if someone hires an editor to fight a well organised volunteer smear campaign, he won't suffer from this amendment in any way, except that the editor in question will have to spend 30 seconds to disclose the fact that he's being paid.
On the other hand, if someone is hired to advertise on wikipedia, disclosure of the fact that the edits were paid for can make it far easier to remove the biased information. 17:15, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Editing or writing articles for an employer

This is the sort of thing that is starting to happen in professional journals. Authors of articles appearing in some of these require the authors to disclose any potential conflicts of interest in the article credits. I never much thought about this a few years ago, but this proposal makes sense. Articles should be written or edited to provide accuarte information, not be public relation or advertising blurbs. I have on at least two occasions encountered persons involved with outside groups trying to distort information. Wpollard (talk) 07:21, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

This raises an interesting question. Should the TOU require users generally (not just paid editors) to disclose or avoid any editing for which this applies (ie, a non trivial or non-arms length relationship between a specific edit and real life), thus closing the loophole entirely? Of course we'll get many editors who should disclose such a COI and many will be dishonest (all the ethnic edit wars, people with fringe and social causes, etc) but - actually, might that be a good thing? FT2 (Talk | email) 17:32, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I would not be against your idea to require everyone who has some relationship with the subject of an article to disclose such. Wpollard (talk) 07:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The support is strong against paid contributions. But, paid contributions may be good, because Wikimedia is a free foundation running on donations. There is always the possibility that someone will misuse the policy. Therefore, the paid edited page(s) or section(s) should be identified as paid, with a complete disclosure of who did the payment with the full hierarchical structure of person(s) or organization(s) of the company(ies) who initiated the edit. This way the person who views the matter has an open option what to believe and that is open-source/free, the freedom to make a choice and not disabling anyone from doing their will.

Judenstern tag, unenforceable, impractical, counterproductive

This proposal is a shot in the dark. Shots in the dark often miss the point. I believe that …

  • 1) wp:COI is a soft rule and more than enough for its purpose.
  • 2) The proposed rule hardens often unclarified and artificial boundaries between editors; it opens up a can of worms and in the discussion above there are lots of examples of a widening definition of what a "paid contribution" means.
  • 3) The proposed rule is not going to get us more editors and more freedom to edit; it is thus a grave concern for those of us that want Wikipedia to be a free encyclopedia still being developed, not a closed entity governed by ever more strict rules.
  • 4) The proposed rule is practically unenforceable, as long as anyone can edit without a login.
  • 5) The proposed rule is a "hygienic" rule, whereby it says no to "bad" things thinking the mere statement will make for a better world and a better encyclopedia.
  • 6) As this proposed rule will be unenforceable at the local level (i.e. at WMF projects having less than 100,000 editors each month, due to different project cultures and prerequisites) it will be a legal annoyance with minimal founding in reality.
  • 7) Just looking at the measures to be taken to ensure that any editor and any edit made from a paid editor's account is tagged makes for comparisons to Nazi activities. The Nazis at least had different kinds of organisations for the investigations into the identities of people. I'm not going to enjoy a future where editors and edits carry their own Judenstern. And I'm not thinking/hoping WMF will develop its own type of Gestapo; the mere risk of this can easily put a plague tag on the whole of Wikipedia. My two cents.--Paracel63 (talk) 10:57, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I have a comment on one aspect on this. Professional company/entity representatives and PR agents, and so on, who are the main kind of focus of this proposal, will perhaps think more about breaching a legal site policy than an informal community request, which is effectively all that a soft policy is. It becomes instead, a formal legal site requirement to be transparent which was not complied with. The backlash could be greater in every way - legally, to the employer/client, and to themselves, the stakes are higher for concealment, but disclosure allows them to edit as before. SO the aim is to add a deterrent of more weight, that has no effect on those willing to be transparent, but may lead to more editors who are paid, doing so transparently, setting more of a world expectation of disclosure, and may deter at least some who would otherwise have edited bias into articles for pay without concern or second thoughts. FT2 (Talk | email) 02:33, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer. Yes, the amendment would seem to be a psychological thing more than a judicial one. But it still opens up at least one can of worms going straight to some core principles at Wikipedia, not the least regarding anonymity. This amendment could be a step in the way of transforming Wikipedia into a "normal" encyclopedia, where every editor is pre-chosen and every edit is pre-moderated. That would be an ugly thing, in my eyes. Best of wishes.--Paracel63 (talk) 18:20, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Commentaires et ma position sur le sujet proposé

Bonjour, D'abord merci pour cet exercice difficile de consultation et de démocratie...

Commentaires liés à cette consultation et aux contributions que j'ai lues :

(A) Je crois que certains contributeurs ont mélangé 2 types de contributions rémunérées :

(A1) Celles qui auraient pu être commanditées par Wikimédia pour écriture, contrôle, mise à jour d'un article.
(A2) Celles qui ne sont pas commanditées par Wikimédia, et qui sont l'oeuvre de personnes rémunérées par leur organisation pour mettre en avant cette organisation, ses produits et services. Nota : Ces personnes n'ont pas toujours créé de page personnelle pour se présenter, et n'ont pas de ce fait de signature Wikimédia.

(B) En France nous avons dans notre culture :

le don gratuit : Il peut s'agir de donner gratuitement et de façon anonyme du sang et ses constituants, le don d'organes, le don de son corps à la science, etc.
et le bénévolat : Il s'agit de mettre à disposition d'un groupe, gratuitement, sa propre expérience, ses propres compétences, son temps, son énergie, etc.

Mais le don et le bénévolat ont leurs limites : ils ne sont possibles qu'à "petite échelle". Dès que les conditions dépassent un certain seuil, il faut passer par l'embauche de personnels rémunérés pour réaliser des tâches précises sous commandement et responsabilité des bénévoles.

(C) Il existe dans Wikipédia en français des articles liés à un produit (exemple disque blu-ray : Toshiba est dans le texte / Sony "le leader" est dans les références) dans lequel des noms de marque , des avantages, etc. sont vantés... Donc caractère publicitaire.

(D) Il existe dans Wikipédia en français des articles liés à un service, ou à une technique (médecine douce, énergie zen,...), ou à une croyance. Certaines ont un caractère commercial évident, d'autre ont un caractère de prosélytisme.

(E) Est-ce que le modèle économique de Wikimédia nécessite aujourd'hui un changement d'échelle pour pouvoir perdurer ?

Ma position :

Je trouve que le conflit d'intérêt n'est pas suffisamment précisé dans le texte proposé et qu'il faut être plus moteur dans les directives.

Je trouve formidable que Wikipédia soit un projet bénévole de don de son savoir pour rédiger ensemble une encyclopédie mise à jour au fil du temps : c'est dans l'ADN du projet Wikipédia ... et il faut que cela reste comme cela. Donc je crois, en tout cas j'espère, qu'il n'y a pas, à ce jour, de contributions rémunérées par Wikimédia (A1 ci dessus).

Cela dit, pour certains sujets difficiles, par exemple la mécanique quantique, il y a dans Wikipédia en français des inexactitudes. Et les contributeurs qui essayent tant bien que mal de corriger sont génés par leur manque autoproclamé d'expertise en la matière (Exemple de commentaire : ...mes cours de physique quantique commencent à dater...). Du coup, je serais personnellement d'accord pour la séquence suivante :

  1. qu'après la consultation des bénévoles qui sont intéressés par la mise à jour d'un article (statistique de consultations et statistique de présence de commentaires sur la page de l'article),
  2. qu'ensuite, après la recherche infructueuse d'un volontaire pour la prise en charge de la modification (analyse des pages personnelles pour trouver la personne compétente),
  3. un spécialiste volontaire attesté par son CV et par une lettre d'intention puisse revoir le contenu d'un article. Ce travail de mise à jour ferait l'objet d'une commande de la part de Wikimédia (règles à respecter). Le "tarif" devrait être statutairement symbolique, forfaitaire pour éviter les abus, et le blocage des modification dans l'attente d'une rémunération. Ce travail de mise à jour devrait pouvoir être comptabilisé par le spécialiste volontaire comme un article dans une revue à comité de relecture. Pour se faire il y a nécessité d'une commande de Wikimédia dans le cadre d'un budget alloué, d'une facturation du prestataire commandité et d'un paiement de Wikimédia. Le tout fait l'objet d'un reporting économique régulier. La contribution se doit d'une transparence dans l'article (référence en bas de page) et commentaire en page de discussion (écrit par Mr Untel en date du jj/mm/aaaa rémunéré selon commande Wikimédia n° XXX).

Pour éviter A2 et D ci-dessus, pour toutes les créations de page et les ajouts dans des pages existantes, il est de la responsabilité du modérateur Wiki (et des robots) de veiller à ce que  :

  • les textes non sourcés, les opinions, les avis personnels, les informations d'actualité qui n'ont pas objet à figurer dans une encyclopédie soient poliment purement et simplement éliminés.
  • chaque contributeur ait dûment rempli sa page personnelle, et soit porteur d'une signature l'identifiant clairement.

Les lecteurs doivent alerter le modérateur via les outils proposés dès qu'ils ont le sentiment qu'une information dépasse les limites permises.

Pour éviter C : Tout ce qui relève de l'actualité devrait être sorti de l'encyclopédie Wikipédia (qui pourrait être intéressé économiquement aujourd'hui par les avantages commerciaux d'un avion Potez par rapport à un Dewoitine ? Quel est l'intérêt de savoir la capacité de tel ou tel composant informatique sachant que son concurrent ayant des caractéristiques meilleures arrive sur le marché ?). On pourrait créer "un autre système" pour tous ces sujets, au même titre qu'il y a un wiktionnaire, bien sûr avec les liens ad hoc... et ne conserver dans l'encyclopédie que les éléments faisant Histoire.

Et finalement, Wikipédia est-elle victime de son succès ? ou est-elle lentement phagocytée par le pouvoir de l'argent ? Est-on en train de nous préparer à un changement de modèle économique ?

Soyons vigilants ! Indignons nous lorsque c'est nécessaire ! Mobilisons nous pour agir... Merci encore... --Guy6631 (talk) 11:22, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Require A Disclosure Template

I apologize if this has been suggested already; I can't search this entire page to see if this is the case.

Requiring the use of a template on a user's talk page for the disclosure could facilitate automated cross-checking of paid edits and even a "reputation" system for paid editors and payers. Perhaps, if I am permitted to be optimistic, organizations might even pay editors to contribute constructively, buoyed by positive feedback from such a system… -- 13:08, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

That makes a lot of sense to me. --ShaunOgg (talk) 13:51, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Why the Academy can't Trust Wikipedia

Article provenance is unclear. Period. -- 14:24, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Citations don't matter? 6birc (talk) 17:14, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Why focus on monetary incentives? So many other incentives exist to distort information...

Why focus on monetary incentives? Current conversation

Possible answer: because other incentives can't work on a large scale without involving paid labour?

I'm not convinced. What about edits by unpaid citizen militia members? Fan groups? Sects? Religions? Charities? Gangs? Political volunteers? Organised trolls?

This rule doesn't look culturally universal; not every society is capitalistic.

But I acknowledge importance of the issue. I just don't know the right answer and I don't feel competent to vote. Therefore I abstain but it has my attention. Corruption of Wikipedia would be a tragedy.

6birc (talk) 15:28, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Oh, and slaves. Societies that practice slavery use the Internet too. There are many documented cases of using forced labour to play MMORPGs (online computer games). Forced, therefore unpaid. Amongst others, North Korea has seen a prolific use of this practice, if only because their nearest neighbour South Korea is the most advanced Internet society in the world. Koreans literally breathe the Internet. There is simply no way slaves won't be used for editing Wikipedia. Slavery is on the grow... shouldn't we be more worried about unpaid contributions?
6birc (talk) 16:55, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Because it's one thing at a time. The "issue" at hand here isn't how to eliminate all corruption and distortion in the project, because that will never happen. Right now, there is a real problem with money being used to distort the wiki, and what in my opinion is a reasonable way to address that problem.
Maybe another time we can address the issues of unpaid citizen militia members, fan groups, sects, religions, charities, gangs, political volunteers, organized trolls, and slave editors. Requiring extensive disclosure of every editor's background and life story subject to independent verification would go a way to solving all of those. Do you have a better idea? I sure don't. So, at least for now, let's focus on something that we can do at least something about. -- 18:36, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
You wrote: "Right now, there is a real problem with money being used to distort the wiki."
I totally believe you... even though I have no reliable knowledge of the scale of the problem.
You wrote: "Requiring extensive disclosure of every editor's background and life story subject to independent verification would go a way to solving all of those."
That irony... To be honest, Wikipedia is already not anonymous enough. Legitimate contributors are too easy to track and dox. That's why I, for one, contribute very little. (It's often heart-breaking to see something wrong on a Wikipedia page and making a decision to leave it as it is... out of privacy concerns.) I can't see how users from oppressive countries can edit Wikipedia safely when all their IPs are recorded by the Wikimedia Foundation. Double standards are unhealthy, at the moment Wikipedia gives contributors a false sense of anonymity. Actually there is no anonymity here at all. The only reason we all aren't currently required to show the proof of ID to validate our accounts is that it would pose a technical problem. Essentially, Wikipedia is currently a part of the Big Brother panopticon.
If the Wikipedia model was founded on true anonymity... the issue of "paid or unpaid" would be solved in one sweep, without any special measures, together with a host of similar issues ("slave or not slave", "agent or not agent", "member or not member", etc.) And this would work across all cultures.
Maybe the way to go is to rethink the whole model. This thought has occured to me as I am writing it. I'm coming to think that approving the proposed disclosure policy will give a further legitimacy to the current Wikipedia model of user credibility based on his/her real-life identity. In other words, this motion could actually be a Big Brother ploy to tighten the control of information flow in the society even further.
6birc (talk) 19:39, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I think that you may have misunderstood my intent. My comment about requiring disclosure of an editor's life story was facetious. The intention was to present an obviously ridiculous "solution" to your legitimate concerns to show that no perfect solution exists that would combat every threat to the project's integrity. This was to answer your question: Why focus on monetary incentives when so many other incentives exist to distort information? My answer: because we can sensibly address the problem of monetary incentives at this time, and we should focus on problems such as this that we can sensibly address, not on the myriads of other issues, however legitimate, that we can't do anything reasonable about right now.
I would like you to explain what you mean by "the current Wikipedia model of user credibility based on his/her real-life identity". I've used a Wikipedia account in the past – the only reason I'm not using it now is that it has been too long and I don't even remember the user name. I don't remember ever having to divulge my "real-life identity" to gain "credibility", so I simply don't know what you're talking about.
If Wikipedia were founded on true anonymity, all of the progress made combating non-constructive edits and vandalism would be non-existent. This is because, unfortunately, some people on the internet are such assholes that the only way to stop them from vandalizing the wiki is to force them to stop by technical means. Obviously, true anonymity would make this impossible, so a limited amount of information disclosure is necessary to maintain order and hold people accountable. If one has an account, contributions are tied to that account so that repeated misuse can be traced back to the same individual and corrective action taken. If one does not have an account, contributions are tied to the user's IP address for the same reasons of maintaining order and accountability. Using the IP address for non-account contributions is not a perfect solution by any means, but it is the best solution available. If everyone behaved as good citizens, true anonymity would be feasible. But people don't, and for this reason users must be identifiable, to be able to identify the bad guys. My point is that the limited identifiability Wikipedia requires of its users is for the purpose of maintaining order, improving the overall quality of the project, not some malicious plan to control everyone.
Paid lobbyist editing has been demonstrated to be a real problem on Wikipedia, even making the mainstream news. In order to scrutinize such edits, one must be able to identify them. This is the purpose of requiring editors to disclose if they are paid to edit Wikipedia. I have made the case in other comments that paid edits need not be bad. But they do need to be identified. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that Wikipedia stays as integer as reasonably can be assured; it is not some Big Brother ploy to restrict the flow of information somehow. -- 21:37, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Putting my post in a frame not to advertise it but to help readability.

Anonymity: your remark has made me think about the proposed amendment from the standpoint of the ideal of the anonymous Internet. That's regardless of your intent. Needless to say, this standpoint doesn't shed a favourable light on this amendment at all.

Simplicity: maybe I'm not the most pragmatic person, but I don't believe in bloatware. Robust code is small code. This applies to computer programming as well as to law. (Admittedly, there exist complex and arcane, man-made things that manage to function remarkably well. Some examples: space shuttles, the European Union, intelligence agencies... But I, for one, am not good with such things.)

You say: "we should focus on problems such as this that we can sensibly address, not on the myriads of other issues." I agree. Except enabling anonymous editing would be the most simple and (at the same time) total solution of all. (A solution to restore the balance of power between "organised groups of influence" and the masses.) The proposed rule looks like a quick fix and even you appear to admit it. Now I'm not saying that quick fixes are always wrong. If the WMF demonstrated a long-term interest in going in that direction, I would gladly accept a temporary quick fix (or two). But the WMF doesn't appear to have a grand vision of this sort, these fixes appear to be the end goal. And I don't like it.

The long-term aim should be to make Wikipedia healthy with less control, not with more control.

I recognise some potential pitfalls in my thinking... such as not being pragmatic enough; or naive radicalism. Also I am not very active member of the community. That's why I'm not quick to make a definitive vote... I simply don't consider myself smart enough or informed enough. Maybe the community itself too is not ready to make a good-quality decision?

Some food for thought:

  • "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." – Albert Einstein
  • Feature creep
  • Bloatware
  • Code is law (or, like an unsigned user in section #Abstain said: "This website does not need your protection or arbitration anymore, it is its own engine." Perhaps that's not the reality, but that's the holy grail: a self-healing system; an engine being its own law.)

Minimalism in Roman law:

  • "Corruptissima republica, plurimae leges." ("In the most corrupt state are the most laws.") – Terence
  • "De minimis non curat lex." ("The law does not concern itself with trifles.")

You wrote: 'I would like you to explain what you mean by "the current Wikipedia model of user credibility based on his/her real-life identity".' Anonymous editing is currently impossible in Wikipedia. If it isn't anonymous, what is it? It's tied to your real-life identity.

You said: 'I don't remember ever having to divulge my "real-life identity" to gain "credibility", so I simply don't know what you're talking about.' That's because Wikipedia made it easy for you. Your IP is stored automatically, no need to do anything on your part, even when you use an account. IP is almost as good as your home address.

You wrote: 'If Wikipedia were founded on true anonymity, all of the progress made combating non-constructive edits and vandalism would be non-existent.' A Wikipedia vulnerable to anonymous vandalism is simply a Wikipedia not founded on anonymity. It is my belief that self-healing anonymous architectures are possible and workable; it's a matter of community will and design. Some such architectures have already functioned in real life. If anonymity always inevitably lead to a catastrophe, such architectures as Bitcoin couldn't exist.

You said: 'This is because, unfortunately, some people on the internet are such assholes.' I would say that the majority of people (not just on the Internet) are innately malicious. That's what the word 'robust' in 'a robust architecture' stands for: idiot-proof, vandal-proof, error-proof, etc. Many things in life and in the nature are that! If the world depended on our goodness, it would be long gone. Small projects and communities can operate based on trust. But Wikipedia is as far from a small community as it gets. (Oh, wait... I've just violated w:Wikipedia:Assume good faith.)

You wrote: 'If everyone behaved as good citizens, true anonymity would be feasible.' See the last two points.

You said: 'The limited identifiability Wikipedia requires of its users is for the purpose of maintaining order, improving the overall quality of the project, not some malicious plan to control everyone.' And: 'It is not some Big Brother ploy to restrict the flow of information somehow.' I can't take it for granted. Wikipedia is too valuable for the Big Brother for this to be impossible.

You wrote: 'Paid lobbyist editing has been demonstrated to be a real problem on Wikipedia.' I don't have any doubt about it.

To recapitulate... my opinion for the time being (quoting myself): 'If the WMF demonstrated a long-term interest in going in that direction [that is, restoring power to the masses], I would gladly accept a temporary quick fix (or two) [such as this amendment].' This is not a final verdict and my opinion is still evolving. I don't expect it to reach a level of confidence sufficient to make a definitive vote (other than 'abstain'), although a chance for that exists.

6birc (talk) 00:51, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

More food for thought... I have mentioned feature creep (a concept in software philosophy).

Now how about this... Avoid instruction creep (an official Wikipedia guideline)?

And Wikipedia is not a bureaucracy? And Ignore all rules?

"If a rule prevents you from improving or maintaining Wikipedia, ignore it."

6birc (talk) 00:52, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I didn't even remember that these official policies had existed! Anonymity and Wikipedia is anonymous – I have just dug them up! Are these old values out of vogue in the social climate of 2014?

There even once was Welcome anonymous editing, but someone eventually degraded it into Welcome unregistered editing. Their explanation: "IP editing is not anonymous, and certainly more revealing of identity than registered editing." That's a very circular argument not to welcome true anonymous editing! It's like "we discourage anonymous editing because we don't encourage it".

I'm going to revert that change. If I don't, please, someone else do this.

Wikipedia needs more anonymity... not less. We already have other authoritarian encyclopedias (online or otherwise), we don't need one more. Prove me wrong – you can't beat this logic! It shouldn't take an anarchist to recognise that Wikipedia's unique selling proposition is her anarchism... or we may already merge her into Encyclopædia Britannica (as much as I respect her). The proposed amendment superficially looks like it protects anarchy but a second look reveals that it's an authoritarian solution.

I'm almost ready to switch my vote from #Abstain to #Oppose.

6birc (talk) 16:17, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Issues: demonising money; anonymity; simplicity of rules. Map of conversations

This section is a review of relevant existing conversations. Format: location + summary/excerpt.
Discuss here or in respective locations.

About demonising money

A very similar archived thread: What about non-paid people with an agenda? said: 'Singling out pay as the "motor" for a non-neutral agenda over other, potentially equally strong or even stronger root causes for non-neutral agendas.' wrote: 'STUDENT editors. They are mandated to edit in some cases-not really voluntary there! EDITED BY STUDENT EDITOR should appear on the article page too.' Smallbones said: 'It would be nice if we could fix everything at once, but that's just not the way the real world works. Let's fix the really important stuff first.' Smallbones wrote: 'Many businesses can afford to have several people monitoring "their" articles on Wikipedia, whereas our usual editors are volunteers. The paid editors will dominate unless they have to disclose their paid status. (...) PR people can argue forever trying to prove that black is white.'
6birc (talk) 07:19, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Archived entry: Add obligatory disclosure for volunteers, too. said: 'I think that volunteers, for example government volunteers, should add their disclosure, too, as their edits could be motivated by opportunity for personal advancement in political party.'
6birc (talk) 07:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

POV problem not limited to employment basis. said: 'The second area of difficulty I have with Wiki is that so-called moderators are also unknown to the public, and, in my experience, can drown out, or force, or harass, other POVs from contributing alternate ideas to a subject.'
6birc (talk) 08:07, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Churches and other organizations. FT2 wrote: 'Voluntary bodies such as religious and political organizations, and lobbyist and protest groups, may have substantial organizations and unpaid persons organized, who for the purpose are akin to unpaid employees.'
6birc (talk) 23:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

In an unrelated section, Ixobel has made this specific statement: 'But paid editing can be done for an innocent reason, such as not being able to type.'
6birc (talk) 00:20, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

In #Unsorted comments, Michael Paul Kerr said: 'What if everyone working on wikipedia is paid, and we just didn't notice?' 'Wikipedia's next phase will involve a lot of (...). No one but a crazy angel would do something like that for free!'
6birc (talk) 15:10, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

About anonymity

How does the WMF reconcile the TOU proposal the WMF Strategic Plan. While not directly related to anonymity, that section touches on a closely related topic of the proposed amendment's conflict with the WMF mission to increase public participation.

Privacy and free speech (and a subsection: Are anonymity & pseudonomy now lost?)

Harassment and outing. LauraHale said: 'Accusations of paid editing, without evidence or in violation of WP:OUTING and WP:HARASSMENT, are bad for Wikipedia.'

6birc (talk) 12:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Why not ask for real names? Reginald Sachs wrote 'I strongly support non-anonymity: true personal data should be obtainable. If you write truth (testable truth that is), you must stand for it. Do we want to cultivate cowardice?' Piotr967 said: 'Knowledge of who the person [is] (...) [is] probably more useful than knowledge who pay.'
6birc (talk) 00:00, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

The basic normative conflict: openness, anonymity, and voluntary work (in Die Grenzen der Bezahlung) on German Wikipedia. 'Only content is important – it doesn't matter where it comes from.' The text invokes Wikipedia:Anonymity.
6birc (talk) 12:08, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

In section #Oppose, Phantom85 wrote: 'As an editor on Wikipedia who had to disappear due to harassment and stalking (...), I oppose any policy which requires an individual to disclose any PII. (...) Due to some of the dangers of participating in this community, The Foundation should make it easier for people to remain anonymous when contributing, not harder.'
6birc (talk) 19:59, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

About simplicity of rules

Is Wikipedia broken? Gaarmyvet wrote: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
6birc (talk) 07:46, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Remember when Wikipedia was about content? C0NPAQ said: "Wikipedia is very much trending to mutate into a machinery of indecipherable bureaucracy."
6birc (talk) 23:05, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

An unsigned user in section #Abstain wrote: "This website does not need your protection or arbitration anymore, it is its own engine."
6birc (talk) 02:29, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

In an unrelated section, an unsigned user said: 'There is little if an[y] way to stop paid editing. (...) You are attempting to put a band-aid on a bullet wound. If you really want to stop paid editing you'll have to fundamentally change the way wikipedia works.'
6birc (talk) 00:20, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

In A warning message to all paid editors, Awarningmessage wrote: 'Have no fear. I have the perfect legal defense for you all, please see [3], ignore all rules, which permit you not break any rules of wikipedia. As an added bonus, it's official policy.'
6birc (talk) 12:08, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

In #Oppose voting, an unsigned user said: 'I oppose increasing Wikipedia's authority (...). I would prefer an autonomous, user-motivated, user-led response to combating this issue over a response that relegates decision-making power to trustees, legal departments, and intermediaries.'
6birc (talk) 15:10, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Ordering of Votes

I looked at the Oppose section and see that my vote, previously #95, is now down to about #106. It seems there is a subset of people on here who don't know how to follow rules on Wikipedia. Are there plans to reorganize the votes in the various sections based on timestamp?

Nonetheless, to add to my vote, money is the root of all evil. Corruption will result. Doesn't matter if companies pay Wikipedia or Wikipedia/companies pay editors. CycloneGU (talk) 15:40, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Demonising money... I'm not saying it's wrong, I just don't know. I might need to live 40 years more to know definitely. Isn't money simply a symbolic representation of energy? Not expecting you to delve into this question – it's not necessarily the right place for a philosophical discussion.
6birc (talk) 16:08, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
A simple script could easily sort the votes by timestamp. Why do you think that this is important? -- 19:02, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Both massively depleting our childrens future psychological environment of the right to freedom of information and copyright battles will follow

I have to say, this is the first sign of wikipedia becoming corrupted - not the commercial contributors (where's the harm in that?) but the 'requirement' - the first sign of the totalitarian wiktatorship that will follow. More reasonably, it will herald an age where people will be able to advertise their services as commercial writers and once again the basis of Wikipedia - that knowledge should be free becomes corrupted. We become, as individuals, products of the 'environment' in which we grow up; qed, this fact is the currency of all religion. If wikipedia becomes commercialised then there is a significant loss to the environment that children grow up in where freedom of speech is advocated.

The creeping in of commercial values to wikipedia is an insidious thing in the sense that we have grown with Wikipedia's development, and expect free access to information as an almost inalienable right, but where the youngsters of the future grow up with a commercialised wikipedia, that part of our complete environment that is part of the suggestion that freedom of access to information should be practiced disapears, as when it becomes a 'paid for' entity it is no longer in the realm of freedom, but rather converted to the domain of 'exclusivity'. Currently wikipedia is completely free to access, and who cares if someone is paid to write something? I might have a desire to see some information on wikipedia about my town's history for instance, but not be a proficient writer, so I may pay for it, at the moment. Why should I declare that I paid for the written work? How do I benefit? Only the commercial writer benefits from declaration as it is a subtle form of advertising.

Furthermore, with paid editors creeps in the expectation that those paid editors, in competing for work, will undoubtedly be participants in some area of expertise related to the subject matter that they edit. For example, they might be professors, or other experts in their field. Access to education is not freely available to all, and many people become experts in their field without having the 'authorised' stamp of acceptance that comes with a paper qualification often awarded for jumping through hoops barking the accepted dogma. Currently wikipedia encourages us to dare to imagine that we could be part of the intelligensia (I refer you to the following internet post in which a fifteen year old used wikipedia amongst other freely available internet sources to learn to devise the first ever 100 percent accurate pancreatic cancer test, stimulating us to dream as we study wikipedia. Paid expert contributors raises that psychological block that is the unlikeliness that our contribution could be of any use.

Right now, if I pay someone to write an article I only have to edit that writing slightly and it is no longer the work of that commercial writer. When paid writers contribute openly to wikipedia - who owns the copyright of their work!!! Expect battles over ownership rights to follow! Finally, what relationship exists between free access to knowledge and commerce?

Jamesstewartmiller (talk) 17:01, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

You wrote: "When paid writers contribute openly to wikipedia - who owns the copyright of their work!!!"
I don't think they could make any claims to the copyright. The licence is clear. But then, I may be naive, I don't have experience with law. Just my three pence.
6birc (talk) 17:10, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
First of all, 6birc is absolutely correct. Wikipedia's terms are absolutely clear. Paid editors would submit to Wikipedia the same as unpaid editors. Anyone who submits content to Wikipedia releases it under two very liberal licenses. Unless somebody submits unlicensed third-party-copyrighted content, "battles over ownership rights" will be short-lived if they occur at all, but this has nothing to do with whether an editor is paid or not.
Second, your assertion that pay implies expertise, or that this is or will become the predominant assumption, is entirely without merit. This talk page does not exist because people paid to edit Wikipedia have all or mostly been "experts" in their field. Paid editors could indeed be experts or hired help, but they could also be company or advertising agency representatives, members of political campaigns or special interest groups, members of government, or any other class of shady individuals paid to edit Wikipedia against the fundamental principles of neutrality or even truth. The only valid assumption applicable to paid editors is that somebody places extraordinary value to certain sets of assertions contributed to the wiki. Requiring paid status disclosure will enable watchers to ascertain why, and to detect patterns of dishonest, fraudulent, and conflict-of-interest behavior that are the actual concern of paid editing in the first place.
Finally, if a class of "expert" paid contributors does arise, these editors are no more special than any other editor of Wikipedia. Such "expert" contributions can be edited or reverted just as any other, and Wikipedia's existing guidelines of consensus and citation mean that "expertise" carries no weight in determining which content remains in the wiki. Experts of a variety of fields already contribute to Wikimedia projects, and no "psychological block" as you describe has thus far occurred. If paid expert editors make quality contributions, what harm is done? If paid "expert" editors make contributions that fall short, the rule still applies: anybody can edit. -- 18:14, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I believe that the normal remedy for a broken open-source project is to fork it. If this change broke Wikipedia, then I don't see why that remedy wouldn't apply. ArthurDent006.5 (talk) 11:32, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

This is a reasonable and timely improvement to the objectives of Wikipedia and the Wiktionary. I recommend that the Board move to adopt as written 18:28, 27 February 2014 (UTC) tom carney

Is Wikipedia broken?

My answer is that it is not. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."--Gaarmyvet (talk) 18:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

This is a bit of a binary viewpoint in which something is either "broke" (so why bother trying to fix it) or "not broke" (so why fix it). What proverbs exist around"If it ain't broke, but has undesirable but improvable issues..."? FT2 (Talk | email) 11:12, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
@FT2, can you make something rounder than circle? Not everything has endless room for improvement. The Wikipedia founding principles are pretty much perfect.6birc (talk) 20:32, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Incomprehensible sentence

The explanatory text contains a strange expression: discuss the proposed amendment into other languages. Petr Matas (talk) 18:42, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Should probably say "translate the proposed amendment". -- 18:53, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Corrected, thank you. SJ talk  23:20, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
It made more sense to me before, weil die ganze Diskussion est assez chaotique! C0NPAQ (talk) 11:39, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
@1,2,3,4. Have you never heard about someone "laughing (all the way) into the bank"? Or "talking themselves into a party"? This could be similar! 6birc (talk) 20:52, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Naive oversimplification

There is a grave and naive oversimplification concerning who this is intended to concern. When it comes to advertising we already have rules and for all other edits this only makes for a worse encyclopedia. The mere risk of being (wrongfully) accused of being paid is bad enough for me and I can think of a lot of cases where such accusations might be yet more harmful. Professors working at universities paid to write about the research they are conducting or any research, people working at art galleries paid to write about art (within their galleries or not), people working with tourism informing through different Wikipedia projects about a specific area or city and lots of other possible cases where this might drive those people away. - Averater (talk) 20:27, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I don't see why Professors or art curators would have a problem disclosing their profession, if the topic they are editing is one for which they receive compensation. The rule is not as ambiguous as you make it out to be. If you work for a tourism company, and edit that company's wikipedia page, then you ought to disclose your affiliation. If you work for the tourism department of the city of Chicago, and you edit the Chicago wiki page, then again, you ought to disclose your affiliation. If you work for Nestle, and you redact or entirely delete the 'Controversy' section, you certainly ought to disclose your affiliation.
You are missing the point. You are discussing non-neutral edits but the examples I give are beneficial for Wikipedia. You also doesn't differ between to ought to and are enforced to. I don't see why we need to enforce those users to disclose their employer and often thereby also their name (as many companies and workplaces are small). If you work for a tourist company and are adding proper, neutral information about points of interest that are missing from Wikipedia but the user for some reason doesn't want to give his or her real name we as an encyclopedia will lose that contributor and thereby also the information. Note also that you your self didn't give your real name or even bothered to log in and yet you can't see how others might have problems disclosing their names. - Averater (talk) 12:12, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Certain States and Organisations should be Prevented from Abusing Wikipedia as Propaganda Loudspeaker by Paid Contributors and Administrators

I like wikipedia very much principally and I use it myself often. In the natural science and medical field wikipedia is rather reliable meanwhile and on

a high quality level.

But in the field of the history of WW2 and especially the "holocaust" you can forget Wikipedia totally. ALL administrators of wikipedia pages about Germany during WW2 and the "holocaust" are payed Hasbara propagandists and agents.

All corrections (and even all postings on the "talk" page) which don't match 100% the Hasbara point of view are deleted within seconds (sic !) as "vandalism". That that happens within seconds proves that the deletion is not the result of a serious evaluation but just the general principle of the page administration. Only the postings of paid Hasbara contributors are accepted. You can make a test: Try to post something critical or only sceptical on the Hasbara POV in wikipedia (even with clean scientific source in clean scientific style). You will see that it is deleted within 5 seconds (!) and you are blocked from writing anything in wikipedia for life-time because of "vandalism" already after only ONE critical posting. Your posting becomes invisible for normal users.

The paid Hasbara contibutors make sure that only their administrators are elected. If a non-Hasbara administrator candidates and gets for instance 20 votes, you can observe shortly before the end of administrator elections that suddenly 40 Hasbara contibutors register and elect the Hasbara administrator with 40 votes. If the non-Hasbara author gets 100 votes, then 200 Jewish "authors" appear from nowhere and so on ...

I see two possible ways to prevent that:

1. Deletion on the TALK page must be generally impossible. This page is intended for FREE discussion, and discussion by deletion of the POVs of dissidents is no discussion, but blatant censorship typical for dictatorships. 2. A vote-of-no-confidence against suspect administrators must be possible, which leads to a check of the circumstances of the election and a general check of the activities of the administrator by a special political-independence-panel or a general-quality-panel.

Without these changes WIKIPEDIA will never be accepted in schools and universities as reliable source. Today mentioning that you used WP as source is the best way to fail in school and university cause all professors and teachers detest WP as biassed low quality source. 17:09, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

I have alot of examples of political propaganda and revisionist foreign policy articles paied probably by political organisations from Central Europe and against countries in Eastern Europe. They use the anonimity of Wikipedia for making propaganda with territorial or ethnical purposes. Please STOP THIS! --Monterex (talk) 10:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
1. Are you both sure that there are no unpaid volunteers working for such organisations? I, for one, have seen similar, highly organised activity done on a volunteer basis on a mass scale. So demonising money is just counterproductive to your (valid) primary concerns. An opposite solution – making anonymous editing possible for everyone – would protect individual users from harrassment, restoring the balance between organised groups (including governments) and unorganised masses. I elaborate on this in "my" section.
2. Yours is a good example how illegitimate means can serve legitimate causes. It's a matter of time before people from your political camp use methods of your opponents too. There are ways to rally unpaid volunteers, so this amendment... distorts certain balances itself! I'm very sure that your political opponents aren't short of unpaid volunteers!
6birc (talk) 11:45, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with 6birc, but therefore I proposed two ways to achieve my (as you say "valid") primary concerns:

1. Deletion on the TALK page must be generally impossible. This page is intended for FREE discussion, and discussion by deletion of the POVs of dissidents is no discussion, but blatant censorship typical for dictatorships.

2. A vote-of-no-confidence against suspect administrators must be possible, which leads to a check of the circumstances of the election and a general check of the activities of the administrator by a special political-independence-panel or a general-quality-panel. These panels must be authorized to take appropriate measures against administrators abusing their position, like cease and desist mails and finally banning from an administrator position, if the abuse persists. 11:16, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

How does the WMF reconcile the TOU proposal the WMF Strategic Plan

It appears that the probable consequences of this new disclosure requirement is in direct conflict with two of the five strategic priorities in the WMF Strategic Plan.

  • Priority: Increase Participation – It would seem probable that the long term consequences of this disclosure requirement, especially if clumsily and aggressively enforced by community zealots would have the net effect of discouraging participation.
  • Priority: Improve Quality—It would seem probable that the long term consequences of this disclosure requirement, especially if clumsily and aggressively enforced would discourage a lot of the subject matter experts Wikipedia needs to improve the quality of its content.

How does the WMF reconcile this proposal with these strategic priorities? --Mike Cline (talk) 23:13, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

You appear to be operating under the assumption that WMF decisions are made based on long-term planning. While this may be a plausible assumption, I've yet to see any evidence to support it. Yes, I know, I'm being snarky, but I'm also pointing out that you are 100% correct that this proposal is inconsistent with WMF's stated goals...and that the authors of this proposal probably do not care much for WMF's stated long-term goals.
That being said, it is also possible that many people (mistakenly) believe that this proposal will increase the number of quality edits. This is certainly consistent with the general Wikipedia philosophy that expertise is suspect. One only has to look at the talk pages of many articles to see situations in which expertise in a given field leads to accusations of being a "paid shill". This Post-Modernist concept is also, of course, inconsistent with the Wikipedia ideals of content that is verifiable from reputable high-quality sources. I've seen many cases where content sourced to publications like Medical Hypotheses was included and stuff from NEJM rejected (or deliberately misquoted) simply because editors who may have, to assume good faith, misunderstood these concepts, were far more persistent than those who had assumed that verifiability and sources were the only important aspects. Hyperion35 (talk) 03:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I am operating under no assumptions here. The WMF and the community spent a good deal of energy on crafting the WMF Strategic plan and establishing these priorities. There's been a lot of projects designed to further these priorities within the community. My feeling is that the proposed TOU will have some adverse impact on the two priorities mentioned. Therefore I am explicitly asking the WMF crafters of this proposal whether or not they attempted to reconcile the proposal with the potential impact on the priorities in the plan. Whether they did or did not is their's alone to answer. Whatever that answer is, I'd like to hear it from the WMF. I might prompt further productive discussion on this proposal. --Mike Cline (talk) 10:18, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Balancing bias and expertise

This proposed ammendment is aimed at maintaining the goal of NPOV in articles, and ensuring that the content is factual rather than opinion. Which is desirable. Wikipedia articles vary considerably in perceived reliability, and I find some of them are dire in literary quality. I've made my share of mistakes. But I always aim to be factual, and the discipline of giving supporting references is valuable.

Transparency about "paid contributions" helps the reader assess the reliability, or at least the fairness, of articles. But would this have prevented the case a few years ago when it was widely reported that Wikipedia was used as a platform to promote the mann-made global warming hypothesis, with a highly-placed editor in the Wikipedia hierarchy aggressively deleting any opposing viewpoint, in spite of the mass of scientific evidence? That editor had credentials implying expertise, but I think he worked in a university department funded to "prove" global warming.

However, one source of knowledge is contributions from professionals in the subject matter about which they write. As a knowledge base, the strength of Wikipedia is the open editing, especially when the edits come from people with professional knowledge. Which means that editing has to be open to (current or past) employees of a company which works in the subject matter of an article. Related to this is a further issue of sources. I have knowledge of some places because I have lived there, and can describe them accurately, but this does not satisfy the citation requirements.

So there needs to be a way of encouraging expert editors while ensuring transparency about possible lobbying. Robert of Ramsor (talk) 00:42, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I am sending this also to say that the first discussion I sent was accidental for I was intending to just delete it after the discussion was typed as well as how my comment explaining this wasn't signed so this message is being sent just in case it didn't get sent.Marcus Fye (talk) 01:31, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I think there are certain categories of employment that pose a higher risk of abuse than others when it comes to contributing to wikipedia on the job. For instance, if you are a staffer for a United States Congressperson or an industry lobbyist, you just simply should not be permitted to edit wikipedia at all, in my not-so-humble opinion. In that situation, there is nothing you could edit while in service to that employer that would not stink of deception or propaganda. A medium risk might be journalists linking to their own articles or their own newspaper exclusively. Some journalists may have a genuine interest in adding to the available content and quality of information by including their own work as a source or citation. Others may be shamelessly interested in self-promotion. For that, I would say it should be dealt with on a case by case basis. An example of a low-risk contribution would be an employee at a zoo who is contributing scientific information from the zoo's websites about unique animals that they harbor. Yes, the zoo may get some residual benefit from being linked to the informative article, but the main interest is to inform the public, so that's not a problem in my view. Everything should be weighted by how controversial the edits are expected to be. If there is no perceptible controversy (The larvae stage of a butterfly, for example), minimal disclosure is adequate. If the edits are highly controversial (Does oil fracking pollute a community's drinking water?, for example), maximum disclosure should be demanded by wikipedia so that readers can feel that they are receiving good information and aren't being lied to. 21:31, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

The disclosure obligation is to the readership, not the editing community.

I still have several problems with the amendments:

  1. the amendment does nothing to inform the casual reader that the content is paid, casual readers do not generally visit User and Talk pages.
  2. the editor would expose her free works as well as her paid works to the wrath of a portion of the editing community.
  3. the Wikipedia:Sock puppetry guidelines do not afford having an alternate account for such disclosures and segregation of paid vs free content.
  4. the paid relationship is temporary, the amendments will only be followed by upstanding/compliant editors, when the paid relationship is severed, these editors are perfectly free to update the record if they find unacceptable Wikipedia:Corporate Social Responsibility during or after their initial research and engagement.
  5. The payer in this relationship is in most cases already transparent, cataloging and discriminating against those editors who engage in commerce, and who are upstanding enough follow the guidelines, is not warranted.

I want to reiterate that the obligation for disclosure is to the readership, not the editing community, so the amendments completely miss the true target. I still feel that a template, much like the Wikipedia:hilite template, with a nuanced background-color (and expiration date)is a better way to disclose paid content to the readership. Once the content has been patrolled and fact-checked the template could be removed.

NPOV deletions of unflattering content would require a different solution, but the amendments really don't cover that issue either. With that said, competing businesses might have some input on that practice and may tend to have their competition on their watchlists for the purpose of patrolling such eventualities. 009o9 (talk) 03:47, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

No, we have a disclaimer for readership already. In essence, it tells: "do not trust Wikipedia" and rightly so. This disclosure is needed for community. But indeed, if someone terminates their paid editing and removes notice from their user page, that creates problem, because no one will know about paid edits in the past. Probably we need a rule that such notice should not be removed, but replaced by a different notice telling that paid editing was accomplished only during a period of time. My very best wishes (talk) 03:58, 28 February 2014 (UTC)


"Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." – Albert EinsteinTalentScout8 (talk) 16:03, 9 March 2014 (UTC) This has already been happening for a while. Notice the difference between MacDonald's and Wendy's pages or Coca-Cola's page versus Snapple. One page has been able to be edited the other has not, for a while. Whether paid to do so or not, it is still a conflict of interest.

Note: this was moved here from my talk page. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 04:11, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

03:53, 28 February 2014 (UTC)~Hi, I hope this is the correct place to write a comment. In India it has so happened that the free social networking sites and comment pages are flooded with paid posters, this results in campaigning and unfair targeting in gangs of any individuals expressions or free thoughts. As a result many honest individuals have begun avoiding such forums. Had the paid posters revealed their employers, it would have been easier to form an opinion of their posts and most probably we can ignore them as biased posts. I think anybody who is paid to post must reveal the employers details so that we know whether to take them seriously or not. There can be a bold logo which says that this particular contribution is from a paid employee, clicking on the logo can lead to further details of the poster and (compulsorily) his employee. Infact the TV news says there are agencies which hire people to do this job, and the political and/or business men give contracts to these agencies to begin like/hate campaigns. Hence not only the agencyof the paid pster but also the person who in the first place hired the agency should be revealed.Thanks for reading14.97.7.242 04:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)Devraj User:Devraj

Expectations on community members with access to non-public information

Let's take some real scenarios to discuss this question. As an oversighter, I have frequently been asked by editors to remove personal information they'd put on their userpage when they were naïve enough to think it was a safe thing to do, and that information included the name of their employer; they're now receiving harassing phone calls at work. This is usually an accepted reason for at least deletion from the page history, and often will meet the requirements for suppression as well. Will I be expected to verify that the removal of this information does not put the user in violation of the terms of use? Will I be expected to give a warning before deleting or suppressing? More importantly, if it is clear to me that the editor has indeed made edits that might potentially require a disclosure under this provision, am I obligated to refuse to delete or suppress, and tell the editor that because the disclosure is required under the terms of use, that Wikipedia won't do anything to help him mitigate the harassment he's being subjected to?

As a checkuser, if I discover that someone is editing from a specific location, and also that they've made edits that would require a disclosure if they have an affiliation with that location, am I obliged to share that information? Give the editor a warning? Make further inquiries? How is this going to interact with the access to nonpublic information policy, and the privacy policy?

Simply put, this proposal is so broad that I can foresee these issues coming up on at least a weekly basis on enwiki. Risker (talk) 05:29, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Actually, the proposal is very narrow and limited. Editors who make paid edits after the change is passed by the Board (no mention of ex post facto here), must disclose a paid edit in 1 of 3 ways. So you don't have to worry about anything in the past. Going forward, you should be a bit careful about deleting anything that says "I made a paid edit", if it's about an edit made after the proposal passes, then I wouldn't delete it - perhaps the editor can restate the required info, and leave out any non-required info and then you can delete the old info.
But really, is this ever going to come into play? User:XYZ states that he/she made a paid edit on April 15, 2014 for the GHIJ corp, are people really going to call up GHIJ and ask for User:XYZ? A little common sense will go a long way here. Smallbones (talk) 02:24, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I have no idea why you think this is narrow and limited, Smallbones. As I have already noted, I do not see a single editor about whom I know any personal history who has not already fallen afoul of this proposed amendment. And whether or not you think it's written narrowly, there is a very significant portion of the community that will decide to interpret it broadly, and since on Wikipedia the person who pushes the rules the farthest is usually the one whose position prevails, that is the level to which any proposal will have to be written. I have no idea why you think this will not be applied retrospectively on English Wikipedia: are you editing a different project than I am? I can guarantee you that it will be applied retrospectively, because it's already being applied now under the existing conflict of interest guideline. We already see accusations that information has been suppressed from various locations to "protect" COI interests. We already get checkuser requests for editors someone considers to have a COI. We already see swathes of edits removed from the project because of COI allegations; it's one of the primary methods of keeping articles in one's preferred version. Seriously, I really do not understand where you're coming from. These things are already happening. What I have asked here is if the obligations on oversighters and checkusers will change with this. Nothing you have said in your response addresses my point. Risker (talk) 15:57, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
The current rules will still apply, and paid editors will have to disclose paid edits and who paid for it. As an oversighter,you shouldn't delete these (post-passage) disclosures. That's all I can see. Smallbones (talk) 17:15, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
Thank you very much for admitting that you put this proposal above editor safety. I am sure that will be reassuring to every editor that it is no longer a concern of the WMF that editors be able to edit safely without fear of reprisal. Of course, that means that the several months of editor investment in improving the privacy policy is wiped out; the data retention policy will have to be rewritten, because it will now become mandatory for editors to publish personal information about themselves (and I repeat, I cannot see an editor involved in this discussion about whom I know any personal information who would not need to do so); your opinion is that the oversight policy will need to be rewritten; the neutral point of view policy will also have to be rewritten, because all edits will not be treated equally or with primary consideration to its benefit to the project; the founding principles will of course have to be rewritten. I suppose making this list should go elsewhere. Risker (talk) 20:12, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Личная заинтересованность / Vested interest

ИМХО, надо декларировать не только оплачиваемое редактирование, но и заинтересованное редактирование. Участник может не получать оплаты и не работать в организации, но при этом он может быть крайне заинтересован в размещении информации о себе или о своих проектах, цитаты из своих книг и т.д. Здесь речь не идёт о рекламе своих взглядов, а именно в заинтересованности из-за потенциальной возможности монетизировать результат (увеличить продажу своих услуг, продукции, книг и т.п.). Такие участники обычно действуют так же, как и оплаченные редакторы, с теми же целями и последствиями, но при этом они не получают от работодателя или компании прямого вознаграждения за правки, по этому такие действия не будут считаться оплаченным редактированием. Klip game (talk) 13:47, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

"ИМХО"... лӫљ.
6birc (talk) 14:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Here, a human-assisted Google translation... because our friend is making very good points: "IMHO, we have to declare not only paid editing, but also vested-interest editing. A member may not receive payment, and may not work for an organization, but he can have very strong incentives in placing information about himself or his projects, excerpts from his books, etc. Here, we are not talking about advertising his views, but in particular [doing so] with an interest in the potential to monetise the result (to increase the sale of their services, products, books, etc.). These participants are usually the same as paid editors, with the same goals and consequences, but they do not get direct compensation from an employer or a company for their edits, so that such action will not be considered paid editing."
6birc (talk) 14:27, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Deberiamos explicarles mejor a los nuevos usuarios como hecer sus páginas?

Si deberiamos explicarles uya que los nuevos usuarios quizas quieran subir cosas o hacer cosas y no sepan como. Por favor a los administradores hagan una pagina explicatoria.


Gracias, Susan. Ya existen esas páginas, pero puede ser que no enfatizarse lo suficiente todavía. Saludos, --Jan (WMF) (talk) 23:14, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I agree with the proposed change

In the recent political elections in the country I live in paid people where changing the bio pages of other political candidates by the minute and that should not be allowed to happen.

It also hurts the public trust to Wkipedia. 19:13, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Corruption can be perpetrated without money. Big players are skilled in this game. This focus on money is likely to produce a false sense of transparency. False security is worse than no security. (More...)
6birc (talk) 23:33, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Transparency in all information dissemination is essential. Nothing is recorded without context, and people should have the opportunity to evaluate that context with regards to financial considerations. Thank you for your integrity. 16:42, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Trading Edits

Would this new policy regulate the trading of edits? For example, "I'll edit article X if you will edit article Y." Greatpopcorn (talk) 19:27, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

I like your question. It seems it wouldn't.
6birc (talk) 23:38, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Data on COI/paid editing

Has there been any Foundation initiative to collect data on the amount of paid editors on Wikipedia? How many percent of them provide factual and verifiable policy-compliant contributions and manage to integrate successfully into Wikipedia's community, such as CorporateM mentioned above? How many of them simply leave Wikipedia after a while? How many of them became sanctioned or topic-banned or site-banned from the English Wikipedia? What is the net benefit of the contributions paid editors might bring to Wikipedia? What is the net harm? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 19:36, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

'e' Segh-let mI' qay' quantify QaH 'e'-De' lI', je ngoD nIS in order to decision val chenmoH topic je Har jIH. 2607:FB10:2:236:6909:E446:D8BA:3523 21:15, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
There is a report here (if you can read German) and a survey here. CorporateM (talk) 05:36, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
You can also look at all the GLAM projects, which definitely fall into this group; those individuals are all obviously and clearly financially benefitting from editing Wikipedia. On the whole, they integrate very well because they hire experienced Wikipedians who edit within the policies and guidelines of the community, but there have definitely been some exceptions. Whatever happens, should this be passed, it is critical to include GLAM in the coverage of this, as should all the education programs (students gaining benefit of marks, professors/teachers doing it as part of their paid employment). Actually, one of the bigger problems is paid/COI editors who don't understand Wikipedia's rules trying to make corrections to articles and then being blocked or banned; this happens quite frequently on biographical articles. That's because there's no effective means for article subjects to raise a red flag about errors, vandalism, or biased information in their articles. OTRS is sometimes helpful, but it's hard to find, it's not always timely in its responsiveness, and OTRS responders can't make the corrections stick against "the community". Risker (talk) 06:29, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Disclosing paid GLAM-editors who work under pseudonym

I hope my use of English is sufficient to be understood. I was on the Dutch Wikipedia confronted with an editor that worked under pseudonym and turned out to be a paid GLAM-editor. So paid by a project under responsibility of Disclosing this connection between editor Theobald Tiger (pseudo) and an IRL-name of the employee, based on several pages on wikipedia itself in which this connection was clearly made, resulted in a total block of my account (including blocked editing my user-pages) on the Dutch Wikipedia. This block is now indefinitely for as long I refuse to stop disclosing this connection. It is also important to know that the editor in this question was really intimidating to other users under his pseudonym. He wrote things as: “Well I wouldn’t be surprised that you will be thrown into the canal after visiting this wiki-meeting” I intentionally don't use examples of his behavior against myself, and ok I can't translate the whole context; which imho is worse if you consider his behavior in total. He was not blocked for this behavior, earlier he got some one-day-blocks. I'm feeling that I'm a kind of whistle blower that is punished with a block. I was editing on Wikipedia for almost ten years without any block. Inbetween I'm so afraid that I did not have the courage to mention the real name of Theobald Tiger on a Wikimedia page here. I brought this question off wiki because of the importance of it. So I'm feeling that the Wikimedia-organisation itself is not well handling the question of disclosing. On contrary. Thanks for your attention. -- 19:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC) sorry this was my contribution --Joep Zander (talk) 20:01, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Actually, this guy was blocked for slander and cyberbulying and explicitly making the connection after he was requested not to do so. So this story is only half the thruth. Natuur12 (talk) 20:57, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

501(c)(3) fronts

Considering the prevalence of these organizations within obfuscating propaganda networks, I would urge them to be added to the list of criteria comprising "employer, client, and affiliation".-Froglich (talk) 21:13, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Support Fully

Hi I support what you are proposing with this disclosure of paid editing. Why not? I love your collaborative style of gaining feedback...Stick with it. We have enough dictatorship type models of leadership around us everywhere. Thanks for modeling a collaborative approach. I wish you could train the legislature. 00:41, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I'm just chipping in to say that I appreciate this step quite a bit! I do think that paid editing should be kept in Wikipedia (for practical purposes -- who else would edit obscure/unknown pages?) and the only thing that needs to be done with them is that they all have to report that it's a paid edit. Don't need to suppress any significant amount of editing or allow shadowy edits to happen. Good move. Hans.Kariniemi (talk) 23:48, 28 February 2014 (UTC)--21 y/o who likes neutral information

Support fully. Farleyguy (talk) 21:11, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Full support80.101.191.175 23:59, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

YOu are right!!

oMG WE MUST DO THIS! Make people pay so that spammers cant destroy wikipedia lol it annoys me when people say other bands are better than one direction thANK YOUU!U!! - kayla tomlinson

Process for weeding out COI

How about we preemptively block paid editors and then ask them to go through a process of vetting similarly to RFA whereby they are asked a series of questions and then asked to acknowledge that they understand Wikipedia's policies on conflict of interest and paid editing? Then we just assign one of the volunteers to monitor their contributions, or subject them to the PendingChanges extension (kudos to CorporateM for thinking about that idea!) TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 01:08, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I oppose this idea. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia where "anyone can edit", but blocking paid editors breaks this principal. Moreover, this process is also seriously counter-productive - There are a lot of COI editors and we can't question them one by one. Forcing edits to be reviewed via pending changes isn't good either, since this is a WMF-wide move, and as far as I know English Wikipedia is the only wiki that has PC enabled (not counting the test wikis of course), so this will require extensive discussions in other WMF projects. Zhaofeng Li (talk) 05:02, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
@Zhaofeng Li: Yes, you're right, I was mistaken as the discussion was primarily centered on English Wikipedia, which sometimes preemptively blocks names of organizations under Wikipedia:NOSHARE policy. Wikipedia's not the only wiki though, and it's a cruel mistake to think that way. Perhaps this is better left as a proposed policy for individual projects only. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 12:30, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Suggestion: Add a check box: "___ Agent for Another Person or Entity"

  • As someone else noted, plenty of unpaid people have hidden agendas. Examples include political, religious, educational, charitable, and business advocates. The problem is not payment, but hidden advocacy.
  • I am not sure how this would be enforced, as honest people will disclose and dishonest people will not. In deciding what is neutral, even the guardians of neutrality may be influenced by their own views and experiences or biases. 02:26, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

How will the community seek to enforce these new TOS should they be enacted?

To me, this is simply a matter of advantage vs. disadvantage. Here is how I see it:

  • Advantage -- paid editors might be known during edit disputes. I'm on the fence about this one. It would be difficult to assume good faith with someone editing via an agenda based on compensation, even if their edits held merit to some degree.
  • Disadvantages -- Alienating decent editors whose motivations are to preform good edits, despite compensation. Possibly adversely affecting the quantity of active editor; causing fewer to contribute. Adversely affecting corporate donations; lets face it, if we demonize money as a motivating factor for editing, we subsequently diminish incentive for those same 'payers' to donate.

Aside from these points, how does one effectively enforce this rule? I can foresee a problem; an edit war breaks out, one of the editors is editing from work, and the other side has powerful motivation to no longer assume good faith. What do you do, ban them? Ban the company? I think that this proposed TOS suffers from major conceptual rationale flaws. 03:46, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello, we tried to address these questions above in FAQ responses:
I am considering how to address users whose motivation is to provide good edits, despite compensation. It's a difficult distinction to make, but if you have any guidance or thoughts about how to address this point, I am very interested to discuss with you. Thank you for this feedback, and let me know if there are other points we can clarify. Best, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 01:49, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree, do NOT allow paid editors to infect the WIKI site, although they are most certainly here already

It is highly obvious there are some and many wiki page sites that are obviously being sponsored by an organization in an attempt to promote positive Public Relations of a business entity, rather than the truth, or facts of that said business entity.

Personally, I have recently experienced a block to editing as I thnk it has been implied I am one of those being paid to edit, which is completely NOT the case. I will however just patiently wait out my block though and once concluded, will continue the dissemenation of factual Corporate Historical Information detailing incidents which many firms and businesses would rather not have mentioned on their WIKI page.

Truth is important, and for the most part WIKI is reliable because of individuals such as my self. Just wish I knew more about the editing process so I could do more of it! 04:44, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

I like it, but it should go further

I like the idea that editors should declare if they have an association with the subject, whether paid or otherwise. I think all forms of relationship should be covered and that articles should be flagged clearly on the main page if they've been edited by someone with a declared interest, perhaps by check box when editing. That way readers can assess the level of influence that may have on the content based on the subject. On pages for archives and libraries etc it will be obvious to readers that the editing is made in good faith and on other pages, that the association must be one of paid advocacy or something similar. I think that the readers should be given the relevant context, and trusted to assess it as they will.

Leigh 08:30, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

This guy is right. I want to see paid contributors marked in a different color on pages I read. Who the heck is gonna read through 500 citations searching each user page one by one and referencing them back to the beginning? And the editors are more often than not fairly sloppy because they are not professional. Its unrealistic to trust random editors to supply us with this information.
I would not trust wikipedia content any more if paid contributors information is hidden in.
— The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)
You didn't even sign your own post... but you require invasive disclosures from others. (Disclaimer: argumentum ad personam.)
6birc (talk) 13:55, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Everyone

Hi all ... speaking as Chair of the Board of Trustees, I would like to express that the Board supports the work of the Wikimedia Foundation's Legal and Community Advocacy (LCA) Department in launching this consultation process, and we appreciate your time as community members in expressing your various points of views. LCA has worked successfully in community consultations in the past, listening to the community and making changes in response to appropriate feedback. The issue of paid editing and its disclosure has been the subject of Board discussion, and this consultation complements those conversations. The Board has not yet made any decision on the subject of this RFC, but we are happy with the helpful, robust, and diverse discussion within the community on this issue.

We look forward to reading your comments and reviewing the final recommendation. Thanks again for your time and views on this important proposal.

Jan-Bart (talk) 09:56, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

The goal is truth

Wikipedia has the goal of 'crowd sourcing' to gain it's knowledge, ideally the person who is recognised as being the uppermost expert in the field will write the definition of the topic at hand. This is not always the case and often self appointed experts will give their insights, these may or may not be correct. Also often there are errors that are not picked up, such as the claim that Mercedes-Benz makes vehicles, Mercedes-Benz has not produced one vehicle, Mercedes-Benz is a trademark of Daimler AG who have made a lot of vehicles both under their current name and former names. I am not an employee of Daimler but like some of their products and have an interest in correct information, would it be a bad thing if Daimler tasked one of their employees with maintaining the accuracy of information relating to their company? It looks like they have not, as the employee would perhaps like to note that his/her pay slip does not say Mercedes-Benz on the top but rather says Daimler AG. I see no problem with someone who is paid by a company writing about that company, as long as the information is correct, as that is the end goal. For instance an employee of Coca-Cola may say that Coca-Cola is the worlds most popular cola drink but should not say that Coca-Cola is the worlds best cola drink, as the claim of popularity can be backed up by facts but the claim to be the best is subjective and could be seen as promotional. Another example could be that the chief researcher at Pfitzer may well be worlds foremost expert on Viagra, should he/she be excluded from editing information regarding viagra? If he/she uses wikipedia as a promotional tool to discredit other erectile dysfunction drugs, then yes.

Some good points that are worth a reply. Also a minor correction.
Crowd sourcing doesn't mean that we seek the one person who is ideally an expert. Not least, experts can have just one view, or be fanatical or biased, or be unfairly dismissive of other views, or have reputation, prestige or employer or peer pressures, or have other conflicts of interest. Example - I'm the chief chemist who developed a drug and sure I know a huge amount, I'm the "world expert"... will I be neutral about its possible negative interactions that I minimized and didn't fully disclose when we asked for drug approval, or which undermine my employer's marketing, or harm my job prospects or professional reputation? I own company X and invented product X, but I have stockholders and investors to keep happy in a difficult market?
What it means is that ideally, we don't rely on One True Spokesperson, we consider all sources, and allow anyone to put forward evidence that something is poorly written or missing and can be better covered. We see how all the different sources and viewpoints cover each topic and try to represent those together, in the article, so that a reader can understand the sense of how those engaged in varying sides of a topic - be it a drug, a company, a political matter, or the next car by Daimler - see the topic, and its key points.
So yes, we welcome insight and attention from the companies and manufacturers concerned. We welcome them, they (often) want us [as our pages are well read], so there is a mutual benefit. But we're wary, it's a double edge sword. They want us for our ability to represent them in a specific way and style, and that isn't a point we can negotiate on. So the question is, how do you try to arrange it so that we can get the input from people like you mention, who want to add truly valuable information - and yet make it less easy or less likely that they might use us in an unacceptable way. We already aim to achieve this in many ways, through existing policies, so we have a part answer (the article on Microsoft is not a Microsoft PR department writing, for example). But it's not a final answer, since it's a constantly evolving question. So this proposal is one small incremental step in an evolving answer. FT2 (Talk | email) 11:26, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

OP reply:

WP uses the age old method of peer review to ensure the accuracy of articles. It choose to use the format whereby anyone can edit an article, it does not 'lock' articles when it thinks nothing can be added. So if the foremost expert in the field writes on a subject, others can edit it, provided evidence to back up their changes are provided. WP aims to provide factual information, not hearsay, rumours, half-truths and the like. It is sometimes difficult to ascertain the reliability of information, as insider knowledge is required, such as development of drugs. A large chemical company may well try to hide some information but I cannot see how this proposal will change anything. As it relies on the person to be honest and declare their interest.

Even the notion that people should have to register with WP before being able to contribute won't work, as it is easy enough to have aliases. I think the current system, although perhaps not perfect, is as good as it is going to get, considering the basis of WP. Once you start to enforce rules as to who can contribute towards WP, you start to erode the foundation/basic principles of WP.

I feel it would be better that perhaps making the rules stricter in regard to quoting sources. For instance the claim that the Mercedes-Benz G wagen is the longest produced model by Daimler is a little dubious [[4]] The reference used for that claim is an article on the net [[5]] that is quite shaky as the basis for the claim, who wrote that article and what qualifications does the author have to make that claim? I have placed an edit on there stating that I believe the UNIMOG [[6]] to be the longest production model, I do not have any substantial evidence to back this up, thus I have not changed the article and am allowing others to peer review my claim. When I find a substantial reference, such as an article by a noted vehicle historian, then I feel that I can change the article on the G-Wagen and amend the article on the UNIMOG to reflect this 'new' knowledge. Which is actually not new but rather revised knowledge.

That leads to another thought, would it be possible to change WP so that any edits to an existing article are subject to a cooling off period, with both the original and revised article being on display for a period of time and if no objections are made in that time, the article automatically changes to the revised version. That way no one is able to just change things with a few keystrokes.

Traduction française ambiguë

texte origine dans la première phrase : "afin de traiter les situations futures de révisions rémunérées non divulguées"

1) Dans la première phrase - ci dessus - le terme "rémunérées" est trop restrictif et introduit de fait une ambiguïté ; en effet comment traiter une publicté masquée ? ; il faudrait introduire la notion de "conflit d'intérêt" ou le terme "intéressé". 2) la traduction peu claire, pourrait être remplacée par  : "afin de ne pas divulguer ou de divulguer et dans quelles conditions, les articles ayant un caractère d'intéressement."

Thanks. A number of people are making that argument. For me, it is finding a compromise solution, since community policies already address conflict of interest issues in general. The argument for this proposed amendment is that, as a general basis, payment of money threatens NPOV more likely than other kinds of edits, though many don't agree with that, I understand. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:33, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Ich bin dafür, daß bezahlte Beiträge jeweils bei den Beiträgen direkt gekennzeichnet werden, nicht irgendwo, wo man danach suchen muß. Im übrigen ist es kompliziert gewesen, dieses Feld für Kommentare überhaupt zu finden. Unklarheiten der Formulierung der neuen Bestimmung: "Falschangaben zu Mitgliedschaft oder Zugehörigkeit" - welche Mitgliedschaft ist gemeint? Hier muß klar gesagt werden, um WELCHE Mitgliedschaft es sich handelt. Nutzer von Wikipedia kennen schließlich die Struktur der Organisation kaum. "Nutzer" sind für mich übrigens solche Menschen, wie ich, welche nach Beiträgen suchen, nicht die, welche sie verfassen.

(Tilde? Habe ich nicht auf meiner Tastatur!)

This is a fair point about the meaning of "affiliation." We have worked on that issue, but, in the end after many formulations, we felt that the term was necessary, though not defined with complete certainty. To the extent we need clarity we can rely on FAQs to better define the term based on practical examples as they come to our attention. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:33, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Comments left at top

Some comments were left a bit randomly at the top of this discussion. To avoid confusion at the introduction for other participants, I have put them here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 12:15, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Not sure where comments are supposed to go as it's not made clear, but I am in favour of this proposal. 10:59, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Anyone else having issues with posting their comments? Wikipedia wants our comments but the site has no facility to accept them! 11:00, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

The same here....WMF certainly doesn't make it easy for the public to actually post their comments! Anyway, for what it's worth, I'll post my comment right here: I haven't actually had occasion to check the terms of use in WMF before, but I'm surprised that such a provision of disclosure is only being considered as an amendment now! That probably explains the highly biased biographies of people that I've sometimes come across on Wikipedia. I tried to find out who had written or edited the article but came up with no information. I shall watch closely for the results of this proposal, and if it is not passed I should really stop using any website affiliated with the WMF and warn my friends as well. 12:06, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Major Privacy Concern: With This Amendment, Will all Wikipedians Be Required to Disclose or Employers?

After reading through the Proposed Amendment and the FAQs there. I saw in there that we will have to disclose the company we all work for even if we getting paid to do our normal jobs with them. The vagueness of the Amendment as it's currently written states "To ensure compliance with these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution to any Wikimedia Projects for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation."

While I do receive compensation from my employers for my normal work as everyone who works a job does, I don't get paid to make edits to Wikipedia or any of the Wikimedia Projects. If anything I removed false uncited statements or correct factual errors after using Google to verify if those are errors and false statements and cite them with those sources of course. I don't get or expect any compensation for those edits. I also watch to make sure I don't violate the NPOV polices either so I edit very carefully, limiting those edits to those fact checking edits.

If anything being required to disclose our employers even if we don't get compensation is a bad idea. It could lead to ill effects by our employers, not limited to getting terminated by them, which is why I consider this a major privacy concern. Sawblade5 (talk) 14:35, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi Sawblade5 - The proposed amendment would not require you to disclose if you are not being paid to make the edits. We try to address this in this proposed FAQ (where you should feel free to leave comments). Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:25, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Sawblade5, you would be required to disclose if you make edits that relate in some way to your employment and could be considered to have benefited you. Geoff, please be forthright here, and avoid double negatives; the FAQ is how the WMF fantasizes that a perfect and loving community might interpret this policy, and it doesn't apply to the huge percentage of Wikimedians who work outside of the teaching and GLAM industries. Risker (talk) 15:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

not in favor of undisclosed contributions to Wikipedia on specific subjects

I am not in favor of undisclosed contributions to Wikipedia on specific subjects. Someone may have a financial interest in seeing a subject talked about in a certain way. I like having the source of the contributions disclosed. That is like the political system of the U.S. When donating to politics, the source of the donation must be disclosed.

Oh, sure. People are constantly trying to subvert the law, but it is as good as we can get it without inhibiting peoples' free speech rights.

— The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk)

How about disclosing the author and the date of your own post?
We add signatures by writing: ~~~~.
6birc (talk) 14:11, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

here's a suggestion

Whenever a page is edited/added, the source should be added i.e. the person's qualification in that matter. This way, you know the validity and trust in the information that you are receiving.

Nobody should be required to pay to improve the world's knowledge. Does a teacher need to pay you to improve your knowledge? nope....

I disagree. The reliability of s statement in Wikipedia comes from refererring to reliable sources, not from the "qualification" (however you want to determine that) of the person who put it in Wikipedia. See en:Wikipedia:INTREF or de:wp:q. --Wilhelm-Conrad (talk) 19:54, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Disclosure policy is needed to to expose, e.g., the blatant paid advertising of tobacco products

The Tobacco_smoking article (unlinkable, though it exists: )

is an example of one tobacco-related article chronically rewritten as ad copy for tobacco use, with the devastating health effects repeatedly moved to an inconspicuous section near the bottom or consigned to a separate article (and so made even more inconspicuous by requiring a click-through).

Volunteer editors who don't have 40 hours to devote each week can't keep up with the paid tobacco flacks for smoking, vaporizing, chewing, nicotine products to "cure" nicotine addiction, as well as repeated deletion of mention of the financial costs to the users (tobacco isn't free) and the lucrative profits of the companies selling tobacco to "loyal" users.

Paid promoters of a particular product should be required to sign their posts as "Username for Employername", e.g.,

"RebelliousSmoker, paid product promoter for Phillip Morris Tobacco"
Thanks for your observation. I would like to hear more about the impact that paid advocacy editing has on our administrators, Checkusers, etc. Some have suggested that it is not that great, but, from what I have heard for some time, it takes up a lot of volunteer time. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:20, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Apoio que se identifique os editores ligados de alguma forma ao assunto.

Eu concordo firmemente que a pessoa que edita o conteúdo se identifique. Se ela tem algum vínculo ou ligação com a empresa, assunto, causa, governo, pessoa, etc, ela terá motivos para esconder, tendenciar ou manipular conteúdo, mesmo que diga o contrário. Mesmo que diga que suas opiniões não refletem as da empresa ou pessoa à qual está ligada. Em nome de interesses do capital, as pessoas mentem, simulam, escondem e manipulam. Conheço um antigo ditado que dizia "o papel aceita tudo", referindo-se a coisas escritas que por alguém, e dependendo da ingenuidade da pessoa que lê em questionar a informação, se tornavam verdades, embora fossem inverdades. Hoje podemos dizer o mesmo da internet e seus infinitos sites, grupos, blogues, páginas e afins: "a internet aceita tudo". Queremos que Wikipédia seja um local imparcial e sério, e para isso a identificação do editor é fundamental para análise do conteúdo publicado. Se alguém tem alguma forma de ligação com a informação, logo temos que procurar outras fontes além da Wikipédia para termos uma opinião formada de outros pontos de vista. Se o editor não se identifica compromete-se a seriedade e a veracidade da informação divulgada na Wikipédia. Depois que cair no descrédito popular, a frase "A Wikipédia não pode ser levada a sério como fonte de informação", que já ouvi de muitas pessoas, fará cada vez mais sentido.

Ewaldo Ewaldo101 (talk) 20:39, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Thank you for your thoughts. I really want to encourage viewpoints in all languages. On the legal team, we speak about 6 languages fluently, and Google Translate also helps. So translation is rarely a problem. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:17, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Free Wikipedia is more important than money

I fully agree, that rules should stay as simple as possible and contributing and editing should stay without direct money influence. neutrality is most important.

However, you should offer more ways for donation, for example bitcoins are perfect way. There is nothing wrong for this way of donation.

Regards --Magy357 (talk) 20:54, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Maturity and responsibility

Now that WP has become a mature source for large numbers of readers, we have to act more responsible compared to the time when it was more an enthusiast project. I believe this amendment makes sense because it reminds all users of the original attitude behind the project, and the one that made it succesful. --Edoe (talk) 00:14, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Actually, there was no intention the Founding principles to prevent editors who may receive some sort of personal benefit from editing Wikipedia, even anonymously. (From the Founding principles, #2: "The ability of almost anyone to edit (most) articles without registration.") IP editors cannot put these notices on their pages, because most IPs in 2014 are dynamic to some extent. This would require that anyone who could potentially benefit personally in some way must register an account, at minimum. Risker (talk) 06:39, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
"Not preventing" paid authors does not mean they are invited, "original attitude" prevails - and that was committment to present unbiased, neutral information. This is what made WP a success. <br\>Secondly, anonymous editing is not hindered by the amendment, as one can hint on his affiliation "in the edit summary" or "on the [article] talk page". So registration will still not be neccessary. --Edoe (talk) 21:45, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Suggest a slight change to the opening sentence

What you think about adding a second sentence, so the proposed amendment starts something like the following: "These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. They also require full disclosure of an affiliation that might present the appearance of a conflict of interest in any edits."

Also, what do you think about adding something like the following to the FAQs:

Do I need to disclose food provided at an edit-a-thon? Were you expected make certain kinds of edits to specific article or to edit a certain way that would presumably benefit the individual or organization that provided the food? If you were encouraged to edit something without any implications about which articles to edit and how they might be edited, then no disclosure is required. If you regularly attend and edit at events sponsored by a business or a political organization, and you are expected to make edits consistent with their business or political objectives, then that should be disclosed.

Must I disclose my affiliation for edits I make in my free time? Does your employer expect you to make certain edits in your 'free time' as a condition of employment? Alternatively, are you trying to curry favor with your management by making edits in your free time that you think they will like? If yes, then disclosure is required. (In such cases, there is a problem with interpretation of 'free time'!) If you make the edits under an assumed name and don't advertise to your management what you are doing, then disclosure is not required. If you ask your management what changes to Wikipedia they would like to see, then you also need to tell them that you are required to disclose your affiliation if you make any edits they request.


  1. I believe the thrust of this amendment is to officially require transparency without discouraging people from contributing in ways consistent with Wikipedia policies such as w:Wikipedia:Neutral point of view. Accepting free lunch at an edit-a-thon once or twice a year should only require disclosure if you are expected to make edits others have already prepared for you -- essentially trying to meet the letter but not the spirit of the TOU. As a purely hypothetical, I would welcome the w:Jewish Defense League and the w:Palestine Liberation Organization trying to edit each others articles following Wikipedia policies such as w:Wikipedia:Neutral point of view and w:Wikipedia:Assume good faith. If they are honestly citing sources and seeking common ground, that could contribute to resolving the conflicts between them. If each side knows it's correct and the other is criminal, then we have problems that can't be fixed by simple disclosure of who paid for the sandwich. This is my response to a comment by User:Smallbones above.
  2. In practice, I'd be surprised if many people employed by w:Public relations companies to polish their clients' images will abide by these rules. Still, I think it's worth having them, because it makes it easier to block them when their edits are so egregious they get caught.
  3. For employees of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) who pay their employees to edit Wikipedia, I would think they would want the public to know that they are doing that. That would hold also for some organization like a health care facility that might want to refer their clients to Wikipedia for certain information.
  4. An organization that would not want the public to know that they are paying for edits is probably hoping to pay for deception. They may not disclose their affiliations unless forced to.

DavidMCEddy (talk) 00:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi DavidMCEddy - Thank you for your thoughtful comments. FYI, we are trying to address some of these issues here in this proposed FAQ - though I think it does not cover as much as you propose. I will be interested in your thoughts. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:14, 2 March 2014 (UTC)


Cool I like that.

unpaid students

i just want to know if I creat a page or edit a page for my school just for fun, do I have to write anything on my page?Spider4731 (talk) 02:00, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

No, this proposed rule only covers you if you are paid. You should still be mindful of WP:Neutrality and other policies, though! If you have any questions, you can leave comments on the article's talk page, and other Wikipedians may help you out. Thanks, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 17:37, 5 March 2014 (UTC)


If we have to pay what we already edited, there are thousands of pages across wikipedia in several languages. For instance my edit area (id.wikipedia) has a tremendous amount of things to edit. I don't want to pay even for a small edit, editors like me are voluteers not a wallet. — The preceding unsigned comment was added by Rayton89 (talk) 03:52, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

You absolutely do not have to pay to edit Wikipedia. But if a company (or others) pay somebody to edit, the paid editor must disclose that he made a paid edit and who paid him. It's a completely different thing. Don't worry! Free is better Smallbones (talk) 04:05, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
To clarify Smallbones' statement: if accepted, this proposal would require a disclosure if someone receives any kind of benefit from the edits. Risker (talk) 06:33, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
@Risker, are you sure your "any kind of benefit" test is correct? For example, if a contributor is basing their career on being skilled in new technology/platform/framework "X" they would expect to benefit by boosting X on Wikipedia, even if they aren't paid by X's makers. Do you think these new Terms of Use would (or should) cover that case? - Pointillist (talk) 09:48, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Pointillist, the proposal explicitly includes any edits "for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation", which I would interpret as "if you edit an article with the expectation that it will help you in gaining employment with the article's subject, you must disclose". This proposal is a no-go on the whole from my perspective - it's PR theatre that won't actually have any real effect on the "bad players" who are the hypothetical target but it sure looks good on a press release, and at the same time they put ethical Wikimedians in an untenable position - but the statement is consistent with the rest of the proposal. I think the bigger problem is how many Wikimedians actively seek positions with the WMF, chapters or thematic organizations (not to mention GLAMs), so every edit or other action they take is something they are using to build their reputation for that job application. And no, I don't see any difference whether the targeted employer is the WMF or the ABC Corporation. Risker (talk) 19:07, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for replying so promptly, @Risker. I'm impressed by the ambition of "expect to receive", though it would be even more comprehensive if the wording were "receive, or expect to receive, any benefit". With terms of use like those we'd be able to eliminate vast swathes of mostly-primary-sourced technology articles (a good thing IMO) but at the risk of losing experts in other subjects whose edits are almost entirely unbiased and rigorously sourced. This is a really difficult choice. I know what you mean about people sucking up to the Foundation, but the WMF has to do something to maintain momentum. They're sitting on piles of cash far greater than they need to keep the servers going – ostensibly the reason they solicit funds – but the project could collapse anyway. If wikipedia gets a reputation for covert paid editing they won't be able to attract future editors or cash. That's not a risk the trustees should ignore. It seems to me that however much we may suspect the motives of the WMF, if they are stuck between a rock and a hard place we should try to help where we can. - Pointillist (talk) 22:22, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Well, Pointillist, we could encourage them to stay true to the founding principles, and to get PR people who know how to make lemonade (the Communications Department has been understaffed since this whole thing started). That, yes, some people edit with a biased point of view, but that is exactly the problem that crowdsourcing is designed to rectify. That sometimes we aren't as responsive to article subjects as we would like to be, and that we're constantly trying to find new and better ways to do that. That we're trying to make it easier for the uninitiated to edit and improve Wikipedia and otherwise participate and alert our various projects to problems with articles. That individual projects consider carefully how they wish to address editors who are employed by article subjects, and have come up with different methods that best suit their own needs. If they want to go negative, they can point out that we have a multi-year backlog of copyright violation investigations going, to which the effect of WikiPR pales in comparison. I hate to say it, but Wikimedia and Wikipedia are becoming grumpy old people yelling "get off my lawn" here. And for those who have met me, the mental image of *me* saying the community (average age: I'm old enough to be their mother) are acting like cranky seniors is probably pretty funny. Risker (talk) 00:59, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Comments copied from FWF

Copied from Special:Diff/7692818. PiRSquared17 (talk) 05:13, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I have never, nor expect to ever, contribute to or edit any Wikipedia page/material. Nonetheless, I refer to you frequently and am glad you exist. I only want to say that YES, in my opinion, ANY [paid] WIKIPEDIA WRITER AND/OR EDITOR ABSOLUTELY MUST reveal any/all professional and/or commercial connections s/he may have that are at all pertinent to the information/editing provided. If the "information" provided by Wikipedia is in fact a [paid] contribution from say the Flat Earth Society, or the White Aryan Resistance--I as a Wikipedia user, jolly well want to know the source of the "information" I am reading.

--Yes; my examples are silly and obvious--but you get my point: IF someone is being paid--whatever construct one may put on that word--to say certain words, present a particular take/slant on a topic--OF COURSE I the intellectually neutral reader, want to and should be able to know about that [paid] point of view. --Most people will "say" damn near anything, if paid, hired, or whatever, to do so.

--humble user, Jill — The preceding unsigned comment was added by 2602:306:BDF7:400:699D:558A:3FEE:AFD (talk)

(not copied from FWF:)
Your examples show that the proposed amandment is not the solution:
It would only cover paid edits by flat earthers, but if they edit without getting paid, their affiliation would not be revealed. And I assume many people that strongly hold a specific Point Of View would make edits in favor of it without getting paid for that.
And if somebody would edit Wikipedia to say the earth is flat, he would have to give reliable sources as references, and if he does not give them the edit should be reverted. It does not matter whether or not he is a member of the Flat Earth Society, a creationist group, the local Elvis Presley fan club, staff of a publishing house or faculty of a university. --Wilhelm-Conrad (talk) 10:34, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Strongly Agree -- paid editors and edits must be disclosed

Wikipedia has been my primary go-to for almost all web-search results going on 2 years now. I don't always stop there when looking for information, but trust it implicitly to at least get me going in the right direction. The pitfalls of web searching is that sometimes you have to know the right keywords or you just go in circles. I believe Wikipedia recognizes this and even in cases where the article doesn't completely fill my needs, it provides a valuable launch point to intelligent use of the WWW on the topic. I'd hate to think that someone with an agenda is purposely mis-directing me to materials that don't serve me well, let alone providing false or misleading information directly in the WP article. 05:20, 2 March 2014 (UTC) Eric Mayer

It seems that everything that starts out with a noble motive must be commercialized and corrupted by those whose own motives are for personal gain alone; that the ancient term "Caveat Emptor" is becoming the sole 'way to do business' in the U. S. It would be one glorious victory among the legions of defeats if Wiki is able to stop those attempting to twist Wiki to their own selfish ends.2601:1:8100:400:BCC8:F5F1:EF0B:6475 23:18, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

What to ask to disclose: paid contributions or COI?

There are a lot of cases when people edit Wikipedia at work time. Not all of them involve conflict of interest. (A biology researcher may edit Wikipedia to write about favourite topics his research has no direct relationship with, for example). To reflect on this thought, I would like to propose these changes:

Terms of usePaid contributionsConflict of interest amendment
Paid contributions Conflict of interest without disclosure
These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To ensure compliance with these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution to any Wikimedia Projects for which you have a conflict of interest, included but not limited to:
  • you represent the article subject, such as an employee or as a (potentially unpaid) volunteer
  • you have a close relationship with the article subject (remove this line?)
  • you receive, or expect to receive, compensation.
You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:
  • a statement on your user page,
  • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions details of conflict of interest, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions details of conflict of interest.
Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure. For more information, please read our background note on disclosure of paid cotributions.

Gryllida 05:26, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I strongly support this change. Not all COI edits are paid for, but they all hurt the neutrality of Wikipedia (and other WMF projects) to some extent. And I'd suggest changing all occurrences of "paid contributions" to "details of conflict of interest" in the ways of disclosure part:
You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:
  • a statement on your user page,
  • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions details of conflict of interest, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions details of conflict of interest.
Zhaofeng Li (talk) 05:43, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Added your changes in, thank you. Gryllida 09:55, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Expanding this to WP:COI would be highly problematic. Consider someone who is a Biology researcher (example above) and writes about something directly related to his own research, meaning something he really knows about. According to WP:COI, "when advancing outside interests is more important to an editor than advancing the aims of Wikipedia, that editor stands in a conflict of interest.". Right. He can reasonably argue that all he only promotes scientific knowledge, and he does not edit to promote his own interests (and I can easily believe this; I personally damaged my scientific career by wasting my time here), hence there is no any conflict of interest. Now, speaking about "close relationship", what is it? Drinking tea with the "subject"? Liking his research? Personal affection? My very best wishes (talk) 06:46, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
    • Promoting knowledge and COI two aren't mutually exclusive, so the researcher should disclose COI if he writes about own research.
The close relationship thing is vague, I marked that line as one worth removal. Gryllida 09:58, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
I really appreciate this effort to find better language. I am open to all thoughts on this. I do hear the concerns expressed by many about true harassment, so I think we need a solution that is sensitive to that consideration as much as possible, so I'm really open to ideas on how to minimize harassment with a proposed amendment like the one proposed. I hear that the focus should be on the edit, not the editor, but I also hear that our administrators have had serious difficulties with paid advocacy editing. I also hear loudly that paid advocacy editing is a concern to many, so that cannot be ignored. It is an interesting challenge. If we were to think of alternatives, we could narrow the scope of the amendment (like the rough draft below), but I'm not sure that is the right approach or solves the issue. It also may be too selective for many. Needless to say, I will be reading this discussion closely for ideas.
Paid contributions without disclosure
These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To ensure compliance with these obligations, if you are making an edit or upload to a Wikimedia Project for compensation on behalf of an employer, client or other affiliation about them, their commercial product, or their commercial services, you must make that disclosure in the edit summary accompanying the edit or upload.
Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure. For more information, please read our background note on disclosure of paid contributions.

Geoffbrigham (talk) 12:51, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

@Geoffbrigham. I think your new version is good, although I am not certain if this is really an improvement (either version is fine). @Gryllida. I mostly agree; it certainly would not hurt if a researcher places a disclaimer about their area of study, so everyone concerned could look at their contributions for consistency with "five pillars". What had actually happened when I edited in the area related to my research? Several contributors, who are familiar with the subject, quickly checked my contributions. The result? Not only none of them had any objections, but some of them even asked me for help, and I helped them as time allowed. However, speaking about WP:COI in general, this policy tells very clearly and quite correctly: "when advancing outside interests is more important to an editor than advancing the aims of Wikipedia". I believe that was never the case for myself. Yes, every time when I write something about a living person (and follow BLP and other policies!), one can reasonably argue that I "advance their outside interest". But as long as my writings serve the purpose of improving encyclopedia (meaning their or my own interests are not more important than interests of creating the encyclopedia), there is no COI - per policy. Same with anything related to science, I believe. My very best wishes (talk) 23:51, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
P.S. Needless to say, I am just a regular volunteer, a biophysicist, no one asked me to edit here; I do not have "political connections", and I did not receive any compensations for contributing to WP. I received outing and harassment by a group of like-minded editors, personal attacks on off-wiki hate site in connection with the same editors, someone stealing private emails and placing them to Wikileaks in connection with same editors, someone editing from a building next to my work to report me as a "sockpuppeteer" [7], and other things like that. This has nothing to do with my COI, but reveals organization(s) that conduct information war on the internet, including WP. All my trouble started when I created this page. Since then, it was frequented by many [8]. My very best wishes (talk) 20:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

The appropriate phrase I believe is something like "direct financial connection with the subject being edited"

  • Direct: To avoid stuff like saying the owner of an electronics store must disclose before editing articles about electronics, because they have a distant, tangential financial relationship
  • Financial connection: This is the term used by the FTC and it's a good one. Most marketing professionals are not actually "paid" to edit Wikipedia (or at least they don't feel they are) and they don't understand the term "paid editing" (think marketing intern doing what their boss tells them to do - it's not like their boss will literally hand them $20 extra after the article is posted).
  • With the subject being edited: This addresses some of the concerns previously about editors that may be funded, but do not actually have a COI if they are not editing articles about the organization or person that is funding their edits.

Sincerely a frequently paid editor clearly breaching my prior claim to abstaining. CorporateM (talk) 05:49, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Disclosure of Paid Editing is VITAL


No Hidden Agendas, Keep Information Accurate & Reasonably Objective. No one should have a problem with a disclosure of this type, unless they DO have "ulterior motives" when making changes in Wikipedia Projects and Info.

Derek Mogambo' 07:33, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

aThis is a seperate person from the commenter up there, and I think that this is a good idea. My question is, how will you go about paying these people? How much money per edit? Will there be a daily limit? And will the donations recieved be enough to pay everyone?


Like a lo of game Nations are a very important factor for a game, i think you guys should do more than one nation for this great game, something like, normally in most of the games, humans, aliens(be creative) and others. You get the point

Confounding aspects

Ulterior motives for editing/creating articles are not always rooted in financial gain. Many articles are adulterated to re-frame controversial topics/figures in a more appealing tone. This may constitute propaganda or a reinvention of the spam wheel via planting contrived wiki-PR (public relations) seeds as a marketing scheme. It seems wise to limit as many of these variables as the organization can in order to protect the integrity of Wikipedia as a whole. - Airgeadais (talk) 08:06, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I think there are many aspects to open editing that must be addressed, but this one is the clearest problem and the most obvious threat at the moment, it is a great place to start. 14:58, 2 March 2014 (UTC)


Und was ist mit dem Problem der politischen Überzeugungstäter, die Artikel immer wieder diesen festgefügten Überzeugungen anpassen, ohne Rücksicht auf Tatsachen? Hat die community dafür eine Lösung bereit? Früherer Beiträger ulula

I hear you on political influence, but I think that would have to be covered by local conflict of interest policies. The proposed amendment is to address an area where NPOV may be at greater risk - with compensation. (I acknowledge, however, that many people disagree with that view however.) Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:05, 2 March 2014 (UTC)


Interesting read. Thanks. I like some of the ideas, though I'm still thinking about it. If this were the right approach it would take time to put in place. In that case, maybe the TOU amendment is only an interim solution. In the end, I think that will depend on what the community wants. Thanks for the reference. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:01, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Edits by School/Tertiary Insto Students and adherents to religions.

A lot of articles on schools look as tho' they have been written by students who have been set the editing of the article as a project. Likewise I often see articles eg. on towns and localities that look as though they have been edited as part of a group project set by a teacher/lecturer. This should also be disclosed.

Whilst we are at it adherents of religions should disclose this if they edit articles relating to their religion and its beliefs. This constraint should probably be applied to members of political orgs who edit articles relating to the organisation. Silent Billy (talk) 11:35, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Commercial donation and commercial reuse

If Wikipedia allows reuse of its content in all manners and forms with the minimum being only attribution (CC-BY-SA covers both commercial and derivative usage which is contrasted with CC-BY-NC-ND and the like), why does Wikipedia disallow donations to its content, i.e. us editors, only if they come from a noncommercial source? Just curious as a thought experiment: commercial stuff goes in, and commercial stuff comes out. What would happen then? TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 12:36, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Apples and oranges is my first reaction, but I see your point.  :) TeleComNasSprVen, I don't think you will l like this idea much better, but I wonder if any of your concerns would be addressed by a more narrow drafting of the proposed amendment. A really rough version is set out below, and, if people saw interest, I would want to wordsmith a bit more. I'm definitely hearing some of your arguments and would like to find ways to mitigate some of them if possible. See one possible approach here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 16:04, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
@Geoffbrigham, I just noticed your link says "edit or upload". Is there really a concern about having media files uploaded to commons by paid/professional editors? I would have thought we want to encourage commercial rights-holders to release images for re-use, rather than the opposite. - Pointillist (talk) 16:48, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I'm open for discussion on this. Would you only say "edit"? I'm thinking we may wish to narrow the scope a bit in other ways, in light of the consultation, and this may make sense as well. See here. I would be interested in your thoughts, Pointillist. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 17:04, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I haven't read everything about COI and uploads, but I don't recall any historical concern about media being uploaded by people who work for the uploader. I'm not a professional photographer or illustrator (far from it!) but I know that we do benefit from skilful freelancers who release some of their images on commons. If they are working for themselves when they do their uploads, do we really want insist that they out" their real identity? I'm not saying that your "or upload" is necessarily wrong, just that we should be careful about casting the net more widely than is good for the project. - Pointillist (talk) 18:07, 3 March 2014 (UTC)


/* Oppose */

I believe you are attacking a symptom rather than the problem. I believe the problem is the inability to catch bad editors paid or unpaid and going after compensated editors will not solve the problem. I would prefer a more self regulated method. I would like to see:

1. A check off list that does not identify the editor (you can work out the exact questions) A. Are you editing only for spelling and punctuation? B. Do you work in this field? etc. and lastly - Why are you qualified to make this edit? It is true that not all would answer honestly but probably most would. Until it was filled out the edit could not be completed.

2. Have an button at the end of the edit that when clicked would highlight what was changed in the edit. This button would also bring up the check off list for me to consider.

3. A back button so I could see what was written that this person believed needed to be edited. I could then go back through the edits if there are more than one to the first posting. From the check off lists and the history of postings I may be able to determine if the posting is correct, It is not certain or even probable that I would possess enough knowledge fix an error but I might suspect there is something wrong about it without knowing enough to correct it myself.

4. A flag button so if I suspect and error I can mark it and maybe label its importance. It would be sent to someone who checks for correctness of postings. If several flags turn up that would say something too.

This would get everyone looking for bad content. No one would be singled out or identified any more than they are with the present rules. The current rules would stay in force which should be sufficient once violators are identified.

I believe it is wrong to single out one group of people and call them the problem. It sounds like prejudice when you single out a group based on one trait, being paid to review or write something in WP because they might slant their post. Who is to be next in the you must identify yourself list? Blacks? Women? Poor people? Native Americans? Sex workers? Democrats? Republicans? All because they might express a slanted view on certain topics.

Go after bad content, not groups.


— The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 09:25, 2 March 2014 (UTC)
Moved here from [9] by Michaeldsuarez, 13:21, 2 March 2014.

I only read the first line: "I believe you are attacking a symptom rather than the problem." And the last line: "Go after bad content, not groups." And I already love it! Going to read the whole shortly.
6birc (talk) 16:34, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Completamente de acuerdo

Todas las personas que de alguna u otra forma están colaborando en Wikipedia, deben informar para quién están trabajando o a favor de qué organización y el tipo de beneficio (pago, donación, sueldo, etc.) están recibiendo por efecto de esos artículos.

Muchas organizaciones crean un falso apoyo a ciertas causas debido a estos dineros que reciben directa o indirectamente por diversas organizaciones.

Crean un gran diversidad de artículos y conceptos incluso inventados para apoyar esas ideas que en muchos casos son contrarios a cualquier sana lógica.

Entonces es necesario conocer si esta "colaboración" ha estado influenciada por grupos con capitales que en muchos casos arman reingeniería social con propósitos poco claros y nada loables.

El usuario necesita saber cuál fue el origen de esa información, no solo una referencia bibliográfica, sino el dinero que estuvo detrás para crear esa "referencia" que le da a muchos conceptos un tinte de verdad y de legitimidad.

Thanks for your comment, which I was able to read through Google translate. Much appreciate your participation. Geoffbrigham (talk) 15:57, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

I would like to support those who ask for paid contributors to be identified by article.

1) The individual should be identified plus 2)the body he or she is working for and 3)the person/outfit actually paying for the work.

It is not enough that paid contributors should be simply identified on their user pages.

I cannot speak for other parts of the world but my proposal would address some abuses originating in Europe.

A) The European Union and its various satrapies clearly edit anything to do with them to the point of banality or untruth.

- Euronews for example claimed for many years to be a public service broadcaster along the lines of the BBC.

Criticisms that it was over influenced (to put it mildly) by its major funder - the EU commission - were edited out.

B) PR companies edit Wikipedia as part of their efforts to improve the image of various unsavory characters and regimes. So here the need for individual to be identified, together with the middle man PR company and the ultimate payer is clear.

Personally I have no real problem with paid contributions provided those conditions are met.

I am a beleiver in a market based system and a market place of ideas. But I also support non profits like Wikipedia and do so with money (my own post tax money) and unpaid time.

It is fair that those being paid for contributing should be held to a high standard of transparency - and that readers should know that they are reading paid words.

Ideally paid contributions should be in a different colour.

"and", nicht "or"

Im Kapitel 4 sollte nicht "or" sondern "and" zwischen den 3 Möglichkeiten der Kennzeichnung stehen. Damit kann niemand ein Schlupfloch haben.

Die Formen der Abgeltung / Bezahlung / Gratifikation sollten auch angekündigte oder versprochene Arbeitsverträge beinhalten , die nach der Veröffentlichung eines Artikels dem Verfasser von dem Begünstigten des beschiebenen Themas von einer Firma oder Organisation gegeben werden. Auch für Weitervermittlung für passende Anstellungsverhältnisse bei Dritten oder über Dritte , besonders wenn es sich um Agenturen handelt, weil Interessenten für bezahlte Informationen diese Geschäfte auch über Dritte abwickeln können, woraus dann die Kennzeichnungspflicht nicht entstünde.

V 855
Thanks V 855. Like you, a number of commentators have suggested that the three bullet points in the proposed amendment explaining where to make the disclosure should have the conjunction "and" - not "or." Right now, we are trying to build in some flexibility in the disclosure, given the newness of this requirement. Being required to disclose in the edit summary may be too cumbersome, especially for our GLAM employees - that is, employees who work in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums like Wikipedians in residence. A disclosure on the user page would be sufficient in my mind. I definitely see your point, and I think it is reasonable. But I tend to favor a structure that is a little flexible with the understanding that is can be tightened later if there is a proven issue. Thanks for sharing in German, much appreciated. Geoffbrigham (talk) 15:53, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

I made a comment under the heading "Paid contributions" on 23rd February, and I do realise you are regrouping the comments, but mine has disappeared completely from the current list. Where is it, please? (There is a comment at 5.12 headed "Paid contributions", but it is not mine; it has the same title accidentally.) The gist of my comment was that full disclosure of interest should be appended to every Wiki article's author/editors, for the sake of immediate transparency.

My main reason for posting this comment now is to highlight the response I got from LPfi (who I presume is a member of the Wiki team fielding and responding to these comments) which concerned me and I suspect may concern Wikipedia as well. The response (a) clearly stated that one has to learn to distinguish which Wiki articles can be trusted (!), and (b) clearly implied that not all Wiki authors/edits can be trusted (!). This was in addition to my being rather rudely told that if I wanted to be able to trust individual authors, I should use a traditional encyclopaedia. I am wondering now if my comment has been removed because of that rather outrageous response to my comment.

I would be grateful if you could tell me (a) whether you are discarding some comments and (b) if not, where I can find my original comment. -- P123cat1 (talk) 22:26, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I have now found my original comment in an earlier listing, but would still like to know why it does not appear on the current list. -- P123cat1 (talk) 00:01, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello, archives of comments before 2/26 are here: Archives/2014-02-26. That's a common way to handle long talk pages. SJ talk  01:47, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Bezahltes Editieren ...

... kennzeichnen ist ein symbolischer Schritt in die richtige Richtung. Zustimmung. Da die neue Weltregierung der Konzerne sich einen Teufel um so etwas wie ehrliche Kommunikation schert, wird es in Praxis natürlich weiterhin für die Benutzer ein Lesen zwischen den Zeilen bedeuten. Aber das Problem bekannt zu machen ist gut.

Thanks you. I appreciate your sharing your point of view in German. Geoffbrigham (talk) 15:47, 3 March 2014 (UTC)


How else can we stop the greed-driven rot...? 23:36, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I strongly favor disclosure of paid editing and, for that matter, wiki pages produced by commercial interests, as a broad policy. I happen to know (from my own professional activities) of one Wikipedia page that contains entirely False Data that serves a particular group of commercial interests. Sources of material should be disclosed. Steve Smith63.197.81.215 23:43, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

I strongly agree with this proposal as without it Wikipedia becomes a combination of Vanity Fair and Corporate corruption. Please effect.

What about the gray area

So does everyone who has a job and edits articles on the same field have to post their affiliation? Or what if User:<X> works at ACME and sees that the article says something factually incorrect about ACME- eg they're not a Fortune 500 company while they actually are, or that the have recently opened offices on Pluto, not on Mars. I don't feel that the amendment is clear about areas such as these. --Kangaroopowah 01:31, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

I don't understand what you mean by that, do you mean that you shouldn't have to disclose if you are making accurate edits? If so then that is the whole point of this to ensure that you only make factual edits. Also the title says too many loopholes and this comment doesn't mention any loopholes. I may not be a wikipedia moderator but if there are any here I don't think they will understand what you are saying so maybe you should clarify it so they are able to respond. as a side not I am 100% for this change in terms it makes complete logical sense Senrabnaneek (talk) 09:15, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Yeah I edited the title header to make it clearer. And my point is that the amendment doesn't make clear is what exactly is paid editing- would it be paid editing to fix a mistake in an article about your company? That stuff needs to be cleared up. --Kangaroopowah 06:09, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Hayek Economics Applied to Knowledge

Information is incomplete, dispersed, and costly. Wikimedia is trying to change all of that. They are trying to make the world's knowledge accessible, usable, and editable to everyone. When you are paid to make a ripple in this web of collective knowledge, you have different incentives from everyone else. That is, you are being paid for your point of view. While you may be paid for an objective point of view, it is equally as possible that you are paid for a subjective one. We, the people contributing to the world's web of knowledge, would like to know if your POV came at a cost to us. The way to make that judgement call is to know where the funds came from, so that the source can be investigated. If you're trying your hardest to make Wiki the best place online for the world to learn, you should have no fear. Why would anyone object to this?

Agree and a comment about community reactions

I support and agree with the general idea of disclosing paid editing (either by order of employer or by contract; by the way no disclosure is necessary if you do not edit articles related to your employer). I just want to mention - though many may be already aware of that - that one possible collateral damage is that some members of the community will attack people honestly disclosing their affiliation status, take their edits as less value or try to see their efforts as less worthy (or, in fact, worthless and to be reverted). This problem should be addressed by some guidelines otherwise explaining the expected behaviour about paid editing and suggest people to use this knowledge wisely and not in a degradatory manner. Paid is not equal to cheating. --grin 10:17, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi grin, thanks for your comment. We are working on a strong FAQ that explains that harassment is not acceptable (and may be legally prohibited). We are also working on an FAQ that indicates that we should treat enforcement in a civil way - help first, warning second, and more serious sanctions as a last resort. I am playing with the idea of formulating something a bit more narrow to help minimize the harassment and enforcement concerns; I'm not sure yet whether it is worth proposing formally, but it would read something like this (with no doubt additional word smithing):
Paid contributions without disclosure
These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To ensure compliance with these obligations, if you are making an edit or upload to a Wikimedia Project for compensation on behalf of an employer, client or other affiliation about them, their commercial product, or their commercial services, you must make that disclosure in the edit summary accompanying the edit or upload.
Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit or prohibit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure. For more information, please read our background note on disclosure of paid contributions.
I will be interested if others think if something like this is worth proposing as an alternative and whether it would win over any of those in the opposition (which I am taking seriously). Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 15:41, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Still not tight enough for me, for same reasons as given. Sentence #1 references an existing prohibition on "deceptive activities" and "misrepresentation" (by default the latter is usually taken in an argument as signifying acts of commission not omission, or at least it's a common argument that this is a reasonable and "natural" interpretation). Sentence #2 immediately says to "ensure compliance with these obligation" paid editors must disclose certain things. The link between the two is still as absent and non-sequiteur-y as when I commented on this point way up. Read the wording I suggested on this issue, which to me seems tighter and less open to argumentation in the role of a legal clause. Also I'd edit the second part to read: "may further limit or prohibit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure. Compliance with established community policies is mandatory when editing on any Wikimedia project" for whatever good it does.
But unless carefully considered, I still think that referencing a community policy here is plain useless in any legal sense (it might be weighty against breachers in a reputation sense though). Almost no community policies seem to be actually legally enforceable, since nobody can even define what a community policy is, when a specific wording is or isn't "our policy", or when a change becomes binding within one. They are all "we know what we mean" consensus interpretations, fluid and open to change with no notice whenever some editor changes them and nobody (yet) changes them back, and even when edited may be unbinding if editors feel the change wasn't really agreed (although an explicit agreement is optional too!). Citing "established" community policies might help since one can readily show a community policy clause is long standing over many years, but not too strong either. Unfortunately as a result, I'd guess one could legally tear a hole in any attempt to make almost any local community created policy enforceable in court as a TOU, even if site TOU directly said they should be. There's no certainty, no fixed version, no notification of change, no notice period of change, policies directly state they are subjective not objective and mean "whatever a majority of random editors who randomly decide to engage a particular case feel they should conclude", conflicting and contrary interpretations and responses to similar cases almost always exist. So no, I don't think that "You must comply with community policies on each wiki" can become enforceable in a court in any realistic manner. Those are a social, rather than a legal, structure.
The only outcome of a local policy I can think of that might be enforceable in a legal sense, would be specific definitive actions in specific cases (block, unblock, ban, warning, and a few issues like puppetry which by their nature scream deceit and abuse). In other words, situations where it can be shown normal processes were followed and a user is under notice they must not edit or are restricted in editing, but the means of reaching the decision is not in itself pivotal or determinative of the decision's validity. FT2 (Talk | email) 01:47, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Geoff - I am sure this is not the first time I've seen this language being suggested (From Paid contributions without disclosure above) ... "...To ensure compliance with these obligations, if you are making an edit or upload to a Wikimedia Project for compensation on behalf of an employer, client or other affiliation about them, their commercial product, or their commercial services, you must make that disclosure in the edit summary accompanying the edit or upload."
I would strongly suggest that the word "commerical" be striken from all these TOU and FAQ as it implies that the disclosure requirement only applies to affliations with commerical entities (undefined as of yet) and does not apply to other classes of organizations. All classes of organizations have "products and/or services". All organizations have something to promote. Many organizations exist solely to promote a POV. I would suggest, as I've done several times above, that the TOU and FAQ adopt the word "organization" and define it as defined in w:Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies). Singling out "commercial" entities in any language in or supporting the TOU will do nothing but strengthen the already stifling bias this community has against commercial enterprise and continue to promote the naivety this community has about the POV pushing of select sectors of avowed advocacy organizations.--Mike Cline (talk) 14:51, 4 March 2014 (UTC)


All of us would like to see wikiworld free of unannounced/undisclosed: a. opinion masquerading as fact (lots of anti-this and anti-that out there on all sides of every political issue); b. skewed commercial promotions masquerading as information (almost every corporate and most "non-profit" entries); and c. self-promotion screeds masquerading as celebrity reports (bet you cannot search for any special topic without getting a boatload of "consultants" personal pages).

Alas, there is no REAL means of policing the shameless, craven, and unscrupulous. I suspect the hard-working wikipedia editors sometimes feel they're beating their heads against this virtual wall. The ONLY means I could imagine (weak as it is) would be to develop a public BAD BOYS list of known offenders. The legal problems with this are obviously legion and the foundation lacks funding to engage in endless recreational litigiation. So it must be dismissed as unworkable.

That said, the best (perhaps the only) means of dealing with this is to strengthen the CAVEAT that already appears on suspect pages to read: "THIS ENTRY IS SUSPECTED OF HAVING BEEN PREPARED BY A PAID CONTRIBUTOR." That should flush out at least SOME of the malefactors, embarass others, and might prove a deterent to some. This is workable--a pain in the proverbial--but workable.

In sum, there's nothing wrong with the proposed amendment, I just think it's unenforceable and therefore irrelevant. 19:40, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Exactly, well ... almost exactly. More to the point it is not only unenforceable but difficult to recognize and prove and even more difficult to adjudicate without solid proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I honestly believe far too many are overlooking the liability issues involved with calling an editor's honesty and integrity onto the carpet in a, at the very least, semi-public domain that the Project has become. Imagine accusing someone of paid contributions, be they negative or positive, and then seeing that editor appear on CNN with legal counsel in tow claiming defamation of character to not only themselves, but let's say the article that was edited was that of a celebrity or politician or corporate giant or whatever. I just see no way to prove any of this unless there was an outright written admission by the payer or the payee. And if you cannot prove it, you had darn sure better not try to enforce it. Scrooster (talk) 22:53, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

I agree

I agree, it is necessary...

You have truncated my post to invalidity DISCARD YOURSELF

-- 17:06, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

/* Oppose */ I love wikipedia and use it constantly, almost borderline obsessively, and sometimes regrettably exclusively. "Sometimes," being a word that implies (and literally means) less times than not. All this being said, i rarely wonder if what i'm reading is being fabricated or manipulated to favour a certain point. until now. if companies can pay to write their own articles, they can write their own fictional profiles. and a self made profile for a company is basically an advertisement. in order to maintain wikipedia's basic purpose, articles cannot by financially controlled by their makers. it's for us by us. not for us by them. fox news and george bush might as well write the articles. if wikipedia supports financial aid from the article's controller, they're basically accepting bribes. with the exception of the odd idiot, the people don't prefer lies, so the people won't lie to the people. so support the people, not the money. ( 15:02, 3 March 2014 (UTC))

Thanks. To be clear the proposed amendment does not endorse paid editing ... it simply requires disclosure. You can read more here. 19:52, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Where do I comment? Here??

What a load of writing you've requested me to read before commenting on your amendment proposal - I have read the first paragraph of the main text and the paragraphs under: "Are there other possible negative effects of paid contributions?" - to which I agree on the conflicts of interest.

I always believed 'Wikipedia' & 'Wiki's' to be almost akin to 'Open Source' software packages and didn't involve strange payments - which appear to be clearly undisclosed - and I believe that this will lead to a conscious or subconscious bias of information. It also just gives an impression of the liability, even probability, of corruption at some level.

I appreciate that contributions have to be reliable and accurate, but I do not believe that remuneration for such, will guarantee this. I also appreciate that I haven't read all of the proposal - it's rather long and I believe that I reflect the viewing of many, who just click on the link to be helpful as you've asked for comments. I doubt 'the many' comment much.

Undisclosed yes/Unannounced no

Someone above has already proposed the best solution to this issue. Undisclosed paid editing should be permitted, but the fact someone paid to edit the article should be noted at the top of the article in bold. Those of us with unpopular political positions have long been accustomed to what one might suggest is personal or political bias or the passing off of opinion as fact. And as long as this political environment exists we will experience it wherever we go. We don't have to like it, or love it...but we do have to lay back, spread our legs and think of England for it. I came to terms with that a long time ago. As far as I'm concerned this place has never been completely unbiased so it might as well be bought and paid for. At the very least, though, we should know that it is paid for by someone. And of course we'll probably have a pretty good idea who paid for it by the contents of what is written. Wikipedia stands to make a fortune off of this. I can see bidding wars going on for hot topics such as abortion, gun control, health care reform etc. The cynic that I am, I should have seen this coming eventually. Again, at most all we can ask for is that it's noted when an article is paid for. This debate is a nice courtesy extended to every day users but I'm pretty sure someone's mind has already been made up. This is what people get for failing to donate to keep it public and what most may consider bias free.

como se paga? la pagina

Me gustaria tener una pagina publica pagada???? , pero que solo sea modificada por mi,pero en Wikipedia — The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:49,03 March 2014 (UTC)

Gracias por el comentario. Para aclarar, la modificación a los Términos y condiciones de uso no busca avalar o ratificar las contribuciones remuneradas. Lo que busca la enmienda es que, en el caso que estas contribuciones sean hechas por alguien que haya sido remunerado por realizarlas, dicha persona debe hacer pública esta circunstancia. En esta discusión se ha dicho lo siguiente (en inglés). La traducción en español de esto a continuación:
¿La Fundación Wikimedia anima o acepta la edición promocional remunerada?: La Fundación Wikimedia (WMF) considera que la edición promocional remunerada es un problema significativo que amenaza la confianza de los lectores de Wikimedia, como nuestra Directora Ejecutiva dijo al respecto. Esta propuesta no altera esta posición.Sin embargo, es difícil resolver el problema de la edición promocional remunerada sin desanimar accidentalmente a editores de buena fe, como varios de los proyectos GLAM (galerías, bibliotecas, archivos y museos). Debido a esta dificultad, esta enmienda toma un acercamiento simple: requerir que se divulgue información de frente. ¡Esto no quiere decir que la edición promocional remunerada sea aceptable! Por el contrario, pensamos la mejor manera de atacar este complejo problema, mientras seguimos animando a nuevos contribuyentes de buena fe, es combinar este nuevo requerimiento en pro de la transparencia con políticos de cada proyecto que haga juicios caso por caso con esta nueva información, cuando éstos son matizados y complejos. Esperamos que esto lleve a un mejor resultado al combinar la habilidad de cada Wikimedista de manejar los matices y la complejidad con los recursos de la Fundación (cuando esto es absolutamente necesario). Adicionalmente, la enmienda propuesta aclara que "las políticas de la comunidad y la Fundación, tales como las que se refieren a los conflictos de interés, podrán limitar aún más las contribuciones remuneradas, o requerir de una divulgación más detallada". Esta cláusula da la comunidad la discrecionalidad de poder limitar aún más la edición remunerada, según las necesidad de un proyecto específico. En otras palabras, la enmienda propuesta es un requerimiento mínimo, pero la comunidad puede imponer restricciones más fuertes, o suspensiones.--JVargas (WMF) (talk) 22:35, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Comments moved from above

I've moved these from above to help keep things organized, and to help users who were unable to figure out how to comment in the appropriate place.Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 23:22, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

  • no encuentro la pagina donde comentar, por lo tanto espero que pueda encontrar mi comentario: me adapto a las normas de la pagina wikipedia y prometo cumplir y hablarles de esto a mis amigos. soy luis ricardo minier
  • Please do not do this Bomaran (talk) 19:35, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Proposal to surface bias

Thank you to Wikipedia for so openly addressing this issue. Allowing paid (and invested) contributors to edit pages tied to their financial interests is akin to allowing advertising. Viscerally this feels incompatible with the elegant resource that is Wikipedia. Nonetheless, sharing of knowledge is the heartbeat of this site.

My suggestion would be to allow paid (and invested) contributors to post information on Wikipedia, but with a mechanism by which readers can relatively quickly know the 'bias' of the contributor. For example, if a contributor is employed or has vested interests in the posting, then an acknowledgement of that is in the post. Perhaps something simple like a specialized link that will take the reader to the posters actual information (eg 'Samuel Jackson is employed or has investments with this business') or an anonymous acknowledgement (eg "contributor has a fiscal interest in this topic"). 02:07, 2 March 2014 (UTC) -- Catherine

Question about embassies

What about the employees of a foreign embassy, consulate, trade office, etc. who are paid salary and then, during the course of their day-time work duties, or even during their off-time hours, they edit various Wikipedia pages to reflect the POV of their home government . . . . (and of course actively delete all content not supportive of their government) . . . . . from all of the discussion on this page I still cannot determine if such editing activities fall in the realm of "paid editing" (including "paid advocacy editing") or not, so I hope someone can make a full clarification. Hmortar (talk) 12:52, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

@Hmortar: If the government is paying them to edit, then they'd be covered. If they are only doing editing in their "spare" time (as many other people do!) then normal conflict of interest and disclosure rules apply. Hope that helps. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 23:29, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Privacy and outing contributors who make donations as part of work

The proposed TOU states that: "To ensure compliance with these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution to any Wikimedia Projects for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation."

I work in the tech sector. In that sector it's common for employers to allow company work to be donated to open-source projects, etc. Enlightened employers see it as mutually beneficial in the long term. And good karma.

If, in the course of my work, I create potential content (research on some topic, photograph something, etc.) that is not business-sensitive but which would be useful to Wikimedia, my employer wouldn't object to donating it. Wikimedia would get it for free. But I would have received compensation for the work. So, I would now be expected to reveal information about my real-world identity? On the internet? Just because I'm a nice guy who works for an enlightened employer?

No thanks.

Generous people get punished? Donation of content gets discouraged? You'd have to out yourself just because you were kind enough to think, 'Hey! Wikipedia could do with that photo.' Or 'Hey! This comparison table would benefit that article.'

Nice attitude, Wikimedia. Real nice :-(

--Tóraí (talk) 00:18, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello Tóraí, thank you for explaining your concern, it is very helpful. This proposal is still under consideration, so we still have an opportunity to revise or clarify the proposal to resolve this point. Your situation sounds similar to a professor who wishes to edit Wikipedia, while being compensated by his or her university, but is not compensated specifically for his or her edits. In that case, like the donation situation you describe, I don't think disclosure would be necessary. I hope this point is clarified in a proposed FAQ item above, entitled How will this provision affect teachers, professors, and employees of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (“GLAM”)? Do you think this resolves your concerns? Do you think there is a clearer way to make this distinction? Best, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 00:43, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Stephen. The FAQ clarifies that it is not the intention of the TOU proposal. But if that is the case then the TOU proposal needs to be revised. An FAQ statement explaining what we 'meant to say' doesn't suffice.
I think the Foundation needs to be clearer in its mind about what it wants to achieve with this TOU. As someone with an interest in open-source, you should know that not all paid (or sponsored) work is nefarious. Some is an inherent part of the ad hoc and volunteer spirit of Wikimedia - and is something we should celebrate.
The proposal as it stands is too blunt an instrument. It punishes the good and the wicked equally. --Tóraí (talk) 08:55, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
Slaporte, how about inserting something like the following beneath the bullet points:

Where any such contribution is made as part of a gesture of goodwill towards the aims of the Wikimedia Foundation, a contributor may choose not to disclose their employer, client or affiliation by name so long as the nature of the relationship between their employer, client and affiliation and any such contribution, clearly stating any potential conflicts of interest, is disclosed in at least one of the above ways.

The intention here is to allow for anonymous goodwill donations as part of paid work, while still obliging that a disclosure be made. --Tóraí (talk) 15:51, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
This is an interesting approach to consider. Specifically mentioning gestures of goodwill may add some degree of ambiguity, but there may be other ways to achieve the result that you suggest. I do completely agree in principle, donations should be celebrated! Best, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 20:57, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

question about source of payments

As a user working for a tech. company, I am looking at tech articles all the time - usually relevant to the protect I am working on. What should I do (under these proposed rules) if I want to complete, add, amend or correct an article if the changes are standards or common-use based? So, not for the benefit of the company, but of the community (as I see it)?--Alisterb (talk) 21:40, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

@Alisterb: Stephen tried to answer a very similar question above; let us know what you think of that answer. Thanks. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 00:50, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Is the real problem ineffective action by administrators?

Right now administrators refuse to stop POV editing, misuse of RS, concerted attacks on BLPs, harassment (especially of clearly identified females), tag-team editing, sockpuppetry that is obvious from clear patterns of similar editing on the same articles using the same language style/POVs, etc. etc. What good is it to have a policy on COI editing or anything else if some administrators are terrified of editors who threaten to try to take away their administrator rights? Or some are too intimidated/confused by professional B.S. artists and/or those who scream discrimination? Or if others are too nice a guy or too much of a "good old boy" to enforce policies? Or if admins only enforce them on editors perceived as "weak" politically but not those perceived as "strong" politically? Where issues that should have been handled by admins months ago have to go to Arbitration. And then you still will end up with too many ineffective decisions that are either too wussy or too harsh (and sometimes against the wrong individuals), all because they were not dealt with effectively earlier by admins.

Unless Wikipedia figures out how to have a few hundred truly independent admins committed first and foremost to enforcing Wikipedia policy through frequent short blocks which escalate for those who don't get the point, the whole project is doomed. The bad editors continue to drive out good and/or new ones, especially females who aren't willing to enter into a field of combat.

If the Foundation can't figure out how to set up some procedure and or independent body to hire and train a few dozen (or hundred) tough and fair administrators to do the dirty work that volunteer admins refuse to take on, the Foundation might as well fold it's tent and hand the whole project over to Citizenpedia. Also, make sure half or more of those paid admins are women who won't play those good old boy games and will get the job done. Carolmooredc (talk 14:33, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

@Carolmooredc: Thanks for taking the time to respond, Carol. I politely disagree with the thrust of your argument, for a couple reasons.
First, I disagree with your assessment of what admins do/don't do. While they're not perfect, I've seen them put a ton of time and effort into some of the exact problems you identify, most notably sockpuppeting. It is unfair to them to say they, collectively, have "refused to stop" anything - many of them do a lot of good work in all the areas you've identified.
Second, the Foundation has historically avoided being involved in content in this way for extremely good reasons. Besides the legal reasons, experience from other open source projects suggests that this sort of thing is a very slippery slope, and once you start paying a few people, it snowballs very quickly.
Hope that helps explain why we're not going these routes. —Luis Villa (WMF) (talk) 00:59, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Two questions about identifying contributions from paid editors

Many thanks to Geoff and the legal department for all your hard work in developing this. I have two questions:

  • First, paid editors will often create drafts and ask others to add them, which means that readers and editors can't see which parts of an article have been written or financed by the company (or other subject). Would it therefore make sense to require a statement in the edit summary whenever paid contributions are added to an article, even when not added directly by the paid editor?
    • In this case, the initial drafts would be covered by the current terms of use proposal, but independent and uncompensated editors would not be required to disclose. This can be a complicated situation to cover while keeping the disclosure requirement reasonably limited. Each editor is responsible for complying with our policies, and a project could create more specific guidelines about disclosure when moving paid drafts. My perspective is that the terms of use should try to address these issues with a simple baseline, and then projects can develop more nuanced guidelines as needed. Thanks, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 20:34, 7 March 2014 (UTC)
  • Second, I was wondering if you could explain the thinking behind not requiring talk-page (or project-page) contributions from paid editors to be identified in edit summaries.

Many thanks again, SlimVirgin (talk) 01:33, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks for these questions, SlimVirgin. It's very helpful to hear how we can clarify the amendment or FAQs, and how you think this will work in practice. Best, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 20:34, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

disclosure of paid edit is impractical, unnecessary and counterproductive

RE: I beg to differ.

The fundamental goal of wiki is to present facts and sources. It should not matter who offer facts as long as the material is sourced and doesn't stray into opinion or hyperbole.

Fact has no viewpoint.

The wiki community can police and refine entries without additional regulations or prohibitions.

Response: Facts may not have viewpoints, but the way they are presented and the intentional absence of details can be used to manipulate people. Contrary to esoteric beliefs, ad hominems are not always ill-founded.

Consider this: You could say there are more people dying today than there ever were before. You might be right, thus appalling those listening to you and reinforcing cynicism...but in the case you are right, you should consider that we have the largest human population so far in history. When you have a larger number of people living, in turn you will have a larger number of mortalities. But the proportions of deaths to the number of living has drastically decreased in the past centuries, thanks largely to medicine, centralized infrastructure (water, waste management, etc.) and the ease of transporting essential goods. So, the percentage of mortality per year has actually drastically decreased, especially among children.