Talk:Terms of use/Paid contributions amendment/Archives/2014-03-11

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Types of edits that are affected

Rewriting History - more examples

Example 6:
I am the leader of a nation-state. We throw people in jail without charges to take care of small problems, and use assassination to take care of larger problems. Sometimes we have to do a little ethnic cleansing, sometimes we have to use a little WMD, you know how it is. We have the media well controlled at home, but for some reason we're having a little P.R. problem in foreign places. "History is written by the victors." I'm asking all of our friends and countrymen to, ah, correct the Wikipedia entries, put the appropriate spin on our glorious slaughters, let the enormities be forgotten, and in general burnish our image so we can keep on doing more of the same.

Example 7:
Same but I hire a team of students explicitly for these state propaganda purposes. I compensate them by giving them scholarships or forgiving their loans.

Example 8:
Same but I want to start a war to completely wipe out my enemy. As this costs someone money and lives, the cheapest way to get this done is to subvert America and its Congress, then get the Pentagon to do all the hard work. Look at Iraq--$50,000+ average debt from each household in America, and no one blinked. I have all the resources of a nation-state at my disposal. I can change history by changing Wikipedia. I can change the zeitgeist by changing history. And I can start a trillion-dollar war, killing millions of people, by changing the zeitgeist.

Everyone knows "If it's in Wikipedia, it must be true". ---reference 1984, which shows a way the above could be done; and it's consequences. 09:06, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Discussion of examples

I don't think fear-mongering helps here, but we all do know that there are some nasty governments out there.

All I can say is that asking for a simple disclosure, as the proposed change in ToU does, is not going to hurt anything in these scenarios, and - who knows? - it might actually help. Smallbones (talk) 15:08, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

The examples that 71 gives are pertinent, and helpful. They delineate the boundary-cases, where the TOU-amendments are simply not going to help us. Dictators actually are not much interested in the TOU, it turns out. (I have a reliable cite for that, somewhere around here.  ;-)   We do not have to imagine what will happen if the dictator starts torturing people, to force them to improve the dictator's BLP on wikipedia. The people being tortured will do their level best to cheat, remove WP:RS, whitewash the dictator's page, and in general do whatever it takes to avoid being tortured. But we needn't imagine such extreme examples: even without torture, that exact same behavior happens regularly. Look at the articles related to the former Yugoslavia, look at the Middle East, look at Eastern Europe, look at any political hotspot. There are nationalists and political POV-pushers all over without any tinpot dictators needing to lift a finger. So the conclusion here is, that the TOU is not perfect, and the TOU is not a silver bullet. The TOU is intended to solve a specific narrow problem: paid COI. It doesn't handle dictatorships. It doesn't handle friendship (see the my-buddy-is-a-notable-author example up above). The proposed amendment just handles paid compensation, no more, and no less. That is a big enough job, however, and worth doing well.  :-)   — 02:40, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Weighting The Threats To Neutrality And Accuracy

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. 22:33, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Thanks. I'm wondering if a more narrowly worded amendment based more on the kind of edit might be appropriate. I suggested a rough idea below. (It is only rough and requires word-smithing.) Geoffbrigham (talk) 16:31, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Details on those opposing because this seems to legitimize paid contributions

redundant with !votes above?

Worst Idea Ever !!!

This is the worst idea ever!!! Can't belive that it comes from Wikimedia! Keep Wikipedia free! 03:31, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Thats what we are trying to do Troll! Default0023 (talk) 04:06, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

??? --Goldenburg111 17:50, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
In Wikipedia, it says, the FREE encyclopedia, but if you pay, this is violating it. Creeper919 (talk) 00:33, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually I thought the free implied free to use. BTW I support the amendment. Peoplez1k (talk) 06:31, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
There is a common misperception among some that this amendment is an endorsement of paid advocacy editing. It is not. You can read more about that here. We may need to be clearer about this in our FAQ or text in the next revision. Geoffbrigham (talk) 13:29, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Oppose paid editing: BAD Idea

today they pay for this tomorrow they'll bankroll something else,,,,,,,,,,keep Wikipedia clean!!

What you wanna say? Marcus Cyron (talk) 13:26, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I interpret this as support for the proposed amendment. Let me know if I have that wrong. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 14:36, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Oppose all paid comments
Such a black hole we have fallen into without notice or alarm
Agin paid comments. (unsigned comment)

~There is little if an way to stop paid editing. If I am a moderator being paid, all I have to do is have the editing done by a third-party. 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. And a lot of the 'legitimate' sources don't serve the public interests. i.e. the MAJORITY of the public opposes MOST of the USGovt Legislation but they ignore us all and pass it anyway because we live in a Rogue Nation. Will Wikipedia report that? I doubt it.

Lolwut. 04:57, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

Conflicted, oppose legitimizing paid editing

I have very mixed feelings about this. Certainly, given a choice between editing for pay with disclosure vs. editing for pay without disclosure, disclosure is clearly better. But, this legitimizes an inherently inappropriate activity. I don't see any possible way somebody being paid to "maintain" a company's wikipedia presence could maintain the neutrality we demand. RoySmith (talk) 02:42, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi RoySmith. Thanks for your comment. I think we address your concern here. Let me know if we do not. Geoffbrigham (talk) 05:55, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Opposed paid editing: Consider It A Betrayal

May I have the monies I contributed {covering use for a few hundred people per year} previously, returned to me, please? Do you think I will continue contributing? Think again. So, if the corporations buy it, whatever. Just casts every single thing about Wikipedia in a less credible light. Who the hell comes up with these stupid ideas anyhow? — The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22 February 2014, 02:58 (UTC)

You realize that currently this amendment isn't allowing anything that's not already allowed, right? It's only adding a restriction to paid editors. Right now, paid editors can edit where and how they want as long as they aren't being disruptive. -- Atama 03:25, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
Agreed. This is only a minimal requirement. I think we address the above concern here. Geoffbrigham (talk) 05:56, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Like the user above me, I too think that paid editing should be forbidden with no exceptions. To not do so when we have the opportunity, as we do now, would be very confusing and send mixed signals in light of two recent examples of people who got caught doing it, and were then harshly reprimanded. On top of that, Sue Gardner referred to it as a "black hat" practice, which alone should be reason enough to ban it entirely rather than just making people declare it as is being proposed. Jinkinson (talk) 03:31, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

Who is we?

The text starts with 'we'. Please put the names and affiliations of these people (comercial, political, religious). We need to know who is behind this idea. We need full transparency.

I previously explained below that the "we"is the WMF legal department. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 14:43, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I have BOLDly replaced the first "We" with "The Wikimedia Foundation Legal Department". Dodger67 (talk) 16:49, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Technically, the Executive Director would have to agree and ask the Board. That said, I'm fine with the edit for its purposes. Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 19:25, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think an Executive Director's permission is needed to be upfront, clear, open and transparent… —Sladen (talk) 08:07, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

Who is "we"? Is this something which the community members may sign? Blue Rasberry (talk) 18:24, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I wondered the same thing. --Another Believer (talk) 18:28, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I guess the "we" is the WMF legal department in the sense that the legal department is putting this before the community for comments. If, after the consultation with the community and after making adjustments in the draft per the feedback, the legal department feels it makes sense to recommend the draft to the Board, it will consult with the Executive Director. If the ED agrees, the ED with the support of the legal department will make the recommendation to the Board on the draft and refer the Board to read the consultation and the community comments before making a final decision. Geoffbrigham (talk) 20:22, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

It seems to me that this is the beginning of regulated information, stemming from the powers at be outside of WIki's control.

  • I just came here after seeing a banner advertising the discussion. I don't quite understand what we're supposed to do now but the edit history indicates that the principal author of this amendment is Philippe (WMF). This seems to be itself a paid work account but the user page has a disclaimer: "Although I work for the Wikimedia Foundation, contributions under this account do not necessarily represent the actions or views of the Foundation unless expressly stated otherwise. For example, edits to articles or uploads of other media are done in my individual, personal capacity unless otherwise stated." So, does this amendment represent the views of that user; the community that he is paid to liaise with; or the Foundation itself? Are the edits which created this proposal compliant with the proposed terms? In other words, if Philippe is acting as our paid advocate and editing on our behalf, is his disclosure adequate? This may be a good test case ... Andrew Davidson (talk) 19:15, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Hello Andrew, the statement on his user page, and the (WMF) in his user name, both indicate his affiliation and wiki-related employment. As I understand it, both are adequate for the purposes of the proposed amendment; and it is ok for there to be uncertainty about whether any particular edit is made as a result of that employment. SJ talk  06:20, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
An astute observation and excellent question from Mr. Davidson. There is a certain irony (or is it hypocrisy?) for a WMF employee who is not in the Legal department, to be presenting new content that the Legal department says it is putting forward, all regarding a proposal that would require editors to declare their paid interest in subject content. Let's get this ironed out before you "we" take this any further, please. -- Thekohser (talk) 22:24, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Just to be clear, Philippe is part of the Legal and Community Advocacy Department and reports directly to the General Counsel (I am on the same team). The proposal is written by and is from the lawyers within the Legal and Community Advocacy Department and Philippe and myself (along with other members of the team at times) are assisting them. For example Philippe worked on wikifying the document (which was originally not on a wiki) while I later came in to mark it for translation and move it to meta (it was imported from a staff wiki). Jalexander--WMF 07:09, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
  • This question definitely needs answering. If this is put to the Board, it needs to be made very clear who exactly it is coming from and who is supporting it. I am also concerned that there does not seem to be any clear path to voicing opposition to this proposal. SpinningSpark 19:53, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
    • SpinningSpark: I think the opposition path is fairly clear: start a section on this talk page. :-) Others will chime in if they agree. --MZMcBride (talk) 20:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

That's a very good question. What's to prevent anyone from "asking" the WMF to do anything? What evidence is there that this is going to be seriously considered or is even on the agenda? Coretheapple (talk) 20:50, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Hello Coretheapple, the legal team discussed this proposal with Board members before posting. The Board will ultimately decide when this will be on their agenda, based on this discussion and the process that Geoff describes above. Thanks! Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 23:37, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for clarifying that. Coretheapple (talk) 01:17, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
There is nothing proventing anyone from asking things of the WMF Board. There is a Board noticeboard, where requests and proposals from community members are responded to. SJ talk  06:20, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

What counts as compensation?

Edits by Teachers in class?

A teacher is showing the class of students how wikis work and how to make the best use of them for their studies. During a class the teacher edits an article on a subject (e.g. a local park) that had recently been covered by a class project, using sources found during that project. The teacher is being paid while making the edits, but there is no benefit to the employer. Does this edit need to be declared? AlasdairW (talk) 00:02, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

I think the important thing that should be focused on, is when payments give rise to a conflict of interest. However this can get blurry, I would argue that when there is any doubt, disclosure should be forthcoming Jashwood (talk) 00:26, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Hello AlasdairW, disclosure would only be necessary if a teacher was being compensated for his or her edits. If the teacher is merely editing in an area of interest or expertise, then disclosure may not be necessary. We are discussing a similar question above, and we are considering an FAQ or clarification within the terms, since we do not want to create an unnecessary impediment to educators who are adding good neutral content! It can be difficult to determine if there is a possible conflict of interest, and I agree: transparent disclosure is good when there is doubt. Best, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 18:58, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
I belive Stephen LaPorte (WMF) is missing the point. The teacher is indeed getting paid to do his or her work which in this case includes editing Wikipedia. - Averater (talk) 08:32, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I do not think any disclosure should be necessary if Wikipedia editing is merely a part of a teacher's teaching activities. On the other hand, if a teacher is being paid directly to edit Wikipedia, then disclosure would be required under this amendment. We drafted an FAQ that will hopefully clarify this point: How will this provision affect teachers, professors, and employees of galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (“GLAM”)? I think it's important to keep the rules and process very simple overall, and we should ensure that the rules are particularly easy for educators and GLAM institutions, particularly if they are not paid advocates on a topic. However, I am concerned that "advocacy" is too complicated of a topic to include directly in the Terms of Use, and it is best handled in a nuanced fashion on local project's conflict of interest rules. If you think this question can be better clarified in the FAQ, or avoided by modifying the proposal, I would be very interested to discuss it with you. Thanks for your attention to detail! Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 19:17, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for that clarification even if it also makes it clear just how difficult it is to draw a line for when this will apply. In the professor mentioned above is in part employed to inform about the university and chooses, or understands that the intent is, to edit Wikipedia I think it is still unclear. My point here is not to find out when this will apply and when it won't but to show how difficult it can be and how misinterpreted it will become. I do understand that all here have the best of intent and that this is aimed at "bad" edits but if an edit was compensated specifically for contributing only the editor (and possibly the employer) can know making this all pointless. - Averater (talk) 20:57, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
I think the problem here is that the amendment is clear about these people having to disclose their employer (letting their identity easily be inferred). The FAQ says this is not the intention, but there is no hint whatsoever in the proposed amendment that the obligation be only for "advocacy" . Thus professors writing about astronomy and teachers checking the language of their pupils' Wikipedia contributions are clearly affected.
If the terms of use can be used as a weapon in real COI situations (where the paid contributor may be the neutral part), they will be. Therefore good intention is not enough, but the wording should clearly exclude any activity that should not be affected. Having it cover all types of paid advocacy is much less important.
--LPfi (talk) 16:26, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
I have some reservations about using the word "advocacy" in the terms of use amendment itself, since we want to avoid ambiguity if possible. Your points about clearly covering intended activity are well-taken, so I hope we can provide some helpful clarification in the FAQ (which I hope would be officially maintained with this TOU amendment, as a sort of legislative history to guide interpretation) or the amendment itself. Thanks, Stephen LaPorte (WMF) (talk) 01:23, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I appreciate this explanation, as that means someone like me wouldn't have to disclose (even though I do disclose who I work for in my username, etc.). My job isn't to edit Wikipedia, it's something I've come up with as part of my job because I think it needs to be done, and can improve Wikipedia. GRUcrule (talk) 19:25, 6 March 2014 (UTC)

Disclosure and notification

Why not require all three types of notification?

While I can see the problems with content written for financial gain, there is also the point that corporations have a great deal of information that the outside world can benefit from. But it should be made obvious when that information comes from a corporate source. So what is the problem with requiring that a paid editor post all three types of proposed statement? That's the only way that I can think of to make their motives fully transparent. Will102 (talk) 19:30, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Will, I don't think this is an unreasonable position, but we are also trying to build a disclosure process that is flexible and can accommodate the varying needs of various types of editors, including those who are doing clearly mission-driven editing while receiving compensation (for example, as a Wikimedian in residence). It is a matter of finding the right balance to achieve the goal of the amendment, which is to help ensure greater transparency to ensure against hidden potential bias. After thinking about it for some time, I think the alternative options strike that balance, but I also would understand if others disagreed. I would be interested in learning what others thought as well. Geoffbrigham (talk) 19:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Will02 and I don't see how having the choice of how someone discloses that they are a paid editor will "help ensure greater transparency" because you are effectively allowing them to bury this information wherever it is least likely to be discovered; in the middle of a lengthy userpage for example. KADC "Be unreasonable." (talk) 20:40, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I also agree with Will02. Casual readers of a Wiki entry do not normally look up the editor profile. Taking the option of only recording paid for editing on the contributor's profile is a cop out. Many potentially biased entries could be missed that way. Normanthehat (talk)Normanthehat

I'd say that the primary problem with that is the fact that edit summaries have only a limited number of allowable characters. If a COI notice has to be in every one of them, potentially there won't be any space left for an actually useful description of the edit. Do you really want the article on Foo, Inc. to have a lot of edit summaries such as "m /* Allegations of having too long section titles in their Wikipedia article */ (COI notice: I work at Foo, Inc.) fixed typo (althuogh -> although)"? darkweasel94 (talk) 20:12, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
There's a point here, simply working at Foo Inc would not constitute paid editing, one would have to be specifically paid for editing the Wikipedia in question. Deciding whether an edit constitutes paid editing requires a bright line between work and leisure, which is often in reality very fuzzy. Rich Farmbrough 20:33 20 February 2014 (GMT).
Doesn't change my point about ever requiring anything at all to be put into the edit summary. They should first of all be useful to see what was changed, not for any kind of COI declaration or anything. No, requiring one of these things is entirely sufficient. darkweasel94 (talk) 20:57, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Indeed it was a tangential point. Rich Farmbrough 21:40 20 February 2014 (GMT).

I personally would prefer to see this policy applied on the talk page for the given article. Applying it to the user page is problematic, because it does not allow the user to separate themselves from the paid work. They may have a paid contribution in some areas, and then have unpaid work in other areas not at all influenced by their compensation. The edit summary would only allow for simple notification, such as 'paid contribution'. It's not the place for detail, and could be easily overlooked without being supported on the talk page, particularly as the edit history scrolls on to other pages. The talk page seems to be the best place for this, and consistency and transparency are most important if the new policy is to have the desired effect. -- Dave Braunschweig (talk) 20:25, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Dave Braunschweig - So, if I'm reading your comment correctly, you would require disclosure on the talk page in all cases (and omit the options for the edit summary and the user page). I definitely understand your reasoning, but it may require people who work in movement organizations or on GLAM initiatives, for example, to be constantly disclosing on talk pages - which might be too burdensome. Or maybe we allow an exception for employees of movement organizations and GLAM when they disclose their employment on their user page. Interested in your thoughts (and those of others). Thanks. Geoffbrigham (talk) 22:27, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
Would there be a way that on a user page a notice could be given that the user does some paid content, with it serving via hypertext to link to a list of what has been done for pay? That could get cumbersome, but it would have the virtue of not cluttering the page itself.Dismalscholar (talk) 05:18, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
Geoff, idea: make OTRS-verified paid editors and WiRs a separate user account category (following the model of OTRS-verified company accounts in the German Wikipedia). Tag or colour edits from such accounts in the edit history. Mark articles that have received edits from such accounts with a symbol (much like the FA star or GA symbol) that links to the article history. Andreas JN466 21:09, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
That seems entirely feasible, but I don't see why you need the legal team's permission or fiat to do that. Gain a consensus for that on whichever wiki you want to do this on, file a bug so that the new user group is created by the sysadmins, install an abuse filter that tags the edits, and run a bot that tags the articles. darkweasel94 (talk) 00:48, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Restricting the "transparency" of the fact that one is a paid editor to just the user page, talk page and edit summary essentially allows the paid editor to HIDE the fact that the information he or she has added to an article is paid content! It is not openness: it is treachery! That is why the EU courts have held this type of corporate chicanery to be illegal. If you're going to allow paid content, there needs to be a BIG RED LABEL in the title of the article warning everyone: "THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS PAID CONTENT" and then the paid content itself needs to be made to stand out from the rest of the article either using italics or a different font color or both. We believe that it would be easier and better to just ban paid content outright, as the potential for misuse FAR outweighs any benefit to users. IWPCHI --IWPCHI (talk) 22:23, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

I totally agree that any article which has paid content should have a notice saying so right up front. If my church decided to pay me to edit an article that has their history grossly misrepresented, I would certainly want everyone to know I was paid and by whom. I would also want others to see just what editing I did while paid to do so, if for no other reason than to be able to judge if I remained as fair when paid as when not. But the paid content wouldn't have to be different right up front; it seems to me that a button like REVEAL PAID CONTENT would be better, first because I would be able to read the article without any words being set apart in any way, which is a good thing when doing research, and second because anyone who really wanted to know exactly what was paid could find out with just the click of the mouse.Dismalscholar (talk) 05:10, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I can see that paid contributions can have a great benefit too. A company can make sure information about it is fair and complete. Public editors simply may not have the knowledge, and can have attitudes.George Slivinsky (talk) 17:29, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
I think the disclosure of paid editing must appear on the page, in clear sight. Articles containing paid contributions could be marked at the top of a page, and within the page using a citation. This both marks the page, to alert the reader, and allows the reader to check the citations to find what was a paid contribution. 13:23, 5 March 2014 (UTC)A Wiki Reader

Of course it can't be enforced. WMF can respect the privacy and anonymity of its editors, or it can have no paid editing, but it can't have both. To say otherwise is deny common sense and logic, and lead to even more witch hunts, sock accusations, and attempted outings (at least on English Wikipedia; can't speak to behavior on other projects). NE Ent (talk) 03:23, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

@NEEnt You can have both, just not both at the same time: you can make paid editing an exception, to privacy and anonymity. Some want to exclude paid editing altogether... requiring disclosure seems like a reasonable concession, for the privilege of doing something that many distrust. (And paid editing that has integrity can withstand the anticipated scrutiny: if it's an entry re' your company, for example, your staff may be most capable of providing the information... and if the information doesn't land as promotional, information is helpful.) DougIvison (talk) 12:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't think all three are necessary, but having more than one way is poor design. As a user, you should be able to figure out if an edit is paid by one single action. Think about what the current procedure is to figure out if a piece of the article was paid for:
  1. Run w:WP:Wikiblame. Find where the edit was added. See if there's a notice in the edit summary. (The notice has no standard format, so please don't consider trying to automate this process)
  2. Look up the userpage of the user who added the edit. It could be 50 kb long, full of ribbons and banners, so look carefully! (And no, you can't be sure what it will look like) And make sure to do that for the history while he was editing the article, not necessarily now.
  3. Check the article talk page for a statement about paid editing by the user who added the edit. Note that the editor might have announced this early on, and it could be in an archive somewhere, or who knows, maybe some IP totally unrelated to him deleted it in the meanwhile. Make sure you search both for the editor's actual username and whatever he signs his username as, because for some editors those are very different.
Now to me this seems like a very difficult process. You can't reliably automate it, you can't even use Lua/Scribunto to access history versions in the first place; you'd have to have an unreliable, giant Javascript that users would have to pass over a big notice about potentially compromising their computer to install. Who's going to spend weeks writing a script like that for five people to use it? So the bottom line is that this is limited to the most blatant cases where users are so incensed that they are willing to put in a lot of effort. Wnt (talk) 14:50, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

A pertinent point of law: "The FTC’s guide Dot Com Disclosures specifies that “disclosures must be communicated effectively so that consumers are likely to notice and understand them in connection with the representations that the disclosures modify.”" Notification on the user's page, alone, does not seem to fulfill the requirement of being "likely to notice". But, to ease the time/effort of disclosure, while still making disclosure "local": how about at least any two types, instead of all three? "You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:" would become "You must make that disclosure in at least two of the following ways:" That would ensure at least one of the disclosure was "local", and likely to be noticed. DougIvison (talk) 12:31, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Why not ask for real names?

Since transparency is so important is why the foundation no orders disclose true personal data of user (e.g., surname). Knowledge of who the person maybe be useful for the assessment of conflict of interest. Probably more useful than knowledge who pay of user. --Piotr967 (talk) 16:08, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Piotr967 - I understand your perspective, but I think our culture and concern about harassment would likely not permit such explicit identification. The proposed amendment seeks to find a balance on this point Geoffbrigham (talk) 18:00, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

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? Wikipedia/wikimedia must contain true and only testably true stuff, that's the rule. Who authors the stuff is of no importance. Hence, I strongly oppose to this amendment. --Reginald Sachs (talk) 21:11, 27 February 2014 (UTC)

Some people get fired, killed or harassed for speaking the truth. By making everyone disclose who they are, using real names, it becomes super easy to attack your opposition. Stalkers and government would love for there to be no anonymity. It's a great way to kill political dissent, and in some cases, actually kill the person. Several government agencies have already been caught with their pants down on spying and on programs designed to spread propaganda and discredit opponents online. The fastest way to kill the truth is to make honest people fear speaking out. 04:57, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Hello - I support the Amendment, but I see value in both the points made by Piotr and Reginald Sachs under "Why not ask for real names?". The disclosure of COI/paid work is a step toward removal (albeit that it seems voluntary, which is a potential problem but let's make this rule change in the spirit of clarification of expectations and then make further adjustments if they are needed) of anonymity, but it is not removal. I'll briefly compare Wikipedia with a venue where I argue against anonymity. In scientific publication for example I maintain that the usual anonymity of peer review is counterproductive because reviews too often fail to make their case properly and sometimes are written very carelessly and with an evident agenda (it seems that many great human ventures decay after becoming venues for politics), and removing anonymity would bring an accountability that perhaps would prevent that. In scientific peer-review, I see no good and valid reason why accountability for its conclusions should not be required equally of review as the article being reviewed. Thus I have never reviewed anonymously in the scientific context, and no doubt I've paid the expected price for that (and amongst all the reviews I have received I can recall only one instance where they were non-anonymous). So, WRT Reginald's comment about cowardice, I think that in some contexts (like science) anonymity is indeed cowardice, but in some other contexts it is not. A test of whether anonymity would be cowardice might be if the writer would be ashamed or afraid to place his name there. Wikipedia is different, I think, because the use of pseudonyms (I use one) is in a way asking for the suppression of the ego, not a shelter for an opportunist or the bully or the person with an axe to grind. Wikipedia is unlike scientific publication, where the authors expect credit and acknowledgement, and the originality that is desirable in science is very different from Wikipedia (where originality of even synthesis would be rare to expect). Wikimedia and science require different kinds of accountability, and thus may demand different degrees of identification. Antillarum (talk) 04:46, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Perhaps there could be a process whereby nominated senior wikiP dispute resolution hierarchy could in camera obtain the real identity of a wikieditor whose edits raise strong suspicion of paid bias.NimbusWeb (talk) 00:48, 8 March 2014 (UTC)

"Professional editor" concept

The idea of requiring distinctive accounts for paid/professional editing has a lot of advantages. From a technical perspective it means contributions can be flagged in edit histories, tracked and analysed. It would also allow behavioral norms to be established and enforced. I raised this as a thought-starter on enwiki a few months back (see Could professional editing be made safe?). This approach was basically asking whether professional edits could be made acceptable, if their editors would consent to sufficiently rigorous conditions, such as:

  • Professional edits may only be made with a special SUL account set up for this purpose. This account is individual, not corporate. It is distinct from any account used for normal "unbiased" editing. The professional account-holder must identify to the WMF (or similar), so any one individual can only have one professional account in their lifetime (or at any one time, perhaps).
  • Their usernames must end with a standard string such as "(COI)", "(POV)" or "(PAID)".
  • Their user pages have a standard format that lists their affiliation(s). Professional editors don't have discretion about how this is presented.
  • Professional editor accounts are technically marked as such: it's a sort of user right, and it cannot co-exist with any of the discretionary rights like autopatrolled, rollbacker etc.
  • An edit filter logs their contributions e.g. "(Tag: professional edit: please check for COI)". All their edits are globally opted-in for edit count statistics.
  • This type of account can't create a new article directly. Instead, they must use the proposed draft namespace.
  • Professional editors promise to abide by specific policies about how they edit and interact with other users.
  • These policies would include strict rules about notability, verifiability and reliable sources that would apply to all their contributions.
  • If they fail to adhere to these policies, they can be complained about in a specific venue similar to AN/I. They can be admonished, blocked or banned.

The "professional" label gives flexibility for a wider definition of editing-for-benefit, if that's desirable in future. For example, volunteers in politics, sports, the arts and charities might be professional editors even though unpaid. - Pointillist (talk) 10:33, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Requests for stronger disclosure requirements

  • I think that a user page disclosure should be required for all paid edits in addition to one of the other disclosures. Non-editors should not have to guess whether a reliable editor has found and fixed such problems. I know that I often consult history, diffs, and talk when evaluating articles. 17:50, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
    • I completely agree. Having a note on the user page will help spread information around more, and ultimately make things around here simpler and friendlier. 21:35, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
  • disclosure should be conspicuous; on the page edited, at the top; and should contain detailed information about the payments to the party editing and from the party editing # 17:42, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I personally believe that paid contributions should be expressly disallowed. There's no way to avoid contaminating the objectivity of the information in Wikipedia if people are allowed to hire writers to tell things their way. 2601:9:4180:40C:7DBD:1415:4984:1508 17:58, 1 March 2014 (UTC)

Ungrouped Discussion

Could do better

I spent quite some time reading through this. The honest truth I gather is that this whole debate is a waste of our time. Only an insignificant number of "paid editors" (however completely ill defined that is) will react to these changes, because they change nothing about the actual rules of the game - as opposed to the fantasy society their rationale seems based on. If anything, it increases insecurity for honest well-meaning people who fall on borderline cases such as paid activists in situations that require discretion, university professors and GLAM workers, and a bunch of other cases whose contribution is both valuable and already too challenging. Just stop reacting to every media scandal by trying to save face through the increasing lawyerization of Wikimedia projects. Get real, focus your efforts on delivering understanding, improving interface and policy in projects that address specific issues related to this, and bring on better tech to monitor COIs and guide "paid editors". Good night, --Solstag (talk) 05:59, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi Solstag. Thanks for your comment. I'm thinking about an FAQ that addresses your issue about university professors and GLAM to ensure greater clarity. If you have any ideas, please let me know. I think in a few days, we will start taking some of the feedback and make some adjustments in the language and add a couple of clarifying FAQs. Take care. Geoffbrigham (talk) 14:29, 21 February 2014 (UTC)
Geoff, you can write all the FAQs you want, but you're not the one who's going to be stuck interpreting or enforcing it, community members are. Subject matter experts are almost always going to be also receiving their personal remuneration by working in the field about which they write; this policy automatically declares them to have a conflict of interest. The communities are not in a position to determine whether Math Expert A, writing about Theory Z, is doing so to share her knowledge or to increase the visibility and perception of scientific consensus on Theory Z (thus increasing the likelihood of obtaining further grants or other monetary support for her research) - but for the record, both can be true at the same time. Is the donation of thousands of high quality media files by a GLAM an effort to increase the visibility of the institution, or a generous donation to support free knowledge? Both *are often* true at the same time. I know it's hard to believe, but the majority of problematic edits on all of our projects are motivated by bias, not money. Risker (talk) 02:33, 24 February 2014 (UTC)
Risker, you touch the issue that concerns me most, community enforcement and interpretation, and its consequences. Especially outside English Wikipedia. I worry how far some community members will go trying to enforce (or prevent, suspecting non-disclosure) this potential new scenario. Geoff, I'm looking forward to reading the new text. Thanks, Raystorm (talk) 19:27, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
Risker, I just want you to know that I'm reading your comments and thinking about them. Geoffbrigham (talk) 23:45, 28 February 2014 (UTC)


What proportion of WP edits do fall within this conflict of interests area; what proportion are beneficial (tidying up, updating links etc) and what proportion reorientating against the spirit of Wikipedia?

What does WP actually want - those involved to state 'I am linked with body X (directly or as a linked PR body), and am adding the attached with permission (so not copyvio)/improving the article/adding links' and similar; to prevent such people from having anything to do with the specific article; or to have a neutral party checking the edits; or something else?

Some commercial and other organisation connected editing is probably inevitable - the issue is how to manage it and maintain 'the spirit of Wikipedia.' Jackiespeel (talk) 12:19, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

Wording improvement

The intent seems fine, but the wording has issues.

  1. The first sentence prohibits "deceptive" activities and "fraud", but it's not at all implicit or even clarified how this isn't a non sequiteur - because 1/ undisclosed paid editing is not always and necessarily, deceptive or fraudulent, 2/ non-disclosure of affiliation is a lot weaker than deception or fraud (strong words masking weak ones), and 3/ other persons with a strong vested interest who are not paid, are not apparently deemed to be deceptive or fraudulent (the amendment doesn't touch on them).
  2. An employee or owner of a business may not 'receive compensation' for contributions related to that business, but should be covered by this TOU anyway.
  3. Aas we allow pseudonymity, we should state the action required by editors who edit both commercially and non commercially, or who genuinely feel they see an article problem, where they do not wish to make disclosure.

Requested wording change:

To make it clearer and more obviously direct, can we add two sentences -

These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. In particular where you have a financial, commercial, or work-related interest in a matter, or receive any form of compensation for editing, it is deceptive to present your editing activities connected to that area as having no such connection, or by omission to allow other editors to be mislead and believe you have no connection with the subject matter.
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 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, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.
If you do not wish to make this disclosure, you are forbidden to contribute to articles where these statements apply, to any debates directly impacting such articles, and to any discussions about the editing or editor conduct within such articles, other than at the 'talk pages' of such articles, unless permission is obtained from that project's arbitration committee or equivalent.

The first underlined proposed words, make clear the link from affiliation to deceptiveness and that omission is also deceptive; they make categorical what exactly the issue is, and what 'unacceptable conduct' means. The second underlined section says what to do, if unwilling to make the disclosure - which needs saying. FT2 (Talk | email) 14:52, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

There are some really good ideas here FT2. I will be interested in the response of others to your proposal. Thank you. Geoffbrigham (talk) 01:37, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
My suggested wording for the first underlined part:

If you have a financial, commercial, or work-related affiliation with another organization, or if you have been compensated as part of your affiliation, omission of this information from other Wikimedians during the course of your activities on a Wikimedia project, especially if it relates to your organization, may be considered deceptive or fraudulent.

Also FT2: while I appreciate the efforts at rewording the last bit, I object to its threatening tone especially as this matter is still under discussion and we are still examining its potential for negative impact on other Wikimedia projects like English Wikivoyage, which depend quite a bit on contributions from travel agencies and other commercial entities. TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 09:35, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

Not clear enough

There is at least one scenario that is not covered: if the contributor is a salaried employee of the organization in question, but the contributor's activities on the wikipedia site are voluntary and not part of his/her job description, and no extra compensation is given for this voluntary effort. Ergraber (talk) 15:40, 23 February 2014 (UTC)

There is no gauge to determine whether a edit is "voluntary" or not. Editors should be excluded from editing an employer's page, even if they're just doing it because of corporate allegiance or in an effort to earn "brownie points." Without such an exclusion, bias is almost inevitable. Activist (talk) 16:50, 23 February 2014 (UTC)
Reading through all of these issues, I'm beginning to nod in agreement that the definition of "paid" in the amendment is really not clear enough. Here's an example that I think illustrates Ergraber's point: An editor works for a university and has no intention whatsoever of editing page/s about the university itself, either on company time or on off hours. Should that editor be excluded from editing any pages that mention research that came out of the university without full disclosure on each edit? Examples of such could be in the tens of thousands, and in many cases, that editor may have no idea that the page in question has any direct trackback to the university. How about pages of professors or former students who may have, at some point in their lives, ever been affiliated with the university? I'm concerned about those who work regularly on editing articles of people and topics that may be connected with large-scale employers like this who will be burdened with doing extra research to see if there was/is ever a connection to an employer on every edit simply for the sake of disclosing such when, in practice, the employer in question does not request or have any actual financial connection with the edits in question. I also agree with whomever here has stated that this will basically punish or at least unfairly burden the good eggs, while people who want to skirt this issue will continue to do so. Finally, my experience with many new editors is that the vast majority of readers of Wikipedia articles have no idea what goes on behind the scenes. Talk page? User page? Most ppl have no clue these even exist or how they work. Adding these disclosure rules might make some legal sense, but I really don't see them fixing the root problem of people being expressly paid to edit for marketing, promotion or other non-neutral purposes. Girona7 (talk) 13:05, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
French :: IL me semble que la proposition itnitiale portait sur la déclaration des contributions « payées » mais que le débat dérive souvent vers : «faut il accepter les contributions payées ? », ce qui est une autre question (également intéressante).
Oui, il y a un problème éthique très grave quand des contributeurs payés cherchent à biaiser wikipédia en y introduisant des informations commerciale ou publicitaire ou de propagande politique ou religieuse avec conflit d’intérêt. C’est dans ce cas un "bon message" de demander à ces contributeurs ou à leur employeur de déclarer qui paye dans ce cas.
Il y a inversement aussi quelques cas particuliers compliqués, comme le cas de retraités (ils ne sont plus payés, mais peuvent encore faire de la propagande). Il y a aussi le cas des musées, des archives ou des sciences fondamentales, et aussi celui des professeurs et des enseignants-chercheurs (qui ont tous une mission de diffusion/vulgarisation, quasi-encyclopédique de l’information). En théorie il n'y a pas de conflit d'intérêt dans ce cas, et idéalement il ne devrait y avoir aucun problème pour afficher que ce type de contributeur est payé pour faire ce travail. Mais en réalité : 1) beaucoup d’entres eux contribuent hors de leur temps de travail et 2) souvent ces administrations ou organismes de recherche parapublic ne permettent pas clairement à leurs salariés de contribuer à wikipédia ou ne leur accorde que peu de temps ; Dans ce cas le contributeur qui de bonne foi contribue à Wikipédia en pensant agir pour améliorer wikipédia tout en répondant aux objectifs de son métier, pourrait néanmoins être mis en difficulté vis-à-vis de son employeur.
Il faut en tous cas au moins un "code de bonne conduite volontaire", et un message clair disant que WMF ne cautionne pas les contributions payées cachées quand il s’agit de contenus non neutre.
Dernière remarque : beaucoup de spécialistes d’un sujet techniquement ou scientifiquement ou historiquement compliqué sont aussi ceux qui pourraient apporter de nouvelles informations d’intérêt encyclopédique et parfois être les meilleurs vulgarisateurs du sujet.
Ne faudrait il pas prévoir quelques grands cas généraux et quelques cas particuliers pour mieux décrire ce qui est admissible et ce qui ne l’est pas pour WMF ?--Lamiot (talk) 20:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
English I think the proposal was firt about “contributions paid" , but I note that the debate has quickly drifted " shall we must accept contributions paid ? " This is another question.
Yes, there is a very serious ethical problem if commercial or advertising information or political or religious propaganda with conflict of interest are introduced in wikipedia with money (and without). To ask to declare who pays in this case is a good message ( and for retirees ?) .
There are also some special cases inversely complicated , as the case of pensioners ( they are no longer paid, but can sometimes still make propaganda ) . There is also the case of museums, archives or basic sciences, professors and lecturers ( who have a mission to spread, almost encyclopedic information). Theoretically and ideally it should not be a problem to show that this type of contributor is paid to do this work (This should even be considered a noble task). But actually : 1 ) many of them will contribute out of their working time and 2) often these services or parastatal organizations research does not clearly allow their employees to contribute to Wikipedia , in which case the contributor who in good faith contributes to Wikipedia thinking action to improve Wikipedia in meeting the objectives of its business could still be in trouble vis-à- vis his employer . we need at least a “voluntary code of good conduct” and a clear message that WMF does not endorse contributions paid hidden when it comes to risk of non-neutral content.
Finally, many expert in a subject technically or scientifically or historically complicated are also those that could bring new information encyclopedic interest.
Should’nt we provide some great general cases and some special cases to better describe what is permissible and what is not to WMF ? More easy to say than to do.. We have to be more clear --Lamiot (talk) 20:03, 26 February 2014 (UTC)
French only :: Je suis très étonné par cette proposition qui semble en contradiction flagrante avec l'éthique de wikipédia.
Je crains fort que cette "ouverture" ne fasse la part belle aux organismes disposant de moyens financiers et juridiques importants.
Et surtout, je constate qu'il n'est prévu (apparemment) nulle part d'organisation (d'instance ?) chargée de :
- détecter les abus (contribution suspecte)
- détecter les déclarations de "rémunération" absentes, fausses ou incomplètes
- signaler clairement (marqueur graphique explicite) dans le corps du texte d'un article l'éventuelle intervention d'un contributeur en situation de conflit d'intérêt (la déclaration dans la page utilisateur est nettement insuffisante !)
- décider des sanctions, avec plusieurs degrés (avertissement avec demande de régularisation, effacement de la contribution suspecte, publication de l'adresse IP suspecte, interdiction de contributions ultérieures).

Et je souscris à la remarque de Lamiot concernant le cas des professeurs (l'ayant été longtemps moi-même) pour qui la question de la contribution de "bonne foi" est délicate... Papy77 (talk) 15:20, 1 March 2014 (UTC)
I suspect a lot would depend on the actual contract held by a lecturer with their institution. I was having a quick look at some formal definitions of a UK professor's role (NB: UK professors are not quite the same as US professors...) In addition to the usual sorts of objectives about raising the profile of their institutions, finding funding lines, outreach to the wider public, etc. there was also some powerful inspirational language about their roles in being an "academic citizen" - "applying their their disciplinary or professional specialism for the benefit of wider public understanding" - and being a "public intellectual" - "engaging with and seeking to influence public debate on social, moral and economic issues beyond the confines of their academic specialism". Both of these are clearly good things, but someone who was being paid to do them and then engaged with the WMF Projects in their specialist area would seem to me to be a paid editor under this amendment. Hchc2009 (talk) 20:50, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Ungrouped Discussion 2

Bio's of Politicians

I have been editing Wikipedia for many years but first time felt the pressure by unexpectedly editing the page of a living Politian Steve Stockman. during election season. I knew his opponent was spending millions of dollars in negative advertising but did not know it will enter Wikipedia during election season. Some editors like Tiller54, GabrielF, Famspear and their cohorts started removing all the objective parts of the bio showing the Congressman's positions, his voting record and replacing it with out of context malicious quips which do not reflect the individual record but maybe more suitable for a negative campaign Ad. They also managed to block me and a dozen editors who tried to write objectively on Steve Stockman. In all my years of editing I have never come across this and feel it has something to do with undisclosed paid editors at work here because of the millions of dollars spent in political campaigns. Thanks and appreciate your opinions of others on Political Bios. Thanks

"{{Citation needed}}"

Under the heading: "Are there other possible negative effects of paid contributions?", in the Proposal, I found this:

"There is an extreme likelihood that contributions which are paid for ..."

Really? An extreme likelihood? Not just a possibility or an unnaceptable risk? You know, emotive language like that makes me wonder if the writer is pushing an agenda. Perhaps they are being paid to promote the proposal! (No, I'm not seriously suggesting that, read on.) How would I know? Wait ... why would I care?! If there is no authoritive citation, and the language is emotive or opinionated, I don't need to know why the writer posted it. I just treat it as doubtful and move on. You see, that's what citations are for.

And therein lies my main reservation about this proposal to change the TOU. It wont help. People will still make dodgy, unsupported entries. Some of them will be paid to do so and wont fill out the COI declaration. Some people will be paid to make informative, balanced and properly referenced entries. It's a very big hammer to crack a pretty small walnut, which it wont do, and the walnut isn't really the whole (COI/POV) problem anyway.

But at the end of the day I'd abstain. The issue doesn't motivate me to take sides. I can see from all the posts here that there are people who feel strongly about passing it, and even if this is nothing more than a placebo for them, well and good, who am I to try to block that? I do worry though that they will be mightily disappointed when the measure fails to provide the cure that they hope for. --Wayne aus (talk) 04:07, 4 March 2014 (UTC)d

Parcialidade, obscurantismo e publicidade dos wikipedistas pagos. Barramento dos administradores e perda do direito ao voto.

Wikipedistas só poderiam ser pagos pela Wikipédia. Wikipedistas pagos por outras entidades devem ser identificados, qualificados como produtores de SPAM, pois são parciais e se reúnem para fazer lobby nas votações, excluindo conteúdo válido e comprovado, e ocultando conteúdos desinteressantes para a publicidade das entidades pagadoras. São publicitários e devem perder o direito ao voto na Wikipédia, bem como o de serem administradores. Voz Wikipédia Livre-- 08:01, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Partiality, obscurantism and advertising of Wikipedians paid. Impeachment for administrators and exclusion of the votes in Wikipedia.

Wikipedians could only be paid by Wikipedia. Wikipedians paid by other entities must be identified, qualified as producers of SPAM, it is incomplete and come together to lobby in voting, excluding valid and evidenced content and hiding uninteresting content for advertising of payers. Are advertising and should lose the right to vote in Wikipedia as well as being administrators. Free voice Wikipedia .-- 08:11, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Will normal people find this PRACTICAL to implement?

It seems the intent of the rule is to make disclosure where there is a causality between the contribution and the compensation. But conflicts of interests do not always present themselves in neat dichotomies of black and white. Instead people are conflicted on a scale of grey, different in each situation. The whole of Wikipedia relies on people contributing knowledge in their areas of expertise, and often they are also employed in those same areas of expertise. Hence opportunities for minor to major conflicts of interest. There is often an indirect, perhaps non-causal, relationship between a person's employment and their Wikipedia contribution. It will not always be clear for contributors to identify whether or not this constitutes a conflict. Their employer (e.g. university) may not directly pay them to present their knowledge to the wider world, but there may be a tacit expectation, even one that the contributor takes upon him/herself. My concern is the potential for this rule to make it harder for genuine contributors to engage. The maze of regulations and the opinionated people who police them already make Wikipedia an unfriendly place for new contributors, and this rule has the potential to make that worse. Imagine all the battles of words on the talk pages, with people accusing each other of conflicts of interest in the shades of grey. The new rule is necessary to make it clear that it is unethical to make paid contributions without declaration. However Wikipedia also needs to do more to make it a welcoming place for new people to contribute. My own feeling is that a much better solution to all these issues would be to insist that all contributors used their real name. (E.g. only allow users with some validated identity, like LinkedIn, Researchgate, ORCID, there are many such options). At the moment both the rabid editors and the unscrupulous paid contributors are hiding behind pseudonyms. That's the deeper root cause of many problems with Wikipedia. John Pons (talk) 08:17, 4 March 2014 (UTC)


Excellent points you raise, specifically:

Practicality of implementation not only will laypersons have difficulty accurately discerning conflicts or interest; wikipedia itself will have difficulty verifying that compensation was not given for editing. It appears to me that wikipedia tries to make the most out of it's resources, I suspect that it will not spend them on tracking users and any payments made to them. In summary this new policy is a good idea, at least in concept. It is in practice however unenforceable.

Your suggestion regarding making legal names (real names) mandatory isn't a bad one, but it is problematic. For a number of reasons a great number of contributors will not provide their real names on wikipedia One not insignificant reason is the online hostility you mention. Another reason is that parts of wikipedia, especially articles (and subsections of articles) written about obscure subjects; are written by people who only want to share a bit of knowledge, they are trying to contribute (even if only a bit) without getting tangled up with "trolls" and "information nazis" (like the people you mention police the articles). Your idea is great in theory (you seem like a well intended contributor), unfortunately the internet is a place of anarchy and in anarchy anonymity is protection, and a reputation is an asset. Many people would be unwilling to risk either, simply to share a bit of information.

To prove my point, I post this anonymously.

Does this mean….?

The proposed rule implies that disclosure is necessary to 'ensure compliance' with certain 'obligations', which are specifically identified as ' deceptive activities' (among others). So this implies that if the contributor had no intent to deceive, impersonate, or defraud anyone, then disclosure is unnecessary. To put it another way, I don't see a robust logical connection between the list of prohibited activities and the need for disclosure. I suggest the Terms of Use should be expanded to explicitly prohibit (say) 'prejudiced contributions'. Then it would make it much clearer why disclosure was required. John Pons (talk) 08:17, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Wikipedia's pivotal role in human development and necessary boundaries to shield that niche

With the little means that I can, every time I see that yellow banner, I click, and I send in a 10, a 20, ... hoping many others do the same.

I'd like to start off using an example. I was reading about the 'Syrian revolution', which has it's own page on Wikipedia, and as I read through, I realized this information is not entirely correct. I checked the sources, and it was CNN. :) Well.... If we could trust CNN why have Wikipedia?

Of course, the links to terms etc. the puzzle gathering aspect of Wikipedia is it's main forte, and when it comes to reliability, when money comes through the door, the real objectives behind this not for profit - and oh so noble - initiative, will crumble.

I am surprised there's money involved. But since it's not within the wiki family, but parties paying others, or employees, to post on wiki... it indeed becomes touchy feely and I empathize.

Openly: I think yes paid information contributions should have a level of disclosure. It ensures reliability of information for those paying parties would rather not be embarrassed for funding misinformation. coz that's the bottom line, and biggest threat to Wikipedia, to get a reputation of wrong and/or misinformation.

Discreetly: Paid contributors should be monitored. They have more incentive to skew info in what appears to the normal reader as benign. I did not read everything, but I also I think part of the money should be donations to wiki.

in conclusion: Wikipedia should never become a for profit institution. (yes, that's what it is, an institution). Should never offer advertising, and should never sell out like whatsapp recently did :)

This is a noble project helping people making sense of their worlds and cultivating their minds into becoming more 'aware' members of their communities and when the Man get their foot in here, we can kiss a great new age enlightenment tool goodbye.

Please keep the path, i'll keep my 10s and 20s, and soon I hope, more.

Can we have a report button for those paid writer?? 17:14, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Your first question is a good one with a good easy answer.
CNN have one slant on the topic. Wikipedia isn't a news media. We don't write the news at all. That's not our role. You can come here (hopefully!) to find a collated article, covering the Syrian war (and a few million other topics) in a way that doesn't favor any specific side, and that aims to inform neutrally, by summarizing all the important points that are "out there" in one structured constantly-updated article. That's a crucial function that's hard to get elsewhere - you can get it with research on some topics, but fragmented, and hard to be sure just who's decided it's okay. Here you can see transparently all of that and on many topics it is (a number as we all know, it isn't).
So if we just said "read CNN", then you're right, you wouldn't get a thing from here. But unlike CNN, here you will find information and reports from everyone from Hürriyet Daily News, the Guardian,, the NY Times, the Institute for the Study of War, The Daily Star (Lebanon) and about 500 other sources, all pulled into one comprehensive structured article - with transparency over how each has been used.
What else? Well, lets say you want to ask if something's correctly reported, or completely stated, or if there are subtle points omitted you'd care about. Have you considered asking CNN where they get their information from, or what they are relying on, who they have relied on so you can assess if you trust it, and what they missed out that those sources told them? If you did, did you get anywhere with it? Probably not. That's because like most media, CNN say "trust us to report things and not much say where we got the information". Here, we may not be able to show you the ultimate sources for much, but we can say "this is where we got it", and usually show if it's agreed by multiple sources (including those on opposite sides), if not what they differ about and how they each see it, and many articles you can look deeper behind each stated point.
In a world where major media are routinely manipulated, that kind of coverage isn't trivial. We do it every day. CNN don't. That's what you get here, on major international news topics, major events, makjor businesses and topics, major scientific discoveries, and most other topics. Wikipedia's not CNN because it's simply not trying to be CNN. Or be anyone else. Especially, it's not trying to be, nor by its charitable status and constitution can it ever be, a profit making corporative enterprise. Charitably owned, it cannot be "sold". Community managed with a strong non-advert ethos over its entire life, and with policies that forbid "donations in return for article input", it cannot accept advertising or bias its articles by diktat without a revolt by far too many people to make that outcome at all likely to happen. FT2 (Talk | email) 19:02, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

One more, perhaps vital point

Instruction creep, this certainly would be. But more importantly if this policy is adopted it can never be let go of without "Wikipedia Gives in to Paid Editing" type headlines. I know the majority of those with a legal background see things in terms of "rules", how could they not? But the success of the projects is injured by proliferation of rules - we work far better with a body of guidelines and a minimum of hard rules, with a spirit of cooperation rather than conflict.

Rich Farmbrough 23:05 4 March 2014 (GMT).

(off topic) incorrect disposition

information given for enterplay productions is not correctly stated as far as the programming sources that are being claimed, and said person is not the "designer" of said software represented.

Are all same?

I'm thinking if you pay someone, it's not just cashing but also promoting. You said he is better then others so you can't edit his text. sorry i hope i hasn't got mistake. رهگذر غریب (talk)

A Modest Proposal: Ban all unpaid advocacy editors

I am of the opinion that we should ban these volunteers who don't disclose their COI on Wikipedia. It's an embarrassment to the encyclopedia when someone blatantly shows it when they produce something like "According to Forbes, Wikipedia has fifty thousand more articles than Encyclopedia Britannica does. They were also considered by BusinessInsider to be more reliable, well-written and better sourced."[citation needed] I mean, who are we hiring these volunteers to write articles for? Clearly they stand in a conflict of interest: promoting the interests of Wikipedia versus actually writing the encyclopedia. I bet they were behind the English Wikipedia's blackout protest of SOPA too. And behind the Democrats taking the White House away from the Republicans. Therefore, I motion to ban all volunteer POV-pushing advocacy editors. From a fellow concerned Wikimedian, TeleComNasSprVen (talk) 07:10, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

welcome to the brave new world 14:41, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

please take care the chinese and Cantonese and English wiki which are greatly affected by the chinese communism party

lots of editor is employed by the chinese communist to write all the words that support the chinese gov and against the western world
even the English wiki is affected... 14:39, 7 March 2014 (UTC)

PE disclosure here?

I guess this notice, which is at the top of, doesn't apply here on meta?

I do believe:

--Elvey (talk) 12:58, 8 March 2014 (UTC)