Wikimedia Forum/Archives/2014-04

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Companies attempting to turn editors into paid sockpuppets - how to publicise/track, who to inform?

This is republished over from the Meta Help Forum section I added...

I recently received a very cheeky email from a marketing company:

Subject: Glide Utilities Wikipedia Page
From:    "<removed>" <redacted>
Date:    Thu, February 20, 2014 12:33 pm
To:      Me <redacted>

My name is <removed>, I work for a creative agency in Birmingham called Orb Creative.

One of our key clients, Glide Utilities, are a Birmingham-based nationwide company
which is currently enjoying a period of rapid growth and expansion. As Glide continue
to grow, we feel it is important that they develop a Wikipedia page to provide a
recognisable source of information for readers which details everything they could wish
to know about Glide as a company and as a presence, both online and in Birmingham.

To cut a long story short, we are on the hunt for a reputable Wikipedia contributor to
build a page for Glide and the more research we conducted, the more often we noticed
your name cropping up, so we would love to know if this is something you would
potentially be interested in helping us with?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm regards,

Office: +44 (0) 333 240 9090

We're all about sharing 
Hell Yeah! moments

Whilst I have no idea who or what Glide Utilities is, I know I don't want to become a shill for corporate placement. (I've not replied to his email.)

Is there a proper venue on Wikipedia where attempts to induce reputable editors to be marketing sockpuppets can be listed for naming and shaming purposes, Can awareness of this be raised to mailing lists or are there appropriate contacts/mods/admins in the community to make aware that this is going on?

Given that just today I received a follow-up from the same company adding that this needs to be done "urgently" (!) I think this needs to be addressed promptly. Chris W. (talk | WP profile) 15:46, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Well, if you publicly state that you wrote the article for them and do a good job on that in regard to following Wikipedia Principles and Policies (which means checking relevance, not omitting obvious criticism from different sources, and choosing an adequate language, for example), I wouldn’t have an issue with that. On the other hand, yeah this is an issue - I can imagine not everyone following such high standards - hence a nice-to-have would be an archive containing such e-Mails so we could monitor the desired articles more strictly. However, making private e-Mail available to people who are not addressed may be a breach of law, dependent on the country you live in, so some legal framework/advisory should be created first. -- Rillke (talk) 17:38, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
I agree, it'd need a system where you privately assigned a unique ID and then assigned a public name to each unique sender - pasting in the full body of correspondence into a form and leaving out the other details, whilst keeping them available for correspondence should the need arise.

In instances such as mine, as the sender's communication is to an individual with no preagreed privacy or confidentiality agreement there is no legal issue. The boilerplate legalese you see on most business emails is effectively useless if the information is offered unsolicited, disregarding the fact most of them don't even have the minimum required information in.

IANAL so my opinion is not legally binding, but other people are. Depending on where the data's held, Wikipedia may need a formal Data Controller, but they should have one already.

I have been asked by the sender of these emails to redact his last name, which I'll do FWIW. (Never mind that his details are already all over Google, including -- top hit -- LinkedIn!) I've also corresponded with him privately explaining why what he requested is not acceptable; he has apologised and explained this arose due to his misunderstanding rather than something done with intent.

My primary concern through all of this is with the company's original request. Glide purport to be a Midlands-based utilities broker (with some dismal ratings from a cursory Google of the company) and it seems they're pursuing an aggressive SEO / marketing strategy to adjust their online image.

What I was asked to do is tantamount to shilling for a business; whether paid or unpaid, that's expressly against the Wikipedia Terms. With my cynic's hat on, I imagine they'd be hoping to get an SEO boost from having a Glide Utilities page appear with favourably-written content and links appearing above other results.

Aside from the company fundamentally misunderstanding the SEO implications of focused content for an organisation on Wikipedia, the article would probably be peer-deleted anyway for being not noteworthy -- and if someone (like me) then repeatedly restores the page, I would be rightly discriminated for shilling.

This company is the first I've seen so overtly requesting proxy articles to be written for one of their clients - a mistake on their part. I imagine it's something they won't do again, so lesson learnt, but this must already be happening across WP on a more discreet basis. I'm not willing to engage in or encourage this kind of activity - Wikipedia is not a promotional tool. Do we need to make this even more abundantly clear to organisations? Chris W. (talk | WP profile) 11:12, 5 March 2014 (UTC)

there is no legal issue
Actually, it could be a copyright violation. You own the copyright to everything you write, including e-mail messages that you send to individuals.
Also, have you read Terms of use/Paid contributions amendment? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:32, 11 March 2014 (UTC)
Would reducing the publicly accessible (distributed) copy to quotes/citations be a possible solution? The whole message could be archived for legal reasons... I also find this to be a type of attempt at corruption, although it's indeed possible to not be dishonestly malicious requests, until they're better informed. 04:40, 3 April 2014 (UTC)
You could post a short, factual statement like, "On this date, this company contacted me to ask whether I was interested in being paid to help improve the Company Article. I'm not interested in being paid to write articles." You don't need to quote anything.
You might, however, consider the possibility that, by merely mentioning their interest in hiring someone, you might be effectively advertising the job opening for them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:15, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Bot use in new pages

I want to know about Wikimedia policy about starting new pages on Wikipedia projects. Is it allowed for bots to start pages ? It is an easy method to increase the number of pages on a wikipedia but it looks strange. A wikipedia made by (ro)bots with the most minimum effort. Any wikipedia can hire a bot expert and start making pages and within few days/weeks it can surpass those wikipedias that are developed by slow normal human efforts. At present Urdu Wikipedia is employing this method and churning out pages effortlessly and if this is a right policy than such kind of bots should be presented to other small wikipedias too for speedy growth. Please guide what is the policy.--الیاس سیتاپوری (talk) 15:12, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi الیاس سیتاپوری Looks like the bot article generation on urWP has ended a year ago:
Or maybe it is a bot without botflag? --Atlasowa (talk) 06:03, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Well I am curious about Wiki policy about Bot generating articles. Urdu Wikipdia is increasing its article making speed through this method. And it is advertised on their front page and within weeks they think they are going to reach at the target of 100,000 from mere 27,000 pages. Pages generated by Bot and machine translations will create unhealthy wikipedias. Above facts are perhaps old and Urdu Wikipedia started Bot generating articles in this March.--الیاس سیتاپوری (talk) 09:28, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi الیاس سیتاپوری, can you link to the specific pages that you are referring to (i.e. front page ad)? Have a look at [1] (gtranslate engl.) - can you explain a little what this is about? How was this article generation project(?) developed/decided? Is it for bot generation or article translation? I'm not a fan of botgenerated Wikipedias (at all), but not all mass-creation projects are alike and "bad". Let's find out what is actually happening! --Atlasowa (talk) 20:47, 17 March 2014 (UTC)
I am sorry talk I will not discuss much here on this Bot generating article issue as I am unfairly criticized on Urdu Wikipedia that why I mentioned this issue here. In last 10 years at Urdu Wikipedia 27,000 pages were created but now through Bot use they planned to reach 50k in March and after beyond 100k. It seemed to me unfair. --الیاس سیتاپوری (talk) 20:56, 19 March 2014 (UTC)
Mr.Atlasowa Whatever they are doing can be verified from the site. I think Bot Generated Pages Wikipedias should have a separate Wikipedia list or at least an asterisk mark indicating how they made their pages as compare to other normal wikipedias.--الیاس سیتاپوری (talk) 02:41, 23 March 2014 (UTC)
Hi. You can find resources on the topic at Category:Mass content adding. --Nemo 19:21, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Western Punjabi Wikipedia isn't neutral

Most of western punjabi wikipedia articles are not written with nutral point of view even their Main page, Their articles have a smell of propaganda against Urdu language and Pakistan. i complained their but all admin also spreading propanganda.--Saleem1511 (talk) 11:29, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Hello, "complained" is usually the wrong approach, if you're felt as an hostile enemy the logical consequence is "ignore and destroy" so you won't achieve anything. When a wiki is in its infancy (which can last for many years), it can happen for the editors to be less familiar with the Wikimedia and Wikipedia projects practices, often due to a language barrier: what did you try to help them understand the best practices you feel a local lack of? Also, we don't know anything about you (five edits in total and no user page), what makes you think you know better? :)
If you know the language, you could for instance start translating some global policies and guidelines here on Meta: Special:LanguageStats/pnb shows there isn't a single page translated in pnb, so you have plenty to do. Then you can start linking what you consider important for the community to learn/think/discuss, in a constructive way, and at any rate you'll know you've done something useful, as opposed to wasting time sulking or whining or arguing. :) --Nemo 19:37, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

OTRS statistics for 2013

Hello all,

The Wikimedia Volunteer Response Team (also known as OTRS[1]) had an extremely busy year answering emails from Wikimedia users, readers and other interested people. We have once again prepared a statistical report of administrator activity and ticket volume for the year 2013.

I invite you all to review this report on Meta[2]. If you have any questions at all feel free to leave them on the talk page. If you wish to review the first report, published last year with data from 2012, you may also view that on Meta[3].

1 - OTRS
2 - OTRS/Reports/2013
3 - OTRS/Reports/2012

For the OTRS administrators, Rjd0060 (talk) 20:47, 16 March 2014 (UTC)

Hi, I would like to protest about the continued inclusion of Admin:Tiptoety as an OTRS Admin, after he has become a sworn law enforcement officer and is thereby obliged to violate privacy of OTRS complainants by his terms of servitude. HRA1924 (talk) 19:41, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

SWMT Twinkle

Hello, could someone please tell me how to get Twinkle on small wikis? --Reception123/Receptie123 (talk) 16:56, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

See User:Snowolf/How to globally Twinkle. Maybe this is not the right place for this. Talk:SWMT is a better venue. --Glaisher [talk] 16:57, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
I can't edit the page (when I try the border goes down and I can't see anything. --Reception123/Receptie123 (talk) 17:02, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Greek Wikipedia

Yesterday, Greek Wikipedeia counted 99450 articles. Few hours later counted more than 100 000 articles List of Wikipedias. But only few new articles were created, less than 30 from yesterday. How that can happened? Xaris333 (talk) 16:57, 9 April 2014 (UTC)

Maybe some stuff was undeleted? Or moved from userspace? --Jakob (talk) 16:51, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
Maybe not. See el:Special:Log/delete and el:Special:Log/move. --Glaisher [talk] 11:01, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
Possibly because it's not updated in real time. It means that the 99.450 is not really yesterday's number of article, it might be from several days ago. --Ricky Setiawan (talk) 01:17, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

Ido Wikipedia

Could anyone make the template in this article appear on the right side of the page, please? I don't know how to do that. Thank you in advance. --Chabi1 (talk) 10:17, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

@Chabi1: Yes check.svg Done io:Special:Diff/871566 Perhaps a template should be created for the infobox. Could you also translate the references to Ido? --Glaisher [talk] 10:58, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I don't lnow how to create a template for the inforbox but I'll translate the references into Ido. --Chabi1 (talk) 10:26, 16 April 2014 (UTC)

CIS-A2K Work Plan July 2014-June 2015 (Requesting Feedback)

Hi, please see CIS-A2K's annual plans for July 2014-June 2015. Based on the 18-month experience of working with various Indic Wikimedia communities, CIS-A2K has developed this plan. The work plan consists of 21 plans across 6 verticals. Would appreciate your feedback and inputs in improving the plans. Thanks. --Visdaviva (talk) 12:16, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Hi, Does this incorporate extra resources for legal support / litigation as a result of the anti-pornography initiative against grossly pornographic images on WMF's Indic domains ? HRA1924 (talk) 19:36, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Hi HRA1924, sorry for this delayed reply. AFAIK this is a not a concern on Indic Wikimedia projects. CIS-A2K does not take any liability for the content on any of the WMF projects including Indic projects and would not need resources for litigation.--Visdaviva (talk) 20:16, 9 April 2014 (UTC)
Hi, I think you are not aware of the massive problem on WMF's Indic language projects which India Against Corruption has begun to highlight to the concerned authorities. If the outrageous grants WMF gives to known pornographers in India is multiplied by x10, that would be the first estimate for the litigation budget the WMF is looking at. HRA1924 (talk) 17:37, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with CIS-A2K, though. PiRSquared17 (talk) 17:38, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
"CIS" is among the known on-line pornography vested interests. Its in the public domain. HRA1924 (talk) 17:43, 11 April 2014 (UTC)
HRA1924, you have been told, repeatedly, that the proper place to address your concerns is the legal team. The fact that you are not getting the resolution that you want does not mean that the proper place can be moved at your whim to another venue. Your comment here is out of place and off-topic. Philippe Beaudette, Wikimedia Foundation (talk) 17:04, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
It is completely ON-TOPIC because this is about CIS's grants and User:Visdaviva works with CIS, and CIS is openly hugely funded by Online Pornography and Online Gambling interests (ie. persons other than WMF) to lobby to get India's stringent Cyber laws changed to allow pornographers like WMF to peddle their smut in India in these Indic languages. Does User:Visdaviva deny that CIS is significantly funded by online Gambling and online Pornography interests operating out of Gibraltar and Estonia ? Was WMF unaware of this when they selected CIS to give these huge (disguised) grants which are mainly used for lobbying and bribing Indian decision makers, or was this the prime reason for WMF's selecting CIS as a grantee ? If WMF's legal team wants to contact us, they know where we are ? HRA1924 (talk) 19:03, 17 April 2014 (UTC)


Hello all! We want to have in our Tatar Wikipedia flags of editors, checkusers, and importers. I have never worked in Meta, so all tips will be accepted with gratitude. --Derslek (talk) 16:23, 26 April 2014 (UTC)

Please read pages like FlaggedRevs, CU and importer. --MF-W 10:58, 28 April 2014 (UTC)


I have a proposal to make. Where could I make this proposal? this is what I have in mind. --Reception123/Receptie123 (talk) 10:14, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

You could write an RFC. --MF-W 10:58, 28 April 2014 (UTC)
Thank you, MF-Warburg. --Reception123/Receptie123 (talk) 05:36, 29 April 2014 (UTC)