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Over the past few weeks, OTRS has seen quite a few messages concerning
companies that are putting information about themselves onto Wikipedia for
advertising purposes, insisting that it is their right to do this. An article in an
online SEO (search engine optimization) magazine described how to mine
wikipedia to get web traffic. We have had emails from such diverse groups as talent
agencies (we will take the copyright off our own website, as long as it is
included in Wikipedia), a Dominatrix, a vaporizer (I have no choice but to
keep inserting my links on your site so as to fend off the competitors), and
many others. In fact, this appears to be a growing trend in Wikipedia, as is
evidenced by similar phone calls to the office (I did not write the article
about my, my PR firm wrote it, and I paid them good money so you can't take it
off). Shoppingtelly.uk has written that as long as we allow links to the BBC,
they will insist on their "rights" to put links to their site on Wikipedia.
This is a worrying trend on the English Wikipedia which raises issues of
POV, notability, and verifiability. Ironically, we do not allow paid
advertising, but we are buckling when people use our site in order to get free
I do not know the solution to this problem--several have been raised, but in
my mind none is completely satisfactory. I am simply posting this here in the
hope that it will elicit discussion and, perhaps, a real policy decision to
counter this worrying trend.
One good solution is liberal usage of the spam blacklist and an
increased awareness that the spam blacklist exists. We can shut these
guys down cold ... if anytime a spam URL is added it is acted upon and
added to the blacklist.
The problem is that the blacklist is on Metawiki, not enwiki, so
administrators such as myself can't do anything about it on our own and
have to go running to a Meta admin. Maybe we could add some sort of
spam blacklist queue on Enwiki that is regularly viewed by meta admins?
Or more liberally giving out meta adminship might help too.
Ben McIlwain ("Cyde Weys")
~ Sub veste quisque nudus est ~
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