I drafted this. It still seems the best approach in terms of keeping good
editing and reducing problematic editing:
On Fri, Nov 19, 2010 at 12:05 AM, David Goodman <dgoodmanny(a)gmail.com>wrote;wrote:
Most current paid editing gets deleted at Speedy,
simply because the
organization has no serious claim to being notable. People who
deliberately write paid articles on topics they know hopeless are
unethical; if they write them without knowing, they are incompetent.
But this sort of thing is not the current problem, for it's no more
difficult to handle than the even larger amount of similar articles by
The problem with the more competent of the people writing for pay is
not that they try to flout Wikipedia rules, but that most of them have
assimilated only the more superficial elements of the technique . They
do not adequately understand the difference between promotional and
informative, and they typically include inappropriate content such as
contact information or a long list of products. But this is fairly
easy to spot. It would be easier to spot if they declared their
status, and I think a rule against paid or other COI editing that we
do not enforce is unproductive-- if it is good editing, we cannot
detect it, and if it isn't, we do not need the rule any more than with
bad volunteer editing.
And of course there is the continued existence of the reward board,
which is in direct contradiction to policy, but would not be if we
accepted declared COI or paid editing.
As for the proprietor of this service, I've just been removing from
the article on him article one of the clear signs of COI/promotional
editing , the excessive use of his name.
On Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 6:50 PM, Risker <risker.wp(a)gmail.com> wrote:
On 18 November 2010 18:33, David Gerard
On 18 November 2010 23:09, John Vandenberg
Am I 'paid editing' when I write articles
during 9-5 ? Is that bad?
The problem with paid editing is when it violates content guidelines,
such as NPOV.
Someone paid to improve the area of linguistics in general? (This has
happened.) Fine by me.
Someone paid by (say) a museum to write articles on the contents of
their collection? Could risk NPOV, but the idea is probably a net win.
And the photos!
Someone paid by a company to monitor their article for negative
information and edit it accordingly? Could violate NPOV. The very
proper way to do this is to openly introduce yourself as a PR person
on the talk page, supply information as appropriate and never touch
the article text itself; this can be problematic for you if there's
little actual interest in the article, though, and so little
third-party editor traffic.
Someone paid by a person to keep rubbish out of their BLP? Trickier.
In a perfect spherical Wikipedia of uniform density in a vacuum, they
shouldn't go near the article on them. In practice, BLPs are our
biggest problems, for reasons I needn't elaborate on. Usually if they
contact info(a)wikimedia.org with a BLP issue it gets an experienced
volunteer on the case, and the BLP Noticeboard is an excellent and
effective way to get experienced attention to an article.
"Paid editing" is, of course, not one thing.
I'll repeat what I said on enwp's Administrator's noticeboard here for a
"We are extraordinarily ineffective at providing neutral, well-written,
relatively complete and well-referenced articles about businesses and
individuals - even as of this writing we have tens of thousands of
unreferenced and poorly referenced BLPs - and equally bad at maintaining
updating them. Given this remarkable
inefficiency, and the fact that a
Wikipedia article is usually a top-5 google hit for most businesses and
people, there's plenty of good reason for our subjects to say "enough is
enough" and insist on having a decent article. We've all seen the badly
written BLPs and the articles about companies where the "controversies"
section contains every complaint made in the last 10 years. We aren't
the job ourselves, and it's unrealistic to
think that we can: the
article-to-active editor ratio is 1:960 right now, and getting higher
the time. I'm hard pressed to tell someone
that they can't bring in a
skilled Wikipedia editor, following our own policies and guidelines, to
bring an article they're interested in up to our own stated standards. As
COI, one wonders why financial benefit seems to
raise all these red
when undisclosed membership in various
organizations, personal beliefs,
life experiences may well lead to an even greater
COI. "Put it on the
page" only works if (a) someone is watching
the article, (b) that someone
doesn't have their own perspective that they feel is more valid, (c) and
someone is willing to actually edit the article. Those three conditions
aren't being met nearly enough (see editor-to-article ratio above). We've
created the very situation where organizations and people are no longer
willing to accept that they have to put up with a bad article about
themselves. And precisely why should they be prevented from improving our
As to the Volunteer Response Team, they are a very small group of
who are usually swamped with requests, and they
often wind up having to
negotiate with the existing "interested" editors to clear out BLP
and clean up the articles to meet our own
standards, sometimes having to
fight tooth and nail to do so. (I should clarify that there is a large
group of volunteers, but only a few who are actually responding to
on a regular basis, not unlike most
wiki-projects.) It is challenging for
subjects of articles to find their way to submit a request to have their
article fixed, too. And remember that 1:960 ratio - even if every active
editor on enwp made it their business to do nothing but maintenance and
improvement of existing articles, we couldn't keep up with the workload.
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David Goodman, Ph.D, M.L.S.
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