[WikiEN-l] Reporting/dealing with whitewashing/smearing

Fred Bauder fredbaud at ctelco.net
Fri May 12 13:09:37 UTC 2006

I think the principles in Wikipedia:Autobiography could be elaborated  
on to express a policy. For example, Wal-Mart has recently hired a  
team of public relations experts, organized as a response team (a  
"war room"). Our article is an obvious target, especially when we  
have editors eagerly adding negative information. I think if they  
identified themselves and commented on the talk page we could have no  
objection. Surreptitiously editing the article, or edit warring would  
be very obnoxious. But keep in mind, they are entitled to object  
strongly, even to legal redress, in the case of libel.

The more commen public relations effort is to polish up the positive  
aspects of a person or business, create a buzz, etc. Often that is  
precisely the behavior we see in autobiographical entries by self- 
published authors.


On May 11, 2006, at 6:10 PM, The Cunctator wrote:

> What is the policy (or information about the policy) on dealing
> with/reporting whitewashing or smearing by interested/paid parties? An
> example was
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Congressional_Staffer_Edits  
> but it
> doesn't seem to be under any category... is there any kind of  
> policy? Should
> there be?
> I almost don't want to justify the practice with a defense, because  
> then it
> sets up a game/conflict for people to "win" at by "beating"  
> Wikipedia. But
> it would be foolish to ignore what will be more prevalent as Wikipedia
> grows.
> Also, I think it would be good for the community to tackle this,  
> because
> otherwise the Foundation and Jimbo will take the lead, and they have a
> necessarily conflict/legal-dispute/panic-mode bias toward the  
> issue, since
> they're always on the receiving end of irate phone calls or Ann  
> Coulters in
> their face or controversy-seeking journalists. I for one don't  
> think the "no
> interested parties" policy idea is very good, but I can see it being
> implemented if a better framework isn't put in place before all  
> hell breaks
> loose. An ounce of prevention and all that.
> But only an ounce!
> Sorry for the rambling if there's already work that's been done on  
> this
> issue and I just haven't seen it.
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