[Wikimedia-l] Paid editing v. paid advocacy (editing)

Ting Chen wing.philopp at gmx.de
Fri Jan 10 12:40:18 UTC 2014

Hello dear all,

I would like to be more cautious about the difference between the "good" 
paid editing and the "bad" paid advocacy.

There are two reasons why I don't want to separate in this way.

First of there is no clear boundary between the "good" and "bad" like 
black and white. There is a gradient of grey between the two. And that 
gradient is not a narrow one but a very broad one. And it depends from 
the perspective of the people who look upon the matter. For one maybe a 
behavior is the dark white but for the other one it may be a bright black.

Second I want to especially respond to the idea that Erik brought up: an 
organization that hire people to write qualified articles. I wrote in 
the other mail that I believe paid editing changes the collaboratory 
nature of our projects but did not really elaborate on why I think so. I 
want to do this now. Let me construct an example to emphasize why I 
think so. I will now take an example which leaves almost no room for 
interpretation about black and white: the theoretical physics. Let's say 
there is a charitable non-profit organization that hires reknowned 
theoretical physicists to write Wikipedia articles. So they pay 10.000 
Dollar to Bryce DeWitt (I know, he is dead, I just don't want to name 
any living people) to write about field theory, or John Wheeler to write 
about general relativity, and so on and so on. I wonder if this happens, 
would there still be anyone who dares to change or write articles on 
topics about theoretical physics? If this becomes a model that many 
follow, I feel it will largely change the composition of our volunteers 
community and how the project will look like. This is basically an 
approach that the Nupedia tried at the beginning. It didn't work that 
time. Meanwhile Wikipedia gains such a reputation that the model may 
work. But I personally don't find the idea sexy.


Am 09.01.2014 03:22, schrieb MZMcBride:
> Frank Schulenburg wrote:
>> [...] it is widely known that paid editing is frowned upon by many in the
>> editing community and by the Wikimedia Foundation.
> No.
> Paid editing is not the same as paid advocacy (editing). This is a very
> important point.
> Suggested reading:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Dominic/FAQ
> https://blog.wikimedia.org/?p=25830
> N.B. an example of paid editing that few would likely have an issue with
> in the first link and Sue's careful and correct wording in the second link.
> If we're going to have such a fine distinction, we should probably better
> document it to avoid misunderstandings.
> MZMcBride
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