[Wikimedia-l] Paid editing v. paid advocacy (editing)
jayen466 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 10 21:06:39 UTC 2014
Quite. Museums' self-interest in employing a Wikipedian-in-Residence is
often quite evident from the way the position is described ("raise our
And what about, say, the Henry Ford Museum? Or the Volkswagen museum? Is
that not knowledge? Is it "evil", because it's part of a business?
Which reminds me – I often think it odd that Wikimedia will fund a
Wikipedian-in-Residence for some regional tourist attraction (think the
Welsh Coastal Path project, or the York Museum), resulting in the creation
of truly niche content that seems designed to benefit local tourism more
than mass education, while baulking at the idea of paying legal, scientific
or medical experts to look over the most viewed, most critical legal,
scientific or medical articles, i.e. articles that are accessed by
thousands of people each day. I'd rather see the money go to a trained
expert working on those articles, much along the lines Ting (somewhat
reluctantly) considered above, even it this were to result – shock! horror!
– in a stable, authoritative Wikipedia article.
At any rate, I am sure donors would rather see their money go towards
improving the quality of key encyclopedic topics than see them spent on
funding microcoverage of some tourist region.
On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 3:01 PM, Erlend Bjørtvedt <erlend at wikimedia.no>wrote:
> A museum is a commercial entity. They live from ticket incomes from
> customers. Universities live from tuition fees from students who freely
> choose which university is most attractive to them.
> The difference between these institutions editing, and a private railway
> company when it comes to coi issues, is in my view non-existent.
> Den 10. jan. 2014 14:14 skrev "Anders Wennersten" <
> mail at anderswennersten.se>
> > Thanks Christophe for your long ,but very good thoughts and experiences
> > from paid editing from pro-profit organization.
> > I fully support your approach and hope we can put energy, instead of
> > being "against", to elaborate on how to best handle the reality that
> > pro-profit organization do paid editing. Should we ask them to be be open
> > with their userids relation to their companies/organizations for
> > which I think is the (only) wish we should have (and paid editors from
> > already do this) .
> > Anders
> > Christophe Henner skrev 2014-01-10 13:34:
> >> Hi everyone,
> >> I'll try to elaborate on this topic :)
> >> First of all, in 2011 in Haifa I did a first talk about companies and
> >> Wikipedia. I did that because I was making a "study" (emphasis on the
> >> " as I'm not keen to say it's a study and more of a detailed
> >> observation) of the state of the articles of the top 40 french
> >> companies.
> >> During that talk I explained how I believe companies could help us
> >> improve our projects. I won't get too much into that as, since then,
> >> the debate evolved from "companies editing Wikipedia" to "Paid editing
> >> is evil".
> >> This year at Wikimania I gave two talks about this very topic, one
> >> about how third party organizations can help us and the second on a
> >> framework to have editing.
> >> Of course, as usual, some people were "against it".
> >> But how can we, as a community, be against "paid editing" on one hand
> >> when on the other hand we seek "paid editing" from GLAMs, researchers
> >> from state organizations, etc.
> >> The question whether we allow, or not, paid editing is non-existent.
> >> Paid editing is allowed, we already allowed it, we even support it;
> >> Now, the question about "paid advocacy". Again, one of our core
> >> principle is NPOV. We don't want people to push their POV. Whether
> >> they're paid or not, is not relevant.
> >> So, to me, the "paid foobar" question is not the one in debate here.
> >> The one we're actually debating about is "do we want for profit
> >> organization to edit Wikipedia".
> >> So yes, paid organizations have an interest in editing Wikipedia, but
> >> just as much as GLAMs have an interest in editing our projects. In
> >> fact, when Wikimedian meets GLAMs one of the key arguments is "look at
> >> (pick past project that got great coverage such as the bundesarchives,
> >> British Museum, etc)". We show them they have an interest in
> >> committing resources, both financial and human, to improve Wikimedia
> >> projects.
> >> So the "they have an interest in editing" isn't an argument in the
> >> end, as, of course a lot of editors have an interest in editing. And
> >> we're using it. When we think or work on how researchers valorize
> >> their edits in their cursus, those researchers have an interest in
> >> editing Wikipedia.
> >> So, really what is that people working for a company have that makes
> >> it so we have to ban them to edit? If we already have people paid to
> >> edit, if we have people with interests (henceforth some sort of COI),
> >> what do they have the others don't?
> >> Now, why do I strongly believe we should encourage companies to edit
> >> Wikipedia.
> >> First of all, as I said some years ago I evaluated the quality of
> >> company articles on the French Wikipedia. Most of them were crap.
> >> Either outdated, incomplete or with wrong information, all those
> >> articles were poor; And we're talking about the top 40 french
> >> companies, such as Orange, L'Oréal, Renault, BNP, etc.
> >> The volunteer community isn't keen to improve and maintain those
> >> articles. Companies are willing to do it. So we prefer to have poor
> >> articles instead of good ones because there's a risk companies will
> >> act wrongfully (I hope I'm not the only one to see the irony in this
> >> situation where we prefer to ban editors because there's a risk
> >> they'll do wrong. We should do that for all the projects, Close them
> >> to editing because there's a risk people will do wrong.).
> >> Adapting our projects to provide a framework where companies can
> >> easily fit in and edit as a direct consequence, improve the quality of
> >> their articles.
> >> Companies that have the resources to commit to such things are,
> >> usually, big and sometimes old company. Imagine that in a few year,
> >> being involved with the Wikimedia projects is so natural for those
> >> companies that they release their archives on the Wikimedia Projects.
> >> What archives do you ask?
> >> Orange, for example, is the former organization in charge of the
> >> french telecom. They managed telephone for a very long time and have a
> >> long history in R&D. Their archives must be astounding. Containing
> >> documents, pictures and videos about telecomunication that should be
> >> awesome. That are part of our history.
> >> Right now, those archives are dusting in some building. And in few
> >> years they might disappear.
> >> Our stance, being so opposed to companies making the first step
> >> (editing) prevent companies to go the next step, release. And in fact,
> >> indirectly, we're preventing knowledge to be freed. Awesome.
> >> Lastly, those companies have huge R&D budgets and employ thousands of
> >> researchers and engineers. Imagine a company that employs 1 000
> >> researchers. And imagine that company to do 2 things:
> >> 1/ that a company, as part of its CSR politic, says they commit 1 day
> >> per year per researcher to improve one article. And to provide to
> >> those researchers a one day training session about Wikipedia. This
> >> means 1 000 days of editing from specialized researchers and 1 000
> >> researchers evangelized and trained to edit.
> >> 2/ that this company would commit 0.0001% of it's R&D global budget to
> >> open a Q&A desk so wikimedians could ask their researchers for
> >> bibliography or proof reading articles
> >> Those things are not wild dreams, they could definitely happen
> >> (especially when you see how much money is spent in CSR actions). But
> >> we, as a community, refuse to tap into this.
> >> I'll stop here, my email is already quiet long, but by "baning" any
> >> "paid foobar" we are actually preventing the improvement of
> >> corporations related articles, destroying potential free knowledge and
> >> refusing to train and advocate about Wikipedia to thousand of people
> >> at a time.
> >> When I see the strategy of the movement, how much we need to get new
> >> editors and how poorly we do in some fields, I'm shocked by how easily
> >> we ban those possibilities to happen. And for what reason? Because
> >> they're for-profit companies.
> >> Best,
> >> PS: a short matrix of what we, as a community, we allow/disallow from
> >> reality and from discussions. If you can't see the problem there...
> >> https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Schiste/editing_matrix
> >> --
> >> Christophe
> >> On 10 January 2014 00:52, Erlend Bjørtvedt <erlend at wikimedia.no> wrote:
> >>> I agree with you, Dariusz.
> >>> We have discussed this at length in the community, and at Wikipedia
> >>> Academy
> >>> in Oslo in december.
> >>> There is minimal support of a ban of paid editing. One thing is the
> >>> that we have both Wikipedians in Residence and editing scholarships
> >>> GLAM institutions. It is naive to believe that cultural institutions
> >>> museums, etc, are not commercial. I am myself among those receiving USD
> >>> 1.500 from the Directorate of Cultural Heritage to write about 19th
> >>> century
> >>> trappers' huts at Spitsbergen. Commercial? Probably not. Paid editing?
> >>> Definitely.
> >>> The debate among admins and at the Academy last month, revealed more or
> >>> less consensus along several lines of thought.
> >>> 1) A ban of paid editing is illusionary and impractible, and will just
> >>> force paid editors "underground"
> >>> 2) A ban will deprive us of invaluable expertise on a wide array of
> >>> subjects that would otherwise not be covered
> >>> 3) Guidelines and 5 pillars take presedence over COI anyway, judge
> >>> by what they do, and not who they are.
> >>> 4) In-house employee editing is not only tolerated, but quite common at
> >>> no-wiki.
> >>> 5) The line runs at paid advocacy = third-party for-pay editing for a
> >>> commercial customer, or for-pay POV editing.
> >>> During the discussion, it appeared that a large proportion of the
> >>> and bureaucrats who joined the discussion, had edited the articles
> >>> their employers. Most were aware of the COI potential involved, but
> >>> asserted being able to write objectively even about an employer.
> >>> Cheers,
> >>> Erlend Bjørtvedt
> >>> Norway
> >>> 2014/1/9 Dariusz Jemielniak <darekj at alk.edu.pl>
> >>> On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 10:28 AM, Tomasz Ganicz <polimerek at gmail.com>
> >>>> wrote:
> >>>> Yes, but the question is how to enable such a system. If the rules
> >>>>> paid editors were to be very strict - many paid editors would have
> >>>>> still decide to do it in secrecy anyway,
> >>>> oh, but there will ALWAYS be those lurking in the shadows. However,
> >>>> currently we frown upon edits which are according to the rules just as
> >>>> much
> >>>> as upon those which cross the line. I think it would be good to make
> >>>> explicit, ostensive bright line, like Jimbo suggested - I just think
> >>>> line should be elsewhere.
> >>>> Paid editing, when done according to the rules, and when subjected to
> >>>> transparent community control, is definitely better than a system in
> >>>> which
> >>>> paid editors are, in fact, motivated NOT TO reveal their affiliations.
> >>>> best,
> >>>> dariusz "pundit"
> >>>> _______________________________________________
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> >>> --
> >>> *Erlend Bjørtvedt*
> >>> Nestleder, Wikimedia Norge
> >>> Vice chairman, Wikimedia Norway
> >>> Mob: +47 - 9225 9227
> >>> http://no.wikimedia.org <http://no.wikimedia.org/wiki/About_us>
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