On 18 April 2012 13:38, Andreas Kolbe <jayen...@gmail.com> wrote:

> On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dal...@gmail.com
> >wrote:
> > They say you have to wait 2-5 days for a response after requesting
> changes
> > as though that is a bad thing. I'm very impressed with that response
> time.
> > How many commercial encyclopaedias can do better?
> I hope you're joking here. :)
> Just in case you weren't: commercial encyclopedias have a sophisticated
> editorial and legal process in place to ensure they do not print defamatory
> content. Sometimes subjects are sent a draft before publication, and are
> given an opportunity to make an input.
> Wikipedia has none of that. What it does have is a history of articles
> littered with malice, bias and inaccuracy (witness its history of
> arbitration cases).

Yes, but note that PR folk are not just employed to deal with defamatory
material. In fact in the case of defamation it's more probably a lawyer's
work. They are professionals in verbal massage of material. This is what
they can charge money for.

> I was struck by the following passage in the paper:
> ---o0o---
> Although another one of the five pillars is that Wikipedia does not have
> firm rules – Wales recently stated, “This is not complicated. There is a
> very simple “bright
> line” rule that constitutes best practice: do not edit Wikipedia directly
> if you are a paid
> advocate. Respect the community by interacting with us appropriately”
> (Wales, 2012a,
> para 2).
> This directly conflicts with the Wikipedia FAQ/Article subjects (2012) page
> that specifically
> asks public relations professionals to remove vandalism, fix minor errors
> in spelling,
> grammar, usage or facts, provide references for existing content, and add
> or update facts
> with references such as number of employees or event details.
> ---o0o---
> On that, at least, they're correct.
Yes indeed. Jimbo neither makes policy nor enforces it, of course. What we
have here is an ongoing "loop" in being able to read WP:COI properly. I
believe the guideline on COI to be the best available take on this issue.
However - and it's a big however - we are learning that the limitation on
COI to a "universal" statement makes it harder for those with particular
types of COI to understand. This applies both to paid editing, and to
"activist" editing (I think you will have no trouble understanding this,
Andreas ...), as well as autobiography.

The COI guideline is supposed to be "best advice", and in a nutshell it
says "really don't" edit in certain ways when you are too close to a topic.
Now, in the non-nutshell, discursive version it of course says that who you
are and what you believe and how you might be rewarded for editing are not
the issue: if you are a POV pusher that is the problem we have with you,
not anything else. It is not "illegal" in our terms to do certain things
when you have a _potential_ conflict of interest.

But the real-life situation is that someone paid to edit has a boss and/or
paymaster. Jimbo knows what he is doing here with sending out a soundbite,
rather than citing the page. The boss can understand the soundbite, and is
almost certainly not going to bother to understand the page.

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