Hi Steven :)  Good points.  I agree with Adam that this is a major energy
and enthusiasm drain for eitors.

As to how we could start with data collection:

* Monitor the market.
  a) Work with groups that are in the market and completely transparent
about their work to maintain a sense of rates and volume
  b) Search general contracting sites, general search engines, and specific
reputation brokers for new options; maintain a catalog
  c) Spot-check and commission work. As with Böhmermann
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_B%C3%B6hmermann>'s show - he spent under
500 Euros and identified two networks of UPE.

 * Build better tools for tracking and countering undisclosed paid editing
  a)  Tracking: automated scoring, as with ORES
  b)  Countering: As you say: tools to help people coordinate work, making
it more fun and collaborative to take on UPE. Especially for often-targeted
categories -- politicians + companies..
  b)  Both: Focus on tools for detecting large farms over time, and
cleaning up the mess left by a farm.

You're right about community size being a defense.  But only for a time --
the growing demand for this actively subverts community members. Olaf was
one!  So we also need to think of ways to reduce and divert that demand
into constructive channels.


On Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 11:11 PM Steven Walling <steven.wall...@gmail.com>

> Given that it’s completely trivial to make new pseudonymous accounts how
> would you propose even remotely accurate data collection to measure paid
> editing?
> If we are worried about the impact of paid editors on the integrity of
> content, we are much better served investing even more in efforts to
> dramatically strengthen our volunteer community’s ability to defend the
> projects. That means better software to help each editor do more, making it
> fun, easy and welcoming for new contributors, and fighting the attrition in
> admins and other functionaries. If our volunteer community was larger and
> healthier, the threat of paid interference would be less scary.
> On Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 7:20 PM Samuel Klein <meta...@gmail.com> wrote:
>> Aha -- I was pointed to en:wp's List of paid editing companies
>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_paid_editing_companies>.
>> (thanks!)  This is a great resource and deserves to be better linked.   The
>> page is semi-active - 4 additions in the last month, including the Olaf
>> case. I've cleaned it up a bit and linked it to the German page. This
>> really needs some automated scripting and tracking, at the scale of ORES...
>> Is there any routine analysis / stats compiled of edits associated with
>> these orgs, or of their activity online?
>> On Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 2:19 PM Samuel Klein <meta...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Jan Böhmermann <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_B%C3%B6hmermann>
>>> published an amazing expose on political WP editing in Germany; it gets
>>> good around 15 minutes in
>>> <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNsTaKwyAzI&t=900s>. In the video he
>>> exposed the workings of a paid editing farm run (by Olaf Kosinsky (
>>> Wikidata <https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q30108329>; CheckUser discussion
>>> <https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProjekt_Umgang_mit_bezahltem_Schreiben/Verdachtsf%C3%A4lle/Olaf_Kosinsky>
>>> ; archived PR-services site
>>> <https://web.archive.org/web/20210416110100/https://kosinsky.eu/>), an
>>> excellent long-time editor with over 3 million edits.
>>> *We need to distinguish paid editing from general COI editing*.  Paid
>>> editing is COI editing by professionals, who have strong external
>>> incentives to persist, no leeway in the outcome they are aiming
>>> for, experience in doing this in dozens of cases, and may have colleagues
>>> who can drop in as 'uninvolved' editors to forge consensus or social
>>> proof.[1]
>>> This is one of our great recurring challenges, siphoning off both our
>>> reputation and our community.  There are many things we can do about paid
>>> editing, starting with maintaining *paid-editing metrics and a
>>> dashboard* of known and estimated paid editing.  We can estimate its
>>> prevalence by the availabiity of services online[2]; and look for patterns
>>> of such editing on wiki.  Even with large error margins, this would be a
>>> step above simply waiting for outbreaks to be discovered and reacting to
>>> the visible bits of the iceberg.
>>> What sort of metrics like this do we have already?  Who is working on
>>> such things?
>>> Since the above video came out, de:wp started a table of WP editing
>>> services
>>> <https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProjekt_Umgang_mit_bezahltem_Schreiben/F%C3%A4lle#Wikipedia-Web-Agenturen_auf_dem_Markt>.
>>> It currently includes an initial dozen examples, with no estimate of
>>> activity (the 1 account known to be associated with each is in most cases
>>> blocked; but most have active websites soliciting work) This would be
>>> useful in all languages.
>>> SJ
>>>  [1] as Melmann wrote
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Village_pump_(policy)/Archive_167#Limiting_the_scope_of_COI_edit_requests>
>>>  recently:
>>> "*in my experience, **all the most difficult edits are WP:PAID
>>> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:PAID>**. Most non-paid COI
>>> comes from a place of desire to make things better, and often can be
>>> relatively easily guided towards a better place... [or] it is relatively
>>> easy to use existing enforcement mechanisms to to correct and ultimately
>>> control their behaviours. PR professionals, on the other hand, are subtle
>>> and sometimes downright deceptive, and it takes lots of effort to check
>>> their edits when most of the time you lack context and expertise and you
>>> really have to research in depth to see their edits for what they really
>>> are. I think that one of the fundamental mistakes of the current policy is
>>> lumping paid editors with general COI editing as paid editors are
>>> fundamentally playing on a different level in terms of PR expertise and
>>> incentives*"
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