Thank you Mario!  I'll ask further there. S

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 4:29 PM Mario Gómez <> wrote:

> You might want to discuss this topic at
> This page is watched by many people working against UPE in various
> projects. Many are familiar with large-scale UPE operations. Some of us
> already work with tools for automated and semi-automated detection. So it
> might be more fruitful to discuss it with contributors experienced in that
> area.
> Best,
> Mario
> On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 7:22 PM Samuel Klein <> wrote:
>> 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
>> <>'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.
>> SJ
>> On Tue, Sep 7, 2021 at 11:11 PM Steven Walling <>
>> wrote:
>>> 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 <> wrote:
>>>> Aha -- I was pointed to en:wp's 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 <> wrote:
>>>>> Jan Böhmermann <>
>>>>> published an amazing expose on political WP editing in Germany; it gets
>>>>> good around 15 minutes in
>>>>> <>. In the video he
>>>>> exposed the workings of a paid editing farm run (by Olaf Kosinsky (
>>>>> Wikidata <>; CheckUser
>>>>> discussion
>>>>> <>
>>>>> ; archived PR-services site
>>>>> <>),
>>>>> 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
>>>>> <>.
>>>>> 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
>>>>> <>
>>>>>  recently:
>>>>> "*in my experience, **all the most difficult edits are WP: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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Samuel Klein          @metasj           w:user:sj          +1 617 529 4266
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