Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner's response to paid advocacy editing and sockpuppetry

Editors on the English Wikipedia are currently investigating allegations of suspicious edits and sockpuppetry (i.e. using online identities for purposes of deception). At this point, as reported, it looks like a number of user accounts — perhaps as many as several hundred — may have been paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products, and have been violating numerous site policies and guidelines, including prohibitions against sockpuppetry and undisclosed conflicts of interest. As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing have blocked or banned more than 250 user accounts.

The Wikimedia Foundation takes this issue seriously and has been following it closely.

With a half a billion readers, Wikipedia is an important informational resource for people all over the world. Our readers know Wikipedia’s not perfect, but they also know that it has their best interests at heart, and is never trying to sell them a product or propagandize them in any way. Our goal is to provide neutral, reliable information for our readers, and anything that threatens that is a serious problem. We are actively examining this situation and exploring our options.

In the wake of the investigation, editors have expressed shock and dismay. We understand their reaction and share their concerns. We are grateful to the editors who’ve been doing the difficult, painstaking work of trying to figure out what’s happening here.

Editing-for-pay has been a divisive topic inside Wikipedia for many years, particularly when the edits to articles are promotional in nature. Unlike a university professor editing Wikipedia articles in their area of expertise, paid editing for promotional purposes, or paid advocacy editing as we call it, is extremely problematic. We consider it a “black hat” practice. Paid advocacy editing violates the core principles that have made Wikipedia so valuable for so many people.

What is clear to everyone is that all material on Wikipedia needs to adhere to Wikipedia’s editorial policies, including those on neutrality and verifiability. It is also clear that companies that engage in unethical practices on Wikipedia risk seriously damaging their own reputations. In general, companies engaging in self-promotional activities on Wikipedia have come under heavy criticism from the press and the general public, with their actions widely viewed as inconsistent with Wikipedia’s educational mission.

Being deceptive in your editing by using sockpuppets or misrepresenting your affiliation with a company is against Wikipedia policy and is prohibited by our Terms of Use. We urge companies to conduct themselves ethically, to be transparent about what they’re doing on Wikipedia, and to adhere to all site policies and practices.

The Wikimedia Foundation is closely monitoring this ongoing investigation and we are currently assessing all the options at our disposal. We will have more to say in the coming weeks.

Sue Gardner
Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Archive notice: This is an archived post from blog.wikimedia.org, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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[…] “Editors on the English Wikipedia are currently investigating allegations of suspicious edits and sockpuppetry (i.e. using online identities for purposes of deception). At this point, as reported, it looks like a number of user accounts — perhaps as many as several hundred — may have been paid to write articles on Wikipedia promoting organizations or products, and have been violating numerous site policies and guidelines, including prohibitions against sockpuppetry and undisclosed conflicts of interest. As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing have blocked or banned more than 250 user accounts.” (via Wikimedia blog) […]

Please sort this problem out, as I love Wikipedia and I don’t want anything to go wrong with it.
Thanks.

[…] efforts were described in a statement published this morning by the Wikimedia Foundation, in which director Sue Gardner acknowledged that […]

Well, it was only a matter of time before this came to the public domain. The ”anyone can edit” mantra is coming back to bite Wikipedia.

[…] efforts were described in a statement published this morning by the Wikimedia Foundation, in which director Sue Gardner acknowledged that […]

Good work, Sue!
Being a paid editor for something is automatic COI, it’s also impossible to
be neutral either. Kick ’em all out, I say !

[…] efforts were described in a statement published this morning by the Wikimedia Foundation, in which director Sue Gardner acknowledged that […]

[…] morning Wikipedia decided to make an announcement concerning the latest group to be caught, Wiki-PR. I would excerpt the salient parts of the statement, but you should honestly just read it. […]

[…] morning Wikipedia decided to make an announcement concerning the latest group to be caught, Wiki-PR. I would excerpt the salient parts of the statement, but you should honestly just read it. […]

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

[…] or products,” wrote outgoing Wikimedia Foundation executive director Sue Gardner in a blog post on […]

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

[…] efforts were described in a statement published this morning by the Wikimedia Foundation, in which director Sue Gardner acknowledged that […]

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

Sue them so hard they squeak. Also seek to pierce their corporate veil and go after the personal assets of the owners. Post banners above every page that they had a hand in, announcing that the page is now locked down due to it being posted by a PR spammer that you are going to sue. And make it clear that anyone who hires a PR firm to promote them on Wikipedia is going to end up with the disgrace of having their page locked down with a spam warning posted on top. Further, all of the clients of this… Read more »

[…] of the site’s policies, Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner wrote in a blog post Monday. “As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing […]

[…] director of Wikimedia Foundation, the backer of Wikipedia, says the foundation has “blocked or banned more than 250 user accounts” after it suspected the contributors were engaging in […]

[…] 维基百科正在进行一项针对可疑编辑和水军账号的调查,他们已经屏蔽了超过250个账号以减少软文条目并保持中立性。 […]

[…] ylläpitävän Wikimedia-säätiön johtaja Sue Gardner myöntää ongelmat. Huijauksesta ja sen paljastumisesta kerrotaan tarkemmin The Daily Dot -julkaisun pitkässä […]

Good, Wikipedia.
Hit them hard. It will help you keep good editors editing, and generous users contributing to your fundraising.

[…] υπήρξε στόχος συγκεκριμένων ανθρώπων παραδέχθηκε η Σου Γκάρντνερ, διευθύνουσα σύμβουλος του Ιδρύματος Wikim…. Τουλάχιστον 250 άτομα, χρησιμοποιώντας ψεύτικους […]

[…] propagandistici su Wikipedia» in chiara violazione delle politiche del sito, ha scritto in un post sul blog Sue Gardner, direttore di Wikimedia […]

[…] begünstigt”, schreibt Sue Gardner, Geschäftsführerin der Wikimedia Foundation, in einem Blogeintrag. Es verstoße gegen die Wikipedia-Richtlinien und sei ausdrücklich in den Nutzungsbedingungen […]

[…] them in any way,” wrote Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikipedia Foundation, in a blog post. “Our goal is to provide neutral, reliable information for our readers, and anything that […]

[…] Fondazione Wikimedia responsabile della popolarissima enciclopedia online Wikipedia ha comunicato di aver rimosso  più di 250 profili dagli utenti registrati al sito per poterlo aggiornare. Una […]

[…] Fondazione Wikimedia responsabile della popolarissima enciclopedia online Wikipedia ha comunicato di aver rimosso  più di 250 profili dagli utenti registrati al sito per poterlo aggiornare. Una […]

[…] bezahlten Artikel durchaus gegen die Wiki-Regeln. Und auch die Wikimedia-Stiftung hat mittlerweile eine offizielle Stellungnahme […]

Good work! I might just up my contribution! 😉

[…] Offenbar wurde genau dieses Neutralitätsprinzip bei Wikipedia massiv verletzt. Wie gestern bekannt wurde, geht das Internet-Lexikon gegen Manipulationen durch PR-Auftragschreiber vor. Diese sollen in ihren Artikeln Produkte oder ganze Organisationen beworben haben, was gegen mehrere Richtlinien verstoße, wie Sue Gardner, Direktorin der Wikimedia-Stiftung, die Wikipedia betreibt, im Blog der Seite schrieb. […]

[…] Wikimedia ha manifestado su indignación al hallar que más de 250 cuentas para editores de Wikipedia habían sido financiadas por una […]

[…] efforts were described in a statement published this morning by the Wikimedia Foundation, in which director Sue Gardner acknowledged that […]

Good work, bravo! I am supporting Wikipedia more than ever now!

[…] and maintaining articles about the company’s clients. The Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), in a statement yesterday, called Wiki-PR’s activities a “Terms of Service” violation, and said it was […]

It s a great problem. I wish you found a solution. They occupie a article for their adversiting. Please look other countries too

[…] Wikimedia กล่าวผ่านบล็อกของมูลนิธิเมื่อวันจันทร์ที่ผ่านมาว่า […]

[…] Wikimedia กล่าวผ่านบล็อกของมูลนิธิเมื่อวันจันทร์ที่ผ่านมาว่า […]

[…] ylläpitävän Wikimedia-säätiön johtaja Sue Gardner myöntää ongelmat. Huijauksesta ja sen paljastumisesta kerrotaan tarkemmin The Daily Dot -julkaisun pitkässä […]

[…] ernst und haben den Vorgang genau beobachtet“, kommentiert die Wikimedia Foundation die Aktion in einem Blogeintrag, ohne auf die Berichte rund um Wiki-PR einzugehen. Das Ziel von Wikipedia sei, neutrale und […]

Gute Arbeit! Glückwunsch! Schleichwerbung hat hier nichts zu suchen.

[…] Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner’s response to paid advocacy editing and sockpu… Wikimedia (Chuck L) […]

[…] ”Editors on the English Wikipedia are currently investigating allegations of suspicious edits and sockpuppetry (i.e. using online identities for purposes of deception).” … ”As a result, Wikipedians aiming to protect the projects against non-neutral editing have blocked or banned more than 250 user accounts.” / Sue Gardner, Executive Director, Wikimedia Foundation, October 21, 2013 […]

I like the way you think! Hit them where it hurts, in the wallet; use the kind of tactics on them that they use all the time on the common people…

Fortunately, Wikipedia’s agnosticism is seriously questioned by any thinking person. Unfortunately it is not questioned by those who do not think quite as deeply. Regrettably it appears those people make up the majority. The “gatekeepers” of dozens (if not hundreds) of pages may very well be being paid to enforce the status quo of ‘knowledge’, there is no way to tell. But irrespective of financial motive, the result is still that the suppression of competing scientific theories and historical narratives is rampant. You may also add to that insult malicious page edits of historical and public figures, which absent a… Read more »

Go for it Sue! All I ask is that you help us the users become aware of which companies and brands are engaging in these unethical practices.
Expose them and we will administer the punishment by taking our business elsewhere.
For lies and deception there must be CONSEQUENCES!!!

[…] pretendi?). Per questo la notizia dell’eliminazione di oltre 200 di questi collaboratori, data dal direttore esecutivo Sue Gardner, riguarda tutti noi che compulsivamente verifichiamo ogni dato e ogni riferimento con questa […]

[…] Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner’s response to paid advocacy editing and sockpu… Wikimedia (Chuck L) […]

[…] a post on the Wikimedia Foundation site, Gardner said they are currently assessing “all the […]