Making a change to our Terms of Use: Requirements for disclosure

Today, we’re making an important change to our Terms of Use. This change will clarify and strengthen the prohibition against concealing paid editing on all Wikimedia projects.
Half a billion people use Wikipedia every month as their source of knowledge. Wikipedia’s community editors work tirelessly at maintaining the accuracy, transparency, and objectivity of the articles, which requires identifying conflicts of interests and removing bias. Editing-for-pay can be a source of such bias, particularly when the edits are promotional in nature, or in the interest of a paying client. The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to continuing to support the Wikipedia community’s efforts to keep articles free of promotional content.

What’s changing?

This change adds a new subsection to Section 4, Refraining from Certain Activities, on “Paid Contributions without Disclosure.” The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation has issued a letter explaining the change. We have also prepared an FAQ that helps explain how the change applies in specific instances. We encourage you to read the full update, letter, and FAQ, but the most important points are:

  • If you edit as a volunteer and for fun, nothing changes. Please keep editing! You’re part of an amazing community of volunteers contributing to an unprecedented resource of free information available to the whole world.
  • If you are employed by a gallery, library, archive, museum (GLAM), or similar institution that may pay employees to make good faith contributions in your area of expertise and not about your institution, you are also welcome to edit! The FAQ provides more guidance on when you should provide disclosure.
  • If you are paid to edit, you will need to disclose your paid editing to comply with the new Terms of Use. You need to add your affiliation to your edit summary, user page, or talk page, to fairly disclose your perspective. You’ll want to read the FAQ to learn more.
  • If you are paid to edit, other rules beyond the Terms of Use may also apply. Specific policies on individual Wikimedia projects, or relevant laws in your country (such as those prohibiting fraudulent advertising), may require further disclosure or prohibit paid advocacy editing altogether. Details on the legal issues and risk associated with undisclosed paid advocacy editing may be found in this FAQ.
  • Individual Wikimedia projects may discuss and implement alternative disclosure policies appropriate to their particular needs, as explained at greater length in the FAQ.

Why are we making a change?

As explained in October of 2013, we believe that undisclosed paid advocacy editing is a black hat practice that can threaten the trust of Wikimedia’s volunteers and readers. We have serious concerns about the way that such editing affects the neutrality and reliability of Wikipedia.
The change to the Terms of Use will address these concerns in a variety of ways. First, it will help educate and explain to good-faith editors how they may continue to edit in the spirit of the movement and mission, through simple disclosure of their affiliation. Second, it will empower the community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny. Finally, it will provide an additional tool to the community and Foundation to enforce existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing.

How did we make the change?

The Terms of Use sets out rules for how nearly half a billion monthly users engage with Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. The current Terms of Use are the result of an extensive community collaboration in 2011.
We periodically review the Terms to ensure they are responsive to changes in the law and on the Wikimedia projects. To address community and Board concerns about paid editing, the Foundation proposed an amendment to the existing Terms of Use in February of this year. The Terms of Use already prohibited “deceptive activities,” such as misrepresentation, impersonation, and fraud. The original proposal was intended to help ensure compliance with these rules by requiring any users who “receive or expect to receive” direct compensation for their edits to disclose their employer, client, and affiliation.
Throughout February and March, the Wikimedia community extensively discussed the issue of undisclosed paid editing, resulting in 320,000 words of discussion in various languages and 6.3 million views of the proposal. The discussion was overwhelmingly supportive of the change. It also provided constructive criticisms that helped refine the amendment, and led us to improve our planned FAQ to provide more context and better examples.
At the meeting of the WMF Board of Trustees in April, members of the Board reviewed the change and results of the public consultation. After their discussion, they approved the amendment. The Wikimedia Foundation will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the amendment, and remain open to changes as necessary to improve it.

What happens next?

This change is effective immediately. We are notifying all users with banner messages on all Wikimedia projects.
If you have any comments, or would like to discuss this change further, please join the conversation on the Meta talk page for the Terms of Use.
Thanks everyone who has contributed to the discussion on this important issue. Your concerns elevated and clarified the issue in a manner that helped improve the original proposed amendment. Your input and feedback ensured a strong, yet appropriate, policy that we expect will strengthen the projects overall.
Stephen LaPorte, Legal Counsel
Luis Villa, Deputy General Counsel
Geoff Brigham, General Counsel
 

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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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You can help translate this post, or improve existing translations.
(You may need to click on “Translating to English” to change the translation language.)

“The discussion was overwhelmingly supportive of the change.”[citation needed]

Hi Nemo, without preempting a fuller answer from the Legal team, I recall that on March 8, a community member did a tally of the comments in the proposal discussion page which had expressed a preference for or against the proposal up to that point, and found that only 21% were opposed to the amendment, whereas 79% supported disclosure requirements: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terms_of_use/Paid_contributions_amendment#Snowball

This is great! Thank you to all in Wikipedia! (beadbud5000)

Keep up the great work Wikipedia!
Thanks.
Matthew

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!

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[…] Entrada adaptada de la original, publicada en el blog de la Fundación Wikimedia por Stephen LaPorte, asesor jurídico, Luis […]

[…] new amendment to Wikipedia’s terms of service now dictates that editors must disclose all employers, […]

[…] new amendment to Wikipedia’s terms of service now dictates that editors must disclose all employers, clients, […]

I salute the efforts. With so much information around it is getting increasingly difficult to keep all credible. A slight change, or several micro changes are hard to detect. On the one side we have information that is free to reach, and more credible – not always the case – information is locked behind doors. If I make a factual article and put a tiny little lie in it, it could be hard to detect – yet the effects of it might be big. We may detect errors as covert lies, when they are not. We do not know the… Read more »

[…] of the articles, which requires identifying conflicts of interests and removing bias,” Wikipedia said today in its announcement of rule changes. “Editing-for-pay can be a source of such bias, particularly when the edits are promotional in […]

In my opinion, the worst offenders of paid to edit are sites relating to medical and political activities.Some of the conclusions smack of bias and mal journalism. Thank you for your efforts to amend the misuse of this great source of information.

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[…] المصدر […]

[…] المصدر […]

[…] now requires its contributors to declare any employer, client or affiliation that gives them compensation in […]

como se faz isso?

[…] revised to the Terms of Use asks that paid editors must disclose any relationship through their profile page, the talk page […]

[…] blog, eles alegam que por ser uma fonte de informação para muitas pessoas, eles têm o dever de […]

I have used this site to help with my son’s home work. This is a great website for doing class assignments.

You’re Awesome Wikipedia!

日本語が嬉しいですがわかりました。可能な限りの協力hs惜しみません。

hello wikipedia.. i support your efforts to keep from being baught. information should be free.. thanks.. taking a cue from wiki-leaks? anyone ?

Thanks wikipedia, you’re awesome!

agree

This is great. I am a volunteer editor. Keep up the good job Wikipedia.

[…] Read all about it here: Read more: Making a change to our Terms of Use: Requirements for disclosure — Wikimedia blog […]

[…] de un proceso de discusión comunitario, la Fundación Wikimedia anunció un cambio en sus Términos y Condiciones de Uso, con el fin de enfrentar las ediciones bajo propósito y garantizar así la neutralidad de los […]

[…] de un proceso de discusión comunitario, la Fundación Wikimedia anunció un cambio en sus Términos y Condiciones de Uso, con el fin de enfrentar las ediciones bajo propósito y garantizar así la neutralidad de los […]

[…] new amendment to Wikipedia’s terms of service now dictates that editors must disclose all employers, […]

[…] de un proceso de discusión comunitario, la Fundación Wikimedia anunció un cambio en sus Términos y Condiciones de Uso, con el fin de enfrentar las ediciones bajo propósito y garantizar así la neutralidad de los […]

Excellent work you all! More and more, I turn to Wikipedia for information and research. I fully support this change, but I’m left wondering what we, the average users, can do to help to notice and notify folks about possible violations?

[…] المصدر […]

it’s the right thing to do
ONWARD!!
I celebrate your efforts

[…] new amendment to Wikipedia’s terms of service now dictates that editors must disclose all employers, […]

[…] de un proceso de discusión comunitario, la Fundación Wikimedia anunció un cambio en sus Términos y Condiciones de Uso, con el fin de enfrentar las ediciones bajo propósito y garantizar así la neutralidad de los […]

[…] can threaten the trust of Wikimedia’s volunteers and readers,” the foundation said in a statement [1]explaining the new rules. “We have serious concerns about the way that such editing affects […]

[…] The change to the Terms of Use will address these concerns in a variety of ways. First, it will help educate and explain to good-faith editors how they may continue to edit in the spirit of the movement and mission, through simple disclosure of their affiliation. Second, it will empower the community to address the issue of paid editing in an informed way by helping identify edits that should receive additional scrutiny. Finally, it will provide an additional tool to the community and Foundation to enforce existing rules about conflicts of interest and paid editing. Geoff Brigham writing in… Read more »

[…] de un proceso de discusión comunitario, la Fundación Wikimedia anunció un cambio en sus Términos y Condiciones de Uso, con el fin de enfrentar las ediciones bajo propósito y garantizar así la neutralidad de los […]

[…] Heute nehmen wir eine wichtige Änderung an unseren Nutzungsbedingungen vor. Diese Änderung verdeutlicht und verstärkt das Verbot der Verheimlichung von bezahlten Bearbeitungen auf allen Wikimedia-Projekten […] Wenn Sie für Ihre Bearbeitung bezahlt werden, müssen Sie diese bezahlte Bearbeitung offenlegen, um die neuen Nutzungsbedingungen einzuhalten. Sie müssen Ihre Zugehörigkeit in Ihrer Bearbeitungszusammenfassung, Benutzerseite oder Diskussionsseite angeben, um Ihre Perspektive fair offenzulegen […] Wenn Sie für Ihre Bearbeitung bezahlt werden, gelten möglicherweise zusätzlich zu den Nutzungsbedingungen noch andere Regeln. Besondere Richtlinien für einzelne Wikimedia-Projekte oder entsprechende Gesetze in Ihrem Land (beispielsweise Gesetze zur betrügerischen Werbung) erfordern möglicherweise weitere Angaben oder verbieten… Read more »

[…] Wikipedia now requires its contributors to declare any employer, client or affiliation that gives them compensation in exchange for contributions. […]

I am reading it daily whatever may be the doubt i ask only wiki wiki is my friend

the way had been decided

[…] la asociación que agrupa a la famosa Wikipedia y a otros proyectos similares, anunció ayer cambios importantes en sus términos de uso. Estos cambios tienen como objetivo acabar con el pago encubierto a los editores de las entradas […]

[…] la asociación que agrupa a la famosa Wikipedia y a otros proyectos similares, anunció ayer cambios importantes en sus términos de uso. Estos cambios tienen como objetivo acabar con el pago encubierto a los editores de las entradas […]

keep up the great work! I personally use wiki all the time! My girlfriend states that its not actual a legetiment source because it can be edited. you have just strengthened your ligetimicy by updating your rules.
cheers!

‘If you are paid to edit…’
This is not sufficient. Perhaps I work for company CCC (or my spouse works for them) and I write about them in my spare time. There is still a potential problem.

[…] lo piden en este artículo del blog de Wikimedia, donde especifican que será obligatorio dejar clara la relación existente con […]

[…] que agrupa a la famosa Wikipedia y a otros proyectos similares, anunció ayer cambios importantes en sus términos de uso. Estos cambios tienen como objetivo acabar con el pago encubierto a los editores de las entradas […]