Feeds

Wikimedia wants forced disclosures of paid edits

Saving you from lawsuits, not flaks from exposure

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The Wikimedia Foundation will attempt to alter its terms of service so that users who create articles or make edits as part of their jobs or a paid engagement must disclose their affiliation.

Paid edits and articles are often considered to be astroturfing – the marketing technique of making something look like a grass roots movement when it is in fact a well-funded and co-ordinated effort. Wikimedia therefore wants disclosure of “your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution to any Wikimedia Projects for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation.” Such disclosure should comprise:

  • a statement on your user page,
  • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

The Foundation's rationale for this change is that while its terms of use “already prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud” amendments could “ensure compliance with these obligations”.

Such regulation might even protect you the Foundation argues, as those who create or edit articles at work could conceivably find themselves the subject of legal action under “unfair competition and simple fraud statutes”.

The change to the organisation’s terms of service aren't signed, sealed and delivered. But with the Foundation's legal team planning to “ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees” to make the alteration, it's hard to imagine they won't go through, given Boards' liking for things that lower risk.

If the change is adopted, it should mean some fun times in vendor-land, as their marketing teams and hired hands do love to ensure that Wikipedia and other Wikimedia outlets offer the shiniest-possible view of their products and activities. Figuring out just what users with obscure names are so insistent bad behaviour was actually angelic will be fun to watch. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.