Wikipedia:Conflict of interest

Conflict of interest (COI) editing involves contributing to Wikipedia about yourself, family, friends, clients, employers, or your financial and other relationships. Any external relationship can trigger a conflict of interest. [a] That someone has a conflict of interest is a description of a situation, not a judgment about that person's opinions or integrity. [b]

COI editing is strongly discouraged on Wikipedia. It undermines public confidence, and it risks causing public embarrassment to the individuals and companies being promoted. Editors with a COI cannot know whether or how much it has influenced their editing. If COI editing causes disruption, an administrator may opt to place blocks on the involved accounts.

Editors with a COI, including paid editors, are expected to disclose it whenever they seek to influence an affected article's content. Anyone editing for pay must disclose who is paying them, who the client is, and any other relevant affiliation; this is a requirement of the Wikimedia Foundation. [6] In addition, COI editors are generally advised not to edit affected articles directly, and to propose changes on talk pages instead.

When investigating COI editing, do not reveal the identity of editors against their wishes. Wikipedia's policy against harassment, in particular the prohibition against disclosing personal information, takes precedence over this guideline. Editors discussing changes to this guideline should disclose whether they have been paid to edit Wikipedia.

Wikipedia's position

Purpose of Wikipedia

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As an encyclopedia, Wikipedia's mission is to provide the public with articles that summarize accepted knowledge, written neutrally and sourced reliably. Readers expect to find neutral articles written independently of their subject, not corporate or personal webpages, or platforms for advertising and self-promotion. Articles should contain only material that complies with Wikipedia's content policies and best practices, and Wikipedians must place the interests of the encyclopedia and its readers above personal concerns.

COI editing

Editors with a COI should follow Wikipedia policies and best practices scrupulously.

If you have a conflict of interest you should declare your COI, and put edits through peer review instead of articles directly:

  • you should disclose your COI when involved with affected articles;
  • you are strongly discouraged from editing affected articles directly.
  • you may propose changes on talk pages (to which you can call attention by using the {{ request edit}} template or by posting a note at the COI noticeboard), so that they can be peer reviewed before being published;
  • you should put new articles through the articles for creation process instead of creating them directly, so they can be peer reviewed before being published;
  • you should respect other editors by keeping discussions concise.
  • you should not accept any such affected article(s) at articles for creation process.

Note that no one on Wikipedia controls articles. If Wikipedia hosts an article about you or your organization, others may add information that would otherwise remain little known, decide to delete the article, or decide to keep it should you later request deletion. The media has several times drawn attention to companies that engage in COI editing on Wikipedia (see Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia), which has led to embarrassment for the organization concerned.

An editor has a financial conflict of interest when they write about a topic with which they have a close financial relationship. This includes being an owner, employee, contractor, investor or other stakeholder. Being paid to contribute to Wikipedia is one form of financial COI; it places the paid editor in a conflict between their employer's goals and Wikipedia's goals. The kind of paid editing of most concern to the community involves using Wikipedia for public relations and marketing purposes. Sometimes called "paid advocacy", this is problematic because it invariably reflects the interests of the client or employer. [c] The Wikimedia Foundation requires that all paid editing be disclosed. [6]

If you receive or expect to receive compensation (money, goods or services) for your contributions to Wikipedia, you must declare that, and should put edits through peer review instead of editing articles directly:

  • you must disclose who is paying you; on whose behalf the edits are made; and any other relevant affiliation;
  • you should make the disclosure on your user page, on affected talk pages, and whenever you discuss the topic;
  • you are very strongly discouraged from editing affected articles directly.
  • you may propose changes on talk pages (to which you can call attention by using the {{ request edit}} template or by posting a note at the COI noticeboard), so that they can be peer reviewed before being published;
  • you should put new articles through the articles for creation process instead of creating them directly, so they can be peer reviewed before being published;
  • you should respect volunteers by keeping discussions concise (see PAYTALK).
  • you should not accept any such affected article(s) at articles for creation process or mark them as reviewed as part of new pages patrol.

Requested edits are subject to the same standards as any other, and editors may decline to act on them. To find an article's talk page, click the "talk" button at the top of the article. See WP:TEAHOUSE if you have questions about these things.

Wikimedia Foundation terms of use

The Wikimedia Foundation's terms of use require that editors who are being paid for their contributions disclose their employer (the person or organization who is paying for the edits); the client (the person or organization on whose behalf the edits are made); and any other relevant affiliation. This is the policy of the English Wikipedia.

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