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Organizations FAQ

The fact that anyone can edit Wikipedia means that it attracts public-relations professionals, as well as employees and supporters of a variety of organizations – from businesses to government agencies, the military and non-profits – who may decide to edit pages about their organizations. Such employees, as well as individuals who seek to edit articles about themselves or friends, have a conflict of interest.

This FAQ is about Wikipedia's approach to conflicts of interest.

Do I have to disclose my relationship with my organization?

If you are paid to edit Wikipedia, you must disclose certain information under the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use. The Terms of Use were updated in 2014 with the following section, which requires transparency for users who are paid for their contributions to Wikipedia:

Paid contributions without disclosure

These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. As part of these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation. You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:

  • 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.
Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure.

Wikimedia created an FAQ on disclosure of paid contributions when it implemented the new Terms of Use.

Editors who are not paid to edit to Wikipedia, but have a different kind of conflict of interest, should disclose their interest on their user pages and on the talk page of the article in question, under Wikipedia's conflict of interest guideline. They may request changes or make suggestions on talk pages. Using the template will help draw attention to the request.

If you hire someone to write an article, then you should verify that they follow the above rules, and you probably shouldn't pay the full price until it's stayed un-deleted for at least 90 days.