Wikipedia:Your first article | are you closely connected to the article topic?

Are you closely connected to the article topic?

Wikipedia is the encyclopedia that anyone can edit, but there are special guidelines for editors who are paid or sponsored. These guidelines are intended to prevent biased articles, and maintain the public's trust that content in Wikipedia is impartial and has been added in good faith. (See Wikipedia's conflict of interest (COI) guideline.)

The official guidelines are that editors must be volunteers. That means Wikipedia discourages editing articles about individuals, companies, organizations, products/services, or political causes that pay you directly or indirectly. This includes in-house PR departments and marketing departments, other company employees, public relations firms and publicists, social media consultants, and online reputation management consultants. However, Wikipedia recognizes the large volume of good faith contributions by people who have some affiliation to the articles they work on.

Here are some ground rules. If you break these rules, your edits are likely to be reverted, and the article(s) and your other edits may get extra scrutiny from other Wikipedia editors. Your account may also be blocked.

Things to avoid Things to be careful about Great ways to contribute
  • Don't add promotional language
  • Don't remove negative/critical text from an article
  • Don't make a "group" account for multiple people to share
  • Don't neglect to disclose your affiliation on the article's talk page
  • Maintain a neutral, objective tone in any content you add or edit
  • Cite secondary sources (e.g., a major media article) for any new statements you add – even if you are confident a statement is true (e.g., it is about your work), only say it if it has been restated already in a secondary source.
  • Make minor edits/corrections to articles (e.g., typos, fixing links, adding references to new secondary sources)
  • If you are biased, suggest new article text or edits on the article talk page (not on the main article page).
  • Disclose your relationship to the client/topic.
  • Edit using personal accounts.
  • Recruit help: Seek out a sponsor (volunteer editor) who has worked on similar articles, or submit ideas for article topics via Requested articles.

Note that this has to do only with conflict of interest. Editors are encouraged to write on topics related to their expertise: e.g., a NASA staffperson might write about planets, or an academic researcher might write about their field. Also, Wikipedians-in-residence or other interns who are paid, hosted or otherwise sponsored by a scientific or cultural institution can upload content and write articles in partnership with curators, indirectly providing positive branding for their hosts.

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