Wikipedia has tried tirelessly over the years to keep its online encyclopedia free from misinformation and bias by keeping those with vested interests from contributing to articles. As of today, that’s getting a slight update.
A new amendment to Wikipedia’s terms of service now dictates that editors must disclose all employers, clients, or affiliations that provide compensation for contributions to the site. These disclosures must appear within a person’s profile page, as well as a more noted next to edits where this might apply. The main goal of this move is to provide a greater level of transparency between those editing Wikipedia pages and the relationships that might affect their actions.
It looks like the disclosure process is more specifically targeting editors with relationships to organizations that generate a profit rather than non-profits or those involved in education or research. (That said, the policy is very similar to the one news organizations follow.)
“The amendment is not intended to impact participants in gallery, library, archive, and museum (GLAM) projects, or professors, when they are writing about topics of general interest on their own rather than writing about their own institutions while being compensated directly quid pro quo, for example,” the Wikimedia Foundation states in a letter published today.
Wikimedia’s board also said it would consider altering this new policy for its Wikimedia sites (a.k.a. wiki sites about a single topic that can be monetized) and said it will continue monitoring this recent policy change to make adjustments as necessary.
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