Wikipedia now forcing editors to disclose any paid contributions

Image Credit: John Koetsier

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.


More information:

Wikipedia is a project operated by a non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation, and created and maintained by a strong community of 80,000 international active volunteer editors. Founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia has be... read more »

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Michael Wood
Michael Wood

It's great that the Wikimedia Foundation created yet another policy (terms, guidelines, whatever) to drive people to paid editors and not away from them. Yet another reason why people seek out professional Wikipedia writers like myself (creating more red tape makes people less likely to try it on their own). Also, before the "Wikipedia Bureaucracy" jumps in with their reasoning (or whining as I like to call it) for the change in terms (and I am sure the bashing they will try to give me for opposing their King), just want to correct that Mr. Wales is a "co"-founder, not the founder. He does like to violate Wikipedia's COI policy (the same one that the community uses against paid editors) to try to white-wash Larry Singer out of the picture, but that is how it works in the world of Wiki.