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Should Wikipedians Edit Stories For Pay?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the w-w-j-w-d dept.

The Almighty Buck 168

Hugh Pickens writes "The Register reports that a longtime Wikipedia admin has been caught offering to edit the online encyclopedia in exchange for cash. Someone noticed a post to an online job marketplace where he was advertising his services: 'Besides technical writing, I also am an accomplished senior Wikipedia administrator with several featured articles to my name,' read the post, which has since been changed. 'If you need a good profile on Wikipedia, I can help you out there too through my rich experience.' Wikipedia promptly opened a discussion page to try to reach consensus on the community view of 'paid editing.' So far opinion seems to be divided between those who say it's ok as long as full disclosure is made and 'edits are compliant with WP:NPOV, WP:RS, WP:BLP, WP:N,' and others who believe that paid editing automatically creates a conflict of interest. Back in 2006, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales shot down a company known as MyWikiBiz, which promised that you could 'author your legacy on the Internet.' The company subsequently had to reinvent itself with no reference to Wikipedia. 'It is not ok with me that anyone ever set up a service selling their services as a Wikipedia editor, administrator, bureaucrat, etc., I will personally block any cases that I am shown,' wrote Wales."

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168 comments

How much (5, Funny)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324203)

for positive arguments on the consensus reaching page? I need a well-written, convincing opinion advocating in favor of market forces.

Re:How much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324231)

It is as much a market force as wikipedia's policies, as it is private after all.

More to the point... (0, Flamebait)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324469)

Should Slashdot editors continue to be paid for their sub-wiki level of article quality?

Slashdot should refocus on user generated content, with the most skilled editors earning priority and eventually compensation on their story submissions. I expect taco to be out of a job within a week.

Re:How much (1, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324459)

The problem is, you can't argue for market forces when the market is against it. Its like trying to market ham at a kosher deli, they aren't going to want it, and no matter how many times you want to "let the free market decide" they simply don't want it. Same with Wikipedia, the market (Wikipedia) is opposed to paid editing of articles.

Re:How much (2, Insightful)

seriousthinker (1576317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325295)

The problem is, you can't argue for market forces when the market is against it. Its like trying to market ham at a kosher deli, they aren't going to want it, and no matter how many times you want to "let the free market decide" they simply don't want it.

Some actors in the market are against it. Some are for it, as the summary shows. The end result is a black market, the same as always when an authority attempts to prevent supply and demand from meeting.

Re:How much (2, Interesting)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325511)

Same with Wikipedia, the market (Wikipedia) is opposed to paid editing of articles.

That doesn't appear to be true. There has been a majority in favor of allowing paid editing since a fairly early stage in the process (and no it doesn't seem to consist of paid shills but I suppose it's hard to tell for certain). It's running at about 60% suporting the idea that whether someone's paid is irrelevant as long as content is neutral, verificable etc. and 40% against.

Re:How much (4, Insightful)

rs79 (71822) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324493)

Can we pay the Wikipedia editors to stop editing articles? Having some moron keep changing verifiable factual information back to something that's flat out wrong over and over gets really tiresome after several years. IMO half those people shouldn't be allowed near the thing.

Re:How much (4, Funny)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324611)

Sure. Just tell me what articles you're interested in, and I'll be sure to let you know how much it'll cost you to keep them the way they are.

David Shankbone being paid by Israeli Government (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325075)

There is an interesting topic on how one "leading Wikipedia" David Shankbone Miller got paid by the Israeli government and given all sorts of professional advantages, such as introductions famous authors and Shimon Peres, in an attempt to curry favor with the Wikipedia camp.

http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=24358

The big joke is what they got back were pictures of pissing goats and dimly lit gay clubs. Probably not the kid of PR Israel thought they were buying.

By all accounts, this guy had had more than one trip out to Israel paid for and yet there is no discussion of this kind of sponsorship. No one is accounting for it. He did stick this one photo up though ...

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palestinian_boy_with_toy_guy_in_Nazareth_by_David_Shankbone.jpg

and tried adding the title, "A recent study by Herzogâ(TM)s trauma centre found that 33 per cent of Israeli youth have been affected personally by terrorism, either by being at the scene of an attack or by knowing someone injured or killed by terrorists. Seventy per cent of those surveyed reported increased subjective fear or hopelessness." ... a nice bit of bought "NPOV" and a good reason why it should not be allowed.

It would appear that this particular gun has backfired on his paymasters.

No (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324207)

Just like Wikipedia discourages people to make edits of a person's own article for themselves, this should also be discouraged. Once you receive money for edits you've made, you're no longer an uninterested third party and have a biased voice. There's no way to enforce this so Wikipedia will have to just continue accepting/rejecting edits based inherently on the edit and what bias it itself may hold.

Good start. But let's boil it down. (3, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324235)

How many people would support The Church of Scientology paying people to edit and publish stories on Wikipedia?

Still not clear enough?

How many people would support The Church of Scientology paying a Wikipedia ADMIN to edit and publish stories on Wikipedia?

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324265)

i would. adding to the deceit and other crap on wikipedia already what difference would more of the same make ? better that wikipedia is exposed and shut down rather than propagate. im hoping google knol will kill it. its better - authors take ownership, you can see biases and the articles are much more polished. plus you can filter authors who are garbage.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324409)

Everyone thinks that people who disagree with them are garbage.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324283)

How many people would support The Church of Scientology paying people to edit and publish stories on Wikipedia?

It's that sort of reasoning that gets us ridiculous laws regarding child porn (like kids sexting eachother being charged as sex offenders). If you imagine the worst possible scum when making laws, you get stupidly over-broad laws.

If a person is skilled at writing, it seems reasonable for that person to make a living at writing. It seems that there is a huge bias against people making a living, although we do celebrate the super-rich.

Of course, if the guy who owns the site makes paid copy against the rules, that's his prerogative because its his site. But this isn't a moral issue -- it's an ownership issue.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324387)

It's that sort of reasoning that gets us ridiculous laws regarding child porn (like kids sexting eachother being charged as sex offenders).

Sorry, that's not the law. That's stupid fucking prosecutors. They need years of college to learn to be so fucking stupid you know.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (0, Flamebait)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324587)

Uh, what's wrong with charging stupid teenagers as sex offenders? They're charged not because of overly broad laws but on purpose as a deterrent.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (4, Insightful)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324609)

Which works great right up to the point where someone is actually convicted for something that should never have been a crime to begin with.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (4, Insightful)

anagama (611277) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324655)

How many stupid things did you do as a teenager? I mean little meaningless things -- imagine your life if you got busted for one of the frequent lapses in intelligence that plague teenagers, but instead of some slap on the wrist commensurate with the misdeed, you had to walk around the rest of your life with the equivalent of a scarlet letter, shunned, unable to get good work, and reviled by everyone who assume because of that scarlet letter, that you did something really really nasty. That's an utterly random result that makes people disrespect the law and start thinking revolutionary or counter-cultural ideas. It is in no way an actual deterrent and serves instead to undermine government. If we had a law that said the police can shoot dead every 10th speeder they catch, it might be a deterrent. Enough laws like that though, and you can expect violent resistance.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (4, Funny)

innerweb (721995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324741)

Charging children with crimes like these is outrageous. That would be like charging them with copyright violations and slapping them with huge fines for downloading music they did not pay for. Oh, wait...

InnerWeb

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (4, Insightful)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324753)

How about the fact that the age of consent is below 18 in most states, meaning that while it's legal for teenagers to engage in all sorts of sexual activity, a girl taking a picture in her underwear can land her in prison for 10 years with a permanent registration as a danger to children?

If you don't see anything wrong with that, you need your vision checked.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (1)

KahabutDieDrake (1515139) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324645)

Frankly, if Scientology is the worst possible scum you can come up with, you're so disillusioned you might as well be Hubbard.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (3, Interesting)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324359)

If it complies with all the rules, then even with the CoS behind the guy, I have no issues. It's when it doesn't comply with the rules that I have issues with it.

Yeah. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324421)

Do you really believe that a company would hire a Wikipedia admin to wedge an article about said company onto Wikipedia because said company was looking for a NEUTRAL point of view?

Is that because there just aren't enough decent writers out there? Or that those other decent writers want way too much money?

Or is it because those companies believe that an admin would have the best chance of getting a biased story posted?

Re:Yeah. (5, Insightful)

Derekloffin (741455) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324683)

I honestly don't believe that any contributor posts with a neutral point of view actually. That a person gets paid, just makes their biases more obvious. However, again, it ultimately comes down to whether he's obeying the rules or not, not his lack of neutrality.

Re:Yeah. (5, Interesting)

bit01 (644603) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325645)

I honestly don't believe that any contributor posts with a neutral point of view actually.

A NPOV is the author trying to present information in the best interests of the typical reader. The author is human, has incomplete information and so cannot be completely unbiased but nonetheless they make a best effort.

That a person gets paid, just makes their biases more obvious.

A non-NPOV is the author trying to present information in the best interests of the writer. They are trying to manipulate the reader into making irrational judgments based on incomplete and biased information in favour of the writer, not the reader. The author is not making a best effort for the reader at all.

I know which I'd prefer.

---

An unobtrusive ad is a non-functional ad. It is a non-sustainable business model.

Re:Yeah. (2, Interesting)

addsalt (985163) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325119)

Is that because there just aren't enough decent writers out there? Or that those other decent writers want way too much money?

I think that is more on target. Writing anything from a neutral point of view is difficult/impossible. If you are taking the time to edit an article, you are most likely not an impartial 3rd party. Hopefully what this could encourage is more well written articles. As with all articles, the obviously false information can get edited out by other users. If the information then gets continually changed the article gets frozen (a la Scientology).

I can see this going awry, but I'd be interested to see where it heads.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (2, Insightful)

Nicholas Evans (731773) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324371)

How many people would support paying history gradschool students to work on WikiProject: Russian History [wikipedia.org]?

It's perfectly possible to be unbiased and paid for your work. I don't see why they need a new policy to deal with this - their regular NPOV policies are fine.

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324531)

How many people would support The CoS paying a Wikipedia ADMIN to edit-block members of the opposing side, when other paid COS editors stir up an edit war?

Re:Good start. But let's boil it down. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325111)

First of all, CoS has a sufficient number of brainwashed followers to edit Wikipedia without pay. Second, if they decide to pay for Wikipedia work in order to get even better results, what makes you think they care whether Wikipedia policy forbids paid work or not? At least if they made the mistake of purchasing the services of someone who publically advertises for editing services and is open about their contracts, there would be openness and the paid-for contributor would have his/her reputation to maintain.

Re:No (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324317)

The facts still have to check out. It's just the slant of the article. Choice of words when describing stuff, etc.

But I've never found Wikipedia to be that unbiased, especially when it comes to topics that are still debated.

Ex: It may report a hardware device as vaporware, and state that the company creating it has a cult following that aggressively promote the devices, despite there being no evidence the device will ever exist.

Then once the device is released, it gets updated to a different slant.

Re:No (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324411)

Any person with substantial knowledge on a topic, particularly one that isn't well known, is bound to have bias in some form. Unless the thing is a spec sheet, expect bias somewhere. Its simply human nature. For example, if the device was simply vaporware, many people will think it undeserving of an article, on the other hand if there is a strong following for the device, well, perhaps it warrants a second look. Especially on Wikipedia where policy seems to be "delete all content".

David Shankbone being paid by Israeli Governm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325107)

There is an interesting topic on how one "leading Wikipedia" David Shankbone Miller got paid by the Israeli government and given all sorts of professional advantages, such as introductions famous authors and Shimon Peres, in an attempt to curry favor with the Wikipedia camp.

http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=24358

The big joke is what they got back were pictures of urinating goats and dimly lit gay clubs. Probably not the kid of PR Israel thought they were buying.

By all accounts, this guy had had more than one trip out to Israel paid for and yet there is no discussion of this kind of sponsorship. No one is accounting for it. He did stick this one photo up though ...

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Palestinian_boy_with_toy_guy_in_Nazareth_by_David_Shankbone.jpg

and tried adding the title, "A recent study by HerzogÃ(TM)s trauma centre found that 33 per cent of Israeli youth have been affected personally by terrorism, either by being at the scene of an attack or by knowing someone injured or killed by terrorists. Seventy per cent of those surveyed reported increased subjective fear or hopelessness." ... a nice bit of bought "NPOV" and a good reason why it should not be allowed.

It would appear that this particular gun has backfired on his paymasters.

Re:No (0, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325185)

what if they paid an actual expert? i'd take them posting over some high school kid any day of the week. wikipedia might actually be 1/2 useful then.

Re:No (1)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325549)

Once you receive money for edits you've made, you're no longer an uninterested third party and have a biased voice.

You sound like you've encountered Wikipedia before so - open your eyes and look at it. Do you really think all those articles about Star Trek were written by people who are uninterested in it? Someone below mentioned the Scientology article - suprise it's already dominated by a mixture of pro-scientologists and anti-scientologists. Who else would you expect to devote time to it? This is less extreme of an effect for some articles than for others but it still applies throughout - any argument premised on the idea that non-paid Wikipedians are 'uninterested third parties' is not merely wrong but completely absurd. People do not spend their time writing about things they're 'uninterested' in. Unless, of course, they're paid to.

And ruin a good thing? (2, Insightful)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324209)

Wikipedia has grown to be the biggest encyclopedia in the world without paying anybody. I don't see why they should start now. We all contribute to Wikipedia and expect nothing in return. That's how we pay for the articles - with our kindness.

Re:And ruin a good thing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324285)

without paying anybody.

people have gotten paid legitimately and (many more) illegitimately

I don't see why they should start now.

They aren't starting now. This has been going on since before Wikipedia - heck - this has been going since before movable type.

We all contribute to Wikipedia

Most people don't contribute to Wikipedia.

and expect nothing in return.

You expect nothing from Wikipedia? Either that's hyperbole or your have an amazingly carefree attitude.

That's how we pay for the articles - with our kindness.

That's not quite how corporations pay for their articles.

Re:And ruin a good thing? (4, Interesting)

nausea_malvarma (1544887) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324817)

That's not quite how corporations pay for their articles.

Oh sure, that's who I'm talking about. People paid to manipulate wikipedia in the interest of a corporation. /sarcasm

I'm talking about the average wikinerd, who spends his or her spare time compiling huge lists, writing articles on even the most obscure relics from pop culture, and editing every little misspelling and fuck-you they see. The ones with user pages littered with barnstars and embarrassing userboxes detailing their interest in siberian huskies and stamp collecting. Your meat and potatoes wikipedian. They don't do it for money. They do it for the love of wikipedia. They are fucking hardcore!

what diff ?? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324211)

wikipedia is already biased and untrustworthy. another idiot adding to the existing idiots in the pot wont make a difference.

Re:what diff ?? (4, Insightful)

Meshach (578918) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324497)

Painting the hundreds of thousands of editors and millions of readers as "idiots" may be a little extreme. Some wikipedia pages provide an excellent reference. And especially where readers do not pay for the info that they receive I think we need to relax a bit. In terms of value wikipedia is one of the best deals on the Internet.

Re:what diff ?? (1)

SalaSSin (1414849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324621)

I do agree with you.

Of course it isn't perfect, but nothing made by man will ever be. It's in our nature to be biased, even if it's just a bit.

The majority of articles i've read on wikipedia are quite balanced, with some sort of bias that you can directly recognize, so no harm done.

I mean, people are falling all the time for promotional campaigns on television, which are obviously biased, wikipedia is refreshing compared to that, in the sense that it's quite less biased.

Imagine . . . How you could protect yourself here. (2, Insightful)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324213)

Copyright. Yeah. That would work. You could keep other people from diluting your work by using the protection afforded by copyright laws. That would be great. Thank goodness that we have copyright! That way, people who want to protect the integrity of their work have the legal authority to do so!

Re:Imagine . . . How you could protect yourself he (1)

russlar (1122455) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324251)

Copyright. Yeah. That would work. You could keep other people from diluting your work by using the protection afforded by copyright laws. That would be great. Thank goodness that we have copyright! That way, people who want to protect the integrity of their work have the legal authority to do so!

You mean do copyright right? Rather than copyright-as-an-anti-distribution tool?

Re:Imagine . . . How you could protect yourself he (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324435)

Copyright is not an "anti-distribution tool". It's an anti-unauthorized-unpaid-distribution tool. Don't bring your propaganda here.

Re:Imagine . . . How you could protect yourself he (2, Funny)

Hope Thelps (322083) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325573)

Don't bring your propaganda here.

Gentlemen, you can't spread propaganda in here! This is Slashdot.

Because someone has to... (3, Interesting)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324215)

TELL THE WIKITRUTH [wikitruth.info]

Re:Because someone has to... (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325351)

Interestingly, Wikitruth is now frozen [wikitruth.info], claiming to have won.

Somehow, I think it's true; more and more people understand that you can use Wikipedia at the same time as questioning it. Many people have learned how to question all media (the problems of Wikipedia are the same as those of traditional media, just more obvious). At the same time there's a whole load of anti-wikipedia people who just wanted to destroy. That doesn't seem to have happened.

Death (2, Insightful)

DirtyCanuck (1529753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324263)

Youtubes demise? Deleting full episodes, editing comments, deleting controversial videos and muting personal videos.

Wikipedia? Going from a user generated non bias global collaborative encyclopedia to just an encyclopedia.

Once these companies get big enough, the always revert back to standard business models. This however is always completely against what made them so good to begin with, youtube became famous for the very content they now destroy, and pay people to seek out.

Next in line? Google......

They all sell out.

Re:Death (1)

d4nowar (941785) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324427)

I like how you pulled Google's name out of a hat there.

Only correlations I see are: Google owns Youtube (they own a lot of things). Google, Youtube, and Wikipedia are all websites.

Tell me how that makes Google next in line over any other website on the interwebs.

Paid editing is a really bad idea. (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324309)

There's an excellent analysis by user Ha! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_for_comment/Paid_Editing#Statement_by_Ha.21 [wikipedia.org] who shows that versions made for pay are generally PR puff pieces at best. He's expanded that to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Ha!/paid_editing_adverts [wikipedia.org] which drives the point home even further. Allowing paid editing would be the death of anything resembling neutrality. There are serious problems with neutrality already, but this would kill it completely.

Not.. necessarily.. bad... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324333)

Brittanica pays its editors and authors after all. I think if you pay someone to edit articles, it ought to be fine, as long as they are about subjects in which you have no vested interest. Ethically, there wouldn't be a problem there, although there might be some technical issues in actually making sure that that is the case.

I mean, if someone's a good writer/researcher, and someone else wants to sponsor them (pay their bills so they can concentrate on writing/researching), what would be wrong with that?

Re:Not.. necessarily.. bad... (1, Interesting)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324389)

True but the issue under discussion is precisely having outsider sources pay to write articles. In the vast majority of cases it is companies (the examples given by Ha!) it is companies paying to have articles about themselves or individuals paying to have articles about themselves. Paying in a completely uninterested fashion would not create the same problems. However, it would create other problems completely unrelated. As Lessig discusses in his book Remix, people are often willing to volunteer when no one is getting paid for it. But if some people are getting paid or if everyone is getting paid a small amount they switch from thinking of it is as a volunteer work but instead of as employment and you get many fewer people willing to join in. So that simply raises separate problems.

Re:Not.. necessarily.. bad... (2, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324567)

Brittanica pays their editors, HOWEVER, Brittanica is a neutral party, so their payment doesn't bias the editor.

There might not be an article in Brittanica about Brittanica itself. However, if there is, you could expect it to be biased in Brittanica's favor, since the editors are paid by Brittanica, they are naturally encouraged to portray their source of $$$ in a positive light, when writing the article.

Microsoft doesn't personally pay the Brittanica editor that rights the article about their company.

Etc.

The only fair way I can imagine handling this would be to allow large corporations to place money in "Escrow", so that Wikipedia would administer the funds, and pay them to editors of articles related to the company that Wikipedia editors had already decided were "wanted" articles.

Since the payments are third-party administered by Wikipedia, and based only on the quality of the work, the editor can take a neutral point of view, publishing even negative information, without fear of losing funding, or getting 'fired' by the subject of the article...

Re:Not.. necessarily.. bad... (1)

SquirrelsUnite (1179759) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325391)

Yeah, but who's going to pay someone to edit articles they have no vested interest in? I guess there already are people who are editing articles at their work about their area of expertise - maybe even with the knowledge of their employers - so technically they are getting payed to do it.
The important question is how your work is evaluated? Is it based on some criteria other than accuracy, style and relevance? I think it's dishonest to expect that a company or person will pay you to write the truth about them no matter what. If you accept a work like that you are either going to cheat your employer or violate the NPOV rule.

Re:Paid editing is a really bad idea. (1)

truesaer (135079) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324991)

Paid editing in inevitable. If you think companies, celebrities, etc aren't having employees routinely edit articles relevant to them you're dreaming. And wikipedia allows anonymous edits. Therefore, it doesn't really matter if it is or isn't allowed. The only question is whether the edits are good contributions or not.

Re:Paid editing is a really bad idea. (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325353)

Mugging is also inevitable. That does not mean that legalising it will help. Making it against policy puts companies that pay for it at risk and is good.

You don't go far enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325291)

Wikipedia is a bad idea. It's the best engine for defamation since the invention of the printing press. Ask anyone who's been accused of being part of the Kennedy assassination (this happened to a high-profile American politician), kept from flying (happened to an academic)...shall I go on?

interesting topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324313)

Well at first I wanted to pick one side of this and argue against anyone that picked the other side, then I thought maybe it would be better if I just felt ambivalently as there are good points to be made on either side, I guess a third option would be to just not care either way, I feel this way a lot.

And how much money does Jimbo make? (0, Offtopic)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324353)

Jimbo is just pissed his Wikia spin off failed on him so he doesn't want anyone else trying?

i'd be suprised if Jimbo doesn't make his living off wikipedia in some form, it's hyporitical of him to condem anyone else trying something similar.

Re:And how much money does Jimbo make? (0)

worthawholebean (1204708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324591)

He does make his living off Wikipedia... it's called a salary.

Re:And how much money does Jimbo make? (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324673)

so he is paid by wikipedia, and he makes entries on wikipedia, but someone else being paid to make changes isn't allowed because Jimbo doesn't like it? I get that astroturfing is bad, but isn't the idea of wikipedia that this kind of thing won't last long ont he page, or is that all bullshit? they should make up their minds...

Re:And how much money does Jimbo make? (2, Informative)

worthawholebean (1204708) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324693)

My bad - he has not received money from Wikimedia ever. Even if he did have a salary, it would be to administer, not to create content.

How would you stop it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324365)

Is there going to be a background check on anyone that edits a page? You can't stop it, so you can already forget about it.

Next thing you are going to tell me is that the internet shouldn't have unsolicited e-mail. That'll be the day, junior.

Well... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324391)

I think there are two types of paid editors, one as an image improver, the other as writing good articles. For example, an "image improver" would be one who goes to a company's page and changes earning reports to make the company seem profitable. Or someone who carefully edits information on the latest politician involved in a scandal. Those type of things should be expressly banned. On the other hand there are some who can focus on writing good articles. For example, an author of, say a band might hire someone to add in more things about the band, particularly if they aren't that well-known yet, things that are verifiable yet add things to the article such as home towns, personal info, discography, etc. Things that if written correctly would not be objectionable.

Yes, but only if... (1)

SpitfireSMS (1388089) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324403)

Only if wikipeida were a paid-subscription site.
It doesnt make sense to me take ad revenue from the site to pay every jackass that changes "there" to "their"

Re:Yes, but only if... (2, Informative)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324419)

This isn't about Wikipedia hiring editors, but rather companies or groups hiring editors for Wikipedia, sometimes in violation of policies. For example, if GM hired someone to change the article to make it have a positive spin on it.

The author looks like a paid schill (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324659)

This isn't about Wikipedia hiring editors, but rather companies or groups hiring editors for Wikipedia, sometimes in violation of policies.

It looks like the person in question has done exactly that. I can't link straight to the page but here is the author's profile [elance.com]. Click on "Web Content (9)". This will show reviews of his work. He was paid $125 for a project titled "Wikipedia submission for my new product [elance.com]". He even got a rating of 4.9 out of 5.0 for the work. He was paid $150 for another project title "Write our Wikipedia Listing for Our Company [elance.com]".

I get paid to post on Slashdot! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324463)

Every single time I post, I get paid. Mod points increase the amount. It's awesome and increases the quality of my contributions here. Why some discussions I get dozens of posts and rake in the dough!

(Sssh, don't tell Cmdr Taco!)

Re:I get paid to post on Slashdot! (2, Funny)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325575)

Every single time I post, I get paid.

Well that doesn't surprise me. I bet you get paid by the post - you must account for at least 1/3 of the posts here, M(r/s). Coward!

The market should be self-correcting in this case (1)

eldepeche (854916) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324465)

Seems to me that if a paid writer edited a page and it conformed to community standards (notariety, neutral POV, sourced, etc.), there wouldn't be a problem. If the writing didn't conform, then it would get rejected by the community, and the writer would likely not get paid. (And if someone wants to pay somebody to make rejected edits to Wikipedia, that's called a fiscal stimulus.)

There are plenty of ways to have a vested interest besides being directly paid, and Wikipedians have been very successful in finding and correcting egregiously self-serving edits. Why would writers getting paid break the current system?

Lock me up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324475)

Gee, I've used the Wikipedia reward board to pay for things. Lock me up.

Also, professionals are being allowed to edit articles in their own field in ways which support their views.

So it's OK to ask for people to edit for pay, but it's not OK to ask to be paid to edit.
And it's OK to be paid while you edit, but it's not OK to be paid to edit.

Wouldn't this be counterproductive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324479)

One of the goals they list under why they should have paid editors in the first place is keeping the accuracy of articles up and improving the site's reputation and image. Almost every college professor I've had warns their students against using Wikipedia at all due to accuracy problems.

Yet, wouldn't paid editors make the site appear even worse than it already is, especially once things like paid edit wars between various government officials and large corporations start appearing?

I've spent $300 on this already (4, Informative)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324515)

Wikipedia has a reward board [wikipedia.org] where people can offer cash or other rewards for articles to be created or (usually) improved to a certain standard. There is also a bounty board [wikipedia.org] to offer donations to the Wikimedia Foundation for similar tasks. I have personally given $300 to individuals who have worked to raise furry articles [wikipedia.org] to good article status [wikipedia.org]. I see nothing wrong with this. A good article must, by definition [wikipedia.org], be neutral, and if it is not on a notable subject, it is very unlikely to achieve the status. Frankly, given the amount of skill and effort it takes to meet the requirements (I've done it myself, I know how tough it is), $50 an article is cheap.

Re:I've spent $300 on this already (3, Funny)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324877)

I have personally given $300 to individuals who have worked to raise furry articles [wikipedia.org] to good article status [wikipedia.org]. I see nothing wrong with this.

I do.

Re:I've spent $300 on this already (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324893)

Care to expand upon that?

Saying that you have a problem with it does nothing for me; someone, without an opinion on the topic, willing to consider both sides of the argument. Bring a bit of signal with that noise, will ya'?

Re:I've spent $300 on this already (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325395)

--Joke-->
.......
...0...
../|\..
../ \..
..You..

From the "... Oh, now I get it category..." (1)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325525)

Crap. Reading comprehension, FTW!

I need some caffeine, sixty seconds ago.

yeah and if that article has any critical content (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325133)

you would still have donated.. right? sure. sure.

NPOV doesnt mean a lack of critical content, it means viewpoints can be mentioned but not one to the exclusivity of others.

but in general 'fans' of something dont want any critical viewpoints even mentioned. they dont understand NPOV.

so, whatever.

Re:I've spent $300 on this already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325193)

i suggest you yiff in hell

yuo faiL iT!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324543)

about who can rant There are if You don't so there are people SLING you can I ever did. It BSD fanatics? I've hearb you. Also, if would take about 2 for membership.

They already are biased, might as well get paid. (1)

BrookHarty (9119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324555)

Ever check out the favorite topics and edits of some of the popular wikipedia editors? They have their personal bias's already. Its been biased editing going on since day one. People can say it doesn't happen, but it does. It has a very large group of editors who think alike and push the rules towards their own beliefs and moderate accordingly. They already use the rules to ban or alter topics they have strong opinions about, even though this goes against the rules.

They might as well, just open the flood gates and let what spin offs happen. This is the motto of open source as a whole. As long as the information is free and everyone can add/change articles, let the public do what what they want.

I'd rather see it open to more topics, and less editor heavy handed on people or topics they dont like. Do we really need every simpson episode in full detail articles yet smaller articles are routinely deleted because some biased editors report they are not popular enough?

Wikipedia could be so much, but its bogged down in politics and personal agendas. Might as well open up more, than trying to rule it with an iron fist.

No Debate (2, Insightful)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324559)

Anytime someone is paid for something there is a slanted "opinion". Pay me enough I'll tell you anything you want to hear, I'll slam any person, or business if the price is right. This is entirely contradictory to the spirit of a wiki.

And now, a word from MyWikiBiz (5, Interesting)

thekohser (981254) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324711)

When I am under contract with a person or corporation to write an article about said person or corporation, I have very, very, very little interest in presenting an "advocacy" position on behalf of that entity. Rather, success is measured in durability within Wikipedia, so my highest priority is...

How do I write (and publish) this article in such a way that it passes WP:NPOV, WP:V, WP:RS, and all the other WP:things, while simultaneously NOT DRAWING THE ATTENTION of someone from the WikiHive intent on deleting paid promotional puff pieces?

Guess what? The articles that result are relatively bland, not puff pieces, quite encyclopedic, and (ever since I learned this technique) 100% durable within Wikipedia -- with surprisingly little follow-up maintenance, and likewise lasting appreciation of my clients.

It's inevitable, so manage it (4, Insightful)

Spasemunki (63473) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324715)

This already happens and inevitably will become more common as Wikipedia's profile rises. WP might as well get out in front of it with policies that make it easier to police and verify.

Currently, PR firms who are hired by companies to raise their profile already add biased, poorly sourced puff pieces to Wikipedia. They are promptly shredded by the community and deleted in nine cases out of ten. They do, however, create a lot of work for Wikipedian volunteers, usually because the PR people in question know websites generally, but nothing about the rules and culture that govern Wikipedia. They also do not generally disclose up front that they have a business relationship with the company they're writing the article about.

There's an argument to be made that there's an advantage to replacing these PR firms with people who are already clued in to Wikipedia's culture and guidelines. They could communicate up front to a client what will and won't fly on WP, and the best way to add verifiable information about the company without running afoul of neutrality and verifiability guidelines. If all these paid editors do on behalf of their employer is add content and provide sources, as long as their work is in accord with policy I don't see a reason to care that they are getting paid.

There are freelance wackos and fanboys that attempt to sabotage or whitewash pages about companies and other institutions as it is. How are paid editors different? At least you could require them to declare their influences. Make stringent requirements about disclosure, and allow paid editors to edit and provide info in talk pages, but not to take any administrative actions on the pages they're paid to edit. Any violation results in a topic ban for that account.

wrong wrong wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325087)

there was a puff piece about a corporation that made FEATURED a few weeks ago. absolutely no critical content at all.

i tried adding information about campaign donations by the company leaders... that got deleted real fast.

It depends... (3, Insightful)

SoulReaverDan (1054258) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324771)

...I suppose on what is really being paid for. Are you paying for someone to spin an article in your favor, or are you simply paying to make sure that the article is well done, well formatted, and grammatically correct. I see no objections to the latter, honestly.

I dont see the problem...if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324905)

If they're just being paid to write a good article, I don't see what the problem is. Featured articles are generally well written, so all he may be advertising is his skilled use of the english language.

That would turn Wikipedia into a PR site (1)

Klistvud (1574615) | more than 4 years ago | (#28324957)

Which is not necessarily bad, as long as its users were savvy enough to grasp that. According to recent surveys, they are not (for instance, they seldom check out the article sources). Users generally forget that Wikipedia is quite biased as it is (the relative lengths of the articles are actually a type of bias, since greater lengths suggest greater "relevance"). Getting paid for editing articles would actually merely shift the bias from a "random" one to a more "one-sided" bias of "what you get is what you pay for". Is that desirable? Well, it certainly is to people and corporations that have money to spend. But to the rest of us?

sure.. look what pay has done for congress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28324987)

we now have the best, most NPOV legislative body in the world... all thanks to lobbyists.

after all, if nobody is willing to pay for an article, then it probably is not important enough to be written, right?

The Paid Editing Debate dates back to Jan-2007 (1)

betasam (713798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325127)

Here's a note [betanews.com] about a man who claimed that he was being "paid" by Microsoft to edit Wikipedia articles. He also claimed to be a contributor for OOXML on Wikipedia. His contributions following this article were being dismissed as biased.

There are two parts to this issue. They are (1) "Should Wikipedia offer to pay those who edit articles?" and (2) "Should any Wikipedia contributor get paid for contributing articles?" On (1), Wikipedia's stance is clear, they are not willing to pay anyone to edit articles. They would like to continue with their open model with little or no moderation. On (2) they are merely talking about the quality of the resultant article. They seriously do not have a mechanism to stop a 3rd party Wikimedia contributor from contributing for money or for the sake of love of the subject or for personal bias.

IMHO, Wikipedia must avoid policing any and all editors unless they are on their own Payroll. Their open model has served as a simple mechanism to collect relevant information on a topic which may or may not necessarily be accurate. There have been enough debates that have concluded that Wikipedia cannot be quoted as a citation for serious scientific study due to lack of moderation and verification of sources.

Wikipedia articles are owned by... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325149)

...Those with the most time on their hands.

They always have been.

Just try and outlast, say, a bored housewife with an axe to grind and nothing better to do than grind it.

Or maybe the unemployed aspiring journalist who likes to insert references to himself and his work into half the existing Wikipedia entries.

And then there are the relentlessly self-promoting ego-monsters who believe Wikipedia was created solely for to allow them to finally reveal their greatness and grandeur to the world.

Or the high school kid hellbent on mindless vandalism to impress his little friends, as well as for the sheer pleasure of it.

Those are just a few obvious ones, but there are many others.

Wikipedia is a wonderful concept, but unfortunately it's an utter bitch in reality.

Re:Wikipedia articles are owned by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325517)

No need to get personal, you asshole! You know you've just described my mom, my lazy dad, my freinds, and me! What do you have against us, anyway? Just 'cause you have a life, and none of us do, that makes you superior, or what? EAT MY SHORTS!!

The only good solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28325191)

The only good solution is to allow people to get paid to create articles, but to make sure that the admins are as unbiased as possible. The admins should also be somewhat smart, and should be confined to their areas of expertise (I've seen a few quantum physics articles with flags on them that look fine to me - start the quantum jokes now), if admins were confined to their areas of expertise, and they clued each other in to vandalism when they saw it outside of their area, then it would work well. To try to keep the admins should be paid by the Wikipedia foundation, and users should be able to complain about biased or stupid admins.

The trick is to find people who are smart, unbiased, and willing to work for free/cheap. I leave that as an exercise to Jimmy Wales and fellow Slashdotters.

Users okay, admins not (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#28325557)

I don't see a problem with users being paid to write. All mechanisms to deal with astroturfing, POV pushing and so on are already in place, and, frankly, there are quite enough people willing to do all those things already even without being paid. A few more paid shills won't make things substantially worse, and there may still be those who get paid and actually write good (as far as WP is concerned) articles.

Now admins are another matter. Adminship abuse is harder to point out and prove, and they have much more power, and can consequently deal that much more damage before rooted out. I'd say that being on someone's payroll specifically to deal with WP matters should immediately disqualify one from being an administrator, or applying for that position.

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