Paid Ghostwriters Write Wikipedia On Behalf of Paying Clients – Confirmed by Wikimedia Foundation Legal Department

So here is what everyone has always known but could never prove and it is another strong reason to be sceptical about what appears on Wikipedia. Wikipedia’s lawyers are proposing changes to the Wikipedia Terms of Use to add an amendment about undisclosed ghostwriting on behalf of undisclosed paying corporate and other customers.

Wikipedia is advertised as an encyclopedia anyone can edit but many have complained that is not true and that only one perspective or point of view is allowed to be included, with some “troll-like” bullying and abusive behaviour from some of Wikipedia’s “Admins” and habitual “Editors” ensuring balance is eradicated particularly from some topics.  Wikipedia is edited by children and older people, some of the latter seem sadly to spend their lives on it.

The Essjay debacle revealed some of the deception and disinformation practised by [a now fired] Wikipedia paid employee, who used the false name Essjay and claimed to hold doctoral degrees in theology and canon law and worked as a tenured professor at a private university: Essjay Controversy. It was later discovered that he was 24 years old and had dropped out of community college with no qualifications.  A corrective footnote to a The New Yorker magazine article which originally published Essjay’s claims states: “Essjay now says that his real name is Ryan Jordan, that he is twenty-four and holds no advanced degrees, and that he has never taught.” and “Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikia and of Wikipedia, said of Essjay’s invented persona, “I regard it as a pseudonym and I don’t really have a problem with it.”“: Schiff, Stacy. “Know it all: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?”, The New Yorker, July 31, 2006.

The announcement by Wikipedia can be seen here:  Terms of use/Paid contributions amendment. But make a careful note because it could well soon vanish.  And of course the claim by Wikipedia that “To ensure compliance with these provisions, this amendment provides specific minimum disclosure requirements” is of course tosh.  Words in a Wikipedia contract cannot ensure anything, [especially if they cannot catch the perpetrators, which of course means looking for them] and Wikipedia are dependent upon corporate and other donations just to exist, so it looks like “window-dressing“:

The Wikimedia Foundation Legal Department plans to ask the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees to consider a proposed amendment in our Terms of Use to address further undisclosed paid editing. Contributing to the Wikimedia Projects to serve the interests of a paying client while concealing the paid affiliation has led to situations that the community considers problematic. Many believe that users with a potential conflict of interest should engage in transparent collaboration, requiring honest disclosure of paid contributions. Making contributions to the Wikimedia Projects without disclosing payment or employment may also lead to legal ramifications. Our Terms of Use already prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. To ensure compliance with these provisions, this amendment provides specific minimum disclosure requirements for paid contributions on the Wikimedia projects.

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