Submissions:2016/The Other Side of COI: Volunteer Response to Professional Contributors
- The Other Side of COI: Volunteer Community Response to Paid Contributors
- Type of submission
- William Beutler, Andrew Lih
- E-mail address
- email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
- WWB, Fuzheado
- Beutler Ink, American University
Summary - We propose a workshop to explore the best practices of Wikipedia's volunteer editors when encountering and addressing paid contributors.
Rationale - Discussion of paid COI editing in recent years has focused primarily on the demand side: attempts to stop undisclosed editors and to advise disclosed editors on best practices for COI engagement. The most significant change to the status quo in many years – Jimmy Wales' so-called "Bright Line" advisory of 2012 – was a message aimed solely at paid advocates, without addressing the needs of Wikipedia volunteers.
Indeed, little attention has been paid to providing guidance to volunteers about how to deal with the paid advocates who try asking for help. One look at Category:Requested edits on Wikipedia reveals an extensive backlog, one that is not getting shorter. Paid advocates often have trouble knowing what to ask for, but it is volunteer Wikipedia editors left to make the decisions about each.
Even the authors of this submission, who have been closely involved with this topic for a number of years, have focused most of their activities on providing good advice to PR and marketing representatives, leaving the other side of the equation unexplored: how do volunteer editors on the front lines respond to edits and requests from outside interests and how could they do better?
This workshop presents ideas currently in development by the authors, including:
- how volunteer editors can best handle disclosed paid advocates;
- potential opportunities for PR professionals to reduce the burden on volunteers (without overstepping ethical lines); and
- some bold ideas toward an updated Bright Line policy, designed to make life easier for volunteers overall.
The authors intend to seek the participation of a third editor, if possible, a volunteer editor with experience assisting paid advocates with edit requests, dealing with undisclosed advocates at COI/N, or, preferably, both.
- Work with attendees to draft a "flow chart" for decision-making in responding to disclosed paid advocates
- Discuss potential amendments to the Bright Line with an eye to reducing burden on volunteer respondents
- Share ideas about how responsible paid advocates can organize requests in a more useful manner for volunteers
- Length of presentation
- Approx 45 mins
- Special schedule requests
- Preferred room size
- Approx 25
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