Submissions:2024/The State of COI Editing: Ten Years After the Donovan House Meeting

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This submission has been noted and is pending review for WikiConference North America 2024.


The State of COI Editing: Ten Years After the Donovan House Meeting

Type of session:


Session theme(s):

Community Engagement, Community Health


The state of COI editing 10 years after the Statement on Wikipedia from participating communications firms (WP:PRCOM) is, well, complicated. Since at least 2006, Wikipedia has wrestled with the implications of paid and self-interested editing of Wikipedia, with several attempts to ban this activity in English Wikipedia and moderately successful attempts to regulate it. In 2014, multiple communications firms agreed to act in accordance with and in respect of Wikipedia's rules and best practices. While there have been great strides in developing an ethical way for interested parties to participate on Wikipedia, there is still considerable work to be done in creating trust among communications professionals and volunteer editors, and finding solutions that help everyone involved. Ten years on, the community still has a wide variety of contradictory views about permitted COI activity, in paid and unpaid, disclosed and undisclosed ways.

This session revisits a conversation from 2015 that some find scary, tedious, or frustrating, and yet will continue to be a major issue for concern so long as Wikipedia remains in a powerful position to shape public opinion on every topic it covers.

It offers a place for COI editors to discuss what they have seen on Wikipedia since the signing of the PRCOM statement, how their interactions with the communities on English Wikipedia have changed over the last decade, and what the current climate is like. We also invite others, from concerned volunteers to members of the Wikimedia Foundation, to join the conversation and discuss changes to the Terms of Use and their interactions with COI editors in an effort to gain a holistic understanding of COI editing on English Wikipedia in 2024 and begin brainstorming ideas for improving the process.

Author name(s):

William Beutler

Wikimedia username(s):


E-mail address:

Affiliated organization(s):

Beutler Ink

Able to attend without scholarship?


Estimated length of session

45 minutes

Will you be presenting remotely?

Okay to livestream?

Livestreaming is okay

Previously presented?

Wikimania 2015, WikiConference USA 2015

Special requests: