Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure

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A paid contribution is one that involves contributing to Wikipedia in exchange for money or other inducements. It includes adding or removing content from any page, including articles and talk pages.

If you receive, or expect to receive, compensation for your contributions to Wikipedia, you must disclose who is paying you to edit (your "employer"), who the client is, and any other relevant role or relationship. It does not matter whether you are paid directly by the client, or paid indirectly by an employer on behalf of the client. Editors who receive payment for their edits or actions on the English Wikipedia must comply with both the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use and the local policies and guidelines of the English Wikipedia.

Wikimedia Foundation terms of use[edit]

The Wikimedia Foundation's terms of use require that all editors disclose their "employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which they receive, or expect to receive, compensation":[1]

Wikimedia Foundation RGB logo with text.svg

Paid contributions without disclosure

These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. As part of these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation. You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:

  • a statement on your user page,
  • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure.

A Wikimedia Project community may adopt an alternative paid contribution disclosure policy. If a Project adopts an alternative disclosure policy, you may comply with that policy instead of the requirements in this section when contributing to that Project. An alternative paid contribution policy will only supersede these requirements if it is approved by the relevant Project community and listed in the alternative disclosure policy page.

The above is the policy of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and of the English-language Wikipedia.

Meaning of "employer, client, and affiliation"[edit]

Further reading: Terms of use/FAQ on paid contributions without disclosure

Editors must disclose their employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any paid contribution to Wikipedia.

  • Employer: the person or organization that pays, either directly or through intermediaries, a user to contribute to Wikipedia. This includes cases where the employer has hired the user as an employee, has engaged the user under a freelance contract, is compensating the user without a contract, or is compensating the user through the user's employment by another organization.
  • Client: the person or organization on whose behalf the edits are made; the client is often the subject of the article.
  • Affiliation: other connections that might be relevant including, but not limited to, people or businesses who provide text, images, or other media for the paid edit. If a paid editor is working as a contractor, "affiliation" would include any broker involved in the transaction (e.g. Fiverr, Upwork, etc).
  • Contribution: any text or file added to Wikipedia, including talk-page and sandbox contributions, and material added to articles by others at the behest of paid editors.
  • Payment or compensation: money, goods or services. Users who are compensated for any publicity efforts related to the subject of their Wikipedia contributions are deemed to be paid editors, regardless of whether they were compensated specifically to edit Wikipedia.

For example, if Smith PR pays an editor to work on Wikipedia content about Acme Widgets, then Smith PR is that editor's employer with respect to those contributions, while Acme Widgets is the client. If you have been hired by a public-relations firm to edit Wikipedia, you must disclose both the firm and the firm's client.[2] Often the employer and client are the same entity. If Acme Widgets pays an editor directly to write about that company, then Acme Widgets is both the employer and client.

Interns are considered employees for this purpose. If they are directed or expected to edit Wikipedia as part of an internship, they must disclose.

How to disclose[edit]

Editors who are or expect to be compensated for their contributions must disclose their employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any paid contributions. They must do this on their main user page, or on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or in edit summaries.

Paid editors who cannot disclose their employer, client, and affiliations are prohibited from editing. Non-disclosure agreements do not invalidate this requirement. There is no confidentiality for the employer, client, or affiliations.

It makes no difference if the paid editor writes the content off-site or in userspace and then another editor moves the material into mainspace on their behalf. Both editors are required to make a disclosure.

The conflict of interest guideline further advises editors to place the {{connected contributor (paid)}} template at the top of the talk page accompanying any paid contributions (and to fill in the parameters), and to supply a clearly visible list of their paid contributions on their main user page. The template {{paid}} can be used for this.

Paid editors must also provide links on their Wikipedia user page to all active accounts at websites where they advertise paid Wikipedia-editing services. If an advertisement is removed, any corresponding links on the Wikipedia user page must remain visible for at least one week.[3]

This transparency helps the Wikipedia community to understand and analyze the source and scope of paid editing, and to ensure that content originating from paid editors complies with Wikipedia's policies and guidelines.

Wikipedians in residence[edit]

Wikipedians in residence who are paid must disclose which organization (GLAM or similar) pays them.[2]

Administrators[edit]

Administrators making paid edits are subject to the same disclosure requirements as all other users, and are not permitted to use special privileges for paid editing. The administrator policy states: Administrator tools may not be used as part of any paid editing activity, except as a Wikipedian-in-Residence, or when the payment is made by the Wikimedia Foundation or an affiliate of the WMF.

Promotion and advertising by paid editors[edit]

Paid editors may not advertise or promote their services on Wikipedia. The disclosures required by the terms of use and this policy are not regarded as advertisements or promotion.

Changing this policy[edit]

This policy may be changed in two ways:

When discussing changes to the policy, disclose whether you have been paid to edit Wikipedia.

Conflict of interest guideline[edit]

Paid editing is further regulated by a community guideline, Wikipedia:Conflict of interest. This advises that those with a conflict of interest, including paid editors, are very strongly discouraged from directly editing affected articles, but should post content proposals on the talk pages of existing articles, and should put new articles through the articles for creation process, so they can be reviewed prior to being published.

The Foundation's terms of use FAQ advises: "[S]ome projects have conflict of interest policies that are different from (and stronger than) this provision in the terms of use. These policies might prevent you from certain forms of volunteer editing, for example, contributing to articles about yourself."[2]

References[edit]