Submissions/Paid editing: all we need is a framework and here's one!

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

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Submission no.
Subject no.
Title of the submission
Paid editing: all we need is a framework and here's one!
Type of submission


Author of the submission

Christophe Henner

Country of origin



Wikimedia France

E-mail address



Personal homepage or blog


Paid editing has been an issue for years. We know some PR agency and companies edit, or pay people to edit, articles on Wikipedia.

For the last month, we've seen two different position on how to deal with it. On one hand, wikimedians willing to ban once and for all paid editing. I, on the other hand, believe that paid editing isn't something we can actually ban (who will stand behind every corporate people to be sure they won't edit), but something that could actually use to improve our projects. I explain that point of view in my other conference How could companies help reach Wikimedia strategic goals?.

But at some point we must provide a framework that will allow companies to actually step in, follow clear rules and guidelines and edit in respect with our rules and values.

In 25mn I'll present the framework I imagine and try to convince you that it's the way to go!

Detailed proposal

Right now I'm head of marketing for a company, but in my previous life I was working as a consultant in a marketing/communication agency.

While there, a lot of clients asked me to help them with their Wikipedia articles. At first I refused systematically, but at some point I started thinking "why shouldn't I help them?".

Wikimedia projects are projects everyone can edit... but the way it goes it is everyone except people paid for that. And the only reason we would ban them is "they're being paid to edit". Not because they're not following our rules (they haven't even started to edits) but because they're getting paid. And based on that assumption, as they're paid they're not neutral.

I challenge that idea.

For years, we have had in our community people with strong belief and actually working their way to have their POV present in the articles. For years now we're encouraging scientists and GLAM employees to contribute to Wikipédia.

In the first case, those are non-neutral people that aren't getting paid. Second case, those are usually "neutral" people that are getting paid.

So being paid as such isn't the issue, is who is paying that is an issue. A cultural organization, a university? No problem. A corporation, meh no way.

With GLAM with organically developped different ways of getting them to contribute. Either we provide training, tools, tech support, evangelization of key staff, etc... I believe those partnerships have allowed Wikimedia projects to grow.

Why can't we do the same with companies ?

Of course we will find much less volunteers to tackle that issue, but still, we are able to provide a framework where company can abide by a clear charter defining our core value and rules. We can provide clear guidelines on how they should edit, what they should and shouldn't do. We can also provide them a clear point of contact if they have any questions.

And the thing is, that isn't only theory. There are companies that are willing to go by our rules, if only we provide them a framework and let them prove themselves.

  • Cultural and Educational Outreach
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk


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  1. I would love to see your proposal before the conference. Blue Rasberry (talk) 20:21, 1 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
    +1 --Waldir (talk) 23:05, 11 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
    I have on my computer an essay on this very topic that I hope I'll finish before Wikimania that address the topic in details. But right now, though the framework is well defined, all the arguments around it are still lacking (in the formal essay) :( Schiste (talk) 21:36, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Dirk Franke (talk) 14:04, 2 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  3. -- 16:38, 2 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  4. A bold proposal. I'd also like to see more detail. Slashme (talk) 18:09, 7 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  5. JuhaV (talk) 12:53, 18 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  6. Ocaasi (talk) 17:29, 30 April 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  7. Iopensa (talk) 15:34, 1 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  8. Unfortunately, I will not be attending Wikimania this year, but I would certainly attend this presentation if I were. Best of luck! --Another Believer (talk) 19:49, 1 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  9. Multichill (talk) 14:02, 4 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  10. GastelEtzwane (talk) 15:38, 4 May 2013 (UTC) I am quite interested in this subject. Another money-related issue would be paying recruiters for signing up and training new editors...[reply]
  11. Axel Pettersson (WMSE) (talk) 09:51, 6 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  12. -- Marcus Cyron (talk) 16:45, 6 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  13. Superbellymonster (talk) 03:13, 8 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  14. Teemeah (talk) 10:17, 20 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  15. --Ecce Ralgis (háblame) 19:52, 31 July 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  16. SandisterTei (talk) 19:30, 3 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  17. --SusikMkr (talk) 19:13, 4 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
  18. bold, look forward to this! EdSaperia (talk) 06:40, 10 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]