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Wikimedia Employee Busted And Fired For Paid Wikipedia Edits

 11:08 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Back in the fall, the Wikimedia Foundation announced that it was shutting down hundreds of Wikipedia accounts over paid edits, and that it was investigating editors being paid for their editing. This came after a site called Wiki-PR was exposed for engaing in the selling of such edits.

In November, the foundation sent Wiki-PR a cease-and-desist.

Paid editing on Wikipedia drew a lot of attention in the media, yet just the following month, one of the foundationís employees apparently engaged in paid editing, and has now been let go.


I'm not surprised by this. There have been stories over the years about politicians caught secretly editing their own pages. And who knows how many thousands of unpaid edits are made everyday to try to control or falsify "information" about major social and political issues. And it also happens on Wikipedia pages about big corporations and organizations.



 11:26 am on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

So they fired her for taking a bribe, and express sympathy and wish her future success?

Not exactly sending the right message to other employees, is it.


 12:08 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

I like Wikimedia's take on this matter. We live in an unforgiving world that makes it easier to fire judgments rather than show understanding and compassion even in the face of errors and bad actions, so what the foundation did was remarkable in my opinion.


 4:35 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

In November, the foundation sent Wiki-PR a cease-and-desist.

I love how WikiP has turned the wiki-pr page into a scathing description of an evil company, going so far as calling out companies that have, or even worse, may have used wiki-pr services. Even better is google using that page in it's knowledge graph when you do a search for the company. Seems to me like a consorted effort to destroy a legitimate business (has wiki-pr done anything illegal?) by wikip and google. But google would never do anything evil like that right?

Anyone have a link to the cease-and-desist order/joke that wikip sent to wiki-pr? I'm curious what it was that they thought they could order wiki-pr to stop doing legally.


 4:43 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Found the cease and desist, funny stuff really, basically demanding that wiki-pr stop editing wikip. I would love to hear this in court... "Your Honor, they were engaging in sockpuppetry". Could it be said that if the sockpuppet doesn't fit you must acquit... (I hate myself for that)


 4:59 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

a legitimate business (has wiki-pr done anything illegal?)

Please. Not the "We haven't broken any laws" defense.


 5:59 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Please. Not the "We haven't broken any laws" defense.

Are you privy to what laws they have broken?


 6:14 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

In my opinion the basic problem isn't Wiki-PR or paid edits. Instead, it's all of the thousands of dishonest unpaid edits that are continually being done for the purpose of promoting a political or social agenda, or protecting a politician's reputation, or maintaining a company's or organization's public image. Edits like these can be done by anyone, including employees of a company or organization, or someone with an agenda to promote, or a politician's staff (oe even a politician himself, as has occurred in a few cases that were detected.) The paid edits are just a minor aspect, not the real problem, in my view.

brotherhood of LAN

 6:21 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

This scenario is exactly why the wiki model of content isn't perfect. It's not surprising to me there's a market for editing wiki to 'bend' the truth into another direction, wiki scooped up hundreds of millions of visitors that were previously visiting other content sites... and I'd assume those sites generally had a more strict control on how content was added and edited.

I use wiki a lot but never liked how they have centralised general knowledge, the monetisation of this wiki editing could have been going towards webmasters instead.


 6:40 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

This scenario is exactly why the wiki model of content isn't perfect.

I agree completely. The idea is good, but as with many good ideas it went south in my opinion. I think one of the main problems is the amount of weight google gives them in the serps. That made the real estate on wikip very valuable and any time there is a value there are those who will try to get what they can from it.


 8:03 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

so what the foundation did was remarkable in my opinion.

At one level it seems the right thing to do, but while they should be forgiving towards the person, they need to be uncompromising about the offence (hardly a new idea: "love the sinner but hate the sin"). They should not be vindictive, but they should be firm.

What they actually said was paid editing is "frowned upon". When it is done by a paid employee it should be entirely unacceptable.

The impression I get from the post on the mailing ist:

[lists.wikimedia.org ]


"Oops, she got caught and we had to fire her, no harm done."

@brotherhood of LAN, small wikis focused on a niche work very well. The original wiki is very interesting reading. There are lots of wikis built around programming languages, hobbies, etc. that are wonderful. As you say, it is centralisation that is the problem.


 8:12 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

If you follow the thread. The Wikipedia community seems entirely oblivious to the problem conflicts of interest. The fact that she was a Wikimedia employee is treated as irrelevant.

Wikipedia is now too powerful for its own good and is going the way of DMOZ


 8:15 pm on Jan 13, 2014 (gmt 0)

Money corrupts everything in the end I'm afraid. Wiki has taken action but I suspect they are realistic enough to see this as inevitable.

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