Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard

Welcome to Conflict of interest Noticeboard (COIN)
This Conflict of interest/Noticeboard (COIN) page is for determining whether a specific editor has a conflict of interest (COI) for a specific article and whether an edit by a COIN-declared COI editor does not meet a requirement of the Conflict of Interest guideline. A conflict of interest may occur when an editor has a close personal or business connections with article topics. An edit by a COIN-declared COI editor may not meet a requirement of the COI guideline when the edit advances outside interests more than it advances the aims of Wikipedia. Post here if you are concerned that an editor has a COI, and is using Wikipedia to promote their own interests at the expense of neutrality. For content disputes, try proposing changes at the article talk page first and otherwise follow the Wikipedia:Dispute resolution procedural policy. Sections older than 14 days archived by Lowercase sigmabot III.
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You must notify any editor who is the subject of a discussion. You may use {{subst:coin-notice}} ~~~~ to do so.

Additional notes:
  • This page should only be used when ordinary talk page discussion has been attempted and failed to resolve the issue, such as when an editor has repeatedly added problematic material over an extended period.
  • Be careful not to out other editors by posting personal information here. Wikipedia's policy against harassment takes precedence over the COI guideline. If private information is needed to resolve COI editing, and if the issue is serious enough to warrant it, editors can email paid-en-wp@wikipedia.org with the evidence, or email any functionary for advice. Functionaries and members of the Arbitration Committee will review private evidence and take any necessary action.
  • The COI guideline does not absolutely prohibit people with a connection to a subject from editing articles on that subject. Editors who have such a connection can still comply with the COI guideline by discussing proposed article changes first, or by making uncontroversial edits. COI allegations should not be used as a "trump card" in disputes over article content. However, paid editing without disclosure is prohibited. Consider using the template series {{Uw-paid1}} through {{Uw-paid4}}.
  • Your report or advice request regarding COI incidents should include diff links and focus on one or more items in the COI guideline. In response, COIN may determine whether a specific editor has a COI for a specific article. There are three possible outcomes to your COIN request:
1. COIN consensus determines that an editor has a COI for a specific article. In response, the relevant article talk pages may be tagged with {{Connected contributor}}, the article page may be tagged with {{COI}}, and/or the user may be warned via {{subst:uw-coi|Article}}.
2. COIN consensus determines that an editor does not have a COI for a specific article. In response, editors should refrain from further accusing that editor of having a conflict of interest. Feel free to repost at COIN if additional COI evidence comes to light that was not previously addressed.
3. There is no COIN consensus. Here, Lowercase sigmabot III will automatically archive the thread when it is older than 14 days.
  • Once COIN declares that an editor has a COI for a specific article, COIN (or a variety of other noticeboards) may be used to determine whether an edit by a COIN-declared COI editor does not meet a requirement of the Wikipedia:Conflict of interest guideline.
To begin a new discussion, enter the name of the relevant article below:


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Help answer requested edits
Category:Requested edits is where COI editors have placed the {{Request edit}} template:

Moriah FilmsEdit

All pages created and edited by the user are related to the Simon Wiesenthal Center and/or its staff. These pages may also be covered by the WP:ARBPIA thing. ImTheIP (talk) 20:14, 2 November 2020 (UTC)

User:ImTheIP - Moriah Films was properly submitted through AFC and was reviewed by multiple neutral reviewers. The revewers concurred both that the subject satisfies notability as a producer of documentary films and that the article was neutrally worded. No comment on any other articles or editors. Robert McClenon (talk) 16:25, 10 November 2020 (UTC)
@Robert McClenon: Dbernwies has since extended the article significantly. A lot of the material is quite poorly sourced. This seem to me to be a problem but I don't know. ImTheIP (talk) 19:51, 19 November 2020 (UTC)
Agreeing with User:ImTheIP: User:Dbernwies has made a poorly formatted conflict of interest disclosure on their talk page, which should be treated as a conflict of interest disclosure. An editor who has a conflict of interest should not be editing an article about which they have a conflict of interest. Moriah Films was properly accepted by neutral reviewers, and is now being edited by an editor who is not neutral. I suggest that we move this discussion to WP:ANI and request a partial block. Robert McClenon (talk) 20:08, 19 November 2020 (UTC)
I'll take a look at it. scope_creepTalk 12:55, 27 November 2020 (UTC)
It looks fine. The references for the most part are decent. He has declared correctly on his user page. The draft has no chance being passed. I can't see what the problem is? scope_creepTalk 13:04, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

Electra MeccanicaEdit

Single article edited by user. Tried talk page, no response. Don't want to out or harass, but it's fairly easy to check user's affiliation to said company. Ben Stone 03:30, 6 November 2020 (UTC)

@Benstown: You wrote on Danielmansour's talk page "...it is extremely important that you properly disclose your affiliation with Electra Meccanica, otherwise you will be banned from editing. See Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure for detailed info.". We do not "ban" people for such. That was on 3 November; Danielmansour last edited on 1 November. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:18, 6 November 2020 (UTC)
@Pigsonthewing: CoI is not my expertise, and I don't know the exact consequences. That wasn't meant as a warning, it was primarily to do with the logo on the article. Still, it's not too much to ask that PR people put the bare minimum effort to conform. --Ben Stone 23:38, 7 November 2020 (UTC)
Benstown, I think Pigsonthewing is mostly referring to the difference between bans and blocks; but we absolutely do block people for paid editing without disclosure. Best, Blablubbs (talkcontribs) 01:16, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

Mongoose (web server)Edit

This editor and other editors seem to have a COI for one side or another on an article. The jist of this is that there is a web server product and there is an infrequent apparent edit war going on between cesanta-related editors (the creator of the web server product) and occasional neutral contributors.

This "Sergey.lyubka" user seems to be the most recent, reverting edits from an account that has only been used to remove critical information of the web server: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Sergey.lyubka#July_2014. I started a discussion about this seeming edit war that transferred to my talk page but became inactive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:DannyDouble. (Redacted) — Preceding unsigned comment added by DannyDouble (talkcontribs)

DannyDouble, two things. First, please do not post information here that falls afoul of WP:OUTING (including linking to real-life identities if they have not publicly made that link on-wiki). I have removed that information and had it suppressed. Second, you are required to notify someone when you post about them here; I will take care of that for you, but please remember it in the future. GeneralNotability (talk) 01:17, 13 November 2020 (UTC)
I've stubified the article, removed the COI tag because of the stubification, and have it on my watchlist in case the cruft comes back. I've also dropped a {{uw-coi}} on Sergey.lyubka. GeneralNotability (talk) 02:10, 13 November 2020 (UTC)
Ah sorry didn't know that wasn't allowed, just found because he was listed as cto of cesanta and author of the product. Thanks for the changes :), should I remove this noticeboard section now? DannyDouble (talk) 19:24, 15 November 2020 (UTC)

Harding UniversityEdit

This editor has been making repeated edits to the Harding University article that remove well-sourced statements regarding the history of the school as related to segregation and LGBTQ students. They have disclosed in edit summaries that they are an employee of the university, however they have continued to make these edits despite discussions on their talk page informing them of the issues surrounding their COI and requests to take action such as using the request edit template. I've now reverted their edits 3 times now, and am not 100% confident that continuing to revert would be an exception to WP:3RR. Any support would be greatly appreciated! TheMrP (talk) 04:08, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

Not full disclosureEdit

shaykea disclose only only one paid entry, but in fact all his editing are paid — Preceding unsigned comment added by 176.12.231.109 (talk) 17:37, 14 November 2020 (UTC)

this is a paid entry — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.253.218.134 (talkcontribs) 14:14, 15 November 2020 (UTC)

Shabahat Ali ShahEdit

The article went into article space on 7 November. Also on 7 November it was draftified as a spam-like article, with the comment "Rewrite needed". The author was also notified by an administrator of the conflict of interest policy. The article has been moved back into article space on 16 November. There has not been any COI disclosure. It is my opinion that the article has only been tweaked and not rewritten, but that is a content issue to be addressed elsewhere. It is also my opinion that the article is non-neutral and was written to praise the subject, but that is a content issue. What is relevant here is that the article contains an image of the subject with the notation: 'this Pic Was Taken by My Self in The Officia Of The Syed Shabahat Ali Shah' That appears to be a statement that the author was in the office of the subject. The author is probably an employee or publicist for the subject. This appears to be undisclosed conflict of interest. Robert McClenon (talk) 05:11, 16 November 2020 (UTC)

Article Should not be deleted please remove the tag all sources where linked with the information and there is no close conection pleas if i am doing anymisstake let me know — Preceding unsigned comment added by MrXhadow (talkcontribs) 05:37, 16 November 2020 (UTC)

Cardano (cryptocurrency platform)Edit

Talk:Cardano_(cryptocurrency_platform)#Removing_'exaggeration' - I would like another admin to see if I am correct in my statements here, that IOHKwriter needs to make a COI declaration and pick a non-corporate name pronto. (IOHK is the company that runs the Cardano blockchain and its ADA cryptocurrency.) Their editing is undeclared paid COI editing. The editor has received notice that WP:GS/Crypto applies, and so should be assumed aware of the penalties available under it - David Gerard (talk) 14:56, 17 November 2020 (UTC)

'Their editing is undeclared paid COI editing'. My role is declared in the following places: On my user page; in what was probably my first Cardano-related post in January 2019; to the Numismatics group; on the WikiProject Cryptocurrency page; in conversations with Џ , David Gerard, the MagikCow, and various others. IOHKwriter (talk) 17:40, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
The IOHKwriter name was chosen as a way of making it clear where I was coming from. On several occasions I have declared the concerns of potential bias on the English language version of Wikipedia, and the deletion of the Cardano page after discussion among a very small group, that led to this work. IOHKwriter (talk) 17:40, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
You are not correct. From WP:ISU: "...usernames are acceptable if they contain a company or group name but are clearly intended to denote an individual person, such as "Mark at WidgetsUSA", "Jack Smith at the XY Foundation", "WidgetFan87", etc.". Since January 2019, the user's user-page has said "I am a writer working for IOHK, a blockchain development company", which meets our requirements for declaring both COI and paid editing. Their only edit predating that declaration seems unrelated to IOHK. I'm not an admin, but you don't need to be one to see these things. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 10:34, 19 November 2020 (UTC)
Hi @Pigsonthewing: I posted this on the Cardano page and saw David had dragged this to the admin page so will comment here as well. I say the following as a casual observer of the Cardano page (as recent admin changes are prohibitive to any edits). In all fairness, surely David could also be perceived as having a conflict of interest. I couldn't help but notice David* has written a book against cryptocurrencies/blochains? Surely this is a conflict of interest when editing cryptocurrency pages? As long as IOHK is factual with good referencing, honest and doesn't push false information it doesn't seem to be an issue...Blockchainus Maximus (talk) 16:36, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
If you think you can make an edits-based case based on WP:COI, then go for it - David Gerard (talk) 18:02, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
(repost of my comment on the Cardano page) No, not at all - I think your edits are reasonable and useful so I sincerely thank you for that. Was merely pointing out that you seem to be in a similar situation to IOHK from a purely objective perspective that is all. IOHK should be judged upon their edits and merit - so far I can only see a well balanced attempt to remain objective and impartial having read some of IOHKs suggestions as sources are always provided. Blockchainus Maximus (talk) 16:40, 22 November 2020 (UTC)

Edit

WIKI's edits smelled a bit promotional, and the suspicion of socking was borne out real quick; both are now CU-blocked. Checking the histories will show overlap, and of course the exact same user page. This is unproblematic, but I am posting here to ping a couple of editors who have had suspicions here, and who might know of more such articles made by similar accounts--on Indian films and technology, for instance. So, here we go: Yamaguchi先生, Praxidicae, Passengerpigeon, Cabayi, Jimfbleak, Timtrent, Liz. I see now there was an SPI, Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/ASIA TOURIST/Archive, but the CU evidence right now leaves no doubt. Drmies (talk) 14:52, 19 November 2020 (UTC)

This is the BolsaOObsequios abuse pattern. MER-C 18:14, 19 November 2020 (UTC)
Drmies, Thank you for the ping. Real life has interfered with my being online here much. I am here casually right now rather than solidly Fiddle Faddle 22:24, 19 November 2020 (UTC)
User:Timtrent, thanks for coming by and all the best to you. Drmies (talk) 23:18, 19 November 2020 (UTC)

Brigham Young UniversityEdit

These are three paid editors who have disclosed their status on their user pages, and even in their usernames, but aren't disclosing at the articles they create or edit. Rachel Helps according to her user page is the program coordinator; she was asked to also disclose and have her students disclose at article talks but has said she doesn't think it's necessary, and from a quick check of the most recent article creation of each, they aren't doing so.

They're writing good, well-researched articles which appear again from a quick check to be neutrally-written and -sourced. I think the work they're doing is valuable. But I do think they probably need to disclose at article talk, and since there's already been discussion at Rachels Helps' talk, I thought I'd bring it here and see if others had concerns. —valereee (talk) 10:00, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

Should definitely be noted on the article talk pages. Other editors can add them with a ref to the disclosure. (I agree that they should be doing so themselves.) - David Gerard (talk) 11:20, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: I would just like to echo what was said above by Valereee, @Bassknight(byu), Cstickel(byu), and Rachel Helps (BYU): are writing quality, well researched and sourced articles, which are neutrally written. They have added "BYU" to their sigs, perhaps a slight change to "Username (PE from BYU)" would solve the disclosure issue.   // Timothy :: talk  13:35, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    TimothyBlue, I don't think that solves the problem. The article talk pages need to note COI creations, not just the usernames. Usernames can change -- once these editors are no longer with BYU, will they prefer to change them? Readers and editors need to know the COI history of an article with something permanently in the article talk page history, IMO. —valereee (talk) 16:10, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Hi, I disagree with the idea that all pages I edit are COI. My job doesn't depend on showing people in a positive light. You have yourself acknowledged that our edits are generally NPOV and well-researched. Maybe this is a discussion more relevant to paid editors in general? Why do you want to require that I and my students tag every talk page we edit when it isn't required? Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 17:09, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Rachel Helps (BYU), I'm sorry to bring this up, it just concerns me when anyone is paid for editing without doing full disclosure (which means something permanently on the talk, IMO), and in this case, it could have the appearance of BYU paying people to edit in their own interest. It's not that I think you and your students aren't doing good work; I do. But whenever an entity pays someone to edit, it's concerning.
    I want this because it seems like a service to readers who investigate to easily find this information. Please know I'm not trying to be aggressive here, but may I flip the question: why do you want not to do this? It seems like a pretty minor addition to your/your students' workload to add a notification to a talk page: a person being paid by BYU created this article. Why would that be a big deal? —valereee (talk) 17:32, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Valereee Like I mentioned on my talk page, it sets a precedent for other WiRs. Some WiRs don't edit Wikipedia itself, but some do. If there is consensus on Wikipedia for WiRs or paid editors to make talk page notifications, I will happily comply, but I don't want to let my people-pleasing desires make other people's jobs harder. Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 17:39, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Rachel Helps (BYU), perhaps we can compromise: place the notice for articles which there's an apparent potential COI? For instance, A Little Lower Than the Angels (novel), Death in 19th-century Mormonism, I Don't Want to Kill You, etc. If there's no connection to BYU/Mormonism, no COI tag? —valereee (talk) 18:08, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Valereee I'd prefer that you change the rules, which I would then comply with. "Strongly encourage" does not mean the same as "require." Why should my case be special? Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 18:35, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Rachel Helps (BYU), it's not. I'd have the same concerns if Notre Dame hired editors to edit about ND alum/Catholicism. "Strongly encourage" means "Best practices." 3RR is a rule; 1RR is best practices: the best editors go to talk after the first revert rather than the third. BYU -- IMO, any academic institution -- should be striving for best practices, not minimum requirements. —valereee (talk) 18:43, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Fair enough. In my opinion, best practices should be defined by the people doing the job. Are there very many editors who disclose a a COI on every page (or every page related to a religious institution) they edit? What do other editors who frequent COIN think? I confess that I've rarely seen other editors do this. I'm going on wikibreak next week but should respond to the discussion on Nov. 30th. Rachel Helps (BYU) (talk) 18:55, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    No worries, no deadlines. :) —valereee (talk) 19:04, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Valereee, I know Rachel from the Orson Scott Card article. I peeked at a few of her contributions, and based on the most recent one, I don't see any COIs there. She edits BYU alumni and Mormon-related articles, so what? No COI with BYU itself. A COI is from a direct affiliation and not a tangential topic relationship. Elizium23 (talk) 17:14, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    Elizium23, it's paid editing. IMO this should be disclosed on talk. I know it isn't required, but it is recommended. It's fine if the community disagrees with me, but I think paid editing needs disclosure that can't go away. How is editing BYU alumni articles not a COI with BYU paying for it? —valereee (talk) 17:33, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    How is editing BYU alumni articles not a COI with BYU paying for it? I concur. That's really a pretty cut and dried case - David Gerard (talk) 00:28, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

The relevant section of WP:PAID, which is a Wikipedia policy, says: "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.". Note the use of "or", not "and". Also note that WP:CURATOR applies. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 17:14, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

I agree with what David Gerard and Andy Mabbett have said. While BYU is a reputable and noteworthy subject, and the edits are being made in an NPOV way, the edits are nevertheless being made in clear violation of WP:PAID rules. It is disappointing that editor Rachel Helps (BYU) does not seem to accept the need to follow these rules when making even NPOV edits. She and other COI editors should simply disclose their PAID and/or COI relationship on the article talk page and make an open edit request. That would solve the problem. Go4thProsper (talk) 18:38, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
That's not what I said; in fact it's directly contradictory to what I said, in which you will note, I quoted policy. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:37, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
I fear there is a large disconnect between the (a) Wikipedians in Residence project and its participants and (b) editors concerned about conflicts of interest. More specifically, I fear that this editor's interpretation of the guidance that is provided to WiR participants is an accurate description of that guidance that says that WiRs are not subject to our COI policies and practices. I don't know if this has ever been addressed head on but it's a big problem that is only going to grow until a resolution is forced. ElKevbo (talk) 19:43, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
I have been a Wikimedian in Residence several times (at more instiutions, I believe, than any other editor), and no-one has ever suggested to me, verbally or in written guidance, that "WiRs are not subject to our COI policies and practices". Quite the contrary, every WiR I have discussed the matter with has been clear that CoI is an issue that must be considered when undertaking the role. However, "our COI policies and practices" are not as limiting as some people (especially, but not only, on this page) either think or wish, or pretend, them to be. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 20:29, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
  • No action needed - There is nothing in our policy that requires every page that has been edited with an "apparent potential COI" (whatever that means) to contain a declaration and we should absolutely not pursue this as a norm. I do not understand why Rachel Helps (BYU) is being singled out here and being treated unfairly by folks who are veterans and should know better. A disclosure by a possible COI editor is not a requirement as stated in the Terms of Use, as the TOU covers paid editing only and it provides for three different options for disclosure. Disclosure of "apparent potential COI" is not a best practice of the Wiki Education Foundation and the hundreds of classes and thousands of students it has supported over the years. This impractical and misguided dragnet taken to its logical extremes would make for talk pages megabytes long as people would need to declare apparent potential COI for their hometown, their alma mater, their relatives, their vacation spots, their favorite foods, their pet preferences, their phobias, their medical conditions, their dislike of horror movies, et al. With all due respect Valereee and other commenters here, stop the intimidation of Rachel Helps (BYU) and her peers for what you have already pointed out are productive and non-problematic behavior that operate within our policy. Paid editing does not automatically equate to problematic editing. Similarly, volunteer, unpaid editing is not all virtuous and pure, as we see from sports/scifi fandom, school alums editing the articles of their alma mater, and thousands of other edits we see everyday, especially from those of us on the front lines of Recent Changes patrol. This has the hallmarks of a solution looking for a problem that has very serious downsides and terrible cascading effects if implemented. -- Fuzheado | Talk 15:38, 22 November 2020 (UTC) (Full disclosure: I work on a paid basis for The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a Wikimedia strategist and, as I have declared on my user page, I have made contributions to Wikidata, Commons, and Wikipedia related to content related to that institution, as well as developing documentation, best practices, training and software for the Wikimedia environment. I am open to any discussion or audit of any edits and contributions made with regard to my position as a Wikimedian in that paid capacity.)
I object to the characterization that anyone is being treated unfairly here by someone "who should know better". I object to the characterization that I am intimidating anyone. Students in classes are not being paid. I am not paid by my hometown or my phobias. —valereee (talk) 15:51, 22 November 2020 (UTC)
Pigsonthewing, I agree completely with you that User:Rachel Helps (BYU) has fully disclosed this on her User page, fulfilling requirements of discloser for WP:PAID, especially considering editing related to GLAM. FULBERT (talk) 00:11, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
Valereee, as far as I know, it isn't required that editors with a (potential) COI need to place {{connected contributor}} or {{connected contributor (paid)}} themselves – you (or anyone else) can just do that yourself and link to a diff where the connection has been disclosed. Regarding the rest, I think it's generally a good thing to disclose paid/COI editing in as many places as possible, though I'm not sure we should make requiring talk page notices a matter of policy. Blablubbs (talkcontribs) 01:02, 25 November 2020 (UTC)
Blablubbs, yes, I know anyone can do so. And clearly we shouldn't even try to require every paid editor to template every article they create or add to; obviously there'd be vociferous objections just like we're seeing here. But I guess I kind of do feel it would be best practices for editors paid by cultural/educational institutions to do it voluntarily for any article they could be perceived to have a COI for. I guess I don't understand why there's such passion against doing something that seems like it represents the most transparent rather than simply doing the minimum required. Honestly I would think museums and universities would want to do this to make it absolutely clear that they're behaving ethically. I'm honestly kind of surprised that a place like BYU wouldn't make this a requirement all on their own. My general feeling about Mormons is that they work very hard to behave ethically. —valereee (talk) 12:07, 25 November 2020 (UTC)
I for one am not objecting to anyone making open and transparent disclosures; I'm objecting to you - or anyone else - pretending or implying that a certain form of disclosure are a requirement, when they are not; and I object very strongly to people who are acting in good faith and complying with all applicable policies being dragged to this noticeboard, which exists - as stated at its head - for cases where "you are concerned that an editor has a COI, and is using Wikipedia to promote their own interests at the expense of neutrality", and which should only be used - again, as stated at the top of the page - for issues "such as when an editor has repeatedly added problematic material over an extended period. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:37, 25 November 2020 (UTC)
Pigsonthewing, if there's a better place to discuss this, I'm happy to go there instead. I tried to figure out what would be a better place. I want to clarify that I don't think anyone has broken any rules or deserves any sanctions. I only want to discuss this issue. —valereee (talk) 18:51, 25 November 2020 (UTC)
What issue? You've been told that the policy you apparently thought applied, does not. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:14, 25 November 2020 (UTC)
The issue of whether paid editors editing articles for which they/their institution could be considered to have a COI even when they're completely free to decide what to edit/create. The issue of whether we need clarification on that. For BYU, I say articles about BYU and its faculty/alums and Mormonism could be considered to represent an apparent COI. For articles on Utah, probably not. For a museum, the museum itself and its staff, certainly, but probably not the items in its collections. —valereee (talk) 14:52, 26 November 2020 (UTC)

There is certainly merit to what Valereee is asking. The problem is that our policies are not entirely clear. There is a difference between what has been said about paid editing above (which has been properly disclosed on the user's page) and our WP:COI guideline, which says "Editors with a COI, including paid editors, are expected to disclose it whenever they seek to change an affected article's content." The PAID guideline is saying you only need to disclose once, and the COI guideline is saying you need to disclose for each article edited, presumably on the article page. Following that intent, it certainly does make sense that a user would disclose a conflict on the talk page of the article in question.ThatMontrealIP (talk) 07:17, 26 November 2020 (UTC)

You're making the presumption that the editors listed above have a CoI in the articles in question. And again, the edits do not meet the requirements (as evidenced by "I want to clarify that I don't think anyone has broken any rules or deserves any sanctions") for a report on this page. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 08:50, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
Ah, Andy. This is a discussion noticeboard. Queries like Valereee's are entirely welcome, whether you like it or not. It says above that Rachel Help (BYU) is an employee of Brigham Young University. They would therefore have at least connected contributor status on these pages where they have edited:
I agree that Rachel Helps' contributions are very positive. That does not change the fact that she has an apparent COI in some articles that should be declared on the repective talk pages, per WP:COI.ThatMontrealIP (talk) 18:08, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
I invite you to read and consider the large panel at the top of this page, headed "Welcome to Conflict of interest Noticeboard (COIN)" and including the part headed "Additional notes", which incudes the parts I quoted, has been there for a considerable time, and remains so by consensus. You are, of course, at liberty to raise an RfC to rewrite or remove it.
But thank you for confirming that the required "using Wikipedia to promote their own interests at the expense of neutrality" and "such as when an editor has repeatedly added problematic material over an extended period do not apply.Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 18:41, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
Sigh. The fact that one's contributions to an article are minor, uncontested and neutral do es not release one from the obligation to declare their connection on the article talk page. I've added a few more articles for which there is COI to the the list at top. ThatMontrealIP (talk) 19:15, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
"Obligation"? What was it I was saying about how "our COI policies and practices are not as limiting as some people (especially, but not only, on this page) either think or wish, or pretend, them to be"? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 19:26, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
  • Comment: I feel like I'm missing something here, but don't these accounts have the name of an institution in their WP:USERNAMEs, hence constituting WP:ORGNAME? This seems like a circumstance in which someone is going to be unable to get very firmly below the level of WP:APPARENTCOI.
    So, while it sounds like there's no cause for sanction or even criticism of the users themselves, it seems strange to me that what appears to be a suggestion that article talk pages be marked with possible-apparent-coi templates is getting indifference and pushback. (Or why anyone would be, at COIN of all places, acting as though APPARENTCOI and WP:POTENTIALCOI are anything other than familiar terms that not only appear in the COI guideline repeatedly but have their own shortcuts, and are hardly exclusive categories.) --‿Ꞅtruthious 𝔹andersnatch ͡ |℡| 23:02, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
No, I think is the short answer. WP:ORGNAME was designed to prevent company or corporate branding or sponsoring. I think everybody in the know, knew that WP could be subverted by business types in the beginning and that was one way to to prevent it, by making identification easier. The majority of folk above are academics for the most part. Its a completely different domain. These are straight up folk. I don't think you can't get better. I think we should close this immediately. scope_creepTalk 12:51, 27 November 2020 (UTC)


Possibly tangential?Edit

Can anyone clue me in on why this issue is apparently seen as a major problem by Wikipedians in Residence? Or point me on where to look? For me, one institution/institution's participants voluntarily deciding to declare COI at potentially-perceivable-as-COI article talk doesn't seem like it "sets precedent" that other editors similarly paid by institutions would be therefore required to follow, but editors here who have been WiR are disagreeing. I'm not trying to fuck with WiR and similar programs here. What am I missing? —valereee (talk) 20:17, 26 November 2020 (UTC)

My guess is that you're seeing a disagreement between those who believe that (a) a COI is inherently bad so declarations of a COI must therefore have a stigma and should thus only be used in circumstances where we believe that someone is "deserving" of bearing that stigma and (b) there is nothing inherently wrong with having a COI or declaring one. This doesn't ever appear to have been definitively worked out project-wide so disagreements continue to fester. I also suspect that many editors are not familiar with conflicts of interest in their personal or professional lives so they have a different view or little experience with this concept compared to editors who have some experience with the concept and how it's addressed in other contexts. The WiR project explicitly works with editors who are clearly connected with specific organizations so it's unsurprising that this broader lack of agreement and understanding directly impacts that project. ElKevbo (talk) 20:43, 26 November 2020 (UTC)
You have brought a group of good-faith users, who are, in your own words, "writing good, well-researched articles which appear... to be neutrally-written and -sourced", to a noticeboard which is for cases where "you are concerned that an editor ... is using Wikipedia to promote their own interests at the expense of neutrality", and which should only be used for issues "such as when an editor has repeatedly added problematic material over an extended period, and having had that pointed out to you, you still want to know why anyone would see your actions as a "major problem"? Beats me. Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 12:02, 27 November 2020 (UTC)

Connected contributor: Br Ibrahim johnEdit

  • Br Ibrahim john (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log)
  • This user has disclosed his membership in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, and evidence indicates that he is a monk or member of the clergy in this church. The Indian Orthodox/Catholic Churches have been ground zero for a good deal of disruption, partisanship, and especially WP:COI with some seminary professors and perhaps even a few bishops getting involved in their own topic areas.
  • Question: if he is a professed religious or cleric, is he considered a "paid contributor"?
  • Appeal: More eyeballs, opinions, and admonishments are welcome according to the needs of this situation. It is rather lonely sometimes in this topic area, against the sockpuppets. Elizium23 (talk) 16:30, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    • CU speaking here; can't judge any other issues now. They are also on a range that Callanecc blocked in May for disruptive editing, but I don't see much evidence of socking here. I know you weren't asking about that anyway, Elizium, but it was something that I thought might make sense in this area. Drmies (talk) 17:46, 20 November 2020 (UTC)
    • I am not a Religious brother or cleric in any religious institution. Br Ibrahim john (talk) 1:13, 21 November 2020 (UTC)
      • I withdraw my accusation because BIJ's recent comments have clearly proven he could not be clergy or religious, just another layman. Elizium23 (talk) 13:12, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

CHUM (AM)Edit

"TSNMacDonald" has edited only CHUM (AM) (also called "TSN") and OverDrive (radio show), a show on TSN. All edits are unsourced, and TSNMacDonald has started edit warring to add non-notable, unsourced names to the "notable staff" list (what this editor calls a "talent list"). Removed this criticism of the radio station, and removed a different negative comment about the station four times: [1][2][3][4]. Left this message on my talk page saying: "I am not paid for my editing. Erroneous information and unnecessary edits to the page have been put in place. Cease and desist on what you're doing." Thank you. Magnolia677 (talk) 16:38, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

  • Good point--thank you. The user may explain on their talk page whether they see any way forward here. I blocked not just because of the pretty blatant COI, but also for their edit warring, uncollegiality, inclusion of unverified information (including BLP information), and whitewashing of critical content. Drmies (talk) 17:40, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

Another spam solicitationEdit

I received another spam email today asserting that I was "Now Eligible for Wikipedia Profile". I didn't click the link, but the root domain is http://us21.besteml.com/, although this appears to be a parking spot. The email was signed (obviously facetiously):

Edward Snowden
Wikipedia Consultant
9049 Hilpert Stream Lake
Deshawnbury, GA

There doesn't appear to be a Deshawnbury, GA, so the trail runs cold there. BD2412 T 21:34, 20 November 2020 (UTC)

"Hilpert Stream Lake" is obviously not a real street address, either. Probably expecting the mark to mentally autocorrect? —A little blue Bori v^_^v Takes a strong man to deny... 03:09, 21 November 2020 (UTC)

Hayford PeirceEdit

Hayford Peirce ie. User:Hayford Peirce (newly deceased) also wrote the articles Napoleon Disentimed, Dinosaur Park (novel) ie. books by Hayford Peirce. There could more to it as they were an active 16 year editor with proficiency in multiple languages. -- GreenC 16:37, 22 November 2020 (UTC)

Peralta Community College DistrictEdit

Jmlatimer has admitted to being employed by the subject, specifically in communication multiple times. He or she has been asked to not edit the article but continues to do so by adding material that appears to promote the subject. ElKevbo (talk) 23:13, 23 November 2020 (UTC)

"Admitted"? Or do you mean "openly declared, in accordance with our policies"? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 23:53, 23 November 2020 (UTC)
This user has disclosed their COI, but continues to edit the article extensively, well beyond what is considered appropriate under WP:COI editing. The editor should cease direct edits to the page and use COI edit requests through the article talk page. Other interested editors should also review the user’s recent edits to the article, which stray into the territory of WP:Puffery, WP:DUE, WP:NOTEVERYTHING, and WP:NPOV concerns. Go4thProsper (talk) 22:23, 25 November 2020 (UTC)