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What we do

This project is to discuss, raise awareness of, and hopefully address issues regarding paid advocacy editing on Wikipedia, in which people are compensated to create and edit Wikipedia articles.

Background: [1][2] and also:

Who we are

Editors who are troubled to some degree by the presence of paid advocates on the Wikipedia.

  • Some of us are opposed to paid advocates editing the Wikipedia at all, recognizing that this occurs anyway and that prohibiting would only drive it completely underground, but that this is either a net positive or worth the cost, overall.
  • Some of us are concerned about paid advocates editing the Wikipedia (at least in some cases), but feel that banning it completely would only drive it underground, and this is not an improvement. Instead, paid agents should self-identify, follow Bright Line, be watched closely, and perhaps be subject to other controls.
  • Others of us have other or more nuanced views. Editors who believe that paid advocates are an overall net positive to the Wikipedia might take more of a welcoming-and-helping stance toward paid agents.

What is a "paid advocate"?

Editors who are 1) editing the Wikipedia for pay (on a contract or as part of their salaried duties) and 2) editing the Wikipedia at the behest of someone else (a boss or client). To this may be added 3) to promote a particular point of view (however subtly), but generally we are to assume that persons who meet criteria #1 and #2 generally must meet #3, absent proof to the contrary.

In a nutshell, we are most often talking about either public relations (PR) agents or else employees of a corporation acting under orders.

The following cases are not considered paid advocates, and not considered problematical, for the purposes of this project:

  • Anyone writing on their own initiative, with no direct material compensation or expectation of personal gain, even if they are technically "on the clock" somewhere. In particular, academics writing in their field of expertise (or any field), even if they are technically doing this during normal work hours and using university equipment most always qualify for this exemption.
  • Participants in the Wikipedia:GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) initiative, even if paid for editing the Wikipedia. And in most (but not necessarily all) cases, editors being paid by academic grants to contribute to the Wikipedia.
  • Editing by employees of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Anyone else who is editing the Wikipedia for pay, and editing at the behest of another person, is possibly or at least potentially a problematic paid advocate (even if working for a non-profit entity).

(We're not dogmatic about this. If, for instance, ExxonMobil was (for some reason) to hire a person to edit Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty, it's quite possible that there'd be no problem there. However, this isn't really the core of the problem we're dealing with here, and exceptions like this, as well as classes of exceptions, can be discussed and handled using reason and common sense.)


Wikipedia:Conflict of interest (WP:COI) is the primary guideline. See also plain and simple COI help.

Divisions Project information and scope

Founding principles

See Principles.


  • Collect material regarding paid advocacy editing on Wikipedia. A lot is written on this subject and we need to keep some of it as an easily available collective memory. Editors are encouraged to contribute links to outside articles, internal discussions and pages, and other material in the appropriate sections at the bottom of this page.
  • Develop strategies for better control of paid advocacy on Wikipedia. And/or, develop strategies for the elimination or banning of paid advocacy on Wikipedia.
  • Advocate for the better control of paid advocacy on Wikipedia. And/or, advocate for the elimination or banning of paid advocacy on Wikipedia.
  • Identify, watch, publicize, and, as needed, correct articles for which third parties are known to have engaged persons to edit in return for compensation.
Project technical information

WikiProject Integrity (formerly WikiProject Paid Advocacy Watch)


None; this is a top-level Wikiproject.



Coordination IRC channel

#wikipedia-en-paw on irc.freenode.net

News and alerts


Storm warning (USA).jpg

Articles to be checked and corrected (if required)

continued editing, thus time under company name; I blocked, and removed the advertising. Needs further watching. DGG ( talk ) 05:29, 12 March 2013 (UTC)


Project userbox:

A no money handshake.svgThis user is a member of the Integrity Project

Alternate project userbox, based on an earlier version:

Eye-Blue.pngThis user is a member of the Paid Advocacy Watch Project (WP:PAIDWATCH)

Project barnstar

Suitable for awarding to anyone who has made a material contribution to the project's goals. (Improvement by better artist welcome.)

Integrity barnstar.png


Internal links

Rejected proposals


External links


Pertaining specifically to paid editing of Wikipedia

Not sure about this. On the one hand, some of these links provides a kind of one-stop shop for people looking for ways to influence Wikipedia or sign on with entities that are. On the other hand, forewarned is forearmed. It's no good to blunder about in ignorance. It makes sense to us to have materials collected that would be helpful to Wikipedians wishing to consider and discuss this phenomenon.

Pertaining to the BP contretemps of 2013

These are some PR people's takes:


Here's a couple of older links (preceding the contretemps) about BP greenwashing in general:

Pertaining to the Wiki-PR.org contretemps of 2013

External links
  • Wiki-PR's web page "The easy way to accurately tell your story on Wikipedia".
  • Simon Owens (October 8, 2013). "The battle to destroy Wikipedia's biggest sockpuppet army". The Daily Dot. Retrieved October 9, 2013. -- the Daily Dot article, October 8 2013, exposing Wiki-PR's extensive sabotage here, which brought the issue to general attention.
  • "Is the PR Industry Buying Influence over Wikipedia? Article in Vice magazine, October 2013. Lengthy and detailed article.
  • "Wikipedia Probes Suspicious Promotional Articles" Wall Street Journal article, October 21 2013. Wiki-PR is given some space to state their case.
  • "Is Wikipedia For Sale?" Article at Motherboard.
  • "Click capitalism: PR firms cash in cleaning up clients’ Wikipedia pages" Washington Times article, October 21 2013
  • "Wikipedia’s Sockpuppet Problem" Slate article, October 23, 2013
  • "Wikipedia sockpuppet saga threatens users' trust of the service" Article on Sophos Security's blog.
  • Blog post regarding a Big Pharma person who supposedly and allegedly was a Wiki-PR client.
  • Discussion on Wikipediocracy which I think touches on this a bit. The thread also has an interesting list of paid editing websites.
Internal links


Old materials, old news, tasks completed or expired

This page was last updated at 2020-05-27 13:41, update this pageView original page

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