Monday, August 20, 2007

wiki editing ethics

A NY Times article (registration required) on a new wiki-scanning service is calling attention to the practice of corporate edits to Wikipedia:
Since Wired News first wrote about WikiScanner last week, Internet users have spotted plenty of interesting changes to Wikipedia by people at nonprofit groups and government entities like the Central Intelligence Agency. Many of the most obviously self-interested edits have come from corporate networks.
I'm assuming all these companies who tried to add a little PR spin to their wiki entries have never hear Josh Hallett speak about what a big no-no this is. Or seen Constantin Basturea's call for PR practitioners to operate ethically in the wiki-world.

One of the biggest "fear not" lessons in the book Naked Conversations is that your loyal customers & supporters will come to your aid online to help diffuse negativity. In my opinion, it is okay to correct the record (with full disclosure of who you are). Many tools - including Wikipedia - offer even better opportunities for becoming a part of the conversation & this is a good start for organizations with wiki content issues:
[...] the “talk” pages are where Wikipedia encourages editors with a conflict of interest to suggest revisions.

“If someone sees a simple factual error about their company, we really don’t mind if they go in and edit,” he said. But if a revision is likely to be controversial, he added, “the best thing to do is log in, go to the ‘talk’ page, identify yourself openly, and say, ‘I’m the communications person from such and such company.’ The community responds very well, especially if the person isn’t combative.”

The big thing is to know the community & the norms before you jump in.

No comments: