Wikipedia defines itself as “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit”.
But any marketer who has tried to edit their branding pages knows that the tagline isn’t complete. It should be “the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit even if their edits risk being rejected.”
Wikipedia editors frequently refuse to make edits to branded pages because the person who submitted the edit request disputes their conflict of interest guidelines, which discourage anyone with a financial connection to the subject from making direct changes to this article.
But if you can convincingly demonstrate that the published article does not meet the site’s standards – and suggest a clear improvement – you can probably get a fair hearing from a Wikipedia editor.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to hire a reputable consultant or agency to help you, you can follow these seven rules of engagement tips and improve the chances of your content edits being approved by working Wikipedia editors as volunteers.
ADVICE: Use these documents as a reference point to Wikipedia policy – clear and simple guide to conflicts of interest And Help available for editors with conflicts of interest.
1. Choose a suitable username
When you create an account for your employer, Vandelay Industries, you might consider acknowledging the conflict in your username by using something like VandelayIndustries Or VandelayExportImport. You’re thinking correctly about disclosure, but you’re also breaking a rule: Wikipedia prohibits shared accounts and may block accounts whose names simply implies that they are shared.
In this case, ArtatVandelayIndustries will work better. Actually, something random too, like Shaquille Gruaubut it’s probably wiser to choose something more professional.
2. Disclose your conflict in advance
Disclose your relevant financial ties in two places.
On your account profile or user page, write something simple and straightforward identifying your employer, client, or other affiliation. It’s not a bad idea to mention that you follow Wikipedia’s rules, especially the rule against directly editing articles. A little self-awareness goes a long way.
3. State the conflict in your message
Detailing your conflict of interest (COI) just once doesn’t mean you’re ready. Take note of this fact every time you post a new support request. Editors who encounter this edit request may not look at your user page or the top of the article and may feel misled if you do not acknowledge your connection in the first message in the thread.
You do not need to mention your COI in each message. But whenever you post to a new talk page or contact an editor you haven’t exchanged messages with, don’t assume they know who you are or who you represent. It is your responsibility to ensure that volunteer editors are aware of your connections. If editors feel misled, they won’t want to work with you.
4. Don’t write long edit requests
It’s not uncommon to see a brand rep start on Wikipedia. They choose a good username and make appropriate disclosures. Then it all falls apart when they post a new change request, sometimes requesting that all the changes they want be reviewed at once.
Think about each edit suggestion for the page. Consider how long it will take to explain each of them. Make your best estimate of the effort required from the volunteer Wikipedia editor who generously agrees to review it. These editors are doing you a favor by taking time off from their own projects, and they are. not get paid, so it’s important to respect their time. Group your requests together, see one through to completion, then move on to the next.
You should also learn the basics of Wikipedia formatting (here’s a practical Guide) and make sure your requests are presented clearly. One thing to keep in mind: Bulleted or numbered lists can be particularly helpful in making complex requests easier to follow.
5. Cite policies and guidelines
When you post a change request, it can help identify policies and guidelines that are not followed in the current version. Does the article use poor quality sources to verify sketchy material? See if the reliable sources The directive contains provisions that help strengthen your case. Does the article focus too much on a minor aspect of the subject? Check due and excessive weight guideline to see if it applies.
You may have to do some digging: Wikipedia has literally hundreds policies and guidelines set the rules for what counts as encyclopedic content. Although you probably don’t have time to learn them all, it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with the most important ones.
6. Use the Conflict of Interest Request Template
When posting a request, include a change request template at the top of the email – below the subject line and above the request. THE Edit COI the model comes with a simple set of instructions to use it correctly. This step will place it in a modify the request queue, which collects open change requests posted by contributors with a declared COI.
Although you are not required to use this template, don’t be surprised if you ask an editor for help and they ask you to use the template. This way, volunteers who want to spend time responding to edit requests can find yours and consider responding to it.
ADVICE: Don’t ask an editor to agree with you, but ask them to exercise their judgment.
7. Be polite and patient
Last but not least, even when requesting simple changes, be aware that they will likely take longer than you would like. A well-known Wikipedia essay states: There is no deadline. Wikipedia editors don’t work on your external schedule, and getting them to hurry up won’t make them more likely to work with you.
Be patient and give the change request queue a chance to work. Wait a week. Then, if you haven’t heard from anyone, you can ask other editors directly for help. Ask for help in one place at a time and wait up to a week before trying elsewhere.
In these and other ways, understanding how Wikipedia editors view their work and want to do things is in your best interest. If you can understand how your goals also advance Wikipedia’s goals, you have a good chance of getting your requests answered.
HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute