Wikipedia Bans 250 Users Paid For Edits

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Wikipedia infuriated by mass sockpuppetry

The Wikimedia Foundation, responsible for supporting the development of Wikipedia, has said more than 250 editing accounts have been suspended over concerns surrounding sponsored editing of the community-written encyclopaedia.

As many as several hundred may have violated site policies and guidelines designed to prevent “sockpuppetry” and undisclosed conflicts of interest.

JimmyWalesSquareWikipedia fury

“Our goal is to provide neutral, reliable information for our readers, and anything that threatens that is a serious problem. We are actively examining this situation and exploring our options,” said Sue Gardner, executive director for the Wikimedia Foundation.

“In the wake of the investigation, editors have expressed shock and dismay.

“Unlike a university professor editing Wikipedia articles in their area of expertise, paid editing for promotional purposes, or paid advocacy editing as we call it, is extremely problematic. We consider it a ‘black hat’ practice.”

Last year, a similar storm broke, when editors were caught promoting certain pages for cash. Trustee  Roger Bamkin was seen placing content on the main Wikipedia page for money, whilst “Wikipedian In Residence” Max Klein set up a service for editing of the site called UntrikiWiki.

At the time, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales said it was “wildly inappropriate for a board member of a chapter, or anyone else in an official role of any kind in a charity associated with Wikipedia, to take payment from customers in exchange for securing favourable placement on the front page of Wikipedia or anywhere else”.

“Being deceptive in your editing by using sockpuppets or misrepresenting your affiliation with a company is against Wikipedia policy and is prohibited by our Terms of Use,” Gardner added.

“We urge companies to conduct themselves ethically, to be transparent about what they’re doing on Wikipedia, and to adhere to all site policies and practices.”

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