Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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 MiszaBot II.
Click here to purge this page
(For help, see Wikipedia:Purge)
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. Wikipedia's policy against harassment takes precedence over the COI guideline. If revealing private information is needed to resolve COI editing, and if the issue is serious enough to warrant it, editors can seek the advice of functionaries or the arbitration committee by email.
  • 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.
  • Your report or advice request regarding COI incidents should include diff links and focus on one or more items in the What is a conflict of interest? list. 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, MiszaBot II will automatically archive the thread when it is older than seven 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:


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

Vipul's paid editing enterprise

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I was called to bring my attention to bear on this matter. According to Vipul himself he has recruited (off-wiki) an extensive network of editors who are paid for their directed contribs to articles, several thousands of dollars to one individual [1]. Not enough info yet to say whether it was properly disclosed etc. or exactly what articles were involved. Further details can be found at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard/Incidents#User:Inlinetext including a claim that the network has built outbound links from WP with a value of many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Brianhe (talk) 21:56, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

I'm extremely disappointed at the continued baseless accusations of hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged profits that I am reaping, when absolutely zero evidence has been offered for the claim. The contract work I have paid for is fully and extensively disclosed at contractwork.vipulnaik.com (with full source code and revision history available on GitHub) and I have also included links to 1.5-2 years of bank statements and PayPal balances and linked to the real-world identity (including email addresses and social media accounts) of all contributors to the enterprise. It's extremely disappointing to me that people who hide behind the safety of anonymity can make frivolous accusations of under-the-table transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars and have those be taken more seriously than people who are putting their real-world reputation on the line and being completely transparent about all their doings. Here's a thought: if you haven't had time to investigate whether somebody is breaking rules, go and do the investigation first, confirm all your facts, and only then present your findings publicly.Vipul (talk) 22:08, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
"Not enough info yet to say whether it was properly disclosed etc. or exactly what articles were involved." That's an extremely uncharitable and misleading statement. Here's a full list of all the contract work I have funded (with one small exception, an editor who contributed on timeline of global health wanted their real-world information to not be disclosed).Vipul (talk) 22:20, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Vipul if you want me to stay more engaged in this, I can do so for a bit. One question off the bat: since at least some of this funding is coming from Open Philanthropy Project, are you connected with them in some way? I mean it seems that you are claiming on your userpage to be directing the editor enterprise and maybe disbursing funds, can you simply confirm?
Also please tone down the defensiveness a bit. I did not say you made one dollar from this. I said another editor has claimed the links have a dollar value attached. But if you want to speak further to this, please feel free. Brianhe (talk) 22:27, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
"since at least some of this funding is coming from Open Philanthropy Project, are you connected with them in some way?" What funding are you referring to? Do you mean funding of some of the organizations whose content I have edited or paid to edit? Or do you mean funding for the content creation project? If the latter, the answer is no, I don't receive any money from the Open Philanthropy Project. I am familiar with the people involved with the Open Philanthropy Project and occasionally comment on their blog or post their content on Facebook. I have had some contact with GiveWell, their partner organization. You can see a full disclosure of my history of contact with GiveWell here.Vipul (talk) 22:58, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
"I did not say you made one dollar from this." I know you didn't. Unfortunately, repeating baseless accusations lends them credibility. I'm already seeing a lot of places where these accusations are being reported as, if not fact, then at least well-founded and substantive claims, which they're not. This hurts the reputation of the people involved.Vipul (talk) 23:00, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) On a closer look I am troubled. Example: GiveDirectly looks like a poss. paid job by previously unseen editor, but no disclosure seen; Vipul and his 'employee' Riceissa were first LT editors here shortly after its creation expansion by an editor with only five edits to his sandbox in 2014 [2] [3]. I'm not the first to notice this is a big ad for the org [4]. Explanation? - Brianhe (talk) 23:07, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
People have disagreed on the level of depth to go into in terms of the amount of detail to report about specific nonprofits. This is the standard inclusionism/deletionism debate; Riceissa and I tend to be on the more inclusionist side, that's all. The article has since undergone numerous edits by other editors.Vipul (talk) 23:14, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
One more thing I remembered in the context of this page: in Febrary 2014, somebody working at GiveDirectly emailed me (based on the fact that I had created the page, and they may also have contacted others who had previously edited the page) noting that there was undue weight given to a criticism of GiveDirectly by Zidisha. After reviewing the situation, I shortened the criticism from a long paragraph to a single sentence. There was no exchange of money and I ultimately only made an edit I felt comfortable with. Here is the diff (note that I made two edits, one removing the original version and one inserting the new version).Vipul (talk) 23:21, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Also, Riceissa's edits to the article that were paid for by me (he may have made some others correcting spelling/grammar) are documented here: you'll see payments for 2016-06-24 and 2016-11-30.Vipul (talk) 23:27, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Brianhe, That article was created by Vipul, in November 2011. Softlavender (talk) 23:37, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
My mistake, was hurried and didn't page back in the article history enough. Since there's already a reply I've edited my prior statement as appropriate . - Brianhe (talk) 23:46, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
@Vipul: You said here that a long list of articles for "organizations that are grantees of the Open Philanthropy Project" are being paid for. Perhaps I mis-read this as being some kind of agreement or coordination with Open Philanthropy to do so. Is it incorrect to conclude this? - Brianhe (talk) 00:05, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Brianhe: There is no coordination with the Open Philanthropy Project. Issa and I used the list of their grantees as a way to shortlist potential nonprofit organizations that might be worth covering (based on the fact that an impact-focused foundation made a grant to them). That doesn't mean that all of them deserve a Wikipedia article, just that this is a shortlist of candidates to consider for article creation. We have similarly added lists of some grantees of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies in the document.Vipul (talk) 00:10, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Since I am alluded to here. I shall participate in this thread, but after 12 hours. I am very busy in real life and the scene at ANI is quite stressful. I believe that this is a well planned series of TOU breaches to cynically exploit Wikpedia's high authority and search page rankings which only WMF can investigate and resolve. I shall provide my ex-facie evidence here. I have already linked elsewhere to Jehochman's trend sheet showing CPC (cost per click) to average at US$2+ nowadays. Inlinetext (talk) 23:33, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Arbitrary break

  • I have been aware of this for a while and am glad this is being discussed. Vipul, thanks for participating. I had a negative interaction one of your (VIpul's) editors at Timeline of cholera and with another following a content dispute at Laura and John Arnold Foundation, which led me to look at the overall sponsored editing thing. It is.... very interesting. Here are my thoughts:
    • 1) I think much of the overall effort is altruistically motivated and actually commendable. Many of the topics are not commercial, and the intent on those seems to be, to provide the world with free information about important subjects. However there is a bunch of other stuff mixed in with that, like Parker Conrad and some others, that does not fit at all with any altruistic goal I can think of. I don't understand the overall goal of the sponsored editing effort, with this mishmash of types of content. I haven't yet found a coherent, concise discussion of the mission of this effort that makes sense out of all the topics covered.
    • 2) that said, there are more intricate issues with regard to the editors who are being paid. This is where some careful thinking is important. In some places, this looks like a typical PAID situation where Person X paid Editor Y to write a promotional article about Person X or where Editor A works for Company B and is editing the article about Company B or its products promotionally. In some places it doesn't look like that at all, but rather like a WP:GLAM effort but driven by an individual instead of a nonprofit. Which is interesting and as far as I know unprecedented.
      • 2a) it remains true that a Vipul-paid editor, is getting paid to edit, and must disclose that under the ToU. (I believe this is happening but not consistently.) I don't see for instance where the paid creation of Parker Conrad was disclosed in WP. Vipul, this is something that you need to ensure happens, always. Would you please review the edits you have paid for, and make sure that it was done for all of them? It should be disclosed on the Talk page of the relevant article, and on the Userpage of the editor who was paid. This is something that any contracts you do with editors should require.
      • 2b) I ran into WP:MEAT/WP:TEAM issues at the Foundation article, where one Vipul-paid editor came "riding to the rescue" of another Vipul-paid editor. That editor ran into other behavior issues that were addressed at ANI and resulted in them being blocked. This kind of MEAT/TEAM behavior should never happen, and I suggest that Vipul make sure his/her team is instructed not to do this.
      • 2c) but what about conflict of interest, per se? This is where things get interesting. There are two levels here (I told you this was intricate).
        • 2c1) If there are articles directly about this effort, everybody involved, including Vipul, would have a direct COI there and should not be editing them directly, but instead should be putting edits through peer review, by putting new articles thought WP:AFC and by suggesting edits to existing articles on Talk pages.
        • 2c2) With regard to other topics where most of the paid editing is happening, in my view, Vipul-paid editors have a COI, in that they have an outside interest (getting paid to generate content that sticks - like editing an article is their job and other editors are getting in their way) and in my view this COI is what produces some of the behavior issues of Vipul-paid editors. In my view, even on these topics, Vipul-paid editors should be following the COI guideline, and should not be editing articles directly, but instead should be putting edits through peer review, by putting new articles thought WP:AFC and by suggesting edits to existing articles on Talk pages. I don't think they are doing that, at this point in time. They should do, in my view. Others might differ and say this is like WP:GLAM editing, but I don't agree.
What do folks think about these points... especially about 2c)? I want to add that if the ToU are always followed (paid edits disclosed), and Vipul-paid editors always put edits through peer review, the concern about paid links getting slipped into WP by Vipul-paid editors editing directly will be addressed, at least somewhat, and becomes in my view a nonissue in the future. Whether they are present in edits that were already directly done, is a separate question. Jytdog (talk) 23:57, 5 March 2017 (UTC)
Jytdog, there is off-wiki evidence that Vipul is in fact related to Open Philanthropy Project and their GiveWell initiative (if that's what it's called). I'm not saying he's an employee or money is overtly being sent from one to the other, but there is some kind of relationship such that 2c is a no-brainer. But I'm not going to link to it.
Also, as for "unprecedented", I'm not quite sure; remember the effective altruism MEAT issue? -- Brianhe (talk) 01:21, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Interesting, Jytdog. For the sakes of due weight, I hope 2c represents consensus now, in general. I haven't reviewed any of the Vipul Group edits to know whether or not they do have some kind of bent or tendency. But I do commend Vipul for his overall patience throughout this process. And for his level of disclosure and detail. El_C 01:13, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Support, Compliance to 2(c) or something similar (stronger) is the minimum standard expected. In short declare conspicuosly when you are editing as a paid editor, and all such paid edits must go through substantive (not token) peer review. Inlinetext (talk) 01:46, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Thanks for putting some sense into this discussion. I will reply to each of your points separately, as it will make it easier to see the separate conversational threads. Here I will respond to your point (1).
You write "I think much of the overall effort is altruistically motivated and actually commendable." This is mostly correct. In fact, the entire effort is altruistically motivated, not just "much of" the effort.
You give Parker Conrad as an example of an article "that does not fit at all with any altruistic goal I can think of". I am having difficulty understanding your confusion. Paying out of one's own pocket for an informational article that is consumed by readers is by definition altruistic. For more context specifically on Parker Conrad, see Talk:Parker Conrad.
You write "I haven't yet found a coherent, concise discussion of the mission of this effort that makes sense out of all the topics covered." It may be worth noting that, as Vipul's project has many parts and is (apparently) difficult for people to understand, it is difficult for any description to be both "coherent" and "concise". However, if you are looking for a coherent description, at the expense of brevity, you can begin at Vipul's contact work front page, and follow the links at the top.
Cheers, Riceissa (talk) 02:01, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Jytdog: Here I will respond to your point (2), but none of the sub-points.
You write "In some places, this looks like a typical PAID situation where Person X paid Editor Y to write a promotional article about Person X or where Editor A works for Company B and is editing the article about Company B or its products promotionally." This is incorrect. Vipul does not receive payment for work on Wikipedia or as part of this contract work project; he is entirely altruistic. Any payment that one of his contract workers receives is money that comes from Vipul. Therefore, in no case is there a situation where the subject of an article pays money and the money reaches one of Vipul's contract workers.
You write "In some places it doesn't look like that at all, but rather like a WP:GLAM effort but driven by an individual instead of a nonprofit. Which is interesting and as far as I know unprecedented." I am not too familiar with WP:GLAM, but it seems possible that Vipul's project is similar to it in this way. However, if that is the case, it is not just "some places" but rather all places. I agree that as far as I know, an individual paying for altruistic content creation on Wikipedia is unprecedented.
Cheers, Riceissa (talk) 02:24, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
User:Riceissa your disclosure on your userpage says that you are one of the paid editors under Vipul's program. If that is the case, in my view, at this point it would be helpful if you allowed the community and Vipul to work this out. If you were one of the organizers of the effort, your participation might be valuable but that does not appear to be the case. You have also misrepresented what I wrote multiple times which makes your contribution here a detraction in value. Please step away for now. Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 02:57, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
User:Riceissa is one of the organizers of the project. He speaks along with me; it's difficult for me alone to answer all the questions here. Riceissa is stepping in to handle some of the load of replying to questions.Vipul (talk) 03:02, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Vipul thanks for explaining that. This is something that Riceissa should disclose on their Userpage. I'll also ask now that Riceissa review what I wrote and redact their response, and to talk here more carefully. Riceissa if you are not familiar with GLAM then ask about it. But here are a couple of quick facts. Fact 1: articles like the [Parker Conrad]] one and the Shasta Ventures one would never be produced by a GLAM project. Fact 2: they look exactly like typical commercial paid editing jobs. These are facts, and facts like these (and the general lack of engaging with the community thus far) are what are causing distrust and raising questions. Jytdog (talk) 03:33, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Meatpuppetry: I would just like to submit, somewhere in here, that if meatpuppetry occurs again on any article, as it did on Laura and John Arnold Foundation, then the involved editors can expect to be blocked on sight, probably indefinitely. It's strain enough for the community to have to keep track of this badly publicized and poorly explained paid-editing ring; to add blatant COI meatpuppetry on top of that, in addition to the other very very poor behaviors of some of these editors, is completely unacceptible. Softlavender (talk) 02:12, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Thank you. That is the sort of MEAT harassment which I was referring to at ANI (not the Parker Conrad article specifically). It is exactly the kind of harassment User:MSJapan faced on Form 1040 from these same editors. Inlinetext (talk) 02:15, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
On that note, and considering the clique of Vipul editors on Timeline of Cholera, I think we are going to have to make some hard and fast rules:
(1) Vipul must prominently list and link all of his paid editors, past and present, on his userpage.
(2) No more than one editor of the ring can edit on any one article. And if, as is proposed, they are all restricted from making direct edits to COI articles, then each time they post on an article's talk page they must newly disclose and remind others that they are part of the paid Vipul editing ring.
(3) No more than one editor of the ring can participate in any given discussion on Wikipedia (except via permission of an administrator).
What do others think? Softlavender (talk) 02:39, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Hi Softlavender. First of all I apologize for the impression of meatpuppetry that you might have gotten here. Three broad things: (1) Revert wars: To be clear, I didn't pay or instruct Ethanbas to undo the reverts of Riceissa's edits -- he did so of his own accord (almost all of his Wikipedia editing activity these days is of his own accord -- my last payment to him for Wikipedia was for something he did in November 2016, as you can see here). I also did not pay him for his extremely short stub of the Akatombo page -- this would fail to meet my quality standards and obviously I'd be a fool to pay for that. When he undid the revert, I privately advised him not to do so, and he has now agreed not to do something that could come across as team-tagging. I don't control all the Wikipedia activity of people I pay for specific things. To me it seems far-reaching to say that anybody who has ever received money from me for Wikipedia editing is therefore my responsibility for all their Wikipedia activity, but I can see how this would add to people's suspicions. I'll make my best effort to communicate this to all other editors I've ever paid, and at least the ones who are continuing to work with me should heed to my requests. (2) AfD votes: I've made it a point to make sure that I don't additionally vote on an AfD if the person who made the article already voted (so as not to tilt the voting scales). I will also instruct my contract workers to similarly not cast additional votes on an AfD if somebody from the group already voted. If they have additional thoughts they will share them as comments (without marking it as a vote) and disclose the relationship. (3) Multiple workers editing a page: I would add that in many cases different people who work for me edit a page at different stages. This isn't to create a false consensus, but rather, simply because a single individual may be too busy to carry out all the necessary edits. All contributions requested by me to the same page are explicitly disclosed as payments by me.Vipul (talk) 02:47, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Hi Softlavender,
(1) I already disclose all the people who work for me clearly at contractwork.vipulnaik.com, which is prominently linked from my userpage.
(2) This is unrealistic. The chief problem is that different people can have time to edit an article at different times. Therefore it is common for an editor to hand over work on an article to another editor, or for one editor to make minor improvements to an article primarily worked on by another. The entire list of contributions is fully and publicly disclosed at contractwork.vipulnaik.com here.
(3) I agree that we should not team-tag to generate a false consensus, and my reply above addresses that. I will try to make sure that if more than one person from the group contributes in the discussion, they mark it as a comment rather than a vote, and they disclose the conflict of interest. I'll communicate this with active editors.Vipul (talk) 02:51, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
It's not good enough for the list of your editors, which is growing, to be listed off-wiki. They all need to be listed on your userpage, prominently. You are forcing the Wikipedia community to keep track of a problematic group of paid editors, some of whom are a whisker away from being banned from the site. We need a list of all of them, plainly disclosed. And no, they shouldn't be editing the same articles. That's blatant COI meatpuppetry/tag-teaming/collusion. And you are misreading number 3: no more than one member of the ring may participate an any given discussion (except at the request of an admin), and even then that one editor must continually disclose their COI and that they are part of your ring. And that includes even commenting on an AfD. The more you try to avoid the restrictions that should be obviously necessary with this group of paid editors, the more likely the whole enterprise will end up being banned from Wikipedia. Softlavender (talk) 03:04, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
User:Softlavender thanks so much for what you are writing! Because Vipul and others link to this offwiki stuff, it is all open to the community with no OUTING bars. I agree that it would be best if Vipul listed all the editors they are paying on their userpage, but ~interestingly~ there is no obligation in the Terms of Use or elsewhere for that. What Vipul has done by so explicitly describing all the editing they are paying for and linking to it, is way more than anything I have seen anybody do, ever. And I don't know that we can set "rules" for Vipul-paid editors here. We can however certainly let Vipul know that there will be no tolerance for MEAT/TEAM and the community will likely swiftly block them through ANI or SPI on a case by case basis if it continues to happen.... Jytdog (talk) 03:19, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I disagree. We already know of one article being edited by at least three different people of the ring. And Vipul is constantly recruiting new editors (he even pays his editors to recruit more editors). We need to keep track of them (to monitor collusion/meatpuppetry), and we shouldn't need to go off-wiki to find the usernames -- they should be listed as a group on wiki somewhere -- I see no reason why they shouldn't be listed on Vipul's userpage. This would all be in keeping with paid-declaration requirements. Softlavender (talk) 03:29, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Interesting. I agree it is in keeping with the spirit of the ToU, PAID, and COI, but all of those are very explicitly about what editors who receive payment should do (and must do in some cases). But all of those are silent on what people who pay others to edit should or must do. And as I said I am unaware of someone who pays editors being this open about it. We don't want to encourage paid editing but we do want to ~encourage~ those who pay them to be open. This is so interesting... we have no precedent for this. But at this point I (and I am just speaking for me) am hoping for dialogue to fully draw out what is going on here. It is going to take some time. Jytdog (talk) 03:38, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Softlavender: @Jytdog: I have added a section User:Vipul#List_of_people_I've_paid with a full list of the payees, linking to their respective pages on contractwork.vipulnaik.com. I will make sure to add new workers to this list as and when they join. I hope this addresses your concern.Vipul (talk) 04:22, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • @Riceissa. How is your editing philosophy ('all altruism') for these kind of edits linked to Nick Bostrom and 'the mishandling of indexical information' ? I ask specifically in the context of Jytdog's experience at Timeline of Cholera, the development history of which article shocks me. Inlinetext (talk) 02:22, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Inlinetext: I don't understand what you are trying to say. I edited Nick Bostrom once to add an "s". Riceissa (talk) 02:32, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Possibly Vipul can answer, because neither Brianhe nor I have linked through to some OPP + effective altruism content in his case. Inlinetext (talk) 03:14, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
It is not WP:GLAM. It is paid advocacy and must be disclosed to our readers or this entire project may as well be "donated" to whoever the powers that be determine is "worthy"-and that would suck.TeeVeeed (talk) 22:11, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Commercial entity editing

Since there's no obvious nexus with any philanthropy I started a subsection for this. @Vipul: Can you say what was going on here where a notorious undisclosed paid editor got to a new Silicon Valley VC firm's article less than a minute after you created it? - Brianhe (talk) 02:43, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

That's not just less than a minute. That's less than a second; or assuming server delay, a couple of seconds. Softlavender (talk) 02:51, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I have no idea. Maybe they were watching for the page creation, and fixed the references display as soon as it got published?Vipul (talk) 02:56, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Brianhe thanks for posting this. That is a very troubling set of events. Vipul your response doesn't allay any concerns, but rather only sharpens them. Hm. Jytdog (talk) 03:13, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
And that first edit contained exactly the sort of spammy links to 'techcrunch' etc. which I was tracking them pushing elsewhere and I deleted link and which was repeatedly reverted.Inlinetext (talk) 03:22, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
This is the kind of thing that could happen by chance if Shasta had put out a bid for article creation on a paid editing site like fivver and multiple paid editors were pursuing the contract. Hm. Jytdog (talk) 03:25, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Okay, I honestly don't know what happened here. All I can say is that I have no idea who BiH was, and that I wasn't paid or requested by anybody to create this page. Unfortunately there probably isn't more context since this was three years ago.Vipul (talk) 04:46, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Same thing on Laura and John Arnold Foundation: [5]. There are six articles that Vipul created between January and April 2014 that BiH edited very shortly after creation [6]. Perhaps BiH was doing exclusively NPP (or Recent Changes patrol) at that point in time (I don't have time to check). -- Softlavender (talk) 06:04, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm guessing maybe the user runs a bot that does edits under the username? But I honestly have no clue. @BiH:, would you like to explain?Vipul (talk) 06:10, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
He was blocked quite a while ago for being a spam/promotional account. I checked a cross-section of his edits between Jan-April 2014, and he was doing a lot of rapid-fire new-page-patrol and such, so that is likely the explanation. Softlavender (talk) 06:28, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Added creations of Simfish. Spot check shows many or all co-edited by others in the network including V. - Brianhe (talk) 16:14, 6 March 2017 (UTC) ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I changed one of the indexed user sub-pages to non-indexed.—JJBers 17:32, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Added two Silicon Valley things that I think are a blatant, direct employment-related COI for the primary editor named in this case: Data Collective and Gusto (software) (sandboxed in ZenPayroll). Since we have permission to link to vipul.com (granted here), this is the nexus. My AGF that any other commercial stuff is pure-of-heart has been destroyed. N.b. according to industry press this is a direct competitor [7] of Zenefits, another article created by this ring. - Brianhe (talk) 00:08, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
Added more from a another user involved, mostly a mix of 'Animal Welfare in X' — Preceding unsigned comment added by JJBers Public (talkcontribs) 17:46, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
And I have deleted them; they are not commercial entities. {JJBers, your participation in this overall thread is becoming more and more problematic. I am going to report it on the ANI thread. I urge you to move on and do something else, as per my warning to you at ANI. Softlavender (talk) 18:00, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Big picture

User:Vipul thanks again for participating here. I do understand the frustration you expressed above in a few of your comments; you have apparently tried to be very transparent, documenting the heck out of your editing sponsorships. I've never seen such careful and public documenting from the payor side (and linked-to from within WP so that the community using it, does not violate WP:OUTING), and is something I wish other generators of paid editing would do.

Please understand a) that WP is created and maintained by a community and b) that the community has been through several bouts of ugly undisclosed paid editing, that were really abusive of WP and in which people baldly lied about what they were doing. (See Conflict-of-interest editing on Wikipedia if you have never read it - that will give you a taste).

The community aspect of WP is something that people sometimes have a hard time wrapping their heads around. We do encourage individuals to be be WP:BOLD and there is lots of libertarian ethos deep in the guts of WP... but at the same time there is a certain amount of... communitarianism deep in the guts of this place as well -- WP:CONSENSUS is probably the bedrock policy underlying everything that happens here, and all the policies and guidelines that govern content and behavior are based on it, and are oblgatory for editors to follow.

And experienced editors know that if you want to do anything widespread across WP, it is both wise and kind of expected that you get consensus before starting to implement it. (This is a WP:CLUE thing) For example, if an academic scientific lab has built a database and wants to start adding links to it, to many articles, they certainly are free to do that, but they are very likely going to get stopped at some point so that the community can look at the database and make sure it is something that the community feels should be widely represented. Likewise if somebody decides that a certain kind of article shouldn't exist and starts nominating them for deletion en masse, they will be stopped at some point for discussion. That stopping and examining process can be graceful or ugly, depending on how the people involved handle it. But it will generally always happen.

I don't see where you ever introduced your goals for your paid editing project to the community or sought buy-in from the community for it. (Again this is not something that is required but as I said it is both wise and kind of expected.) And as I said, there is a lot of negative feeling in the community about paid editing that has been tapped into with regard to your specific project. I hope that helps explain to you what is going on with all this.

So... how about it? Would you please explain your goals -- the mission of your project? And if you have (or importantly, have had) any connection at all to any of the subjects you have edited or paid people to edit, would you please disclose the connection or connection(s)? Also, would you please clarify the source(s) of the money that you pay people? (for instance, in some cases are clients like the VC firm discussed above paying you, and you are in turn paying editors?)

This discussion is at a bit of a tipping point toward becoming an ugly dramafest full of bad feeling all around, and if it keeps going that way it will suck up a lot of people's time. I am hoping we can pivot and turn this into a tight, clean discussion about the key issues. Simple disclosure and explanation from you would help move things in that direction. I hope that makes sense. Once that is done and people get their heads around it, we can circle back and address some of the specific issues that I and others have raised above. Jytdog (talk) 03:01, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

At some point we're going to have to make an entire AN/ANI thread about this, and get input from the community at large, not just from the tiny handful of editors here. There are far too many downsides and potential problems to this whole set-up (some of which we've already seen), for it to continue merely as it has.thus far. Softlavender (talk) 03:16, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I agree! My intention was to work out some of the underlying facts (which are still not clear to me) so that this can be presented in a reasonable way in a centralized discussion. Jytdog (talk) 03:20, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Hi Jytdog, I have linked to a bunch of documents at the top of contractwork.vipulnaik.com explaining my motivation and history for the project. I hope those provide a decent background into the project.

I've been editing Wikipedia since 2005. I've created over 400 pages, and the people I pay for contract work have created over a hundred pages as contract work for me, plus hundreds of other pages on their own time. I can't comprehensively, offhand, list, all possible conflicts of interest or connections I've had with subjects of the articles. However, I can make a few broad comments.

  • I have never been paid to create or edit a Wikipedia article, or to pay others to do so. Nor have I worked in any capacity (like public relations, outreach) where Wikipedia page creation would fall under the ambit.
  • There are some cases where organizations have reached out to me (and to people I've paid) over email requesting error corrections or fixes on pages about those organizations we've edited. In those cases, we try to review the request, see if it makes sense, ask for publicly available and citable sources for the error correction if applicable, and make a correction as we see fit. We take editorial responsibility for it.
  • Similarly, when organizations reach out to me via email asking me to create their pages, I almost always decline. If I do accept (which I don't offhand remember doing) I do it on my own time with no money changing hands. In one case, I tentatively agreed, but then realized there isn't enough coverage of the organization, so ultimately declined.
  • In a few cases, I have created or edited Wikipedia pages of people or organizations I have known reasonably well. The closest connection would be that I created the Wikipedia page of my undergraduate alma mater Chennai Mathematical Institute back in the 2000s, while I was a student there. I've also created and edited Wikipedia pages for some semi-prominent people whom I casually know (but am not close friends with) -- however, I haven't paid other people for such tasks (there might be a couple exceptions I am missing). In all these cases, the pages weren't requested by the individual in question, and they weren't even aware of my intention to publish the page. The same is true for some organizations that I casually know.
  • The bulk of the pages created and edited, by me, or by people I pay, have no relationship with me or the people I pay, except in the very limited sense that it's a topic where we want to improve coverage. You can take a look yourself at the full list of tasks I have funded.
  • I honestly don't think companies, venture capital firms, and nonprofits benefit much on net from having Wikipedia pages. I've look at Wikipedia pageview statistics for a while and most organization Wikipedia pages get a few hundred pageviews a month -- a tiny fraction of the traffic their websites receive. The Wikipedia page doesn't help them sell their product to anybody, written as it is in a factual/informative fashion. They often include criticism sections that dampen people's enthusiasm. I think Wikipedia is valuable as a summary of known information about organizations, but I have serious doubts that it helps the organizations' own goals. I think most people who pay editing rings to have their own content published are paying for an unnecessary product that won't work (I can imagine some exceptions, but I'm talking of my general heuristic).Vipul (talk) 03:27, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I don't believe you comprehend all the problems created by the system you have set up, and the way you have set it up, and the fact that you have an ever-growing stable of paid editors who, like it or not, are in collusion with each other. You may have registered your account more than a decade ago, but with under 10,000 edits you are still a pretty inexperienced editor, and except for a spurt in 2006 you've only been editing since 2012 [8]. No one at present is accusing you of profiting from your enterprise, but it is patently incorrect that companies, venture capital firms, and nonprofits do not benefit much from having Wikipedia pages, especially as time goes on and their enterprises grow. If this enterprise of your is/was entirely altruistic, then you should have no qualms if it is disbanded, for it will have simply been an experiment of sorts -- a complex experiment that didn't pan out as long as you expected. The thing is, if we let you continue, and you add more and more and more and more editors to your list, it will become a logistical nightmare of in-collusion editors, some of whom have already shown highly disruptive tendencies. If you fight to the death to keep this enterprise going, that would seem to indicate that you had some stake in it that you are reluctant to give up. Even if it was just an experiment, Wikipedia is not your laboratory. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a social experiment. Softlavender (talk) 03:47, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Vipul -- One thing you don't seem to be aware of. Wikipedia strictly protects the privacy of editors. We cannot go looking at off-wiki stuff about an editor unless the editor him or herself explicitly and directly refers to it. People who cite off-wiki stuff, get indefinitely blocked. It is as serious as it gets in WP. You have linked to https://contractwork.vipulnaik.com/ several times, and to other pages, so we can all go to those pages and discuss them with no trouble here in WP vis a vis OUTING, but it is iffy as to whether we can follow links from there (e.g. I did not click any links at https://contractwork.vipulnaik.com/, and will not cite anything linked from that page, to be on the safe side of OUTING.) It would be very helpful if you posted something here (or even better to your user page) saying that your intention is to be fully transparent and that you are making everything at https://contractwork.vipulnaik.com/ and everything linked from that, and from those pages, and so on, available to the community. If that is your intention, of course. Not sure you were aware of that.
You also have not made clear the mission of your paid editing work. I don't see how Shasta Ventures and the Parker article fit with say Timeline of Cholera and other global health topics. Can you please define the mission?
There is more I would like to say but there is too much up in the air here now. I will leave it with those two things for now. Please do respond to both. Thanks Jytdog (talk) 04:05, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I have added a section on my Wikipedia user page granting explicit permission to people to reference or cite any content under my domain as well as a few other things I have listed. I hope that addresses your concern.Vipul (talk) 04:30, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I had made the article on Shasta Ventures (and some other venture capital firms) in January 2014 and the surrounding months, long before I started on the paid editing enterprise. These were just curiosities for me -- I used to follow tech news a lot, and would see a bunch of these firms mentioned in various news items, so I thought I'd created their Wikipedia pages. The Parker Conrad article was an accidental/retroactive bounty I created as explained at Sponsored Wikipedia editing: "Parker Conrad: Although I hadn’t pre-approved the page, I found the level of detail in his created page sufficient to merit my usual $25 payment." This was at the beginning of promoting content creation. At the time I was still experimenting with stuff and hadn't narrowed down on a focus area. Timeline of cholera falls under health-related content, one of my focus areas. You can see all the work I've funded in health here (or if you want to be even more specific, all the work I've funded in global health here).Vipul (talk) 04:41, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for responding on both points. I hear you that there are focus areas. You still haven't squarely answered the mission question. The mission is really crucial (you don't seem to be aware that it is crucial nor why it is crucial here in WP) but I have asked twice and that is enough. I am going to step back for a day or two, and then I plan to present a summary of issues raised and your responses thus far, to prepare to bring this to the community mid-week. Others might bring it before hand, of course. Jytdog (talk) 06:07, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

The $600,000 question

I am using this document initially , only because it is by 'Jehochman' The Cost of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising—Trends and Analysis and I use the 2016 data for Google impressions PPC (pay per click).
Caution: Of course we are not discussing here Google impression PPC but Wikipedia impressions PPC.

1. Cost per click CPC (of a link) = US$2.1 per click
2. Click through rate CTR = 1.1 %, ie only 1.1 out of every 100 'impressions' served are actually clicked.
3. Cost per mille (CPM) = $24.74, effectively the payout for 1,000 impressions.

So assuming only 1 "affiliate" out-bound link per Wikipedia page impressioned, and 6 million page views, we get $24.74 * 6,000 = $148,400 potential link value.

If you now have 5 "affiiate" out-bound links on a page your potential link value is $0.75 million. (NB: Vipul's Timeline series typically contain 50+ links, so even if only 10% (5) of them are "affiliates" the target is met).

Also consider that Jehochman's CTRs are for Google users who are random searchers. The CTR for Wikipedia will obviously be much higher than Google's raw search because Wikipedia's page users are "screened users" for that topic who have reached a specific page after a google ssearch. The community does not have access to these CTR figures but WMF does. Even a 2% CTR for a link on a Wikipedia page would cause $1.4 million potential link value for those 6 million page views with only 5 "bad" links per page which pay-off.

In addition the out-bound links have a not insignificant SEO value unconnected to clicks. which boosts the 3rd party page pointed to on Google search.

Of course there are better data sources for PPC rates and datas, and experts can work it out better with WMF's tracking data.Inlinetext (talk) 03:27, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

I wonder what User:Jehochman would think of your approach. I notice that you've assumed quite a lot of numbers here, including a non-zero number of affiliate links. From where I'm sitting, this looks like smearing an apparently innocent person with information about what someone hypothetically could do, instead of providing information about what actually did happen. (Also, to be candid, it makes me wonder whether I should check your contributions to see what kind of links you've added to articles, besides edit-war to replace the lead of a BLP article with the single statement that the subject is being investigated for a crime. But perhaps I'm being too cynical.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:38, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
User:Jehochman has already indicated this should be sent to ArbCom diff. I have indicated 'per-contra' my position that the present En.wp community policies hamper any meaningful inquiry and the entire matter must be reported to Foundation to be urgently dealt with in terms of ToU and external regulatory disclosure requirement. For example, while this community was collectively discussing at leisure the 'Wifione' matter, students in India were being "lured" by a Wikipedia admin's COI edits, also involving repeated removal of COI notices, and the innocent students "mortgaged their farms" for the "worthless degrees" / "fraud". however, "The Wikimedia Foundation is apologetic but won't be offering compensation" for the Manipulation of Wikipedia to Promote a Bogus Business School. This community has similarly ignored all the redflags earlier raised by User:MSJapan at ANI and COIN about this group whose unambiguously promotional articles are misleading consumers. As a mathematics professional IRL, I stand by my coarse estimates of the monetization potential of the outbound links (link farm) and dismiss phrases like 'including a non-zero number' with the contempt it deserves. BTW:, I just see that you are WMF, so I am truly sorry if I have offended here. Inlinetext (talk) 15:16, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Statement by Vipul

Header changed for clarity by SmartSE (talk)

I wanted to state my side of the story directly, rather than simply limit myself to response statements.

(1) The problems among my paid editors should be considered in the context of overall base rates of problems in Wikipedia: Wikipedia is rife with disputes between editors, who have rational disagreements about notability, verifiability, point of view, reliability of sources, etc. We have 20 paid editors and together we've created over 500 pages and added millions of bytes in content to Wikipedia. In light of that, the amount of trouble we've run into has been pretty low. And there's a reason for that -- when I pay for edits, I demand some minimum quality (and the quality threshold has been increasing). People I pay often spend dozens of hours on a page in user space before moving it to main space. I have no interest in paying for shoddy work. Most of the trouble that people who work for me have gotten into has been when they aren't working for me. I do agree that there's some sense in which I have responsibility for that (especially if that activity occurs on pages where other paid editors have contributed).

Some of the people I've recruited, like Simfish, Wikisanchez and JessClifton, have added dozens of pages of specific types (see here, here and here), making Wikipedia a useful reference in those domains. And the quality of their work has improved over time (in response to feedback from is off-wiki and from others on-wiki). When Jytdog and Wikisanchez had a fight over timeline of cholera, I discussed extensively with Wikisanchez how we could make our content better-referenced, and he took that to heart for a lot of his subsequent page creations. When a bunch of Simfish's pages were nominated for deletion at Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Timeline_of_Xiaomi, we worked with Simfish to spend a lot of effort on improving the reliability of sources and references on the articles and robustify them. We've worked hard to take community feedback into account on specific issues -- and where individual editors have lost their cool or got into fights, we've worked together with those editors to figure out better approaches going forward that would address others' concerns and keep them happy.

At the end of the day, there are still cases of genuine dispute and some cases where editors lose their cool. We're only human, and we're working to become better humans. Riceissa and I are here to support the editors during these tough times.

I put money into this because I believe that the sheer amount of effort that is needed to generate quality content I care about doesn't come free. Waiting for a volunteer to put in that effort of their own accord might work, but it could take several years to get to completion, and that volunteer's voluntary time could be used to create other stuff. If I had more time, I'd create more content myself. But my day job is demanding, and I have a number of other things I want to do. There are others who are interested in editing Wikipedia, but without some payment, wouldn't spend as much time on it as they do now. Many of these people are still passionate about Wikipedia -- the amount of money I pay them doesn't really come close to a market-rate compensation for labor. But if I didn't pay anything, then a lot of the content wouldn't exist by now. And that content is valuable to me. I think it adds value to me as a reader, and to the many other readers who want to read it. (That's also one reason we track pageviews and report them on contractwork.vipulnaik.com -- because we want to feel proud of the value we add to end users who consume the content).

I've written previously about this here and here, when I was attempting to recruit people.

(2) We take pride in full disclosure of our real-world identity and all our transactions: Before I started paying for contract work, I did all my edits (except random IP edits when I was accidentally logged out) under my real name, fully disclosing my identity on my user page. When I started paying for contract work, I asked my workers to disclose that they are being paid for contract work and link to the payments.

I've been keeping track of payments on GitHub for a while now, and last year, in order to make it easier for people to understand the work we do, I spent a couple weekends coding up contractwork.vipulnaik.com. This is not entirely a trivial system, but I believed in the value of having something like that so that people could easily answer questions like "How much is being spent on contract work in total?" and "what articles are being paid for?"

Wikipedia can be an acrimonious environment, and that acrimony stems in part from distrust. How do I know whether this anonymous user who edits the article about a drug company works at the drug company? Through full real-world disclosure, we reject the anonymity that generates the distrust. If I am caught in a Wikipedia editing scandal, then my real-world reputation is on the line. That real-world disclosure can occasionally hurt, insofar as a tenuous connection can be represented as a deep CoI. But I believe in the value of transparency.

Not only do I disclose my real-world identity, I include disclosures on my personal website about my current job, education, various communities and movements I am involved in, and my various social media accounts. I even include disclosure pages about my relationship to various entities that I have no official relation with (e.g., GiveWell) so that people can better understand any conflicts of interest when I comment on these topics.

Unfortunately, despite the complete disclosure of real-world identity, people still make accusations that are so ridiculous they don't even pass the laugh test. This might in part be due to a perverse "outing" policy that forbids people from doing even basic off-wiki research on on-wiki subjects. That's sad, but now that I have given explicit permission for people to examine my off-wiki life, I hope that you can reassure yourself as to how unlikely it is that I would be getting payments from companies to edit their Wikipedia pages.

(3) We would describe our work more on-wiki if processes were clear and in place, and if we weren't attacked for every disclosure: I spent two weekends building a system to track contract work, because I believed in making our work clearer for people to understand. If the Wikimedia Foundation has an existing reporting system for contract work, we would have used it. If there was an easy way to sync up my off-wiki database with on-wiki information, I would have done it. Having something on-wiki that syncs automatically to off-wiki data isn't a problem that I know an immediate answer to, which is why we haven't done it (yet).

The other problem we've faced with disclosures is that every additional disclosure opens us to additional attacks. It's happened multiple times that people have seen "paid editing" on our user pages and mysteriously assumed that we are paid by corporations to improve their Wikipedia pages, despite our protestations to the contrary. In this sort of situation, where we are attacked for disclosure, why should we go around adding this disclosure in more places than what we need to comply with policy? We'd love to be transparent -- for people who are willing to read carefully and understand what we are saying. Making life easier primarily for people who are here to attack us and refuse to believe us isn't our priority.

We have more than complied with existing policies to the extent we are aware of them, and made a good-faith effort to research those policies. We are open to other suggestions for how we can disclose better (and I already implemented two requests: an explicit permission for people to use my off-wiki stuff from Jytdog, and a listing of all people I've paid, from Softlavender), but we'd need better processes in place to make this easier -- and the goal needs to be constructive, rather than simply attacking us.

Vipul (talk) 05:59, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

To this, I can only say "yikes". I emailed you an offer to talk, and I hope you take me up on that. Jytdog (talk) 06:07, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for calling. Just want to summarize what I said.
In general the mission of your effort is unclear, and it looks in places like paid WP:ADVOCACY editing and in others like plain old vanilla paid promotional editing in others. A lot of it also looks like solid GLAM editing. The mishmash is unhelpful to you and to the community, trying to understand you. You don't seem to understand that it is important that the community understand what you are up to and that you get community buy-in.
You don't seem to understand the marginal status that paid editing has in the Wikipedia community. (it is tolerated not well accepted). You don't seem to be aware of COI in general, how it operates in people with regard to content and behavior, how we think about it in WP, or why it matters.
Yes, disclosure of paid editing brings scrutiny. That is part of the territory of paid editing in WP. (some will be more harsh than others - there is a range of views on it in the community). To succeed long term, you and your team need to handle that gracefully. The post above, complaining bitterly about that, does not communicate that you get it, that the community tolerates paid editing, and you need to actually sell what you are doing to the community, and not deflect with regard to the core PAID/COI issues or the scrutiny. You should welcome the scrutiny.
In light of the record of disruptive behavior (MEAT/TEAM, edit warring etc), the lack of consistently following PAID and COI, and policy-violating content creation (there are instances of WP:OR, WP:UNDUE, WP:PROMO, etc - forced into WP at times by your team via MEAT etc) and in light of your combativeness and approach (which communicates, intentionally or not - that you should be able to do whatever the heck you want and the rest of the community should just stay out of your way), it appears not unlikely to me that the community will not allow this to continue. I cannot say for sure, of course. There is a lot that in my view is admirable about what you have been doing (and I mean that), you and your team have created some good content, and the model is interesting, but the flaws in how you are approaching some key things, and how you are not dealing well with the community, may well sink it.
I want to add that several of Softlavender's comments above (like this one and this one show the exasperation the volunteer community has with combative paid editors - we all have stuff we want to do here, and trying to sort through messes like this becomes a time-sink. That is the kind of sentiment that you will face in the wider community which tolerates paid editing as long as it is well managed and doesn't generate a lot of drama. Jytdog (talk) 07:14, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Saying that paid editing is "tolerated not well accepted" can't be emphasized enough. Peer review submissions and/or article talk page proposals is probably key. El_C 07:30, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
This scheme, and its future on Wikipedia, are indeed going to have to be reviewed and OKed by the Wikipedia community at large, not merely by the editors on this noticeboard. I personally am not going to support it unless the restrictions I posed at the top are agreed to and abided by. Furthermore, it alarms me that you already have nearly 20 editors, and if I understand correctly (based on the information on El C's talkpage), you are paying your editors commissions and continuing percentages (pyramid scheme) to bring in new editors. That means the number of editors you have will expand exponentially. There is no way you will be able to keep them in check, keep a handle on them (other than data-wise), or control their behavior. We've already seen that at least one of your choices as an editor has been more or less a disaster based on Wikipedia behavioral standards, plain common sense, and maturity. I can only see this problem increasing if the number of editors explodes exponentially. My position is, you are forcing Wikipedia to keep track of numerous paid editors running amok, who were not approved by Wikipedia, but rather by you who chose them to gratify your own pet project (as if Wikipedia were your own website). I would perhaps be more open to the scheme if the community could vet who you hire (since obviously the process has been seriously suboptimal in at least one case). Softlavender (talk) 07:41, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I overlooked that bit on my aforementioned talk page's lengthy Q&A: paid users paid to bring more paid users, and so on. That is disconcerting and likely untenable. El_C 07:52, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Hi Softlavender, I'm the problem editor you are referring to. I wanted to clarify that Vipul hasn't paid me for Wikipedia editing work since November, when he paid me to create Vote pairing in the United States presidential election, 2016. I've recently been trying to create shorter pages and work on them incrementally over time -- a strategy that Vipul doesn't approve of (and has been critical of me). In some cases, like the Akatombo page, this creates a stressful situation for other editors, and I apologize for that. Based on the feedback I've received, I am switching back toward creating longer initial pages before publishing to main space.
You shouldn't consider this a reflection on the Wikipedia content creation project -- working with Vipul encouraged me to create stronger, better referenced initial pages. My deterioration as an editor happened partly because I stopped doing work for Vipul and ignored his warnings against creating short stubs. I am also sorry for other problem edit warring that I did, and want to reiterate that this was also advised against by Vipul. - Ethanbas (talk) 08:27, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Ethanbas, i don't know why you are on this thread, but if Vipul asked you to come here, that's not good at all. Furthermore, your entire demeanor and interpersonal behavior on this site has been deplorable. That's all I will say about the matter. You are indeed symptomatic of the problem with Vipul's scheme; he can't control people's deplorable behavior and interpersonal interactions, and this problem will only increase as the number of his editors increases exponentially. Moreover, you have indeed been paid by Vipul (or have pending payment) since November [9], and unless he has fired you, you will continue to receive payment from him. Softlavender (talk) 09:03, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

My advice to Vipul

My advice to you, from a fair bit of experience, is this:

  1. Don't pay people. It massively muddies the waters, and actually there's no need. Your goals are likely to be supported by a significant number of existing and potential Wikipedians, just because of our demographics.
  2. Study the work of Guerilla Skepticism on Wikipedia. This is a group that provides training and resources on how to edit effectively. Also look at Wikipedia outreach work. Google Andy Mabbett. Look at edit-a-thons.
  3. Remember WP:BRD. Never edit war, and train your people never to edit war. Bold, revert, discuss, if necessary WP:RFC.
  4. Use your money to provide access to research papers and books that can be used as sources by interested editors. This is going to be much more effective than paying people because it does not carry the taint of using a charity-funded project to advance an external agenda for profit. Access to resources is almost universally seen as a good by Wikipedia, whereas editing for pay is highly controversial.

A lot of Wikipedians have sympathy for your aims. Your approach is pretty much guaranteed to alienate a large proportion of those. In my experience people who support paid editing are also very often politically right-wing. I know open borders can be defended on libertarian grounds, but the majority of US libertarians are currently trapped in a media-induced xenophobic frenzy.

That's my $0.02 worth, anyway. Guy (Help!) 10:03, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

My brief contrarian view of Vipul's private enterprise

Since this is a COIN discussion, my frank $0.02 too :-

1. I am not very convinced that Vipul's motives are as open or altruistic as he depicts.

2. His off-wiki declarations clearly are limited, by his own statement, only to those paid editors in his team who accept public payments. He is under no obligation to declare editors who he privately funds. In fact an employer like Vipul is under no obligation to declare anything on-wiki. Such a situation is unacceptable. In any case his statements on other websites are inadmissible and of no consequence (so worthless). Continuing to exclude the statements of the "workers" is fraught with impropriety.

3. It must be noted that Vipul is paying editors for work not only on Wikipedia but also other sites. Obviously he is diverting "Wikipedia's link juice" to other sites (or at least among sites), A juice "flow" he is very well aware of SEO comment link.

  • " ... Not only is it (Wikipedia) a trusted link in Google’s eyes, it is also a great source of traffic. For example, one of my clients has a link in one of Wikipedia’s articles that is in a very insignificant place on the page (below the content and all of the other references), yet that one link provides 50 visitors a week for a small niche website. The value isn’t in question, it’s how you can get your links on the page." sourceInlinetext (talk) 12:14, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

4. Since Wikipedia link placement is widely discussed in SEO circles and is clearly a lucrative business for those who can pull it off, I believe the community should consider if what Vipul is doing so "openly", eg. in his 'Timeline of ..' series is not being done surreptitiously by much larger and more secretive sock armies. Permitting Vipul will surely give them an additional fig leaf of cover. (NB: I still maintain that only WMF can decide this).

5. It is not clear how solo volunteer unpaid editors will be able to edit without harassment against these well financed sock armies or if it spreads virally.

6. Vipul should be aware that an outside agency could preliminary assess / value the "gross receipts" of his enterprise as $2.1 * 6,600,000 * 50 ie. about $700 million dollars. So I am not certain if the wider community of paid editors would accept the sort of transparency Vipul displays (in AGF). Inlinetext (talk) 11:49, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

7. Vipul should also realise that paid editing openly has real life consequences and personal liability. The concept of privacy of volunteer editors is core to such activity and so WMF defends privacy of volunteer users in fit cases. Including paid but unqualified medical information based on your interpretations of PubMed in a poor article like Timeline of Cholera has wider implications which you don't see as yet and it exposes Wikipedia for its opponents. Its also not clear if Vipul is prepared to assume open ended liability for his worker's edits. Inlinetext (talk) 12:21, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

"Well financed sock armies or if it spreads virally"—Not saying it's what's happening in this case, but that's definitely a well-deserved fear to have, overall. Of multiplying for-profit editors greatly distorting due weight throughout the project. However, the source of funding would have to be...not insubstantial to dent us; but still, to be wary of. El_C 12:39, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@El_C, this is old wine in new bottles. Vipul resumed editing from 2012 when articles like this were circulating. Wikipedia: Pay-for-Placement in context of Wikipedia community members exposed the SEO-focused, PR-strategy Wikipedia page editing business run by respected GLAM editor Max Klein source.Inlinetext (talk) 12:59, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Comment from Smartse

I'm going to go against the flow on this and say that I haven't seen any edits that I find particularly disturbing. Inlinetext has thrown around many accusations about SEO, but at least from the articles I've looked at, I haven't seen any evidence that this is feasible for the links that Vipul's group of editors have added. Unless Inlinetext can provide suspicious diffs, these accusations need to stop since they are approaching harassment.

However, this is a very delicate subject and one which will undoubtedly divide the community. Personally, I commend Vipul's openness about what he's doing and his willingness to donate money to try and improve WP. I think the suspicions raised here and elsewhere are mainly due to the community not being aware that this is happening.

Echoing Jytdog though, I would advise that future article creations are sent through AFC with a clear statement that the contributor has been paid to write them. Meatpuppetry also has to stop, and I also think it would be sensible to stop the pyramid-esque scheme of recruiting more editors. If they want to recruit more editors, it would be logical to advertise on-wiki in an open manner, so at least contributors have experience of making good edits. SmartSE (talk) 13:50, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks. For me the first question (follow the money) is whether the millions of bytes added to Wikipedia by this team of editors has the potential to be encashed to at least $600,000+. I believe I have shown that this is possible. As these are (essentially) ToU breaches I also believe the WMF is the best body to inquire into this matter and so I shall reserve my detailed "evidence" for them. If anybody can share the stats and specifics of clickthroughs from those millions of bytes, obviously our analysis will proceed faster. Since "evidence" is an inherently adverserial process, I do not believe it is in the best interest of Wikipedia to disclose it prematurely or publicly. Nonetheless, I suggest that the starting point for any inquiry could be the 'Timeline of ...' series. For instance I am not clear why Vipul created Timeline of LinkedIn which receives (on average) 30 hits per day (17 by bots) when the LinkedIn article gets 3,500 per day (480 by bots) except to embed a few (valuable) spammy out-bound links piggy-backing off a well known trademark.Inlinetext (talk) 14:36, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@SmartSE, How would you classify an edit like diff on the LinkedIn article given that 'Simfish' is a paid editor for Timeline of LinkedIn but not for LinkedIn. In my experience these 'further' links were for spin-offs out from an existing article of community actively monitored content, at least that is the way I feel most readers would treat a 'further' link. Instead now innocent readers are being sent to a page surreptiously developed by a team of paid editors without the same degree of scrutiny. Inlinetext (talk) 15:39, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
The number of "timeline of..." articles is surprising. I expanded the list in the section #Commercial entity editing. - Brianhe (talk) 16:18, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

MEDRS concerns

Actually 'Brianhe' I am now increasingly concerned about the 'Timeline of ..' articles by User:Wikisanchez in the health sector. I think these should all be deleted immediately since they are linked into more serious articles. Will wait for Jytdog's opinion though. Inlinetext (talk) 16:48, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Well, what do the 'Timeline of X' articles by Wikisanchez even contain to delete them? All I see are timelines of diseases and cancers...—JJBers 17:18, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I compiled a list here. Wow. 15 "timeline of healthcare in <country>" and 13 "timeline of <cancer>". Plus 15 more timelines of misc diseases. Then other stuff. - Brianhe (talk) 17:40, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Stop. Both of you. Jytdog (talk) 22:20, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
Maybe Competence is required to evaluate them. There's a small para there on Lack of technical expertise. I see different things.Inlinetext (talk) 17:33, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
From WP:CIR Insufficient technical knowledge is not usually a problem.
A timeline can be made by just putting together sources and organizing them on a time scale. —JJBers 17:41, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I compiled a list here. Wow. 15 "timeline of healthcare in <country>" and 13 "timeline of <cancer>". Plus 15 more timelines of misc diseases. Then other stuff. - Brianhe (talk) 17:40, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
That's a lot, but how many are worthy of immediate deletion. —JJBers 17:43, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Please, read the ToU. Would you like to involve a medical doctor like Doc_James or Doc_Gorski into this discussion so we can see how soon these (non-peer reviewed) encylopedic medical articles need to be deleted ? Inlinetext (talk) 17:49, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
Please read WP:IUC. 18:07, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I said "Please", I referred you to the core document on which IUC is based and I also suggested you approach Wikipedia experts on this topic ? What did you feel was lacking ? Inlinetext (talk) 19:02, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Delete - Timeline of colorectal cancer, absolutely no substantive peer review. 2015 Treatment : FDA approves Lonsurf (trifluridine and tipiracil) for patients with an advanced form of colorectal cancer who are no longer responding to other therapies.[25] United States, the reference turns out to be a pharmaceutical blog.Inlinetext (talk) 18:01, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

@Inlinetext: This isn't a AFD, but if you do wish to nominate that page, that's fine. —JJBers 18:07, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
@Inlinetext: Secondly, I replaced a ref with a press release from the FDA. —JJBers 18:18, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
You display an extraordinary interest in retaining the paid edits of this team. And Wikisanchez is fast off the blocks too. BTW, Wikipedia is NOT a social network. Why not help out Doc James (below) instead with cleaning up this Noorondu Nenapu and about 75 more?Inlinetext (talk) 18:28, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
I notice that these cancer timelines exclude Asian sources and alternative treatent approaches. This is seriously undue. Perhaps you should include the research of qualified practitioners like Lorenzo Cohen, acupuncture, reiki, yoga etc to balance out these treatments. After all there are so many Chinese and Indians on this planet who read Wikipedia too. Inlinetext (talk) 18:47, 6 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Those look awfully like link farms to me. Many of the sources look distinctly dubious. Guy (Help!) 00:08, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Question from TeeVeeed

User:Vipul Why do you not tag articles or talk pages such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation article that have your sponsored edits?TeeVeeed (talk) 22:43, 6 March 2017 (UTC)

Wikisanchez

I blocked Wikisanchez (talk · contribs · deleted contribs · logs · edit filter log · block user · block log) for undisclosed paid editing, since I did not find any evidence of disclosure on several articles which are admitted to have been paid for by Vipul. Guy (Help!) 12:54, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

Straw poll–topic ban

Based on the Data Collective COI noted above. Especially in light of the lack of forthright self-disclosure at the initial ANI concerning a direct competitor of Vipul's employer. Would there be support at this community for an immediate topic ban for Vipul and his paid cohort for all articles concerning the Silicon Valley tech industry? I'd like to call attention especially to the lack of disclosure at discussion on the talkpage of El C where it would have been abundantly appropriate. - Brianhe (talk) 00:18, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

  • I support this, and would add a ban on adding links, but a siteban may be more appropriate. 82.21.88.44 (talk) 00:52, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Not strong enough. The entire meatfarm needs to be blocked 'til their mess is cleaned up imo. Or only allowed to edit if they are cleaning up their own mess, including COI paid advocacy banners and notifications on all articles edited.TeeVeeed (talk) 01:01, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Support full block Even though I sound like I'm supporting the meatpupperty, I feel that a indef block on the meat-puppets is pretty much the only way to go at this point.—JJBers 01:18, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • hm. Not too much in favor of anything "immediate" - it is not like they are generating content at a furious rate. And I would rather bring a tight, coherent, story to ANI with clear definitions and proposals. More below. Jytdog (talk) 08:25, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I disagree that the content gen is negligible (if that's what you are saying). One of the timeline articles was being expanded nearly 10 kB in the past week [10], and another also had substantial additions around the same time [11]. They are problematic enough that several have already been speedied since this discussion started. There's no reason to allow this to continue. - Brianhe (talk) 15:56, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comment IMO they need to fully describe what they are doing and get consensus from the community before continuing. I got consensus here before hiring someone to help support the translation / copyright violation detection efforts. If User:Vipul does not agree to this than I would support a ban. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 22:01, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

draft version of ANI

Note- all links below are OK to use per statement by Vipul here. And this attempts to summarize the long, long thread at COIN, here as this needs broad community attention.

  • 1) Vipul works at an SEO and website optimization company in Silicon Valley funded by VC there. Very data and metrics driven. (company website, LiftIgniter)
  • 2) Vipul describes here, a website linked from his userpage, the network of editors he pays or as he says "sponsors"; these editors in turn are encouraged to recruit other editors in. Payment to any given editor is in part upfront, in part based on page views, and in part on a percentage of what recruited editors are paid (pyramid scheme). Everything he is doing is carefully documented, in very fine detail (down to a copy of his bank statement). All very data-oriented and data driven. That page notes: "Note that workers who have opted to be paid privately are not listed here."
  • 3) This has been going on since January 2015, based on the payments recorded there. I can't work out exactly how much he spent but it appears to be ~$50K ~$20K based on WP-related tasks listed here (not counting payments the undisclosed editors, and we have no idea if there are 2 or 30 of them). Vipul hasn't provided a single listing of articles edited or created under this program so I cannot point to it or provide a count from him, provides this list of all the tasks he has paid for, and I generated this spreadsheet based on his data and there are 276 rows - multiple articles have multiple editors so let's call it ~250 articles. Again this doesn't count people he didn't list.
  • 4) At that page about this effort, Vipul has written that he has done this inspired by the ideals of effective altruism, and the effort has targeted areas relevant to that movement - a) technology (including technologies themselves, companies, people, and investors); b) philanthropies (tracking in detail how much they give, to whom like this); c) global health; d) governance issues like open borders and immigration, and taxation; e) animal welfare.
  • 5) Many of the articles that have been created are in the format "Timeline of X", which range from Timeline of cholera (many of these by disease/condition) to Timeline of healthcare in Egypt (many of those by country) Timeline of Microsoft (many of these, by company). Many are extremely detailed. Around 100 of the ~250 articles are in the "Timeline of X" format.
  • 6) There is no clear mission to all this.
    • Some of the articles, especially in the "technology" focus, look like typical paid editing gigs (promotional, only positive, not well sourced, etc), and concerns have been raised about SEO intentions, especially regarding many of the Timeline of X articles, which are full of poor sources. One of Vipul's editors also for example created an article about one of the VCs that funded Vipul's company. (see history and you can see that Vipul directly edited it - no COI declaration anywhere -- Brianhe actually found that one. See for example Zenefits, Parker Conrad, Data Collective, and Gusto (software) which are inter-related - Parker was the CEO of the company that created Gusto, which was funded by Data Collective. Another is Adora Cheung which is all positive and lauding, but one of the sources actually used is highly critical of the company that made her somewhat famous, and there is nothing of that in the article. (the ref)
    • Some of the topics seem advocacy-driven. In Vipul's invitation to edit for pay he explained why he wanted to recruit paid editors to work on certain topics, and wrote: Migration liberalization is a top interest for me personally. and wrote I believe that animal suffering, both that inflicted by humans and that inflicted by nature, is an important part of global suffering by sentient creatures.. Are we looking at using paid editors to force multiply WP:ADVOCACY? Hm. I brought this up to Vipul and he said they strive to be NPOV. But this is where the whole COI thing of his editors kicks in, right? And they are not putting articles and edits through peer review. Problematic.
  • 7) There have been both behavior and content issues:
    • Behavior - WP:MEAT/WP:TEAM behavior. See for example history of Form 1040. In general the editors have been inconsistent in declaring per the TOU and have not been following the WP:CO guideline and have been editing and creating directly, and aggressively. And again per the note on his project page, there is an unknown number of editors who are apparently not disclosing that they have been paid by Vipul. That part is really troubling.
    • Additionally there appear to be some clear COI issues, and there are possibly SEO activities going on here, despite what Vipul has said about the altruistic motivations.
      • COI: One of Vipul's editors for example created an article about one of the VCs that funded Vipul's company. (see history and you can see that Vipul directly edited it - no COI declaration anywhere. The paid editor also included a wikilink to Vipul's company, diff. See also the inter-related articles mentioned above. Vipul also created the article on Shasta Ventures which also has a seat on the Data Collective (ref).
      • SEO: As mentioned a bunch of the "Timeline of X" articles are pretty badly sourced, and as mentioned Vipul works at an SEO firm. That raises eyebrows. Then there is this page where VIpul lists companies to create Timelines for ... and you find there companies that are not cutting edge tech (which I can kind of see Effective Altruists being excited about) but instead includes old school retail dinosaurs like Forever 21, Saks Fifth Avenue, 7-Eleven and Kmart. I cannot get my head around how this would fit in Vipul's philanthropic mission. It ~looks~ like setting up SEO linkspamming.
    • Content: Much of the content violates WP:NOTHOWTO or gives WP:UNDUE, and there is a great deal of WP:OR in the Timeline articles. And as mentioned there are PROMO issues with the technology-focus articles.

So - what am I recommending? (Note, some of the following feels like looking a gift horse in the mouth; I am unaware of a paid-entity disclosing at anywhere near the level that Vipul has. These recommendations go to what would be ideal, to give the community comfort and to be truly transparent and ... well, clean)

  • a) that Vipul put a moratorium on this operation.
  • b) that Vipul formulate a clear mission for what he is doing and consider going through the GLAM on-boarding process before re-starting. I suggest that the "technology" focus be eliminated. I reckon the GLAM folks will think through other aspects of the mission with him. (I hope)
  • c) that Vipul provide a single list of articles his team has worked on for him, and a list of all the editors he has paid. (we don't need to see how much he has paid them)
  • d) That Vipul obligate his editors via the contracts he has with them, to follow the PAID policy and the COI guideline. Posting those contract templates would be great.
  • e) That his team
    • 1) puts PAID disclosures on the Talk pages of articles they work on, and
    • 2) follows the COI guideline, putting content through peer review via AfC for new articles, and through Talk page postings for existing articles
  • f) the community should agree to have zero tolerance for MEAT/TEAM editing by his team against other editors.

I know some folks are calling for more stringent measures like TBANs from technology or INDEFs but i am mostly concerned to prevent future problems. One of the concerns mentioned multiple times at COIN is that this operation will keep growing and growing as editors recruit other editors and so on. The quality of content and behavior is not well-managed by Vipul even at this stage of the project's development and the community has had no input on the effort per se, and there has been no systematic content review, since articles are being edited and created directly.

I am intrigued and troubled by this model of individuals paying editors to work in WP, as a form of philanthropy (to take what Vipul says at face value). This is one of those things where we do encourage people to be WP:BOLD but the community also expects large-scale projects to gain consensus before they are initiated. And if that is not done, well this is what happens.

Thoughts? (that is how I will end at ANI but is also to you all here at COIN... please note that I am leaving the door open to folks calling for more stringent measures to argue for it there...) Jytdog (talk) 09:20, 7 March 2017 (UTC) redacted to correct errors pointed out below and made a few other tweaks unredacted Jytdog (talk) 11:03, 7 March 2017 (UTC)re-order a bit. Strengthen statement of COI concerns. Jytdog (talk) 01:36, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

I will reply to a couple of factual assertions here. I will also update contractwork.vipulnaik.com to make things clearer.
"Note that workers who have opted to be paid privately are not listed here." The specific identities of the workers are not included but they stil show up in the total payments. Moreover, the only private payment that has happened specifically related to Wikipedia editing was one $12 payment to RobinRilla on timeline of global health. The reason it's not listed on the site is simply that the user did not want his/her real identity , and some other payments to that worker, made public, and the system as I had originally set it up didn't have a full gradient of disclosure options. I intend to fix this.
"but it appears to be ~$50K (not counting payments the undisclosed editors, and we have no idea if there are 2 or 30 of them)": As I mentioned above, private payments are included in all totals. Also the total of Wikipedia-specific editing so far is much lower than your $50K estimate. If you see here and total up all the task types that pertain specifically to Wikipedia, you will get a total of $17,111. In addition, if you add in royalties for Wikipedia editing you will get about $3560, and then adding commissions adds another $616. If you total this all you get around $21,000. I haven't specifically tried to isolate the total for Wikipedia as an accessible number on contractwork.vipulnaik.com, but it's something I can do, and will do at a later stage.
"There is unfortunately no single listing of articles edited or created under this program so I cannot tell you how many articles are affected." This is false. You can get a full combined listing of funded tasks here (I have linked this list at least once in past threads, however, I can understand it might have gotten lost amidst all the links). This will include tasks outside Wikipedia, however, if you restrict to task type as one of the Wikipedia-related task types ("Wikipedia page creation", "Wikipedia page update", "Miscellaneous Wikipedia work", "Wikipedia page translation", or "Attempted Wikipedia work") you can get the tasks that involved Wikipedia.Vipul (talk) 10:37, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks for reviewing and clarifying. Two questions. 1) The money being paid out all comes from you, right? (in other words, not from any third party through you) 2) a "royalty" is money that you pay from your funds to editor X as a percentage of what you are paying editor Y who was recruited by editor X. Is that right?
And I just want to add, that i understand somebody not wanting you to publicly list how much they were paid, but if they do actual edits in WP for pay they must disclose that per the TOU and as we discussed (I know you didn't agree when we talked) they should follow the COI guideline as well. Your contracts really should require that. Thanks again Jytdog (talk) 11:03, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
I would probably support your recommendations. I'd like to see the word Astroturfing added somewhere.TeeVeeed (talk) 15:43, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Comments recommendation d) His contract stipulations would be unenforceable as he is employing minors. The links showing this are on this page, but I'm not going to make them right here. - Brianhe (talk) 16:40, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • I had caught that too, but didn't want to say that here or now. Inlinetext (talk)
I cannot agree with the inadequate remedies proposed for these serious breaches, or the way this draft apparently evolved via off-wiki (behind the scenes) talks with Vipul and by excluding his workers. IMHO, there is no way to salvage this situation in terms of community policies so long as the present ToU exists along with associated guidance from the Foundation. This is not a fit case for ANI or any En.WP community process. Till such time as the community is determined to assume good faith and refrain from outing, there is no way to present to it reams of off-wiki evidence showing that at its heart this scheme is SEO abuse cloaked in BS and now being coated with GLAM sauce; and so it must be sent to WMF and as soon as possible.
  • However, recalling that I had previously proposed to Vipul to delete the Timeline articles, Vipul is now urged to carefully and coolly consider his tenuous status and assist everybody (but most especially himself) by very promptly self-nominating all team Timeline articles for voluntary deletion, retiring his account and deleting his personal records connected to this episode from the internet. qv. South Indian monkey trap / Einstellung effect. Inlinetext (talk) 17:53, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Vipul, you already have paid Riceissa alone nearly $26,000 [12] for Wikipedia-related tasks, and you have 20 disclosed editors so far, so your mumbo-jumbo about "private payments" makes no sense. You paid Riceissa $26,000 for Wikipedia tasks and Simfish $11,000, and the total for the listed 20 editors looks to me upwards of $42,000 so far, and you say this list doesn't reflect current edits. CC Jytdog. Softlavender (talk) 22:43, 7 March 2017 (UTC)
The best explanation for these not insignificant sums ? One of the paid users is User:Majesticfish. Is it coincidence that Majestic SEO promote the famous SEO backlink checker and describe themselves as The planet's largest Link Index database ? Vipul has likely been disingenuous, eg. when he stated I find your calculations of the monetization potential of these pages fairly off, but I already confessed my lack of expertise on the subject, so you could be right-diff.Inlinetext (talk) 07:13, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Once again you are making completely unsubstantiated allegations. I've done a little research and can't find anything whatsoever to link User:Majesticfish to Majestic SEO and strong evidence that they are interested in philanthropy IRL. SmartSE (talk) 11:17, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
While I am contributing at this project, I observe (a) the prominent notices discouraging 'outing', and (b) the laches of the En.wp community to respect the WMF's latest guidance on inconsistencies of the local outing policy with the WMF's ToU terms link. Yes, I agree that there is strong evidence that the main benficiaries of Vipul's enterprise are connected to 'effective altruism' - which IMHO should be a redflag instead of a greenlight. Inlinetext (talk) 13:07, 8 March 2017 (UTC)
Considering that one of the current main targets of funding (proposed?) by the EA's is (paraphrased in my own language-probably a little off here) preventing our future robot overlords from destroying civilisation, AND the fact that USER:Vipul just so happens to work in a field that has something to do with AI, I would say that there is a HUGE COI here. (we are talking millions+ of dollars here) Is that outing? I kind of feel like it is regardless of the fact that Vipul in addition to making up his own rules about paid/sponsored editing has pushed us to examine his off-WP but then also complained about editors opinions. This entire incedent is tainted. It ALL needs to go. Mass deleteltion of ALL of it and if there are uninvolved editors who wish to create articles fine.TeeVeeed (talk) 14:44, 8 March 2017

Requesting Oversight and supression

Wikipedia:Oversight Not sure how to frame this. But everything in Vipul's enterprise needs to be gone. Besides the content problems- Vipul's DOX and outing policy is contradictory to this project. By paying relatively substantial amounts of money for edits but requiring disclousure of personal information beyond what is req. by WP, makes this info. given under duress and coerced. For Vipul to go even further and repeatedly direct us to look at paid editors personal identifying information off-site, is NOT something that he has a right to do. Here or elsewhere imo. The fact that editors here have already identified the fact that at least one of the editors is or may be a minor is disturbing. I am going to copy this and email it to oversight. TeeVeeed (talk) 16:11, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

I agree. Vipul in his eagerness to display GF is exposing substantial receipts into his bank account which I am unsure the payors would like disclosed. There is also a significant information assynmetry in that we are compelled to rely on Vipul without confirmation from his workers on their sites. His Bank statement contains several payments which are likely unrelated to Wikipedia activity, Vipul may wish to urgently reconsider his off-site disclosures / linking to it from here. Inlinetext (talk) 16:51, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Employer related COI

It is not very clear from the prior discussion (or the proposed ANI draft) that Vipul's present employer is partly financed by Data Collective and several other SV VC investors. The employer also has a relationship with "techcrunch.com" coupled with an evident preference for 'techcrunch' sourcing in the Timeline series. eg. in this version of Timeline of Lyft 10 out of 46 refs (22%) are sourced from techcrunch. Then you have sourcing like thisInlinetext (talk) 17:39, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

Sourcing is a major problem with the timeline articles in general. I made some specific comments at Talk:Timeline of digital preservation. I'm going to propose deletion and see what happens. It would be good to have a decision soon on whether to proceed piecemeal, or to go for mass deletion. - Bri.public (talk) 19:16, 8 March 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Phonotrope

This article was created a couple of years ago by Jim, who acknowledges he has a clear conflict but was unaware of wikipedia's guidelines. Having now read them, he asked on my talk page here whether the best thing to do was to delete the article, noting that he is currently turning the subject of the article into a commercial product. I'm not sure if deleting it is the best course of action (it may be) or whether there can be some editing done to help Jim make the article more neutral and overcome some of the COI issues, so was hoping someone here might be able to give some advice. Thanks, Melcous (talk) 12:42, 7 March 2017 (UTC)

In my opinion the article passes notability requirements, and will be ok with some editing. I put a link to this discussion on Jimlefevre's talk page. BlackcurrantTea (talk) 09:37, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Jodi DiPiazza

COI account with history of promotional edits, most recently re-creating Jodi DiPiazza and adding her to articles on "Weird Al" Yankovic and Katy Perry. The Bridget Taylor article has been a nest for promotional edits by multiple COI accounts, and needs a good overview. 2601:188:1:AEA0:BD6D:6704:FD43:F4A1 (talk) 03:01, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

I've since added three more accounts and more related articles. Not sure what the best course is here, and whether an SPI is merited. Any suggestions would be appreciated, Drmies or NeilN. Thanks, 2601:188:1:AEA0:BD6D:6704:FD43:F4A1 (talk) 06:27, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
I've spent two full days researching and working very hard on this bio to meet Wikipedia's standards. Every time I turn around someone is modifying the article, deleting it, accusing me of a conflict of interest. I have no interest monetary or otherwise to write this article, expect by request by many many interested people in the autism community. I've been accused of making this an "advertisement." The subject of this article is a child, a philanthropist who has never been paid as much as ten cents, while she has both raised over $9,000,000 single handedly for autism education, and has brought a tremendous amount of hope to parents of children on the autism spectrum. These are the people who seek to know her and to find her. She is extremely notable to them, if not to you.
It's most disturbing to be the target of a Wikipedia witch hunt, when there is clearly room for articles on the most trivial subjects that are no longer even relevant in the modern world. To name one, the Pet Rock. There's an article that you give more weight to than a heroic child with autism who lit up the internet overnight with Katy Perry, during a full on autism epidemic. People all over the world were reached by the subject of this article. I am one and I have been asked by others to contribute to this article because none of them wish to be subjected to the arbitrary whims of your staff and waste their time and energy because their article is not about Silly Putty.
I am no relation to Jodi DiPiazza. I am mot employed by Jodi DiPiazza or her family and I am not being paid for writing this bio. She is a young child with autism who has inspired me and most of the world and I'm trying to write the best and most comprehensive biography I can for her. She is most certainly a notable person and deserves recoginition. Additionally, there are many people like myself, who are fans of her talent and her work who deserve to find more out about her on Wikipedia. You have pages for the most ridiculous miniscule things that no one is interested in and when someone attempts to write a biography of an extraordinary young girl, you make it impossible with these petty constraints on every word a person uses.
I reject your assertion that I have a conflict of interest. I do not. Nor have I contributed one statement, one word to the page that is A. not factual B. an advertisement. I am NEUTRAL. Jezrourke (talk) 05:04, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
  • DiPiazza is currently no way notable enough to appear in more established entertainer's bios.
  • I've taken a run at Bridget Taylor. Needs more inline cites or more material removed.
  • Jodi DiPiazza reads as if it were written by a PR agent, the president of her fan club, or a close family relative. For starters, all content not sourced to independent secondary sources (that is, sources not advertising the performance) should be removed.

--NeilN talk to me 07:10, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Thank you very much, NeilN The piling on of Twitter, Facebook and Youtube links goes on today. Is page protection appropriate, or is it a matter of constantly amending the additions of multiple COI accounts? Because this is feeling like whack-a-mole. 2601:188:1:AEA0:BD6D:6704:FD43:F4A1 (talk) 16:36, 12 March 2017 (UTC)
If someone else doesn't get to it first, I will prune the article this week. If additions continue unabated after then, I'll ask for another admin to take action. --NeilN talk to me 01:11, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Mtgho

Editor has been "seeding" articles with references to scientific articles published by "Mohamed T. Ghoneim", most likely the same person. This is not my field and the additions might conceivably be legitimate and helpful, so perhaps somebody who knows more about this subject could have a look. Thanks! --Randykitty (talk) 22:23, 12 March 2017 (UTC)

Randykitty, I posted the COI policy notice and a link to this discussion on their talk page. BlackcurrantTea (talk) 03:55, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

John Sculley

This editor is the wife of the article's subject, see this diff for example. She has continued to remove content from the page about his previous marriages, which are all sourced (and widely reported). I attempted to tidy up the personal life section and removed some speculation about a possible additional marriage in a hidden note and trimmed a comment about divorce proceedings to make it strictly neutral. However, she has continued to delete the content (and been reverted by multiple editors) see diff 1, diff 2 and diff 3. Melcous (talk) 00:34, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Pretty clear cut case of not understanding Wikipedia is an independent encyclopedia. The info she's removing is not wrong, she just doesn't like it. [13] I will add some notes to her talk page along with a final warning. --NeilN talk to me 01:16, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Opposition to copyright

Productive discussion is over. Hatted by request. Bri (talk) 16:53, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

I added some part of my article (on ethical issues of copyright) to the Opposition to copyright. Is it a case of COI? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 14:31, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Do you not see how it could be viewed as promotional for you to post your own work in a field to the article about that field? As I indicated, you need to describe on the article talk page why your work needs to be added to the article and allow others to do so, if they agree. 331dot (talk) 14:37, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

My argument is exactly related to the ethical issues of copyright and it has nothing to do with "my" interests. Why can't it be added? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 14:42, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

In John Hadley (philosopher), Milburn has added his own work and introduced himself as "the British philosopher" and this is a good article! How is this different? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 14:44, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Political Animals and Animal Politics is another article with the same situation. Ali Pirhayati (talk) 14:46, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
With over 5 million articles, there will undoubtedly be examples here similar to yours; that is a poor argument in favor of your position. You would be a lot better off and more likely to succeed if you discussed your proposed changes before adding them. 331dot (talk) 15:03, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

It is not a poor argument, because they are "good" articles and they are confirmed by several users. I'm ready to discuss them, but there can be no discussion when the other user uses insults to push his POV. We need a third party. Ali Pirhayati (talk) 15:09, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

I don't even know what my POV is supposed to be in your mind. This is the third time you have leveled this accusation. It is you that are adding your opinions on the subject by posting excerpts of your own article. I am not attempting to add anything. WP:AGF. And please, if you are going to make such accusations on a noticeboard, have the decency to warn the editor that is the object of your accusations. Objective3000 (talk) 15:44, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Are you ready to discuss without insults? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 16:05, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Please stop making accusations and be civil. WP:CIV.

Did you insult me or not? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 16:11, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Someone hat this time drain. Objective3000 (talk) 16:14, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

What does it mean? Ali Pirhayati (talk) 16:17, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

You came here with a question. Your question was answered. Now you’re just wasting the time of other editors by making useless snipes about something from three years ago. Move on. Objective3000 (talk) 16:40, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
I'm closing this by reasonable request. Everyone, please abide by consensus and don't be disruptive or pointy. Bri (talk) 16:53, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Corporation timelines

1 created by Simfish
2 created or expanded by Vipul
3 expanded by Riceissa

Opening a new discussion for these as the earlier one seems a bit of a detour into policy. I'm specifically talking here about SEO link cleanup. Here's what I found at Timeline of Microsoft and suspect similar stuff embedded in many or all of these.

  1. SEO links were added by Simfish (talk · contribs) in late January [14]
  2. Beginning in February, site's pagerank skyrocketed and site visitors went up to 300% of their October-November levels: [15]
  3. The site that was linked to itself has embedded SEO links in tiny text; look at bottom of page [16] for example and see garbage SEO text (spamdexing) and link to passguide.com

Note that many of these articles – including the AWS, Dropbox, Netflix, Square and WhatsApp timelines (non-exhaustive list) – were created by Simfish up to six months (Square, 11/2015) before he added his paid editing declaration mid 2016 [17].

Also we have a bit of a walled garden; the (initial) list above was generated strictly by looking at inlinks to Timeline of Microsoft. - Bri (talk) 19:31, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Adding Timeline of online dating services for consideration (also Riceissa's creation 10/2015) and Timeline of digital preservation ; is either really an encyclopedic topic, or an SEO coatrack? The digital preservation thing cited blogs and founder/CEO interviews as described on its talkpage; this is my first-pass cleanup but more is needed. The reference deeleted here specifically states that they receive payment for reviews.

Hopefully this gives some sense of the scope of cleanup needed across more than a dozen articles. - Bri (talk) 20:03, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

Update -- another editor has initiated a bundled AfD, superseding my trial PROD of Timeline of Microsoft. Waiting to see exactly what's included with Timeline of Amazon.com. - Bri (talk) 20:51, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
Update: one editor has been indeffed for WP:PROMO. The AfD will probably be settled "no consensus": as of now, 7 delete, 8 keep, 3 merge, userfy or draftify. - Bri (talk) 04:12, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Last update on AfD: it has been closed "no consensus" as expected. - Bri (talk) 16:20, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Cuneiform Press

The article states that the director is Kyle Schlesinger. This person also created Kyle Schlesinger earlier, using the account Kschlesinger, and worked on it with a third account, KyleSchlesinger. Daphne Lantier 23:42, 13 March 2017 (UTC)

  • Now he's removing the COI tag from the article [18]. Daphne Lantier 23:56, 13 March 2017 (UTC)
    • It's moot now; he's blanked the page, so I've put it up for speedy deletion. --Nat Gertler (talk) 01:46, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Nathan Brown (poet)

Straightforward COI. See, for example, Nathan L Brown.104.163.144.60 (talk) 04:43, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Michael J. Hennessy Associates (MJH)


The group of articles about related companies/products all contain promotional content and have been created and edited in an overlapping fashion by several single-purpose accounts with an apparent conflict of interest. Gnome de plume (talk) 14:34, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

SPI requested: Wikipedia:Sockpuppet investigations/Mjhtb. Gnome de plume (talk) 15:43, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

I'm unsure why my content was flagged and removed. I was simply updating outdated information on brands to multiple companies and updating the master/ holdings company. The information was outdated. Does it matter if I am related to the company when there is incorrect or missing information on the company? Who else would know what the updates are? Please advise.KRae3 (talk) 11:58, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

If you are being paid to update information about the company, Wikipedia's terms of use require that you disclose this information. Please see Wikipedia:Paid-contribution disclosure. Wikipedia:Sock puppetry may apply as well if more than one of the accounts involved here are controlled by a single individual. If you would like to know more about why the page you created, Michael J. Hennessy Associates (MJH), was deleted you can contact the administrator who deleted it, User:RickinBaltimore. Gnome de plume (talk) 12:20, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

TransPerfect

The user Tpt2001 (as well as multiple IPs prior to them, any one of which could be the same individual) has been attempting to remove information about what they term "incorrect legal activites"[19] without stating why they are incorrect. The "Tpt" in their username suggests to me an affiliation with the company(its full name is "Transperfect Translations) and they may feel that removing this information somehow puts the company in a better light. I've inquired about their username but have not gotten a reply. 331dot (talk) 11:15, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

I would add that it was suggested that I come here after I filed a report at the edit warring noticeboard, which resulted in the page being protected. 331dot (talk) 11:16, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Okay to link to job postings

We have consensus that it is okay to link to job postings for paid editors per here. A small step to make this work a little easier. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 15:41, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Dennard Wilson

The New York Jets just hired Wilson as their new defensive backs' coach. His article was created a little over a day ago by User:DennardWilson, whose username presents a clear conflict-of-interest concern. This person has ignored several attempts to discuss, including what I believe is a pretty important question, and just kinda/sorta denied that they're Wilson by removing the autobiography template added by User:Theroadislong. They've gotten the requisite COI template and even still, they've persisted in adding unencyclopedic promotional material to that article without ever editing its talk or their user talk. CityOfSilver 16:58, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Requested a softblock per IMPERSONATE; have watchlisted. the editor hasn't been active since the 16th. Jytdog (talk) 08:43, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

SeventySix Capital WP campaign

D'ya think SeventySix Capital has a promo campaign going on, maybe? - Bri (talk) 19:08, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

Vipul enterprise - philanthropy articles

Continuing the work started above here (and see the links in the close there) and discussed in a subthread about the Timelines here....

Articles listed as "Philanthropy" projects in Vipul's list here. I am concerned about effective altruism advocacy, UNDUE, bad sourcing, etc. Posting here so we can focus on cleanup. I have done some. Jytdog (talk) 04:26, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

I was going to merge it again back into GiveWell, but i could find no non-blog, independent sources about it, so after i was done cleaning it there was nothing to merge, so I just redirected to GiveWell. Jytdog (talk) 20:07, 17 March 2017 (UTC)

Also edited by members of the enterprise. Also full of effective altruism fancruft. Jytdog (talk) 00:18, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Not done. Negotiating with EA advocates. Jytdog (talk) 04:56, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Just want to qualify Jytdog's above statement by saying that the people who oppose his suggested cuts and deletions on that page would not describe themselves as EA advocates, and we (or at least me) would describe Jytdog as an anti-EA advocate given his seemingly inappropriate deletionist take on all EA content. (Sorry if this comment is inappropriate here. I'm fairly new to WP, but just want to be sure Jytdog's comment is not taken as uncontested truth.) Utsill (talk) 12:44, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
@Utsill: your contribs make it obvious what your interests in WP are and how you edit. You are new here, and what you just did is what advocates always do here. Jytdog (talk) 18:33, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Whether or not it's what advocates always do here, my intent is not to advocate. I think Jytdog is advocating, and want to maintain WP:NPOV. I'm happy to explain how any of my edits fit that intent, if you'd like to discuss further. (probably somewhere else) Utsill (talk) 21:52, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
You can be part of the solution or part of the problem, looking forward. We will see what happens. As I said, what you have done so far in WP is advocacy. I hope you can change that as you learn how WP actually works. Jytdog (talk) 22:05, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
Ok, I think there's better ways to handle this for the remaining articles. First, it should involve local article editors. Especially since the original COI editors aren't involved, it is not necessary to organize anything unilaterally from the COIN and not necessary to push out others or be combative. Second, much of the content can be properly sourced either from third party sources or from proper use of WP:ABOUTSELF even if it's not currently well written, and this is generally preferable to TNT. K.Bog 20:33, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
User:Kbog what is happening here is entirely standard. Once we identify some set up of conflicted editors, we a) address the ongoing disruption by getting the editors to stop editing directly and start putting edits through peer review; and b) we turn back and clean up the mess they have made of WP. This is entirely normal. Of course "local editors" are involved. This one is complicated in that there is endemic EA advocacy in WP and this is going to turn into a bit of a slog. Jytdog (talk) 20:44, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
  • Please also note Wikipedia:Miscellany for deletion/User:Riceissa/Animal Charity Evaluators: At least five full articles being hosted, with "INDEX" codes to force Google recognition and indexing, by at least one of the ring members on their user subpages. There may be other instances of this, with that editor or with other members of the ring. As usual, other members of the ring are meatpuppeting in the discussion. Softlavender (talk) 02:39, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Nikita Borisoglebsky

The above named user has edited the BLP article in question since March 15. Several of their edits were reverts over the last few days for unsourced content. On March 18, the user made this edit, and in their summary stated "Changes made by the representative of Nikita Boriso-Glebsky and with the consent of musician. References to official web-sire are given". I issued a COI warning shortly afterwards, and placed relevant COI tags both on the article and its talk page. However, the user has continued to edit despite being urged not to do so, and also included an "interesting facts" section, which I have removed per WP:TRIVIA and WP:NOTPROMOTION. I hereby seek admin intervention to handle this alarming situation, and what may possibly be paid editing. Wes Mouse Talk 19:33, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks! I have left a message at their user Talk page and have watchlisted the article. Jytdog (talk) 21:12, 18 March 2017 (UTC)
I see our "paid editor" has started to reinsert his "paid contributions" to Nikita Borisoglebsky again. I'm wondering if the path of page protection is the next best step to take, in order to prevent similar edits. I have pending changes rights, which may help, as their changes would not be shown until approved. Plus, anyone else with pending changes rights would also note that the user is of high COI risk, and disapprove their edits too. Wes Mouse Talk 13:11, 19 March 2017 (UTC)
Am not sure they will implement it yet, but we'll see! Can't hurt. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get someone to start to actually discuss things and there may be the additional factor of language here. Am hopeful they will start talking. Jytdog (talk) 13:42, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Yext

The article on Yext, a startup that filed to go public this week, has been largely written by User:Jessicafenerlis, who has openly declared that she is a Yext employee in edit summaries. She has inserted advertising-like language into the article, such as changing:

"Yext is a New York City technology company that enables businesses to update location-related information on multiple websites from one place."

to:

"Yext is a New York City technology company that gives businesses control over the digital knowledge about their people, places, products across the digital ecosystem.[1] Businesses use Yext to update the public facts about their brands across Yext's PowerListings Network of 100+ maps, apps, search engines, intelligent GPS systems, digital assistants, vertical directories, and social networks, including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo, all from one cloud-based platform called the Yext Knowledge Engine."

References

  1. ^ http://www.yext.com/products/

-- 2601:644:302:8FB0:DDB0:D93D:827:9C62 (talk) 20:45, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks for posting. You do need to provide notice to people when you open a thread here. I took care of that by referring to this thread in the discussion I have opened with them at their talk page. I have also tagged the article and its talk page. I will hold back on cleanup til the conversation at the user's talk page is done but if others want to start cleaning up please do. Jytdog (talk) 21:00, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Jpop73

JPop73 banned for legal threats. HalfShadow 03:45, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Mr. Schaul has learnt nothing from last time and strikes again with an article of himself but this time in Spanish, except he blanked it after it received a CSD notice. Donnie Park (talk) 20:48, 19 March 2017 (UTC)


Donny, I don't spend nearly as much time worrying about Wikipedia as you do, and so I don't know every rule and regulation. I saw one in French pop up on me and I wondered if they translate. And then yes, I deleted it because Wikipedia nazis' like yourself get so upset, you could have a cardio event. I'm am more flattered that a French Wikipedia page popped up on me and I was just curious how it was generated. May be it doesn't warrant flattery?? But I'm not as touched by the French entry as I am by your fascination with me. I don't even speak French, which is why I translated it. You were so prompt in responding and on a weekend??? With that said, you won't mind if I reference the user name in a future Huffington Post article describing the obsessive and pathological nature of some wikipedia editors like yourself who cyber stalk activities and don't even get paid for it. What at\re your thoughts on your cyber bullying? I will post some screen shots to accompany the articles. Would you like to see them first?— Preceding unsigned comment added by Jpop73 (talkcontribs) 22:58, 19 March 2017 (UTC)

Don't worry, it's not the first and won't be the last I experience this type of harassment. In a nutshell, want your article to not get deleted, follow the guidelines then. Of course arrogant old hats like you won't. BTW, only found this by chance as not been editing for over a week due to being busy with work. Donnie Park (talk) 01:41, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Sbelknap

This person's user name is very similar to that of Steven Belknap, an academic MD who in the RW is an advocate for raising awareness of sexual side effects of 5α-reductase inhibitors (the drugs that are subjects of the 2 articles linked above, are in the class of 5α-reductase inhibitors).

Sbelknap's editing either raised COI issues or there were IMPERSONATE issues, and I asked them to clarify here. Sbelknap didn't respond, and to make certain this was not a case of IMPERSONATE, they were soft blocked until they resolved the ambiguity. Sbelknap eventually confirmed that they are Steven Belknap through the normal channels, per the block log.

So .. it is a COI issue. Sbelknap has been, this month, editing and arguing fiercely at the two articles linked above, to emphasize the risks of sexual side effects and you can see it clearly in the history of both articles here for Dtasteride and here for finasteride]. Both articles were locked by SarahSV due to this (here and here. Again as you can see in the history, as soon as the page protection expired, they went right back to trying to force their content in. Discussion at both talk pages has been... dramatic. Writing here for example to Alexbrn and Doc James "The finasteride article in wikipedia is not neutral. The most important source of bias is the economic interest of those who profit by selling finasteride. The "dirt in the gauge" for finasteride has been there for 30+ years. Recent scientific literature has begun to wash that dirt away. Unfortunately, some patients will rely on the finasteride article in wikipedia, and as a result will be harmed."

There are in my view, three kinds of COI here - two for sure and one potential COI, as I noted in the username/COI query linked above.

  • WP:SELFCITE (which they have done a lot, as far back as 2008 here a bunch at the two articles above, and an almost POINTY run of them here, here, here, here, and here, starting at 19:23, 16 March 2017 (at 19:10, 16 March 2017, I had followed up on the username/COI query here So yes, POINTY).
  • possible financial WP:COI, if he is an expert witness in any of the 5α-reductase inhibitor litigation that is going on (of which there is a great deal) there is another level. As he is not discussing COI, we don't have clarity whether this is present or not.

I gently brought up the Medical kind of COI here. No response. I brought up the three issues above here (diff already linked), and I gave the more elaborate explanation of why COI matters and how we manage it, including not editing directly here, with a follow up here. No reply. Instead they removed all the COI discussion from their Talk page.

I am involved in the content disputes, which may be why Sbelknap is being unresponsive to me. So I am bringing this here, for the community here to try to educate Sbelknap about how COI and advocacy work here in WP. Hopefully he will heed you all and this can be resolved here. Will provide notice as soon as I save this. Jytdog (talk) 07:32, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Coolpad Group

Seem the user had turned the page to an Ad, and intentionally remove "bad" content [20]. Matthew_hk tc 09:15, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

UNeMed

article speedied; accounts notified of COI guideline but not responsive.

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

The COI is obvious and I issued a warning. That went unheeded. Can anyone please take a look at this? Kleuske (talk) 15:11, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

added Amratlion. Have also left messages at their talk page. Jytdog (talk) 00:33, 21 March 2017 (UTC)
Reported UnMedTTO to UAA for WP:ORGNAME. --Drm310 🍁 (talk) 14:27, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
I went through to clean it, and ended up with nothing. I restored it and have speedy-promo'ed it. Jytdog (talk) 22:16, 22 March 2017 (UTC)
And the article has been deleted. Neither account has responded to my messages, so I guess this is done. Might re-awaken if one of them come back and try to re-create it. I have it watchlisted. Jytdog (talk) 15:12, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Makau W. Mutua

This issue has been taken to ANI. Lepricavark (talk) 21:48, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

It seems pretty evident that the above is a SPA. This was brought to my attention when I made the following revert of a BLP violation, only to realize that there does indeed appear to be evidence of an individual scrubbing negative content from the page. See this example from February. Lepricavark (talk) 16:15, 21 March 2017 (UTC)


The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Bromium

This is a better-than-average article for COI work, but it's quite clearly COI including a few role accounts. It could use some eyes on it to make it more encyclopedic and make the claims more neutral. 0x0077BE (talk · contrib) 18:11, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

Jerry McKenna

A few days ago, I reverted some edits on the above article by someone with a username that contained the string "McKenna". Today, I get this message on my talk page. Johnson was the creator of the article, and the article is a PR mess. I would venture to say the subject of the article is notable, but as it exists now, I do not know what to do with it. It is my intention with this post to pass this issue on, as it is out of my area of expertise and or interest. Thanks for whatever you can do. John from Idegon (talk) 19:13, 21 March 2017 (UTC)

the user has been responsive which is happy, and hopefully will end the direct editing. Needs cleanup which i started. needs more... Jytdog (talk) 15:17, 23 March 2017 (UTC)

Advertorials from successtory.com point at COI editing

Companies
Executives

successstory.com describes itself as "a platform which is designed to give you exposure, appreciation, recognition and scaled distribution" -- i.e. advertorials and favorable billionaire profiles. Articles using it as a source have a certain flavor of COI editing and should be looked at.

Note that in one article we have a so-called FIRST Award for Responsible Capitalism of dubious notability, appearing in an article visited for a few years by SPA anon editors as well (one of whom is associated with the magazine). This has come up before in attempts to springboard notability.

Bio for exec at same publication was also created by an SPA. - Bri (talk) 21:34, 24 March 2017 (UTC)

Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard&oldid=772061674"
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Conflict_of_interest/Noticeboard
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Wikipedia:Conflict of interest/Noticeboard"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA