CIPR Social Media Panel slams Wiki-PR for paid-for editing and administration of Wikipedia
Responding to weekend reports in the United States, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Social Media Panel has slammed Wiki-PR for the practice of embedding paid for editors and administrators in the Wikipedia community.
As first reported by Vice’s Martin Robins, Wiki-PR offers a service to clients whereby their staff of “45 Wikipedia editors and admins help you build a page that stands up to the scrutiny of Wikipedia's community rules and guidelines”. What is being offered contravenes both the rules of the Wikipedia community, and internationally recognised guidance on working with Wikipedia published by the CIPR and the wider public relations community first published in June 2012.
The guidance includes the key recommendation that public relations professionals should not directly edit Wikipedia pages relating to their organisation or brand but should instead suggest amendments via the well-established process as laid out in Wikipedia’s current policies.
The current ‘Wikipedia: Best Practice Guidance for Public Relations Professionals’ can be downloaded via the CIPR website, with an abridged version, including case studies of how to work effectively work with the Wikipedia community, due to be released before the end of 2013.
There is zero gain to be had for any public relations firms or their clients in subverting the rules of any online community. Wikipedia’s rules on editing are clear. Paid-for advocates and those with a clear conflict of interest should not directly edit Wikipedia for an article for their client or employer.
Monitoring Wikipedia pages for modifications have become a key part of managing the online reputation for any organisation, but any redress should always be sought via the community’s own workflow. We have worked with Wikimedia in the UK to advocate an approach which takes an interest in improving content on the site relating to their work, in an open and transparent manner.
In all actions a good public relations professional seeks to deal openly and honestly with the public at all times. Public relations without transparency is unprofessional, and a direct contravention of the CIPR’s code of conduct.
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public relations (CIPR) is the professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK. With over 10,000 members involved in all aspects of PR, it is the largest body of its type in Europe. The CIPR advances the public relations profession in the UK by making its members accountable through a code of conduct, developing policies, representing its members and raising standards through education and training.