|January 26, 2012|
|Tortuous Wikipedia Rules Require Expert|
|By Jack O'Dwyer|
|The criticism being heaped on Wikipedia by PR pros on a Facebook page (CREWE) has put the focus on writers who work full time on correcting WP entries or starting new subject areas.|
Their advice, with which we concur after a number of attempts to place something on WP, is “do not try this at home.”
The literally hundreds of WP rules enforced by 10,000 volunteer “editors,” few of whom know much about the subjects they are editing, call for help from those who know such rules and can work with them or around them.
A sizable “underground” of WP contributors has developed who work through third parties to alter WP entries because they themselves will be “shot on sight” by WP editors.
WP demands “neutrality” and “objectivity” and will quickly erase any posting that betrays enthusiasm for a subject.
Also, any statement of fact, almost no matter how obvious, requires “sourcing” to “reliable” media.
David King, formerly at the Hoffman Agency, San Jose ($8.2 million O’Dwyer-ranked PR firm), has devoted his full time to posting materials on WP.
King, who operates The Corporate Wikipedian, feels the average A/E does not have the time to master the 200+ rules of WP including those involving sourcing and foot-noting.
“No single PR firm can justify making the multi-year investment needed to provide professional quality ethics consulting, encyclopedic writing, coding and WP policy compliance,” he says.
He helps PR pros and provides some instructions for free but he wants them to acknowledge that they’re better off with a WP expert than attempting too much on their own.
CREWE Has 150+ Participants
Corporate and agency PR pros have become concerned at flaws in WP coverage because WP entries appear at the top of almost any subject that is entered on Google or other search engines.
The CREWE Facebook page was started by Phil Gomes of Edelman Digital, Chicago, and has more than 150 participants and hundreds of postings
We found the WP entries for PR subjects to be slim and misleading for some of them (history of PR, PR Society and Arthur Page Society) and completely lacking for others (PR Seminar and Council of PR Firms).
WP will not acknowledge the existence of "The Tylenol Mafia" because it hasn’t been written up by enough “reliable” media.
One proposal of the CREWE participants, including Keith Trivitt of PRS and WP veteran Robert Lawton, is for a list of the mistakes on WP for Fortune 100 companies.
An appeal to “accuracy” might overcome the bias that WP has against accepting input from anyone being paid to do that, say Trivitt and Lawton.
Quicker Route: Hire Expert
The quicker route is to hire those who have learned to cope with WP’s rules.
Gregory Kohs, who is a director of market research at Comcast and who has spent years trying to cope with WP, writes articles for as low as $50 an hour and charges a “bonus” if the materials appear on WP for at least 15 days.
Most of his projects are in the $125-$175 range. Clients include billion-dollar companies as well as individuals such as artists, authors, journalists and lawyers.
Other sources of WP experts are www.wikiexperts.us, www.freelancer.com, and www.elance.com. Kohs has a number of WP experts to whom he refers clients.
Freelance editors are only too eager to bid on WP assignments, he notes.
Kohs started MyWikiBiz in Pennsylvania in 2006 initially as a paid editing service charging $49, $79 and $99 per article.
He says WP founder Jimmy Wales initially endorsed “cash-for-editing” via WP’s “Reward Board” and in other ways and accepted input from Kohs. But this policy was reversed in 2006 and has discouraged input from paid editors, says Kohs.
Wales said on CREWE this month: “I think paid advocates should not edit articles directly, ever.”
WP provides “Talk” pages where contributors can propose articles and changes. However, several CREWE participants say it can take months for any editor to comment on such postings or allow them to be transferred to the actual WP pages.
Return to Latest News