On Jan. 11 of this year he said of PR pro William Beutler that Beutler "has done the single best job of abusing our assumption of good faith and illustrating why it’s so critical that people in your position be completely restricted from making edits in article space…"
WP, as several Wikipedians told us Saturday, prefers that PR people uplink materials to “Talk” pages that don’t appear on main WP or in the “Articles for Creation” area for proposed new topics.
WP administrator David Goodman said WP is not opposed to PR pros making factual corrections about earnings, sales or discontinued corporate entities.
He said PR pros are not totally banned from editing WP’s “live” pages but they are discouraged from doing so. “In practice,” he added, “either they do damage control or write about an organization from the point of view of writing a web page. PR people write about what they want the public to know but an encyclopedia is about what the public wants to know.”
Like Putting Together ‘Broken Glass’
He said there is a “large overlap” in these areas and PR pros can contribute as long as they keep in mind that all content must be “objective.”
Richard Knipel, president of WP/New York, said PR pros often approach content from a commercial standpoint and should make article suggestions on WP’s Talk pages where editors will decide whether they can go “live.”
This website feels the quickest route to obtaining recognition on WP is employing those who are familiar with its rules. Some do this on a full-time basis including David King of Raleigh who says putting together an article for WP, including proper sourcing and avoidance of copyright issues, is like putting together the “shards of glass” from a broken glass. “Sourcing to their satisfaction is very difficult,” he said.
A Wikipedian who didn’t want his name used said PR pros use too many adjectives. “Expert people from companies can be very useful once they get the idea that they should write up the basic facts and then leave the article alone,” he said.
Told about “The Tylenol Mafia,” which author Scott Bartz has been unable to get mentioned in WP, Wikipedians said Bartz must first get it mentioned in national media.
The event, which drew about 70 attendees, had a panel on how students can learn to edit and create WP entries that will get past the volunteer editors, of which there are about 10,000. One panel discussed the need for a greater “gender balance” among WP editors who were described as being “largely male.”
PR pro Bryce Tom asked the Wikipedians how PR people can more actively participate in changing WP’s live content. Wikipedian Paul Robinson, who has the user name “AstroCog,” said PR people could obtain “credibility” by linking to secondary sources that talk about their employers or clients.
Peter Coti discussed plans for building the New York chapter of WP which now has about 70 members.
— Jack O’Dwyer