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Atlantic on Wikipedia and PR

The Cunctator
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/wikipedia-editors-for-pay/393926/
The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay

On January 11, 2013, James Heilman, an emergency-room physician and one of
Wikipedia’s most prolific medical editors, was standing watch over the
online encyclopedia’s entry for a back procedure called a kyphoplasty. The
page originally suggested that the procedure’s effectiveness was
“controversial,” and an unidentified Wikipedia user had proposed
<https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Percutaneous_vertebroplasty&diff=532478067&oldid=532468933>
changing
the text to “well documented and studied”—a characterization that Heilman
thought wasn’t supported by existing research. He rejected the change.

Kyphoplasty, along with vertebroplasty, the procedure it shares a Wikipedia
page with <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Percutaneous_vertebroplasty>, is a
common treatment when someone’s spine breaks—a frequent occurrence in
people with osteoporosis, which makes bones brittle—and then doesn’t heal
naturally. The procedure is meant to reduce the pain of a fracture, even
though it sounds unpleasant: It consists of inflating a tiny plastic
balloon near the fracture, removing the balloon, and then injecting a
toothpaste-like plastic cement into the resulting crevice and letting it
harden.

The procedure grew popular in the ‘90s, despite the fact that its
effectiveness wasn’t backed up by definitively convincing research. By the
time two studiespublished in 2009
<http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/06/health/research/06spine.html?pagewanted=all>
found
that vertebroplasty—and, by extension, kyphoplasty, which is similar but
has not been tested in controlled experiments—was no more effective than a
placebo treatment, at least 100,000
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/opinion/26redberg.html>of the two
procedures were being performed every year. (It’s hard to say an exact
number, as the procedures are not recorded in any national database.) In
2011, Medicare paid out around $1 billion
<http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/26/opinion/26redberg.html> for
vertebroplasties and kyphoplasties, and the number of the procedures
performed each year is not estimated to have decreased significantly since
then.

Some are concerned about the money being spent on a procedure that’s
controversial and sometimes risky. “To my mind, [kyphoplasty] is an
unproven modality and based upon current evidence would have to say it
works as well as vertebroplasty, which is to say likely to work as well as
a placebo,” says Rachelle Buchbinder, a professor of epidemiology and
preventive medicine at Australia’s Monash University, as well as a
co-author of a recent vertebroplasty review
<http://www.cochrane.org/CD006349/MUSKEL_vertebroplasty-for-osteoporotic-vertebral-compression-fractures>published
by the Cochrane Collaboration, a network of independent researchers. She
notes that in Australia, where she lives, public funding for the procedures
was withdrawn after the two 2009 studies were published. “From my
perspective there is no longer any dispute,” she says.

There are experts who disagree. Sean Tutton is a professor of radiology at
the Medical College of Wisconsin, and spoke to me on behalf of the Society
of Interventional Radiology, which put out a position paper with other
medical societies that called vertebroplasties safe and effective under the
right circumstances. “If my mother had a vertebral-compression fracture and
after several weeks of conservative management with bed rest, plus or minus
bracing, and appropriate pain management, if she still was having ongoing
pain and disability, I would treat her,” he says. “I wouldn't even think
twice.”

As James Heilman thought more about the attempted edit to the page for
vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, he grew curious about who might be trying
to write over the controversy of the procedures, so he Googled the would-be
editor’s Wikipedia username. Sifting through the results, he saw that a man
named Kim Schelble had an email address that contained the same nickname.
Schelble, Heilman found, was employed by Medtronic, a company that sells
medical devices used for, among other things, kyphoplasties.

There is little evidence to suggest that kyphoplasties are any better than
vertebroplasties, but to a medical-device manufacturer, there’s an
important distinction: A kyphoplasty kit sells for thousands of dollars
more than a vertebroplasty kit, which generally costs a few hundred
dollars. Medtronic doesn’t supply the latter, but it spent nearly $4 billion
<http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_6481649> in 2007 to purchase a
company that makes some of the products included in a kyphoplasty kit.

“Their concern is that those at Medicare might read the Wikipedia article,”
Heilman says. “If I go to Google, and I put in ‘percutaneous
vertebroplasty,’ the first page that comes up is Wikipedia.” Is it really a
concern that some high-level decision maker at Medicare or a hospital
system might be making billion-dollar decisions based on information from
Wikipedia? “Yes,” Heilman insisted. “Definitely.” Indeed, Schelble at one
point complained in an email to Heilman, “This site and the content on here
is scaring prospective patients and insurance companies are not wanting to
cover these procedures.”

(Schelble, who no longer works for Medtronic, didn’t respond to multiple
requests to comment for this article, and Medtronic would not comment on
the actions of a specific employee. However, communications between Heilman
and Schelble did later confirm that it was Schelble who tried to make the
edit.)

Schelble’s concern that a Wikipedia article was hurting his company’s
business is a common one—the site has enormous reach, and the information
it contains makes its way to nearly everyone, from consumers to
policymakers to people Googling innocuous questions on their phones. Even
minor changes in wording have the potential to influence public perception
and, naturally, how millions of dollars are spent. What this means for
marketers is that Wikipedia is yet another place to establish an online
presence. But what this means for Wikipedia is much more complicated: How
can a site run by volunteers inoculate itself against well-funded PR
efforts? And how can those volunteers distinguish between information
that’s trustworthy and information that’s suspect?
Even minor changes in wording have the potential to influence public
perception and, naturally, how millions of dollars are spent.

Soon, Heilman found himself rejecting other changes to the page for
vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty. After the word “controversial,” a user who
Heilman says was most likely Schelble, tried to add
<https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Percutaneous_vertebroplasty&diff=533026713&oldid=532974697>
“among
some but not among the actual physicians who perform these procedures.” The
site’s Talk page for the procedures, where proposed edits are discussed,
took on a bitter tone. “[Heilman] clearly cares more for his cyber
reputation than producing reputable content … Patients who find their way
to this page will not be shown the best and current findings on the topic,”
wrote the user Clay1500. That handle belongs to Clay Schwabe, another
Medtronic employee. “After...seeing how grossly selective Mr. Heilman was
being in what data he chose to editorialize on the page, I did write that
post,” Schwabe told me, but he insists that he did not contribute to the
Talk page in his capacity as a Medtronic employee.

Shortly after these proposed edits and comments came in, Heilman received
an email from Douglas Beall, a radiologist in Oklahoma, encouraging him to
reconsider the importance the Wikipedia page placed on those two 2009
studies. This might have seemed like a good-spirited scientific discussion
between two M.D.s if it weren’t for two things.

One was that Beall has been consulting for Medtronic since 2005 (among
several other companies), and disclosures indicate that he has
received $150,000
or more from the company between 2012 and 2014
<https://www.spine.org/Documents/WhoWeAre/DisclosureIndex.pdf>. The other
thing was that Beall had cc’d about 30 others, a group that he referred to
informally as “the North American experts on Vertebral Augmentation.”
Heilman said he felt intimidated; included on the list of recipients were
one of his medical-school professors and a Vancouver doctor Heilman had in
the past referred patients to. By the time the email thread had finally
gone quiet, almost 300 addresses had been cc’d.

To be clear, there is no reason to believe that Beall was coordinating with
any Medtronic employees, and his numerous consulting gigs with other
companies suggest that he is not some sort of kyphoplasty huckster in
Medtronic’s thrall. Still, says Sohail Mirza, a spine surgeon and the
former chair of orthopaedics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine,
doctors can grow to prefer the devices of certain companies over others as
a result of such consulting arrangements. In the operating room, the
manufacturer’s presence can be more than some abstract notion: “Often the
[sales] reps are in the operating room for all of these procedures …
guiding the surgical team: ‘This is next’; ‘Here’s how you mix this,’” says
Mirza.

Mirza, who is himself not convinced of the procedures’ effectiveness, adds
that another plausible reason physicians might prefer vertebroplasties and
kyphoplasties is that they believe they’re better at selecting patients,
and thus think that they can personally beat the results of randomized,
controlled trials. “I think radiologists and surgeons generally believe
that their patients do better. That's the only way I can imagine them
rationalizing it,” he says.

Beall, for his part, acknowledges that he has “financial ties and research
ties to many medical-device and pharmaceutical companies,” but points out
that the overwhelming majority of high-quality medical literature on
vertebroplasty has been funded by medical-device manufacturers. An economic
reality of modern medical research is that rigorous studies can cost
millions of dollars, and large companies are often the only ones willing to
foot the bill.

A doctor named Lawrence Epstein responded to the email thread lamenting
this fact. “The problem we have [is] that the majority of the studies that
support Kyphoplasty (even when they are well done) are authored by
investigators who receive compensation from, or the studies are funded by,
Medtronic,” he wrote. “Many of those who read these … are sensitive to this
and take even the most convincing data with a grain of salt. What we need
are non-industry funded, completely independent studies.” To which Beall
responded: “I believe in critiquing the study itself rather than focusing
primarily on the sponsor.” He lamented that this sponsor was typically the
medical-device industry, but concluded, “Until unbiased and independent
funding becomes more available this is the situation that we will all have
to live with.”

Through all this, Heilman kept most of the Wikipedia page intact, but it is
easy to imagine a different result if the page’s custodian had been less
dogged or less allergic to corporations. By now, Heilman doesn’t find
companies' keenness to learn more about Wikipedia unexpected. He has
received emails on behalf of companies such as IMS Health, GlaxoSmithKline,
and Alexion Pharmaceuticalsrequesting more information from him about the
editing process for Wikipedia’s medical content. “I do not consider the
goals of the pharmaceutical companies to be educating people about
pharmaceuticals,” he says. Still, he says, “Medtronic has been the worst
company that I have encountered with respect to aggressively editing
Wikipedia to promote their products.”

“The effectiveness of vertebroplasty,” Wikipedia currently reads, “is
disputed.”

* * *

In 2006, Jimmy Wales, Wikimedia’s most public-facing board member,
reportedly said that undisclosed paid editing—trying to alter the content
of Wikipedia without revealing a financial conflict of interest—is
“antithetical”
to the site’s aims
<http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2007-01-25-wiki-paid-entries_x.htm>.
The practice continued at a low hum over the rest of the decade, but a few
years ago Wikimedia started hearing from its volunteer editorial corps that
weeding out undisclosed paid edits was distracting from more substantive
work. "They were spending a tremendous amount of their time patrolling
articles, particularly articles about celebrities or individuals or
companies for PR-type editing,” says Katherine Maher, a spokesperson for
Wikimedia. The issue took on a sense of urgency in the fall of 2013, when a
firm called Wiki-PR wasbanned from the site
<http://blog.wikimedia.org/2013/10/21/sue-gardner-response-paid-advocacy-editing/>
for
using hundreds of dummy accounts to fabricate widespread support for pages
that flattered its clientele.

To combat activity like this, Wikimedia amended its terms of use
<https://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/06/16/change-terms-of-use-requirements-for-disclosure/>
last
summer to ban any undisclosed paid editing that might carry a conflict of
interest. (To clarify, the scenario of a political-science professor, who’s
paid to think about political science, forgoing disclosure when she edits a
page about Japanese elections doesn’t present a conflict of interest and is
thus kosher.)

Maher says the terms-of-use change has been received well by those in the
Wikipedia community devoted to stamping out paid editing. Perhaps it
has—several large PR firms pledged
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Statement_on_Wikipedia_from_participating_communications_firms>
not
to violate Wikipedia’s rules—but the practice hasn’t disappeared entirely.
Two months ago, an investigation revealed
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/business/media/a-pr-firm-alters-the-wiki-reality-of-its-star-clients.html>
that
even after the rule change, employees of Sunshine Sachs, a public-relations
firm, had still been editing the Wikipedia pages of their clients without
disclosing their affiliation. One email sent by the company boasted
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/23/business/media/a-pr-firm-alters-the-wiki-reality-of-its-star-clients.html>,
“Sunshine Sachs has a number of experienced editors on staff that have
established profiles on Wikipedia. The changes we make to existing pages
are rarely challenged.” Sunshine Sachs is reported to have scrubbed, among
other things, Wikipedia’s references to Naomi Campbell’s critically-panned
R&B album and Mia Farrow’s Ecuadorian activist efforts
<http://nypost.com/2014/10/05/mia-farrows-dirty-profits-a-hidden-payoff-in-corrupt-ecuador-trial/>
.

Many people who work within companies’ public-relations departments are
inexperienced in the ways of Wikipedia, and some firms  look outside of
their ranks for editing help. Priceline, for example, once hired a third
party to edit Wikipedia on its behalf; Viacom reportedly did the same
<http://www.vice.com/read/is-the-pr-industry-buying-influence-over-wikipedia>.
Free online guides for outsmarting Wikipedia’s gatekeepers proliferate
<http://www.text100.com/hypertext/2012/01/wikipedia-for-pr/>, but those can
only get a novice so far.

"Wikipedia writing is like no other writing,” says Mike Wood, a freelancer
who makes a living editing Wikipedia pages for clients, referring to the
site’s tireless pursuit of a neutral tone. Wood has set up his own website,
and scores of other Wikipedia editors-for-hire await on freelance websites
such as Elance. He says he works with highly visible people and companies,
who pay him anywhere from $400 to $1,000 per article, but he won’t name
names, for fear that someone might seek out and dismantle the Wikipedia
pages of his clients. “You could turn on either Fox or CNN right now, and
within one half hour you will … see a commercial for [a company or an
interview with someone whose] page that I’ve created, or I’ve edited,” he
claims. He says that he’s worked with “one of the world’s fifth largest
banks” and members of “numerous presidents’ administrations.”
Mike Wood says he works with highly visible individuals and companies,
including “one of the world’s fifth largest banks” and members of
presidential administrations.

Wood started editing Wikipedia pages about seven years ago. “Wikipedia
actually becomes addicting after a while,” he says. “You’ll see people on
there all day long. It’s kind of like anyone who wants to play Warcraft or
Candy Crush.” The novelty faded for him, though, and he spent a while
seeking out freelance writing opportunities. But as he looked around, he
noticed a growing number of ads looking for people to edit Wikipedia pages.
“It was good money,” he says. In 2010, he returned to contributing
regularly to the site, this time as a paid editor.

During his hiatus, Wood says, the tenor of the site had changed. Veteran
editors used to patiently help out new ones. “Now, if you’re brand new to
the site, and you make a mistake, you’re going to get jumped on by editors
very quickly,” he says.

What changed in his absence, Wood says, is that employees of
public-relations firms began to understand the value of a Wikipedia page,
and tried going in to make edits themselves, with little regard for the
site’s standards. The result was that the burden of proof became even
heavier on newcomers, and, Wood says, even valid information was getting
rejected out of hand by seasoned editors. Those PR companies are now some
of Wood’s clients. “They contracted me for their Wikipedia work because
some of their writers are so in tune to writing PR pieces that they can't
handle writing for Wikipedia,” he says.

“We’ve had some good editors who’ve done really good work begin to offer
their services for sale because this is a decent way of making a living,”
says James Heilman. After looking into what’s on offer at Elance, he’s
concluded that lots of money changes hands there over Wikipedia edits.
Heilman says he’s even come across an Elance posting by a Wikipedia editor
with the title of “administrator,” an upper-echelon status that comes with
exclusive powers on the site and currently belongs only to about 600 active
users <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:List_of_administrators>.
(Heilman says Elance has taken down one paid editor’s posting at his
request, on the grounds that this editor is violating Wikimedia’s terms of
use, but many postings remain.)

The task falls to Wikipedia’s volunteer editors to detect and reject
changes made by editors with undisclosed conflicts of interest. The site
has several tens of thousands of volunteer editors who update the site
regularly each month, and this would seem like enough to head off any
biased edits.

But many active editors are there to help with pages about subjects that
they’re passionate about, not to spend their time parsing and eliminating
PR-speak. And on top of that, the ranks of volunteer editors are dwindling,
leaving fewer and fewer people to maintain a growing site. The authors of a
study
<http://abs.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/12/26/0002764212469365.abstract>
published
in*American Behavioral Scientist* in 2012 concluded that the number of
active Wikipedia contributors has been declining because the site’s
community isn’t welcoming enough to new editors. “For somebody who’s making
their first edit,” acknowledges Katherine Maher, “we could do more to make
it clearer as to what constitutes an edit that is in good faith, that is
not a conflict-of-interest edit.”
------------------------------
Elisa Glass / The AtlanticElisa Glass / The Atlantic
------------------------------

Heilman, too, has come to a similar conclusion after conducting a study
<http://www.jmir.org/2015/3/e62/> of his own, which was published this
spring in the *Journal of Medical Internet Research*. He and his co-author,
Andrew West, found that between 2008 and 2013, the number of Wikipedia
editors who focused on medical topics decreased by 40 percent. Undisclosed
paid edits, Heilman says, “often distract the core community of editors
away from more important topics.”

There is also a fear that editing will wane as a larger and larger
percentage of Wikipedia’s users access the site from phones and tablets.
The site, Andrew Lih, a professor of journalism at American University,
wrote <http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/21/opinion/can-wikipedia-survive.html>
 in *The New York Times*, “has always depended on contributors hunched over
keyboards searching references, discussing changes and writing articles
using a special markup code.” Mobile devices simply aren’t conducive to
those activities.

Mike Wood also has doubts about the Wikipedia community’s resources for
fighting paid editing. Since the terms of use were updated last summer,
he’s seen more Wikipedia editing jobs posted on Elance. For this reason, he
likes the policy—in that it has created business for him. “There are so
many rules, so many guidelines, that it's made it near impossible to edit
Wikipedia without having issues,” Wood says. Last summer’s policy change
was yet another rule for new users to wrap their minds around, and newbies,
even those acting in good faith, have trouble gaining the blessing of a
Wikipedia veteran. So they give up. “The next search they do is ‘help
editing Wikipedia,’” Wood says. “And guess what comes up? My website.”

But Wood himself, who makes his living editing Wikipedia articles on behalf
of companies and individuals, doesn’t adhere to the policy—he won’t
disclose his conflict of interest when he edits pages for clients. Gregory
Kohs, whose own Wikipedia-editing business was reportedly denounced
<http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2007-01-25-wiki-paid-entries_x.htm>
by
Jimmy Wales in 2006, also declines to acknowledge when he’s writing for pay.

Wood and Kohs have determined themselves exempt for the same reason: They
don’t think Wikimedia follows its own rules. “As soon as Jimmy Wales
adheres to Wikipedia guidelines, I will adhere to Wikipedia guidelines,”
Wood says. Wood is referring to many alleged hypocritical acts, but the
most notable
<http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/30/magazine/jimmy-wales-is-not-an-internet-billionaire.html?pagewanted=all>
is
when Wales was reported to have edited his own Wikipedia page, designating
himself “the founder of Wikipedia” and attempting to erase the academic
Larry Sanger’s role in the development of the site.

* * *

All of this is troubling only if one sincerely believes that the
information on Wikipedia is read at face value. No high school teacher
would (knowingly) accept it as a source, and Wikipedians are fond of saying
that research can start on Wikipedia, but it should never end there.

But the way people answer their everyday questions today means that a lot
of research does end on Wikipedia. The site’s pages are regularly among the
top links that search engines turn up—among the general public, the site’s
medical articles are estimated <http://www.jmir.org/2015/3/e62/> to have a
larger readership than WebMD. Google has even started embedding excerpts
from Wikipedia pages alongside its search results.Wikipedia isn’t just the
final destination of typical denizens of the Internet; sometimes it’s where
professional researchers end up as well. Fifty to 70 percent of physicians have
been found <http://www.jmir.org/2011/1/e14/> to consult it as a source of
medical information—a testament to its reliability.

In fact, the site’s content can make its way into even trusted academic
texts, as a recent case of plagiarism demonstrates.

In October of last year, James Heilman was paging through a copy of *The
Oxford Textbook of Zoonoses*, put out by Oxford University Press. Because
western Africa’s public-health crisis had been in the news, Heilman was
focusing on chapter 31, “Marburg and Ebola viruses,” written by Graham
Lloyd, who works at the British government-research facility Porton Down,
when he noticed that some text looked familiar.

He brought up the Wikipedia page for “Ebola virus disease,” and grew
troubled. Some of the text on Wikipedia looked eerily similar to the text
in the book—a lazy Wikipedia editor had copied from the Oxford textbook, he
guessed.

He pulled up the page’s revision history to identify the offending editor.
He saw that the section was co-written in 2006 by two users, Rhys and
ChyranandChloe, and that it was updated in 2010. He jumped back over to the
textbook and saw that it was published in 2011. It turns out Heilman had it
backwards: It was someone on Oxford’s side, perhaps Lloyd, who had taken
from Wikipedia. (Lloyd did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

The plagiarism was barely concealed. For reasons that remain unclear, some
of the original citations from the Wikipedia page dropped out, and were
replaced by pointers to other articles—articles that didn’t appear to
support the claims made in the text, according to Heilman. In that sense,
the Oxford textbook did not simply contain plagiarized text from Wikipedia;
it appeared to make it less reliable.
------------------------------

*Medical Textbook vs. Wikipedia: A Side-by-Side Comparison*
On the left: The Wikipedia page for Ebola, as of 2010. On the right: Page
364 of *The Oxford Textbook of Zoonoses*, published in 2011. Highlights
indicate text that is copied. (Click here
<https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/files/textbook_vs._wikipedia.jpg> to
view a larger image.)
------------------------------

Christian Purdy, a spokesperson for Oxford University Press, acknowledged
that some text was copied, but says this didn’t qualify as plagiarism.
Instead, he called it an “inadvertent omission of an appropriate
attribution.”

“That our content was able to pass … review at OUP is another indication of
our quality,” says Heilman. “I think the fact that world experts feel okay
with ‘copy and pasting’ from Wikipedia and claiming it as their own is a
statement of just how good some parts of Wikipedia have become.”

Heilman had hoped that Oxford University Press would release its textbook
with updated attribution into the Creative Commons, as is permitted under
Wikipedia’s license, but the press has decided instead to rewrite the
relevant section itself. Whatever the outcome, the provenance of the
textbook’s information does not bode well for the sourcing of the average
AP English essay.

* * *

Because an undisclosed paid edit that goes through is undetectable, it is
hard to empirically assess the effectiveness of Wikipedia’s responses to
conflict-of-interest editing over the years. Nowadays, the estimated
prevalence of paid editing changes depending on whom you ask. “The site
itself is so massive that when you talk about problems, they actually tend
to be quite small compared to the overall body of work,” Maher says. She
points out that Wiki-PR, the furthest-reaching paid-editing operation yet
discovered, only made a few thousand edits. Still, undisclosed paid editing
is enough of a fly in the ointment to prompt the Wikimedia Foundation to
say it “affects the neutrality and reliability of Wikipedia.”
<http://blog.wikimedia.org/2014/06/16/change-terms-of-use-requirements-for-disclosure/>

Joseph Reagle, a professor of communication studies at Northeastern
University and the author of *Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of
Wikipedia*, tends to agree with Maher’s assessment. “If we were to
enumerate the list of the things that would cause people to be skeptical of
the quality of Wikipedia … I suspect paid contribution would be relatively
low,” he says. "It's not an issue where there's none, or there's a lot.
It's just one of those things where, probably, everyone speeds a little
bit.”

Those who consult on editing Wikipedia frame things a little differently.
“Undisclosed paid editing, especially on the part of the largest PR firms,
is rampant on Wikipedia,” says Patrick Taylor, the head of communications
for Wiki-PR, which has, after being banned, refashioned itself as a
Wikipedia consultancy. However, Taylor is convinced that most of these
edits actually improve the site, and that conflicts of interest are rooted
out fairly efficiently.

In a way, undisclosed paid edits are just a smaller instance of a much more
foundational problem for a site that strives for unalloyed “neutrality.”
All Wikipedia editors, whether volunteer or paid, come to their keyboards
with some kind of bias. The presence of money in this equation is never a
reliable indication that some information is untrustworthy, since it’s
frequently the case that the people who feel they have the biggest stake in
promoting their views on Wikipedia are often the best informed. Douglas
Beall might receive money from medical-device manufacturers, but part of
the reason they’re paying him in the first place is because he’s an expert
on certain medical devices. Moreover, plenty of people hold views for which
they receive no compensation that would nevertheless render them inadequate
editors. For example, a volunteer Greenpeace activist might not be the most
impartial steward of a page about the coal industry. Money is but one
limited signifier of information’s quality.

These questions are as salient as ever now that Wikipedia has become not a
place to go for information, but *the* place to go. "Many people do not
consider other people to be intelligent enough to use Wikipedia with a
grain of salt, yet they consider themselves to be intelligent enough to use
Wikipedia properly,” Heilman observes. To rely on Wikipedia without any
skepticism is to act as though every editor is as relentless, principled,
and stubborn as he is.
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Re: Atlantic on Wikipedia and PR

Fred Bauder-2
On Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:21:25 -0400
  The Cunctator <[hidden email]> wrote:
> http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/wikipedia-editors-for-pay/393926/
> The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay

Good to hear from you again Cunctator!

The article goes on to point out that many of us, despite not being
paid, nevertheless are trying to make points. True enough.

Fred Bauder


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Re: Atlantic on Wikipedia and PR

Anthony-2
Fred Bauder and The Cunctator!

Are we having a reunion?

Hi guys!

On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 4:33 AM, FRED BAUDER <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:21:25 -0400
>  The Cunctator <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>
>> http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/wikipedia-editors-for-pay/393926/
>> The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay
>>
>
> Good to hear from you again Cunctator!
>
> The article goes on to point out that many of us, despite not being paid,
> nevertheless are trying to make points. True enough.
>
> Fred Bauder
>
>
>
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> [hidden email]
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Re: Atlantic on Wikipedia and PR

David Gerard-2
the function of wikien-l is for eldsters to grumble about kids these days

On 18 August 2015 at 11:48, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Fred Bauder and The Cunctator!
>
> Are we having a reunion?
>
> Hi guys!
>
> On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 4:33 AM, FRED BAUDER <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> On Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:21:25 -0400
>>  The Cunctator <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/wikipedia-editors-for-pay/393926/
>>> The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay
>>>
>>
>> Good to hear from you again Cunctator!
>>
>> The article goes on to point out that many of us, despite not being paid,
>> nevertheless are trying to make points. True enough.
>>
>> Fred Bauder
>>
>>
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> WikiEN-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l

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Re: Atlantic on Wikipedia and PR

Risker
I'm not sure if I'm a kid. But I do know a copyvio when I see it.  This is
a little much, Cunctator; a link to the article would have been sufficient,
with perhaps one quote.

Risker

On 18 August 2015 at 06:49, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> the function of wikien-l is for eldsters to grumble about kids these days
>
> On 18 August 2015 at 11:48, Anthony <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > Fred Bauder and The Cunctator!
> >
> > Are we having a reunion?
> >
> > Hi guys!
> >
> > On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 4:33 AM, FRED BAUDER <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> >
> >> On Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:21:25 -0400
> >>  The Cunctator <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >>
> >>>
> >>>
> http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/08/wikipedia-editors-for-pay/393926/
> >>> The Covert World of People Trying to Edit Wikipedia—for Pay
> >>>
> >>
> >> Good to hear from you again Cunctator!
> >>
> >> The article goes on to point out that many of us, despite not being
> paid,
> >> nevertheless are trying to make points. True enough.
> >>
> >> Fred Bauder
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> _______________________________________________
> >> WikiEN-l mailing list
> >> [hidden email]
> >> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> >> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
> >>
> > _______________________________________________
> > WikiEN-l mailing list
> > [hidden email]
> > To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> > https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
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