The ethics of Wikipedia

March 1, 2007

I’m currently writing a Wikipedia post about the organisation for whom I work (which shall remain nameless, although I guess most of my readers will know). At least, I was until I saw this policy statement on Wikipedia’s guidance pages, advising those with a financial interest in a given organisation to refrain from writing about that organisation, to avoid accusations of bias. This is in keeping with Wikipedia’s stated aim of only including entries written from a neutral point of view.

This raises some questions. The first is the whether one can claim to ever truly be “neutral”- one always has a standpoint of some sort. The second is the use of Wikipedia for commercial purposes. No doubt I’m not the first person to be asked to write an entry on one’s own company, and there is something to be said for providing information to the general public on our organisation. But should an encyclopaedia really be turned into a directory of commercial organisations? I’m not sure, and I don’t think the “well everyone else does it, so why shouldn’t I?” argument washes. However, I’m fairly sure that I’m able to add some basic factual information about my organisation that would be entirely neutral, and would prove useful to information-seekers.

Any thoughts, anyone?

Of course, I could just admit to myself that Wikipedia is a communist, anti-Christian, anti-American, and quite possibly British plot, and use the totally bias-free Conservapedia instead.

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2 Responses to “The ethics of Wikipedia”

  1. Tanya Ibrahim Says:

    Hi Neil
    Post an article on Wikipedia and be as objective as you can. If anyone out there takes umbridge with what you’ve put they’ll change it! Even if other companies are exploiting Wikipedia for promotion purposes, it shouldn’t affect what you do.

    As for Conservapedia, if its mission statement matches, go for it. Personally I wouldn’t…

  2. neilstewart Says:

    Thanks Tanya, I think I probably will, since it will be a useful resource for those searching out info on our company. I wouldn’t touch Conservapedia with a barge pole really- it was linked to for comedy value!


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