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Look who’s visiting the WMF

by Gregory Kohs

This blog post is one of a five-part series of investigative reports by Gregory Kohs, documenting conflicts of interest among individuals and organizations who have financial ties with the Wikimedia Foundation.

The first report is The Thin Bright line The second report is Wikipedia donors feel entitled to more than a mug or a tote bag The third report is Business as Usual The fourth report is Wikipedia’s Friends With Benefits The fifth report is Look who’s visiting the WMF

In May 2014, as it does just about every month, the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) welcomed in-person visitors from various organizations and companies. Seven of the commercial businesses represented on the visitor list have Wikipedia articles. Allow me to demonstrate which of these seven articles possibly have been edited by paid employees of the organization, or by editors with a conflict of interest regarding the subject. If not properly disclosed, these sorts of edits may violate Wikipedia guidelines or even a new Wikimedia Foundation Terms of Use that covers all of their hosted projects.

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Paul Hastings (T–H–L) Rishi Sharma and Peter Cooper from the law firm Paul Hastings paid a visit to the WMF in May. The Wikipedia article about their firm was edited five times in 2014 by User Paul Hastings LLP (T–C–L), even as recently as last week. The Bright Line Rule (“do not edit Wikipedia articles directly if you are a paid advocate”) decreed by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales isn’t posted in the WMF headquarters guest reception lounge, apparently. The top editor of the article is Teotret (T–C–L). The next most-frequent editor is 216.241.250.30 (T–C–L), which traces to Paul Hastings headquarters. Documentation of this controversial incident at Paul Hastings has been repeatedly scrubbed from the Wikipedia article.

…continue reading Look who’s visiting the WMF