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Wikipedia donors feel entitled to more than a mug or a tote bag

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

Last week, Wikipediocracy revealed an investigative project, where our researchers are finding that many of Wikipedia’s biggest financial backers appear to be writing and altering content on the encyclopedia that will benefit themselves or their businesses. The revelation struck a chord with many readers. Our blog generated 22 comments. A Slashdot news thread about the investigation garnered 125 comments. Reporters from three different mainstream media publications inquired for more information about our discoveries. This practice of “conflict of interest” or “paid advocacy” editing has been opposed by most of Wikipedia’s leadership, especially with Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales applying pressure via his “Bright Line Rule” which prohibits paid or conflicted editors from ever directly editing their own Wikipedia articles.

Our first installment pulled back the curtain on just one such financial donor: the creators of the game, “Cards Against Humanity”, who as a marketing stunt donated $70,000 to the Wikimedia Foundation. Our research had shown that the #1 most-prolific editor of Wikipedia’s article about Cards Against Humanity was a creator of the game, and we expressed some suspicion that the #3 most-active editor was also closely aligned with the company. Through the magic of crowdsourcing, with all of the additional attention our blog brought to the Wikipedia article, it was not only confirmed more conclusively that the #3

…continue reading Wikipedia donors feel entitled to more than a mug or a tote bag