Wikipedia hopes to improve its content by ‘removing bias’
In high school and university students are warned to steer clear of Wikipedia when researching because simply anyone has the authority to contribute to its content, which makes it less than reliable.
But plenty of people use it, whether to look up a topic they’ve never heard of before or impatiently scan to see what happens next in the “Game of Thrones” series.
To achieve this, Wikipedia has made it mandatory for editors receiving payment for their work to disclose their employers or clients, as well as other details about the arrangement.
Wikipedia has become an incredibly influential site, with half a billion people using the site every month to look up information.
The site is owned by the non-profit parent company The Wikipedia Foundation, and mostly relies on volunteers to write and edit content.
So before Wikipedia came up with this new policy, they opened up the discussion to their massive community, receiving 320,000 words of discussion in various languages from the 6.3 million people who viewed the proposal.
In October last year, Wikipedia began its war against bad practices, prohibiting misrepresentation, fraud and impersonation.
But these new changes do not mean Wikipedia is against editors being paid. Industry experts employed by libraries, galleries, archives and museums are encouraged to edit subjects they specialise in, as long as it is not biased or promotional, of course.
Other professionals are also encouraged to contribute, but they have to disclose all their details as their contributions may be illegal depending on their countries’ advertising laws.
Although Wikipedia is becoming stricter on its editing policies, it still encourages volunteer writers to add new material to the site.
There is an important lesson to learn here for marketers: The internet is cleaning up and there is a new focus on quality online content.
A study by Forrester Research found that only 32 per cent of US consumers trust the information they find on branded websites.
Therefore, brands need to develop a content strategy focused on producing quality and trustworthy content that earns the respect of consumers.
Posted by Dylan Brown