3 Ways for Marketers to Handle Disputes on Wikipedia

by David King on Oct 26, 2011

If you’ve read the prior posts on Wikipedia for marketing, you may be getting a pretty good idea on how to make positive contributions to Wikipedia that will benefit the brand, readers and the editorial community on Wikipedia.

But for many, it’s too late.

When the community protests a marketer’s content, it’s shocking how fast and often venom can fly. But it’s an article on MY company! I don’t understand YOUR problem!

I always tell people that once you’ve started arguing on Wikipedia, you’ve already lost. It’s like a legal proceeding where the lawyers are the only winners. If you are in an argument, stop, think and follow these three tips.

1. Humble yourself

As an editor with a Conflict of Interest, you’re a guest on Wikipedia.

Not only do you not have control over the article of your own company, but Wikipedia’s community policies urge editors with a Conflict of Interest to let others make edits. If the community is using advert tags (to signal a post is too close to an ad) or setting up roadblocks, they’re probably right.

Many of the admins on Wikipedia have spent much of their waking life on Wikipedia for years, and you just made a username the other day. Think about it. Try to address their complaints and work with the community instead of fighting them.

2. Ask Questions

Under Humble Yourself I suggests improving your contribution to Wikipedia based on the community’s feedback, but the truth is most of the time their feedback isn’t very specific. Without an expert Wikipedian by your side, you may be left wondering what they really mean. Ask questions.

3. Know Your Stuff

If you’re already in an argument on Wikipedia, you’ve probably seen a fair share of Wikipedia policies being cited. Read them. Understand them. Live them. Learn to love them. Then never cite them yourself. When multiple sides start citing policies, it’s the mark of even larger nerd wars to come. Just know them and use them to strengthen your contributions in the first place.

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Wikipedia can be a scary place for new comers when arguments start on talk pages. If you keep in mind everyone is trying to improve the site as a resource and that you yourself have a clear bias, then things will be a bit easier.

Questions? Post them below.

 

Find me on Twitter, or at David44357@gmail.com

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Post Author

David King is the founder of Ethical Wiki, a professional services organization that helps companies improve Wikipedia ethically by offering content, requesting corrections and discussing controversies. Learn more at ethicalwiki.com or read our eBook on Wikipedia & marketing....