Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and PR people


Last week’s PR Week magazine (UK) features an article about Jimmy Wales, head honcho at Wikipedia, threatening to ban PR agencies and paid PR professionals from editing Wikipedia if they continue to edit entries about clients.

Simon and Stuart have posted their thoughts on this. I completely agree with Stuart and Simon’s posts and most of the comments to Stuart’s post too.

I understand what Jimmy Wales is trying to do here, but his threat is based on a flawed assumption, namely that money is the sole negative motive for posting content on Wikipedia that doesn’t meet its requirements for quality, including neutral point of view.

There are plenty of motivations for posting inaccurate or misleading content as well as money. Equally most PR people who are posting as part of their job won’t have a negative motivation – they’ll be doing it to promote an accurate impression of their employer or client.

I think it’s a damning generalisation to slur an entire profession by suggesting that, simply because they’re being paid, they can’t edit content to the community’s standards.

I would have no hesitation to edit content on behalf of a client or employer. As someone paid to manage reputation it would be my job to do so, within the accepted bounds of the space in which I am managing that reputation.