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PR firm accused of editing Wikipedia for government clients; can Wikipedia predict the stock market?

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By Go Phightins!

PR firm accused of editing Wikipedia for government clients

An article published on May 10 on written by Greg Hazley documented a "sparring match" between Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and public relations firm Qorvis partner Matt Lauer. Lauer, who is not related to the Matt Lauer of the US' Today show, disputes Wikipedia's guideline discouraging public relations firms from editing articles on their clients, saying "This inane policy would violate the basic tenets of even the most partisan of small-town newspapers or the most crooked court rooms. This dangerous policy violates the fundamental rules of reporting, of debate, and of discussion." Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Templates/Paid editing Wales responded via Twitter, saying "Your complaints are deeply dishonest to the point of being embarrassing."

Lauer's firm, Qorvis, created several sockpuppets to try to "whitewash" the pages of his clients. There was a thread about this on Wales' Wikipedia talk page regarding Qorvis in February which referenced a sockpuppet investigation into the matter. When it was confirmed, Wales suggested to Lauer that his clients should fire him for his misuse of Wikipedia.

A previous article in the Daily Dot detailed some of Wikipedia's "voluminous" evidence against Qorvis—though Lauer denies that it is true—and continued to slam Lauer:

The O'Dwyer article concludes with a comment from Wales stating that in his experience, which he describes as "comprehensive", people who are paid representatives are bad editors who insert biased information and that they do it because "that is what paid advocates do." Still, despite Wales' strong words, Wikipedia's conflict of interest and paid editing guidelines are purposely vague, and attempts to strengthen or weaken them have faced strong resistance.

Can Wikipedia predict the stock market?

A report conducted by researchers at the Warwick Business School has concluded that a trading strategy based on the frequency of views would have yielded up to a 141 per cent improvement over a random strategy. IT Business of Canada wrote about the report. Their article commented that:

The report found that using Wikipedia from late 2007 to 2012 may have "provided some insight" into how the market was going to perform, but said that no such relationship exists between views of Wikipedia articles on actors and filmmakers.

The report can be viewed in its entirety via here.

In brief

Tom Waterhouse, seen here with his wife in 2011, was the subject of a news story this week revolving around his staff's alleged edits to his Wikipedia article.
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  • I'm a bit surprised to see the Rachel Johnson problem being described as a "minor mistake", and that Johnson's own coverage of the issue wasn't mentioned. The mistake she removed included vandalism claiming that she had never completed her degree. She also made some other innocuous updates, [1], but the vandalism that was a genuine problem, and had sat in the article for over a month. [2]. It wasn't corrected until five days later, when an IP used Johnson's article as the source. [3] OrangeMike erred in reinserting the vandalism, and using a templated warning that wasn't really appropriate on her talk page. While Johnson's edits weren't fully in keeping with the COI policy, and thus warranted a talk page message, they were NPOV, and removing vandalism is specifically permitted under the policy. - Bilby (talk) 04:51, 16 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks Bilby, I had the same suspicion when I read that snippet and was about to dig into the diffs and now see your clarification - thanks for posting! I am also very keen to see the content of that "templated warning" and specifically, I would like to know if it directs such users to our "ombudsman" or some other venue where they can post their request for corrections. It's not fair that only people who have a public forum are able to force "Wikipedia" to move, and that others not so fortunate to be able to air their grief in a public arena must wait patiently for weeks, months or years until their "talk page message" is read and acted upon. Jane (talk) 06:18, 16 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
The warning is here. The difficulty is that it is mostly a warning against creating an autobiography, which doesn't apply. About half way through it mentions suggesting changes on a talk page, which is the only point that was relevant. The problem is that the standard warning for biographical COI edits seems to be directed at creating pages, rather than making edits. This is one of those cases where a personal comment would have been more useful than the template, because the template is too generic. - Bilby (talk) 06:32, 16 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for that too! Though I can sympathize with Orange Mike's desire to use a template for such COI violations as personal messages take much more energy when on recent-edit-patrol, I do think that such a template should go to some basic COI landing page where the user can look up where to go for help. I noticed for example, that the term "talk page" isn't even explained in that template. Jane (talk) 09:05, 16 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I've fixed it. From Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/About, "post-publication edits such as grammatical and spelling corrections to articles are welcome" -- John of Reading (talk) 07:09, 16 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Hatnote Recent Changes Map

The Hatnote Recent Changes Map (Hatnote Recent Changes Map) reminded me of Wikipediavision (WikipediaVision (beta)).

Wavelength (talk) 19:17, 16 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]


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