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Signpost poll
Do you believe that the Orangemoody disclosure warrants the strengthening of page creation controls on the English Wikipedia?
  Yes (75%; 62 votes)
  No (25%; 21 votes)
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Discuss this story

  • I'm gonna be honest. I was sort of expecting another big controversy to happen to Wikipedia. Guess I got what I asked. Though I must say this is certainly one of the most interesting things to happen here. I'm not at all a fan of paid editing but I sure as heck can't wait to see how this will develop. GamerPro64 23:40, 3 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I find some of the notability criteria we've established to be rather poor. Those for businesses and business people are just a prime example. I think that unless a topic or subject meets WP:GNG then it should risk deletion (doesn't mean definitely delete, but it should be worthy of discussion). All other notability criteria should just be guidelines on what we'd reasonably expect to meet GNG, rather than saying "GNG doesn't matter because it meets our topic-specific notability criteria XYZ". If two independent sources can't be found that actually discuss a subject in some detail, how can we expect to write an encyclopaedia article about them without conducting original research? And if no one has bothered to write anything substantial about a subject, why are we assuming that it's important enough for users of our site to want to read about it? -- Shudde talk 23:48, 3 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • When did this conspiracy been - and how long has it been operating undetected? - kosboot (talk) 00:07, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • The issue is likely ongoing. I have no illusions that us blocking nearly 400 of their accounts has stopped it. Not sure if the accounts promoting radiofrequency ablation are related but possibly.[1] Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:01, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
      • That's... bad. I guess more hands are needed on deck. -- Luk talk 10:10, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Wow. This was eye opening, to say the least. TomStar81 (Talk) 01:09, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • The cookies suggested in proposals T5233 and T106930 would be malware and installing them on someone's computer (and thereby harming him) would probably be criminal. Find another method! JRSpriggs (talk) 01:43, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • Malware is defined as "software used to disrupt computer operation, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems". The article about malware doesn't even mention cookies, which isn't surprising, since they don't meet the definition of malware. And if installing cookies were criminal, virtually every Internet company would be under indictment.-- John Broughton (♫♫) 02:37, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • While our business coverage has improved, it suffers from recentism. Significant entities have in the past been merged to the company that takes them over, destroying content and creating a systemically biased coverage. It's certainly not true that it is easy to pass GNG for most small businesses. A lot of sources do not meet the GNG requirements for independence.
  • I have had trouble with the image which my browser claims has errors and Gimp will not load.
  • The Independent article on this subject describes three sources "Wikipedia" , "A Wikipedia spokesman" and "A Wikipedia insider." Who are they?

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 02:05, 4 September 2015 (UTC).[reply]

  • I would like to thank the team of volunteers and WMF staff that investigated this matter and helped to resolve it. It's often thankless work so I'm glad it's receiving some attention. Mkdwtalk 02:58, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • I am not surprised. Go to any business-related category: it's spammed by businesses that fail WP:NCOMPANY. In my op-ed few month ago I asked for community help: creation of a project where members would review and try to delete few such spam-entries per day. I got not a single reply. We continue drowning in spam :( --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| reply here 03:46, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Serious action needs to be taken. Every 3-6 months there is another paid editing scandal, and there will continue to be paid editing scandals on a regular basis until we take serious action. There are currently 21 proposed steps at User:Doc James/Paid editing. Editors can select from this menu what steps they think are appropriate and add their own proposals. The actions do need to go beyond what regular editors can do. Admins and ArbCom need to take notice of the problem and commit themselves to doing something about it. The WMF needs to review their policies and enforcement mechanisms. I believe a "hotline" email account has been set up to report suspected fraud by paid editors in the Orangemoody case, this needs to be made permanent and apply to any paid editing fraud. Smallbones(smalltalk) 15:15, 4 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Wikipedia is not doing enough to inform all potential "victims" of such "edit for pay" scams. Many businesses don't realize that Wikipedia is a free encyclopedia that asks for no payments whatsoever for its articles. We simply don't do enough effort to highlight this fact to all potential businesses. As far as I am concerned, this should be plastered on all our pages: "Wikipedia does not solicit any payment whatsoever for its edited pages. Please report any attempt by our editors that ask for monetary remuneration for their edits". Meanwhile in defence of potential enterprises that have actually contemplated to pay for inclusion in Wikipedia: Let's just be fair and logical at least in this instance... Businesses just know that being listed as a Wikipedia stand-alone article is valuable, and that such presence has its own "monetary value". The Wikipedia entry will list high on Google and Bing searches, it will give at least a reasonable presentation of what they do, create interest about the company, its history and range of services it provides, the article will be developed further and updated by other editors during time, have the ripple effect resulting in parts of the article or the whole article being listed elsewhere as well, plus the all important link to the business in the convenient infobox, the display of the company logo and identity for free, and the "external links" section leading to the company's website. And since there are many restrictions on insider editing and COI concerns, and all businesses do know that editing requires certain expertise and needs time and effort evaluated by a certain sum based on an hourly rate, some will be ready to pay certain sums for an "independent unrelated editor" to do edits and launch the page for them. If you go to any shopping outlet that requires service to customers, you do know for sure that the individual serving you on the counter is paid for every hour he or she puts in. It is only an organization like Wikipedia who assures that its service providers (meaning its editors) will do the work for free for ever and ever just for the love of it. I guess Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger, very very savvy individuals, exactly knew from the outset what they were doing in launching such a website, and that they could successfully entice editors for a while to work for this "cause" of "free knowledge" for "free". How neat and convenient, isn't it? Bravo. Wales and Sanger did know, that when editors eventually realize this and leave after a while simply getting fed up with the refusal to be given remuneration for their time for the organization, new editors would show up and on and on like this. This is a sure model for a non-ending stream of "free workers" but is a flawed model as the Wikipedia editors sooner or later will realize they are being sucked in into a system of abuse. So if one orders a bar of chocolate or a refreshment drink from a convenience store, the guy selling him the product on the counter gets paid for it a cent or two for his 5-10 second service. No single individual would work in a convenience store for a single minute if he/she was not paid. The same for any other work he does. But if that same individual went home and signed in to his Wikipedia user account, put in say 10-20-30 hours of research to successfully launch and upkeep a full developed page about a multi-million dollar selling business, he gets zilch, not even a "thank you" note. So some businesses will logically continue on paying sums to "paid hands" for such work. Wikipedia is so intransigent it even refuses to take any advertisement to nominally pay to its long-established editors depending instead on a never-ending stream of free workers called Wikipedia editors. Plus creating an atmosphere of constant bickering and harassment by other colleagues, rendering it no fun at all if you are targetted. I personally avoid any confrontation myself. If addressed personally on one of my edits, or when confronted with a deletion, I do one brief attempt in my own defense to save the article or the edit and I'm gone. Let them do whatever they want with the article I just created or the edit I made. I go on to other articles and other edits. There is plenty to go by. And to hell with that specific article. Some editors, and I consider me as one of those, is just "too addicted" to leave. I can't contemplate a day in which I don't edit some content to the detriment of many other important things I could have done instead. An advice to editors who want to make some money: Asking for payment for work on Wikipedia from Wikipedia organization or from various businesses is futile. Sooner or later you will know better. Just do things for fun. And instead, please do seriously consider quitting serving of Wikipedia for years for absolutely free, and go behind the counter of a convenience store and sell chocolates and refreshments instead and the convenience store wuill surely pay you for every minute you pitched in. Or better, specialize on something and develop yourself in that chosen field. If you love writing, write a book instead. Become a publicist of a company or business. Unlike Wikipedia. you'll get paid by your employer for the effort you put in for his business. If you do end up in a convenience store instead, at least many many customers will say a "thank you" to you and brighten up your day. Plus you'll get enough money to survive and pay your rent. I'm not saying quit on this "free" Wikipedia altogether. Please do come from time to time and continue to contribute to this "free world knowledge" with some of your really, and I emphasize, really "free" time... for free. werldwayd (talk) 20:22, 4 September 2015 (UTC) werldwayd (talk) 13:58, 5 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • Well, cannot say I agree with most of this (you apparently have never worked in retail if you think most customers will give you a nice thankyou :-)     ... but I do agree with the first sentence. We need to do more, to let companies know that they **CAN** have their employees **HELP** edit wikipedia pages about the company/products/founders/etc. We don't have info on the login-page, that says "create ONE username PER human and DO NOT create a username that is your WP:CORPNAME" ... so there are a lot of procedural blocks for exactly that wiki-violation. We don't have info, right next to the save-button on BLP-articles and company-articles, "if YOU are financially connected to the SUBJECT of this article please make an {{edit request}} on the TALKPAGE rather than directly editing the article, please see WP:TEAHOUSE or #wikipedia-en-help connect should you get stuck or have concerns". Part of the reason that the bad-apple-orangemoody-socks were successful, is that the good-apple victims were unable to figure out the wiki-policies, and simply did not know that being approached off-wiki for cash was not-wiki-kosher. Agree that we need to have some kind of messages, in obvious-hard-to-miss-places, which say "this is the encyclopedia anybody can edit, if somebody demands you pay cash, don't feel you have to fess up." (talk) 12:41, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • First of all, hats off to those who stopped this gang. This shows that, while the "bad guys" are getting more sophisticated, so are the good ones. Now, regarding the article comment that "there's little to stop this individual or group of individuals from regrouping and returning", isn't that contradictory with the claim that their acts may have constituted extortion? Shouldn't law enforcement agencies in the affected countries (US, UK...) be expected to take action? --Hispalois (talk) 00:24, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • You are correct that it is contradictory... but I think that the correct conclusion, is that we ought not be making such strong claims, until and unless actual real-world legal investigations (as opposed to virtual-internet on-wiki "sting ops") are actually a thing. It is better to describe orangeMoody as exactly what it was: checkuser-confirmed socking, ToU violations in many cases, WP:COPYVIO in many cases, and in at least a few cases "unconfirmed" (aka not-yet-convicted-in-a-court-of-law) allegations of off-wiki demands for cash, plus in even fewer cases, on-wiki indications that collusion to delete material when payment was not forthcoming did occur. We don't have to characterize those exact behaviors further, by using shorthand legalese that might do more harm to the 'pedia than good. The correct shorthand is "orangemoody socks" or maybe "orangemoody undisclosed paid editors" (aka alleged ToU violators) and in some cases "orangemoody copyvio instances" (aka alleged DMCA violators). Very much not the same thing as saying, without citing a judge's final court-transcript, "orangemoody blackmailers/extorters/shakedowns/racketeers/wikiMafia/etc" ... because the latter sort of language has real-world connotations, whereas the former is less risky from a CYA perspective. We should be precise in our language; we don't need to pull punches, but hyperbole is not helpful. (talk) 13:01, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Speak to any inexperienced New Page Patroller, - of whom there are far too many - ask them how big the paid-advocacy problem is, and they'll likely answer with "What's paid advocacy?"
NE Ent's accurate comment that basically suggests that the WMF wants to keep its cake and eat it is typical of they way they often put their collective foot in their mouth like they did with their refusal of ACTRIAL four years ago when the community reached a consensus by an overwhelming majority to require new users to be at least autoconfirmed before they can create articles. Even if it had been enacted, that measure would already be a joke by today's level of problems. Well, since there is now a whole herd of new feet traipsing the corridors in SF, perhaps OrangeMoody will be the required kneejerk.
Contrary to assumptions that 'Good-faith page patrollers, are caught in the middle, risking being branded as deletionists if they tag too many articles as of questionable notability', most of our experienced patrollers won't have problems like these. The unqualified newbies, however, testing their curation tools for which they don't even need a drivers licence, don't care and haven't even read the instructions at WP:NPP, WP:CURATION, and WP:DELETION and as long as the community continues to repel any attempts to tighten up adminship, page patrolling, AfC, or notability criteria, I don't see much chance for progess.
NPP is our only official firewall against unwanted new pages among the 1,000 or so that arrive each day, but it still a joke in spite of the excellent suite of tools that has been put at the hands of the patrollers. AfC, a project and which is just a social gathering by comparison, requires qualifications, while the essential process of New Page Patrol has none and desperately needs to be brought into line with all those little minor rights that are the joy of the hat collectors who have to go through WP:PERM. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 04:04, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Kudpung, the problem with the orangeMoody scheme, was that AfC has too few selfsame guardians. The typical mode of operation for the orangeMoody socks, that I can tell, was this: find an AfC decline, copyvio the draft-article to a new location (usually mainspace-visible), contact the article-subject offwiki to arrange cash-payment. By the time somebody from AfC circled back to the *original* draft by the good-apple victim, ten days later (or however backlogged the AfC queue was at the time), it was usually too late. I realize that there is no silver bullet here, but I think that to properly defend against future hypothetical orangeMoody-type violations, it would help if the AfC reviewers would create WP:VALIDALT usernames which have something standardized like User:Kudpung_(AfC_reviewer) right in the username. (This could also be done with mere sigs, User:Kudpung_(AfC_reviewer), but that's not as auditable.) Thataway, when User:BadSpaSock54321 comes along to hijack the good-apple's AfC draft-article, maybe they'll be clued into the fact that User:BadSpaSock54321 isn't an "official" queue-reviewer? Also, suggest that we modify the AfC template-boilerplate, so that it specifically says, "if somebody contacts you off-wiki about this draft-article (via telephone or email) demanding payment or making threats or claiming to be a wikipedia official, please contact your friendly neighborhood-wiki-watch at" or something along those lines. It will also maybe help, if the first AfC reviewer (or perhaps the first AfC commenter?) would have a usertalk conversation with the draft-article-author, explaining the basics of the AfC process, and pointing the beginners to WP:Q and such places, so as to be an 'official' point-of-contact. I understand that some of these suggestions are additional work, or that they risk making AfC into a more-bureaucratic-place than needed, but I think we need to take a little thought to security-related-measures, to avoid bad-apples that drop into AfC unannounced, impersonating good-faith-wikipedians on-wiki whilst demanding cash off-wiki. (talk) 12:32, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you. We know all this. That's why a consensus was reached some while ago to deprecate AfC and replace it with something better. It just hasn't been enacted yet. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 12:39, 6 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Maybe I'm missing something, but given the fraud and extortion involved in this particular case, shouldn't someone get law enforcement involved in trying to track down the perpetrators in real life? I mean, victims were contacted and money changed hands. That money had to be sent somewhere; probably in the form of checks or credit/debit cards. Follow the money and you'll find the perps. (And possibly uncover a money laundering operation of the sort that tricks unemployed people with "work from home" scams too.) ~ ONUnicorn(Talk|Contribs)problem solving 13:41, 8 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
    • Checkuser data doesn't reveal a full legal name. Also, there are only allegations of money changing hands. See full answer above.[2] We should be careful about how we describe these things on-wiki. Agree that getting cops involved is a good idea; with any luck, that is occurring, via WMF one would presume. But almost certainly, the details of how that is happening, and the status of any such effort, will not be made public until they have something concrete to tell us. (talk) 16:01, 9 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Congratulations to the team for tracking down this behavior pattern. I have to suspect though that the financial incentive will lead to more such activities, while also resulting in tactics that make it harder to detect. This may be the start of an "arms" race. Praemonitus (talk) 18:29, 9 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • More congratulations to the team who uncovered this. I began following the article Angie's List after I saw an article in the New York Times concerning an unhappy customer experience. Because of this company's poor reputation (I would characterize them as legal thieves), that article regularly gets edited (probably by employees or stock holders) and then either reverted or revised. IDEA: What if more editors "adopted" articles like this, as an initial attempt to deal with unethical editing? - kosboot (talk) 16:52, 11 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]
  • Very poor coverage. It is not at all clear from the above article as to who actually reported this supposed "gang" of evil-doers. Was it a press release from the Wikimedia Foundation, and, if so, then that does not bode very well for the accuracy or the neutrality of the piece. Any good reporter would try to get both sides of any given issue. Was any attempt made to interview the real editors who are accused in this piece? It seems as if they were simply banned from Wikipedia; is that true? And, if it is, how will we ever get their sides of the story? All this is very suspicious to me and raises all kinds of warning flags because I have BeenAroundAWhile (talk) 18:59, 12 September 2015 (UTC)[reply]

To help find your way around coverage of this event:

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 17:30, 14 September 2015 (UTC).[reply]


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