10 Yetis Insight Blog: PRs and Wikipedia- What You Need to Know
The lovely lot at the CIPR have been helping us Public Relations folk out once again, this time publishing guidelines and advice on what is historically a tricky subject: PR's relationship with Wikipedia.
The presence of Wikipedia, along with our role of managing reputation for our clients, often makes the two worlds collide; with those in the PR profession wanting to (quite rightfully) ensure that everything relating to clients presented on the Wikipedia site is correct. As it stands, anyone can edit a Wikipedia page, with over 100,000 dedicated 'Wikipedians' who regularly contribute content to the site. As such, there's particular reference to what's known as the "dark arts" of PR in relation to Wikipedia posts, pointing to dedicated pages that have been manipulated by a PRO in favour of a person or organisation, and have subsequently grabbed the attention of the headlines. (I won't link to them as no agency deserves a public kicking- but a quick Google search will throw a few up for you)
The CIPR have therefore drawn up 'best practice guidelines' based on those already discussed by Wikipedians (as they're commonly known), guiding PR professionals on the best way to maintain good conduct when using Wikipedia. The full Best Practice Guidelines are available from the CIPR in a handy PDF here, but we've gone through them to give you a (very) brief summary of some of the main points for consideration:
- Despite being free to edit by anyone, PR professionals should not edit articles about their clients, employer, related brands or issues, or any competitors. This boils down to the simple fact that, as managers of reputation, we have a vested interest in how things are presented; therefore making a neutral point of view extremely difficult to achieve.
- Should anything be incorrect or unbalanced on a Wikipedia page, PRs should take up the issue with one of Wikipedia's regular contributors via the 'talk' pages. Issues can therefore be flagged by an impartial party, and correct action taken. Problems or 'vandalism' of a page need to be reported correctly to Wikipedia editors, and shouldn't be dealt with yourself.
- Wikipedia is essentially an online encyclopaedia, and therefore all content should be that of quality and fact. It's not a social media site, and any content added needs to be seriously considered in terms of its value. All content has to be backed up by a reliable source and 'opinion pieces' can't be published- it's all about the facts people!
As I said, a very brief summary, and full information and the opportunity to contribute to discussion on Wikipedia Best Practice for PRs can also be found here.
As always, any comments you have about PR and Wikipedia, please feel free to pop below..
|Emma Kent posted on 27/06/2012.|