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Organizations FAQ

The fact that anyone can edit Wikipedia means that it attracts public-relations professionals, as well as employees and supporters of a variety of organizations – from businesses to government agencies, the military and non-profits – who may decide to edit pages about their organizations. Such employees, as well as individuals who seek to edit articles about themselves or friends, have a conflict of interest.

This FAQ is about Wikipedia's approach to conflicts of interest.

Can I pay someone to write an article about me or my organization?

If you have been contacted by someone who proposes writing an article, it's probably a scam. Look out for lies such as "recommended by The New York Times" or claims that they pay Wikipedia administrators. (Our administrators are volunteers, just like all other editors.) These articles – assuming the scammer submits anything at all – tend to be poorly written, reflect badly on your organization, and end up deleted by Wikipedia's administrators within a few weeks.

Do I have to disclose my relationship with my organization?

If you are paid to edit Wikipedia, you must disclose your conflict of interest on your user pages and on the talk page of the article in question. Editors who are not paid to edit to Wikipedia, but have a different kind of conflict of interest, should also disclose their conflict of interest]].
You may request changes or make suggestions on talk pages. Using the template {{Request edit}} will help draw attention to the request.
This is required to comply with the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use. The Terms of Use were updated in 2014 with the following section:

Paid contributions without disclosure

These Terms of Use prohibit engaging in deceptive activities, including misrepresentation of affiliation, impersonation, and fraud. As part of these obligations, you must disclose your employer, client, and affiliation with respect to any contribution for which you receive, or expect to receive, compensation. You must make that disclosure in at least one of the following ways:

  • a statement on your user page,
  • a statement on the talk page accompanying any paid contributions, or
  • a statement in the edit summary accompanying any paid contributions.

Applicable law, or community and Foundation policies and guidelines, such as those addressing conflicts of interest, may further limit paid contributions or require more detailed disclosure.

May I advertise my organization or its campaigns, clients, products, services or leading individuals on Wikipedia?

No. Wikipedia is not a place for you to promote for your services, products or to promote any other cause. While a list of the notable services your organization provides might be appropriate, such a list should only include those that are necessary to adequately describe the organization. Our policy on neutral point of view mandates that promotional material and advertising be removed. Advertising may be in addition considered spam and will likely lead to a block or even a banning.

Am I allowed to edit articles about myself or my organization?

Not directly. If you feel that there is material within an existing article which is incorrect or not neutral, please point this out on the article's talk page. Likewise, if you have content which you think should be added, please discuss this on the talk page. Using the template {{Request edit}} will help draw attention to your request.

Do these rules apply when the organization is not for profit?

Yes. We make no distinction between for-profit and non-profit companies.

Can you "lock" an article so that it stays on my preferred text, or so that only certain people can update it?

No. We can protect articles to halt vandalism or a content dispute, but both our neutral point of view and page protection policies prevent administrators from using the tool to enforce a particular version. Also, nobody owns any article in Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a vanity press, and "official" descriptions and biographies do not belong here.

What rules should I follow while editing?

Avoid editing articles relating to your organization entirely, because of the conflict of interest. You can make suggestions on the talk page, or request edits using the {{request edit}} template. If you get involved in the talk page, please announce your conflict of interest there. You can use the {{connected contributor}} template for a general COI, and the {{connected contributor (paid)}} template if you are being paid for your contributions. Any edit requests must follow Wikipedia's content policies, particularly:
  • Verifiability: Content that is added must be published by a reliable source. This means a third-party source – for most content, your company website does not count as a source. You need to avoid original research. This means that information that is included must have been published by someone other than yourself (or your company).
  • Neutral point of view: Wikipedia strives to keep the tone of its articles neutral. Both favorable and unfavorable information may be included, but advertising is not permitted and neither are attacks. If you can quote the opinions of relevant authoritative sources, please do so, but disproportionately favoring one viewpoint is not allowed; such edits will be removed and will most likely lead to a block if you are editing under a conflict of interest.

Why doesn't Wikipedia have an article on my organization?

Many people see that a similar organization, campaign, product, or service has an article and assume their organization is also entitled to an article. However, writing an article about yourself or your organization creates a conflict of interest (see above), and such articles are often deleted. Note that Wikipedia is not a directory of all companies.
Wikipedia requires significant coverage in multiple independent sources for articles on organizations and companies per Wikipedia:Notability (organizations and companies). You might choose to add to your own website a comprehensive list of any independent reliable sources, such as newspaper articles, which have been published about your organization. Such a list can help Wikipedia understand why you think your organization is notable.

My organization deserves an article on Wikipedia, but none exists. What can I do?

First, see the question directly above this one. If you believe your organization is notable enough to deserve an article, the best thing to do is to create a draft and provide any useful sources in the draft. Specifically:
  1. On your user page, disclose your relationship to the organization.
  2. Find a number of independent reliable sources that have substantial information about the topic and provide links to them in the request. Your own organization's material about itself does not count as such a source.
  3. Create a draft. You may choose to do this through the Wikipedia:Article wizard.
  4. Make sure the draft follows the guidance in Help:Your first article.
  5. Submit the draft. If accepted, your draft will now be one of Wikipedia's articles. Congratulations! If it has been rejected, make sure to follow the guidance given by the decliner to improve the draft to Wikipedia's standards.
Note that starting new articles is one of the hardest tasks to do on Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a lot of policies and guidelines that are not very obvious and may trip you up. We delete many articles from Wikipedia every day. A gentler introduction to Wikipedia is to begin by making small edits to existing articles, to gain experience and understanding before adding new articles. See our Wikipedia:Cleanup and Wikipedia:Maintenance pages for lists of articles that need work. You may also request adoption by an experienced user who will help you learn to edit here. If you can find a similar organization that already has an article about it, then examine its style and tone and use that as a model for building your article.

My organization's article has been nominated for deletion and I think it should be kept. What can I do?

The most reliable method of convincing people that an article should be kept is to provide a list of multiple independent, third-party reliable sources that describe the subject in detail, such as newspaper articles or critical reviews. Sources do not have to be available online or for free, but they must say more than one or two sentences about the company or product, and they must not have been connected to your company.
Some things to take note are:
  • Avoid comments like "I like it" or "But it's a really good company".
  • Please don't try to subvert the discussion by creating multiple accounts to comment from or getting other people to do that for you. This practice is known as sockpuppeting, and will result in you being blocked.
  • Consider writing about your organization on another wiki which specializes in information about your type of organization. Specialized wikis often accept a wider range of articles in their subject specialty than Wikipedia does. If your company has a local or regional presence, look for a City wiki in your locality. City wikis generally accept articles about every local organization, with far less concern for notability. You may find a list of specialized wikis at Wikipedia:Alternative outlets.

This article is an attack on me/my organization. What can I do?

Your first step should be going to the article's talk page. If you feel that the article contains unnecessary attacks or unreliable information for the purpose of portraying your organization in a negative light, please explain why and discuss it with other Wikipedians. Don't misrepresent who you are on a talk page. Openness and transparency will give you more credibility. Say that you represent the organization, calmly and politely present information that makes your case along with citations that back them up. Don't try to spin the facts, it will just lessen your credibility. If you are requesting a change to the article, using the template {{Request edit}} will help draw attention to the conversation.
If this yields no response, or if you feel that the response is unsatisfactory, you have several options.
  • If a claim in the article is questionable and not supported by a cited reliable source then it may be challenged by anyone. You can put a {{fact}}, {{Verify credibility}}, {{Verify source}}, or {{Failed verification}} tag beside it to request a citation or question the source. If the tag has remained there for several days, you can remove the claim.
  • If unsourced information about an organization or person is especially libelous, Wikipedia policy is "to delete libelous material when it has been identified." You may remove the material and leave a note as to why on the article's talk page.
  • If an article contains non-libelous but derogatory information about a living person that is not substantiated by a reliable source, this is a violation of Wikipedia's "biography of living persons" policy. You can ask for help at the biography of living persons noticeboard.
  • If you believe editors are trying to make your organization look bad, you might ask for another opinion at the neutral point of view noticeboard. If you have evidence editors are involved with an opposing organization, post a note to the conflict of interest noticeboard.
  • If the entire article is libel attacking a person or organization, and you have examined the history of the offending page and found nothing but unsourced attacks, this is considered an "attack page." Add the code {{Db-attack}} (include the braces) to the top of the page. An administrator will then examine the page in question and delete it if they agree with you that the article is nothing but attacks.
What you should not do is engage in edit wars with other users. If you perform a change and somebody else reverses you, don't simply put the change back. Instead go to the article's talk page and create a topic about it, making your argument. Escalating conflict will not help. We don't allow this and if you do this you may end up being blocked.
Above all, do not make legal threats on Wikipedia. If you do, you will be blocked until the threat is withdrawn or the legal action is resolved.

Can I add a link to my organization's website?

If your organization's article does not contain a link to your official website, you are welcome to add one.
However, you should avoid adding other External links to your or your organization's website. If the link is relevant, helpful and informative and should otherwise be included, please consider mentioning it on the talk page and let neutral and independent Wikipedia editors decide whether to add it. Whilst it may be tempting to linkspam, editors often notice and will remove them. Persistent linkspammers are usually blocked and may have their website(s) added to the Wikimedia spam blacklist.
It is important to understand that our blacklist is public, and many website operators use this list for their own websites, so if you end up on our blacklist other websites who use this list may block your link as well.

Can my organization have an account?

It is against our policy for two or more people to share an account. If there is evidence that an account is being shared, it will be blocked.
Usernames that match your organization's name or website name (e.g. "Widgets Company") are usually viewed as inappropriate under Wikipedia's username policy. Instead, please have your organization's representative register an individual account (include your company name, e.g. "Mark at Widgets Company") and declare the affiliation on the account's user page.

What materials can I upload? What do I need to know about the CC BY-SA license?

Public relations agents often copy and paste content from organizations' websites into their Wikipedia articles. Please be aware that all text on Wikipedia is and must be explicitly licensed under the CC BY-SA at its original point of publication, and almost all images must be under a free license. Additions to Wikipedia that do not fall under such licenses will be removed.
The CC BY-SA and other free licenses mean that other people can take your contributions and modify them however they see fit. You are welcome to upload images, diagrams, logos and other media, and will receive a warm welcome if you license them freely. However, images that are overly promotional may be deleted.
Be aware that PR copy is almost always inappropriate in tone for Wikipedia, even if released for use under the CC BY-SA. The tone of a Wikipedia article must always be neutral, but promotional materials have an inherently non-neutral tone. Use of peacock terms common in PR, such as "innovative" and "exciting", contravene Wikipedia's Manual of Style and are often deleted. Content added to Wikipedia will almost always have to be written specifically for Wikipedia—by somebody other than your PR agent. If your PR agent adds promotional material to Wikipedia for you without disclosing their professional relationship, that's astroturfing and will be removed.

Can I use Wikipedia as an organizational wiki?

You may download the MediaWiki software for free, the same software which powers Wikipedia, and set up your own corporate wiki. There are also many other wiki software packages, some of which may better meet the needs of your organization. For more information, see: b:Starting and Running a Wiki Website, mw:Manual:Installation guide, and mw:Manual:Wiki on a stick.

See also

More FAQ topics