Wikipedia: Best Practices to change your company’s page
Wikipedia, a free content Internet encyclopedia that allows anyone to edit pages, has grown in influence over the years. With its 450 million monthly visitors accessing more than 20 billion pages, Wikipedia is the most important reference website, following Google.
However, because anyone can edit or contribute to any Wikipedia page in real time, articles may contain inaccuracies, biases or irrelevant information until another editor finds the errors. However, Wikipedia rules and regulations prevent someone with a bias, like being employed at the company, from editing pages.
This presents a major dilemma for public relations professionals who frequently fell helpless in managing their company’s image on one of the world’s largest websites. While it may be tempting to make changes to a page, this subjects them to a possible lawsuit and violates Wikipedia guidelines.
So how can businesses get around this? We talked with our Worldcom PR Group partners and compiled the following recommendations in order to manage and maintain an up-to-date, accurate Wikipedia page.
Using the “Talk” Section
The only way for a business to edit its own page, in accordance with guidelines, is to make suggestions to the “Talk” portion of a page. This option gives Wikipedia editors the chance to review changes. There are no guarantees that they will be incorporated, and it can take time to see any changes reflected, but it is currently the best option for companies.
When using the “Talk” section, be sure to announce your role, affiliation or bias as a “Talk” page contributor. Be sure to use your real name as well. Clearly outline the proposed changes and the reasons for the suggested edits. It is important to be as unbiased and factual as possible to increase the likelihood of a Wikipedia editor accepting and making the edits.
Sourcing is key
Backing statements up by reliable sources such as books, articles, online newspapers always adds to accuracy. Constant review, monitoring and editing is needed for a Wikipedia page.
What if an editor disagrees with you?
If a Wikipedia editor disagrees with you, it is advised that you decide whether you are “right” and whether it is worth escalating the matter. You may find that it will be more constructive to modify your suggestion. If you believe you are right, however, Wikipedia does have forums to deal with such issues, including “Requests for comment” and “Third opinion”.
We hope you find these recommendations valuable. Please do not hesitate to share your experience with Wikipedia.