This week the CIPR published its guidance on editing Wikipedia pages on behalf of clients or employers, or in the language used in the text where there is a ‘conflict of interest’. Here’s the press release and here’s the PDF document. PR Week’s summary is simple and the advice is clear:
The guidance states that PROs should not directly edit Wikipedia pages relating to their organisation or a client, but should instead suggest amendments to Wikipedia editors.
I believe the guidance document is an essential step in helping practitioners (whether CIPR members or not) gain better understanding of Wikipedia – the community itself as well as how the content creation and editing procedures work. It makes clear sense to better understand a community whose content you want to contribute to in some way, and engage with those in that community on the terms of engagement of that community.
The very nature of PR means we sometimes need to join in with other people’s games, be those games journalism, user generated content or real world events. But ultimately the Wikipedia guidance serves as another reminder that when, as PRs, we play other people’s games, we must play by their rules.
(Disclosure: the Wikimedia Foundation is a past short-term client of mine.)