In November, the Lovell Communications blog identified the inability of companies to edit their own Wikipedia pages as one of the biggest risks of having your business listed in the ubiquitous crowd-sourced online encyclopedia. Fearing that posts will become biased, Wikipedia does not allow any business – or any organization or consultant working for that business – to make changes to its page due to perceived conflicts of interest (COI).
An unfortunate side effect of that policy is that posts often contain outdated or incorrect information that PR pros cannot correct. Basically, they can recommend to Wikipedia that the page be edited and then cross their fingers.
Frustrated with that often dead-end process for removing erroneous Wikipedia information, Edelman's Phil Gomes has launched a Facebook group called “Corporate Representatives for Ethical Wikipedia Engagement” or CREWE. According to a Forbes story earlier this month, the group is looking to engage Wikipedia in a discussion about “how communications professionals and the Wikipedia community can/must work together.”
At the time of the Forbes piece, CREWE had 72 members. A week later, it was tracking above 110 members – including industry scribe Jack O’Dwyer, a smattering of Edelman employees, and even Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
Although joining the group requires an invite or approval from an administrator, any Facebook member can get a taste of the group’s work by browsing its Facebook wall, where posts are frequent. For example, at the time this post was written, the CREWE wall prominently featured a working document titled “Examples of unpublished COI Suggested Edits that followed Wikipedia Guidelines.”
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