Wikipedia 101 for PR pros and brand watchdogs

A primer about editing or contributing to the online community encyclopedia.

A primer about editing or contributing to the online community encyclopedia

PR professionals have seen the clout of Wikipedia grow, and it is time we get acquainted with the rules of engagement for brands.

I am not morally opposed to brands’ editing Wikipedia articles, and there are no rules against it. However, the acceptable instances are few, and any edits should be done transparently and by someone educated in Wikipedia’s format and citation process.

To start, let’s look at the two most frequent unacceptable reasons that brands might want to edit an article:

1. There is a (correctly) cited and verified fact about your brand that happens to be negative or not officially acknowledged. If information about your brand is backed up by what the Wikipedia community considers a reliable and verified source, it must stay. There are clear guidelines on reliable sources here. If there are unverified and unreliable facts, you may have a case of vandalism—which is covered below.

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