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Submissions/Help Wanted: New Workflows for Resolving COI Requests

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This is an Open submission for Wikimania 2017 that has not yet been reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Submission no. 2090 - C7, T3
Title of the submission
Help Wanted: New Workflows for Resolving COI Requests
Type of submission (lecture, panel, tutorial/workshop, roundtable discussion, lightning talk, poster, birds of a feather discussion)
Author of the submission
William Beutler
Language of presentation
E-mail address
Country of origin
Affiliation, if any (organisation, company etc.)
  • Author, The Wikipedian
  • President, Beutler Ink
Personal homepage or blog
Abstract (up to 300 words to describe your proposal)

While the subject of Conflict of interest (COI) editing on Wikipedia will probably always be a contentious one, in the last five years a kind of operating consensus has emerged. Formalized not in policies or guidelines but in essays and in practice, it centers on a basic proposition endorsed by Jimmy Wales in a 2012 Signpost interview: editors with a financial COI should refrain from editing live pages and ask for help instead, while volunteer editors should hear them out and implement requests that make Wikipedia better.

Since then, a number of PR professionals (especially those signed to the 2014 PRCOM / Donovan House statement) and volunteer Wikipedia editors have collaborated to improve articles in this manner. However, the process is always uncertain and often a struggle, as each request is handled on an ad hoc basis without a formal support system. Efforts over time to create such a system for managing requests from disclosed COI editors have met with limited success. And while much has been written to educate non-Wikipedians on how to ask for help the right way, almost nothing exists to offer similar guidance to volunteers.

The goal of this presentation is to outline a project currently under development, tentatively called Wikiproject COI Help Desk (COIHD), that aims to create a new wiki-based platform using the tools of WikiProject X and learnings of past efforts to create a new system for posting, reviewing, and answering COI requests. Drawing upon elements of AfC, OTRS, and existing "wizard" processes, the project aims to combine what works about them, and reimagine what does not. This presentation will describe thinking and work on the WP:COIHD project to date, and solicit feedback to assist in its continued development.

What will attendees take away from this session?

Attendees will become familiar with the COIHD project, and develop an understanding so they may bring their perspective to bear on its development. In the medium near future, perhaps they may also become contributors. Additionally, while this initiative is primarily focused on resolving COI requests and backlogs, the tools and workflows developed may be adaptable for other processes experiencing severe request backlogs.

Theme of presentation
WikiCulture & Community
For workshops and discussions, what level is the intended audience?
Length of session (if other than 25 minutes, specify how long)
25 minutes
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Slides or further information (optional)
Slide presentation will accompany talk
Special requests
Is this Submission a Draft or Final?

This is a Completed submission for Wikimania 2017 ready to be reviewed by a member of the Programme Committee.

Interested attendees

If you are interested in attending this session, please sign with your username below. This will help reviewers to decide which sessions are of high interest. Sign with a hash and four tildes. (# ~~~~).

  1. Amir É. Aharoni (talk) 11:19, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  2. Panyd (talk) 13:09, 11 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  3. Gamaliel (talk) 23:04, 12 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]
  4. Doc James (talk) 00:09, 13 April 2017 (UTC)[reply]