Wikisource:Requests for comment/Disclosure policy

Requests for comment: Disclosure policy

Discussion to establish the details of how the community wishes to handle issue of paid editing restrictions from the updated "Terms of Use"

All users are free to add new topics or points for discussion. These should be added as second-level headers as with the existing points (or just click the "Add topic" link).

All users are free to comment on or discuss each and every point. Please comment on each point in the appropriate "Comment" section.

Overview: Disclosure policy


On 16 June, WMF has changed the overarching "Terms of Use" with the change prohibiting paid editing without disclosure at each of the Wikimedia Foundation wikis.

Consultation was undertaken with the community prior to this change with banners utilised at wikis, including English Wikisource, to draw attention to the discussion.

Local impact

The inclusion policy of English Wikisource regulates additions to our repository of published works and historical documents, and would seem to be capable of welcoming and encouraging contributions of works irrespective of the payment status of the contributor. In fact, contributions from employees of numerous institutions could be deemed to be encouraged rather than discouraged. This being the case, the new terms of use requires all such contributors to publicly disclose any such relationship to the English Wikisource community and in our case this may discourage contributions. This issue was raised during the development of the new terms, and terms of use allows for a community to undertake community consultation and adopt a specific alternate disclosure policy.

Tentative proposal

  • That English Wikisource develops Wikisource:Disclosure policy that allows for paid contributions at our site within the scope of the inclusion policy without requiring that they declare that they are paid for their contributions, nor the institution that they represent. Further that the policy is listed on Wikisource:Policies and guidelines.

Suggested wording:

The English Wikisource community encourages contributions from any contributor where in line with our inclusion policy and does not require users to identify any affiliations with organisations when editing in line with Wikisource's goals.

  • That English Wikisource develops/expands guidance that encourages declarations of conflict of interest, or vested interest in decision-making processes; and that this ties in any existing guidance that the community has about disclosure.

Prepared by User:Billinghurst 17 June 2014 as a proposal to the English Wikisource community


Other disclosure guidanceEdit

I would like to suggest that we

  • roll into the guidance that was developed and implemented in Wikisource:Alternate accounts which covers similar disclosure issues;
  • consider giving general guidance on conflict of interest, and vested interest as it impacts upon edits or providing opinions at English Wikisource.


Commons has already started their discussions at Commons:Requests for comment/Alternative paid contribution disclosure policy.

  •   Comment — Personally I am neutral upon the policy itself, but have taken the liberty of streamlining some grammar and wrapping the <pre> block more tightly (my screen is obviously narrower than SDrewth's.) As ever, revert if any of this offends or inadvertently changes intended meaning. AuFCL (talk) 07:37, 17 June 2014 (UTC)
    Can’t it be a <blockquote /> instead, BTW? I see no reason for using pre-formatted text here. And my screen happens to be even narrower. Ivan Shmakov (talk) 12:30, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
  •   Comment — First, I call double-speak for the proposed language. Its one thing to be affiliated with an organization and contribute here by happenstance or neccessity and the like, but to contract compensation for contributing is quite another matter.

    Second, I support the rationale and the wording in the 5 or 6 points made on the Blog page which are then laid out in full in the associated FAQ and oppose anything differing from that (not that I think anyone is getting checks for contributing here on en.WS; at least not anytime soon). -- George Orwell III (talk) 08:57, 17 June 2014 (UTC)

  •   Comment The justification on the blog is Half a billion people use Wikipedia every month as their source of knowledge. Wikipedia’s community editors work tirelessly at maintaining the accuracy, transparency, and objectivity of the articles, which requires identifying conflicts of interests and removing bias. Editing-for-pay can be a source of such bias, particularly when the edits are promotional in nature, or in the interest of a paying client. The Wikimedia Foundation is committed to continuing to support the Wikipedia community’s efforts to keep articles free of promotional content. I fail to see any relevance of that to us.--Prosfilaes (talk) 09:24, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
  • The proposal implies that a conflict of interest wouldn't be possible here. I think I can envisage conflict of interest arising around main page content (e.g. new texts), deletion processes, or the selection of works in collaborative projects. So I think that if one of us were being paid to contribute here, I should like to know about it. And I can't imagine a valid reason not to disclose. Show me a user who is being paid to contribute here but wishes to hide that fact, and I'll show you a user who is up to no good. Hesperian 23:26, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
    Look if we are going to logic-chop here, a user who is not being paid and who does not want to declare it, is not necessarily as pure as the driven snow either. Does the implication get us anywhere useful? I think not. When did the universal assumption of good faith get lost, because if it is (basically) sound, it matters not in the least whether the individual gets a few extra cents?

    Oh and perhaps I should declare that I am in that category of person who now gets paid for breathing and not much else. No connection to how aggressive I am at typing… AuFCL (talk) 10:09, 21 June 2014 (UTC)

    I had to look logic-chop up to be certain that I was being insulted. I wish you would start to understand that the way you speak to other contributors here hurts them and makes them feel unwelcome. Hesperian 01:12, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
    Look, you don't like me and I don't like you. That does not mean we cannot negotiate sensibly. Your (apparent) presumption of bad faith on the part of editors, irrespective of whether they are paid or not offends me. End of story. AuFCL (talk) 02:35, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
    It's not about personal animosity for me; it's about standing up for a culture in which people feel safe and welcome and valued. We all need to feel we can share our thoughts without being ridiculed or attacked. Hesperian 05:29, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
    Why are we disagreeing if we are supposedly arguing the same side of this case? Either one of us is misunderstood or is not being honest. No way am I admitting this is me. AuFCL (talk) 05:52, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
    You guys should take this conversation to a talk page or hat it here please. Zellfaze (talk) 18:18, 24 June 2014 (UTC)
  • In the discussion regarding the Commons policy (which has now been enacted), it was noted that, while simply adding content to the site need not require disclosure, that activities like participating in policy discussions might require a different rule. I think the same principle might well be applied here. Since there has not yet been extensive voting on the proposed text, I would suggest adding some text like "when creating or transcribing texts" -- and that a subsequent discussion on what kinds of activities (e.g., adding things to the front page of Wikisource, proposing or voting on policy changes, running for admin, etc.) might necessitate disclosure. (I don't think digging into those details right away is a good idea, since it's in our interest to pass something fairly swiftly, and the details will likely slow us down.) All that said, I   Support the policy as proposed, as it is much better than going with the overarching TOU as updated. -Pete (talk) 02:33, 25 June 2014 (UTC)
  • ſ WMF's disclosure policy doesn't make sense here. Yann (talk) 11:33, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
  •   Support. Even though I’m hardly an active contributor here, I fail to see how (otherwise valid) paid contributions – especially mainspace ones – could possibly negatively affect Wikisource. (Or, for that matter, Wiktionary, Wikispecies, and similar projects.) At the very least, the (somewhat simpler) policy adopted by the Wikimedia Commons community did no apparent harm to the project so far. Ivan Shmakov (talk) 12:30, 19 March 2015 (UTC)