The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has published its updated skills guide on how public relations practitioners should engage with the Wikipedia community.
The guide – ‘How to Avoid PR Disasters on Wikipedia – is co-authored by Wikipedia editors, CIPR CEO Alastair McCapra and Dr Paul Wilkinson FCIPR. It is designed to support members to assess whether creating or editing articles on Wikipedia on behalf of your clients or organisations is likely to help build their reputation, or potentially damage it.
The practical guidance takes readers through a number of scenarios and considerations including whether to create an article for a client if one doesn’t exist, the process of editing articles, and what to do if negative content is being added to articles about clients. By following the advice in the guidance, readers will ensure they are both abiding by the norms of the Wikipedia community and the terms of the CIPR’s Code of Conduct.
Wikipedia is the largest reference project on the internet. Along with its sister projects, it is constantly being developed by many thousands of volunteers every day. Just as they should be sensitive to the needs of other communities, PR professionals should work honestly and transparently in line with the expectations of the Wikipedia community.
The CIPR’s latest skills guide answers some common questions PR people ask about Wikipedia. Our long-standing policy position is that PR professionals should not edit any Wikipedia content where they may have a conflict of interest.
If something in an article is inaccurate or out-of-date, we encourage open engagement through the various discussion channels the platform provides. This will help PR people avoid the kinds of past malpractice that have fostered suspicion among Wikipedians.
Dr Paul Wilkinson FCIPR