updated 03:21 pm EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
Editors of Wikipedia must reveal if they are being paid for site changes
This would in effect dissuade companies from making changes beneficial to themselves or damaging to other manufacturers, a practice employees from Microsoft, Dell, and Apple allegedly took part in a number of years ago.
"This amendment intends to provide guidance and information for good-faith editors; to assist the community and Foundation in evaluating and handling paid advocacy editing; and to allow responsiveness to local conditions and needs," notes the accompanying Letter from the Board.
While volunteer editors are not subject to the changes, it does affect employees of a gallery, library, archive, museum (GLAM) or any similar institution in instances where the edit is about the institution itself. Such employees, which can include professors, can continue to make contributions in their area of expertise without restriction, but must declare their employer for edits relating to them. "The amendment is not intended to impact participants in GLAM projects, or professors, when they are writing about topics of general interest on their own, rather than writing about their own institutions while being compensated directly quid pro quo, for example" states the board.
"Given the complexity of the issue, the Wikimedia Foundation will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the amendment, and remain open to changes as necessary to improve it."
While the request for editors to disclose financial interests in edits, Wikipedia is attempting to take a moral high ground stance. Ultimately, it is down to the users to police other editors on the site, and does little to prevent editors from simply lying about any received payments.