[Note from Jimbo: This is a DRAFT community policy on conflict of interest editing. It is open to editing by any member of the community, and I would love for us to have a robust discussion. At some point in the next month or so, we can move forward to having a vote to ratify it. It is intended to be a rewritten and stronger version of Wikipedia’s policy. — Jimbo]
Conflict of interest (COI) editing involves contributing to WikiTribune about yourself, family, friends, clients, employers, or your financial and other relationships. Any external relationship can trigger a conflict of interest. That someone has a conflict of interest is a description of a situation, not a judgement about that person’s opinions, integrity, or good faith.
COI editing is strictly forbidden on WikiTribune. It undermines public confidence and risks causing public embarrassment to the individuals and companies being promoted. Editors with a COI are sometimes unaware of whether or how much it has influenced their editing. If COI editing causes disruption, an administrator may opt to place blocks on the involved accounts.
Editors with a COI, including paid editors, are expected to disclose it whenever they seek to change an affected article’s content. Anyone editing for pay must disclose who is paying them, who the client is, and any other relevant affiliation. Also, COI editors must not edit affected articles directly, but propose changes on article talk pages instead, with concurrent disclosure or redisclosure of the conflict of interest.
Staff are expected to abide by all the provisions that the community is expected to abide by, but there are also additional restrictions.
AFP’s Code of Editorial Standards says: “AFP understands that its staff members will engage in such external activities as community affairs, politics, support for social or other causes, independent writing including books and online projects. While the Agency respects staff members’ freedom to do so, there must be a clear separation between what is done in a personal capacity and in a professional capacity. It is reasonable to identify ourselves as working for AFP, but the Agency’s name should not be used for promotion or in campaigning, and the Agency should be informed. We must do nothing that might cast doubt on our ability to provide unbiased coverage or that impinges on the Agency’s reputation for impartiality. Nothing in this is intended to restrict AFP journalists from engaging in these activities; the aim is to ensure that outside interests do not come into conflict with AFP’s interests or reputation.”
[It is the intention of WikiTribune to have a very similar policy for staff. At present, our policy is identical to AFP’s but will be customized to our needs before the vote.]