I stay in business because Wikipedia creates an environment where people need to hire someone to create a Wikipedia page. With the many rules and guidelines that the community developed over the years, you really need experience in order to create a new Wikipedia page. Many people and companies try, but fail miserably because they do not understand that writing for Wikipedia is a completely different writing style than they are used to. In fact, some of my best clients are other marketing companies. While these companies are great at what they do, they often fail at Wikipedia due to not understanding all of these guidelines and come to me to assist them with their client’s Wikipedia pages.
With that in mind, there are many things that take place on Wikipedia that are just as disappointing as the environment created by editors which forces people and companies to pay me to create their Wikipedia pages. Although I am a professional Wikipedia writer, I am also a “Wiki-geek” at heart and enjoy editing the site. As such, I have strong opinions about things that take place on Wikipedia, just as much as editors who do not edit for pay. While many editors and I do not fully agree about paid editing, I know that many of us share the same disappointment in Wikipedia over different issues that plague the website.
In August 2013, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, who also serves as an advisor to the British government, announced that Wikipedia would be introducing encryption into the site that would be similar to that used by financial institutions. The announcement came not long after Edward Snowden disclosed information about the NSA potentially violating the privacy rights of U.S. citizens. So, Jimmy Wales is advising the British government about privacy? Well, about one month prior to his announcement, Wales himself was on Wikipedia attempting to “out” any profiles believed to be Snowden, toeing if not crossing the line into violating the privacy of Snowden or any other editor he thought could be Snowden. It appears that Wales wants to protect privacy rights for everyone unless it comes to him or the Wikimedia Foundation. You can also ask the Wikimedia Foundation why I am no longer working for my former employer (which is the same reason why I still edit Wikipedia for a living).
In May 2013, an editor by the name of Qworty (later identified as author Robert Clark Young) was banned by Wikipedia. I had many run-ins with this editor, who had a habit of butchering any article that he thought read like an advertisement or was in any way promotional. He even went as far as “outing” me on the talk page of an article. Although the profile he outed (the outing has since been deleted but mention of which can still be seen) was not me, I still took it personally enough to report him to Wikipedia. Unfortunately, he was allowed to continue his editing patterns which included pursuing his own vendettas against other writers he had feuds with.
It wasn’t until late May 2013 that Qworty was banned, after he made retaliatory edits to the Wikipedia page of novelist Amanda Filipacchi after she publicly accused Wikipedia of being sexist. That is when the Wikimedia Foundation and Wales finally stood up to take notice. Wales was quoted as saying, “I would have banned him outright years ago. So would many others. That we did not, points to serious deficiencies in our systems.” Absolutely true about the failure, Mr. Wales, as I brought this to your attention months before it blew up in your face. Now Wikipedia is playing cleanup with their new project entitled “Wiki Project Contributor Clean-Up Qworty.” Once more thing…on the talk page of Qwoty (now “blanked as a courtesy”), Jimbo warned Qworty about his editing behavior approximately two months before Qworty was actually blocked so… Jimbo actually would not have “banned him outright” as he had the chance to do so a while ago.
Not everything that is disappointment comes from within Wikipedia. There are many more disappointments that are caused by people outside of the Wikipedia community. On August 4, 2013, it was reported by Fox News that someone edited the Wikipedia page of Edward Snowden, the subject of recent controversy involving privacy invasion by the NSA. The editor changed the term “dissident” to “traitor.” While this type of editing happens all the time with topics that are hot in the news, it was disappointment to find out that the edit was likely made from a computer on the U.S. Senate computer network. This shows that even government officials take to Wikipedia in an attempt to “prove their point” or “disrupt Wikipedia.”
When people ask if they can hire me to create a Wikipedia page, chances are they have already attempted do so on their own and failed. This is disappointing, as although Wikipedia is set up to be an encyclopedia, articles are often denied access. If the creator uses a promotional word, an editor or admin see it as promotional and delete the article. If formatting is not perfect, an editor will tag the article with an ugly box at the top of the article. So while Wikipedia is still the place I love to work AND play, it will always be the place that brings about disappointment.