Wikipedia guidance for public relations professionals using the site has now been launched following backing from a number of international public relations bodies.
The guidance, which was originally drafted by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), includes a number of recommendations and has gained global support in recognition of its potential for building mutual understanding between Wikipedians and public relations practitioners.
The most integral of these is that public relations professionals should not directly edit Wikipedia pages relating to their organisation or brand but should instead suggest amendments to Wikipedians – the name for the community of regular Wikipedia editors.
During the consultation period, the guidance, which was hosted on Wikimedia UK, received more than 160 direct edits and over 120 contributions to the discussion page. Furthermore, the guidance document published today is merely version one – it will continue to be reviewed and refreshed as the relationship between the Wikipedia and public relations communities continues to progress.
The UK and international public relations bodies that have leant their official support to the CIPR Wikipedia guidance include: Canadian Public Relations Society; Public Relations Consultants Association; Public Relations Institute of Australia.
Commenting, CEO of the CIPR Jane Wilson, said:
“The main theme of the guidance is quite simple – where there is a clear conflict of interest created by the relationship between the public relations professional and the subject of the Wikipedia entry, such as a client or employer, they should not directly edit it. The fact that so many prestigious PR bodies have backed the guidance is testimony to the quality of the work and I’d like to pay tribute to the CIPR Social Media panel which has been integral to the delivery of this guidance.”
Chief Executive of Wikimedia UK Jon Davies, said: “I’m pleased that the PR industry is taking steps to learn more about Wikipedia and how it works. The fact that the CIPR’s guidelines are the result of collaboration between Wikipedians and the PR industry is a very good starting point.”
Danny Whatmough, Chairman of the PRCA Digital Skills Group, said: “These guidelines represent an important step forward in improving the relationship between the PR industry and Wikipedia. We would encourage PR professionals, and PRCA members in particular, to review the guidelines and get involved in the discussion. This collaborative process will ensure PR agencies have clear guidance when using Wikipedia and will also help them develop better relationships with members of the Wikimedia community.”
CEO of the PRIA, Jon Bisset said: “In the ever changing landscape in which public relations and communications professionals operate, it is imperative we work together on guidance for delivery of best practice in our industry, across the globe. We are delighted to support the work the CIPR is doing to deliver a solid framework for PRs to engage with Wikipedia and its community to support global best practice.”