Meanwhile, Wikipedian in Residence Max Klein, one of a number of highly-esteemed Wikipedia editors who liase with galleries, libraries, archives, and museums, has been found to operate a consulting agency that bills itself as a way to “navigate the complex maze surrounding ‘conflict of interest’ editing on Wikipedia” to make use of the “invaluable SEO” from a positive Wikipedia write-up.
Jimmy Wales isn’t exactly pleased by all this, and has said in the past that paid editing is against what Wikipedia stands for. But on the other hand, there isn’t any specific Wikimedia policy, pro or con, about the practice either—which also leaves PR firms that want to correct actual errors about their clients, rather than simply promote them, up a creek as well.
Wikipedia is basically the free e-encyclopedia, and has been amazingly successful since its inception, managing to outlast attempted replacements on the strength of its sheer community-forming collaboration. The firm commitment of its commitment to try to be as free from bias as possible has helped, too. But if its own administrators are going to try to take advantage of it to forward their own personal interests, that’s a problem. Probably not one that will sink the encyclopedia, but it certainly won’t help things.