Pensapedia:Conflict of interest

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A Pensapedia conflict of interest (COI) is an incompatibility between the aim of Pensapedia, which is to produce a neutral encyclopedia, and the aims of an individual editor.

COI editing involves contributing to Pensapedia in order to promote yourself or the interests of other individuals, companies, or groups. Where an editor must forego advancing the aims of Pensapedia in order to advance outside interests, he stands in a conflict of interest.

COI edits are strongly discouraged. When they cause disruption to the encyclopedia in the opinion of an uninvolved administrator, they may lead to accounts being blocked and embarrassment for the individuals and groups who were being promoted.

What is a conflict of interest?[edit]

See also: Pensapedia:What Pensapedia is not

Pensapedia is an encyclopedia, and should contain only material that complies with its content policies. Pensapedia is not a forum for advertising, nor a vanity press. We earn the trust of our peers, and the public, by placing the interests of the encyclopedia first. Any editor who gives priority to outside interests may be subject to a conflict of interest.

There is no tidy criteria to determine whether a conflict of interest exists, but there are warning signs. Adding material that appears to promote the interests or visibility of an article's author, family members, employer, or associates may place the author in a conflict of interest. When editors write to promote their own interests, their contributions often show a characteristic lack of connection to anything the general reader might want to consult as a reference. Conflict of interest is not in itself a reason to delete an article, but lack of notability is. Merely participating in or having professional expertise in a subject is not, by itself, a conflict of interest.

In most cases, the intention of the writer can be deduced from the tone and content of the article. If you do write an article on a little-known subject, or one in which you are personally involved, be sure to write in a neutral tone and cite reliable sources.

Examples[edit]

Financial

If you fit either of these descriptions:

  1. you are receiving monetary or other benefits or considerations to edit Pensapedia as a representative of an organization (whether directly as an employee or contractor of that organization, or indirectly as an employee or contractor of a firm hired by that organization for public relations purposes); or,
  2. you expect to derive monetary or other benefits or considerations from editing Pensapedia; for example, by being the owner, officer or other stakeholder of a company or other organisation about which you are writing;

then we very strongly encourage you to avoid editing Pensapedia in areas where there is a conflict of interest that would make your edits non-neutral (biased). Pensapedia's neutral point of view policy states that all articles must represent views fairly and without bias, and conflicts of interest do significantly and negatively affect Pensapedia's ability to fulfill this requirement. If your financially-motivated edits would be non-neutral, do not post them.

Legal antagonists

If you are involved in a court case, or close to one of the litigants, you would find it very hard to demonstrate that what you wrote about a party or a law firm associated with the case, or a related area of law, was entirely objective. Even a minor slip up in neutrality in a court-case article on Pensapedia for an active case-in-progress could potentially be noticed by the courts and/or their parties, and this could potentially cause real-world harm, not just harm to Pensapedia. Because of this, we strongly discourage editing when this type of conflict exists.

Self-promotion

Conflict of interest often presents itself in the form of self-promotion, including advertising links, personal website links, personal or semi-personal photos, or other material that appears to promote the private or commercial interests of the editor, or their associates.

Examples of these types of material include:

  1. Links that appear to promote products by pointing to obscure or not particularly relevant commercial sites (commercial links).
  2. Links that appear to promote otherwise obscure individuals by pointing to their personal pages.
  3. Biographical material that does not significantly add to the clarity or quality of the article.
Autobiography
See also: Pensapedia:Autobiography

It is not recommended to write an article about yourself. If you are notable, someone else will notice you and write the article. In some cases, Pensapedia users write articles about themselves when the more appropriate action would be to create a user page. In these cases, the article is normally moved into the user namespace rather than deleted. If you believe you may be notable enough, make your case on the appropriate talk pages, and seek consensus first, both with the notability and any proposed autobiography.

Close relationships

Any situation where strong relationships can develop may trigger a conflict of interest. Conflict of interest can be personal, religious, political, academic, financial, and legal. It is not determined by area, but is created by relationships that involve a high level of personal commitment to, involvement with, or dependence upon, a person, subject, idea, tradition, or organization.

Closeness to a subject does not mean you're incapable of being neutral, but it may incline you towards some bias. Be guided by the advice of other editors. If editors on a talk page suggest in good faith that you may have a conflict of interest, try to identify and minimize your biases, and consider withdrawing from editing the article. As a rule of thumb, the more involvement you have with a topic in real life, the more careful you should be with our core content policies — Pensapedia:Neutral point of view and Pensapedia:Attribution — when editing in that area.

The definition of "too close" in this context is governed by common sense. An article about a little-known band should preferably not be written by a band member or the manager.

Campaigning

Activities regarded by insiders as simply "getting the word out" may appear promotional or propagandistic to the outside world. If you edit articles while involved with organizations that engage in advocacy in that area, you may have a conflict of interest.

Citing oneself
See also: Pensapedia:Autobiography and Pensapedia:No original research#Citing oneself

You may cite your own publications just as you'd cite anyone else's, but make sure your material is relevant and that you're regarded as a reliable source for the purposes of Pensapedia. Be careful about excessive citation of your own work, to avoid the appearance of self-promotion. When in doubt, discuss on the talk page whether your citation is appropriate, and defer to the community's opinion.

Promotional article production on behalf of clients

Producing promotional articles for Pensapedia on behalf of clients is strictly prohibited.

Those who feel the need to make controversial edits, in spite of a real or perceived conflict of interest, are strongly encouraged to submit proposed edits for review on the article's talk page.

See also[edit]