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Lessons from Being Listed in Wikipedia

Dealing with Wikipedia was one of the most stressful experiences I've had in a while

A Nov. 30 article in the Business Journal covered some of our experiences with being a company listed on Wikipedia, and with that listing being challenged.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the lessons we learned and provide some simple advice for those of you who would like your organizations listed on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Moderators Make Hitler Look Like a Hobbyist

First, never post your organization on Wikipedia without understanding "the rules" for all such articles. Your page will be speedily deleted, and you will have created a history for yourself of having been deleted. When you move to repost your article, you could be judged antagonistically as "spamming," even though that might not be your intent.

The rules of Wikipedia govern a wide range of concepts, from worthiness for the existence of the article all the way to covering the nature of the content of the article itself. It is critically important before you embark on a Wikipedia adventure that you take the time to understand as many of these guidelines as possible.

Once you understand the written rules of Wikipedia, you also should understand the human side. Wikipedia has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of volunteers who contribute to and police the content on the site. These people are unpaid, but they receive accolades and promotions, and in fact develop an online identity through their Wikipedia efforts. The workhorses of the system are the "editors"; however, some editors can rise to the level of "administrator." There are different rights imparted between and within each of these ranks.

These editors and administrators have tremendous power to place your article into one of many processes and call into question any one of a wide range of rules or policies as they pertain to your article, depending on their preference.

Without investing a significant amount of time, one must assume that these folks know a lot more than you do about the bureaucracy of Wikipedia, and as such they have you at a disadvantage.

Based on that, our second piece of advice for any business seeking to be listed in Wikipedia is simply to realize that the administration of Wikipedia is a human effort, and therefore involves all the aspects of dealing with individuals that you find anywhere else.

Dealing with Wikipedia was one of the most stressful experiences I've had in a while. If you are seeking to be listed there, make no mistake, you will need to know the rules and you will need to understand the politics to be successful.

This was originally posted on the Central Penn Business Journal Gadget Cube.

More Stories By Treff LaPlante

Treff LaPlante has been involved with technology for nearly 20 years. At WorkXpress, he passionately drives the vision of making customized enterprise software easy, fast, and affordable.

Prior to joining WorkXpress, Treff was director of operations for eBay's HomesDirect. While there, he created strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies and national broker networks and began his foray into the development of flexible workflow software technologies. He served on the management team that sold HomesDirect to eBay.

During his time at Vivendi-Universal Interactive, Treff was director of strategy. In addition to M&A activities, Treff broadly applied quantitative management principles to sales, marketing, and product line functions. Treff served as the point person for the management team that sold Cendant Software to Vivendi-Universal. Earlier positions included product management and national sales trainer for Energy Design Systems, an engineering software company. Treff began his professional career as a metals trader for Randall Trading Corp, a commodities firm that specialized in bartering and transporting various metals and coal from the then-dissolving Soviet Union.

Treff received his MBA from Pepperdine University and a BS in chemical engineering from The Pennsylvania State University. http://www.workxpress.com

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