This week, I was interviewed for the Wikipedia Signpost: Does Wikipedia Pay? The Consultant: Pete Forsyth
Some of my comments:
It’s not only possible, but vitally important to the future of Wikipedia that engaged, experienced, and mission-driven Wikipedians develop consulting skills. …the demand for expert advice in how to engage with the biggest, most widely read body of work in human history is not going to subside.
A strict prohibition on article editing for editors in a conflict of interest would go against healthy, everyday Wikipedia practice, and would have devastating consequences. Conflicts of interest are common, and only some of them involve money. They can be managed through ethical behavior and sound judgment. Striking the right balance can be a challenge, but new and experienced Wikipedians challenge themselves to value neutrality above their own opinions every day, often with excellent results.
Wikipedia is founded on inclusion, not exclusion. While any serious Wikipedian should be concerned about the influence of special interests (monied or otherwise), excluding broad categories of contributors, whether from the entire project or from editing article content, is the wrong way to go. That kind of exclusion would go against everyday, healthy Wikipedia interaction, in which reasonable contributors engaging in respectful ways are treated well. It would also take us in a new direction, in which there are giant asterisks next to our core policies of Be Bold and Assume Good Faith.
It’s great to have the chance to broadly communicate with the Wikipedia community about my consulting model. There has been some good discussion on the interview page, on Twitter, etc. Please feel free to share your thoughts below as well!