An honest, straightforward question: Can I edit my company's Wikipedia page? As of writing this, Wikipedia's conflict of interest guideline
mentions the Talk page 25 times, and specifically tells public relations, social media, SEO, marketing and other professionals not to edit the page. However, to make matters confusing, there's debate within Wikipedia's editorial community on whether editors like PR professionals should be able to edit the page and a plethora of blogs on the Web providing tips and best practices
that seem to suggest it's ok to edit away. Some of them don't even mention legal and ethical requirements
to disclose your affiliation with the company and engage the site's editors.
Jimmy Wales advocates for "the bright line
," a single simple rule that marketing professionals never directly edit articles they have a conflict of interest with; a rule enforced through media humiliation for those that violate it. This has been re-inforced by best practices established by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
and a common sense application of social media disclosure laws
. Marketing editors that edit Wikipedia pages are routinely humiliated in the media, blocked and ridiculed on Wikipedia, create contentious relationships with the site's editors and in some cases have even found themselves in legal trouble.
In general the ethical approach to Wikipedia is to leave important editorial decisions up to the site's editors, who serve the reader's best interest. Use common sense when it comes to fixing grammer, cleaning up citation errors and edits that have been clearly approved by the site's editors. When in doubt, defer to the community.