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Calling All Greenerds: A 21st Century Quandry

AAA Hires A PR Firm To Edit Its Wikipedia Entry

Wait a Minute, What the Heck's a "Greenerd"?

Most of you are familiar with Wikipedia, the Internet's "open-source" encyclopedia. Wikepedia has a policy regarding creating or editing an article about yourself: "It is strongly discouraged". Wikipedia adds that "It is difficult to write neutrally about yourself. Therefore it is considered proper on Wikipedia to let others do the writing."

Between July and September 2006, Wordsmith Communications, apparently a Public Relations firm employed by AAA, has added more than three hundred lines of text to the AAA page. Added text has included lists of AAA Regional Offices and services. The Florida firm, which has worked with both National and Regional AAA offices, has executed almost a dozen edits.

A Kicking Asphalt review of the Wordsmith Communications contributions concludes that the edits provide data without opinion, hype, or puffery. There is a good argument that this data belongs in an encyclopedia, and, after all, another of Wikipedia's guidelines is: ignore all rules.

So what's the right thing for an organization to do when it sees that certain information is not being captured by Wikipedia:

Follow its rules no matter what?
Break the rules for a higher purpose of making an encyclopedia more complete by including data, but not opinion?
Provide the data but do it themselves, not through an outside PR Firm?

If you have an opinion on these matters, or feel you do see puffery, let us know what you think.

We encourage Kicking Asphalt readers to contribute to the Better World Club page, or the AAA page, but in a responsible manner that does not violate Wikipedia's official policy on Neutral Point of View, or Vandalism.

See also: