Wikipedia:Help desk

Wikipedia Help Desk
  • This page is only for questions about how to use or edit Wikipedia. For other types of questions, use the search box or the Reference desk.
  • Do not provide your email address or any other contact information. Answers will be provided on this page only.
  • We are all volunteers, so sometimes replies can take some time. Please be patient. Check back on this page to see if your question has been answered.

  • New users: While this is a good place to ask questions, new users may prefer to ask for help at the Teahouse, an area specifically for new users to get help with editing, article creation, and general Wikipedia use, in a friendly environment.
Are you in the right place?

Question about the scope of Conflict of Interest (COI)

Two days ago, I was told I should not correct a recently added mistake I found on the California Highway Patrol page. I had posting my request for verification for several days with no response from the original poster or other editors. So, I deleted the inaccurate info. I was told I should not have edited the page because I had worked for the CHP 14 years ago. I was not basing my correction on my knowledge, but on direct contact with CHP HQ to see if things had changed in the 14 years since I left their employment. Basically, someone added incorrect information, without citing a source for the inaccurate information. There could never be any prove the added info was wrong because most organizations do not keep documentations on things they have not done. I was told that despite the material being added without citation (and being wrong based on statements from the CHP), I should not have attempted to revert the page back to its previous status because I once worked for the CHP.

So, here is my question. What level of previous and/or present contact or relationship with any organization/person/thing can I have before I should not edit anything about that organization/person/thing? I am a good researcher, and I have a very wide range of interests.

I am a citizen of an American Indian tribe. Does that mean I should not edit anything on American Indians, or just my tribe? My published work includes lots of information on many of the US and Canadian recognized tribes in North America. Does that preclude me from editing about all of them?

I helped to run computers at NASA's Johnson Space Center during Apollo and Skylab. Does that mean I should not edit anything about the American Space Program, just those missions, computers or some other subset?

While working in broadcasting and in theaters, I have worked with literally hundreds of entertainers of varying degrees of celebrity. You can see many of them in the 300+ photos I have put into public domain or other CC-rated licenses here at Wikipedia. Does this mean I cannot edit anything about any of them? What is the dividing line? Example, I worked as a stage manager for a one-night concert by the rock group Blue Oyster Cult in 1984. I have never encountered them again. Does COI mean I can never edit anything about them ever? Or, is there a limit to exposure or time basis for this call?

I have worked in many different professions during my 55+ years in the work force. Should I avoid any fields in which I once had a job?

I have traveled to 47 states in the USA, and much of Mexico. Does this mean I cannot edit about any place I have been?

I am not trying to be sarcastic. I am asking because I do not want to violate Wikipedia's rules.

Phil Konstantin Phil Konstantin (talk) 00:20, 19 February 2019 (UTC) (Philkon)

@ Phil Konstantin: This verges on being out of scope for the help desk: we should probably direct you to WP:DISPUTE, or one of several other places. Briefly: There is a difference between interest and conflict of interest. Your degree of COI is a judgement call, which means editors may disagree. In general, I believe that the editor with the potential COI will generally have the best feeling for this. When there is a disagreement, treat this as you would a content dispute by trying to reach consensus on the talk page, and proceeding per WP:DISPUTE only if needed. Removing unsourced material is not a COI issue: any editor may remove unsourced material regardless of COI. -Arch dude (talk) 03:23, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Other Languages
Bahasa Indonesia: Wikipedia:Meja penolong
Bahasa Melayu: Wikipedia:Meja bantuan
မြန်မာဘာသာ: Wikipedia:အကူအညီစားပွဲ
Nederlands: Help:helpdesk
татарча/tatarça: Википедия:Сораулар