The Right Way to Request Changes to Wikipedia
By: David King
By: David King

1. Be Transparent

You should be transparent about your connection to the topic as to avoid being mistaken for a disinterested member of the public. The Federal Trade Commission’s covert marketing regulations require those participating on crowd-sourced websites to disclose any financial connection they have to the topic. Wikipedia’s Terms of Use reiterate this law and cite similar laws in Europe.

2. Get Internal Approval

The changes you’re proposing to Wikipedia will likely need to be approved by other people in your company before it is shared externally on Wikipedia. Unlike other content, such as press releases, complex rules govern what can go on the page. Internal contacts approving the content will need to be educated on what’s allowed. The company or person can’t unilaterally decide what goes on a page controlled by an independent organization like Wikipedia.

3. Source & Submit the Wiki-Way

Almost all proposed content or changes on Wikipedia need to be supported by citations to credible, independent sources, such as reputable media publications. You will need to research the best citations and wiki-code the content. Wiki-code is Wikipedia’s HTML-style coding that adds links, citations, info boxes, and other formatting to the page.

4. Submit Content & Track Changes

Every page on Wikipedia has a corresponding “Talk” page that acts as a discussion forum. Post your requested changes or proposed content on the “Talk” page of the Wikipedia article you want to change. When discussing a specific article, it is customary to centralize any discussion about it on the corresponding “Talk” page.

5. Reach out to Editors Interested in the Topic

Like any forum, crowd-sourced participants on the “Talk” page may or may not respond. Do some digging in the article’s history, related Wiki-projects, or articles about broader related subjects to find editors likely to have an interest in your page. Reach out to them on their personal“Talk” page and ask for their participation in the discussion you started.

6. When in Doubt - Work with an Expert

Tackling Wikipedia on your own can be very challenging. Wikipedia has complex rules and un-documented norms surrounding which facts get included on any given page. These rules vary depending on the page’s topic (a person, medical claims, etc.). The subject of a Wikipedia page often has strong views on what information should be on their page, but only an objective expert can credibly advise you on what changes Wikipedia’s editors will and will not accept.

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