My Digital footprint entry on Wikipedia – by Tony Fish


Yesterday (Jan 6th) I spent several hours updating the Wiki entry for Digital Footprint This has been a learning lesson in wiki editorial as I ended up being blocked (partly my error for removing a delete code when cut and pasting)

I thought (wrongly) that I would update this orphan page on wiki with some content based from my book on digital footprint including links to interesting articles, what people say and views. However as an author it is seen that I have a conflict of interest I cannot add my own material to wiki as I am biased and it is seen as advertising and promotion. However, if I create a dummy account without my name or ask a friend to do add content (same unbiased factual material) it is accepted. It is possible to conclude that an expert in a field is not welcome to add their own comments and content about the field they know about to wiki as there will be a conflict of interest. The same content however can be added by a third party assuming they have the rights to do so. Wiki has spend a lot of time writing guides (they are very good but very long) that justify this position and the guide lines.

Why write this post?

I can write here creating value and reputation for myself and the network by comments. Assumingdigital footprint is about reputation (aka currency of the web) then getting someone else to add yourcontent (to wiki) gives them the reputation and not the creator. Therefore in a wiki world (not an open system one where free to publish as your wish) why be an expert as I would be better off adding others content as my own and gain a better reputation.

Whilst Wikipedia will not change and neither in my view should it change, it means that those who create original thought will get value and reputation from an open system. However it remains the fact the individuals views are biased (blinded) and you cannot trust a single source, mine or Wikipedia.

The person who later changed the edit removed my reference, but left the content. However as the content is published under a creative commons attribution 2 licence, the wiki entry is now in breach as it is quoted without attribution – breaking their own rules.

Conversational, no; thought provoking, yes !


  1. saran says:

    Privacy trade never ends in the web.
    So far, my understanding is that we are building the web to mirror the analog world to enhance our brain, but people are naked to be citizens of the web.
    do all countries have same security?
    do all countries have same culture?
    everything becoming user friendly except terms and conditions(its layer friendly)
    everything becoming social except entrepreneurship (I believe that social entrepreneurs will emerge in this decade).

  2. Kevin Smith says:

    My sympathies Tony – it is a ludicrous situation. Surely anyone takes information on Wikipedia with a pinch of salt, and I’d rather have information up there that I could debunk or at least be wary of, than nothing at all. I’m sure your article would have been a valuable resource and starting point.
    In a similar situation, I edited a few Jackie Chan movie entries with some facts (accepted) and an external link to the full review on my own Kung Fu movie review blog – which was rejected, even though the blog it has lengthy reviews, no adverts and no commercial model! Apparently only ‘respected and established’ movie review sites are acceptable…