Our Company’s Wikipedia is Deleted. Now what?
We receive inquiries from panicked branding and marketing executives when they discover their company Wikipedia article has been vandalized or worse, deleted. When we receive the telephone call, we hear the earnest urgency to rectify the situation. Reinstatement is possible, but it does not occur overnight. It can take a few weeks or several months.
Investigation and Inquiry
Many factors contribute to the deletion of a Wikipedia article. The rise of new article submissions has led to stringent policy enforcement. The starting point of an investigation is the Edit History of the Wikipedia article. From the article creation date through date of deletion, every edit is publicly viewable. Determine who deleted the Wikipedia article in the Edit History.
Course for Correction
Before you reach out to the Wikipedian who deleted the page, take a moment to become familiar with Wikipedia’s Five Pillars. They offer insight into the guiding principles of Wikipedia. Another set of guidelines for notability set out the eligibility prerequisites to qualify for a Wikipedia article; lack of notability is typically the reason why articles about a person or company are deleted. If the content on the Wikipedia article is too promotional or lacks a neutral point of view, a warning banner at the top of the page is a strong indicator the page is subject to deletion. Curate third-party media articles about the company, products, and executives to prepare for the reinstatement appeal. Include the URLs of those media articles so Wikipedians who are willing to help can easily reference and cite them in the new Wikipedia article.
Lexalytics Wikipedia article flagged for notability
Learning Moment for Lexalytics
Lexalytics is a client company. In 2015, the company’s Wikipedia article was nominated for deletion. Seth Redmore, CMO, approached our firm with three intentions:
Reinstate the Lexalytics Wikipedia article
Foster positive relations with Wikipedia editors
Understand the pathways for paid editors to submit edit requests
Within a few weeks of the article deletion, it was reinstated. This was a result of:
Conflict of Interest (COI) disclosure
Commitment to collaboration with community to improve and correct article content
Presentation of third-party media articles
Faith in the community editors to write an article following Wikipedia’s Five Pillars
Lexalytics' conflict of interest declaration
The Lexalytics Wikipedia article has been stable for one year. Google search results for Lexalytics displays the company in KnowledgeGraph, sourced from Wikipedia.
“Lexalytics is a company that has been around for years. We had a perfectly serviceable article on Wikipedia, but we really screwed up when we went to update it. Getting nominated for deletion is very scary – it’s a very public thing, much like the “A” in The Scarlet Letter. We didn’t know how fast this was going to happen, what we needed to do to show good faith, or even what we needed to do in order to not make things worse.
A big part of this was education. We did not go in with any malicious intent, but we weren’t aware of some of the complexity that we had to take into consideration. Knowing what we do now will help us avoid pitfalls in the future and be positive contributors rather than causing stress and irritation.” Seth Redmore, Lexalytics Chief Marketing Officer.
Download the Lexalytics case study
The current Lexalytics article
Patience for Results
Wikipedia’s No Rush policy can be frustrating for branding and marketing executives, especially in a time of crisis. Be patient. If the new company Wikipedia article adheres to policies, trust the community to reinstate the article. Be prepared to nudge Wikipedians, but be mindful not to canvas or spam the community with your request. The general guidelines are to wait 72 hours for a response, then wait some more.
It is neither advisable nor productive to contact the Wikimedia Foundation to reinstate the Wikipedia article; the foundation has no leverage within the Wikipedia community. Requests should be submitted on noticeboards and Talk pages to foster discussion. If the dispute can not be resolved by a third opinion (3O), the issue can be escalated to administrator level. Overall, the process requires a strong exercise of patience. Reinstatement of a company Wikipedia article is achieved by understanding the policies, empathizing with editors, and presenting media references to tell a neutral encyclopedic company story.