Ballotpedia:Conflict of interest policies

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A conflict of interest is when an editor has goals or aims (interests) that conflict with the goal of Ballotpedia, which is to create a fair, balanced, and reliable encyclopedia about ballot measures, recall campaigns, state legislators and associated topics with a neutral point of view.

Editing articles in order to promote the specific interests of a particular side of a ballot issue, public relations firm, political consulting agency or other groups, companies, or individuals rather than to contribute to Ballotpedia's common good and its goals is a conflict of interest.

You are very strongly discouraged from engaging in editing when you have a conflict of interest. Conflict-of-interest editing tends to disrupt Ballotpedia's goals. Editors who contribute to Ballotpedia because they have some particular agenda they want to push tend to cause disruptions and to run afoul of Ballotpedia's ideals of neutrality, fairness, balance, reliability and accuracy.

It hurts Ballotpedia as a reliable resource when people who have a conflict-of-interest edit, both because it means that other editors have to clean up any violations of neutrality, balance and reliability -- which wastes time they would otherwise have spent building up the information on Ballotpedia -- but because it causes Ballotpedia to be viewed by readers as unreliable and as having an agenda.

As a result, if you have a conflict of interest (if you are editing Ballotpedia because you have a particular viewpoint you want to push, rather than because you want to build information on Ballotpedia in support of Ballotpedia's common interests in pursuit of the common good), please don't edit here.

If you have a conflict of interest, but you want to add information in a spirit of impartiality consistent with Ballotpedia's goals, please identify yourself on the "talk" or "discussion" page of any articles you edit. Editors who fit these descriptions should particularly take care to identify themselves:

  • If you work for a public relations agency or political consulting firm that has been retained to promote one side or the other of a ballot proposition.
  • If you work for a campaign committee that is supporting one side or the other of a ballot measure.
  • If you work for a political campaign that has some special interest in a particular event covered on Ballotpedia.
  • If you work for an organization and you are editing an article on Ballotpedia about that organization.

If you edit in the characteristic fashion of someone with a conflict-of-interest, other contributors who believe you may have a conflict of interest can ask an administrator to check your IP address. If this happens, it is possible that a conflict of interest you have not identified may come to light, which would potentially embarrass you and your employer or association inasmuch as it would tend to create the impression that you are trying to game the system and distort the information available on Ballotpedia.

This also might result in you being blocked from editing.

Username policy: elected officials and candidates

See also: Ballotpedia:Username policies

Elected officials and candidates are of course welcome to edit Ballotpedia and to do so using a username that is identical or substantially similar to their real name.

However, the fact that a user can sign up on Ballotpedia with the name of an elected official or candidate, even if they are not that elected official or candidate, leads to the potential for mischief. Even if the edits are not in-and-of-themselves edits that might reflect badly on the elected official or candidate, it isn't acceptable to create an editing history that looks like it might have been made by that elected official or candidate unless the edits were in fact made by that person.

As a result, Ballotpedia's policy is that when someone does register using the name of an elected official or candidate, the user will be notified about this policy on his or her talk page and will be asked to send an email to Ballotpedia's staff within 72 hours confirming that he or she is that elected official or candidate.

Once confirmed, a confirmation tag will be added to that user's profile. {{BP confirmed}}.

Reporting a possible COI

If you believe that an editor is editing on Ballotpedia who has a conflict of interest, you can email:

If you believe an article contains statements added in conflict of interest, you can add the following template to the top of the page: