FAO and Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopaedia found at http://www.wikipedia.org/. It is written collaboratively by largely anonymous Internet volunteers who write without pay. Anyone with Internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles except in certain cases where editing is restricted to prevent disruption or vandalism.
The Wikipedia community has developed many policies and guidelines to improve the encyclopaedia. In Wikipedia, what is contributed is considered more important than the expertise or qualifications of the contributor. Editors may intervene when entries are created or additions are made to existing entries. They look at whether the entry or addition fits within Wikipedia’s policies, including being verifiable against a published reliable source. Articles on Wikipedia usually provide links to guide the user to related pages with additional information. Authors can contribute content either anonymously under a pseudonym or using their real identity, as they prefer.
You can find a tutorial on how to edit Wikipedia articles online. Before getting started, we recommend you have a quick browse through this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Tutorial
FAO’s presence on Wikipedia
Currently, FAO is present on Wikipedia in several ways:
- FAO’s corporate entry is one of the most extensive and elaborate entries among all United Nations agencies on Wikipedia and is available in many languages (59 as of May 2012).
- Entries on FAO programmes with a wider civil society involvement, such as the Farmer Field School methodology, the Rural Income-Generating Activities (RIGA) project, FAO-initiated international standards, information systems (AGROVOC, AGRIS) as well as conferences/events FAO has organized such as the World Summit on Food Security.
- Entries on topics related to FAO’s mandate may or may not mention FAO. For example, an article on irrigation mentions FAO.
FAO’s policy on Wikipedia
For the Organization
At present, the FAO’s policy is to promote the posting of the Organization’s rich knowledge and expertise on Wikipedia. FAO employees are encouraged to initiate or contribute to Wikipedia entries in their areas of expertise. The aim is to increase the overall contribution of FAO's knowledge in the relevant subject areas (such as fisheries, forestry, aquaculture, consumer protection, nutrition, agriculture, economic and social development, etc.) by having as many of our colleagues around the globe as possible adding quality material to Wikipedia’s pages – or correcting erroneous material. Such contributions improve the public image of FAO as a centre of knowledge and expertise, and help minimise criticism and misrepresentation of our work.
This means that FAO headquarters units and decentralized offices are invited to monitor relevant Wikipedia entries relevant to their areas of expertise, learn about Wikipedia editing policies and contribute wherever relevant on a regular basis.Staff members should first look at existing entries related to their areas of work and then find a place where FAO content could be plugged in rather than starting by creating a new entry. To ensure that the information you add is not deleted, don’t just reference FAO work with FAO sources – try to find third party references that appear neutral.
Anyone who notices evidence of vandalism or unfair description of the Organization’s work in Wikipedia should use methods established by Wikipedia. To handle disputes and abuse on Wikipedia, please refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:About#Handling_disputes_and_abuse. It is important to understand that Wikipedia content belongs to everyone. Unlike Facebook or Flickr, FAO does not own its own Wikipedia entry. Criticism of FAO cannot be edited or deleted unless it can be proved to be factually incorrect, or is deemed to be intentional vandalism, abuse of user accounts or an unresolved dispute. Any questions or feedback on how articles are written in Wikipedia can be sent to Talk pages, Dispute Resolution and Village pump (community portal).
Headquarters-based employees who are eager to contribute to relevant Wikipedia pages in English or other FAO official languages (and others if possible) are encouraged to visit the Tutorial pages on Wikipedia to learn more.
When editing or contributing to Wikipedia pages, use of phrases and expressions found in official FAO publications or other documents authorised for external communication is recommended. Carefully review the content before uploading on Wikipedia and possibly have someone review the material prior to publishing. In case of problems or questions, feel free to contact OCC.
When contributing to Wikipedia pages, FAO employees in all categories are asked to observe these basic guidelines:
- behave in a manner consistent with the role of an international civil servant
- learn about the Wikipedia editorial policy and guidelines and be tactical before posting (adding reputable reference and source will increase the chance of your contribution to remain unedited for longer time)
- protect confidential information and respect embargoes on unreleased publications or other work in progress
- Try to use content from published and/or authorised documents for external communication
- FAO policy, procedures and rules apply to what you do online as well as elsewhere