Wikipedia has long maintained a guideline titled Conflict of interest—also commonly referred to as “COI” which strongly discourages companies and organizations from editing articles about themselves. Because this guideline is primarily a list of don’ts, the site’s editorial community later developed a set of protocols for engagement by professional communicators. These rules are not widely known, nor are they always easy to follow, but they have been drafted, modified, and ratified through the daily work of Wikipedia editors.

This primer attempts to address the information gap between the Wikipedia community and PR professionals who want to engage with Wikipedia on its own terms. While the advice ahead will not answer every question you may have, it will put you on the right path to working with Wikipedia both ethically and effectively.