SourceWatch:Editorial policy

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SourceWatch is a wiki -- a collection of articles, configured so that any registered user can create an article. Anyone can edit almost any existing article.

Groups or individuals posting articles on themselves

Because SourceWatch has high standards for sourcing all information and does not require a "neutral point of view," individuals are free to edit the articles on themselves or people or groups they are affiliated with - it is our belief that the best way to judge contributions is by the quality of the content, not the person making the contribution. Additionally, it is possible to go to elaborate lengths to disguise one's identity in editing a wiki.

There are, however, some guidelines for editing articles on groups or individuals you are affiliated with:

  • Defer to others: You are likely not the best judge of whether a contribution conforms to SourceWatch's standards, so yield to the judgment of other editors, especially the citizen sysops and staff editors, particularly if you have a disagreement rooted in a question of interpretation rather than fact.
  • Disclose your relationship: You should disclose who you are on your user page. Simply click on your username at the top of the page (when logged in) and tell us who you are there. If you don't and get busted (which is likely), other editors may find that in itself noteworthy and may add the fact that you were secretly making the additions to the article itself.
  • Don't delete relevant facts from the articles: If content is factually accurate, leave deleting it to other editors. If you like, make a request on the article's discussion page for something to be deleted.

Failure to follow these guidelines may result in your account being blocked and possibly a permanent ban from participating in SourceWatch.


Although anyone can contribute, SourceWatch uses a system of "soft security" to minimize damage from commercial spammers, trolls and vandals.

Our "soft security" measures are as follows:

  1. Some registered SourceWatch users have been given the status of "sysop," which enables them to block contributions from registered users.
  2. Sysops can also "protect" individual articles. A "protected" article can only be edited by other sysops. The SourceWatch home page is protected.
  3. Any user, sysop or not, can "rollback" recent editorial changes made to an article by any other user. To "rollback" an article means to return that article to the state it was in before the previous user began editing.

Blocking should be used: a) on the first offense if commercial spam is added to one or more articles; b) where the changes are of an editorial nature, only when a user has shown a pattern of inappropriate edits such as major deletions or additions of puffery. A single inappropriate edit may be simply a mistake or a learning experience by a new user.

Most blocks should short-term rather than infinite. (A block on an IP address has the potential to freeze out other innocent contributors from the same IP "catchment").

Where a registered user is adding spam or has repeatedly vandalized a page they can be blocked for an indefinite period.

Role of CMD staff

SourceWatch is a project of the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), and CMD sets the policies under which SourceWatch operates. CMD staff members edit and contribute content to SourceWatch and are responsible for maintaining and configuring the MediaWiki software on which it runs.

Fixing errors and resolving disputes

Material posted on SourceWatch must conform to the ground rules. If you see content that does not, we encourage you to fix it yourself as SourceWatch relies on the contributions and vigilance of its SourceWatch:citizen editors to function. If you would really rather have the managing editors fix the error, you can contact them.

In fixing an error, you will need to "play nice" with the editor who originally made the contribution. Editorial disagreements between SourceWatch users should focus on facts and evidence pertaining to the article(s) being edited. SourceWatch talk pages should not be used to vent or to insult other users. Contributors who violate SourceWatch policies may be blocked.

Users who violate SourceWatch policies

Users who violate SourceWatch policies or guidelines should expect their contributions to be edited or deleted - either by other users, sysops, CMD staff - and security measures to be taken against them. This applies to policies and guidelines found on, but not limited to, the following pages: