SourceWatch:Related campaigns on SourceWatch

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This page covers the policies and procedures associated with adding a link to an issue campaign to an article on SourceWatch and its projects, like Congresspedia.

Throughout SourceWatch and Congresspedia there are "related campaigns" sections that contain links to external websites, generally "action centers" or other sites maintained by advocacy organizations. For example, in an article on a piece of legislation, there may be a link to an advocacy group's campaign to get people to write their elected representatives and urge them to pass or defeat that legislation.

The standards for adding links to campaigns are outlined below but are fairly flexible. Also below are instructions on how to add a link and create a new "related campaigns" section if one does not exist on an article already.


The managing editors began officially allowing and encouraging citizen editors to add links to issue campaigns on related articles in July of 2007. The purpose of including links to these "related campaigns" is to both report on the campaigns and to provide readers with opportunities to act on information they discover on the wiki. The managing editors felt this exemplified the spirit behind SourceWatch and Congresspedia: to give people the information they need to engage in the world as critical consumers of information and as active citizens. The wiki is not meant to be just a research guide; it's supposed to be a part of democracy.

Note: The existence of a link to a campaign does not constitute an endorsement by the Center for Media and Democracy, the Sunlight Foundation or any other organization or editor involved in the wiki. Other than requiring that they conform to the standards set out below, there is no editorial oversight of the links and they are not meant to steer readers according to a particular agenda. Many of the links even within the same article may have diametrically opposed goals. If the article is of high-quality, however, readers should have enough information to decide which link they want to click.

Standards for related campaign links

Links to related campaigns must comply with SourceWatch and Congresspedia's general standard of fairness and accuracy. In this context, this means that when links to campaigns serve to obfuscate an issue rather than clarify it, they may be removed. For example, if an organization purports to be a citizens' group but is really an industry-funded front group, the link to a campaign by that group in an article falsely implies that citizens have organized around that position. Links to campaigns of groups that do not meet this site's standards of having "reputable, reliable and established" sources may also be removed. Similarly, if the goals or premises of a campaign convey false information or an inaccurate characterization, the link to it may be removed.

At this point the Center for Media and Democracy and the Sunlight Foundation cannot accept links to election-related campaigns of U.S. candidates, political parties or PACs. This may change in the future.

Editorial policy and disclaimer

The only oversight performed by the managing editors on campaigns linked to from the "related campaigns" sections is to ensure they comply with the standards above. Again, the existence of a link to a campaign does not constitute an endorsement by the Center for Media and Democracy, the Sunlight Foundation or any other organization or editor involved in the wiki. The Sunlight Foundation's lawyers also prefer that the managing editors not add too many of the links themselves (especially on Congresspedia articles), so don't take it personally when they offer to help you add the link yourself rather than do it for you.

If you think a campaign link does not meet the standards, you may contact the managing editors for guidance and/or assistance or simply remove it yourself. Just remember to play nice.

How to report a campaign link that does not meet standards

If you see a campaign link that does not meet the standards in this article, see if you can modify the link so that it does. If the campaign itself does not meet the standards, try moving the link into the body of the article as a piece of information rather than a link to a campaign, thus documenting the fact that, say, a front group organized a campaign, instead of directing readers there.

How to insert campaign links

The wiki utilizes two template tags to organize the related campaign links...

The link should go under the section title "Related campaigns," which should be a sub-section of the "Articles and resources" section at the bottom of the article...

When a "related campaigns" section exists

If a "related campaigns" section already exists, you just need to insert a link to the external webpage where the "action alert" or other type of campaign exists. Please use a bullet point and include the name of the organization operating the campaign, the title of the campaign and a short description.

Example: The AFL-CIO's Campaign on the Employee Free Choice Act
What you put in
* [[AFL-CIO]] campaign to [ pass the Employee Free Choice Act,] (fact sheets and "spread the word" features).
What you get

If you'd like to include more information (or add context to a campaign link inserted by another citizen editor) see the "Adding more information" section below.

When a "related campaign" section does not already exist

You will need to insert two templates on an article before adding a link to your campaign. The first alerts readers that there are current action opportunities available:

This article has information on related action opportunities for citizens in the related campaigns section.

This template is called by inserting "{{Related campaigns tag}}" in the article. The best place to do this is near the top, usually under a "current status" section, in order to immediately alert the reader to the presence of the campaigns.

The second template precedes and introduces the actual campaign links:

The links below are for issue campaigns related to this article and are for educational purposes. The campaigns are not endorsed by the operators of this site and may represent opposing points of view. More information on this section and how to add other campaigns.

This template should go under a new section heading you create called "Related campaigns" under the "Articles and resources" section that is generally found at the bottom of every article. Generally the "Articles and resources" section is a "second-level heading" (i.e. it uses two equal signs like this: "==Articles and Resources=="), so the new "Related campaigns" section should be a third-level heading (like this: "===Related campaigns==="). Next insert "{{Related campaigns}}" right beneath the new "Related campaigns" section heading.

Note that the two templates work together – the top template will link to the bottom template, enabling a reader to quickly jump down to the campaign links if that's what they're interested in.

Once you have inserted these two templates, use the instructions above under "When a "related campaigns" section exists" to create a link to an issue campaign webpage.

Adding more information

When inserting a link to a campaign, make sure to include the name of the organization operating the campaign, a sentence-long summary of its goal and the date when the campaign expires, which should be no more than two years from the date the link is added (a link may be renewed at that time). This will assist staff editors and volunteer sysops in cleaning up outdated links.

If you'd like to include more information or would like to add information to an existing link, consider turning the name of the campaign into an internal link to a new article about that campaign where you and other editors can report on the campaign as well as providing a link to it. Alternately, you could turn the name of the campaign into a section link that points to a new section you created on the campaign on the SourceWatch article on the sponsoring organization. For example, you could go to the AFL-CIO article and create a new section on the "Campaign to pass the Employee Free Choice Act," making the link [[AFL-CIO#Campaign to pass the Employee Free Choice Act]]. The goal is to give readers as much information as possible about a campaign while still providing a link for those that want to take action.

For further assistance, contact a managing editor or volunteer sysop.