What’s the difference between a “white hat” and a “black hat” consultant?

WhiteHatWiki is one of the only “white hat” Wikipedia consulting firms. It’s why we’re trusted by some of the best known companies, organizations and individuals in the world.  A “white hat” consultant is paid, but still tries their best to abide by all Wikipedia’s complex policies, especially full disclosure of a Conflict of Interest. There are scores of other Wikipedia policies that come into play when doing COI editing.

Undisclosed conflict of interest editing or advocacy is a “black hat” practice, even if the consultant swears they abide by all other Wikipedia policies. Black hat practices can include a variety of workarounds to the many special policies that are required when doing COI editing. For example, making direct edits on a page instead of working with a volunteer editor to review and approve your suggested edits is a black hat practice.

Black hat editors take many short cuts (even if they claim they follow Wikipedia policies) to save time and money and to take advantage of the various ways you can bypass Wikipedia policy to sneak in (or out) content that would otherwise require a great deal of effort to get officially reviewed or approved.

Black hat editing strictly is against Wikipedia policy and the Wikimedia Terms of Use. If it’s discovered, the content may be removed (or restored) and the editor banned. There are many examples of black hat editing being discovered and losing all their Wikipedia work.

Once a person or agency starts as “black hat” editor, they are reluctant to ever go “white hat” because all their previous work might be scrutinized and removed.

At WhiteHatWiki, we don’t take short cuts. We fully disclose. We research and source our work intensively, usually providing multiple sources for every important fact in a new article. We engage with volunteer editors and respect their feedback. But we also know our facts and Wikipedia policy, so we can effectively argue our positions in the event of a dispute. We want everything we do to be reviewed by editors so there will be no question it’s been done according to policy. In the long term, that’s what’s best for our clients.