Monday, May 14, 2012

So you want your own Wikipedia page - Now What?

I get a lot of requests from people who think they should have a Wikipedia page, or their project or whatever.  Instead of writing out one more email explaining how to go about it, I'll just write it down once and save it as a post that I can forward every week.

I'm going to try and keep this general and will use the word "pickles" instead of the words; podcast, blog, person, place, thing, book, radio show, artwork, magazine or whatever else.

Firstly pickles must be noteworthy.  Wikipedia is an encyclopedia.  It is designed for people to go and look up whatever is on their mind, globally.  Being in Wikipedia is pretty darn cool, and can be pretty powerful (that goes both ways, see below about criticism).  If everyone was allowed to have a Wikipedia page, where friends could write about pickles and you could control what information went up about pickles then that would not be Wikipedia.  It would be Facebook.  The last time I checked, they were still two different things.

Wikipedia is very strict about what is noteworthy.  They get to write the rules.  I could do what most WP editors do and just link to the WP noteworthy page.  But I'm not, I doubt you will read it, otherwise you would be approaching me with "I've read the noteworthy page on Wikipedia already, and pickles fits all those requirements, can you help me?"

Noteworthy means that you have secondary citations from other noteworthy (that means they already have WP pages themselves) pickles.  And you need many citations.  Speaking out at the city council meeting, reading a poem at a meeting, having a popular business are not going to cut it.

I hear the "pickles has a ton of FB followers, blog hits, subscribers" argument all the time.  I've read this on talk pages for psychics too, "why are you being so mean to Sylvia Browne, she has so many fans?"

The answer is simple, just being popular won't cut it on WP, again that would be twitter and Facebook.  I'm sure porn sites get a ton of views also, but they don't have a WP page.  WP is an encyclopedia for noteworthy topics, not a fan club.


We are the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia team.  If you want our attention, pickles needs to satisfy the skepticism angle.  You would be surprised at the things people want help with.

Also, we are extremely busy people. I'm sure you are also, otherwise you would be on the GSoW team. Please do not insult us by assuming that we are just sitting around twiddling our thumbs waiting for a suggestion to come in.  We are all unpaid volunteers trying to do the job that needs to be done for skepticism.  Yes, it is that important.  Your pickles does not have the outreach GSoW has, not even close. We reach Millions of readers World-Wide in a year, can pickles say that?

We do not churn out pages overnight.  It can take weeks or months (generally 3-4 weeks if all goes well).  We do not turn out crappy stubs, we launch well-written carefully vetted pages.  We want to be proud of what we release, and we don't plan on doing something under pressure.  We read every citation we are given.  We put pickles on Google alert so we can find fresh material.  We also search all over the Internet for things you might have forgotten to mention. We write to organizations to back up citations, we go to a lot of work to get these written correctly.

We do not hide criticism.  In fact we want some criticism on pickle's page.  Wikipedia likes that, once the page is launched then other editors will edit the page,  trust me they will insert the criticism.  

We also hear that well meaning (but misinformed) people will try to encourage you to write your own page, guess what you aren't allowed to do that.  If so, every psychic and heehaw would have their own page.  WP does not want advertising on WP and that is what you would be doing, just another fan page.  If the GSoW team discovers that you are doing this, and you do not have the citations to prove you belong on WP then we are very likely going to take pickles page down.  We are looking out for what is best for WP and our community.  If everyone gets a page, then all of the pages are diminished.

Our other goal is to find more editors to help with this project.  Are you going to find me more editors?  Are you yourself going to join (and not work on your page, but others you are not connected with?)

Many times we search out pickles that do not ask for a re-write or a page.  That happens all the time, we have to talk them into helping us out, sometimes they are just shy about it.  They think of it as a ego thing.  Yes, in a way it is.  But we don't think of it that way.  We are looking at the big picture.  If pickles deserves a Wikipedia page, then pickles should have a page.  The world is watching us, looking at our pickles and wondering who and what we are.  Wikipedia is the perfect tool for skeptics because every claim must have proof.  It is not ego, it is common sense.  If our pickles don't have respectable pages, and they are in the media's eye, then what does that say about us?  Shame on us if we don't have our own backs!

All this said, we do encourage you to contact us with ideas for articles/rewrites or just things that are not correct on a page you have read.  We love that, we are here to help.  I know I probably sound snarky, if you only could read my email requests you would understand. ;-)  If what you are suggesting to be fixed is a small quick thing then I will find someone to fix it, or better yet, teach you how to do it yourself.  It isn't that difficult.

So please do not let my frustrations discourage you from writing to me.  But please research a bit first.  And consider that maybe you should be involved in this project.

Please join us in supporting our own community.

Write to me at - (but read this first)

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