Tuesday, May 15, 2012

How to get on Wikipedia


"Internet fame" can be measured in several ways. Kids compete to be the first to accumulate 1,000 friends on Facebook. Adults may count their Google links. (My best friend from childhood has about 67,000. I have about 50,000. One of our mutual friends has just over 1,300.)

But none of these statistics is as impressive as having a biography on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is the Internet’s mammoth and free encyclopedia, a valuable reference source — and an addictive time-waster — for millions of people worldwide. Almost anyone can gain Google and Bing search links, but most people are not deemed worthy of an article on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia says: “The topic of an article should be notable, or ‘worthy of notice;’ that is, ‘significant, interesting, or unusual enough to deserve attention or to be recorded.’ Notable in the sense of being ‘famous,’ or ‘popular’ — although not irrelevant — is secondary. This notability guideline for biographies reflects consensus reached through discussions and reinforced by established practice, and informs decisions on whether an article on a person should be written, merged, deleted or further developed.”

While you can publish an article about yourself, or have someone write about you, you must be noteworthy and the article mush be neutral and verifiable. An inappropriate article will usually be deleted quickly. If you want to be enshrined in Wikipedia, do something important that others will notice, like D. H. Lawrence, above.

Of course, being on Wikipedia doesn't mean you're wonderful. Atilla the Hun, Torquemada, Stalin and Hitler made the cut. Sarah Palin and Dan Quayle were approved, too. So is the cockroach.

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