Are You Eligible for a Wikipedia Page?

5 minute read

Are You Eligible for a Wikipedia Page?

How does a person qualify for a Wikipedia page? Here are four things to consider. 

We've also provided references to further reading at the bottom. 

Every day Wikipedia takes down about 1,000 pages. Who removes Wikipedia pages? People and automated bots. The bots have fun names like ClueBot NG and Huggle - but it isn't fun when your page is deleted by one of them. 

But why do Wikipedia pages get removed so often? Because editors make mistakes, mainly around notability requirements or spamming. This article, while not exhaustive, answers some of the biggest questions about qualification for a Wikipedia page that won't be deleted (probably).

1. Are you notable?

At its core, Wikipedia strives for reliability. Are there articles written about you? A Wikipedia page about a person requires the person be notable. Many people believe they are notable enough, but aren't.

An article where you are just mentioned or quoted isn't usually good enough. Articles about you need to be *about* you as the main subject. This type of article could be an interview, a biography, or an article by a reasonably well-known author. 

Wikipedia states it this way:

If a topic has received significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of the subject, it is presumed to be suitable for a stand-alone article or list.

Certain subjects within Wikipedia have their own special guidelines, these are called Subject-specific notability guidelines 

2. Are there numerous references to you online?

It takes more than one reference to make a Wikipedia page. Far more. For example, a biography of a living person (we're assuming if you're reading this you are alive) requires web references for most facts presented.

For example, a statement like: "John Smith is the CEO of Acme Roadrunner food and was born in Ventura California on July 5th, 1964." would ideally require one or two solid and verifiable references about those facts.

Acceptable references could be public birth records on a government website, an article about John Smith in a well-known and respected publication, etc. An example of this would be Elon Musks Wikipedia page which references that he is CEO of numerous companies with a reference to a site called Computer History

Primary vs. reliable sources

What is a primary Wikipedia source?

According to Wikipedia, a primary source is original material that is close to an event, and is often an account written by people who are directly involved. A self-published website about you is not acceptable as a reference. Primary sources cannot be used to establish notability.

Examples of a primary source would be the subjects own website, a press release by the subject, proxy statements, patents, etc. 

What is a reliable Wikipedia source?

A reliable Wikipedia source is a third-party published source with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. These are usually considered "secondary sources". Examples of reliable Wikipedia sources include reasonably well-known and reliable news sites, scholarly articles have value but articles that cite scholarly articles are often better.

Is Wikipedia a reliable source for Wikipedia?

No. Wikipedia itself states that Wikipedia is not a reliable source. 

3. Do the references themselves have a Wikipedia page?

Computer History, used in the example above, has its own Wikipedia page. It is a museum in Silicon Valley. The fact that the reference (#2 above) is solid and that the publication itself (a museum) has its own Wikipedia page is significant. It means the publication itself has a degree of notoriety. 

Not all publications are "trusted"  just because they have a Wikipedia page though. In August 2020 Wikipedia stopped calling Fox News a reliable source. To quote Wired:

...a panel of Wikipedia administrators in July declared that Fox News would no longer be considered “generally reliable” in its reporting on politics and science, and in those areas “should be used with caution to verify contentious claims.

Still, in most cases the existence of a Wikipedia page for a publication means it can be considered reliable. 

4. What are bad Wikipedia sources?

Bad Wikipedia references include the following:

  • Self-published material like the subjects own website
  • Nearly all sites with user-generated content
  • Tabloid journalism
  • Amazon reviews
  • Reddit
  • (and most blogging sites)
  • International Business Times
  • IMDB
  • WikiLeaks
  • ResearchGate
  • Occupy Democrats
  • Quora
  • PR Newswire

For a more exhaustive list, with explanations, check out this article

Should you create your own Wikipedia article?

Wikipedia rules say that you should not create your own Wikipedia page. Doing so would be a conflict of interest. From a practical standpoint, it's difficult to write your own Wikipedia page anyway because, let's face it, it is hard to be objective about oneself. 

But here is the big reason you should not publish your own page. If you write your own Wikipedia page, and it gets taken down, it is very difficult to get a new page - even if you do it right the second time. Why? Because it will be flagged. The person or persons who took it down will be watching. 

Conveniently, Reputation X provides expert Wikipedia editing services. :-)

Further reading