Before you rush to start a new Wikipedia article, there are a couple of things to consider.
Wikipedia has a huge gamut of guidelines for writing, uploading, and editing Wiki articles. But before you begin any of those tasks, you first need to know what types of subjects are appropriate for Wikipedia.
Wikipedia’s notability policy lays out the guidelines for good Wiki subjects. All articles must be “worthy of notice” – though that doesn’t necessarily depend on fame, importance, or popularity.
Notability for a person, product, business, group, or organization can be defined in a lot of ways: historical significance, geographical reach, uniqueness in the market, consumer interest, and cultural significance, to name a few. There are no hard and fast rules as to what qualifies a subject as “notable” enough for Wikipedia. However, there are some rules that govern what isn’t acceptable for a Wikipedia article.
A good Wikipedia editor or consultant can help you determine if your article idea is appropriate for a Wikipedia entry.
Inappropriate Wikipedia topics:
- Your original research. Only proven facts or commonly accepted theories on Wikipedia, folks. Save the research for journals.
- Up-and-comers. Wikipedia is for business/products/people that have already achieved a certain level of success, not those that are still working to achieve notable successs.
- Small businesses. Hate to say it, but your business needs to be of some type of significance — a regional, national or international reach, very unique product, or of historical interest — to have a place on Wikipedia. Think PetCo and Shell versus Sasha’s Pet Emporium and Al’s Quik Stop.
- Your website, your blog, your family history, a book or instruction manual you wrote. It’s tricky saying what I just said, because there is a certain amount of subjectivity related to notability. If your website, blog, family history, or book does pass the relevance test, then Wikipedia is for you. But for most of us folks, it doesn’t apply. So, if your website or blog has demonstrated influence (like Snopes.com or Instapundit, one of the most popular political blogs), your family history is culturally or historically relevant (say, your last name is Kennedy or Tudor), or your book has actually been published and sold, you’re good to go.
- Regular folks. You’ve been a successful doctor all your life, active member of your local Rotary club, a significant donor to your alma mater, and a loving parent. While that’s certainly notable in my book, you might not pass Wiki’s standards. Wikipedia has special guidelines regarding notable people, and in general a person has to a) be the subject of a published article, b) receive a significant award or honor, or c) be a widely recognized contributor “of enduring historical record in his or her specific field.” Pass any of those criteria and you’re gold.
So, what are appropriate topics for Wikipedia? I couldn’t begin to even list them … but I’ll try:
- You – if you’re notable. Former and current Olympians, published authors, CEOs, musicians and bands, rodeo champions, city mayors, academics, athletes, creative types, diplomats – the list could go on forever. But if you’re notable in a particular field, chances are there’s a space for your bio on Wikipedia.
- Your product – if it’s notable. Do you make the first or only kind or some sort of product? Does your technology revolutionize an industry? If you can demonstrate to others that your product is notable, go for it.
- Your business – if its notable. Again, are you the only company in a particular field, or a national/multinational corporation that wants some additional Web space? Consider adding your company to Wikipedia.
What else makes good topics? Almost anything under the sun – from your published book to your nonprofit organization. One of the best things about Wikipedia is that no rules are set in stone, which allows for a flexible, ever-changing knowledge database that’s updated in real time. But if your article doesn’t pass the notability test, you run the risk of having your entry deleted.
Not sure if your article idea is appropriate for Wikipedia? Ask a friend what she thinks for her honest answer. Want a second opinion? Ask us!
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