Today’s dose of “My life is weird”:

I’m reading the ongoing debate on whether the Wikipedia article about me should be deleted.

It’s weird enough that I have a Wikipedia article. It’s weirder that four people have already chimed in in defense of the article, and they’re currently outnumbering those that think it should be redirected to Boobquake. Which oddly enough, has its own article as well.

EDIT: It’s also weird finding things wrong with my article and not being able to fix it, due to the rules about not editing stuff where you have conflicts of interests. I won the Undergraduate Student Research Award from the American Society of Mammlogists, not Microbiologists! And then there are other awards I’ve won that don’t have documentation available on the internet, and therefore get lost in No Citation land. Oh well.


  1. Michael Hoffman says

    You aren’t forbidden from editing the article about yourself if you can do so in a neutral way, but doing so is just a bad idea.

    It’s not your CV so there doesn’t need to be a place for every award you’ve won. If they aren’t notable enough to show up in some other reliable source, then they probably don’t need to go up there.

  2. schism says

    *looks at deletion discussion*
    *realizes the byzantine mess that drove him away from Wikipedia in the first place is, if anything, even worse now*
    *resumes ignoring Wikipedia*

  3. Nepenthe says

    If there’s anyone I’d like to set the tone for a deletion discussion about my biography, it’s Tryptofish. I was expecting snide vaguely sexist remarks, not a seemingly reasonable discussion.

  4. says

    Wikipedia (and its no-experts policy) is, in principle, an excellent idea. However, the wiki model leaves it wide open to seriously unbalanced people squatting on articles and rules-lawyering to death any edit that’s even slightly controversial. That’s why I stick to TVTropes and RationalWiki these days.

  5. says

    I’ve already said my opinion on the deletion discussion (disavian here) but I’d like to point out to anyone that doesn’t know: it’s not a straight vote, it’s more presenting arguments to whoever the closing administrator is and they decide what the “consensus” of the discussion is.

  6. Riptide says

    I’ve kind of lost respect for Wikipedia after one of Neil Gaiman’s original characters in American Gods was kind of turned into an actual god of Russian mythology completely by accident–well-meaning people editing the Wikipedia references to the character to exclude reference to Gaiman to be “culturally fair” or some such. Now the god has been cited by serious scholarly journals as having actually ‘existed’ in the popular mythos of the pre-Christian East Slavs.

    Wikipedia’s a nice idea, in other words…but if it’s left to the ‘invisible hand’ of the marketplace of ideas, it has the potential to play havoc with certain academic fields like history and anthropology.

  7. Indeterminate Me says


    <blockquote<If you document those awards on your blog, then your blog can be the citation.

    Blogs are not considered acceptable cites on Wikipedia.

  8. Kevin says

    Indeterminate –

    they can be. It’s generally acceptable to cite a blog that is definitely written by someone for noncontentious information about themselves. you can’t use a blog to source an extraordinary claim (like, winning a nobel peace prize) but unless there are special reasons to doubt it, they are generally okay sources for information about the person who writes them.

    Many minor awards won’t be worth mentioning in an article, though, since it’s not a CV.

  9. Azkyroth says

    Hey, at least there’s no [citation needed] next to your name!

    Has someone gone through and added one to ever mention of the sky appearing to be blue?

  10. Lukas says

    Riptide, which American Gods character are you referring to? (I’m a massive fan of Neil Gaiman, and of mythology, so I always like learning new trivia about either.)

  11. says

    At some point, folks hanging out at Pharyngula noticed that Deepak Chopra’s Wikipedia article said that Time magazine had listed him as one of the most 100 influential people of some time period. I took the trouble to dig through the Time archives and couldn’t find anything of the sort. The statement in Wikipedia did have a citation, but to some random website floating around out there…which might’ve gotten the idea from Wikipedia in the first place, for all I know. Having soured on editing Wikipedia myself in 2006 or so, I didn’t have the gumption to push the issue further.

  12. Daniel says

    Nothing stops you from participating in the discussion page (see Randal L. Schwartz‘s article for an example.

    If you want some awards to be cite, maybe you could take a pictures and upload it in the discussion section (I did that for some article about monuments – I take “article quality” pictures and also upload pictures of plaques or other documentation).

  13. zagrobelny8 says

    How is this Wikipedia’s fault? Scholars and authors have an obligation to do research, not cut and paste the encyclopedia. Things like that have been happening long before Wikipedia.

  14. zagrobelny8 says

    Blogs are acceptable if the blog author is providing information about themselves or their views.

  15. says

    I’m so very sorry to read about your attitude towards Wikipedia. I know that it can be frustrating when edits are reverted and some editors act like asses. But I feel you are ignoring the big picture. Wikipedia is the closest thing we have to a summation of all knowledge (according to Jeff Wagg) and is available world wide, for FREE, no pop-ups, no viruses and guess what we control it.

    By WE I mean people with facts.

    You might have given up, sorry, but I haven’t. You say you are ignoring Wikipedia, really? You don’t scuttle over there once in awhile to look something up? Where else would you go?

    My point is that we can’t give up on improving Wikipedia for skeptical content. The world is visiting these pages. That is a fact. If you find that a page is in disorder then help fix it. If you are still having problems with your edit staying, then really look at what the other editors are trying to tell you. If you still think they are at fault then you can move to getting the disagreement settled by neutral editors.

    There are solutions besides giving up.

  16. says

    The reference you are talking about seems to have been removed. You are 100% correct that references need to be checked over, I find them on psychic pages all the time, they say they have assisted the police and solved all kinds of crimes. Then they cite their own blog. Yikes!

    We need to look for those kinds of things because they are very quick things to take out. People outside the skeptical community are reading these pages, they don’t know who Chopra is, he is just a really nice guy on TV that a lot of people seem to respect. If they are reading this nonsense then they are going to believe it.

    Bring it to someones attention when you see this kind of thing, you can write it on the Discussion page or maybe just ask around on Facebook for someone who is willing to take the edit out.

    What kind of numbers are we looking at? Chopra is getting 35-55 thousand hits each month. I think its important to keep on top of this.

  17. says

    Thank you Ethan!

    Jennifer mentioned this on a blog a month or so ago, her followers really came together and helped out her page. As Ethan says I am trying to mobilize a editing “army” that will write/improve ect Wikipedia pages for critical thinking. The project is really important, Wikipedia is an amazing resource, we can’t ignore it. Seize these paranormal pages back from the woo that tries to change edits into promotional nonsense for themselves.

    We also need to have the backs of our skeptical spokespeople which is exactly where Jennifer’s WP page falls. How can we ask the non-skeptical world to respect Jennifer (and others) if we don’t respect them enough to maintain their page?

    My to-do list is pages and pages long. Please add her and others to YOUR list.

    Please join me. If you want to remain just a part of the skeptical community, then fine, continue bitching over your beer at the next skeptics in the pub. But when you are ready to join the Skeptical Movement and you think editing Wikipedia might be just up your alley then visit my blog for ideas.

  18. Heather says

    “And then there are other awards I’ve won that don’t have documentation available on the internet, and therefore get lost in No Citation land.”

    List them here and cite your blog!

  19. Nick says

    There has to be a way for you leave some authoritative bio, or at least a way to correct what’s been written.

    I would argue against deletion; if you matter enough for people to set about putting up and maintaining your page, you probably matter enough for Wikipedia.

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