January 11, 2007 4:00 AM PST
To delete Wikipedia entry or not to delete?
On Sunday, I was contacted by Kevin Murray, one of the free encyclopedia's volunteer administrators, who informed me that someone had posted an article about me but that it was being considered for deletion.
I was a little taken aback. After all, to be told, out of the blue, that someone has created a Wikipedia article about you, well, that's pretty cool. To be told at the same time that others instantly questioned whether you are worthy of an article, well, that's another thing altogether. After all, I didn't ask for this.
I went and looked at the entry and discovered that there was a considerable amount of momentum for deleting it. (Since writing this reporter's notebook, Wikipedia administrators have decided to keep the entry.)
This was very interesting. It's not often that you have the chance to peer in on a conversation in which a bunch of people you've never met discuss and, let's be honest, judge you.
The content of the original article--my professional history, basically--was based on information culled from an online resume I posted a couple of years ago when I was a freelance journalist.
Wikipedia is an open, online encyclopedia that allows anyone to create or edit articles about anything they choose. And anyone can weigh in on whether an article should be kept or deleted. But only an administrator can perform a deletion, if that is the consensus.
As for why the article had been posted now, I'm not sure--though it's likely because of my role in the recent griefing attack in the virtual world Second Life of digital-land baroness Anshe Chung. I haven't reached the writer to ask his rationale.Not notable enough?
The article was posted at 9:10 a.m. on January 7. At 9:36 a.m., a Wikipedia administrator named Wickethewok flagged it for deletion, suggesting that I was not notable enough, under generally accepted Wikipedia standards "WP:BIO," to warrant an entry.
"The person has been the primary subject of multiple nontrivial published works whose source is independent of the person," seemed to be the operational guideline that was being discussed in reference to my article.
"It appears to be about some author who does not meet WP:BIO," Wickethewok wrote of my entry. "However, the article discusses itself and how it's referenced by other articles. Only source is the subject's resume. Delete as failing WP:BIO."
This was just a recommendation, I realized.
Murray said one major problem with the original article was that none of the content was verified. Because the source material was my online resume, people like Wickethewok questioned the veracity of my credentials.
But it was also clear, in reading the thread of discussion about whether to keep the article, that several administrators simply didn't think my history as a journalist merited inclusion.
Still, the original author weighed in, referencing one standard that is sometimes used to justify the entry.
"This individual appears to meet the professor test, in that he is more well known and more published than an average college professor," wrote Jeff G, the article's author. "'Daniel Terdiman' gets about 105,000 results on Google...about 126,000 results on Yahoo."
Wickethewok wasn't convinced.