[Foundation-l] Six criteria for Wikipedia inclusion

Anthony wikilegal at inbox.org
Sun Oct 1 02:06:10 UTC 2006

On 9/30/06, Anthony <wikilegal at inbox.org> wrote:
> On 9/30/06, Brad Patrick <bradp.wmf at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > In fact maybe we can beat them to the punch.  Create a verifiable
> > > neutral article about them *before* they get around to it.
> > >
> >
> > True to your belief everything should be in Wikipedia, Anthony.  I disagree.
> >
> In a perfect world "everything" should be in Wikipedia, I suppose, but
> I don't believe we live in such a perfect world.  Please don't
> misrepresent my position.
I thought I'd expand a little bit on what my position is.  I can think
of six criteria off the top of my head for Wikipedia articles.  They
must be:

1) based on verifiable sources - anything which can not be written
about using verifiable sources shouldn't be in Wikipedia - this
criterion includes the concept of "no original research" - this is a
big part of what I mean by "in a perfect world...", as in a perfect
world we'd be able to verify anything.
2) NPOV - if an article is not written from a neutral point of view it
should generally be rewritten - however, in some cases perhaps it
makes more sense to simply remove the article - this criterion
includes the concept of barring autobiographies.
3) encyclopedic - this is perhaps the fuzziest criterion, but it would
exclude things like essays, lists of quotes, articles about words,
fiction, etc.
4) legal - due to various laws, including but not limited to privacy
laws and so called "intellectual property" laws, there are some things
we can't legally have free articles about
5) of a decent size - articles which are too short and will likely
never be expanded should generally be merged with other articles and
6) in line with human dignity - this would prohibit disclosure of
certain types of private information, even in cases where it's
probably legal under US law to include the information - I also think
we should give the benefit of the doubt in borderline cases to people
who ask that private information, especially biographies, not be
included - however, I only think we should take this so far, and in
the case of legally disclosable and already widely available public
information I think the NPOV principle overrides any concerns about
disclosing negative information.

One criterion that I explicitly do not include is how popular
something is.  In fact, I think the less popular something is the
*more* useful it is to include information about it in Wikipedia.

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