|This essay contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays may represent widespread norms or minority viewpoints. Consider these views with discretion. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines.|
|This page in a nutshell: When a notable person comes to Wikipedia to edit, don't give them a hazing just because you can.|
From time to time, notable people come to edit Wikipedia, most often to edit articles related to themselves. As newbies, they invariably are unfamiliar with our policies and guidelines, our sourcing standards, and make many mistakes. Of course, this is our chance to put them in their place, right?
- "Hey, you are editing with a conflict of interest!"
- "Stop spamming our project!"
- "You are not really all that notable at all, are you! I am nominating your article for deletion!"
- "Your edits are all unsourced! Stop adding original research!
- "Stop using our project as a vehicle for self-promotion!"
- "You are using peacock language!"
- "You have just made a legal threat! I've reported you to the administrators' noticeboard!"
Conflict of interest, notability and neutrality may all be genuine issues that very much need addressing, but please let's be sensitive about how we go about it, and not abuse the relative advantage we have over notable people when they come here to edit. We should always be kind to newcomers, and be especially sensitive to the position of people whose lives are affected by our coverage of them.
Good things to do
These are a few things you should consider doing, to make the process as easy and agreeable as possible:
- Before nominating an article for deletion, make a good-faith effort to check notability against the notability criteria. Look for sources in Google books, Google news archive search, Google scholar and on the web, and post the available sources on the relevant talk page. Explain to the editor that these are the sources that should mainly be reflected in the article.
- Explain why they can't just write the article from their personal knowledge, and that they have to cite reliable sources, such as a newspaper or a book.
- Show them how <ref></ref> works.
- Tell them that they may use a modicum of self-published sources, such as their own website or blog, and explain what sort of information self-published sources can be used for in Wikipedia, and what they mustn't be used for.
- Explain to them how important it is that articles be written from a neutral point of view, and how they can do it.
- Explain to them what they have to bear in mind when they edit with a conflict of interest.
- Remember that editing with a conflict of interest is not forbidden, only discouraged. The content of an edit is more important than the editor who made it.
- Give them advice on how they can fix errors in articles about themselves.
- Don't overlook legal threats! If they complain about libellous or defamatory content, check if the sourcing and content match Wikipedia's policy on biographies of living persons. If it is not in line with the policy, remove it; if you are unsure, remove it and start a thread at the BLP noticeboard. Don't report the person at the administrators' noticeboard just because they have used a word like "libelous", but do make them aware of Wikipedia's policy on legal threats.
You might also consider dropping them a link to the Notable person survival kit on their talk page, which outlines some of these basic points.
Wikipedia is a great leveler. Notable people are people, and usually interesting and talented people at that. The Wikipedia experience will be much more interesting and pleasant for them and for us if we approach them in a spirit of camaraderie and help them find their feet here, rather than throwing the book at them.
And that way, when they speak about Wikipedia, they will have something nice to say about us.
- Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons
- Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Help
- Wikipedia:Conflict of interest
- Wikipedia:Don't overlook legal threats
- Wikipedia:No legal threats
- Wikipedia:Notable person survival kit
- Wikipedia:Please do not bite the newcomers