Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not for things made up one day

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Wikipedia is not for things that you and/or your friends made up. If you have invented something in school, in your university lab, your garage, or the pub, and it has not yet been featured in reliable sources, please do not write about it in Wikipedia. Write about it on your own website or blog instead. If you do, don't try to write an article based on your or your friend's website.

Resist the temptation[edit]

Many editors, especially newer ones, are tempted to write articles about ideas that they or their friends have come up with, such as a new ball game invented in the park, a new word or phrase invented in the playground, a film made with your friends to be uploaded to YouTube, a new language, or a new drinking game invented at a particularly memorable party. It's natural to want to tell the world, and Wikipedia seems like a great way to do this – after all, if you enjoy this new fad, won't other people appreciate it too?

There are several things wrong with doing this:

  • Wikipedia content is required to be verifiable. There's no way that the rest of the world can verify your account of the new thing your friend said or did one day. It's not recorded and it's not documented. Indeed, there's no way for the rest of the world to verify that your friend even exists. Verifiability isn't up for postmodern debate; it's a standard criterion. All articles need to cite reliable sources; if you can't do that because there aren't any sources documenting what you invented, then your content is unverifiable and should not be posted on Wikipedia.
  • Original research is forbidden on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; that is, it aims to be a summary of information that has already been published. It does not seek to be a place where new information is published for the first time – for that we have newspapers, academic journals, publishers of books and so on. It does not exist to promote new things and spread new knowledge. If you find yourself arguing that your Wikipedia article is necessary because no one else has written about your new invention yet, you have misunderstood the purpose of Wikipedia. Wikipedia is here for documenting things in which precisely the opposite has occurred.
  • Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Editors often protest the deletion of their articles on the grounds that their new idea is bound to take off and become popular soon, so why not have an article on it now? Sometimes they might be right, but other times they might not be, and once again there is no way for the reader to verify that their idea is going to be the next big thing. Wikipedia deals with subjects which are already notable and written about. It doesn't speculate on what might become well known in the future.
  • Wikipedia is not a dictionary. Many articles of this nature describe new words or terms coined by a small group of friends. But Wikipedia is not a dictionary; it's an encyclopedia. Meanings of words and phrases go into a dictionary, such as Wiktionary; however, adding your own new words and phrases to Wiktionary is also unacceptable. Wiktionary requires evidence that a word or phrase has been attested before it will accept it. A new word that one person or a small group of people have made up and are trying to make catch on is a neologism and may not be acceptable at Wiktionary. Take a look at Urban Dictionary instead.
  • Wikipedia is not a free wiki host for you to use for your own purposes. It is an encyclopedia. Our primary goal here is to write an encyclopedia, not to provide free web hosting to people. Even if your article isn't taking up much space, you are still misusing Wikipedia, and the efforts employed in removing your article could be used instead in creating a usable encyclopedia. If you like the idea of having your own wiki, check out Wikia.

The right way to get things you or your friends made up into Wikipedia[edit]

Of course, everything in Wikipedia was made up or discovered by someone at some point in time, so how can your idea join them? Essentially, you have to persuade someone else that it's important first – and that someone has to think it's sufficiently important to write a book, a newspaper or magazine article, or an academic paper on your idea. Such resources are considered reliable, and therefore the subject can become eligible for Wikipedia. It is important that someone else other than the originator of the idea do the writing, as notability can be granted only through independent attention; see Wikipedia:Notability. Advice on how one can obtain this kind of independent attention is beyond the scope of Wikipedia, and as such, seeking notability lies in the hands of the individual.

Citing one's own book/academic paper/etc. may still be done after such independent attention has been garnered; however, it must be done in a neutral manner, and not in a style which suggests vanity.

Shortcut:

As an example, consider the history of the game Scrabble. It was originally invented by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938. At first he made only a few copies, to give or sell to his friends, and contacted several game manufacturers, all of whom turned him down. Therefore, had Wikipedia been around in 1938 it could not have had an article on Scrabble. Even though Butts had invented a great game, which would eventually become a worldwide bestseller, at the time it was known only to a few people, and little or nothing had been written about it. However, he was not disheartened and kept promoting his idea, until several years later it was bought by a games manufacturer, sold in many stores, and became widely known and widely written about. This is the point at which Wikipedia could have had an article about it, as opposed to when it was first invented.

What you shouldn't do[edit]

Do not write about your own ideas and inventions on Wikipedia if you cannot cite reliable sources to show that they are notable and verifiable. For a full discussion of what counts as a reliable source, see Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources. In particular, remember that people writing in blogs or posting on discussion forums are not considered reliable.

Even if your ideas and inventions are notable and there are good sources to cite, it is often a bad idea to write about them yourself. Why? Because you have a conflict of interest (COI). The COI policy applies to you and limits your ability to edit out any negative material that others may, with reliable sources, add later on. We have something called the "Law of Unintended Consequences" that will always apply to you. Read it carefully, because ignoring it can have serious repercussions for you, your family, your business, and your future in the real world. Editing here is not a game, so do it carefully. Wikipedia is not a free web hosting service. Everything you do here is recorded for posterity and is publicly available information, too.

If you cannot cite reliable sources, please write about your invention somewhere else. You could use your own web site, or one of the many social networking sites. Alternatively, you can try one of the many wikis on Wikia, which often have more flexible rules than Wikipedia on what content can be included.

See also[edit]