Wikipedia:No amount of editing can overcome a lack of notability

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Wikipedia:OVERCOME)
Jump to: navigation, search
You can embellish an article about these trees all you want, but they still will not meet Wikipedia's notability guidelines.

When articles are listed for deletion on the grounds of the topic's notability, the creators of such articles often ask how they could write better articles about that topic. But they are, in fact, asking the wrong question. There are many notability guidelines for different types of articles, but when a notability issue is invoked, no matter what the topic is, it always boils down to this question: should we even have an article about that topic?

This means that unless information is added to an article to show that its topic meets the relevant notability guideline, or unless the notability issue was invoked in error, there is nothing that can be done to save the article. Not a better writing style. Not a more neutral wording. Not surrendering the redaction to another person to circumvent conflict of interest guidelines. Not the removal of material potentially regarded as promotional. Not a more explicit referencing from primary sources. Not even a promise that, soon, the subject will meet the notability guidelines. Nothing. None of these things address the problem. The problem is not with the article itself. The problem is with what the article is about.

Editors who protest against deletion nominations of articles they create are often closely related to the subject. Our conflict of interest guidelines do not prevent anyone from creating or editing articles about themselves, but the very act of creating an article often arises from such a relationship, and the creator often overestimates the notability of the subject before creating the article. However, people who create articles about themselves or projects they are involved in can do something when their articles are deleted on notability grounds. But it can only be done off-wiki. They can get others to notice them or their projects first.

Suffice to say that, when Wikipedia was started in 2001, if someone had started an article about Akon then, it would probably have been speedy deleted for lack of notability, and with good reason. Even in 2004, when the first draft of the article was written, someone might have argued that it was too soon for such an article (and it probably was). But little by little, he built a name for himself, to the point where he is now a household name, and even those who do not like him cannot argue his lack of notability with any degree of credibility.

In fact, if the current notability guidelines for websites had been applied in 2001, Wikipedia would not have been able to keep an article about itself. Nowadays, it would be unthinkable for Wikipedia to not have such an article.

Wikipedia has more than 4.5 million articles now. Many of those do not do justice to the importance of their subjects (I believe the technical term would be "crappy"), but at least they do establish that the subject has been noticed by third parties before the Wikipedia article was started. Bad writing is not an argument for deletion except in extreme cases, but an otherwise brilliantly written article may be deleted without hesitation if its topic does not meet the relevant notability guidelines.

What to do then?[edit]

It depends whether you have a relationship with the subject or not.

If you don't, then, as far as Wikipedia is concerned, there is just nothing you can do but wait. You may have started the article out of admiration for the subject, but if you are the only person who has noticed yet, then the time is not right for a Wikipedia article, even a brilliant one. It is quite possible that you are the first person to have noticed a performer, a politician, a business, etc. enough to write a neutral article about that person. But if you are first to notice, then Wikipedia is not the right place to spread the word that there is something worth noting in that person or business. You may want to try your luck at MySpace, Twitter, or a personal blog, as such websites are specifically suited for you to say what you want to say. After some time, you may have become aware that a reliable source or two have noticed the subject in some depth, perhaps even thanks to you. When you become aware of that happening, then the time is right for you to start the Wikipedia article on that subject.

On the other hand, if you do have a close relationship with the subject, or if you are the subject, then if the possibility of becoming the subject of a stable Wikipedia entry is appealing to you, there is no reason why it shouldn't motivate you to become the best you can be in your field, and that is where most of your efforts should be concentrated. If you are truly talented in that field, then by the time you come back to Wikipedia you might find that someone else has started a Wikipedia article on you, and that article may have already survived a deletion discussion. As a bonus, you will have spared yourself the drama of fighting to have the article about you stay in Wikipedia.

Of course, there is nothing keeping you from creating or editing an article about yourself (and editing is actually encouraged if you find blatant inaccuracies), and Wikipedia does have several partly autobiographical articles about unquestionably notable people, perhaps the most famous of whom would be Franklin Delano Roosevelt III. For more examples, look for articles whose talk pages are tagged with the {{Notable Wikipedian}} template. But the main point would be for you to become truly notable first, and that takes some time and effort (and some luck), which could be undermined if you try to defend your current notability while your talent and achievements have not yet been noticed by the outside world.