Wikipedia:Notable person survival kit

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Right, so you are a notable person and have come to Wikipedia to edit an article that is related to you or your work, perhaps to add some useful details, or to fix a glaring error. And now you have heard one or all of the following:

And you realise that behind that tempting "edit" tab at the top of your biography, there awaits a posse of anonymous Wikipedians ready to haul you over the coals for infringement of a million rules you've never heard of. Worry not, help is at hand! With a bit of luck, it will all work out, and you will make some friends here!

Good things to do[edit]

Is this how you feel right now?

These are a few things that will help you achieve what you want to achieve here:

Notability in doubt?[edit]

  • If Wikipedians express doubt that you and/or your book, record, etc. are notable enough to have an article in Wikipedia, and have nominated your article for deletion, check Wikipedia's notability criteria. Look for published sources on yourself or your work, especially in Google books, Google news archive search and Google scholar, and post links to the available sources on the article's talk page, or in the deletion discussion. Eligibility for a Wikipedia entry depends on there being substantial coverage of you or your work in independent reliable sources. These are also the sources that should mainly be reflected in the article.

Writing about yourself[edit]

  • Note that according to Wikipedia rules, you can't just write articles from your personal knowledge. You need to cite reliable sources, such as a newspaper or book, for every statement you add to an article. Otherwise it's called original research and will most likely be deleted, no matter how true and factually accurate it is. It's a basic rule that all Wikipedians have to observe.
  • Citing a source in Wikipedia works like this—simply add the following after the statement concerned:
    • <ref>White, Tom. ''The biography of Susan the Celebrity''. Cool Publishing, 2010, p. 111, ISBN 1234567890</ref>, or
    • <ref>Smith, Joe (13 July 2010). "Interview with Susan the Celebrity". New York Times</ref>, etc.
  • Make sure that the source you cite backs up what you have written, but—don't copy the wording of the source. (That would immediately get you into hot water with another Wikipedia rule, the one on copyright violations.)
  • The publications you entered as references should show up at the bottom of the screen, in a "Notes" or "References" section. If they don't, create such a section yourself, and enter <references /> in the section. (See Wikipedia:Citing sources for a full explanation of how references work in Wikipedia.)
  • Note that you can cite a modicum of self-published sources, such as your own website or blog, but note what sort of information self-published sources can be used for in Wikipedia, and what they mustn't be used for. And note that self-published sources are worthless for establishing that you or your work deserves an article in Wikipedia.
  • It is very important to Wikipedians that each article be written from a neutral point of view. This means that articles must reflect things like praise and criticism for example in roughly the same proportion in which they are found in published sources.
  • Basically, if you are working on your own article or an article on a piece of work you have done, you edit with a conflict of interest. This is not forbidden in Wikipedia, but it requires circumspection to get it right. See Wikipedia:Conflict of Interest.
  • Also see Wikipedia:Autobiography, another important Wikipedia guideline that discusses the inherent difficulties involved in writing about yourself, and suggests ways in which you can contribute to your own biography.


  • If you would like to contribute images that can be used to illustrate articles about you and your work, these are always welcome, but must be released under a license that Wikipedia can use. For further information, see Wikipedia:Image use policy.
  • You can upload images via Wikipedia:Upload or Commons:Upload. Pictures uploaded using Wikipedia:Upload are only available to the English-language Wikipedia, while images uploaded to Wikimedia Commons are also available to other language versions of Wikipedia, as well as other Wikimedia projects.
  • Commons accepts only free content, that is, images and other media files that can be used by anyone, any time, for any purpose. See Commons:Licensing.
  • If you don't want to release a full-resolution version of your image under an open license, you can use low-resolution versions of publicity photos, for example.


  • If there is a Wikipedia article about you, you are invited to contribute a short audio recoding of your spoken voice, so that our readers may know what you sound like and how you pronounce your name. Details of how to do so, and examples, are at Wikipedia:Voice intro project. You can ask for help or clarification on the project talk page. As with images, a free licence must be applied.

Errors in an article about you?[edit]

  • If a Wikipedia article mentioning you or your work contains errors, or is unfair, please see Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Help for what you can do to fix it.
  • There is also an FAQ page for article subjects at Wikipedia:FAQ/Article subjects, and advice on how to contact a Wikimedia Foundation volunteer about factual errors in your biography at Wikipedia:Contact us/Article problem/Factual error (from subject).
  • Now for something really important: avoid making legal threats in Wikipedia. Wikipedia has a rule that editors must not threaten to sue each other. If they do make such a threat, they get blocked from editing until they have resolved their dispute. This rule is very strictly enforced, so making legal threats is really counterproductive in Wikipedia! If something is wrong or libelous in an article about you, simply say, "That statement about me is not true and I hope it will be corrected for the following reasons ..." If you say, "This is libelous!" or "This is defamatory!", it may be perceived as a threat to take legal action, possibly leaving you unable to edit Wikipedia until you have retracted the threat, and shifting all the attention on you, rather than the statement in the article. There is a really useful essay about how this situation is sometimes mishandled by Wikipedia's volunteer editors, at Wikipedia:Don't overlook legal threats (WP:DOLT for short). Forewarned is forearmed!
  • And above all, don't get into heated arguments on the article's talk page! Just ignore any obnoxious person, follow the advice given in Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Help, or make a post to the biographies noticeboard.

Victim of malice?[edit]

  • If your biography keeps getting used by malicious people with an ax to grind against you, and you are losing sleep over it because nobody watches over your article, request that your biography be deleted at the biographies of living persons noticeboard. You have a good chance that your wish to have your biography deleted will be heeded, unless there is a clear consensus among editors that Wikipedia would be seriously deficient without an article about you.

See also[edit]