Wikipedia:Wikipedia is not for things made up in school one day/redraft

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Wikpedia is not for things made up one day[edit]

Wikipedia is not for things that you or your friends made up. If you have invented something novel in school, your garage, or the pub, but it has not yet become well known to the rest of the world, please do not write about it in Wikipedia. Write about it on your own website instead.

Resist the temptation[edit]

Many editors, especially newer ones, are tempted to write articles about ideas which 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, 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 prohibited on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; that is, it aims to be a summary of information which 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 isn't here 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 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 in 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 isn't 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's 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 preventing it from becoming a usable encyclopedia. If you like the idea of having your own wiki, check out Wikia or BluWiki.

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

Of course, everything in Wikipedia was made up 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 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 only be granted through independent attention; see Wikipedia:Notability. 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.

As an example, consider the history of the game Scrabble. It was originally invented by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938. At first he only made 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 the point when it was originally invented.

What you should do[edit]

Only write about your own ideas and inventions on Wikipedia if you can cite reliable sources to show that they are verifiable, notable, and not original research. For a full discussion of what counts as a reliable source, see Wikipedia:Reliable sources. In particular, remember that people writing in web logs or posting pseudonymously on discussion forums are not considered reliable.

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 could try one of the many wikis on Wikia which often have looser rules on what can be included than Wikipedia. One such place is Uncyclopedia. This site is meant for amusing things - you don't need to cite sources, verify information, or make sense, so long as the joke is funny to other people, and not just to yourself.

See also[edit]