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Writing an autobiography on Wikipedia is an example of conflict of interest editing and is strongly discouraged. Editing a biography about yourself is acceptable only if you are removing unambiguous vandalism or clear-cut and serious violations of our biography of living persons policy.

Wikipedia has gone through many prolonged disputes about the significance, factual accuracy, and neutrality of such articles.[1] Avoiding such editing keeps Wikipedia neutral and helps avoid pushing a particular point of view.

Writing autobiographies is discouraged because it is difficult to write a neutral, verifiable autobiography, and there are many pitfalls.

If you have been published elsewhere on a topic, we welcome your expertise on the subject for Wikipedia articles. However, every Wikipedia article must cover its subject in a neutral, fair, and comprehensive way to advance knowledge of the subject as a whole. Please acknowledge and minimize your biases while enriching the Wikipedia readers' knowledge. Articles that exist primarily to advance the interests of the contributor will likely be deleted.

The problem with autobiographies

It is said that Zaphod Beeblebrox's birth was marked by earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, firestorms, the explosion of three neighbouring stars, and, shortly afterwards, by the issuing of over six and three quarter million writs for damages from all of the major landowners in his Galactic sector. However, the only person by whom this is said is Beeblebrox himself, and there are several possible theories to explain this.

The quote above illustrates a number of fundamental problems with autobiographies:

In this context, "autobiography" means not only something you write yourself, but also something you pay, or instruct, someone to write on your behalf.

Why these problems exist

Even though you honestly believe you are being neutral, that does not mean you are. Unconscious biases exist and are a common cause of problems with autobiographical articles, affecting both neutrality and verifiability. When writing about yourself, you are more likely to include unverifiable information.

Even if you believe you can write an autobiography based only on verifiable material without doing original research, you may still not be able to achieve a neutral result. For example, as a recognized authority or prominent figure, you might emphasize objective data, such as the sheer volume of your published material, or the fact that your work has been translated into different languages or performed in other countries. Examples of volume or scope can create a non-neutral tone that is usually recognizable as deliberate self-aggrandizement. Likewise, deep biographical detail, such as details of your religious beliefs, the careers of your non-notable family members, or the mere fact that you have famous friends may not be verifiable or relevant.

If Wikipedia already has an article about you

It is difficult to write neutrally and objectively about oneself (see above about unconscious biases). You should generally let others do the writing.

Contributing material or making suggestions on the article's talk page is considered proper—let independent editors write it into the article itself or approve it if you still want to make the changes yourself. It may help attract attention to your talk page request to include the ((request edit)) template as part of the request.

In clear-cut cases, it is permissible to edit pages connected to yourself. So, you can revert vandalism; but of course it has to be simple, obvious vandalism and not a content dispute. Similarly, you should feel free to remove obviously mistaken facts about yourself, such as marital status, current employer, place of birth, and so on. (Note it on the talk page.) If the fact has different interpretations, others will edit it.

Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, it should be a tertiary source—it should not contain any "new" information or theories (see Wikipedia:No original research) and most information should exist in checkable third-party sources. Facts, retellings of events, and clarifications which you may wish to have added to an article about yourself must be verifiable with reliable sources.

If you are a regular Wikipedia editor, you can identify yourself on the article's talk page with the ((Notable Wikipedian)) notice.

Problems in an article about you

Main page: Wikipedia:Contact us/Article subjects

If Wikipedia has an article about you, we want it to be accurate, fair, balanced and neutral—to accurately reflect the sourced, cited opinions of reliable sources. If you believe reliable sources exist which will make the article more balanced, you can help by pointing other editors to such sources.

You may wish to make suggestions on the article's talk page or, if the problem is clear-cut and uncontroversial, you may wish to edit the page yourself. If your edit may be misinterpreted, you should explain it on the talk page. Note that if the fact has different interpretations, others will edit it. Your edits are more likely to be accepted if they are neutral and well-sourced to third parties.

If others do not agree with the changes you propose, you may pursue dispute resolution. For instance, the Biographies of living persons noticeboard may offer a forum for impartial contributors to help resolve differences.

If you feel insufficient attention is being paid to problems with an article about you, try placing a note on the help desk detailing the problems. Legal problems with material in an article about you, please email info-en-q@wikimedia.org promptly with full details. But do not post legal threats on Wikipedia itself (articles, talk pages, noticeboards)—doing so is a serious violation of Wikipedia rules (see WP:No legal threats) and will lead to your being immediately blocked from further editing until you withdraw the threat.

If the article about you has no photo, or you can supply a better one, feel free to contribute one under a suitable free content license. (If you did not create the photo yourself e.g. photos from promotional materials, make sure you have the legal authority to release the photo under such a license.)

Creating an article about yourself

Upon some of Cato's friends expressing their surprise, that while many persons without merit or reputation had statues, he had none, he answered, "I had much rather it should be asked why the people have not erected a statue to Cato, than why they have."

Encyclopaedia Britannica (1797)

"It is a social faux pas to write about yourself." – Mr Wales
"It is a social faux pas to write about yourself."
Mr Wales

If your life and achievements are verifiable and genuinely notable, someone else will probably create an article about you sooner or later, but creating an article about yourself is strongly discouraged: we want biographies here, not autobiographies.

If you really think that you can meet the inclusion criteria, and if you are willing to accept that your article must be neutral and non-promotional, then propose one at Articles for Creation instead of creating one directly. Articles for Creation provides independent viewpoints that may uncover or discover biases you were unaware of, and shows you value volunteer editors' time over your own ego.

See also

References

  1. ^ Rogers Cadenhead (2005-12-19). "Wikipedia Founder Looks Out for Number 1". cadenhead.org. Archived from the original on 2005-12-23. Retrieved 2005-12-21.