Notability, Necessity, Non-objectivity
Thank you sooo much for sharing this, Catherine!
As a Wikipedia contributor, I know this is a controversial issue. Notability is subjective. I'm curious what is the border of a "reliable" secondary source. Also, I guess the credibility of publications depends on the country.
Here's a list of my highlights that I really resonated with from this article and my notes:
> If the third-most followed creator on an app that had ~700 million global users at the time is not notable enough for Wikipedia, then who is?
✍️ Note: Without a clear criteria, notability can be very vague, and it will depends on reviewer's subjective decision. I know that Wikipedia is a place where each page's credibility is secured by citations. I think the point is that where the citation is from and how one can say the citation is neutral and acceptable (notable enough).
> for Wikipedia, that would only count if she says it to a publication like The New York Times.
✍️ Note: Secondary sources matter on Wikipedia.
> we have to question the system and contemplate how creators fit into the future of our documentation and history. A system where information sharing is gatekept by a small group of Wikipedia editors (fyi: 90% of the encyclopedia’s top editors are male).
✍️ Note: I'll keep this in mind!
Thank you so much again!
This is incredibly illuminating; I didn't know about all the difficulties in the process for getting Wikipedia articles approved!
In itself, it is not notable to be a most-subscribed-to member of a website. Someone might have 2 billion subscribers and not have contributed any content at all to the site. And a raw quantity of subscribers is not reliable data—an account’s number of subscribers can be too easily manipulated for that information to be considered important a priori.
A few months is not a long time to wait for a biography to be published. Wikipedia is not for us. It is for the descendants of the people alive today. We do not build the Wikipedia to gratify our own impulses. We build the Wikipedia to serve generations as yet unborn.
Personally, I’d never heard of MrBeast, Lilly Singh, or the D’Amelio sisters, until I’d read this article.
This article makes some good arguments, especially regarding the pitfalls inherent in reliance upon a self-propagating dynamic such as publicity—a feature of a policy that maintains the dubiously-valid gel conceptualized as the Membrane of Notability. Yet no one is notable due to their merely having fattened up an online useraccount’s subscriber pool.
I’d recommend that we not say “content creator” when we might say “musician,” “entertainer,” “comedian,” “journalist” (or whatever might best describe the creative role of—for example—kkatamina). The expression “content creator” is blankly vague and it carries an ironically stale-yet-nonetheless-revolting odor of commercialized corporatespeak. (If I were a crass limpwit myself, then I might say that all humans—including infants—are “content creators” with regular creations most unsavory.)
Wikipedia is not perfect and its flaws ought to be examined closely. Ms Yeo deserves a great amount of kudos for having presented the results of her analysis in this clear and formal manner. She is worthy of respect and appreciation and mine she has duly earned.
AfC is optional! You don't have to use it! You *shouldn't* use it unless it's the specific paid editing/conflict of interest circumstance where it's mandatory!
I was linked this article in a Wikipedia-related Discord server and had to leave this comment as soon as I remembered I have a Substack account. AfC is something I have very little good to say about at all, and the fact it's completely optional for anyone not editing on a subject where they have a conflict of interest is poorly advertised to new editors.
I happen to think the fact it's difficult to make new biographies of living people is a feature rather than a bug -- Wikipedia at its worst is the world's most powerful defamation engine, and the horrible articles-to-editors ratio means most BLPs are underwatched and can easily degenerate into content somewhere between questionable and outright libellous -- but anyone finding the AfC process a pain in the ass has the option to just walk away. You can draft an article and directly move it to mainspace; it might get deleted (many do), but AfC's standards are notoriously divorced from what can actually often survive in mainspace.
Regarding the object-level issue, well, I noted my views on BLPs. There are a lot of better underrepresented subjects for new editors to cover (our coverage of anything non-Anglophone is notoriously awful). That said, outside of BLPs, I agree Wikipedia's sourcing standards formed in the mid-2000s have complicated relationships with the internet landscape of the 2020s. At some point we'll have to rewrite the standards on self-published sourcing, although I don't think the appetite for that exists yet.