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Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Writing an

biography of living persons policy

Wikipedia has gone through many prolonged disputes about the significance, factual accuracy, and neutrality of such articles.

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

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:

  • They are often biased, usually positively. People will write overly positive impressions of themselves, and often present opinions as facts. Wikipedia aims to avoid presenting opinions as facts. Neutral point of view does not simply mean writing in the third person.
  • They are often unverifiable. If the only source for a particular fact about you is yourself, readers cannot verify it. Everything on Wikipedia must be verifiable. For example, unverifiable autobiographical claims are often made about one's internal thoughts, including one's feelings, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. There is no way for readers to verify what you think—a verifiable claim may result from a secondary source reporting on you expressing your thoughts publicly.
  • They can contain original research. People often include information in autobiographies that has never been published before, or is the result of first-hand knowledge. In order to verify information of this kind, readers would need to perform their own original research. Wikipedia does not distribute previously unpublished information, nor does it permit original research.

In this context, an "autobiography" is not only a biography you have written about yourself, but also a biography you have paid or instructed someone else to write on your behalf.

Why these problems exist

Your own neutrality cannot be adequately determined without external sources or analysis. Unconscious biases are commonplace and problematic in autobiographical articles, affecting neutrality and verifiability.

Even if you believe you can write a verifiable autobiography without doing original research, you may still not be able to achieve a neutral result. As a notable 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

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 {{edit COI
}} template as part of the request.

In clear-cut cases, it is permissible to edit pages connected to yourself. So, you can revert

will edit it

Since Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, it should be a

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

If Wikipedia has an article about you, we want it to be accurate, fair, balanced and

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

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 [email protected] 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)

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.

  • Independent creation encourages independent validation of both significance and verifiability; it is natural for people to exaggerate in writing about themselves. All edits to articles must conform to Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, and Wikipedia:Verifiability.
  • If no third party has yet created an article about you, there is the danger that, should the article be vandalised, there will be no interested editors watching and the vandalism may remain uncorrected for long periods.
  • Self-created articles are often nominated for deletion, and comments in the ensuing discussions are often most uncomplimentary. Many editors feel that persons who create autobiographies are exploiting a volunteer project for their own aggrandizement.
  • Anything you submit will be edited mercilessly to make it neutral. Many autobiographical articles have become a source of dismay to their original authors after a period of editing by the community, and in several instances their original authors have asked that they be deleted – usually unsuccessfully, because if an article qualifies for deletion the community will typically do that without prompting, and an article won't be deleted just because its subject is unhappy with it.

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


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