Not notable: Dead to Wikipedia

After roughly four years, my Wikipedia biography is no more; it now redirects to a page for my book about Wikipedia. In reflecting upon this, it seems to me that when it comes to notability, the biography and subject are often conflated. According to Wikipedia’s Notability criteria, I believe I am notable, even if the Wikipedia article didn’t reflect it well. Yet, Wikipedians speak of deleting a biography because “the subject is not notable” instead of saying “the article doesn’t show the subject to be notable.” Hence, an implicit criteria for notability is if Wikipedians will bother to marshal an effort, which, in a way, is a proxy for notability itself. The other interesting thing is that the deletion was rather swift. A few years back, the biography had been decorated with the “may not be notable” tag for about nine months until a Wikipedian removed it with the comment: “Remove insult-the-subject tag.”

In any case, the article had much room for improvement; in fact, for the past couple of years I’ve asked students to find problems with it, especially with respect to Wikipedia’s Verifiability policy. Fortunately, I can still send students to a version of the biography since the edit history for the article survives.

What I am a little disappointed about is that Google no longer shows the cool sidebar with information from the Wikipedia infobox – adding the infobox was the only time I felt it appropriate to edit my own page. But who knows, maybe one day the article will be resurrected.

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