WikiCU talk:Notability

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Recently a lot of "vanity pages" have been popping up, and WikiCU's never really established a policy on what the criteria is for people to have articles, I thought this would be a good place to discuss it. Nonsensical 19:46, 19 May 2007 (EDT)

Current Students

  • Should articles about current students be expected to bear some relevance to campus life or is anyone deserving of an article as long as someone is willing to write one?

Nonsensical's thoughts

So I'm sort of torn on this, but I'm leaning toward a standard criteria for notability. Here's my pro/con
Pro Notability Standard:
  • One of the things that initially drew me to WikiCU was looking at the students section and realizing there were a lot of students that were important to campus life that I was not aware of. I feel like including people whose articles are only interesting to that person and their friends dilutes the wiki and makes it less interesting to read through. It was interesting to find out who Chas Carey was and see how much he's involved in that's important to student life on campus, whereas reading an article like Patrick Kerns, who I'm sure is a nice guy and all, but I don't really know why anyone would care to find out the nicknames of someone whose claim to fame is working for collegeboxes for a few weeks.
  • More vanity pages means a lot of pages that won't be carefully watched and will likely accumulate information that is either false or outdated as time goes on.
Con Notability Standard:
  • Allowing "vanity pages" may draw in more users who will subsequently get very involved or at the very least edit a few more articles that are a little more relevant.
  • I'm somewhat eager to write stupid articles about myself and all my friends
Proposed Criteria for Notability:
  • An article mainly about them in the spec, bwog, or any major publication.
  • Elected position in student government, university senate
  • Participation in one or more student groups that together play an important role in student life (e.g. writer for student publications, involvement in performing arts groups). And by important role in student life, I mean that it affects students outside the organizations in which they participate.
  • Created a book, album, or film that is widely distributed (or well known on campus)


  • Should alumni pages be held to different standards?
  • If a person has an article as a current student, should its contents change to suit relevance to campus life several years after graduation?

Nonsensical's thoughts

I feel like standards for creating a page for an alumnus should be higher than current students. If a student was borderline deserving of an article as a current student but then has absolutely no bearing on campus life whatsoever after graduating, I don't see why there needs to be an article about them unless they:
  • effected some change that is relevant after graduation
  • achieved something impressive after graduation

General thoughts

  • I think Nonsensical has created a very well thought out set of criteria, and I would support making them the official criteria.  − Reaganaut  20:04, 19 May 2007 (EDT)
  • Nonsensical's standards would be fine if there were a space crunch and we really had to limit the number of articles on WikiCU by imposing a filter like notability. But is there? I don't see how extra information about any student or an alumnus hurts the site in any way, whereas Nonsensical acknowledges it could help bring in more users. Pacman 00:12, 20 May 2007 (EDT)
  • How many of the users we've seen create spam-ish biographies have actually gone on to improve other articles?  − Reaganaut  01:32, 21 May 2007 (EDT)
  • I agree, but in theory we could see at least a few drawn in by the prospect of creating legit ones. I mean, these users are going to have to be policed anyway, so it's not like there's going to have to be extra work if we allow a wider scope for bios. In any case. Pacman 14:24, 21 May 2007 (EDT)
  • While I like the relatively informal nature of this wiki, some standards are necessary for it to be taken seriously by the student body, in my opinion. I think the criteria set out above are a good metric to use for gauging notability. WhatYouKnowAboutThat 13:43, 20 May 2007 (EDT)
  • I can see it being taken less seriously if the articles have a joke-ish quality, as some certainly do. But well-written bios of recent (if non-completely-notable) alums shouldn't be deleted for this reason. I still find it useful to find out who certain people from '05 were, for example, when reference is made to them. And if someone does strike it big, we have a record of their activities at Columbia that may not exist in easily accessible form elsewhere. Pacman 16:45, 20 May 2007 (EDT)
  • Some of the vanity pages are extremely ambitious. I'd like to have a criteria for keeping pages, but it's sad to see some of them get deleted; other ones, like the College Boxes guy, wow, I was ready to delete that sucker the second it went up. wang 00:59, 23 May 2007 (EDT)

Renewed discussion 2013

  • Well, this hasn't been discussed in six years, so let's renew the discussion. What are the standards of notability for current students? For alumni? Do people who hold positions (of clubs, of publication, in student government) for one year get pages, or only if they do more than just hold that position? Usually these pages just result in stubs (and there would wind up being a ton of them)—so I would love to hear people's thoughts on this. --Fbv2102 19:54, 24 April 2013 (EDT)
  • I think that someone who holds a position for one year should get a page, even if it's something of a stub, so that we can make succession chains. So-and-so was editor of Spec, succeeded by so-and-so, succeeded by so-and-so, etc. Of course, these pages shouldn't be stubs. Everyone with that kind of position presides over some important changes, and those should be added to their page. But even if they are stubs, they're relevant to institutions that matter. If I want to understand Spec, it's helpful to have a list of every editor of Spectator and some of the important changes they made while editor. You could stick all that info on the main Columbia Daily Spectator page, but then the page would become bogged down in minutiae. Better to give a page to every editor. PSterne 08:29, 29 April 2013 (EDT)
  • I'd also add that, well, the problem that WikiCU currently faces isn't too many articles. It especially isn't too many articles about current students. Insisting on strict standards for notability and deleting pages that aren't considered notable isn't going to get more people to contribute. PSterne 08:31, 29 April 2013 (EDT)
This position is basically how the debate came out last time. Pacman 18:36, 13 May 2013 (EDT)