You're probably here because you tweeted at or emailed me about a Wikipedia article I helped to write. I get a lot of emails and tweets about my activities there, and so have made this page both as an FAQ of sorts for common questions/complaints, but also to set some boundaries on how I am willing to engage.
For various reasons, I prefer to handle specific Wikipedia-related matters on-wiki. Although I do enjoy talking about Wikipedia on social media, when it comes to specific concerns or questions about an article I prefer to take it on-wiki. For one, I have found that people like to use ostensible concerns about the quality or integrity of Wikipedia to harass me when they really have no particular interest in the website at all. Secondly, it is far more transparent for other people who have questions about an article to have these discussions on the article talk page, rather than privately via email or deep in my Twitter mentions. It also allows other Wikipedia editors to give their input.
I am always happy to discuss any concerns you might have with my editing or the articles I write, but please raise them on-wiki. Creating an account on Wikipedia is quick, free, and does not require you to provide any personal information (although it is recommended you provide your email address so you can recover your account if you forget the password).
# You wrote [some article] and I have a complaint
Before going any further, have you checked that I have actually been a major contributor to the article? For one, it is extremely rare for a Wikipedia article to have a sole author—while there is often a core group of contributors to an article, generally pages are collaborations. If you believe I wrote an article solely because you saw a banner like this at the bottom of the page:
please click on the "Last edited..." link to view the page history and at least check whether I've contributed substantially to the page, or if that is just showing because I'm the last person to edit the page, even though my contribution may have been something minor like reverting vandalism.
# I have verified that you substantially contributed to [some article] and I have a complaint about it
Please describe your concern in a new section on the talk page of the article. Feel free to get my attention by
including the template
in your message, and be sure you
sign the message by
including four tildes at the end (
~~~~). At this point, if you want to tweet at me to make sure I see
it, that's fine with me.
But if you only tweet at me with your concern, I am more than likely going to ask you to discuss it on the article talk page. Why? Well, like I said, articles are rarely written only by one person, and so there are likely to be other people who will be interested in hearing and responding to your feedback. But also, I have found that people like to use ostensible concerns about the quality or integrity of Wikipedia to harass me on Twitter, when they really have no particular interest in the website at all. I'm more than willing to engage in a discussion with you on-wiki about any article I work on, but I'm not going to engage in protracted Twitter back-and-forth.
If you need help creating an account in order to discuss your concerns on the article talk page, feel free to tweet at or otherwise contact me and I'll be happy to help you out.
If you really want to go above and beyond, before posting your question, check if it fits into any of these categories of complaints:
› [Article] is biased
When this comes up, the first thing I'm going to do is make sure you're familiar with Wikipedia's policy on neutral point of view. Specifically, that Wikipedia articles must "represent fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic". If you come with this complaint, I'm going to ask whether you mean that
- there are other significant views published by reliable sources (which you can provide) that present a different viewpoint that needs to be represented in the article
- the article does not accurately reflect the current sources that are being used
- the article doesn't represent your view on the subject, and you can't find or aren't sure if reliable sources are available that reflect that view.
If you mean a or b, I definitely am interested in hearing what you have to say. If you mean c: Wikipedia only reflects what is published in reliable sources, and so if your view is not supported by sourcing, the Wikipedia article won't be changed to incorporate it.
You may also find this essay illuminating: "NPOV means neutral editing, not neutral content".
› [Article] only uses sources that are biased towards the [left|right]
Some people are under the impression that sources with a point of view are unusable on Wikipedia, which is not the case. From the reliable sources policy: "Wikipedia articles are required to present a neutral point of view. However, reliable sources are not required to be neutral, unbiased, or objective."
However, we do try to accurately reflect the balance of viewpoints represented in reliable sources, so if you have reliable sources that take a different slant that you think should also be represented in the article, we'd love to hear about them on the article talk page.
› You're a [feminist|leftist], you're not allowed to write about [the manosphere|the right]
I have also gotten this in the other direction (e.g. "you're a feminist, you're not allowed to write about feminism!"), but due to my editing interests I mostly get the complaint about writing about things I am politically or ideologically opposed to. Wikipedia disallows advocacy, that is, "using Wikipedia to promote personal beliefs or agendas at the expense of Wikipedia's goals and core content policies, including verifiability and neutral point of view." However, Wikipedia editors are not expected to be completely bereft of opinions. I carefully adhere to the policies on reliable sourcing, neutral point of view, etc. and I personally am particularly careful in my editing in these areas because I know it attracts a lot of outside scrutiny.
› An article to which you have contributed is defaming its subject
Please specify which statement in the article is not supported by the sourcing used in the page, or provide reliable sourcing that contradicts the statement. If you feel the statement is true, but is given too much prominence in the article, please explain your evaluation. If the statement is true and given prominence that is proportionate to its coverage in reliable sources, but you still think the statement is "defamatory" and ought to be removed, please a) read up a bit about what defamation actually means, and b) recognize that Wikipedia articles are not meant to be puff pieces for their subjects. If a person/company/organization/etc. has received significant coverage for an unpleasant reason, that will still be included in their page.
# I want to report you
With limited exceptions, dispute resolution is handled on-wiki. Feel free to open a discussion about me/my conduct/whatever your concern may be by following the instructions at the page describing types of dispute resolution. However, I will note that the first step in basically any dispute is to try to discuss the issue with the person, either on my user talk page or on the article talk page (if applicable), so I'd recommend doing that first before going to a wider venue.
Occasionally people want to go directly to the Arbitration Committee with concerns about me, for some reason. While you're certainly welcome to do so, I should point out that if that is the first place you are bringing the issue, it's not likely to be accepted. Arbitration cases are regularly declined because people have not tried other forms of dispute resolution first, and so you would be better off just following the steps at the dispute resolution page.
# Were you paid to edit [article]?
No. I don't, and have never, edited Wikipedia articles for pay. All of my editing is unpaid and on a volunteer basis.
Occasionally someone notices that I work for a company in the marketing space and assumes that I am employed by them to edit Wikipedia articles for clients. This is mistaken; my company builds marketing and sales software (it is not a marketing agency, and does not hire people to edit Wikipedia articles for clients), and I am a software developer whose professional work is completely unrelated to Wikipedia.
# Will you write an article about me/my business?
No. I don't write articles on request. If you want someone to write a Wikipedia article about you, you can request it at Requested Articles, though there is always a long backlog given the number of people who wish to have articles written about themselves or their interests.
If you believe you/your business/the topic you want an article about meets our notability guidelines and would like to try writing the article yourself, you must first create an account and disclose your conflict of interest. Then you can use the Article Wizard to draft the article and request review. This is much quicker and likely to be successful than putting your request at Requested Articles, but there is still a backlog.
I would discourage you from paying someone to write an article about you. Although there are paid editors who do so legitimately, many people offering these services are out to scam you and are also quite disruptive to the Wikimedia communities.
# I just have a simple question about a Wikipedia-related topic!
In that case, feel free to ask me. If it develops into a more in-depth discussion of a specific article, however, I will probably redirect you to the article talk page.