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Social Media Handbook

Appendix E: Wikipedia Best Practices

Wikipedia is increasingly used as the go-to information source on any given topic. Content is generated and moderated entirely by the Wikipedia community. Though individuals and organizations are often interested in ensuring they are represented in Wikipedia, self-written profiles are expressly discouraged by Wikipedia and should be avoided. The best practices below offer guidelines for participating in Wikipedia.

  • Self-written / ghost written profiles discouraged / prohibited.
  • Original research prohibited – all information on Wikipedia must be cited.
  • “Talk pages” are appropriate places to suggest material / new articles that may reference you, your work or your department.
  • Only edit content about yourself or your department when it is obviously vandalism, out-of-date, or a typo.
  • If you must post an article about yourself, keep it entirely neutral and ensure all information is verified elsewhere (on your department’s Web site, on your personal Web site, professional organizations’ sites, etc.) Understand that once you post such a profile you lose control over it – you cannot take it down and others will edit it. A better approach is to make a proposal that an article be written about you on a talk page within your area of expertise, provide the relevant content, and let the Wikipedia community take it on.
  • “Neutral point of view” is a founding and guiding principle of Wikipedia. Any content provided by public relations / marketing offices should be straight facts only, with appropriate citations.
  • To participate in Wikipedia, consider authoring or editing a Wikipedia entry for your research area. Link it back to Vanderbilt, but also link it to other relevant sites.