Editing Sport Biographies on Wikipedia

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Editing Sport Biographies on Wikipedia

A guide by Laura Hale

Twitter: ozziesport
Facebook: laura.hale
http://www.linkedin.com/in/laurahale
http://www.ozziesport.com/

Sport Biographies[edit]

There are several basic concepts that should be understood when editing sport biographies on Wikipedia. If you understand these concepts, you will be able to successfully contribute to articles that meet Wikipedia's policies[1]:

  • Notability
  • Verifiability
  • Reliable Sources
  • Neutral Point of View
  • Privacy

Other important areas to know about when editing sport biographies include:

  • Editing articles about yourself and those you know
  • Pictures
  • Alt Text
  • Infoboxes

Notability[edit]

For an article to stay on Wikipedia, the subject of the article must be notable. That is, there must be significant coverage about the subject, and there need to be reliable secondary and tertiary sources that were not created by the subject of the article. For sport biographies in general, the general rule is a person is notable if they have competed as an amateur at a major international event or competed at the highest level for a professional sport.

Wikipedia has additional guidelines for notability based on individual sports. They can be found at http://enwp.org/WP:ATH . For Paralympic athletes, they are only considered notable if they have won a medal. For Olympic athletes, they are considered notable if they have participated at the Olympics. Paralympic athletes may be notable under other sport guidelines if they have been inducted into a hall of fame for their sport, have competed at the senior IAAF World Championships, have held a world record in a sporting event, have won a medal at a UCI event or a similar event prior to the creation of the UCI, competed in a major draw match at one of the major tennis Grand Slams or Open events, or gained national media attention outside their sporting achievements. This information must be included in the article, with a source, to establish notability of the athlete.

Verifiability[edit]

One of the challenges of writing about sportspeople is as contributors, we often know facts about athletes. We attended the event and saw it happen. We may have met the person. It would be very easy to put this information into Wikipedia to improve an article, because we know these things to be true. The problem is that Wikipedia does not allow this because it cannot be verified. All facts on Wikipedia about living people must be verifiable and accessable. If you are including information on a biography, you need to find a reliable source that says it. As http://enwp.org/WP:V says, Wikipedia is not so much concerned with the truth as it is with the idea that readers be able to verify that information on Wikipedia is true.

If you repeatedly put unsourced information on biographies, you will probably be blocked from Wikipedia.

Reliable Sources[edit]

How do you prove that something is verifiable? First, you find a reliable source that contains the fact. Reliable sources are generally considered to include newspapers, magazines, annual reports, sporting organisation websites, books, peer reviewed journals, blogs run by news organisations, and other sources that have a reputation for being accurate.

Social media and other sites like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Wikia, Tumblr and Foursquare, and personal athlete websites are generally not considered to be reliable sources.

To discuss the reliability of a specific source for a particular statement, consult the reliable sources noticeboard, which seeks to apply this policy to particular cases. For a guideline discussing the reliability of particular types of sources, see http://enwp.org/WP:IRS

Sources[edit]

For Paralympic articles, there are several good places to find sources. They include the:

In Australia, all states have their own institute of sports with websites which may contain information about athletes. Many state-based sport federations also have websites. For example, Wheelchair Sport Western Australia has a website at http://wheelchairsportswa.org.au .

Once you have found a source, the next step is to include the source/citation in the article immediately following the text the source supports. To do this, you need to format the citation. If you do not have experience doing formal citations, the easiest way to do this is to use the form at http://toolserver.org/~magnus/makeref.php .

Choose the type of material, and fill in as many fields as you can: You are not expected to fill in everything. The most important ones are author or publisher, title, and URL. If you can include the date that the material was published, that is also helpful but not required as many websites do not include this information. The important thing is to include enough information so another person can find the material with out you.

After you have completed the form, click on the “Get reference wiki text” button in the left hand column. Follow the directions on the new page that appears. A screencap of the form and the completed text is on the following page.

<upload screen shots>

References are an important part of Wikipedia. They make your information verifiable, and give the article credibility. Continually supporting your article contributions by adding sources will make you a valued contributor.

Neutral Point of View[edit]

Neutrality is an important concept when writing articles on Wikipedia. Articles should be factual, free of bias, and intended to educate. This can be hard to do when writing biographies because you may know the person or you may be a fan of the athlete. Contrarily, you may not like them or you may know less than flattering information about them. How do you write a neutral, unbiased article? Follow the tips in the list below:

  • Avoid stating opinions as facts. Example: Do not state an athlete is the best or most famous type of athlete in the world.
  • Use reputable sources when adding sources to an article. Example: Do not cite blogs and message boards when discussing the quality of an athlete’s performance at an event.
  • Consider your word selection. Avoid adjectives that intend to make someone look really bad or really good. Avoid euphemisms and clichés because they can be inaccurate, or convey an opinion.
  • If you need to include an opinion, attribute its source. Example: According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Louise Sauvage is the most recognised woman in the Australian Paralympic community.

If you include information that is biased, your edits may be reverted or deleted. Try to use a neutral point of view.

Privacy[edit]

Privacy is a big concern for many individuals. Wikipedia’s Biography of Living Person policy found at http://enwp.org/WP:BLP explains some of the policies around privacy. Some general rules of thumb regarding which private information should not be included in Wikipedia articles include:

  • Do not include information you have been told or have witnessed unless it has been widely reported. For example, some Paralympians have shared their stories of how they became disabled with the media and APC. Some have not. If an athlete has not, do not share.
  • Do not include information about people who are not notable. For example, if an athlete has several children, you can mention them by name but do not include other details like birth dates and where they go to school.
  • Do not include phone numbers, addresses, tax file numbers and other personal information in the article.

The best way to avoid privacy violations are to avoid adding information unless you have a source, be careful when using primary sources, and if in doubt, leave it out.

Yourself and Those You Know[edit]

Writing about yourself on Wikipedia can be tricky. Many Wikipedians consider it a Conflict of Interest (COI) and something that should not be done, even though there is no formal policy against it. If you still want to edit an article about yourself, there are several things to remember:

  • You need to write in the third person;
  • You need to write from a neutral point of view; and
  • You still need to cite verifiable sources!

If you are considering writing about yourself, first include your real name on your user page before you start editing, so you have properly disclosed any potential conflict of interest.

When editing an article about yourself or those you know, you are allowed to remove any unsourced or improperly sourced material, and any material that clearly violates your privacy. When removing this information, include a description of what you are doing in the edit summary box. For example: Removing content that violates Biography of Living People guidelines.

If you remove this material and it gets put back in an article, do not edit the article again. This may get you in trouble. Rather, use the talk page of the article to resolve the problem. You may choose instead to put {{adminhelp}} on your own user talk page, along with a link to the article, and an explanation of the problem you have with the article. An administrator should visit your talk page and try to help you resolve the problem.

Pictures[edit]

Pictures can really help improve an article. They can show athletes competing, getting medals and generally give a better sense as to who a person is. Where possible, Wikipedia encourages people to add pictures to articles. There are two places to find images to put on Wikipedia: On Wikipedia itself and Wikimedia Commons. Images can be found on these sites by searching for a person’s name or sport. They can also be found by navigating categories.

On Wikipedia, sport images can be found by starting at http://enwp.org/Category:Images_from_sports

On Commons, sport images can be found by starting at http://c.enwp.org/Category:Sports

Commons has a much larger collection and it is worth starting there.

Images of Australian Paralympians have been uploaded to Commons. They can be found at http://c.enwp.org/Category:Images_from_the_Australian_Paralympic_Committee

Once you find an image you want to include, it can be put in the article using the following format:

[[File:FILE NAME|thumb|alt=TEXT DESCRIPTION FOR THOSE WITH SCREEN READERS|DESCRIPTION|right]]

An example: [[File:74 ACPS Atlanta 1996 Track Fabian Blattman.jpg|thumb|alt=Wheelchair racer with a towel over his head|right|Australian T50 wheelchair athlete Fabian Blattman shades himself with a towel while he waits for his event at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games]]

Thumb means the image will appear smaller. Right means the image will align to the right. This can be changed to left or center, depending on your preference. The above example code would appear on Wikipedia like the image to the right.

You can also upload your own pictures to Commons. More information about that can be found at http://c.enwp.org/Commons:First_steps/Upload_form

<insert photo>

Alt Text[edit]

Pictures have an option to allow you to include alt text for the visually impaired. It can be included by putting "alt" in the image. For example: [[File:77 ACPS Atlanta 1996 Basketball Nick Morris.jpg|thumb|alt=A wheelchair basketball player pumps his fist in the air]]

The image would appear like the one to the right. While it may not have a description below it, a screen reader would tell a person that the image is of a wheelchair basketball player pumping his fist in the air.

The alt text should consist of plain text and be all on one line. It should complement rather than duplicate the caption, describing the picture. Alt text should help people understand why the image was included in the article.

More information is at http://enwp.org/WP:ALT Additional information on making your article more accessible to people with disabilities can be found at http://enwp.org/MOS:ACCESS

<insert photo>

Info Boxes[edit]

Info boxes are tables that are placed in the upper left hand corner of articles. They are a way to easily convey information. When writing an article about an athlete, you should consider including one like the example below. The code is on the left and how it is rendered is on the right.

Information about including this template in an article can be found at http://enwp.org/Template:Infobox_sportsperson/doc

<insert photos>

References[edit]

  1. Other editors will be less likely to delete your articles, undo your contributions, or block you from editing.