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A Question of Identity

Over the weekend, I reworked meyerweb’s sidebar a bit.  One of the changes is the addition of a section called “Identity Archipelago“, which links to various bit of my online identity and makes use of XFN‘s me value.  I’ve been meaning to do this ever since co-presenting a poster on how me could be used to accomplish identity consolidation, and hey, I’m only thirty months late.

I ran into an interesting dilemma as I assembled the links, though.  Should I link to the Wikipedia entry about me, and if so, does it really merit a me marker?  I’m not so sure.  Yes, the page is about me, but it isn’t something I created, nor is it something I control.  Thanks to the open nature of Wikipedia, it could be altered to state that I’m a paste-eating pederast with pretensions to the Pakistani presidency.  It would be kind of embarrassing to link to something like that, let alone proclaim in a machine-parseable way that the information on the other side of the link represented me in some way.

While I’ve never stated a Wikipedia policy, as others have, I’ve privately maintained a hands-off policy.  Even though I’d like to replace the picture with a better one and flesh out some details of my career, and on occasion have wanted to correct some inaccuracies, I’ve refrained from doing so.  I’m not going to proclaim that I’ll never ever edit my own entry, because if libel (alliterative or otherwise) shows up and I’m the first to notice, I’ll at least roll the page back.  But in general, I’m keeping my hands off.

Nevertheless, it is arguably a piece of my online identity.  Not linking to it feels like a glaring omission—or am I just trying to rationalize an egocentric desire to show off?  I don’t think that I am, but then I’m hardly a neutral party.

So what’s your perspective?  Is a Wikipedia entry created and edited by others properly a part of my archipelago, or is it simply a nearby island?

Five Responses»

    • #1
    • Comment
    • Mon 16 Apr 2007
    • 1024
    James Daniels wrote in to say...

    I agree that your wikipedia page is part of your online identity, and I feel as though you should link to it.

    Now, if I had a wikipedia entry I would link it two ways: I would link to a static version, a snapshot of an “approved” revision, and I’d link up to the live wiki page. For the link to the live wiki, I’d put a warning and wouldn’t use the XFN.

    That’s my two cents.

    • #2
    • Comment
    • Mon 16 Apr 2007
    • 1031
    Joel D Canfield wrote in to say...

    If the Wikipedia article isn’t how you present yourself, it’s not a ‘me’ thing. You make it clear that, whatever the psychology is, you keep at arm’s length from the article. I’d be consistent, and maintain the distance. Otherwise, I’d perceive it as the Officially Authorized Eric Meyer Wikipedia article.

    • #3
    • Comment
    • Mon 16 Apr 2007
    • 1111
    Matt Wilcox wrote in to say...

    I’d avoid the me tag on wikipedia. The point of the site is that it’s community edited, and I wouldn’t want to put ‘me’ on something I didn’t make and can’t control.

    I would, however, take the opportunity to create an equivalent page on my own domain – were it me. This would give an authoritative source of information for the wiki entry itself and would be ‘officially sanctioned’.

    • #4
    • Comment
    • Mon 16 Apr 2007
    • 1204
    Mike D. wrote in to say...

    Tell me you did not just smack down paste-eating. I grew up on that shit.

    • #5
    • Comment
    • Tue 17 Apr 2007
    • 0230
    Mark Jaquith wrote in to say...

    It’s not “you.” It’s you as seen through the eyes of any random person who might want to edit the Wikipedia page.

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