Wikipedia and You
Submitted by Terrence Marks on January 30, 2007 - 10:53
What two things do A Doemain of Our Own, Abby's Agency, Acredale/Apathy Kat, Acts of Gord, Akaelae, Altermeta, Angel Moxie, Ashfield Online, Astounding Space Thrills, Badly Drawn Kitties, Boat Anchor, Bobbins, Building 12, Carpe Diem, The Class Menagerie, Crap I Drew On My Lunch Break, The Cyantian Chronicles, Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Dead Days, Dragon Tails, Evil Inc., ExtraLife, Flipside, Fluble, Full Frontal Nerdity, Funny Farm, Gene Catlow, Goblin Hollow, Krakow, Krazy Larry, Living in Greytown, Lizard!, Marilith, Misfile, Movie Punks, Namir Deiter, Nerd Boy, No 4th Wall to Break, Pastel Defender Heliotrope, Poisoned Minds, Purple Pussy, Return to Sender, Shifters, Sore Thumbs, Spamusement, The Suburban Jungle, Superosity, Tales From Band Camp, Tales Of The Questor, Unicorn Jelly, The Way To Your Heart, Whimville, White Ninja, and Zortic, have in common?
Number one: They all had Wikipedia articles at the beginning of the month.
Number two: They don't any more.
(and I hope you appreciate all the time it took me to put the links in).
In the last month, over 50 webcomics' articles have been deleted, all for failure to assert notability. There are probably more that I missed. A decent number of them - my wife's included - were speedily deleted. For those of you who aren't hip to Wiki policy, that means that there were problems with the articles and the first step to fix it was to delete it. It is, apparently, thought well to delete an article from time to time to encourage the others. Others were nominated, which means that an administrator suggests an article be deleted, put the matter to a vote, and choose which votes ought to be counted.
In that two week period, to my knowledge, there were not any webcomic articles that were challenged and kept. I'm familiar with a majority of these comics and can say that they are established works of solid quality and readership. There are some comics out there that are more popular and better documented, but not very many. If these comics aren't notable, yours probably isn't either.
So who's wondering if their article isn't next? Everyone but - no, wait. They got just about any name I care to drop Here's my advice.
a) Don't create a webcomic with anthropomorphic characters. About half of the comics there feature anthropomorphic characters, which means they're being deleted at about twice the rate of other comics if the numbers I just made up are accurate.
b) Don't create a webcomic. Following rule A won't make them like you. It'll just make them dislike you slightly less.
If it's too late to avoid either of these, I suggest winning a major award or receiving coverage in your country's newspaper of record.
College paper? Doesn't count. Probably not even on-line, too. I don't get it either.
Quick write-up in the Arts & Living section of your hometown paper? I mean, they did four column-inches about those guys who juggle in the park. But no, doesn't count either.
I suggest you try to get your comic covered in the New York Times. The best way to do this, I've seen, is to have one one of your characters named as CEO of a Fortune 500 company. How to do that is left as an exercise for the reader. You could also try to have your comic become a vital part of a major news story, by directly influencing the price of oil, stopping a hurricane, or such. The only time mainstream comics seem to get publicity is when a massively successful one ends or, like For Better or Worse, go into a Schroedinger quasi-end status. And if you were a massively successfuly mainstream newspaper comic, this probably wouldn't apply to you. Depending on who the deleting admin is, I mean.
The other sign of notability is an award. It worked for the Cowardly Lion and it can work for you. What kind of award?
The Web Cartoonists Choice Awards don't count much, apparently. I remember back in the day there were award sites - they'd exist to give out little silver graphics to anybody who asked nicely. Just stating that you won Ed's Link of the Day Award back in 2003 probably won't cut it. You should be sure to mention that you won the prestigious Ed's Link of the Day Award. They probably won't look it up. Maybe add a footnote that says "Like a Congressional Medal of Honor, only for webcomics".
But they'll probably catch on to that eventually. You should go for something better. Your options?
I strongly suggest a Purple Heart, but they've got these rules that make it difficult to earn one without being shot at. Those Pulitzer guys get embarassed when graphic novels win, so they pretty much hate you already. And let's face it, if you're writing webcomics, you're not going to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in the next couple years. Tailsteak, Mookie, prove me wrong here. Physics? You're not going to out-Physics my man Mark Stanley, at least not if there's prize money on the line.
The short list for the Economics Nobel is looking kinda weak this year. All you need to do is come up with a revolutionary way of understanding interest rates and publish it first in your webcomic. Just be sure to email a few other webcartoonists for peer review purposes.
Or be sure to mirror your wikipedia article on comixpedia.org. Because it might not be there next time you check. If you do get deleted, just remember that you're in good company and they're not just out to get you. They're out to get everybody.