Wikipedia:Not editing because of Wikipedia restriction

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At times, an article should not be written into Wikipedia, although we'd like to write it. This includes a potential new article and editing of content for an existing article. It shouldn't be written or edited because we can't do so within Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. This is not necessarily a bad quality of Wikipedia; it may even be good to preserve it. But it is noteworthy for discussion.


Any purported identification of a person or organization hereinbelow is purely coincidental and fictional. Any person or organization in one example hereinbelow is presumptively not in any other example hereinbelow.

Person in industry which lies[edit]

Some living people are notable only for being in industries that habitually lie about personal backgrounds to such a degree that most of the reliable sources report the misinformation distributed by industry representatives. The U.S. entertainment industry (movies, television, music, etc.) seems to be rife with this, for their stars and probably for most people who are trying to become stars. Often, the public does not find out anything like the truth until after the star dies, and then only because someone does in-depth research, often a scholar. One musician supposedly went to prison, but maybe he never did and was simply told by his recording company not to say anything when the company said he had been imprisoned. One female actor supposedly was discovered while she was at a lunch counter, but maybe that never happened. One opera singer said he flew across Europe and knocked on the door of a famous rock musician and they got along famously and agreed to record together; a nice story and even possible, but, to this editor, it seemed doubtful that that's the true story of how they got together, as it's unlikely the opera singer would have flown that far and at such expense and been as casual about having a chance meeting with a musician who was well known for travelling frequently on lengthy trips to many countries.

I heard a rumor about a magazine that features women who previously were unknown to the public and publishes short biographies of the women; the rumor is that magazine editors invent the biographies. Probably the biographies have some truth in them, but that's because it is nearly impossible to write pure fiction of any significant length and find an audience willing to support it. A mixture of indistinguishable truth and fiction is not a reliable source, no matter where it is published.

Under Wikipedia's policies, we report what reliable sources say. To disagree with those sources without a source to back up our disagreement would be original research, which Wikipedia does not allow. I wish I could contradict some of what is in Wikipedia, but I don't have sourcing with which to do it. So I'm left with just not reporting in that type of situation.

        —Submitted by editor Nick Levinson.

Litigation resolution unknown[edit]

An organization did what I believe to be good work deserving of public coverage and it was notable. I researched sources and discovered, to my dismay, that its principal leader had been sued for conduct that was too close, in my opinion, to what the organization was against. If the allegations were true, the leader might well have been hypocritical, moronic, or cruel, or all three. I was willing to report the legal case in the article. A usable source described the complaint against the leader. However, the allegations would likely have been denied by almost any defendant, at least initially after receiving the complaint. And, given how much time had elapsed since the lawsuit was reported in a source, it is virtually guaranteed that the suit has been concluded, even including direct appeals, yet no source reported the outcome. Both defendant and plaintiff are likely still alive. Wikipedia says that we don't report the lawsuit when the outcome is unknown from secondary sourcing. Not being able to report on the suit would have imbalanced the article (even though, technically, the article would probably have been considered balanced because it would have reflected what could be reported). That potential and insoluble imbalance led me to not write the article in the first place.

        —Submitted by editor Nick Levinson.

Bad and good groups[edit]

An organization did very good work. I wrote about it in Wikipedia.

Another organization did low-quality work. It's probably not the worst in the field, but it's bad enough to make a stark comparison. People who are interested should know that it does low-quality work. It's notable, so it qualifies for an article. But if I write both articles, and considering a few other facts, I could be accused of having a conflict of interest. I suspect even proposing that the article be written would lead readers to question the motive behind the article. If the article appears and I think necessary content is missing, normally I could add it, but again the accusation could arise. So I haven't even proposed the second article. And I haven't looked to see if anyone else already started it, because I don't want to be tempted to edit it to add missing content.

        —Submitted by editor Nick Levinson.

Sources likely wrong[edit]

On two people (one living and one dead), the content I would have added from sourcing was probably false, in one case because it was out of date. What I know was probably true was without a source that could be used, not even as claims or rumors and sources even for the latter are unlikely to exist. Rather than support likely-wrong content, I didn't write a new article on one person or add to the existing article on the other person. If someone else added it, I'd probably leave it alone, but I also probably wouldn't defend it against a challenge.

        —Submitted by editor Nick Levinson.


Not all situations can be resolved in favor of adding new information to Wikipedia. But some can be, and some methods follow.

Post to a talk page[edit]

Presenting information in a talk topic lets another editor consider it. This has been done when the information was not adequately understood by the original editor, when additional context or definition was needed, or when weight could easily have been exaggerated. A separate talk topic with full sourcing is best.

Ask for a policy or guideline to be changed[edit]

This is unlikely to happen, but can, especially if the change is relatively minor in the context of Wikipedia as a whole but would permit the proposed editing. Go to the policy's or guideline's talk page, see if it's been discussed before, and make your proposal. The more successful proposals are likely to be specific and likely to preserve most of a policy or guideline except for the narrow change you seek.

Research more thoroughly[edit]

While this may take the most work, it may give you the most control, as you don't have to depend on other people doing the research or not.

See also[edit]