It's official! Everybody wants to have their name in Wikipedia! But namechecking is not cool. Adding names to articles or lists of people when you have no intention of establishing their notability is bad.

Listing the names of all the members of an orchestra, all the employees of a small business, design studio or college department does not necessarily add to a reader's understanding of the topic. The schoolfriends of pop stars and actors were probably not instrumental in their later success, and family members of celebrities need to do something on their own terms to be important.

If you have added information about family members or friends of notable people, or added the names of people who have had insignificant contact with notable people, you may have been namechecking. If you know any of these people, work for them or are family members with them, then you are both namechecking and breaching Wikipedia's conflict of interest guidelines.

Never lose heart – when you, your friends and colleagues get featured in the Widgetville Times Chronicle and leap over the bar of notability, someone will be only too happy to write about you. With sources and everything. Until then, please don't confuse Wikipedia with the telephone directory.

Typical namechecksEdit

  • "The Governor's brother Jeremy is a manager at Pharma Inc. and he has two children with his wife Sarah."
  • "Before he joined the NFL, Michael played football at elementary school with childhood friends Steve Exeter and Brian Johnson."
  • "At the President's speech, the sound technician was Sue Smith."