Portrait of Simón Bolívar

Portrait of Simón Bolívar

As the largest WikiProject on Wikipedia, WikiProject Biography boasts over one million articles dedicated to the lives of notable figures throughout history. In honor of WikiProject Biography’s tenth birthday, Wikipedia Signpost has published a great essay detailing the extensive work involved with developing and maintaining biographies on Wikipedia.

The WikiProject began after editors discussed a number of issues regarding the most effective way to format birth and death dates. These initial discussion boards grew from ten members to a thriving community of nearly 800 active participants currently. In this week’s Wikipedia Signpost, three members of WikiProject Biography — KaldariRoad Wizard, and John Carter — discuss their involvement in the project and what it takes to navigate a biography on Wikipedia.

The three editors agreed that the appeal of a biographical article lies in its innate simplicity. “The subject area is in general much more clear-cut than many other articles,” John Carter explained. “This is not saying that some biographies of disputed people from early history are not also at least a bit contentious, but the same holds true for most non-biographical articles related to those eras well.”

WikiProject Biography’s tremendous scope reflects the complexity of Wikipedia itself. “Every article on Wikipedia involves people in one way or another,” said Road Wizard. “If it is about a book then someone wrote it; if it is about a natural phenomenon then someone observed it. Biographies are a logical extension of the encyclopedia.”

For more insights into Wikipedia Biographies, read the full interview on The Signpost.

Zoe Bernard, Communications Intern