My Own Wikipedia Page

By Eric Goldman

Previously, I found my own personal search engine spam page. That was surprising but it wasn’t very thrilling. In contrast, I was pretty excited to find my own Wikipedia page. I recognize that Wikipedia is (mostly) open-access, so the barriers to getting a vanity Wikipedia page are virtually zero. But I didn’t create this one myself, and I don’t know “Ancheta Wis” (the page creator).

So, what did I do that was noteworthy enough to prompt a stranger to create a Wikipedia page about me? (This is one of those tough existential questions–what do I want to be remembered for in history?) Was it my brilliant contributions to legal scholarship? My unparalleled performance as a legal educator? My heart-felt devotion as a husband and father? My freakish Slinky obsession?

Of course it was none of that. Instead, it was my bet with Mike Godwin that Wikipedia will fail in 5 years. In other words, what got the attention of the Wikipedia editors was my discussion about their future. It appears that Wikipedians are as self-referential as law professors!

Now, I’m caught in the dilemma faced by Jimmy Wales–should I edit my own biography? I know LOTS of FASCINATING details about the page’s subject matter… Actually, I don’t currently plan to edit the page with one glaring exception. If, in 2010, it looks like my prediction is wrong, I’ll edit the page to flip the bet around (i.e., so that Mike predicted that Wikipedia will fail).