Artist corrects her Wikipedia bio by rebuilding it on her own site

Originally published at:


The internet is a cesspool of disinformation / misinformation.


Yes, but there’s also naked people, so it’s a wash.


Roger That!


Get a friend that lives elsewhere or use a VPN and just fix it yourself?

As long as the fixes are fact based and not just some bias or brag, in theory an editor has to approve it there sooner or later if there is a link to a citation or source.

Don’t worry, most sane people aren’t quite stupid enough to believe wikipedia as a 100% complete, factual source, though the newsmedia seems to purposely abuse it as a first source for some reason which of course doesn’t pass journalistic standards but who are we kidding about their “standards” anyway.


Even if people know that Wikipedia is full of misinformation it doesn’t prevent it from spreading and being accepted as true. Think of all the people in the audience that hear Andrea’s crappy bio but have no idea it came from an inaccurate Wikipedia article. They’ll just accept it as true and why shouldn’t they? You can’t go through life fact-checking everything you hear.

It’s not even specific to Wikipedia is course. How many news stories get retracted yet people continue year after year to refer to them as fact despite all of the Snopes/etc. articles debunking them?


I don’t contribute to Wikipedia or know much about the process, but doesn’t this undermine the whole idea? What if Trump had done this to his page?

Which article would you trust, Wikipedia’s or Trump’s?

Mind you, I was blocked from editing Scientology articles, so I created a whole site, mainly of references. Their loss.


Not really at all, it doesn’t delete the original. Alternate versions of wikipedia have been around for years, the style is similar, but it’s pretty apparent you’re not on the real wikipedia.

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Wikipedia may be constitutionally incapable of serving as a good source of information on anything remotely controversial (which includes a high proportion of living people).

Even if there is a way to improve the situation, I’m not sure it would be worth trying, because it’d certainly mean burning through some of Wikipedia’s finite reserves of overall good reputation, and ultimately, if something is hotly debated, it will never be a good idea to learn about it from a single source.

So maybe this is the best solution – if an entry starts sucking up lots of oxygen for whatever reason, just replace it with a message saying “this topic is too controversial for contributors to agree on a single draft that meets Wikipedia’s standards”, and a list of links to external sites, alongside a summary of whose voices those links represent.


Here are both pages:

Having skimmed them I don’t wonder at all why, what is essentially a minor academic’s page, was revised to a shorter page. Take this passage from Piper’s own page:

Yoga Practice

Piper began her study and practice of yoga in 1965 with the Upanishads and Swami Vishnudevananda’s Complete Book of Yoga. She studied with Swami Satchidananda from 1966, became a svanistha in 1971 and a brahmacharin in 1985. Between 1992 and 2000, she studied at Kripalu with Gitanand and with Arthur Kilmurray, Patricia Walden, Chuck Miller, Erich Schiffmann, Leslie Bogart, Richard Freeman, Tim Miller, David Swenson, Gary Kraftsow, Georg Feuerstein, David Frawley, and John Friend. Her asana practice, grounded in Iyengar principles, is vinyasa- and pranayama-based. Her meditation practice is samyama-based and follows the Samkhyan structure of the 24 Tattvas, but regards these as equivalent to the Five Koshas and the Vedantic Atman as the actual referent of the Samkhyan concept of Purusha.

Is this much information about her yoga practice relevant to Wikipedia readers? I am for longer Wikipedia entries, but the editing seems fair. And then there are what I would consider fluff about her editing a journal that has no published issues (founded 2011) and it’s detailed principles etc.

Or take this passage from her biographical information:

Like all Americans, Piper is racially mixed. She is 1/32 Malagasy (Madagascar), 1/32 African of unknown origin, 1/16 Igbo (Nigeria), and 1/8 East Indian (Chittagong, India [now Bangladesh]), in addition to having predominantly British and German family ancestry.

No citations. Should Wikipedia host this?

Weirdly her official Wikipedia page mentions details her fund raising campaing:

The foundation is currently raising funds, with the goals of (1) complete the renovation of its permanent home in Berlin-Mitte so as to increase its accessibility to the general public; (2) increase the grant amount of the annual Multi-Disciplinary Fellowship to a full year’s research sabbatical for the grantee; and (3) lay the foundations for APRA’s new Philosophy Dissertation Fellowship. The goal of the campaign is € 4,000,000.00. [25]

I would call that a victory for her. Not many people get their (for example) GoFundme campaigns mentioned on Wikipedia.


So, is this a case of “it doesn’t say what I want it to say so it’s wrong”?


I’ve given the two articles a look, and there doesn’t appear to be a single glaring error in the Wikipedia article that the other article corrects. This is perhaps why the author can’t list one when asked. Maybe there are some errors that squint or are holding their eyes shut that I didn’t spot.

However, the new article did teach me a new thing that the original didn’t, namely that the author is pompous and self-involved to a degree that transcends comedy. Still, it’s nice to know that a proper encylopaedia would include, e.g. a section on the sort of calisthenics that Kant did in the mornings.

Not to defend Wikipedia. Goodness knows it has problems in profusion. Generally, when it comes to potted histories of notable philosophers online I use the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It can afford to be a lot more thorough than Wikipedia on account of being focused on just the one topic, and maintaining its own standards of notability.


I’ve met and corresponded with Adrian Piper briefly a few times, she’s a wonderful person and I’ve enjoyed talking to her. That being said, her own version is absolutely a vanity project. I’m certain there are errors in the Wikipedia page, but despite the fact that I know enough about her career to have more than a passing familiarity with it, while respecting her philosophical work on Kant and having an appreciation for her yoga practice, I don’t need to know that much about everything she’s ever done. Wikipedia is a terribly flawed, error prone project, but sometimes it’s good enough. a state of achievement which I appreciate in its own right.


I agree with your analysis but making your own wikipedia page is the opposite of a solution, sure it might be more complete and factual but then you are making a dangerous assumption the person is honest, humble and not delusional.

Imagine if trump wrote his own wikipedia page, would you believe a single word of it? But if you didn’t know of him already, how would you know what level of trust to assign to it?

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WP:THREATENING2MEN: Misogynist Infopolitics and the Hegemony of the Asshole Consensus on English Wikipedia

Mostly I just find the theatrical coyness to be grating. If she can’t be arsed to give at least one example, why should anyone else be arsed to bother with it.

People who buy into their own bios make me suspicious. Depending on their field I expect everyone’s bio to be distorted to some extent, but some people are so heavily invested in it it seems they want you to interact with the narrative they’ve crafted rather than the human in front of you.

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Um, she’s kind of well known as a contemporary artist. (Dealing with performance and racial issues, so things like her background and yoga practices are actually relevant.)

Unusually topical study about yoga and egos.

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there is a special place in Hell for wikipedia editors.

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