“As a current events reference,” veteran editor Dtobias wrote, “it’s a useful article to have.” But “as an actual person…he’s probably not sufficiently notable for a bio, meaning that the article would perhaps be better placed under “Joe the Plumber” rather than his real name.” User Cube lurker made the point succinctly: “Cover the meme not the man.”

This compromise scenario ultimately won out. Wikipedia’s page on Joe Wurzelbacher—found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_the_Plumber—discusses his encounter with Barack Obama, his appearances in the press, and his status as a plumber. Joe also has spawned a subsection of Wikipedia’s page on the presidential debates of 2008.

The article appears safe—for now. “Redirecting his article now would only cause needless drama, from both experienced editors who think he should have an article and new editors who can’t understand why we don’t have an article on such a “notable” subject,” wrote Bjweeks, the administrator who ultimately decided that Wurzelbacher’s entry merited inclusion. “In a few days or weeks after the spotlight has moved to another political talking point, this should be revisited with a new AfD. I realize this means that Wikipedia will be a news site for a short period of time but I don’t see any real harm in that.”

 

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Joshua Young blogs on new media at Networked News.