(Not)able Alumni? Loyolites edited out of Wikipedia

On the Loyola School page in Wikipedia, there is a list of ‘notable alumni’. Er…there was. It’s gone.

More than a year ago, on 13 June 2011 to be exact, it was removed by Wiki contributor Lettherebelight. (Update: The contributor changed his username, following this blogpost.)

Reason given? “Criteria for inclusion subjective”.

Here’s the list that provoked deletion.

NOTABLE ALUMNI

Classes of 1968-79

  • Cherian Kalpakavadi (1974) – Film Scriptwriter
  • Joy Elamon (1978) – public health activist
  • Prathap Suthan (1977) – National Creative Director, Cheil Communications India
  • Pulickel Ajayan (1977) – Professor of Materials Science and Nanotechnology, Rice University
  • Rajeev Nath – film maker
  • Rajeev Trivandrum (1969) (aka S. Rajeev) – Executive Vice President, Asianet Cable Vision, Asianet Satellite Communications
  • Ramnath S. (1970) – Managing Director, Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation
  • Sangeeth Sivan – film maker
  • Santosh Sivan (1976) – film maker
  • Jose Degaul Pius (ISC 1976) – finance professional (overseas)
  • Santosh Rollands – President of Jesuit Alumni Association of India

Classes of 1980-89

  • Bipin Prabhakar – Professor, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University (Bloomington)
  • Parameswaran Nair (1980) – Associate Professor of Medicine, McMaster University
  • Rajiv Vijayan (1980) – Vice President (Technology), Qualcomm
  • S. Krishnan, IAS (1982) – Secretary, Department of Fertilizers, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India
  • Sreenath Sreenivasan (1987) – Dean of Student Affairs and Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism

Classes of 1990-99

  • Anand Raghavan (1993) – President, Asha for Education
  • Anil Shaji (1993) – Assistant Professor of Physics, IISER Thiruvananthapuram
  • Anup Kuruvilla John, IPS (1997) – former Police commissioner, Kozhikode
  • Vyasan Radhakrishnan, IAS ( Nagaland Cadre)
  • Chandrasekhar M. Nair (1995) – Assistant Professor of Information Engineering, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Jishnu Dasgupta (1996) – bass guitarist and backing vocalist, Swarathma
  • Harikesh S. Nair (1994) – Associate Professor of Marketing, Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Vivek Karunakaran (1998) – fashion designer; owner of the ”viia” label

Were the criteria for inclusion subjective? Were there some names that should not have been there? Yes.

But did it warrant the erasure of the entire section on the Loyola page? No. There are a few notable alumni who Wikipedia acknowledges unquestioningly, like Santosh Sivan, Pulickel Ajayan, and Sreenath Sreenivasan. There is no good reason to edit them out of the Loyola School page.

What’s the way forward?

Let us adopt the following criterion — if a Loyolite has a Wikipedia entry which is at least 3 years old, he makes it to the list on the school’s page. This criterion is objectively verifiable, uses Wikipedia itself to measure notability, and delivers information to the reader.

(“3 years” is subjective, but is proposed for a reason. Wikipedia content is monitored, and a three-year old biographical entry is in itself proof that the person is “notable”. By the way, Prathap Suthan and Sangeeth Sivan too make the grade, by this criterion.)

Do you agree with Wikipedia’s action? Is the proposed criterion satisfactory? Speak out!

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Psst…have you seen loyolawiki? It’s a new wiki-style encyclopaedia on just Loyola School. Students, teachers, alumni can chip in with the lyrics of a song sung in Loyola, an article on campus cricket, whatever.

 

 

 

 

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Update: As of 5 Nov 2012, the notable alumni section is back in Wikipedia. (A few days after the blogpost here, I used Wikipedia’s feature to ‘talk’ to Lettherebelight. Instead of responding to the proposed criteria, he/she deleted my ‘talk’ message, and changed his own username. I then raised this in the ‘talk’ page on the school, but nobody responded. After 10-12 days, I re-created a notable alumni section, and inserted three names.)