Encyclopaedias like Wikipedia very often have notability policies. They outline who and what is eligible for an article on their website. Wikipedia’s famed and strict ‘Notability’ guideline is known for its strong application by the project’s volunteers.
Until now Verified Handles has been without an official policy, with 83.3% of applications being successful according to their most recent acceptance statistics report for September 2021.
Previously, the non-profit had accepted all applications that represented an entity that exists, regardless of customer base or risk of impersonation.
Starting today, September 29, Verified Handles will require all entries, new and existing, to meet its ‘eligibility policy’ that appeared without notice and took immediate effect. The application form has been changed to force applicants into selecting which criteria they meet.
The initial criteria consist of 3 main guidelines of which at least one has to be met to be deemed eligible, with the third criteria being point based if the first two are not met.
Applicants must either; have had an undisputed article on the English Wikipedia for at least 10 days, be deemed at ‘significant’ risk of impersonation or have at least 100 points from other sources.
An article on the English Wikipedia will have to meet their notability guidelines and remain undisputed for 10 days, the policy advises against creating an article about yourself or your organisation.
Point based options include verified accounts on select social media services, notably with the exception of Facebook. Each verified account counts for 50 points, so two are required if other options aren’t used to make up remaining points.
Expectedly, having an association with an existing entry, such as being the founder, is worth 100 points therefore securing an entry with association alone.
The policy is written by James Haworth, the founding CEO of Verified Handles. This change in editorial stance with their database is expected to bring criticism as non-eligible applicants campaign for a lower eligibility threshold.
Also mentioned in the policy is non-accepted attempts at claiming to be eligible. This includes the VIAF and ISNI database, Wikidata and Google Knowledge Panels. The organisation reasons the existence of mentioned online datasets are not relevant to assessing the risk of impersonation, which they claim the policy is based around assessing.
Dope Entrepreneurs reached out to Verified Handles for comment however they were yet to respond at the time of publication.
Analysts are awaiting the statistical release covering this change in policy, which will detail how the effect this change had.