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Hagiography

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A hagiography is defined as: "a book about someone's life that makes it seem better than it really is or was" and "a biography that praises someone too much" by Merriam-Webster online,[1] and Wiktionary (the dictionary version of Wikipedia) defines the term as: "A biography which is uncritically supportive of its subject, often including embellishments or propaganda."[2]

The original term specifically referred to the writings of saints, ecclesiastical leaders etc., and comes from the Greek ἁγιογραφία ("hagiographia"), from ἅγιος ("agios; 'holy' or 'saint'"), and γράφειν (graphein; "to write").[3]

Hagiographies on Wikipedia[edit]

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All Hail Gandhi.
Many people create articles that are overly promotional in tone: about themselves, people they admire, or those they are paid to represent. These are not neutral, and have no place in our projects. Generally, the Wikimedia community protects the projects well against this common problem by deleting or improving hagiographies. Or so we claim...
—The Wikimedia Foundation's policy on hagiographies.[4]

Various articles have been defined by various Wikipedians as hagiographic at various times, including:

  • Wikipedia's article on Peter Tatchell ("Is this an article, or autobiographical hagiography? Its length is far disproportionate to its subject's importance and it is permeated with what is obviously Tatchell's POVWikipedia's W.svg on himself.");[5]
  • Wikipedia's article on Gandhi (which had/has "a minuscule criticism section").[6]
For more information, see: Bias in Wikipedia

Hagiographies on Metapedia[edit]

Metapedia's article on Hitler could be considered a hagiography, as "a word-for-word comparison suggests that a Metapedia editor or editors might indeed have copied Wikipedia's original article and then modified it to create a text far more sympathetic to Hitler than was the original text."[7]

References[edit]