User:Vassyana/BLP

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Proposals and views from User:Vassyana in light of the above discussion. This is an attempt to address some of the broader issues involved with BLP. This is not intended to be comprehensive nor offer any cure-alls. This is just another bite off the elephant, as others have put it.

Ideas[edit]

Addressing conduct issues[edit]

Rationale

A lot of BLP violations occur outside of article space proper. A fair number of offenses occur on article talk and user talk pages. It is widely agreed that persisting in BLP violations is disruptive. This is little more than a repetition of policy and an exhortation to action.

Proposal

Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons applies across all article topics, articles, and project namespaces. Administrators are encouraged to refactor any talk page discussions that constitute a clear violation of the biographies of living persons policies. Repeated BLP violations in any namespace should be treated as serious disruption.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Protecting articles can cause BLP problems to move to other namespaces, in particular article talk pages. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. Doesn't befit an encyclopedia to have BLP violations on its talk pages. --JN466 03:03, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. Needs clarification. The point of article talk pages is to discuss what we can and can't put in an article, so clearly they can't have the same standards as the articles, or we can't discuss. For example, clearly we can't write any of the following in an article, but need to be able to write these on the article talk page:
    • "I heard the Times archive of December 31st reports Tiger Woods had an affair, but don't have a subscription to check it out, can someone who does have such a subscription please check?"
    • "Is Elin Nordegren's MySpace page a good enough source to back a statement about Tiger Woods's affairs?"
    • "Did Tiger Woods have an affair?" --GRuban (talk) 00:19, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. Agree with GRuban that this needs clarification. As we try to do something about these problems we do need to keep in mind the Law of Unintended Consequences. Specifically in this case the proposal could be abused to shut down legitimate discussion based purely on IDON'TLIKEIT grounds. The key, I think, in balancing various aims here is to remember that BLP articles actually have a higher requirements and standards in terms of sources than regular articles (which implies that there's another huge problem of under-sourced - in addition to unsourced - BLPs sitting out there, but that's off topic). So the way to proceed would be "some some sources"=>discussion on talk's ok. "higher level of sourcing"=>article ok. By those standards the first two bullet points in GRuban's example would be enough to initiate discussion on talk (which could be later redacted if it goes nowhere) but the last one is not enough.radek (talk) 09:16, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Article scope of policy[edit]

Clarifying the scope of "Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons" for the purposes of general policy and process may be helpful. Many BLP violations occur outside of "biographies" in other articles where living persons are discussed. Business articles and crime articles are two of the prime areas for this problem.

Article scope of policy 001[edit]

Rationale

This one should be more or less common sense, in my view.

Proposal

Articles with a topic that is a living person or a collection of living persons are clearly under the focused scope of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons for the purposes of all policies and processes on the English Wikipedia.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Agree. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:17, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. Agree. --JN466 03:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  3. Seems obvious to me. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:07, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Article scope of policy 002[edit]

Rationale

"Official" BLP status, in relation to the policy, will ease the enforcement of the accompanying policy in articles substantially devoted to living persons. It seems sensible that an article substantially devoted to covering living persons be considered in that context.

Proposal

Any article that devotes substantial coverage to living persons is clearly under the focused scope of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons for the purposes of all policies and processes on the English Wikipedia.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. In addition to business and crime, schools are a major area of BLP problems. --FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:17, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. --JN466 03:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  3. Sure. Well, the parts of such an article that are about living persons is certainly covered by BLP. Other parts are not, but the article as an entity may be if much of it about living people. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:10, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Article scope of policy 003[edit]

Rationale

"Official" BLP status, in relation to the policy, will ease the enforcement of the accompanying policy in articles substantially devoted to living persons. It seems sensible that an article mainly about the actions of a living person be considered in that context.

Proposal

Articles devoted to the actions of living persons are clearly under the focused scope of Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons for the purposes of all policies and processes on the English Wikipedia.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. --JN466 03:05, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. I want a clarification of "actions". An article like Suu Kyi trespasser incidents may not be a "biography" but it should absolutely be covered by the BLP policy in every aspect. On the other hand, everything except historical subjects could be considered actions by living people. Does it apply to a company article because the company is run by and employs living people? Even for history subjects, writing by living historians will be the basis for large parts. I think a reason so many Wikipedians are unwilling to expand BLP protections is that they fear it will eventually be expanded to every article. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:22, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Article scope of policy 004[edit]

Rationale

Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons is not simply about biographies, but is about how we treat living article subjects on the English Wikipedia. Saying Professor John Doe is an <insert expletive of choice here> is a "BLP" violation on any page in the English Wikipedia under the current policy. Let's get rid of the dissonance between the actual practice/policy and the current naming of it.

Proposal

In accordance with its scope and underlying principles, Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons is renamed Wikipedia:Living persons.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. It would help to make clear that it is not just biographies, but any article on living persons. --JN466 03:08, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. I'm not opposed and can see the reason but since BLP is a very commonly known turn of phrase, I'm concerned that we will add confusion with the switch in name.
Discussion link

Default to delete[edit]

Default to delete options have been long considered and are often used in practice. Better delineating if and when we should default to delete would help address another piece of the concerns many have about the biographies of living persons.

Default to delete 001[edit]

Rationale

This has been suggested before. It is a sensible option. These articles are not just abstract items to be discussed and debated philosophically. These are the lives of real people. If we cannot agree to keep the article, we should err on the side of caution and delete.

Proposal

Articles for deletion discussions about biographies of living persons default to delete when there is no consensus to keep.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. If a deletion discussion can not decide that the article meets inclusion criteria then it should be deleted. This is particularly true of articles related to Living People. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:22, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. Agree, and especially so if the subject has asked for deletion. --JN466 03:09, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. The point of BLP is to protect the lives of real people, but too often "no consensus" is the result of a debate over an article that doesn't harm its subject. We already have Israeli/Palestinian/Armenian/Azeri/Pakistani/Indian/Greek/Macedonian/etc. nationalists nominating articles about their enemy of choice, not because they think the article harms the subject, but because they don't like the subject, and want to harm them by restricting information about them; often these end in no consensus, default to keep. Now all these articles will get deleted? --GRuban (talk) 00:28, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. Oppose based on [[1]] (just to be open and let everyone know where my view came from). In essence the problem is that there is a whole bunch of AfD that default to no consensus because some people stone wall AfD's arguing that the sources provided are "inadequate sourcing" and leads often leads to no consensus as more sources are added and the same people stone walling saying they are inadequate. --Sin Harvest (talk) 13:52, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
  3. I oppose any default-to-delete system, because it allows any clique to force deletion by simply stonewalling or disrupting the discussion so that no consensus can be formed. If you want to raise the notability bar for BLPs, then do that directly. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:14, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Default to delete 002[edit]

Rationale

As above. The additional of articles with substantial coverage of living persons is an expansion of the same principle. Many BLP violations occur in non-BLP articles where living persons are discussed.

Proposal

Articles for deletion discussions about biographies of living persons and other articles where substantial portions are dedicated to the coverage of living persons default to delete when there is no consensus to keep.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Follows logically from the preceding. --JN466 03:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Default to delete 003[edit]

Rationale

As above. A more focused formulation.

Proposal

Articles for deletion discussions about biographies of living persons, articles about collections of living persons, and articles about the actions of living persons default to delete when there is no consensus to keep.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. --JN466 03:11, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Default to delete 004[edit]

Rationale

Many people have suggested that subjects should be allowed to opt out of having a Wikipedia article. This grants weight to a subject's request to be excluded from our coverage.

Proposal

If the subject of an article considered a "biography of a living person" makes or endorses a deletion request, the article defaults to delete when there is no consensus to keep.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Yes. --JN466 03:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. I am conflicted about this. On one hand I think Wikipedia should put neutral coverage over individual wished. On the other hand complaints from the subject shows that there are real rather than hypothetical problems with the article. However, often when the subject requests deletion, it is actually the article in its current form they are unhappy with. If it was changed to be neutral and BLP-conforming, they are often (but not always) satisfied. Perhaps instead, AfD votes should be encouraged to consider the subjects wishes along with other factors such as coverage in reliable sources. A vote that does would then be considered stronger. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:27, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Default to delete 004a[edit]

Rationale

The extra emphasis on a strong and clear consensus is under the presumption of a general default to delete.

Proposal

If the subject of an article considered a "biography of a living person" makes or endorses a deletion request, the article defaults to delete unless there is a clear and overwhelming consensus to keep.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. --JN466 03:12, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Notability of living persons[edit]

Notability 001[edit]

Rationale

A form of the "dead trees standard". A bit more open than the usual version due to the breadth of the affected area and differing usage.

Proposal

Articles about living persons must meet one or more of the following requirements for inclusion in on the English Wikipedia:

  • One or more entries in reliably published encyclopedias, general or specialized.
  • Substantial coverage in one or more books or chapters of books published by an academic press or other high reliability publisher.
  • Subject of one or more articles in a reputable periodical including reliable magazines, journals, and trade publications, but excluding dailies, broadsheets, tabloids, alternative newsweeklies, and related publications.
  • Subject of repeated, extensive nationwide and/or international news coverage by uncontroversially reliable news media and publishers.
Editors who agree with this proposal
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Notability 002[edit]

Rationale

If an article about a living person lacks enough available reliable sources to craft a complete article, we should probably not have that article. This is a different sort of higher bar for notability than the preceding option.

Proposal

For inclusion on the English Wikipedia, topics about living persons must have reliable sources available that feature substantial coverage sufficient to support article development to A-Class, Good Article, and/or Featured Article standards. If there is consensus in a merge, deletion, content noticeboard, or similar community discussion that an article about a living person lacks sufficient sources in this context, it should be merged, redirected, or deleted, as appropriate to the discussion.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Agree. I see no point in starting articles that will always be low quality and incomplete. We need to explore alternative ways to present information rather than placing it on stand alone entries that tax the resources of the volunteer workforce to maintain. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:41, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. Olympic gold medalists. Guinness Book of World Record holders. Reclusive Authors, Artists, Musicians. CEOs of Fortune 500 corporations. There are plenty of obviously notable living people that haven't had the kind of complete coverage we demand for A-Class articles, but which we still clearly need to have articles for. --GRuban (talk) 03:20, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. I don't have any problem with short articles. Paper encyclopedias are full of them. In fact, I would rather we have short articles that describe what people are notable for rather than go digging into their personal lives when there is little public interest. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:31, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. Concerned that this is too restrictive, per GRuban. --JN466 03:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Notability 002a[edit]

Rationale

As above, with a specific solution proposed.

Proposal

For inclusion on the English Wikipedia, topics about living persons must have reliable sources available that feature substantial coverage sufficient to support article development to A-Class, Good Article, and/or Featured Article standards. Articles about a living person lacking sufficient sources in this context should be merged or redirected where possible. If a community discussion results in a consensus that sufficient sources are lacking, the article must be merged or redirected where possible and otherwise deleted, not superseding a "delete" result in a community discussion.

Editors who agree with this proposal
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. We should be able to have an article on an up-and-coming singer, writer or artist, even if there is not enough for a FA. --JN466 03:25, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Notability 003[edit]

Rationale

A lot of people have commented about the concept of "enduring" notability. This is one attempt to express and codify that sentiment. Many of the concerns about ephemeral incidents leading to lasting infamy via Wikipedia lead me to the thought of addressing ephemeral coverage.

Proposal

For the purposes of inclusion and establishing notability, sources of ephemeral coverage (such as dailies, newsweeklies, tabloids, and blogs) are not sufficient to establish notability or justify inclusion for topics about living persons.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Agree. The increased number and pace of in depth articles and books means that this is doable for most notable people pretty promptly if the person is notable. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:47, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. To address GRuban's comment, people continue writing about such events long after they've happened. --JN466 03:20, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Please note that I have added "for topics about living persons" for clarity. Vassyana (talk) 03:27, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Sure, my example is an article about a living person. The point is that there are plenty of people whom we are pretty sure will have books written about them in the next years. But that takes months at the fastest. Do we have to wait for those books before writing an article, when we have perfectly reliable news sources now? For example, Scott Brown; the only source about him now that aren't "ephemeral coverage (such as dailies, newsweeklies, tabloids, or blogs)" are Cosmopolitan... which you've just proposed be rated higher than the New York Times for "purposes of inclusion and establishing notability" due to the fact that it comes out less frequently? :-) --GRuban (talk) 21:38, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. Oh, great. Now someone who assassinates the pope wouldn't get a Wikipedia article until the book about his life came out? --GRuban (talk) 00:32, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Addressing sources[edit]

Appropriate sourcing is a substantial issue with articles discussing living persons. We should undertake every due diligence to ensure proper, even exemplary, sourcing in such articles. We should err on the side of caution if there is uncertainty regarding the quality and appropriateness of citations.

Addressing sources 001[edit]

Rationale

We should always undertake to use sources of the highest quality. This should be an additional consideration with living persons. If we cannot agree regarding the reliability of a source, we should not use it for our BLP coverage.

Proposal

If there is a lack of consensus regarding the reliability of a source for coverage about a living person, it should not be used. If a community discussion regarding the reliability of a source comes to no consensus, the source may not be used for the coverage of living persons.

Editors who agree with this proposal
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. I've seen editors argue that world-leading scholars are unreliable sources (because they're in league with the devil, get their facts wrong, etc.). Hence conflicted. --JN466 03:33, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. I would support this for contentious statements. The subjects own website for example may be questionably reliable, but there is no reason to exclude it as a reference for non-contentious facts. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:35, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Addressing sources 002[edit]

Rationale

Cherry-picking a subject's writings and court records are both common problems with primary sources in BLPs. Ideally, we should be reflecting what academics and other reliable authorities have said in any article. If no one writing about a person discusses those passages or court cases, then neither should we and that is explicitly supposed to be non-negotiable for all content. We should take extra caution in regards to living persons.

Proposal

Primary sources may not be used for information about living persons where it is controversial or contentious. If there is a lack of consensus regarding the use of a primary source in the coverage of living persons, it should not be used. If a community discussion regarding the use of a primary source comes to no consensus, the source may not be used for the coverage of living persons. If there is an accompanying dispute over the primary/secondary classification of a source, it is considered primary for the coverage of living persons.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Court records, depositions, leaked diaries, and such are much to open to interpretation to be used without the benefit of third party review. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 00:50, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  2. I believe this is already policy per WP:WELLKNOWN and WP:NPF. However, these parts of the policy are often not heeded, and the points therefore bear repeating ad nauseam. Just a little wary though about the PSTS classification; with enough mental gymnastics it is possible to argue that any source is a primary source. ("This climate scientist criticising the subject's work is a primary source, because he is personally involved in a scientific dispute with the subject and holds an opposing view.") --JN466 03:50, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
  3. Strongly agree. This is a common problem. --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:37, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. Then article subjects can't defend themselves. Say a newspaper publishes an article saying something about John Smith, that's a secondary source, and we can use it, but if John Smith then denies it on his personal web page, that's a primary source, and we can't use his defense? --GRuban (talk) 03:00, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Information that appears in blogs or other sources like that are not reliable because they are not stable. It is impossible to get a published set version of the material because an individual rather than an publisher controls the content. So there is the possibility that the material would altered or tweaked repeatedly. So expect for the most basic information such as the information found in a cv, the blog is not a reliable way to get information about someone. There are exceptions to this but usually those people are notable anyway and their blog will be covered by the media anyway. FloNight♥♥♥♥ 03:24, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    There's a big gap between people who meet Wikipedia:Notability due to multiple media articles about them, and the super-celebrities who can be guaranteed to have media covering every change to their blog. We've got far more of the former. --GRuban (talk) 23:39, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
    I don't think Vassyana meant to exclude self-published sources here (see next item). --JN466 03:53, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Well, Flo clearly thinks he does, and since she's an arbitrator, that's kind of important, don't you think? --GRuban (talk) 23:39, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link

Addressing sources 003[edit]

Rationale

Self-published sources are already excluded for coverage about people other than the author. The first portion is simply a clearer, more straightforward statement of the principle. The latter is a self-explanatory strengthening of the principle.

Proposal

Self-published sources, including blogs, are not appropriate sources for the coverage of living persons, unless authored by the subject(s). If there is a dispute over the publishing classification of a source, it is considered self-published for the coverage of living persons unless a community discussion reaches a clear consensus that it is independently published.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. Sensible precaution. --JN466 03:54, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. Aren't self-published sources already considered non-reliable? --Apoc2400 (talk) 21:39, 27 January 2010 (UTC)
    Yes. It is the "If there is a dispute..." clause that is operative or different. Vassyana (talk) 00:21, 28 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Content disputes[edit]

Content disputes adversely affect our coverage of living persons. Concerns about appropriateness, due weight, original research, and so on must be given proper consideration.

Content 001[edit]

Rationale

Whether or not material is appropriate for inclusion is a major consideration for our coverage of living persons. While other points address sourcing, this addresses our basic compliance with the neutral point of view.

Proposal

If there is a dispute over due weight or similar considerations of appropriateness, dispute resolution and community input should be pursued. If a community discussion reaches no consensus about whether a portion of coverage regarding a living person is inappropriately weighted or otherwise inappropriate, the coverage should be treated as inappropriate.

Editors who agree with this proposal
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. Achieving a lack of consensus is too easy. Again, think of the many Israeli/Palestinian/Armenian/Azeri/Greek/Albanian edit warriors, who will be trying to remove facts they don't agree with this way, not because they hurt the article subject, but because they hurt "the cause". --GRuban (talk) 03:08, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
  1. Conflicted, per GRuban; imagine the implications for the biography of any President or Prime Minister. --JN466 04:04, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Discussion link

Content 002[edit]

Rationale

Aside from concerns of sourcing and weight appropriateness, there are also concerns about making sure that our coverage is accurate in relation to reliable sources. The proposal explains itself.

Proposal

If there is a dispute over verifiability, original research, or similar considerations of accurate reporting, dispute resolution and community input should be pursued. If a community discussion reaches no consensus about whether a portion of coverage regarding a living person is original research, fails verification, or otherwise constitutes inaccurate reporting of reference content, the coverage should be treated as original research and failing verification.

Editors who agree with this proposal
  1. I'd hope the community is mature enough to establish whether an edit says what the source says or not. --JN466 04:06, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
    Come on, we can't even all agree what our own Arbcom's statement about BLP deletion says! :-) --GRuban (talk) 21:44, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who disagree with this proposal
  1. Achieving a lack of consensus is too easy, as above. We have plenty of edit warriors who will work hard to achieve a lack of consensus on any article they don't like. --GRuban (talk) 03:10, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Editors who are neutral or conflicted about this proposal
Discussion link