Wikipedia:BLP semiprotection petition

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To the Wikimedia Foundation

  • There are presently about 430,000 BLPs on, encompassing about 13% of all articles in English. About 175 new BLPs are created EVERY DAY.
  • Most of these BLPs are of marginally notable figures, such as local sports figures, semi-famous entertainers (name not known to the average English-speaker), local politicians, and the like.
  • Well-publicized IP-vandalisms of BLPs of "non-A-list" celebrities have shown that there are too many BLPs to watch effectively, and that many of the minor ones therefore may be expected to retain clever vandalisms for months without reversion.
  • It appears that the large majority of vandalisms to BLPs are by IP-users, probably for reasons of avoidance of legal consequence, since defamation law in the U.S. (CDA sec 230) places all responsibility on the content creator, not the hosting site. This is strong reason for content creators (vandals) to use IP-editing, especially from non-paid services, such as gmail.
  • Semi-protection of BLPs could be instituted immediately, and would block such edits. Name-users editing from tracable email accounts will presumably be less likely to place defamatory material in BLPs.
  • The usual arguments against semi-protection of most of do not apply to BLPs. The reasons are:

[A] The usual arguments that IP editors create more good content than they destroy, have so far failed to take into account the specially high damage that vandalism brings to BLPs.

[B] Most of the evidence that IP-editing is overall-beneficial to WP comes from non-English wikis, where IP-editor behavior is quite different. Such evidence is also epidemiological, and does not address the question of what would happen prospectively, if IP editors were forced to register as name-users, or not edit at all.

[C] Even if being forced to register deters some IP editors from editing WP at all, protection of an additional 13% of (the BLP part) would still presumably NOT influence the beginning editor who wishes not to register, since such editors may still edit the rest of Wikipedia (including biographies of deceased persons, if biography interests them).

Therefore, we, the undersigned, ask that all biographies of living persons be automatically semi-protected immediately on[edit]

  1. SBHarris 03:08, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
  2. Steve Smith (talk) 07:17, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
  3. Something we can do now, and doesn't have the potential with requiring a heap of admins reviewing flaggedrevs. Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:50, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
  4. Cyclopiatalk 15:49, 18 December 2009 (UTC) - if and only if this is first discussed by the community, and not enforced by the WMF against consensus
  5. With reservations as stated on the talk page. ThemFromSpace 16:41, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
  6. Yes. Also, see these edits from March 11 2009 ++Lar: t/c 19:22, 18 December 2009 (UTC)
  7. --AFBorchert (talk) 22:50, 18 December 2009 (UTC) I suggest to implement this through a bot, not by patching the Wikimedia software.
  8. Jake Wartenberg 00:57, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
  9. I have long been a supporter of this. --Coffee // have a cup // flagged revs now! // 06:25, 19 December 2009 (UTC)
  10. This could help stop a lot of vandalism  Ronhjones  (Talk) 22:26, 20 December 2009 (UTC)
  11. Nev1 (talk) 01:04, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
  12. Lara ☁ 15:24, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
  13. Support, but not sure that this wouldn't be a community policy proposal rather than an appeal to the WMF. An admin bot could do this tomorrow if we had the policy.--Scott Mac (Doc) 23:50, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
  14. Firsfron of Ronchester 22:41, 3 January 2010 (UTC)
  15. I absolutely support this! (And even proposed it a while back on WP:Areas for Reform.) Zaereth (talk) 23:36, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
  16. A good thing while we wait for flagged revisions. --JN466 18:06, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
  17. Yes. I support this completely as I watch and actively contribute to quite a few BLPs and I am forever being forced to revert vandalism edits and a lot of them seem to be persistent and similar, suggesting that they originate from one person/group of people. I think that this proposal would do a great deal to stop this. TomBeasley (talk) 12:43, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
  18. A wise and practical idea that is long overdue!--JayJasper (talk) 16:53, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
  19. Less drastic than some of the other proposals, and also more likely to happen. - Dank (push to talk) 04:49, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
  20. Chutznik (talk) 21:24, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
  21. sephia karta | di mi 13:54, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  22. Jclemens (talk) 23:02, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
  23. JoyDiamond (talk) 20:31, 13 March 2010 (UTC)
  24. cmckain14Cmckain14 (talk) 20:58, 9 February 2013 (UTC)


[Edit by petition proposer: In answer to questions on the talk page, I had envisioned a Mediawiki software patch where an article is immediately sprotected as soon as the category:Living people goes on it, and this also applies to all the articles that have this tag already. To prevent "unlocking" the article by removal of the cat-living-people tag, this patch would have to work as a one-way latch, so that once an article is sprotected in this way, only a sysop could unprotect it, as is normal with sprotection now (only the mechanism would change, since again, we need this to be automatic). This does a needed job which otherwise would be manual for 300,000 BLPs, most of which are probably not sprotected now. So much for dealing with backlogs. See other comments on the talk page. I feel it's appropriate to add this part below the above signatures, since they were placed before it was made clear how this might work. However, I'm by no means married to this particular mechanism, so long as it's reasonably automatic (avoiding hand sprotection of this huge bunch of BLPs is the entire point). SBHarris 17:34, 18 December 2009 (UTC)]

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