|This page is an essay, containing the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. Essays are not Wikipedia policies or guidelines. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.|
BLP zealotry is overzealous use of the biographies of living persons (BLP) policy by applying it too stringently and in cases where it does not apply. The BLP policy essentially states:
Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced — whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable — should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion.
The policy also forbids the use of primary sources such as public records and court documents for contentious or privacy-violating material. Neutrality in the description of living persons must be maintained, and original research avoided. The BLP zealot misuses this in many ways. He or she takes the policy to apply to large, generic groups, possibly numbering in the millions. The zealot would remove a statement like "British people have a tradition of colonial brutality" under this policy — even "Humans have been known to kill one another" isn't safe. This editor would take the statement to apply to large organisations and would remove a statement like "Microsoft has engaged in anti-competitive practices" under this policy.
The BLP policy can apply in certain cases when the subject is dead:
But material about the deceased may have implications for their living relatives and friends, particularly in the case of the recently deceased, so anything questionable should be removed promptly.
The BLP zealot would take the policy to apply to long-dead historical figures where the above provision cannot realistically apply. That editor would remove a statement like "Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570" under this policy.
As the policy says, "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced" must be removed. The BLP zealot would take this to apply to all contentious material, no matter how well sourced. He would remove a statement like "Roman Polanski was charged with having unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl" under this policy.
But the above activities are just those of a garden-variety BLP zealot. Some particularly extreme members take things even further. Some take the policy to apply to animals. The extreme BLP zealot would remove a statement like "Bo was disciplined for being a bad dog" under this policy. BLP zealots need not limit themselves to animals, though. They would remove a statement like "The Tree That Owns Itself died of its own rot" under this policy. More extreme BLP zealots needn't limit themselves to living things though. They would remove a statement like "Religion is implicated in starting many wars" under this policy. Or a statement like "Conservatism is a protean ideology" Or "Chairs are unhealthy if sat in for long periods of time." Or "Atoms are the fundamental building blocks of every evil person." Or "Words can kill."
BLP zealots can often be found editing biographies of living people (unsurprisingly), and roaming the BLP noticeboard looking for articles to subject to their zealotry. They engage in extensive revert-warring to remove any negative material, no matter how well sourced. They report their enemies to the BLP noticeboard. They don't add material to the article — only remove it. If BLP zealots had their way, an article would say, in its entirety, "John Smith exists". BLP zealots, while thinking they understand the BLP policy, have never added negative material compliant with the policy — because they have never added negative material at all — showing they understand the policy only in a destructive sense.
BLP-violating material, according to the BLP zealot
- "The slow-burning Polanski saga". BBC News. 28 September 2009.
- Cieply, Michael. "In Polanski Case, ’70s Culture Collides With Today". The New York Times. 10 October 2009.