Wikipedia:Living People Patrol/Development

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

This is an active monitoring group dedicated to assisting editors in implementing and enforcing the policy of WP:BLP. Volunteers are welcomed across the spectrum, from active monitors, process groups and discussion, policy groups (Lawyers, journalistic academics/experts especially needed) and technical development. Many ideas and processes are in an startup stage, please visit talk on Wikipedia talk:Living People Patrol

Rationale and Mission[edit]

Wikipedia is moving from start-up concept to an authoritative source. As Wikipedia grows, so does the damage potential and potential liability in articles about living people. WP:BLP was created to help address problems with Wikipedia such as John Seigenthaler Sr. Wikipedia biography controversy, and others.

WP:BLP demands a type of philosophical response contrary to most Wikipedian editor philosophies. An "Extreme" Immediatism is required to handle potential legal issues, as opposed to most editor views trending to Eventualism. These differences in philosophy result in edit wars and understate the need for WP:BLPP.

The mission of the BLP Patrol is four-fold:

  1. Educate editors about WP:BLP, WP:LIBEL and defamation
  2. Actively monitor biography pages and remove a narrow set of potential libel from BLP pages.
  3. Develop and support policies to help assist Wikipedia, individual editors and biographical subjects minimize harm and potential legal liability.
  4. Ensure actions of the patrol do not produce a chilling effect on Wikipedia.

Active Monitoring Projects[edit]

BLPP volunteers are already monitoring BLP articles, while at the same time developing consensus about process and technical areas .

Being an active monitor requires dedication and significant grunt work. Technical resources are being developed to support BLPP.


If you are interested in being an active monitor, sign your name below with ~~~~. When BLPP is ready to begin active monitoring, we will contact interested editors below.

  • XXX
  • YYY

~SeventhHaido 04:07, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Process Development[edit]

This subgroup deals with how to handle BLP issues. Besides developing active monitoring processes, part of the groups function is to help educate users on policy. Processes developed via this group are meant to be best practice guidelines, and not a verbatim method in how to do things.


Proposed Processes[edit]

Simple ongoing edit checking[edit]

This is a simple patrol to keep an eye on edits as they come through. It doesn't have to be perfect and the reviewers don't have to be perfect; we just want every living bio edit to be reviewed at least once.

  1. Regular checking of changes to anything in Category:Living people. As of September 2006, these are coming through at about 10 edits per minute.
  2. Regular checking of Special:Newpages for possible new living bios. These should be tagged with Category:Living people on the article (if not already present) and {{WPBiography}} on the talk page (if not already present).

The first should be automatable using similar tools to those currently used in vandalism patrolling; the second would be suited to some custom JavaScript, such that a reviewer need only glance at an article and press a button to add the cat and tag if needed.

Note that the recent changes patrolling should not be difficult; revert edits that add apparently-questionable information without a source and note the reverted edit on the talk page (this could also use a piece of JavaScript to do the job in one click), tag more difficult cases for someone else to take more time over (see next section). Note also that perfection is not required of the editors.

If we can honestly tell people that Wikipedia runs at least this level of checking, it'll be good for both internal quality control and for internal and external publicity.

Simple ongoing category maintenance[edit]

We have a lot of existing living people articles that are not in the category and don't have the tag. We need to find these articles and tag them, so that they can be more easily monitored. This is something that can be done more slowly at our leisure.

Possible ways to search on such articles:

  • Go through all categories for people. An iterative search through all of Category:People should be suitable, and could in fact be semi-automated.
  • Look for additions to Category:19xx births and ensure they are tagged

More difficult problems (proposed process)[edit]

Once members of BLPP identify an article as potentially libelous, the following process should be followed:

Removal of unsourced and poorly sourced claims and potential defamation per se; WP:LIBEL
Further information: [[:Wikipedia:Libel,Slander_and_libel]]
  1. Remove any unsourced negative claims;
  2. Remove any defamation per se that is dubiously and weakly sourced.;
  3. Use a summary along the lines of "BLP Patrol: Unsourced negative material removed as per WP:BLP."

Slander_and_libel#Defamation_per_se describes four instances of libel that are already defamatory by default.

  • Allegations or imputations "injurious to another in their trade, business, or profession"; perhaps described as destruction of professional reputation. As an example, journalists try and follow an ethics code, alleging violations of that code may cause termination and prevent them from future jobs in the industry.
  • Allegations or imputations "of loathsome disease"; Subnote: (historically leprosy and sexually-transmitted disease, now also including mental illness)
  • Allegations or imputations of "unchastity"; Subnote: (usually only in unmarried people and sometimes only in women). Also can be expanded to include sexual orientation, specifically allegations of homosexuality
  • Allegations or imputations of criminal activity; Subnote: (sometimes only crimes of moral turpitude) Allegations calling someone a prostitute, fraud or other crime should be determined by the judicial system.

User Process[edit]

Three user talk templates for dealing with users violating WP:BLP.

To put these messages on a user's talk page, use the code {{subst:blp1}}, {{subst:blp2}}, or {{subst:blp3}}

Startup/Beta Processes[edit]

There are no processes in startup per consensus.

Active/Stable Processes[edit]

There are no current stable processes per consensus.


Editors wishing to actively participate in process development are welcome to sign ~~~ below. Please participate in Wikipedia talk:Living People Patrol.

  • XXX

Policy Development[edit]

This subgroup is devoted to shaping existing wikipedia policies and developing new ones as needed.


  • Make WP:BLP and WP:LIBEL have both legal teeth by definitions and understandable by an average editor through simplicity and example.
  • Solicit outside legal, journalistic and historical experts and academics to assist with developing policy.
  • Solicit internal legal experts from Wikipedia Law Project and Wikimedia Legal.
  • Create disclaimer as needed/necessary.

Active Focus[edit]

WP:LIBEL is too short in current form to be an effective or understandable policy.


Editors wishing to actively participate in policy development are welcome to sign ~~~ below. Please participate in Wikipedia talk:Living People Patrol. As an extra request, please place credentials next to your signature. EX: "Interested in BLP Policy" is perfectly acceptable.

Technical Development[edit]

Software to support BLPP is in active development.

Active/Mature Software[edit]

Beta Software[edit]

Proposed Software[edit]

  • An IRC bot is being considered that would monitor these articles. User:Jossi has requested Tawker or Essjay modify vandalbots to support BLPP.
  • Template designers (javascript and mediawiki jockeys) are needed to help support BLPP, per request of User:Electrawn.
  • Userboxes/Categories are requested to help coordinate the project, per User:Electrawn.

Interested Developers[edit]

Developers wishing to support BLPP are welcome to sign ~~~ below. Please participate in Wikipedia talk:Living People Patrol.

  • XXX