Wikipedia:Responsible Editing Pledge

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Wikipedia normally allows users to edit any article without logging in or to edit by using a pseudonym (an account that does not identify the real name of the user). This policy is useful. It allows people to edit without fear of harassment, or any unjustifiable interference to their "real" life (although it does not guarantee anonymity).

However, with regard to the biographies of living people, there seems an unfairness about users being able to comment on another person, whilst withholding their own identity. Other publications may provide information or commentary on living individuals, but the authors or editors responsible for such material are publicly named. Such writers stake their real life reputations on the accuracy and fairness of what they write, and indeed may legally be held to account.

Whilst Wikipedians being sued is not something desirable, Wikipedians knowing that their personal reputation is at stake and that they are legally accountable, will encourage responsible editing. It is fair to the subject. It gives reassurance to the reader.

Ah but, might this mean a Wikipedian gets harassed by the subject of the bio?[edit]

Well, it indeed might. But consider:

  • Which happens more, a Wikipedian gets harassed by a biographical subject, or a biographical subject gets libelled or attacked by an anonymous wikipedian? (Sometimes we seem more concerned with our rights, privacy and reputation than with those of real people.)
  • A Wikipedian can walk away, the biographical subject cannot.
  • A Wikipedian who wants to avoid real life consequences for his edits does not need to edit biographies of living people (or indeed at all)
  • Writing negatively about a living person anonymously may be viewed as cowardly.

The Pledge[edit]

Without necessarily calling for any change in Wikipedia policy we, the undersigned, pledge NOT to engage in the anonymous or pseudonymous publication of material on any living individual.

With regard to biographies of living people, we will not contribute content (that is other than copyediting, or removing inappropriate content) unless through accounts linked to our real identity.

That is, the undersigned are either:

  • already using accounts identifying their real identity (and will not use sock puppets on BLPs)
  • OR pledging not to add content concerning living people
  • OR intending to create separate accounts, linked to their real identities, for this purpose


  1. --Docg 13:58, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
  2. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 18:46, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
  3. MBisanz talk
  4. My real name is fairly well known. SWATJester Son of the Defender 19:30, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
  5. ++Lar: t/c 20:20, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
  6. after reflection this is my pledge. Thanks, SqueakBox 23:17, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
  7. Bstone (talk) 04:23, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  8. FCYTravis (talk) 08:17, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  9. already using my real identity for all edits on all articles, and will not use socks on any article --Enric Naval (talk) 13:21, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  10. I would prefer all editors to say who they are, but would not like to see that made a rule. SilkTork *YES! 21:44, 24 April 2008 (UTC)
  11. I only use this account, and pledge to continue to do so. Although, I would not support or endorse this as anything more than a voluntary pledge. Note that my support applies only to the pledge as of this time, and any further edits to the text may or may not have my support. - Philippe 03:24, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
  12. Matthew Brown (Morven) (T:C) 22:19, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
  13. I don't wish to reveal my identity, so I will not put statements about living people in an encyclopedia. This is a necessary tradeoff. - (talk) 22:36, 25 April 2008 (UTC)
  14. Catherine\talk 00:02, 28 April 2008 (UTC)
  15. MessedRocker (talk) 10:30, 28 May 2008 (UTC)
  16. My identity can be found in my contributions. Celarnor Talk to me 10:51, 5 July 2008 (UTC)
  17. Guy (Help!) 15:15, 2 November 2008 (UTC)
  18. John Vandenberg (chat) 12:03, 5 September 2009 (UTC)
  19. James (TalkContribs)5:21pm 07:21, 11 April 2011 (UTC)