Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Wikipedia talk:BLP)
Jump to: navigation, search
BLP issues summary
Guidelines (Also see policies.)
Policies (Also see guidelines.)
WikiProject Policy and Guidelines
WikiProject icon This page is within the scope of the Policy and Guidelines WikiProject, a collaborative effort to improve Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. If you would like to participate, you can visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks.

BLPNAME contradicts SPJ Ethics[edit]

The current text of BLPNAME gives substantial preference to leaving out names:

When deciding whether to include a name, its publication in secondary sources other than news media, such as scholarly journals or the work of recognized experts, should be afforded greater weight than the brief appearance of names in news stories. Consider whether the inclusion of names of living private individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value. / The presumption in favor of privacy is strong in the case of family members of articles' subjects and other loosely involved, otherwise low-profile persons

But compare the Society of Professional Journalists ethics code on this topic: [1]

1. Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability. / The most important professional possession of journalists is credibility. If the news consumers don’t have faith that the stories they are reading or watching are accurate and fair, if they suspect information attributed to an anonymous source has been made up, then the journalists are as useful as a parka at the equator. / To protect their credibility and the credibility of their stories, reporters should use every possible avenue to confirm and attribute information before relying on unnamed sources.

An example should not be necessary to illustrate this essential conflict, but to defuse claims that this is only hypothetical, I should mention the case that made me think of this, the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting. There is a lot of smoke being blown in the press about Omar Mateen having been gay, based on various accounts. I would like to name each and every person who has been cited in the press so that editors and readers could keep track of how many there are and what their credibility is considered to be as the investigation continues. But I haven't even made the attempt because I have this subpolicy waiting in the wings to foul it all up. The ironic part is that this subpolicy is actually sabotaging a BLP/BDP goal - carefully qualifying a statement about a recently deceased person to make sure we create no implication further than what is reliably known.

I would like to see Wikipedia be more comfortable simply saying what the news says, without being afraid to have information that they have. I think this would be simpler, make future editing easier, and be more ethical as the SPJ suggests. Wnt (talk) 14:19, 21 June 2016 (UTC)

In what way does BLPNAME prevent you from linking to the RS articles mentioning various such names? In what way would doing so undermine what you're trying to accomplish? Jclemens (talk) 14:23, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
Well, that's something ... but it means that any editor trying to figure out who said this and who said that has to look up every source, if they are still accessible (or ever were). Which runs counter to the idea that "The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability." With a name, they can just type it in by the story line and read every update a web search can find; without one, they can be left spinning their wheels. Wnt (talk) 16:23, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
Seems like good advice. Now, if it comes to pass that what someone says develops a particular controversy or identifying the name otherwise truly can get a consensus for going in because it is really helpful to the encyclopedic topic, than fine. Journalism is not what we are doing - following a more removed convention, tone, etc., of a tertiary source, thus makes more sense. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:46, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
We are under no obligation to follow SPJ ethics guidelines - we are not journalists. Citing the source a "common Joe" was quoted in without specifically naming Joe within our article in no way undermines WP:RS or WP:V. Your specific example of tabulating a "list" of claimants would violate WP:OR, though. VQuakr (talk) 17:02, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
I've strongly disagreed at times with the way BLPNAME has been used (especially the Kafkaesque situation of preserving the "privacy" of information that is not by any reasonable definition private since it's been highlighted by multiple high-quality sources), but I see no need for this particular modification. As long as we include a citation back to the original reference, any reader who wants to go back and check out that reference can find it, do so, and find anything they say about where they got their information. We don't need a laundry list of everyone a reference mentioned in passing, that would be excessive and generally irrelevant detail. If a well-known and high-profile person is quoted or cited by a source, that might merit inclusion directly in the article. Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:04, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
@Seraphimblade and VQuakr: I certainly did not mean to suggest amending policy to require naming every minor player in every article; I would be fully content to strike out a few sentences of what is there now and leave editors to adopt or reject SPJ ethics as they please. I just think that if our policy is demanding an ethics contrary to another well-known ethics, maybe that isn't an ethics we need to be mandating. Also, I didn't mean to suggest I wanted a formal list or table; only that by having each person named as convenient in the text, we could keep better track. Wnt (talk) 23:27, 21 June 2016 (UTC)
I don't see what any relaxation of our policy would achieve except to make us more journalistic. How is Mary Smith, a former coworker said any more informative than a former coworker said? If anything the slight distancing is beneficial. We are already free to name public figures or official pronouncements and any 'significant' name is going to eventually be included. Pincrete (talk) 00:39, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
Because your SPJ ethics are targeted at journalists. As an encyclopedia, the reasons for those ethical guidelines do not apply to us - we are not out interviewing people. VQuakr (talk) 02:07, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
Technically that's not true, or at least oughtn't be true - if we had someone down by Pulse with a videocamera, that person would be free to walk around, film the area, and talk to people and post the video which likely would end up in the article. But more generally, much of the review we make of events is similar to what is done in many (most?) news articles. Disclosure: SPJ isn't "my" ethics ... I just happen to agree with them on this point. What makes that slightly less than a 100% cynical maneuver is that if my feeling is if there's a type of ethics opposed to our policy, that's a suggestion we don't need it as a matter of principle. Wnt (talk) 11:11, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
No, sending someone to Pulse with a video camera to do interviews would be original research and such content definitely would not make it into the article. VQuakr (talk) 16:58, 22 June 2016 (UTC)
You're telling me if we had free-licensed footage someone contributed from the vicinity of the shooting showing what people had to say about it, you wouldn't want that in the article??? Really??? That is just wrong. Wnt (talk) 13:26, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
We're pretty far off-topic here, but correct - we are not a news agency. If you want to discuss this hypothetical tangent further I suggest moving to WT:NOR, WT:V, or the village pump; feel free to ping me. VQuakr (talk) 19:04, 23 June 2016 (UTC)
Clemens makes a good point. I think whenever reliable sources opt to include a name and we use it as a reference that we should also be able to include this name. It just clears up confusion and allows for easier verification of the information. It's not like the avoidance of mentioning the info actually protects a name from being knowm, if it's available in the source, someone really interested in knowing could look it up. The burden would be on the source that named them in the first place not us. Why should we be burdened with all these judgment calls about who's 'widely known' (vague since we're not told how to measure this) enough to mention their name. Ranze (talk) 03:58, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 6 July 2016[edit]

Aksh Badshah (talk) 07:54, 6 July 2016 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. nyuszika7h (talk) 07:55, 6 July 2016 (UTC)


What is to be done about self-published sources that can be shown to be lies by the subject, but only through primary sources? eg. Wiki page references the age of an author taken from their website, but the registered copyright information from the Library of Congress contradicts it? Jacobssteph (talk) 23:55, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

I have no interest in "disruptively" editing that article. All edits I have made, including correcting ones made by the subject himself, have been in accordance with referenced materials. Original question remains. Jacobssteph (talk) 00:38, 12 July 2016 (UTC)

  • As WP:SELFPUB states, such sources can only be used if (in part) "there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity". In other words, don't use self-published sources for anything even remotely uncertain or contentious. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 20:42, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Conciseness to avoid confusion[edit]

This policy applies to any living person mentioned in a BLP, whether or not that person is the subject of the article, and to material about living persons in other articles and on other pages, including talk pages.

Given that a BLP is an article, instead of 'BLP and other articles' why don't we just say "living people mentioned in any article?" If there is no separate policy between LP mentions in BLP and LP mentions in other articles we may as well just lump them together and decrease confusion. Singling out BLPs gives the impression they're some kind of unique situation when it appears that they aren't, since the issue is whether a mentioned person is alive or not, not where they are mentioned. Ranze (talk) 03:55, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Requested move 15 July 2016[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved, at least no consensus for a move, at most, a potentially wide-scale change in wording across multiple WP pages and long-standing templates and notices that is possibly more disruptive than helpful. While the wording change to "Living persons" would help understanding policy scope, the term "BLP" has been in existence for a very long time, and the large amount of oppose votes on a move of a Wikipedia policy page prevent this request from proceeding in my opinion. (non-admin closure) — Andy W. (talk ·ctb) 22:36, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Biographies of living personsWikipedia:Living persons – this page discusses policies about how to talk about living people and we are told they apply not just to biography articles but to ANY article, so the inclusion of 'Biography' in the page title is misleading. Ranze (talk) 04:05, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

  • Oppose for now Weak oppose – While I understand the fundamentals behind this proposal, a lot of the language in the policy itself (such as the advice on writing style and presumption in favor of privacy) is indeed geared towards actual biographies of living persons. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the term "BLP" is so longstanding and has so ingrained itself into the Wikipedia community culture that I would want convincing evidence that this change is actually needed before signing my support. Anyone who reads the first sentence of the policy – Editors must take particular care when adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page – will understand that this is applicable beyond just biographies and even beyond just the mainspace. Has there been a pattern of examples that editors have been actually misled by the policy's title? Mz7 (talk) 15:28, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
    • I can personally attest to being misled by it and letting my guard down on non-biography articles like things about court cases or controversies. I can only imagine this is more extreme for people newer than myself. Ranze (talk) 09:13, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Mz7. BLP needs to stay as-is. I presume this was prompted by your block for editing People v. Turner. Changing the name of this policy doesn't change what the policy says. I might agree that this policy has crept from biographical articles into any mention of a living person but changing the name of the policy helps no one. Chris Troutman (talk) 16:14, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
    • The revoked block for expired sanctions never justified reminded me what a problem this is, sure. It indeed has crept outside biography into policy not just on any article, but any talk page or userspace, so that is exactly why we should change the name of the policy. I am not proposing we change what the policy says, but that the page name should conform to reflect the policy. I mean hey, if you want to move that we restrict BLP restrictions just to biographies, I'll back you, but I didn't see that as a realistic move. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Mz7, BLP is just too widely known to change it. It still applies to all content anywhere on Wikipedia about living (and recently deceased) people regardless. nyuszika7h (talk) 16:19, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
    • For those who know what it means, we do not harm. For those who do not, a brief explanation of the change would inform them. It applying to all content is exactly why we shouldn't call it a 'biography' policy. It is obviously a Wikipedia policy. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Pile-on Oppose per Mz7. BLP is so deeply ingrained as a term in Wikipedia, that changing the acronym is impractical. Tazerdadog (talk) 16:47, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
    • In the long term it is more practical to have a briefer and more accurate page title that reflects its policy instead of confusingly talking about biographies when bringing up policies for things not in biographies. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose I agree that the words "BLP" and "Biographies of living persons" are written so many time across Wikipedia, we'd need a bot to rename them all. There is nothing wrong with BLP, so I oppose. Music1201 talk 17:40, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
    • We have bots to update double redirects, what's the problem? There is a problem with BLP: the name of the policy does not reflect the content of the policy. The policy specifies guidelines towards any articles (or even talk page's) discussion of living persons, not just biography articles. Someone who doesn't edit biographies would assume this is something they don't need to read and get confused why they're told to study biography policies by people criticizing their efforts on other articles. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. The proposed title is more concise, and correctly indicates that this policy reaches beyond articles that are "biographies". I see no adjustment problems at all, as there is no reason why we can't retain "BLP" and "Biographies of living persons" as redirects. bd2412 T 18:28, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per Mz7. There isn't any good reason to. ThePlatypusofDoom (talk) 18:42, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
  • SNOW Oppose: This is a longstanding and useful and well-recognized Wikipedia acronym, and it isn't going to change now. Softlavender (talk) 18:46, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
    • Moving to WP:LP would not make prior WP:BLP links any less useful. An abbreviated and more accurate acronym could gain recognition over time too. It should change if the presen ttitle is not accurate.
  • Comment: I'm a little confused by all of the opposition. The proposed change would more accurately reflect the contents of the policy; I don't think anyone is disputing that. However, lots of people seem really opposed to changing the name, but the only reasoning I'm seeing is that BLP is too much a part of Wikipedia culture as is, and we shouldn't change that. Is there a stronger argument that I'm missing? Creating a redirect seems like it would solve most logistical problems, and I don't imagine it would be too hard to write a bot to deal with the rest, plus people could still easily refer to the policy as "BLP" with no problem if they were so inclined (as I imagine many would). -- Irn (talk) 19:51, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
I think you're right that this wouldn't be totally bad with a redirect and all. The main thing is that I'm not seeing this as a big deal: anyone who reads the first sentence of the policy will know that its spirit extends beyond just biographies, and the majority of the policy was written primarily with biographies of living persons in mind. Perhaps I am being too sentimental for Wikipedia's good, though. Mz7 (talk) 22:11, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per bd2412. Everyone here, including me, has long had the acronym etched in their brains, but from a newbie's perspective the proposer is right: it's a misnomer, and a potentially confusing one. The only adjustment needed would be a footnote like Until July 2016, this policy was titled "Biographies of living persons" or "BLP", a name Wikipedians often still use to refer to it. FourViolas (talk) 21:06, 15 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I don't really see any purpose in this. Why even do this so you would have to add a separate redirect or two linking goodness how many, literally, thousands of places the acronym BLP is linked. Millions? AFD, CSD, Prods, Requests for article protection, individual project policies, on and on and on. Or the above suggested footnote, requiring an explanation where no explanation is necessary if we just leave it alone. As far as I can see, renaming this would change a straight link between two points, to going around the bend to get there. Why complicate things? — Maile (talk) 00:00, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
    • I do not understand your concern with Special:WhatLinksHere/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons as we have bots to take care of updating double-redirects. You could even keep BLP intact but limited only to biography policy and with policy extending to all articles (LP) as a split off article. Include a note at top of new shorter BLP article saying 'this page was referenced in the past for LP concerns for non-biographies'. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose with reasoning: Change can be a good thing but sometimes change, just for the sake of change, with no real gain, does not accomplish anything. Here is a very easy solution that probably should have been done a long time ago.
Separate the last two sentences of the last paragraph out and move them to the top as the first paragraph. This would require no change just reorganizing.
"This policy applies to any living person mentioned in a BLP, whether or not that person is the subject of the article, and to material about living persons in other articles and on other pages, including talk pages. The burden of evidence rests with the editor who adds or restores material.".
Of course the reference is important because it states, 1)- "BLP applies to all living persons mentioned in an article", 2)- "Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons applies to all living persons in an entry, not merely the subject of the entry.", 3- "The WP:BLP|biographies of living person policy applies to all references to living persons throughout Wikipedia, including the titles of articles and pages and all other portions of any page."
This page in a nut shell: "Material about living persons added to any Wikipedia page must be written with the greatest care and attention..." would be above this new first paragraph. The second paragraph would then begin with "Editors must take particular care when adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page.".
Problem solved with no policy changes, no name change, and no more discussion needed. Any possible, probable, or potential confusion would be rendered moot, we can be satisfied that the overwhelmingly vast majority of instances where this policy is critical would be concerning "biographies of living persons", BUT also that any mention of any living person anywhere on Wikipedia is also covered, AND-- we wouldn't be having to consider changing something that has been a part of Wikipedia probably since the earliest creation of policy.
Something as important as possible changes like this should not be subjected to a 7 day discussion, with an optional extension. It applies to any editor that has or is likely to create a BLP, or mention anywhere on Wikipedia any material about a living person. This should be advertised everywhere on Wikipedia to have the broad community consensus this policy has been afforded for a long time. Otr500 (talk) 12:53, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
    • I'm all for having a longer conversation, I worry that something like this will be shut down due to stuck-in-the-muds before it gets proper discussion. A decision shouldn't be rushed to in either matter. At what point did BLP policies get extended beyond biographies? Was consensus reached on that? I'm surprised they didn't change the page name when that happened. Do you know if anyone proposed a rename as soon as policies mentioned on BLP grew beyond the scope of only applying to biographies? Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose (noting that this is not flying as a proposal at this point) If anything, the policy should be specifically extended to all contemporary biographical information - as, too often, as soon as someone dies, the (FITB) editors pounce upon it, saying it is no longer covered by this policy. In short - why not extend it to "BCP" making clear that recently deceased persons are automatically included - and we can then define "contemporary" to include those deceased in the past (say) 30 years (whose children are thus fairly likely to be alive, for sure). The current "sometimes yesterday, sometimes five years" uncertainty is absurd. Collect (talk) 13:19, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
    • Are you opposing because you'd prefer WP:Contemporary persons instead? I could get on board for that. Would you agree that we shouldn't name a policy extending outside biographies a 'biographies' policy if others agree that we shouldn't limit our policies to the living but also to the recent? This is mostly a privacy thing right? Since after all we would expect neutrality for all articles even for those dead millenia. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 21:55, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
It may not be broke, and a name change won't fix anything, but there are issues.
The proposal certainly does not appear to be "flying" but things can change. Since current policy "applies to all living persons , in an entry of "BLP applies to all material about living persons anywhere on Wikipedia, including talk pages, edit summaries, user pages, images, categories, lists, article titles and drafts." (buried in the policy), and found under the Applicability of the policy section, that would actually cover "children" for their entire lives. A surviving spouse can sue on behalf of a deceased spouse, as well as the children, for defamation (libel), because of unsupported derogatory material. At any rate I am sure editors do not want to injure anyone by inappropriate content. Extending the time can not possibly do any harm. Policy, the "Applicability to deceased persons, corporations, or groups of persons" section, "Recently dead or probably dead" subsection covers "people who have recently died", when not reliably sourced, extends to 115 years (plenty), and a confirmed death (reliably sourced) up to two years with extensions, where there are "implications for their living relatives and friends".. I agree with user:Collect that the "uncertainty is absurd". The timeline is not long enough and the current policy of "an indeterminate period beyond the date of death—six months, one year, two years at the outside" is open to broad interpretive Wikilaywering. This should be extended or we can just wait until the next lawsuit and a WMF directive.
Reorganization may not be a concern but the section "Applicability of the policy" is around half way down the long policy list. Why? It would seem that after the lead, where I think my suggestions would be an improvement, a section directing applicability would be a good choice for the first section. This would clarify a lot of concerns, and would also make sense. It just seems to me that "what the policy is" should be first, "who is covered under the policy as well as any exclusions" (Legal persons and groups) would be next, and directives such as "Remove contentious material that is unsourced or poorly sourced", next then we can get into the other juicy parts. This would place more important relevant information at the top of the policy to help prevent editor|"Gossip" from "pouncing" on an article of a recently deceased, by allowing editor|"Defend Wikipedia" to not have to memorize an entire 47,200 + count policy page. I guess we need to explore some "Requests for comments". Otr500 (talk) 23:01, 16 July 2016 (UTC)
I like Collect's logic that BLP should apply to "contemporary" persons, including not just the living and very recently deceased but also those whose family and friends are likely to still be around. And I agree with most of what you're saying, but you're wrong on one significant point: legally, libel protection does not apply to the dead (see this for specifics). We should avoid libeling the dead because libel has no place in an encyclopedia, not because we're legally forced to. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 06:23, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
@ Andrew Lenahan: Thanks: I performed a quick look; It appears there is evidence that contradicts you. I would suggest this be examined before asserting it as fact that one can't defame or slander the dead. To be clear, a dead person can not be hurt by slander or defamation. A decedent’s reputation or interests can be harmed as well as those of his family. In some jurisdictions it does not matter if a decedent cannot know about injurious defamatory comments after death. Knowledge of a legal harm is not required for a legal harm to occur. If someone breaks into a house injury does not begin when there is knowledge, as legal interest is harmed before knowledge, or even if the break-in is not discovered.
I would need to see, 1)- A US Supreme Court case, 2)- An internationally accepted or World Court case that would overshadow examples provided. While it is commonly accepted that the standard common-law rule in the United States is that you cannot defame the dead, and Legal scholar Professor Jonathan Turley (Defaming the Dead, 2006-09-17) seems to have the credentials to assert " cannot defame the dead...No matter how malicious, untrue or vile.", I think there is evidence that there may be Civil as well as Criminal Statutes to the contrary. I also think there are probably laws allowing retraction, or "setting the record straight", but in Louisiana there are moral as well as legal obligations to let the dead lie peaceably. Will a Tort case or criminal charges survive a Supreme Court case? Time and money may tell.
In some unlikely event of a case culpability will inevitably rest on certain criteria such as willful or malicious intent or reckless disregard for the truth. Truth is a defense (True and fair or truth of the matter), which may be justification to squash most likely lawsuits. Even in a successful presentation of facts for a case there may be a host of mitigating circumstances, but there is always just the ramification of a lawsuit to a publisher. Are all our editors always "neutral" on all issues? "IF" there is even a small chance that a lawsuit might be successful, because an editor was callous, biased, or negligent, and a publication allowed this, I would think there is reasoning to take proactive preventative measures.
Your example article states in #1: "The risks of a judgment being ultimately entered against a writer in the United States for libeling the dead are very close to zero.", and "very close to zero" is not the same as zero. In #2, the "risks of being sued" have about the same chance. #5 states "there can be liability when a defamatory statement about the dead also reflects negatively on the living. "IF" there is even some small chance of a successful lawsuit could there be any possibility of criminal charges or just a Tort suit?
The Wikipedia article Defamation states "there are nine states (Idaho, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah and Washington) that have criminal statutes regarding defamation of the dead.". There is wording such as "degrade and vilify the memory of one who is dead and to scandalize or provoke surviving relatives and friends.".
  • Colorado: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-13-105 (2005), "(2) It shall be an affirmative defense that the publication was true, except libels tending to blacken the memory of the dead and libels tending to expose the natural defects of the living.".
  • Louisiana (A Civil Law jurisdiction): "Whoever commits the crime of defamation shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.", La. Rev. Stat. § 14:47 (2005) and states: "(2) To expose the memory of one deceased to hatred, contempt, or ridicule; or...", which reads like criminal to me and that the dead can be defamed. Louisiana Civil Law does not differentiate between slander (spoken) or defamation (liable): "Defamation is the malicious publication or expression in any manner". This is not unconstitutional as long as it follows Snyder v. Ware, 314 F. Supp. 335 (W.D. La. 1970), aff’d 397 U.S. 589.
  • Nevada: Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.510: It a “gross misdemeanor” to libel the living through publication of material that would expose them to ridicule, or to “blacken the memory of the dead.”, and there is no "intent" inclusion.
  • Oklahoma: Uses the language “blackens the name of the dead,” and Okla. Stat. § 771 (2005) states, “... or any malicious publication as aforesaid, designed to blacken or vilify the memory of one who is dead, and tending to scandalize his surviving relatives or friends.”. The court has found, in Turner v. Crime Detective, 34 F.Supp. 8 (N.D. Okla. 1940), that a common law recovery for libel was not available to a deceased individual nor could the deceased individual’s estate or relatives recover for the libel.
In International Law, as this is an international vehicle, there appears to be some evidence of protection against defamation of the dead.
  • Germany: A case involving Defamation of deceased persons, known as the Mephisto Judgement was heard by the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof) and the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) that held the human dignity of a human being does not end with his or her death. There is no compensation provided.
If a publication has encountered some form of defamation lawsuit and lost, settled out of court, or even received negative exposure, there will likely be a fine line drawn concerning possible fault. I would therefore not regard defamation towards the dead as cut-and- dried or only a "moral reasoning". If someone should want to find out the WMF position they might find a like view which would necessitate some changes.
If my assertions are correct, as there does appear to be some evidence, one would think we should consider the ramifications that possible injury to the dead or to living relatives (or friends) could result in a lawsuit or even criminal charges in some jurisdictions, no matter how minuscule the chances of success, and we might consider wording to address "Defamation of the dead" from a legal point of view, which would carry more weight than some possible "moral obligation". This is as far as I have gone so far. Otr500 (talk) 18:01, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
  • oppose creates unneeded work, and would change a well ingrained acronym, causing inconvenience for no real good reason. -- Aunva6talk - contribs 04:48, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support - the name, as it currently stands, sounds like it refers only to the content of an article which is primarily about a living person. However, BLP applies to all Wikipedia articles - for example, in an article about an event, BLP applies to any statement made about a participant in such event. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 08:04, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Creates unneeded work, and would change a well known and widely used acronym BLP, causing inconvenience for no reason. VarunFEB2003 I am Online 13:10, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
    • I am not suggesting retiring the WP:BLP redirect. It could provide an explanation of what the policy originally was (for old links). Note that WP:LP (Living Persons) redirects here. It should be the other way around. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose: If the inclusion of 'Biography' in the page title is misleading, removing it would create chaos. Absolute insanity. This is so established as an acronym and in our daily use and reference to, there is no way to undo. Unneeded work, confusion, frustration and inconvenience: just what we as a project need more of.  !!! Fylbecatulous talk 14:32, 17 July 2016 (UTC)
    • Why would it create chaos? Would you prefer WP:Living persons in articles to provide context? Establishment as an acronym would not be a problem, I'm not saying delete the old location, it could still explain things. If anything, the constant reference to a 'biographies' policy on non-biography articles promotes ongoing confusion. This really isn't much work at all to do a move or a split. Ranze (talk) 09:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose - If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Carrite (talk) 01:37, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment by nominator: seems like a lot of people opposing this move are offering unsubstantiated arguments. The title is clearly broke if it only specifies 'biographies' yet instates policies that apply outside of biographies. One alternate than just a move would be a WP:SPLIT: have a 'living persons' article for policies that apply to any content about living people (I also like the suggestion about contemporary persons, although I think perhaps less rigorous, not all contemporary people deceased have kids to worry about) and then keep some content left behind specifically about biography formatting. Ranze (talk) 09:09, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose - If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Its only a biography when it come writing articles about persons. Removing it can create more crazziness. KGirlTrucker81 talk what I'm been doing 15:28, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose The meaning is clear enough, and there has never been any doubt or difficulty in applying it outside article apace.
But I would very strongly oppose any attempts to extend the period of protection for the dead--we should be doing just the opposite. The original intent was to prevent abuse in the period immediately after the death, when articles about noteworthy people tend to attract all sorts of nonsense. The BLP limitations are necessary, but they are fundamentally at odds with NPOV and represent a necessary but problematic compromise with it. Without NPOV, we're not an encyclopedia. If we really wanted to totally avoid hurting the possibility of hurting peoples feelings, we'd need to apply restrictions on not just biographical material, but material on companies people work for, schools they attend, the books and recording they make, and the towns they live in, even if their names aren't mentioned. BLP protection should be used only when it is actually necessary--and then of course used strictly. DGG ( talk ) 05:27, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose The disruption and confusion that would be caused by the move, outweighs the value of clarifying the name to avoid rare cases where an editor fails to realize that BLP applies outside biographical articles. As for legal issues regarding the application of US law to recently deceased, it is really a question for WMF legal. Still, I seriously doubt a lawsuit would go anywhere, particularly if the article was anywhere near properly cited and NPOV. There are many outdated laws in the US that will be struck down if anyone tries to enforce them, they survive only do to disuse. As for laws of other nations, if you edit from outside the US, it would be prudent to know your local laws, but they should have no impact on policy for the rest of us. Monty845 02:07, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • The major opposition appears to be over the acronym. Is it really such a stretch that the BLP becomes the LPP (living persons policy)? czar 02:40, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Not bringing up the minimization of the content of the opposes, but: yes, this is such a stretch. Who makes the announcement and where? How many noticeboards and WikiProjects? How many policies? How many pages? How do we get approval for a banner? Just do a generic search in your window for "BLP" and at the moment I get Results 1 - 20 of 101,549, including a disambiguation page. Granted, many are to categories that name "BLP" in the title (just one thing to be changed for all the months and years) Do you have an assigned bot? Name anything that was announced and explained as a major change that was received well, with good understanding and 'easy-peasy', with no backlash? Fylbecatulous talk 11:18, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Ostensibly a "backlash" would have more of a rationale than recalcitrance... It would be out of order to make preparations in advance of community consensus to move forward, and more to the point, why would any of what you mentioned even need to change? Anyone could still call it BLP as much as they wanted, myself included—it would be disruptive to retroactively replace all instances of "BLP" and no one is even advocating for that. So whom familiar or unfamiliar with the acronym would the rename really confuse? I just find it hard to believe that the primary objection of this acronym-loving community is the rollout of another (simplified) acronym, one that should make more sense to newcomers. (I don't recall any such casualties when the hand-wringing over consolidating the FfDs processes was complete.) I plan on calling BLP the "living persons policy" from now on if only because it's shorter and more precise. I don't think any of my interlocutors will be confused and if they are, they'll quickly figure it out. czar 20:57, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose If you are going to write about me to create a biography page then you'd have a biography for a living person, in which case I would definitely want a Biography of Living Persons guideline on Wikipedia. A living person on the other hand could be anyone, including me, and since this has been where it is forever I see no reason to move it. TomStar81 (Talk) 03:55, 22 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Let's not misconstrue the policy, while "editors must take particular care when adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page", the majority of the policy specifically concerns how to treat living people in their respective biographies. Godsy(TALKCONT) 03:35, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose Semantics and technicalities -- as mentioned above, this would make things hard for everyone. Beyond this, there seems to be no previous indication that there is a need for this change. My name isnotdave (talk/contribs) 16:58, 23 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Strong support – The policy's name should reflect the policy's contents as closely as possible. Given the acknowledged wide scope of the current BLP policy, having "Biography" in the title is actually detrimental to the understanding; it wastes energy in application and enforcement, as people invariably debate over where exactly this policy should apply. Besides, "Living Persons" is shorter, and WP:CONCISEness is a key part of titling policy. This move would promote WP:CLARITY on these sensitive matters, especially for new editors making their way through the maze of Wikipedia policies. And WP:LP has a nice ring to it, you could write a song on this rhyme… (I'll buy the LP.) The BLP acronym redirect will obviously remain relevant and widely used, I don't see the likelihood of chaos feared by opposers. — JFG talk 23:46, 24 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support. The policy applies, explicitly, to all coverage of living persons, not just limited to biographies. It covers incidental mentions within articles, category titles, data stored in userspace, and talk pages. While BLP is second nature to encultured Wikipedians, the current title is a little misleading as to scope to newcomers and outsides. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 08:46, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Support per SmokeyJoe and others. I've often enforced the existing BLP policy re biographical info in articles that are not biographies. It is an anomaly to have a policy name that refers to biographies for a policy that clearly goes beyond biographies. It would be good to see the page renamed to reflect longstanding policy. Happy to keep the BLP acronym, perhaps WP:Biographical info re Living People would be a more acceptable name? ϢereSpielChequers 09:09, 25 July 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose No evidence the old name created serious problems. Staszek Lem (talk) 22:20, 25 July 2016 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Use of anonymous sources from gossip magazines[edit]

This has been a perennial problem in biographies of TV, film and music stars, and normally most editors will follow WP:BLP and WP:NOTTABLOID. But a couple of editors, one of whom has been to ANI over his history of contentious behavior, are making edits at Amy Poehler based on anonymous, unattributed, shadowy "sources" making unconfirmed claims about who she is or isn't in a relationship with. Their claim that even though her purported breakup with someone has been "widely reported" is specious, since virtually all of that is secondary reporting citing Us Weekly and its anonymous "source." Should an encyclopedia be using unconfirmed, tabloidy, who's-dating-who / who's pregnant-type information based on anonymous claims? --Tenebrae (talk) 17:41, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

The question is whether the source is reliable. If sources as diverse as the LA Times and People Magazine are satisfied with the information and willing to publish it, they are, to the best of my knowledge, generally considered reliable sources capable of competent fact-checking, subject to editorial control, and generally accurate. It does not matter if they name their source, they would have verified the information to their satisfaction. I don't believe the use of BLP here to remove the information is appropriate, given that multiple reliable sources have published it. Seraphimblade Talk to me 03:50, 18 July 2016 (UTC)


I've never seen this policy enforced. So perhaps it should be removed.CFredkin (talk) 22:34, 17 July 2016 (UTC) In fact, in at least one case, an admin has stated that it's not a policy. I think it's misleading to continue to include it in this article.CFredkin (talk) 22:37, 17 July 2016 (UTC)

From a quick scan, you repeatedly use WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE in your edit summaries, normally when you're removing content you don't like, presumably with a view to ensuring that your edits are not reverted. Here, for instance, you use it to remove the Tiny Hands PAC thing from The Donald's article. That was not a BLP violation. It was well referenced. Your use of WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE was an abuse. Here you are, watering down Trump's no foreign muslims should enter the country shtick. Again, not (in my understanding of Trump's rhetoric), a BLP issue: on the contrary, your edit seems to be the problematic thing, and again you abuse WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE. Other than to be hit in the head by a boomerang, I'm not sure why you have come to this page. Is your WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE abuse not working? That's tough. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:28, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
I agree with Tagishsimon above. You're certainly welcome to disagree with and edit article content, but the content in question is impeccably referenced to highly reliable sources. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be changed or clarified, and I take no position on that, but it does mean that it's not a BLP violation. What you've done here is to cry BLP in an attempt to use BLP as a bludgeon in a content dispute. BLP is not meant to be used in that fashion. At this point, you'll note that four other editors have disagreed with you that any BLP violation took place, so regardless, consensus clearly is against the idea that BLP is at issue. Seraphimblade Talk to me 00:42, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Consider the scenario where Editor A adds objectionable (pick your policy violation) content to an article and Editor B then reverts it. If Editor A chooses to edit war, Editor B will hit 3rr (or 1rr in the case of some sanctioned articles) before Editor A. At that point, the objectionable edit will remain in the article unless another editor happens to come along and engage. My impression is that WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE was created to prevent this situation from occurring in BLP's.

The policy states:

To ensure that material about living people is written neutrally to a high standard, and based on high-quality reliable sources, the burden of proof is on those who wish to retain, restore, or undelete the disputed material. When material about living persons has been deleted on good-faith BLP objections, any editor wishing to add, restore, or undelete it must ensure it complies with Wikipedia's content policies. If it is to be restored without significant change, consensus must be obtained first. Material that has been repaired to address concerns should be judged on a case-by-case basis.

It doesn't say POV or undue edits are ok as long as they are reliably sourced. It also doesn't say that it's ok to restore the edit if you think it's reliably sourced.
I've never seen an instance where the policy was ignored and the offender was sanctioned. So if it's not enforced, why have the policy?CFredkin (talk) 04:29, 18 July 2016 (UTC) Countries that keep laws on the books but only selectively enforce them are generally not considered to be free (except maybe by those in power).CFredkin (talk) 04:45, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
All that might be true (it isn't), but the problem is, having serially abused the policy and ducked any explanation of your own conduct, you come here with little credibility w.r.t. this issue of policy, and your fellow wikipedians are unlikely to engage with your argument, having better things to do. And your last sentence, above, smacks of a sort of insulting desperation - never a good bargaining stance. --Tagishsimon (talk) 11:09, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
BLPREQUESTRESTORE is unneeded in the scenario you outlined if there is a genuine BLP issue as 3RR has an explicit exemption when there are real BLP issues. (Although as the exemption more or less says, the material has to be bad enough to warrant it.) Nil Einne (talk) 18:12, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
So, when is it appropriate to use WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE (especially as distinct from WP:BLPREMOVE which is also defined in this article)?CFredkin (talk) 18:37, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
As with many things, we use discretion to apply policies. In this case, we look to see if the person removing the content has a reasonable case that the content being removed was in fact a BLP violation. If it is clear that an editor who understands policy, and was acting in good faith, could not reasonably claim the removed material was a BLP Violation, then either the person invoking BLPREQUESTRESTORE doesn't understand policy, and so we should disregard their invocation, or they are not acting in good faith as required by the policy. When it comes to actual BLP Violations, we take BLPREQUESTRESTORE quite serious, Arbcom has desysoped admins over it, and there have been plenty of blocks over the years for violations. BLP Policy has some very powerful tools, but if you go waving them around when they are really not applicable, it is your conduct that is going to come under scrutiny... Monty845 01:00, 23 July 2016 (UTC)