Wikipedia talk:BLP courtesy deletion

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

See also:

First draft[edit]

I've put up the first draft of a proposal to delete marginally notable BLPs upon request of the subject of the article. It's rough and it needs hammering out, so all input is welcome. In particular, we need to find a working definition of "marginal notability," so that subjects who are clearly significant public figures are excluded from the provision.

As I see it, we're badly in need of a policy along these lines to avoid future rows over BLPs that cause distress to the subject and a lot of frustration for the editors involved. I'm thinking of BLPs such as Brian Peppers (now deleted), Brian Chase (now deleted), Gregory Lauder-Frost (now deleted), Sam Vaknin (now deleted), Rachel Marsden, Daniel Brandt, Seth Finkelstein, and Angela Beesley. SlimVirgin (talk) 03:50, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Tough one, SM.... We need to come up with some criteria to establish marginal notability. Maybe a Google test, a search on Lexis-Nexis, and the like? ≈ jossi ≈ (talk) 04:13, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I haven't made up my mind about this sort of thing. But from my reading of the current draft, Gregory Lauder-Frost, Daniel Brandt, Rachel Marsden would not be subject to this given the number of sources on each. As it is written it seems redundant to WP:BIO since it essentially says that if someone is not-notable and they object they can their article deleted. JoshuaZ 05:46, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I would certainly object this proposal. --Parker007 05:49, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I also object, perJoshuaZ's point. Further, I question whether it is wise for admins who are covered in the work of some of these people to be shaping policies or criteria in such a way that might directly serve personal interests tied to seeing these people's entries and the controversies that they have kicked up, go away. With respect. Tiamut 12:09, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I object for reasons discussed elsewhere and pasted below, and respectfully request that you get your facts straight. One of the people in your list has been the primary subject of approximately one hundred reliable newspaper articles (plus nationwide TV news), mostly having to do with his/her arrest, bail conditions, and criminal trial in which he/she was found guilty. None of those articles mentioned Wikipedia. Kla'quot 17:37, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Suggestions for marginal notability.[edit]

The most obvious way of measuring marginal notability is if there is less than some number (say X) sources that would fit the WP:BIO criterion. Now, as I read it, WP:BIO is essentially two independent reliable sources. So maybe X =3 or x=4? JoshuaZ 05:57, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I think a more obvious way to determine marginal notability is how much of a bio one can create using only secondary sources. In the case of Brandt it is not possible to say much of anything outside of his activism in a fairly narrow subject area. I don't know what a "minimum bio" would be but perhaps it ought to be possible to determine age, employment over time, birthplace and where raised, general place of residence currently, education, and then the notable events the person has been involved in (all from secondary sources only). This ensures that people like George W Bush can't make a case for removal but less notable people can.MikeURL 18:56, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

No, just no.[edit]

Precedent is against this. If a person wants it deleted they can take it to AfD. Otherwise every scammer and huckster out there can use deletion as a club when the content of their article doesn't go their way. Night Gyr (talk/Oy) 05:58, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Seems to go against Wikipedia:Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. -- Kendrick7talk 06:07, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. An encyclopedia is encyclopedic: it covers everything. While paper encyclopedias have to decide who rates being included, Wikipedia does not have such a constraint. I do agree that Wikipedia should not allow one person to use it as an instrument to inflict harm on another, but this can be - and is, as in the recent dispute over List of Internet phenomena - taken way too far, and that alienates the most valuable resource Wikipedia has, the average editor. Having that article totally emasculated over unwarranted WP:BLP concerns has essentially turned me off of contributing substantial content to Wikipedia. -- Jay Maynard 09:37, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
If there was a consensus for this sort of proposal, it could be added to the WP:BLP and WP:NOTABILITY pages. I would resist such additions. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 16:51, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

So who are all those people?[edit]

It would help if Slim gave us a backgrounder (without having to dig thru a dozen AFDs) as to why a precedent should be set based on who these people are and what their article said about them that they didn't like. -- Kendrick7talk 06:07, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Ok, skirting BLP with this, but I'll try to handle the cases I'm aware of(if I say anything grossly wrong feel free to correct me). I can't guaranteee NPOV in my descriptions of what occurred, but I will try (excepting one obvious case where I really can't, but it isn't the subject of the article) Daniel Brandt I think everyone is aware of the ongoing issues. Gregory Lauder-Frost was a minor British politician whose biography contained accusations of criminal acts that were reasonably well sourced. Frost and his friends attempted to repeatedly delete the article in a highly disruptive fashion and some users sympathized with his demand of privacy. The final straw was an email claiming that Frost was sick and dying and that the Wikipedia article was adding to his suffering and possibly helping kill him. This pushed enough editors over to the side for deletion that it was deleted by a slim majority. (Editorial remark, the Frost's illness was never confirmed as of now Frost is still alive). Brian Peppers was an individual whose article was about an internet phenomenon- Peppers had a strange looking face and his picture along with claims that he was a sex offender became widely circulated among the sorts of stupid annoying people who like to vandalize Wikipedia and engage in things like YTMND nonsense and feel a need to make up for their lack of lives by making fun of someone who they think looks strange. After many AfDs, and requests for deletion by people who claimed to represent Peppers' family, Jimbo deleted the article and declared that it would not be undeleted in less than a year. Recently, the 1 year came up, a DRV was held, and the DRV was closed with a snow for staying deleted. Note that in the Peppers case, it was not clear that he in fact met WP:BIO anyways. JoshuaZ 06:20, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
There is something to be said in both cases for admins with enough WP:SENSE to rise above the will of the hoi polloi. A rule of thumb against detraction wouldn't be a terrible thing, or as the great theologian Thumper put it if you can't say something nice, don't say nothin' at all. Perhaps some exception for when the person at issue is connected to a notable "event" greater than themselves (for say, terrorists or spies, but not nurse gropers). -- Kendrick7talk 07:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
That seems like an unworkable standard or at minimum something that would need a lot of clarifcation (for example, a large part of the Brandt article is about his accomplishements, the Frost article also had positive elements, the only one that is indisputably nasty of all the one's SV gave as examples was Peppers). Furthermore, would a Thumper clause affect Kent Hovind or Jeffrey Dahmer, or Fred Singer (nota bene, I'm not comparing these three people to each other or saying they are similar but in fact attempting to give three very different examples all of which could plausibly be included under some form of Thumper clause). JoshuaZ 07:30, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, in your example of Gregory Lauder-Frost, I didn't get the impression he was either indicted or tried, merely that there were these criminal "accusations" floating around (unlike Dahmer, who isn't a Living Person anyway). Special:Whatlinkshere/Kent_Hovind and Special:Whatlinkshere/Fred_Singer makes clear both are connected to "larger events". -- Kendrick7talk 07:41, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Ok, well pretend Dahmer is alive and you get the same question. As to the others having many links from other articles, does that mean we want that to be the criterion for what makes them more than marginally notable? JoshuaZ 20:20, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I think that is a good measure because it gives an indictation of how useful the article would be to people. I like the WP:NOTNEWS standard elsewhere mentioned. But if I want to know if so-and-so is a convicted tax cheat, shouldn't I be able to rely on wikipedia to tell me that? -- Kendrick7talk 03:08, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Whack a bio[edit]

This is an unworkable proposal for two reasons:

  1. It does not provide any operational definition of "marginal notability." Whether it is even possible to provide such a definition is debatable.
  2. It suggests the creation of a new Wikipedia game, called "Whack a bio", where administrators can essentially undermine deletion procedures if they manage to do so within a 72 hour period. The proposal even suggests the protection against recreation if the admin successfully "whacks" the bio.

If we wish to take the subject's opinion into account in AfDs, we are free to do so: there is no need for a new policy. It might help to make the fact that some editors feel this is a legitimate reason for deletion in some cases explicit in the existing deletion guidelines, in case it isn't already. I think this is the only way to deal with this issue: allow each editor to weigh the arguments on a case-by-case basis, including the subject's opinion if they desire to do so.--Eloquence* 06:33, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that we currently end up with intractable situations such as Daniel Brandt and Rachael Marsden, and Gregory Lauder-Frost until a few sensible admins managed to sort it out. We need to recognize that with certain bios, Wikipedia becomes a participant in determining their notability, not just a reporter of it, by dragging up material from a long time ago that would otherwise have been forgotten; by having endless debates about the notability of the subject, much of which ends up on Google; and in the case of Brandt, by being part of the process of increasing that notability because of the subject's attempts to have the bio taken down. I have no fixed ideas about how a policy should approach this, but I think we do need some minimal process to give us a handle on how to deal with these situations. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:26, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Rachel Marsden is clearly notable and her notability has nothing to do with Wikipedia. Brandt and Frost were intractable situations, but Marsden has been through AfD three times and all three were speedy keeps based on obvious notability (and nominations by sockpuppets). Kla'quot 20:48, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
A comment on Rachel Marsden -- shouldn't there be some guideline that calls for us to rely on secondary sources for negative info? It seems like the negative info about her relies upon the judgement against her itself, which is a primary source, so isn't that borderline OR? -- Kendrick7talk 20:54, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
That's a good question, Kendrick. The judgment is a primary source, and we probably shouldn't refer to it unless we can find secondary sources that do, then we should use those in preference. Primary sources may be relied upon in certain cases, and when they are, the claims based on them may only be purely descriptive, but the danger is that we pick and choose which bits to quote, so there's definitely an element of OR there. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:59, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Primary sources can be used to support secondary sources that themselves habe questionable reliablity without the primary source to back them up. In other words, if you take sources one at a time one can find reasons to exclude them individually in a leagalistic manipulation of the evidemce; while when taken as a whole the reliablity and neutralness of the claim being attributed is substantiated. WAS 4.250 21:41, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I second this proposal. There is no need for a new guideline, but there is definitely a need to allow people whose bios are inaccurate, a means for correcting them and vigiliantly patrolling BLPs to ensure there is no unrealiably sourced and defamatory material. If I recall, this was part of the issue that sparked Daniel Brandt into wanting to delete this own entry. The presence of inaccurate and offensive comments about him and his work - without a way for him to change it (you cannot edit your own article, anon admins enjoy protection, and no oversight) is what sparked his campaign. Perhaps he wouldn't have even wante dthe article deleted had the guidelines surrounding WP:BLP been better regarding the right of bio subjects to participate in fact-checking their own bios, rather than treating them as though they are always on the cusp of a POV violation (WP:AGF remeber?). To call the guideline "Courtesy deletion" is also absolutely Orwellian considering the history of the players involved and how deletion was refused before. Just expand the section on WP:BLP that grants people more rights to oversee/edit articles on themselves. I believe some of those changes have already made. There is really no need for a new guideline. I think too, it's only going to make the situation worse. Tiamut 12:26, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

::Comment:Tiamut's comment was made before SlimVirgin's, SlimVirgin has moved it below hers twice, and I'm not going to continue to revert-war over it. Kla'quot 20:42, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

::Comment:Actually, it was you who moved SlimVirgin's comments, twice: [1] [2] People are not idiots, they can read the date tags on comments, and this kind of obsessive meta-commenting and "re-ordering based on time of post" is distasteful at best, WP:POINT at worst. Please stop doing this, and focus on the policy. Jayjg (talk) 18:33, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Clayoquot. SlimVirgin's insertions kind of bifurcated that argument there. I did want to second Eloquence's comments. They were right on point. Tiamut 02:56, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Has SlimVirgin been given an opportunity to defend moving other people's comments? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Tewple (talkcontribs) 10:33, 4 March 2007 (UTC).
Yes. Instead of replying to Clayoquot's message above, she deleted it. [3] -- Jay Maynard 13:23, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Why should she have to "defend moving other people's comments?", when she did not do so, and in fact, it was Kla'quot who did so? [4] [5] Jayjg (talk) 18:33, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
What she's been asked to explain, and hasn't, is why she put her post above Tiamut's when they were both replies to the same post and Tiamut's was there first. I first assumed it was a simple mistake and no big deal, but she then reverted me twice. Feel free to move this thread to a user talk page if you feel it's getting too long. Kla'quot 19:13, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I would be prepared to delete the material on the judgment against Rachel Marsden. I think it is borderline OR at best and I see no need to include such material in any event. It's not as if this was an event that attracted great public interest, like Mel Gibson's recent run-in with the police. When I saw it earlier, I was not prepared to delete it, though I felt like it, but in the light of comments that I've now read above, I will do so. I ask those involved here to support me if there are problems. Metamagician3000 13:28, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Actually, now I've deleted that, I think the sexual harassment case dating back to 1990 is also of dubious relevance even though there is a secondary source for it. I'll leave it there for now. However, it seems to me that the big problem that has been identified by Slim Virgin is that some relatively non-public, but still notable, figure can have just about any incident from her life revealed, as long as we can find a reliable (secondary?) source. I don't think that's what Wikipedia should be about. However, we don't have to delete entire articles to address this; we need strong support for the idea that Wikipedia, as per the spirit of BLP, is not here to dig up non-notable dirt on marginally notable people. Indeed, I'm often surprised at the dirt on major public figures, e.g. last time I looked at the article on Jack Straw it contained statements about misdemeanours committed not by Straw himself but by certain of his relatives. Why is that the sort of material that we want? Metamagician3000 13:38, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I kind of like the idea of adding a requirement to WP:LIVING that information about a person's personal life be attributed to secondary sources. This will help address many privacy concerns. In the Marsden case, the article already had a secondary source about the arrest, but I've added two from after the trial to assuage any concerns that this was OR. Kla'quot 18:58, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

No to limits on DRV[edit]

This provision seems unacceptable in its entirety:

A BLP that has been the subject of a courtesy delete under this policy may be re-created if the courtesy delete is overturned by a two-thirds majority at deletion review, if and only if the subject's situation has changed, since the deletion, in a way that makes him more notable than before. If the deletion review is unsuccessful and the BLP stays deleted, the closing admin should blank the discussion.

First off, if a deletion is made in error, this says that it cannot be reverted unless the subject has become more notable. This is bad. If an administrator deletes an article in the erroneous belief that the subject is not notable, this provision requires that the article stay deleted. This is incompatible with the goal of making an encyclopedia.

Second, there is no excuse for blanking discussions. Our process is, and must remain, open. Blanking discussions makes it difficult or impossible (depending on whether the revision history is censored, too) for people in the future to refer to those discussions -- for instance to cite them as precedent or as examples of a rule or a behavior.

All in all, this provision leans so strongly in the direction of deleting articles that it may as well read as follows:

Anything someone complains about will get deleted, if it's not on anyone's watchlist who's active, and the complainant chooses to contact the most deletionist administrator available. And no take-backs.

This is just wrong. --FOo 11:22, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I disagree with this too, if a person passes regular notability requirements, then I don't see the need for this. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 16:52, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Rethinking the proposal[edit]

SlimVigin on my talk page says (in part):

"The thing I'm aiming for is simply to come up with a way of judging when we should allow BLPs to be deleted if the subject asks for it. I wasn't thinking of going into other possibilities such as stubbing, but then again, maybe a range of options would be better. I don't have fixed ideas about it."

in respose my saying on her talk page (in part):

"my mind turns to ideas of ranges of options: from deletion to redirect to moving data to minimizing (stubbing) to disclaimers"

How do people feel about a guideline proposal that offers a range of options for dealing with semi-notable living person biographical articles (let's stop calling them biographies - most are not biographies). Also I like to structure things as a range rather than discrete. Shades of grey versus black/white. Rules of thumb versus bright line distinctions. How do people feel about that approach? WAS 4.250 14:52, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

I appreciate your attempt to draw up a compromise position here, but I think the proposal is flawed from the outset. If Wikipedia were to provide some kind of "courtesy deletion" function, or other options (like stubbing as you propose) I think it should be as a last resort, to support the existing policy of WP:BLP. For example, it could be listed to be used only as an absolutely last resort when repeated attempts to make sure an article is in line with WP:BLP fail, and the subject of the article is seriously disturbed by this failure. Such a clause could be added to the existing policy, under the section "Dealing with articles about yourself". In general, I feel that there should be a more open process for people who wish to correct articles with factual inaccuracies in them. They should be treated just like any other editor with a known POV; in other words, we should WP:AGF and allow any editor to add to their own article and only prevent them when they repeatedly ignore core policies like WP:NPOV, WP:ATT (or WP:RS, etc. Following this line of thinking might prevent frustration on the part of people who feel that their bios are inaccurate and unrepresentative and that they are being unjustly shut out from participating in editing an article whose subject they would ovbiously know a great deal about. Just my two cents. Tiamut 15:44, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I support most of these, as an essay to be eventually promoted into a guideline. Stubbing per se should be used as an interim measure, not a permanent one. I like the idea of finding common ground through information architecture. Kla'quot 17:45, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

This is still unnecessary...[edit]

...and is being proposed only due to the latest Brandt flap and the Essjay situation. No, no, a thousand times no. It's unnecessary, unworkable, and will act as a net negative to the project. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:30, 3 March 2007 (UTC)


I don't know. By creating a new process we're creating a new venue to have a person's name in lights when they specifically don't want their name in lights...

On the language:

  • We should drop the masculine usage.
  • DRV and AfD do not, last I checked, work on a hard two-third's basis. Specific numbers for closure at AfD are deprecated. Marskell 14:52, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

A similar proposal failed at WP:BIO[edit]

I proposed something similar here a week ago: Wikipedia_talk:Notability_(people)#Proposed_courtesy_deletion_for_persons_of_borderline_notability. The discussion is too long to paste here. Here is my attempt to summarize the discussion:

Thanks everyone. Let me try to summarize the discussion so far and interweave my own opionions:

  • There is no support expressed here yet for the concept of automatically granting deletions, upon request, to people who are minimally-notable.
  • There is some support for the idea of taking the wishes of the subject into account in a deletion debate.
  • There is little support for expansion of policy or guidelines. I beg to differ on this one because I keep seeing experienced, dedicated Wikipedians, in good faith, each follow their own "common sense" and end up bitterly at odds over biography deletions. If guidelines are not explicit, people make up their own rules and this can easily result in more deletions of worthwhile articles than would have taken place under explicit guidelines. I've seen people argue that a person was "borderline notable" when the number of published works on the person numbered in the hundreds. This is the kind of thing I want to prevent.
  • I think we might have in mind at least two kinds of scenarios which could require different approaches.
    • The first is cases where the article is obviously embarassing to a person who is only notable for having done something stupid once, with no lasting historical significance. We can probably address most of these with WP:NOTNEWS, which I've already cited in the AfD for Amir Massoud Tofangsazan.
    • The second scenario is where the article is about someone who is notable for something of real significance. In many cases, the subject would appreciate a purely positive-POV article, but asks for deletion after failing to get that. And then there are a few cases such as Brandt's, in which the subject Just Wants it Gone for reasons that may be hard for others to understand. The community, if not the people on this Talk page, is in a stalemate about the Brandt case.

My general feeling is that we should do our best to accomodate the person's wishes, without removing the information pertinent to what made the person notable. In practical terms, I think this can usually be accomodated by either a) retitling the article to focus on the event that made the person notable, or b) merging into the relevant article(s) about what the person has been involved in, with a brief description of the person instead of a hyperlinked name. If we can make the result of the rename or merge no more flattering than the original article, censorship should be a non-issue. We'd usually lose some biographical details, such as photos and hobbies. If that kind of information is of real encyclopedic value, then it's perhaps a sign that the bio should be kept. If it's not of encyclopedic value and we remove it, then the subject's right to privacy will have rightly prevailed. Kla'quot 09:04, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Kla'quot 17:22, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

This is instruction creep and subject to abuse[edit]

We don't need this. Admins can already delete unsourced or poorly-sourced negative articles about living people under G11, editors can remove such information under WP:BLP. If the negative information about the person is sourced, and there's enough secondary material to write a comprehensive article on them, they're notable, even if relatively non-public. This would flood us with requests from people who don't like their biography, even if everything in it is perfectly well-sourced, and effectively put the subject in charge of the bio ("Don't you put that information in, or I'll just have the damn thing deleted"). If the person appears to be marginally notable, the fact that the person wishes the bio to be deleted should be stated at the AfD, but should not be an automatic speedy criterion. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 19:58, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

If you think this policy would trigger a flood of people wanting to take advantage of it, then it's clearly needed. As an encyclopedia that wants to be a force for good, we shouldn't be causing distress to large numbers of people. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:17, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Absolutely right in your premise, which is why we have WP:BLP. But that's as far as we need to go. If information is sourced reliably (which means that whatever the information is would already be publicly available), it is not we who cause any "distress". If it's not, we should remove it immediately under BLP. What we don't need is to have "whitewashed-only" bios, and everything else deleted, even if we can perfectly well source negative information. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 20:30, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I agree about not wanting white-washed bios, but this is a proposal to delete bios on request, not to remove certain awkward parts of them. This was a problem with one bio that I won't name here, but the subject or his friends created it as a vanity page, then when someone added a well-sourced negative thing about something that happened a long time ago, the same people kicked up a huge row trying to get rid of it. The important thing is that the bio should never have been created in the first place, because the subject was of very marginal notability, so deleting the page in that kind of case is the best thing, rather than arguing back and forth for months about how much of the negative material to include. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:36, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, if they're non-notable, AfD 'em, and they should go. But we shouldn't try to get into "marginal notability" here-either a subject is notable and appropriate, and we should include well-sourced information of any stripe, or it's non-notable and inappropriate, and it should go regardless of other considerations. (Generally, the stuff people see as "marginally notable" is stuff I see as non-notable, so you'd likely get my delete vote anyway.) But what about people who are mainly notable because they get in trouble? Have a look at Kent Hovind. He may have some notability outside being a tax fraud, but that's certainly what kicked up the most coverage. Presume, for a moment, that Hovind (or a representative of his, since he's in jail), has contacted you, and this had become policy. You've contacted the representative at his office, and are well-satisfied that he's authorized to represent Hovind, and that Hovind wants the bio gone. Would it be deleted? Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 20:42, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
No, I wouldn't delete Kent Hovind under this policy. He's serving 10 years in jail and the case was covered by multiple mainstream news sources, including the wire services. Also, a lot is known about his background, education etc. I'm talking about cases of marginal notability, and I accept that that's hard to define, and maybe impossible as Eloquence suggested, but I think we do know it when we see it. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:50, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Hrm. You do have good motives here, and it's something to think about. I might be willing to support this, but the other concern here is that the decision, once made, is very hard to overturn (and tough to take to AfD, since non-admins then can't see the article, unless it's restored somewhere during the debate, which would kind of defeat the purpose anyway), with this as it's written currently. If there were a clearer (even if imperfect and subject to some interpretation) definition of "marginally notable", and it were easier to overturn a decision there's no clear agreement on, I think this might be workable. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 21:01, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
That's the key, to come up with a working definition of "marginal notability." SlimVirgin (talk) 21:44, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
SV, I think you overestimate how much people will agree on a know when they see it test. For example, I see Brandt as not marginally notable but fully(is that the right word?) notable and saw Frost as plausibly marginally notable if we had such a rule. However, at least one editor had the reverse attitude, seeing Frost as notable and Brandt as much less so. The only plausible general standard I can think of is (as I suggested earlier) to make it have a numeric basis in terms of how many sources we actually have, but that doesn't sit very well with me. JoshuaZ 21:26, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I see what you're saying. But did you see Brandt as non-marginally notable at the time of the stub creation? I agree that he's more notable now, but only because of Wikipedia, so that's a hard case to build a policy on. Maybe we need to put the complexities of Brandt out of our minds when looking at this, because any policy would find that situation awkward to deal with — unless we had an opt-out policy for all living persons, which wouldn't fly. SlimVirgin (talk) 21:44, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I wasn't around when the stub was originally created, so I don't know quite what my judgement would have been then (the very initial version obvious not, since it gives no citations or evidence that he had been the subject of any indepedent non-trivial reliable sources) . However, given that Brandt is precisely one of the motivating cases for this, it is hard for me to see how we can plausibly not consider it as relevant (and also, my point was to the subjectivity of marginally notable, not a specific comment about whether Brandt was or wasn't). JoshuaZ 21:56, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
This was the article on October 16, 2005 when I decided to delete it because Brandt said he didn't want it. He and I were the only ones who'd added content, so I felt it was okay. Would you have considered him too notable to delete at that point? SlimVirgin (talk) 03:06, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that Brandt is "only notable because of Wikipedia", certainly Google Watch has gained him a significant amount of press, as did uncovering the government tracking cookies. I agree I might have seen him as non-notable when the article was first created, but it is clear now that he is. On the other hand, I agree on Peppers' non-notability (I don't think he's even marginally notable), he doesn't have anywhere near the depth and scope of coverage that Brandt does. But I'm not sure how that's relevant-Jimmy Wales has gained his notability largely due to Wikipedia, as well, but he's unquestionably notable regardless. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 21:59, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Previous discussion[edit]

I posted a suggestion about this on WT:BLP a few weeks ago to test the climate, and I felt there was sufficient support to proceed with a proposal, though as I said above, I have no fixed ideas about how it should be worded. The previous discussion can be found here in case anyone wants to milk it for ideas. SlimVirgin (talk) 20:45, 3 March 2007 (UTC)


Just to reiterate some discussion above, I believe this would be an easier concept to define that "marginal notability". If a BLP's bio can be reasonably linked to two or more notable articles, they would be meta-notable, and using "What links here" would be easily checkable. The devil still lies in the details, and I don't like the proposal as a whole, but this seems like a concept which could move the whole debate forward a step. Thoughts? -- Kendrick7talk 21:23, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

This idea is interesting but flawed. Two concerns: first, this could conceivably lead to disruption other articles by editors either trying to get it linked or to take links off and also makes things too much of a function of how well expanded other articles already are. (I know you say "can be reasonably linked" rather than "is linked" but I think these concerns still apply). Second, if we use this test, then almost every case we've had of this sort would fail. Frost is mentioned on multiple articles, as are Marsden and Brandt. The only one which wouldnot meet such a test of the examples given above is Brian Peppers and it was questionable whether he met WP:BIO anyways. JoshuaZ 21:30, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I see this as abusable. This will just encourage people to link to an article they create from other articles in which it's only of tangential relevance (if that), and what would stop a person from going through and anonymously unlinking links from several other articles prior to the request? Further, other Wikipedia articles are not valid sources, so it follows that they are also not valid notability indicators. The number, depth, and reliability of outside secondary sources determines a subject's notability. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 21:31, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I think this would cut out Seth Finkelstein as well, who is only mentioned in one article (though another links to his website, apparently). But good points all. -- Kendrick7talk 21:56, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Another thought, though, I can see how editors acting in bad faith could abuse this, and we know that can happen, but no guideline would work if we just assumed bad faith editors would run roughshod over it. -- Kendrick7talk 22:04, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
There is a distinction between assuming good faith with individual editors and knowingly setting up a guideline that is easy for bad faith editors to abuse. AGF is not a suicide pact. JoshuaZ 22:13, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
OK, but I would suggest that bad faith editors who tried to muck with other articles to get links in would simply draw the attention of a large number of good faith editors. So what y'all consider problematic could in fact be self correcting. -- Kendrick7talk 22:24, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Maybe, but removing or adding such links or dewikifying while making other edits can be subtle, and simply adding to a "see also" section is almost never reverted. JoshuaZ 22:34, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
To add to above, AGF is an individual guideline. Though you disagree with me here, each of us presumes that the other has the betterment of Wikipedia as a goal, and simply disagrees on how best to accomplish that. That's assumption of good faith. We don't assume that everyone who comes around here will necessarily act in good faith, that's why we give admins the ability to block. If we "assumed good faith" to the extent you suggest, there would be no ability to block whatsoever. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 22:40, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, I certainly wasn't suggesting throwing the baby out with the bathwater! But a simple AFD guideline that "John Smith is notably related to articles X and Y" or "John Smith isn't notably related to anything other than John Smith" seems a reasonable rule of thumb for BLP's. I know that wouldn't help in a lot of the cases we are talking about here, but it seems way more definable than this "maginal notability" proposal. That's all I'm saying. -- Kendrick7talk 23:16, 3 March 2007 (UTC)


It is a bit perverse to say that someone who wants an article retained must nominate it for deletion (BLPfD). Surely the process should be called BLPfR (R for retention). The difference of name would stress how different this is from AfD.--Runcorn 23:36, 3 March 2007 (UTC)

Point taken. Others have said we need a more discrete process, because if a marginally notable person doesn't want an article, they probably don't want all the discussion an AfD would attract either. I'm certainly open to any suggestions. SlimVirgin (talk) 02:42, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I suggest you edit the proposal to be more in line with my suggestions. WAS 4.250 04:49, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I think we just need to be clearer that we are not here to do harm - and harm includes publishing non-notable dirt on people who are notable but are not public figures - or even on more notable people, perhaps, if we are the ones really breaking the news. Your example about someone's affair with the vicar in her youth is a nice one to illustrate the point. And it should not be sufficient that there is some kind of reliable source available. If we have to go to a court record or a local newspaper, or a low-circulations magazine, or whatever, then it is not the case that the damage has already been done. The source may be reliable, but we are doing the damage. If this is all understood, and something is said somewhere in a policy that will be interpreted this way by people with common sense, then that will do the job. Users need to understand that this is not a place for muckraking. Admins need to embrace that idea fully and to be prepared to act on it. I think that this idea would get a lot of support, but also a lot of opposition. But the support might come from respected people, because it really is just common sense. Metamagician3000 14:18, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Not necessary, too much instruction creep, just asking for trouble[edit]

This issue can already be solved today. If a BLP subject comes to you and asks for their article to be deleted and their notability is questionable, speedy it A7, IAR delete it, prod it, or AFD it - there's no need for an extra policy.

This line kinda scares me - "Objections may only be made on the grounds that the subject is a non-marginal notable public figure, according to reliable published sources". Public figure? Good grief, I could discover a cure for cancer, but I might still keep to myself. That doesn't mean that my article shouldn't be here.

Like some above, I'm afraid that this would just be creating more work for ourselves. We already have mechanisms in place for article deletion. --BigDT 05:41, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

A good idea[edit]

This is a good idea. Because Wikipedia "is not paper", it has become filled with too many articles about people who, frankly, are not particularly notable aside from salacious details about some minor peccadillo or ancient wrong-doing that has no impact whatsoever on the world at large, but a huge impact on them if it suddenly becomes the subject of a Wikipedia article (Wikipedia being a top 10 website). There are 6 billion people in the world, and while they may all be important to their immediate friends, family, and acquaintances, the vast majority are not encyclopedic in any real sense of the world. Writing an article about someone because they local paper happened to publish their DUI conviction is not only a bad idea, but actively harmful. Jayjg (talk) 18:20, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I can't imagine such an article would survive AfD anyway, that's trivial coverage and certainly insufficient for a comprehensive article. I've heard that this happens a lot, but can anyone point to a specific example that hasn't been deleted and has survived an AfD? That's why I'm worried about creep here-it seems our existing deletion policy would already deal with that scenario, we put it up for AfD, we overwhelmingly agree to delete, no problem, no need for a new policy. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 18:32, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Gregory Lauder-Frost was barely notable and getting it deleted was a long drawn-out affair that caused a lot of ill-feeling. SlimVirgin (talk) 19:14, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
If he was genuinely barely notable, I can see why, deletion in that instance would be a mistake. We should only delete articles on subjects which are not notable. (With Lauder-Frost, I can't comment any more then that, since I can't see deleted articles.) Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 19:18, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
WP:NOTNEWS will solve the problem of writing an article about someone because they local paper happened to publish their DUI conviction. Kla'quot 19:01, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Not if there were a flurry of newspapers that published it, based on some Reuters or AP feed. Jayjg (talk) 19:16, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
That's what WP:NOTNEWS is intended to address, but also, WP:N specifies that sources must be independent of each other (which is not the case if they all publish from the same Reuters/AP feed, in that case, the source is the Reuters/AP feed, and 20 papers reprinting it don't count as "multiple" sources. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 19:18, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
But if the story lasts a couple of weeks, and gets two or three stories on it, then you're in the same situation. Jayjg (talk) 19:22, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Random DUI's don't get that much coverage. JoshuaZ 19:25, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
No, they usually don't. I was exaggerating slightly for effect. Jayjg (talk) 19:39, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Even if they did, two or three stories over a few weeks would not pass WP:NOTNEWS unless they were each multiple-paragraph, distinct articles. Kla'quot 19:35, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Actually, they very well might. Have you read it? Two weeks is "multiple weeks" (A multiple week time frame means that stories which only appear within a one-week time span with no follow-up coverage), and two or three stories is "multiple distinct articles". In addition, WP:NOTNEWS still has the presumption for keeping at AFD, whereas BLPCD would have the presumption for deletion. WP:NOTNEWS hardly covers what BLPCD does. Jayjg (talk) 19:39, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I added an "unless" to my comment to clarify it, probably while you were composing your reply. Nobody is saying that WP:NOTNEWS does exactly what BLPCD does. What we're saying is that WP:NOTNEWS is the mechanism for keeping out articles on people whose 15 minutes of fame was due to unextraordinary crimes. It easily addresses your example of a local paper publishing a DUI conviction. Kla'quot 19:54, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
I think it might be useful to give examples of the sort of thing which we don't want articles about. Take [6] for example. Now if someone in a year does a piece on "that woman from a year ago who was so obese she couldn't tell she was pregnant" that would still be presumably not something we'd want an article about. JoshuaZ 22:46, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

A bad idea[edit]

I have no problem with the general principle that a subject's views on whether to have an article on them should be taken into consideration, and that they may on occasion be the deciding factor in a decision to delete. I do have a problem with making that a formal policy, and that is because "marginal notability" is a very difficult and imprecise term. The current policy as drafted makes it no clearer. In effect this puts the subjects of such articles in an impossible position: to claim deletion of their article and their own privacy (as they must see it), they must simultaneously dismiss their own achievements. I think the decision should go to an AfD, and be left to the good sense of the closing administrator. Sam Blacketer 19:23, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I'll second that. Now lets see this form a real world perspective: If a paper, magazine or directory receives a request from a possible hardly notable person to not include them would that be automatically honored? Naturally no. It is up to the editorial conference or author to decide whether to include and or exclude someone from reporting/referencing. The equivalent of an editorial conference is the AfD in Wikipedia (only it works inversely.. it does not decide what goes into the paper, it decides what gets deleted from). On the other hand I cannot but suspect that this is the obvious attempt to change the rules to fit the outcome of a controversial AfD to the liking of some editors. Any attempt to automatically delete because of the request of a subject of an article is equivalent to censorship from the outside. AlfPhotoman 20:11, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
There are a number of problems with this guideline. That this is a speedy/PROD criteria is the first one. AfD should look at these, it guarantees someone else will at least look at the article between the proposal and the deletion.
Requiring 100 edits for sufferage is entirely un-necessary and anti-wiki.
Restricting what an "objector" might use as a rationale is un-necessary. We cannot and should not predict what kind of objections might come up.
Salting to prevent recreation is also un-necessary and prevents a barrier should situations change. A new editor might write an article showing someone is truly notable.
The deletion review section boldly declares "if and only if" something has changed about the subject. Wrong! The deleting admin could have made a poor judgment in the first place.
What I could get behind would be an addition to some deletion criteria that "courtesy to the subject" is a valid AfD vote. That criteria has been rejected before and making it guarantees a lot of keep votes. On AfD, these marginal keeps of marginal people would swing the other way with that simple statement. We don't need a heavy new guideline like this one. SchmuckyTheCat 22:27, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Seraphimblade's alternative proposal[edit]

WP:CREEP wisely advises us to see if a problem can be solved by trimming guidelines or policy rather than expanding them. I believe in this case such a solution is possible, as in:

Generally, a routine DUI wouldn't receive much coverage, unless the person who was caught is already notable anyway. It might receive a short blurb in the local paper. I think a better question to ask would be "If we have articles on people (or any subjects) who are very marginally notable, why is this being allowed at all?" The solution, to me, seems to be to have less policy and guidelines rather then more. Eliminate the secondary notability guidelines (WP:MUSIC, WP:BIO, etc.), and make the sole criterion for inclusion that sufficient source material exists for a comprehensive article on the subject. Obviously, "Jack Crack got arrested for a DUI in Sometown, Somewhere" is not a comprehensive article, so if that's all we've got secondary sources for, it's gone regardless. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 21:48, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

That would have to apply only to living people; you'd be surprised how little information is available on, say, your average 13th century monk. But ok, maybe their uncomprehensive bio should just be in a footnote to another article, but of course, if they are mentioned in more than one article, you don't want to have to maintain multiple footnotes. That should apply to living people as well (which is why I still like the meta-notability idea). Do we have a definition for comprehensive? Especially given that there is no WP:DEADLINE? I can see how you can have a comprehensive article about carbon; I'm not sure this concept has been defined for a person. -- Kendrick7talk 22:03, 4 March 2007 (UTC) hmmm... shouldn't WP:DEADLINE link to something?
Well, in the case of a person, comprehensiveness should include, at minimum, information about that person, what contributions (positive or negative) that person has made to h(is|er) field and society as a whole, what others have had to say, what lasting effects that has had, and so on and so on. (And no, I'm up for it applying to everything, applying different guidelines to different areas leads to systemic bias. If there's not enough source material for a comprehensive article on a 13th century monk, we shouldn't have that article.) It is true that there is no deadline, and we certainly should never delete an article based on the fact that it is not now comprehensive. But "There aren't enough secondary source materials for this to ever be comprehensive" is a perfectly valid reason. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 22:11, 4 March 2007 (UTC) By the way, you're looking for WP:TIND. WP:DEADLINE should redirect to that though, that will probably be taken care of by the time you see this. :)
This standard is still very vague, and in any event it isn't clear to me that this would actually cause any of the questionable articles (except Peppers and possibly Frost) to be deleted. JoshuaZ 22:49, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Why don't we concentrate just on the notability of a subject.. We don't really need every bit of information about a person, and sincerely in the long run many anecdotal attributions will become meaningless. That naturally would imply that we quit our Stubmania. If all that is notable about a person are three lines then we should not try to expand. That way we could keep personal information totally out of Wikipedia and problems with courtesy deletions would simply not occur AlfPhotoman 22:47, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Frost objected to non-personal public information, Brandt is objecting to having an article at all. JoshuaZ 22:49, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
If the personal information is immaterial to the notability of the subject why not delete it? AlfPhotoman 23:35, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

JoshuaZ's alternate proposal[edit]

Ok, first: For our purposes we will define a subject to be marginally notable if it has fewer than 5 indepedent, non-trivial reliable sources focusing on the topic (5 was choosen as an arbitrary number, not too large not too small, seems about right. Could be adjusted if necessary). Any person who is in that category can request the deletion of their article in which case it will be listed with a special type of prod template, maybe {{prod-subject}}. Anyone may remove the special prod if they find sufficient sources to make the article not marginally notable. Two important exceptions: 1) anyone who has run for public office may not do this (since you've essentially stated that you want to be a public figure) 2) Anyone who has given an extensive interview with a reliable newsource about a topic for which they are notable for may not do this(if you were willing to be interviewed by Salon or the NYT, again that is a strong sign that one is willingly being a public figure). Thoughts? JoshuaZ 22:56, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

There may bee notable persons who don't have 5 sources ... not everything is pop-culture. And about giving interviews to .... do you include the bystanders interviewed during a report about a fire/crime/accident? Or those who get interviewed at random on the street? AlfPhotoman 23:21, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
The issue with random interviews is why I specificed that the interview had to be about "about a topic for which they are notable" JoshuaZ 01:31, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Don't like it. For some subjects there may only be one or two big "reliable sources" but plenty of non-reliable ones. In which case, we don't use the information from the non-reliable sources but they obviously show the notability of the person. That's a problem I'm faced with a lot. I first look online for information on something, and find a ton of unreliable junk - but it all says similar stuff. Later I'll do the deep research using Factiva or whatever and find usable original source material. Sometimes even people in the media are hard to find information about, I wrote Edwin Maher on only one or two reliable sources a year ago. The guy broadcasts internationally, he's notable, but there is little published information about him specifically. SchmuckyTheCat 23:47, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Well, we don't need "big" sources just non-trivial reliable ones. Still, I agree that this is a serious problem with this proposal and I see no way of salvaging the matter. JoshuaZ 01:31, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

This is no good, Joshua, for one simple reason. A person might have appeared in the press for some minor thing a few years back, and that story might have been reflected across many newspapers. However, it's only one thing, one element in their life, and then they are back to relative obscurity. They easily pass your criterion though. It's a lot easier to write criteria for what we consider "notable" and work from there. Grace Note 04:49, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

Alf's Proposal..[edit]

Instead of a new policy we could make a new guideline allowing any person referenced in Wikipedia the right to demand an AfD in which he/she can explain the reasons for non-inclusion. These reasons are the only object of discussion during this special AfD. The outcome of this AfD can be Keep, Delete or Remove personal information. Articles with the latter consensus are to be tagged prohibiting an addition of personal information and locked to edits of non-registered and non-established editors. Editors not abiding by the rule face administrative measures. AlfPhotoman 23:21, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

I can't imagine many situations where "personal information" that we'd remove should be there to begin with. I'm thinking of vital info here, address, phone, etc. SchmuckyTheCat 23:26, 4 March 2007 (UTC)
Like everything that is not relevant as to the notability of the person, place of birth, age, residence, marital status and so on AlfPhotoman 23:34, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

numerical values and other questionable ideas[edit]

I do not think any proposal with numerical rules such as this would be likely to gain general consensus. I have the following particular objections:

  1. 72 hours is a shorter time than other WP deletions except speedy. Many editors edit weekly.
  2. 100 edits is apparently a way to keep out single purpose accounts. It will just lead to their sophistication. W can detect such accounts easily enough from the edit history.
  3. specific majorities or supermajorities at Afd or DelRev are wrong in principle. They are not votes. They great any rate not supposed to be votes. The WP community spent a very long time in getting the vote nature of VfD changed. True, such discussion do show some traces of voting, in that closure against an overwhelming majority of the valid statements is usually not attempted. But closure is always justified on the basis that the arguments of one side or the other has the stronger arguments, not the most people there that day. Especially considering the nature of some of the questions here, attempts at canvassing voters will always be made.
  4. We already have rules about not including dates of birth for living people in most cases, especially if against their objections. Similarly for race & religion & marital status, unless truly relevant, which they sometimes are--especially marital status.
  5. We already do not include info from non-reliable sources with particular care in BLP, but debates often turn into a qy. of how reliable a source may be, & this would continue.

More generally, the reasonable use of BLP challenges is against individual articles on particular people who were victims of newsworthy crimes, or to whom unfortunate things happened. But there tend to be two problems: often the event is known by their name, and often the name is so notably connected with the event by widespread media coverage that it is futile. The first problem cannot be overcome--we must call things by the names in general use. For the second, a clear understanding that media coverage in this case is not a reason to give unwanted additional publicity. In practice, articles are already often deleted on that ground.

A less reasonable use is the attempt by evildoers of various stripes to suppress accounts of their deeds. Here the present status is all that is needed---a respect for the laws of libel, and a relatively strict understanding of what is sufficiently notable--we already do both. Anything more is censorship.
Another unreasonable use is the attempt by various public personalities to remove mention of things they are now ashamed of. The acceptability of this obviously depends upon the relative degree of notability , and the importance of the event. Very little in the life of a candidate for major political office is or should be private, and this is generally recognized. How far this goes to lesser figures must necessarily be a matter for discussion each time. Many people try this, but its a matter of editing, and they should not be allowed to remove an entire article on the grounds the edit disputes are so severe that the practical thing to do is suppress the article entirely.
but the least acceptable use is suppress controversy. We have seen enough of this in the attempted arguments that various critics of WP are not N, or that the errors of well known WP figures are not N--arguments totally against common sense. Yet even now they sometimes carry the day. The last thing we need is anything to further encourage such self-censorship. This policy is a move in the wrong direction. I urge not merely lack of consensus, but rejection. I still take not censored seriously--it is the basic principle by which honesty ins demonstrated. DGG 01:18, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Merge policy would go over better[edit]

Quite often, material on marginally notable people could equally well be merged into the articles on the topics for which they are notable. That could be accomplished without losing any information, while still respecting requests for privacy to an extent. Right now, for example, there's absolutely no need for an article on Essjay, since the information is already present elsewhere. Yet, it looks like we'll have one, because people think it's a matter of principle. However, I have the sense that some of these would not object to a guideline favoring mergism. Derex 05:27, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Bang on. Kla'quot 05:54, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
But then you have to potentially maintain the information in multiple places. That's ignoring the whole point of being able to embed hot links, so multiple articles can link out to a central article about a subtopic. -- Kendrick7talk 06:38, 5 March 2007 (UTC)
Not necessarily. Just maintain in each article the aspects that are relevant to each article. Google Watch doesn't need to know that Brandt had issues with the draft, or what Brandt's birthdate is. There are at best very weak economies of scale in having a central article for marginal people, my guess is it actually complicates matters by inviting essentially irrelevant detail. I've never noticed Wikipedia to have the slightest concern whatsoever about efficiency anyway. If hot links are considered important (and remember we're talking about marginally notable people), I suppose one could always keep a stub article with an index of references to the person. Derex 01:23, 6 March 2007 (UTC)
Many stubs of the marginally notable have no potential for growth, which just means that the detail in question is probably irrelevant and shouldn't be on WP anyways. TewfikTalk 02:49, 6 March 2007 (UTC)


What I think we need is one or more good essays to explain when and why some editors believe that the wishes of the subject is relevant. I think the strongest consensus that we have at present is that in some cases, the wishes of the subject is a factor to use in deciding whether or not to delete (not the sole factor). But I don't think there is any consensus currently, or likely to form soon, about when it is relevant, when it would tip the balance, et. cetera. Having one or more such essays, seeing where they are used, and whether or not those usages are supported by the general AFD community, will allow us to guage better what is likely to represent consensus. I personally believe that this page is doomed to not gain consensus in the next several months. GRBerry 15:59, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

I think that may be the best idea thus far. I think watching the Brandt AfD (those who wish to keep, those who wish to delete, and those in-between or offering other suggestions) might be very informative as to what consensus is on these types of situations. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 17:48, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

About Deletion Review[edit]

First, I want to applaud SlimVirgin for taking a bold and appropriate stand on this issue. I'm 100% on board.

I think the Deletion Review criteria (2/3 majority to overturn) should not be so specific. DRV can figure out for themselves whether the deletion was done out of process. YechielMan 17:33, 7 March 2007 (UTC)


Though well-intentioned, this looks like it would substantially change the balance of how things are done. This is the kind of proposal I'd expect to see if Wikipedia were in a dire emergency, with the current policies in desperate need of a major overhall. But on the whole, it seems like thinks are going pretty well-- I haven't bumped into any problems that would merit such a drastic change.

72 hours is a short time frame-- I expect most pages would get deleted without people even noticing. Most disturbing, however, is the presumption in favor of deletion--- where any significant dispute would keep the article deleted. On top of this, we have additional limit that would prevent even a review unless the situation has changed.

I think that in practice, this policy would devolve into "Any admin can delete any biography at any time, and unless the admin is way out of line, the page is going to stay deleted, end of story." --Alecmconroy 23:22, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

Agreed, this is problematic. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 16:53, 11 March 2007 (UTC)
I don't see that it's a problem at all. If we agree that articles on nobodies are dispensable in principle, their being deleted is not something to cry over anyway. I'd like to point out that if "most pages would get deleted without people even noticing", the subject clearly wasn't all that "notable" to begin with. Grace Note 04:46, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

A very good idea[edit]

Maybe we could put the arrogance to one side and consider how Wikipedia looks to the nobody who finds an article on them in here that focuses on the small bad thing that got them into the papers a few years back. The subject of some article finds that they are immortalised in the "encyclopaedia" that comes up first in most searches on Google for some small thing that they did a few years back. "That's not me," they think. But they can't make the article into a fair representation of themselves because the newspapers didn't write about their charity work, or about how much they love their kids, or about their neat party trick. Nor does the article discuss their important life's work, because their work hasn't been considered broadly important enough to feature in the mainstream press. It's just that tax thing from a few years back, or whatever.

Maybe there is no small thing. Maybe the nobody in question simply does not want to be in here. Their view of their own "notability" might not square with ours.

The thing is, we're not enriching the encyclopaedia by having that article. It's astonishing to me that we argue at the same time that having articles about garage punk bands who haven't been signed is harmful but having them about very minor figures whose article upsets them is a good thing.

I can't see this ever having sufficient support though because, frankly, too many contributors simply will not do what I suggested up front and put the arrogance to one side. We have no conception of how Wikipedia affects outsiders. When they come here and complain, we treat them like dogshit. We throw rules and policies at them, and make out that if they do not grasp the rules and policies, they are at fault, not us. In the most notorious case, that of Daniel Brandt, our treatment of him has been shocking. I'm not a fan of Brandt's, and his behaviour has been bad too (although he's not making a pretence of basing his approach in kindness), and I at first thought we should keep the article, but there simply has not been an acknowledgement that he has been hurt. We should not be in the business of hurting feelings. It's not "our way or fuck off". That should never be our approach to the outside world.

As for deciding whether someone is marginally notable, this is a red herring. We can use judgement. We can ask, would anyone really miss this? Correctly identifying the standing of the complainant is more important (in the Peppers case, people posing as his family got the article deleted) because having nobodies' enemies delete their articles against their wishes would get tiresome pretty quickly.

So I commend SlimVirgin on the notion -- an excellent one -- but I fear it won't come to pass short of some determined action from Jimbo or the arbcom. I won't be holding my breath as I wait for that. Grace Note 04:43, 12 March 2007 (UTC)

sorry to tell you, but most of us are not really against removing someones article, we are against that articles get removed per ordre de mufti. I would be willing to go along if there is a way to establish consensus whether an article is to be deleted or not. That this could be a step in the right direction, yes, but not with a rigid corsage where someone decides and that is the end of the story. AlfPhotoman 15:25, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
If a subject notability is established, and the facts are attributable to a reliable source, then it is something the person needs to except. You cannot stop people from talking about you, and if you reach a level of fame you may end up in an encyclopedia. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 15:39, 12 March 2007 (UTC)
Exactly. Now yeah, if all a person did was commit a crime that ended up in a local paper, I'll be the first delete !vote at AfD. Why? Because that's not enough source material for a comprehensive article. But instead of all this, let's worry about tightening notability/inclusion across the board. If only a small amount of independent source material exists about something, we cannot possibly present a balanced picture of it. However, this guideline, rather than properly addressing the problem across the board and across all subjects, takes only one facet and goes too far. Especially given that supposedly Brandt would be deleted under this-how is that possible? There is tons of published, reliable material about Daniel Brandt. Much of that is his own doing. He started websites, made every effort to publicize them, made no secret of the fact that he was their creator and owner, and publicized his findings on the government websites in addition to Google and Wikipedia. After the news media took notice, he happily granted them interviews, choosing to place himself in the public eye. But once you choose to place yourself in the public eye, you can't then choose just to claim you're "not a public figure" when you don't like a particular aspect of the scrutiny. It just doesn't work like that. By the time there's that much source material on someone, either that person has voluntarily tried or chosen to make a public figure of h(im|er)self, or it has happened to such an extensive degree already that we are not contributing much to the situation.
So, to sum up-let's work the problem across the board, lack of enough sourcing for a comprehensive article could be a problem in any area. This proposal only addresses one area, and takes it way too far. Seraphimblade Talk to me Please review me! 15:51, 12 March 2007 (UTC)


There are way too many people on the talk page calling this a well-intended but nevertheless bad idea. So it's obviously not supported by consensus. Per WP:POL, a proposal that lacks consensus (after discussion, and we obviously have that) is rejected. >Radiant< 10:59, 13 March 2007 (UTC)

  • It may be better to discuss these issues a week or two from now, when the recent flareup has subsided. >Radiant< 11:47, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I support the rejecting of this proposal. HighInBC(Need help? Ask me) 14:06, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Seconded/Thirded. --badlydrawnjeff talk 14:07, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
Endorse rejection. Unsourced info in a BLP article? Remove it. The whole article sucks? Stubify it. BLP has wide consensus and really does give us sweeping powers to take on BLP violations - shoot first and ask questions later. This is not needed. Moreschi Request a recording? 14:15, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
This is obviously rejected. Kla'quot 16:21, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
This will obviously be continuously rejected. Wikipedia does not need a WP:No biographies of living people policy. I'm not sure how anyone could take an encyclopaedia without an article on the Queen of Canada or George W Bush very seriously.... WilyD 17:15, 13 March 2007 (UTC)
I also endorse rejecting this proposal. There is no reason to try to improve/resurrect it. We don't need anything even remotely similar to this. Johntex\talk 05:03, 16 March 2007 (UTC)