Wikipedia talk:BLP problem

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One problem is that many of the BLP policies should, in my opinion, be extended to dead "modern" people for whom the same rationale about getting the biography "right" should apply. Too often dead people are seen as "fair game" for some pretty major tabloidification. And rules about using "indirect smears" should be rigourously enforced. WP can no longer afford the luxury of saying "if you find such stuff in something approaching being a "reliable source" you can put it in the article. Any defamatory material must not only be readily verifiable but clearly relevant to the biography as a whole. Thus a financier should have criminal charges relating to his job, but DWI convictions are not directly relevant as a rule. Under current policies, both are equivalent. Collect (talk) 21:54, 10 June 2009 (UTC)

Good essay, and thanks for bringing this up. It seems extreme, and I'm not sure if this reflects a proposed as a solution or a commentary. Of course subjects cannot opt out. Encyclopedias are about knowledge, and knowledge is not always pleasant. BLP relates to: (1) avoiding legal liability for defamation claims, (2) not causing harm, and (3) respect. None of those goals would encourage an opt-out policy, though an opt-out wish or any other comment from the person in question affects our interpretation of #2. If the subject says the WP bio is seriously harmful to their career, health, state of mind, and so on, we should AGF and take that seriously as evidence that we are doing harm. As anyone should know, BLP is not about bios of living people, it is about any mention of living people in any article on the encyclopedia. We cannot do away with humans in the encyclopedia, as the story of the planet and the universe as we know it is at least partially concerned with humans, many of whom are still alive. Flagged revisions is its own issue that affects articles generally. Wikidemon (talk) 08:27, 11 June 2009 (UTC)
FWIW, I have assembled posts from an editor regarding how some editors appear to regard the current BLP standards at User:Collect/BLP. He still states that he is more interested in the scandals being put in than anything else. And, yes, I do feel the three reasons enumerated by you are insufficient for the betterment of the encyclopedia. The purpose of knowledge in an encyclopedia is not to have every factoid findable by man in written form - it is to allow people to learn what is important, and to allow them then to pursue further what they find interesting. Collect (talk) 11:25, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
There have been a variety of standards proposed other than the dead tree standard. See User:JoshuaZ/Thoughts on BLP which lists some of the other common ones. Also, it may be helpful to note that precedent seems not to favor a dead tree standard (see for example Don Murphy). JoshuaZ (talk) 05:48, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
I'm also not so happy in that this essay seems to once again conflate the various BLP issues together. Dealing with vandalism, POV pushing, and deciding on when people can opt-out are interrelated but not identical issues and treating them as such isn't ideal. JoshuaZ (talk) 04:10, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Which parts do you think deal with vandalism or POV pushing? The purpose of this essay to try to compile a fact sheet of what the "BLP problem" is and the commonly-discussed proposed solutions to the problem. --MZMcBride (talk) 06:39, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Well, the intro says "broad issues and implications that surround biographies of living people" which include a lot of different issues including that. It then goes to in the intro emphasize the issue of unsourced negative content which is connected to both of those. However, unsourced negative content has little to do with much of what the rest of the essay talks about. The ability to opt out has not much to do with that problem as it is generally phrased. JoshuaZ (talk) 23:48, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
It's my understanding that when people refer to the "BLP problem," they're discussing negative unsourced material in biographies of living people. I don't hear the phrase used to describe POV pushing or penis vandalism. Perhaps the introduction should be rewritten to make this clearer. Your thoughts? --MZMcBride (talk) 23:59, 14 June 2009 (UTC)
Right. That's what it was meant by initially (indeed that's what the policy was originally created for). However, it has since expanded to handle a number of distinct issues. For example, the dead tree standard was to deal with the entire issue of requesting opting out which has almost nothing to do with the issue of unsourced content. I would say that there are least 4 distinct issues which have been labeled the BLP problem. It might make sense to say "for purposes of this essay, we define the BLO problem to be the presence of unsourced, negative content about living people." JoshuaZ (talk) 00:21, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Modified accordingly: "For the purposes of this essay, the "BLP problem" is defined as the presence of unsourced and negative content in biographies of living people." Let me know if you have any other concerns. --MZMcBride (talk) 04:06, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd possibly note that there are also other standards other than dead tree that have been applied and also note explicitly that opt out isn't completely dedicated to the BLP problem as defined here (that is, some people think that opting out should be a general right even in the hypothetical of completely solving the problem of negative unsourced content). Now, if only they'd hurry up and implement flagged revisions... JoshuaZ (talk) 15:02, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
Are you talking about non-biography opt out? What does that include? Businesses and things like that? And what standards exists beside the dead tree standard (and do you have links)? I'd like to include them in the essay, esp. if they were heavily debated previously. --MZMcBride (talk) 17:29, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
No. Talking about biography opt-out. I outline as far as I am aware all of the standards which have been proposed at User:JoshuaZ/Thoughts on BLP. The other two standards which seem to be most common are 1) no original online biographies (so opt out allowed as long as no online reliable source has compiled a biographies) and 2) opt out is ok as long as they aren't willing public figures. This second is the standard I personally favor. JoshuaZ (talk) 18:31, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

Paragraph removed[edit]

However, there are still no reliable data on the actual size of the problem -that is, how many biographies are effectively source of practical trouble for their subjects. Back of the envelope calculations made by the amount of OTRS/Oversight requests mailed seem to indicate that about 0.1-0.5% of all BLPs has been causing concern for their subjects so far, with 0.5% being a pessimistic estimate [1][2].

I've removed this paragraph for the moment. The primary issue is that, having looked through the references, it doesn't appear to align with the findings. It also puts a lot of emphasis on those who complain directly to the Wikimedia Foundation about their biographies, which seems like an odd and not particularly useful metric. The secondary issue is that it's not very good writing. Let's discuss this. --MZMcBride (talk) 16:49, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I have reinstated and modified the paragraph, trying to stress that it's only a very rough calculation (The writing is not good but it's probably because of me not being of English native language). I think it's useful data to understand the scope of the problem, and I would like to know why it doesn't align with the findings. About the metrics, I think it is the only metric that makes sense, since (1)it's the only one measurable (2)it's the only one making sense, since if articles are potentially problematic but no one complains, it's not a serious problem, only suboptimal. --Cyclopiatalk 17:07, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Not commenting on usefulness, but the number is definitely misleading. It fails to mention that that number is percent per year. Presumably the complaints come from different people every year. Mr.Z-man 17:56, 25 January 2010 (UTC)
Agree. --Cyclopiatalk 18:06, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

Two more proposals[edit]

Two more proposals to think about including:

  1. Semi-protect all BLPs
  2. Topic-ban editors and IPs who repeatedly make poor BLP edits from all BLPs, so editors think twice and check twice before adding material

JN466 23:01, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Wrong numbers of articles in related categories[edit]

There seems to be a problem with {{PAGESINCATEGORY:All unreferenced BLPs|R}}+{{PAGESINCATEGORY:BLP articles lacking sources|R}}, it currently returns 83+76 which can't be true. This results in the sentence: This means at least 0% of all biographies of living people have sourcing problems -- (talk) 19:54, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

No idea whether 83+76 are the correct numbers, but I changed the rounding to prevent rounding to 0%. --Xeeron (talk) 12:42, 23 August 2012 (UTC)