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There is no support for any of the proposed definitions. In absence of such consensus, I urge readers to take to heart comments made by SlimVirgin, Tom Morris, and Dennis Brown. This is not a supervote--it's a supersuggestion. Drmies (talk) 17:26, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
There have been a number of disputes, including one recent one at WP:AN/I that have resulted from different interpretations of what Contentious means. This is particularly important as it applies to the WP:BLPREMOVE section, because that section authorizes edit warring and WP:INVOLVED admin actions where the material is contentious, when it would otherwise be prohibited. Because the definition is not clear, we end up with situations where some people believe an editor or admin has committed a serious policy violation, while others believe they followed policy. This RFC seeks to clarify the meaning going forward. While references to past conduct may be necessary for the discussion, the discussion is about how to resolve the issue moving forward, not the past conduct. Monty845 15:53, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
A claim about a living person should be considered contentious in either of two cases. First, if the claim is negative, or could be interpreted as being negative by some, it is contentious. Second, if there is a good faith dispute about the factual accuracy of the claim, it is contentious.
Support as proposer. This would cover anything that is potentially libelous and that could possibly be an attack on a living person. It would also give extra teeth to WP:BURDEN as applied to BLPs. But, when it comes to authorized edit warring, and WP:INVOLVED admin actions, it would not apply to cases where someone is just demanding a source, but is not asserting that the claim in the article is factually inaccurate. WP:BURDEN would still permit the removal of unsourced material without a dispute over factual accuracy, but would not authorize the special enforcement mechanisms of WP:BLPREMOVE. Monty845 15:53, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Support using this as the basic guideline (which I thought was already the guideline) and using WP:BRD for petty things that harm no one but just need sourcing for verification. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 16:12, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Support. I'm not happy about "or could be interpreted as being negative by some", since as we well know, there are people who will push that envelope to include nearly everything, but agree with the thought behind it, and can't think of a better way to phrase it. So supporting lacking better alternative. --GRuban (talk) 16:23, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
"or could be interpreted as being negative by some" to "or could be interpreted by a reasonable person". "Reasonable person" is a pretty standard measuring stick and doesn't require everyone agree, only that disagreeing could be seen as "reasonable". Dennis Brown - 2¢ 16:30, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I considered phrasing it negative or inherently controversial, but you run into the same problem of creep as to what is inherently controversial. What I wanted to avoid was leaving room to argue that a term that was effectively an attack, was not negative. So for instance, as a community we would not consider homosexuality to be "negative", but if someone makes the claim that a living person is homosexual, it should be covered by BLPREMOVE, because such claims are often intended as an attack, and some people would consider it a negative trait, even if most of us wouldn't. Monty845 16:38, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm OK with this, but may propose something else. It isn't negative that someone has strong opinions on politics or religion, but in most circles those topics are controversial. ϢereSpielChequers
I also think this is ok if it is changed to "or could reasonably be interpreted as being negative by some" (addition bolded) Davewild (talk) 17:04, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Support although I may suggest some tweaks to the wording later. DES(talk) 17:32, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Comment - this is reasonable, but ultimately, you can't legislate for cases where people are being unreasonable or acting in bad faith. Whatever gets written, the same problems with inevitably occur. WilyD 17:36, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Nice try but I think it's way off the mark. First, being negative does not equate to something being contentious. The negativity is a potential source of contention, but it is not the same thing. Danny DeVito is extremely short, and has a high body mass index. Such things are arguably negative, but not contentious. Someone might be described as gay, or straight, or Roman Catholic. Those things are not considered negative, but they may well be contentious. A good faith dispute over factual accuracy definitely does not make something contentious. It would have to be a fact that, if true, would cause harm to the person's public perception (or something like that). A dispute over a minor fact with neutral implications, or a dispute that though in good faith is not plausible and has no credence, does not make a fact contentious. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:43, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I think this is too sweeping. Undisputed, but negative, facts aren't contentious. For example, "Charles Manson is a convicted criminal" is definitely negative, but it's not contentious, because nobody who has ever heard his name would ever disagree with that statement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:36, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
You're opposing something that goes halfway to where you want, because you want it to go further, and because of this will get nothing. --GRuban (talk) 13:30, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
No, I oppose it because it goes six times as far as I think it should. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:50, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose the first case "if the claim is negative, or could be interpreted as being negative ...". Contentious and negative have quite different meanings. (If you really want to keep it, the BLP section name should be "Remove negative material that is unsourced or poorly sourced".) Mitch Ames (talk) 12:30, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Comment. I've been reverted by people who had entirely unreasonable rationales. One person said, among other things, calling a notable Wikipedian an "active contributor" to the project was a BLP violation because "active" is impossible to quantify. I think we need some kind of protection against baseless claims of BLP violations, but I also think we need to set the bar a little lower for a contentious claim. There are contentious claims that are not negative. For example, unsourced personal details, such as birth dates, are regularly added to BLPs, and I have no clue whether the claim is true or not. I challenge more because it's unsourced than because I specifically think it's factually inaccurate. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 06:48, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
strong oppose policy is clear that "contentious" ALSO applies to "positive, neutral, or just questionable" - this would clearly gut policy. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:47, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose defining contentious, though I would like to remove "neutral." It sounds odd for something to be both contentious and neutral, and following it with "or just questionable" seems repetitive. I would prefer: "Contentious material about living persons (or, in some cases, recently deceased) that is unsourced or poorly sourced – whether the material is negative, positive or just questionable – should be removed immediately ..." Sarah(talk) 00:53, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Suppose. I understand why people are reluctant to define the term. However, I think that this is a pretty good, simple definition: negative or disputed. Coretheapple (talk) 16:43, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose - per SlimVirgin and TheRedPenOfDoom - Cwobeel(talk) 00:04, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose. It's a highly subjective test. What's negative? Is having a drug habit 'negative' or just neutral? How about being gay or being married to a person of a different race? There are people who think both of those are terrible evil things. What is 'negative' is extremely context specific—both at a societal and a personal level. To say that someone drinks a lot of alcohol would be 'negative' if it were, say, an evangelical Christian preacher, but pretty much expected for a professional stand-up comedian. I'm tempted to say that trying to solve this problem is close to impossible. Wikipedians have this curious habit of thinking that if they just define the words right, that'll magically solve problems—but it just doesn't work like that. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:36, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
[BLP's are to be based on 'high quality sources']. A claim about a living person is usually considered contentious, where there is a good faith dispute that: the content is undue; the quality of the sourcing is sufficient/insufficient; or high quality sources are in disagreement concerning how to express the claim(s). (See also, WP:ONUS). In addition, remember to avoid puffery and unfair or unsupported critique, and that 'getting it right', includes exactly how content maybe expressed. Also, keep in mind that context matters. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:35, 25 June 2015 (UTC)[Bracket language due to discussion below Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:20, 25 June 2015 (UTC)]
It's difficult to say all the ways something maybe contentious (which is probably why it's not been done) but the above gets to them better, in a way better suited to multiple contingencies. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:42, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Support, as it comes closer to expressing the issue of poor sourcing.—Kww(talk) 16:56, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Strongly oppose Unless there is good-faith doubt as to accuracy, mere poor sourcing should not make a statement contentious. Remove "the quality of the sourcing is sufficient/insufficient" and this looks better. DES(talk) 17:30, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Mere poor sourcing should not make a statement contentious? Mere 'poor sourcing' already makes any BLP claim unsuitable, unverifiable, OR. There is little difference between, 'I know this is true' and 'this blog says, it's true'. But perhaps you read the proposal as 'only sources in the article' and not 'all high quality sources' but that seems either fixable, or that reading is not intended. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:48, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Poor sourcing is sufficient cause for removal using normal processes, but not using the tools authorized under WP:BLPADMINS or WP:BLPDS. Those tools are for specific problems that reasonably can be expected to cause harm to a subject. We had an editor who kept insisting that a particular actor was divorced from his real spouse and now married to what I presume to be the stalker. That's not "X molests puppies" level of allegation, but it's still both untrue, unsourced, and hurtful to boot. Jclemens (talk) 17:58, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
It's 'hurtful' to tell potential disinformation about living persons -- we guard against that by having 'high quality sources' - without a high quality source, it should never be there - so preventing it from being there, without a high quality source is just common sense. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:04, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Right, but the problem with this proposal is that you're defining known-accurate information as "contentious" with this statement. Under this proposal, if I write "Barack Obama is the current President of the United States", and I source it to some lousy blog, then you've defined the fact of Obama being the president as being "contentious". Using a lousy blog is a sourcing problem, but the claim that Obama is the current US president is not actually contentious, even when unsourced. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:46, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
No. It does not, define known accurate information as contentious See, "ususally" and "good faith dispute" Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I believe that you don't intend for it to be interpreted that way, but in practice, "usually" on a definition gets ignored. Also, under your exact wording, the good-faith dispute needs to cover only whether that source is sufficient, not whether the facts are accurate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:53, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Added potential bracket info to address the issue. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:20, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose - contentiousness is a property of the fact about the person that is proposed for inclusion, not a property of Wikipedia editors disagreeing on how to edit an article. Undue, and interpreting the sourcing, are their own content rules. This particular section of BLP is about demanding high quality sources for claims that might hurt a person. If you collapse that to a requirement of having high quality sources it repeats the first half of the condition again, and it collapses into a simple sourcing question. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:47, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose Largely as per DESiegal and Wikidemon. But also, if people want to replace controversial with unsourced then they should make a case to do that. Otherwise we would be left with a misleading BLP policy, and misleading policy leads to bitten newbies. ϢereSpielChequers 21:56, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
oppose more wordy, more contorted and not any less subjective. Does anyone have a "good faith" meter? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:51, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose. Unnecessarily wordy and convoluted. Regretfully, as this from an editor I hold in high esteem. Perhaps it can be simplified? Coretheapple (talk) 16:44, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose. This proposal obfuscates rather than clarifies. - Cwobeel(talk) 00:05, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Mind you, that's five years old now, and I suspect, but don't have time to check, that the wording of WP:BLP has changed enough so that the underlying goal--avoidance of harm to real people--has been lost. Exactly how a possibly incorrect acting award could cause material enough harm to real people for an existing admin to justify edit warring in the name of BLP is a mystery to me... except that it's not, as we will always have rules lawyers here at Wikipedia, which is why I wrote the essay 5 years ago, before I was elected to Arbcom, and nothing that's happened in the intervening time, including serving on OTRS and handling dozens of BLP complaints from subjects, has changed my mind about the need to restrict BLP exemptions to edits that do actual or at least reasonably foreseeable harm. Jclemens (talk) 16:57, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Support - er? I agree with the essay. I'm not quite sure what you're actually proposing though. Boil it down to a specific text change to WP:BLP, please. --GRuban (talk) 17:56, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm too retired to have a strong opinion on how it should be actually worded, but "reasonably foreseen as possibly causing harm to a living person" seems like a good starter phrase, better than 'contentious', when talking about material that falls under WP:BLPDS and WP:BLPADMINS. Jclemens (talk) 18:00, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Good essay - which suggests that we don't need to edit the policy page, just make sure that more people read the essay. Whether the wording is just right or not in the essay or not, it identifies the issue correctly. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:49, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I think it has value, but I think it misses the fundamental issue of getting it right. Does it do someone harm to claim he was born on a different day than he actually was, or is vegan when he prefers steak, or likes to play pinochle on Saturday afternoons? Probably not, but it certainly irritates our subjects when we get things like that wrong. As for the harm in claiming that person A won an award and depriving the actual winner of the credit he is due? I'll grant that getting false credit for something you haven't earned isn't generally all that harmful, but the actual winner might want to have a chat with you about it. The core issue is that we are very liberal with our use of unsourced and incorrect material and very tolerant of editors that include it. There's an allowance for newbies, and there's an allowance for grandfathered material, but there shouldn't be an allowance for an experienced editor edit-warring to force unsourced material into a BLP. That's why WP:BURDEN and WP:V insist that the sources be supplied prior to restoration of challenged material. In a very real sense, we shouldn't be here arguing about special exemptions for BLPs, we should be questioning why we tolerate the restoration of unsourced material. Why are we worried about 3RR violations when such restorations so clearly violate our other policies?—Kww(talk) 02:35, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
This supports the "get it right" position: if editors sincerely doubt that the material is right, then the material is contentious under this definition. In fact, if you think it's WP:LIKELY (i.e., >50% chance) that some other editor will doubt the veracity of the material, then it's contentious under this definition.
The point of this is to emphasize the distinction between "an edit so obviously dispute-inducing that I can't believe anyone would add it without a good source" and "really, it's best if everything about a living person has an inline citation, but whether that happens today or next week isn't a big deal in this instance".
This definition excludes questions of due weight, style, etc., that involve only uncontroversial material. A detailed explication of what color tie the US president wears is pure WP:UNDUEWP:TRIVIA that does WP:NOT belong in an encyclopedia, no matter how many sources I provide for it (and there are a lot of them), but it's still not "contentious" material. You can remove that through normal dispute resolution processes, without invoking BLP.
"Being contentious" is not the only quality that requires removal. Defining contentious in a sensible way does not revoke or weaken the other rules about stuff requiring removal: "...that is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see No original research); that relies on self-published sources, unless written by the subject of the BLP (see below); or that relies on sources that fail in some other way to meet Verifiability standards." I'm not trying to include all the other stuff that requires removal as being "contentious" in addition to requiring removal for the other, unrelated reasons; stuff that should be removed because of NOR or SPS or whatever should be removed because of NOR or SPS or whatever. Editors should not first (and pointlessly) re-categorize NOR and WP:V violations as "contentious" before fixing them.
Examples (real) to show what I see this as covering:
Professor J. Michael Bailey wrote a book called The Man Who Would Be Queen. N – Normal WP:V rules apply, because this fact is uncontroversial in the real world, and no editors in their right minds (and who spend ten seconds talking to their favorite web search engine) would disagree with this. Someday, somebody ought to add an inline citation, but there's no possibility of anyone being harmed if this sits around uncited.
The pop-science book described different psychological aspects of femininity in men, including an approach that divides male-to-female transsexuals into two groups, based on their sexual orientations. N – Not about any particular living person, so normal WP:V rules apply.
Some transsexual activists, who disagreed with his portrayal of transwomen as being "really men" or as transitioning to fulfill sexual urges in that book, filed formal complaints that he abused his position as a researcher. Y – You bet this allegation would need sources (here's one by the way: ).
He was cleared of all charges. Y – Ditto.
Bailey supports LGBT rights and legalized prostitution. Y – Some editors (depending on their POV) might sincerely dispute whether any person who holds a POV so odious to transwomen could accurately be described as "supportive" of trans rights; others would label this as contentious matter because a political position in favor of the rights of sexual minorities and sex workers is controversial in the real world. No editors are likely to consider this a statement about an uncontroversial subject.
I think this covers all of the basics. It could always be adjusted later, as we get more experience with it, but I think it would be a sufficient starting point. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:19, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
oppose "is considered controversial in the real world," is no clearer or less subjective than the current wording. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:50, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
If something's controversial in the real world, then you'll be able to find sources that use words like "controversial" to describe the subject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
The current wording is unclear in that different people are reading it in different ways, our differences are as as broad as "everything about a BLP is controversial so controversial means unsourced" to Controversial means negative, so the policy is a long way to say that negative BLP material needs to be sourced. Considered controversial in the real world is still subjective, but much less so than the current situation. ϢereSpielChequers 13:57, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose This is close, but not in my view a sufficient improvement on the current situation. "the material is considered controversial in the real world, including when reputable sources disagree with each other about the material, or editors are likely to dispute the veracity of the material." In my view puts too much emphasis on the scenario where editors or sources disagree about something. In reality the most common scenario is that we are making judgment calls about unsourced information that new editors are writing. "Sometimes works shifts in the brothels of Nevada" is something we would hopefully all treat as requiring a reliable source and unlikely to belong in any BLP other than that of a pornographic actor. "unusual amongst ISIS commanders for being gay and also for not taking sexual advantage of female captives" would be positive, but it really needs a reliable source. ϢereSpielChequers 07:51, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose Sorry, but what the heck does 'in the real world' mean? As opposed to what? I think people may be losing sight of the need for clearly-worded policy here. AndyTheGrump (talk) 08:40, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
Oppose per AndyTheGrump - Cwobeel(talk) 00:06, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
"Footnote: In the context of this BLP Policy, 'contentious' stuff is stuff that is actually causing or apt to cause disagreement from reliable sources and/or objections from at least one Wikipedia editor who is relying in good faith upon Wikipedia rules, and/or arguments from reasonable Wikipedia readers, and/or some combination of the three."
Support as proposer. We should keep the context in mind, so here it is:
[C]ontentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced should be removed immediately and without discussion….Remove immediately any contentious material about a living person that is unsourced or poorly sourced; that is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see No original research); that relies on self-published sources, unless written by the subject of the BLP (see below); or that relies on sources that fail in some other way to meet Verifiability standards….Similarly, "See also" links should not be used to imply any contentious categorization or claim about a living person…. Disruptive and offensive usernames (for example, names containing contentious material about living persons, or that are clearly abusive towards any race, religion or social group) should be immediately blocked….[E]xtensions would apply particularly to contentious or questionable material about the dead that has implications for their living relatives and friends, such as in the case of a possible suicide or a particularly gruesome crime…. If the entire page is substantially of poor quality, primarily containing contentious material that is unsourced or poorly sourced, then it may be necessary to delete the entire page....
I'm a bit at a loss, as I think the issue that spawned this RFC isn't so much about what is and isn't contentious, it is more about what is an appropriate reaction by the admin making the determination; Their judgement in handling the contentious edit. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 16:11, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
While I agree the issue could be resolved through editorial/admin discretion, this isn't the first time someone has argued that contentious means pretty much what ever they want to dispute. I'm not sure if its been an admin before, but others have certainly claimed edit warring exemptions on similar grounds. I think a clearer definition would provide needed direction to that discretion. Monty845 16:16, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I tend to agree. Lots of people throw the word "contentious" around when they really mean "you disagree with me", instead of "arguably false or impossible to substantiate", which is a better definition. This does dilute the word to being almost meaningless. Dennis Brown - 2¢ 16:20, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Particularly in Wikipedia parlance since anything unsourced is open to challenge, and therefore, by definition, contentious. Resolute 16:24, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Definition: Contentious – "causing or likely to cause an argument." Thus, anything that leads to an argument is literally "contentious". Perhaps we need a different work here... --IJBall (contribs • talk) 18:37, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
If the edit in question had been "Movie star in question rapes puppies" or something akin to that, no one would have questioned my actions, and my BLP defense would have been applauded by most. If the statement had been "Movie star in question has appeared in movies", no one at all would have listened to my defense, and I would still be blocked as being obviously disruptive. This question really is key: I saw the edits as being BLP violations, and the editor making them as intentionally violating both BURDEN and BLP with no intention of stopping, and that reverting those BLP violations did not make me involved. Others say that they were not contentious at all and did not constitute a violation, making me a rogue admin in violation of WP:INVOLVED. Whatever my fate, getting a more precise definition of when BLP kicks in for a removal will help future admins and editors.
My personal take is that "contentious" is pretty much the opposite of "common knowledge". Does anyone need to source that a famous movie star appears in movies? Certainly not. That they starred in a particular movie or won a particular award? Those get much closer to "contentious", but may not cross the line. Won an obscure award that few have heard of? Got his start in underwear commercials? Did something 20 years ago that doesn't correspond to the things he is known for? None of those is negative, but they are not things that anyone should be expected to take on faith.—Kww(talk) 16:29, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
The trite answer is that the opposite of contentious is uncontentious and the opposite of common knowledge is arcane knowledge. Wiktionary has "Marked by heated arguments or controversy" and that broadly has been how I understood the policy. ϢereSpielChequers 16:58, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
So, a hypothetical, WSQ: someone adds (sans sourcing) that someone won some particular award. A search online finds no trace of the awarding organisation, and another editor removes it on that basis. That certainly gets into WP:BURDEN territory, but is the material now "contentious"? Or is there some particular level/kind/intensity of discussion that is required before we can say the issue is "marked by heated arguments or controversy"?—Kww(talk) 17:16, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
"Contentious", if you'll review the evolution of the phrasing, was never about Wikipedia editors like or dislike of the edit in question, but about real world impact to the person. Any contentious (disagreed upon by editors) material anywhere in article space has always needed a good source, per V, and you rightly cite BURDEN. However, something that's disputed by wikipedia editors is not the same as something that might arguably cause harm to a living subject by its presence in our article. THAT is the sort of 'contentiousness' that triggers out of process reverts, blocks, revdel's, and the like. Failure to understand the difference is unfortunate, although looking at the mess of the wording now, I can see where people get screwed up about it. But back to you: what do you think is special about BLP enforcement that allows admins essentially unlimited discretion to do whatever it takes to keep contentious material out of a BLP? Jclemens (talk) 17:49, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi KWW, it depends a little on the award, and the awardee. It would be controversial for a Saudi architect to win an Israeli award, or for anyone to win an award as an adult performer if we didn't already have them reliably sourced as being an adult performer. But assuming that the award is uncontroversial then yes Burden kicks in on this one rather than controversial content it is content that others have not been able to verify. Not necessarily hoax material but one where it would be reasonable to require the challenged editor to only restore if they can find a source. ϢereSpielChequers 13:46, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
"Contentious material about living persons (or, in some cases, recently deceased) that is unsourced or poorly sourced – whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable – should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." The issue is not and should never be is negative. Claiming any type of "award" would fall under "negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable" -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:44, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Well that's certainly how some people are reading it, but if that was the correct reading then the word contentious would be redundant. I would say that claims about people's political or religious views, sexual orientation or sexual activity would be contentious whether " positive, neutral, or just questionable". But I accept that the phrase is misleading, different people are interpreting it in very different ways and it needs to be clarified - hence this discussion. However I would agree that we should not replace it with the word "negative" as many contentious things are positive to some and negative to others. ϢereSpielChequers 08:24, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Here's a fact: The former US President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize.
TRPoD, do you think that specific statement is "contentious"? What might cause people to "contend" (aka "dispute", "struggle", "fight", "debate") with each other about that sentence? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
Sorry if I'm raising a point others may have raised, but do we really need a definition? There is one in the dictionary. "Controversial." Good enough? Coretheapple (talk) 18:29, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
All this discussion seems to be slightly pointless. Seeking to formally define words used in policy doesn't really help solve the problem, as I've written elsewhere. BLP will always be rather subjective and rely on hunches, judgement calls and a fair amount of gut instict. Trying to rules-lawyer a rather arbitrary definition of 'contentious' into of a policy whose intention is to reduce harm may end up doing exactly what we shouldn't be doing: turning BLP compliance into a narrow, legalistic checklist rather than attempting to gut check whether we are being cruel or unfair towards article subjects. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:50, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.
We should specify at WP:BLP#Privacy of personal information and using primary sources a list of particular details [including DoB, contact info, and middle name(s), probably some others] that may be included in BLPs only if found in reliable secondary sources, or the subject's own primary material, even if another section in this policy might seem to permit it. If it requires primary source research to obtain this information, then digging up such details smacks of WP:OR and WP:DOXXING, and transgresses WP:NOT#JOURNALISM, and so should be omitted. I would suggest also specifically including in the list both the names of relatives and acquaintances if they are not notable or directly relevant, and names of schools attended (below the collegiate/university level) if not directly relevant, and probably a few others, since details like mother's maiden name, best friend's name, high school mascot, etc., are frequently used in identity theft and other Bad Things. (Meanwhile genuine celebrities already understand this, and do not actually use their real mothers' maiden names in banking security questions, etc.)
This would be separate from the "use extreme caution" list at WP:BLP#Avoid misuse of primary sources, which has a more WP:COMMONSENSE character, and includes things like vehicle registration details, etc., that most editors understand is not encyclopedic to begin with. That section also includes abuse of court documents to support claims, and other matters that aren't germane to this clarification proposal, which is only about personally identifiable information that can be used for identity theft and similar doxxing problems.
It would probably also help if "borderline notable" were actually defined in some way, if this were to be limited strictly to borderline-notable BLPs. But that seems to me to be unnecessary; non-borderline, unquestionably notable subjects will almost certainly already have any such potentially encyclopedic information published about them in secondary sources, pretty much by definition, so I think it would be WP:CREEP to make "borderline notable" an explicit rule for this.
I'd say no - or not without checking first. There are circumstances where WP:BLP can apply to the recently-deceased, and it isn't unknown for supposed dates of death to be entirely unsourced. A bot isn't going to be able to spot such issues, and may merely result in problems being obscured. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:10, 16 August 2015 (UTC)
Seeking input on a Biographies training guide
Rewrite of "Self published sources" (BLPSPS)
I think there's a problem in the wording of WP:BLPSPS, and would like to ask for it to be rewritten to fix the issue.
At the moment, it states that self-published sources are "never" to be used unless "written or published by the subject". I think this is too tight, and also it doesn't actually reflect how BLPs work in practice by the community, or how we would wish them to work.
Example: The response by University College London on their sacking of Nobel Prizewinner Tim Hunt, cited in Tim Hunt's BLP. It is needed and relevantly included to show a significant view (NPOV), and it's sourced, of course, from the best quality source available for UCL's views - namely UCL's own news blog (although rehosted by Archive.org). So it's a self-published blog post by a person or body other than the BLP subject. But WP:BLPSPS states of such sources: - Never use self-published sources as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject....
It's a poor policy wording because we don't really want to exclude these kinds of sources. There are many BLPs or articles with BLP content, where the source for a cite is a prominent individual's personal twitter or blog post, but the prominent individual isn't "the subject". Provided these are reliable sourced (which selfpub can be) and high quality (not just random forum and blog rubbish but known to be written by specific persons whose views would be significant or worth citing), then they meet the criteria of WP:V and the requirement to be high quality, and we do in fact widely use them. So WP:BLPSPS doesn't actually describe community practice either, as policies should.
So I'd like to ask for WP:BLPSPS to be rewritten and purely reflect these three tests: WP:V#Self-published sources, WP:V#Self-published or questionable sources as sources on themselves, and the additional need of WP:BLP for high quality sources. Being guided by these and asking whether a source is reliable and of high enough quality to use in the BLP, should be enough of a safeguard, especially as the sections from WP:V look like they are written with BLPs in mind. As it is, WP:BLPSPS 1/ doesn't describe our actual practice, and 2/ unreasonably risks the exclusion of valuable material even when high quality and reliably sourced.