Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons

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Rewrite of "Self published sources" (BLPSPS)[edit]

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 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.

FT2 (Talk | email) 10:45, 4 September 2015 (UTC)

I agree, and I would like to add that this rule is fairly counter-intuitive from my perspective as it assumes that self-published sources will inherently be less credible than published sources. I hate to break the news to the people of Wikipedia, but news outlets lie too. How is an article on Buzzfeed intrinsically more credible than, say, a fully-referenced article posted on someone's personal website. This rule has been used almost arbitrarily to be honest; for example, in the Gamergate article, Brianna Wu's tweets are used a source even though tweets are self-published. This rule needs to be reformed to reflect the changing media landscape and ongoing controversies regarding Wikipedia's credibility. --Davblayn (talk) 13:46, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
I agree in principle. I would be interested in seeing a specific wording proposal. There should also be allowances for self-published sources that are widely cited, per WP:USEBYOTHERS. - MrX 14:06, 13 September 2015 (UTC)
Basically agree with MrX. I'd be interested in the specific wording before supporting. — Strongjam (talk) 14:20, 14 September 2015 (UTC)
I don't agree, and I think self-published sources are in general less reliable, although there are of course exceptions. A printed book which is self-published is usually one that couldn't find a publisher to front the money for publication, although these lines are blurring now in the age of print on demand. In the online world, a reputable website takes care who they allow to publish under their voice (as opposed to Op-Ed or whatever, and even there, to some extent) because they have a reputation to protect. Obviously, anyone can start their own blog or website, and publish whatever they like, including inflammatory, defamatory or even illegal items. So, are self-published sources generally less reliable than others? On average, yes they are. Exceptions can always be made, without throwing out the general principle, which is still a meaningful and useful one. Mathglot (talk) 04:50, 17 September 2015 (UTC)
I broadly agree with Mathglot, the current wording is a useful 'baseline'. Of course there may be instances when harmless, non-controversial content from a 3rd party, is usable, but editor judgement and RSN can cope with those. A proposed wording would be helpful before commenting further, but we need to make sure that we don't 'throw the baby out with the bath water'. The default position should remain that ALL SPS are inherently less reliable, (especially 'tweets', blogs, etc.) since these are less likely to be challenged in the real world and ordinarily should be attributed to the source, not 'our' voice. Pincrete (talk) 12:46, 17 September 2015 (UTC)

Things to note and reconsider[edit]

BLP1E is often cited. I just read an article here Jules and Gedeon Naudet. This is an excellent article but is a BLP1E violator. Let's try to discuss BLP1E and make it not so harsh. If we follow BLP1E, articles like the Naudet one qualifies. I am certain there are great articles destroyed just because of a BLP1E AFD nomination. Sandra opposed to terrorism (talk) 22:58, 16 September 2015 (UTC)

The Jules and Gedeon Naudet article is VERY unlikely to be nominated under BLP1E, there is a big difference between ORIGINALLY known for only one event and (almost) SOLELY known for one event. Everybody is originally known for one thing, some continue to be known later, some 'disappear from view'. Even someone permanently known for only one thing such as this man, can deserve an article when the info about him continues over a long period, and adds additional relevant info.Pincrete (talk) 12:58, 17 September 2015 (UTC)