Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons

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Seeking clarification[edit]

Policy here says that tabloid journalism cannot be used to support edits which makes a lot of sense. However that appears to be interpreted as meaning that any material from any newspaper that ever indulges in tabloid journalism can be deleted without discussion or argument. There have been multiple discussions over the years at WP:RS where it has been agreed that the Mirror and the Mail (to take left and right wing examples) can be considered reliable sources when they are presenting facts, but not opinions. In general a broadsheet reference is to be preferred but then again broadsheets are not immune from tabloid journalism.

My reading of the policy is that tabloid journalism is properly excluded, but that does not exclude factual reporting by newspapers such as the Mail and The Mirror which fall somewhere between the out and out red tops like the Sun and the more populist broadsheets.

If there is a different standard here from that for reliable sources in general then the policy should be amended to make the position clearer ----Snowded TALK 11:11, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

The problem with the Mail (and perhaps the Mirror also) is that there are regular failures of "factual reporting". We can't be sufficiently confident that what they present as factual is indeed factual. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 11:30, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Got that, my question is if there is a difference with WP:RS where they are allowed. If there is a blanket exclusion on their use for BLP then the policy should say "any tabloid newspaper' as well as or instead of 'tabloid journalism'. I'm OK with either option but it needs clarification to avoid conflict ----Snowded TALK 11:35, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
The Mail is probably the worst example in the UK in that it has actively presented stories as 'factual' while being caught making shit up. There is a discussion somewhere on RSN recently that references this. Redtops like the mirror and the sun are generally more reliable these days - so far as non-fact based tabloid journalism is obvious and likewise opinion is clearly visible. So its a lot easier to use them as a source where appropriate. Sadly the RSN noticeboard has yet to see fit to flat out bar the Daily Mail as a source for anything, however I suspect it is only a matter of time. I would love the BLP to actively bar using specific named publications from BLP articles, however I doubt that would get consensus. Only in death does duty end (talk) 11:42, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
I think everybody agrees that material sourced from a serious non-tabloid newspaper is always preferable to material from a tabloid newspaper. The issue is whether all material published in a tabloid newspaper is covered by the term "tabloid journalism", which is a specific phrase that refers to an over-emphasis on scandal, sensationalism, gossip, etc.. Clearly, on some occasions, physically tabloid newspapers publish uncontentious, factually correct and properly sourced information. That is not "tabloid journalism" in the sense referred to at WP:BLPSOURCES. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:20, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
There is some more detail about this at Talk:Andy_Burnham#.22no_tabloids_on_BLPs_please.22 where I have had my two cents' worth. It was the allegations made about Philip Mould which led to WP:BLPSOURCES and doubts about using the Daily Mail as a source for anything on Wikipedia.--♦IanMacM♦ (talk to me) 12:25, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Nothing would please me more than if the Daily Mail was excluded as a reliable source in Wikipedia :-) The storm in a team cup and aggressive templating at the Burnham article is now hopefully resolved. Given that I thought I would bring the policy issue here for clarification to reduce the chance of similar disputes in the future. So far it looks like we follow WP:RS and WP:BLPSOURCES is as per Ghmyrtle's summary. That would mean that material cannot be deleted simply because it comes from a Red Top, but only if it exhibits the characteristics of tabloid journalism.----Snowded TALK 12:43, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
Alas - there are zero reliable sources for celebrity gossip - which is where the DM (and even The Guardian) have problems. This does not mean we toss out babies with bathwater - as long as we recognize that all headline writers seek to get readers, and that headlines are not part of any actual "reliable source", the DM and Mirror etc. are fine. This has been discussed to death in the past, but, frankly, I would not even use The Times when it comes to rumours about celebrities. And any "reliable source" claims based on Twitter posts is "right out" IMO. Collect (talk) 15:46, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
  • It looks like WP:CLUE has prevailed once again. It might be worth other admins who watch this keeping a wee eye on User:Snowded in case he forgets this clarification again in the future. We have BLPSOURCES for good reason and those disagreeing with it would need to make a fairly major policy change to accept tabloid journalism on BLPs, or of course fork off to a new project. Meantime they should not believe that they can edit-war this material in one article at a time. No pasaran! --John (talk) 18:09, 30 December 2015 (UTC)
    • Forgive me, but have you read the above comments. To date no editor (other than you) thinks that all material in a tabloid journal is tabloid journalism. On that base your assertion of WP:BLPSOURCES as authority for you reverting material simply on the grounds that it was referenced to a tabloid journal does not have community support. You should also look at WP:RS which takes the same position. Now if your reference to WP:CLUE means you intend to ignore the above discussion then your behaviour becomes the problem. ----Snowded TALK 18:25, 30 December 2015 (UTC)

Returning to the subject[edit]

Given that talk has returned to both his assertion 'tabloid journalism' means 'anything in a tabloid newspaper' we really need to get the policy clarified here. I'm getting fed up of being templates by an admin when I simply follow policy on reliable sourcing. If we are going too bad any material referenced to a tabloid newspaper then that needs to be clearly stated in the policy and also in WP:RS or we will get continued confusion. I will link to this at the RS notice board as well ----Snowded TALK 13:20, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

I think that the only acceptable use for the Mail in wiki land is on the nail in the WMF outhouse. -Roxy the dog™ woof 13:27, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
I don't like it much either and wouldn't soil even an outhouse with it; but would you address the policy issue? If the Mail and Mirror are not allowed then the policy needs to be amended from banning tabloid journalism to banning all material sourced from tabloid journals. If that is the community decision I'm fine with it, although it would have major implications over many articles. ----Snowded TALK 14:56, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Demur - the problems have almost invariably been with "celebrity gossip" which is unreliable even from The Guardian, improper use of headlines for claims (which has been quite well established), use of direct press releases (which is a problem also now well-established), and use of opinions not cited as opinions (also not restricted to any single group of newspapers.) "Blacklisting" any reliable source which has been misused or misattributed as to value of the claims made is not the solution. We would be far better off noting that too many journals run press releases (epidemic in medical reportage at this point), too many fail to separate claims of verifiable fact from simple opinions, too many run "celebrity gossip" and "clickbait" material, and too many Wikipedia editors are too anxious to "show the people what they should believe" rather than simply accept that the most common true colour in news is grey. The solution is not to blacklist anything - but to enforce reasonable distinctions as to "quality and wording of claims." Collect (talk) 15:04, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

  • Thank you Collect. I fully appreciate that some of these cases can be nuanced. I invite you to inspect the edits we are talking about, which includes gems like:

In 2009, Nick Griffin said: "We don't think the most overcrowded country in Europe, can realistically say, 'Look, you can all come and all your relatives'... When the Gurkhas signed up—frankly as mercenaries—they expected a pension which would allow them to live well in their own country" (sourced to the Mirror)

A drama teacher at a prep school whose name was found on the list had been dismissed from a previous position as a result of her BNP membership.(sourced to the Daily Mail; the teacher is named in the linked article)

In London on 16 May 2008, Nick Griffin met leaders of the Hungarian far right party Jobbik to discuss co-operation between the two parties.(sourced to The Sun)

and tell me if you think these are allowable within our existing policy, however liberally interpreted (and it should not be liberally interpreted in my opinion). The user conduct issue is being examined separately at WP:AN/I, but I would be astonished if any experienced editor would endorse using these sources to support material of this type. It may be of interest that User:Hillbillyholiday has very commendably re-removed two of these and changed and better sourced the third. Is anyone even slightly of the opinion that the tabloid-supported version was more in keeping with our mission? --John (talk) 15:22, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
The 2009 quote could probably be sourced elsewhere (It is in SearchLight for example which has been as accepted as a RS in this field). But as a direct quotation the Mirror would under WP:RS be acceptable as I read it. The drama teacher one may fail on weight, but if it is a news report then again per current RS policy it is sourced as it is a fact not a commentary. ----Snowded TALK 16:54, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Clarification question on the policy[edit]

To make this simpler and separate it conduct issues in respect of either John or myself, lets put the question: ----Snowded TALK 15:39, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

Does the WP:BLPSOURCES ban on tabloid journalism mean that no BLP material can be sourced to a Tabloid Journal?

  • Some use: Reporting of statements and other factual matters should be allowed but no commentary, ideally alternative sources should be provided ----Snowded TALK 15:41, 9 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Some use there is no support in policy for a mission to eliminate all possible sourcing from 'tabloid' newspapers. Material from all newspapers needs to be looked at carefully these days. --  19:28, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No 'celebrity gossip' from any source should be considered reliable Which is the real issue. Collect (talk) 20:27, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Use the plain language of the policy, meaning that BLP material must not be sourced to tabloid journalism, which plainly means tabloid journals e.g. The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Express, etc. There is no justification for allowing use of these crappy sources for "factual material" when those sources have a history that shows they can't be trusted to provide factual material. To say that it's okay to use them for "factual material" requires believing that the material is factual -- a belief that isn't warranted when dealing with the sources in question. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 22:43, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
have to disagree with that. The reason it doesn't say "tabloid newspapers like the daily mail" is because it doesn't mean that (if it meant it it would say it) - sensationalist click-bait "tabloid journalism" is to be found in just about every newspaper these days. Drawing up a list of which sources are prohibited and which are not is a nonsense exercise. --  23:43, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Continue to prohibit trash sources on living people per Nomoskedasticity. Consider the principle of "do no harm" on which this project was founded, and look at the three examples just above. This is what it looks like when editors disregard BLPSOURCES. There is no room on our project for poor sources on living people as they mislead our readers and cause damage to real people. These organs have a policy of making things up and challenging the victims to sue in court. We do not, and nor should we. --John (talk) 07:32, 11 January 2016 (UTC)
Can you provide this definitive list of "trash sources" please - if you can establish consensus for the absolute prohibition you might as well be absolutely clear about it and get it written into the guideline to avoid future pointless re-churning of the old issues. --  23:45, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
You don't know what a tabloid is? Gosh. List begins: Daily Mail, Sun, Star, Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Record, Metro. User:Hillbillyholiday, am I missing any? These are certainly the worst ones which current policy forbids. Akin to the National Enquirer in the US, these organs openly fabricate stories about living people and challenge the victims to sue, which many people cannot afford to do. Anyone supporting or promoting their use as sources on BLPs on Wikipedia has no place on the project. --John (talk) 07:30, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Tabloid sized newspapers and tabloid journalism are two quite separate concepts and you conflate the two. In fact, the daily record has quite a reasonable history of investigative journalism leaving aside its celebrity fanzine and football gossip-mongering. Where does the Times stand - it is a tabloid these days, full of some quite questionable stories. Could you also clarify whether the final comment there was intended to be some sort of threat, I think it is good to get these things out in the open. --  18:16, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
@John: You could add the London Evening Standard. I'm not so sure which Scottish papers are best avoided. Obviously we would need a list of American publications as well. --Hillbillyholiday talk 18:26, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Salon, Gawker, NYPost, etc etc. FoCuS contribs; talk to me! 11:25, 25 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Continue to prohibit trash sources on living people per Nomoskedasticity. Consider the principle of "do no harm" on which this project was founded. Some users hate this and want that their hatred of the person or topic is reported using wikipedia, this needs really focusing on especially about living people and users that continually abuse the project in this way need removing . Govindaharihari (talk) 21:36, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Some use: In many cases, there are no other available source for content that is uncontroversial. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 21:50, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
    • Question: how do you decide what is uncontroversial? --John (talk) 22:08, 12 January 2016 (UTC)
    • Reply : if no one is opposed to it. e.g. if (hypothetically) on Jeremy Corbyn's page it said that he was an Arsenal fan but the only source was the Mirror. No one (I think) would be opposed to that. However, if an editor thought it was untrue then they could say that and if someone is opposed then it should be removed — Preceding unsigned comment added by Absolutelypuremilk (talkcontribs)
I would suggest this is probably similar in meaning to "contentious" which seems to be defined by this very guideline as "any material challenged or likely to be challenged". --  01:50, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Continue to prohibit tabloid sources on living people - If some information is not available from good sources, then probably either we are lazy or this info is worthless trivia and it is not worth to waste wikipedians' efforts on endless discussions whether "some" patricular tabloid data is allowable. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:56, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
Please provide an absolute definitive list of what 'tabloid source' is - if you don't have a definitive list, then claiming there is a prohibition is nonsense. --  23:46, 13 January 2016 (UTC)
It is your request that is nonsense. We decide it case by case. And if the WPCommunity decides it is a trash source, it is out, without any "definitive lists". Staszek Lem (talk) 03:58, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Exactly this. Some of the above comments are so vague as to be completely unclear as to whether they are referring to tabloid journalism or particular tabloid newspapers. They are pretty sure something needs banned, but they aren't very sure what it is. --  01:40, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Depends - Content referenced to a tabloid can be used to support uncontroversial information and not reporting opinions as facts. Just noticed the discussion above regarding what is deemed "controversial". Content is controversial if it is challenged by another user. Meatsgains (talk) 03:43, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Contextual usage allowed - The WP:BLPSOURCES section does not state "Material should not be added if sourced to a tabloid-based source", it specifically says "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism." Tabloid journalism (as linked) is a style of writing, not any particular source though the link does provide examples of prominent newspapers that are mostly based on tabloid journalism. While any such content should be double-checked, it does not stand to reason that the BLPSOURCE policy blocks the use of sources from a tabloid newspaper, only tabloid articles/sources written for a news source. However, that is simply how the policy stands at my time of writing which means that it could be changed to reflect the attitude expressed above that tabloid-based news sources should be blacklisted (even if only a de jure blacklist) as sources for BLP articles. To be brutally honest, some common sense could be applied. E.g. if the article being cited is sensationalist but the publisher is typically reliable, then don't cite the sensationalist article; if the publisher of the source is typically sensationalist but the sourced article is not sensationalist, cite the article and use the |quote = parameter to further clarify and explain why the source was used. I feel like this is a bit of a bikeshed argument had too many times on Wiki between editors, but this facet of the BLP policy should be clarified instead of having a semi-ambiguous statement as it currently stands to avoid such conflict between two equally good types of editors.
    BTW nonsenseferret, it has been brought to my attention before that editors should create a single comment addressing multiple users instead of multiple comments addressing single users in discussions such as these. Cheers, Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 06:06, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • basic non controversial facts allowed like harry likes football ... it is so sad to see this attempt by User:Snowded to adjust the Wikipedia:policies and guidelines just so he can add his bias and use trash sources, anything he can find to demean the people he hates - this is nothing more than a disgusting attempt to weaken the guidelines so he can add more weakly sourced hateful content of people he hates..... to use wikipedia to promote his personal opinions. I have watched this project grow and develop and change for the last decade and users like User:Snowded are unable to follow wp:npov they are too personally opinionated, anything they suggest should be rejected. Govindaharihari (talk) 14:30, 14 January 2016 (UTC)
  • No use If the only source for the information is tabloid journalism then the information is not notable for us to mention. If other sources mention it then use them. I can't think of any reason why we should use tabloids to source information in any article, let alone BLPs. AIRcorn (talk) 02:14, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment on use of Tabloid Journalism and Tabloid Publications - Editors seem to be playing fast and loose with the idea of "journalism = publication source/publisher", i.e. that tabloid journalism is one and the same as a tabloid publication. Journalism is a style of writing, which is what the BLP statement seems to be discussing; as opposed to a Publication, or Publisher which is a source of writing.
    Could editors please be aware of the difference when answering as some responses will be confusing based on this lack of clarity. We source the articles (journalism/journalist) not the publisher (publication). Could I please ask if editors could make this an explicitly clear aspect of their above responses so that any closing editor/admin may be able to tell unambiguously what you meant? Pinging several users who seem to be playing fast 'n' loose with their wording for clarification about articles or publishers; @Nomoskedasticity, John, Govindaharihari, and Staszek Lem:. Please carefully read the difference between a writing style and a publication source/publisher of tabloid journalism but possibly other journalism writing-styles as well. Cheers, Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 03:31, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
It looks like you did not follow the discussions carefully. "Tabloid" (journalism of publications) is a dirty word both in wikipedia and in the live world because of their peculiar attitude to fact checking and fact presentation. Staszek Lem (talk) 04:04, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
And yet ... you still avoid the question? Seriously, it was a simple request for some clarification of your position to be placed in your !vote comment above. Cheers, Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 04:27, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Nice red herring. This discussion is very clearly about the UK meaning of the term. It relates to tabloid journalism (which we could fairly characterise as openly making up lies and challenging the victim to sue) and has nothing to do with the format that printed copies of the paper use. Sheesh. --John (talk) 07:35, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
We can't have a policy which is UK only so it is more than reasonable to ask for a list of 'prohibited' sources. I don't think anyone disagrees that tabloid journalism (making up lies etc) is prohibited. But too say that everything in the Daily Mirror falls into that category is plainly false which is why WP:RS permits use. I've seen tabloid journalism in the broadsheets from time to time for example. At the moment, as can be seen from the discussion above, there is no clear agreement that would justify edit warring and threatening blocks to people just because the Mirror has been used as a source. So if that is going to be the case and the community wants to ban all Tabloid Journals for BLP sources then there needs to a list of those sources. ----Snowded TALK 08:55, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Another red herring. Policies trump guidelines. WP:BLP is a policy, and WP:IRS is a guideline. See also my post of 7:30 for a (possibly non-exhaustive) list of tabloids for those who don't know what a tabloid is, yet have an interest in commenting here. --John (talk) 09:06, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Just calling anything you don't like a red herring and suggesting that experienced editors don't know what a tabloid is really isn't helpful. If the BLP policy is to exclude all material sourced in tabloid journals then it needs to say that and have a list. It doesn't say that at the moment which is why we have a problem and various interpretations of what excluding tabloid journalism means. You've listed UK newspapers that are generally called tabloids but several of those actually had a track record in investigatory journalism (the Mirror is respect of some right wing movements for example). But lets make it easier and ignore the list. If you are proposing that this policy should say that no BLP material can be sourced to tabloid journals then why don't you propose that as a change? For BLP articles I can see an argument and I wouldn't be too upset if it was agreed or some variational which only allowed use with talk page consensus when no other sources were available. If that policy change is agreed then your interpretation of a currently ambitious wording would be policy and you could legitimately wipe material and issue warnings :-) ----Snowded TALK 10:11, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm actually quite happy with the existing policy, as are most people here. We already have a fairly clear steer not to use trash tabloids on BLPs. There will always be room for editorial discretion, as there should be. But the rule is, and always should be, if in doubt, leave it out. --John (talk) 10:14, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
You are happy with your interpretation of existing policy as are several people here but its not a clear consensus. Think how much easier it would be if the wording of the policy unambiguously supported your interpretation? I'm very happy with the policy of excluding tabloid journalism, fully support it. Equally the policy of "if in doubt leave it out". Like many editors here I also don't think that everything in a tabloid journal falls into that category. Also there are tabloids and trash tabloids. In the former camp we have the Mail and the Mirror, in the latter the Star and the Sun. So clarify the policy if you are confident the community agrees. Leaving it hanging while issuing warnings and ANI cases if people disagree with your is less appropriate ----Snowded TALK 12:04, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Comment. Tabloid journalism - which is what should never be used - is not the same as all material published in a physically tabloid newspaper. It has a different meaning. Some broadsheets sometimes publish gossip material, etc., which should not be used in a BLP. Some physically tabloid newspapers sometimes publish reliable factual information which could be used, though always - for the avoidance of any doubt - it should preferably be sourced instead from a more authoritative source, such as a broadsheet newspaper. But, as others have said, some editors seem to be confused between "tabloid journalism" - to be avoided - and physically tabloid newspapers. The best answer is probably "it depends", but the guidance could usefully be clarified. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:20, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I think everybody knows the difference between the term tabloid journalism and non-broadsheet serious newspapers (who prefer to use the term compact newspaper in any case). The problem with using tabloid papers as source material is when do you know when the tabloid is producing factual information and when is it being, well, tabloid? You can't, so the fall back is never use tabloids as sources. --Bill Reid | (talk) 18:03, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
I'm cool with that if we change the policy to say it. At the moment it doesn't, tabloids are permitted as sources so its wrong to threaten to block people if they use them for facts. I suggested to John above that he proposes a change to the policy to make it clear but I don't see any willingness to do that ----Snowded TALK 18:07, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Continue to prohibit trash sources on living people, and draw up a list of which sources to avoid While it is true that some tabloids do ocassionally produce higher quality work, as Nomoskedasticity says: "There is no justification for allowing use of these crappy sources for "factual material" when those sources have a history that shows they can't be trusted to provide factual material."While a list of banned tabloids would be something of a blunt instrument, and of course respectable outlets do sometimes engage in ""tabloidesque" journalism, as Snowded says: "Think how much easier it would be if the wording of the policy unambiguously supported your interpretation?" Yes, a clear statement/policy on which sources to avoid would indeed make editing easier. The continual arguments around this subject could be settled, we wouldn't have to endlessly discuss removal of substandard sources on countless talkpages. And naturally, it would also benefit the encyclopedia by preventing much of the addition of tittle-tattle and unimportant trivia to BLPs, the vast majority of which comes from tabloid sources. So, I believe both our articles and our editors would benefit greatly by having an unambiguous line-in-the-sand, and conversely, what would we lose by banning all use of The Sun, Daily Mail, etc..? Very little of worth, I think. --Hillbillyholiday talk 18:27, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes but Wikipedia policy explicity states Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism. When material is both verifiable and noteworthy, it will have appeared in more reliable sources. Tabloid journalism may be found outside of the broadly construed tabloid newspapers, but it will always be in tabloid newspapers (even if not all of the time), so safe rather than sorry is always wiser. I'm not sure if a listing of prescribed publications would work because it would have to be a world-wide undertaking and that would be very difficult and subjective. IMO the onus has to remain with the editor to find an impeccable source.--Bill Reid | (talk) 19:59, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism. The 'tabloid journalism' part is what needs clarifying. It will almost certainly be a fraught process, but in my opinion, deciding on a list of proscribed publications will improve BLPs and make editing here a lot easier in the long run. --Hillbillyholiday talk 20:21, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Many previous attempts have been made to prohibit particular sources in this way and to explicitly make tabloid journalism = tabloid format newspapers, I have not seen consensus established at any of the previous attempts. --  20:44, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Continue to prohibit trash sources on living people, and draw up a list of which sources to avoid - I support this proposal. No type of tabloid magazine, for example "TMZ," should ever be used in a BLP. It normally consists of just rumors, no facts. These sources have a history of using non-factual material, so why would we even consider using them as reliable sources? We know for a fact that they are not reliable. If a BLP article can only find trash sources to support the article, then the person is probably not notable enough to even be on Wikipedia. Comatmebro User talk:Comatmebro 22:46, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Summoned by bot. BLPSOURCES says explicitly "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism." That's clear enough. I think "tabloid journalism" should be broadly construed to include publications that have a clear bias, sensationalist aspect or axe to grind. Coretheapple (talk) 18:10, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The prohibition is on using tabloid journalism, not tabloid newspapers. For example, if a BLP subject were to give an interview to a tabloid, clearly it would be okay to use that as a source. SarahSV (talk) 18:24, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I want to clarify what I wrote: it would be okay to use the BLP's subjects own words about herself if she were to give an interview to a tabloid newspaper. It would often not be okay to use the newspaper's surrounding commentary. We would take into account whether it appeared to be an interview freely given, or whether there seemed to be any reluctance from the subject or pressure from the newspaper. SarahSV (talk) 18:35, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Proposal to change the wording to reduce ambiguity[edit]

  • May I propose different wordings since the general consensus appears - to me - to be that the policy's wording is somewhat vague as to what it is prohibiting? (How much that is due to people confusing writing styles and publishers is up for debate but besides the point. Or as a user might put it "a red herring".)
  1. Writing style - Change to specifically state "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is to journalism written in a tabloid or sensationalist style" per the current link provided in the policy and several comments concerning the use of the guideline Identifying reliable sources, and by implication the policy section Verifiability#Reliable sources that links to the aforementioned guideline for further clarification.
  2. Publisher of news - Change to specifically state "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is to tabloid-style publishers, e.g. The Sun, The National Enquirer, etc. per above comments and sentiments.
  3. Both - Change to specifically state "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is to journalism written in a tabloid or sensationalist style, nor when the only sourcing is to tabloid-style publishers, e.g. The Sun, The National Enquirer, etc. per combination of both options.
Cheers, Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 00:57, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
There are tabloids whose "news" is very dubious but whose sport is quite accurate. Papers who I would trust as to which sportsperson scored a goal in which match but which I would not want us to cite as to who dated whom or who the current suspect is in a courtcase. That's why the policy does not preclude any use of tabloids that have reliable an unreliable sections in their publication. ϢereSpielChequers 15:08, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

I have a better proposal to avoid the artificial ambiguity (nobody in their mind was going to classify sources according to their paper XY dimensions):

  • Do not use references to sources written in tabloid style, in particular, in publications commonly criticized for their tabloid style. Explanation: tabloid style means lack of truthworthiness based on past experience. Please notice that in this respect "only sourcing" clause is redundant and detrimental. If there are good sources we don't need tabloid, even if tabloid may give more detail. There is no reason to trust these detail. Wikipedia is the gateway to information digging. I don't want this gateway to be a wormhole to compromised data. Staszek Lem (talk) 04:18, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
  • vague is actually good there is no specific definition of this issue - unless you just do not add any content from the sun or the mail or the mirror or the star.... I can easily support that.... then.. if you think you have a valuable addition and can get consensus for it and specifically attribute it to the tabloid single unsupported claim then go for it - it has little to worthless value when clearly stated as such anyway. Just to add, I don't support any change to this policy - it is clear enough already, abusers should be fingered out as has happened here - I totally agree with all the warnings given by admin User:John to user:Snowded - Govindaharihari (talk) 04:58, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Umm, just for the record I didn't add any material to the article in question. John removed long standing material in an article subject to regular vandalism by supporters of the right wing party in question. He was simply removing material because it was in a tabloid citing policy incorrectly (see above discussion where there is no clear consensus for his interpretation) and refused to engage in any discussion on the topic other than to remove the material again and issue block warnings. In practice nearly all of it was reinstated with different sourcing so the material itself was fine. I note that when he took it to ANI demanding I be admonished that no one took up any blunt instrument to do so. That point made, I think it is pretty self evident that vague is not good and I like the proposal from Drcrazy it makes sense and the Staszek Lem variation could be an addition/variation to it. ----Snowded TALK 06:27, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Umm, in this case vague is very good and required. The content was disputed and removed as poorly sourced, the fact that most of it was replaced with much improved reporting is only good for the project.If I had a blunt instrument I would have used it on you User:Snowded for repeatedly attempting to force it back in with the same crap sourcing. Govindaharihari (talk) 14:46, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Content was not disputed By John, try and get your facts right he simply rejected it based on his assumption that tabloid journalism means anything in a a tabloid. That interpretation does not have consensus hence the clear need to a clarification. The idea that vague policies are desirable so that editors can wander about with blunt instruments is a rather amusing proposition on the 15th Anniversary. ----Snowded TALK 15:27, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
There is no need at all for any clarification, if content is removed as tabloid then seek consensus on the talk page as to its quality and value to the article. I disagree completely that any changes are needed to wp:policy and guidelines to resolve such as this, there can be and needs to be no "set in stone" position on this, no set guideline, after the removal instead of attempting to force it back in discussion should have started sooner that was all that was required. Govindaharihari (talk) 19:29, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Avoid all sources where the tenor of the exact source given is in any way sensationalist, dependent on anonymous sources, or makes allegations of criminal acts.
Basically since I have found no really "reliable sources" for "celebrity gossip", and almost all sources use "press releases" which may, themselves, be poorly worded for purposes of Wikipedia "statements of fact." And avoid the ambiguous term "tabloid" as many are now online sources where the term relating to page size is totally irrelevant. Collect (talk) 18:45, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Fully in agreement with User:Collects cautious position above. Govindaharihari (talk) 15:24, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
So perhaps change "tabloid" to "sensationalism/sensationalist" then, Collect? Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum (No idea what time)
  • IMO your suggestion misses the point of the discussed item. Please let me remind you that "a source" means any of "publisher"/"author"/"text". AFAIU, the goal of the discussed item is to by default exclude the whole "publisher" based on its previous history of disrepute (sensation rather than fact finding). "By default" means that if one can reasonably prove that a particular publication by a suspicious magazine is based on solid research, then we accept it. On the contrary, for a reputable publisher, by default we accept a publication as a ref, unless it is reasonably proved that the publication is in error. Staszek Lem (talk) 00:31, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Also, this suggestion is basically WP:RS+WP:NPOV regardless BLP . Staszek Lem (talk) 00:31, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
You seem to have misunderstood what a source is. A source is not a publisher; a source is not an author; a source is a piece of data, communicated in either textual or visual media that is referenced to a publisher and author (when applicable). We are not discussing the publisher, we are discussing the data, the source, the articles themselves. If the community consensus is that we should change to exclude publishers, fine - but at the moment we have severely ambiguous comments discussing both article/source and publisher as being one and the same when they are different things (related, yes, but still different). Doctor Crazy in Room 102 of The Mental Asylum 06:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Please don't confuse a dictionary definition with a "legal" concept. For the purposes of Wikipedia, a source is what I said. When discussing Wikipedia policies, to avoid bickering about words, please be very familiar with Wikipedia slang. In particular, see Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources#Definition of a source. Also Wikipedia:Glossary may be handy. Staszek Lem (talk) 20:11, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
  • I think that this is a constructive change. I would add a reference to "publications with a clear bias impacting upon the subject of the article." Coretheapple (talk) 18:14, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • Oppose the suggestions above, which would introduce more problems. The sentence seems clear enough as it is. For the most part we do know what tabloid journalism is. SarahSV (talk) 18:29, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

amended BLPCRIME[edit]

I tried to tighten the language there, and made "generally not" rather than "seriously consider not" as the main substantive change. I also took the lengthy footnote for "conviction" and placed it in the body as it is quite short either way, and too many folks do not ever look at the footnote. I agree with Jehochman's position on making the language as straightforward as possible. Collect (talk) 15:23, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Thank you. To promote understanding it is very helpful to use controlled vocabulary. We should use words that are already defined on the page and in the encyclopedia, rather than creating new turns of phrase. Jehochman Talk 15:55, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
The tighter language is fine. But the substantive change should happen via discussion and consensus. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 16:01, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
What "substantive change" do you see? Collect (talk) 17:08, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
If you can't see it, you shouldn't be doing it. But perhaps you do see it, as per your section below. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 20:34, 21 January 2016 (UTC)
Huh? Snark does not impress me here, but I am sure you have your reasons for it. When we tell someone to "seriously consider doing something" that is pretty much the same as saying that he or she "generally should do it." Clearly your mileage varies. Collect (talk) 22:27, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

proposal as requested[edit]

That the BLPCRIME section be changed to:

A living person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and convicted by a court of law. For subjects who are not public figures, editors must generally not include material in any article suggesting that the person has committed, or is accused of committing, a crime unless a conviction is secured. Generally, a conviction is secured through court or magisterial proceedings. Allegations, accusations, investigations, and arrests on suspicion of involvement are not a conviction. WP:BLPCRIME applies to individuals not covered by WP:WELLKNOWN. If different judicial proceedings result in seemingly contradictory judgements that do not override each other,<ref name="Contradictory judgements">An example of this situation is the [[O. J. Simpson murder case]], where the former footballer [[O. J. Simpson]] was acquitted in 1995 of the crime of murdering [[Nicole Brown Simpson]] and [[Ronald Goldman]], but was found liable of their [[wrongful death]] in a civil trial two years later.</ref> include all the explanatory information.

From the current:

A living person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and convicted by a court of law. For subjects who are not public figures, editors must seriously consider not including material in any article suggesting that the person has committed, or is accused of committing, a crime unless a conviction is secured. Generally, a conviction is secured through court or magisterial proceedings. Allegations, accusations, investigations, and arrests on suspicion of involvement are not a conviction. WP:BLPCRIME applies to individuals who are not covered by WP:WELLKNOWN. If different judicial proceedings result in seemingly contradictory judgments that do not override each other,<ref name="Contradictory judgments">An example of this situation is the [[O. J. Simpson murder case]], where the former footballer [[O. J. Simpson]] was acquitted in 1995 of the crime of murdering [[Nicole Brown Simpson]] and [[Ronald Goldman]], but was found liable of their [[wrongful death]] in a civil trial two years later.</ref> include all the explanatory information.

There are no substantive changes. The most major difference is using "generally not" instead of "seriously consider not" which I find to be, at best, vague. The second change is removal of "who are" before "not covered by". Any issues? Collect (talk) 17:07, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

This change is substantive. "Generally not do x" is different to "seriously consider not do x". Stickee (talk) 22:33, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

pen name/alias.[edit]

If one person used different pen name or alias in different places and there exist verifiable source to say both pen names are referring to a single person, then:

  1. If things done by the person under both alias have separately become notable enough and people have written an Wikipedia article for both pen names, should both articles be merged? If they should be merged then assume similar notability for both alias, which should be merhe to which (in case the person's real name is not revealed or is not as notable as their alias)? Assuming they should not be merge, to what extent should info being reused among both article? What if the person in question refuse to admit any linkage between both alias even when there are verifiable content confirm their linkage?
  2. If the source is verifiable only via unauthorized channel, for instance their employers carelessly published those info in question and being recorded by other reliable sourve, what should be done?
  3. If various different reliable source claim a certain alias is used by a certain people, but the one in question deny any link between that identity and themselves, or claim the identity is "actually created by an AI run within my computer" despite all other sources exist, how should the article for the person present this info?
  4. If someone created some adult material under some alias, and by public-repeatable forensic mean, netizen found out the actual identity of the materials' creator and received some coverage on things like tabloid. Should info about the alias be included in the person theirselves' article, or if the alias itself is notable enough should the info about the real identity of the alias be included in the alias' article?
  5. If there are no reliable source showing two different alias refer to a same person, but one day a certain person is introduced with alias A in a certain public event or TV program, and after a while that guy is reintroduced under the alias B, how should the information being treated in wikipedia articles?
  6. If a certain work have been re-released, but the re-released content include a credit list different from the original version. Should those name change be seen as an confirmation for both names (in old versus new version of the work) refer to same person? How about if there exist an public statement about there are no staff change? What if there are no such public statement about the rereleased version are created by same group of people but it have been noted that the relevant cobtent are not changed?

C933103 (talk) 15:32, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

Several questions depend on the actual case at hand. If a person has written under multiple pen names, in general each pen name is made a redirect to the actual author. There are cases where individual pen names are used by multiple authors, and in those cases, the multiple authors, if not separately notable, may end up being redirects to the pen name. There are also cases where the pen names used by a single author achieve specific notability otherwise, and so on. Stephen King shows how this is usually handled for the first case, Ellery Queen for the second. Collect (talk) 16:56, 23 January 2016 (UTC)
For instance, an Japanese illustrator ja:BUNBUN (イラストレーター) claim ja:abec is another young girl illustrator living close to her, with multiple sources following suit. But on the other hand, a few formal publication and sources show that abec is just a pen name for BUNBUN (or rather, BUNBUN being a pen name for abec). If their article exist in English Wikipedia, should their article be merged in this case?C933103 (talk) 19:44, 28 January 2016 (UTC)
In the specific case - is the identity confirmed by strong reliable sources as a statement of fact (noting very few fansites come within a mile of meeting WP:RS)? In short - the most likely answer is "no". Collect (talk) 21:23, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Image size discussion at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Images[edit]

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Images#Fixing images below the default size. A WP:Permalink for it is here. The discussion concerns whether or not we should keep the following wording: "As a general rule, images should not be set to a larger fixed size than the 220px default (users can adjust this in their preferences). If an exception to the general rule is warranted, forcing an image size to be either larger or smaller than the 220px default is done by placing a parameter in the image coding." The latest aspect of the discussion is the 1.4 Amended proposal (2A) subsection. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 07:12, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

This discussion has progressed to a WP:RfC: Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Images#RfC: Should the guideline maintain the "As a general rule" wording or something similar?. A WP:Permalink is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 21:51, 25 January 2016 (UTC)

List of supercouples move discussion[edit]

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Talk:List of supercouples#Requested move: Move back to List of fictional supercouples. A WP:Permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 02:19, 28 January 2016 (UTC)

Just to be clear: This move discussion concerns whether or not real-life people should be on the list. If you really have no problem with the list reverting back to how it was years ago (the inclusion of real-life people), then (going by the current lean of the move discussion) there is no need to comment. If you do have a problem with it, then now is the time to comment. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:29, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

WP:PARITY is allowing violation of basic Wikipedia policies[edit]

In discussions like this one, the WP:PARITY section of the guideline gives some editors the sense that if they declare that they think an article's subject is "fringe" then they are free to use whatever sources they want to criticize the subject, and that they are not subject to WP:RS and WP:NPOV. I find this to be a problem with this guideline. Many are using it as a loophole and it's being used to make many biographies of living persons into undue attack pieces in violation of WP:BLP as well as distorting many non-BLP articles. SageRad (talk) 14:17, 30 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree, I don't see why this would mean that BLPs are not subject to BLP guidelines Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 15:00, 30 January 2016 (UTC)
That's a longish section—please give a clue so any problematic text can be found. The discussion starts by considering whether there is evidence that a vegan diet helps prevent cancer, and it's very hard to imagine how that could be a BLP problem. It's also hard to imagine the answer to the question being other than a very firm no. If the subject of the article is known for promoting a view to the contrary, it is the duty of a neutral encyclopedic article to mention the gap between that and reality. To do otherwise would be to mislead the reader. Of course BLPs are subject to the BLP policy, but text can accurately describe what a subject does or believes while mentioning mainstream views in a way that is not a BLP problem. Johnuniq (talk) 06:45, 31 January 2016 (UTC)


I am seeing multiple editors citing our "the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief in question" clause as evidence that a brief mention in a primary source such as a press packet is all that is required to put a religion into the "religion = " field of an infobox. Should we make it so that WP:BLPCAT mentions that it is also required that religion be in the body of the article supported by reliable secondary sources and that we not give undue weight to a person's religion when it is a minor part of her/his life? I am not saying that we definitely should do that; I am just asking if we should. --Guy Macon (talk) 17:29, 4 February 2016 (UTC)

Any such attribute which is not clearly "self-identified" should not be used - but that is not exactly the same as saying "any attribute which one can find a sign of self-identification for must be used." If an attribute has no rational association with the person's notability, and does not have outside sources making the claim that it is a notable characteristic for the person, should be deprecated. IMO, of course. Collect (talk) 20:14, 4 February 2016 (UTC)