Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/Archive 21

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Yip Pin Xiu: Date and place of birth of a minor?

Hi, we'd like some views on an issue that has arisen over at "Yip Pin Xiu". Yip is a Singaporean swimmer who won the country's first Paralympic gold medal at the 2008 Summer Paralympics. She is currently 16 years old and thus a minor. Would WP:BLP be breached if her full date of birth and place of birth are stated in the article? The information is already in the public domain on the official Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games website. By virtue of her Paralympic win, she is also clearly a notable person. Please post comments at Talk:Yip Pin Xiu#Date and place of birth; name in Chinese characters. Thanks very much. — Cheers, JackLee talk 15:27, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

This BLP dispute between Jacklee and I has lasted over a week. Until it is resolved, I will have difficulty improving Yip Pin Xiu to GA status. Both of us do not really understand BLP and are thus going in circles. We certainly need the input of several editors who are familiar with BLP to help us resolve the dispute. By the way, the dispute is over the inclusion of her Chinese name and date of birth, not just the latter. --J.L.W.S. The Special One (talk) 12:33, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

OTRS used to stifle info on legal action vs. David Abrahams (Labour party donor)??

I have asked for a review of this OTRS on the grounds below (first time I've dealt with one, FYI). I think this OTRS redirect is a dangerous precedent meant to censor information about a notable person. As this article shows, Abrahams may yet face prosecution. This is what I put on Jayjg's talk page, and OTRS review-related page, and the Abrahams talk page:

At this diff User:Jayjg created a REDIRECT of David Abrahams (Labour party donor) to 2007 Labour party donation scandal noting (per WP:BLP1E and WP:OTRS ticket 2008030910010087 . Take both seriously)
I have a big problem with this for a number of reasons:
  • David Abrahams has been the subject of hundreds of articles because of his involvement in 2007 Labour party donation scandal but he also is a wealthy business man with others stories past and future about him. There were at least six stories about him found through NEWS.GOOGLE just today (12/11/08) (and several hundred that may have mentioned him linked below one of them). One is about an ongoing investigation of him which may result in prosecution. So WP:BLP1E hardly applies.
  • What could the OTRS be? He's threatening to sue wikipedia because that's the "only" notable incident in his life?
  • A quick look at the article's history also shows little editing activity, so I doubt libelous vandalism is a problem and if it was, this is not a solution.
Removed Jayjg comment on request; he was not the OTRS volunteer in question. CarolMooreDC (talk) 22:06, 11 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Editorialising much, with that section title? Fact is, he is not famous. He is not even notorious. In as much as his name is known it is for donorgate, and I speak as a paid-up card-carrying Brit. The age of the proposed sources says it all; he was obscure before donorgate and is obscure again now. Sure, we have an election coming, and it's great sport to document every last little skeleton in the outgoing government's closet, but the fact is that this is a living individual who is simply not well known as anything other than a player in a single (now stale) news story. Guy (Help!) 00:02, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

Carol I would suggest you just discuss this with Jay. If you don't feel convinced by his answer or he isn't willing to provide a rationale, then you can probably bring it up at BLP/N or revert his change and require it be justified on the talk page. We give wide latitude to subject requests for deletion but that doesn't extend to discussion free deletions of otherwise (maybe) notable subjects. Another possible solution is to ask Jay if he is amenable to simply listing the article at AfD. Protonk (talk) 02:33, 12 December 2008 (UTC)

The greater question is "Is there any notable fact about David Abraham's life that needs documenting beyond what can be covered in the 2007 Labour party donation scandal?" The very name of the article would seem to indicate otherwise. The fact that he gets mentioned in passing in an occasional news article before the scandal does not definitivly proove that he needs seperate recognition at Wikipedia. Near as I can tell, anything that needs to be said can be said at the 2007 Labour party donation scandal article, and given that standard Wikipedia practice is for marginally notable people, especially if there is a valid request to take down their article, we find a way to work with them. This is per both established precedent, and per royal decree. The redirect seems perfectly reasonable here... 02:53, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely. But insofar as Carol has presented a good faith challenge to the argument that he isn't marginally notable, that should be acknowledged. A redirect is perfectly acceptable. But we have to also assume that reverting that redirect (assuming the rationale was valid and made in good faith) is also an acceptable editorial path. If we want to protect the redirect at the request of the subject or from some privileged communication, then I think it becomes a community matter, much like if we had chosen to delete the article at the request of the subject. I'm not suggesting that we be intransigent or we run bio subjects through the ringer every time. Just that we address concerns as the crop up. Protonk (talk) 03:05, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I think Protonk shows good sense here, although I think this discussion is premature if Carol hasn't already taken this up with the OTRS respondent.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 15:16, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
OK. First, I get confused on sometimes on how much and where to complain about POV so maybe that paragraph on Jayjg's POV belongs on Wikipedia:NPOVN not here.
Second, I did bring it to OTRS which said Jayjg isn't an OTRS editor and said it should be brought to the Administrator's Noticeboard. So I guess that's what I should do officially.
Third, I think this is a concern for this article's talk page because it looked to me like a pattern, one supported by a number of editors. Jayjg did use deletion to get rid of Benjamin_M._Emanuel twice, over objections of others, bringing a lot of negative attention from various bloggers for wikipedia deleting someone who had had an article for a while, right after his son Rahm Emanuel becomes Obama's chief of staff AND Benjamin get's worldwide media attention for a smear against Arabs which his son had to apologize for. Generally speaking, I realize some individuals may not want the bad deeds of their political/religious/ethnic/nationalist compatriots publicized on wikipedia, but redirecting or deleting such articles alleging they only are notable on one account (even if there are indeed a number of other less notable things WP:RS have reported on them doing) is the essence of WP:COI and WP:POV which we are supposed to contest as good editors. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:53, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
I think we have to live with the fact that some people are going to be more media savvy than others. Rahm Emanuel can probably hire someone to find Wikipedia's OTRS system while John Q. Nobody can't (most subject requests for deletion come in the form of page blanking by a new account or IP). I think we should just assume good faith and proceed from there. If you see some action taken that doesn't seem to be proper and you think community input is needed, start it. But I don't think you are going to change the general idea that a subject may request deletion of his or her biography. I hope that OTRS volunteers and administrators are not summarily deleted biographies on request, but I don't know the answer to that. Protonk (talk) 19:26, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
There is no consensus for under what circumstances we allow subject requests to override. Issues like this one should go through AfD. It won't kill to do that. JoshuaZ (talk) 19:35, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
If he's the third largest donor to the Labour party, to the tune of over half a million pounds, that makes his attitudes and background notable, regardless of any wrongdoing (alleged or otherwise). Even if he wasn't involved in a scandal, we should have an article on him. Of course the article needs to be squeaky clean re BLP; but no way should it be disappeared without discussion. Jheald (talk) 21:45, 12 December 2008 (UTC)
Volunteer OTRS editor Response on redirection of David Abrahams to 2007 Labour party donation scandal.
  • The actual OTRS volunteer finally was identified and is defending his redirection of David Abrahams (Labour party donor) to 2007 Labour party donation scandal. Here's the link for those who choose to read the whole story. The volunteer did admit that Abrahams’ attorneys asked for the article to be taken down and he is very litigious.
  • For those who don’t choose to go to the link, the editor's bottom line explanation: In this case the controversial deeds appear to me to be sufficiently similar or homogeneous as to permit of coverage as deeds, without the compelling need for an overarching biographical article to tie them together.
  • My response noting that 2007 Labour party donation scandal is not the only thing he’s gotten media attention for, including: Being elected to one office; not being elected to another office because of an exposed hidden life; having major positions in high profile and/or influential organizations, some of which seek to influence British domestic and foreign policy; the (earlier) 2005 secret donations to the Labour Party (which influenced his getting a land deal); and the whole Donorgate situation which may lead to his being prosecuted and at least heavily fined. All discussed by a variety of WP:RS and just one search showed there are dozens more sources, many of which probably would back up these or new aspects of his life.
  • Also I note that the 2007 Labour Party scandal article is almost entirely about Abrahams donations and their aftermath, and is not as well sourced as the biographical article. CarolMooreDC (talk) 02:08, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I don't think you are going to get the "blessing" of this noticeboard to revert his change, but you don't really need it. If you disagree with his actions (which are just editorial actions), revert them, explain why, and ensure that the article meets WP:BLP. If, when you have restored the article, concerns still exist (which there very well may be), you can take it to AfD to see if a consensus of editors would agree to redirect it (given that the subject has requested it). Protonk (talk) 04:37, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
The problem is that first Jayjg redirected it leaving scary edit summary "per WP:BLP1E and WP:OTRS ticket 2008030910010087 Take both seriously." and he's a big admin. Then JzG, the OTRS volunteer in charge of the ticket protected it, evidently with no option to edit for "Excessive violations of the biographies of living persons policy" even though the [ last version of bio was better WP:RS than most - and than the article it is redirect too!] Just embarrassing to the litigious high profile millionaire it's about. Of course, if that's wiki policy, who am I to complain?? So I guess going to the Administrator's Noticeboard is the solution? CarolMooreDC (talk) 17:34, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
(ec)Oh, sorry carol, I noticed the first edit summary, but not the protection. Yeah, I would bring it up at AN or BLPN (not ANI). Protonk (talk) 18:38, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Either that or WP:BLPN.--Aervanath lives in the Orphanage 18:34, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
It also significantly concerns me that JzG protected this after being involved in editing/redirecting it, especially when a previous AfD which specifically addressed the putative BLP issue was a near-unanimous keep. I think this needs to go to AfD, especially given that previous and crystal-clear consensus, not be summarily removed and then protected under threat despite consensus. It's about time for OTRS to quit confusing themselves with the office. Seraphimblade Talk to me 19:29, 13 December 2008 (UTC)
Ok. I didn't know there was a previous AfD. That really makes this action not ok. JoshuaZ (talk) 23:08, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm not familiar with the person or scandal but if it's the only thing that he's noted for then I don't see why the information should not be contained within the article on the event per WP:BLP1E. If there's argument about it, then another AfD does seem appropriate. DoubleBlue (talk) 21:49, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Carol, your fourth point is an irrelevant personal attack; please remove it. Comment on content, not on the contributor. Jayjg (talk) 01:08, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

  • Removed Comment...
  • I didn't even know there was a previous AfD with overwhelming "keep" votes. And it happened evidently before Abrahams' attorneys contacted OTRS with original ticket in March (see above). So some editors already were trying to get rid of his article. Some of the same people who supported deletion of long standing Benjamin_M.Emanuel, including after he became world (in)famous this November. Coincidence or an ongoing pattern? I really don't see the need for another AfD, unless that's typical in such cases.
  • To me the only legitimate issue is if this millionaire really might sue and drive Wikipedia into bankruptcy. Obviously more fundraising for wikipedia's legal fund is the response to that kind of threat. Or at least Electronic Frontier Foundation which helps Wikipedia with these kind of suits! So get out those debit/credit cards. (And remember any individual can get sued if defame someone in article or wikipedia talk.)
  • Additionally, for those who may not know, in early 2008 the WP:Arbitration Committee issued a unanimous statement to remind editors on Israeli-Palestinian topics to comply with policy and remember Wikipedia's goals and upgraded the sanctions on the issue. Read the full "discretionary sanctions" statement here. And see Wikipedia:WikiProject Israel Palestine Collaboration pages which have been recently reorganized as first step to making project work better. CarolMooreDC (talk) 01:23, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Your point re: the AfD is an irrelevant conspiratorial comment on contributors, not on content. Stop doing this please. Your final comment is relevant only for you; you should take heed of that warning, but stop irrelevantly mentioning it to other editors. Jayjg (talk) 05:18, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Carol, Could we not have conspiracy mongering please? Making claims about the motivations of other editors is really not helpful. This should be put up for AfD but that has absolutely nothing to do with any POV connected to the individual in question. JoshuaZ (talk) 19:24, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Agreed, I think we need to get back on topic here. How are we going to address this issue? My own thought, given the previous AfD, is that we need to restore and if desired send to AfD to see if consensus has changed. Carol, kindly stay on the topic of the article and do not assume the worst about other editors. I don't think there's any vast conspiracy here, believe me, Wikipedians disagree on things every day, no conspiracy needed. However, I do believe the situation may need to be handled differently, especially given previous consensus the article should remain. Seraphimblade Talk to me 21:02, 14 December 2008 (UTC)
Struck connection between articles; remind us where one can draw these - only in complaints to administrators or discussion of such complaints? I had been reading a few of those just before posting that and was in that head. Anyway, the reaction seems overblown, otherwise why would there be whole articles on things like WP:sock and WP:canvass. One can never stop learning about wikipedia processes; such a challenge. Luckily WP:convass has a nice chart to tell me how much one can advertise that there is an AfD ;-) CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:13, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Speaking of conspiracies in any kind of deleting or editing, which seems to be a no no, someone wrote this Wikipedia essay Wikipedia:Cabals are evil which you all might want to opine on or even AfD, since it could get people in even more trouble, since it's easy to misunderstand and think anything that says "Wikipedia:" before it is a policy! 14:58, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Was there a page listing total number of unreferenced BLPs?

I seem to remember a page with this summary on it, but I can't find it now...does anyone recall seeing it and can point me in right direction? Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:54, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

User:Messedrocker/Unreferenced BLPs (outdated). — CharlotteWebb 19:08, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
How about ones that might have two references but otherwise unreferenced? I just cleaned out hundreds of words of unsourced adhominen against a deceased individual yesterday, but left in the one sourced negative paragraph and specific easily sourced neutral or positive things, which also might not be true. Not an article I want to work on otherwise, but still makes bios look unprofessional. CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:45, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
I suppose a request at Wikipedia:Database reports‎ could be made to do a run for this sort of thing. MBisanz talk 21:51, 15 December 2008 (UTC)
Good idea. I was thinking of a monthly status to go in the signpost or something. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 11:14, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
For tagged ones, there is Category:All unreferenced BLPs. These are all tagged manually, it is not an automated process, and it is still rather new, so it is very incomplete (over halfof them are tagged this month). I try to add only those that are completely unreferenced. There is also Category:BLP articles lacking sources, which should be for pages with some but not sufficient sources. Fram (talk) 12:47, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
A while ago, I posted some statistics to User talk:Doc glasgow/The BLP problem#Statistics, based on data from March. I can re-run the report with data from October if needed. --B. Wolterding (talk) 14:53, 16 December 2008 (UTC)
From my current experience, in stub BLP articles, for every unsourced BLP that was previously tagged as unreferenced, needing refs, and so on, there are 6 that didn't have such a tag yet. So the number of unreferenced BLPs is actually much larger than what your statistics (useful as they are) can indicate. I hope that the problem will be less severe once I move beyond stubs, but that will not be very soon. Fram (talk) 12:42, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
More discussion here. Ultimately, I was thinking of just noting the tally of tags (along with a request for folks to get stuck into a few) every two weeks on the Signpost to get things started. Measuring tags is a concrete way to get started anyway. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 14:17, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Protecting BLP articles feeler survey

FYI, based on a conversation on Jimmy Wales's talk page:

Your feedback is appreciated. rootology (C)(T) 19:27, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

request to clarify policy

I am an editor to the John Silber article. There is an emerging edit war going on when one of my fellow editors are debating whether the sources listed are legitimate. The sources here include The Village Voice, NYT, BU press release (from official BU press office web site) and letters to the school newspaper written by Silber himself. To me these are all legitimate sources and therefore valid for inclusion and my suspicion is that someone is trying to whitewash some unsavory aspect of Silber's views. I would like some advise if available. --Bud (talk) 05:49, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Without looking deeper than the question. Letters from the subject himself are primary sources. They can be quoted to support and flesh out paragraphs about what he said or claims, but do not verify the claims. They should be used sparingly. Where reliable 3rd party sources exist, those should have precedence. Dlohcierekim 04:36, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
The free press links in the article now give me a 404 error. Dlohcierekim 04:38, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
The discussion might benefit from input from editors active at "Wikipedia:Citing sources" and "Wikipedia:Verifiability". Someone might want to post notices at the talk pages of those guidelines to draw attention to this discussion. — Cheers, JackLee talk 05:08, 19 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for noticing. I will try to fix the DFP links. --Bud (talk) 09:42, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Template talk:BLPunsourced

On this talk page, I have been accused of making a sneaky template which does a sneak attack, because it adds the category Living people to all tagged BLPs. I'm quite baffled by this accusation, because I am unaware of any pages where the tag did any harm wrt this cat, and a lot where it improved things. Since the people hare are involved with the cat Living people and so on, I would appreciate some third (fourth, ...) opinions on this, pointing me to actual problems I may have missed, and perhaps improving the template where possible. Fram (talk) 22:00, 19 December 2008 (UTC)

Maybe I'm just too sleepy, but I think I like it. Not clear on what the problem is, but discussion is always good. Dlohcierekim 01:02, 21 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks, I'll see if any more discussion is forthcoming. Fram (talk) 13:41, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

Redundant confusing sentence

I have tried to remove the bolded [my bold] sentence in this assertion: Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material about living persons — whether the material is negative, positive, or just questionable — should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion, from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space. This is confusing as questionable assertions are quite clearly ok on other pages (such as stating a personal possesses a bias) in a way they aren't on articles. There's simply no question the standards are different here (as the policy page states). Essentially, if interpreted literally, it would be anyone was free to remove anything anyone said about a living person (such as the author of a source or another user) on a talk page as long as it was "questionable" (doubtful in truth-value) or unsourced, which would be ridiculous. This sentence is just tacked on in any case ... people are generally not in the habit of referencing their assertions on talk pages. The sentence in any case carries [the potential of having] the same meaning in any case, and doesn't need to be confusing by adding this redundant and potentially over-interpretable from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space. This badly thought out addition was only added in March, so is not as one of the reverters claimed "long-term policy". Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 03:54, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm open to alternative wording, but strongly opposed to removal. Often people with an axe to grind know they can't get away with defaming a person in an article, so they use talk pages to attack them. People should not be free to use Wikipedia to start unfounded rumours of peoples. Even if the rumours don't make it to the article, they cause harm. We don't need or want people saying stuff like "Why doesn't the article mention Mr. X's child sex conviction" without a source. We need a source, but on the talk page, it doesn't have to be in the form of a standardized footnote. Anyway, I would welcome some proposed new wording, that differentiates non-article pages, while still preventing inappropriate material going there. --Rob (talk) 05:57, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
Read the section Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Non-article space. WAS 4.250 (talk) 11:20, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
The section on non-article space Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Non-article space already covers it, and this section can be expanded. There is no need to state carelessly that the principles are exactly the same [in what would be a redundant sentence], committing to eternal exact correspondence, when elsewhere on the page anyway it is made clear that the principles are different. This is simply not logical. Be it noted that this redundant sentence being removed is not by any means saying the rules on libel etc are more lax, so I also don't see why there'd be concern about. Deacon of Pndapetzim (Talk) 13:25, 22 December 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Deacon. "What about Mr. X's conviction", asked in good faith, is an appropriate question to ask on a talk page. Inserting the silly overreaching sentence essentially instructs us to remove that question, no questions asked. That is contrary to the spirit and the purpose of the talk page. In most cases, we are also not supposed to edit other's comments, and such a question wouldn't rise to that occasion in my view. Reswobslc (talk) 23:10, 22 December 2008 (UTC)

OK, how about carrots instead of sticks?

A contest to improve referencing on BLPs like ---> ta-daaaa this one. Cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 13:34, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

After deletion?

I propose to revise "after" to "before". Because BLP-violated revision should be deleted permamently. If admins find BLP-violated material, move XXX to "XXX/del (number or date)" and delete it and revert moving, and restore. It can be efficient to remove material permamantly. Simply,

Find → move "XXX" to "XXX/delete" → Revision delete (delete problematic revision and restore stable revision) → move "XXX/delete" to "XXX".

In fact, in kowp, RevisionDeletion is common. I think making {{revdelete-blp}} will be good.--Kwj2772 (talk) 03:54, 27 December 2008 (UTC)


Organisations such as companies have a legal personality and laws regarding defamation include them too. This page does not make it clear whether this policy covers them too. Is this covered elsewhere or do we need to add a section clarifying this aspect? Colonel Warden (talk) 13:08, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

This policy only covers actual living human beings. We have a seperate policy on Wikipedia:Libel. WAS 4.250 (talk) 15:01, 27 December 2008 (UTC)

Conflict of interest guidelines

I'm trying to get the conflict of interest guidelines rewritten to be clearer in terms of what is allowable from people with conflicts of interest. At the moment they seem to allow most edits, but there are also several parts saying COI editing is strongly discouraged. It is not clear whether COI editing is generally unacceptable or only when it results in bad edits. I have written a proposed revision of the guidelines, but because of my own conflict of interest I really don't want to make any kind of change without consensus. Since obviously BLP and COI are fairly closely connected, people who monitor this should put forward their thoughts at User talk:Helenalex/coirewrite or on the conflict of interest guidelines talkpage. --Helenalex (talk) 05:36, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

It would be easier to advise you on your proposed business than to get people to reform the COI guideline. It's ambiguous, and people seem to like it that way! I assume you've taken a look at Wikipedia:FAQ/Organization. Do any of the concerns listed there seem likely to limit what you can do in your proposed business? It makes a big difference how transparent you intend to be, and what you have said already is a good start. I can't see your work being approved unless you can provide a channel for us to pass questions to the company hiring you, and their identity should be in the open. You'd need to establish that you had been given the rights to any material from the company that would go into WP. A better place to ask the question on your business may be over at WP:COIN. If you think you can't make progress without changing the guideline, the place to propose that is WT:COI. If you Google search for MyWikiBiz you may get some ideas of what can go wrong with this sort of business, which is not to say you couldn't make a go of it. See also our own article on MyWikiBiz. EdJohnston (talk) 06:17, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Images used under fair use

What does policy say about sing copywrighted images under fair use to illustrate a living person? DFS454 (talk) 10:46, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Only allowed if the image passes the Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria which are more stricter than the legal term fair use. Garion96 (talk) 11:04, 1 January 2009 (UTC)

Straw poll on 'trial' implementation of FlaggedRevisions

The discussion on the implementation of a 'trial' configuration of FlaggedRevisions on has now reached the 'straw poll' stage. All editors are invited to read the proposal and discussion and to participate in the straw poll. Happymelon 18:07, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

What is the policy on the deceased?

I just reverted a whole page of re-inserted libelous and irrelevant unsourced material and gave someone a big lecture on WP:BLP. And then I remembered - oops, the guy is dead!! It would be helpful if this article could have a short sentence or section on what the policy is for deceased. Or link to that policy if it is elsewhere. I assume it is the same as any other article. But if one can/should more quickly delete/revert controversial/libelous material and if one can use the various templates on the top of the page, that should be made explicit. Thanks!! CarolMooreDC (talk) 01:42, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

A splendid case where WP "policy" and "real life" intersect. Now, were I king, I would change BLP to include any "modern person biography" as opposed to "really dead a long time ago biography" to solve this problem. Collect (talk) 02:29, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
Dead people are covered by the same policies, including WP:V and WP:NPOV, as all other article besides living people. But WP:BLP only applies to living people. Repeated efforts to broaden that policy to apply to non-living people have been rebuffed. In part, that's to maintain the special status of living people. It might be worthwhile to note that, even in the articles of dead people, references to living people (friends, family, etc.) are still covered by the policy. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 02:38, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
As I said - I would extend coverage of BLP and not rely on just WP:V (which is an extraordinarily wide avenue to insert defamation through) and WP:NPOV which is honored more in its absence on controversial people than any other guideline. Perahps WP is better off that my opinion is not the current guideline <g>. Collect (talk) 02:41, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
You can't defame dead people.[1] ·:· Will Beback ·:· 02:47, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
An interesting claim. Depends on the state or nation, to be sure. [2] [3] notes that defamation of dead persons is an offense in 20 states. See also [4] Specifically Florida law provides that a defamation lawsuuit, for example, survives the death of the plaintiff. (rad all the article - it is interesting). Absolute statements tend to be wrong <g>. Collect (talk) 03:32, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
If that's true, then looks like we need to make it part of policy. Does attorney have to be consulted first? I know very well known people have control of their "images" and perhaps their heirs could sue over libel on those grounds as well, and those are people most likely to get bad edits. Any proposals for revised language? CarolMooreDC (talk) 22:51, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

WP tends to be pragmatic and not dogmatic on policies -- were I king, as I noted above, I would probably err on the side of caution with regard to any defamatory material. Collect (talk) 02:46, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

The present godking mandated the current WP:BLP policy. Anyway, I'd object to extending the policy on living people to cover dead people as well, unless we're also going to make it the general policy for all articles. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 03:38, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
First, I don't get the godking joke. And I was serious about merely asking attorneys if there are laws making a basis for lawsuits on defamation of the deceased.
Can we consense that there should be a reference to the deceased in the article and it should say that all relevant wikipedia policies, especially WP:RS, should be strictly applied? CarolMooreDC (talk) 03:49, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
This policy is a portmanteau of several other policies. In practice, the policies that are emphasized in this one apply to all other statements including those about dead people, but the statements about living people have the potential to do more harm, which is why we have the emphasis.
If you would remove a dubious statement about somebody if they were still alive, you should probably remove it when they're dead, but obviously we have our work cut out applying it to living people so expending as much diligence on the dead would not help us to achieve the object of this policy.
Don't go especially looking for dubious statements about Julius Caesar, unless you're specifically interested in improving our coverage of that historical figure or Republican Rome in general. Do remove or repair tripe if you find it, wherever you may find it. Do be aware that articles about dead people may contain statements about living people, and those are covered by this policy. --TS 06:03, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I've decided to have a go at it. Please see my new section titled Dealing with articles about the deceased. --TS 07:39, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Dealing with articles about the deceased

I've been bold and added this to the policy:

Dealing with articles about the deceased
The provisions of this policy apply specifically to living people. The absence of a specific policy applying to the deceased should not be taken as a reason not to remove dubious and unsourced information from Wikipedia.

The main reason for this section is that we from time to time get people asking questions here like "what about the recently deceased?" This is the best answer I can think up that is compatible with my perception of consensus on the matter.

Please revert and discuss if for some reason this looks like it doesn't belong. --TS 07:36, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

That's a little mind twisting. How about something like this, in italics as last sentence of lead:
This policy applies equally to biographies of living persons and to biographical material about living persons on other pages. The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia, but especially for edits about living persons, rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores the material. In the case of deceased individuals, material still must comply with all wikipedia policies and speedy deletion of questionable material is proper.
Of course, it also could mention whether it is proper to put up BLP tags... CarolMooreDC (talk) 14:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Your suggested wording looks okay to me. --TS 06:01, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I've replaced the section with your suggested wording, except for "speedy deletion" (which has a specific meaning on Wikipedia) I have used the phrase "prompt removal". --TS 13:07, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Great! CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:33, 7 January 2009 (UTC)


I reverted the removal of a link to Wikipedia:Coatrack, an essay from te "Criticism and praise" section. I don't think there's a problem with removing this if it isn't useful (and I could be convinced of that), but it seems a bit much to summarily remove it after eighteen months.

I'm in favor of keeping it unless there are good reasons to remove. Anybody else with strong feelings about this, either way? --TS 00:42, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

I suspect it came up in a discussion, and someone felt it was inconvenient to have it on such an important page. Collect (talk) 00:45, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
I propose that the essay can be replaced by an established guideline instead, such as Wikipedia:POVFORK. travb (talk) 00:54, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
Has this issue, perchance, come up in a discussion you are involved in? Collect (talk) 02:17, 9 January 2009 (UTC)
  • I'm inclined to keep it. COATRACK isn't policy, but not because people don't subscribe widely to its tenents. It isn't policy because it is just a description of an article style. Protonk (talk) 03:12, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Guidelines for the Biographicon

Editors of Wikipedia biographies of living persons may be interested in examining Guidelines - The Biographicon.
-- Wavelength (talk) 05:01, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Which basically has WP articles <g>. Collect (talk) 17:50, 9 January 2009 (UTC)


This policy says: "In order to ensure that biographical material of living people is always policy-compliant, written neutrally to a high standard, and based on good quality reliable sources, the burden of proof is on those who wish to retain, restore, or undelete disputed material."

I think we should add a sentence that "This burden applies not just to verifiability of sources, but to all other Wikipedia content policies and guidelines." This already seems self-evident from the policy, but I have been encountering people who don't quite get it.Ferrylodge (talk) 17:40, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

No objections then?Ferrylodge (talk) 20:55, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Seems logical to me. Collect (talk) 22:25, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Okay, I went ahead and did that.Ferrylodge (talk) 17:41, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Burden of proof link The edit of 23:13 30 July 08 replaced an instance of 'burden of evidence' with a link to the Law page 'burden of proof'. This is misleading; it has already lead to one unnecessary disagreement :

The "burden of evidence" line is from WP:BLP, and it refers to the burden of proof that something is suitable to be included in a Wikipedia article. The fact that something is TRUE is not enough to satisfy the burden of proof. It must meet all of Wikipedia’s core content policies, and you have the burden of proving that it meets the content policies in order to include or restore material.Ferrylodge (talk) 17:18, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

I will not have readers of this page misled in this manner. You will check your facts before inserting misleading material. The burden of proof you linked to is from Law, not WP rules. You have presented no evidence that the 'burden of evidence', which I knew was from BLP, thanks, is referring to a Law. WTF. Someone do something about this. I think the word you are looking for is Verifiability, WP:V, and I already addressed that. To reiterate: the material is cited. Anarchangel (talk) 18:57, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
The words "burden of evidence" in WP:BLP is linked to the burden of proof article. Regardless, my reading of WP:BLP doesn't seem to indicate that adding a cite is automatically enough to meet this burden. Could you show me from where you got this notion?LedRush (talk) 19:10, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

The law is an enlightening look at the concept behind the WP rule basis, but it is too easily confused with an actual WP rule. The phrase 'burden of evidence' and 'burden of proof' are used seemingly interchangeably on the mainspace page. Anarchangel (talk) 20:23, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

The wikilink to burden of evidence is fine. The wikilinked article covers the subject generally, not just legally, and has a section on Burden_of_proof#Science_and_other_uses. Maybe the wikilink has been in this policy for six months because it's appropriate?Ferrylodge (talk) 21:54, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Hmmm - the burden of evidence link seems fine - does a good job of explaining the concept. Kelly hi! 06:02, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
Seems rational. Collect (talk) 22:25, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Quality of source in addition to quantity of sources

This guideline currently reads: "Wikipedia includes dates of birth for some well-known living persons where the dates have been widely published, but exercise caution with less notable people." [Emphasis added.] I would like to propose that the sentence be changed to something along the lines of the following:

Wikipedia includes dates of birth for some well-known persons where the dates:

  • have been published in one or more reliable sources linked to the persons such that it may reasonably be inferred that the persons do not object to their release; or
  • have otherwise been widely published.

Caution should be exercised with less notable people.

Where a notable living person's date of birth appears in a source of the nature described above (for instance, where the person is a legislator, the official website of the legislature of which he or she is a member), that should be sufficient for BLP, even if the information does not also appear elsewhere. The appearance of the date of birth in such a source should be regarded as confirmation that the subject has endorsed or at least does not object to the release of the information. Quality should count as much as quantity. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:38, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Sounds very reasonable to me. For example, if the profile page of an executive in some cooperate webpage contains the date of birth, then that should be used as a source even if it cannot be found anywhere else. (In fact, this is very common practice right now.) -- Taku (talk) 23:54, 10 January 2009 (UTC)


I believe we should say "exercise great care" rather than "exert great care". Jayen466 18:33, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Or "use"? Collect (talk) 18:35, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Doesn't work so well, because then we'd have "Use great care in using ..." Jayen466 20:12, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
Agree. 'Exert great care' just sounds silly. --Helenalex (talk) 22:35, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

Comment on line in Reliable Sources section

This sentence does not make sense to me:

  • Without reliable third-party sources, it may include original research and unverifiable statements, and could lead to libel claims.

What is "it" (i.e., what may include OR...etc.). I think you're meaning to say something like:

  • "Unverifiable statements and original research without reliable third-party sources are to be avoided, because such statements could lead to claims of libel."

Thoughts? Renee (talk) 02:43, 17 January 2009 (UTC)


is currently being cited by several editors, nearly simultaneously by an amazing coincidence, as a reason to keep material in BLPs despite what some others feel are concerns which require consensus for inclusion. Such include in Talk:William Timmons allegations which on the face are an accusation of crimes against the laws of the US, and so on. How strong is WP:PRESERVE as an argument for keeping anything with a cite in a BLP? Should the BLP guidleines explicitly make some sort of distinction here? Thnaks! Collect (talk) 12:06, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Now one editor is simply calling any attempt to follow BLP "censorship" as loudly as he can. Collect (talk) 18:22, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
It isn't strong at all. First off, if the changes are just being kept off the page, they are preserved. Second, avoiding harming a living person takes some precedence. As unhappy as I am with some interpretations of BLP to be extremely restrictive, the policy as written allows editors to remove unsourced allegations without comment. That is (largely) non-negotiable. Protonk (talk) 18:35, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Collect, I'm not quite clear on which "distinction" you are referring to. WP:PRESERVE explicitly excludes "unsourced controversial claims about living persons". WP:PRESERVE is not an argument at all for keeping unsourced materials, but well-sourced material is certainly acceptable in BLPs and we do not shy away from controversy if it is well documented in good sources, and relevant to the article. --MCB (talk) 19:11, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
In one case, the material basically states that the subject is guilty of a crime, while the subject has not been charged in any manner for that crime. The actual source is a "single source" and as such was felt to be 1. material which would be reasonably disputed 2. not relevant to the actual biography of the person and 3. "verifiability" is not sufficient to reverse the WP:BLP rule cited as "burden of proof" following. . Per WP:3RR "What counts as exempt under BLP can be controversial. Consider reporting to Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Noticeboard instead of relying on this exemption. " which was, indeed, done. Per WP:BLP "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia, but especially for edits about living persons, rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores the material" and " Beware of claims that rely on guilt by association. Be on the lookout for biased or malicious content about living persons. If someone appears to be promoting a biased point of view, insist on reliable third-party published sources and a clear demonstration of relevance to the person's notability." which basically state that concerns about relevance also count. And also "Avoid repeating gossip. Ask yourself whether the source is reliable; whether the material is being presented as true; and whether, even if true, it is relevant to an encyclopedia article about the subject." which lists additional reasons for not including information which the editors citing WP:PRESERVE feel is unimpoortant as long as they can cite a single source. And of course the key provision "In order to ensure that biographical material of living people is always policy-compliant, written neutrally to a high standard, and based on good quality reliable sources, the burden of proof is on those who wish to retain, restore, or undelete disputed material. This burden applies to all Wikipedia content policies and guidelines, not just to verifiability of sources." which appears to put the burden on those who wish to include material to gain consensus for such inclusion, not just restricted to "unsourced controversial claims". Are these thus superceded by WP:PRESERVE? Collect (talk) 20:05, 12 January 2009 (UTC) (oops)
I'm gonna EC with sinebot. But, it appears that PRESERVE has BLP as a specific exemption. Protonk (talk) 19:58, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
Alas -- still being raised in a number of BLPs by a small group of editors. Collect (talk) 13:41, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
The key in the BLP exception, as it were, to WP:PRESERVE is "unsourced controversial claims about living persons" (my emphasis). I didn't look in too much detail so I could be wrong, but it seems that at least some of the claims being discussed over at Talk:William Timmons are sourced. Now this does not mean they should automatically be included - articles need to be balanced and we cannot put undue weight on certain issues - however since from what I can gather there seem to be some sources for these controversial claims they are not automatically thrown out as BLP violations. Again I only looked at the talk page briefly so I could be wrong but this was my initial read on it. Obviously if editors are using WP:PRESERVE as an argument for leaving in unsourced or poorly sourced material that is unacceptable, but if this is just a debate about how much "negative" material one ought to include or how exactly it should be presented that is a different matter. It's probably best to continue to discuss these concerns on the article talk page and look for further outside opinion or other dispute resolution avenues if necessary, but hopefully everyone there can come to some agreement on their own.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 14:02, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
The key in BLP is " The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia, but especially for edits about living persons, rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores the material. This burden applies not just to verifiability of sources, but to all Wikipedia content policies and guidelines." Which does not just refer to "unsourced" material. In the case at Timmons, the material is allegation of a prima facie crime being attributed to him. I would for some odd reason consider this is beyong "a teeny bit negative" to be sure. Collect (talk) 14:37, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to get into the specifics of the dispute, as I said that's best left to the article talk page. Your question here was about WP:PRESERVE rather than the entire BLP policy so I think that's what people have been addressing. Of course it is true that the burden of evidence for any edit is on the editor adding material, whether it relates to BLP or not. I'm not saying you are wrong or right in arguing against the material under discussion, just that we can include controversial material about a living person if it is well sourced (which is not to say we should always do so, there are other factors obviously), and of course we cannot include it if it is not well sourced.--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 15:25, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
My query was succinctly stated at the start. And the issue was not whether we "can" include material if a consensus exists for inclusion, but whether PRESERVE means that inclusion does not require consensus as is being argued. And whether accusations of a crime definitely fall into the category of requiring consensus before being included. Collect (talk) 15:37, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
Consensus is our "fundamental model for editorial decision-making" so of course it applies in the situation you describe at it does in most any other. WP:PRESERVE is not a get-out-of-consensus-free card, obviously. However "consensus" is not the same thing as "unanimity."--Bigtimepeace | talk | contribs 15:49, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

I know that -- IPOF the ones pushing the PRESERVE are in the minority, but insisting that if a cite is found, that the accusation must be in the article. Collect (talk) 16:52, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Red links in diverse lists of people

Does this BLP policy also apply to the numerous lists of people, such as List of essayists or List of biologists  ? These lists contain names of people who have been notable in their own field of expertise, most of them deceased, but some still alive. I have trouble with red links in such lists about people. These lists aren’t made by one or two contributors (and therefore closely guarded against vandalism or mistakes), but each link has been added by a different contributor, who probably won’t add such a minor contribution to their watchlist. A blue link is OK (the guidelines of notability and verifiability then apply to the linked article itself). A red link, on the other hand, can spell trouble.Each and every time a new reader opens such a list, they will have to check again and again the validity of these red links. Will they do that ? Most, if not all, won’t even bother. Until a journalist discovers (or has been tipped off) that a hoax, or a schoolboy’s name (or even his/her name) has been added to such a list of notable persons and, even worse, remained there for a long time. The press will have a field day and wikipedia will stand shamefaced. And what possibly can happen surely will happen. Therefore it is my firm opinion that red links in lists of people should be excluded. It is also my firm belief that one should first create the biography and only then add it to a list of people (and by this creating a blue link). That is the only way to be reasonably sure that everything is OK. Newly created articles, such as these biographies, are checked by the NP patrol and a hoax won’t pass. After all, we can't be careful enough because we are talking about people. Therefore it is my opinion that the policy on BLP should clearly state that it also be applicable to all these lists of people and that red links should be excluded from these lists. JoJan (talk) 14:40, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Regular users know that redlinks are not active pages -- but there are, indeed, a lot of articles not yet on WP, and while redlinks on unimportant stuff should likely be de-wikied, that is not trus of all lists, and therefore a blanket exclusion is unwise. Collect (talk) 13:40, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
No no no. Red links encourage people to create entries. That's why for example I wrote William W. Hoppin because it was a redlink on List of Hopkins School people. There's a problem if we have a redlink on a list of people that is likely to be negative (say a list of convicted felons). Otherwise leave them alone. JoshuaZ (talk) 22:58, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Content policy applies to WP-space, now?

There's an addition this month to the lead section. In "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia, but especially for edits about living persons, rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores the material. This burden applies not just to verifiability of sources, but to all Wikipedia content policies and guidelines", the second sentence is new. So, all content policies now apply to WP-space as well as article-space? If so, then can whoever added that sentence cite their reliable source to back it up? I suggest we change "for any edit" to "when editing any article", but it would also work for me to revert to what we had last month. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 03:52, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

Different spaces have their own nuances, but the onus is still on the editor to ensure that all policies are complied with. Perhaps it could be put better, but it isn't a new idea. For instance, one of our most important content policies is copyright, but it doesn't only apply to article space. In fact, it's more strict in other spaces because it's harder to argue fair use outside an article. Verifiability matters less on talk, but that isn't to say that you can say any old nonsense, particularly about the living subject of an article (even if it isn't libel). We're running an encyclopedia, not a gossip shop. --TS 04:03, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Hm. I aim for only minor and obvious edits on content and enforcement policy pages, with the goal of being eligible to act as an uninvolved admin if the page needs protection. I added what I thought was a clarification that didn't change the meaning, but apparently there's an actual change in the works here. Work it out, guys, and if possible, get it in the shape you want before the end of the month so that WP:Update will reflect the change you want. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 04:34, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
Sorry Dan, only saw this from stalking your contributions for a bit. I made that change with the intend that it not change the scope of the policy, just re-do the wording. Protonk (talk) 04:36, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
(ec)I clarified this a little bit and removed the literal copy from the section and the lede. TS is right that BLP applies outside of article-space, though the wording in the policy was quirky. Protonk (talk) 04:35, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
He stalked me! Make him stop! Okay. Hm ... I don't know how much I can say and still be "uninvolved" ... you never really know until you find out at WP:ANI! But I guess I'd like to point out that policy generally uses "in Wikipedia" (and I suppose "on Wikipedia" too) to mean in articles. For instance, WP:V starts out: "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—that is, whether readers...". "Readers" and later references to "articles" clues you that we're talking about article-space. So, if someone thinks "on Wikipedia" automatically means all namespaces, then the wording should probably be clarified one way or the other. - Dan Dank55 (send/receive) 04:41, 26 January 2009 (UTC)
True true. I believe that for BLP this discussion has been had before and the consensus was that BLP applies outside of article space. I'm going to have to settle for hand-waving for now (as I don't remember the discussion off hand and I'm going to bed), but it is out there. From a semantic point of view, I'll take this comment as a good hint that "on wikipedia" should be clarified here. And my guess is that your you are (ARGH! Me fail english? Thats unpossible!) uninvolved in the BLP policy page. :) Protonk (talk) 04:48, 26 January 2009 (UTC)


I'm concerned about this. I quote:

Remove any contentious material about living persons that is unsourced; that is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see Wikipedia:No original research); or that relies upon self-published sources (unless written by the subject of the BLP; see below) or sources that otherwise fail to meet standards specified in Wikipedia:Verifiability.
The three-revert rule does not apply to such removals. Editors who find themselves in edit wars over potentially defamatory information about living persons should bring the matter to the Biographies of Living Persons noticeboard for resolution by an administrator.
Administrators may enforce the removal of such material with page protection and blocks, even if they have been editing the article themselves. Editors who re-insert the material may be warned and blocked. See the blocking policy and Wikipedia:Libel.

Mainly, I'm frightened that this policy basically says "It's ok, edit war; policy is behind you." The problem is that too many people interpret BLP violations differently; their POV will affect their decisions negatively. That applies to administrators too. Instead of telling people to go gung-ho and revert everything that is a possible violation because they know the policy vindicates them, why not just get them to report to the noticeboard straight away? Master of Puppets Call me MoP! :D 07:24, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

You ask "why not just get them to report to the noticeboard straight away?" The answer is that it is important to remove unencyclopedic damaging material as soon as possible. People that abuse this are dealt with appropriately so in practice it is not a big problem. WAS 4.250 (talk) 10:34, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
It's still stupid to have a policy which backs edit warring. Too many people interpret the definition to suit their own needs, and then they end up getting blocked because they had the impression that policy backed them. I don't think it's their fault for having the "wrong" POV. Master of Puppets Call me MoP! :D 14:35, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
Also note that people who do, in fact, report to the noticeboard can get warned for "forum shopping" and told it is a "content dispute" <g>. One current example which has not been reported for that reason is the attenpt to have "saddlebacking" as a vulgar sexual neologism placed into the Rick Warren BLP. Collect (talk) 12:01, 29 January 2009 (UTC)
And yet that was reported as a BLP issue, and one of the participating users blocked for violating 3RR because he was on the wrong side of the perceived BLP vio. Master of Puppets Call me MoP! :D 14:35, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

Editnotice for blps

The blp policy is, understandably, often unknown to inexperienced users. It would be both informative and preventive to use an editnotice for all blps, similarly to the editnotice for disambiguation pages. It should not be aggressive, as we should AGF. Cenarium (Talk) 19:00, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

Please discuss at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Editnotice for all blps. Cenarium (Talk) 22:57, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Relisted: Quality of source in addition to quantity of sources

I am relisting this comment as it did not receive adequate discussion before it was archived. If no one else objects before the comment is automatically archived again, I shall be bold and change the policy. — Cheers, JackLee talk 11:02, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

This guideline currently reads: "Wikipedia includes dates of birth for some well-known living persons where the dates have been widely published, but exercise caution with less notable people." [Emphasis added.] I would like to propose that the sentence be changed to something along the lines of the following:

Wikipedia includes dates of birth for some well-known persons where the dates:

  • have been published in one or more reliable sources linked to the persons such that it may reasonably be inferred that the persons do not object to their release; or
  • have otherwise been widely published.

Caution should be exercised with less notable people.

Where a notable living person's date of birth appears in a source of the nature described above (for instance, where the person is a legislator, the official website of the legislature of which he or she is a member), that should be sufficient for BLP, even if the information does not also appear elsewhere. The appearance of the date of birth in such a source should be regarded as confirmation that the subject has endorsed or at least does not object to the release of the information. Quality should count as much as quantity. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:38, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Sounds very reasonable to me. For example, if the profile page of an executive in some cooperate webpage contains the date of birth, then that should be used as a source even if it cannot be found anywhere else. (In fact, this is very common practice right now.) -- Taku (talk) 23:54, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Non-english sources and BLP

Wikipedia:Verifiability#Non-English_sources reads: Because this is the English Wikipedia, for the convenience of our readers, editors should use English-language sources in preference to sources in other languages, assuming the availability of an English-language source of equal quality, so that readers can easily verify that the source material has been used correctly. Where editors translate any direct quote, they should quote the relevant portion of the original, non-English text in a footnote or in the article. Translations published by reliable sources are preferred over translations made by Wikipedia editors.

Before I complain about a BLP that uses two long, poorly google-translated articles to basically defame someone, I thought I'd mention that guidance on this SHOULD be in the article: i.e., that stricter standards are needed for BLP than other topics? For negative than for neutral or positive information?

Am I right or am I wrong? Should I put something in the article about it? I'll run a draft by here first. Unless someone used to editing this policy wants to put it in. Thanks. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:14, 3 February 2009 (UTC)

Correcting an autobiographical article

There have been some concerns raised recently, first by an IP editor, then by User:Jewellie1, regarding Richard Hickox (deceased). The article states that he was married twice, based on obituaries sourced to reputable newspapers. However, the editors posting to the article and talk-page claim that the newspapers were mistaken and he was actually married three times; Jewellie1 has posted that she was his wife, and has offered to furnish us with marriage and divorce certificates to prove it. I realise that this may fall foul of WP:OR, but we also have a duty to correct bio articles where mistakes are brought to our attention. Bios aren't really my area though; can we use the OTRS system to verify the information? EyeSerenetalk 01:03, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

I asked the OTRS volunteers about this in November last year. One editor responded to say that it wasn't a good idea, because it goes against the policy of Wikipedia references being easily verifiable by others. See "meta:Talk:OTRS#Use of OTRS system to verify e-mail correspondence between editors and other parties". Can you ask Jewellie1 to provide a published source that verifies her marriage to him – a newspaper article or announcement, perhaps? It occurs to me that even copies of the marriage and divorce certificates may not be sufficient – with all respect to Jewellie1, without more evidence, how can it be ascertained that her former husband was "the" Richard Hickox and not someone who happens to have the same name? — Cheers, JackLee talk 18:41, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
She has been asked about that, and is unable to do so (the main problem being the published sources are wrong, according to her). User:David Underdown suggested that she get the newspapers to print a correction, but if/until that happens I think we may be at an impasse. Thank you for your advice, anyway. Regards, EyeSerenetalk 20:14, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Weren't there any newspaper articles or announcements in regional or local newspapers when she and Hickox were married (or divorced)? Even that would be enough. — Cheers, JackLee talk 21:02, 7 February 2009 (UTC)
Good point. However, I've given it a couple of days, but heard nothing further. I'll certainly pass on your advice if they post again though. Thanks very much. EyeSerenetalk 19:21, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

How to get an article?

let's say i want to have an article about myself on wikipedia - how would i go about that, within the rules? (i.e. what do i need to do/have done/be to merit an article about myself?)

RowanEvans (talk) 14:04, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for stopping by here to find out the rules. Well, the first thing is notability – are you notable enough to warrant a Wikipedia article? Please read "Wikipedia:Notability". Secondly, you should avoid writing an article about yourself as this may be perceived as a conflict of interest. See "Wikipedia:Autobiography" and "Wikipedia:Conflict of interest". If you think you are sufficiently notable, what you could do is to leave a message on the talk page of a relevant WikiProject and ask if one or more of the editors who are members of the project would like to help you out by creating an article. For example, if you are a writer, you could leave a message on the WikiProject Literature talk page. See "Wikipedia:WikiProject#Participating" for links to WikiProjects. It would help to offer to provide published secondary sources about yourself and freely license some photographs. — Cheers, JackLee talk 15:49, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

well, i'm not sufficiently notable... YET! Muhuhuhuhaha! RowanEvans (talk) 16:39, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

In that case, wait till you are! ;-) — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:41, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

ok, i'm almost there. Now i've published a (concise) explanation of the invention for which i wish to become famous on youtube - - now all i need to do is make it well-known so it'll be notable, and thus i will be.

RowanEvans (talk) 00:29, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

This seems like an overly elaborate way to get yourself on Wikipedia. It would probably easier to get yourself elected to a notable political position. --Helenalex (talk) 02:46, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Well, yeah, but it's mostly the invention that i need to make well-known, because that will make me rich as well as famous. Also, i'm 15 so i'm unlikely to be elected into anywhere significant. —Preceding unsigned comment added by RowanEvans (talkcontribs) 12:12, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Musical groups

Is there a policy regarding whether musical groups (e.g., ABBA, the Beatles, etc.) should or should not get a living people category in the article and a biography articles of living people tag on the talk page? I have seen articles that do have and do not have some or all of these. My inclination is to provide a category and a tag if one or several members of the group are still alive. Some are important enough to merit their own articles (e.g., Paul McCartney), but some may not be. I'm not sure this is the right place to ask; or if this question is in the large archives attached to this page. Thanks for any info.--FeanorStar7 (talk) 12:49, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Feedback requested on a BLP related proposal

Note: don't go vote, read and comment on talk: Wikipedia:Search Engine NOCACHE by default proposal or WP:NOCACHE. The point of it all is plainly simple and obvious. rootology (C)(T) 07:48, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Removal of section on Basic Human Dignity

I noticed the following section was recently removed, apparently without discussion on this page:

"Basic human dignity

Wikipedia articles should respect the basic human dignity of their subjects. Wikipedia aims to be a reputable encyclopedia, not a tabloid. Our articles must not serve primarily to mock or disparage their subjects, whether directly or indirectly. This is of particularly profound importance when dealing with individuals whose notability stems largely from their being victims of another's actions. Wikipedia editors must not act, intentionally or otherwise, in a way that amounts to participating in or prolonging the victimization."

This section is at the center of a case at WP:BLPN and I'll request that it be reinstered as part of the policy unless and until a consensus is reached here to remove it. This section has been in BLP in the same form at least one year, and I think it goes back in some form almost to the beginning of the policy. The deleter put as an edit summary something like "merge back into privacy policy" but it's not a simple merge, more like a deletion, and "merge back" seems misleading. Smallbones (talk) 13:10, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

  • This sounds like adding words for words sake. Half of the text you want to add is already in the policy (copied word for word?). Long, rambly policies should not be prefered to clear, concise policies. WilyD 13:37, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
    • The edit in question also changed the referent of "This" in "This is of particularly profound importance" from articles not serving primarily to mock or disparage their subject to "When in doubt, biographies should be pared back to a version that is completely sourced, neutral, and on-topic." That changed the meaning radically from 1) making sure not to hurt a victim, no matter what policies would allow otherwise, to 2) dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's when reporting tabloid press coverage. Reverted per WP:BRD and the principle that significant policy changes must be discussed first. --Hans Adler (talk) 13:54, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
It's shorter. If you can fit what you want to say in the length I got it down to feel free to do so. Otherwise the Basic Human Dignity section was an unreadable mess and if you want BLP to actualy be enforcable such badly thought out waffleage needs to be shot on sight. In any case the makeing sure not hurt the victem further is covered by "Wikipedia editors must not act, intentionally or otherwise, in a way that amounts to participating in or prolonging the victimization."Geni 14:35, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
Making policies less wordy is a laudible task. On the other hand – you are using harsh words to describe the text you butchered, but did you even look at what you produced?
  • The original text said it's particularly important not to mock or disparage victims. OK, you felt this was redundant and removed it. But only partially, and as a result you rewrote policy to say that it's particularly important to be sourced, neutral and on-topic when writing about victims. That should have been discussed, but I suspect you didn't even notice that you did it.
  • Without the context of tabloid press coverage, which you removed, the phrase "victims of another's actions" doesn't seem to make much sense (being almost a non sequitur) and would be very likely to disappear in the next iteration of policy cleanup. --Hans Adler (talk) 22:11, 18 February 2009 (UTC)
I did notice but if you can come up with a way to mock or disparage victims without breaching some other part of the policy I will be somewhat impessed.
"victims of another's actions" makes sense. Consider people mostly known for being on the reciveing end of various crimes for example.Geni 00:48, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

Unwatched BLPs

There are apparently a great many unwatched BLPs. Probably most of them are seldom edited, except perhaps by the occasional vandal. There apparently is a list of unwatched articles somewhere, unavailable to non-admins (which makes sense). Now, I have about 150 articles on my watchlist and there no doubt are hundreds of others like me.

Idea: There might could be a place where active users could sign up (volunteer) to have 5 or 10 unwatched articles added to their watchlists. This would add very little to watchlist-traffic, but ensure that edits are looked at. - Hordaland (talk) 13:48, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

Exposing which articles are unwatched in a list format to everyone would be a possibly Bad Idea, and there's no technical way to randomly put things on a watchlist like this. There's also no guarantee people would see or do anything about bad edits. You need Flagged Revisions, in a practical sense, to filter out all the BLPs. At a start. rootology (C)(T) 14:12, 18 February 2009 (UTC)

1887 cutoff

I have added a cutoff of the year 1887 to consider a person as living, frivolous as it may seem, based on an old discussion. A date has to be put in a central place for reference. Category:Possibly living people says the cutoff is 1887, where as in the same category it states the cutoff of 1885 for Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. Jay (talk) 07:03, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Ha! I think we're just as safe with 1900. Herbert Hamrol just died, for instance, the third to[5] last known survivor out of 400,000+ of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and possibly the world's oldest grocery store employee. Taking some liberties with math, if we knew someone were alive in California in 1906, that gives the odds of something like 1 in 400,000 200,000 that BLP would cover them. The odds with respect to 1887 are in Flying Spaghetti Monster territory. If a Wikipedia policy has only as much chance of being violated as the Flying Spaghetti Monster's chances of being real, perhaps it is too cautious. Not that I object to 1887, I just think it's funny. Incidentally that article says that the oldest known living person is 114 so perhaps the date 1894 is more apt.Wikidemon (talk) 04:27, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree that 1887 seems excessively cautious. That is a 1-in-6-billion standard. The chances of someone being notable enough for an article, yet not being kown for living so long, seem even higher.   Will Beback  talk  05:57, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Well, Wikipedia only knows what is publicly known. There are people who have a very private existence and possibly with government support - secret agents, spies, protected witnesses, high risk criminals who have finished their imprisonment sentences, etc. They and those who deliberately disappear under a new identity, probably to evade the law, or simply to move out of public glare, might not come forward and take credit even if they are 125 years old. 122 years as a benchmark is an age that is humanly possible to reach. If it has been reached before, it can be reached again. It can be surpassed, we don't know, what we do know is 122 is a known and recorded max. Jay (talk) 08:15, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
How many articles do we have on protected witnesses, etc? As for age, according to one site, "Experts estimate the number supercentenarians [over 110] ranges from 300 to 400 globally, but only 77 are on record."[6] Do we have any articles on peple who even lived past 110? (We could, I suppose. There's a funny and true story about a woman who lived to 114, but she wasn't notable for anything except her age.)   Will Beback  talk  08:29, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Plenty of articles of 110+ people - see Oldest people and List of the verified oldest people. I think no has categorized protected witnesses, so it'll be hard to find, but surely if someone is going to be protected, it won't be publicized. Jay (talk) 09:35, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
Gosh, you're right. I guess just living can make one notable. If we have that many articles on supercentenarians I retract my objection to setting the maximum age so high.   Will Beback  talk  10:18, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

"Echo chamber"

At Talk:Roberto Alomar, there is a discussion of a report by a fringe news source regarding Alomar possibly having AIDS, which has been repeated by many, many mainstream news sources. It would indeed be unencyclopedic had it stayed in the fringe, but since it has been picked up by several mainstream national news outlets acting as secondary sources, it seems to me that Wikipedia should follow through as a tertiary source. The damage is thoroughly done already, and continuing to exclude any mention of this only puts Wikipedia way behind the curve. The argument is that the mainstream sources compose only an "echo chamber" of the original source, but I'm not sure that matters. In any event, this policy should explicitly address the "echo" phenomenon as it applies to mainstream sources picking up stories from not so mainstream ones. PSWG1920 (talk) 04:03, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

I think it is necessary to consider whether the information is important in the context of the person's life as a whole. According to "Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not#Wikipedia is not an indiscriminate collection of information":
Wikipedia considers the historical notability of persons and events. News coverage can be useful source material for encyclopedic topics, but not all events warrant an encyclopedia article of their own. Routine news coverage of such things as announcements, sports, and tabloid journalism are not sufficient basis for an article.
The above guideline is not directly on point as it deals with whether an article should be created about a particular topic. Nonetheless, I believe a similar approach should be taken in the situation raised by PSWG1920. I would lean against including the information as it is untrue. The only relevance of it to Alomar's life is the impact that the false report has had on him. Unless there is evidence that this impact is significant in some way (e.g., caused him to lose his job; created tension in his personal relationships), there is no reason to mention it in the article. Whether the information has been mentioned in mainstream news sources is not conclusive, as Wikipedia is not a newspaper but an encyclopedia. Transient news is better presented at Wikinews. — Cheers, JackLee talk 06:25, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
At this point it is an open question how true or false this is. If at all true it may help explain his rapid decline in performance during his final three playing seasons, which culminated in an earlier than expected retirement, and put what had seemed to be sure-fire Hall of Fame credentials in doubt (for example, he came up short of 3,000 career hits.) Again, this story has been picked up by several mainstream national news sources, so it is notable. PSWG1920 (talk) 06:47, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
I shall leave it to people actively editing the article to discuss whether the information is notable, though I would like to stress my view that notability of information per se is not the point – what is crucial is the importance of the information to the article as a whole, and this has to be judged in the context of the person's life. It was recently reported around the world that the Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius was seriously injured in a boating accident. Subsequently, it turned out that he had only suffered minor facial injuries, bruises and lacerations. If it had been true that Pistorius had been seriously injured and this threatened his sporting career, this would have definitely merited mention in his article. On the other hand, since his injuries were in fact minor, I would say the information should not be included in the article. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:10, 25 February 2009 (UTC)
The "echo chamber" effect is specifically about a cycle where Wikipedia originates something, then otherwise seemingly reliable sources quote Wikipedia on it, then Wikipedia cites those sources for validation - essentially Wikipedia has made something out of thin air. Where the origin is some other unreliable source, it passes the reliable source test if it's in a reliable source. It could well be untrue, but you don't have the same danger as there of Wikipedia inventing an alternate reality. Also there are many news outlets, pundits, think tanks, public relations experts, etc., who are in the sole business of trying to get untrue stuff into the media for a fee - it's probably a mistake to reward them for their occasional successes. If a reliable source's sole source of information is a fringe outlet, then even if the reliable source is honest about it (i.e. they come out and say that "unreliable source X says Y" rather than saying "Y is a rumor" or worse yet "Y may be true"), we shouldn't reward the fringe pushers for their success by reporting their accusation here. Even if we did, we would only verify that "X said Y", not that Y is true. For BLP reasons we don't generally repeat unproven news-of-the-day style accusations even if the fact that the accusation was made is sourceable. Leaked police investigations, public accusations, dismissed lawsuits, unsuccessful criminal prosecutions, etc., usually have a high hurdle to jump before they're considered legitimate biographical material. Wikidemon (talk) 08:38, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

Subject of the article

"Never use self-published books, zines, websites, webforums, and blogs as a source for material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject of the article" It occurs to me that this should be changed, as it implies that it applies only to articles about a living person, whereas BLP material can be included in articles where the living person is not actually the 'subject' of the article per se. --Slp1 (talk) 12:34, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I've boldly changed it to "unless written or published by the subject of the biographical material", but someone else may come up with a better solution, of course.--Slp1 (talk) 13:22, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't understand your concern about the part of the guideline mentioned in your posting above. Can you explain? The edit you made doesn't seem to change the meaning of the sentence significantly. — Cheers, JackLee talk 14:06, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry that I wasn't clear. The "subject of the article" implies the specific articles about living people e.g. Cher, George W. Bush etc. But biographical material about Cher also appears in other articles, such Sonny Bono where she is not the subject of the article per se, but where this stipulation also surely applies. In addition, the previous wording implies that self-published material about a living person (say Cher) is allowed in other articles, as long as the subject of the article (say Sonny Bono) wrote/said it. In fact this is specifically prohibited by WP:SELFPUB "so long as does not involve claims about third parties". Not sure if this is clearer, though!! --Slp1 (talk) 16:09, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't agree with (or maybe just don't understand) your change. If biographical material about Person X appears in Person Y's bio, then you can assume the material refers to both X and Y (that's why it's there). Whenever material relates to two different parties, it should always be sourced to an independent 3rd party. For instance, Cher's personal web site would never be a reliable source of information for her relationship with Bono. Self-published material, in some limited cases, is ok on the subject's own article, but it's never ok elsewhere. --Rob (talk) 01:40, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

Folks, we urgently need a rule for "Notable people" lists in cities' articles!

Just recently, I've seen something completely weird. The weirdest ever since I've been editing a WP article back in 2002. A user - the name is WhisperToMe - relies on the BLP rule that information on any living person must be verified. So far, so good. But now this user goes into extensive nitpicking: from early 2009 on, he has been deleting ENTIRE LISTS from cities' articles (which may have been the work of many people for years; examples Hanover, Germany / Gary, Indiana) and just states "you have to verify each information about the city of birth, e. g. by linking to newspaper articles". That's impossible for this amount of people in big cities, nor would it justify the effort in any way IMHO. The best would be to state a clear exception of the rule, because otherwise the next one comes out of his manhole and destroys years of other's work. This is CODE RED because he has just started wreaking havoc; if this does not get stopped, we'll have all "notable people" lists deleted by the end of this year. And I am not going to watch this to happen; otherwise I'll inform an admin. Sincerely, andy. -andy (talk) 18:20, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

Er, why is it impossible to source each person being claimed as a native of a given city? WP:V would seem to demand it. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 18:45, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
From experience it is very easy to do so. Just search and you can find countless examples of such things. Plus material has to be referenced in order to be on here in the first place (as per WP:V) - Also see User_talk: WhisperToMe (talk) 19:04, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
It either needs to be sourced in the list or sourced in the linked article (though it is pretty trivial to take one source from the linked article and reference it in the list). If it is sourced in neither place, I don't see why the information should remain. Protonk (talk) 19:08, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Featured Lists require that every entry be verified; lists within articles, featured or not should be held to the same standards. On lists that I have been involved with, the best way to do this is to require that every entry have an article; if they are notable, they should have at least a stub with some reference. Online searches are good, but I have had to hit the library multiple times and have expanded my personal library quite a bit. Articles need to be stand-alone with sources need to be in every article and not rely on another article, as articles may be reused; especially with the new Book feature. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 19:11, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
And the best practice is not to delete entries outright, but to move then to a todo subpage of the talk page. they can then be worked until a proper reference is found. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 19:14, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Is he deleting them, or just removing the info? Protonk (talk) 19:16, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
[Edit conflict] I agree with Sarcasticidealist – sources should be provided for each person in a list which claims that the person is a native of a particular city, according to Wikipedia:Verifiability. If this is not adhered to, there is really no way to determine whether the information is correct or not. Vandals could come along and insert fake information into articles. If WhisperToMe is unable to verify the information, rather than simply deleting it perhaps he or she should first tag the unreferenced names in each article with {{fact}}. If after a certain period of time (say a week or two) no references have been provided, the unreferenced names can be parked on the article's talk page. Editors can then shift names back to the article when references have been found for them. — Cheers, JackLee talk 19:17, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I am flat-out deleting long lists that have not been verified. As per WP:V "The burden of evidence lies with the editor who adds or restores material." - I do offer help to find citations to people when they wonder why lists go. As per WP:BLP information about living people (these lists usually have some living people on it) is very sensitive, so I usually delete first thing instead of tag with {{fact}} like I do with most untagged, unreferenced information. Information about people is available, but the problem with these long lists is that it takes a long time to verify them. As per WP:V the burden does not lie with me as I did not add the information in the first place. Frankly I would appreciate it if people adding to lists of people associated with locations took the time to find references for each entry. WhisperToMe (talk) 19:23, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Deleting as in "the delete button" or deleting as in "removing entries from a list"? Protonk (talk) 19:27, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Oh. I just remove entries from the list. If the entire list is unreferenced the list is gone (as in "select the entire group of text, hit backspace, add edit summary, click "Save Page"). If it is partially referenced the referenced entries remain. I do not use the "Delete" button under any circumstances. WhisperToMe (talk) 19:32, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
Good deal. too bad we all use the word deleted to mean two distinct actions. ;) Protonk (talk) 23:05, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

(unindent)No way is this okay. Indiscriminate large-scale deletion of stable content is terribly disruptive. You should only delete information that you have some reasonable good faith belief to be unreliable or inaccurate. WP:V requires information to be verifiable, not verified. Taking BLP, or any policy, to absurd conclusions yields results that can be quite damaging to the encyclopedia. I'd cut it out and wait for a wider discussion, perhaps an RfC.Wikidemon (talk) 23:19, 27 February 2009 (UTC)

I can't imagine that this is so poisonous. This isn't blanking innocuous BLPs which don't happen to have sources. This isn't (AFAIK blanking whole articles which are only "lists of people from places"). This is removing "famous people from blah" because it is not sourced. Apart from personal feelings about those sections (I don't like them), I can't really get riled up that someone is challenging and removing unsourced material. If it is such a travesty, then find sources and put it back. We determined that he isn't using the tools to "delete" articles, so that alleviates my primary concern. The material is still in the history and may be restored by any editor who wants to source it. Protonk (talk) 23:46, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
It can be restored by any editor, with or without sources. WP:V and WP:BLP do not mean that every single fact in the encyclopedia must be sourced wherever it appears. Nor does objecting to another person's deletion mean that the objector needs to personally chase after the person cleaning up the mess. It's an accepted (read:consensus) norm that many location articles -- schools, cities, states, etc -- have lists of notable people who are from there, and almost universally those lists are not fully cited. If it's one or two articles at a time by an editor active on those articles, who has a reasonable concern that the list is inaccurate or unverifiable, that's fine. If anyone is proposing to wander through the encyclopedia ridding articles of unsourced wikilinks, or for that matter any mass changes to stable content, they need to establish consensus. I doubt this would gain consensus. We've gone through these things a few times that I've seen and it always ends up badly - the last major blow-up I remember was the trivia war and that ended up with an arbcom case, some de-sysops, some sockpuppets found, people resigning from Wikipedia, and I believe some interesting topics for Wikipedia review.True, a featured article would require everything to be sourced, and as a matter of style would most likely avoid long lists of people who come from a given place. But deleting everything that does not meet featured article requirements is not an option. Wikidemon (talk) 23:59, 27 February 2009 (UTC)
I give a rip what makes an interesting topic for WR. I mean, we probably aren't too far apart on this. People need to be reasonable about citations. They also have to realize that registered editors do most of the citation gruntwork--wikipedia doesn't spawn fully formed from the brow of Zeus. But at the same time, the act of removing these because they are unreferenced (Assuming that they aren't referenced on the other end) isn't something that demands immediate attention. It is an editing matter that can be hashed out between editors and some agreement reached (Hence my original concern that the tools were used, that would have changed the equation). Protonk (talk) 00:24, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
Yes, agreed. If an editor wants to get rid of such a list, and another editor disagrees, they need to work it out. And the one who demands citations (or wants to prose-ify the list) is technically in the right. Just don't dive bomb 500 articles in a 30 minute period, together with nasty messages and drama.... Looking through a few of these I see cases where the city article links to the bio article, and the bio article in most cases has a citation to the birthplace, so it's just a cut-and-paste operation. In some cases the bio article is not properly verified, but here too it's better to fix it than to simply remove the claim as to a person's birthplace. Birthplaces and dates do get messed up a lot, and the effort to get them right across the encyclopedia is pretty important. Wikidemon (talk) 00:32, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I usually offer to help one find citations and build the list back when another editor asks me why the list was removed. WhisperToMe (talk) 00:49, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

If we lack an article about the person, they should be assumed non-notable and deleted. If the list is too long (over ten people?) then it is unencyclopedic as a mere person list in an article about a city and should be shortened (possibly could be made a subarticle, if there was encyclopedia content to explain why naming these people makes sense. Were they born there? raised there? go to school there? Have family there?there parents were passing through when the mother gave birth? ) If the list seems padded delete the whole thing. If an effort seems to have been made to keep the list accurate, add the fact tag where needed. Use editorial judgement people. WAS 4.250 (talk) 00:45, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

If a list is tiny it is easy to verify the list and it doesn't take much time to go through it. If the list is large and unreferenced it is easier, IMO, to delete it first as it solves the BLP issue in the least amount of time. The entries can always be added back. WhisperToMe (talk) 00:48, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

IMO these lists are very doubtful if there aren't citations for each entry:

  1. These lists can be encyclopedically misleading. A notable resident is someone who was shaped by a location or developed ideas etc there. For example, P. G. Wodehouse was born (prematurely) when visiting Guildford, and Francis Bacon was born in Dublin, but that doesn't make them notable residents of those cities. We need citations to tell the different between "born in" and "flourished in".
  2. They're potentially dangerous. Because they are outside the biographical article space, other editors won't spot inconsistent or doubtful material, so they are a relatively undefended entry point for negligent or malicious errors. As BLP says "Material about living persons must be sourced very carefully. Without reliable third-party sources, it may include original research and unverifiable statements, and could lead to libel claims." Very few editors are likely to check these lists to see who has been wrongly included, because "proving a negative" checking takes exceptional motivation.
  3. Individual entries are hard to verify in the original biographical articles. For example: I retrieved the pre-deletion list of "Notable Residents" in the Hanover article (in this revision). The first name was Hannah Arendt, added by User:Alevtina27 in this edit. The Hannah Arendt article says she was born in a city called Linden "now part of Hanover", grew up in Königsberg and Berlin, studied at Marburg and Heidelberg, married in Berlin, fled to Paris and thence to the US. There's no inline citation to say she was born in Hanover and in fact most of the Hanover article is unreferenced - the entire article has only two references (one in German, one in English) and all the external links are non-academic tourism and city guides. Did she live long enough in Hanover to be a "Notable Resident"? Who can say?

I'd support a stricter inline citation model for lists or categories containing living persons, even though this might mean the lists have to disappear, since not only (per Wikidemon) "almost universally those lists are not fully cited" but in most cases they are barely cited at all (e.g. in the List of people from Orange County, California only 2 out of 69 people have citations, and one of those was broken when I checked it). Agreed we should be undramatic, not dive bomb etc., but we have to swing the pendulum so that when editors add names to a list they assume they'll need to add a citation too. After all, in another ten years when all the bright young editors have commitments to work and family, who's going to go back and add the references they omitted? - Pointillist (talk) 01:56, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I think the only practical solution, is to make a distinction between new additions, and old entries. There needs to be a strict policy, that, from now on (or some arbitrary date), if you add a living person to a list, there must be a cite, or it will be always be removed promptly. But, for older entries, some time, warning, and discussion should be attempted first, as long as we're talking about lists with no potential for defamation. --Rob (talk) 06:05, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

For time: maybe a week at most for lists that almost certainly have only dead people. Some societies have litigious cultures so you never know who would sue for why. Discussion really should be focused on "tell the uninformed users about our new guideline/our existing guideline/whatever" and ensuring they just go ahead and add citations. As per Pointillist's statements we need to get stricter, but not divebomb. Since I only address with lists when I encounter them, I wouldn't say what I did is divebombing. WhisperToMe (talk) 12:12, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
We don't need any new guidelines, we just need to educate our fellow editors.
  1. Entries in a list must meet the regular standards of notability.
  2. Criteria for inclusion in a city article is probably only going to be birth or residence.
  3. Criteria for inclusion for other articles may need to be developed more fully and included on the talk page.
  4. Where needed, an editnotice can be used to alert editors of criteria.
  5. Where there are a number of unreferenced entries, consider moving them to a todo section on the talk page until they can be verified.
For an example, see Criteria and formatting at Talk:List of Eagle Scouts (Boy Scouts of America) --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 15:12, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
I thought I had restored it; done now. The problem there is a lack of guidelines, so concerned editors will change editnotices to their personal standards. My view is that an editnotice that is not noticeable is useless. Otherwise, I have little feedback on their effectiveness, but it is one tool in the box. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 16:24, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

I don't see any principled way to bound this issue as a matter of lists of notable people from city Z. The broader issue across many different formats and spaces on Wikipedia (lists, itemizations, categorizations, tables, templates, wikiprojects, infoboxes, "see also" links, templates, and even images) is how to present that person X has a one-to-many relationship Y to matter Z. X is a corporate officer of company Z. X is a winner of award Z. X is a year Y player of team Z. X is a victim of disease Z. Many of the same concerns arise any time we collect information like this: it may be inaccurate, it could be arbitrary, it may be incomplete, notability is not established, etc. And there are a variety of guidelines, tools, policies, and norms that apply. BLP is a red herring here because at this level of abstraction it has only the most tenuous relationship to the letter and purposes of the policy, namely to protect Wikipedia from lawsuits and to avoid doing harm. If we expand this issue to all one-to-many collections of information it affects most articles on Wikipedia. Even restricting it to people we have at least a few hundred thousand articles to which a new sourcing and inclusion criterion would apply. As things stand it is up to the editors in each article or wikiproject to agree among themselves what the inclusion criteria, sourcing requirement, and format will be for lists, if any, on the articles. It is not always the case that each item on a list be notable or have its own article (e.g. food prodcuts that have been sold by McDonalds), or even be cited (e.g. Edmonton Oilers#First-round draft picks). But often such a requirement is imposed (e.g. List of Internet phenomena). Keeping in mind that there are subtleties and unintended consequences to anything, that we want to avoid WP:CREEP and wikidrama, and that policies are descriptive rather than prescriptive, we should be very reluctant to try to impose from a policy page a uniform way of collecting information about people.Wikidemon (talk) 18:02, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

You're right, there are bigger and broader issues than just X being a notable resident of Z.
  • The big issues are mostly around the legal consequences of unsupported lists, categories, tables etc., that mention living people (my second point above). I think we have to be strict about inline citations here.
  • The broader issue is that readers should be able to rely on Wikipedia articles without having to do ten hours of personal research to check what they read here in ten minutes. Your McDonald's products list is a good example: it says Dinner Menu - In early 1990s a New Dinner Menu was tested for 6-12 months at two locations in New York and Tennessee. It consisted of the above mentioned pizza but also included lasagna, spaghetti, fettuccine alfredo, and roasted chicken as entrees. The side dishes included mashed potatoes and gravy and a vegetable medley. For the dessert it included a brownie a la mode (see this diff by I've looked hard for a reference to support this and I can't find one. Is it true or is (shared IP address) having a bit of fun? What kind of encyclopedia says something interesting like that and can't support it?
I imagine that when you talk about "unintended consequences" you are concerned that a lot of lists might be purged even though they might be partially accurate. I suspect that the really useful lists would survive and prosper, and the ones where extra research wouldn't "justify the effort in any way IMHO" would die a largely unlamented death. - Pointillist (talk) 00:18, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Need Section on Rules on Quotation Sections in BLP??

I've often seen sections of quotes in BLP and haven't seen any protestations until these from Charles W. Freeman, Jr. removed here allegedly because wikipedia doesn't allow it. The quotes are relevant to why he is criticized by some, but are quotes that many other people agree with. Should this BLP article mention when and how quotes should be used to help clarify the "rule" issue? (I can take the specific issue of this article to WP:BLPN) Thanks!! CarolMooreDC (talk) 00:42, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Is this really a BLP issue? I think the relevant guideline is "Wikipedia:Quotations#When not to use quotations": "When editing an article, a contributor should try to avoid quotations when ... the article is beginning to look like Wikiquote. Editors should remember that Wikipedia is, at its core, an encyclopedia, and not an opportunity to list the best and worst quotations pertaining to an article's subject." My understanding is that quotation sections are deprecated, and that short, relevant quotes may be incorporated into the main body of an article. You say that the quotations by Freeman are relevant to why he is criticized, but if they are set out in a list without any context this point may not be clear. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:07, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I can see integrating the most important quote necessary and won't worry about the others. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:48, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I agree, excessive and/or dubious quotations should be removed, period. Whether the subject of the article (or the individual to whom the quote is attributed) is living or dead does not affect this. — CharlotteWebb 16:13, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Multiple-Birth (in this example Suleman octuplets) BLP concerns about naming children's names

Seems there is a disagreement between the editors of these pages about whether naming the children's names for an octuplet set (a notable one, longest surviving, second in the united states) is a BLP concern. All the other multiple-birth pages (Chukwu octuplets, McCaughey septuplets, Dionne quintuplets, Kienast quintuplets, Rosenkowitz sextuplets, Walton sextuplets, Dilley sextuplets, Hanselman sextuplets, Brino quadruplets) list the children's names. The news has reported in hundreds (likely thousands) of news articles naming them which qualifies as widely disseminated. Can I get a second opinion on how policy applies in this area regarding all of these articles? — raeky (talk | edits) 18:42, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

It is silly. The intent of the policy here is to preserve the privacy of the children. In other cases, there might be a RS which contains the name of the children of celebrities, but that disclosure might lapse into obscurity on its own. Inclusion of the names in the Wikipedia therefore makes permanent what might be a fleeting reference to the names of children. In this case, the names of the Suleman children are already widely and permanently disseminated in RS beyond any possible restoration of privacy at this point. It is moot. This is an appropriate judgment for a consensus of editors to make. patsw (talk) 03:42, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Since the information has been widely disseminated and is readily available online, I agree with patsw that the arguments to remove them do not have a solid grounding in this policy. I share the sentiment that the names of these children shouldn't have been so widely publicized, but Wikipedia can't undo that. I do agree, however, with Anna Frodesiak's suggestion to move the names out of the lead and into a new or existing section. I would also suggest unbolding the names. –Black Falcon (Talk) 03:45, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, both of you, for your view and suggestions. — raeky (talk | edits) 04:54, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Insignificant people who occur frequently


  1. Mr XYZ is a petty thief with a low quality degree in botany
  2. He is convicted and reported in local paper A
  3. After he is released, Mr XYZ moves to another area, and starts thieving again
  4. He is convicted and reported in local paper B
  5. After he is released, Mr XYZ visits the Chelsea Garden Show
  6. He gives a brief quote to local paper C about the botanical importance of a flower shown there
  7. Mr XYZ moves to yet another area, and starts thieving again
  8. He is convicted and reported in local paper D
  9. Mr XYZ stands for election as an MEP, and gets a minor mention about this in local paper E
  10. He gets 7 votes, out of 600,000, losing his deposit
  11. Mr XYZ thinks he's a prophet, and claims this on his own website, which hardly anyone reads

Should Mr XYZ have an article in wikipedia?

If not, please explain Ray Joseph Cormier. If so, why aren't there more articles about minor petty criminals (eg. the bag snatchers mentioned here [7]) and extremely minor electoral candidates (eg. Joanne Telfer, 2005 general election candidate for the western isles, 0.7% vote) who do very little?

Clinkophonist (talk) 01:02, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

I would argue that this is analogous to the problems we have had with "media frenzy" personalities who have multiple reliable sources about a tragic but not particularly notable event. A classic example the guy who got his family lost in the Oregon wilderness because he didn't read the "road closed in winter" sign and the Missing white woman syndrome cases. Some sort of guideline for removing these articles, which are not part of any significant history and don't merit coverage in a serious encyclopedia, seems appropriate. Then again, WP:NOTPAPER applies, and if the information is verifiable and has had substantial (albeit misguided or inane) coverage in reliable secondary sources, I can't really find much argument other than WP:IDONTLIKEIT (not a valid argument) and WP:INDISCRIMINATE (a valid if tenuous one). SDY (talk) 01:24, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Obama article editing practices

Will the editing practices applied to the Obama BLP articles get codified here in WP:BLP and become policy for all BLP articles? patsw (talk) 03:49, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

  • For those of us unfamiliar with those practices, care to summarize them? — raeky (talk | edits) 05:03, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't edit those pages. I entered the above comment in the expectation that there would be some interest on the part of those editors to enter those practices here. If no one in that editing community wants to participate on this talk page, or update BLP, then that is a statement in itself. patsw (talk) 18:09, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. — raeky (talk | edits) 18:14, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Request for comment on the appropriateness of the application of BLP

Your collective comments on the issues discussed in Talk:Carlos Latuff#File:Alan dershowitz by Latuff.jpg are requested at the Request for Comment which may be found at Talk:Carlos Latuff#BLP status of Latuff image of Dershowitz. Thank you. -- Avi (talk) 16:29, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Think tanks, opinion columns and blogs

The discussion of blogs now leaves out a large class of blogs published by think tanks and political organizations of various kinds, and as offshoots of magazines. Here are a couple of examples [8],[9]. They aren't self-published sources, but they are also not published by "news organizations". For politically controversial figures, they are a common source of criticism. The same issue arises outside BLP - when are these considered reliable sources?

In my view, reference to the blog format as a guide is fast becoming useless. Blogs, and blog-like features are now ubiquitous on the Internet. An expansion of the existing guidelines is desperately needed. A drastic option for BLP would be to reject all opinion-style columns, even those in established newspapers. JQ (talk) 05:33, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

I also observe that the line between organization web site and personal blog is getting blurred. I think a useful test is this indirect one: look at how sources the Wikipedia considers to be reliable use these sites. Do they quote from them? Do they link to them? patsw (talk) 21:03, 14 March 2009 (UTC)


On 26 January, the lead of this policy was changed to say: “The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who commits the edit; this is especially true for edits regarding living persons.”[10]

It previously said: “The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia, but especially for edits about living persons, rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores the material. This burden applies not just to verifiability of sources, but to ‘all’ Wikipedia content policies and guidelines.”

I very much disagree with the change of 26 January, for several reasons. First, the newer language says the burden will be on someone who commits an edit, even if that editor is removing material rather than adding or restoring it. This seems like a huge change in the policy, which previously emphasized that the burden is on people trying to add or restore material. The way the policy is now, it seems that questionable material is more likely to stay in a BLP, because removing it can only be done if an editor can satisfy a burden of proof. This will encourage inclusion and retention of inappropriate material in BLPs.

I also disagree with the change of 26 January because it removed the statement that the burden of evidence applies to all Wikipedia policies, and not just verifiability. Simply saying that there is a “burden of proof” is ambiguous, and does not clearly state what needs to be proved. Of course, what needs to be proved is not only that information in the article is verifiable, but also that it is NPOV and satisfies all of the other Wikipedia policies.Ferrylodge (talk) 00:43, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I'm ok if we tweak the wording to express a preference to remove material (and not provide the obviously unworkable position that an editor removing potentially damaging material be forced to prove something). I'm not sure, however, that this will encourage retention of otherwise inappropriate material...
  • I removed the second sentence because (and there was some discussion on this page prior to and surrounding the edit) it was nonsensical (and somewhat redundant). The wording of the second sentence seemed to say that a burden applied to the verifiability, not that a burden rested on an editor. IMO, the distinction is made more clear in the body of the policy--the sentence was removed from the lede because it was a word-for-word reiteration.
  • In either case, if you feel you can made non-transformative improvements to clarity in the lede, you have my full support (obviously you don't need it to do so, I don't own this policy, but I'm offering it). Protonk (talk) 01:02, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks Protonk, I'll give it a try.Ferrylodge (talk) 01:06, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Here's a draft for the lead: "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests firmly on the shoulders of the person who adds or restores material, and this is especially true for material regarding living persons. Therefore, an editor should be able to prove that such material complies with all Wikipedia content policies and guidelines."Ferrylodge (talk) 01:21, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Seems great! That probably better reflects what I wanted to say in the first place. Protonk (talk) 01:23, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
  1. I think "prove" is too strong a word to use here. If by that is meant to mean prove beyond reasonable doubt then the Wikipedia would be very small. I think this is inviting deletionism. The appropriate word here is "show" or "demonstrate". Does any editor get to write "I doubt that" and get empowered to delete material?
  2. Why are there scare italics for "all"? Is the word being used here in something other than its ordinary sense? patsw (talk) 21:28, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Change to "demonstrate" rather than "prove" and it is fine. It isn't scarequotes, it is italics for emphasis - but no big deal either way.--Scott Mac (Doc) 22:18, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Let's try a little more for even handed non-rhetorical language. Change the word "rests firmly on the shoulders of " to "rests with" . Remove italics. change "and this is especially true fior" to "particularly". and don;t use italics. DGG (talk) 00:35, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
All those changes are fine with me. They preserve the basic meaning. I would keep "especially" though. There's supposed to be some added protection for BLPs.Ferrylodge (talk) 01:42, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

The section “Articles about people notable only for one event” belongs in WP:BIO only

The section “Articles about people notable only for one event” (Policy shortcuts: WP:ONEEVENT, WP:1E, WP:BLP1E) don’t belong in WP:BLP at all. WP:BLP is a core content policy, often used as a trump. BLP concerns generally mean delete/remove on sight until justified. But WP:ONEEVENT is merely a notability issue, of guideline status, and serious concerns at article level are debated at AfD. The issue is already well covered at Wikipedia:BIO1E#People_notable_only_for_one_event (Shortcuts: WP:BIO1E, WP:ONEVENT). The section should be cut from WP:BLP, and the existing shortcuts moved to WP:BIO. Does anyone disagree? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 05:44, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I disagree. It should be limited to the sort of events that would be questionable under BLP: being a bystander or a victim, being involved in something irrelevant to notability, matters that are not encyclopedic but tabloid fodder. That was the original intent. It is altogether out of place as a general criterion because the notability would depend on the notability of the event. I really do not see how it makes that much difference over whether something significant is limited in time. This extension has crept its way into an exclusion principle to diminish the unwanted effects of the General notability guideline, in making this notable for encyclopedic purposes that nobody really thinks notable. The solution is to deal with the general guideline, whose actual effect are just as bad positive or negative, not keep an irrational source dependent guideline, and then use the reason in making elaborate exceptions. But that's not the problem here. The problem is is keeping this rule in check. DGG (talk) 07:42, 13 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure that this is a good answer, but somehow DGG and I have very different ways of looking at thing, and I find DGG's answer to be opaque. Could someome please tell me what he said? --SmokeyJoe (talk) 06:37, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I also oppose it, simply because it's not about notability, it's about how we write the articles (event vs. person). A lot of the one event stuff is about keeping what can honestly be called cruft out of Wikipedia. Having an article invites people to complete it, and in the case of someone who is almost certainly a WP:NPF or for whom not a lot of information has been disseminated, creating a permanent record of personal details is not a good idea. The burden of proof for a BLP issue vs. an N issue is different as well. Making this a BLP policy gives admins broad ability to take immediate action where the deletion process allows it to be contested, etc... BLP is the one case where deletionism (more or less) always wins. SDY (talk) 06:58, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

relevance of this page

I have posted this information about myself because i feel it's more accurate coming from me. If however, the administrators feel my biog is not relevant then they are welcome to remove it. My personal website is: to verify this article. (Hrm199 (talk) 15:08, 15 March 2009 (UTC))

This BLP guideline is not relevant to the rightness or wrongness of creating an article about yourself (I assume it's "Haroon Mirza"). You should look instead at "Wikipedia:Autobiography" for reasons why autobiographies are generally frowned upon in Wikipedia. — Cheers, JackLee talk 15:15, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

UK: new defamation action can be taken every time online defamatory material is accessed

The Times newspaper had argued that the burden of indefinite liability was so onerous that it would have a 'chilling effect' on archive publishers, but the ECHR has reaffirmed that a new defamation action can be taken every time online defamatory material is accessed.

Interesting legal decision about online defamation in the UK detailed here. Revision histories (subjects) and old revisions certainly count as "accesses". Relevance to how we handle and sometimes leave BLP vios in old histories? rootology (C)(T) 17:18, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Discussion about this sort of matter was shortened by word from Wikimedia Foundation strongly discouraging consideration of any foreign laws. Per Godwin (see archive 20 of talk BLP) "The Foundation's official position is that we are subject to American law, including the state and Constitutional law doctrines governing defamation in the United States. The Foundation would oppose any BLP policy that recognized and attempted to adapt to the defamation laws of any other jurisdiction. We are of course aware that some individuals may attempt to sue is in a foreign jurisdiction and attempt to enforce such a judgment in the United States. We have prepared for that possibility. Under no circumstances should the BLP policy be altered as a reaction to perceptions of the risk of defamation liability in non-U.S. jurisdictions." Which I think disposes of this topic. Collect (talk) 17:23, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
It definitely exposes, however, UK editors to much more risk. rootology (C)(T) 17:25, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
I just put Wikipedia:Libel on first mention so at least people might be reminded more than once to look at that page. Of course that link leads you all over town. Maybe this would be a good place to tell editors THEY can sued, NOT wikipedia - or whatever the policy is! (I'm still confused; one thought - if you edit a page that has libelous info and don't removed other's libels, does that make you liable?) CarolMooreDC (talk) 17:31, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
The idea of culpability from a legal standpoint -- if I edit Carol Moore in DC but don't remove a defamation vs. you, am I now publishing it as well? rootology (C)(T) 17:34, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
(ec)I suspect Chinese editors on topics of interest to China are at far higher risk. Unless a UK editor has intent to disobey a law, the precedents appear to protect them. The case you just noted was an affirmation of an 1830 British ruling, and is not an actual change to British law. Collect (talk) 17:32, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Disagree with Criticism and praise section

This section clearly contradicts the WP:NPOV policy. --Amnesico29 (talk) 18:59, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

Quite the opposite. That section provides specific guidance in helping our editors know how to apply WP:NPOV to an article that purports to be a biography of a living person. WAS 4.250 (talk) 19:51, 5 March 2009 (UTC)
Continue to disagree, please see my opinion on Talk:Criticism of Hugo Chávez, do you think we should have an article called Praise for Hugo Chavez? --Amnesico29 (talk) 22:24, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
This isn't really a BLP issue, it's mostly an NPOV issue. I've raised the question of whether "Criticism of..." articles are violations of NPOV in general since they both damage the NPOV of the main article by hiding the criticism and create an article that is, by nature and design, biased. These notions have fallen on deaf ears, "Criticism of" articles are broadly considered acceptable. At least the main article for Chávez is longer than the criticism article, unlike Bill O'Reilly, who has a criticism article three times as long as the main article. SDY (talk) 22:38, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Some articls that had "criticism" sections ave moved to renaming them "reception", which is more neutral and better accomodates all points of view, including positive and negative. In practice, it's not always easy to tell if a comment about someone is praise or criticism. I suggest moving the article to "Reception of Hugo Chavez", "Views about Hugo Chavez", or something similar, and then making sure it contains all significant POVs.   Will Beback  talk  22:51, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. It would be good to have a general guideline on this subject to avoid re-thrashing it on every controversial figures BLP. Msalt (talk) 20:15, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Renaming to something like Views Of would be a start, but it wouldn't necessarily prevent such articles being a POV battleground; and would likely result in articles splitting, say, into sections Criticism and Other Views. IMO such articles simply have to be got rid of, with the content refactored wherever it is relevant. Rd232 talk 12:45, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm not going to attempt to turn this into a guideline, (this is kind of a pet peeve of mine) but probably some things that could be considered when writing one. SDY (talk) 04:54, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

One event: actually policy?

I've been involved in a couple deletions, one recent, one a while back, where the "one event" rule has been invoked. In both cases they involved individuals who are relatively well known for only having been involved in one event, in my opinion because they make good human interest stories for the news media. Ironically, they've been tied to reproductive medicine, Louise Brown and Nadya Suleman. In both cases the arguments have tended towards keep, sometimes justified under WP:IAR and sometimes justified under "media frenzy is an event unto itself" and therefore one event doesn't apply. I've advocated for merge/delete by policy and have not been alone in either case, though in both cases it was contested and I've eventually walked away since I'm really not that interested. Are these cases unusual, or should we revise the one event clause since it is honored more in the breach than the observance? SDY (talk) 19:35, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

  • I think it should be removed. Where it doesn't apply, it is often misinterpreted. And where it does apply, people ignore it. It's been a dead letter since the 08 presidential election. On a practical level, it is damn near impossible to enforce BLP1E neutrally in the presence of sources on a subject. How do we decide that person X is one event and person Y deserves a bio without applying some internal bias about the events surrounding those two people? Evidence from AfDs on these subjects shows that we can't. Protonk (talk) 19:42, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
  • 1E is only about how information is formatted. BLP1E says that if sources cover the event, cover the event. If they cover the person, cover the person. If you write a biography of a 1E person, you shouldn't be deleting it, you should be reformatting the information into a better format. As a general rule - if you don't know anything about the person outside of the incident, they're probably a 1E. If you know their birthday, the schools they went to as a kid, whether they have siblings, children, what jobs they've held, et cetear - they're probably not 1E. WilyD 19:43, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Or in other words, BLP1E is exclusively about articles doomed to be stubs since there is no verifiable information on the topic, and "one event" is irrelevant to the argument? This seems like it could be combined with the WP:NPF policy bit. SDY (talk) 19:50, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't want to go there. Nadya Suleman could be treated as a "NPF" or a public figure depending upon who you ask. I like NPF because it sets a clear threshold for marginal BLPs where the subject isn't seeking public attention (run for office, holding some public post, celebrity) and it provides strong protection. I'd rather not mix it in with BLP1E, where the subject may very well be seeking attention. Protonk (talk) 19:58, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
NPF aside, is BLP1E ultimately about WP:V, or do we expect editors to make a consensus judgment call on "one event" in order to weed out publicity seekers and other media circus events which aren't notable but are covered in detail since there are 24 hours of news to fill and not that much news in a day? SDY (talk) 20:23, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
That's the big question. My read is that in practice we defer to WP:V. Whether that is right or wrong I don't know, but we don't tend to delete BLP1E articles (or merge them into a parent topic) where a great deal of news info exists, expressly contrary to the written policy. Joe the Plumber, tito the builder, the pilot from the bird strike, a half dozen other people from the 08 election cycle. They all (at the moment of article creation) failed BLP1E pretty hard and we kept them anyway. Protonk (talk) 20:31, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be better to just soften the one-event language (i.e. generally cover the topic, not the person) such that if there is a strong consensus for merging the article there is a basis for shepherding in a few that disagree? SDY (talk) 21:03, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

A bit of context I came across when looking at another post on this talk page:

"When an individual is significant for their role in a single event, it may be unclear whether an article should be written about the individual, the event or both. In considering whether or not to create separate articles, the degree of significance of the event itself and the degree of significance of the individual's role within it should be considered. The general rule in many cases is to cover the event, not the person. However, as both the event and the individual's role grow larger, separate articles become justified.

If the event is highly significant, and the individual's role within it is a large one, a separate article is generally appropriate. The assassins of major political leaders, such as Gavrilo Princip fit into this category, as indicated by the large coverage of the event in reliable sources that devotes significant attention to the individual's role.

When the role played by an individual in the event is less significant, an independent article may not be needed, and a redirect is appropriate. For example, George Holliday who videotaped the Rodney King beating redirects to Rodney King. On the other hand, if an event is of sufficient importance, even relatively minor participants may require their own articles, for example Howard Brennan."

This section comes from the WP:N guideline for people, and it does not line up with WP:BLP1E as it is currently written. The second paragraph in particular, however, does seem to better match what is actually done with these articles. Would anyone object some version of that being included in the one event policy for BLP? SDY (talk) 01:16, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Since no one has objected, I guess this stands. I have looked back at about 10-15 recent AfD's that involved BLP1E, and the majority are being deleted or redirected as the policy states. I'm tempted to renom Joe the Plumber et al. just to see if the decision to keep was a function of WP:RECENT. SDY (talk) 01:33, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

According to various broadcasts of ESPN's Sporstcenter and Urban Dictionary, Danny Granger's nickname is "Granger Zone" in lieu of his aggressive play. [1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Iosimcash (talkcontribs) 00:41, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Marginally notable people

In a recent WP:AfD discussion, an article was nominated for deletion because its subject requested its removal from Wikipedia. The nominator referenced the BLP policy which allows the removal of ambiguously notable BLPs upon the subject's request. Unless I missed it, there is nothing in the current BLP policy which directly supports this. At one point there was a section which read

When closing an AfD about living persons whose notability is ambiguous, the closing administrator should take into account whether the subject of the article being deleted has asked that it be deleted. The degree of weight given to such a request is left to their discretion.

However that was removed here [11] and replaced with a plan of "routine semi-protection"; that plan was subsequently removed from the policy without restoring the old wording. I've looked through some of the talk archives and this discussion and I couldn't find where there was a consensus to remove the above paragraph. Should it be readded? –Megaboz (talk) 16:20, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

"Ambiguous notability" is a meaningless connection between two words. The decision to include a living person in an article the Wikipedia is determined by some objective criteria which can applied to anyone in the subject's category (i.e. author, actor, business, politician, etc.). If editors disagree among themselves if the subject meets that objective criteria, and the subject requests deletion, then that request ought to be given some weight. patsw (talk) 18:18, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
why should it be given weight? If the author can give information that should lead to removal of the article, as does happen, that is very reasonable. Why should it matter to us otherwise? Are we writing to please our subjects, or to make a NPOV reference work? We cannot do both. The net result of paying any attention is that for all the borderline notable figures, we will have only articles they approve of. If there's a reason to remove an article, the editors will agree to remove it. That's the very basis of consensus. If there is a true personal safety reason why an article must be removed, it would apply regardless of notability. If an article is based only on libel or hearsay or tabloid gossip, it should be removed regardless of notability--though of course as people get more notable, there will normally be more acceptable material. DGG (talk) 03:05, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I worry about a situation where a person with borderline notability has an article written about them which vastly increases that person's visibility against their wishes. If it is questionable whether or not someone would be included in the first place, it seems harsh to insist that their article remain. Although this would result in the loss of at least some of the marginally notable bios, I don't think non-involved editors would make POV edits in order to save an article from a potential deletion. –Megaboz (talk) 05:58, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
It is a fallacy that a wikipedia entry "vastly increases that person's visibility" if they are of "borderline notability". For such a person, the article will attract a low level of traffic and have minimal effect on their visibility. If someone searches for them on google etc, then the wikipedia entry is likely to be high up, but then that is someone actually looking for them in the first place. Even a person of "borderline notability" must have done something to put themselves in the public eye in the first place to attract the secondary coverage required by WP:N. I agree with DGG. Ty 12:16, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
It's not a fallacy - you're missing the point. It's not that an article increases a marginally notable person's web visibility (though it will do that too), it's that a WP article will be much more prominent in the few web searches done on them (as you note), so that a low-traffic article, maybe watched by few or no people and editable 24/7 by anybody with a web browser and a grudge may easily become the de facto "Most Important Site" about them, and without the protection of having tons of independent WP:RS that a more prominent person has (both in balancing the WP article and in improving it). Just imagine this happened to you - scraping notability on WP (an elastic and often arbitrary concept depending on who happens to get involved in AFD etc) - would you be happy with the balance drawn between the interests of WP and your own? Ergo, IMO, we should respect the subject's wishes in cases of marginal notability, as measured by the amount of WP:RS biographical info (not directly about their work, which can be covered separately without a BLP) availability. Rd232 talk 12:58, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I suppose it depends on how many links end up pointing to the article. There probably aren't a large number of people whose visibility gets significantly raised against their wishes by an article here. At the same time, I think giving at least some weight (in limited cases) to those few would neither harm nor have a noticeable impact on the project. –Megaboz (talk) 22:33, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, those words should be put back. They represent long standing consensus for what we do and have agreed to do. WAS 4.250 (talk) 15:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. Rd232 talk 12:58, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions

It is proposed to run a trial of Flagged Revisions at Wikipedia:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions. The proposal is divided in two parts:

  • Flagged protection: an article can be 'protected' by an administrator so that the version viewed by readers by default is the latest flagged version. This is a modified version of the original flagged protection proposal.
  • Patrolled revisions: a 'passive' flag used to monitor articles, especially blps, for vandalism, blp violations, pov pushing, etc, that can be used for all articles, but has no effect on the version viewed by readers.

The proposals are independent but supplement each other. They involve the creation of a 'reviewer' usergroup. This implementation can support secondary trials. The main trial should run for two months, then a community discussion should decide the future of the implementation.

This proposal is largely dedicated to improve our monitoring of BLPs (part 2) and enforce the BLP policy on specific articles (part 1). But keep in mind that changes ought to be moderate and progressive in order to achieve consensus. Cenarium (talk) 22:48, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for the notice. Are you encouraging discussion here, or is there a different place for comments on different aspects of the proposal and its trial run? Wikidemon (talk) 23:12, 15 March 2009 (UTC)
Discussion can happen on the talk page. It's still in the early stages, I plan for a centralized discussion when more people will have weighed in. Cenarium (talk) 00:07, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

There is now a poll at Wikipedia talk:Flagged protection and patrolled revisions/Poll. Cenarium (talk) 18:30, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Clarification of WP:BLP1E

There are literally thousands of articles about events that involve only one person, and use that persons name as the article name for the event. This is done because it is clearly the most likely to be searched for term. An example is Rodney King. The article is not a biography of Rodney King, but about the event in which he was videotaped being beaten by the Los Angeles police. There has been a recent spate of over zealous attempts to rename such articles, such as the renaming of Elizabeth A. Smart to Elizabeth Smart kidnapping. While it is paramount to cover the event, not the person, as stipulated by WP:BLP1E, it is equally not appropriate to try to come up with a description of the event in the article title. In many cases the description can be highly inflammatory, and inappropriate, especially in the case of crimes. I would propose adding a recommendation that as policy if an event involves only one person, such as the shoe throwing incident in Baghdad (Muntadhar al-Zaidi), that the article about the event use that persons name for the article title, as was done in that case, and in the Rodney King case. Where there is a separate article about an event, and a person is mentioned in a section of that article, that is where it is appropriate to use the person's name as a redirect to that section, or where it is more appropriate to create a name for the event itself, which is more likely to only happen if it involves more than one person. (talk) 02:48, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

That makes sense to me, and I don't think it would be a new rule, it's the old rule of "don't make stuff up", including the commonly accepted names ascribed to certain events. No one on U.S. news programs today says "the Rodney King beating", it's "Rodney King" or "the Rodney King incident". - Dan Dank55 (push to talk) 02:57, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Relevant guideline Wikipedia:Notability (criminal acts)#Article title says the title should normally reflect the event. And indeed it makes sense to me to have the Rodney King incident at, say Rodney King incident. cf Wikipedia:Naming conventions (events). Rd232 talk 02:59, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I am a little curious as to how google works - there are almost twice as many hits to "the Rodney King incident" as there are to the included search string "Rodney King incident". But there are like 30 times as many to just Rodney King. I agree that we should use whatever it is most often referred to as, and not try to make things up. I would have to say that in almost every case that means using just the person's name. In the case of the shoe throwing incident, I think it is appropriate to dig out what the person's name was and use that. Bear in mind that all of the follow up information, such as a trial for example, is most easily attached by restricting the article name to the person's name. For example, let's say that something else happened during the trial that was even more significant than the original event. By keeping the article at the person's name there is no need to keep moving the article each time the situation changes. Another example is in a kidnapping. Maybe it starts out as a missing person, so we call it Some Name missing person, then a fake ransom notice is presented, so we move the article to Some Name kidnapping, then the person was found to have been in a car accident, so we move it yet again to Some Person car accident. Yeesh. Just leave it at Some Person. Cover the event, not the person, but don't try to include the event in the title, unless it is more commonly known as that. (talk) 04:37, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Well Google will almost always find more hits to less specific terms. Adding quotes around a phrase makes a more specific term. (Perhaps we should have Rodney King at Rodney, that gets even more hits I'm sure...) As for the "changing things around" issue, I doubt this is really much of a problem in practice; page moves are normal and in any case we shouldn't be covering events so current we're not even sure of the basics of what happened. And I disagree that it is appropriate to use the name instead of an event-related title, and more to the point so does WP policy. Rd232 talk 04:59, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Google found 20,500 hits to "the ..." and only 14,400 to "...", even though all 20,500 that were "the ..." should also have appeared in the search for "...", plus all the ones that did not include "the" but included "...". (talk) 06:15, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
It is much more effective to word it as "Kidnapping of X.Y." than as either "X.Y. Kidnapping" or "X.Y" . I think that the first of these is the preferred format on things of that nature. DGG (talk) 05:47, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Do a google search then, for "kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart" and one for "Elizabeth Smart". If there are as many hits for the former,(2,110) then use it. If not,(179,000) use the latter. Use the rule of the name most often used. (talk) 06:15, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
No, WP naming policy doesn't work that way. Google doesn't own us (yet). Rd232 talk 13:40, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
No, but we do get to use their data for free. There are however, caveats to use ghits with a grain of common sense. I'm just saying that it is problematic to add an explanation of the event to a person's name, when there is no need to do so. (talk) 22:45, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
the very point of the naming policy in this instance is to make our article findable, but her name not conspicuous. Thus you've given a very good dexample of why we would not use the name alone as the title. DGG (talk) 00:31, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Use of partisan sources

Sources are reliable based on how they are used in addition to who they are. In many cases, sources have obvious bias which makes them unreliable when discussing a topic. To give an analogy, let's call them the Hatfields and McCoys. The specific issue I'm dealing with is a Hatfield being used as a source to say something nasty about a McCoy. For example:

(source) Ephraim Hatfield: Them McCoys are devil-worshippers, and Bill McCoy, that right foul git, cast a hex on the missus that made her cooking taste bad!

The article would then say: "William McCoy used black magic to harm Mary's cooking."<ref>(source above)</ref>

I don't think it's a large leap to say that Mr. Hatfield is unlikely to be a reliable source on the topic. Do we have any guidelines on when a source's conflict of interest makes them inappropriate for use in an article, specifically a BLP article? SDY (talk) 02:24, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Where and how should the BLP template be placed?

There seems to be no specific guidance in policy, but some editors seem to feel that it absolutely must be the first thing on the talkpage, and others seem to think that it should appear as soon as is reasonably convenient. Does policy really mandate that blp must be first? If not, should it? Acannas (talk) 05:28, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

it is usually the most important thing there, after all DGG (talk) 19:05, 19 March 2009 (UTC)

Abuse filter

Now that the Wikipedia:Abuse filter is online, we could consider writing rules to target vandalism against BLPs. If you can think of any attacks against BLPs (either generally or persistent attacks on particular targets) that would be amenable to automated identification, please feel free to make suggestions at WP:RAF. Dragons flight (talk) 07:08, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Discussion at Wikipedia talk:Editing policy on integration of policies

A discussion here deals with the question of whether the editing policy should recommend that editors remove material that "clearly fails" our content policies and if it should highlight the importance of doing this in BLPs. Some input from editors with more experience of policy than I have would be appreciated. Tim Vickers (talk) 17:55, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Account verification for editors allegedly the subject editing their own article

Is there a clear statement about what the policy is regarding account identity verification? This is of particular relevance for editors who claim to be the subject editing their own article (or, in a recent instance, asking for it to be deleted). In general our position seems to be that verification is irrelevant since comments and edits by subjects of their own article have no special status. But this isn't very clearly stated anywhere that I know of, and even if it is it may be de facto ignored in practice; such accounts' views and edits may be given more (or less, citing WP:COI) weight. WP:REALNAME says "[if ... you are a well known person, and you wish to edit under your own name, then your userpage should make it clear whether you actually are the well known person or not." In relation to BLPs editing their own articles and requesting deletion and such (where is this some precedent for giving a small weight to the subject's opinion) this is arguably not good enough. What, if anything, should be done about it? Block such accounts on sight and create a very polite notice explaining the issues and how to verify the account? That might just lead people to create a different username and not disclose the WP:COI... I don't know. Comments? Rd232 talk 17:56, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Applying to fictional characters

Will this apply to fictional characters one day? See Legal_status_of_cartoon_pornography_depicting_minors#Australia.--Otterathome (talk) 19:11, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

No. This policy is designed primarily to protect living, non-public individuals against invasion of privacy, defamation, and other harm, whereas prohibitions on depicting minors in (real or fictional) pornography are designed to protect an entire class of individuals. In addition, this policy is designed to protect individuals who can be harmed by content on Wikipedia, and fictional characters definitely do not fall into that category.
With regard to the issue of child pornography (or depictions of minors in pornography, whichever is the preferred wording...), I think that the law of Florida—where Wikipedia's servers are hosted—overrides all other considerations. –Black Falcon (Talk) 22:40, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Just to correct one phrase by Falcon, BLP absolutely applies to all living individuals, "people", public or private, not corporations, firms, or governments, or fictional characters. If they are living, have a pulse, and are homo sapien, they're protected. Recently deceased people are covered for a "reasonable" length of time, usually several months from what I've seen. rootology (C)(T) 23:51, 28 March 2009 (UTC)

Speaking of which, can we change the text of the policy to reflect that stance? Especially when this is a policy with legal implications, "Person" is ambiguous and might be misinterpreted. Just changing a few of the "persons" to "individuals" or "human beings" in the first section would eliminate any ambiguity. SDY (talk) 01:01, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Recently deceased people are not covered, nor should they be. I do not think the policy would ever have been approved in the first place if that were intended. The emphasis here is as much on living as human. There is sufficient protection for legitimate reasons after that in normal editing policy. DGG (talk) 03:07, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
I have no doubt that it is, but I'm familiar with the policy and someone reading this at first glance might misread it. Understood vs. impossible to be misunderstood. It's no big deal, just could be clear. SDY (talk) 04:14, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
It appears that BLP is extended to recently deceased people as a courtesy to survivors rather than as a strict requirement.   Will Beback  talk  21:44, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
True, I just wanted to emphasize that BLP offers more protections for private individuals than for public figures but, in retrospect, I don't think that the public/private distinction is relevant to the point I was trying to make to Otterathome... It was poor wording on my part. –Black Falcon (Talk) 07:23, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Suppose robots or chimpanzees were to gain the same level of intelligence as humans and be considered persons under the law. Would they also be protected under BLP? (talk) 21:21, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
Maybe we should think about crossing that bridge when we actually come to it... :) Anything we write at this time will consist mostly of speculation.
Both Great ape personhood and Ethics of artificial intelligence are interesting to read, though. –Black Falcon (Talk) 21:39, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
No, we would create Wikipedia:Biographies of living robots and Wikipedia:Biographies of living simians, respectively. --Conti| 23:13, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Formatting of (potentially honorary) degrees

A number of academic people have their degrees listed after this name in their wikipedia entries, as is common when written their name formally in their fields. I have a question about differentiating between honorary and non-honorary versions of the same degree. For example the University of Canterbury gives out both honorary Doctor of Science degrees and Doctor of Science degrees by thesis.

Is there a standard for this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Stuartyeates (talkcontribs) 08:17, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

I think Wikipedia:Manual of Style (biographies)#Academic titles is the most applicable guideline, which advises against the use of academic titles (e.g. "Doctor John Smith") and post-nominal indicators of education (e.g. "John Smith, MD"). I think this guidance would apply equally to both honorary and non-honorary credentials. –Black Falcon (Talk) 16:52, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Stemming the flow of unreferenced BLPs

There is a concrete proposal to do something about this. See here.----Scott Mac (Doc) 15:23, 1 April 2009 (UTC)


The top of the policy states "Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material about living persons—whether the material is negative, positive, or just questionable—should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion". I read this as discussing firstly unsourced material (whether contentious or not), and secondly poorly sourced contentious material. My reasoning for this is that if only contentious material were being discussed then "unsourced" is redundant as an expansion of "poorly sourced", and would not be included. If the general consensus is one way or the other, then there is probably a better way of wording it. Or is it open to interpretation? How do others read this section? Kevin (talk) 22:56, 7 April 2009 (UTC)

What about "Contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced ..."? — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:13, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
That does make it clearer. Is that the way you generally read it? Kevin (talk) 07:19, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes. — Cheers, JackLee talk 07:59, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

Blogs as sources, WP:BLOGS

Since I still keep coming across issues where people falsely say "blogs can't be sources"--an out and out incorrect statement--I've whipped up Wikipedia:Blogs as sources/WP:BLOGS as a quick reference distilled from RS & BLP policy pages to give a quick clue on how blogs are allowed to be used from certain websites, and how on what articles. Any feedback on the talk is appreciated there. rootology (C)(T) 03:07, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Notification of a new bot task: Erik9bot 6

Erik9 has requested permission to operate a bot which will automatically add {{BLP probably unsourced}} to some articles. Please comment at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/Erik9bot 6 if you have any suggestions or concerns. Wronkiew (talk) 04:54, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Need clarification on BLP and cherry picking issue in policy?

I've asking around the specifics of this complicated issue to a couple notice boards, but given only one ambivalent response so far, think there may be a larger policy implication this article needs to address:

It obviously is unacceptable for a primary source to make defamatory claims against one or more living persons, and in an article with one of their names in the title. Yet one editor insists on cherry picking a "general quote" from that article based on the behavior of those specific people and put it in the author's BLP, claiming they can't provide "context" because it would violate the BLP's of the subjects of the article.

I think any use of the article is a clear BLP violation, but given the failure to respond, maybe it's too complicated for other people to figure out and needs explication here? CarolMooreDC (talk) 14:21, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

For clarification, no quotes have been cherry picked whatsoever, the response described as "ambivalent" provided a framework for the quote to be used. However the level of enthusiams perceived by the above editor seems to have become the main qualification for validity in this particular article. The quotes in reference are the subjects own words, with links to the original articles provided for each one. It is also the consensus of the talk page that the article was massively POV when the above user had decided to take it over. Subsequently she has been seeking to place every editor who disagrees with her into arbitration, despite them being the majority. Drsmoo (talk) 14:29, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Could both of you need be slightly more specific in explaining what the problem is? — Cheers, JackLee talk 14:35, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I am trying to discuss a general issue. For discussion of the specific issue, please see: Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard#Insistence_on_using_self-published_critical_article.2C_and_out_of_context. Help appreciated since the cherry picking of primary sources just keeps going on in this article, despite lots of secondary sources. CarolMooreDC (talk) 15:41, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
There seems to be a dispute about whether any "cherry-picking" is going on, so I am not going to get into that at this point. I think the governing guideline here is "Wikipedia:Libel": "It is Wikipedia policy to delete libellous material when it has been identified." Does applying that policy adequately resolve the problem? — Cheers, JackLee talk 16:46, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
The general issue is more an NPOV one in accordance with: The possibility of harm to living subjects is one of the important factors to be considered when exercising editorial judgment. This policy applies equally to biographies of living persons and to biographical material about living persons on other pages. The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests with the person who adds or restores material, and this is especially true for material regarding living persons. However, that is not always spelled out in the rest of this BLP article, i.e., the use of out of context quotes, especially Primary Source ones, being against POV. Though I have seen that opined frequently in various Bios with the resolution being providing correct context - and what if the context is considered potentially libelous. I think a whole new NPOV section with this as one of several related issues might help the article, including the WP:Coatrack issue. Or at least/better beef up "Criticism and praise" and "reliable sources" with specific description of Coatrack to say that just stringing a lot of out of context quotes from the primary source together in a POV way is wrong. CarolMooreDC (talk) 16:57, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

Here is a link to the article in question [[12]] I do not believe there is any example of quotes being used out of context, espcially as all quotes are clearly linked to, and provided with supporting details. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drsmoo (talkcontribs) 19:46, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

The issue is, the article uses several quotes from its subject, the above poster considers these "disparaging quotes", intended to make the author "look bad" despite the fact that they are first person. Drsmoo (talk) 20:22, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
I've looked at this particular situation and as an editor with only limited knowledge of the subject matter or articles in question found it very difficult to sort out as a specific content matter - not that everyone would be confused but I was. As a general matter, though, I find that there are often a lot of problems when using people's writings as primary sources, i.e. using something that a person wrote as a source to say what they wrote. "Cherry-picking" (even done with the most innocent and sincere of intentions) is one such problem. If there were a secondary reliable source, we could count on that source to choose and analyze what specific topics, quotes, and statements of an author are worth bringing to readers' attentions. But without secondary sourcing, the only filter we have is Wikipedians' own decisions as to what is important, encyclopedic, and relevant. To take a completely uncontroversial (I hope) example, suppose you are writing about Charles Schultz and you say "in one comic strip, Peppermint Patty is unaware that Snoopy is a dog [assume proper cite]." Why choose that strip or that subject out of thousands of others? Someone else could propose "in one comic strip, Peppermint Patty tells Charlie Brown that Snoopy is a strange dog[cite]" and we would have no basis for choosing one over the other. These are not inherently BLP problems, but if you mix the primary / secondary question, and the fact that in articles about Arab/Israeli issues many of the primary sources are unreliable because they are partisan or editorial in nature, it might be reasonable to say that the sourcing issues become a BLP matter. Wikidemon (talk) 20:41, 13 April 2009 (UTC)
Excellent points. This WP:BLP article needs to explain better what Coatrack and fact/cherry picking are to get people over here: Wikipedia:Coatrack#Fact_picking. And that section needs to mention using primary sources to do that in BLP is especially problematic - especially if there are lots of secondary sources that point out the main issues and give good relevant quotes.
I'm going to look at several of these related BLP/NPOV articles and see what's needed, and try to put together some proposals for comprehensive clarifications/linking that will make it easier for people to deal with these issues. Nothing radical or new, just make everything more comprehensible. :-) CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:33, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

<backdent> The good news is there was a OTRS complaint on this so it's finally getting some attention!! However, the time I've wasted on this article - and the lack of help from WP:BLPN, other noticeboards and policy pages in general - does convince me that what I describe directly above needs to be done. After I cool down from this specific BLP issue, will make suggestions and bring to a number of relevant talk pages, interlinked so people will know which ones. CarolMooreDC (talk) 14:38, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Place of birth

How do we handle people who were born in a country that is different from how it is now? What I mean is, if a person was born in the Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union, do we list that that they were born in the Soviet Union (since legally that is the country they were born in), do we at least mention that it was part of the Soviet Union at the time? This could also apply to similar situations (like someone being born in Serbia when it was part of Yugoslavia). TJ Spyke 01:05, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

I think it would be misleading not to. If someone was born in Kiev in 1970, then the most accurate statement regarding his or her birth is that he or she was "born in Kiev, Ukrainian SSR". –Black Falcon (Talk) 04:14, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

Advice needed re. application of this policy

Hi. I’m working on the Matthias Rath article and would appreciate the thoughts of any editors who are expert in the application of the BLP policy as to whether the article’s content is consistent with it. In particular, I would appreciate advice as to whether the article’s criticism section violates the BLP policy (to my mind, it does, and rather blatantly). Many thanks. Adrian CZ (talk) 19:45, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Could you summarize what your objections are? — Cheers, JackLee talk 20:00, 10 April 2009 (UTC)
The article’s criticism section violates the BLP policy rather blatantly because it uses a controversial defamatory statement made by a political party as a means of trying to undermine the subject’s qualifications. (Other editors, incidentally, have also commented on the blatant policy violations in this section.[13]) Also, the reference that the criticism section uses to support this statement is a dead link. As such, given that the article already contains a reliable source to show that Rath obtained his basic medical degree in 1985, after studying in Munster and Hamburg and that he became a researcher first at the University Clinic in Hamburg and then, during 1989 and 1990, at the Berlin Heart Centre [14], the statement clearly contravenes a significant proportion of the BLP guidelines. For example, it isn’t supported by high quality references and contains unsourced contentious material. According to the BLP guidelines, therefore, it should be removed. In addition, looking at the article as a whole, it is written neither conservatively nor in a neutral, encyclopedic tone. For instance, the subject of the article, along with his co-researchers [15] and collaborators [16], has had almost 50 peer-reviewed papers published in scientific journals. He also runs a research institute, employing around a dozen scientists, in the United States. Nevertheless, the article makes scant mention of this and is written in a distinctly non-partisan manner that tends to overwhelm the article.Adrian CZ (talk) 18:18, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
I've corrected the credentials/South Africa part to reflect the source more accurately. Publications and work may be discussed in more detail, especially to the extent relevant to the public controversies; feel free to add. Overall the structure needs much work, merging things and delistifying the legal cases section. Rd232 talk 19:21, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Many thanks, much appreciated. If you could add these comments to the article's talk page[17] I'm sure that the other editors working on it would find them very useful indeed. Thanks again.Adrian CZ (talk) 16:08, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Premature BLP1E AfD's

I added the following text, which has since been reverted, to the end of the BLP1E section:

"However, because press coverage can continue evolving, it is often inadvisable to nominate an article for deletion as a violation of this rationale until a significant amount of time has passed since the event that promtped the media coverage."

This was reverted with the rationale ""significant amount of time" is far too vague (is that a week? a month? a year?) and adding such language to the policy just gives more weight to the "keep, too soon" arguments

My responses: 1) Significant amount of time is intentionally vague. That is, as soon as the story is out of the news, it's probably a good time to consider BLP1E--anything sooner is premature.

2) "Keep, too soon" arguments are exactly what I want to forestall by this change. That is, if anyone can make a good faith case that coverage is still happening and evolving, the article should not have been AfD'ed as a BLP1E violation. In my observation, such BLP1E's of current news figures are invariably contentious and generally kept. Consider:

I believe that an appropriate caution--and I'm perfectly open to alternative/improved wording--to preempt such premature AfD discussions is in the best interests of Wikipedia. All other BLP concerns should apply, but BLP1E concerns do not seem to prompt meaningful changes to Wikipedia when taken to AfD during the duration of news coverage. Jclemens (talk) 18:18, 16 April 2009 (UTC)

How does evolving press coverage relate to whether a person is known only for 1 event ? Are we to keep articles in the hope that the subject does something else that is notable? We should deal with situations as they are now. Kevin (talk) 21:22, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Usage stats for articles about currently-in-the-news BLP1E folks are higher than average BLPs. We can go research/quantify this if needed. Having an AfD header on such pages is disruptive.
  • AfDs on such figures are, at least in the examples above, kept after a large amount of contentious discussion. That is, the contentious discussion added nothing to the building of an encyclopedia. If they were eliminated, we'd be no worse off.
  • One event can turn into multiple events. Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Chesley Sullenberger is another example of a BLP1E AfD. The events for which he was notable (ignoring previous notability), continued well after the successful water landing. As did events involving all the others I listed above.
Thus, AfDs of current figures 1) make us look bad to new visitors, 2) are pointless wastes of time and effort, and 3) the subjects end up being not-BLP1Es after news dies down. Better to wait until the news has died down, and then pursue a BLP1E-based merge or deletion, should it turn out to be the appropriate result, per WP:TIND. Jclemens (talk) 21:33, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Surely by that argument we would do better to merge a.s.a.p. into an event article (or section of an existing article) with a redirect, rather than waiting? That way the content & references can be developed as part of the event, which is the natural place for them, and if the subject becomes more generally notable it is easy to create the BLP article and establish an appropriate balance between the person and their event(s) articles. For example Joe Wurzelbacher is not notable, but "Joe the Plumber" is, as Balloonman (talk · contribs) said in Wikipedia:Deletion review/Joe the Plumber. IMO, a smart process for this would remove the need for many AfDs and save a load of effort. Pointillist (talk) 23:28, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
As the person who reverted it, I oppose this change. If "significant time" means "as soon as the story is out of the news," just say that. Giving a vague time just lets people make up their own definition of "significant" to suit their argument. Having this in the policy isn't going to stop that many AfDs, at best they might just get closed faster. At worst it will prevent deletion of articles that truly fail BLP1E because it hasn't been <arbitrary amount of time> since the news coverage stopped. In general I oppose "let's wait and see" for BLPs, especially ones that lots of people are seeing. As Pointillist said, they can simply be merged and redirected to their corresponing event article (or soft-redirected to Wikinews) and we can calmly evaluate later if they're notable for their own article. Mr.Z-man 00:28, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
Well, part of bein BOLD was not concentrating too much on the details, knowing that there's a 90% chance it'll get reverted and a 10% chance someone else will run with it and modify it some more. As far as the soft-redirect or merge ideas go... I'm just getting the feeling that many occasional editors don't understand the concepts well. A merger is perhaps seen by some as burying some information in another article and excising the rest. Neither outcome really disturbs me, but the AfD tag and ensuing laborious discussion seem so counterproductive when there's a really good chance that when the dust settles everyone will agree that an individual article is appropriate. I'm hoping that by giving a story a particular amount of time to develop--say, a week or two--absent any other pressing BLP concerns, we can shortcut the unproductive drama. Jclemens (talk) 05:43, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

As the first person who identified Ms. Suleman for deletion, I still hold that she is only notable for one event and, in a literal interpretation would be inappropriate for an article if WP:BLP1E were absolute. I think it's mostly a question of what "one event" means, and how strictly we want to get behind WP:NOTNEWS, which is really the ultimate argument against having articles on hot topics that are unlikely to have lasting notability. I saw the Suleman article as a piece of gossip and a product of media circus-it sells Wonderbread, but it isn't really news, and it isn't really, in my mind, appropriate for an encyclopedia article. Many people disagreed, I backed off and washed my hands of it, and who knows where it is now? SDY (talk) 02:27, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I edited the section of BLP about people notable for one event in a way that would hopefully prevent its misuse in future, but Rd232 reverted. [18] Rd, can you say what your objection is? The key change was to this sentence, with the new words in bold: "If reliable sources cover the person only in the context of a particular event, and if that person remains otherwise low profile, then a separate biography is unlikely to be warranted." My intention is to stop people thinking it refers to articles like Susan Boyle. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 04:47, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure that it's being misused, I just think that it's something where there's a lot of room for WP:IAR and that suffers from WP:RECENT. Ms. Boyle is really the event unto herself, there's no other way to realistically cover it. The Joe that is Plumber (or not really, but whatever) could reasonably be covered under "Joe the Plumber": an article about a notable event in the 2008 election (Joe himself is largely irrelevant). BLP1E is inconsistently applied, and I think WP:BIO1E is where it should live: as a notability guideline rather than as a BLP standard (and hence more flexibility), with the caveat of WP:NPF and the stated preference of covering the event and not the person. SDY (talk) 05:06, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
SlimVirgin, I like your wording--I think it captures the essence of what I was looking for. SDY, I think there's real potential in the BIO1E/NPF angle to this as well. Good ideas all around. Jclemens (talk) 05:36, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
I think it's a good change also. But I'd suggest "remains or is likely to otherwise remain no profile" is order to get rid of the articles right away that need to gotten rid of right away, as is often the case. DGG (talk) 00:13, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, guys. The section now reads:

Wikipedia is not a newspaper. The bare fact that someone has been in the news does not in itself imply that they should be the subject of an encyclopedia entry. Where a person is mentioned by name in a Wikipedia article about a larger subject, but essentially remains a low-profile individual, we should generally avoid having an article on them.

If reliable sources cover the person only in the context of a particular event, and if that person otherwise remains, or is likely to remain, low profile, then a separate biography is unlikely to be warranted. Biographies of people of marginal notability can give undue weight to the event, and may cause problems for our neutral point of view policy. In such cases, a merge of the information and a redirect of the person's name to the event article are usually the better options.

If the event is significant, and/or if the individual's role within it is substantial, a separate article for the person may be appropriate. Individuals notable for well-documented events, such as John Hinckley, Jr., fit into this category. The significance of an event or individual should be indicated by how persistent the coverage is in reliable secondary sources.

It's still a little repetitive, and I wouldn't mind tightening it further at some point, but I'll leave that for now so as not to confuse things. SlimVirgin talk|contribs 00:21, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Section break

I seem to have missed the recent discussion (Watchlist getting way too big...). Since others have supported the changes now, I'll have to fisk them:

  • Addition: " and if that person otherwise remains, or is likely to remain, low profile, " - WP:CRYSTAL, and an unknown standard. Low profile means "non-notable"? Then why not say so? If it means something else, what, and where is that explained?
  • Deletion: historic from "well-documented historic events". The example of Hinchley is a leftover from the old concept. Remove that too and you're left with: "Individuals notable for well-documented events" (may have articles). A rather massive weakening.
  • Rewriting:
Old version: "The historic significance of events should be indicated by the persistent coverage of the event in reliable secondary sources that devote significant attention to the individual's role. Transient press coverage of a story does not generally indicate an individual who would meet this exception, even if there are multiple independent and reliable secondary sources. "
New: "The significance of an event or individual should be indicated by how persistent the coverage is in reliable secondary sources. "
Complete loss of the key focus on the individual's role in the event; so persistent coverage of a major event would now qualify an individual with a very minor role for inclusion. Loss of the clarifying qualifier sentence for lots of press coverage at one point in time. Loss of the emphasis on events having some "historic" quality.
All of this amounts to a substantial weakening of the BLP1E policy, not a "tweaking" as SlimVirgin originally billed it. I see no advantage in the new version versus the old. Rd232 talk 04:59, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

That said, I had (somewhere) started a suggestion to rewrite BLP1E to strengthen it, but the idea petered out without getting into specifics. So, tentatively, how about this:

"Wikipedia is not a newspaper or a source of trivia: not everything that can be sourced to verifiable reliable sources merits inclusion. If the reason a person has received widespread coverage can be covered in its own article, this is to be preferred, unless this is not possible or an additional article on the person clearly adds value to the encyclopedia. In particular, a person known for a single event can often be covered in an article on the event for which the person is known (or series of related events, if these fall so closely within the same topic as to be easily covered in the same article). Little value is added by having an additional article to the main reason for notability when: little biographical material from verifiable reliable sources is available; when biographical material sheds no light on the reason for the subject's notability or such biographical material is so small in quantity that it can easily be covered elsewhere; and when biographical material is not relevant to the main reason for notability and is not itself notable."
Put that in yer pipe and smoke it. Rd232 talk 04:59, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Completely wrongheaded, actually. People come to Wikipedia to both contribute to current events and to read about them. Trying to keep out enthusiastic readers and new contributors does not help build an encyclopedia, unless we're aiming to be as hidebound as a paper encyclopedia. Jclemens (talk) 04:50, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

The Hinchley thing was put in to put BLP1E in line with BIO1E, which has a similar bent. I added it a little while back after some discussion over how massively unenforced BLP1E is to bring the policy in line with the trend of AfD decisions. That's the main thing that I'd like to see with this: a policy that is actually enforced and is not more honored in the breach than the observation. SDY (talk) 06:52, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem with the Hinchley thing quite the contrary. My point is that this is a clarifying example, and the aspect of the policy it's clarifying (historicness) is now gone. Rd232 talk 14:10, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
My original intent was not to "weaken" the BLP1E guidance per se, but to incorporate a presumption that BLP1E could not be accurately addressed until such time as news coverage has stopped. Hasty BLP1E-based AfD noms on current event-related persons do Wikipedia no favors, per my assertions above. Jclemens (talk) 07:09, 20 April 2009 (UTC)
Well I fail to see how any aspect of these changes [19] achieves that. If anything the WP:CRYSTAL aspect of "likely to remain low profile" makes it more likely that current-event BLPs will be AFDd (if not necessarily deleted). Further I don't think the problem lies with deleting BLP1Es prematurely, it lies with creating them prematurely, instead of developing the event and only spinning off a BLP if it adds value. This could be easily and clearly stated, eg "Biographies of living persons should not be created when that person is notable only for an event which is still ongoing: they should be covered in an article on the event. Where BLPs are created prematurely, they should be redirected to the event, with material merged as necessary, and when the event is complete, consideration given to whether a separate article is needed." Rd232 talk 14:10, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) In my ideal world of delusion, I guess I'd say that there should be no biography of a person who is notable for only one event until ten-fifteen days after the event have passed and it is clear that the person is independently notable. In any case, we should not have two articles about one event until it is clear that the event will have enough content for two articles. In my experience with the Octo-mom article back when I was moving to have it deleted, the article about the event and the article about the person were largely the same information, which is pointless and creates opportunities for content forking and other naughtiness. Given that the article about the event is less likely to be contested as inappropriate, the biography is the fork and should be deleted under that justification, not necessarily under BLP1E. SDY (talk) 23:23, 21 April 2009 (UTC)

So does that mean you'd support a rewrite as I proposed above, and/or an additional Speedy Merge (to give it a name) as I suggested above: "Biographies of living persons should not be created when that person is notable only for an event which is still ongoing: they should be covered in an article on the event. Where BLPs are created prematurely, they should be redirected to the event, with material merged as necessary, and when the event is complete, consideration given to whether a separate article is needed." Rd232 talk 23:53, 21 April 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like what I would write as policy if I ruled the world. Getting people to actually follow it appears to be the problem, if you look at the history of AfD's related to BLP1E. SDY (talk) 06:16, 22 April 2009 (UTC)
If you mean to strengthen it to this extent, I totally disagree. If it is fairly clear that the event is likely to be notable enough to warrant an article, we should have the article. After all when is an event "complete"? As soon as the event has sufficient coverage to shown its general importance to whatever extent we think necessary (about which these is some ongoing dispute), then is the time. Coverage once published is published. Notability does not decrease once established. "X has been elected governor, or appointed Secretary of the __, or President of GM. Let's not write the article till his term is over?" Is an ongoing event a crime, or the crime and the subsequent events--no article till he finishes his life sentence? Is it an appearance on a show, and all the publicity that follows. No article till he appears on another show? The repercussions of WTC are not yet over. We should therefore not write the articles on anyone involved? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Somedumbyankee (talkcontribs)
That's taking it to a bit of an extreme. We should always start with the article on the event, and split off the biography if and only if there is enough independent information to justify a separate biography. In most cases with BLP1E types, there isn't enough information worth mentioning to justify two articles and they should be merged. SDY (talk) 17:31, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Somedumbyankee raises 2 good points: (a) interpretation of BLP1E depends massively on the definition of "event". But that's unavoidable, it's not a problem in particular with my proposal (b) some people are agreed to be notable solely for One Event, the best example being politicians. However, even here, there have been examples of massive WP:NOTNEWS issues over controversial confirmations, before the person actually gets the job (and in some cases they ultimately didn't). So I do think my proposal can be a starting point for a better approach, which would be to focus on the Event and not the Person whilst the event is ongoing. Rd232 talk 21:12, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Agree with (a), but I have no idea where you got (b) from. If you think politicians are notable for one event, presumably their election, you really need to rethink your interpretation of event. I started this conversation to try and harmonize BLP1E with AfD outcomes--your proposal is against community consensus as measured by AfD outcomes. Let's start moving the right direction here, shall we? Jclemens (talk) 04:50, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Premature BLP1E AfD's > Merge to event should be explicitly assumed OK

Some of the concerns raised above would be greatly reduced if there were specific guidelines in favor of merging new BLP articles into either new event articles or event sections in existing articles. This would be particularly useful where experienced editors (per Mr.Z-man 00:28, 17 April 2009 UTC) might assume merging has already been considered but occasional editors (per Jclemens 05:43, 18 April 2009 UTC) don't understand the concepts. How about an approach on the lines of:

  • There's an explicit guideline in favor of merging (e.g. using the arguments here), so the action of merging isn't seen as confrontational or arbitrary.
  • The editor who merges is advised to move substantially all of the BLP article into the event's article in the first instance, and then tidy it up in later revisions. Preserving the editing history is a priority (and there's advice on how to do so).
  • A redirect is required, from the BLP's name to the event article or event section anchor. [this bullet added 06:39, 24 April 2009 (UTC)]
  • Anyone who nominates a BLP article for AfD arguing one-event is expected to show why the article could not be merged into an event article, or event section of an existing article.
  • A new BLP article can be excluded from this approach by putting a notice on the article's talk page (and there's advice on what this notice should contain).

I know this has a few rough edges but do you think it would take us in the right direction? - Pointillist (talk) 22:40, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Eh, I'm not convinced such a merge should ever be undertaken while notability is still in flux--i.e., when people are still in the news. I envision a flowchart like this...
1-Create mew BLP article
2-Has person been in the news in the past week? If yes, go to 2. If no, go to 3.
3-Is there enough to keep? If so, stop. If not, go to 4.
4-Is there a good merge target for what's present? If yes, merge. If no, go to AfD.
Does that make sense? I can draw it in Visio and upload it if it would help... Jclemens (talk) 04:44, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if "in the news" is really the fork we want there. Does it have to be national news? Do specialty press things like trade publications count as news? What if the coverage is trivial? (i.e. MWWS victim still missing, family remains upset) Notability is not temporary, and if it hasn't yet been established, the article should be merged into something that will remain notable. A permanent limbo of "notability yet to be decided" is not a good idea, and WP:CSD#A7 should be addressed: if it isn't notable "yet" then the time is not yet ripe to have an article on it, just like all those MySpace bands that will be famous soon. SDY (talk) 06:08, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
You're ignoring trajectory. 99% of those myspace bands will never be notable, but many of the examples given above, like Sully and Susan Boyle, were already notable by virtue of the news coverage when they were AFD'ed--the only question was whether their notability would last beyond the event, and in no case were any of the examples I gave legitimate candidates for CSD-A7. All the rest of your questions are inconsequential and can be adequately addressed by common sense and consensus refinement. Jclemens (talk) 09:06, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree in the Boyle case (not familiar with the other one), but the way you phrase that makes me worry about WP:CRYSTAL. If they are notable now independently of the event that they are known for, they can have an article now. If they're not, regardless of "trajectory" they get the A7. As I've said above, BLP1E is really sort of redundant with other policies. The only virtue of it being listed as a BLP policy is the authorization for swift action. If they are independently notable now, then having an article now makes sense. If they "will be" notable soon, we can write an article when they get there. If they aren't there yet, then they can wait. SDY (talk) 14:50, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Again, a proposed decision tree:

0) Event happens.
1) Article is written. If event is not notable, article is deleted and any associated BLP1E type articles are deleted as well.
2) An article about a person associated with the event is written.
3) Do reliable secondary sources talk about the person in articles other than direct coverage of the event? (For example, stories about Nadya-Suleman-as-person instead of stories about octuplets that mention the mother.)
3a) If the only coverage of the person is in articles about the event, merge the information to the article about the event.
3b) If there is no reasonable merge target, and there reliable secondary sources to demonstrate notability, retain the article as is. (The "Boyle fork")
3c) If there is no reasonable merge target and there are insufficient sources to demonstrate notability, CSD A7.
---That's my current thinking on a decision tree for these things. "Direct coverage" in #3 is I think where we're having all the problems: when is a person independently notable instead of just having been involved in a notable event? SDY (talk) 15:06, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Unworkable. It takes a minimum of 7 days to delete an article, by which time notability will never have declined, but may have increased. Jclemens (talk) 17:18, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
That's why I proposed a Speedy Redirect approach: redirect BLPs to events when the person is notable only for an ongoing event, and re-examine the need for an independent article when the event is finished. (Some definition of an event would probably be needed, or at least some examples.) Or if in a particular case it's argued that a BLP article is essential in addition to the event article while the event is ongoing, perhaps ask people to go to WP:AfC. BTW, SDY, WP:CSD A7 only applies when there is no claim for notability, not when there is a claim but it isn't supported or isn't enough. Rd232 talk 13:03, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
... and it's unworkable, in my experience, based on the speed and enthusiasm with which new or occasional editors will undo the redirect and begin sticking information from current news reports into the un-redirected article. There's no "speedy protect against redirect" criteria, and A7 doesn't apply as you've pointed out, so there's no way to make a redirect "stick" without a large chance of an edit war. Rather than fighting that battle, what harm does it do to leave the new article in place until such time as things have settled down enough to make a detached (from current news) decision on whether BLP1E applies or not. All of this assumes that all other BLP rules are being followed--e.g., negative information is adequately sourced, etc. Jclemens (talk) 16:21, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Once a redirect to an event article exists along with a policy explaining it, people are a lot less likely to undo that, because they will be taken somewhere they can add information. This is different than having an article deleted or being told it can't be created, with nowhere to put relevant info; no outlet for the interest. An editwar over the redirect is no more likely to erupt than over anything else, and can be dealt with in the usual way. Anyway the fact that it might not work all the time doesn't seem a compelling reason not to try it. As to what harm it does: The attention of experienced WP editors is a limited resource, and having a BLP article makes it much more likely that BLP issues arise, which someone then needs to deal with; plus then in many cases even an unproblematic but non-notable article creates the need for a subsequent AFD. Rd232 talk 21:08, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

(undent) Which is why this has to be policy, so people can say "no, that's not how we do things" and folks who get stuck on WP:IDHT can have their day in court if they continually try to recreate an article that should not exist per policy. If there is enough unique encyclopedic information (i.e. non-gossip) in the BLP article to make merging awkward, then it might be worth having a conversation. Quite often these BLP1E's are simply, gossip and trivia aside, redundant with the article on the event and in those cases they should be terminated with extreme prejudice. The onus must be on the people creating the BLP article that a separate article is justified, as opposed to forcing people to justify deletion or merging. SDY (talk) 14:32, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry, but you're quite entirely off base. The BLP policy is about defamation and libel--crimes in many jurisdictions and reprehensible everywhere, which Wikipedians and the Foundation have soundly rejected. Trying to shoehorn a notability guideline under the same umbrella is completely wrong, and inappropriate. By all means, feel free to propose it and use WP:CENT to draw attention to it. I'm entirely unafraid of the outcome. Jclemens (talk) 16:13, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

A Rule of Thumb?

"If national media begin covering aspects of a person's background (schooling, occupation, childhood, family life) unrelated to the notable event for which they made national news, within 48 hours of that notable event, then that person is likely to be covered sufficiently by reliable sources to merit their own article independent of the event's article" Jclemens (talk) 17:22, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I'd say "Mainstream" rather than national because of things like the New York Post and other distributors of gossip, but the idea is solid. The main problem, though, is not determining when these articles are notable, but when they are not notable, and this doesn't help much there. Many people who are notable for only one event don't meet this criteria but clearly justify articles, especially for older events before the advent of 24 hour news desperate to fill airtime. SDY (talk) 01:08, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes, it's a limited criteria, pretty much only designed to give developing articles on persons who will almost certainly (based on recent AfD outcomes) keep their own "permanent" articles. Outside of that scope... I agree that it's not too helpful outside of that context, but I'm OK with that--it's not a grand unifying theory, and wasn't intended to be one. :-) Jclemens (talk) 01:52, 25 April 2009 (UTC)
Do you think that there's a consensus view of this statement that could be a footnote to BLP1E and/or a note in WP:OUTCOMES? If we're agreed that this rule of thumb or something substantially like it is a typical outcome, then we can add it and see if it calms some of the furor over recently very widely notable people. Jclemens (talk) 03:44, 26 April 2009 (UTC)
It may be a useful example, but we should probably aim for a more permanent solution that is consistent both with other policies (such as forking) and AfD decisions so that these cases are handled consistently. SDY (talk) 00:36, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I threw it in WP:OUTCOMES over the weekend and it hasn't been reverted yet, which is a good thing, since we essentially agree on the ultimate outcome... if not the path to get there. Jclemens (talk) 01:32, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Are Groups of Persons Covered?

Here is the situation.

  • The living parameter in the WP Biography banner has been declared to be a required field because the "yes" value generates the blp banner.
  • Small groups of persons who play music, "bands", are covered by WP Biography.
  • It has been decided that a "band" is a living person if any member of the "band" is still living. This will cause some difficulty in maintaining the living status for the bands that consist of members that do not have their own articles or bands that consists of members who have been in several bands.

Here is the question. Are groups of persons who are living also living?

  • Is a band a living person?
  • Should an orchestra be a living person?
  • Should a legislative body be a person?

My position in the matter is that a group of persons is not a person. Membership in a group, large or small, is a part of what a person does and not a part of who a person is. Also, maintenance of the living parameter for groups as defined will be prohibitively difficult.

Note that my position is based on purely pragmatic bases. I do not presume to advise on legal matters, what could be a subject for litigation. I am not an attorney and do not wish to be one.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

JimCubb (talk) 03:23, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I don't think this guideline should be extended beyond living individuals. If it is thought that the protection afforded by this guideline is useful for protecting other entities such as groups of people and organizations (whether these are legal entities or not), then there should be discussion on creating a separate guideline. There may be considerations relating to such entities that do not arise where individuals are concerned. — Cheers, JackLee talk 04:25, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
By the legal definition of "person" there are several kinds of "person" who are never technically alive, namely corporations. A band can be "live" but can't be "living." I've pondered just throwing the obvious "this only applies to single members of the species homo sapiens" but I've yet to be bold enough. Is Koko a person for the purposes of Wikipedia policies? SDY (talk) 05:47, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I think it is clear that this guideline was intended to refer only to human beings, and person was not intended to be used to mean legal person. It is better to start discussion on a separate guideline if it is thought that some of the principles here should apply to incorporated or unincorporated bodies or non-human living beings. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:56, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I've been discussing this issue with JimCubb over at WT:BIOGRAPHY. The problem as I see it is this: the WikiProject Biography banner template has a |living= parameter which when set to "yes" adds the {{BLP}} notice to an article's talk page. Now, articles about bands are typically tagged for the project, so the questions are: a) does an article about a band (The Beatles, U2 etc.) constitute a biography, and b) do such articles need to be tagged with {{BLP}}? PC78 (talk) 15:22, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I've seen the tag on other articles that in themselves are not BLPs, such as Peanut Corporation of America. Parts of the article include merged biographies, so the tag is appropriate, but BLP policies should only apply to that biographical information. SDY (talk) 15:26, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. It extends to bio information about living people anywhere, and the non bio articles is where a good deal of insidious stuff is now hidden. But the actual reason for it does not extend beyond actual living humans. otherwise it ends up getting extended , even into things that hurt the feelings of those living in a particular country, as with the censorship in Turkey. My feeling about chimpanzees, is that when they learn to read Wikipedia, there might be a good case for it. DGG (talk) 18:24, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

So, after all that, is there a consensus that a biography is about a person and histories of groups of people — musical groups, legislative bodies, unions, regiments, etc — are not biographies? Is there an admin who is willing to declare such a consensus?

JimCubb (talk) 21:26, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I formally declare we have ratified the previous consensus that BLP applies to living persons: not to dead persons, nor to legal persons. Jclemens (talk) 21:39, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Are we having the same discussion here? Of course BLP applies only to living people, but per comments above it apparently covers any article with biographical infomation about living people, it's not limited to biography articles per se. I'm not seeing any sort of concensus for what JimCubb apparently wants. PC78 (talk) 22:31, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I haven't seen anyone here who advocates treating bands (or other legal persons) as living persons, but statements about individual, living band members (natural persons) are covered by the BLP policy no matter in which article they appear. This is, in my mind, simply a reaffirmation and clarification of existing policy. Jclemens (talk) 22:36, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if we're in agreement or not; you seem to have contradicted yourself in the same sentence. From what I understand of this policy and this discussion, a band article will typically contain biographical infomation about it's members, and if those members are living then the content in that article is covered by BLP and it is appropriate to tag the article talk page with {{BLP}}. Do you consider that accurate or not? PC78 (talk) 22:45, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
No contradiction--BLP policy applies to every living person, anywhere in Wikipedia. Bands aren't living persons. As far as templating goes {{Blpo}} seems right up the alley for a band article. Jclemens (talk) 22:53, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
For what it's worth, PC78's interpretation of {{BLP}} seems correct to me, because it gives the right type of warning. It follows naturally from the WP:BIO1E concept of covering the event, not the person. I suspect {{Blpo}} is a special case for deceased subjects. - Pointillist (talk) 23:00, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
(e/c)Many bands consist of living persons, though; how different would you regard such an article compared to, say, the Wachowski Brothers? Certainly I think the two are far more akin than the other things JimCubb has mentioned – political organisations, military regiments and such. The policy clearly states: "This policy applies equally to biographies of living persons and to biographical material about living persons on other pages." {{Blpo}} is more for people who aren't the subject of an article, so I wouldn't regard that as being more appropriate. The distinction you are trying to make between people and non-people doesn't seem particuarly relevant to the situation. PC78 (talk) 23:05, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
(ec) So, this may be semantics, but allow me to try to clarify: There is no article anywhere in Wikipedia which is exempt from the BLP policy. A band isn't a living person, but every statement about a living person on a band's page is covered by the BLP policy. If I may, "The Beatles" aren't a living person and never were, John and George are deceased, while Paul and Ringo are living. Any statements about Paul and Ringo, in any part of Wikipedia, are subject to BLP. Statements about John and George are not, since they're no longer living, and statements about "The Beatles" as a band aren't ever covered by BLP, regardless if all the members have since died, because "The Beatles" was never a living person. Jclemens (talk) 23:09, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Which I don't dispute, and I'm glad we're on the same wavelength. :) Indeed, I think semantics may have muddied this discussion from the start. If I can return the discussion at this point to the original dispute that JimCubb and myself have been having: the {{WPBiography}} banner has a |living= parameter which is set to "yes" or "no" depending on whether or not a person is alive, and which adds the {{BLP}} notice accordingly. Now, generally speaking for biographies of multiple people (and this includes bands), is it be appropriate to tag an article with |living=yes if one or more members of the group are still alive, or is the {{BLP}} notice unnecessary? PC78 (talk) 23:25, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) I'd generally not tag a non-individual person as in scope for WPBiography. Two reasons 1) The band isn't a bio subject, but individual members could be. 2) If there's no notability for a band member apart from the band, why would Wikipedia benefit from having a biography of that person? Sorry if that sounds like I'm ducking the question, but I don't see the big deal over whether the BLP banner appears on the talk page or not--the rules apply regardless. Jclemens (talk) 05:34, 29 April 2009 (UTC)

Nor do I to be honest, it's a harmless precaution even if it isn't neccessarily warranted. Thanks anyway. PC78 (talk) 11:16, 29 April 2009 (UTC)


The April update of all content policy, deletion policy and enforcement policy pages and all the general style guidelines is done, and I'll try to get the updates done on the first of each month from now on. - Dank (formerly Dank55) (push to talk) 03:46, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Refining policy regarding use of children's/minors' names

Collapsing for navigation; discussion follows in next section
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

Recently a lengthly discussion on the BLP Board came to no strong consensus accept to point that possibly our policies should be more clear. The case discussed was using the names of the octuplet babies when there seemingly was no encyclopedic value yet the names had been widely published. The following comment in the discussion, IMHO, summed up a possible next step:

I'm wondering if there is any interest in changing anything to help guide editing? Personally I feel Wikipedia can convey the same information, that they exist, without publishing their names. Unless a compelling case is made that including these names adds significant value to our readers' understanding or the omission would compromise the article, we should leave the information out and strive to maintain the subject's privacy. Any thoughts and suggestions on what if anything should change? -- Banjeboi 03:19, 27 March 2009 (UTC)

Well I've just come over here following or during a discussion with another editor about this very thing. Sadly I have nothing positive to add (story of my life here on wp!) but I can confirm that some clarification, and easily-found policy, would be welcome. I too very much incline to the "if in doubt leave it out" line. It may be of marginal interest that Maynard Ferguson had x kids and y grandchildren and was married to z or w, (although actually I would love to sit down with you with a pint and figure out why it's interesting - I am not saying it isn't merely that I am not sure why) but then when we come down to "Do we need to know all their names" I'd say no, not necessarily - make a case why, don't assume they must go in - that's just fact for the sake of fact. If one of his kids is an eminent film-maker and another climbed Everest without oxygen then yes, notable, stick the names in - but why does this encyclopaedia needs its readers to know the names of his grandkids? All I can see that doing is invading their privacy for the sake of a mostly-illusory "completeness" in the data, and I honestly do not see who benefits. I'm not wedded to this, but I am having difficulty seeing why I shouldn't be - convince me? Oh, and the other things I'd say is "imagine it's you and your kids" - you might have deliberately signed up to be a famous trumpet player, (or did you??) but they certainly didn't!" :) Thanks and best wishes to all, DisillusionedBitterAndKnackered (talk) 07:40, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the main issue here is the relative notability of the child in his or her own right:
  • Child who is relatively non-notable in his or her own right, e.g., child of a famous actor who is herself not (yet) particularly famous – I would say that in such cases the child's name should be omitted from the article. In my view the fact that the child is not particularly notable in her own right means there is no pressing reason to state her name, and the fact that she is a minor means that she should be accorded more privacy.
  • Child who is relatively notable in his or her own right, e.g., Madonna's son David Banda – here, there is arguably a stronger case for stating the child's name because of the controversy surrounding his adoption by Madonna. The Suleman octuplets case is a tricky one: are they notable in their own right? I am inclined to think that they are.
The fact that the child's name has already appeared widely in secondary sources is probably relevant to showing that the child is notable in his or her own right. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:16, 8 April 2009 (UTC)
Another example: Denmark's new Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen has three children whose names are given in his article. I think they should not be named and would like to see clear guidelines about such cases. It could just say three children or perhaps one daughter and two sons; that would be more than sufficient. (I'll go remove the names now, but I'll bet I'll be reverted...) --Hordaland (talk) 14:33, 9 April 2009 (UTC)

Your thoughts on the following proposed revision to "Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons#Privacy of names are welcome:

Original text

Take particular care when considering whether inclusion of the names of private, living individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value. The presumption in favor of the privacy of family members of articles' subjects and other loosely involved persons without independent notability is correspondingly stronger. In all cases where the redaction of names is considered, discuss the issue on the article's talk page.

Proposed revision

Consider carefully whether significant value is added to an article by including the names of private, living individuals such as family members of the subject of a biographical article. There is a stronger presumption in favor of not stating the names of such individuals where:
  • they are not relatively notable in their own right (it is likely that a person who has been widely named in secondary and tertiary sources is notable in his or her own right);
  • they are not directly involved in the article's topic; and/or
  • they are under the age of 18 years, and thus deserve greater protection from intrusions upon their privacy.

In all cases where the redaction of names is considered, discuss the issue on the article's talk page.

— Cheers, JackLee talk 07:08, 13 April 2009 (UTC)

If their childrens names are publicly available, they can be mentioned. TJ Spyke 01:07, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
I think Banjeboi's point was that even if a child's name is publicly mentioned, it may not be appropriate to mention it in Wikipedia articles because of BLP concerns. The clarification of the BLP guideline proposed above is supposed to address that concern. There is a lot of information that is publicly available (e.g., the names of people's non-notable relatives and full dates of birth), but according to BLP we do not necessarily put it into articles. — Cheers, JackLee talk 03:52, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Yes. Just because the children's names are available does not necessarily mean that they can or should be mentioned. In plenty of cases it probably is possible to ferret out children's names but I don't see that that makes them appropriate for the article if it's not about them. Otherwise we just move towards a policy of include all information, which I don't think it how to improve this encyclopaedia. Best wishes DisillusionedBitterAndKnackered (talk) 07:04, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
OK, I've had a long shift so ... please pardon the terseness. Part of the concern is that in the octomom case, eight babies are, bluntly, being pimped out for financial gain/media consumption. In theory a encyclopedia should avoid being part of that. I'd rather be extra conservative and say there is nothing to be gained by including their names, even if extremely well publicized. The information remains trivial, there's likely a point when they become noteworthy on their own but when? Also is it fair to treat Madonna's children's names different from the children of octomom? I'm ambivalent if we retain sources or appropriate external links that lead to this information but we simply aren't a tabloid so I hope we can rise to an encyclopedic level and generally disclude this information because, of of yet, we don't list everyone on Earth for a variety of reasons and I think we shoud avoid doing so in these cases.
So here's my draft of the wording to be taken with a shot of tequilla and a bit of salt ...
Consider carefully whether significant value is added to an article by including the names of private, living individuals such as family members of the subject of a biographical article. There is a stronger presumption in favor of leaving out the names of such individuals where:
  • they are not relatively notable in their own right, and mentions in secondary and tertiary sources are primarily only in relation to notable people;
  • they are indirectly involved in the article's topic; and/or
  • they are legally minors, and thus deserve greater protection from intrusions upon their privacy regardless of their parents'/guardians' efforts to involve them in media matters.

In all cases where the names are redacted, consider discussing the issue on the article's talk page.

Holla! -- Banjeboi 10:10, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Personally I rather like this. It's clear and covers points that do seem frequently to get raised. I'd like it even more if parents'/guardians' had apostrophes, and I must add that I'm very interested in the tequila, though it's not really the right time of day here. DisillusionedBitterAndKnackered (talk) 11:14, 16 April 2009 (UTC)
Agreeing with DBAK on all points, though one sentence is perhaps a bit clumsy:
  • "they are not relatively notable in their own right, that is, mentions in secondary and tertiary sources are not independent of their parents and siblings;"
  • they are not notable to any degree in their own right, that is, secondary and tertiary sources mention them only in relation to a notable person;
- Hordaland (talk) 01:39, 17 April 2009 (UTC)
I've added the apostrophes but I'm concerned that we tweak the notable wording bits sufficiently. If we state they are not notable to any degree that likely would result in wikilawyering that they have some degree, etc. I've taken another whack at it. Closer? -- Banjeboi 02:21, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

I have the following comments about the latest version of the proposed guideline:

  • "[M]entions in secondary and tertiary sources are primarily only in relation to notable people" – this could be very difficult to apply. Is an article about Madonna's adoption of her Malawian son "primarily" about her or her son? Arguably, it's about both of them.
  • "Legally minors" – according to the law of which jurisdiction? Their place of residence? I had put "under the age of 18 years" because that applies anywhere in the world.
  • I am not sure it is Wikipedia's job to protect the privacy of minors if their own parents choose not to, provided they are themselves notable, they are not irrelevant to the articles in which they named, and/or their names are already widely available in secondary and tertiary sources. Therefore, I think the phrase "regardless of their parents'/guardians' efforts to involve them in media matters" should be deleted.

Something else to think about: should the names of living persons be omitted under this proposed guideline if any one or all three of the criteria are satisfied? At the moment it's "and/or", so (a) or (b) or (c), or (a) and (b) and (c), or any combination thereof. I'm inclined to leave it as "and/or". — Cheers, JackLee talk 03:54, 18 April 2009 (UTC)

I agree with the and/or. The legally minors may be a bit tricky, I'm sure we have some policies regarding children/minors already. Maybe we look to those for guidance and link to them as well?
Momentarily on the fence about "regardless of their parents'/guardians' efforts to involve them in media matters" as I'm under too much stress to be fair to thinking that all through but if they are already notable it's moot and it may been POV to suggest motives.
"[M]entions in secondary and tertiary sources are primarily only in relation to notable people" - so what would work best and be less open to abuse? -- Banjeboi 20:53, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
One "nutshell" of the policy, though, should be to only include the names of children when they add value to the article. If they are unlikely to be mentioned in any other context, we should leave them out. SDY (talk) 21:36, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Wouldn't that be argued about? How is it determined if the name adds value and is it in degrees? I'm stuck in a current edit war because a group of editors all likely share an email list. If a consensus can be claimed how is that counteracted? -- Banjeboi 01:24, 19 April 2009 (UTC)
Of course it will be argued about, but it gives context to the argument: if consensus is that it's useful for the article to mention the name, then it can be included as long as all other criteria are met, but it shouldn't be included just because we can. Inclusion should default to "no" which can be overridden if appropriate. SDY (talk) 09:22, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

Arbitrary break for ease of editing

I propose the following revision:

Revision 3 (amended on 23 April 2009)

Consider carefully whether significant value is added to an article by including the names of private, living individuals such as family members of the subject of a biographical article. There is a stronger presumption in favor of leaving out the names of such individuals where:

  • they are not relatively notable in their own right [this requires further explanation];
  • they are indirectly not directly involved in the article's topic; and/or
  • they are under the age of 18 years, and thus deserve greater protection from intrusions upon their privacy.

In all cases where names are redacted, editors are encouraged to explain why this has been done on the article's talk page.

  • Notability in one's own right – this seems to be the linchpin because if a person is notable in his or her own right, then there should not really be any objection to the person being named. The tricky question is, what exactly does this mean and how should this be reasonably determined? Perhaps the answer can be arrived at by considering the following questions and scenarios:
    • Questions
      • Should one's notability depend on something one has personally achieved or done, or can notability be established by (1) some status that one possesses (e.g., being one of a set of octuplets, or being the oldest living person in the world); or (2) an association with an unmistakably notable person (e.g., Madonna's adopted Malawian son)?
      • Does the fact that one's identity is widely reported in the mainstream media establish notability? (Put another way, is it feasible to argue that someone is not notable despite wide media coverage?)
Yes that is feasible. For example, the child of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes is not notable despite wide media coverage. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 23:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
    • Scenarios
      • Scenario 1: famous actress M has an adult daughter X who is not herself famous for anything.
      • Scenario 2: famous actress M has an adult daughter X who is not herself famous for anything. However, it has recently been widely reported that X was arrested for possession of cannabis.
That makes X a candidate for tabloid fodder but does not make X notable. Even if M is a prominent crusader against cannabis use it doesn't make X notable. (Rebelling against your parents isn't notable.) It might be notable if (A) M's work against cannabis use is a notable part of M's work and (B) the public disclosure of X's use causes changes in M's work.—MiguelMunoz (talk) 23:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

The view I expressed above was that if the person has been widely named in reliable secondary and tertiary sources, then it is reasonable to assume that the person is notable in his or her own right. I have to say I'm not altogether comfortable with this, but on the other hand trying to create a guideline along the lines of "even though this person is in all the newspapers she isn't notable in her own right" seems to be fruitless and a recipe for heated arguments on talk pages going nowhere. Thoughts?

Just because they've been names in secondary and tertiary sources doesn't make them notable. Were the Bush twins notable for getting caught with alcohol? Newspapers decide to print stories based on what will sell. Wikipedia should have a higher standard. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 08:18, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Fair enough. What sort of criteria should apply to determine whether living individuals are not notable in their own right, though? — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:39, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
  • Minors – personally, I think it is a lot easier if we go with "under the age of 18 years" rather than "legally minors". The latter requires a decision as to which country's law is relevant for the purpose of determining whether the person is a minor or not, and then the ability to actually find out what the law is. In many countries the age of majority is 18 years, so that seems like a reasonable age to compromise at.
  • Talk page – I've changed the final sentence of the proposed guideline to "In all cases where names are redacted, editors are encouraged to explain why this has been done on the article's talk page". This is because if some aspect of an article violates BLP it has to be removed immediately, instead of being left in the article while being discussed on the talk page. What do you think?

— Cheers, JackLee talk 08:12, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

"Notability is not inherited" takes on a whole new meaning, eh? At any rate, one dividing point which might be useful is if anything is reported on the individual other than their name. As another line of thought, WP:NPF is very helpful here, because it's essentially the same determination. SDY (talk) 09:22, 19 April 2009 (UTC)

I have a few points to make.

1) I'm not sure of the utility of the "and" in the "and/or." It seems to me that "or" says it well.

2) Should there be an "and" or an "or" after the first item, too?

I see your point at (1) above. I don't think it's necessary to have or or and/or after each item in the list; I believe the general understanding is that when such conjunctions are placed after the second-last item, they apply to all the items in the list. — JackLee, 09:39, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

3) I'm not clear about the wording of the second clause. It says "they are indirectly involved in the article's topic..." Are we trying to say "they are not directly involved in the article's topic..."? If so, that's how it should be worded. To say the are "indirectly involved" says they're involved. To say they are "not directly involved" says the opposite.

Agreed. I've tweaked the proposed change in the box above. — JackLee, 09:39, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

4) I don't care if the parents have failed to protect the children's privacy. That shouldn't mean it's okay for us to treat the kids the same way. Obviously, for someone like Miley Cyrus, there's no point in concealing her name, but in the case of the kids of, say Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, I see no reason to include the name of their child. Wikipedia shouldn't be an arm of their PR agent. People who want to know can read People Magazine.

Sure. But I don't think it's necessary for the guideline to say something to the effect of "children's privacy should be protected even if their own parents don't do so", which is what was suggested above. In my view the italicized bit is unnecessary. — JackLee, 09:39, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
I think the phrase "even if the parents don't do so" suggests that examining the parents' behavior is okay. But it's not. The children's privacy should be protected, and the parent's behavior should have nothing to do with it. In other words, it's Wikipedia's policy. We don't give the parents any say. If they choose to use their kids' names when promote themselves, they get to do so, but Wikipedia should not provide them with additional tools. Even in the case of the President's minor children, whose media coverage goes far beyond the tabloids, we don't need to mention them in the Wikipedia article, although they're so well known that I wouldn't put up a fight in that particular case. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 23:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, magazines like People exist to give celebrities control over their coverage. Unlike the tabloids, People Magazine usually cooperates with its subjects. So when Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes let People do a story on their child, it's often done in defense against the tabloids, and I'm not knocking them for it. But Wikipedia shouldn't participate in feeding the public's thirst for private details of public figures' lives. I haven't given a great deal of thought to what makes someone's children notable, but the criteria are probably the same as for their parents. And having a clear, simple, consistent policy may help avoid annoying edit wars. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 23:02, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

5) While I'm on the subject, I also don't care if the tabloids are filled with articles about, say, the kids drinking or doing drugs. If that makes them notable, then I must be notable, too. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 08:18, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

:-D See my comments on this in response to yours above. — Cheers, JackLee talk 09:39, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

Here's a phrase I think could be reworded just to make it less clumsy. Instead of saying "There is a stronger presumption in favor of leaving out the names...", maybe we should say "There is a stronger presumption against using the names..." —MiguelMunoz (talk) 03:13, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

  • Comment. Brain hurt. Could someone start a new subsection with the proposed and accepted mods and summarized what remaisnto be sorted; I think the scenario above may have but my feeble brain is clogged too much to jump all the bits together. I'll do it if no one else does in a day or so. -- Banjeboi 03:32, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

24 April 2009 draft

Original text:

Take particular care when considering whether inclusion of the names of private, living individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value. The presumption in favor of the privacy of family members of articles' subjects and other loosely involved persons without independent notability is correspondingly stronger. In all cases where the redaction of names is considered, discuss the issue on the article's talk page.

Proposed revision:

Revision 4 (amended on 24 April 2009)

Consider carefully whether significant value is added to an article by including the names of private, living individuals such as family members of the subject of a biographical article. There is a stronger presumption against using the names of such individuals where:

  • they are not relatively notable in their own right [this requires further explanation]; or
  • they are not directly involved in the article's topic; or
  • they are under the age of 18 years, and thus deserve greater protection from intrusions upon their privacy.

In all cases where names are redacted, editors are encouraged to explain why this has been done on the article's talk page.


  • I think "private" can go, that's a battle waiting to happen. -- Banjeboi 03:47, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for tidying up this section. I believe the current guideline refers to "private ... individuals" to distinguish them from public figures. If you dislike the word private, then we need to think of some other way to refer to such persons, otherwise the guideline just refers to "living individuals such as family members of the subject of a biographical article", which I don't think is clear enough. Maybe we should use the phrase living individuals who are not public figures, and rely on the definition given in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan? — JackLee, 04:21, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
It will probably be difficult to avoid talk page battles regardless of the wording that is chosen for the proposed guideline. We are all agreed that living individuals who are "not relatively notable in their own right" should not be named in articles. The difficulty is what sort of criteria should be applied to determine this. What about a list of criteria like this?
  • they are not relatively notable in their own right; for instance, because:
    • they are only named in a few third-party published sources;
    • although they are widely named in third-party published sources, such sources only have trivial content on them (e.g., minor accidents, criminal offences and public outbursts); or
    • [Any others?]
— Cheers, JackLee talk 04:21, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I can see problems with the word "private," but I wonder if this could best be clarified by example. Here's a proposed set of examples:
(Examples proposed on 24 April 2009)
People Magazine' reported that actor John Doe and his wife Jane have a three year old daughter named Booboo, which is swedish for happy surprise. In spite of the entertainment value of the meaning of the name, this does not make the child notable, and her name (and its meaning) don't belong in the article. The child's name in a celebrity magazine or tabloid are Self promotion or Scandal mongering and do not make the child notable.
Actor John Doe has lent his name to a campaign for tough sentences for heroin addicts. Newspapers have reported that his fifteen year old son was arrested for possession of heroin. In spite of the irony of the public allegation, the arrest is not notable, and the son's privacy should still be protected.
Following his son's arrest, Actor John Doe publicly recanted his previous stand and now promotes treatment for heroin addicts. The son's arrest is now notable and may be included, although use of the son's name is still questionable, even if it has been widely reported in the news media.
We could also clarify by changing the second sentence to this: There is a stronger presumption against using the names of such individuals, even if they are already well known, where:
(We would not use the italics, of course.) This would clarify the point that mere presence in news stories doesn't make them notable. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 08:07, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I think giving examples would be helpful. However, I think the examples need to focus on whether the individuals are notable and not whether the incidents they are involved in are notable. For instance, in Example 2, it should be mentioned that John Doe's son is not notable in his own right because he is only in the news because of his connection with Doe, and that this fact and the fact that he has been arrested for drug possession do not make him notable in his own right. Example 3 should be revised along similar lines. I think it is best to avoid saying that the son's arrest is notable. Instead, we can just say that the son's arrest can be mentioned in the article. Rather than using a term like questionable which suggests uncertainty, perhaps the example should be phrased more strongly: "... although the son's name should still not be mentioned, even if it has been widely reported in the media, as he has not become notable in his own right."
I also think your proposed second sentence needs to be revised somewhat, because the they in the italicized phrase might be read as referring to the individuals rather than their names. If the individuals themselves are well known, then this suggests they are notable. What about "There is a stronger presumption against using the names of such individuals, even if the names have already appeared in the media, where ..."? —MiguelMunoz (talk) 19:21, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
Good point. However, we might want to say "their names" instead of "the names."
For ease of discussion, here's a revised proposal incorporating the above suggestions, with some tweaks. — Cheers, JackLee talk 08:24, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
While I appreciate the occasional new section for ease of editing, I'm still like to see the latest revision when I hit "show preview." Let's try to keep the current discussion and the proposed revision in the same section. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 19:21, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Draft revision 5 (24 April 2009)

Revision 5 (last amended on 24 April 2009)

Consider carefully whether significant value is added to an article by including the names of private, living individuals such as family members of the subject of a biographical article. There is a stronger presumption against using the names of such individuals, even if the names have already appeared in the media, where:

  • they are not relatively notable in their own right; for instance, because:
    • they are only named in third-party published sources because they are related to or associated with notable individuals;
    • they are only named in a few third-party published sources;
    • although they are widely named in third-party published sources, such sources only have trivial content on them (e.g., minor accidents, criminal offences and public outbursts); or
  • they are not directly involved in the article's topic; or
  • they are under the age of 18 years, and thus deserve greater protection from intrusions upon their privacy.


  • Gossip Magazine has reported that actor John Doe and his wife Jane have a three-year-old daughter named Booboo Happy Flower. In spite of the entertainment value of the name, this does not make the child notable in her own right. She is only in the media because she is related to Doe and for the novelty of her name. The fact that her name has appeared in one or more celebrity magazines, newspapers or websites may be an instance of self-promotion or scandal-mongering, and does not make her notable. Thus, her name does not belong in an article on John Doe.
  • Actor John Doe has lent his name to a campaign for tough criminal sentences for heroin addicts. Newspapers have reported that his 15-year-old son was arrested for possession of heroin. In spite of the irony of the public allegation the son is not notable in his own right, and his privacy should still be protected.
  • Following the arrest of John Doe's son, Doe publicly recants his previous stand and now promotes treatment for heroin addicts. The son's arrest may now be included in the article about John Doe, although his name should still not be mentioned, even if it has been widely reported in the media, as he has still not become notable in his own right.

In all cases where names are redacted, editors are encouraged to explain why this has been done on the article's talk page.

I'm rethinking one aspect of my examples. The last two use a minor child where they may not need to. By making the son 15 years old, we are implying that if he were an adult, the use of his name would be acceptable, which isn't really true. While I want to emphasize that children should especially be protected, I also want to make it clear that adults names often shouldn't be used. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 19:54, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

I decided that this might be clearer with an addition to "What What Wikipedia is not." So feel free to check out the last section of the discussion page of What Wikipedia is not, where I propose a new section called "Wikipedia is not a publicist's tool. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 00:37, 25 April 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, Miguel. Go ahead and update the proposed guideline in the box above. Are there any other comments on this proposal? If not, we can proceed to have the guideline go live soon. — Cheers, JackLee talk 17:22, 3 May 2009 (UTC)