Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/Archive 36

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RfC regarding categorization of persons

There is an RfC on the WP:Overcategorization page which suggests a small change to WP:BLPCAT (primarily, adding a link to WP:Categorization of people within BLPCAT's text, in addition to the "See also" link). Editors are invited to provide input at the RfC --Noleander (talk) 18:08, 25 February 2013 (UTC)

Tagging BLPs soon after creation

Are there filters in place, or New Page Patrol (or Page Curation) guidelines to ensure that articles on living people get tagged appropriately? I noticed that Lawrence Trent wasn't tagged as an article on a living person (I tagged it myself) and wondered if many articles on living people are being missed or not? There may be notability issues with the article (I've raised that for discussion elsewhere), but that is separate from the BLP identification and tagging issue. Carcharoth (talk) 03:00, 27 February 2013 (UTC)

talk pages

I'm concerned about the use of this policy to stifle discussion on article talk pages. Surely there's a distinction to be made between controversial claims presented as fact in an article and controversial claims discussed on a talk page. How can editors work collaboratively on biographies of controversial persons when all their discussions are subject to censorship? —Stepheng3 (talk) 20:23, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

It can be difficult sometimes. In general, you want to be conservative, because talk pages end up in the search engines too. Looking at the dispute that doubtless prompted this question, there's no good reason for people to use rather inflated terms like "was charged with a crime" on the talk page; you could use more precise words like "was charged with driving without a valid license" without losing any legitimate discussion value. WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:50, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
But if someone's desire for conservatism and/or precision got in the way of building the encyclopedia, I could always invoke WP:IAR. Correct? —Stepheng3 (talk) 16:53, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Note that BLP's application to discussion pages provides that automatic removal of contentious claims is limited to discussions "not related to making content choices." Hullaballoo Wolfowitz (talk) 17:18, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
The first version of that section, including phrasing similar to the way it is now, was added in November 2007 by this series of edits. A discussion by the same editor was opened on the talk page here, to which no one responded. In other words, there was no discussion about the addition. Frankly, I am tempted to open a discussion about this very issue as the language makes it very difficult to remove BLP-offensive material from an article talk page. For example, I could say, without any source whatsoever, that so-and-so is a criminal and I think we should put that in the article. Arguably, that relates to a "content choice", although such an outrageous claim would probably be removed, but there are examples that are far less black-and-white that are nonetheless quite problematic.--Bbb23 (talk) 17:48, 3 March 2013 (UTC)
Stephen, is this the kind of "conservatism" that is laudable, like trying antibiotics rather than chopping your leg off if you get an infection, or is this the kind of conservatism that is political and an effort to get someone's name linked with the word "crime" as much as possible? IAR isn't an excuse for making people out to be major criminals when their legal transgressions are quite common and minor. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:12, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Recently deceased?

I am concerned about extending this policy to the "recently" deceased, and about the blurriness of the standards employed. For one thing, recently deceased should not be conflated with probably dead, as it is. Those are two very distinct states. Further, even the wording on when the recently deceased should be included under guidelines for living persons is uselessly vague: "the policy can extend for an indeterminate period beyond the date of death - six months, one year, two years at the outside." There's little guidance in that guideline. Let's be clear, withholding information on the deceased is categorically different from doing so for living persons. The dead cannot be harmed. The benefits cited per this guideline are for family members. But what family members, and how do we assess the significance of the deceased to each and in comparative importance, in the case of differing opinions amongst survivors? This application of rules has all the mess of an inheritance battle, except that the value disputed is the reputation of the deceased. And what natures of fact qualify for this consideration, because two editors can disagree on what constitutes "contentious" for anything, but does that self-generated attribute disqualify any fact from inclusion without objective review? Again, I stress that if there's any question about the death of an individual, that's different, but the applicability of guidelines on living persons should be very clearly restricted from those known to be dead. ENeville (talk) 15:47, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

That recent addition only carries a very rough consensus in spirit, not of that particular wording. There seemed to be consensus that we need to state some kind of time period so that people would not claim that anyone who died in the last 100 years was "recently dead". It's an attempted end to the slippery slope created when we added a clause about recently dead people in the first place. Gigs (talk) 18:48, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm not wild about the suggested time limits, but I really don't think we want to have a hard and fast date. We'd like to avoid an unseemly rush to destroy someone's reputation while the body's still warm. "Ha, he's finally dead, so now I can fill the Wikipedia article with unsourced or poorly sourced contentious matter!" is not what we want. We also don't want a firm date on which the vultures can gang up to do this. "They said six months, and he died five months, 29 days, 17 hours, and 57 minutes ago, so get ready: in six hours and three minutes, I'm going to fix that biography to tell the real truth!" is something we can avoid by having a mushy timeline. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:51, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
I get that, but just because BLP doesn't apply doesn't mean that verifiability, NPOV, and our ability to exercise editorial discretion stop applying. Gigs (talk) 12:54, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm concerned about the presented logic behind deferring and blurring the status of deceased. The matter of possible sordid behavior is an independent issue, and further one I believe unavoidable in the general human endeavor. Moreover, it seems to fallaciously represent the entirety of potential contributions as wicked, as opposed to truth-seeking or otherwise beneficial. We need a threshold in this case for the same reasons we need specificity in any set of guidelines, including WP's, and I think confirmed death is the natural inflection point for the guidelines. If six months after would be better, then why not two years, and then why not 100? What rationale elevates and identifies a threshold other than confirmed death? ENeville (talk) 18:39, 26 March 2013 (UTC)

Proposal: Eliminate recently deceased clause

Unless we want to rename this policy to "Information that impacts living people", which would be pretty much every bit of information, I think we should eliminate the recently deceased clause entirely. We don't put information regarding groups or corporations under this policy. Family and relatives are a group, just like a corporation is. It's logically inconsistent to place that group under BLP while not placing other aggregate groups of people under it. Gigs (talk) 18:57, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

A corporation, on the other hand, is not a human. Last I checked, all my family members were. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:52, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
A corporation is just a group of humans. Its legal status isn't relevant. Anyway you are missing the point that we generally do not broadly apply BLP to information that reflects on groups of people, be they families, clubs, teams, hordes, bands, consortiums, militaries, throngs, or corporations. We only apply it when the information is so specific such as to to be attributable to a single member or very small number of that group. Our current paragraph on deceased people seems to be motivated by a desire to broadly extend BLP to a vaguely defined group of "relatives of someone recently dead". Such a vaguely defined group is the exact opposite of our policy on groups, which cautions us when dealing with very small groups or subsets thereof, so small as to be effectively talking about one or two specific people. Gigs (talk) 20:37, 19 March 2013 (UTC)
Even using an informal notion of "corporation", many of them aren't groups of anything, but rather legal constructs owned by one person. I don't think that we're having trouble identifying which humans constitute this "vaguely defined group". Are there disputes that I haven't seen but that hinge on this? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:06, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
If the proposal is nothing more than that the policy should not mention relatives of people who have recently died because it does not mention corporations, then that just seems incoherent to me. Formerip (talk) 00:16, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Imagine that George HW Bush dies. (I believe he's the oldest living former president.) Is it illogical and incoherent of us to be concerned about what his wife, his children, and his grandchildren read on Wikipedia during those first few days of grieving? Should we ignore them, on the grounds that those living, breathing, individual family members are really no more human and no more deserving of human compassion than some enormous bank or some multinational oil company? WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:30, 30 March 2013 (UTC)

Forget corporations. The point is this policy is about specific people, not groups. Applying BLP to dead people in some attempt to protect a group (relatives of dead people) is not consistent with our policy that BLP does not usually apply to groups. Gigs (talk) 12:52, 20 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Support. Belatedly seeing this section, I synopsize my comment from above: what rationale elevates and identifies a threshold other than confirmed death? Not seeing any myself, I support removing the confusing and unnatural conflation of recently deceased and living. ENeville (talk) 18:46, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Arguments are flawed. BLP should apply for one year after death, out of respect for the subject and the subject's family and spouse. Fuck corporations. Yworo (talk) 19:24, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
    • That argument is flawed to me. Why one year? Why not forever? Since when is BLP about "respect"? Gigs (talk) 17:53, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
      BLP has been partly about respect since it was created.
      Reports of a death are a "natural" inflection point, but "natural" does not mean "best". There's no need to rush right into lowering the standards of what you can say in a Wikipedia article about a person immediately after the second report of his death, which may well happen while his body is still warm. It's both unseemly and not conducive to writing neutral, encyclopedic articles to say, "Look, we've now got two reports of his death: that's 'confirmed', so you can fire away with self-published sources and all that garbage we've been fighting to keep out of the article for years." The exact point at which to make this transition from high-quality-sources-only (BLP standards) to any-source-that-meets-the-bare-minimum (non-BLP standards) is either going to be arbitrary or require editors to use their judgment. IMO it ought to be at least a week, and ideally at least a week after any public memorial services, since that's the period of time when traffic is highest, but those are the three options: (1) permit low-quality sources immediately upon death, (2) deny low-quality sources for an arbitrary fixed period of days, or (3) deny low-quality sources until the consensus for that article changes. I'd rather that we didn't have articles filled with low-quality sources just when readers are most likely to want to read them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:22, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We should respect the recently dead and those who were close to them. Binksternet (talk) 18:34, 27 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose Practical reason: an estate can sue for libel, so we shouldn't be in a rush to intruduce poor and harmful content the second the body stops twitching. Philosophical reason: BLP-compliant articles are Wikipedia at its absolute best, with care put into reliability of sourcing and eliminating libel and tabloid junk. In an ideal, imaginary perfect Wikipedia, every article would be held to BLP-like standards of sourcing and content quality. Even ones about dead people. And long-dead people. And Imhotep. So, again, we shouldn't be in a rush to intruduce poor and harmful content the second the body stops twitching. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 22:51, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
Is this true, that estates can sue for libel? What standards exist for the passage of time, which we might be able to apply to WP? ENeville (talk) 22:27, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
No, estates can't sue for libel. "You can't libel the dead" as the phrase goes. But there are plenty of other good reasons to oppose Jheald (talk) 00:32, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
That makes a nice soundbite, but it isn't true. Or at least, isn't always true. According to this article, "relatives and friends of the dead" can sue for libel in Scotland, and this BBC piece explains that an estate can sue in the UK for "malicious falsehood", which is essentially the same as libel except the need to prove it wwas intended maliciously, which a lot of our worst BLP material certainly is. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 03:31, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
If you read the friendly article, it says that "Relatives and friends of the dead may be given the right to sue for libel under Scottish legal reforms." (November 2010, emphasis added). In fact, after having considered the results of the consultation, the Scottish government decided that "[although] it is right to support the objective of ensuring that the reputation of a recently deceased person cannot be defamed with impunity, ... an extension of the law may not be the most appropriate way of delivering the requisite protection" [1] (October 2011) -- i.e. it resolved to do nothing.
In England and Wales, Parliament has also recently voted not to extend libel law in this way. [2]. (June 2012)
As regards the "malicious falsehood" claim, this is only possible if the estate can sustain a claim that it itself has been directly damaged (i.e. financially) as a result of the false statement; a claim for damage to the reputation of the deceased person is not enough -- for example, the BBC piece gives the example of an article asserting that the deceased's business had ceased trading when this was not so. This is not essentially the same as libel. Jheald (talk) 16:45, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose in my experience the articles we should worry about most are ones that involve the actions of individuals in my lifetime. I can't remember coming across a contentious BLP of a 1920s sportsperson, though under our policy they are treated as a BLP unless we have a date of death. However we do get problematic articles about people who are recently dead, and under our current policy an article on a person born 1960 died 2012 is not a BLP and does not even need a source. Ultimately I'd like to see BLP replaced by a policy that focusses on allegations from the last fifty years that involve identifiable people. As for the idea that businesses deserve the same protection as human beings, I find the philosophy behind that repellent. ϢereSpielChequers 08:36, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment Surley the grieving widows, orphans and sundry other relatives are themseleves directly protected by BLP as they are each a living person? Is it really necessary to protect them by proxy with a clause about their recently expitred relative? The BLP policy does not exclusively apply only to people who are the direct subjects of biographical articles, it applies to all living people affected by the content of any page on WP. Roger (talk) 09:56, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose The only argument advanced for this change appears to be some argument toward simplicity of rules, but in my experience, problems with malicious NPOV editing are often at their worst following the death of a person. A window past death is a practical response to the types of problematic edits we receive. Respect is also an issue, having had arguments here over the inclusion at top of a photograph of a corpse, I can assure you that the possible effects of our articles on the living relatives of the recently deceased is a serious matter. This is not to suggest that such material can never be of encyclopedic value, but surely we can take a few moments to extend a little extra caution when the stakes are high in the few cases affected. --j⚛e deckertalk 14:43, 31 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment - I am concerned that in this discussion removing the recently dead from classification with the living is being interpreted only as an entree to malicious and wreckless editing, and as if general WP standards would not apply. At the least, the recently dead should be classified separately from the living for clarity and accuracy, even if the consensus for their treatment differs from that for the long dead (however that distinction is defined). ENeville (talk) 22:23, 31 March 2013 (UTC)

Self-published external links

The paragraph on using self-published sources in external links is confusing. First it says, "Questionable or self-published sources should not be included in the 'Further reading' or 'External links' sections of BLPs," but then a couple sentences later says, "Self-published sources written or published by the subject of a BLP may be included in the FR or EL sections of that BLP with caution." Well, can self-published sources be included or not? Seems like "or self-published" should be removed from the first sentence, so that only questionable sources are prohibited. Fnordware (talk) 21:36, 19 March 2013 (UTC)

  • The general rule is that you must never include self-published webpages about a living person under ==External links==.
  • The narrow exception to the general rule is that you may include a self-published webpage (or other source) about a living person if and only if that self-published webpage was written or published by the subject himself (or herself).
So in an article about Joe Film, then his own self-published website at "" is okay, but nobody else's self-published website (whether "" or "" or "") may be included. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:10, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh, I see. "Self-published" means "not using a publisher." Confusing term in this context. Self-published sources are not allowed, unless the self-publisher is the subject of the article and writing about themselves. Self-self-published, if you will. Maybe we should be a little more specific by saying "Never use self-published sources written by anyone other than than the subject of the article." Or maybe I'm thick and it's obvious to everyone else. Anyway, thanks for the help. Fnordware (talk) 00:52, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
If they are an expert on the subject matter it's allowed as well. Must be used carefully with BLP, however. But if someone was a famous biographer of some certain celebrity, we could probably cite them, even if the material was self-published. Gigs (talk) 13:16, 20 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually, the expert exception specifically does not apply to BLPs. Otherwise we end up reporting stupid academic feuds and other disputes. Yworo (talk) 19:25, 26 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the idea behind that is that experts in a non-biographical field of study should not be cited for claims about living third parties, to prevent, as you said, things like professional grudges from being cited. My comment was regarding professional biographers who are widely regarded as subject matter experts on biographical information about a specific living person. Case-by-case basis of course, with the due prudence that BLP dictates. Gigs (talk) 17:50, 27 March 2013 (UTC)


I'm surprised nobody noted that yet. As far as I can tell, organisations, groups, entreprises, etc. actually actives (i.e. living legal persons) should also fall into the same restrictions. Right ? I think it worth writing it somewhere.

Also, I'm open to debate on this one, but I also believe that their service or their products if notable enough to have their own page, should also be considered with extra care. Iluvalar (talk) 14:22, 29 March 2013 (UTC)

No. BLP does not apply to groups of people. Gigs (talk) 16:38, 29 March 2013 (UTC)
More specifically, BLP applies to living, breathing humans, not to non-human entities that are legally treated more or less like humans. WhatamIdoing (talk) 02:13, 30 March 2013 (UTC)
The argument has nothing to do with the legal treatment of the entity. The entity is made up of humans, and false information about the entity can impact the lives of actual people in the same way that false information about individuals can. Ken Arromdee (talk) 20:49, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
False information isn't allowed in any Wikipedia article; the BLP just says that we err on the side of taking anything out that we may not be sure of before discussing it on the talk page. For BLP you delete first and improve later, while for other articles you allow imperfect material to stand as it is being improved and debated on the talk page. If you think the same standard should be applied everywhere, discuss it on the general guideline pages. Fnordware (talk) 23:34, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
"The entity" is not always "made up of humans". One of these days, I'm going to have to make an actual count of all the people I know who own a small business and incorporated it. Or maybe I should just stick with the people I know who have more than one corporation, or the people who have created a corporation just in case they might ever want one. Those "corporations" are just pieces of paper sitting in someone's filing cabinet. I've heard that there's one active corporation in California for approximately every six adults. That should give you an idea of how few humans are involved in the median corporation. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:05, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

Dating, personal relationships and "rumors"

User:TheRedPenOfDoom insists that "rumors", even if properly sourced, should not be included on Wikipedia, as well as any general information about the subject's dating life. I see nothing about "rumors" or dating lives on the BLP page. I have come to ask other editors of their opinion on this. Do you see anything wrong with this section? Is it uncyclopedic?:

"Jacobs, who is openly gay, was in a four-year relationship with salesman Jason Preston and was in a relationship with advertising executive Lorenzo Martone. In March 2009, Women's Wear Daily reported that the pair were "engaged" after a year of dating.[26] Several reports that they got married were later denied.[27] On July 24, 2010, Martone announced via Twitter that he and Jacobs had "broken up".[28]" yonnie (talk) 22:00, 4 April 2013 (UTC)

I assume that you used encyclopedias like World Book or Encyclopedia Britannica to write a report in school when you were younger. Think about the kind of information they included about people. Would you expect to find speculation about someone's dating life in one of those encyclopedias? WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:16, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
When it comes to the non-public associations of people, I tend to lean conservative as well. We are an encyclopedia, not TMZ. I've found several entries on various hockey bio articles where people have listed former girlfriends, full names AND birthdates of children, etc. When I write an article, my interest in the subject's relationships extends only as far as spouse and children's first names in most cases. Most simple dating relationships simply aren't notable (though there are exceptions). Resolute 13:51, 5 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks for clearing this up. I was on the fence because there is stuff like this in articles for more well-known celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey. But I guess that is probable more notable just because she is more well-known. yonnie (talk) 18:22, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

some clarifications

I just have a few questions about this policy. Exactly why are BLPs so controversial and/or given such special/preferential treatment on Wikipedia compared to other articles? They are one of the only true exceptions to WP:3RR, they need higher sourcing requirements that don't seem to exist on any other kind of article (even medical ones or those regarding more controversial topics), and there were even proposals for BLPs opting-out of having articles despite being notable, which is the only proposal of its kind I am aware of (this kind of proposal hasn't seemed to be proposed to any other kind of article). In fact, BLPs are the only articles I am aware of that not having a deadline or having incomplete information is strongly discouraged. Finally, WP:BLP states that "we must get it right." Why does this only seem to apply to BLPs, and not other kinds of articles, even controversial ones?

And finally, what other kinds of articles have comparable restrictions to those on BLPs? For example, what other kinds of articles must "be right" or need particularly reliable sources? 2002:3193:C29F:0:A5E5:561B:DB15:8288 (talk) 09:18, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Howdy, and thank you for asking. Mostly because false or unfounded information on biographies of living persons pages can cause actual harm to a person or their reputation in a way that other non-bibliographic articles cannot. It is summed up on the BLP page "Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives: the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment." Now, as for other contentious articles, the BLP policy extends to other articles if an editor can prove that a specific individual is singled out in the edits. Cheers!Coffeepusher (talk) 13:22, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
... or if there is the possibility of harm to a living person. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:18, 8 April 2013 (UTC)
We are strictest about contentious things being posted about living people, and dealing with that is our highest priority. There are also high standards for medicine-related information. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:59, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

Family trees

There is a discussion at WT:What Wikipedia is not#Family trees as articles? about whether an article should present a family tree, including individuals with no article. Would people care to comment at that discussion on whether WP:BLPNAME applies to a family tree that includes living but non-notable people. Johnuniq (talk) 00:47, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

can a claim be disallowed in one article per WP:BLP and allowed in other articles?

There is an interesting view expressed at WP:BLP/N regarding an allegarion made in a film that Shepard Smith is gay. The discussion there is pretty unanimous (11 to 1) that the allegation can not be made without strong sourcing in reliable sources (that is, not simly a review of the film making the allegation, etc.) but one editor says the claim may be allowed in Outing and in Outrage (2009 film). My simple query is that I had thought that if a contentious claim violates WP:BLP in any article, that it would violate WP:BLP in every article in which it is inserted. Which view is favoured here? I am, of course, saying that an allegation of being gay is "contentious". thanks. Collect (talk) 12:19, 13 April 2013 (UTC)

I really don't get this use of "allegation" in connection with being gay. "Allegation" is used mostly in reference to committing a crime; the distaste I'm experiencing about Collect's statements is exacerbated by the notion that there's something "contentious" here, as if there's something wrong (even criminal) about being gay. Unless there's some other way of making these points, I'm inclined to conclude they are crap. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 12:52, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
I did not say being gay was "criminal" I did say that alleging someone to be gay is a "contentious claim" which I suggest is farily obvious. As for my query being "crap" I suggest that the locatin of the "crap" is obvious here. The sentence in the Smith article was:
Allegations that Smith is gay have received attention in the media, but he has not commented publicly regarding his sexual orientation. In 2005 a columnist wrote that Smith had flirted with him at a gay bar in Washington, DC.[12] The 2009 documentary film Outrage portrayed Smith as a closeted gay and accused him of hypocrisy for not supporting gay marriage.[13][14] Out Magazine ranked Smith as the 8th most powerful gay man or woman in America in 2013
which I rather think uses the word "allegation" - YMMV. Collect (talk) 13:33, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
I get confused with all these acronyms. Is that one "Your mouth, my vagina" or "Yes, make me vegeburgers"? Formerip (talk) 13:37, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
@Formerip: Your mileage may vary. But I like your first idea better! A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:02, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Collect, the parts of BLP that apply to the case of Shepard Smith being outed in the documentary film Outrage are the ones which discuss noteworthiness and relevance. These subtle factors change with context. The analogous example brought forward at BLPN is the fact that David Icke says Queen Elizabeth II is a lizard, which fringe fact we include in the Icke bio and the Reptilians article, but not in the Elizabeth II bio.
You seem to want BLP to be a black & white ban-hammer for negative info, but it is not. The WP:WELLKNOWN section describes how to include negative information that is not wanted by the subject. There is where we find solid and reasonable gray area policy—where we make judgement calls based on context. Binksternet (talk) 15:14, 13 April 2013 (UTC)
Please tone down the rhetoric -- I suggest that the 13 to 1 ratio against you (between BLP/N abd the Smith talk page) at last count should demonstrate where a great many people feel BLP should come down on the issue. Cheers. Collect (talk) 00:08, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
I don't see what rhetoric it is that you desire toned down. The 13:1 ratio was a simple head count of editors who don't like it plus editors who argued against relevance to the topic. Such a head count is never used to determine consensus. This issue requires balancing shades of gray, not the black or white simplistic viewpoint of all in or all out. Binksternet (talk) 00:21, 14 April 2013 (UTC)
I.e. everyone except you has a pro-Smith bias. I suggest that if you were to ask oodds on this in Vegas the payoff would be over 1,000,000 to 1. Accusing everyone else of having the wrong understanding of policies is inane. And please read WP:CONSENSUS and WP:TE. Collect (talk) 19:45, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I believe that we can reject a claim in one article per WP:BLP and allow it in other articles. Binksternet's example is a good one. If someone (or something, in the case of a book or film) becomes notable expressly for saying something contentious about someone else, then you can't actually write a neutral, policy-compliant article about that notable subject without mentioning it. But the fact that you say in the article on Bestselling Garbage that the work was splashed all over the media for saying ____ about a living person (who may now be contemplating lawsuits for libel) doesn't mean that you need to put that information in the biography.
Look at Keith-Smith v Williams and Michael Keith Smith (since deceased; here's the last version before his death). You can hardly write the article about the landmark libel lawsuit without mentioning what the case was about, but you don't have to include anything about the libelous content in the politician's biography. WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:34, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
We only need, at most, to say the book made contentious claims abut people - we need not in any way further the existence of the claim. That is where [WP:BLP]] enters in -- it states that it applies to all articles, not just the biography itself. Unless, of course, we change the policy as written. Collect (talk) 20:58, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
Would you then delete O. J. Simpson murder case? Of course there is a point where an allegation is so well known that it is necessary to mention it to be encyclopedic. However, even in those cases, we have a responsibility to due weight, and where "due weight" gets involved, there is a necessity for balancing different factors before deciding on whether we should include it or exclude it. --j⚛e deckertalk 21:37, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Yes, it can. I think Binksternet has it nailed down. It's perfectly acceptable for the article on David Icke to say that he claims that Queen Elizabeth II is a reptilian humanoid, whereas it would be unacceptable to include Icke's claims in Queen Elizabeth II's article. Also, to avoid confusion, keep in mind that there's a huge difference between saying "A is B" and saying "A claims that B is C". A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:08, 15 April 2013 (UTC)

Where possible, I think that a potentially harmful or particularly dubious claim that person X makes about person Y should be documented without naming person Y. This might not always be practical, but in this case, in the Outrage article, it can simply say that several U.S. politicians and media figures who advocated against gay rights were alleged to be secretly gay themselves. The actual identities don't add enough to the reader's understanding of the article to outweigh the harm those people could suffer if the claims were false. And, looking at Reptilians and David Icke, I don't really see a compelling reason to name the individuals Icke claims are reptilian; the articles would be perfectly understandable without those mentions even if it's generally thought to have little practical risk of harm to those named. alanyst 21:27, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm less sure than you are about the Outrage film article, there were a limited number of people targeted by that movie and the names of most are included in most of the reviews I recall. The accusations were pretty high profile relative to the movie, and my memory was that the names were included in most of the film reviews. On the other hand, I similarly don't see how including the allegation would be appropriate at the reporter bio, or the page on outing in general. --j⚛e deckertalk 21:46, 15 April 2013 (UTC)
AFAICT, almost all the reviews did not name names. IOW, the major news outlets considered it improper to include such allegations. [3] NYT. [4] Orlando Sentinel, [5] Boston Globe, [6] Chicago Reader, [7] NY Post etc, using the reviews linked from Positing now that few reviewers named names, your argument would be that it does not belong in articles either? Collect (talk) 16:37, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
It is absolutely true that various news outlets reported on various selected names that were mentioned in the film, probably for reasons of brevity or reader interest. Just about all the news stories reported the outing of Larry Craig, a bunch of them mentioned Charlie Crist, David Dreier and Jim McCrery, and then below that level there were some names reported here and others there, depending on the publication. The main one that mentioned Smith was Patrick Goldstein, film critic for the Los Angeles Times, in his film review "'Outrage': Kirby Dick kicks open Washington's closet door". Another big one was Brad Listi interviewing filmmaker Kirby Dick in the Huffington Post.[8] So we see two notable reporters telling their readers about how the film outs Smith. Binksternet (talk) 18:17, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I'm the editor referred to in Collect's opener. (Or rather, I may be - there are a number of us with this view, so I'm not sure if I am "the one"; I'd hate to say that Collect miscounted. At least put me down for "I, too, am Spartacus". :-)) We aren't really writing a reasonable article about Outrage if we don't say what it says, it's essentially leaving the plot out. We aren't really writing about David Icke if we don't say that he thinks that Queen Elizabeth II is a Reptilian; or about Lyndon LaRouche without mentioning that he claims that Queen Elizabeth II is the head of an international drug smuggling cartel (Queen Elizabeth again? Hmmm... :-) ), or about Andy Martin without mentioning that he claims that Barack Obama is a Muslim and/or the son of someone other than his father, or about Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within without mentioning that it accuses Vladimir Putin of mass murder, and so forth and so on. We have a number of articles about films, people, books, etc., that are inherently about what we would call BLP violations, and while we can exclude them when they're not notable, in many cases they are. So we have to split hairs, and write about them in our article about the accuser, but not in our article about the accused. --GRuban (talk) 17:12, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree; I believe in most cases an article can describe a contentious claim without repeating it; and where that claim has the potential to harm a living individual, by my understanding of BLP policy it must be described in such a way as to minimize further harm. Simplest way to do that is to avoid naming those individuals who are the subject of the claims, but instead to refer to them in more general terms: a prominent U.S. television anchor, a former U.S. senator, or a member of the British royal family. With this approach, the reader can still understand and assess the intent, substance, and impact of such claims, and the BLP policy is upheld by not perpetuating the association of the claim with the subject's name. There may be articles where perpetuating that association is unavoidable (O.J. Simpson comes to mind) but those ought to be exceptions, not the rule. alanyst 17:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
So our article about Swift boating should say that it's a political tactic that was used against some presidential candidate, but we won't say who it was? Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within should say that it accuses the head of some government of mass murder, but we won't say which? Alleged Ouze Merham interview of Ariel Sharon should be renamed to Alleged Ouze Merham interview of someone? Thatchergate should be Someonegate? The People vs. Larry Flynt shouldn't mention whom Flynt made a nasty cartoon of? Views of Lyndon LaRouche and the LaRouche movement should say that he thinks some royal family is a bunch of drug smugglers, but not which royal family; and certain american politicians were members of a conspiracy to initiate the Iraq war, but we won't say which ones? We have lots and lots of these articles that are essentially about BLP violations. Not just rare exceptions. --GRuban (talk) 18:27, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
Exactly. We serve our readers best by relaying what the topic entails, and then we say what the mainstream viewpoint is, including dismissal or contradiction of the topic. Binksternet (talk) 18:34, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
That's a fair point, but "lots and lots" can still be a minority of articles with claims about living persons, and the more contentious or dubious the claim and the less essential it is to name names, the more it should be avoided. I concede that "exception rather than the rule" is a poor formulation, but I think avoiding naming names should be the default approach, and only include the names if (as in the examples cited by GRuban) the reader's understanding of the article really suffers without them. In the case of Outrage, I maintain that the names of the individuals accused of hypocrisy and purportedly outed are not essential to understanding the origins, aims, and ramifications of the film, and I'm confident the same principle applies to many other BLP situations. alanyst 18:40, 16 April 2013 (UTC)
OK. We agree on the principles: we want to protect living people as much as practically possible while remaining an excellent encyclopedia, but only as much as practically possible while remaining an excellent encyclopedia. Those I was willing to fight to the death for. User:Collect's heart is absolutely in the right place, but he can be a bit categorical at times. We will need to debate the specific case of Outrage elsewhere. (As putting him and User:Binksternet, whose heart is no less well placed, in the Thunderdome and chanting "two editors enter, one editor leaves" is a bit impractical, even if emotionally satisfying.) --GRuban (talk) 18:55, 16 April 2013 (UTC)

"Entertainment News"


Entertainment news, even from otherwise reliable sources, which present contentious material is likely not to meet the requirements for strong sourcing of such claims.

In short - the "entertainment news" columns of major newspapers and media outlets, not just the Daily Mail or New York Post but including high end newspapers may well implicitly or explicly promulgate quite iffy claims about "celebrities". US law makes it very difficult for celevrities to sue for retractions or damages, and thus the level of fact-checking needed for "news articles" is not always found in the "entertainment section." The proposed addition does not bar all such, but indicates that if the claim is contentious, a better source must be found. This is an ongoing problem with BLPs, and I suggest it be addressed. Collect (talk) 11:25, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

  • oppose: "entertainment news" -- what's that?? There's no well-defined category of that sort, so we'd get endless disputes about whether a news item meets that description. We'd also have to know what constitutes a "better source"; discussions on these issues sometimes include contributions that a "stronger source" is necessary but without saying what a "stronger source" would be. I also fail to see the logic in your second sentence: there's nothing special about the difficulty of celebrities in this regard, so no evidence that there is a lower level of fact-checking. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 11:56, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
    • Oh really? I suggest that while we might use "news found in a section on entertainment in a general news section of a reliable source" or the like but your assertion that entertainment "news" is as fact-checked as all other news is risable indeed. Collect (talk) 14:18, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
      • Collect, there is a serious communication problem in your post. I said "no evidence that there is a lower level of fact checking." You read me as saying "entertainment 'news' is as fact-checked as all other news." You also quote yourself inaccurately, asserting that your original post contained the statement "news found in a section on entertainment in a general news section of a reliable source" when it fact it did not contain that statement. Your inaccuracy in reading is a serious deficiency and makes discussion very difficult. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 16:07, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
        • As I did not "quote (myself)" I scarcely did so "inaccurately". I sought to make clear the intent, and your dis does not impress me. I do consider "zero" to be a significant level of fact-checking. Collect (talk) 17:37, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
          • Thanks for not even bothering to try responding to the first point. It's surely better that way. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 18:33, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
              • Another ad hom then? As I noted below some major publications apparently do no fact-checking on many articles. But is it too much to expect editors to deal with substance and not personalities here? Collect (talk) 19:34, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
                • Just learn how to read properly, okay? You ascribed to me an "assertion" that I did not assert. If you don't want to end up with distractions like this, then just get it right. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 19:38, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. There is no demonstrated evidence of poor fact-checking. Binksternet (talk) 14:46, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I appreciate the sentiment, but most problems that come out of entertainment news sources isn't really an issue of fact checking problems, but more along the lines of reporting insignificant details about a persons life. This is already covered in WP:UNDUE and can be taken care of when it crops up. The biggest problem is that many of our articles rely entirely on entertainment sourcing, not because they are unencyclopedic, but because the topic of the article is entertainment focused and when reliable sources report on those topics they place them in the "entertainment news" section.Coffeepusher (talk) 15:15, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

OMG [9] Hedda Hopper - no fact-checking. And far from the only such. [10] even the NYT. [11] major media. [12] Newsweek. [13] TV stations etc. The problem is now epidemic, and the worst offenders are, indeed, the "gossip columns". That some think that if a "reliable source" prints something, it must be true, is quite naive. And we are not talking "poor" fact-checking but actual absence of any fact-checking for some major media. Cheers. Collect (talk) 17:24, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

I get where you are coming from with this proposal, but the issue is much deeper than entertainment news. We have a real problem when otherwise reliable sources print things with no fact checking at all, or "fact checking through trust proxy". I brought this up repeatedly in discussions regarding List of unusual deaths, which often sees newspapers printing things like physically or chemically impossible events, often given the weight of fact because a wire service picked up the story from a local paper with little to no fact checking.
Another case was the "pink goo" story that made the rounds, with a picture that claimed to be mechanically separated chicken that was really some sort of extruded silicone. That story originated on a pro-ana blog of a 14 year old, got picked up by successively more trusted and reliable blogs, until it turned into something widely reported on in otherwise reliable sources.
This sort of thing happens fairly often. It transcends BLP and is a fundamental issue with our sourcing and verifiability processes. I don't think a proposal like this one would make any real headway. We can't play whack-a-mole and try to carve out exceptions for all the reliable sources that print stuff with no fact checking. I think more general discussions might be useful, but it's really hard to design a wide-reaching policy for something like this. Gigs (talk) 17:40, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
    • How can it be worded to tell folks "do not rely on gossip columns for factual reportage"? Collect (talk) 20:08, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
Collect—I had to re-read Gigs' post to determine that Gigs did not say "'do not rely on gossip columns for factual reportage.'"[14] Bus stop (talk) 20:38, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
I do not understand exactly what point you were trying to make. Was it that trying to use quotation marks to indicate the intent of the wording was interpreted by you as being a direct quote from the preceding post in some way? If so - how very quaint. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:26, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
(I'm sorry, the quoting and disavowals just above seems to have gotten the better of me, so I'm not sure whom I'm agreeing or disagreeing with here! :-)) We do have rules against relying on gossip and tabloid journalism already in wp:blp. I'm just against extending those to all "entertainment news", since pretty much all articles about entertainers ore entertainment are going to be entertainment news, even those that aren't gossip or tabloid. --GRuban (talk) 21:44, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
The bickering you refer to isn't accomplishing much in the way of furthering the discussion and is best ignored. I do think we have a solid basis to reject questionable claims in BLP, but the question of an RS publishing dubious stuff is something we probably shouldn't address in BLP specifically, since it is a larger issue. Gigs (talk) 14:07, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose much per several of the above. We can't make a general rule about this - The New Yorker is legendary in its fact checking, and yet often runs stories that would meet most definitions of "entertainment news". I'd hate for them to be excluded under this rule. While many other supposedly reliable sources run weak fact checking on entertainment news ... but also on politics, science, religion, whatever. The links you provide are anecdotal: someone claims Hedda Hopper didn't do fact checking. If she were alive, would that claim meet WP:BLP itself? Plenty of similarly anecdotes of weak fact checking can be listed for nearly any kind of reportage (Jayson Blair, anyone?). --GRuban (talk) 19:47, 18 April 2013 (UTC)
    • Read the others -- including Newsweek doing zero fact-checking after 1996. Scary. Collect (talk) 20:08, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

Talk:George Maharis#Re-add "arrest"?

To those concerned about re-adding sensitive info into a biography of this living person, join in discussion. --George Ho (talk) 15:38, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

You know George Ho, no offence, but by posting here it really looks like you are canvasing for folks who are going to support what appears like your attempt to bury information about the subject in question. NickCT (talk) 16:07, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
In other words, I don't have to take Delicious carbuncle's comments seriously. Right? --George Ho (talk) 18:14, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
No. Honestly you don't. If you have an RfC that pretty clearly demonstrates consensus, that's pretty much as good as gold. If Delicious carbuncle wants to edit war, that's great. Let him. I don't think there is an admin on WP who wouldn't happily dish out a 3RR block to someone who's reverting against a fairly clearly established consensus. NickCT (talk) 21:23, 19 April 2013 (UTC)
The "consensus" was to include a brief mention of the arrest. The adding of excess specifics which add naught to the biography is what Ho seems to be most objecting to. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:44, 19 April 2013 (UTC)

naming relatives and friends

This policy is much too vague on when to mention the names of relatives, significant others, and friends and when not to. --Espoo (talk) 14:52, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Consider whether the inclusion of names of private living individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value. The presumption in favor of privacy is strong in the case of family members of articles' subjects and other loosely involved, otherwise low-profile persons.

The names of any immediate, ex, or significant family members or any significant relationship of the subject of a BLP may be part of an article, if reliably sourced, subject to editorial discretion that such information is relevant to a reader's complete understanding of the subject. However, names of family members who are not also notable public figures must be removed from an article if they are not properly sourced.

More specifically, the above wording of the policy looks at the issue upside down and backwards. We should be much more interested in protecting the privacy of private individuals than in whether mentioning their names "adds significant value" to the article!

We should strongly forbid mentioning the names of any living private individuals unless there is a very strong reason to do so. This should be worded even more strongly in the case of people simply related to or otherwise connected with someone notable enough to be mentioned by name in Wikipedia.

In addition, just because the names of such people have been mentioned in even reputable media sources and can therefore be properly sourced is absolutely no reason to mention them in Wikipedia. Old news stories disappear soon whereas info published in Wikipedia is nowadays almost as permanent as if carved in stone and much more public than such a stone carving or even than publication in most books or magazines.

The policy tries to addresses this indirectly in talking about the main topics of articles (When deciding whether to include a name, its publication in secondary sources other than news media, such as scholarly journals or the work of recognized experts, should be afforded greater weight than the brief appearance of names in news stories.), but that doesn't help editors or people whose names are dragged through the media without their consent. We cannot know in the case of a current event whether future serious publications will mention these primary names or names connected with them. --Espoo (talk) 17:03, 20 April 2013 (UTC)

Give me an example or two. What would you do with the relatives of Steve Jobs or Barack Obama? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:54, 20 April 2013 (UTC)
I feel we should be most concerned about previously completely unknown people mentioned in media reports and therefore put into Wikipedia articles, especially articles on current events. Unless we have a clear and strongly worded policy on this, articles such as Boston Marathon bombings will mention the names of victims and of relatives and other people connected with the perpetrators without any encyclopedic need to do so and often in violation of these people's right to privacy (since many media outlets don't ask whether people want to have their names in the news or not).
I feel we should be next most concerned about the names of people connected with famous people who these famous people have never mentioned by name in public and who often have never even been shown with them in media pictures. Especially in the case of underage children, we should not publish their names unless their parents have given permission to do so. Traditional encyclopedias usually only say how many children a famous person has, not what their names are, unless they are themselves important or noteworthy. --Espoo (talk) 14:15, 21 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it a BLP violation to describe events as kidnaps before conviction?

Please could people familiar with BLP policy express their opinions at Talk:2013 Cleveland, Ohio, missing trio#Let's try again: "Kidnappings of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight". On editor insists that the proposed title would be a BLP violation as nobody has been convicted of kidnap, the opposing view is that as charges of kidnap have been filed it is not a BLP violation to describe the events as kidnappings (everybody agrees that calling the suspect a kidnapper in advance of conviction would be BLP violtion). Please comment there rather than here. Thryduulf (talk) 22:36, 8 May 2013 (UTC)

Older un-sourced BLPs

Comments are welcome please at Wikipedia_talk:Proposed_deletion_of_biographies_of_living_people#Older_un-sourced_BLPs. AndrewRT(Talk) 23:06, 10 May 2013 (UTC)

BLP sources

Can anyone tell be if, for a BLP, it is sufficient for the only sources to be an offline newspaper and an online one which requires a subscription? Do they provide sufficient verifiability? Egghead06 (talk) 09:31, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

checkover of draft article if anyone would mind please

A fellow guest in my lodgings here in Thailand turns out to be a very notable travel writer and science educator and wanted to learn about Wikipedia and "be on it", I explained all the rigamorole about WP:COI/AUTO/N/V/RS and POV/peacock/SPAM, she's fine and is eagerly learning the ropes by touching up her own draft article under my guidance; she has no intention WP:OWNing it (she's far too busy to take the time to patrol it LOL)....I'm very sure she qualifies as WP:N as she has a regular blog on HuffPo and has written for the Nat'l Geog and the Jewish Journal. What we've worked up from her initial take, which was modelled on another travel writer's page, is now ready for viewing, but I'd like to ask some experienced BLP people to look it over before launching it in case there's any huge errors. I had her consolidate her interviews and radio/tv appearance-links under an External Links section with subsections, I don't know if that's correct, and her Awards section looks kinda drab, maybe should be text with footnotes instead of bullet points? All I'm getting for this, by the way, is a nice dinner and loads of help on my own webpresence and some huge leads for paid can't live on coconuts, rice and fish alone...... anyways User:Skookum1/sandbox is where it is at the moment; if you feel it can be launched please say so, or kibbitz as needed.Skookum1 (talk) 10:20, 16 May 2013 (UTC)

Debate over inclusion of bios in anti-semitism categories

Per some previous Category-for-deletion discussion, a number of anti-semitic + people categories have been deleted:

There is now a debate at Talk:Eustace_Mullins and Category_talk:Antisemitism_in_the_United_States on the question of whether bios of people, living or dead, can be included in the anti-semitism category if some sources say they are anti-semitic. Your input is welcome. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 18:33, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

I thought we settled that a long time ago with "no" - but here we go again. (Let's not even start on the WP:Undue long sections in BLPs against even Jews who say one or two negative things against Israel!)
But you might refer to these past discussions here:
Check them out...CarolMooreDC - talkie talkie🗽 21:38, 22 May 2013 (UTC)
I wasn't involved in those previous discussions, but it would help, given that you were, to drop a word at the other conversations to share your view. Thanks! --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:48, 22 May 2013 (UTC)

RfC on Editing restrictions and BLP

See Wikipedia_talk:Editing_restrictions#Purpose_of_section. CarolMooreDC - talkie talkie🗽 22:25, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Proposed amendment to WP:BLPCAT regarding See also sections

WP:BLPCAT covers the categorization of living people within the encyclopedia, generally in terms of nationality, sexual orientation, criminal behavior, etc. There is however a source of occasional contentious categorization that is not covered: See also sections in articles. oftentimes these are used to imply associations with other topics or people that are almost as problematic as some categories. I would like to propose an amendment to the second paragraph of the section that would clearly cover these sections within BLPs, or articles with BLP content:

  • Current:

Caution should be used with content categories that suggest a person has a poor reputation (see false light). For example, Category:Criminals and its subcategories should only be added for an incident that is relevant to the person's notability; the incident was published by reliable third-party sources; the subject was convicted; and the conviction was not overturned on appeal.

  • Proposed:

Caution should be used with content categories that suggest a person has a poor reputation (see false light). For example, Category:Criminals and its subcategories should only be added for an incident that is relevant to the person's notability; the incident was published by reliable third-party sources; the subject was convicted; and the conviction was not overturned on appeal. Article sections such as "See also" should not be populated with links that imply negative or contentious associations with other topics.

Thoughts? §FreeRangeFrogcroak 00:36, 24 May 2013 (UTC)

i dont know if BLPCAT is the place for it, but I have seen far too often the use of ==See also== listings to push POVs and OR and would like to see some strong guidance somewhere that doing so is not appropriate. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 02:12, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
I'm not sure how BLPCAT applies either. —Tom Morris (talk) 16:18, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, but BLPCAT is broader than categories, so it probably works best in that section. Otherwise, a new section could be created just for SEE ALSO.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:30, 24 May 2013 (UTC)
"See also" and other links should not be used to imply any categorisation or contentious claim about any person. If a source should not be used as a reference for a claim in an article, it should not be used to imply such a claim in any link associated with the article.
How does this sound? Collect (talk) 12:13, 24 May 2013

I like the basic idea, but I worry about how it might be applied. The problem is that "see also" links, like the proverbial black holes, "have no hair", and it is not at all clear what someone is trying to imply using them. For example, can we "see also" link from Anthony Weiner to Mark Sanford, two American politicians trying to recover from recent sex scandals, that have often been linked this way in the press? Or is that "contentious"? How about from Pat Quinn to Rod Blagojevich - both are consecutive Governors of Illinois, but the latter was impeached - is that a negative association? The way it is being written now doesn't seem to resolve any issues, just brings them up. --GRuban (talk) 17:06, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

I think that the goal is to avoid ==See also== sections filled with links to pages like "Thief" or "Nose picking", or whatever general subjects might be used to disparage a person, not to avoid verifiable comparisons that have been made by real-world reliable sources. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:49, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Can an example be given, even if an already corrected example, of a misuse of a "See also" link in a WP:BLP? Bus stop (talk) 01:27, 27 May 2013 (UTC)
Examples: [15] (Fear mongering" and "Glenn Beck"), [16] "Ratel" (since blocked for socking), [17] on Breivik etc. Yep -- a fair number of cases reported at BLP/N and scads more not reported there. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:05, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Agree with the idea, and that BLPCAT is an okay place to put it. Andreas JN466 03:30, 28 May 2013 (UTC)

New language added

In light of some recent events, I have added some additional sentences to the policy page, including the new subsection cautioning against "importation of off-wiki disputes into Wikipedia." In drafting this section, I have drawn on principles I drafted in the Arbitration Committee decisions in the Sexology and Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Manipulation of BLPs cases. Discussion of the added language is, of course, welcome and any improvements to the added language will be appreciated. Newyorkbrad (talk) 23:37, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Overall, I like it. Would you comment on the meaning of this bit:

Therefore, an editor who is involved in a significant off-wiki controversy or dispute with another individual, or who is an avowed rival of that individual, should not edit that person's biography.

Specifically, what constitutes "an avowed rival"? I'm thinking here of James Cantor editing the BLP of a fellow academic—at that professor's direct request, and to correct serious errors, like saying she was just a lecturer rather than a full tenured professor—and certain other members of the community asserting that Cantor was "denigrating his rivals" rather than (properly) boosting the professional reputation of a friend by providing her correct job title. Does "avowed rival" require a reliable source? Is the assertion of a rivalry by other editors sufficient? Is it fair for me to decide that, if two people in a field don't happen to see perfectly eye-to-eye on absolutely every single subject, that they are "in a dispute" with each other? WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:48, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Need advice on whether to include this material

Hi, I need objective opinions on something:

If a BLP subject is charged with cocaine possession, but the charges are eventually dropped, is it reasonable to include that in their article? I've probably worked on loads of "Legal troubles" sections in BLP articles, but offhand, I don't recall doing so in instances in which the charges were dropped, which is the case with Erick Morillo. What do you think? Does the sensationalistic nature of the material supersede its informational value? Or should it be included? Here are some sources: [18], [19], [20], [21], [22]

I would appreciate the opinions from as many editors as possible. Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 15:10, 15 June 2013 (UTC)

IMO unless this is part of a pattern (repeated arrests or prior convictions) or there were some important connection to his notability (e.g., an anti-drug spokesperson or an anti-drug politician), then I'd just skip it. All you could really say anyway is that he was once arrested but the charges were dropped, which is hardly important information and even that much would tend to smear him unfairly in the minds of people who believe that all arrested people are guilty. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:14, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
I think that WhatamIdoing has this about right. If the made-and-dropped charges became a widely reported issue in the context of (for example) a candidate in a senatorial election, it might be absurd not to mention them. If they represented an incident in the past of a borderline-notable individual, it would be inappropriate to include them. There are of course all sorts of intermediate cases, of which this might be one. In general, as we know, it is often best to resolve reasonable doubts about negative BLP material in the direction of exclusion. Newyorkbrad (talk) 20:36, 15 June 2013 (UTC)
Agree with WhatamIdoing and Newyorkbrad. Andreas JN466 09:26, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

IMO, if there is any doubt about allegations of misconduct, the best course is to avoid using them in any BLP. I believe my credo of Articles which make "allegations" make bad encyclopedia articles, especially when any sort of POV can be attached thereto. I suggest that articles subject to WP:BLP in any manner which make allegations be strongly constrained. is valid and on point here. Wikipedia should not be a vehicle for propagating problematic allegations even if the original allegations make it to the NYT. Collect (talk) 01:35, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I think there is language which minimizes the incident in a way appropriate to its relatively minor significance, such as: "Charges were dropped against Morillo after he was detained at Glasgow Airport on charges of possessing cocaine in December 2008." Our default position should be for the inclusion of information. Good reason has to be provided for the complete omission of well-sourced and relatively on-topic information. We should consider finding language that downplays negative implications in areas we find unimportant. Only after failing in the effort to find any appropriate language should we consider the complete omission of information. This is because the reader simply cannot find information in our article which has been entirely omitted. Bus stop (talk) 06:47, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I think it should be excluded, per What and Brad. I'm not quite as adamant as Collect on this issue, since as they mention there are rare circumstances when even allegations are worth mentioning, but in general not, and in this case, not. We don't have a story here, from reading those four links quite possibly this was just a police mistake, in which case we could be doing great harm to a person by adding the incident to his permanent record. --GRuban (talk) 07:14, 16 June 2013 (UTC)

I'd !vote to exclude. Any celebrity worth their salt will have a long list of accusations, allegations, and so on. I'd say if he is convicted, you can put it in, but since charges were dropped, I'd leave it out.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 07:33, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't think WP:BLP tells us to clean up the images of celebrities. Is there language in WP:BLP that would support omitting this material? Bus stop (talk) 15:45, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Um, yes. Wikipedia:BLP#Persons_accused_of_crime. There is also Wikipedia:WELLKNOWN#Public_figures, so I guess it depends on whether Morillo is well known. I have never heard of him, but I'm just an editor, not a fan... --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:49, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Please be specific. What language do you find at WP:BLPCRIME or WP:WELLKNOWN that would suggest that we omit all mention of the above incident? Bus stop (talk) 16:08, 16 June 2013 (UTC)
Did you read what I linked to? "For people who are relatively unknown, editors must give serious consideration to not including material in any article suggesting that the person has committed, or is accused of committing, a crime unless a conviction is secured" --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 14:04, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

I have two points to add, one of which is a question:

1. The first thing was prompted by GRuban's mention of a "police mistake", and Bus stop's statement about failing to find appropriate language: I tried to find out why charges were dropped. This is important, because if it was found that the police indicate made a mistake, then I would favor exclusion, possibly without having even brought the matter here. But if there was sufficient evidence, and especially if the evidence was publicized, and he was just let off on some technicality, then I think it would inappropriate to exclude it. But I couldn't find any mention of it a some months back when I was editing the article.

2. The second point is a question: WP:BLPCRIME says it applies to "people who are relatively unknown". Are all notable persons (that is, subjects of articles) automatically considered well-known? Or does that passage refer to even notables that may be relatively unknown? Is that passage's intention to indicate that some notables are relatively unknown and others not? I just wanna make sure I understand. Nightscream (talk) 18:40, 17 June 2013 (UTC)

There's a huge difference between "notable" and "well-known". Notable, for a football player, for example, means they played one game in the NFL. That's not the same thing as saying that person X is a well-known, high-profile celebrity.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 18:43, 17 June 2013 (UTC)
We have "high-quality sources."[23] I would think those sources satisfy WP:BLP requirements. We can choose to omit mention of the detention at Glasgow Airport. But this omission need not be based on WP:BLP concerns. Bus stop (talk) 12:37, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't doubt that his arrest and the dropped charges didn't happen. The question is, is such material encyclopedic. We don't have a catalogue of every dropped charge for every celebrity - we only report the things that stick, even if newspapers report things that don't. We're not a newspaper, nor are we people magazine.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 14:01, 18 June 2013 (UTC)
I don't think the subject of the article is "relatively unknown". I think the subject of the biography would be considered a "celebrity". I find the word "unknown" as an antonym for "celebrity"[24]. I understand the emphasis WP:BLP places on "high-quality sources"[25] but I think that requirement is met in this case. The subject of the biography should not be subject to unnecessarily negative treatment (in our article). But the reader of our encyclopedia should be afforded a well-rounded portrait of the subject of our biography. I think the minor interaction with authorities at Glasgow Airport should be mentioned in one restrained sentence in our article. Sources would be provided. The reader can follow those sources if they are interested in knowing more about this. If we totally omit any mention of this in our article we are in essence failing our readers' interests. Many people have "blemishes" on their lives, but I don't think Wikipedia necessarily has the obligation to clean up all such blemishes. We should obviously demand good quality sources in WP:BLPs. But I think we also have an obligation to our readers to be informative. I think complete omission of the information in question in this thread would be inconsistent with our mission to be informative. Bus stop (talk) 17:21, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Problem with what this policy implies

This page says stuff like:

  • must adhere strictly to all applicable laws in the United States, to this policy, and to Wikipedia's three core content policies:
  1. Neutral point of view (NPOV)
  2. Verifiability (V)
  3. No original research (NOR)

I see a strong problem in doing this, in having this special mention. NOR, V and NPOV are ALWAYS important. For biographies of dead people too. For any articles. Why do we go out of our way to say this for BLP? The firm use of high-quality sources should be a regular habit, but this presentation treats it like a special habit we're mostly concerned about with the living.

Should we not also be equally concerned about this with the dead? Does the right to be treated with honesty end with one's life? Ranze (talk) 02:15, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Why do we go out of our way to say this for BLPs? The honest answer is probably because dead people can't sue for libel... AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:32, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
Not at all, and I'm surprised at Andy, who is an experienced editor in this area. But maybe he's just being extra grumpy today. We reiterate our core policies because they are what everything else is built on; the emphasis in this policy is the italicized word strictly. When discussing a theory or a fungus, we might get away with tagging controversial information that seems to be less verifiable than we'd like, because the theory or fungus won't be offended; about a living person, we need to be stricter, and delete until fixed. And we don't do this because of lawsuits - we have plenty of articles about living people that we are quite sure won't sue us, such as world leaders or Guantanamo detainees, that we still demand the same high standard for. We do this not from self defense, but from the highest moral principles, which we haven't abandoned. We do this because Wikipedia is not here to make people sad, and that is the difference between living people and every other article subject. --GRuban (talk) 11:57, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
I concur with GRuban. The policies apply to all content, but their enforcement is varied - you can take a strict or liberal interpretation. In the case of BLPs, we are much more strict. For example, if a fungus was alleged to cause brain rot, we'd have no problem including it, even if only one source claimed it. But if one source claimed that Jay-Z's music caused brain rot, we'd hold off.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:30, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
I think Wikipedia's credibility in the eyes of the public would be improved, and ridiculous arguments over articles among editors here would be precluded if we all just altered the policies to say that almost everything should have a citation, PERIOD.
I once had a talk page discussion with Jimmy Wales and others on his talk page, in which Jimmy stated that things that are so widely self-evident that it is inconceivable that they will draw any serious opposition do not need citations, like "Christmas Day is December 25th. France is a country in Europe." I agree with this, and would argue that other exceptions include the plot and cast summaries of movies, TV episodes, books, etc., since those works can function as their own primary sources for their content, per WP:TVPLOT, WP:FILMPLOT, WP:BOOKPLOT, etc. (excepting material about those works that is analytical or evaluative, which needs secondary sources). Another example is when the text itself explicitly indicates its own source, like "John F. Kennedy's book Profiles in Courage is consists of true accounts of eight heroic acts by American patriots at different junctures in American history". Other than examples like this, for which common sense should be applied, just about EVERYTHING should have a source. That would make everything consistent, would make responses to unsourced material less ambiguous and subject to argument, and if promoted publicly, would educate the public on how to use Wikipedia and its material. It might also prime newbie editors regarding the addition of material. Nightscream (talk) 15:21, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
I agree in theory, but not in practice. I think the late Aaron Schwarz demonstrated that most of the content is not added by "insiders", and "outsiders" don't always know how to reference things, even if they are indisputably true. For example, many BLP subjects will swing by wikipedia, and say "Well, I have now made 10 movies, not 5 as wikipedia lists, here they are", and then people get gung-ho about deleting it until we can confirm - but in many cases these are actually true (but perhaps not yet verified in text). Remember, it's not about whether the cite is linked, it's about whether the cite EXISTS - that's a big difference. some things are not linkable from the web and confirmable from your desk, but it doesn't make them less true. Thus, while [citation needed] is all OVER the wiki, it's not necessarily a bad thing, and I prefer, in most cases, a CN to deletion of material, unless it is defaming, pure puffery, or highly disputable. Wikipedia is not yet finished, and CN is a tag that helps establish that.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:12, 21 June 2013 (UTC)
This is probably the analysis you are referring to. Bus stop (talk) 17:58, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Remember, it's not about whether the cite is linked, it's about whether the cite EXISTS...
No, that's completely wrong. You're using "cite" to mean "source". They're not the same thing. A citation that isn't in the article, by definition, does not exist. You're talking about whether sources exist, and whether they're in the article is indeed the paramount point.

some things are not linkable from the web and confirmable from your desk, but it doesn't make them less true.
Wikipedia does not concern itself with "truth". It concerns itself with verifiability. You can't verify material if you don't know where it comes from. And whether something is linkable to an external website is irrelevant. Sources can be print or online; the fact that a given source may be print does not absolve the person who favors that material's conclusion from citing it in the article. If that editor is an "outsider", and doesn't know how to reference things, they can learn. They can ask others how to do it. They can look it up. They can ask for help. I didn't know how to make cites when I first came to Wikipedia. That doesn't mean that I expected others to do my work for it. It means that I learned how to do it. And it wasn't that hard. Even putting aside policy pages, I just clicked on an article's edit mode, and saw where the cites were in the edit field, and figured it out through imitation and trial and error. If Wikipedia put the word out--perhaps made a grass roots effort to raise the public's consciousness of this, then newbies will more likely learn this. They're less likely to do so when we allow them to dump just any ol' thing into an article. There's lots of ways to do this. One way is to require registration (which is a whole other discussion). Another is to make a pop-up appear when an newbie has added material to an article, asking them if their addition is supported by the source already in the article, or if the editor included a new source with his new material, or whether it doesn't require a cite, etc. This can occur for a certain number of edits that constitute a grace period for the newbie, after which it no longer appears. Nightscream (talk) 01:51, 22 June 2013 (UTC)

Whatever, it's the same thing/cite/source/whatever. the point is, if the source verifying the material exists, then we are ok, even if it takes a while for the cite to be added. For example, in many cases, I've seen pages decorated with [citation needed], where the citation-needed is sitting at the bottom - some biography - so whats really needed is someone to go through and find which page number you're talking about. Secondly, on Truth vs verifiability, I think that's a weak argument. I've heard it before, and I don't buy it. Veracity and verifiability is what we want, not verifiability that spits in the face of truth. Read about citogenesis. Verifiability is not enough. Finally, if you're so gung ho about citations, there are over 269,000 articles with the [citation needed] tag, so go for it. Newbies will never do it, and TV ads by Jimbo won't help. We just need to accept that. If you want to propose software changes, that's fine, but until then, I'm not really sure what we're discussing here.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 06:15, 22 June 2013 (UTC)
Newbies will do what Wikipedia requires them to do. They won't if Wikipedia allows them to add any 'ol thing without citations. And I didn't say anything about "TV ads". I said "a grass roots effort to raise the public's consciousness of this", and suggested a number of possible things as examples. The specifics are not the salient point.
Besides, what exactly constitutes a "newbie"? When I started editing in 2005, I indicated my sources in my third and fourth edits ever. Granted, the source was mentioned explicitly in-text, rather than in the form in inline citations, but it does convey to the reader where that info came from, and shows that even early on, as a "newbie", I could cite sources. Saying "newbies will never do it", sounds little different from H.M. Warner's (of Warner Bros.) famous reaction to being told about the development that would motion pictures to feature sound: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?". Nightscream (talk) 02:08, 23 June 2013 (UTC)

Swon Brothers

Go to Google and type in "Zachery Blue Swon" and "Colton Hunter Swon", and see that it comes up with their dob and full name on their voter registration. I am wondering, how we can handle this BLPPRIMARY concerns? So, what should we do with this information?HotHat (talk) 04:01, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

  • Um... nothing? WP:BLPPRIMARY is pretty clear: "Do not use public records that include personal details, such as date of birth". But even besides that, government records are essentially useless as sources anyway, as they often have errors that people don't want to bother with the bureaucracy of trying to correct. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 12:06, 26 June 2013 (UTC)
Remove the improper sources. That is what the policies, in fact, require. Collect (talk) 12:22, 26 June 2013 (UTC)

Prime career images vs. recent images of actors

On a few occasions, including this recent one, an editor claims that per MOS a recent photo of a living actor is always preferred regardless of other important factors, such as why there is an article about them in the first place. Nor can I find any support for that in the MOS.

By that logic, File:Boulevard-der-stars-IMG 1211x.JPG should be used in the lead instead of this one. It also seems to go against the essence of notability, since photos of a person during their prime career years would support the bio article's purposes better. Other opinions would be useful. --Light show (talk) 05:23, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

It's our Non-free content policy that backs the Foundation resolution on non-free media. If there is free images of the person, we use them over non-free, unless their appearance shown by non-free is the subject of critical commentary in the article that necessitates illustration. This usually only is the case of actors and other public figures, and even that isn't an assured allowance. --MASEM (t) 05:36, 30 June 2013 (UTC)
All the images in question are PD. --Light show (talk) 06:55, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

I do see some BLP issues here especially for those subjects whose notability is in some way directly linked to their physical appearance. Take the case of somebody famed for their beauty in a film or acting career 50 or more years ago. They may have long retired. Or somebody physically disfigured by illness or accident. Both of these are represented on WP. They do not look like that now pictures are unnecessarily unkind to the subject and their fans, and as pointed out are irrelevant to their notability. It may be different where an actor has carried on doing character roles. One implicit principle in WP and especially BLP is do least harm and I would argue that where there is a choice of pictures in the public domain there should be a clear reason for preferring a recent one over one at the height of their career. A second thought - that a recent over career photo rule can hardly be applicable after somebody has died. Is there a rationale for saying that a candid photograph of somebody in old age is preferred just before they die, and not the day after? --AJHingston (talk) 08:06, 30 June 2013 (UTC)

This should just be resolved on an article Talk page. The question is the placement of images in an article. Many factors can come into play. We have dispute resolution processes that invite the input of the wider community. We should avail ourselves of these dispute resolution processes. We should not write more policy to cover the placement of the sorts of images under discussion. Obviously all people age. This is common sense understood to all. Arguments using the logic of the trajectory of a person's life can be presented in discussions on an article's Talk page. But other factors come into play as well, such as the quality of the images and the nature of notability. Bus stop (talk) 03:44, 1 July 2013 (UTC)
I would like to note that my main point is that, in an article about a living actor, a picture of a them as a person is preferred in the infobox over one of them in one of their roles. I have also noted that there is a preference for having as recent a pic as possible in the infobox. The Helen Mirren article is a good example of new pics being added to the infobox and older ones being moved into the article. I actually have no preference as to the age of the person in the pic (see the Connie Booth article for one from decades ago) but it should be of the person not of a character they played. I have seen this reasoning used time and again over my eight years of editing so I have taken that as an implied consensus even if it is not written into the guidelines. If we need to start a centralized discussion to determine a current consensus that is fine with me. One last item - I moved the picture of Martin Landau in his Mission Impossible role from the infobox into the career section next to the paragraph about his time on that show so he has representations of him both recent and past in the article. MarnetteD | Talk 14:59, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
The important thing is not to make a rule about it. As we have said there are many considerations. Articles about people do mostly concentrate on the aspects of their life that make them notable, and we try to avoid unnecessary intrusions into their private life or information regarded as trivia. We would not usually regard it as appropriate to say they have since put on weight, say. If a person has retired, they may well regard a current photograph as falling into the category of private rather than public life and some people are enormously sensitive on the matter. So the question is not just whether we can use a recent photograph, but whether it is most appropriate bearing in mind this is an encyclopaedia. And even the question of whether they are retired may not be simple. A fashion model famous in her teens and early twenties might be photographed many decades later for a magazine article, or an actor whose career went into decline long ago might appear in a bit part. I am not sure either case would necessarily justify substituting a photograph of them now for one of them at the time that they were engaged in the activities that made them notable. As Bus stop says, it is for discussion on the article's talk page on the merits of the case rather than having a blanket practice. --AJHingston (talk) 00:07, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Marnette, given you say that a picture of them as a person is preferable to a picture of them as an actor, could I ask why you chose that particular picture which I don't believe to be representative of how people expect Landau to look? Commons has a decent Gallery of Landau photographs with at least 5 newer some of which are more representative, it also has one from 2008 where he looks roughly as he did in his prime, just older. The infobox image serves to identify the person bot to ensure readers can say "this isthe right John Smith, because I recognise him" and to illustrate the article so other readers can say "Ahh that's what John Smith looks like" choosing one that varies substantially from the appearance readers are/should be familiar with isn't helpful to said readers.Stuart.Jamieson (talk) 05:14, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
I didn't chose the image someone else did. I only restored the one that had been in the infobox when someone else replaced it with the one from MI. If you have one that you prefer from commons please feel free to use it. MarnetteD | Talk 05:23, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
  • My take on this issue is that MOS should not specify (in the infobox or at the top of the article) a preference for recent images of elderly folks, or classic images of youthful people. Article editors should come to an agreement tailored to each case, depending on the available images. Personally, I see more sense in having a recent photo of an aging actor if that actor is still alive. After death, I would turn around and argue for a photo of the actor in a publicity portrait from the prime years. Binksternet (talk) 05:37, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
I think that for actors especially, whose notability rests on their screen image, that a photo most relevant to that fact should be preferred, regardless of its age. Otherwise, desiring recent photos implies a tendency toward newsiness, which in the case of celebrities is best left for the tabloids which always focus on current events.
For example, William Shatner, per his lead, "gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T. Kirk, captain of the USS Enterprise, in the science fiction television series, Star Trek." However, editors preferred an irrelevant, but recent public appearance image over his notable character image for his lead. Likewise, Peter Sellers, whose editors felt that a candid at home was more relevant than one of him in character, even though he is no longer alive. Those are only a few of the many such recentist leanings I've come across for actors which contradict the essence of their notability, and why there's even an article about them.
On another point mentioned by a few editors above, the idea that a recognizable character image would only be preferred after they die makes no sense to me, except for a newspaper story.--Light show (talk) 16:01, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Does WP:BLP policy extend to the as-yet-unborn?

A question I'd have hoped to never have to ask, but given the arguably-premature creation of the Child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge article, it seems reasonable to ask for clarification: does WP:BLP policy apply to an unborn child? Any thoughts? AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:38, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Yes as a real case -- the parent is (presumably) subject to BLP, and minor children of a BLP subject are specifically covered by WP:BLP so it is pretty obvious that the "unborn child" is also subject to at least the same consideration as a minor child would have. Collect (talk) 21:44, 3 July 2013 (UTC)
Surely Collect is right on that. We do not need to get into the debate over when life begins to acknowledge that the article is intended to be about a living person, at least from the time they are born. I am not at all sure WP should have articles about those not yet born anyway, but if it does I can see no possible justification on policy grounds for excluding them from the protection of BLP policy which is tightly observed in the case of children. --AJHingston (talk) 23:56, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Clarification on the use of the word "claimed"

Although this refers to a specific article, Józef Kowalski, it may apply to (many) others. The contention here is that the use of "claimed to be" implies the "possibility of falsehood", the counterargument being that use of "thought to be" implies a level of surety which is not backed up by any WP:RS. I would have thought that, in general, "though to be" would be appropriate where there is no proof but there is no suggestion of falsity (in any RS), but "claimed to be" would be appropriate where there is any suggestion (in any RS) that there is a possibility, however slight, that the claim is untrue or cannot be proved to be true. Cheers, DerbyCountyinNZ (Talk Contribs) 04:06, 4 July 2013 (UTC)

The contention isn't here; it's here. There is long-standing consensus that "claim" is a word that should usually be avoided. The MoS is, of course, descriptive and not prescriptive, but you've provided no reason why there's an egregious need to use "claimed" in this article. You (along with your tag-team partner) simply feel that the word is fine. You should take that argument to WT:MOS. Also, you know goddamn well that I have no problem changing "thought to be". By all means, come up with something better. Just not a loaded word like "claimed". Joefromrandb (talk) 05:30, 6 July 2013 (UTC)
I would also like to add that no qualifier should be necessary at all, but we have a clique of editors who feel that they OWN all articles about centenarians. The long-and-short of it is Kowalski is 113 years old, full stop. With any biography, we simply need a source that meets WP:RS to verify the DOB. With centenarians, enter the longevity-article lot, who feel that WP:RS doesn't apply to them (no wonder they think "claim" is fine), and that their people have to "verify" the subject's DOB. Kowalski, in all likelihood, will never be "verified" by the GRG. The documentation they require isn't going to suddenly appear for a man who was born in a small village in a country that no longer exists 113 years ago. It's a shame that this lot have hijacked longevity-related articles. Joefromrandb (talk) 05:50, 6 July 2013 (UTC)

Addition of "Note for administrators"

Just placed this:

Administrators, please see Administrator instructions for placing biography of living persons sanctions on editors in violation of policy. These were imposed per Special enforcement on biographies of living persons.

This is linked from WP:BLPN page, but not here. I'm sure a lot of Admins come here regularly to review policy when deciding what to do about BLP Noticeboard complaints. They need frequent reminders there even are such instructions and that BLP sanctions are not actively discouraged, and perhaps the opposite.

As I've said elsewhere a few times, I've spent 1/4 of my time on Wikipedia dealing with attacks on BLPs by editors who hate the subject. I've been to BLPN many times. I've just unwatched almost all my BLPs cause I have other things to do with my life.

But I do believe that Wikipedia eventually could face a class action lawsuit charging Wikipedia Foundation malfeasance if some creepy-assed lawyers ever decided to put one together with 30 or 40 aggrieved subjects of bios. All they have to do is search throughout the BLP policy, BLPN, ANI and other relevant pages and they could do a real big case based on copious written evidence. (As a DC legal secretary for 15 odd years, I've seen such suits on far less grounds.) So let's try to do what we can to not encourage the greedy "diff chasers"... User:Carolmooredc 16:27, 9 July 2013 (UTC)

Help watch a page?

Hi! I just wanted a few extra eyes watching a page currently up for AfD. There's little reason to think that this will pass AfD at all, but until that point comes we have to worry about this violating several parts of WP:BLP. The page in question is Daniel Morgan Perry and what essentially is going on is this: a man claiming to be Daniel Perry was on board a flight and had what appears to be a mental breakdown. He caused a disturbance by shouting out various things such as claiming he had info on (or knew) Snowden, that his wife was a Chinese spy, that someone had shot darts into him on the plane and poisoned him... things of that nature. He is a FSO, but (assuming he's Perry) one who seems to have had a documented history of severe mental illness. There was a brief spate of articles about him, all of which were of the "it's a slow news day, so here's a crazy guy on a plane" variety. Media interest dropped off pretty quickly.

Now what the issue here is that another user had edited the page to where I feel that it came across more like a conspiracy-esque website, complete with phrases that are just loaded with various implications. (It also didn't help that they tried to use the Daily Mail as a reliable source.) For example, there's the statement "Perry's current whereabouts are unknown", which given the original state of the article, gives off the suggestion of something sinister. (Original version can be seen here.) You kind of see where I'm going with this. I'm not asking anyone to vote on the AfD, just to keep an eye on the page. There's been an edit war between the original editor (who has been blocked for a short period of time) and a few others (myself included), trying to keep it from being reverted back to the original state. I see that there is now an IP reverting, so I would like a few more people to watch the page to ensure that it doesn't go back to its original state. I'm not against things being added necessarily, but I do think that they need to be based on reliable sources and written in a neutral and encyclopedic manner. If anyone wants to try to explain why the original state of the article wasn't kosher to the original editor, please feel free. I don't want anyone to gang up on him, just affirm that the issues I'd brought up with the article isn't just one editor's viewpoint. Tokyogirl79 (。◕‿◕。) 04:07, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Source of policy

I would like to know source of this policy. Why court verdict is not asecondary reliable source? Some 'scholar' may do analysis of case in 'academic book'. But court judge(s) also do analysis of case to far more magnitude and publish book (verdict) citing all sources of case just like academic scholar do in his/her book. So why court judgements are primary source (original research) and academic books are secondary source? neo (talk) 21:19, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Some parts of a court judgment might well be secondary sources. Others, such as the original announcement of the verdict, are definitely primary. (See WP:USEPRIMARY: documents don't have to be completely one or the other.)
We have had extensive problems in the past with misuse of these documents (e.g., filling articles with endless trivia), so we are now quite strict about them. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:27, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

Reliable sources

A man about whom Wikipedia has a biographical article happens to have sent me a (postal) letter about a year before he died. In the letter, he recounts his tenth birthday and mentions its date. Therefore, I happen to know—and to possess documentary evidence of—the date on which the man was born. As it happens, the biographical article though unsourced has the date right; but the only reliable source that exists of the date, as far as I know, is the private letter I have.

It seems to me that it would stretch credulity to suggest that the letter constituted unreliable evidence of the date, especially in the absence of any evidence to the contrary. However, the letter does not appear to meet Wikipedia's stated standard in the matter. I am curious: how would one properly go about using the letter in question as a Wikipedia source?

One could answer: show your letter to an historian and let him cite it in a peer-reviewed journal! This would be fine in theory, but of course is unrealistic. Like the subjects of many of Wikipedia's biographical articles, the man in question is significant enough for a Wikipedia article but hardly important enough for historical research. One could also answer that my letter fell afoul of Wikipedia's original-research policy, but the letter the man has sent me is not research; it's just a letter—and is not unlikely the best evidence in the question that exists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Tbtkorg (talkcontribs) 22:27, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

Second question. The obituary in the man's hometown newspaper mentions the date of death but not of birth. Suppose that it did mention the date of birth, however. It seems less likely that the obituary were accurate than the letter in question, written in the man's own hand. However, Wikipedia would seem to allow the obituary but not the letter as a source. Who can untangle this policy riddle? Tbtkorg (talk) 22:05, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

I personally know one person on whom article exist. I know info in 'reliable sources' is wrong. But I don't remove it or add my own info. I am primary source. We can't do anything about such situation. neo (talk) 22:21, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
To clarify: does it matter that I am not the source at all, but that the unpublished letter I have is the source? Would it matter if I scanned and uploaded the letter? (I do not actually mean to do any of this in the present instance. I am just curious about the policy. The present instance lets me ask what I think is an interesting question about it.) Tbtkorg (talk) 22:30, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
Right now that letter is primary soure. If some reporter verify that letter and include that date of birth in some article then it will be secondary source. If multiple reporters publish it, then no problem at all. You really can't upload scanned image on wikipedia to prove his date of birth. No one will accept it. neo (talk) 22:59, 12 July 2013 (UTC)
I don't think there's anything wrong with using a primary source to note his birthdate. Upload it to wikisource and cite it. If someone comes along later and says "Noted professor Lupus P. Mcgillypuddy recently published an expose that demonstrated that X falsified his birthdate on multiple occasions and detailed searches of primary records illustrate that his real birthdate was Z", then, your cite will be overturned. But nothing prevents us from using primary sources for birthdates. Another question is, is it important? I actually tend to shy away from birthdates (vs birth-years) in small bios, as it seems the identity-thievery-implications and others outweigh the encyclopedic value.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 00:15, 13 July 2013 (UTC)
I see. Good points. You are probably right about the identity thievery. Yes, it is a small bio: the man in question is known to thousands, not to hundreds of thousands or to millions. The man obviously did not mind relating his birth date to people he knew or to people who knew of his work, but he did not paint the date in foot-tall letters on the side of his house as far as I know. This suggests that I should probably file the private letter for 100 years. Then, should my heirs discover the letter and deem it to have historical significance, they could upload it to Wikisource at that time! At any rate, thank you both for the advice. Tbtkorg (talk) 02:01, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Note: Letters are currently copyright to the author of the letter -- one can not simply upload copyright material to Wikimedia. Collect (talk) 12:21, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Birth certificates

We all know that WP:BLPPRIMARY bans use of "public records that include personal details, such as date of birth," and anyone who's hung around the noticeboards for very long knows that people frequently want to cite birth certificates.

Would anyone mind actually adding "such as a birth certificate" to this section? WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:29, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

I would agree - this has been sitting at the article for years after a long talk...however it can easily be replaced.Moxy (talk) 01:43, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

List of notables in Rape article?

Should we include a list of notable persons who have experienced or survived rape? I know it's an unpleasant subject, but we have list articles like List of suicides, on which I've worked extensively. I think the article should have a list, but it should be restricted to the following criteria:

  • Every single name listed there must be supported by a citation of a reliable source, whether the person is living or not. No uncited entries, and no fact tags. No citation, no inclusion, period.
  • The notable in question must be someone who freely chose not to remain anonymous, and to speak out about the assault, and not mere hearsay. People who have been "outed" as rape survivors, even by reliable sources, should not be included, if the notable in question has not publicly confirmed the event. There are a number of notable people who have done this.
  • The purpose of the list should be to inform, and should not be motivated by sensationalistic or other unsavory motives. I would keep the article on my Watchlist, as I have for some time, just like the suicides article.

I previously brought up this question on that article's talk page, and was told to bring it here. Nightscream (talk) 03:40, 14 July 2013 (UTC)

  • As I previously stated, we should create a separate article listing rape victims who are notable enough to have their own Wikipedia articles already and which have publicly stated they were raped, such as Fionna Apple. There is no reason to list any of them inside the rape article itself though. Dream Focus 08:21, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose I have serious concerns about both proposals - and indeed Dreamfocus immediately points up one of them by naming somebody in his comment above who is not so identified in her article, so far as I can see. The proposal is not even for a list of people notable for having been raped, problematic enough, but a list of everyone with an article who has been raped and for which there is a reliable source. In my view, only rarely would it be appropriate to mention rape in a biography article, any more than other aspects of a subject's sexual activity, especially if they were a single encounter. It is not simply a matter of whether the subject has 'admitted' to it, and in some legal jurisdictions it is even necessary for them to be publicly identified for a prosecution to be brought. Even where it does get mentioned in the article, there is a further question whether those people should be singled out in a further list. Add to this that some countries actually prohibit the identification of rape victims. US editors will scream Constitutional Rights at this point - they need to understand that other societies place a much higher value on the rights of victims. --AJHingston (talk) 09:08, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
    Her article has her in the category for rape victims. Category:Rape_victims When famous people talk about their rape in interviews, biographies, and whatnot, it should be listed in a list article just as it is in the category. Dream Focus 12:17, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
  • I think the better approach is not a "list", but a paragraph that provides a WP:SUMMARY of the anti-rape movement and describes the role of some of the most prominent self-identified victims in it and the role of publicly identifying as a rape victim. That will provide more encyclopedic information and context than the usual laundry list of celebrities whose names are recognizable to the editors. WhatamIdoing (talk) 14:51, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose, the solution of WhatamIdoing seems reasonable however. Note that we do have a category, Category:Victims of Rape, which was put up for deletion, but the result was no consensus. I !voted to delete, but others wanted it kept, and they created List_of_rape_victims_from_history_and_mythology as a sort of "historical" list (hoping to avoid BLP issues I suppose). My feeling is, in terms of the category, for the vast majority of people, having been raped is not "defining". It is obviously an important thing to them, but it is not necessarily the same for the broader public; it doesn't "define" them in the eyes of reliable sources, would not be placed in the lede, and I don't think we necessarily need to enshrine their having been victims of such a crime in a separate list, even if a source could be found defending it. The only exceptions would be people whose main source of notability stems from having been an unfortunate victim, and then as a result of them having been public about it and about taking action against rape - for example, Samira_Bellil, who came to light as a result of her publication of a book detailing having been raped multiple times, and then founding organizations that fought against rape. --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:53, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree with WhatamIdoing - a list is of little relevence on its own, and if particular cases need to be discussed at all, it should be done in the article body. And it goes without saying that any living rape victims need to have publicly self-identified. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:00, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose It has potential to create major BLP issue. Almost all the time when rape victim give interview, it is to catch culprit or tell grievances to interviewer in moments of despair. It should not be interpreted as for publicity or becoming 'notable' rape victim. If list is created, some users may interpret sources in their own ways to insert name. And that should not happen. neo (talk) 16:20, 14 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose - This is different than a list of suicides because those people are deceased and their death is a matter of public record. Many rapes, especially of men, are not reported.
You are talking about compiling a list of people who have experienced trauma. For what end? What purpose does this list serve? Curiosity? I've read plenty of biographies on Wikipedia and some of the men and women have been rape victims. What they had in common is that they were not living people and this information was disclosed in a biography or autobiography and handled sensitively (i.e., they weren't a name on a list). Sexual violations, if they are disclosed, need to be put into context and having your name on a list provides no context.
Would we compile a list of people who had been victims of assault? Or blackmail? Or had family members who have been murdered? Or been arrested for a DUI? Or suffered child abuse? Why would these lists be created other than as an activity that someone undertook to create them as a personal project? I just only see damage that can come from this--people tagged as "rape victim", notable people unwilling to disclose facts about themselves because it'll end up on Wikipedia, invasion of privacy--and no benefit at all. (talk) 21:07, 16 July 2013 (UTC)
  • Support the standalone list. Limited to notable, self-identified victims who have openly discussed the episode (By the way, Fiona Apple explicitly discussed the issue in newspapers, so Dream Focus example is correct). It is a relevant list: personally I think it is an educational list to show of how pervasive is the phenomenon and it often shaped critically the life of the victims (another example, recently deceased, would be Italian playwright Franca Rame, who later wrote a play about the episode). An example case of educational relevance of such a list could be a student who desires a quick starting point to investigate how rape has entered the life of notable artists and entered their work: the list would help the student know where to investigate. I understand the BLP issue potential, but we should not restrain ourselves from an educational article because maybe someone will fuck up in the future. We have to be careful and we have to be strict in who enters and who doesn't. But it's not a bad idea in principle, despite how it sounds. I invite the opposers above to discuss this further without prejudice. -- cyclopiaspeak! 09:00, 17 July 2013 (UTC)
Response Since I first participated in discussion of this my position has hardened precisely because of the difficulties of introducing adequate safeguards. If this were to be a list entirely consisting of people who were happy to be included that would present few problems. A list including subjects who might prefer not to be there necessarily raises ethical issues. To editors who respond that they do not do ethics or that the ends justify the means, I have to respond that does not remove the problem or mean that they are not making a value judgement.
1. The mere fact that a subject has talked in the past about being raped does not mean that they wish now for this to be thought of as significant part of their biography or for them to be described as a rape campaigner. As pointed out, they may have talked about it in the immediate aftermath of the event or trial, or whatever, but may not raise the topic freely now.
2. It is very difficult to distinguish cases where a subject has chosen to speak out from those where they have been pressured to do so. In some legal jurisdictions it is necessary for the victim to forgo their anonymity and privacy in order for a prosecution to be brought. That this can inhibit complaints by victims, and places them in an invidious position, is why some countries protect their identity. It is also a delusion of some editors that everything written and said about a notable person has been placed by a press agent and is part of a carefully managed public persona. That may be true in a few cases. In most, information such of this will have come out and the subject will have been asked about it - a well known journalistic technique is to make clear that the information will be published and that it is in the subject's interest to give their story. It can be about things long before they became notable and which they would not choose to mention.
3. Not everyone pressing for a list necessarily has the same objectives, but there is a strong desire to have a list of notable people who have been victims of rape, the more notable the better, for its educative value. In many cases this would lead to inclusion in Wikipedia of the fact that they had been raped where it would not otherwise be mentioned at all. Like others, I am very cautious about the inclusion of such personal information into a biography that normally tops search engine results. This is true of rape as it is for abortions, suicide attempts and psychiatric illness, notable sexual partners and much else (and see 2. above). Where it can be seen as a defining life event that is one thing, but the mere fact that people may be interested is not enough. To take the first example mentioned by Dreamfocus, since he or she regards her as a good example, I gather that she has had a traumatic and stormy personal life. That has influenced her career. I do not see that being a rape victim is more than a part of that and the article made the point without referring to it. It is only the desire to identify her as rape victim for the purposes of Wikipedia that gives reason to include it. In essence, the argument then becomes that if reliable sources exist editors can include it.
4. We know that some people gain sexual gratification from reading and fantasising about rape. Rape of notable people will have a special interest for them for a number of reasons but especially the ready availability of photographs and that in many cases they will be noted for their physical attractiveness. Some victims might object to inclusion in a list for just that reason. Just because the information is available elsewhere is not sufficient, and Wikipedia is often exempted from blocks that may have been applied to a person's web access otherwise. Irrespective of whether we think the objection is valid, it will be made.
If the proposers think that these possible objections can be reliably met then they will explain how, but some at least have argued that the benefits in having the list mean they should simply be disregarded. The proposal at present is simply too unclear. --AJHingston (talk) 11:06, 18 July 2013 (UTC)

Thank you all for offering your views. Two points stood out to me as persuasive: The one about the lack of context in a list-type article, and the issue of whether the subject was pressured to discuss the matter in sources. To be fair, I'm not sure why the considerations expressed above don't also apply to the Rape victims category, but I'm not going to pursue the idea of a list article further. I've done considerable work on the rape kit article, which I was brought to after working on the article of Mariska Hargitay, who plays a sex crimes detective on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, but I think that if I expand my editing in this area, I'll restrict it to material on those who have spoken out as part of the anti-rape movement, as was suggested above. Thanks again. :-) Nightscream (talk) 01:35, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Ibrahim Ceesay

Ibrahim Ceesay is a 27yrs old social justice activist, UNESCO Youth Ambassador, and independent film‐maker from Gambia. He holds leadership positions with several youth led regional and international organizations and currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of the African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), the biggest youth climate movement in Africa (with 42 country chapters) and Chairperson of the African Youth Panel Advisory body to the Danish Africa Commission. Prior to his current position, he worked with the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO as Administrator/Secretary General of the National Federation for UNESCO Clubs and Centres. He is currently the Executive Director of the Children and Community Initiative for Development a public interest organization striving towards child and community development in the most sustainable way. He has facilitated and was involved in several youth led processes at the African Union, UN and other International Organizations, as a youth expert. He was recently nominated by Youth Hub Africa an online platform for youth engagement in Africa, as one of the 12 most influential youth leaders in Africa. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ibrahim Ceesay (talkcontribs) 23:37, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

Should we include mention by a subject that they've been misquoted in a source cited in a Wikipedia article?

Hi, everyone. The Wikipedia article for Zeitgeist: The Movie, a controversial film that espouses a number of conspiracy-based ideas, currently cites two of its sources ([26],[27]) with that film's creator Peter Joseph. The Wikipedia article states that Joseph has distanced himself or "moved away" from one of the central ideas expressed in the film. However, on the film's official website, Joseph states that he was misquoted, and that he has done no such thing. That was added to the article, but then it was removed, as some editors want to exclude it. I tried calling for a consensus discussion, but one of the editors questions why I didn't call for an RfC instead. I went to RfC, and it stated that before using the RfC process, it may be worthwhile to ask for help at the relevant WikiProject. Since this is a BLP issue, is it appropriate to bring it here as the relevant project? Could all those reading this please read the discussion, including all the arguments for and against the material's inclusion, and then offer their views in the discussion? Thanks. Nightscream (talk) 01:49, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

Misusing primary sources

I changed "Exercise caution" to "Exercise extreme caution"[28] because misusing primary sources seems to be ongoing problem on Wikipedia. I'm not sure if this change is contentious, so I am preemptively starting a discussion in case anyone disagrees or has a better wording. Thanks. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 17:13, 23 July 2013 (UTC)

DOB of public figures

Hello. I have initiated an RfC regarding the WP:DOB policy. Your comments are appreciated here. Edge3 (talk) 02:02, 24 July 2013 (UTC)

People's names

What do you think about having a section on article titles? IMO it would be handy to address two common problems, which are "but that's not his legal name!" and "but in his non-English native language, that's not how he spells his name!" People who are opposed to using the common English forms usually cite BLP's need for "accuracy" (as if "Bill Clinton" weren't an "accurate" name for the former US President). What do you think? Would this help reduce misunderstandings? WhatamIdoing (talk) 04:47, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose - this is already more than adequately covered in WP:MOSPN:

Foreign proper names written in languages which use the Latin alphabet can include characters with diacritics, ligatures and others that are not commonly used in present-day English. Wikipedia normally retains these special characters, except where there is a well-established English spelling that replaces them with English standard letters. For example, the name of the article on Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős is spelt with the double acute accent, and the alternative spellings Paul Erdös and Paul Erdos redirect to that article.

As for "but in his non-English native language, that's not how he spells his name!", that isn't a quote anyone has ever said and looks like an ill-informed (and quite insulting) caricature of the editing consensus of the en.wp BLP article creators who have contributed thousands of BLPs to en.wp with their names accurately spelled as WP:MOSPN sets out. In ictu oculi (talk) 06:50, 31 July 2013 (UTC)
You have ignored the legal name issue. For example, the article is at Bill Clinton, not at William Jefferson Clinton. We encounter people who believe that only legal names are acceptable and that anything else violates this policy, not the MOS.
As for MOSPN, it authorizes the use of diacritics. I think we need to say here that omitting diacritics is not actually a violation of this policy, because people do claim that omitting diacritics is a violation of BLP (NB: not "the MOS", but "BLP"). WhatamIdoing (talk) 20:18, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Nevertheless, the advice now inserted as regards names from non-English speaking countries differs in wording from MOS, and on this very sensitive issue BLP policy should keep in line. Otherwise it just gives another reason for dispute. If the policy does need to cover this, it should simply refer editors to the MOS regarding foreign names because that can change. --AJHingston (talk) 23:03, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Agreed. I have reverted the addition. The concern about native orthography is undue since we and other English-language reference works do widely use it for Latin-alphabet names (with a few exceptions), and spelling authorities consider the omission of diacritics as a more severe problem. If there needs to be a section about names here, it should be balanced, non-divisive and backed by consensus. Prolog (talk) 19:57, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Here's what was reverted:

Name of article

The name of an article is governed by Wikipedia:Article names. Briefly: article titles should be recognizable to readers, unambiguous, and consistent with usage in reliable English-language sources. This means they may not conform to the orthography of their native language(s), or to their legal names.

It was reverted with an edit summary of "rv - very little support for this on talk".

So my first question is whether or not anyone believes this is factually wrong in any respect. Do you think that something other than WP:AT governs the title of articles for BLPs? Do you think that articles titles should not be recognizable, unambiguous, and consistent with English-language sources? Do you think that titles must conform with the orthography of their native languages? Do you think that titles must use legal names? WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:24, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

Given that the concerns noted above remain unaddressed, the last three of these questions seem rather loaded, evasive and/or unhelpful. However, the first question is valid. WP:AT does not currently cover the BLP implications of naming and spelling. In that sense, we're trailing The Chicago Manual of Style ("The name of a living person should, wherever possible, correspond to that person’s own usage.") and even the Webster's business guide ("It is generally somewhat dangerous to omit diacritical marks. Norwegian Mr. Høst will not appreciate at all being called "Mr. Host".). This could be at least partly fixed by simply stressing the importance of encyclopedic standards and the use of appropriate sources:

The name of an article is governed by Wikipedia:Article titles. Briefly: article titles should be recognizable to readers, unambiguous, in an encyclopedic register and consistent with usage in English-language sources that are reliable on naming and spelling issues. They may not conform to the subjects' legal names or to the orthography commonly found in the mass media.

Prolog (talk) 22:31, 9 August 2013 (UTC)
I was concerned at a very contentious debate spilling over to here without thorough discussion and unwittingly adopting a policy which was out of line with what is said elsewhere. Like so much else where BLPs are concerned there are very distinct cultural differences over what is appropriate. My belief is that many US editors are influenced by the legacy of the 'melting pot' philosophy - just as immigrants were expected to learn and use English, they were expected to Americanise their names (or if accounts of the behaviour of Ellis Island officials are true, have them Americanised without reference to their own views). I am British, and although we may mispronounce, mishear, misspell names and be too lazy or ignorant to use diacritics or recognise differences between alphabets, if the subject tells us we are wrong the current attitude is usually to accept that they know their own name and their version is 'correct'. Those are fundamentally different approaches and a general consensus is impossible. Nor does appeal to the 'usual' spelling in English always settle the matter because it depends often on where the source is based, not to mention simple error unwittingly repeated because nobody thought to check. Even appeal to encyclopaedic values does not settle it, because editors cannot agree on what they are.
Insofar as this is a BLP matter, there are special considerations beyond the obvious right of the subject to object that if it is not how they spell or pronounce their name it is patently wrong insofar as they are concerned. Take the hypothetical case of somebody who after a messy divorce insists on distancing themself from everything to do with their husband including changing their name, whilst some editors insist that since the majority of (possibly old) RS use the old name they are stuck with it. There have also been bitter disputes over the change of name of a BLP where the subject has changed sex. I think we would agree that these should be dealt with sensitively, on the merits of the case. Or let us take a case where the version of their name being used in some English language sources which in ways we would not suspect was confused in their own language with some other name, or was even offensive or demeaning. Again, that needs to be addressed on its merits, and if policy were to prevent what was agreed to be the right thing from being done we would want to change it. I worry, therefore, about the principle of an insertion into this page which had the express intention of taking the matter outside the scope of BLP policy. Nothing is more personal to a subject than their name. So whilst I do not object to Prolog's suggestion I wonder whether we gain from including it at all. The arguments will not go away as a result. --AJHingston (talk) 00:12, 10 August 2013 (UTC)
I think that we definitely benefit from defining which policy "controls" the question. IMO that policy should not be BLP, but we would benefit from saying which one it actually is.
I don't support all of Prolog's proposal. However, I like most of it. The main problem is that it is biased towards inclusion of diacritics (which I personally like, but that's different from me being willing to impose my personal preference on everyone).
The problem is "They may not conform to... the orthography commonly found in the mass media." So step one, declare that only sources that routinely use diacritics are "reliable on naming and spelling issues", and step two, declare any source that doesn't spell it 'my' way, even if it's the person's own website, is "mass media". Mass media is a reliable source, and ought to be accepted as such, even for spelling.
If we were going to declare that there is a BLP issue here (and I wouldn't, because there's not really any likelihood of a libel case in transliteration or omission of diacritics), then IMO the rule ought to be to follow what the person's own website/books/signed articles say, if and only if their own publications are written in English. It'd be silly to say that an article here needs to be titled "بوش" on the grounds that this is what the person's Arabic-language books give as the name. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:51, 11 August 2013 (UTC)

Policy coverage on current relationships of subject

I monitor recent changes, and some of the most common edits I see to BLPs is an "update" to who the subject is currently dating, or who is their best friend, etc. While obviously there are some exceptions, this sort of stuff, even when well sourced, is not usually considered encyclopedic. From what I understand, this is not explicitly covered anywhere in our policies, and I feel given how popular these edits are perhaps it should be. Maybe touch on it in WP:TABLOID as well. The idea behind it being that if there is not significant coverage of the given relationship, it probably doesn't belong in the article. It's easy to explain this to an editor, but being able to link to a WP-namespaced heading would be helpful, such as WP:GOSSIP (which currently redirects to WP:SOAPBOX). What are your thoughts? Cheers — MusikAnimal talk 20:06, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

I agree - unless this is a significant relationship that has lasted a fair amount of time and which multiple sources mention, we should not cover it.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:51, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
If there are reliable sources that cover the relationship, I think it's fair to include it. If not, no. Hobit (talk) 23:26, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Reliably sourced trivia is still trivia. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:29, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
exactly - the important question, is this material important in understanding the subject. Who they are married to, I think, is worthy of note in most caseS, but when rollingstone (normally a RS for the music industry) notes that X was now dating Y, why should we care? --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 23:42, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I see a lot of this patrolling RCs as well, and I think WP:COMMONSENSE is necessary. There are also various bits of policy that speak to this type of thing: WP:NOTGOSSIP is one, another is WP:BLPGOSSIP, particularly "Ask yourself ... whether [the material], even if true, is relevant to a disinterested article about the subject." Most importantly, the second lead paragraph of WP:BLP states: "BLPs must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid." If, for example, the NYT did a big feature article on the person, and devoted several paragraphs to the persons long relationship with so-and-so, that seems OK to include. If on the other hand we have a brief mention in Us Weekly that two Hollywood D-listers were spotted dining together and therefore must be dating—we don't want that in an encyclopedia. It should go without saying that anything regarding the subjects personal life should be deleted on sight unless it is very well sourced. That's my 2 cents. –Wine Guy~Talk 15:14, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Wine Guy, more or less my thoughts. Marriage is probably more often acceptable than not, particularly a celebrity marriage. The issue I have is that most of these edits I see read he/she is currently dating this person, which, because of it's likelihood of being mere here-say, or a potentially very brief courtship, it almost always doesn't belong in the article. This is what I'd like to specifically address, and sounds like WP:BLPGOSSIP is the best place. Our outlined policies tend to be somewhat vague to provide an umbrella under which many situations can pertain to, e.g. this X dating Y clearly falls under WP:BLPGOSSIP, but I feel when you the same exact type of edit over and over again, it's should be specifically addressed. Such is my proposal, and as Template:Policy denotes, any changes should reflect consensus.
And for the record, I'm terrible at writing copy, so perhaps someone could help me there. Thanks — MusikAnimal talk 15:45, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
@Andy: people's personal lives are generally an important part of a biography. If covered by a RS, I don't see why we'd exclude it in the general case. I wouldn't cover "Bob went on a date with Julie" but longer term things (months) I would see as being relevant if RSes found it relevant enough to cover. Hobit (talk) 18:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
That isn't Wikipedia policy: "Biographies of living persons ("BLP"s) must be written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid: it is not Wikipedia's job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives: the possibility of harm to living subjects must always be considered when exercising editorial judgment." AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Hobit, perhaps you've got a different idea of what a reliable source is. We can usually "rely on" some of the teen-oriented celebrity magazines to get their facts straight. But who cares whether the teen heartthrob-of-the-month is dating someone for a couple of months? Is getting the facts straight all that really matters? After all, we've got reliable sources for things about the color of George Bush's neckties, but I don't expect that anyone thought that this was worth including in his bio.
Put another way, a teenaged or young adult celebrity might semi-seriously date a couple of people a year, and this dating pattern might last for five or even ten years. Information that really matters should really matter for the long-run, not merely while it's current. If you have three spouses, we're going to list them all, forever, no matter how long the marriage lasted. But you have five or ten girlfriends while attending university, we're not going to list them all forever. In fact, we're probably not going to list any of them after you stop dating. It's just a temporary news report: he's currently dating another non-notable young woman. Why should this information even be in the article temporarily, when we know that it's not going to have any lasting value? WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:54, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
<ec>Who one is dating isn't "titillating" any more than who one is married to. And what harm are you worried about here? I'm assuming we'll follow our general rules and not source things like this to TMZ or something. Rather, I worry that not reporting something key to a biography (and relationships are surely key) is running afoul of WP:NOTCENSORED--we shouldn't be hiding material from our readers if that material is relevant to the topic and reported in reliable sources.
(added in response to WhatamIdoing:) I'm fine with that. If someone is dating around, who they are dating is likely unimportant. But if a notable person has been in a relationship for a while (months?) and it's covered in RSes, we shouldn't shy away from covering it if it has any baring at all the on the biography (which it normally will, but won't always). Hobit (talk) 21:59, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Mostly agree with Hobit. Yellow press and trashy tabloids reports, or gossipy blips are to be discarded. But if multiple RS confirm a long-standing relationship, we have to cover it. -- cyclopiaspeak! 12:24, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd choose years, rather than a few months, but perhaps that's because I can do the the math on how many three-month-long relationships a person can have between the median age for the first serious relationship and the median age at the first marriage (in the U.S.). I'd also accept an (announced/non-secret/non-speculative) engagement to marry as a significant factor. I would not want to speculate on whether the relationship has any significant influence on what makes the person be notable. We might report it as a bare fact, but unless someone is notable because of being in a relationship (e.g., many people married to royalty or senior politicians) I'd not want to make any claims that the relationship has a significant effect on the person. It's worth reporting basic facts, but this falls in the same categoryas the year of birth or the name of the person's university (if any), but not out of any outdated notion that people's success is due to the influence of their romantic partners. WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:33, 9 August 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Well it sounds like we're all at a consensus. A simple X is currently dating Y (and we don't know how long), even if well-sourced, is generally not considered encyclopedic. In contrast, marriages or extended relationships that are supported by reliables sources may be included. Back to my core proposal – extend WP:BLPGOSSIP to make note of this, given how common this type of edit is. My thing is I've had to go out of my way to explain to users why current relationships in such a fashion are not welcomed in the article, when I could simply link to here and have it explicitly written in the policy essay. I can attempt to write copy for this but surely it'd be better written by someone else...? =P Thanks everyone — MusikAnimal talk 16:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

I see no reason to make any changes to policy on this. The "BLPNAME" bit already limits the inclusion of names based on trivialities. Basic BLP rules out most of the scandal sheets "Are X and Y in love?" when what is reported is not the relationship but the speculation there is a relationship. But well-sourced detail about personal relationships seems harmless and the readers and editors seem interested in it, which is reason enough to cover it. (Indeed, it is very common for entertainers' careers to end up being based on it...) Wnt (talk) 19:14, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • BLPNAME doesn't exclude the inclusion of trivial relationships if both X and Y can both plausibly be claimed to be notable, e.g., every single actor and every single professional sports player.
  • We're not talking about speculation; we're talking about trivial but real dating relationships. This does appeal to our teenage readers, but it is not encyclopedic. We don't include people's home addresses and phone numbers because these facts are not encyclopedic. Most of us here think that we should not include people's current dates, even if the other person is notable because the fact that they're dating someone is not encyclopedic. "Joe Film has gone out with Sally Star three times this month" is simply not encyclopedic, no matter how many fans want to add it or read it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 15:10, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
Completely agree, and is precisely my point. As a RCP, I can attest that most of edits about X dating Y are very trivial, many well-sourced, but again, that does not make it encyclopedic. I think WP:BLPGOSSIP is the best place to cover this, but we could add to WP:BLPNAME as well. — MusikAnimal talk 16:03, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd be concerned about trying to add text limiting this. While I agree having gone on 3 dates is rarely something we should cover, in some cases it could be. (If person A killed person B, the fact they went on dates would be relevant). And anything with BLP in it saying "we don't cover this" will certainly have folks arguing to not cover it ever. Witness WP:BLPNAME WP:BLPDOB where we are excluding material the US senate thinks is relevant enough for a biography... Hobit (talk) 10:05, 13 August 2013 (UTC)

Proposal on date of birth


  • If the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth, or the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year.


  • If the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth and the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year.

--NeilN talk to me 05:32, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose in part We should, if and only if the date is on no pages under direct connection to the person, considering reducing the birth date to a year. Otherwise, the date is not only properly in the Wikipedia article, people would laugh at us for redacting it.
If a person complains about inclusion of a birthdate, and the date is listed on no web pages directly associated with the person, and the person is not of substantial notability or notoriety (WP:NOTABLE, then consensus of editors may reduce the date of birth to the year only. (extra emphasis added to show the import of the changes)
Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:47, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
I'd change "web pages" to "reliable sources", but otherwise, I could agree with that. - The Bushranger One ping only 04:47, 3 August 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good from here. Collect (talk) 12:30, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Everything works by consensus so how about trimming it to: If a person complains about inclusion of a birthdate, and the date is not listed on any reliable source directly associated with the person, and the person is not of substantial notability, then the date of birth may be reduced to the year only. --NeilN talk to me 15:20, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Suggestion: I would keep the current wording and add to it a clarification or exception in the case of public figures. Something along the lines of: "If the subject is a public figure (i.e. public official, major celebrity etc), the exact DOB should be included when it is reported in multiple reliable sources, especially if it is on the subject's official site."Wine Guy~Talk 20:09, 2 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. This should satisfy all concerns. Gamaliel (talk) 04:25, 4 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support so that we do not have a silly result such as a US Congressperson's official Congressional biograpy stating his or her birthdate, and then Wikipedia removing it because the Congressperson requests it, with this guideline cited as requiring such a silly bit of censorship. On the other hand, someone known only for one incident, who has sought a private life, should indeed be granted such a request. Edison (talk) 02:15, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Why is date of birth considered so essential information that it should ever override a biographied person's expressed wish? So that we can do their horoscopes?User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 14:00, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Fair point. The revised wording proposed by Wine Guy makes it mandatory to include the full DOB - we do not do have a list of items that should be included in BLPs, so I suggest the use of the permissive may. --AJHingston (talk) 15:08, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support, and sympathetic with Collect suggestion that we should never redact it if there are sources directly connected to the person. -- cyclopiaspeak! 15:13, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • oppose I think you guys are missing something here, which is that BLPs are biographies of LIVING people. Wikipedia shows up very high on search results, whereas other sources may be less so. There is such a thing as security-through-obscurity, and I don't see why having the actual date-of-birth is of encyclopedic value except in very specific situations. If the BLP in question goes out of their way to request removal, we should do so, and I don't see a need to change the policy on this point. Knowing the month/day of birth is a security issue, and if by removing it we make the BLP more comfortable, it's an accommodation we should be (and have in the past) be willing to make.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 15:39, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support proposed wording with "reliable source directly associated" and "may". It is a ridiculous situation when the person is highly notable (such as a US congresswoman) and the person (or their employer) directly publishes their date of birth, but we can't. --GRuban (talk) 18:21, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
It's not that we *can't*, its that we should "elect not to", in the interests of a minor concession to the wishes of a BLP. We're not talking about whitewashing the record of a congressman caught with an intern - we're talking about eliminating a very small piece of information that is not of encyclopedic interest in general.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:41, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
Hence the "may". As is, we have people specifically saying that the way the policy is currently written, we "can't". So we need to change that. --GRuban (talk) 02:19, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Why is this degree of precision necessary for BLPs? How is knowing someone was born on the 3rd of the month more useful to readers than knowing only the year of birth? "People would laugh at us" is not a sufficient worry to justify our deciding to act in a way that might do harm to the subject of the BLP, whose only "crime" that we are exposing is that he or she had the gall to be born on a specific date. Beyond that, there are problems with other aspects of the proposed changes. (One of them is also an issue with the policy as it is currently worded.) First, the meaning of "and the person is borderline notable" is unclear. Would it mean that the subject's request to withhold the info from the article should/could be followed if they ARE highly notable, or does it mean that their request should be followed if they are NOT highly notable? If the policy language is going to be changed, the new text should be written so that the answer to this question is crystal clear. Second, "and the date is listed on no web pages/reliable sources directly associated with the person" (emphasis added) needs some explication within the policy, if this change is adopted, or this language will be the source of additional conflict. What constitutes a source directly associated with a person? If a person's cousin mentions the info in an interview that is broadcast or published, does that qualify as a "source directly associated with the person"? If the person's former (or current) employer or former school/college publishes the info, does that count as a "source directly associated with a person"? Dezastru (talk) 20:13, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
I think we're making a mountain out of a molehill. There are probably very few, perhaps a few a year, instances of this, where the BLP asks that we redact their birthdate. Most BLPs wouldn't even know how to contact wikipedia, or authenticate themselves. Why not just follow their wishes? And please don't make a slippery slope argument here.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:29, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
The concern is we shouldn't be choosing to not post information for privacy reasons when A) the subject is well-known and B) the information is trivial to get. We've got one such case right now and folks are arguing the policy is absolute and there should be no exceptions even in such a case. So here we are. Hobit (talk) 23:24, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support also okay with Wine Guy's proposal. Hobit (talk) 23:24, 5 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support we are talking about high level public figures who are notable enough that they should have no reasonable expectation of this type of information being private. --rogerd (talk) 00:16, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support I'm surprised that this isn't already policy, since it's in spirit (if not the letter) with the rest of the BLP. A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 01:51, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support (as proposed). I doubt the original intent of this rule was to allow members of Congress to censor their pages. There are people, especially lesser known ones with Wikipedia articles, for whom this might be an actual concern. But not public figures. Hot Stop talk-contribs 04:09, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If I ever became famous I would hate to have the question of whether my birthdate is included in the WP article about me be based on the opinion of some group of WP editors about the question of whether I'm "borderline notable" or not. If someone goes to the trouble of requesting that we not include that information, what is the harm in publishing only the year of their birth? I think it's something we can easily do. There is potential harm if we publish - an no harm if we don't. Easy call. The current wording -- with the or -- has it right. --B2C 05:41, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
exactly. The whole discussion above and at her talk page is rather disgusting - it's like a contest to see who can be the most callous. Why can we not grant a simple request. Poor Duckworth has had this issue debated 5 separate times on her page I think. Why can't we just drop the stick? Do you know how many thousand of other bios are in need of assistance and expansion? No, lets focus on making sure we publish this one tiny bit of information a veteran and public servant has asked kindly that we omit. The mind boggles. This is a living person, who has chosen to Serve her country in two ways, and we repay her by denying the one piece of In formation our policy explicitly says we can omit, and instead try to change the policy to eliminate even that possibility. Sad, really sad.Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 05:58, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry, but I find it ethically much more "disgusting" that we bow to every ridicolous whim of an article subject. There are many reasonable complains that a BLP subject can have and there are many things that we could improve in how we handle BLPs: but complaining of us listing a birth date that is literally one click away on an official document about the subject is not. When User:Born2cycle says I would hate to have the question of whether my birthdate is included in the WP article about me be based on the opinion of some group of WP editors, they forget that there is such a thing as freedom of the press. Note that we're not talking of allowing libel, we're not talking of sensitive private information, we're talking of something that is already in the open and officially connected, in a widely public document, to the subject. What is mind boggling is that we should self censor nonetheless.-- cyclopiaspeak! 15:37, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
If the information is available just "one click away" in a widely available document, why is it so necessary that it also be available in Wikipedia? Is it solely a matter of principle? Freedom of the press? Let's not be Wikibullies. That we can do something does not mean that we must do it, or that we should do it. Dezastru (talk) 16:11, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
So now writing down a birth date which is one click away in a widely available document is "bullying"? If anything, the person asking us to self censor is bullying us. And yes, if it's widely available and publicly connected with a public person, it is necessary that we have it, for completeness of coverage. Or should we omit that Barack Obama is president of the United States because, well, everybody knows it? -- cyclopiaspeak! 16:17, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Just because it's not libel or private sensitive information and we can publish the information does not mean we must publish it. It's not important, and we've been asked to not publish it. Why is that not good enough? --B2C 16:21, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Because article subjects do not own their articles, and this is because we're an encyclopedia, not a personal website host where subjects decide what has to be included and what not. Again: there are cases where such a request may make sense (when the information is not easily available, and/or not sourced from official documents connected directly to the person). But to require us to censor the obvious is not acceptable. -- cyclopiaspeak! 16:28, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
(ec)This is a great example of a kind gesture (in this sense: "an action performed to convey one’s feelings or intentions"). The world is full of these - opening a door for someone, tipping your hat, letting someone go first, giving someone a pleasant smile, and so on, and we perform these for strangers dozens of times each day. I agree, the information is available to anyone who is seriously looking for it, and the security-through-obscurity provided therein is rather minimal. But acceding to a subject's wishes in this very minor case, where we literally don't need the information or have any obligation to display it, is a GESTURE that demonstrates that we have a heart, that we care about our subjects, and we don't just treat them as pieces of data to be displayed. I don't think it's a "ridiculous whim" as Cyclopia states, and in fact, such a whim is explicitly outlined in our policy as something we should be willing to remove on request. Weakening that facility, as this change proposes, will make Wikipedia a harder place, a bit less kind, a bit less understanding. Many of our BLPs have had much worse happen to them here, so in this case where we can perform a kindness and listen to someone's earnest (and now, in the case of Duckworth, repeated) request, again, why not? --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 16:34, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Let's stop spinning this into some kind of "kindness", "understanding" or "respect" issue. There is nothing kind about a public person asking us to remove trivially public information. Nothing. There is just someone who is used to get things their way, and that someone this time doesn't like, for whatever reason, that we, of all websites, host an openly available official information. I think this is not kind at all, and it is instead insulting, bullying and demeaning disrespectful to us to say the least. But even if it wasn't, and it was asked in good faith, it is still unreasonable. So we can give the asker a pleasant smile, and say "thanks for asking but no thanks, your request is not really reasonable because it is anyway a publicly available information, so we feel we can cover it anyway". If being gagged by strangers is your cup of tea among "kind gestures", well, to each one their own, be my guest, but do not try to sell it as a regular "kind gesture" we are bound by ethics to perform. -- cyclopiaspeak! 16:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Birthdays aren't 'official information'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
Well, they kind of are if they appear on official bios.-- cyclopiaspeak! 16:48, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
And what is an 'official bio?' AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:50, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
IMHO I feel that it reflects poorly upon us if the date can be found anywhere else but here. – Connormah (talk) 16:52, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) This is what I'm thinking about. Anyway, you can dance around the word "official", point is that what prompted this discussion is information on a government website,about a public figure. If she doesn't like it, she should ask the webmasters to remove it, and then ask us. -- cyclopiaspeak! 16:53, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
would that satisfy you? If she did that, would you really change your stance? It doesn't feel like it. It feels like you're making a principled stand, that dammit wikipedia is not going to censor information that is widely available. We have widely available information about who Taylor Swift is dating, but I don't think we should cover it here. The same applies for birthdates - in the (rare) case that someone asks - not as a bully, like you're acting now, but in a respectful fashion, I am still completely missing why YOU CARE so much? I guess I'm a bit sensitive about this point as I've been corresponding recently with some people who have BLPs, and their impression of how things work here, and what control they have/don't have over information in their bio, is quite at odds with how this community views itself - I think we need to strike a happy medium. This birthdate policy, which I don't know the genesis of, seemed to me to be a reasonable and rational balancing point - but now we have people claiming that if someone is a member of congress they have no right to the privacy of that information that shows up first in google search results. How do you know why someone might ask this? Perhaps they've noticed a bunch of spammers sending them bogus birthday cards. Perhaps there's some other harassment that goes on. Perhaps scammers regularly auto-harvest birthdates from wikipedia as it's easy and don't do the same for other sources. The point is, it doesn't really matter - it's a small accomodation, and no-one has forwarded any reason why we should not be willing to do so for a living person, another human being.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 17:37, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
User:Obiwankenobi: Yes, if she manages to delete the information from the congress records it would satisfy me, because in that case we wouldn't have a close-to-subject official source to refer for the date anymore, so we would have to grudgingly comply (actually, we would have to do that even if she doesn't ask). That said, first of all please refrain from personal attacks like calling me a bully: you want to play nice guy, but you're not so nice with people who just happen to disagree with you, huh? Fact is, I am not bullying anyone. I am just voicing the right of editors to do their job which is covering and reporting information which is available in sources. While BLPs require us more care, restrain and in rare cases even to refrain to cover some of such information, this shouldn't become a jolly to give subjects control of their bios. I care so much because I care about this website being free from external influences, and especially be autonomous from the whims of subjects who just happen to dislike that the public has a right to report what is already in the open. There are lots of sensible requests a BLP subject can ask us, but "do not write what is in my public official congress bio" is not one of these. -- cyclopiaspeak! 12:06, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
I should not have called you a bully and I retract it. But I do note that no personal attacks also applies to BLPs, and you effectively called Duckworth's request "bullying" above. So it goes both ways. This is not a whim of the subject, when she first requested it she was a newly elected low-level public official and wanted her date of birth and mother's maiden name redacted, since she knows that this information is used to verify accounts in the US. Now that she has moved up in the world, she still feels for whatever reason that she'd like it to not show up. This is not an unreasonable request, and in fact it is so reasonable that we have a special section of the policy DEVOTED to this particular case, so don't make a slippery slope argument here, that's extremely weak.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 12:11, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Correct. Will tweak the wording as well. Still the request is unwelcome and disrespectful of us. Now: when she first requested it, given that circumstances, it may have made sense. Now, however, it doesn't make sense anymore. And we have a special section of the policy which at the time didn't think about the possibility of such a request, that's why we're here discussing. I am not saying we should push to have a complete DOB on all BLPs no matter what. I am saying that if you are a public figure and there is an official page from a government that lists your DOB, censoring it crosses the threshold between "kind act" and "unexplained humiliation". Being kind? Yes. Bend over backwards to every insane request? No. -- cyclopiaspeak! 12:21, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support - I think the bottom line is that, for better or worse, the expectation of privacy that highly notable figures have over things like their birth date is simply lower than for less notable folks. NickCT (talk) 12:38, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support if a person is highly notable, and information about them can be readily and easily found. For example, would we remove all mention of Tom Cruise's age from his article if he requested that he didn't want people to know how old he was? Canuck89 (converse with me) 04:38, August 8, 2013 (UTC)
A request to not publish someone's age in their BLP is not comparable to a request to not publish their date of birth. Recall the first line of WP:DOB: "With identity theft a serious ongoing concern, people increasingly regard their full names and dates of birth as private." Having someone's age published in their BLP does not really increase their risk of susceptibility to identity theft, whereas having their birthdate published does. Dezastru (talk) 05:31, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
All the proposed changes specify the DOB must be already published in very reliable sources. The info is already readily available. --NeilN talk to me 05:35, 8 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose change to very longstanding and sensible policy on this point. Andreas JN466 19:34, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Maunus and Andreas. — Scott talk 19:33, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The policy is fine as it is. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 22:15, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per GRubin. Alanscottwalker (talk) 13:57, 14 August 2013 (UTC)


I think there's obviously enough support to change the wording. I think there are four different proposals:

  1. If the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth and the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year.
  2. If a person complains about inclusion of a birthdate, and the date is listed on no reliable sources directly associated with the person, and the person is not of substantial notability or notoriety (WP:NOTABLE), then consensus of editors may reduce the date of birth to the year only.
  3. If a person complains about inclusion of a birthdate, and the date is not listed on any reliable source directly associated with the person, and the person is not of substantial notability, then the date of birth may be reduced to the year only.
  4. Add after existing sentence: If the subject is a public figure (i.e. public official, major celebrity etc), the exact DOB should be included when it is reported in multiple reliable sources, especially if it is on the subject's official site.

Preferences? --NeilN talk to me 04:27, 6 August 2013 (UTC)

5. Leave the longstanding respectful policy as is. --B2C 05:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
6. Modify wording to clarify that requests to remove date of birth (day and month) will be removed upon request for all persons, irrespective of famousness, public figure status, etc. [Note: alternative added a bit later in discussion.] – S. Rich (talk) 13:53, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
Clarifying support order: 2,3,4,1. Reject 5,6. -- cyclopiaspeak! 19:58, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support in order 1,2,3,4. Hobit (talk) 18:45, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    • And to clarify, reject 5 & 6. Hobit (talk) 22:05, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Prefer no change. The exact date is usually pointless trivia. Really: nobody except an astrologer is going to think that it's terribly important whether a person was born on August 5 or August 6. In those very rare situations in which we receive a complaint, why not leave out this kind of trivia, unless the birthdate itself is definitely not trivia because it is directly relevant (e.g., claims for world's oldest or world's youngest person to do something)? (My preferred solution for BLPs of "borderline notability" is to delete the articles entirely, until the person is truly notable.)
    One of the problems with #4 is that "public official" is a much bigger category than this implies. The librarian in charge of your local library is a "public official". So is the principal/headmaster at your local school. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:42, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose any change. While I have some sympathy with the somewhat anachronistic situation which seems to have sparked this proposed change, hard cases such as this make bad law. I urge any editors considering this to consider about the effects of some of these changes on other article subjects. In particular, I am thinking of Jim Hawkins, a UK local radio broadcaster, who for years had a very determined editor or two determined to cite his full birthdate, against the subject's wishes, and based on twitter posts in which he appeared to accept birthday greetings. As WhatamIdoing and others suggest, there is nothing of particular encyclopedic value in giving a day and a month -general age is all that is needed- and thankfully that particular case ended with the day and month being excluded based on this very section of BLP policy. In my view all the changes proposed here would create even more difficulties in similar situations. I can guarantee that there will be editors who would, for example, argue that Hawkins is not of borderline notability, that he is a public figure, that his twitter account is a reliable source etc etc. Indeed, many of these arguments were actually advanced at the time. Slp1 (talk) 22:24, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose change Bad cases make bad law was precisely my reaction as well. Having considered the alternatives set out here, I am left with the feeling that we are simply undermining the fundamental policy that DOB is personal and if the subject so chooses should be private as well. Of course there are cases where RS are out there, the subject has acknowledged their birthday or been legally required to provide the information for some purpose, but frankly if they think it worth asking for it to be excluded presumably they think that there is a some value in doing so. --AJHingston (talk) 22:46, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support #3 Edge3 (talk) 23:12, 6 August 2013 (UTC)
    Also support 1 and 4, but oppose 2, 5, and 6. Edge3 (talk) 18:12, 17 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support 3 Bullet vote. Collect (talk) 00:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment -- In case people are interested in reviewing the historical records, the relevant phrasing of the DOB policy was added by SlimVirgin on May 17, 2006. Related discussions are archived at "Policy" and "Privacy of birthdays". Edge3 (talk) 01:15, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support #1 and Weak Support #3 - Agree in concept with both of these. Think 3 is a little wordy though and doesn't add much. NickCT (talk) 12:41, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment – Please see alternative added as #6. – S. Rich (talk) 13:53, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
    • #6, by broadening it completely, conflicts with WP:NOTCENSORED. -- cyclopiaspeak! 13:58, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
      • Actually, WP:NOTCENSORED makes it entirely clear that material which does not comply with WP:BLP policy can be removed. What we are discussing here is what the relevant WP:BLP policy should be. AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:07, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
        • Of course it does. However if we broaden this to every conceivable subjects' request, we are in a position where this subsection of BLP conflicts with the fact that we do not remove content only because objectionable. -- cyclopiaspeak! 14:11, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
          • Has anyone suggested that we remove birthdays on the grounds that they are 'objectionable'? AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:18, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
            • We are suggesting that we remove them on the grounds that the subject objects. -- cyclopiaspeak! 14:34, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
              • Exactly - nothing whatsoever to do with removing content as 'objectionable'. AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:37, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
                • Huh? The content is objectionable because is being objected. -- cyclopiaspeak! 14:39, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
                  • Nope. Look it up in a dictionary. Not that it matters - it has already been shown that WP:NOTCENSORED does not apply to removal of material not complying with WP:BLP policy - and we are discussing whether we change WP:BLP policy. AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:46, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
                    • Point taken -I'm not a native English speaker. Still the underlying issue stays: we do not remove stuff just because some people find it unpleasant. It is not that WP:NOTCENSORED does not apply. It just clarifies, in general, we do remove stuff which is not policy-compliant (be it BLP or others), and that is in harmony with WP:NOTCENSORED. That's because in none of our policies we do remove stuff only because someone doesn't like it, AFAIK. According to #6, we would actually start doing it, so there would actually be a situation where the concept of not being censored stops applying. -- cyclopiaspeak! 14:59, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
                      • Actually, the proposal isn't to remove material 'only because someone doesn't like it'. The proposal is to respect the right of individuals to privacy - something which is already written into WP:BLP policy. This has nothing whatsoever to do with censorship. This is a question of general editorial judgement concerning what information is appropriate in an encyclopaedia. Equating excluding material we do not consider encyclopaedic with 'censorship' is simply nonsensical - it amounts to an assertion that anything we can find a source for must be included in an article. That isn't what Wikipedia is for. It never has been, and never will be. AndyTheGrump (talk) 15:11, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
                        • You're putting in my mouth stuff that I've never said -I never said that I equate "excluding material we do not consider encyclopaedic with 'censorship'" and I would never think such nonsense. Let's stick to the proposal #6. It says that a DOB would be removed for any request, no matter who, no matter what. This means #6 has nothing to do with privacy anymore (while it enters most other proposals here, which still do support DOB removal in cases where there is a reasonable presumption of privacy). That's exactly the core of the issue about changing this section of WP:DOB: it should make it possible to abide DOB-removal requests where privacy can be a meaningful concern, but it should not allow requests of removal of information which is highly public and sourced to sources affiliated/connected to the person -in this case, there is no more privacy to defend anymore. -- cyclopiaspeak! 15:19, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support #3 We should honor requests where doing so does not require us ignoring reliable sources from the subject -- where they have released it for publication, they have released it for publication -- such publication may come years after a request to us, when the User was borderline not notable but is now no longer keeping the date from public -- we also then don't have to rely on basically unvarifiable communications for content. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:27, 7 August 2013 (UTC) And support 2, 4, 1 in that order, oppose the rest, since truthful biography based on RS is the Pedia's purpose, pursuant to WP:NPOV. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 21:16, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support 3 and 1; though change "person" to "article subject". --GRuban (talk) 21:08, 7 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose change per WhatamIdoing, Slp1 and AJHingston. Andreas JN466 13:43, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support 2, 3, 4 from best to worst. Neutral 1. Oppose 5, 6. If someone's information exists publicly already, we're not hiding it by not having it here. Jackmcbarn (talk) 19:10, 11 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Any of 1-4. Oppose 5 and 6. Gamaliel (talk) 01:03, 12 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose change per WhatamIdoing, Slp1 and AJHingston. — Scott talk 19:35, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Obi-Wan Kenobi. The present wording is fine. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 20:01, 13 August 2013 (UTC)
Over-arching principle & suggested policy language modification

We can't assume the reader has already understood the sourcing policy described earlier on the WP:BLP page, because they might have arrived on the page by following a WP:DOB link that anchors directly to the privacy paragraph. Either we should move the DOB anchor up to the top of the page so the reader has to grok the entire policy, or we should emphasize the sourcing issue specifically around date of birth, e.g. something like:

If a BLP subject's age, year or date of birth isn't reliably sourced, contributors are welcome to make an attempt to source it but they don't have to. It is OK to delete any unsourced statement about a living person. Editors are not required to second-guess the potential for harm and there's no need to wait for a request from the subject.

The current flannel that "Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that have been widely published by reliable sources..." isn't the full story. Wikipedia also includes stuff that's only been published in unreliable sources, or is unsourced, or the source link doesn't work. Remember: the reason that financial service companies use your full name, date & place of birth to identify you is because it works. If we have those details in a BLP article they'd better be correct. In the worst case the unreliably sourced full name and date of birth in the article belong to someone completely different, e.g. a homicidal child-molesting fraudster rather than the respected head of a global law firm, and the WMF cash reserves take an unnecessary hit. - Pointillist (talk) 22:03, 8 August 2013 (UTC)


Why is there even a debate? A BLP is a BLP. Policies shouldn't have "People who are really notable" and "People who are just sort of notable". The policy should apply to all. And, as for the policy, IF the subject's birthday is already publicly published in reliable/verifiable sources, why should WP be any different? If the birth date is already out there, then there shouldn't even be a option to have it removed. - thewolfchild 02:11, 22 August 2013 (UTC)

Contradictory text in the policy

Hi. Bear with me while I explain what I'm struggling with.

The policy currently says: contentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced should be removed immediately and without discussion. This applies whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable

This seems easy to understand. If the material is a) contentious and b) unsourced it should be removed. And I understand the basis for it.

But compare that with the following, also from the policy: all quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation

The two sections I've quoted do seem to go together, ie contentious and challenged/likely to be challenged. But because of the terminology of "challenged", an editor could choose to remove absolutely any unsourced text from any BLP. Because they have chosen to challenge it, therefore they're in line with the policy.

It makes sense for BLP to prompt removal of "contentious" unsourced material, eg someone's sexual partner, criminal record etc.

But what about information that is bland and uncontentious but is challenged by a good-faith editor who vigilantly patrols BLPs for unsourced statements? In this case, is the policy demanding the material's immediate removal or not?

Cheers, --Dweller (talk) 15:35, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

The only reading of the policy that I can see is that yes, also bland or uncontentious information if uncited can be removed by anyone who challenges it and cannot be reinserted without a reliable source. The same in fact holds also for non-BLP articles.User:Maunus ·ʍaunus·snunɐw· 15:52, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
My take on the matter is best summed up by Jimbo:

I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced. This is true of all information, but it is particularly true of negative information about living persons.

— Jimmy Wales, 2006
To me, all material, especially about living people, should be viewed as "contentious" unless it is strongly and explicitly referenced. GiantSnowman 15:54, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo's comments make sense to me. He talks about "random, speculative ... pseudo information" and "negative information". I think this is clearly for removal per BLP. But what about material that is none of those things? --Dweller (talk) 16:47, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Jimbo talks about the "I heard it somewhere" information; statements such as 'John Smith currently lives in Hawaii' or 'Jane Smith has two daughters' would fall under that. Negative? No. But it should still, again as Jimbo says, "be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced." GiantSnowman 16:54, 20 August 2013 (UTC)
Puffery which does not have a reasonable source is also removable -- "George Gnarph is the greatest lawyer in Hawaii" is removable sans strong sourcing. Collect (talk) 16:57, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

If an editor makes a good faith challenge of information, giving some specific reason, then it is contentious information, and should be cited or removed. Pretty much any reason will do - "it's puffery" - "it seems unlikely given this fact" - "here's another source saying different" - "it's an unusual claim". But there should be a reason. If an editor makes a blanket statement that they're going to challenge any or all information in an article without any particular reason, then they are just disrupting the encyclopedia to make a point. --GRuban (talk) 19:35, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I don't see how puffery would be a special case. The principle is that any inadequately-sourced material about a living person can be removed on sight, without the need to check for sources, or to wait for a request from the person affected, or to estimate the potential for harm. We cannot possibly know whether "'Jane Smith has two daughters" is an allegation that her claim to be barren was fraudulent, or that "John Unusualname currently lives in Hawaii" might mistakenly suggest he's the mad-axe-murderer-of-Maui. Don't stop to think: if it feels wrong to you, it's OK to delete it! - Pointillist (talk) 22:15, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

To be clear, here are some examples of the types of information I'm thinking of. Diffs that added, unsourced, to an existing biography:

  • that the person presented a specific TV programme
  • that this footballer played xx matches in season 2012 or
  • that this actor wears glasses

These claims are not "contentious" and are only likely to be "challenged" if someone is patrolling in order to challenge any unsourced claims! This is a contradiction in the BLP policy that really needs to be cleared up. Does the policy mandate that edits like these to BLPs should be deleted on sight? --Dweller (talk) 22:41, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

I understand the difficulty you have presented, but I'm not sure any benefit would arise from watering down the BLP wording. Declaring that it is ok to include "obviously true" or "obviously uncontentious" material gives the wikilawyers too much reason to inject stuff like "X murdered Y" where it is pretty obvious to everyone that X did murder Y, but the trial hasn't actually started yet. The policies will never be problem-free, and I think it is better to leave BLP the way it is (although, if someone has a concrete proposal, let's hear it). I have seen an ugly case where editor A accused editor B of systematically going from article to article, finding an unsourced statement, adding "citation needed", then returning later to delete the uncited paragraph per WP:V. In that case, editor A was correct, and B was destroying perfectly good articles that used to contain material covered in standard text books. We have no good way of handling that situation, but if it arises in the BLP field, we'll just have to spend a week arguing the pros and cons of the actions by the particular editor. It might be obvious that "actor X wears glasses", but what about variations on "actor X is a Jew" which people seem to like adding? Johnuniq (talk) 00:26, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, I see your point. The only editors I've seen doing this are not just good-faith ones, but actually stellar contributors. Perhaps we therefore don't need an amendment to the policy, but a determination of consensus here (because it does seem that consensus is heading this way) along the lines of editors should not patrol BLPs with a view to removing any and every unsourced claim, but only those that they reasonably believe could be contentious in some way. I think that'd probably do the trick. --Dweller (talk) 08:34, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. GiantSnowman 08:44, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's good. Johnuniq (talk) 10:08, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
Of course, we shouldn't give a free pass for drive-by destruction by trolls, but I'm not sure "contentious" is really the right test. It isn't that some editors would disagree about the unsourced claim, it's that if the claim is incorrect it might damage the living person. The central issue is that we can't really predict what incorrect claims might be damaging. Anything that incorrectly states someone's age, nationality/ethnicity, religion, education, experience, family members or current/past relationships could be a problem in some contexts. In fact, almost everything that could possibly be of encyclopedic interest about a living person could potentially be a problem if it is wrong. - Pointillist (talk) 12:28, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I like Dweller's proposal, not least because it keeps the idea of being stricter re controversial stuff. If people need to have controversial explained to them then tell them about the time we had an article that accused a guy of being involved in Kennedy's murder. In my time here I have come across some very contentious stuff, some of which may be true. There are mafiosi and hookers out there, and plenty of people who've had an abortion. But if you want to include that in someone's Wikipedia article then it really needs a reliable source. It is bad when we get the number of elephants wrong or misattribute some song lyrics or a place in a football team. But it is in a different league of damage to saying someone knowingly gave funds to a terrorist organisation. We need to consciously have a higher standard for contentious information, it also helps to have people specifically trawling for the more contentious stuff. ϢereSpielChequers 13:35, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
How about adding "or damaging" i.e. editors should not patrol BLPs with a view to removing any and every unsourced claim, but only those that they reasonably believe could be contentious or damaging in some way. Any problem with that? - Pointillist (talk) 14:02, 21 August 2013 (UTC)
I'm happy either way. I don't think that the editors I have in mind are likely to wikilawyer this, we just needed clarity, which I think we now have. --Dweller (talk) 17:39, 21 August 2013 (UTC)

What is BLP1E all about, actually?

On this AfD, an editor argued that BLP1E applies also to articles that are not biographies. My understanding was that BLP1E was about the fact that poorly notable people known only for one event should not have their own article, but does not forbid the information being covered in a more general article: in fact, it actually says "it is usually better to merge the information and redirect the person's name to the event article." Can this point be clarified (here and in the policy wording)? Note that I don't care about that particular AfD, which I refer only because the dispute evolved there - I am asking for a general clarification. Thanks. --cyclopiaspeak! 18:46, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

It still limits what you're allowed to say about the BLP1E even in the target article. For example, even if the person is covered as part of an event rather than in a standalone bio, we still have no business tracking down or publishing their birthdate or occupation, the names of their spouse and kids, or any other personal information about them that violates their privacy or goes anywhere beyond the bounds of their specific role in the event itself — and we still have no business collating a bunch of BLP1Es into a "List of non-notable events" that is really just serving as a holding tank for all the same biographical information that was violating BLP1E the first time.
If the event is notable enough to warrant an article, people who played prominent and well-sourced roles in it can be named in that article, and their role in that specific context can be written about. But that's not a license to write a comprehensive biography of the person just because it's in an event article instead of a standalone biography — and it's not license to just rename a BLP about a non-notable person into an article about a non-notable event (or even less a list of not-independently-notable events), while otherwise keeping the same actual content, just to sidestep 1E. Bearcat (talk) 19:20, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for commenting here, Bearcat, however I'd like to see other editors' opinions, since we already know where both of us stand. Face-smile.svg That said, your comment here appears different from what you stated at the AfD thread:
For example, even if the person is covered as part of an event rather than in a standalone bio, we still have no business tracking down or publishing their birthdate or occupation, the names of their spouse and kids, or any other personal information about them that violates their privacy or goes anywhere beyond the bounds of their specific role in the event itself - This agrees with my understanding completely. Still it doesn't forbid covering the role of the person in the event, AFAIK, and it's not a matter of BLP1E: rather, it is a matter of generally being conservative when dealing with living people, as instructed by BLP in general, and also simply that such information would be irrelevant to the topic of the event, even for a non-living person.
and it's not license to just rename a BLP about a non-notable person into an article about a non-notable event - But surely it encourages to rename and restructure BLPs about a person notable per one event only to an article about a notable event or topic. For example, Self-inflicted caesarean section was the result of this AfD.
Summing up, all of the above observation by Bearcat, while correct, do not imply that BLP1E applies, to anything else than the existence of bios about people who are poorly notable except for their role in an event. That is what I'd like to see clarified -namely, the destiny of information about 1E subjects' roles in events. --cyclopiaspeak! 19:52, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
The mere fact that the article isn't titled with the person's name doesn't make the article not a BLP1E (or a collection of BLP1Es). The event itself still has to be notable enough to warrant inclusion in Wikipedia on its own merits, and you still can't collate a bunch of BLP1Es into a "list of non-notable events" whose only substantive content is still a coatracked pile of BLP1E subsections. Allow me to rephrase my point differently: you cannot sidestep 1E just by taking the same content and titling it differently. Bearcat (talk) 19:56, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
The event itself still has to be notable enough to warrant inclusion in Wikipedia on its own merits - That is obvious, and it is not what I asked, not what the confusion is about -notability is not the issue here. And again, I am not talking about the list at AfD, I am talking of the general understanding of where that subsection of the policy applies. That an event has to be notable is a matter decided by WP:EVENT, not by WP:BLP1E.
you cannot sidestep 1E just by taking the same content and titling it differently. - You can however comply with BLP1E by titling it differently, removing content unrelated to the event and changing the focus to the event. --cyclopiaspeak! 20:07, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
In the case of the article at AfD, there is no 'event'. There are a series of events, each of which would individually fail WP:BLP1E, linked only by the article title. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:11, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
The event itself absolutely still has to be notable enough to warrant inclusion in Wikipedia on its own merits. Notability is the issue here; there is not enough notability being demonstrated for us to maintain any information about these people at all, in any article whatosever. It is still just a collection of individual BLP1E subsections, linked only by a title that's pretending to present itself as being about events instead of people, but whose actual content is still just a mashed-together series of BLP1E subsections that are not restricting themselves to the people's roles in a notable event. It includes some of their (unsourced) birthdates, for example. Bearcat (talk) 20:14, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Sorry guys, what part of "Note that I don't care about that particular AfD, which I refer only because the dispute evolved there - I am asking for a general clarification." you don't understand? --cyclopiaspeak! 20:18, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Also: Notability is the issue here; there is not enough notability being demonstrated for us to maintain any information about these people at all, in any article whatosever. - Wrong. Notability is required for article subjects, not for every bit of information within an article. You may make a case that items of a list need to be articles themselves (thus following notability), but this is a different issue. --cyclopiaspeak! 20:20, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
The event has to be notable enough to merit an article in which the information can be included. Bearcat (talk) 20:22, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
If we talk of a whole, single article devoted to the event only, sure it has to be notable. If information about the event is merged as a smaller section of a wider, notable topic, then not necessarily. --cyclopiaspeak! 20:25, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
Yes necessarily. Notability rules still have bearing on inclusion in lists. You cannot, for example, add your own name to our list of alumni of the university you attended if you aren't notable enough to qualify for your own article — and even if an article is a list of events instead of a standalone on an individual event, each event in that list still has to be notable enough to merit being included in Wikipedia in the first place. (For some lists with tightly-defined inclusion criteria, such as holders of a specific political office or lists of designated historic buildings in a particular place, all relevant topics can be listed whether they have independent articles or not, because they constitute a specific, defined set where the list itself is a notable topic in its own right — but for an open-ended and potentially infinite list like this, each entry on it still has to meet WP:N criteria on its own merits.) Bearcat (talk) 20:31, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
In lists is the key word, and there you may have a point. But here I am asking for a very general clarification. I ask again: "what part of "Note that I don't care about that particular AfD, which I refer only because the dispute evolved there - I am asking for a general clarification." you don't understand?"--cyclopiaspeak! 20:43, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
WP:BLP1E is essentially only a restatement of a more general principle of WP:BLP - that we edit conservatively, and with due regard to the privacy of individuals. If an event isn't notable, an individual participating in it doesn't become notable - and even if the event is notable, not every participant becomes notable as a consequence. Beyond that, there can't be a 'general clarification' because the degree to which we report on things depends on the degree to which they are reported by other sources, and on the degree to which we can maintain privacy while still reporting notable events. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:21, 25 August 2013 (UTC)
──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Re: the Multiple incidents pattern. If a single event isn't sufficiently notable to sustain an article, but multiple incidents might be, the first test should be whether reliable commentators have already grouped the multiple cases together according to a rational principle that can be the basis for an article. This is equivalent to the list selection criterion "Is this person or thing a canonical example of some facet of X?" in the Manual of Style. If an article passes the first test then we're no longer talking about an event, and therefore the usual notability guidelines would apply. The second test is what would be relevant to say about the people involved in each of the incidents described in the article, and here all of the Presumption in favor of privacy policies are relevant. - Pointillist (talk) 22:14, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

Right to have the biography of a non public figure deleted?

Does a non public person have the right to have their Wikipedia biography article deleted because they wish to not be someone that anyone can just lookup or share their life with the public ? Electron9 (talk) 00:44, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

It depends what you mean by "non-public". A person who has done nothing to merit an article should not have one. But we have articles on Greta Garbo and Howard Hughes. Formerip (talk) 00:47, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
We do not operate on the basis of what the subject of the article thinks, but rather on whether the subject is genuinely notable. Many genuinely notable persons would rather not share their lives with the public, but that is not our concern here, and it is certainly not a "right" in any way. By definition, of course, all content of such biographies is held to our standards of content regarding living persons; and everybody (including the subject) has the right to expect us to follow our own standards. --Orange Mike | Talk 03:23, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
Suppose a person like Charles Ramsey would have gotten his own article. But his only action is to save those in distress. Or for that matter someone who saved a lot of people from some accident etc. Would such person have grounds to deny having their own article? If a politician, CEO of large company etc that impacts the life of many others whether they like it or not. That's something completely different. Electron9 (talk) 07:03, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
We go by actual notability. There is some sentiment to delete borderline cases if the subject expresses that wish. See WP:BIODEL. But in cases where notability is clear, no, we don't delete articles. There is WP:BLP1E to protect people who are only thrust into the spotlight by accident, but have no genuine notability themselves. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 07:51, 31 August 2013 (UTC)
  • It really does go by a case-by-case basis, and there is no firm policy. I myself will generally vote to delete an article if the subject has made a reasonable request that they don't want an article and they're not notable enough that the encyclopedia is clearly incomplete without them. One page that follows along that line is Wikipedia:Avoiding harm, though it should be noted that that is an essay, not a policy page. Of course there are limits to this too: for example, a politician in the midst of a sex scandal can't tell us to delete their page and then have it put back up after the attention dies down. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 04:53, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Better left unsaid?

Some of you may be aware of the excrementornado over at a notable Wikileaks contributor's rather contentious page. One of the questions being raised there is whether the content of the article is offensive based on standards and expectations in the transgendered community. Do we need to establish a standard for what the underlying expectation is for BLP? Editors are arguing on the talk page that the use of male identifiers for an individual that self-identifies as female are a violation of BLP because they are offensive. I, for one, am not expecting that that standard is expected (i.e. the standard for BLP is first, foremost, and essentially a WP:V standard), but we have other statements in the policy that suggest that we are expected to exercise reasonable caution about how we treat the subjects of our biographies. There is value in leaving this unstated; it's likely fodder for lawyering, but it's probably worth mentioning that people are not understanding what BLP does and does not mean regarding content that may be considered offensive. (talk) 02:11, 24 August 2013 (UTC)

That discussion highlights an error in Wikipedia's policies which affects all biographical information, not just that relating to Chelsea Manning or the transgendered community, and which is difficult to find an appropriate place to comment on because there are several different policy pages affected by it. However, it is of most moment in connection with living people since it is a matter of personal identity.
The only definitive source for any information in terms of which a person defines their identity - whether it is their name, their gender (gender the psychological construct, as opposed to biological sex), their religious affiliation, or anything else of the kind - is the person themselves. One of the contributors to that discussion uses an example beginning "If I decide to call myself Sarah but the rest of the world calls me Nick..." ...then "the rest of the world" are wrong, because they are contradicting the only valid source of information for that person's name. Any legal or social conventions which would support "the rest of the world" (some do, some don't) are equally wrong, and especially in the legal case are also incredibly arrogant.
Wikipedia's policies on such matters are difficult to state definitively, partly because the information is spread over several different locations and partly because much of it is ill-defined and even contradictory, but the overall tone is that statements by the person concerned are to be given little or no weight. This needs to be addressed.
I propose that the BLP guidelines and other relevant pages should be updated along the following lines (wording no doubt needs improving, but concepts should still be clear):
  • Wikipedia contributors should respect a person's right to define their own identity in their own terms, and should avoid making edits which violate that right.
  • References to a person's name, gender, religious affiliation or other matters of personal identity which are subject to personal choice (as opposed to biologically determined or otherwise objectively factual) should always follow that person's own stated preferences. Any sources which contradict the person's stated preferences are to be regarded as unreliable on that matter. Legal sources, national records and the like are to be regarded as especially untrustworthy since they often deliberately supply false information under the misapprehension that it is not false.
  • The only source for such information which can be accepted as definitively accurate is the individual concerned, in person. Any sources which disagree with the person's own statements, no matter how widely-quoted or otherwise "respected", are inherently wrong, shown to be so by the very fact of their disagreement.
  • If the person's stated preferences are ambiguous, unclear or variable, their most recent statements should be followed.
  • Unresolvable disputes should be settled by, if possible, making a verifiable inquiry directly to the person concerned, and their answer accepted without question.
  • Articles should only follow the convention of referring to someone by their bare surname if the person themselves follows that convention. If they prefer/habitually use a different form of reference - for example, first name only, honorific+surname, initials+surname, initials only - then the article should use that form too.
I think this does need to be said, and said clearly. Not only is the existing policy somewhat vague, leading to protracted disputes, it is also wrong, in a moral sense, because it disparages an individual's right to self-definition. It is true that that objection may only be relevant in the case of a minority of biographical articles, but the point is that when it is relevant, the existing policy encourages articles which incorporate direct attacks on very sensitive personal matters and are therefore highly offensive to the person the article is about. Hence there is a strong need for Wikipedia to alter its policy to avoid such offence and then state the altered policy clearly.
I realise that most people reading this will have no personal experience of such concerns and so are unlikely to be able to truly appreciate their importance. I must ask you to take it on trust from someone who is affected (though, God be thanked, vanishingly unlikely to ever be considered "notable" enough for a Wikipedia page) that such matters are not to be taken lightly; there is a powerful, thoughtless, and near-universal prejudice against self-determined personal identifiers which constantly gives rise to difficulties when one comes into conflict with it every day; the feelings of the subject are sufficiently deep and strongly-held as to persist despite constant encounters with prejudice; and to have people ride rough-shod over them and insist on using inappropriate identifiers is deeply wounding as it constitutes a direct personal attack on one's own identity. Bree's Block (talk) 06:12, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
I doubt these suggestions will be widely read on this page, particularly under the heading "Better left unsaid?". Maybe a Request for comment would be a better forum? It might be appropriate to consider how this overlaps with our Notability policies, too. The concept of an individual's right to self-definition doesn't necessarily override all other considerations. - Pointillist (talk) 07:59, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Article titles

I've added "article titles" to the sentence: "BLP applies to all material about living persons anywhere on Wikipedia, including talk pages, edit summaries, user pages, images, categories and article titles." Some people were asking about this during the Chelsea Manning dispute, so it's worth spelling out. SlimVirgin (talk) 23:33, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 3 September 2013

Please add my most current Bio that I myself wrote: Lori Alan started talking as soon as she fell out of the womb, and hasn't stopped since. A native of the Washington, DC area, her passion for entertaining led the 5-year-old actress to make her television debut as the star of a Shakey's Pizza commercial. She went on to graduate with honors from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and set off cutting her teeth on the comedy circuit, as a longtime member of New York's Gotham City Improv (Groundlings East).

Lori is perhaps best known for her voice-over work. She starred as Diane Simmons on Family Guy, Pearl the Whale on SpongeBob: Squarepants, and Sue Richards, The Invisible Woman, on Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four, among many other fantastic animated roles (Monster's University, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me 2, WALL.E, Henry Hugglemonster, Metal Gear Solid, Cow and Chicken, Animaniacs, and Futurama) and a long, successful commercial career.

Lori has firm roots in theatre, where she's thrived for over three decades. She most recently mounted a smash solo show, Lori Alan: The Musical, and appeared alongside Paul Reubens in The Pee-Wee Herman Show. Of her role as Queen Celia in the hit musical Sneaux!, Backstage West proclaimed, "Lori Alan might give Carol Burnett pause!" She originated the role of Mae in the award-winning musical Reefer Madness. Luckily, that talent brought Lori right to the small screen with roles on the Showtime drama Ray Donovan, to the Comedy Central gem Workaholics, to Desperate Housewives. Her television career has flourished with appearances on Bones, Southland, CSI, 90210, and Law and Order (both LA and the original).

Lori lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life (whom she met on the plane!) and as many rescue dogs as she can fit in their yard. Her hobbies include singing in the shower, discovering new gluten-free cookies, and trying to switch to decaf.

And delete the one currently from an unknown/unreliable person:

Lori Alan (born July 18, 1966), sometimes credited as Lori Allen, is an American voice actress who provides the voice of news anchor Diane Simmons on Family Guy, various voices on Hey Arnold!, and SpongeBob SquarePants as Pearl. She has also contributed voice work as "The Boss" in the videogame Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Alan acted in one episode of Friends titled The One Where Monica Sings in Season 9. In addition to voice acting, she is also a stand up comedian. Loritalk (talk) 06:59, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Archive 36. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. Jackmcbarn (talk) 12:44, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 3 September 2013

Please add my most current Bio that I myself wrote: Lori Alan started talking as soon as she fell out of the womb, and hasn't stopped since. A native of the Washington, DC area, her passion for entertaining led the 5-year-old actress to make her television debut as the star of a Shakey's Pizza commercial. She went on to graduate with honors from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and set off cutting her teeth on the comedy circuit, as a longtime member of New York's Gotham City Improv (Groundlings East).

Lori is perhaps best known for her voice-over work. She starred as Diane Simmons on Family Guy, Pearl the Whale on SpongeBob: Squarepants, and Sue Richards, The Invisible Woman, on Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four, among many other fantastic animated roles (Monster's University, Toy Story 3, Despicable Me 2, WALL.E, Henry Hugglemonster, Metal Gear Solid, Cow and Chicken, Animaniacs, and Futurama) and a long, successful commercial career.

Lori has firm roots in theatre, where she's thrived for over three decades. She most recently mounted a smash solo show, Lori Alan: The Musical, and appeared alongside Paul Reubens in The Pee-Wee Herman Show. Of her role as Queen Celia in the hit musical Sneaux!, Backstage West proclaimed, "Lori Alan might give Carol Burnett pause!" She originated the role of Mae in the award-winning musical Reefer Madness. Luckily, that talent brought Lori right to the small screen with roles on the Showtime drama Ray Donovan, to the Comedy Central gem Workaholics, to Desperate Housewives. Her television career has flourished with appearances on Bones, Southland, CSI, 90210, and Law and Order (both LA and the original).

Lori lives in Los Angeles with the love of her life (whom she met on the plane!) and as many rescue dogs as she can fit in their yard. Her hobbies include singing in the shower, discovering new gluten-free cookies, and trying to switch to decaf.

And delete the one currently from an unknown/unreliable person:

Lori Alan (born July 18, 1966), sometimes credited as Lori Allen, is an American voice actress who provides the voice of news anchor Diane Simmons on Family Guy, various voices on Hey Arnold!, and SpongeBob SquarePants as Pearl. She has also contributed voice work as "The Boss" in the videogame Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. Alan acted in one episode of Friends titled The One Where Monica Sings in Season 9. In addition to voice acting, she is also a stand up comedian. Loritalk (talk) 07:02, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Not done: this is the talk page for discussing improvements to the page Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/Archive 36. Please make your request at the talk page for the article concerned. Jackmcbarn (talk) 12:44, 3 September 2013 (UTC)

Request for clarification

Hey! I have a question about WP:BLPCRIME. In this instance, not only is the individual not convicted of a crime but has checked with a lawyer and determined that he can not be prosecuted. But he has confessed to crimes on his blog and on social media. These are not accusations coming from other parties, the individual chose to come forward detailing questionable or illegal acts. In fact, it's an important part of her/his public image, that he came from this background but has changed.

So, can we take a subject's word that he has committed crimes that were never reported in the media or prosecuted? I understand that this is a primary source but it's an instance where it is difficult to write about someone without referring to the narrative they are telling about their life.

I have purposely not identified the person/article because I'm hoping that the larger question can be addressed: Can we refer to criminal acts that the individual "confesses" to but which she/he has not been convicted of? Liz Read! Talk! 17:58, 7 September 2013 (UTC)

Are these acts in any way relevant to the notability of the person in question? Are they connected to a pattern of his or her personality that is important to understand his or her life? Or why would anyone mention this blog post at all? Just for the purpose of provocation? Unless you can answer these questions, this seems to be not a matter of BLP to me, but more one of article quality. rgds --h-stt !? 10:10, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

RfC on date of birth

Based on community consensus established on Talk:Tammy Duckworth, I think it is time for us to revisit our previous discussion on our policy on including dates of birth.

Regarding the following policy on WP:DOB (emphasis added):

With identity theft a serious ongoing concern, people increasingly regard their full names and dates of birth as private. Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that have been widely published by reliable sources, or by sources linked to the subject such that it may reasonably be inferred that the subject does not object. If the subject complains about the inclusion of the date of birth, or the person is borderline notable, err on the side of caution and simply list the year. In a similar vein, articles should not include postal addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or other contact information for living persons, though links to websites maintained by the subject are generally permitted. See above regarding the misuse of primary sources to obtain personal information about subjects.

I propose that we replace the bolded sentence with the following text:

If the subject complains about inclusion of the date of birth, and the person is borderline notable, then the date of birth may be reduced to the year only.

Edge3 (talk) 02:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)

  • oppose the reduction of use of actual birth dates should be strengthened not loosened. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 03:00, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
What is your rationale for this change, Edge3? Like TheRedPenOfDoom, I can't think of any particular reason why we'd want to increase the amount of DoB we include. Qwyrxian (talk) 03:34, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
@TheRedPenOfDoom and Qwyrxian: The current phrasing of the policy is not consistent with newly changed community consensus, as established on Talk:Tammy Duckworth. In that case, Duckworth requested that we exclude her date of birth from the article, and we complied per WP:DOB. However, because Duckworth is a public figure, and since her DOB has been published on a source closely related to the subject, we have decided to publish Duckworth's DOB on our Wikipedia article, against her wishes.
The current phrasing of the DOB policy urges us to exclude the DOB whenever the subject requests it -- "simply list the year" sounds like an inflexible command. My proposal would give us the discretion to ignore the subject's request if he or she is a public figure. Of course, it would be prudent for us to decide on a case-by-case basis, which is why my proposal uses the word "may". Edge3 (talk) 03:51, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
one bad decision at a single obscure article talk page does not project wide consensus make.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 04:52, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose. We just had a discussion about this (see archive 36) and the proposed change failed to gain consensus. SlimVirgin (talk) 04:04, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
    It's correct that the proposed change originally failed to gain consensus, but there is now consensus on Talk:Tammy Duckworth that seems to be in conflict with the current phrasing of WP:DOB. Based on this new development, we should consider whether WP:DOB continues to accurately reflect current practice. Edge3 (talk) 04:11, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
one bad decision at a single obscure article talk page does not project wide consensus make, nor does it require a revisiting of recent consensus that was reached at a project wide scale. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:48, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Request immediate close as the RfC is not neutral and makes false claims. The closing of the RfC explicitly says that the issue regarding wider policy discussion needs to be covered in other places. Second, the closing explicitly found that in Duckworth's case, the DOB had been widely reported, and that was a key issue in that closing. Your version, however, would mean that any person, so long as they were not borderline notable, would have no recourse to having their DOB reported, so long as there was only a single source which had it. Your version is, in fact, nearly the opposite of that RfC. Now, if you want to have a legitimate RfC that does not include tainted claims of pre-existing consensus, and that argues this change on the merits, then you may do so. But your original wording is so flawed and imbalanced that I cannot see how this can proceed in a useful manner. Qwyrxian (talk) 05:25, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
    I don't think it is necessary for me to resubmit the RfC, since my opening statement was neutral as per RfC procedure. I merely said, "Based on community consensus established on Talk:Tammy Duckworth, I think it is time for us to revisit our previous discussion on our policy on including dates of birth." It is true that a community consensus was established on the article talk page, and it is neutral for me to assert that we should revisit our previous discussion. I did not argue that the community consensus established on Talk:Tammy Duckworth is sufficient impetus for a policy change. Rather, I am arguing that we should revisit the issue, since the circumstances have changed.
    Regarding my proposed change in the policy, I disagree that a single source would be sufficient to publishing a DOB. WP:DOB currently states, "Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that have been widely published by reliable sources..." and that statement would remain unchanged. My proposal merely removes the ability of a highly notable (i.e. public) figure to block the publication of a DOB that is widely available elsewhere. Edge3 (talk) 21:31, 11 September 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment: Could something be added that clarifies the time-frame definition of "complains" in the phrase "If the subject complains"? As in, at any time in the past, the subject complained? If there was a written statement by a subject on their website making such a complaint, but that page has since been removed from their website, does the complaint still hold as valid? --Geniac (talk) 02:10, 16 September 2013 (UTC)

Lists of names or images in articles

A lot of our articles have lists of notable people. Quite a few have grouped images, eg Lurs. I'm concerned that we do seem to say explicitly anywhere that the affiliation or relationship of the person to the article needs to have a reliable source and that it isn't enough for that source to be in the subject's article, but must be on the page with the list or group of images. I mention Lurs because there's been nationalistic edit warring over who is or isn't a Lur, with people saying for instance surname is enough and adding names where the article doesn't even mention Lur, let alone have a reliable source. I've also brought this up at Wikipedia talk:Manual of Style/Stand-alone lists. Dougweller (talk) 18:02, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

Hi, you said "we do seem to say" above. Where do we seem to say that? - Pointillist (talk) 18:55, 20 September 2013 (UTC)

How should people apply this policy to titles?

I am totally not a policy expert, but there seems to be some confusion about how to deal with BLP-non-compliant titles and redirects, whether to move articles to BLP-compliant titles, pending discussion, or to blank articles, pending discussion, and about what standards BLP-compliant titles need to meet. Ananiujitha (talk) 22:26, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

This is very vague, can you point to an example? --cyclopiaspeak! 13:44, 27 September 2013 (UTC)

Branch Davidians

What a mess ... where do I start? This is a hot mess of BLP violations, bad writing, and lack of good citations. Can somebody take a crack at fixing it before I take this to WP:AfD per WP:TNT? Bearian (talk) 21:10, 30 September 2013 (UTC)

I've wielded my sword. GiantSnowman 10:19, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

RfC: Should photographs be included in the George Zimmerman article?

RfC open on the question if photographs should be included in the article. Talk:George_Zimmerman#RfC:_Should_photographs_be_included_in_this_article.3F

-- Green Cardamom (talk) 18:14, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

RFC on applicability of BLP policy outside article space

temporarily closing this, there is an active thread at WP:VPP that is discussing these same issues. Suggest we put this on hold, and once that thread comes to conclusions, including whether an RFC is needed, and what questions should be addressed. Otherwise we are all splitting discussions in multiple places. Lets centralize first and then agree on which questions really need an RFC.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 23:25, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There have been discussions about whether the BLP policy applies to pages that are not articles. The purpose of this multi-part RFC is to resolve those questions. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:29, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Draft articles

Does the policy apply to draft articles, either in Articles for Creation or in user subpages capable of being moved into article space?

Survey - Support

  1. Support - Obviously. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:33, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  2. Support - Obviously. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:38, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  3. Support, because draft pages should go on to become mainspace pages. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:24, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  4. Support, since it actually explicitly says so in the policy. Qwyrxian (talk) 23:26, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  5. It applies every where, with the understanding that some flexibility is needed on relevant talk pages to discuss whether some statement is in fact a BLP violation. Trying to discuss that without the statement itself is unreasonable, and leaving the statement intact to give context to the discussion after it is done is also usually permissible. Monty845 23:43, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  6. Support. The policy applies to every page on Wikipedia, as it says: "BLP applies to all material about living persons anywhere on Wikipedia, including talk pages, edit summaries, user pages, images, categories and article titles." SlimVirgin (talk) 02:25, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

Survey - Oppose

Threaded discussion

A Google search will find comments in user sandboxes. For example in one of my sandboxes is a line from a PD source "included in Sprigge's list of the New Model." and a Google search for that thread will return my sandbox. As WP:USER says "Wikipedia policies concerning the content of pages can and generally do apply to user pages, and users must observe these policies". -- PBS (talk) 23:38, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Personal attacks on editors with known identities

Do personal attacks on editors whose identities are disclosed constitute BLP violations, as well as violating the rule against personal attacks?

Survey - Support

  1. Support subject to clarification that mere vulgar abuse is not a BLP violation, only statements of a nature that are likely to be believed as literal truth. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:33, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Survey - Oppose

  1. Strong Oppose While I do think BLP can apply to attacks on editors, the phrasing of the question is way too inclusive. The VAST majority of personal attacks against other editors are not BLP violations. We should not try to back door civility blocks with the weight of BLP, BLP is a very important policy, and its inappropriate application weakens its effectiveness when it really is needed. There are some personal attacks against editor that are also BLP violations, but they are rare. Monty845 23:27, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

  • Who cares? Why is it relevant? If someone is engaging in personal attacks, they'll be blocked. If they're engaging in BLP violations, they'll be blocked. Both personal attacks and BLP violations can be removed and, in fact, rev-del'd if needed. Why create some sort of complicated interrelationship? Qwyrxian (talk) 23:26, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Because BLP enforcement is much more aggressive than NPA enforcement. If I call another editor a moron in an edit summary, someone bringing me to AN/I for NPA is probably going to get trouted, if its a BLP violation, then I'm likely to get a warning at the very least. Monty845 23:37, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  • I think that this depends, to some extent, on context. If there is an attack on the page about the real-life person who also happens to self-identify as an editor, then of course BLP should apply. However, I would prefer to leave BLP to refer to persons who are or who might be included in content, and leave matters of editor-editor interactions to NPA. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:28, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Clarify to exclude mere vulgar abuse

If personal attacks sometimes constitute BLP violations, should it be clarified that "mere vulgar abuse", as defined as Defamation, is not a BLP violation, although it is a violation of the policy requiring civility?

Survey - Support

  1. Support to avoid BLP being used as a "trump card" in edit wars and personal attacks. Robert McClenon (talk) 22:33, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  2. I think this may lead to some confusion, but it is the right standard. Monty845 23:39, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Survey - Oppose

  1. Oppose. I guess I don't accept the underlying premise that personal attacks against editors can readily fall under BLP. To some extent, though, I'm sympathetic to the related idea that BLP does not mean that pages must be purged of anything that is critical of the subject. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:32, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

  • Again, why is this clarification needed when both are blockable and deletable offenses? Qwyrxian (talk) 23:26, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Because correcting BLP violations has special privileges such as an exemption from WP:3RR. Also, not all personal attacks rise to the standard that they qualify for redaction. Robert McClenon (talk) 23:31, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
Stating that an editor is a "moron" is mere vulgar abuse, and is blockable, but is not normally redactable. Stating that an editor has an IQ of 65 (the "classical, disused" definition of the former) is a BLP violation, because it will be read as a clinical statement, not merely an insult.
I think there is plenty of precedent that calling someone a moron on occasion is not a blockable offense as long as the uncivil editor is otherwise a solid contributor. Monty845 23:46, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Personal attacks on pseudonymous editors

Do personal attacks on pseudonymous editors constitute BLP violations?

Survey - Support

Survey - Oppose

  1. Weak Oppose Robert McClenon (talk) 22:33, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  2. Strong Oppose While I do think BLP can apply to attacks on editors, the phrasing of the question is way too inclusive. The VAST majority of personal attacks against other editors are not BLP violations. We should not try to back door civility blocks with the weight of BLP, BLP is a very important policy, and its inappropriate application weakens its effectiveness when it really is needed. There are some personal attacks against editor that are also BLP violations, but they are rare. For a personal attack to rise to the level of a BLP violation, when the editor is pseudonymous, almost requires the violator to have identified the editor, or at least to imply they have, but there is no reason it wouldn't be applicable if the personal attack managed to check all the right boxes. Monty845 23:30, 3 October 2013 (UTC)
  3. Strong Oppose. This situation is about NPA, not BLP. BLP should be about content, not about how one editor treats another editor. To take an example that is near and dear to my heart (if not anyone else's), Tryptofish is not the subject, nor the potential subject, of biographical content on Wikipedia. But Tryptofish should not, as a matter of policy, be a target of personal attacks. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:36, 3 October 2013 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

Oppose RFC

  • Please do not open complex RFCs on simple topics where just about any experienced editor could explain the situation quickly: BLP applies on every page in Wikipedia, and this RFC will have no impact on that. BLP applies to living (identifiable) persons, and this RFC will have no impact on that. If there is an open question of whether BLP applies to a particular statement made about a particular editor with a known real-world identity, that issue should be discussed. No rule is intended to apply in all circumstances, but in general BLP is not intended to defend editors—someone repeatedly attacking Jimbo would be blocked for disruptiveness, not for a BLP violation. Johnuniq (talk) 00:27, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose RfC for different reason than Johnuniq.Camelbinky (talk) 00:30, 4 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment- This RFC was made a bit more complicated than what needed to be done... and frankly its distracting from the thread already in motion at the WP:VPP; the RFC should be put on hold until that thread has run its course and since the thread seems to be going towards a clear consensus that the BLP article needs to be clarified regarding the fact that "mere vulgar" comments towards an editor on a talk page is not BLP then all we need to do is be bold and rewrite per the consensus. An RfC is for something that is debatable, unclear consensus, or otherwise contentious. This particular aspect which I brought up at the VPP is none of those. Please don't start multiple discussions on the same topic in multiple places. As the VPP started first and has a much wider audience it is the logical place to continue. I suggest User:Johnuniq comment over there AFTER reading everyone's comments, as he seems to not be aware that this is a serious problem in Wikipedia that needs to be addressed and consensus agrees on that. The policy will be changed.Camelbinky (talk) 00:30, 4 October 2013 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.


As shown at the WP:VPP through consensus, WP:BLPTALK is being interpreted incorrectly and has been incorrectly been quoted around discussions of Wikipedia as if it is being applied to incivility between editors. Basically the change that is going to occur is- BLP applies to subjects of articles or subjects mentioned in articles and that BLP does not apply to mere vulgarity between editors on talk pages, that it is subject to completely separate policies and BLP should not be used as a mechanism to remove or chastise editors in discussions due to the stigma of being labeled a "BLP violator" and the BLP violations procedures being stiffer.Camelbinky (talk) 19:14, 7 October 2013 (UTC)

What specific wording change is being proposed? AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:18, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I just put in wording that covers everything mentioned by those that took the time to comment at the thread on the WP:VPP, feel free to discuss it here if you disagree instead of outright reverting, there's been plenty of time for everyone to mention their points.Camelbinky (talk) 19:27, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
He wasn't a dick, he was correct. He correctly applied BRD. A policy, especially a paramount one like WP:BLP, oughts to be edited very carefully and very slowly. Until it's agreed it changes, it better stays as it is. While I'm sympathetic at clarifying the scope of BLPTALK, still it's better to propose the change here on the talk page and make sure there is an actual consensus, and let's keep cool in the meanwhile. --cyclopiaspeak! 19:35, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Camelbinky, Wikipedia doesn't work that way, as you are well aware. There was no discussion of specific wording in the WP:VPP thread, and if there had been, I would have strongly objected. In any case, the correct place to come to an agreement regarding this policy is on this talk page, and not at the village pump.
As for your proposed wording, it is unduly restrictive - WP:BLP policy applies to any living person, regardless of whether they are mentioned in articles - and regardless of whether they are ever likely to be. And why are you implying that Wikipedia should use 'legal terms' to determine anything? We don't do that. We (mostly) aren't' qualified to do that. And it would set a poor precedent to imply that we should be doing so. While I agree with the objective of the change, I think the proposed wording is poorly thought-out, and that we should have a proper discussion aimed at providing a clear and unambiguous proposal, before amending the policy. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:39, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
The VPP discussion was mentioned on Jimbo's talk page and in the admin closing of the RfC above... The consensus on A change stands, I concede the actual wording though should be discussed, however a decision on whether a change should be made or not has been decided and that time has passed to discuss that. And I apologize for the dick comment, I was being pointy about it being a BLP violation.Camelbinky (talk) 19:45, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
So far, nobody has objected to there being 'a change'. And yes, the wording should be discussed - before making the change, not afterwards. Your attempt to stifle debate was preemptive, and entirely contrary to the norms of Wikipedia. WP:BLP policy is at the very heart of much of what we do, and as the WMF has made entirely clear, not something to be taken lightly. Any substantive change to wording deserves proper debate, AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:51, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
I can't see the benefit of making this change and there are lots of drawbacks. I've never seen anyone argue that "you're an idiot" is a BLP violation, but certain types of posts directed against other editors certainly can rise to the level of BLP violations and even defamation (e.g. you're a pedophile, you're a dishonest person, you're engaged in fraud). BLP applies even when the editor is using a pseudonym, in part because the real name may be known, or may become known one day. But also because we know that there are real people behind the masks who can be damaged.
The effect of the change would be to imply that Wikipedians don't count as living people, which is a situation that we used to have – and it was made quite explicit by several editors – but that's no longer the case. We all have BLP protection now, according to the policy, and we would need very strong consensus to change that, and a discussion about how the policy evolved and the implications of changing it.
The question that anyone wanting to change this needs to ask himself is: do you want us to allow a situation on Wikipedia where serious allegations could be directed against you on this site by anyone in the world – simply because you're a volunteer, rather than the subject of an article? Or would you prefer that any editor and admin be allowed immediately and without discussion to remove anything that crosses the line? If the latter, then I would suggest leaving the policy as it is. SlimVirgin II (talk) 23:26, 7 October 2013 (UTC)
Obviously, I agree that clarification of the policy is needed, but I agree that discussion is needed first. The approach that I took, that has been criticized, was to go with a full RFC, which would have led to lengthy discussion, and that RFC has been suspended. However, the approach that Camelbinky took, to change the policy first and discuss afterwards, is sort of the opposite extreme. In particular, the draft language did NOT correctly reflect the consensus at WP:VPP in one respect. While MOST personal attacks on other editors are merely personal attacks that are "mere vulgar abuse", it is possible, and this was noted at WP:VPP to engage in personal attacks that DO rise to the status of BLP violations. If you say that another editor is a moron, that is mere vulgar abuse and is an NPA violation. But if you say that an editor has an IQ of 65 (the "classical, disused" meaning of a word that is normally merely an insult), that is a BLP violation (even if it is true). If you say that another editor is lying, that is a violation of good faith, mere vulgar abuse, and an NPA violation. If you say that an editor was convicted of perjury, that is a BLP violation. Robert McClenon (talk) 00:14, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
You see, we already have a disagreement about parameters, and these will intensify if we try to make an explicit distinction between NPA and BLP. I would say that calling an editor a liar is a BLP violation. If I were to follow you around calling you a liar for many years on this website, it could affect your job prospects if Robert McClenon is a real name, or if it one day leads to a real name. It's fine to say that someone is mistaken and that it's hard to see how the mistake could have occurred (a roundabout way of saying "I think this person may be lying"), but to come right out and accuse someone of lying is quite a serious allegation. If the NPA/BLP distinction is made official in this policy, editors will pick away at the boundaries, leading to more drama. So what is the benefit of making the change? I can't see any. SlimVirgin II (talk) 00:36, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
SlimVirgin perhaps you would like to read the VPP thread and catch up on why it is needed and why around 8 or 10 editors agreed it was needed. There has been a rash of editors calling name calling and insults BLP violations, and no calling an editor a liar is not a BLP violation and that is asinine and irresponsible to call it a BLP violation. BLP !rules, procedures, and "punishments" should never be used for insults on other editors. Shit, Andy would have been banned outright from Wikipedia if we applied the strict BLP regulations on insults.Camelbinky (talk) 02:09, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Oh, and where were you when the discussion took place at the VPP, it was mentioned on Jimbo's talk page and on the RfC on this page... seems a bit late to object to a consensus based on "I wasn't personally involved".Camelbinky (talk) 02:11, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
There has to be a discussion and consensus on this page to change the policy, because this is the page that people who care about the policy watch. The benefit of making clear that talk-page posts can be BLP violations is to impress upon editors that Wikipedians are people too. It also means that any editor or admin can immediately remove a comment, under the protection of the policy, if it crosses the line. What would be the benefit of removing or diluting that? It's probably not used that much anyway, but better to have it than not.
I can't see what difference it makes if sometimes people claim that simple insults are BLP violations. We do need fewer insults, so anything that takes us in the opposite direction of civility isn't a good thing. SlimVirgin II (talk) 02:25, 8 October 2013 (UTC)
Camelbinky, your tone is problematic. People's views are not invalidated because they don't check VPP or Jimbo's talk page every day or two. Some of us have been doing article work, you know. You appear to be trying to shut down discussion by claiming that consensus has already been formed by a discussion with relatively few participants on a page that is not where that discussion should have been taking place. Finally, "asinine and irresponsible" may not be a BLP violation, but it is uncivil and unhelpful when we are trying to have a reasoned and collegial discussion on a complex issue. Neljack (talk) 08:47, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Comment I largely agree with SlimVirgin. I do not believe that there is a widespread problem with "mere vulgarity" towards editors being treated as a BLP violation. People generally apply common sense and judgment - they don't invoke BLP if NPA would suffice.
On the other hand, if a statement is defamatory of an editor it is entirely appropriate to treat it as a BLP issue (after all, the legal risks to the Foundation are one of the reasons for BLP). Obvious examples of this include claiming that the editor is a criminal or a paedophile (with regard to the latter, that is one of the reasons that child protection concerns are required to be raised in private with Arbcom, rather than discussion onwiki). Stating that someone is a liar is probably a libel too.
There is nothing in the policy that states that it doesn't apply to pseudonomous editors - in fact, it says that it applies to all living persons. As SV says, their identity could be revealed in the future, it could damage their onwiki reputation, and it could cause them considerable distress, so that is appropriate.
Finally, I agree that any change to this very important policy requires wide discussion, probably through an RfC. Neljack (talk) 09:01, 9 October 2013 (UTC)
I just reverted a BLP violation on a talk page - not about an editor or anyone mentioned in an article, but a BLP violation still. And some editors have BLP articles - we really don't want a situation in which what would be obviously a BLP violation in the article isn't on a talk page. BLP must apply to all pages. I'm not even sure we could change this in such a major way without discussion with WMF first. Dougweller (talk) 16:17, 15 October 2013 (UTC)


Stuff like this and this suggests that it would be wise to explicitly and briefly mention in this policy that it covers WP:Persondata. I'll take a crack at it.Anythingyouwant (talk) 15:08, 18 October 2013 (UTC)


Words like "nonadministrator" are not hyphenated. "Non" is only hyphenated onto proper nouns and adjectives, like "non-Soviet" and "non-Asian". (talk) 01:24, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

Incorrect pronouns

NOT: "Anyone born within the past 115 years is covered by this policy unless a reliable source has confirmed their death."
BUT RATHER: "Anyone born within the past 115 years is covered by this policy unless a reliable source has confirmed his/her death." (talk) 01:22, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

"Their" is a perfectly valid gender-neutral way of saying "his/her". §FreeRangeFrogcroak 03:22, 6 November 2013 (UTC)

RfC to add Pending Changes to all BLP with few or no watchers

Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons/RfC to add Pending Changes to all BLP with few or no watchers

The number of watchers of a BLP seems unrelated to the number of revisions it receives: Living People Watchers cross revs.svg

Perhaps 5% of BLPs are unwatched. The median number of watchers is somewhere between 2 and 4 (based on one limited toolserver query and one small sample). The question is: does this mean would ought to allow Pending Changes protection of these BLP purely because they're un- or under- watched? Josh Parris 20:59, 1 December 2013 (UTC)

FYI Someone not using his real name (talk) 20:41, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

One does have to wonder if the journalistic standards have decayed so much or if the WMF legal team is on hype spree, because their presentation of the case [29] is pretty different from that in PC World. Someone not using his real name (talk) 21:13, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Same facts, different emphasis. This is the key passage: "If, however, the Wikimedia Foundation is informed of certain content allegedly in violation of local law, according to the court, that content should be removed to maintain immunity from liability – this is a position consistent with traditional online hosting liability under which Wikipedia has historically operated." --NeilN talk to me 21:19, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
One wonders if promoting the result "Anyone can put any kind of defamatory content in any article at any time and we only have to react if someone complains" as a "victory" is an appropriate stance for an encyclopedia. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 21:26, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Wikipedia is first and foremost crowdsourced, and then an encyclopedia. The WMF can't afford to lose the crowdsourced ("service provider") status, while the encyclopedianess of the content is... a mater of opinion. Someone not using his real name (talk) 22:06, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yeah, "the glass is half empty/full". The PC World emphasized that the court ordered some alleged facts sourced to a newspaper be removed from the German Wikipedia. The WMF spun this as "what a coincidence, our editors have decided to do that too". (The expression shotgun wedding comes to my mind here, although I'm sure a more appropriate one exists to describe this kind of situation.) As for the other half, the astounding victory claimed by the WMF that they didn't have to remove opinions is... rather lame. And there's another half and half: the WMF claims a great victory that they don't have to vet content before it is published, while the PC World emphasizes that they are held legally liable to remove certain content when challenged (in court, I suppose)... Someone not using his real name (talk) 21:29, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
PC World didn't say that. Quoting, "While Wikimedia does not have to check beforehand whether the contents of a Wikipedia article are true, it has a duty to check if somebody complains about the article, the court ruled. If someone complains about statements in an article, Wikimedia has to check them and if necessary remove the passages, the court said." Not much different with what goes on here with OTRS. --NeilN talk to me 21:43, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Actually, it is different, because OTRS "staff" are just volunteers, just like wiki editors. If WMF staff will have to officially process these requests, that is a substantial change. One could expect to see more WP:OFFICE actions on the German Wikipedia. Someone not using his real name (talk) 21:48, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

RfC proposing change of duration of BLPPROD from 10 to 7 days

If you would like to comment, please see: Wikipedia:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people/RfC: Change duration from 10 to 7 days. Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 01:59, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Is it defamatory to suggest that someone is gay?

Can someone help me understand something? I've been following the discussion on the talk pages for the articles on a couple of living persons who have recently been in the news. Several of the comments on the talk pages referred to the men as gay or bisexual, though without specific sources for that alleged fact. Other commenters responded that such statements are a violation of the BLP policy, and the references were redacted. As I understand it, the rationale was that such statements are defamatory, and thus a violation of the BLP policy.

I certainly understand we don't want gossip or speculation or unsourced statements on the main page of the article. But the talk page is not the main article itself, and it would really hinder down the discussion if every statement needed a citation. Is it really true that it's defamatory to call someone gay? My understanding is that courts have held that it's not, at least in some jurisdictions. Omc (talk) 18:58, 13 December 2013 (UTC)

I would suggest that we should not spend lots of time, on the talk pages or elsewhere, opining about people's sexuality. If they have openly come out and said "I am gay" or "I am bi", the statement should be added to the article. Otherwise, we should drop it, we're not a tabloid and we shouldn't trade in rumors. As to whether it is defamatory to call someone gay, I think the answer is, it depends. If the person is an Iranian dissident, and where being known as gay might get him killed, then we should be quite careful. If the person is Elton John and he is openly gay, then I don't think it's defamatory. If it is a public figure who has never made any public statement about their sexuality, but someone has a hunch they are gay because they saw them in the lobby of a fancy hotel in the arms with a young man, I think we should be careful about what we say. There's nothing wrong with being gay, but if used as a slur or used somehow to shame someone, it can cross a line.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:40, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
To add to this, I don't think talk page discussions require citations, but again, the question is, why is someone stating that person X is gay? How does it improve the article? If it is not sourced from the person themselves, e.g. they haven't identified as such and there aren't references to back it up, why are we even talking about it? --Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 19:53, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The primary consideration here is usually the presumption in favour of privacy. In general, somebody's sex life is not central to their notability, and there needs to be a good reason therefore to include it. That is true whether or not there are reliable sources. There are exceptions, where the subject has been open about their sexuality and been outspoken in defence of it, as has happened recently with various sportspersons. Note also that it is the subjects own self identification that matters; it is not enough that 'everyone knows' or a claimed sexual partner has published a kiss and tell, and many people who label themselves heterosexual have a had a same sex encounter at some time (and vice versa). In this respect also sourcing is vital. --AJHingston (talk) 19:42, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
  • The problem is not that it is offensive or defamatory (which it might be but is entirely dependent on the person), but rather that if we are doing it via synthesis, original research or using non-reliable sources, then it's just wrong. If the NYT says "SANTA CLAUS IS TEH GAY" then fine, we repeat that. But if johnsmithsuperdupertumblrblog says they saw Santa at a gay bar and we claim he's gay, we are the ones who are wrong. It doesn't matter if old Santa thinks it's defamatory to him, the problem is with us. Stick to the policies - neutrality, verifiability, reliable sources, BLP - and you'll be fine. Going into legalese territory and trying to determine what is defamation in which jurisdiction is a complication we don't need to be getting into because it's not in our purview, by design. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 19:50, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. Clearly we shouldn't be using the talk pages for gossip or speculation. However, in the cases I was referring to, the fact of whether the individuals were gay was in fact central to the issue being discussed, not merely gossip or extraneous speculation. Both of the figures are public personalities. One of them posted a Youtube video announcing that he's dating a man, and the discussion on the talk page was how this should be referred to in the article. In this case there was a consensus on the talk page that this was of general interest, and should be mentioned on the article in the "personal life" section. The question on the talk page was how this fact should be referred to ("dating a man", "announced that he was gay", "announced that he was bisexual", etc.). A consensus was arrived at and the issue was resolved, and I'm not suggesting revisiting that issue here. But it seemed awkward and contrived to discuss this question on the talk page when every suggestion that the person was gay or bisexual was redacted as a potential BLP violation. That's the issue that I'm raising: How can we discuss an issue effectively on the talk page if people are apparently prevented from making relevant comments on the issue at hand? Instead of talking about the article, it becomes a discussion about the talk page. Omc (talk) 20:18, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Since the guy did not say he was gay, it is entirely reasonable to redact talk page comments suggesting that he is gay, and doing so does not make the discussion "awkward" or difficult at all. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 20:40, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
I think frankly it's getting a bit agressive. If the guy has openly admitted dating a man, even if he doesn't openly admit to identifying as gay, someone saying "Joe is gay" on the talk page is not defamation and isn't worthy of being redacted IMHO. I think it's more when people say "But TMZ saw him kissing a dude therefore he's THEGAY" that we should eliminate, but in a discussion of how to cover it, a reasonable person might say "We should say Jim is gay" and someone else might say "no, we should just say he's dating a guy" - we don't need to go overboard in redacting in these instances, as the person in question would not be surprised or likely even offended that someone used the word gay to describe him.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 20:44, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Even this gets us into difficult areas sometimes. Dating a man might not mean that he is not sexually attracted to women. That is where self identification can be very important not just in the area of sexuality - for example a person's birth parentage may not be what it appears to be, and revealing the truth may be a violation not just of that subject's privacy not also that of others, so we cannot insist that a person does so or take it for granted. --AJHingston (talk) 21:07, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Obi-Wan: I agree with you. People have the right to identify their sexuality as they wish, and for a person to announce that they're dating a person of the same sex is not the same as announcing that they're gay. So in the article itself it would be going too far to refer to someone as gay or bisexual, unless they have self-identified that way. But as to whether it's defamatory, and hence a violation of the BLP policy, it's implausible that any court would uphold a charge of defamation for calling someone gay or bisexual, if they have admitted they're dating someone of the same sex.Omc (talk) 21:22, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Whether something is defamatory or not, does not decide whether it is a violation of the BLP policy or not. This is a common misunderstanding. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:34, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
If it's not written up already, we should have something that lays out our policy here - e.g. self identification is what we report upon, not "behavioral" profiling. But I really don't think it could be called defamatory, in a legal sense, to call someone gay in this instance. Nonetheless, we should just wait until we have sourcing of the person themselves identifying as such; otherwise, don't mention it.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 21:32, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Demiurge: Can you explain further? I assumed that the violation of BLP policy arises from the fact that such statements are (arguably) defamatory. If not, why do we care? We're talking here about the talk page, not the article itself.Omc (talk) 22:11, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes. From my userpage: "Wikipedia's policy on Biographies of living persons mentions that material about living persons in any Wikipedia page must follow all applicable laws in the United States of America. This does not mean that compliance with U.S. law is sufficient for compliance with Wikipedia policy on such material. The policy does not exist for the primary purpose of avoiding litigation. It exists for the primary purpose of avoiding the possibility of harm to living subjects -- and the avoidance of litigation is merely a fortuitous consequence of this.
"In other words, confidence that publication of material would not be defamatory (for example because it is sourced to an identifiable third party publication) does not establish that the material meets the requirements of WP:BLP." --Demiurge1000 (talk) 17:39, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
A good starting point is Policy: Wikipedia articles usually rely on material from reliable secondary sources. Articles may make an analytic or evaluative claim only if that has been published by a reliable secondary source. For living persons we should be even more cautious. After all, there's no deadline and it's more important for an encyclopedia to be accurate than to be up-to-date. - Pointillist (talk) 22:14, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
That's not so useful for sexuality, though, where we would actually encourage primary sources (an autobiography would be an ideal source) and won't usually contemplate identifying someone's sexual orientation based on words that are not their own.
Overall, I think this is mainly about applying commonsense: don't engage in pointless discussion about people's sexual orientation on talk pages and don't do so at all without sources. But we also need to be cautious about not curtailing legitimate discussion. A discussion can, after all, often be, in good faith, about whether sources are reliable and whether they support a claim. If there is no apparent risk of harm to the subject, it would not be useful to anyone to give the benefit of the doubt to closing down the conversation. Formerip (talk) 22:45, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
Oh yes, a primary source is OK for direct statements such as "X said in his autobiography that he was dating a guy" {{cite book}}. But it isn't our role to interpret such statements: we leave that to reliable secondary sources such as stories—not opinion pieces—in reputable news media, books issued by real publishers, and academic papers. The principle is that if a claim about a living person hasn't already been reviewed and approved through a recognizable third-party editorial process, we can't be sure that it's OK to repeat it. - Pointillist (talk) 23:25, 13 December 2013 (UTC)
I don't think that's a talk page issue though. There is no BLP violation in someone posting: "Elton John mentions in passing in his autobiography that he is gay - should we include this in the article?". Formerip (talk) 01:27, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

Theoretically, there's no defamation in itself unless it's untrue and harms that person's reputation, and there's nothing inherently reputation-harming in the statement "X is gay" in so much that neither is there any in "X voted for UKIP". We really shouldn't be talking about people's sexual orientations or relationships without a source anyway, although there's a question about heteronormativity, to both Wikipedia culture and offline culture at large, in how people make such a big deal about someone's non-heterosexuality. I'm really not one for gossip either way, and I think "personal life" sections are just a dumping ground for such places. To give two examples for articles I edit and maintain: Russell T Davies writes TV scripts about his own experiences as a gay man, but has a relatively private relationship; we only mention his partner when it's relevant to his career (for example, having to move back to the UK due to his partner's brain cancer diagnosis, which means a show intended for Showtime is instead going to be produced by Channel 4). For someone who's relationship is notable, see Sarah Brown: the fact she's a lesbian isn't even mentioned in the article text; we just mention she's in a polyamorous relationship with two women, and even then because said relationship was mentioned in the House of Commons, as her transgender activism is much more notable (even though fighting for the restoration of her marriage is the most notable part of that). Sceptre (talk) 04:20, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

  • It is defamatory to suggest something about someone that is not true. Suggesting it is the same as stating it, but with less 'certainty'. WIth regard to sexuality, if a person has not declared that they are even heterosexual it is inappropriate to say so if it is synthesised from sources or lifestyle. A lady or a gentleman may not be heterosexual or even bisexual even if partnered with a person of the opposite sex, In terms of sexuality they are the sexuality they have declared themselves.
The logic then flows to suggesting someone may be homosexual. However, homosexuality can be career limiting, life limiting, because not all nations are accepting of human rights for homosexual people. India has just re-criminalised homosexuality, for example.
Defamation is also not limited to article space. Talk pages, noticeboards, and all other areas of Wikipedia are places where we may not defame.
Wikipedians usually choose to uphold the highest possible standards of reporting on facts, thus we know that the subject him or herself must declare their sexuality before we report it, We redact suggestions of sexuality that may be common knowledge, and ask people not to post this information.
There is nothing inherently wrong with not posting about someone's sexuality. We are not a newspaper. There is also no rush to be first with any information. No-one gets any glory here. A young gentleman in the UK has appeared (or perhaps appears tonight - I do not watch the show and I have the newspaper reports only to go on) on national TV and explained that he was not commenting upon his own sexuality despite being in a relationship with an unnamed gentleman. We may report that, but we may not report anything that defines his sexuality when he does not.
Would it be defamatory to say that this young gentleman is homosexual?
Yes, it would, because he has not even let the world know whether he has engaged in homosexual behaviour, let alone his sexuality. He has just stated that he is in love. And the logic flows to other ladies and gentlemen in similar positions. Yes, it is defamatory, even to suggest it. Fiddle Faddle 19:02, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
If we're talking about Tom Daley, it would be untrue to state that he's homosexual anyway. Sceptre (talk) 21:06, 14 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Is it defamatory to suggest that someone is gay? No more than it would be to add to BLPs that people are hetero. Do we do that? The very fact that this thread existes demonstrates that in spite of this enlightened age, LGBT is sadly still stigmatised by some. 'Whether or not LGBT people openly identify themselves may depend on whether they live in a discriminatory environment, as well as the status of LGBT rights where one lives.' (Wikipedia). Kudpung กุดผึ้ง (talk) 21:16, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
  • While it remains a stigma anywhere relevant to the person it is not material to use about them on Wikipedia, nor anywhere else, unless they have self-identified. And I include heterosexuality in that statement. Fiddle Faddle 23:36, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
"it would be untrue to state that he's homosexual anyway" Hmmm. What's your source for that? Omc (talk) 23:47, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
"Of course I still fancy girls but, I mean, right now I’m dating a guy and I couldn’t be happier.". Contrary to what you'd see on Grey's Anatomy, bisexuality exists. Sceptre (talk) 22:35, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
"Would it be defamatory to say that this young gentleman is homosexual? ... Yes, it would, because he has not even let the world know whether he has engaged in homosexual behaviour." Whether a person is homosexual does not require homosexual behavior. From the Wikipedia article on homosexuality: " romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender." Omc (talk) 23:55, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
"It is defamatory to suggest something about someone that is not true." Not exactly. If I stated that Daniel Radcliffe is blond, that would not be defamatory, merely incorrect. There are two elements to defamation: (1) the statement must be false, and (2) it must harm a person's reputation. (See the Wikipedia article on defamation.) Omc (talk) 00:04, 15 December 2013 (UTC)
Erm...maybe we should steer away from discussing hypothetical examples involving living people in this particular thread..? Formerip (talk) 00:44, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Amend wording of BLPCRIME to

"A person accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty and convicted by fair process in a court of law. For people who are relatively unknown, editors must give serious consideration to not including material in any article suggesting that the person has committed, or is accused of committing, a crime unless a conviction is secured.[6] If different judicial proceedings result in seemingly contradictory judgements that do not override each other,[7] refrain from using pithy descriptors or absolutes and instead use more explanatory information. Furthermore, details of criminal allegations reported by third party sources should not generally be included unless the allegations form the basis of a formal indictment." Sfan00 IMG (talk) 20:43, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Biographies of non-living people

Does this policy suggest editors may take less care in writing biographies of non-living people? Cup o’ Java (talkedits) 19:25, 31 December 2013 (UTC)

Living people with fringe theories

FYI, at Wikipedia_talk:Fringe_theories#Fringe_Biographies_of_Living_Persons eds observed that many other eds don't know discussion of living people with fringe theories must comply with both FRINGE and BLP. This resulted in a new paragraph in the FRINGE content guideline about how BLP and FRINGE interact. I added a see also to this article, cross-referencing that section. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 00:36, 5 January 2014 (UTC)

Does using a genealogy site using SS records violate WP:BLPPRIMARY?

Hi. Does this edit violate WP:BLPPRIMARY? Nightscream (talk) 21:46, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

By default it cannot violate BLP, since the subject in question apparently isn't alive anymore. --Kim D. Petersen 22:21, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Dope slap - of course I agree with Kim. In addition, at least in the US, death certs are public record. Hard to argue with this sort of non-ambiguous, no-interpretation required SKYISBLUE data from open records. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:37, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
One problem is that the Social security records do not distinguish between two people with similar names - proper genealogists do not assume that a given record is for a specific person without any additional information. Collect (talk) 22:47, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Good point. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 22:51, 7 January 2014 (UTC)
Citing a genealogy site as a source for information about a living person is expressly forbidden by BLPPRIMARY. This person is not living, but personally I would still not use it. It may violate BLPPRIMARY: the subject is not living, however the BLP policy states "the policy can extend for an indeterminate period beyond the date of death" for recently deceased persons (WP:BDP), particularly when living persons may be affected by information being added. I think it would be a stretch to say that BDP applies for the addition of a birth date in this case. But the sources don't cease to be primary because the person is deceased. Ignoring what BLPPRIMARY says about it, the source may violate WP:PRIMARY and/or WP:OR since genealogical records are primary records of a person's vital info, and in particular because sites like this often rely on user-submitted transcriptions of public records and are not necessarily verified by anyone - certainly not by any authorities in genealogical research. I would be especially wary of citing a death certificate as a source of a person's birth date - a birth certificate would be better but I would still prefer to find a secondary source that confirms the information before including it here. Also, given that BLPPRIMARY might apply, I would favour privacy over anything else in this case, and not include this information without a secondary source. Ivanvector (talk) 23:13, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

Scientific beliefs

Given how politicised certain sections of science have become I believe scientific beliefs need to be added to BLPCAT, so I did that and was reverted. Comments? Darkness Shines (talk) 14:51, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

  • Other elements of BLPCAT are very much about identity. Scientific "beliefs" (*) are the opposite of identity -- when done right, science is not about who one is but about creating knowledge. *The use of the word "beliefs" in this context shows what's wrong with the proposal in any event -- someone who understands science would not have put it that way. Again, this is loading science with identity in an inappropriate way. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 14:54, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
Not at all, unless you do not believe in gravity? A persons beliefs in certain aspects of any branch of science is just that, a belief. Darkness Shines (talk) 14:57, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
What you're missing is that gravity exists whether anyone believes in it or not. Belief is very much the wrong word. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:04, 8 January 2014 (UTC)
  • To me at least, this smacks of WP:FORUMSHOP; it only appeared here after the OP's AFD petition failed and then garnered several "endorse" replies at a pending Deletion review. On the merits, this is frivolous CREEP. Scientific opinions of cookiebakers probably have no weight; Scientific opinions of celebs might, maybe, if they are really on the public stage aobut those things; the public gives a fair bit of trust as experts to "scientists" whose opinions in their field are at the center of their professional life, and opinions in other fields is also part of their public fame - even in blogs and op-eds - if they choose to capitalize on their claim to be a "scientist" to whom people should listen. If any of these people choose to speak about their views, existing rules of WEIGHT/UNDUE and existing BLP are all we need to keep within the bounds. A better solution than forum shopping is to engage meaningfully at Talk:List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming#PROPOSED FAQs NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 15:36, 8 January 2014 (UTC)

Application of BLP in FRINGE contexts

FYI, there is a discussion about how FRINGE and BLP impact each other at Wikipedia_talk:Fringe_theories#Fringe_Biographies_of_Living_Persons. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:15, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Death status disputes

Should we make it clear that BLP still applies in cases where there is material dispute or uncertainty as to a person's status, e.g. someone declared brain dead but still on life support? "Recent" would cover many such cases but not necessarily all.--agr (talk) 19:14, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Is it necessary to say this though? If a person's death hasn't been reported by (multiple?) reliable sources, we should by default consider them living. If there is a dispute (in reliable sources) then most likely WP:BDP applies. Ivanvector (talk) 15:24, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Religious beliefs claimed in article

The category section says "Categories regarding religious beliefs or sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified with the belief or orientation in question, and the subject's beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to their public life or notability, according to reliable published sources."

However, we don't say anything about ascribing a religion to a BLP, and I can't see why we shouldn't have some clear guidance on this. At the very least it should require any suggestion that someone has a particular religious belief to be sourced to the subject themselves. Ditto actually their sexual orientation, etc. I know that the List of atheists requires self-identification as atheistic for BLP entries. Dougweller (talk) 10:28, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Agreed, we can probably use pretty much the same wording, substituting "categories" with "information" or similar. GiantSnowman 11:10, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
I do not support the inclusion of "and the subject's beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to their public life or notability, " in respect to content in an article. While i agree that we shouldnt cat someone based on stuff they are not notable for, information within an article frequently covers content for which a person is not "notable" for, and if we have reliably sourced self identification of religion etc. there is no reason why it should be banned from inclusion in an article.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 15:31, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Just as an aside, categories don't require that a person is notable for the thing in question. Not many people are notable specifically because of their year of birth or the university they went to, for example. Formerip (talk) 15:59, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Not many reliable sources will mention someone's religion for no reason. It's usually because their religion plays some part in their career/life/notability e.g. Mo Farah who is a prominent Muslim athlete. GiantSnowman 15:46, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
Mo Farah is a prominent athlete who has broken world records and happens to be Muslim. Being Muslim did not make him notable.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 15:56, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
I think notability is a red herring here. The real issue is certainty - ensuring that our sourcing puts a person's religion beyond reasonable doubt. So long as a person's religion is clear, there is no reason not to mention it in their article, along with other information that plays no major part in their career and notability such as their date of birth, marital status etc. Formerip (talk) 15:59, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
But in Farah's case, his religion has played in a part in his career, hence why it is discussed so much. He has talked about training/competing during Ramadan etc. GiantSnowman 16:02, 11 January 2014 (UTC)
I am not saying his religion has not impacted him. But there is no reason to specify the clause "and the subject's beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to their public life or notability," in relation to our guidance on text in the body of an article- just sourcing and self identification.-- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 16:24, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

WP:RSN discussion about using a personal blog as a source for a WP:BLP

Can we get some more uninvolved editors to participate is this RSN discussion? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 13:31, 15 January 2014 (UTC)


"This policy applies to persons born less than 115 years ago unless confirmed dead by a reliable source." I've always read this to imply that these people must be presumed living. It has been argued that this is not the case, and that only the stringency of BLP-rules apply to the information contained in such articles. Can anyone provide clarification here? To me, the possibility of erroneously reporting someone's death is in itself a potential violation. Joefromrandb (talk) 18:22, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

That's why we don't say they are dead; once they reach a certain age (I believe it is 90) we simply add them to Category:Possibly living people. GiantSnowman 18:35, 23 January 2014 (UTC)
They should be presumed living for the purposes of the policy, yes, but not as a statement of fact. If a person is not confirmed deceased, that doesn't automatically mean they are living, but it does mean BLP applies to their info. If they are 115 years old or older, BLP policy does not apply. This should not be read as "people older than 115 are dead" - that's silly. Ivanvector (talk) 19:30, 23 January 2014 (UTC)


It has been suggested that BLP apply to all WP:DRAFTS. On one hand, that sounds reasonable, but it doesn't allow for good faith error. Because I'd hate to see someone get solidly thumped with a BLP violation for an honest mistake or honest work in progress, I think we need additional text explaining what other editors should do if they run across a BLP problem in a draft. And the answer should be, in my view, ping the editor so they can improve their draft or seek speedy delete of the offending material, but no further sanctions except for special circumstances such as wanton repeat offenses. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 09:57, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

While I can see your point, I think that it would be highly inadvisable to make an explicit exception for drafts. The BLP policy is there for very good reasons - and selectively enforcing it in different parts of the project could possibly have legal repercussions which the WMF might well find of significance. Contributors have to be held accountable for their contributions, regardless of where they are posted. Yes, there may sometimes be grounds for lesser sanctions where material is less obviously visible, but beyond that, any implication that we may not enforce a policy of such importance simply because something is described as 'a draft' could lead to all sorts of problems - and should the worst happen, and someone sue for libel, it is entirely possible that a court might consider the 'draft' status as an irrelevance: everything on Wikipedia is visible, searchable and linkable, regardless of labels we attach. AndyTheGrump (talk) 10:17, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I'm not sure there are sanctions for anything except deliberate offenses, but I may have missed something. Our BLP policy should tell people WP:BLP applies to drafts because it does. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 10:27, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── And I did not disagree with either of you. Only said that we should provide a guideline for dealing with BLP problems in drafts. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:39, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

  • BLP should be enforced in every single namespace and every page. No exceptions. It's how BLP violations should be dealt with that may vary depending on the location of the offence. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 11:45, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
concur (third time i said that I think) NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:12, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
  • I wasn't saying that you were implying something else, I was simply putting my viewpoint forward. As to how we deal with issues in drafts, I'd propose that we give an initial warning for the majority of BLP violations in drafts, before the standard BLP violation procedures kick in. Anything that is solely dedicated to attacking one person, is purely racist/homophobic, or something along those lines should be gregarious enough that the standard procedures should be enacted, regardless of location. Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 13:23, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I support enforcing BLP on each page, but for drafts we need to also provide "don't bite" instructions saying "FYI, this needs fixing please don't do it again even in a draft" type of thing. We need to support and be welcoming to makers of honest mistakes. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 13:36, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
"BLP should be enforced in every single namespace and every page. No exceptions" = spot on. GiantSnowman 13:52, 28 January 2014 (UTC)
I support making WP:BITE a basic tenet over at AFC. --Anthonyhcole (talk · contribs · email) 15:54, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

What specific type of problem is this change intended to solve? Obviously, WP:BLP already applies to WP:DRAFTS. So, what's the point in specifically calling this out? What exactly is the problem that we're trying to solve, and how does this change solve this problem? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 21:42, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

I've restored that BLP applies to drafts. [30] It applies everywhere, and it's made clear on the drafts page that it applies to the new namespace, so there's no reason not to spell it out here too. SlimVirgin (talk) 05:23, 3 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I know of no situation where a newbie has made an honest mistake about BLP and been summarily blocked or banned. Adding an extra speshul "We are so sorry to inform you that you cannot use Wikipedia for your hatchet job" warning for newbies is not going to do anything to retain the type of users that we want to have on the project. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 06:19, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Scope of biographies about political officials

There is a disagreement over whether biographies about government leaders should include information about controversies involving the political associates or subordinates in the governments of the subjects of the biographies. An editor argues that no information of improper behavior should be included in a biography unless the subject of the biography himself or herself is directly implicated in the improper behavior. That has not been my understanding of Wikipedia practice, and I am not aware of a policy or guideline on which such a position is based. The specific article in question is Chris Christie, but I am opening a discussion here because the principle involved would potentially affect a large number of other articles. (If anyone is aware of previous discussions on this topic, please point me to them.) Dezastru (talk) 20:03, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

The obvious question in such cases is to ask what the mainstream media are doing. In the Christie case, given the media coverage of the George Washington Bridge incident (which I assume is what you are referring to) it would be untenable not to include it in his biography. The media see it as of significance, and accordingly so should we. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:30, 7 February 2014 (UTC)
To be fair, in the Christie bridge incident, if my understanding of the editor's argument is correct, the bridge incident can be mentioned in the Christie bio, but no information about what Christie staff or administration appointees did or are alleged to have done can be mentioned unless Christie himself was directly involved in those activities, even if the media report that the activities presumably were intended to benefit Christie's administration or that the outcome of the incident has affected Christie's political standing. The argument seems to be that those kinds of details would be appropriate for an article on the bridge incident but not for a bio article, because a bio article is supposed to discuss only the person who is the subject of the bio. Dezastru (talk) 20:51, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Noting the WP:DEADLINE, I suggest that Wikipedia avoid the "silly season" edits which occur every year which tend to be long on allegations and short on facts. It is better for us to wait for facts than allow the encyclopedia to be used for political campaign purposes. Collect (talk) 17:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

I'm going to assume good faith and agree with everything you said there. Now, do you have something to say on the specific question of whether biographies of government leaders can include controversies involving officials in their administrations? Dezastru (talk) 17:57, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Posit that there is a separate article on "Gnarph administration" as well as a separate BLP about "George Gnarph" the Gnarpharchist governor of New Sydonia. Material may well be relevant about appointees in the "administration" article which are not relevant to the actual biography. If there is more than one degree of separation from the claim and the person (Gnarph), it always belongs at most to the secondary article. If only one article exists, then perhaps up to two degrees of separation might make sense, but anything further is "stretching the bungee cord of relevance" to the person the article is officially about. If Gnarph's son's girlfriend were tried for murder -- I would disallow it as being more colourful than relevant. If one of his primary major appointees commits murder, it is likely relevant to the administration article (unless there is credible reliably sourced connection between Gnarph and the murder) rather than to the primary BLP. If a primary major appointee says "Flarg!" to a reporter, it belongs in the appointee's BLP, and not Gnarph's. Only material which is directly associated with Gnarph belongs specifically in his primary BLP. And if the affair is about a minor appointee, then it is less likely to belong. That is one reason why separate articles generally exist. Minor appointees generally are nicely irrelevant to all BLPs. Collect (talk) 20:55, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
If you are saying that whether information about actions of administration officials may or may not be appropriate for inclusion in BLPs about government leaders will depend on the specific circumstances of each individual case, then we are in agreement. If, on the other hand, you are saying that there is a blanket rule that When there is more than one degree of separation from the claim and the person (Gnarph), it always belongs at most to the secondary article irrespective of the individual circumstances of the case, which seems to be what you are arguing, then we do not agree. If the person's effectiveness as a government leader and his or her political standing (such as in the role of leader of his or her political party and potential candidate for higher office) are affected by questions about an allegation against someone in his or her administration, no matter how far removed in the administration's hierarchy, then mention of the controvery may be appropriate for the main article, apart from any other coverage there may be in other articles. Each case will need to be judged on its own merits. Dezastru (talk) 23:53, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
A secretary hired by a political appointee tells a news reporter to "Flarg!". That is more than one degree from Gnarph, and clearly has no real connection to him. "No matter how far removed" is, unfortunately, fatuous. If there are allegations that Gnarph told any intermediary to undertake such an action or to promote such actions, that would be a direct connection to Gnarph. One may note the history in politics of such "vital matters" as to "how much one loves one's dog" achieves "major article status" on Wikipedia as a result of concerted use of Wikipedia as a campaign venue. IMO, if the material has no rational direct connection to the topic of the article, it should be thrown out like the political humbug it is quite likely to be. Collect (talk) 00:12, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Who decides whether there is a 'rational direct connection' or not? Wikipedia contributors? Or reliable sources? AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:20, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Editorial decisions are made by the editors here - and if no reliable sources provide direct connection (The Gnarphville Register and Advertiser article saying "Julia Klaroph, secretary to the deputy assistant commissioner for public affairs under Governor Gnarph told our reporter to "Flarg!" is clearly insufficient IMHO to call it a "direct connection" to that governor). The Wikipedia normal processes (RfC etc.) would likely reach proper conclusions as long as the !voters stick to policy and not "IHATEGNARPH" for rationales. And campaign press releases and their progeny, IMO of course, make for very poor sources. Have "really, really bad articles" been written in the past? Yep. Should we permit them in the future based on that? Nope. Collect (talk) 00:27, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Frankly, Collect, I'm finding all this 'gnarph' stuff confusing. It this thread actually about a specific Wikipedia issue we can make an 'editorial decision' on, or is this just a practice argument for those of us who are getting rusty in Wiki-Fu, and need to hone our skills before the next bout of debate about whether our List of Jewish Nobel prize winners opposed to the mainstream scientific view concerning the legitimacy of en-dashes should capitalise the word 'prize' in the title? If it is the former, tell us what the issue actually is, and if it isn't, this isn't an appropriate use of this page... AndyTheGrump (talk) 00:39, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
I have used "George Gnarph" as a "stand-in" for any BLP at all in a large number of discussions ... it is simply intended to take away any preconceived views about "us" and "them" from any political debate. In fact, "general discussion" is the precise best use of this page, and the noticeboard is for discussion about specific pages. If I were to use a specific existing page, then the noticeboard is the place for it, not here. I am making a general discussion point, therefore I can not make it "specific." Is that sufficiently clear? The final editing decisions are made pursuant to Wikipedia policies and procedures - not by any outside agency. Cheers. Collect (talk) 00:49, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
If reliable sources discuss an incident in relation to George Gnarph, then it is suitable for mention in Gnarph's biography. That is true whether the specific actions involved were performed by Gnarph himself, by his secretary, by his chief of staff, by his second cousin, or whatever. We follow reliable sources, and we don't make up tortured rationales for reframing their content. MastCell Talk 01:18, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
IOW, you would have added the adventures of All Gore's son to the BLP of his father? But it ain't there. Nor are most such events linked to noted people. And note [31] If WP:BLP (particularly WP:BLP1E) means anything, it's that we don't write an article on someone just because they've been mentioned in the news. , [32] isn't Wikinews, and at best we should be funneling the latest poll numbers and talking points into the campaign articles rather than bios. Cheers -- but it would be nice if you were consistent. Collect (talk) 13:18, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
Based on that rationale, any report by a reliable source regarding the administration of any official is fodder for inclusion in their WP:BLP as long as the source mentions the official. If that's the case, there are some WP:BLP's that are going to get quite a bit bigger.... CFredkin (talk) 04:21, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Misquoting a source written by an LP

The specific issue on Talk:Yamanoue no Okura has been resolved, but for future reference: is it a BLP violation to misrepresent the words of a living scholar to imply he/she holds the opposite views that he/she actually does? I referred to it as a borderline BLP violation and was called out on it. (talk) 12:38, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

It certainly could be, though you need to bear in mind that there is a difference between intentional misrepresentation and misunderstanding or similar errors, and I don't think we'd hold someone accountable for the latter - it would risk stifling talk-page discussions. I'd think that it would need a fairly blatant example of this - involving an intentional misrepresentation that could actually harm the scholars reputation - before we'd invoke BLP policy as a reason to take action. In practice though, if someone is intentionally misrepresenting sources that overtly, we'd be taking action regardless of whether the author of the source was alive or not, and on the whole raising it as a BLP issue is beside the point. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:00, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

Rephrase "Remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material" subheading

The subheading "Remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material" is not as clear as it could be. There's a reasonable risk of a non-diligent reader (or by a weak English speaker) to misinterpret it to mean that merely unsourced material about living persons should be removed. I recommend we clarify the heading by renaming it "Remove contentious material that is unsourced or poorly sourced", which lessens the chance of this happening. Jason Quinn (talk) 16:58, 11 February 2014 (UTC)

Makes sense. Ivanvector (talk) 17:06, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Even better would be "Remove material that is unsourced or poorly sourced". Surely all unsourced/poorly sourced info about BLPs is contentious? GiantSnowman 18:24, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Not necessarily contentious, but any unsourced material can and should be removed, so that wording is even better. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 18:33, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
GiantSnowman and FreeRangeFrog, I can't agree with that wording. There are things that can stay unsourced in a WP:BLP that will not cause harm to one or more living people, such as an actor having starred in a certain commercial or a film. We use WP:Citation needed even in WP:BLPs, even in the case of a well known film the actor in question has starred in. WP:Burden is what we should be applying in these cases, which even states that we should look to source unsourced material when we suspect that it is reliably sourceable. Either that, or add a citation-needed tag. We should outright remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material regarding a living person. But then again, even contentious material sometimes validly stays in WP:BLPs; and by "contentious," I mean controversial. I share Jason Quinn's view that the last thing we need are people removing things from WP:BLPs simply because those things are unsourced (though some editors do that anyway). Flyer22 (talk) 18:49, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I agree with Flyer22 here. The section is referring only to controversial material, and there is no default need to automatically remove all material that is not sourced if it is otherwise OK. For example, stating neutrally someone's nationality without providing a source which says so is not forbidden, unless there's some reason why that person being of that nationality is controversial or potentially damaging, or likely to be disputed. However, it's pretty clear somewhere else in the BLP policy that anything that is removed is contentious by definition and can't be added back without a source. Ivanvector (talk) 19:40, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
User:GiantSnowman and User:FreeRangeFrog, your interpretation of WP:V and WP:BLP is way off here. The only proper way to interpret them is to apply it one a case-by-case basis when you have an actual specific concern the material may be incorrect, being somewhat stricter for BLP. Just assuming "unsourced automatically implies contentious" site-wide is a heinous oversimplification that would dramatically shorten and simplify those documents and ignore all the nuance contained within them. (It would also eviscerate the Wikipedia if actually enforced.) So, no, I do not support GiantSnowman's proposed wording and recommend both of you reread WP:BLP, especially GiantSnowman. You've missed the forest for the trees. Jason Quinn (talk) 02:17, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Agree with changing "Remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material" to "Remove contentious material that is unsourced or poorly sourced". However, I disagree with GiantSnowman's proposal to change it instead to "Remove [all] material that is unsourced or poorly sourced". Such a change would be a very destructive invitation to widespread, endless edit-warring over trivialities. As Flyer22 says, the existing tools for dealing with sourcing issues for non-contentious material in BLPs are more than adequate. Dezastru (talk) 19:38, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
"I can NOT emphasize this enough. There seems to be a terrible bias among some editors that some sort of random speculative 'I heard it somewhere' pseudo information is to be tagged with a 'needs a cite' tag. Wrong. It should be removed, aggressively, unless it can be sourced. This is true of all information, but it is particularly true of negative information about living persons" - Jimmy Wales.""Zero information is preferred to misleading or false information"". WikiEN-l electronic mailing list archive. 16 May 2006.  GiantSnowman 19:53, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Context is important here. "Random speculative pseudo" information is contentious material, as is negative information (in many instances). There is no disagreement about removing contentious material. The disagreement is over whether non-contentious material should also be removed. Dezastru (talk) 20:12, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Well I view almost all unreferenced material as contentious, and pretty much remove on sight. GiantSnowman 20:39, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Even in the case of non-WP:BLPs? If so, in some cases, you'd be removing massive chunks of an article...chunks that are often easily verifiable. Whether WP:BLPs or non-WP:BLPS, such removal is not what we are generally supposed to do; this is per WP:Burden and WP:Preserve, both policies. Do I often revert recently-added unsourced material, such as when I'm using WP:STiki or WP:Huggle to revert vandalism or other unconstructive edits? Yes. But I don't seek out unsourced material to remove and I won't remove unsourced material from an article that was already in the article...unless it most certainly should be removed or I'm cleaning up the article (which sometimes includes adding reliable sources). Flyer22 (talk) 20:49, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
Randomly picking an article from my watchlist, Steven Spielberg has this unsourced sentence: "Once again teaming up with Lucas and Ford, Spielberg also cast actor Sean Connery in a supporting role as Indy's father." Could it use a source? Sure. Is it contentious and should it be removed on sight? No. --NeilN talk to me 21:15, 11 February 2014 (UTC)
If you are "removing [almost all unreferenced material] on sight", User:GiantSnowman, please stop. This is the kind of aggressive reversion that is giving the Wikipedia a bad name, alienating new editors, and preventing the organic growth of articles. Jason Quinn (talk) 02:17, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The issue is that we do NOT know and cannot tell what is NOT contentious. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 03:06, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The Red Pen of Doom, surely you don't believe that it's contentious to say "Leonardo DiCaprio starred in Titanic." Or "Leonardo DiCaprio has worked with Martin Scorsese on multiple films." That latter bit is even in the lead of the Martin Scorsese article without a source; though the lead, per WP:Lead, does not need citations in that case, I don't think that bit is WP:Lead material (I'll have to scroll down the article and check). Flyer22 (talk) 03:44, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
We can use our judgment and common sense. --NeilN talk to me 03:52, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Anyone who has spent any time on the BLP notice board has seen things that anyone would consider completely innocuous in fact be at the center of huge contentions. If your position is that there are things we can obviously tell that are not contentious, you are flat out wrong. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 04:07, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Imagine the above statement re Spielberg if instead of Sean Connery it had said Roger Moore or Pierce Brosnan. For those that know the subject this is obviously wrong. For those that don't it doesn't seem contentious. By not demanding a reliable reference this permits the adding, by mistake or vandalism, of all sorts of things which could be right, are not referenced and should be removed. If it's worth adding, it is worth providing a source. If it does not have one it should be removed.--Egghead06 (talk) 04:29, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
TRPoD (and others), you're right that we can't always predict what's going to result in debate, but that's beyond the purpose of the proposed change here - it's just grammar. Reverting every change that isn't backed up by a source for the sole reason that it isn't backed up by a source is disrupting to make a point and not in the spirit of BLP or Wikipedia in general. There are things that we can reasonably assume are not going to be contentious, but if someone does revert, there's effectively a 1RR rule that covers all BLPs. Ivanvector (talk) 05:01, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
And this is where common sense comes in. If you think a seemingly non-contentious statement is wrong or iffy, request a source. Otherwise, I challenge you to spend a day removing existing unsourced content like the example I provided above from BLPs and see how far you get before being warned or blocked for disruption. --NeilN talk to me 05:11, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
I'll just end my input on these matters (or try to end it) by stating that while I understand where TheRedPenOfDoom is coming from, I disagree with him that "If your position is that there are things we can obviously tell that are not contentious, you are flat out wrong." There is nothing contentious about the "Are these contentious?" examples I provided above, if we are using the true meanings of the word contentious. But then again, seeing as we are in a bit of a debate about it, the "causing or likely to cause an argument" aspect of contentious is ringing true at the moment. Flyer22 (talk) 05:14, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Agree with Dezastru for reasons stated. Our system, if it is used, is designed to handle common sense - and disagreements about common sense - with grace. NewsAndEventsGuy (talk) 11:03, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
@Jason Quinn:, please don't tell me how to edit. My attitude to BLP is exactly how every other editor's should be as well. By saying "don't remove unsourced information about BLPs" you show zero knowledge of how BLP policy, both on paper and in practice, works. GiantSnowman 12:45, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Editors should be free to remove unsourced material from BLPs, and should probably be encouraged to remove poorly sourced material. As it's been pointed out, if you aren't familiar with the subject you may not know what is contentious, and what seems uncontentious at a quick glance may turn out to be very contentious. I certainly think that if we don't remove 'contentious' we should add 'dubious'. Dougweller (talk) 13:30, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
"Remove contentious or dubious material that is unsourced or poorly sourced." is good. And GiantSnowman, that's not how BLP works in practice. If it was, the sentence I alluded to above (and others) in Spielberg would have been removed by now. --NeilN talk to me 13:49, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
What a piss-poor argument - WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS, as you well know. Just because there is unsourced information on articles does not give an excuse for unsourced information on all articles. If that was the case how the hell would we ever achieve anything here?! GiantSnowman 13:52, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
  • If a statement is not sourced anywhere in the article, then, since we're talking about BLPs, it shouldn't be there. The potentially grey area comes if it is sourced in the article, but not directly (at which point the best solution is just to directly ref it, obviously) Lukeno94 (tell Luke off here) 13:59, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
@GiantSnowman: By doing things as we've done ever since WP:BLP became policy? Taking out the obvious and iffy violations, making sure that new content is adequately referenced, and gradually improving existing content. --NeilN talk to me 14:05, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
And how do we identify "obvious and iffy violations"? I remember a famous case where someone changed the name of Russell Brand's mother on his article; nobody noticed or questioned it, and journalists subsequently used the Wikipedia article as a source when talking about Brand's family. See also Wikipedia:List of hoaxes on Wikipedia, which includes many fake BLP articles which went un-noticed for years and years. I shudder to think what other false information remains undiscovered. GiantSnowman 16:19, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
And stuff can appear to be sourced even when it's not. Anybody can type in a ghost reference, just like a lot of less experienced people can and do add accurate and verifiable information without being able to figure out how to write a citation.
BLP doesn't invalidate WP:PRESERVE. If, to the best of your personal knowledge and ability, an unsourced (or undersourced) good-faith contribution does not seem to you to be a likely source of contention, then you personally should not blank it. BLP does not authorize an assumption that every single sentence is contentious and therefore blanking every single sentence that isn't followed by a little blue number. Instead, whenever you encounter plausible but unsourced material, you personally should try to PRESERVE it. If the material actually is contentious/dubious/unverifiable/etc., then someone who knows that it's problematic will deal with it. We don't blank apparently acceptable material based on unsupported speculation that it might possibly be contentious.
Let me give you a real example: a BLP contained a birthdate. In this instance, the birthdate was especially relevant (a "youngest person" world record, since broken several times), and slightly wrong. The subject of the BLP corrected it. The correction was promptly reverted to the erroneous date because the accurate date wasn't sourced.
Is that good? No. Does that actually comply with our policies? No. Is it appropriate to blank that highly relevant information? No. What should have been done? Someone should have stopped reverting and blanking and spent ten minutes finding an adequate source. That is, somebody should have followed our policy to PRESERVE good information about BLPs instead of taking the lazy, destructive, blank-em-all approach. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:10, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Note: I queried WhatamIdoing about weighing in on this matter. Thanks for weighing in, WhatamIdoing. Flyer22 (talk) 17:25, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
User:WhatamIdoing has the right idea. User:GiantSnowman, you ought to carefully re-read WP:V and WP:BLP. Your interpretation is wrong. You are confusing a policy of "verifiability" with a policy of "verified". Jason Quinn (talk) 19:48, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
WP:BURDEN - the burden is on those introducing the material to adequately source it. If they don't, then it gets removed, simple as. WP:PRESERVE doesn't really matter; it's more important to have a smaller but better/stronger encyclopedia. GiantSnowman 19:53, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
The WMF resolution on Biographies of living people [33] is of direct relevence here - it makes clear "the editing community's responsibility to ensure articles about living people are neutrally-written, accurate and well-sourced". Well sourced isn't an optional extra as far as BLP-related content is concerned. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:02, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
Well sourced is not the same as completely sourced. Good link though. Jason Quinn (talk) 02:42, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
GiantSnowman, since no one has mentioned it yet, keep in mind that WP:BURDEN endorses WP:PRESERVE; for example, it states, "If you think the material is verifiable, try to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it." I pretty much mentioned this near the beginning of this discussion. But WP:PRESERVE, a policy that is an aspect of the WP:BURDEN policy, does not matter?
All that stated, last year I argued against the current way that WP:BURDEN mentions WP:PRESERVE; see Wikipedia talk:Verifiability/Archive 61#The "provide an inline citation yourself" wording should be changed back to the original wording. I still feel that it shouldn't be anyone else's job to source another editor's addition, but I obviously disagree with the "remove all unsourced material from WP:BLPs" (or from any Wikipedia article) view above. And I don't feel the need to reiterate that disagreement in detail. Flyer22 (talk) 21:17, 12 February 2014 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, Snowman, let's read that policy: "If you think the material is verifiable, try to provide an inline citation yourself before considering whether to remove or tag it." BURDEN directly tells you that you should try to PRESERVE material that you personally believe is appropriate, verifiable, and encyclopedic instead of simply blanking it. This is not a game of Mother, May I?. The community does not want you to destroy good content merely because someone didn't jump through a hoop labeled "inline citation" before you saw the sentence. WhatamIdoing (talk) 21:22, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────It may be instructive to take a look back at how the current language in the policy statement has evolved:
16 May 2006 - SlimVirgin added the following line[34] to the lede:
"All unsourced negative material about living persons should be removed immediately from both the article and the talk page" – with an apparent citation of Jimbo's mailing-list statement of the same date about zero information being better than misleading or false information (GiantSnowman quoted that Jimbo statement above in this discussion).

17 May 2006 - SlimVirgin added[35] "or poorly sourced":
"All unsourced or poorly sourced negative material about living persons should be removed immediately from both the article and the talk page." (some Talk page discussion at the time at [36])

4 October 2006 - David Gerard changed[37] "negative" to "controversial":
"Unsourced or poorly sourced negative controversial material about living persons should be removed immediately from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, and user pages. Some Talk page discussion at the time.[38]

6 October 2006 - Jossi changed[39] the word "negative" to "controversial":
"Unsourced or poorly sourced negative controversial material about living persons should be removed immediately from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, and user pages."[40]

24 February 2007 - SlimVirgin changed[41] the word "controversial" to "contentious":
"Unsourced or poorly sourced controversial contentious material — whether negative, positive, or just highly questionable — about living persons should be removed immediately from Wikipedia articles, talk pages, and user pages."

4 March 2007 - there is a brief discussion on the Talk page in which several discussants essentially say that the word contentious is there to keep editors from immediately removing all unsourced statements even when the statements are not negative/self-serving/dubious. WAS wrote,[42] "One needs to make some kind of reasonable argument for it being contentious - such as it is negative or self serving or you don't believe it or it seems unlikely. If others accept it as a reasonable argument then no problem. The problem is we had one person insist that every unsourced claim was contentious and the point is use reasonable judgement on a claim by claim basis or at least on an article by article basis as when stubbing a whole article due to some article-wide concern."

Given this history, I think it would be helpful to get some input from SlimVirgin, at least. (Looks like Jossi was blocked and WAS has not been active in several years. I don't know whether either of them posts under a different user name now.) Dezastru (talk) 00:35, 13 February 2014 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for the ping. The policy says: "All quotations and any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be explicitly attributed to a reliable, published source ..." and over and above that anything contentious that's unsourced or poorly sourced should be removed immediately from BLPs; "contentious" is used here to mean anything even slightly iffy, good or bad.
But there are unsourced BLP claims that are harmless, e.g. things we all know to be true, X wrote this book, or things that the subject tells us are true, so long as we have no reason to disbelief them (e.g. her date of birth where nothing hangs on it). I wouldn't want to see this changed to "remove all unsourced or poorly sourced," though obviously having unsourced or poorly sourced material in a BLP is not ideal, and most of the time it might be best to remove it. But enshrining that in policy will mean that people will remove material that's perfectly fine. SlimVirgin (talk) 00:48, 13 February 2014 (UTC)
FWIW, I concur with SlimVirgin on this - David Gerard (talk) 22:40, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

I am going to go ahead and change the heading to my originally proposed wording. Nobody has suggested that my proposed wording is worse than the current wording, and some have agreed it is better. As my change preserves the current meaning, it should be non-controversial. The only debate here was over a proposed wording that would change the current meaning and does not seem like it would garner support. Jason Quinn (talk) 03:07, 16 February 2014 (UTC)

BLPCRIME violations through reliable source titles

I have boldly added a new footnote to BLPCRIME which says that the titles of articles used as citations may violate BLPCRIME if the title were used directly in an article. In doing dispute resolution work, I've come across instances where an POV editor cannot get a crime accusation into an article due to BLPCRIME, but then picks some useful piece of information which is not in the article which can be established through an indisputably-reliable source which has a title something like, "Bill Brasky arrested in company of prostitute" and uses that source to establish that information so the title will show up in the citation list. It's sometimes the case that the fact simply cannot be established through some other source. This addition makes it clear that the source can be used, but the title cannot. What does everyone think? Rule creep? Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 16:08, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Aaannd ... it's been reverted. (Fully expected, that's the reason I included a diff, above; the BRD cycle is pretty short at these fundamental policies. No offense taken.) Discussion, anyone? — TransporterMan (TALK) 17:42, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
If the piece(s) of useful information that are in the source are so significant that they should be included in the article, won't there be alternative sources that also include that information? (WP:BLPSOURCES) Presumably, at least one of those alternative sources won't have the same title problem and could be used without needing to censor the title. Wikipedia shouldn't be in the business of sanitizing titles. Either sources meet Wikipedia standards and can be used without modification, or they do not and should not be used.
Also, is the intent behind WP:BLPCRIME to even keep problematic titles out of the reference list? The policy statement has been "For people who are relatively unknown, editors must give serious consideration to not including material in any article suggesting that the person has committed, or is accused of committing, a crime unless a conviction is secured." It doesn't say that the material can never be used. If the consensus is in fact that such material can never appear anywhere in an article covered by BLP protections, even if the only appearance would be as a title in the reference list, then shouldn't that line about 'giving serious consideration to not including' problematic material in any article be revised or removed, so as to avoid any misunderstanding? Dezastru (talk) 18:00, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Despite the unimperative language, BLPCRIME has applied that language as policy, not as a guideline masquerading as a policy.--Bbb23 (talk) 18:06, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
(ec) My experience is that BLPCRIME is generally enforced as a prohibition, not a suggestion, with the only slack being the issue of whether the person is nor is not a public figure, but others' experiences may vary. If that's the way it's going to be enforced, then the possibility of harm to living persons is high enough as to require a modification of sourcing practices. Bear in mind that we don't have strict rules about citation form and editors are currently free to describe sources pretty much as they see fit, so it's not a deviation from a strict sourcing rule to simply say that the title should be omitted or modified. I do agree that it ought to say more than that, to go on to say that the title ought to be still sufficient to find the citation and not be misleading, but that's a bit too much verbiage. While I don't mind the rule saying that a different citation for the information ought to be used if it is available, thus avoiding even linking to the article with the questionable title even if the title isn't used here, once again that's increasing the verbiage, since the rule ought to then go on and say what I've said already, but I'm not in favor of excluding an otherwise-reliable source altogether just because it has a title which ought not be used here. Regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 18:27, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

"People" vs. "Persons"

I always wondered whether or not is would be correct to call the article Biographies of living people as opposed to Biographies of living persons. I've read dozens of articles in the papers and on the web and rarely do the writers use "persons" as a plural. I've been somewhat inclined to propose a move, but a discussion should suffice for now. As I approach my first full year as an active editor, I've come to understand the value of establishing consensus. NintendoFan (Talk, Contribs) 13:01, 15 February 2014 (UTC)

If we are to consider a move, I'd have to suggest that we would be better off dropping the 'biographies' in the title - it is misleading, in that the policy doesn't only apply to biographies, but to anything relating to living persons/people, anywhere on Wikipedia. Frankly though, I'm not sure that a long-winded debate about this (which experience suggest might very well occur) would be worth the effort. This isn't an 'article', it is an internal Wikipedia policy document, and as such not of significance to ordinary readers. Fix the articles first, and when they're done, we can sort out internal matters ;) AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:17, 15 February 2014 (UTC)
I've always understood that "persons" is the formal plural of person (i.e. an individual) whereas "people" may have other meanings, such as referring to a nationality or culture, possibly in a derogatory sense. It's also possible it's WP:ENGVAR and that either meaning is acceptable, and in that sense I'd oppose the move on the basis that it's fine as it is. Ivanvector (talk) 19:35, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

Larry Norman Controversies & Rebuttals -- Fairness/Balance Requirements

See the current RSN article pertaining to this matter: Wikipedia:Reliable sources/ and

Currently portions the article do not demonstrate fairness and/or balance. There are a number of one-sided criticisms made about the subject of the article, with no rebuttals. A consensus was reached to reorganize these criticisms into a "controversies" section with the addition of rebuttals. The subject is currently deceased, but there is no BDP counterpart to this BLP board. The sources, (the original version of which has been archived at two separate locations as cited below in the list of sources), and its replacement, (which the original URL now redirects to), are disputed by another editor, but where do the policies/duty of fairness & balance apply? Fairness & Balance are clearly currently not met. Does WP:BLP#Using the subject as a self-published source not permit the usage of one or both of the questioned sites? Relevant sources: Identifies Allen Flemming as "Larry Norman biographer Allen Flemming", and has some articles on site published by Mr. Flemming himself. redirects to the new site Failed Angle facebook page, which is linked to both versions of the aforementioned website. An interview with Larry's brother Charles, in which Charles talks about the Failed Angle site as well as Allen Flemming.
In the interview Charles states that the original Failed Angle site used the same HTML template as the official website. He also states that he supplied Allen Flemming with the information found on the Failed Angle site and also "worked on the site with Flemming." You can see this here:
An archived copy of the original :
Archive of the site via Wayback Machine:

Further input & clarification of policy will be welcome and appreciated. Startropic1 (talk) 21:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

"The subject is currently deceased, but there is no BDP counterpart to this BLP board". Since it seems reasonable to assume that the subject will remain deceased, there is no obvious reason why should be discussed here. Please see WP:FORUMSHOP. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:33, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Also see the section two divisions above this one, RfC: Official Responses / Rebuttals, which it seems is a genericized version of this exact discussion (another editor alluded to it). I'm assuming you just missed it, but you should comment there and not open a new discussion. Ivanvector (talk) 21:46, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
RE: the subject is deceased: As I already mentioned, and you quoted, there is currently no place to discuss biographies of deceased persons, so where do you suggest we take this discussion??
RE:the section two divisions above this one: It was requested in that section that THIS section be created. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears, but the author of that section and myself trying to keep the two matters separate.Startropic1 (talk) 21:48, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Since we have no specific policy concerning biographies of deceased persons, I think it can safely be assumed that such articles are covered by the same policies as apply to other non-BLP articles. As for the section above, I can see nothing in it that looks like a request to start a thread here concerning an article on a dead person - and even if there was, it wouldn't be appropriate. AndyTheGrump (talk) 22:02, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Since this page (and all other policy pages) are for discussing the policy, not for specific issues regarding specific pages, the discussion should be happening on the article's talk page. And in fact it is. There was no need to create this section. Ivanvector (talk) 22:40, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
RE:AndyTheGrump: Since you couldn't find it, let me quote for you: "Start a new section regarding the specific content dispute and we can offer our thoughts on how BLP applies to that situation. Gigs (talk) 20:12, 18 February 2014 (UTC)"
Wouldn't it make more sense to discuss BDP with BLP and not with non-BLP. A biography is a biography, we're still talking about a person. So I ask again, where would the appropriate place be to discuss this if not here? Startropic1 (talk) 22:49, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
This page is to discuss the policy and not a particular application. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:53, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
So for the third time I ask, what would be the correct page for this discussion as requested by AndyTheGrump? Startropic1 (talk) 22:57, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
WP:RSN, and it's being discussed there: and Walter Görlitz (talk) 23:01, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. There is an ongoing discussion at WP:RSN. Discuss it there. This noticeboard is of no relevence. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:05, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Startropic, BDP is a subsection of BLP which simply says that BLP policy extends to persons recently deceased. Hypothetically, if you had an issue with an article about a recently deceased person falling under BDP, you could try the BLP noticeboard. However, the person in question here is not recently deceased, he has been deceased for some time. BDP says "2 years at the outside" and it's been 6 years now. The appropriate place to discuss an issue with the article would be the article's talk page. However, since your question seems to be about the reliability of particular sources, the appropriate place for your question is WP:RSN as myself and other users have said, and it's already being discussed there. Does that make sense? Ivanvector (talk) 15:53, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

Startropic1, my suggestion to start a new section about BLP application should not be taken as license to discuss unrelated matters here. You've gotten the application answer, BLP does not apply to long-dead people. That's pretty much the end of the conversation as far as this page is concerned. Gigs (talk) 17:29, 21 February 2014 (UTC)

BLPGOSSIP addition

It might be useful to add something like the following sentence on the end of BLPGOSSIP: "Likewise, sources that merely relay claims without (a reputation for) independent fact checking or analysis do not add to the credibility of a claim". I am unsure whether we need "a reputation for" in there or not. Without it, it may be hard to establish whether fact checking actually occurred or not on a particular repeated claim. Gigs (talk) 20:53, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


Where an original source would fail to be allowed by this policy, a mere copying of the source by another without making any further exposition of the claim does not strengthen the source.

Or thereabouts? Collect (talk) 21:13, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

WP:CREEP? is that often actually an issue? generally when it is pointed out that the normally reliable sources are mere stating what appeared in unreliable sources people drop it. (and those that don't, wouldnt be influenced by a mere sentence in a policy page) -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 22:57, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I think it's in the spirit of that section. This sort of "reprinted dubious claim lending credibility" effect should be familiar to you from your work on List of unusual deaths. Not often BLP in that case, for obvious reasons. Gigs (talk) 21:58, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I would that it were not needed, but I have run into precisely this sort of thing where an absolutely non-RS blogger gets "quoted" by a possibly RS source and an editor wishes to include the dubious claim on the basis that if anyone repeats it (even making clear that it is from a blogger) it gains the official RS cachet. Collect (talk) 23:36, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, it's one of those things that seems like common sense but seems to come up far too often. Regarding your proposed replacement wording, it seems good, except I'm not sure that it should say "source fail to be allowed", something more like "source insufficient for the given claim". I think the "whole source is reliable or whole source is unreliable" mindset is part of what can lead to this exact effect. The reliability of any given source is contextual and based on the claim in question. Gigs (talk) 17:13, 20 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I think it's important to recognize that this wording potentially conflicts with the existing policy. Specifically, WP:WELLKNOWN states that allegations against public figures are notable if documented by reliable sources. If we incorporate the proposed wording, I foresee many unproductive arguments about whether reliable sources have "analyzed" or merely "relayed" an allegation. The proposed wording is also redundant; WP:BLPGOSSIP essentially covers this already: 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 a disinterested article about the subject. MastCell Talk 20:11, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

Apparently I need a talk page consensus... which we agree that Wikipedia policies only apply to Wikipedia. [43] Would those of you who object to my edit please give your reasons? Thanks—S Marshall T/C 17:24, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

This would seem to relate to the above discussion. DonIago (talk) 17:36, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I wouldn't object to it, but I don't see the point either. It is already obvious that BLP applies only to Wikipedia. Your change isn't problematic so much as it is redundant. Resolute 17:54, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
I agree, it's redundant. What else beyond Wikipedia would Wikipedia's policies apply to that we need to specify that Wikipedia's policies only apply to Wikipedia? Ivanvector (talk) 18:14, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Looking at this a bit more closely, I may have misread the edit, especially in light of the ongoing conversation above. Apologies if that's the case. I don't really care about the text "on Wikipedia". DonIago (talk) 20:04, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Thanks all, I've now made the policy marginally more concise.—S Marshall T/C 21:36, 25 February 2014 (UTC)
Oops, it looks like it was me that added the "on Wikipedia" text back when I was restoring an earlier version. I didn't mean to; clearly I'm arguing against it being there. Thanks all. Ivanvector (talk) 21:44, 25 February 2014 (UTC)

RfC: Official Responses / Rebuttals

Assume for the sake of argument that we have material in a biography that mentions criticism of a living person. Further assume that the material meets all our requirements for notability, NPOV, weight, etc. In this scenario, we are reporting that the criticism exists, not saying that it is true or false.

Now assume that the person self-publishes a response/rebuttal that is not, in itself, particularly notable or a reliable source, but we do know that the living person published it and stands by it, not some third party. Do we mention and/or link to the response/rebuttal? --Guy Macon (talk) 03:52, 18 February 2014 (UTC)


Question One: Do we mention and/or link to the response/rebuttal? (Please sign with ~~~)

  • Include. important for fairness/balance and avoiding POV. --Startropic1 (talk) 04:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Exclude Only RSes should be included in any Wikipedia article. Self-published sources to defend accusations made by others are easily tainted and counter-claims should only be supported by WP:SECONDARY sources. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:33, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include. I think that we have an obligation to bend over backwards to be fair to living persons, as long as the response published by Wikipedia does not itself make claims against third parties. Coretheapple (talk) 06:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include. CJ (talk) 12:39, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include if not otherwise problematic (as noted in objections above) - David Gerard (talk) 15:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include and death does not end our obligation for balance in any article. Collect (talk) 17:22, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include; that is, indeed, part of the point of WP:BLP#Using the subject as a self-published source, to make sure people have that opportunity to rebut, so long as they don't use it to make claims about others that are BLP violations. SlimVirgin (talk) 17:46, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • include, but focus on the claims that they have some authority to make.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 17:55, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include per WP:BLPSPS if it complies with the using the subject as a self-published source criteria. The LP's response to notable criticism is inherently notable, and we have a duty to include it for WP:BALANCE, as long as the published response isn't problematic in some other way. Also note re: criteria #1 that the LP's response is bound to be self-serving, but not necessarily unduly so. Of course it's preferable to use a secondary source if one is available. Ivanvector (talk) 18:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include, per Ivanvector - though this shouldn't be used an an excuse to include anything beyond a direct rebuttal. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include per Ivanvector and SlimVirgin. Collect is also correct that we should strive for accurate summarization and the neutral point of view in all articles, not just BLPs. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 04:10, 28 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include A person group or organization is reliable for his/its own opinion, provided the opinion is from a verifiable sourced (e.g. the offical business page of said person or organization (, or If a controversial subject regarding a person is notable, and that person is notable, then that person's response to such controversial subject is likely notable, even if a minority opinion.Gsonnenf (talk) 16:27, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Question Two: If it is an organization, group, family of a deceased person, or some other entity capable of publishing an official response, do we mention and/or link to the response/rebuttal? (Please sign with ~~~)

  • Include. important for fairness/balance and avoiding POV. --Startropic1 (talk) 04:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Exclude Only RSes should be included in any Wikipedia article. Self-published sources to defend accusations made by others are easily tainted and counter-claims should only be supported by WP:SECONDARY sources. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:33, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include as long claims are not made against third parties. Coretheapple (talk) 06:21, 18 February 2014 (UTC) I was too hasty. Exclude per WP:BLPSPS Coretheapple (talk) 21:57, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include. CJ (talk) 12:39, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Exclude in the case of the deceased, unless noteworthy in itself - BLP is to avoid harming a living subject - David Gerard (talk) 15:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include and death does not end our obligation for balance in any article. Collect (talk) 17:22, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Exclude probably, though I would need an example, but WP:BLPSPS would apply. I'm not clear about the point of this RfC; is it an attempt to change policy or ask for clarification of a particular part of the policy? SlimVirgin (talk) 17:50, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • include as long as the claims reasonably made and not about 3rd parties.--Obi-Wan Kenobi (talk) 17:55, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Exclude per WP:BLPSPS which very specifically only allows the use of self-published sources if they are published by the living person. It does not provide an exception for groups related to the living (or recently deceased, see WP:BDP) person. If the person is deceased long enough that it falls out of BDP, and there are no secondary sources, the response is not notable. Ivanvector (talk) 18:17, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Exclude per Ivanvector. Not that WP:BLP policy is even relevant in the first place. AndyTheGrump (talk) 23:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Include-Conditional - If an organization has power of attorney, right of publicity, or otherwise legal authority to represent that individual or public figure, there statement is notable as they are legally allowed to speak on behalf of said person or public figure.Gsonnenf (talk) 16:27, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Threaded discussion

(Please sign with ~~~) Inclusion would maintain balance. If an individual is going to be criticized, the article would be incomplete and be presented as POV without any sort of rebuttal from either the individual, or the individual's estate/family in the event that the individual is deceased or otherwise unable to form a rebuttal themselves. How often is an individual able to give rebuttal through a 3rd party/reliable source as defined by current Wikipedia policies? Startropic1 (talk) 04:34, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

The specific case is in relationship to the Larry Norman article. The underlying problem is that the subject was known as having a "penchant for revisionist history" (The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music p. 638). In other words, once facts were known, the subject would write material to contradict those sources even if that source was himself. We have emails from the subject claiming paternity of a specific child and then later other emails that deny paternity of that child. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
Also, there is a specific RSN discussion about the site(s) at the centre of this "hypothetical" discussion: Wikipedia:Reliable sources/ and Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:33, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
That's one specific case. I have seen this issue crop up several times over the years, which is why I asked for an answer to the larger question. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:05, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
RE: "penchant for revisionist history" : more claims that require rebuttal. In any case this is not the place to discuss the article's subject. Please remove that conjecture from this talk page, it can be discussed on the subject's talk page. Startropic1 (talk) 18:05, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment (confused) – If I understand what you're getting at, I don't think the response choices have been phrased optimally. Let me try to rephrase the question: Current policy is that rebuttals to criticism in BLPs are generally only included if the rebuttals themselves are treated by reliable third-party sources as being noteworthy. You're now asking whether the policy should be changed to make inclusion of the BLP subject's rebuttal (or his/her representative's rebuttal), where available, mandatory regardless of whether third-party sources have treated the rebuttal as being noteworthy. (In other words, the viewpoint of the subject of criticism should be defined as being of equal weight to the criticism, in terms of WP:BALANCE. So if the criticism was noteworthy enough to merit inclusion in the article in the first place, a rebuttal must be included for the treatment of the matter to be balanced.) Is this correct? Dezastru (talk) 05:43, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
You've got it exactly right. The RfC wants an across-the-board acceptance of any subject's rebuttal. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:58, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
No it doesn't. Please don't stuff words in my mouth. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:05, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
But that's exactly what you wrote. If it's not what you wrote, then clarify it. The question is not a suggested revised policy but just that: a question for you to clarify. Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:29, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
You could learn a lesson on how to interact with others from Dezastru above. Reading that comment, I thought, "Hmmm. Dezastru didn't understand what I was getting at. I must have been unclear." Reading your comments I thought "Walter Görlitz is insisting that his wildly inaccurate paraphrase was 'exactly what I wrote'." Guess which comment makes me think that further discussion is likely to be productive.? --Guy Macon (talk) 20:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • [EC] Dezastru, I suggest that we start with the policy that you paraphrase above. Where is the policy so we can look at the actual wording? Also, I am not asking about equal weight. I am really asking whether a response with no third party mention should be included at all. It could very well be that after we apply WP:BALANCE we end up with a page that contains a lengthy criticism section and a simple link to an official rebuttal (Include) or no mention at all of any rebuttal (Exclude). --Guy Macon (talk) 06:05, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I looked at several policy pages and could not find anything directly supporting the claim that "Current policy is that rebuttals to criticism in BLPs are generally only included if the rebuttals themselves are treated by reliable third-party sources as being noteworthy." There are some policies that could very easily be read to imply that, but I cannot get any farther unless I know which specific part of which specific policy to focus on. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Let me clarify. I was not stating that there is such a policy. I was saying that it seemed that the notion that that is current policy was being implied by the RfC question. I was asking for a confirmation of whether that was a correct understanding of the RfC question. Dezastru (talk) 17:21, 19 February 2014 (UTC)

This discussion is also completely misplaced here as the subject, Larry Norman, is not a living person in the classical sense of the word having died February 24, 2008. While I realize that I am not a RS, I attended his funeral, but there are other RSes at the article. So to answer Coretheapple, this case is not about a living person, and the claims are against living persons: a subject claimed to be an illegitimate son and also musicians who had associations with the subject. Walter Görlitz (talk) 06:29, 18 February 2014 (UTC)

I am only responding to the hypothetical. Coretheapple (talk) 06:40, 18 February 2014 (UTC) After viewing the subsequent discussion, I agree with Gigs that the hypothetical was not well drawn and that this RfC should be closed. Coretheapple (talk) 22:01, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Note that Walter Görlitz's opinions about what the topic of this RfC is bear no resemblance to the actual questions I asked, the first of which specifically concerns people who are still alive and able to write their own response/rebuttal, and thus cannot be applied to someone who died in 2008. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, that's called "front loading" in cognitive psychology. You are asking one leading question that everyone can agree with, and then your real, related, question second. It's a heavily biasing tactic that deserves a trout for attempting to pass this off as some kind of neutrally written RfC. Gigs (talk) 20:15, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
No it's called assuming one's intent based on the comments of a third party. Stop taking the comments of one Walter Gorlitz as absolute fact. Neither he nor you know what is going on in Guy Macon's head. Now let's be done with these personal attacks and inferring intents shall we? Startropic1 (talk) 20:46, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Comment (also confused): Guy, is this question asking for opinions concerning proper application of existing policy, or is it asking for opinions with a view towards a change or modification of policy? In other words, does the question go to the way things are or to the way that they should be? (A third possibility, of course, is that you're asking about application of current policy with a thought that if the answer comes back in a particular way, or if there is no clear answer, then we'll move on to the question of whether that's the way it should be.) Best regards, TransporterMan (TALK) 14:13, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • Excellent question. I am asking opinions concerning proper application of existing policy. In general, I am quite reluctant to suggest changing any policy without as a bare minimum crawling through the history and understanding why we came up with such a policy. And of course I would also need to quote the exact policy I am talking about and figure out the the specific changes to suggest. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:10, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • This RfC should be withdrawn or closed early. The questions are not framed in a way conducive for general policy development (too synthetic and too specific), and its close association with a specific content dispute taints the entire thing. Start a new section regarding the specific content dispute and we can offer our thoughts on how BLP applies to that situation. Gigs (talk) 20:12, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • I agree with Gigs. Guy, the parts of policy that refer to these situations are WP:BLPSPS (no self-published sources in BLPs), unless written by the subject (WP:BLPSELFPUB). SlimVirgin (talk) 20:14, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
  • In what way is a question about living persons (my first question) specific to a content dispute about someone who has been dead for six years? Please don't confuse what you think I should have asked or what one individual with an axe to grind claims I am "really asking" with what I actually did ask.
If you want an RfC asking a different question, feel free to post it yourself. I wanted answers to the two specific questions I wrote, and the answers are clear so far.
Question one = overwhelming support (unanimous except for one individual who appears to be answering a completely different question).
Question two = about 50:50, and the arguments are such that I am very likely to change my prior position and support exclusion. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:32, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Well, I guess if you are open minded about using this to resolve the content dispute, it isn't a total waste. I don't see anything here that's relevant to a policy change though. Gigs (talk) 20:36, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
I don't want to change any policy. I want to clarify the application of existing policy. --Guy Macon (talk) 20:39, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
You want to use a BLP policy to help to apply it to a deceased person. Walter Görlitz (talk) 22:53, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Yes. Can we propose a new rule: The BLP policy does not apply to dead people. - David Gerard (talk) 23:04, 18 February 2014 (UTC)
Wikipedia:Sarcasm is really helpful. I got it, but others may not. Walter Görlitz (talk) 00:15, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I encourage the reader to read my actual words and to ignore any comments by Walter Görlitz telling you what I said, what I want, or what I mean. Rather than addressing every new attempt to stuff words in my mouth, I will simply state that so far he has been dead wrong every time.--Guy Macon (talk) 01:45, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I'm sorry you feel that way Guy. I am not trying to put words into your mouth. For the record, most of the responses seem to agree with my interpretation of things though. Walter Görlitz (talk) 02:10, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
I seriously think we need to make it an actual rule saying that BLP does not apply to dead people - there are people who keep pushing it to apply to them - David Gerard (talk) 14:46, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
WP:BDP already says that: "this policy does not apply to material concerning people who are confirmed dead by reliable sources" along with a rule about when a person can be presumed dead based on their age. Ivanvector (talk) 15:27, 19 February 2014 (UTC)
A small note that material on a dead subject's page should still be weighed against whether it's also material about living people. (On one page, a subject was dead and an editor wanted to add that someone said he only married prostitutes. Of course, a wife was presumably both alive and name-findable.)__ E L A Q U E A T E 22:30, 24 February 2014 (UTC)