Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/Archive 39

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Nobody is interested in changing the wording of the policy here. For those starting an RfC on a policy to highlight a dispute about the implementation of that policy, see WP:POINT. Huon (talk) 14:29, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

A discussion at Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons/Noticeboard#Joe_Klein appears to state that a consensus of three editor overrides the requirement of direct self-identification for religious categorization in a BLP, finding indirect statements to be sufficient. In order to accommodate such a consensus, should WP:BLP be amended to state:

Categories regarding ethnicity, religious beliefs or sexual orientation should not be used unless the subject has publicly self-identified directly or indirectly indicated any association with the ethnicity with the, belief or orientation in question, and the subject's ethnicity,beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to their public life or notability, according to reliable published sources. 14:29, 7 February 2015 (UTC)


The issue arose about Joe Klein who has repeatedly been described in his BLP as "Jewish" and having both religion and ethnicity as "Jewish" based on sources which do not directly affirm that he uses the specific label on himself.

The indirect sources used are:

Listen, people can vote whichever way they want, for whatever reason they want. I just don't want to see policy makers who make decisions on the basis of whether American policy will benefit Israel or not. In some cases, you want to provide protection for Israel certainly, but you don't want to go to war with Iran. When Jennifer Rubin or Abe Foxman calls me antisemitic, they're wrong. I am anti-neoconservative. I think these people are following very perversely extremist policies and I really did believe that it was time for mainstream Jews to stand up and say, "They don't represent us, they don't represent Israel


Joe Klein, a centrist columnist for Time magazine (and himself Jewish) wrote that the neocons pushed for the invasion 'to make the world safe for Israel'.
I have now been called antisemitic and intellectually unstable and a whole bunch of other silly things by the folks over at the Commentary blog. They want Time Magazine to fire or silence me. This is happening because I said something that is palpably true, but unspoken in polite society: There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who...Happily, these people represent a very small sliver of the Jewish population in this country...I remain proud of my Jewish heritage, a strong supporter of Israel and a realist about the slim chance of finding some common ground with the Iranians. But I am not willing to grant these ideologues the anonymity they seek. When Extremists Attack

Of which the third is the closest to being an actual source, but only says "Jewish heritage" and a person might have Welsh heritage and not assert that they are "Welsh" , and a person with 1% African-American heritage might not call themselves "African American" as a self-identification. So should we adopt such indirect identification as being sufficient for categorization and description of living persons? (As "Jewish ethnicity" was also asserted, I suggest we well ought now include it here directly) Collect (talk) 14:29, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

  • This is a very odd RfC. If Collect's proposal passes, it wouldn't help Collect achieve the edit he wants to achieve on Joe Klein -- because this person quite sufficiently meets the self-identification and notability provisions of the proposed requirement. So I'm not opposed to it -- but it might help if Collect could clarify his agenda here. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 15:08, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
(ec)(reply to removed post which asserted I should be sanctioned for claiming to have beencalled an "anti-Semite") As I have never said anyone called me anti-Semitic, what is the purpose of your post? I would like you to note that the Time source which MrX provided was sufficient for Jewish ethnicity but not for "Jewish religion" under the current WP:BLP wording, and that I did indeed make the edit at Joe Klein using that source which was finally provided. By that way, your charge that I said someone called me Anti-Semitic is likely sanctionable in itself. Collect (talk) 15:18, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Wow! Your insistence on reviving a deleted post (the history on this thread condemns you), especially considering the edit summary there, reveals a severe attempt to assume bad faith. Just drop it. It was a misunderstanding, and policy requires that you AGF. You had no right to restore the deleted comment. That restoration was a dirty trick and an attempt to pick a fight. -- Brangifer (talk) 20:55, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
I used the state of the page at the time I had the edit conflict and my post already written - I did not then re-un-redact it - but noted why my post was made which might otherwise appear to be from Looney Tunes. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:10, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
All you had to do was to remove the part of your post that responded to a deleted comment. Even after the fact, you decided on a different course. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 21:28, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  • The timing of the RfC aside, Collect doesn't adequately describe the sources, or even list them all. Moreover, he doesn't distinguish between sources serving to support "self-identification" and sources serving to support "notability as such", nor the context including interviews and exchanges of letters in the public realm, etc. This is not a question of ethnicity versus religious affiliation, because no specific distinction was ever made between the two, which would normally indicate both under the circumstances. Conversely, it would not be proper to simply categorize Joe Klein as only ethnically Jewish in this case, as that would be a forced misreading of his statements.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 19:31, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
The RfC is about the policy wording, not about George Gnarph or anyone else as policies deal with all articles. I would hope you could keep personal commentary out of this. Cheers. Collect (talk) 21:12, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
No problem, I've categorized Joe Klein as "ethnically" Jewish, and maybe I should write George Gnarph a letter about the Wikipedia convulsions surrounding his BLP. He might not take kindly to what this project has to say (or not to say) about him.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 21:34, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose any change to existing policy, which is all right as is. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:35, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - This RFC is framed non-neutrally. Robert McClenon (talk) 21:35, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose essentially a weakening of the policy requiring self-identification unambiguously. Collect (talk) 21:37, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Especially for the "indirectly" part. Self-identification is best and best follows the policies laid out in BLP. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 23:36, 7 February 2015 (UTC)

Recommendation to archive

This RfC was started by Collect: [1]. Collect has now voted to "oppose" his own proposal: [2]. Since it seemed that Collect has rescinded his own proposal, I tried to archive the RfC, but Collect has reverted this. I suggest that this action be reviewed by another editor -- I really think the RfC should be archived now. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 09:36, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Oppose The RfC was stated as a question, and I responded to it as I would any RfC after initial comments. The concept that "if the person posing a question answers it after reading a discussion, that therefore the question is dead" is not found in any statement of policy or guideline. In short, it was not my proposal (the aim of which would have been to allow the claim proposed by Ubikwit that Klein is Jewish by religion as an alternative to the current wording) that is at issue - while adding ethnicity to the categories needing some self-identification, which I "rescinded". I "rescinded" nothing at all here. In fact, were I not to weigh the input of others, then I would have been derelict. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:39, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

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

Actually I was going to back whichever position had the better arguments presented in the discussion - which is what one is supposed to do on an RfC. Thus not a "pointy" RfC at all. Cheers. Collect (talk) 15:43, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Ethnicity proven by name?

Do you believe that we should include ethnicity-based categories in a BLP without a source that the person in question is of a specific ancestry? At Chamberlain Oguchi and elsewhere, user:Eruditescholar continues to add and readd two categories that the person is of Igbo ancestry. No source I can find confirms it. Instead, the user insists that having a name that is used in a specific language is enough proof.--TM 23:04, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

There are hundreds if not thousands of articles categorized in this very fashion. The user in question seems to have a history of searching Wikipedia for biographies with Igbo-sounding names and populations dozens of categories based on the below assertion. What can be done? The user continues to readd the categories on BLPs.--TM 12:10, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
If there is no source, then no. Of course it's not appropriate to infer anything using the subject's name. Someone called Yitzhak could be a Buddhist for all we know. §FreeRangeFrogcroak 23:07, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Definitely not appropriate. All information in a BLP must be sourced. Ivanvector (talk) 23:09, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Most of the people of African descent I know have very European surnames (granted, there are some horrible historical circumstances behind most of those cases, but still). One of my former co-workers, solidly Nigerian and proud of it, was married to a WASP (and so his wife had a Nigerian surname). Using a surname to determine ethnicity doesn't necessarily work because of immigration/emigration and intermarriage. Ian.thomson (talk) 23:18, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

@TM Contrary to your assertion, I don't add ethnic categories to BLPs unless I am sure of it and with citations. Names are very important to the Nigerian culture. In the Nigerian culture specifically, only people from a particular ethnic group use the language of ethnicity for their names. In many cases of these BLPs they have multiple names originating from their ethnic group. I usually only cite one of them (either the first name, middle name or last name). In cases where there are no name sources, I use other references citing their ethnicity or descent. This is usually coupled with the fact that they originate from a cultural region in the country belonging to that ethnic group. This might look alien to you if you are not African or more specifically, Nigerian. Being one of the largest ethnic groups in the country, originating from Nigeria gives one approximately a 1/4 chance of having a Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo ethnicity or descent. Verifiability is used to establish veracity of articles on Wikipedia and I have not only categorized and cited BLPs of Nigerian descent but other ethnicities like Americans, Black British, English e.t.c. where feasible with citations. Why are people from England categorized as English and not French? Eruditescholar (talk) 23:51, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

I think this is not good enough for the BLP policy. The reference you cited ([3]) is a definition of the name generally, but it doesn't specifically say that the player's name is a short form of this, nor that he is definitely named for his Igbo ethnicity. I believe you are right, and thank you for explaining, but without a source we should not be the publisher of that rationale. As for English, it's more of a nationality than an ethnicity - it more commonly means "person from England" rather than "descendant of ethnically English people", who, as an ethnic group, are a somewhat recent development. Ivanvector (talk) 00:08, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

"English" is not an "ethnicity" as a rule - many of the "English" names are indeed French originally, or any of a wide range of nationalities. IMO making any statements about a person based on their surname is a poor practice indeed. Collect (talk) 00:11, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

It is an absolute requirement that the source specifically identifies the subject of the article as being of a particular ethnicity and not merely that "name X is a Y name". That is part of WP:OR sub WP:SY - making an assessments / analysis that are not specifically made in the source. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:17, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
User:Eruditescholar persists in readding the uncited ethnicity categories, despite this discussion. The user continues to argue that being of a certain nationality and having a name in a certain language is enough proof for the inclusion of ethnicity categories. Can someone help please? I do not want to edit-war with the user, but it is a major BLP problem.--TM 02:54, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

Claims of ethnicity, religion, sexuality etc. short of actual "categorization"

Right now, the stringent requirements of WP:BLPCAT seem fairly easily evaded by quoting another person as having an "opinion" that a person is "Gnarphist" where the person has not so self-identified. Ought BLP require stronger sources for such claims than third-party opinions on matters where for categorization we now require self-identification? Collect (talk) 21:42, 16 February 2015 (UTC)

The requirements of BLPCAT are not "evaded" when an edit does not involve a category or an infobox (that seems to be the part you're struggling with). Apart from that, if there's a policy proposal here it's an exceedingly vague one. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 21:45, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
The problem occurs when a person uses opinions of a third party to claim a particular ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation etc. of a living person where no self-identification has been made. The labelling of people as "gay" has notoriously been done on the basis of gossip publications etc. and I suggest that it is improper to do so. I am glad that you appear it is proper to so label a person in a claim in a BLP, sourced to a third party. Cheers. Collect (talk) 22:54, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Collect, since you have a well-entrenched and easily spotted habit of trying to put words into the mouths of other editors, I've decided not to worry about it when you do that to me. Have fun. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 23:08, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps you'll find WP:IDENTITY more useful. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 21:49, 16 February 2015 (UTC)
The reason for "the stringent requirements of WP:BLPCAT" are that "Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers". There is no evasion involved when proper and adequate sourcing is provided. The argument for "stronger sources" is not clear to me. Obviously sourcing should be adequate to supporting a claim or assertion. Can we define in advance what level of sourcing should suffice? I am doubtful that all contingencies can be written into policy. The "disclaimers or modifiers" absent from "Category names" are available when writing in full sentences. We should avail ourselves of the support that can be found in RS, and we should adjust our language to reflect only that which which is adequately supported by sources, even concerning "Claims of ethnicity, religion, sexuality". Living people represent an instance in which adequate sourcing is a must. But I don't think we should set for ourselves standards that are almost impossibly difficult to meet. There is a place for information on "ethnicity, religion, sexuality" and we should try to report on it responsibly. Bus stop (talk) 03:51, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
@Collect: Interesting question; or questions, because I'm not sure if you mean:
a) that we are seeing Categories added to BLP articles in breach of WP:BLPCAT, based on material sourced to an opinion.
For this scenario, I would suggest that WP:BLPCAT definitely applies; and the Category should be relevant to their public life or notability, according to reliable published sources. I would also suggest that the sections listed for b) below apply to the inclusion of the material sourced to an opinion itself.
b) that we are seeing material included in the text of BLP articles that suggests that the person is of "Type X", where we have a Category for People of "Type X".
For this scenario, although WP:BLPCAT does not apply, other sections of WP:BLP do apply; including WP:BLPSTYLE Articles should document in a non-partisan manner what reliable secondary sources have published about the subjects, WP:SOURCES Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism. When material is both verifiable and noteworthy, it will have appeared in more reliable sources, WP:BLPGOSSIP, etc.
I think there's sufficient coverage in WP:BLP for either scenario; and don't forget that WP:V, WP:NPOV & WP:NOR also apply.
Hope this helps in some small way. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 07:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks- in the case at hand, both situations applied -- first that categories were used which were not from self-identification, second was using a blog post from a non-notable person which angrily described the person as having "tribal" opinions about Israel. The claim was made that it was a "notable blog" but where the opinion holder is not notable, was that description of a living person proper. Cheers. Collect (talk) 12:34, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

BLP applies to companies?

Just to be clear, companies are not living (breathing) persons. I understand the US Supreme Court applies some personhood to companies.. Does any sane person here think BLP applies to companies? BLP doesn't say one way or the other.. (BLP may apply, independently of the Supreme Court..) Wikipedia is subject to US laws (e.g. libel), I'm not too familiar with how libel applies to companies statements about companies in the US. BLP is of course not a US law, but a policy of WP and I think WP can choose to only apply it to living breathing (non-animal..) people. Nobody is accusing me of BLP violations (yet). I do not name any persons but of course persons are behind decisions that I have conservatively added discussion about into a sandbox. Just want to be sure about this rule. comp.arch (talk) 12:37, 24 February 2015 (UTC)

I see it now.. (should have searched for companies, not company): "This policy does not normally apply to material about corporations, companies [..] The extent to which the BLP policy applies to edits about groups is complex and must be judged on a case-by-case basis. A harmful statement about a small group or organization comes closer to being a BLP problem than a similar statement about a larger group; and when the group is very small". I do not know how small the group is.. of course for a company, a CEO is a group of one.. Note I name a company, not its CEO, though. comp.arch (talk) 12:43, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
If the material is connected to any small group or single person, and especially if any criminal act is alleged, best practice is "Don't". Can you "defame" a company? Sure. Don't. Edit at all times with WP:NPOV in mind. Collect (talk) 13:07, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
For context see this section: Claimed award on STOPzilla's developer website. And the talk page, including the non-sandbox talk page. "Defame" means libel if statement is not true? Note sure putting a copyrighted logo on a web page is a criminal act. Copyright: "Generally, copyright is enforced as a civil matter, though some jurisdictions do apply criminal sanctions". Lying on your webpage criminal? If it is not a lie, then everything in the sandbox in the section is still true. comp.arch (talk) 13:28, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
@Comp.arch: - Collect wasn't talking about copyright or normal lying, but about defamation (which includes libel and slander). These are serious offenses that may be punished either civilly or criminally, but which - regardless! - should not be in the encyclopedia. Either way, could you please explain how your inquiry relates to your sandboxed article section? – Philosopher Let us reason together. 23:36, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
In case there is a misunderstanding I do not believe what I'm doing is "defamation". The sandbox (that was userified) is sourced and all sourced sentences are true whether the company is running a scam or not. Other possible violations have been pointed out, I'm just looking into this from every angle as I want to follow all policies. I just thought (but wanted to be clear) that in general BLP would not apply to similar situations or in this case. Then a thought popped up about the Supreme Court and maybe they would say BLP should apply to companies.. comp.arch (talk) 10:02, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

Application of BLP to Article Talk pages

Respected Wikipedians,

I am concerned that there appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding & misapplication of the WP:BLP policy as an accepted practice; and that this is detrimental to the Wikipedia Project.

I have noticed a number of instances of removal, reversion, and revdeletion of links to sources containing contentious material from article talk pages, citing WP:BLP (and occasionally WP:BANEX). My reading & understanding of WP:BLP is that inclusion of links for discussion on article talk pages, but no actual repetition of the contentious material, is the method explicitly approved under WP:BLPTALK.

While WP:BLP applies everywhere, its application is dependent on the situation & location of the edits; links to sources that we might not use to support contentious material in article space are explicitly permitted in article talk space.

WP:BLPTALK explicitly states that inclusion of links (without repetition of any contentious material itself) is the appropriate method for editors to reference such material for discussion. The material could then be reviewed and a consensus formed as to whether inclusion in the article itself is appropriate w.r.t WP:BLP and other core policies.

WP:BLPEL relates only to "Further reading", "External links", and "See also" sections of article pages, and is therefore not relevant to edits to article talk pages. WP:ELNO, a guideline, is similarly explicitly only for article pages, not article talk pages.

Without any inclusion of actual contentious material, I'm having trouble seeing that any other sections of WP:BLP might apply; but welcome input & alternative opinions.

Removal, reversion & revdeletion of links to contentious material in article talk pages would seem to prevent policy based discussion & consensus building, and be inherently contrary to the goals of the Wikipedia Project. It is essentially a supervote to quash discussion & override consensus, and IMHO should be discouraged.

I would welcome your thoughts on this application of WP:BLP, and suggestions as to what, if any, action should be undertaken. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 16:52, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

I am going to go out on a limb and guess this might be gamergate related? Chillum 17:03, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
Links to poorly sourced contentious material definitely don't belong anywhere on the project. I'm guessing that "Questionable claims already discussed can be removed with a reference to the previous discussion." might be the relevant sentence here, either that or the the requirement to use reliable sources. My suggestion would be to have a look at Wikipedia:Identifying_reliable_sources and double check that the source you wanted to use is sufficiently reliable for use in BLPs, and if the issue is a dispute over whether a source is reliable then a query to the reliable sources noticeboard might be in order. That way you can avoid linking directly to the controversial page by starting the query "is x a sufficiently reliable source for contentious BLP info". ϢereSpielChequers 22:07, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
"Links to poorly sourced contentious material definitely don't belong anywhere on the project" -- while I respect your opinion, I believe the editor was seeking a policy-based explanation. WP:RS speaks to the suitability of sources in article space. WP:BLPTALK provides a specific exception for talk pages (i.e. your closing quote.) As I see it there two fundamental questions which prompted this post:
  1. Is posting links to non-RS, BLP-violating content on talk pages a violation of any rule or guideline, even when the intent is to use the source for a policy-compliant purpose? (e.g. background reading, links to other RS content)
  2. Is a WP:SPS with BLP-violating content suitable in article-space as a source for it's non-BLP content, assuming no other sources for that content exist? (e.g. Could a source page with "My name is Bob. I am 43 and I'm certain George Bush is a alien" be used in article-space, to cite Bob's age as 43?)
EncyclopediaBob (talk) 22:36, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
"Never use self-published sources as third-party sources about living people" seems pretty clear to me. If the editor concerned doesn't know what we mean by a reliable source then I repeat my advice to read Wikipedia:Identifying_reliable_sources. Otherwise we can't always know someone's intent, we have to judge people by their edits. If someone's edits have had to be revision deleted then I would suggest they be more cautious in their sourcing rather than try to test the boundaries of what we can accept. ϢereSpielChequers 23:01, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
The policy regarding third-party sources is clear, and we're in complete agreement. My question (and the example) concern first-party sources. —EncyclopediaBob (talk) 23:09, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
WereSpielChequers, many thanks for your response. I would also like to clarify the original post: I am not seeing instances of reversion, removal and revdeletion of Talk page links to sources which are being attempted to be used for material about living people. I am seeing links reverted, removed & revdeleted for any use of the sources; even for simple discussion of whether they are reliable. I do not believe that this aligns with policy.
The reference to Questionable claims already discussed can be removed with a reference to the previous discussion would not seem to apply, as the text being removed does not contain any actual "claims", only links.
Thanks also for the direction to WP:RS, it is greatly appreciated. This excellent guideline suggests that a "source" is a triplet consisting of (a piece of work; the creator of the work; the publisher of the work); which raises the question of confirming the reliability of the first of these without being able to identify it. In short, how do we obtain a consensus that a piece of work is a reliable source without being able to discuss that source?
Finally, I respectfully suggest that "If someone's edits have had to be revision deleted... is in many ways a circular argument. I am suggesting that edits are being suppressed where they do not need to be. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 08:01, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
One clue might be that the editor who posted the links mentioned with such reverence in the OP is now indefinitely topic banned, and admins are removing attacks coordinated off-wiki from the talk page of the BANEX user who removed the offensive links. If this were WP:VPR I would propose that anyone who continues to import off-wiki coordinated attacks on the encyclopedia should be indeffed. Johnuniq (talk) 22:42, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
Links proposed in good faith (and the assumption is that they are) are fine. There is no BLP violation for a link on a talk page. That doesn't mean allegarions in the link are okay, just that the link itself is not a violation. ArbCom proceedings would need constant oversight and revdel if this were not the case. The only exception is outing which we don't link to. Basically if Oversighters won't remove it from tal pages , it's not a BLP violation. Banned editors have a BLP exemption but like all BLP edits, it is not a shield against bad edits. They are in clear violation of BLPTALK if they are removing links from discussion space edpecially if they same editor used the same offsite links to show how he was being harassed. --DHeyward (talk) 02:30, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
A broad consensus of Wikipedians obviously disagree with your conceptualization of the policy. BLPTALK is not a get-out-of-jail-free card for posting links to anonymous attack pages, hit pieces, personal blogs and e-mail dumps that make unsupported and unacceptable claims and allegations about living people in any context whatsoever. BLPTALK may permit the initial posting of such links in good faith, but does not prohibit the removal of such links if and when they are determined to be violations of policy. Links which are clearly inappropriate and unusable as encyclopedic sources and which contain unacceptable claims and allegations about living people violate both the spirit and letter of our policies which are intended to prevent the encyclopedia from being used as a troll's soapbox. NorthBySouthBaranof (talk) 02:54, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
It's funny because you made a false and trolling accusation here with a completely illegitimate source [4] and yet you repeated the link and accusation multiple times as if it were okay. But the real question is whether it's worth discussing the links. One editor is not in a position to make that call and certainly a TBanned editor should not be editing. The should not be making any calls regarding sources for article topics for which they are banned. BANEX isn't a get out of jail free card to ignore topic bans. There is no reading of BANEX that justifies the removal of links by banned editors. The reason you are tbanned is exactly the kind of trolling you did with that 8chan link while denouncing 8chan. You were correct to denounce them. Not so correct to smear other editors with false allegations from 8chan. -DHeyward (talk) 03:08, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Discuss the topic, not your personal feud. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 05:31, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
That is the topic. editors are picking and choosing when to weaponize policy. Sorry, but that's a non-starter to apply policy in a way to support POV and attack living people with lies. The key is that it wasn't sanctionable. --DHeyward (talk) 14:28, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
NBSB, Many thanks for your response, it is greatly appreciated. I am encouraged that we appear to have an agreement that WP:BLPTALK permits the posting of links on Talk pages, even where they link to sites containing contentious material. I would be interested to understand more on your suggestion that Links ... which contain unacceptable claims and allegations about living people violate ... the letter of our policies; would you be able to provide a reference to the sections of the policies that you have in mind?
W.r.t prohibiting the removal of links from Talk pages; while WP:BLPTALK does not prohibit this, behavioural guideline WP:TPG at WP:TPO says The basic rule—with some specific exceptions outlined below—is that you should not edit or delete the comments of other editors without their permission. While there is an exception for Removing prohibited material such as libel, personal details, or violations of copyright, living persons, banning, or anti-promotional policies, as WP:BLPTALK permits links (without inclusion of actual contentious material), these cannot be understood to be included in this exception. See also: WP:ONLYREVERT.
Apologies if that all sounds terribly legalistic.
In short: per WP:BLPTALK links are permitted; per WP:TPG they should not be unilaterally removed. I would be interested in your thoughts on these; and any other policy based suggestions that you might have.
It's also important to note that invoking BLP is very different from other policies. If I revert, redact or otherwise remove content from your Talk page edits, invoking WP:BLP (rightly or wrongly), this places the burden on you to obtain a consensus for inclusion. The burden of evidence rests with the editor who adds or restores material. You risk sanction if you simply re-add the material. I am not certain how a consensus about inclusion of a link (but no actual contentious material) could be obtained if the link is not available to be mentioned. By invoking WP:BLP, I have effectively suppressed discussion of the suitability of the sourced information & overridden the consensus process. See also: WP:CRYBLP.
Finally, with respect, my conceptualization closely aligns to that suggested by DHeyward, above. Based on other responses here, I believe a number of other Wikipedians are of a similar mind. I would suggest that we might use this discussion to establish a consensus as to interpretation of WP:BLP, so that we might all go forward with certainty. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 09:02, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • BLPTALK needs tweaking. The link that prompted this on GG was not just "contentious", it was libel. BLPTALK should reflect that discussion of RS or at least something that approaches RS (which is also key as the link from GG was not RS) is fine. If, for example, HuffPo has an article with some claims about a politician committing fraud, then the talk page is the right venue to discuss that article. However, not all links are covered by BLPTALK, or shouldn't be. Links to Stormfront would never be acceptable. Links that contain libel or highly disparaging content should never be allowed. Folks seem to be misunderstanding "contentious material" and misrepresenting the example in BLP. Let's clarify it so that if (1) matches the rest of the BLP policy's intent and (2) matches how BLP is being enforced. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 05:31, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Posting a link, no matter how much you dislike it, is not libel. Stop making up law. Step one is ratcheting down the rhetoric. --DHeyward (talk) 14:28, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
  • That is not only a misreading of WP:BLPTALK as I see it but a misunderstanding of the WP:BLP policy in general. Let's be specific and consider "sources" rather than "links" as whether the source is virtual or physical isn't particularly relevant. If we applied your interpretation across the project we couldn't source Resilience in Elizabeth Edaward's article because it contains numerous, uncorroborated allegations against John Edwards, or link to (as we do) Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape in Jenna Miscavige Hill's article, or No Regrets in Ace Frehley's article -- the list goes on.
What WP:BLP policy instead suggests is that we mustn't use these sources, uncorroborated, to repeat BLP claims -- not that we can't use them whatsoever. And that's our standard for articles; WP:BLPTALK suggests the standard for talk pages is even less strict. —EncyclopediaBob (talk) 20:23, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, that is the policy in a nutshell. --DHeyward (talk) 21:44, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I feel the significance of EvergreenFir's (and others') interpretation of WP:BLP is minimized by focusing solely on the consequences of its application to Gamergate. My concern is that such an interpretation consistently applied would have significant and negative consequences for the encyclopedia as a whole. I strongly urge the input of editors and policy experts uninvolved in the Gamergate space. —EncyclopediaBob (talk) 22:05, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I thank EncyclopediaBob for stating this concern (which I share) explicitly in the context of wider Wikipedia. I am concerned by the impact of the apparent policy interpretation not in the limited space of a single contentious issue (however heated), but for what it means for collaboration across Wikipedia going forward. I firmly believe that this application of WP:BLP prevents policy based discussion & consensus building and is inherently contrary to the goals of the Wikipedia Project. I agree that we are best served if the discussion would focus on policy & impact generally, not within a limited topic space. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 09:23, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • I think some editorial judgement is warranted when dealing with external links on BLP talk pages (and elsewhere). Of course there is no way to have a discussion about the suitability of a link without knowing what the link is, and the appropriate place to do that is on a talk page. That doesn't mean that all external links have carte blanche: a user who is clearly posting external links with intent to defame a living person, or attempting to game the BLP policy, should be dealt with swiftly and harshly, up to and including banning the user and/or revdeleting the link. I don't think any of this requires a change to the policy.
On the question of whether WP:BANEX allows a banned user to remove a contentious external link, the answer is no. The relevant text is in the banning policy itself, under WP:BMB: If there is any doubt whether a limited ban prohibits any specific edit, the banned editor should assume that it does, unless whoever imposed the ban expressly clarifies that it does not. I suggest that if a banned user has a concern about a link, they ought to promptly alert an active administrator or email oversight@. Ivanvector (talk) 00:01, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
  • My summary of ARBCOM comments on BLPTALK - It seems clear from the comments on the ARBCOM request for clarification I filed that not all links are allowed on talk pages, but there is wider latitude in what is allowed compared to on articles. The arbs agreed with the removal of the link relating to Gamergate that spurred this talk section. BLPTALK is not license to put links containing outright defamatory info on talk pages. But discussion of possible useful sources that contain questionable material seems to be fair game. If it's later determined that the link contains egregious material, it can be removed later. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 18:03, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Alternate summary of ARBCOM comments on BLPTALK - It seems clear from the comments on the ARBCOM request for clarification that Article Talk places are the appropriate place for discussion of sources & material with WP:BLP implications. There appears strong support for the application of the BLP policy being less strict on Article Talk pages and the WP:BLPN noticeboard than it is in actual Wikipedia Articles.
Per Salvio_giuliano: Removal of material without discussion from talk pages or from the relevant noticeboard should be reserved for cases of egregious and uncontroversial BLP violations.
Per Thryduulf: It is perfectly legitimate, in almost all cases, to discuss on a talk page whether source X is a BLP violation or not.
This would suggest that good faith links to, and discussion of, sources & material should not be unilaterally removed from Talk pages & noticeboards on the basis of WP:BLP. This does not mean that Talk pages are to be used for gross or egregious and uncontroversial BLP violations, but that for normal (albeit controversial) discussions with BLP implications, removal should occur after the discussion is over, if it's determined that the material was indeed a violation.
Please note that this alternative summary does not suggest that there is anything inherently wrong or improper with the previous summary. I again thank EvergreenFir for their efforts in advancing this question to a resolution. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 14:35, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • It is fact dependent, sometimes removal will occur before and sometimes after. The take away is, in BLP's learn what quality sourcing is ASAP, guided by the "conservative" treatment of BLP's. (there is nothing wrong with for example asking, 'can we add a personal blog that accuses this living person of a crime or moral depravity?' Sure, sometimes linking will occur but if if you are to err tread very lightly, always knowing that you are responsible). Alanscottwalker (talk) 15:54, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
  • What's still entirely unclear to me is whether noncompliant sources can be used to source non-BLP information. None of the policy pages or discussions I've read suggest they can't be but administrators in the Gamergate space (and seemingly only in the Gamergate space) have vigorously enforced their prohibition. —EncyclopediaBob (talk) 18:19, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I thank EncyclopediaBob for raising this question; it speaks to what I believe is a fundamental misunderstanding of the WP:BLP policy; highlighted by the use of the construct "noncompliant sources".
I would suggest that, as the "general provisions" of the WP:BLP policy deal solely with adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page, sources are neither inherently compliant nor inherently non-compliant with WP:BLP. That is, compliance refers to, and only takes affect with, the inclusion of contentious material about living persons on Wikipedia.
This becomes more obviously true when one considers that sources exist independent of their use to support Wikipedia articles - it is a nonsense to suggest that an external source, as an inherent property of itself, violates a Wikipedia policy if that source is not used to support any material on Wikipedia.
Similarly, links to sources are neither inherently compliant nor non-compliant with WP:BLP policy; except for the "special provisions" at WP:BLPEL which relate to "Further reading, External links, and See also" sections of Articles only.
Of course, it would be ridiculous to suggest that we would add random links to WP:mainspace articles; if a source is not reliable, verifiable and the information based on that source is not due, then it has no place in the article. But if the source is reliable, and the information included is due, then I do not find within WP:BLP policy a reason to exclude either that information or that source (regardless of any other information included in the source, but not within the article).
In the normal course of building a Wikipedia article, one would hope that sufficient reliable sources which do not contain contentious material about living persons would be available to support other information which might be duly included. This may, however, not always be possible.
Finally, I reiterate the position that WP:BLP serves to protect the Wikipedia Project, by ensuring that any contentious material about living persons is reliably sourced; it does not serve to, and should not be used to, prevent outright the inclusion of such material in the Encyclopedia, where such material meets WP:NPOV, WP:V/WP:RS and WP:NOR.
I hope this helps to address your question. As always, I welcome policy based, alternative opinions. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 12:41, 23 February 2015 (UTC)
The fact is the pedia does not begin to write everything into policies and guidelines, it is considered a fools errand to do so. The pedia relies on good judgement, and there is no rule that can mandate good judgement. Poor sources will be seen as poor, and will likly face the ax (noncompliant sources can't be used on wikipedia, so discussing them is of poor return), the less the source resembles what WP:Identyfying Reliabale sources says we really want as sources - the worse off you will be. (If someone has done reasonably well in High School, and written research papers, then they should know what a useful source is.) This is an encyclopedia, it is not blog or tabloid fodder. Alanscottwalker (talk) 19:26, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
That seems like a very reasonable general principle but I'm still struggling to apply it to the following case: when a source is good for X and "poor" for Y, can it be used as a source for X where Y violates BLP policy and no better source for X exists? —EncyclopediaBob (talk)
Such an issue is much too fact based for this talk page, among other things it might depend on what is the proposal for its use, and the need to include such information from such a source. We have WP:BLPN to try to get opinions on such specific things. Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:34, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Hi EncyclopediaBob, it is an interesting question, and I thank you for having raised it. Looking through WP:BLP, I do not find any sections which would prohibit such inclusion of reliably sourced non-contentious material, even where that source also contains contentious material about living persons. Of course, it is not difficult to image that a source would be reliable for some material and not for other information - and the example you have previously provided of a self-published source being used for information about the author/publisher, but not for information about other living persons is one such instance.
I reiterate my comments elsewhere, that there is nothing in WP:BLP which suggests that sources are inherently violations. The policy for covers the adding information about living persons to any Wikipedia page, and requires any material challenged or likely to be challenged must be explicitly attributed to a reliable, published source. If we are not adding contentious material to Wikipedia there is no violation. The sole exception is in the WP:BLPEL section, which places limitations on what can be included in the "Further reading, External links, and See also" sections of WP:Mainspace articles.
We would, of course, hope for alternative sources which did not include any contentious material, but such is not always possible. I hope this helps to address your question; and, as always, welcome alternate, policy based opinions of other Wikipedians - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 07:13, 1 March 2015 (UTC)

ARBCOM Clarification Request on above issue

I have started a Clarification Request regarding the above discussion and the GG edits and Enforcement Request that preceded it. The request can be found at Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Clarification_and_Amendment#Clarification_request:_Editing_of_Biographies_of_Living_Persons. Thank you. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 02:15, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

ARBCOM did not take up the clarification request, but final archived version with comments can be found at Wikipedia_talk:Requests_for_arbitration/Editing_of_Biographies_of_Living_Persons#Clarification_request:_Editing_of_Biographies_of_Living_Persons_.28February_2015.29. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 17:56, 17 February 2015 (UTC)

"Criminal" categories

WP:BLPCAT currently states:

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.

At Nick Griffin, a person was given a suspended sentence for distribution of hateful literature. At WP:BLP/N the statement was made that any crime at all makes a person a "criminal" for purposes of categorization.

The sources given as reliable third party sources are [5] which I can not verify, and "- Brinks, Timms & Rock 2006, p. 94, - Ware & Back 2002, p. 55, and Atkins 2004, p. 112. " The first only states with regard to the claim that he was convicted of "publishing an anti-Semitic magazine The Rune on page 73-4, and on page 84 that he was "convicted of inciting racial hatred". Ware & Beck page 55 is a personal anecdote which is not suited as a claim of fact, alas. Atkins is an "Encyclopedia of Extremists" and on page 112 states "Griffin ran into trouble with the law over giving out racist literature." None of the sources that I can read categorize him as a "criminal" as his defining characteristic.

Griffin is undoubtedly not a nice person by any means - but where the sources given do not use the term "criminal" or categorize him as a "criminal", ought we so categorize him in Wikipedia's voice?

Nor is this the only such case found on Wikipedia - just the most current one.

I would suggest that we add "Wikipedia does not support categorizing any living person by any term not used in third-party sources" to avoid any such confusion in future, rather than simply "relevant to the person's notability." Collect (talk) 16:00, 1 March 2015 (UTC) .

What's a "biography" (Noble families)

Is this article, Schoeppingk, a "biography"? It's a noble family, although not one specific member of it. In terms of categorising to projects by the Talk: page, is this an appropriate edit? Andy Dingley (talk) 01:07, 9 March 2015 (UTC)

confirming deaths

There was just a situation where 2 different unregistered users entered a death date for someone who had just died and it was reversed by 2 different editors. It was added a third time and had not yet been reversed but I found it and provided a citation. It is very distressing for family and friends when they try to show that someone died and he keeps resurrecting! So, I'd just like to suggest that before reversing, editors take a minute and enter the name in and see if it shows up. In this case, it was an unusual name and showed up right away. This would be a kindness to the grieving and would provide a positive interaction with wikipedia for new users.
I know the living persons warning says everything must be verified but people might not realize that about a death. It might also be good to put a note in it: "If the person has died, please provide a link to the obituary so we know that it's true."
Thanks, Beauxlieux (talk) 16:11, 3 April 2015 (UTC)


Are we allowed to link to a scan of an affadavit that someone gives to a court in a BLP?

What about just one the talk page? Ranze (talk) 08:44, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

An affidavit is little more than a self-published source with affirmations or oaths that ostensibly guarantee truthfulness. Woodroar (talk) 16:13, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

I have one question

What happens if a living person is recently dead? What happens with BLP? Qwertyxp2000 (talk) 10:19, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

WP:BDP. GiantSnowman 10:50, 6 April 2015 (UTC)


Tusar Talukder — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:33, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

When a person's public image is possibly influenced by prejudice

Is there an issue here and, if so, can a content, perhaps at WP:Naming conventions (people) or at WP:BLP be developed?

In particular I am thinking of the specific case of "Hillary Clinton" / "Hillary Rodham Clinton"

The notes section of her page displays the content:

She has never legally changed her name from Hillary Rodham.[1] Bill Clinton's advisers thought her use of her maiden name to be one of the reasons for his 1980 gubernatorial re-election loss. During the following winter, Vernon Jordan, Jr. suggested to Hillary Rodham that she start using the name Clinton, and she began to do so publicly with her husband's February 1982 campaign announcement to regain that office. She later wrote that "I learned the hard way that some voters in Arkansas were seriously offended by the fact that I kept my maiden name".[2] Once he was elected again, she made a point of using "Hillary Rodham Clinton" in work she did as First Lady of the state.[3] Once she became First Lady of the United States in 1993, she publicly stated that she wanted to be known as "Hillary Rodham Clinton",[1] and she has authored all of her books under that name. She continued to use that name on her website and elsewhere once she was a U.S. Senator.[4] When she ran for president during 2007–08, she used the name "Hillary Clinton" or just "Hillary" in campaign materials.[4] She used "Hillary Rodham Clinton" again in official materials as Secretary of State.[5] As of the 2015 launch of her second presidential campaign, she has again switched to using "Hillary Clinton" in campaign materials.[5]

According to my reading of the situation WP:PG would seem to indicate that, in this case, the page should move to "Hillary Clinton". However, on her talk page, a general awareness is discussed regarding Systemic bias. If thought to be relevant, can a policy-guideline response to situations like this be developed?


  1. ^ a b Kelly, Michael (February 14, 1993). "Again: It's Hillary Rodham Clinton. Got That?". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Clinton 2003, pp. 91–93; Morris 1996, p. 282.
  3. ^ Kruse, Michael (April 14, 2015). "The long, hot summer Hillary Clinton became a politician". Politico.
  4. ^ a b Williams, Joseph (February 26, 2007). "Name changes define Clinton's various career stages". The Boston Globe.
  5. ^ a b Elving, Ron (April 13, 2015). "'Hillary Clinton' Is Back, But Will There Be A Return Of The Rodham?". NPR.

GregKaye 14:00, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Brother, you've simply asked the wrong people!! Listen, Isaac Asimov used this term, Ruritarians, to describe a fictional culture (essentially so he could point out some workings of cultural jokes without impugning any especial cultures), so, imagine there's a little-known religion called Ruritarianism. Whatever else their beliefs, the Ruritarians believe theirs is the right religion, and this they believe as fervently as members of mainstream religions believe the same thing.
Wandering into the Ruritarian temple, believing it to be just another place to exchange views on philosophy, you may find yourself surprised that everybody already in there thinks Ruritarianism is right, objectively and undeniably right, and they may even imagine the rest of the world agrees with them. And since everytime somebody unaffiliated wanders in, the dozen Ruritarians there all agree with each other that not only is Ruritarianism right, but only stray stragglers disagree on this point, they will confidently claim that it's a settled question that Ruritarianism is the best of all beliefs -- and any proof presented contrariwise is deficient or unworthy of consideration or obviously flawed in ways only they can see.
Which simply illustrates that one must take care not to be fooled by the echo chamber self-congratulations amongst the dozen or so denizens of the Ruritarian temple!! Pandeist (talk) 19:13, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
To answer the stated question, we discuss, debate and seek to form consensus. Exactly as has been happening (for years) on the article's talk page. To answer the unstated question, this policy will not work in your favour to force the article to your preferred title against consensus. Resolute 19:27, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
This seems to be a WP:Forum shopping attempt. Roger (Dodger67) (talk) 19:47, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
There is a discussion of whether we ought to be allowed to discuss discussing this at the Village Pump. Nobody there seems to think BLP is an issue at all, so there's not much point to discuss it here anyway. Pandeist (talk) 20:45, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Roger (Dodger67) Pandeist It would be nice if I could go to at least one "forum" and for people to AFG. I was the editor that started the recent and renamed thread at: Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton#Lacking civility#Requested move 9 April 2015 (retracted on a technicality). In the context of what I interpreted to be the ensuing drama on the page I also started a sub-thread: Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton#Lacking civility. I have also been a major supportive editor of the developing content at Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton/April 2015 move request. My main experience at Wikipedia is to work with Wikipedia is to work on topics related to organisations particularly Population Matters and ISIL and to have worked with issues related to fiction such as Secret identity. Getting involved in the "Hillary Clinton" topic has felt like walking into a mine field but, despite this, I came here to raise some issues related to the views of people that I have experienced to present consistent antagonism and I came here, without any canvas reference being left within the content of other threads, to raise the above issue in a location where it might be considered by editors better acquainted to issues relating to biographies of living people than I am.
In this context I started a thread here under the, I hoped, neutral title of: "How, if at all, should Wikipedia act differently in situations when a public image of a person is perceived to have been influenced by factors such as prejudice?"
Certainly "Hillary Clinton" acts very publicly to present herself in this way and I think that, if WP:PG is applied directly to RM contents such as has been recently developed then a move should be inevitable. I came here to see if there might be any other side to a WP:PG response. I was interested that Britannica inc. presents "Hillary Rodham Clinton" and considered that it either does this because of political influence such are evident here in Jimbo Wales' contacts with the H(R)C camp or due to another ethics based concept.
I hope that the issue raised can be considered, or not, at face value. GregKaye 02:20, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
Friend, let me not be misunderstood -- I assume good faith in you, it is others with whom you have conversed in whom my faith is exhausted. The crowd which is oblivious to its own civility issues is so because its membership is limited to the small group who can not be convinced, no matter the proof, that a person's own most common self-representation is their common name. Pandeist (talk) 05:09, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Extending the rights of living people for two years after their death

When did this become BLP law: "The only exception would be for people who have recently died, in which case the policy can extend for an indeterminate period beyond the date of death—six months, one year, two years at the outside." Why are we extending the rights of living people to dead people for two extra years? This reminds me of copyright extension. Why extend the policy at all, and why be nebulous and extend it "six months, one year, [up to] two years". How did these three numbers come to be policy and why is there not one number? This policy is being used to delete articles of recently dead people at AFD. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 03:54, 14 April 2015 (UTC)

Dead people don't have 'rights'. And come to that, WP:BLP/WP:BDP policy has nothing to do with rights anyway (we are in no position to either grant legal rights nor take them away). BLP isn't 'law', it is policy - arrived at through consensus, taking into consideration the WMF resolution on the subject (as discussed at WP:BLP). I suggest that you look through the talk page archives to see how this was arrived at - it certainly isn't new. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:11, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Of course we at Wikipedia extend rights through our policies, BLPs are subject to libel laws, and that is why we are so careful about content. Extending those rights to dead people for up to two years is silly. Sure, corporations are people, but dead people should not get rights of living people for an additional two years. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 04:23, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
Wikipedia content is subject to libel laws regardless of policy. As for your ridiculous straw man assertions about 'rights', I don't see why anyone should even bother responding - WP:BDP makes it entirely clear that the 'dead people' extension is there out of respect for the living. If you wish to propose a change in policy, I suggest that you actually address that. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:30, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
The length of time is roughly determined by the amount of interest in the death. Famous and/or controversial deaths might have longer periods of heightened scrutiny that comes with BDP. That said, ATG is correct that there is no "right". There is a policy that is meant to avoid potential libel and increase the scrutiny afforded to certain subjects. Regardless, BLP is among the most important policies on this website. Any changes to it would be, to be blunt, Herculean efforts to undertake. And I doubt you'll find many sympathetic ears on this particular topic. EvergreenFir (talk) Please {{re}} 04:55, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
You can't libel a dead person. That right dies with them. What is my "ridiculous straw man assertion"? I do not see it. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 05:41, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
No, you can't libel a dead person. But WP:BLP policy isn't about libel. It isn't about 'rights'. We don't need policies to say 'don't libel people' - and the presence or absence of such a policy makes precisely no difference to whether it is permissible to do so, since Wikipedia is in no permission to grant permission to do such things. The policy is about appropriate standards for encyclopaedic content. Which, per consensus and per the WMF resolution, includes treating the subjects of our articles (and, in the case of the recently dead, their friends and relatives) with respect. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:35, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I am not sure why you are obsessing over my use of the word "rights". Rights are "a moral or legal entitlement to have or obtain something or to act in a certain way." I am using the term properly. Our Wikipedia policies bestow moral rights, and United States and Florida law, where our servers are located, bestow certain legal rights to living people, and what is written about them here at Wikipedia. The same goes for images of them and the associated personality rights and copyright. And for indexing Wikipedia biographies in the EU they are covered by the Right to be forgotten. So yes, Wikipedia acknowledges certain rights that living people have, that dead people do not have. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 19:46, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree that this is an unnecessary extension of policy to begin with, and definitely an unnecessarily vague extension of policy. User:EvergreenFir's explanation is much less than satisfactory: why should deaths with a larger "amount of interest" - i.e. a larger number of reliable sources - be subject to more stringent restriction than those with relatively little publicity? Wnt (talk) 10:34, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
If you wish to propose a change of policy do so - but please address the actual reason for the policy - which is consideration for the friends and relatives of the recently dead, as is made abundantly clear. AndyTheGrump (talk) 13:35, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
It can be said that the emotional impact of death on those closest to the deceased tends to decrease with the passage of time. But there can be uncertainty even about that. Bus stop (talk) 13:50, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
How does it benefit friends and relatives of the deceased to have ambiguity about how long the "BDP" standard applies, so that people can then get into long arguments about whether there was "widespread interest" in that particular death. And again, why does more media coverage mean that the Wikipedia coverage could hurt those relatives more? Wnt (talk) 17:53, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
The 'widespread interest' comment by EvergreenFir appears to have no basis in policy. WP:BDP clearly refers to "contentious or questionable material", and as far as I'm aware that is the only context in which it has legitimately been applied. It isn't a license to exclude coverage of legitimate topics entirely - instead it is an instruction to take into account "implications for... living relatives and friends" when considering how to cover such material, in a similar manner that we do in the WP:BLP context which requires that material about living persons be "written conservatively and with regard for the subject's privacy". Clearly, if the subject is dead, their personal privacy isn't an issue, but the privacy of their relatives may be, and the need to write 'conservatively' still applies. This really comes down to common human decency, along with doing something we should be doing anyway, regardless of the topic - writing in an encyclopaedic and neutral manner about topics for the long term, rather than engaging in sensationalism, gossipmongering and questionable attempts to imitate the news media. And as for the 'ambiguity' about how long it applies, there are many things in Wikipedia policy which are ambiguous - they often come down to judgement, and to decisions about whether particular content belongs in an encyclopaedia. It simply isn't possible to create hard and fast rules for every possible contingency, and I see no reason to waste our time trying. If someone wishes to propose a change to the wording, please do so - but please provide a rationale that actually addresses the purpose of the policy as it stands. AndyTheGrump (talk) 20:58, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
"Common human decency" has many definitions. For example, if you finish a newspaper and someone asks you if he can read it, then letting him do rather than throwing it in the trash is common human decency, even if it is a subversive act against copyright law. You don't say "wait a minute, I better cut these articles out, they're too salacious." Since Wikipedia is about sharing our knowledge and media research, that is our common human decency.
Now what of the family's privacy, their right not to hear gossip and so on? Well, we're generally talking about notable people. With many of them, for years they have intruded themselves into our lives, appearing on our TV screens, topping our headlines and search results, making decisions about how the products we buy will spy on us and cost too much, or passing laws about what we ought to be thrown in jail for doing that we used to have the freedom to do yesterday. But the moment the fickle spin turns somewhat against them, then they appeal to privacy! Well our job isn't to make them look good, but to share what data we have. I'm not suggesting, of course, deliberate bias or falsehood, but I won't support undermining our content based on some vague claim of "decency". Wnt (talk) 14:00, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Now as for a proposal, well... where did this two year/six month figure come from? Someone's ass. I propose we get a bit fresh, rummage around in there, see if we can pull out a shorter figure like, oh... a month. A month is plenty long enough for a newspaper to issue a correction or retraction. It's long enough for a wide balance of viewpoints to come out from the media and for the pace of coverage to die down to a trickle. It's long enough for the family to file a defamation lawsuit and/or an angry rejoinder and for it to be published where we'd see it. Furthermore, it has the advantage of not being an anniversary, so that the family doesn't have to deal with a hypothetical tide of editors celebrating the end of BDP after a year, then "really" doing so after two years, and probably trying again after some clueless admin decides the policy really means three years, etc. There's more than one way to cause offense, after all, and Wikipedia's blindness to the looks of its own internal processes is not universally shared. So I'm going to make believe as if mere editors can rewrite the policy, and suggest changing the paragraph to two (as suggested above):
I don't believe that passage accords with policy, or with our encyclopedic mission. It is certainly not a BLP concern. I could see a discretionary application of a BLP-like caution for a few hours or days, basically the news cycle during which people speculate about a person's death, which is basically how we deal with current events. How did this language come to be in the BLP page and how long has it been here? What was the discussion? - Wikidemon (talk) 18:48, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
To follow up, this[6] seems to be the change where it was inserted, and the discussion is at Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/Archive 35#Proposed change to "Recently dead or probably dead" paragraph. I don't think the discussion was particularly conclusive or thorough, it just kind of happened. In any event the phrase "six months, one year, two years at the outside" is more dross than policy, as it does not formulate any rules or how they should be followed. - Wikidemon (talk) 19:19, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Proposed change 1

Recently dead

[Policy shortcut: WP:BDP]

This policy does not apply directly to material concerning people who are confirmed by reliable sources to have died more than one month ago. However, the WP:BLP policy may still apply to contentious or questionable material about the dead when it that makes implications about their living relatives and friends, such as in the case of a possible suicide or crime.

Presumed dead

In the absence of confirmation of death, anyone born more than 114 years ago is presumed dead unless listed at oldest people. If reliable sources widely agree that a person is "presumed dead", to the extent that the contradictory reports (if any) may be discounted per WP:FRINGE, the subject may also be presumed dead.

Added text is marked in green; some portions have also been removed. Wnt (talk) 14:25, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

  • Does this mean, for instance, that we could not report that Robin Williams took his own life? We would only report that he died and maybe a month later report it was a suicide to protect the feelings of his family. I remember people fighting over this in his biography and people reverting it, making it contentious. We would wait a month, or if the policy stays in place, we would only report it as a suicide after two years have elapsed? Or does this mean that we would not report speculation from reliable sources, such as rumors that it was autoerotic asphyxiation? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:52, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
Contentiousness is a judgment about the nature of the claims, not whether people on Wikipedia are fighting over how the rules apply to it. That Robin Williams death was by suicide was uncontentious and no amount of edit warring on Wikipedia would have made it otherwise. If major reliable sources printed as fact an incorrect claim that it was a case of autoerotic asphyxiation then we have a sourcing problem. If they speculated, or if they reported authoritatively on speculation, we could probably dismiss that under WP:NOT#NEWS, relevance, weight, or a handful of other theories that keep tabloid style unencyclopedic material regarding circumstances of recent deaths out of the encyclopedia. There's no particular harm to carefully and in limited measure adding the hammer of BLP policy to the efforts, as long as we're not giving license to people to take unreasonable positions. Overblown concern over surviving relatives of particularly notable or infamous people is misplaced, it's really a question of encyclopedic content. - Wikidemon (talk) 19:36, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
@Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ): I don't think my new text should be any more restrictive than the old text, and is meant to be less so - stuffing the "BDP" into a one-month period when, arguably, the media might still be getting its facts straight. I also don't see current (or my) text as banning statements of a suicide, but as requiring solid sourcing, as for a criminal allegation about a living person. That said, I am actually rather fond of less credulous ways of putting it, like "was determined by the medical examiner to be a suicide" or "reported to be a presumed suicide (refs)". That's just a personal thing, because I'm of the opinion that dumb people commit murders and smart people commit suicides. Wnt (talk) 21:19, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the wording still needs to be clearer. When I read it, it seems to apply all BLP and BLP1E rules after death for one month. "Contentious" to some may mean "poorly sourced", but the most common interpretation will be "anything I disagree with". So people will use it to not display birth dates, no fair-use images, and delete articles based on BLP1E. If we mean "poorly sourced" we should say it. I understand respecting people who lost a loved one, but no amount of time with end that loss. I am not sure what "makes implications about their living relatives and friends" means. Is this mentioning living people in the article on Robin Williams, like his children? Or is it removing things that may upset living friends and relatives of Robin Williams for an extra month? I think it needs a total rewrite, it is written so nebulously that people are interpreting it to mean extending all rights of living people for one more month (or two years in the old version) after death. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 00:22, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
OK, I've added strikeouts/edits above to just take out the "contentious" restriction altogether, which actually is irrelevant. The idea is, any material about the dead that is really affecting living persons is of course under BLP. Admittedly I'd find it cleaner to delete the sentence entirely, but I was shooting for minimal change in the hope of being accepted here - I didn't expect to run into trouble for not doing enough. Wnt (talk) 00:54, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
The separation into two sections is clearly beneficial - the 'presumed dead' clause has little directly to do with the 'recently died one'. As for the reduction to one month for BDP 'recently', I don't think that such a substantive change should really be made without a proper RfC - the existing wording has been policy for some time, and we need to get input from a broader sample of contributors than the few who have commented so far. Personally, I don't think a month is enough, though really what matters is the intent - and as I've already said, if we avoid sensationalism, gossip etc as we should be doing anyway, the issue shouldn't arise. And for the record, I see nothing in existing BDP policy that suggests that we can't report (reliable sourced) suicide, and nothing that suggests that it can be used as a veto for articles. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:20, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Can you give me a concrete example from an article where a Wikipedia editor wrote information that had "implications for [the] living relatives and friends [of the deceased]". That way I can understand what the problem was, and know better how to move forward to prevent it in the future without extending BLP rights for two years. It appears to be a rule searching for a problem, rather than a problem needing a rule. Reading an obituary or a post mortem biography for anyone I knew personally has "implications", in that I will feel sad reading about their death, or feel angry if they were murdered. We shouldn't break our rule about Wikipedia not be censored, by censoring articles about the recently dead for two years. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 16:39, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
I'm not the slightest bit interested in debating your repetitive straw man arguments. How about letting other contributors voice an opinion? AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:56, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I asked you before to point out my strawman logic and you did not reply. What exactly is my strawman argument, I do not see it. This is my second time asking. You also seem to think that I am personally addressing you when I am discussing this policy. Are you the one that inserted it into the rule book? --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 18:52, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
@AndyTheGrump: If you can cite an RFC that was held to add the two-year restriction, I of course will not dispute the need to have one to change it. But if none such exists, then clearly it would be inappropriate to have an RFC for removal. If a change in the length of BDP is too major to make without an RFC, and there was no RFC, it should in fact be reverted altogether, and then we can have an RFC for the various options, with the default that "no consensus" means that no BDP policy exists. Wnt (talk) 18:24, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Can you explain in simple words why getting input from more contributors over this question would be a bad thing? AndyTheGrump (talk) 18:28, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Oh, it's not. But if an RFC is needed to make a change like this, then the present two-year policy isn't legitimate; and if it isn't, then an RFC doesn't have to be called for us to change it further. Either way, I "do not expect" the RFC to give any preference for a two-year policy over other policy options; for example, a no consensus vote should mean no BDP policy. Wnt (talk) 19:27, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
So basically your only grounds for not holding a RfC amount to Wikilawyering to achieve your preferred option. Why doesn't that surprise me? AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:29, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
On second thoughts, I'm not going to argue about this further - if the policy is changed in any substantive manner without greater community input, I'll start a RfC on the issue myself, whether you approve of it or not. AndyTheGrump (talk) 19:33, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Procedure aside, I think there are some fair questions about what's going on in article space, and the answers would be helpful to some of us who are not as deeply aware of the issue. How much of a problem do we have over with speculation and salaciousness over recent deaths, how effective is the current language at dealing with it, and does the current language itself cause trouble or is this mostly hypothetical. Richard Arthur Norton, above, pointed to Andreas Lubitz but that's just one article that will probably sort itself out with or without BLP policy, and it has plenty of other stuff going on. - Wikidemon (talk) 00:10, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
  • I would prefer This policy does not apply directly to material concerning people who are confirmed by reliable sources to have died more than one month ago or whose death is still under active law enforcement, coronial or judicial investigation. It's about waiting until all the proper channels have flowed. Stuartyeates (talk) 02:42, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
@Stuartyeates: I could just about live with that, except that at least in the U.S. murder cases are never formally "closed" until someone is convicted. Of course, cold cases aren't really active, but the decision about whether a cold case is really "active" or not, when police of course won't talk about ongoing investigation, would be an average of totally uninformed guesswork. Wnt (talk) 18:29, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Etan Patz was snatched in 1979 and not legally declared dead till 2001. Adam Walsh was killed in 1981 and the case was not closed until 2008.
In most cases, deaths of famous people create at most a very short-term period of speculation and scandal, and public interest settles down to normal within hours or days. Occasionally it takes a lot longer to taper off, rarely more than a month but occasionally it could go on for a long while, e.g. Death of Michael Jackson. So I think any specific amount of time would be arbitrary, and risk being over or under-inclusive. - Wikidemon (talk) 00:10, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Death of Michael Jackson is a great example. Insane amounts of speculation and salacious detail in the press over a period of years when he has minor children who are mourning him. This is exactly the kind of case I'd like to see us observe BLP for longer periods of time. Cold-case crimes are less of an issue, Stuartyeates (talk) 03:09, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
Can you provide an example of something from that article that BLP for the dead would fix? If you're talking about pharmaceuticals, I should emphasize that a far-reaching discussion of the potential ways in which drugs could have interacted to kill someone has the potential to save actual lives of people who read the article, and I empathize with those lives far, far more than I empathize with Jackson's children. Maybe they're mourning, but no, they aren't spending their days reading Wikipedia. The world's press is out there to entertain them, whether we are in it or not. They can easily afford to have someone else read the article for them... or write the article for them... or (whatever they want). When one ant in an anthill exclaims something offensive, none but his fellow ants would imagine his utterance troubles the gods. Wnt (talk) 15:55, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
I have no problems with 'a far-reaching discussion of the potential ways in which drugs could have interacted to kill someone,' per WP:MEDRS, they should be conducted based on review articles in peer-review journals not on the fringes of the death of high-profile individuals. Stuartyeates (talk) 00:11, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it does harm, and may do good, to discuss more speculative ideas in regard to individual events, provided they are well sourced and not presented as medical dogma/doctrine. There is often quite a gap between the time when reports start coming out about drug interactions and they are formally the subject of a high-quality review. Wnt (talk) 10:32, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Proposed change 2

  • I think the simplest wording that does not require us to censor ourselves for two years is:
"Extra care should be taken when reporting information about the newly deceased. Editors should not include rumors and speculation, even when those rumors and speculation are reported by reliable media."
The BLP extension to recently dead people was used successfully at Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Andreas Lubitz (3rd nomination) and to not have an article on him. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) (talk) 18:14, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
What good did it do to delete the article? Granted, it would be almost completely redundant to have separate articles about the crash and the pilot, but aside from redundant content, what's the problem that you're trying to address? A Quest For Knowledge (talk) 18:47, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Spartaz' AfD closure was mysteriously described as WP:SNOW merge without referencing the actual merge discussion, so not a sign of anything. However, Guy's closure of the merge discussion in favor of merging did contain some opining about BLP1E that I think is unfortunate. I don't think this is a sign of anything. There was a consensus to merge the article, and I think that's the right decision, but different editors had different reasons, or at least phrased their reasons according to different policy arguments. To the extent there is truly a BLP concern material would be deleted, not merged. - Wikidemon (talk) 00:22, 20 April 2015 (UTC)


I am asking here in response to a question at the Teahouse and the answer that I tried to give. The question had to do with a proposed article about a 16-year-old woman in the fashion industry. I advised the use of the Articles for Creation process to get objective review of her notability and to get any non-neutral content stripped out, but also advised that, due to her age, the BLP policy would be applied even more strictly than usual. However, I don't see any specific statement in the BLP policy about minors as article subjects. Have I overlooked part of the policy, or should something be added to the policy about minors as article subjects? Robert McClenon (talk) 16:19, 27 April 2015 (UTC)

I can't speak directly to policy on this as I don't know of any. However, as with any BLP, it would still have to be in concordance with the legal right to privacy. However, I think that's what you're already getting at. On a related note, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled (Smith v Daily Mail, 443 U.S. 97) that media outlets can write about juvenile criminals (and non-criminals), including names, despite any state laws to the opposite, due to the first and fourteen amendments. This is seemingly in opposition to the rehabilitation law in the UK and if an individual makes a claim of Right to be Forgotten for the EU. My opinion, therefore, is that you hit the nail on the head. I also believe it should follow strict BLP guidelines with no breach of confidentiality. The Haz talk 17:46, 27 April 2015 (UTC)
I think there is good precedent here to the effect that we ignore completely the UK rules about names of criminals and of suspects--except that people who are in the UK may want to use caution themselves in writing. But that is apparently not at all the case with this particular subject. If a 16 year old is in the fashion industry on a commercial basis using their own name, I don't see how any privacy issues can possibly apply. (I have previous said otherwise in the case of sub-teen children who may have been coerced by their parents who are acting against their child's best interest, as in the young children's fashion shows found in the UK and some other countries. I'd still maintain that, on grounds of common sense and NOT TABLOID. I don't recall whether my view was supported.) DGG ( talk ) 04:13, 28 April 2015 (UTC)
Hi Robert McClenon. While I understand (and to some degree admire) the intent, I do not believe that we should include a specific statement on minors as article subjects in policy; nor do I believe that we should apply WP:BLP more strictly for minors than usual. If we are applying WP:BLP consistently & as written, then we are also applying WP:V (incl. WP:RS), WP:NPOV (incl. WP:DUE) and WP:NOR. I believe that these provide sufficient (and necessary) protection for all living persons, regardless of age.
In jurisdictions where information about minors (and others) is suppressed by legislation or court order, the filter is best applied at the "source", not at Wikipedia. If information is reliably sourced, and due, then it should not be WP:CENSORED. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 13:23, 29 April 2015 (UTC)

Is Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton/April 2015 move request a BLP violation?

A proposal has been made at Talk:Hillary Rodham Clinton/April 2015 move request‎ to change the title of the article, Hillary Rodham Clinton to Hillary Clinton. It has now been asserted that such a proposal "violates our neutrality policy, and therefore our BLP policy". Would such a title change be a BLP violation? bd2412 T 12:05, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Why don't you ask them, but perhaps they might have been thinking of " Be very firm about the use of high-quality sources." Alanscottwalker (talk) 12:53, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
Ask who? The person who has expressed the belief that this is a BLP violation? bd2412 T 13:11, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
  • There may be some BLP issues. Since both Hillary Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton get you to the same article, and the article has been stable(at the current Title) since 2001(almost 14 years), why would we change it? The move request lists a lot of Google data, some only listing results since 2014, that reeks of recentism. As if HRC did not exist before. Hillary Rodham was semi-notable before she added the Clinton name to hers in 1983. When she added the C to HRC, she stated the reason she kept Rodham in her name was because: "I need my own identity too". Our Naming conventions policy lists BLP reasons why we should give weight to the articles subject preference. How much weight is given isn't stated. But since our Article Title policy states "If an article title has been stable for a long time, and there is no good reason to change it, it should not be changed.", why change it? So perhaps a small BLP issue, but one we should consider. Dave Dial (talk) 14:28, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
    • There's quite a bit of daylight between a small issue that we should consider, and a BLP violation (which sounds like something prohibited because no evidence supporting it can be found). However, I do appreciate your point of view, and your well-stated articulation of it. bd2412 T 14:34, 30 April 2015 (UTC)

Why on pages of living people don't we link their Twitter pages?

e.g. assuming you're already notable, why don't we link things like a subject's Twitter, tumblr, personal website, blog, etc.?

It seems completely random in that on some people we do, and some people we do not, under EXTERNAL LINKS sections. What is the official accepted policy on this?

  • What is policy on a subject's personal site? Could you please link the actual policy verbiage and section?
  • What is policy on a subject's things like Twitter? Could you please link the actual policy verbiage and section?

Thank you. ItWasMeBarry (talk) 22:48, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi ItWasMeBarry. The guideline is at WP:ELMINOFFICIAL. --NeilN talk to me 22:56, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

Mention of non-notable awards in pornography articles

There is a discussion on how to address non-notable awards in pornography articles: Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Pornography#Mention_of_non-notable_awards_in_articles. We'd appreciate help creating consensus on when and how such awards are mentioned in pornography biographies and related articles. Thank you. --Ronz (talk) 16:07, 13 May 2015 (UTC)

I am no prude, but every time I see comments about pornography articles, in particular about porn stars "notability" and "awards", I can't help it but cringe. - Cwobeel (talk) 14:44, 14 May 2015 (UTC)


The last two sentences of BLPSOURCES say "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism. When material is both verifiable and noteworthy, it will have appeared in more reliable sources." Does this mean that we can't use Tabloid Journalism if it is the only source for any content? Or is this limited to only content that specifically mentions a BLP? --Kyohyi (talk) 13:39, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Good question, Kyohyi. As there is no widespread agreement about which newspapers engage in "tabloid journalism" and what percentage of the time, there is no hard and fast rule. Everything needs to be judged in context, using discretion and editorial judgment. Perhaps a "tabloid" might be a good source for a recent marriage if they publish photos of the wedding, with direct quotes from the couple. But in general, we should avoid using sources with a reputation for sensationalism and rumor mongering. This is especially important for BLPs, because of the potential for causing distress to the real people our articles discuss. Cullen328 Let's discuss it 16:30, 13 May 2015 (UTC)
From what I've read of Tabloid Journalism, it's about a style of delving into a persons private life. However I've seen sources which would be considered "reliable" (having professional journalists, and editors) perform this type of reporting. Does a sources sort of "reliableness" affect whether or not an article is tabloid journalism? If for example we have a journal that is normally considered high quality and high reliability, has an article that is mostly about a persons private life that they haven't talked about at all, and you can gleam from the article that they don't want it talked about. Would that be considered Tabloid Journalism, or would the high reliability of the journal itself be a mitigating factor? --Kyohyi (talk) 13:38, 14 May 2015 (UTC)
I would say that, broadly speaking, if the ONLY source for a particular bit of information is a tabloid, that would be a pretty strong indicator that that material is not notable or verifiable enough for an encyclopedia. In the example given above of a wedding, there would be other, better sources we could use. Andrew Lenahan - Starblind 18:58, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

Updating Tipper Gore

Hello! I'd like to invite editors to review suggested edits I have for the Tipper Gore article. I've detailed my thoughts and proposed changes on the Talk page, but haven't had any editors reply there yet. I'm working on behalf of The Glover Park Group, friends of Tipper Gore, which means I have a conflict of interest and will not be making any edits to the article myself. To briefly summarize what you'll find on the Talk page:

  • Gore's article doesn't include much about her activism and advocacy or her political work after the 1980s, so I've put together material to expand the Politics and activism section
  • I've also drafted a section to house all the details about her creative work
  • I've reorganized information and revised and improved some of the existing wording

I'm open to any suggestions others may have about my draft and will keep an eye on this page and the Talk page for any responses. Thanks! Heatherer (talk) 19:57, 26 May 2015 (UTC)

Input please

Looking for input on something that I have thought was in the MOS/formatting, but am having a hard time supporting it... "Biography" as a section in a biography seems redundant. I could swear I have seen somewhere at sometime during my three years here that the MOS strongly discourages a section in a BLP or BIO titled "Biography". Thoughts, advice, comments, etc. needed. Thanks,-- WV 04:48, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Discussion about MOS:IDENTITY at Village Pump

There is a discussion at Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 121#MOS:IDENTITY clarification regarding the application or the guideline to articles outside the biography, in particular regarding transgendered persons in sports. Further opinions would be appreciated. Diego (talk) 09:45, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

NOTICE: Persondata has been officially deprecated

Persondata has been deprecated and the template and input data are subject to removal from all bio articles in the near future. For those editors who entered accurate data into the persondata templates of biography subjects, you are advised to manually transfer that data to Wikidata before the impending mass deletion occurs in order to preserve all accurate data. Here are two examples of Wikidata for film actors: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. If you have any more questions about the persondata removal, Wikidata, etc., please ping me. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 13:59, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

WP:Persondata has not been officially deprecated. It has been deprecated by WP:RfC, which is an unofficial consensus, subject to overturning at any time by another RfC. The RfC is here. Stuartyeates (talk) 20:40, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Fair enough, Stuart. But the message is this: the bot boys are ready to start mass-deleting all persondata templates and input data, much of which has not been transferred to Wikidata. If there are articles where you have added accurate full names, an places of birth and death, please check to see whether such has been transferred, and if not, manually transfer it to Wikidata so that it is not lost. Thanks. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 21:44, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
@Dirtlawyer1: Is there some reason why the data isn't being migrated to Wikidata by a bot?- MrX 22:28, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
@MrX: Because a handful of Wikidata editors and Wikipedia template editors have determined that the remaining persondata is "not reliable"; really all that has been transferred by bot from English language persondata to Wikidata are the so-called "brief descriptions." I've just spent the last 24 hours manually transferring brief descriptions that have been updated since January (the last Wikidata bot run), full names and birth places from persondata to Wikidata for the first 100 of 2000+ bios on my watch list. I entered most of the persondata for those articles, so I know it's reliable in those cases. There are something like 1,230,600 current uses of Template:Persondata, and I'm pretty confident that there is a lot of reliable information still to be mined and transferred to the Wikidata profiles. It would be a shame if the accurate information included is not transferred, given the efforts of many editors to create that data in the first place. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 22:38, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi Dirtlawyer1, Intriguing; is there a link to the discussion which determined that the data is "not reliable"? - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 22:40, 3 June 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it would be a shame if we lost accurate information because some editors decided that it's not realiable. I just spot checked one of the first bios that I created and I see that the data is already on Wikidata. I guess I will have to go through the rest of them and do the same, or bring the data over myself. I must say, I'm not pleased with how this deprecation is being handled.- MrX 22:51, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Aggravating is more like it, Ryk. I did not oppose the recent RfC to deprecate persondata, assuming that there would a reasonable implementation period. Instead we have two or three template editors leading the charge to delete all persondata immediately by bot action. Here are the relevant links:

I have not found the link to the Wikidata discussion, but it may be buried somewhere in the RfC. I will keep looking for it.

Please don't misunderstand my motivations here. I am not opposed to the deprecation and ultimate removal of persondata. I think Wikidata is a more sophisticated and ultimately better solution for embedded article metadata, but I do object to this rush to delete before the existing resource is fully exploited. Regarding persondata, there has been a "not invented here" mentality in evidence among several of the leading proponents of deletion for at least the last couple of years, and it is leading to some bad decisions on how to implement the switch. My personal review of the persondata of over 100 articles in the last day leads me to believe that there is a lot of valuable and accurate information that has not been previously transferred to Wikidata, and the prospect of thousands of hours of wasted efforts of hundreds of editors is something we all should take care to consider. Dirtlawyer1 (talk) 23:00, 3 June 2015 (UTC)


Would an admin with a deep understanding of BLP issues consider tallying and closing Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 121#MOS:IDENTITY clarification. It's going to require one or more closers who understand what can and can't be done under BLP. It's possible that the highest !vote count would violate BLP, so it needs to be handled carefully. Skyerise (talk) 22:57, 8 June 2015 (UTC)

Hi Skyerise, Having reviewed the discussion there, I'm not certain that there is, in fact, a WP:BLP issue. WP:BLP does not require that we not say things that people dislike or find uncomfortable (even if for the very best of reasons); it requires that controversial information about living persons be reliably sourced. If there are reliable sources for peoples previous names (and/or public-facing genders), then WP:BLP is not a reason to exclude such information. The information, of course, would also need to meet any other content policies, including that it be noteworthy. While I understand that this may not be the response that you are looking for, I hope that it helps to better explain the BLP policy. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 02:07, 9 June 2015 (UTC)
Please also note that the discussion is not a simple vote, and closing editors should be examining the quality of supporting arguments, not the quantity; so we need not overly worry about the numbers. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 02:53, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Question on correct sourcing the instance of A Prize Awarded to Person X

Will be an info source (publication, website) run by the Awarding Entity, announcing the instance in question, considered a "primary source" in relation to Person X' biography? Exhibit A: Sir Winston Churchill's Nobel Prize. In Winston Churchill article the used reference is, i.e. info on Exhibit B: Paul Krugman, living person. Again is used.

The present question: For Minna Sundberg article in a clause on her NCS Reuben's Award for 2015, can i.e. info on the Award's site, be considered as a "primary source" for Minna Sundberg's bio? The alternative is to cite the media reports. Thanks! DBWikis (talk) 16:30, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Questions about indivdual sources should go to the WP:BLPNOTICE board but it probably does not really matter, unless it is controversial, or reasonably disputed, or there is reason to find the source to be generally unsuitable, tabloidy, salacious, etc.. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:48, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
Thnak you. Duplicated the Q to WP:BLPNOTICE DBWikis (talk) 17:00, 15 June 2015 (UTC)
For Minna Sundberg's bio, Reuben's Award (2015) clause, the initially cited was, which was (surprizingly) challenged as "a primary source". In our way of thinking is a primary source with respect to NCS/Reuben Award, and NOT in relation to Minna Sundberg. Therefore the present question is to establish the validity of that challenge, in other words, to ascertain whether the citation of in the awardee's article was indeed reasonably disputed. DBWikis (talk) 16:57, 15 June 2015 (UTC)

Eoin Cameron

I'd like a second a opinion before adding this paragraph to Eoin Cameron#Personal life.

Cameron has bipolar disorder, which he attributes to being raped by the headmaster while at a Catholic boarding school.[1][2][3][4]
  1. ^ "Eoin Cameron discusses his dark past". Stateline. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 28 September 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  2. ^ Amanda O'Brien (26 September 2009). "ABC host reveals rape by headmaster". The Australian. Retrieved 21 Jun 2015.
  3. ^ "ABC radio man Eoin Cameron tells of child rape". News Corp. 25 September 2009. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  4. ^ Two victims forced the Marist Brothers to apologise, Broken Rites Australia, retrieved 20 June 2015

Cameron publicly disclosed the information himself, several times – see the refs – also [7][8][9], so it's no secret. But does it belong in the article? Is it suitably worded? Mitch Ames (talk) 02:02, 21 June 2015 (UTC)

I don't have a problem with your draft (which is actually only a sentence). Lots of public figures have bipolar disorder that is acknowledged in Wikipedia in a similar way, on the basis of reliable sources like yours - see List of people with bipolar disorder - you might wish to add Eoin Cameron to that list. I suggest that you also amend the lede to the article to add that Cameron has been a federal politician as well as a radio personality. Bahnfrend (talk) 02:17, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
... amend the lede to the article to add that Cameron has been a federal politician ...done. Mitch Ames (talk)
Agreed. It's clearly well-cited and significant, and one sentence is very far from undue weight on it. The Drover's Wife (talk) 02:38, 21 June 2015 (UTC)
I've updated the article, and added him to List of people with bipolar disorder].

Possibly unreferenced additions to BLPS

I have created an edit filter, the log can be seen here.


  1. Is this useful?
  2. Would it be useful to tag the edits, or to warn the user?
  3. Are there any improvements that would be more useful?

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 23:36, 19 June 2015 (UTC).

Hrm, it could be a bit aggressive, as adding/copyediting info that is already covered by a ref can still easily trigger this. Gaijin42 (talk) 00:19, 20 June 2015 (UTC)
If there were a warning, it could say "Are you sure this doesn't need a new reference?" or some such. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:08, 21 June 2015 (UTC).

Court records, question?

I originally raised this at [[10]] but TransporterMan wrote: "This isn't the right place to ask questions about how to apply Wikipedia policy and guidelines; this page is for discussion of how to change or improve this rule. For questions of that sort use the reliable sources noticeboard or, in this case, the biographies of living persons noticeboard."

So, this is a general question about the use of court records, but for concreteness, with a specific example.

I wrote:

This is a question about the usability of court records. Wikipedia has pages for me, [[11]] and Edward Wegman [[12]]. I have never edited either of these pages and have zero intent to do so, but I am interested in getting clarification, as the generally well-intentioned Wikipedia rules sometimes seem to forbid rock-solid real-world factual evidence.

My blog post Ed Wegman, Yasmin Said, Milt Johns Sue John Mashey For $2 Million is itself obviously not RS, but it attaches copies of online court records of lawsuits related to events described in both Wikipedia pages above.

Those are the files named 1-1.pdf - 20.pdf. pp.15-18 of the detailed PDF (not RS of course) summarize the chronology, but also explain how to find the online records via PACER.

Of course, claims in court files easily may not be correct (and indeed, some of them are not), but [[13]] is even stronger: "Exercise extreme caution in using primary sources. Do not use trial transcripts and other court records, or other public documents, to support assertions about a living person."

That seems to mandate that even the following sentence would absolutely be disallowed. Is that true?

"Edward Wegman filed a $1M lawsuit against John Mashey 0n 03/10/14 in Fairfax Circuit Court in Virginia and his Wegman Report coauthor Yasmin Said filed another there 06/12/15. Both were removed to Federal Court 04/15/15, and on 04/30/15 they submitted voluntary dismissals of the combined case." JohnMashey (talk) 06:04, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Yes, that's correct, if there's no source meeting WP:RS and the intent is to use only the court record itself, then it should not be included. Previous discussion at BLPN: [14]. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 06:12, 23 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks. JohnMashey (talk) 21:23, 30 June 2015 (UTC)


Recently I worked on a couple BLP pages, where BLP-compliant sources demonstrated that the article-subject seemed to have a propensity for lying; in one case the news stories were specifically about how they fabricated much of their life story. This seemed like a scenario where common sense would dictate that we be less trusting of self-published sources, but where the current BLPSELFPUB does not address.

Covering this scenario specifically would be instruction creep and a slippery slope, but I was surprised it didn't at least have a sixth exception for where independent, secondary sources conflict with the article-subject's narrative, which would cover cases like this in-spirit, as well as many others where we should show preference to independent sources. CorporateM (Talk) 06:44, 7 July 2015 (UTC)

"Independent, secondary sources conflict with the article-subject's narrative" would necessarily mean that "4. there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity", so the former would be redundant. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:49, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
I take it that you mean in such a case there would be reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the self-published account, and so WP:BLPSELFPUB would say not to use it. Have I understood you corectly, Mitch Ames? DES (talk) 13:03, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Oops. What I meant was "independent, secondary sources conflict with the article-subject's narrative" would necessarily mean that "4. there is no reasonable doubt as to its authenticity" is not satisfied (because there is doubt as to its authenticity if other reliable sources conflict with it) so BLPSELFPUB would say not to use it. Mitch Ames (talk) 13:11, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Mitch Ames Maybe I'm confused. I thought the reference to "authenticity" was regarding whether there was doubt that the site was actually published by the article-subject, as oppose to doubts over whether the article-subject's statements are accurate. For example, say claims to be written by John Smith, but isn't actually. That would not be an authentic self-published website. CorporateM (Talk) 04:56, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
WP:BLPSELFPUB says that such material 'may' be used - we aren't under any obligation to use it, and if we have serious doubts regarding its veracity, we shouldn't. This isn't really any different from the normal situation where an otherwise-reliable source has clearly got something wrong - we always have editorial discretion to reject such sources (and can, within reason engage in 'original research' to determine that it is wrong - WP:OR is expressly limited to article content). What we can't do is include our own opinion that it is wrong in the article. The editorial process consists of more than a blind accumulation and regurgitation of 'reliable sources' - or at least, it should, if we are to avoid becoming the 'transcription monkeys' that Jimbo once warned about. There is more on the subject of rejecting sources because they are 'wrong' at Wikipedia:Verifiability/First sentence. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:39, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
Indeed it should be obvious in some cases that the subject has a history of fraud and/or lying. I sympathise with User:CorporateM, we do get editors who support the subject's interpretation out of an excess of Good Faith, over what the RS (including newspapers, professional bodies and court records) say. We then have to dance around BLP in order to convince these editors not to rely on what are clearly unreliable sources. But having said that it's pretty rare, and does not need a special exception, per Andy. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:22, 12 July 2015 (UTC).

Dates of birth and info boxes

Currently, the subsection of this policy know as WP:DOB says, in part: "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." However, many infobox prototypes in documentation pages indicate that date of birth should be entered using {{birth date and age}}, which requires a full date. It appears that many editors follow this guidence pretty much automatically. I have recntly changed the doc pages of {{infobox person}} and about a dozen specialized infoboxes that call it to mention WP:DOB and advise using {{birth year and age}} unless the exact date is widely published. It seems to me that in almost all cases our encyclopedic purposes are fully served by specifing just the year for living people.

What would people think of my firing up AWB (which i haven't used in quite a while) and replacing {{birth date and age|YYYY|MM|DD}} with {{birth year and age|YYYY}} on a number of BLPs? DES (talk) 18:07, 28 June 2015 (UTC)

We went through an exercise fairly recently to make sure that all the {{birth date and age}} uses have the proper date in them or they were changed to {{birth year and age}} so I dont see why {{birth date and age}} should be changed to remove the dates without a valid reason. MilborneOne (talk) 18:16, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
That is good, MilborneOne. I have seen quite a few articles recently that used the full date with no sourcing to indicate that it was appropriate. Most of them, perhaps all, were in fairly recent articles which probably hadn't been created at the time of the exercise. How recent was it, may I ask? and what standards ae we using to determine what is a "proper date"? Were any lists of pages checked maintained?
Also, any opnions on the changes to the template documentation, and whether it would help reduce the issue going forward? DES (talk) 20:55, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
For 99% of our BLPs, I have trouble imagining what value we provide with exact birth dates, once you've excluded the tiny subsets of readers who ought to send a birthday present (and who therefore should already know the date) and astrologers. I think this would be fine. However, if it weren't too complicated, then tagging them all with {{fact}} for a month first might be appropriate. A unique string in the |reason= would make it ery easy to find uncorrected/unreverted DOBs. WhatamIdoing (talk) 00:01, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
A few random checks of articles transcluding {{birth date and age}} indicates that 3 out of 4 had no citation for the birth date at all, nor any mention of it on the talk page. This isn't big enough to be a representative sample, but I have to wonder if "make sure that all the {{birth date and age}} uses have the proper date in them meant merely making sure that their parameters were valid, not that their content was cited. MilborneOne, could you provide a bit more detail on what was done when this was reviewed previously? DES (talk) 02:30, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Sorry should have been clearer the task was done in March and April 2015 to make sure that the correct template was used, mainly missing or corrupt dates per using Category:Pages using age template with invalid date. If the full date was available or corrupt then it was replaced by a less demanding template. No check was done on the quality of the data. I dont have a problem with fact tagging "birth date and age" or even "birth year and age" as these should only appear on living person anyhow but it may be an issue when it is referenced in the article but not the infobox, I dont think it is a requirement to cite infobox stuff when it is a repeat or summary of stuff in the article. As a fairly fundemental fact in any biography then I have a problem with removing them from the article if they are properly cited except as has been said for living person where it may be a privacy issue, so I cant see why it should be shortened in the infoboxes. MilborneOne (talk) 12:59, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
MilborneOne, I quite agree that a citation of the info anywhere in the article is fine, it need not be immediately adjacent to the template. Furthermore I am talking only about use on articles about currently living people. The doc for {{birth date and age}} says that it should only be used for living people, but I wouldn't make the assumption that all uses are in fact on BLPs. I am mtalking mostly about cases where the date is compeltely uncited, although cases whre it is cited only to a fairly obsucre source also implicate the privacy aspects of WP:DOB. Note also that I am not talking about total removal even in those cases, but mearly trimming to the year. Under thjose limitations, would you ahve a problem with trimming of month and day info? do you think it needs to be tagged for a period before trimming? Does anyone else? DES (talk) 13:17, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
DESiegel thanks for explaining that I dont have a problem with year-only under those circumstances. MilborneOne (talk) 13:42, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
"The doc for {{birth date and age}} says that it should only be used for living people": well that's because for a dead person the calculated age would be incorrect. Eg someone who lived 1950-2010 would display as 65 years old. Stickee (talk) 22:14, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
I did understand that, Stickee. I also understand that it will sometimes be used incorectly. For example it may be added to a BLP and not changed when the subject dies. I just wanted to indicate I wasn't going to assume that an article whjich transcludes {{birth date and age}} must be a BLP, rather I would double check. DES (talk) 02:42, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
The criterion introduced here, for example, that birth dates must be "cited to a source which makes it clear that the date has been widely published, or else published with the subject's approval" seems to me to be wildly unrealistic - most of the secondary sources from which we get our information do not specify where their information comes from, or explain how widely the information has been publicised (nor would anyone expect them to). I understand the general point over privacy and the need for birth dates to be sourced from reliable sources, but to set out new criteria to exclude widely published information, if that is what is intended, seems to me to be an extreme position. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:49, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
The position is taken directly from the existing policy page, which says: "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." A source may demonstrate wide publication without saying where it got its info from. If a source is itself a major news venue, or is otherwise widely published, that pretty well indicates wide publication. If there are multiple separate sources, that indicates the same. The nature of the discussion of the fact in the source might also indicate the same. If the source was self-published by the subject, or was an interview, that would indicate that the subject approves. I am not trying to exclude widely published information, but to exclude non-widely published information, and to say that if it is widely published, the source(s) must indicate that. How would you word this policy-based requirement? DES (talk) 12:08, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
OK - I think the problem is in your wording, which I interpreted to mean that our source needed to indicate that a date had been widely published, elsewhere. But that doesn't seem to be quite what you mean - you are saying that if the source itself is demonstrably reliable and widely published, that suffices. So, I suggest that instead of saying "cited to a source which makes it clear that the date has been widely published, or else published with the subject's approval", you should be saying "cited to a source which is demonstrably reliable and widely published, or else published with the subject's approval". Is that right? If that is your view, I'll reinstate the birth date back at Cat Power, with one or two of the sources I listed on the talk page there. Ghmyrtle (talk) 12:39, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
I meant to say that i the source is itself widely publishde, or if the source or sources allow us to relaibly determine that the information is widely published, or that the subject has consented to its publication, then the info may be included, but not otherwise. How would you sugest that I word a notice to indicate that? Should I include a link to this thread? DES (talk) 12:45, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Well, the wording you've just written above makes sense to me! Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:12, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Thanks. You can see the record of my checks on this at User:DESiegel/Birth Date Check List, by the way. I have just reworded my prototype notice in acocrd with this discussion. Does anyone else have a comment? DES (talk) 13:20, 1 July 2015 (UTC)

  • support efforts to transition from the highly problematic, BLP laden, birth date to birth year. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 05:45, 11 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment before any birth date is trimmed to its year there should be good faith efforts to establish a suitable source. Simply bludgeoning articles to conform to policy is unconstructive. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 16:13, 12 July 2015 (UTC).

  • Comment if you ask Google "When was Motomu Kiyokawa born" (just the usual web search not "OK Google") you will get the expected answer. So the date is widely known (and there are many search results that show that it is widely published). We still should have a reliable source. The Japanese Wiki suggests 和書? (1999). 声優名鑑. 成美堂出版 (Voice Actors and Actresses). p. 430. ISBN 978-4415008783.. Personally I am inclined to trust that my Japanese colleague has checked the date, rather than spend £18.96 buying a tankoban I will probably never refer to again. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 18:48, 12 July 2015 (UTC).
  • Suggestion


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.


Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that can be verified by a reliable source, and have either been widely published or have been published by a source linked to the subject.

  1. Lets not confuse the issue with identity theft and privacy.
  2. The Daily Mail constitutes "widely published" but is not terribly reliable. We do not serve any purpose by trying to suppress this date. However for encyclopaedic reasons we need a reliable source.
  3. The sources linked to the subject may not be reliable, but they imply consent.

I'm still not happy with the blanket permission/instruction to remove on subject request, we should not remove the birth date of Barack Obama, even if he does object, for instance.

All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 00:13, 13 July 2015 (UTC).

Andy Goodenough

Hello, can I have your opinion on Andy Goodenough, do you think it passes WP:BIO. Should this article be PROD'ed? Thanks, JMHamo (talk) 22:09, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

Needs more sources. There are two on his resignation, and one that covers a later appointment. All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 00:39, 13 July 2015 (UTC).

Restoring contentious content to a BLP

Maybe I'm missing something, but is there anything in the policy that explicitly states that contentious material should not be restored to an article without first getting consensus if it has been removed on BLP grounds even if it is well sourced. The policy is clear that the content shouldn't be restored in situations where it is "unsourced or poorly sourced", but what about if there are concerns other than sourcing (such as WP:NPOV, WP:UNDUE, etc)? In the section about deleted articles, the policy says, "When material about living persons has been deleted on good-faith BLP objections, any editor wishing to add, restore, or undelete it must ensure it complies with Wikipedia's content policies. If it is to be restored without significant change, consensus must be obtained first..." which would be broad enough to cover the situation I'm describing but this doesn't appear to apply articles that haven't been deleted through a Wikipedia:Deletion process. Gnome de plume (talk) 12:08, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

Deleted articles have reached a consensus that the content should be removed, but deleted sentences do not. Per WP:BURDEN, it's enough that the editor restoring the content believes in good faith that the references are valid to support the contentious material, though other editors may then disagree and remove it again on BLP grounds. In that situation, it would take a rough consensus (though not unanimity) of editors agreeing that the content is well referenced, neutral and due weight before it can be restored. Diego (talk) 12:24, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the quick response. Regarding "In that situation, it would take a rough consensus (though not unanimity) of editors agreeing that the content is well referenced, neutral and due weight before it can be restored", is this something that is written in policy or is it just common practice? Gnome de plume (talk) 12:49, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
I was referring to WP:ROUGHCONSENSUS as the criterion used by administrators in formal discussions when there's a need to tell if a discussion has reached consensus. Adding a reference when there was none may count as a significant change that allows the content to be restored (since the WP:BURDEN would be met), but if that addition is challenged again, the next step would require consensus. Diego (talk) 14:14, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
WP:BLPREQUESTRESTORE says (with my emphasis added):

When material about living persons has been deleted on good-faith BLP objections, any editor wishing to add, restore, or undelete it must ensure it complies with Wikipedia's content policies. If it is to be restored without significant change, consensus must be obtained first, ...

Mitch Ames (talk) 12:56, 14 July 2015 (UTC)

That quote is in a section specific to articles that have been deleted entirely. Does it also cover partial text of an article that hasn't been through an article deletion process? That's the core of my confusion. Gnome de plume (talk) 13:58, 14 July 2015 (UTC)
I don't think it's specifically refers to deleted articles otherwise retain, restore, or undelete would have been replaced with simply undelete.-- (talk) 13:50, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
While it's true that BLPREQUESTRESTORE is a subsection of "Deletion of BLPs", the paragraph I quoted says "material" rather than "article", so I read it as applying to material deleted from an article, not just whole deleted articles. In the absence of anything explicitly to the contrary I would suggest that it would apply to material that had been removed from an article, even if the article itself was not deleted. Such an application would be consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the rest of BLP. Mitch Ames (talk) 09:56, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
Fellow editors, I concur with Mitch Ames & "67". While this section explicitly & specifically discusses page deletion, I do not believe that it is specifically limited to page deletion; it covers restoration of any material removed under WP:BLP. The lede sentence of the section is clear here: Biographical material about a living individual that is not compliant with this policy should be improved and rectified; if this is not possible, then it should be removed is not limited.
Consequently, I respectfully disagree with Diego Moya on the question of restoration. If material is to be restored without significant change, consensus must be obtained first. I do agree that additional sourcing is a significant change as is meant in this section.
Finally, I think a restructure/rewrite of this section of the policy to improve clarity would be advisable; and will look to provide a draft in the next week or so. Hope this helps. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 23:40, 15 July 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, all, for the clarifications. I agree with Ryk72 that a restructuring of the policy as related to this discussion would be helpful. Gnome de plume (talk) 12:12, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Author template

Hello all- Does anyone know if we have a standard template for an article about a living author? Motivated principally by laziness, I'd like to find a framework with sections set up that I can populate easily, e.g. bio, works, film adaptations, etc. I've scoured WP and can find only the guideline WikiProject_Biography#Structure. I realize that I can simply pick an author bio and mimic it, but I thought there might be a canonical guide hidden somewhere. Thanks in advance for any pointers. Eric talk 16:49, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Does "archiving" an alleged BLP violation make it moot?

I have recently seen the use of "restore claimed violation to talk page and instantly archive it" as a proposed solution to what may, or may not be, specific violations of WP:BLP. I fear I regard "archive pages" as currently falling under the policy, but suggest this is a new method of dealing with violations - is it proper to do so? I am making no assertions as to any specific BLP violations here, but only discussing this novel approach. Cheers. Collect (talk) 09:31, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Functionally there is no difference between 'archiving' and deleting the BLP violation in question, the primary concern is removing any BLP violations from public/easily accessible/search engine crawlable view. Archiving performs that function as well as deleting/removing the info in question. To completely nuke something either rev-del or oversight is required, and the standards are higher to invoke those than merely consensus that something is a BLP violation. Which may explain why people do not try very hard to completely remove all record of a BLP violation. Too much effort. One approach could be to try and change policy so that anything that after consensus discussion is found to be a BLP violation, automatically qualifies for revdel/oversight? Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:44, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

Question on compliance with US laws

A question was raised on the WP:BLP main page by Fighting Poverty regarding the requirement to comply with US laws only.

What about laws in the UK and other English speaking nations?

Moving that question here for discussion. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 08:03, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

Use of English Wikipedia is governed by the Wikimedia Foundation's Terms of Use. I presume the reference in this policy to "all applicable laws in the United States" is a simplified reflection of the wording in Terms of Use Section 13 regarding jurisdiction: "If you seek to file a legal claim against us, you agree to file and resolve it exclusively in a state or federal court located in San Francisco County, California. You also agree that the laws of the State of California and, to the extent applicable, the laws of the United States of America will govern these Terms of Use ...". In other words, requiring content to adhere to "all applicable laws in the United States" is an attempt to prevent successful legal action against WMF in a state or federal court. However, there is another point raised in Section 1: "... we warn editors and contributors that authorities may seek to apply other country laws to you, including local laws where you live or where you view or edit content."
A case could be made for the BLP policy to alert people to the full complexity regarding jurisdiction. If so, rather than complicate the main flow of the policy, perhaps we could expand upon "all applicable laws" in a footnote, with a link to the Terms of Use? (My opinion only, not professional advice. I do not represent WMF.) Wdchk (talk) 17:02, 18 July 2015 (UTC)

If you live in an area governed by laws which may apply to you, you should make yourself quite aware of them. Generally such laws would apply to all edits made by you (and not specifically by other editors) and generally only with regard to topics reasonably under the coverage of such laws (in the case at hand, generally this means "if the living person is covered by specific laws which also apply to you, follow them.") Thus if you live in Thailand (one example) and write about the King of Thailand, it is likely that Thai law regarding such material applies to you.

It is, moreover, clear that EU laws and decisions apply to anyone living in, or with a nexus to, their jurisdiction. There is no reason to assert that EU laws and decisions apply to people not under their jurisdiction and with no nexus to that jurisdiction (in the Google case, the EU found such a nexus). IANAL, but this has been the case now for many years, and has been discussed by Jonathan Zittrain among others. Cheers. Collect (talk) 09:40, 22 July 2015 (UTC)

  • As an entity based in the United States, Wikipedia must obey US laws. Failure to do so would expose Wikipedia to lawsuits in the US (And in other cases may even create criminal liability). While US courts will generally honor judgements obtained in the courts of other countries, US courts will not honor a judgement if the first amendment would have protected the defendant if the case had been brought in the US. So when it comes to BLP Policy, if Wikipedia complies with US laws on the relevant issues, it will be protected from the enforcement of any judgements resulting form lawsuits brought in other countries. Which is why there is no requirement to comply with the laws of other countries when it comes to BLP issues, like there is for US laws. As mentioned, hypothetically an editor located outside the US, could be subject to a lawsuit under the more restrictive laws of some other country, while I'm not familiar with any instances, editors would be wise to learn about, and not violate any local laws. Monty845 04:47, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

Name of it

"Persons" should change into "people", shouldn't it? 333-blue 11:11, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

I believe that "persons" is used when there are multiple human beings but we need to consider each of them as an individual. "People" refers to multiple human beings collectively rather than as individuals. Mitch Ames (talk) 12:09, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Kerry Williams

HI, I can't never found it originial search that Williams born in 1973. The only that I found it is imdb and but never more.. everyone have a refrence?--Maxie1hoi (talk) 21:11, 4 August 2015 (UTC)

Defining the term Contentious

There is no support for any of the proposed definitions. In absence of such consensus, I urge readers to take to heart comments made by SlimVirgin, Tom Morris, and Dennis Brown. This is not a supervote--it's a supersuggestion. Drmies (talk) 17:26, 14 August 2015 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

There have been a number of disputes, including one recent one at WP:AN/I that have resulted from different interpretations of what Contentious means. This is particularly important as it applies to the WP:BLPREMOVE section, because that section authorizes edit warring and WP:INVOLVED admin actions where the material is contentious, when it would otherwise be prohibited. Because the definition is not clear, we end up with situations where some people believe an editor or admin has committed a serious policy violation, while others believe they followed policy. This RFC seeks to clarify the meaning going forward. While references to past conduct may be necessary for the discussion, the discussion is about how to resolve the issue moving forward, not the past conduct. Monty845 15:53, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposed definition from Monty845

A claim about a living person should be considered contentious in either of two cases. First, if the claim is negative, or could be interpreted as being negative by some, it is contentious. Second, if there is a good faith dispute about the factual accuracy of the claim, it is contentious.

  • Support as proposer. This would cover anything that is potentially libelous and that could possibly be an attack on a living person. It would also give extra teeth to WP:BURDEN as applied to BLPs. But, when it comes to authorized edit warring, and WP:INVOLVED admin actions, it would not apply to cases where someone is just demanding a source, but is not asserting that the claim in the article is factually inaccurate. WP:BURDEN would still permit the removal of unsourced material without a dispute over factual accuracy, but would not authorize the special enforcement mechanisms of WP:BLPREMOVE. Monty845 15:53, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support using this as the basic guideline (which I thought was already the guideline) and using WP:BRD for petty things that harm no one but just need sourcing for verification. Dennis Brown - 16:12, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support. I'm not happy about "or could be interpreted as being negative by some", since as we well know, there are people who will push that envelope to include nearly everything, but agree with the thought behind it, and can't think of a better way to phrase it. So supporting lacking better alternative. --GRuban (talk) 16:23, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
    "or could be interpreted as being negative by some" to "or could be interpreted by a reasonable person". "Reasonable person" is a pretty standard measuring stick and doesn't require everyone agree, only that disagreeing could be seen as "reasonable". Dennis Brown - 16:30, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
I considered phrasing it negative or inherently controversial, but you run into the same problem of creep as to what is inherently controversial. What I wanted to avoid was leaving room to argue that a term that was effectively an attack, was not negative. So for instance, as a community we would not consider homosexuality to be "negative", but if someone makes the claim that a living person is homosexual, it should be covered by BLPREMOVE, because such claims are often intended as an attack, and some people would consider it a negative trait, even if most of us wouldn't. Monty845 16:38, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I'm OK with this, but may propose something else. It isn't negative that someone has strong opinions on politics or religion, but in most circles those topics are controversial. ϢereSpielChequers
  • I also think this is ok if it is changed to "or could reasonably be interpreted as being negative by some" (addition bolded) Davewild (talk) 17:04, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support although I may suggest some tweaks to the wording later. DES (talk) 17:32, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment - this is reasonable, but ultimately, you can't legislate for cases where people are being unreasonable or acting in bad faith. Whatever gets written, the same problems with inevitably occur. WilyD 17:36, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Nice try but I think it's way off the mark. First, being negative does not equate to something being contentious. The negativity is a potential source of contention, but it is not the same thing. Danny DeVito is extremely short, and has a high body mass index. Such things are arguably negative, but not contentious. Someone might be described as gay, or straight, or Roman Catholic. Those things are not considered negative, but they may well be contentious. A good faith dispute over factual accuracy definitely does not make something contentious. It would have to be a fact that, if true, would cause harm to the person's public perception (or something like that). A dispute over a minor fact with neutral implications, or a dispute that though in good faith is not plausible and has no credence, does not make a fact contentious. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:43, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I think this is too sweeping. Undisputed, but negative, facts aren't contentious. For example, "Charles Manson is a convicted criminal" is definitely negative, but it's not contentious, because nobody who has ever heard his name would ever disagree with that statement. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:36, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
    • You're opposing something that goes halfway to where you want, because you want it to go further, and because of this will get nothing. --GRuban (talk) 13:30, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
      • No, I oppose it because it goes six times as far as I think it should. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:50, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose the first case "if the claim is negative, or could be interpreted as being negative ...". Contentious and negative have quite different meanings. (If you really want to keep it, the BLP section name should be "Remove negative material that is unsourced or poorly sourced".) Mitch Ames (talk) 12:30, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment. I've been reverted by people who had entirely unreasonable rationales. One person said, among other things, calling a notable Wikipedian an "active contributor" to the project was a BLP violation because "active" is impossible to quantify. I think we need some kind of protection against baseless claims of BLP violations, but I also think we need to set the bar a little lower for a contentious claim. There are contentious claims that are not negative. For example, unsourced personal details, such as birth dates, are regularly added to BLPs, and I have no clue whether the claim is true or not. I challenge more because it's unsourced than because I specifically think it's factually inaccurate. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 06:48, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
  • strong oppose policy is clear that "contentious" ALSO applies to "positive, neutral, or just questionable" - this would clearly gut policy. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:47, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose defining contentious, though I would like to remove "neutral." It sounds odd for something to be both contentious and neutral, and following it with "or just questionable" seems repetitive. I would prefer: "Contentious material about living persons (or, in some cases, recently deceased) that is unsourced or poorly sourced – whether the material is negative, positive or just questionable – should be removed immediately ..." Sarah (talk) 00:53, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per TheRedPenOfDoom.Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:27, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per SlimVirgin МандичкаYO 😜 01:58, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongly Oppose ditto The Pastafarian Church (talk) 07:53, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Suppose. I understand why people are reluctant to define the term. However, I think that this is a pretty good, simple definition: negative or disputed. Coretheapple (talk) 16:43, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per SlimVirgin and TheRedPenOfDoom - Cwobeel (talk) 00:04, 16 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It's a highly subjective test. What's negative? Is having a drug habit 'negative' or just neutral? How about being gay or being married to a person of a different race? There are people who think both of those are terrible evil things. What is 'negative' is extremely context specific—both at a societal and a personal level. To say that someone drinks a lot of alcohol would be 'negative' if it were, say, an evangelical Christian preacher, but pretty much expected for a professional stand-up comedian. I'm tempted to say that trying to solve this problem is close to impossible. Wikipedians have this curious habit of thinking that if they just define the words right, that'll magically solve problems—but it just doesn't work like that. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:36, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Proposed definition from Alanscottwalker

[BLP's are to be based on 'high quality sources']. A claim about a living person is usually considered contentious, where there is a good faith dispute that: the content is undue; the quality of the sourcing is sufficient/insufficient; or high quality sources are in disagreement concerning how to express the claim(s). (See also, WP:ONUS). In addition, remember to avoid puffery and unfair or unsupported critique, and that 'getting it right', includes exactly how content maybe expressed. Also, keep in mind that context matters. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:35, 25 June 2015 (UTC)[Bracket language due to discussion below Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:20, 25 June 2015 (UTC)]

  • It's difficult to say all the ways something maybe contentious (which is probably why it's not been done) but the above gets to them better, in a way better suited to multiple contingencies. Alanscottwalker (talk) 16:42, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Support, as it comes closer to expressing the issue of poor sourcing.—Kww(talk) 16:56, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Strongly oppose Unless there is good-faith doubt as to accuracy, mere poor sourcing should not make a statement contentious. Remove "the quality of the sourcing is sufficient/insufficient" and this looks better. DES (talk) 17:30, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Mere poor sourcing should not make a statement contentious? Mere 'poor sourcing' already makes any BLP claim unsuitable, unverifiable, OR. There is little difference between, 'I know this is true' and 'this blog says, it's true'. But perhaps you read the proposal as 'only sources in the article' and not 'all high quality sources' but that seems either fixable, or that reading is not intended. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:48, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Poor sourcing is sufficient cause for removal using normal processes, but not using the tools authorized under WP:BLPADMINS or WP:BLPDS. Those tools are for specific problems that reasonably can be expected to cause harm to a subject. We had an editor who kept insisting that a particular actor was divorced from his real spouse and now married to what I presume to be the stalker. That's not "X molests puppies" level of allegation, but it's still both untrue, unsourced, and hurtful to boot. Jclemens (talk) 17:58, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
It's 'hurtful' to tell potential disinformation about living persons -- we guard against that by having 'high quality sources' - without a high quality source, it should never be there - so preventing it from being there, without a high quality source is just common sense. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:04, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Right, but the problem with this proposal is that you're defining known-accurate information as "contentious" with this statement. Under this proposal, if I write "Barack Obama is the current President of the United States", and I source it to some lousy blog, then you've defined the fact of Obama being the president as being "contentious". Using a lousy blog is a sourcing problem, but the claim that Obama is the current US president is not actually contentious, even when unsourced. WhatamIdoing (talk) 03:46, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
No. It does not, define known accurate information as contentious See, "ususally" and "good faith dispute" Alanscottwalker (talk) 23:28, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
I believe that you don't intend for it to be interpreted that way, but in practice, "usually" on a definition gets ignored. Also, under your exact wording, the good-faith dispute needs to cover only whether that source is sufficient, not whether the facts are accurate. WhatamIdoing (talk) 23:53, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Added potential bracket info to address the issue. Alanscottwalker (talk) 18:20, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose - contentiousness is a property of the fact about the person that is proposed for inclusion, not a property of Wikipedia editors disagreeing on how to edit an article. Undue, and interpreting the sourcing, are their own content rules. This particular section of BLP is about demanding high quality sources for claims that might hurt a person. If you collapse that to a requirement of having high quality sources it repeats the first half of the condition again, and it collapses into a simple sourcing question. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:47, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Oppose Largely as per DESiegal and Wikidemon. But also, if people want to replace controversial with unsourced then they should make a case to do that. Otherwise we would be left with a misleading BLP policy, and misleading policy leads to bitten newbies. ϢereSpielChequers 21:56, 28 June 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose more wordy, more contorted and not any less subjective. Does anyone have a "good faith" meter? -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:51, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Unnecessarily wordy and convoluted. Regretfully, as this from an editor I hold in high esteem. Perhaps it can be simplified? Coretheapple (talk) 16:44, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose. This proposal obfuscates rather than clarifies. - Cwobeel (talk) 00:05, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Already existing essay that speaks to the matter from User:Jclemens

Mind you, that's five years old now, and I suspect, but don't have time to check, that the wording of WP:BLP has changed enough so that the underlying goal--avoidance of harm to real people--has been lost. Exactly how a possibly incorrect acting award could cause material enough harm to real people for an existing admin to justify edit warring in the name of BLP is a mystery to me... except that it's not, as we will always have rules lawyers here at Wikipedia, which is why I wrote the essay 5 years ago, before I was elected to Arbcom, and nothing that's happened in the intervening time, including serving on OTRS and handling dozens of BLP complaints from subjects, has changed my mind about the need to restrict BLP exemptions to edits that do actual or at least reasonably foreseeable harm. Jclemens (talk) 16:57, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

  • Support - er? I agree with the essay. I'm not quite sure what you're actually proposing though. Boil it down to a specific text change to WP:BLP, please. --GRuban (talk) 17:56, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
    I'm too retired to have a strong opinion on how it should be actually worded, but "reasonably foreseen as possibly causing harm to a living person" seems like a good starter phrase, better than 'contentious', when talking about material that falls under WP:BLPDS and WP:BLPADMINS. Jclemens (talk) 18:00, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Good essay - which suggests that we don't need to edit the policy page, just make sure that more people read the essay. Whether the wording is just right or not in the essay or not, it identifies the issue correctly. - Wikidemon (talk) 01:49, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
  • I think it has value, but I think it misses the fundamental issue of getting it right. Does it do someone harm to claim he was born on a different day than he actually was, or is vegan when he prefers steak, or likes to play pinochle on Saturday afternoons? Probably not, but it certainly irritates our subjects when we get things like that wrong. As for the harm in claiming that person A won an award and depriving the actual winner of the credit he is due? I'll grant that getting false credit for something you haven't earned isn't generally all that harmful, but the actual winner might want to have a chat with you about it. The core issue is that we are very liberal with our use of unsourced and incorrect material and very tolerant of editors that include it. There's an allowance for newbies, and there's an allowance for grandfathered material, but there shouldn't be an allowance for an experienced editor edit-warring to force unsourced material into a BLP. That's why WP:BURDEN and WP:V insist that the sources be supplied prior to restoration of challenged material. In a very real sense, we shouldn't be here arguing about special exemptions for BLPs, we should be questioning why we tolerate the restoration of unsourced material. Why are we worried about 3RR violations when such restorations so clearly violate our other policies?—Kww(talk) 02:35, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Proposed definition from WhatamIdoing

Material about an identifiable living person is contentious if:

  • the material is considered controversial in the real world, including when reputable sources disagree with each other about the material, or
  • editors are likely to dispute the veracity of the material.


A few comments:

  • I'd rather see this as a footnote.
  • A quiet link to wikt:contentious might be an adequate replacement.
  • This supports the "get it right" position: if editors sincerely doubt that the material is right, then the material is contentious under this definition. In fact, if you think it's WP:LIKELY (i.e., >50% chance) that some other editor will doubt the veracity of the material, then it's contentious under this definition.
  • The point of this is to emphasize the distinction between "an edit so obviously dispute-inducing that I can't believe anyone would add it without a good source" and "really, it's best if everything about a living person has an inline citation, but whether that happens today or next week isn't a big deal in this instance".
  • This definition excludes questions of due weight, style, etc., that involve only uncontroversial material. A detailed explication of what color tie the US president wears is pure WP:UNDUE WP:TRIVIA that does WP:NOT belong in an encyclopedia, no matter how many sources I provide for it (and there are a lot of them), but it's still not "contentious" material. You can remove that through normal dispute resolution processes, without invoking BLP.
  • "Being contentious" is not the only quality that requires removal. Defining contentious in a sensible way does not revoke or weaken the other rules about stuff requiring removal: "...that is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see No original research); that relies on self-published sources, unless written by the subject of the BLP (see below); or that relies on sources that fail in some other way to meet Verifiability standards." I'm not trying to include all the other stuff that requires removal as being "contentious" in addition to requiring removal for the other, unrelated reasons; stuff that should be removed because of NOR or SPS or whatever should be removed because of NOR or SPS or whatever. Editors should not first (and pointlessly) re-categorize NOR and WP:V violations as "contentious" before fixing them.
  • Examples (real) to show what I see this as covering:
    • Professor J. Michael Bailey wrote a book called The Man Who Would Be Queen. ☒N – Normal WP:V rules apply, because this fact is uncontroversial in the real world, and no editors in their right minds (and who spend ten seconds talking to their favorite web search engine) would disagree with this. Someday, somebody ought to add an inline citation, but there's no possibility of anyone being harmed if this sits around uncited.
    • The pop-science book described different psychological aspects of femininity in men, including an approach that divides male-to-female transsexuals into two groups, based on their sexual orientations. ☒N – Not about any particular living person, so normal WP:V rules apply.
    • Some transsexual activists, who disagreed with his portrayal of transwomen as being "really men" or as transitioning to fulfill sexual urges in that book, filed formal complaints that he abused his position as a researcher. ☑Y – You bet this allegation would need sources (here's one by the way: [15]).
    • He was cleared of all charges. ☑Y – Ditto.
    • Bailey supports LGBT rights and legalized prostitution. ☑Y – Some editors (depending on their POV) might sincerely dispute whether any person who holds a POV so odious to transwomen could accurately be described as "supportive" of trans rights; others would label this as contentious matter because a political position in favor of the rights of sexual minorities and sex workers is controversial in the real world. No editors are likely to consider this a statement about an uncontroversial subject.
  • I think this covers all of the basics. It could always be adjusted later, as we get more experience with it, but I think it would be a sufficient starting point. WhatamIdoing (talk) 06:19, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
  • oppose "is considered controversial in the real world," is no clearer or less subjective than the current wording. -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:50, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
    • If something's controversial in the real world, then you'll be able to find sources that use words like "controversial" to describe the subject. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:20, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
    • The current wording is unclear in that different people are reading it in different ways, our differences are as as broad as "everything about a BLP is controversial so controversial means unsourced" to Controversial means negative, so the policy is a long way to say that negative BLP material needs to be sourced. Considered controversial in the real world is still subjective, but much less so than the current situation. ϢereSpielChequers 13:57, 4 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose This is close, but not in my view a sufficient improvement on the current situation. "the material is considered controversial in the real world, including when reputable sources disagree with each other about the material, or editors are likely to dispute the veracity of the material." In my view puts too much emphasis on the scenario where editors or sources disagree about something. In reality the most common scenario is that we are making judgment calls about unsourced information that new editors are writing. "Sometimes works shifts in the brothels of Nevada" is something we would hopefully all treat as requiring a reliable source and unlikely to belong in any BLP other than that of a pornographic actor. "unusual amongst ISIS commanders for being gay and also for not taking sexual advantage of female captives" would be positive, but it really needs a reliable source. ϢereSpielChequers 07:51, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose Sorry, but what the heck does 'in the real world' mean? As opposed to what? I think people may be losing sight of the need for clearly-worded policy here. AndyTheGrump (talk) 08:40, 5 July 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose per AndyTheGrump - Cwobeel (talk) 00:06, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

Proposed definition from Anythingyouwant

"Footnote: In the context of this BLP Policy, 'contentious' stuff is stuff that is actually causing or apt to cause disagreement from reliable sources and/or objections from at least one Wikipedia editor who is relying in good faith upon Wikipedia rules, and/or arguments from reasonable Wikipedia readers, and/or some combination of the three."

  • Support as proposer. We should keep the context in mind, so here it is:

[C]ontentious material about living persons that is unsourced or poorly sourced should be removed immediately and without discussion….Remove immediately any contentious material about a living person that is unsourced or poorly sourced; that is a conjectural interpretation of a source (see No original research); that relies on self-published sources, unless written by the subject of the BLP (see below); or that relies on sources that fail in some other way to meet Verifiability standards….Similarly, "See also" links should not be used to imply any contentious categorization or claim about a living person…. Disruptive and offensive usernames (for example, names containing contentious material about living persons, or that are clearly abusive towards any race, religion or social group) should be immediately blocked….[E]xtensions would apply particularly to contentious or questionable material about the dead that has implications for their living relatives and friends, such as in the case of a possible suicide or a particularly gruesome crime…. If the entire page is substantially of poor quality, primarily containing contentious material that is unsourced or poorly sourced, then it may be necessary to delete the entire page....

Anythingyouwant (talk) 17:53, 5 July 2015 (UTC)

Proposed definition from Username


General Discussion: Contentious

I'm a bit at a loss, as I think the issue that spawned this RFC isn't so much about what is and isn't contentious, it is more about what is an appropriate reaction by the admin making the determination; Their judgement in handling the contentious edit. Dennis Brown - 16:11, 25 June 2015 (UTC)

While I agree the issue could be resolved through editorial/admin discretion, this isn't the first time someone has argued that contentious means pretty much what ever they want to dispute. I'm not sure if its been an admin before, but others have certainly claimed edit warring exemptions on similar grounds. I think a clearer definition would provide needed direction to that discretion. Monty845 16:16, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
The more I think about it, the more I tend to agree. Lots of people throw the word "contentious" around when they really mean "you disagree with me", instead of "arguably false or impossible to substantiate", which is a better definition. This does dilute the word to being almost meaningless. Dennis Brown - 16:20, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Particularly in Wikipedia parlance since anything unsourced is open to challenge, and therefore, by definition, contentious. Resolute 16:24, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Definition: Contentious – "causing or likely to cause an argument." Thus, anything that leads to an argument is literally "contentious". Perhaps we need a different work here... --IJBall (contribstalk) 18:37, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
If the edit in question had been "Movie star in question rapes puppies" or something akin to that, no one would have questioned my actions, and my BLP defense would have been applauded by most. If the statement had been "Movie star in question has appeared in movies", no one at all would have listened to my defense, and I would still be blocked as being obviously disruptive. This question really is key: I saw the edits as being BLP violations, and the editor making them as intentionally violating both BURDEN and BLP with no intention of stopping, and that reverting those BLP violations did not make me involved. Others say that they were not contentious at all and did not constitute a violation, making me a rogue admin in violation of WP:INVOLVED. Whatever my fate, getting a more precise definition of when BLP kicks in for a removal will help future admins and editors.
My personal take is that "contentious" is pretty much the opposite of "common knowledge". Does anyone need to source that a famous movie star appears in movies? Certainly not. That they starred in a particular movie or won a particular award? Those get much closer to "contentious", but may not cross the line. Won an obscure award that few have heard of? Got his start in underwear commercials? Did something 20 years ago that doesn't correspond to the things he is known for? None of those is negative, but they are not things that anyone should be expected to take on faith.—Kww(talk) 16:29, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
The trite answer is that the opposite of contentious is uncontentious and the opposite of common knowledge is arcane knowledge. Wiktionary has "Marked by heated arguments or controversy" and that broadly has been how I understood the policy. ϢereSpielChequers 16:58, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
So, a hypothetical, WSQ: someone adds (sans sourcing) that someone won some particular award. A search online finds no trace of the awarding organisation, and another editor removes it on that basis. That certainly gets into WP:BURDEN territory, but is the material now "contentious"? Or is there some particular level/kind/intensity of discussion that is required before we can say the issue is "marked by heated arguments or controversy"?—Kww(talk) 17:16, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
"Contentious", if you'll review the evolution of the phrasing, was never about Wikipedia editors like or dislike of the edit in question, but about real world impact to the person. Any contentious (disagreed upon by editors) material anywhere in article space has always needed a good source, per V, and you rightly cite BURDEN. However, something that's disputed by wikipedia editors is not the same as something that might arguably cause harm to a living subject by its presence in our article. THAT is the sort of 'contentiousness' that triggers out of process reverts, blocks, revdel's, and the like. Failure to understand the difference is unfortunate, although looking at the mess of the wording now, I can see where people get screwed up about it. But back to you: what do you think is special about BLP enforcement that allows admins essentially unlimited discretion to do whatever it takes to keep contentious material out of a BLP? Jclemens (talk) 17:49, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
Hi KWW, it depends a little on the award, and the awardee. It would be controversial for a Saudi architect to win an Israeli award, or for anyone to win an award as an adult performer if we didn't already have them reliably sourced as being an adult performer. But assuming that the award is uncontroversial then yes Burden kicks in on this one rather than controversial content it is content that others have not been able to verify. Not necessarily hoax material but one where it would be reasonable to require the challenged editor to only restore if they can find a source. ϢereSpielChequers 13:46, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
"Contentious material about living persons (or, in some cases, recently deceased) that is unsourced or poorly sourced – whether the material is negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable – should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion." The issue is not and should never be is negative. Claiming any type of "award" would fall under "negative, positive, neutral, or just questionable" -- TRPoD aka The Red Pen of Doom 00:44, 30 June 2015 (UTC)
Well that's certainly how some people are reading it, but if that was the correct reading then the word contentious would be redundant. I would say that claims about people's political or religious views, sexual orientation or sexual activity would be contentious whether " positive, neutral, or just questionable". But I accept that the phrase is misleading, different people are interpreting it in very different ways and it needs to be clarified - hence this discussion. However I would agree that we should not replace it with the word "negative" as many contentious things are positive to some and negative to others. ϢereSpielChequers 08:24, 1 July 2015 (UTC)
Here's a fact: The former US President Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize.
TRPoD, do you think that specific statement is "contentious"? What might cause people to "contend" (aka "dispute", "struggle", "fight", "debate") with each other about that sentence? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:24, 2 July 2015 (UTC)
If anyone is interested in reading previous discussions had at this talk page about defining "contentious," click on this link. The most recent previous discussion we had on this issue is the 2014 one: Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/Archive 36#Rephrase "Remove unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material" subheading. And not all of the interpretations of "contentious" made sense to me. Some of the "remove that unsourced text" attitudes left a bad taste in my mouth. That discussion also shows how "contentious" came to be added to the WP:BLP policy. Flyer22 (talk) 16:35, 25 June 2015 (UTC)
  • Sorry if I'm raising a point others may have raised, but do we really need a definition? There is one in the dictionary. "Controversial." Good enough? Coretheapple (talk) 18:29, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
  • All this discussion seems to be slightly pointless. Seeking to formally define words used in policy doesn't really help solve the problem, as I've written elsewhere. BLP will always be rather subjective and rely on hunches, judgement calls and a fair amount of gut instict. Trying to rules-lawyer a rather arbitrary definition of 'contentious' into of a policy whose intention is to reduce harm may end up doing exactly what we shouldn't be doing: turning BLP compliance into a narrow, legalistic checklist rather than attempting to gut check whether we are being cruel or unfair towards article subjects. —Tom Morris (talk) 09:50, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

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

Dead people tagged with BLP sources?

A catscan search shows 549 articles tagged with both {{death date and age}} and {{BLP sources}}. Would it make sense to make a bot request to change "BLP sources" to "Refimprove" in those articles? – Jonesey95 (talk) 21:02, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

I'd say no - or not without checking first. There are circumstances where WP:BLP can apply to the recently-deceased, and it isn't unknown for supposed dates of death to be entirely unsourced. A bot isn't going to be able to spot such issues, and may merely result in problems being obscured. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:10, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Doxxing clarification proposal

With regard to doxxing and identity theft, we presently only seem to be covering contact information and date of birth, and doing so with advice spread over four sections (WP:BLP#Avoid misuse of primary sources, WP:BLP#Privacy of personal information and using primary sources, WP:BLP#Privacy of names, and WP:BLP#People who are relatively unknown), which taken together are subject to more interpretation than they should be. Following on a discussion, not very practically located at Template talk:Infobox person#Date of birth, about inclusion of date-of-birth, middle name, and possibly certain other details about living persons, especially those this policy terms "borderline notable", I suggest the following clarification:

We should specify at WP:BLP#Privacy of personal information and using primary sources a list of particular details [including DoB, contact info, and middle name(s), probably some others] that may be included in BLPs only if found in reliable secondary sources, or the subject's own primary material, even if another section in this policy might seem to permit it. If it requires primary source research to obtain this information, then digging up such details smacks of WP:OR and WP:DOXXING, and transgresses WP:NOT#JOURNALISM, and so should be omitted. I would suggest also specifically including in the list both the names of relatives and acquaintances if they are not notable or directly relevant, and names of schools attended (below the collegiate/university level) if not directly relevant, and probably a few others, since details like mother's maiden name, best friend's name, high school mascot, etc., are frequently used in identity theft and other Bad Things. (Meanwhile genuine celebrities already understand this, and do not actually use their real mothers' maiden names in banking security questions, etc.)

This would be separate from the "use extreme caution" list at WP:BLP#Avoid misuse of primary sources, which has a more WP:COMMONSENSE character, and includes things like vehicle registration details, etc., that most editors understand is not encyclopedic to begin with. That section also includes abuse of court documents to support claims, and other matters that aren't germane to this clarification proposal, which is only about personally identifiable information that can be used for identity theft and similar doxxing problems.

It would probably also help if "borderline notable" were actually defined in some way, if this were to be limited strictly to borderline-notable BLPs. But that seems to me to be unnecessary; non-borderline, unquestionably notable subjects will almost certainly already have any such potentially encyclopedic information published about them in secondary sources, pretty much by definition, so I think it would be WP:CREEP to make "borderline notable" an explicit rule for this.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ ≽ʌⱷ҅ʌ≼  20:35, 30 July 2015 (UTC)

The discussion you mention above was actually secondary to a longer and fuller discussion on this very page, now archived at Wikipedia talk:Biographies of living persons/Archive 39#Dates of birth and info boxes. As I mentioned in that thread, I edited the doc pages of {{infobox person}} and all of its variants to include a warning about the use of {{birth date and age}} without proper sourcing. DES (talk) 21:32, 16 August 2015 (UTC)

Seeking input on a Biographies training guide

Of possible interest to watchers of this page:

The Wiki Education Foundation has drafted a short handbook for student editors who will edit biography articles for classroom assignments. If you have time before Monday, August 31, we'd love to get input from some of you about how it could be better. The draft is at User:Eryk (Wiki Ed)/Biographies. Thanks. --Ryan (Wiki Ed) (talk) 01:04, 28 August 2015 (UTC)

Rewrite of "Self published sources" (BLPSPS)

I think there's a problem in the wording of WP:BLPSPS, and would like to ask for it to be rewritten to fix the issue.

At the moment, it states that self-published sources are "never" to be used unless "written or published by the subject". I think this is too tight, and also it doesn't actually reflect how BLPs work in practice by the community, or how we would wish them to work.

Example: The response by University College London on their sacking of Nobel Prizewinner Tim Hunt, cited in Tim Hunt's BLP. It is needed and relevantly included to show a significant view (NPOV), and it's sourced, of course, from the best quality source available for UCL's views - namely UCL's own news blog (although rehosted by So it's a self-published blog post by a person or body other than the BLP subject. But WP:BLPSPS states of such sources: - Never use self-published sources as sources of material about a living person, unless written or published by the subject....

It's a poor policy wording because we don't really want to exclude these kinds of sources. There are many BLPs or articles with BLP content, where the source for a cite is a prominent individual's personal twitter or blog post, but the prominent individual isn't "the subject". Provided these are reliable sourced (which selfpub can be) and high quality (not just random forum and blog rubbish but known to be written by specific persons whose views would be significant or worth citing), then they meet the criteria of WP:V and the requirement to be high quality, and we do in fact widely use them. So WP:BLPSPS doesn't actually describe community practice either, as policies should.

So I'd like to ask for WP:BLPSPS to be rewritten and purely reflect these three tests: WP:V#Self-published sources, WP:V#Self-published or questionable sources as sources on themselves, and the additional need of WP:BLP for high quality sources. Being guided by these and asking whether a source is reliable and of high enough quality to use in the BLP, should be enough of a safeguard, especially as the sections from WP:V look like they are written with BLPs in mind. As it is, WP:BLPSPS 1/ doesn't describe our actual practice, and 2/ unreasonably risks the exclusion of valuable material even when high quality and reliably sourced.

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

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

Things to note and reconsider

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

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

Primary sources for BLPs via OTRS

Hi, guys.

Of potential interest here, given that living people are often the one who reach out to OTRS, is a new RFC on whether OTRS should be permitted to receive primary sources for content changes to articles. Please see WP:VPP#RfC - should we allow primary sources sent in to OTRS and participate there if you have input on this question. --Moonriddengirl (talk) 15:59, 7 October 2015 (UTC)

Correct process for actioning subject request for removal of a BLP?

Can someone please remind me of the correct process for how to remove a BLP when the subject requests it. Does there have to be anything through OTRS? Is it simpler if it's just taking out a few paragraphs from a broader article?

How does this apply to corporations too? Specifically schools. Does that vary for US or UK bodies?

Thanks Andy Dingley (talk) 09:06, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Deletion of the article has to go through AfD; the outcome might be affected by the subject's wishes (as communicated via OTRS), but it might not. Removing paragraphs at the request of a subject would be very odd; what matters is whether the text in question adheres to the usual set of policies. If a COI-editor wants to participate in discussion along those lines, fine -- but a simple request from the subject is unlikely to sway things. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 09:14, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
It's just a normal WP:AFD. See WP:BLPREQUESTDELETE. Many editors are happy to vote delete if the subject of an article is only marginally notable, and has requested deletion. Others aren't. I would post at WP:BLPN for assistance in removing trivia or undue negativity from a BLP. Johnuniq (talk) 09:27, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
As above. If there is no consensus at AFD it would usually get deleted in line with the BLP's wishes. Corporations and schools are not a BLP issue (unless they are made up of a very small group of identifiable people). You might not get a school deleted at AFD due to the 'All schools are notable!' crowd, regardless of lack of notability. Corporations if you can demonstrate not-notable are much more likely to be deleted due to the anti-corp bias amongst wikipedia editors. Removing mention of a living person from another article would be highly context dependant and could be more difficult than removing a BLP itself. EG: It looks like Kim Davis's BLP will go due to BLP1E, however there is no way she would be removed from an article around the controversy itself due to its notability and her part in it. If you can link to the specific situation you want advice on, it would be easier to give a more concrete answer. Only in death does duty end (talk) 09:45, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
Yes, but what if it's a uncomplimentary BLP and the subject just wants it gone as too embarrassing? What's the process for doing this because of their request? Andy Dingley (talk) 13:21, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
There isn't a process of that sort. Deletion happens via AfD (or prod, or a speedy if it meets the criteria). If it's "uncomplimentary" to the point of being an attack page, then fine -- a speedy nomination should take care of it. But otherwise we're not going to delete something just because the subject wants it gone. Nomoskedasticity (talk) 13:25, 9 October 2015 (UTC)
What Nomoskedasticity said. Again it would depend on the person. Some people have no positive things that can be said about them and are very notable. 'Attack Page' generally requires that the negative material be unsourced to qualify (as an attack page). What is the page you are thinking of? Then we could be more specific as to if it needs speedy or AFD Only in death does duty end (talk) 15:31, 9 October 2015 (UTC)

Preparing two proposals that would change transgender policy

A recent proposal at the Village Pump: Policy about how to refer to Caitlyn Jenner in an article about the 1976 Olympics ended with the recommendation 1) that MOS:IDENTITY's policy on transgender individuals be revisited and 2) that the issue of how to refer to transgender individuals who are mentioned in passing in articles of which they are not the principal subject be resolved. We want help working out the wording before we post them to WP:VPP.

We are preparing two separate proposals for the Village Pump, one about whether the main MOS:IDENTITY should be kept or changed, and one about drafting a new rule for transgender individuals who are mentioned in passing. Here's where we could use a little help: We don't want this to confuse anyone or to have too many moving parts, and we don't want to ask the community "Do you want bananas or apples?" if half of them have been yelling "Oranges! Oranges!" for years. You guys have probably worked on more articles about transgender subjects than the MOS regulars have, so you probably know what issues actually come up and what just looks like it would.

For Proposal 1, are the two options that we're offering actually what the community wants? Are they phrased well? Are they easy to understand? Did we leave anything out? Could we trim anything back?

For Proposal 2, are the four/five options that we're offering actually things that people say they want? Should any of them be discarded? Are they easy to understand? Are the examples easy to understand? Did we leave anything out? Could we trim anything back?

Your contribution is welcome. Darkfrog24 (talk) 18:48, 8 October 2015 (UTC)

A Village Pump thread has opened (link) to determine how the Manual of Style should guide editors to refer to transgender people in articles about themselves. Concurrently, a thread has opened (link) to determine how to guide editors to refer to transgender people when they are mentioned in passing in other articles. Darkfrog24 (talk) 00:50, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato has way too many categories listed, I removed a few. Someone who knows the guidelines better may want to lay down the law on the talk page. Darx9url (talk) 07:30, 25 October 2015 (UTC)


re: Do not use trial transcripts and other court records, or other public documents, to support assertions about a living person. Do not use public records that include personal details, such as date of birth,

IMO these rules require some rationale added to this paragraph, because they look puzzling at the first glance. What's wrong with citing the D.O.B. from a public record? This does not involve any interpretation from the side of a wikipedian. Staszek Lem (talk) 19:53, 20 October 2015 (UTC)

Well it does. Our article says John Smith, an athlete from Texas, was aged 25 in 2015. A public record says there is John Smith born in Texas in 1990. But there's also a John Smith born in Texas in 1989. Which is the correct one? No original research. GiantSnowman 11:14, 21 October 2015 (UTC)
I agree that more rationale, as well as more qualification, would be useful. Does this mean that court records can never be used as sources? If someone is arrested for a criminal offense and later pleads guilty, what is the problem with using the court record as a source for the event? Uranographer (talk) 12:02, 28 October 2015 (UTC)

RfC announce: What does Wikipedia:Identifying reliable sources (medicine) cover?

There is a request for comments at [ Wikipedia talk:Identifying reliable sources (medicine)#What does MEDRS cover? ].

At issue is whether the lead paragraph OF WP:MEDRS should remain...

"Wikipedia's articles are not medical advice, but are a widely used source of health information. For this reason it is vital that any biomedical information is based on reliable, third-party, published secondary sources and that it accurately reflects current knowledge."

...or whether it should be changed to...

"Wikipedia's articles are not medical advice, but are a widely used source of health information. For this reason it is vital that any biomedical and health information is based on reliable, third-party, published secondary sources and that it accurately reflects current knowledge."

This has the potential to change the sourcing policy from WP:RS to WP:MEDRS on a large number of Wikipedia pages, so please help us to arrive at a consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 06:09, 3 November 2015 (UTC)

Quint Studer

Hi there. I'm looking for editors who would be interested to help with an article for a businessperson, Quint Studer, that needs some attention. Specifically, how best to cover the details of their career without the article seeming too much like a CV. Based on some feedback, I have offered a revised draft for the article's coverage of his career, investments and involvement with a local baseball team. However, the editors who had originally given feedback most recently regarding the concerns of tone and content and added a tag to the page have not returned (one of them was banned for sockpuppeting, which would explain why they have not been able to come back). Would anyone here be willing to take another look? I will not edit the article myself, because I wrote the drafts as a paid consultant to The Studer Group, Studer's company. Thanks, 16912 Rhiannon (Talk · COI) 22:17, 13 November 2015 (UTC)

Images of skulls on talk pages about recent fatal events

{{WikiProject Death}} features two different images of human skulls, one a photograph. Is it acceptable for such images to be posted on the talk pages of articles on recent massacres such as the Paris shootings, fatal aircraft cashes or other violent deaths? Please discuss, at Template talk:WikiProject Death#Images. [Posted here because BLP covers the recently-deceased; and their relatives.] Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 16:00, 25 November 2015 (UTC)

How utterly crass. Is there a quick link to all pages that have been tagged by this? Only in death does duty end (talk) 16:38, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
Try looking for a category made for the wiki project, or do a hyphen search ("{{WikiProject Death}}") which should bring up a list of pages with the template code used on them. Cheers, Drcrazy102 (talk) 22:17, 25 November 2015 (UTC)
I made a couple of related points here, and would also like to see some examples where there is a problem. If wanting a list of all such pages, use Special:WhatLinksHere/Template:WikiProject Death; the transclusion count tool reports there are 15,609 occurrences. Johnuniq (talk) 07:03, 26 November 2015 (UTC)

The salary of a public figure

The job held by the current governor general of Canada, prior to his appointment by the queen, was as the president of a university in the Canadian province of Ontario. The province has made the salary of most high-grossing "civil servant", which is what this is as the school is funded primarily with public funds, public. At least two reliable sources have published and commented on the salaries:, with the latter directly related to the subject. It was removed. It was restored. It was removed again. A discussion was opened Talk:David Johnston#In response to "trivia" or "smear". It's claimed that it's a violation of BLP. I don't think it is. Comment here or in the talk page. Walter Görlitz (talk) 05:05, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Are "African American" categories supported by sources and policy?

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Talk:Mariah Carey#RfC: Are "African American" categories supported by sources and policy?. A WP:Permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 22:49, 28 November 2015 (UTC)

Age of lead images

I was wondering if there is any recommendation of what lead image should be used in bio articles (as in old ones or newer ones if available). There is no consistency in the age of images used. Some have old images and some have modern ones. For example William Shatner has an old image for long ago as one of his characters... but...Leonard Nimoy is more contemporary out of character. For dead people should we use the most contemporary image or one from there famous days eg. Elizabeth Taylor. The fact Barbra Streisand is so famous and somewhat still working should we have an image so old...should it be more like Betty White? What about famous child actors like Jerry Mathers or Macaulay Culkin. What is best for our readers and should we make any recommendations one way or the other here....I am aware that during GA and FA reviews more recent photos are preferred...but we dont give and guidance on this here....should we ..what do people think?. -- Moxy (talk) 20:14, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

The current picture at William Shatner would be appropriate to an article about Captain Kirk, a fictional character. It's not appropriate to an article about an actual, living, real person. The point of the picture is to identify the subject and show what he actually looks like. So, yes, we should be using up-to-date photos. FreeKnowledgeCreator (talk) 20:57, 3 December 2015 (UTC)

Does BLP apply to fictional characters ?

Normally I would never even dream of asking this, but another editor deleted something on an article devoted to a fictional character saying that it violated BLP. This blew my mind, but I thought I'd double check to make sure there wasn't some obscure Wikipedia policy that implies this somewhere. Does it? __209.179.0.121 (talk) 21:22, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

BLP obviously does not apply to fictional characters per se. However, I can conjure up in my mind some unusual circumstances in which something said about a fictional character could reflect on an actual living person (e.g. the author or creator of the character, or someone it's widely understood that the protagonist of a roman a clef was based upon). Therefore, some context could be helpful here in providing more than a generic answer. Newyorkbrad (talk) 21:25, 4 December 2015 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to mention that this wasn't a case of the character being intermingled with the actor. (If someone claimed that the actor liked to molest children just like the character he plays, then that obviously would be unacceptable.) I'm beginning to think that the editor in question somehow forgot the article was about the character, not the actor. Thanks. __209.179.0.121 (talk) 00:18, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
Hey IP, can I ask what this article is called? I would love to see this in-action rather than a generic "cover-all/most-bases" question. Cheers, Drcrazy102 (talk) 05:57, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
Agreed; more details would be helpful. Concurring with NYB, the obvious answer is fictional characters are not living persons; but it may be that the redaction was to remove unsourced contentious information which was not about the character, but about an associated person. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 06:24, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
Sometimes it is worth asking people why they did something and even to remove BLP tags from articles that are not BLPs. Australian State Coach is not the only anomaly in our BLP tagging. ϢereSpielChequers 09:21, 5 December 2015 (UTC)

Known mainly by their works

Can a BLP can be based only on sources that discuss the subject's works but do not say much about their personal life? Little may be known about an individual such as Satoshi Nakamoto, but their works may be notable. We could name an article "Works of Fred Smith", but this seems clumsy if there is no article on "Fred Smith". On the other hand, if a person conceals most detail of their private identity, perhaps Wikipedia should not create an article on them even if their works are notable. Should we add a statement that says one of

A: Works are enough: If a person is notable for their works, an article may be appropriate even if the sources give few details about their private life.
B: Personal details needed: An article on a living person must have sources that provide significant information about the person other than their works.

The wording could be tweaked. Not sure where it would be inserted. Thoughts? Aymatth2 (talk) 00:49, 4 December 2015 (UTC)

In some circumstances, works will be enough, even where the subject conceals most details of their private identity; (see: Banksy). Am not convinced that there is a need to explicitly mention this in _this_ policy. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 05:13, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
  • I have seen it come up in AfD discussions, where sources discuss an author's work in depth, but do not say much about their personal life. I started an article a few weeks ago on a (dead) French architect. He had done some major work, but all I could find about the person was year of birth, teacher at the École des Beaux-Arts, year of graduation and year of death. That article would have been vulnerable tot the "not discussed in depth as a person" criticism if he had been alive. Aymatth2 (talk) 13:09, 5 December 2015 (UTC)
  • Works are enough. That's all we have for many notable academics. In any case, we can often get primary sources for what minimal biographic data we need. Hobit (talk) 22:00, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

Does BLP apply to editors?

This is not about an editor who has an article or is otherwise notable, and I'm not talking about mere opinions, insults, or other unfavorable comments about an editor, but about provable (using diffs) and falsifiable lies, which are an especially egregious type of personal attack. Do such editors have recourse to getting that information corrected or removed? The perpetrator should also be forced to correct their behavior and sanctioned.

As revenge/self defense, an editor has created a very specific and detailed false narrative about me. After I had documented, using diffs, their disruptive and deceptive editing and commenting practices, they refused to correct them, but instead made the exact same, very specific, accusations against me, without any evidence. When I approached them on their talk page and asked for evidence to back up their false claims, they refused to provide any evidence, and refused to retract the claims. Generally, when a (challenged) claim is made, the claimant has the burden of proof to prove their claim, using evidence. If they cannot do so, they must retract the claim.

Those claims still exist in full view, which poisons the well against me. The most valuable currency an editor has here is their reputation, so I don't take this lightly, and I'd like to get this situation resolved.

I'm sure this is a perennial question, so please point me in the right direction for more information. I can't find anywhere in the BLP policy that it applies to editors, who are also living persons. While I don't think this is the right place to resolve this dispute (we can continue this somewhere else), the BLP policy should specifically include wording that applies BLP protection to editors. -- BullRangifer (talk) 16:22, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

WP:NPA is the policy; if a personal request to remove/redact/stop the behavior is not pursued by the offending party, following discussion should be at WP:ANI. --Izno (talk) 16:31, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I understand that angle, and I did state that I knew this was not "the right place to resolve this dispute." I'm not interested in dealing with the dispute here.
The reason I brought this here is to see if BLP applies to editors. -- BullRangifer (talk) 16:44, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
NPA is the same concept as BLP applied to editors. The question you're asking is akin to asking whether humans hear color, because BLP is only about article content. --Izno (talk) 16:56, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
No, BLP applies everywhere at Wikipedia. No place is excepted. -- BullRangifer (talk) 17:08, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
BLP applies everywhere, as it relates to article content either in mainspace or in talk page discussions about article content. Disputes between editors in which one side make abusive comments is covered under WP:NPA. - Cwobeel (talk) 17:12, 7 December 2015 (UTC)
The intent of BLP is to protect living people from suffering real-world negative effects of material posted on Wikipedia that violates the BLP policy. If an editor's on-wiki identity is so closely connected to their real-world identity that they are at risk of those real-life consequences, then BLP applies to them. If their identity is pseudonymous and not associated with a known real-world identity, then BLP is inapplicable, though NPA and other behavioral policies certainly may still apply. alanyst 17:28, 7 December 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── Okay, I get the picture. My question is getting answered, but that means we need to address this in the BLP policy, because it has been my understanding (until a doubt formed very recently) that BLP applied to all living persons, and, although it usually applies mostly to subjects of our articles, it also applied to everyone else, including editors. My understanding was based on the bolded content:

"This policy applies to any living person mentioned in a BLP, whether or not that person is the subject of the article, and to material about living persons in other articles and on other pages, including talk pages." (bold added)

The bolded words obviously apply to other people than the subjects of articles, so I interpreted BLP as applying to material written anywhere on the Wikipedia website about any and all living persons on earth. That makes sense, because libel is serious business. Even if editors must not make legal threats against each other, actual libel does occur here during discussions, and it shouldn't happen. Such lies must be removed.

The comments in this thread indicate that my interpretation (about any and all living persons on earth) is apparently not accurate (so the bolded wording should be revised). Lies and other forms of libel made against editors is allowed under BLP, unless they are known persons. Either we are talking about sloppy wording leading to misunderstandings, or we're talking about a rather major change of BLP policy, because a revision of that wording likely affects other wordings.

It's one thing to be clear about to whom BLP applies, but a disclaimer, detailing to whom it does not apply, would be useful. So, to use this discussion constructively, let's get some wording worked out for inclusion here. Here's a start, based on some of the comments here. Feel free to improve it. Note I have used an existing section ("Applicability...."):

== Applicability of the policy ==

=== Editors ===

The BLP policy may or may not apply to editors:

If an editor's on-wiki identity is so closely connected to their real-world identity that they are at risk of suffering real-world negative consequences from the type of material posted on Wikipedia that violates the BLP policy, then BLP applies to them. This does not refer to the types of opinions, insults, or other unfavorable comments made during editorial disputes, but to provable (using diffs and/or citations) and falsifiable lies which can damage the editor's reputation or otherwise harm them, just as with other subjects to whom BLP applies.

The claimant has the burden of proof to prove their claim, using evidence. If they cannot do so, they must retract the claim. If the claimant refuses to provide any evidence to back up their (false) claim, and refuses to retract the claim, they will lose their editing privileges, and the false claim will be removed.

If an editor's identity is pseudonymous and not associated with a known real-world identity, then BLP is inapplicable. Disputes between editors in which one side makes abusive, deceptive, and even libelous comments about the other is covered by NPA and other behavioral policies.

BTW, has the subject of this thread ever been addressed before? No one has pointed to such a discussion yet. -- BullRangifer (talk) 04:46, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

It has come up before but it would take trawls through the archives to find it. Suffice to say, if you are not identifiable through your username (or otherwise) then you are not a living person for most purposes of BLP. Its largely redundant anyway, because anything that wouldnt be allowed by BLP wouldnt be allowed by the various other policies regarding interactions with editors.
The main problem with putting specific 'exclusions' in policies is that it tends to favour the bad hats. They can point to X policy and say 'aha! that is excluded!' when performing what is clearly an uncivil/uncollegial action. Its better to have 'this is not an exhaustive list...' etc and leave it open ended and subject to community interpretation on the fly. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:01, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

───────────────────────── BLP applies everywhere, yes. GiantSnowman 12:50, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Yes, but apparently not to everyone. -- BullRangifer (talk) 15:43, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

To comment on @alanyst's point above "If their identity is pseudonymous and not associated with a known real-world identity, then BLP is inapplicable, though NPA and other behavioral policies certainly may still apply." The problem is that there are groups of people (who may or may not be WP editors) that scrutinize the actions of WP editors and in doing so make the connection between the editor and their real life identity, regardless of whether the editor was careful or not, and then publish it to the Internet at large (a version of doxxing). It is very hard to argue that a pseudonymous handle is perfect protection from the public connection to a real world identity. And then so if you have a second editor making what would otherwise be BLP-violating claims at this editor by their pseudonymous handle, you cannot presume the real-world identity is unaffected. We should assume that any BLP-style language directed at an editor by an editor is a personal attack and required handling as discussed. Or another way to put it is that NPA should be seen as BLP w.r.t. WP editors in any space outside of main article space. --MASEM (t) 15:53, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

@Masem: That's a good point, which I contemplated when I wrote what you quoted about "not associated with a known real-world identity". That association may come about voluntarily, or be the result of unwelcome doxxing of the type you describe. If that has happened, then BLP applies; but I'm not sure it should be the assumed default. If somebody here were to say "Alanyst is a mealy-mouthed moron incapable of coherent thought" it would surely be a personal attack (though I'd probably laugh it off), but I wouldn't be harmed in real life. Even if I was later doxxed it would be unlikely to be high-profile enough to cause me real-world harm. But it could happen in some cases for people at more risk of damage to their reputation than I; so I'd suggest the applicability of BLP to pseudonym-directed personal attacks ought to be judged on a case-by-case basis and not be universally assumed. alanyst 16:13, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
I would hope it makes sense to assume the default case that any psuedonymous handle on WP can be tied to a real world identity, for purposes of determining a BLP/NPA violation (particularly if it is rather controversial claim, like trying to out an editor's sexual identity). I also do agree that there's the silly name calling of your example that would obviously fail BLP (without the appropriate sourcing) if it were on mainspace about a person but would be seen as simply a breach of incivility if about an editor. We do have to make a distinction between clearly libelous material directed towards an editor by another editor that can harm an individual even if their real world identity is meant to be masked by the WP editor handle (the same type of material we'd nix in an instant on a biography page), and catcalling that can occur in heated discussions which should be dealt with in other manners. --MASEM (t) 16:27, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
Masem, I agree. The idea of "put up or shut up" applies to anyone who maliciously attacks a living person, and editors are living persons. They should not feel less protection from such attacks. Libel is still libel, even if editors are not allowed to threaten legal action against another editor. If an editor makes provably false claims about another editor (such as the very specific and totally false narrative created about me), they must prove their claim or retract it, just as required by BLP, but not by NPA.
NPA does not require or allow immediate deletion by anyone, as does BLP. My attempts to delete the content under BLP were reverted, so I have no protection. Before that I thought BLP applied to all living persons. Currently I would have to go through a slow and difficult NPA dispute resolution process to get these specific lies deleted. That's wrong. It should be possible for me to privately approach an admin, present the evidence, get it blanked, and the perpetrator censured for their actions. They refuse to provide evidence or to remove the lies.
Again, I'm not referring to ordinary personal attacks, where people call one a jerk or asshole. That simply reflects poorly on the perpetrator. I'm talking about things that undermine and destroy the reputation of a fellow editor. Wikipedia editing is a real world activity, and this place is public. Our reputation here is important to us, even if it only were to be something known within this editorial community. Damaging that reputation damages our lives and our abilities to work effectively here. -- BullRangifer (talk) 16:57, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
I do agree that not all personal attacks would equal to a severe BLP issue when directed at an editor; common sense must be used to differentiate between "you're a jerk"-type uncivil statements compared to "you're a racist"-type libelous/defamation statements. It's still a good reason to discourage personal attacks of any sort, since I fear that line can be blurry and subjective so the more we get editors to disengage in that manner, the better. But in terms of resolving personal attacks that fall within what I'm considered to be a BLP violation where there would be harm if that statement was made against a known living person without supporting evidence, we should handle these as BLP violations, removing those that are clearly contentious and unsourced, ignoring the fact that they may be directed to a pseudonym and not a real name, simply because we cannot be sure that someone outside WP's influence hasn't made that connection. It's a proactive stance. --MASEM (t) 17:53, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

Adding media commentary to BLPs of politicians

Are there guidelines for how much media commentary should be added to the BLPs of politicians? For example, David Cameron (UK prime minister) contains a whole section of political commentary, whereas Barack Obama contains very little commentary. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 20:29, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

How do we judge how actor articles should be rated?

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Talk:Angelina Jolie#How do we judge how actor articles should be rated?. A WP:Permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 04:32, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Application to people with unknown DOBs

This isn't specifically mentioned anywhere in the policy, but from my experience, it seems to be the case that anyone whose DOB is not confirmed and who doesn't have a reliably sourced death is presumed living until otherwise verified. Since there's no reliable way to tell if they were born within the last 115 years, I agree with this precedent, and I think this page should specifically address this. It would probably be helpful to change this section of the page so that it says:

Anyone born within the past 115 years or whose date of birth is unknown is covered by this policy unless a reliable source has confirmed their death.

Thoughts? Eventhorizon51 (talk) 06:24, 13 December 2015 (UTC)

I would think that would be difficult and/or incorrect. There are many historic individuals in WP where no records are available for their birth or death, and yet it is clearly safe to say they are dead. Višeslav of Serbia, Saint Veronica, William I of Bimbia for three quick examples. 1bandsaw (talk) 18:29, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
The thing with the examples you provided is that all of those people have a verifiable time in which they lived, and that time is far beyond 115 years ago. This is where WP:COMMONSENSE comes in. I think everyone can agree that a person can be presumed dead if they can be verified to have lived at a time over 115 years ago. If simple logic can conclude that a person was born more than 115 years ago, then this obviously does not apply. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 19:36, 17 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to assume silent consensus on this one for now. Feel free to revert and discuss if there are any objections. Eventhorizon51 (talk) 18:33, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to agree with 1bandsaw that this addition is unnecessary. Even if someone's DOB is unknown, it's easy to use common sense to determine if they were probably born in the last 115 years. Putting in a strict rule like that sounds like instruction creep when common sense is sufficient. Stickee (talk) 23:31, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Comment - Are there use cases or examples which might highlight the difference and show how it is an improvement? - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 23:49, 28 December 2015 (UTC)
Oppose inclusion - I do not believe that this would be an improvement to the policy, and do conceive that it is open to wikilawyering. If a commonsense approach is proposed, then it is just as well for commonsense to be applied to the policy as is as the policy with the inclusion. - Ryk72 'c.s.n.s.' 23:49, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

2014 celebrity photo hack information at the Jennifer Lawrence article

Opinions are needed on the following matter: Talk:Jennifer Lawrence#Scandal. A WP:Permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 20:04, 28 December 2015 (UTC)

This matter has now become a WP:RfC; see Talk:Jennifer Lawrence#How best to include the material?. A WP:Permalink for it is here. Flyer22 Reborn (talk) 00:46, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

How to classify condemned famous people as criminals witouth being tagged for "possible vandalism"

Tagged "possible BLP issue or vandalism" for adding a well sourced criminal sentence of Domingo Cavallo for embezzlement. Sources:




Hi IP Editor, I would encourage you to not be overly worried about the edit being tagged. It doesn't mean anything more than another editor is likely to have a look at the edit. It's just a little bit of a protection against the inclusion of poorly sourced information about living persons. If the information is well-sourced, there should be no reason for the edit to be reverted or undone. Hope this helps, please feel free to ask any follow up questions.

amended BLPCRIME

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

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

proposal as requested

That the BLPCRIME section be changed to:

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

From the current:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WP:PARITY is allowing violation of basic Wikipedia policies

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

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

Seeking clarification

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

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

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

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

Returning to the subject

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clarification question on the policy

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
I'm guessing that the reason this has been open 68 days without a close is that it could be dangerous; WP:BLP is a vital policy, affecting almost half our articles, so just closing "no consensus" would inject a lot of confusion, while the simple number of editors on each side is almost balanced (I count about ten opinions in the "some use" camp, whether that "some" is phrased as "factual matters", or "uncontroversial", or whatever, and eight in the "no trash sources" camp each side including Govindaharihari who opined twice, especial thanks for that). But someone has to do it. As both sides noted, the actual policy sentence in question is "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism." The link is in there, so it's pretty clear that we're meant to follow it. The definition from that link is "Tabloid journalism is a style of journalism that tends to emphasize topics such as sensational crime stories, astrology, gossip columns about the personal lives of celebrities and sports stars, and junk food news." So it is not, as some on the "no trash sources" side would have it, primarily a list of such journals. As several mention, plenty of otherwise reliable newspapers have astrology sections or gossip columns; it's not even limited to papers - television programs or even books dedicated to celebrity gossip are all too common. Of course, as the "no trash sources" voices properly say, there are such things as newspapers that are mostly dedicated to tabloid journalism, so mostly those journals are not suitable for BLP, and any information from those journals needs to be scrutinized with extra care; anything from "tabloid journals" that seems to be tabloid journalism probably is. But, theoretically, some portions of even mostly tabloid journals could be fine, as some below have specified: "uncontroversial", "simple facts", "sport", "own words in interviews", etc ... on a case by case basis. I have to comment here that Meatsgains's and others' simple definition of "controversial if challenged" is vulnerable to wiki-lawyering - I wouldn't put it past some ambitious soul to write "I hereby challenge every statement in every BLP". Anyway, executive summary: No: Tabloid journalism is a style, not a list of sources. --GRuban (talk) 04:32, 7 March 2016 (UTC)

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

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

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

    While a list of banned tabloids would be something of a blunt instrument, and of course respectable outlets do sometimes engage in ""tabloidesque" journalism, as Snowded says: "Think how much easier it would be if the wording of the policy unambiguously supported your interpretation?" Yes, a clear statement/policy on which sources to avoid would indeed make editing easier. The continual arguments around this subject could be settled, we wouldn't have to endlessly discuss removal of substandard sources on countless talkpages. And naturally, it would also benefit the encyclopedia by preventing much of the addition of tittle-tattle and unimportant trivia to BLPs, the vast majority of which comes from tabloid sources.

    So, I believe both our articles and our editors would benefit greatly by having an unambiguous line-in-the-sand, and conversely, what would we lose by banning all use of The Sun, Daily Mail, etc..? Very little of worth, I think. --Hillbillyholiday talk 18:27, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Yes but Wikipedia policy explicity states Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism. When material is both verifiable and noteworthy, it will have appeared in more reliable sources. Tabloid journalism may be found outside of the broadly construed tabloid newspapers, but it will always be in tabloid newspapers (even if not all of the time), so safe rather than sorry is always wiser. I'm not sure if a listing of prescribed publications would work because it would have to be a world-wide undertaking and that would be very difficult and subjective. IMO the onus has to remain with the editor to find an impeccable source.--Bill Reid | (talk) 19:59, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism. The 'tabloid journalism' part is what needs clarifying. It will almost certainly be a fraught process, but in my opinion, deciding on a list of proscribed publications will improve BLPs and make editing here a lot easier in the long run. --Hillbillyholiday talk 20:21, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Many previous attempts have been made to prohibit particular sources in this way and to explicitly make tabloid journalism = tabloid format newspapers, I have not seen consensus established at any of the previous attempts. --  20:44, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Continue to prohibit trash sources on living people, and draw up a list of which sources to avoid - I support this proposal. No type of tabloid magazine, for example "TMZ," should ever be used in a BLP. It normally consists of just rumors, no facts. These sources have a history of using non-factual material, so why would we even consider using them as reliable sources? We know for a fact that they are not reliable. If a BLP article can only find trash sources to support the article, then the person is probably not notable enough to even be on Wikipedia. Comatmebro User talk:Comatmebro 22:46, 27 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Summoned by bot. BLPSOURCES says explicitly "Material should not be added to an article when the only sourcing is tabloid journalism." That's clear enough. I think "tabloid journalism" should be broadly construed to include publications that have a clear bias, sensationalist aspect or axe to grind. Coretheapple (talk) 18:10, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • The prohibition is on using tabloid journalism, not tabloid newspapers. For example, if a BLP subject were to give an interview to a tabloid, clearly it would be okay to use that as a source. SarahSV (talk) 18:24, 1 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I want to clarify what I wrote: it would be okay to use the BLP's subjects own words about herself if she were to give an interview to a tabloid newspaper. It would often not be okay to use the newspaper's surrounding commentary. We would take into account whether it appeared to be an interview freely given, or whether there seemed to be any reluctance from the subject or pressure from the newspaper. SarahSV (talk) 18:35, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Proposal to change the wording to reduce ambiguity

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

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

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

List of supercouples move discussion

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

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

pen name/alias.

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

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

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

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


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

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

Relevant proposal at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Create a separate "BLP citation needed" template.

I have made a proposal relevant to this project at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Create a separate "BLP citation needed" template. Cheers! bd2412 T 12:27, 4 March 2016 (UTC)

Policy on politician infobox photos?

Do we have a policy on infobox photos? Should we have a formal policy like "If there's a disagreement about what photo to use for a politician, adopt the most recent official government photo available"? I'm seeing that for Clinton there's no consensus on what photo to use, and for Rubio there had to be an and edit-war and an RfC to establish consensus on not using a more recent non-official photo. I guess the initial question is, has this been discussed before, and if not, is this a good place to discuss whether we should have a formal policy? Rolf H Nelson (talk) 08:18, 11 March 2016 (UTC)

There was endless discussion on Jeremy Corbyn about this topic, which didn't seem to reach a consensus on a policy but reached (eventually) a consensus on a photo. Absolutelypuremilk (talk) 10:36, 11 March 2016 (UTC)