Wikipedia talk:Personal subpages to be deleted/Archive 1

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Do pages listed here still have to follow the 7 day rule or can they be deleted immediately? Personally, I think that if a user wants their own pages deleted then there should be no issue with that. Angela 22:49, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)

From Cyan's talk page

It's an honest mistake, but users (or admins for that matter) have no right to unilaterally request and receive the deletion of the history of -any- page. The proper procedure is to go through VfD. I've restored BuddhaInside's two pages. - Hephaestos 22:38, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)

And you, Hephaestos, failed to follow policy by going through Wikipedia:Votes for undeletion prior to acting unilaterally. -BuddhaInside
In my opinion, Hephaestos acted correctly: he perceived an improper summary deletion and immediately moved to revert it. -- Cyan 23:26, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Shouldn't they go on Wikipedia:Personal subpages to be deleted, not VfD. I assumed that it was ok to delete these immediately, although the policy doesn't seem clear on this. Angela 22:47, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Indeed. -BuddhaInside
It's my understanding that any page in any namespace needs consensus before deleting it with history. The technical procedures have changed so much lately that I'm not sure what's the right page in some cases. - Hephaestos 22:50, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Not to mention in this particular case, where the user is obviously very familiar with the system, and has quite possibly simply created a separate account to cause trouble. Such trolling activity should have a record. - Hephaestos 22:51, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Accounts for trolling have their user contributions as a permanent record. And if, for example, JoeM erases comments I want to preserve from on his talk page, I can always save them on my talk page. In this case, neither of the two people directly involved (i.e myself and BuddhaInside) wanted to keep the page history, so I felt it was reasonable to remove that record, and preserve the content here (that is, on my talk page). -- Cyan 23:03, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)


"Consensus" has always been that each user had final control over their user pages. As for trolling, you haven't refuted the logic above. -BuddhaInside
For the record, I was treating these pages as if they had been listed on Wikipedia:Personal subpages to be deleted. It was my understanding that, within reasonable limts, a user had the privilege of deciding the content of their own user page and talk page, the primary limitation being that the content was to be related to working on Wikipedia. -- Cyan 22:57, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
That could well be, so I might be wrong. At any rate the policy will make itself clear sooner or later, and I think until that point it's better to have the pages available than not. I know I for one am not going to delete a user's talk page at his/her request every time someone simply posts a question in it. - Hephaestos 23:00, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)

End of moved text from the talk page of Cyan


None of the policies make it clear. If there are no objections, I am going to write on the policy page that this should count as one of the things allowable for immediate deletion. Sysop's user pages are deleted all the time without listing on VfD. I just deleted my own sandbox twice. I have also deleted my user page in the past, as has 172. If sysops can do this it is unfair that normal users can't. Angela 23:04, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I second this motion. -BuddhaInside
I would actually prefer that admins be prevented from deleting their own pages. A simple blanking should be plenty, except in unusual circumstances which can be covered in VfD (or whatever is the appropriate venue these days). - Hephaestos 23:20, 6 Sep 2003 (UTC)
why do think it would be better that no deletion of user pages is practiced ? Why not, but what are the arguments ? Anthère

Is there a difference between user pages and subpages? I was assuming that subpages are of the [[user:XYZ/subpage]] variety and do not mean anything else when I first saw this metapage. Do user talk (and user subtalk) pages belong to the user, or are they the place that other users can post comments, observations and record interchanges with that user (obviously the user can also post there)? It seems obvious to me that the user and talk pages belong to the wiki once posted, they may include material that belongs (is copyright) to the user, or limited to further distribution by the fair use and fair dealing provisions of various copyright laws, but it has been released under the GFDL upon posting (that is what it says below on the screen as I am typing this). Maybe I am wrong, but I think that once someone posts something on Wikipedia they run the risk of it remaining there (and in download data dumps) forever.

I think Hephaestos has a good point about not deleting anything that might later have some significance. The whole point of a wiki is that it creates a record of interactions between people. As Brian Vibber pointed out in a mailing list discussion [1] someday someone may want to write a thesis on one of us and our interactions on Wikipedia or on the phenomenon of Wikipedia vandalism or trolling. How will they be able to do that if user and talk pages are deleted? The user and talk pages are the real repository of the personality of this grand experiment as Brian called it on the mailing list. Alex756 02:06, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

But if they're doing their grand experiment, they will surely want to look at what's been deleted too, so it will be just as interesting for them to see that User:whatever deleted his talk page following some event. Perhaps it's wrong for users to view their user pages as belonging to them, but I'm sure many do and unless that person is banned I think they should be allowed todecide (within reason) what to do with "their" pages. Angela 07:06, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I think it common etiquette that user pages (included talk pages and subpages) be editable by their owner and deletable by their owner. Otherwise, there are no more their user' page. In case of a non sysop, the sysop deleting the page for him is mere technicality. And afaik, a sysop never asked permission to delete his own page, nor did anyone reverted their deletion. Should that happen to me, I would see that as a personal intrusion in my space and consider it rude.

Now, it also make sense to keep content for history sometimes. In case of vandals for example. If so, the sysop interested just has to make a copy of the page (or a move if he wants to preserve the history) to his own user space if he is want to preserve the info (or to wikipedia space if it is desired by the community), then delete the page per user request. Anthère

How can someone see what is deleted as Angela suggests above? One only know that something is deleted; there is no way to tell what content was deleted. One cannot know what has been removed; the page histories and all the links are gone too. The only thing that one will be able to state is that the record is lost; someone deleted it, they will not be able to do any kind of historical research on that person before the user and/or talk pages were deleted, except for their edit trail and comments they have posted on other undeleted talk pages (which could also be a partial record). While someone may copy the part they think is significant, what about they other parts? Maybe the other parts are significant to others for unknown reasons to the one who deletes that information? Is there any record of why it was deleted beyond the personal request? OK, delete user pages, that seems to be someone's personal space but talk pages? Isn't that where a lot of important things get hashed out here between contributors? That is what I am seeing on user talk pages on a regular basis.
I do agree with Anthèere, there is at least a way to save it somewhere else. Perhaps there should always be a policy of copying someone's user page and subpages before they are deleted, then if someone wants to save the material and were not aware of the deletion when it happened they can access the copy, or, alternatively, getting the permission of everyone who has ever posted on the talk page before it is deleted so that they can copy anything they may think is important to save for their own reasons at least — it still creates a gap in the record that may be needed by someone someday, but it seems that some believe that not maintaining such a record is a good idea. I still don't see why, the stuff on people's talk pages can be very significant to others who read it, later on, there is a lot to be gleaned about the complexities of interpersonal relations in such a cooperative endeavor that might shed light on the decision making process that goes on here and the collaborative process that helps Wikipedia to develop structure, form and content. Does this all really belong to the user whose talk page it is on? Alex756 08:19, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

They can see it is deleted by the fact that the "restore x deleted edits" link appears at the top. If they are researching Wikipedia, they ought to have access to this in the same way that current sysops do. That is one way to know something was deleted. The deletion log is another way.

Yes, talk pages are important, but the user still basically controls it. They usually get away with deleting what they see fit, and even completely rephrasing what people have said. I don't see how this is any different to deleting the page. Sysops can still access it through undeletion (which thanks to Brion's new link is extremely easy to do) and this should be accessible to those on the grand experiment in the same way. It is no harder to view it this way than going through the history if comments (as opposed to the whole page) have been deleted.

Why on earth do subpages need copying before deletion? Most of the time these are user sandboxes or temporary pages where people work on articles prior to their deletion. I see no benefit in keeping them or in forcing a 7-day wait on their deletion. Why would anyone want to object to me deleting my to-do list for example. If people are putting important things on other people's talk pages, it is up to them to make a copy. They can not expect other user's to keep it.

Finally, I can't see why you are using this researcher's argument. We aren't here to benefit the researchers. We are supposed to be writing an encyclopedia and should not be relying on the history of user_talk pages to do that.

Angela 14:08, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Being a researcher and someone who has sifted through many an old archive, I am sympathetic to some as of yet unborn scholar who will see Wikipedia as a revolutionary way of communicating, collaborating and even disagreeing.
From what you are saying Angela, when a page is deleted it is never really deleted anyway, just inaccessible to anyone with less than sysop rights. Actually stating that the pages should be copied was a bit "tongue in check" (I was essentially restating that I don't agree with deleting them obviously if the whole page is moved somewhere then it is not deleted, no? Another example of I didn't get the joke levity from Alex756).
I still think there is an argument to keeping the user talk pages transparent to non-sysops (i.e. the general public). If they are blanked there is still the page history (though that does make the links dormant), someone like me who has only been here a relatively short time has found it useful to read old user talk page histories after they have been summarized or changed; I've learnt a lot about how Wikipedia works there; not just from Meta pages. It shows me how people DO collaborate, how they sometimes disagree, how they sometimes get crazy and how they sometimes have a lot of emotional investment into Wikipedia and the subjects they are working on. That helps me as a contributor because it shows me different ways to collaborate and work with others, (and why edit wars are are stupid thing) something that is important to the development of Wikipedia as an encyclopedia. My contention is that it does influence content (hey maybe I should be writing that thesis!). Having someone take that away from the public because they want to make a clean slate, well, my response would be to log in as a new user, and leave the old stuff available for the social scientists and tinkerers like me to dissect; regarding sandbox like subpages I see no issue at all in deleting them ASAP.
I guess since I am a sysop I shouldn't worry about the problems the masses may have in learning about the history of Wikipedia contributors; it will be a relatively obscure point for most. More members of the public will just have to become sysops so they can look through those deleted page histories as suggested (maybe there should be a rule about granting researchers sysop status if they need to access the archives in such a manner). Alex756 23:10, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)


Redirecting - the uncontroversial form of deletion!

Just a recommendation: when I want to get rid of a subpage of mine, I orphan it, and redirect it to my user page. Has some advantages: keeps the history freely available (nobody can accuse me of censorship), is easily revertable (nobody can accuse me of unilateralism), doesn't use secret sysop powers (nobody can accuse me of sysop abuse), doesn't break any links, etc. Perhaps we can avoid the whole controversy by just recommending that people follow that approach?

Warning: I'm speaking generally: have no idea what the specific fuss is about... Martin 22:42, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

But if someone wants to remove the history of "their own" pages then I still think that should be allowed. Angela 22:53, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Perhaps I have a lack of imagination, but I can't think of any good reason to do so. Especially now we have 100+ sysops, so the history will still be practically available, but in a different place. Even for folks who are leaving Wikipedia, I view the solution of user:Kat and user:Zoe as a better one. Martin 23:39, 7 Sep 2003 (UTC)

subpage

Could a sysop please add a quick definition of "subpage"?

Martin suggests

A personal subpage is a page of the form user:X/blah or user talk:X/blah. Pages of the form user:X and user talk:X are not subpages. If you desire to delete them, use votes for deletion, but note that such requests are only granted to departed Wikipedians, and then only rarely.

BuddhaInside suggests the alternative:

Some hold that a subpage is a page of the form user:X/blah or user talk:X/blah and that pages of the form user:X and user talk:X are not subpages, while others hold that the user:X and user talk:X pages are the root subpages. If you desire to delete them, either use votes for deletion or personal subpages to be deleted, but note that the sysops are not in agreement over deleting such pages, despite the fact that there are sysops who routinely use delete on their own root subpages.

I have reworded this to avoid problems associated with real articles being moved to the user namespace and then deleted. For example, User:Daniel C. Boyer/Surrealist Movement in the United States was previously in the main namespace so should go through the normal channels of deletion rather than being listed here. It also stops people getting around the issue of having their user page deleted by moving it to a subpage. Angela 01:05, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The latter part of your statement is a desired feature of the subpage deletion process. -BuddhaInside
It may be desired but it is not allowed. User and talk pages stay until you leave, at which point they might be deleted if you ask the right people. Angela

BuddhaInside, let's play "make it up as we go along". If you can get two other established contributors to agree with you on this issue within two days, then the policy will not be changed; if not, then Angela's complete policy is posted and you agree not to revert. What do you say? (You too, Angela.) -- Cyan 01:45, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Depends how you define 'established contributors'. Two may not be enough, particularly if you have significantly more than two against the idea. If the policy is not accepted it means I am perfectly entitled to move Main Page to User_talk:Angela/Main Page and then delete it, along with any other pages I don't like. Angela 01:54, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

No, that sort of move gets tagged as vandalism. You'd probably be banned within 2 hours of someone telling Jimbo. It's the grey area here that needs to be pinned down. -- Cyan 01:58, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Ok, I'll try not to do that then. :) --Angela
No, I do not consent to that process. How about we hold an election and seek a majority of 50% + 1, defining a quorum as 50 active wikipedia editors? -BuddhaInside

Sounds good to me. I prefer that the editors not only be active, but be established. Let us say, active editors whose first edit was before August 28. Agree? -- Cyan 01:58, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

50 is too high. You aren't going to find 50 people who are that interested. Angela
That really made me laugh. If you don't have 50 people who are interested, then why change the policy at all? It is clear that this change is targeted directly at me, not at correcting some major wikipedia problem. Users have always had control of their user space, have long had subpage and user page deletions honored, and even admins have admitted to deleting their own user pages. Stop picking on me. -BuddhaInside
Well, it's not like Angela and I weren't sympathetic at the start. But the interested parties discussed it, and transparency held the day; you, BuddhaInside, were the lone holdout. -- Cyan 02:34, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

You never know until you try. BuddhaInside, what do you suggest if a quorum cannot be convened? -- Cyan 02:06, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Research how most legislatures handle the lack of a quorom. -BuddhaInside

Fine, let's set the quorum at a thousand. Why are you feeding this troll? - Hephaestos 02:17, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Ah yes, Hephaestos, the guy who keeps following me around and making "helpful" changes to my edits. Keep up the good work, fellow. -BuddhaInside

But really, BuddhaInside, now that I think about it, you are the lone holdout among the interested contributors. So why shouldn't the generally acknowledged majority opinion hold sway? -- Cyan 03:38, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

The lone holdout to what, exactly? This new proposal to restrict deletion of personal subpages only showed up a few hours ago. As for the majority, why shouldn't we reenslave the blacks if a generally acknowledged majority voted to do it? Why shouldn't we abolish abortion if a generally acknowledges majority voted to do it? Do you think that there are things that no majority should be able to do? -BuddhaInside

Well, what touched it off was my deletion of that first exchange, back when your talk page was a pristine tabula rasa. (How innocent we were back then!) Angela was the most outspoken defender of your position, but Hephaestos, Alex756, and Martin disagreed. Since Angela now supports the Hephaestos position, we can assume she adopted the Subpage Principle: "User" pages and "User talk" pages are by definition not subpages. If I've read the situation right, you don't agree, making you the lone holdout among those who've expressed an opinion.

Now a new general principle has been promulgated, which I will call the Place of Birth Principle: only pages which began life as personal subpages can be deleted on this page. Given your edits to this policy page, I believe you agree with this principle; your essential objection is to the Subpage Principle.

What do you think?

I've got to go. I'll be back tomorrow. -- Cyan 04:02, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Was that you who orginally edited my carte blanche? I'd forgotten that. Keeping my pages blank seemed so simple then, now it seems like a daily struggle. How quickly time passes.
I've thought about your Place of Birth Principle and I like the name, but I would modify the definition (big surprise) for clarity. Let us define a realm to be everything that happens within a common wiki space. Such realms would include the main space (where all articles are written), the main talk space (closely linked but distinct from the prior), the Wikipedia: space and associated talk, the meta space, and all of the separate user spaces. Given that, I support the principle that any article created in any realm should from then forth be edited or deleted according to the rules of that realm, despite being moved between realms, unless such a move happens through a consent-driven transparent process (and thereby the article becomes "naturalized" in a new realm).
So, having said all that... Yes, I do support the Place of Birth Principle insofar as it means that main space articles cannot be moved to the talk realm and treated as talk articles. But I do not support any distinction between realms, userspace, usertalkspace, etc, that would imply that a user could not have control over the content of their personal userspace, which is the user's defacto persona and home on wikipedia.-BuddhaInside
While I have your attention, User:Jimbo Wales would like to chat with you privately [2]. -- Cyan 04:06, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)
As usual, he is welcome to ask me about any specific recent edit I've made on the associated talk page. -BuddhaInside
I think it was your general behavour he wanted to discuss rather than specific edits. Angela

personal subpage privacy

section added to facilitate editingJamesDay 02:53, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)

do sysops have to indicate a genuine reason here, before deleting themselves their sub/pages, or can they delete them without being granted an authorization ? In short, do this policy applies to everyone or to non-sysop only ? user:anthere

I think to everyone. Sysops may delete their own personal subpages, but only after providing a genuine reason here. Martin 13:31, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Hum. But...an opinion from the bottom of my heart...it will be little respected :-) But well...ok. This rule is ok to me. Now people will wonder what a "good reason" is :-)
I think another reason for deleting user or talk pages (not only limited to departing wikipedians) would be for removal of very hurtful and frightening comments that a user does not wish to stay in history, on hir personal pages, available to anyone (such as threats and such).
There is something bothering me a bit there Martin. This is the idea that no one has the right to delete personal information (I think most people would agree here that user pages and talk pages may contain personal information, right ?) without previous agreement of the community. Why not. But ! In my country, there is a law, saying that every person has the right to have any personal information about hirself modified or deleted as hir request. In french Vous disposez d'un droit d'accès, de modification, de rectification et de suppression des données qui vous concernent (art. 34 de la loi 'Informatique et Libertés'). This means any one has a right of access, or modification and of deletion of data that may concern him. Now, I know this is an american server, so it is entirely possible that such a law in national only, and does not exist in the USA. I am not sure though. It might be relevant to ask Alex what says the american law here. I would not be surprised if this law had a european basis as well. Do you know anything about this ? But, in short, if a server was located in France one day, it would be submitted by at least french law. And if a user ask that hir personal page be deleted, because it, say, mention his name, or the fact that he is an homosexual and enough information for someone to make the relation between a user and his homosexuality in real life (such as making public a fixed ip, or enough references here and there on the web site), refusing to delete this information would make wikipedia liable by french law. Our services are quite strict on personal information protection. And the fact the information was offered by the user hirself would perhaps not be so much an argument for rejection of the juridical case.
In any case, if a user on the french wiki, offer quite a bit of information about himself, and becomes identifiable by hir real life peers, and for some reason gets in an argument where he is called a liar, an asshole, a jerk, or whatever, and ask that his pages are deleted to try to hide his identity from being found on the net, I will not hesitate a tiny second, and won't spent months in looking for a consensus on the case. Not only will the page be deleted, but I will also ask Brion to permanently delete it from the database. This is a legal right in France, and perhaps in other countries as well. And playing with it would be wrong. Also, because right now, french web sites are downloading the database for use. Also because, the database could be copied on the european server later obn. Possibly, Jimbo will refuse the permanent deletion, arguing the server and its content are currently in USA. But I don't think a juridical case between France and USA would be any good right now. Or any good later on, if a server is delocalised. user:anthere
I forgot. I would do that just as well for a "good" wikipedian than a "vandal" one. Law does not give a damn what a good person is by wikipedian standards. People seem to forget around here, that whether s/he is problematic or not problematic by wikipedian standards, there usually is a person behind an ip or a pseudo, and law applies to persons, and have interpretation of what is a threat that might be different from what it is for some of us.
There's a right of privacy in the US as well, but not as well specified as in Europe. If personal information is disclosed it should be erased completely at the request of the person the information is about. Possibly replaced with a note that personal information was erased by requst. Phone numbers, physical addresses and family member names are examples of personal information. 'Personal information' is mostly in the mind of the owner of the personal information and it's useful to apply a fairly broad, but not ridiculous, definition, accepting most things about the person as being personal if they say they are. If it is not personal information, the Wikipedia is a work project and the general US rule that information on a work computer is presumed to be the property of the employer would apply. That can't apply to personal information because it would make it too easy to harass Wikipedians in a way which can't be undone. JamesDay 23:29, 25 Sep 2003 (UTC)
First, let me say that I do not think that only American law applies on Wikipeida regarding issues of invasion of privacy or other such delictual or extracontractual liability. Obviously if a person posts some information that violates the personality rights of third persons then that information should be deleted and it is the law where the delict or tort occurs that is important (i.e. where the person who is defamed is located or where the defamation occurs so this scenario involves the law of at least three countries not just US law!) I know I have previously brought this up. I think it was on the mailing list, but I can't remember where or when exactly. It is something different than copyright law that usually deals with the law of the place of publication, but sometimes republication may bring the law of the first country into play in the second country (that was the case I suggested you read Anthere that I left on your talk page recently).
If one posts the information him or herself about him or her self should it be deleted? I don't think this is the case that these various privacy laws are intended to cover, i.e. it is third party posted that can and should be immediately deleted.
Is Wikipedia responsible if someone posts something that is defamation? If after being apprised of it we take proactive steps to remove it, we can always use that as a defense (in any jurisdiction). This comes up to some point in the case that User:JamesDay and I have recently been working on Carafano v. Metrosplash.com. I think that if someone posts something that is clearly a violation of third party rights it should be removed ASAP. After all this is a wiki and anyone can post anything on a wiki. There is no editorial control before the fact.
If someone posts information about themselves? There is an argument that they have done so with full knowledge that the public can access that information. If someone misuses that information (i.e. stalks the individual) then that is a criminal manner. We should not encourage people to post indentifying information on Wikipedia, i.e. one's real address, location, social security number, etc., if someone posts their real name then they have decided to make posts in that manner. Is Wikipedia responsible? I doubt it. Should they have the right to remove it? I doubt it. Why? Because it is their information and they have the right to shout it across the rooftops all over the world. This is the right that is protected in many international human rights conventions, i.e. free speech (that is not just a US or Canadian right last I checked). If they do not want to publish such information they shouldn't in the first place. Should Wikipedia be responsible afterwards? I haven't studied these various "database privacy" laws in detail but aren't they focussed on the maintenance of a "file" by a business concern. Posting information on one's talk page does not appear to be within the ambit of the law. I would be interested in hearing arguments (and citiations to legal authority) to the contrary. Alex756 02:47, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Consider the case where you post my physical address without my consent. I've received death threats in the past as a result of online activities (moderating message boards). Seems unlikely that many here would want that address to be anything other than completely expunged, and equally unlikely that any US court would decline to order Wikipedia to do so, if asked. Now consider my placing it online and subsequently receiving threats or harassment. While I placed it here originally, circumstances have changed, the harmless information has become harmful and it seems likely that a US court would instruct Wikipedia to expunge the information. Legal issues aside, from the point of view of encouraging contributions, it's desirable to accept non-malicious expunge requests for (fairly broadly defined) personal information and remove that information from the online work. Paper or offline copies held by the Wikipedia Foundation can serve the interests of historians well enough and the access requirements will serve to protect the information from abusive uses without greatly impacting the historical record. JamesDay 03:09, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
No one is suggesting that if a third party posts your information that it can not and should not be deleted. If you put the information into the public that is one thing, if someone else copies it that is another. That is two different issues. This is a discussion about the right to zap a person's talk page which is part of the wikipedia domain. They put the information there. If you remove it and they copy it and put it somewhere else, that is a different issue User:JamesDay is confusing two very separate fact patterns. I suggest one should think through these differences before lumping them together, by confusing the two it is not helping the discussion, only confusing people. This is not a private archive, it is a public forum. If you send an email message with your credit card number in it and someone uses it you cannot blame your ISP for sending out the email message. There is not difference with that and Wikipedia. We have no liability for the naive actions of users who do not read the note at the bottom of every edit page. Alex756 06:25, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Are we talking only about legal rights, or what we think should happen on Wikipedia. For example, legally someone may not have the right to remove information that they posted about themselves, but this doesn't mean that this is a policy we should adopt. There may be a number of reasons a user does wish to delete information about themselves. Are you saying they can not do that? Angela 02:58, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
I am saying that if there is consensus about deleting user subpages, go ahead, delete them. But there is no legal basis for requiring a wiki site to remove something that someone has placed themselves about themselves when that information is not a violation of any copyright law or is defamation or a violation of some third parties rights. If you post your information you are obviously giving your consent. You have released that via a non-exclusive copyright license under the GFDL. Once that is done it cannot be withdrawn. It clearly states that at the bottom of EVERY edit page: If you do not want your writing to be redistributed at will then don't submit it here. You cannot unpublish information once it is published. That is absurd! That is the nature of the license and that is also the nature of a wiki. How could it be otherwise? It is a public forum not a membership on some online service. It is a permanent archive. If you don't want you personal information redistributed at will then don't submit it here. Alex756 06:25, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Both. To encourage participation, it's good to accept reasonable remove requests for personal information. Legally, some types of information are going to be removed by a court order if someone seeks one, but that's a higher threshold than is desirable to encourage participation. Equally, it's not good to encourage attempts to expunge the record when no personal information is involved. JamesDay 03:09, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Once again I do not agree with thea above comment. If you post personal information about yourself on the internet on your own ISP and then it gets cached into a web archive or search engine, well you posted it on the internet, how can you blame any third party, how can you blame your ISP? (If someone has a case that says otherwise on four points with the fact pattern being discussed here I suggest that he cite it and we discuss that rather than making broad legal generalizations about hypothetical court orders being issued). I do not know of any authority or law that suggests that a judge will remove information that is public knowledge. This would be no doubt unconstitutional, you publish your personal information on a billboard near the highway and then suggest that someone who repeats your address to their friend is violating your privacy rights? That does not make sense! The information must be private? When you disclose personal information in a public way it it may no longer be private. What if a public figure says: "Remove my birthday from all biographies about me." Will a judge order that? No. If you post your information on a wiki you have posted it, no one else has published that information, not Wikipedia, not Wikimedia, not any other volunteer, only the person posting it has caused that information to be distributed to the public. Once it is posted someone may copy it, send it via email to other people and post it on their web site. There is no copyright in information. In the case of Wikipedia under the GFDL the information can even legally be sold! If whoever receives that information is using it in violation of someone's privacy rights, that person has a cause of action against them not against the wiki where you posted it. That would be absurd! You post the information and now you have changed your mind? You should not have posted it. Does the wiki software have to be modified because you now change your mind? No! What kind of burden does that impose upon the software developers. An impossible burden. That is ridiculous. This is not a case of a third party posting the information. If the third party misuses the information it is that third party that has the legal liability. The Wikipedia is a collaborative social software web archive, YOU post YOUR personal information at YOUR PERIL. Alex756 06:25, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Do we agree that if someone other than the person the information is about posts the information, it can be expunged completely from the online work, in an attempt to avoid further spread of the information? JamesDay 10:06, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)
If someone posts information with intent to harass what do you expect the typical ISP terms of service to say about the action? Do you expect the result to change if it was about a private person and used to be public but was removed because of the harassment? In my view, it's simply socially responsible to assist those who are being harassed in frustrating the harassment, regardless of the copyright status of the information. That social responsibility wouldn't extend to recalling every copy of a printed encyclopedia but withdrawing online records and keeping the withdrawn information offline instead is a relatively modest step to take to assist others. The information may well still be public in some archives but it won't be in the more prominent place where it used to reside. A public figure invokes different considerations but most of us here are not public figures and never will be. JamesDay 10:06, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)

JamesDay - if you don't want anyone to say your name seperately, you might want to say so on your user page. Martin 10:24, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I agree. I'm used to a convention where it's considered impolite and/or unacceptable to do other than write the name as given. It seems most unlikely that Alex756 had any intent to frustrate my intent. I'm also used to sysops immediately removing addresses and phone numbers from public view... JamesDay 10:36, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Anthère, I do think that there should be a policy that addresses the user who has been personally idenitified and may have received a death threat or is the victim of other similarly illegitimate activity. In such a case the user's whole user name should be deleted to a blank page much as has been done in a few very exceptional cases (i.e. User:isis). I think this is a compassionate response, not a legal one because the person has already posted their information voluntarily has allowed it to be available publically. That person can come back to Wikipedia under a new, more pseudonymic user name. That only seems common sense to me, not legal reasoning. Alex756 17:16, 26 Sep 2003 (UTC)

I appreciate this comment. I am more a humanist than a legalist. However, I fear a detail in this proposition : the fact that it might only apply to those considered "good" people, not to those labelled bad for whatever reason. Because of the word "compassionate".

Since you registered to the fr ML, you will perhaps hear about Papotages very soon since he edited the fr wiki yesterday, and his strongest opponent, Ellisk, is obviously preparing himself for a new battle. Papotages is member of a cult (secte) in France (or so he says). Obviously, it would be best for him not to have his name made public. He has some flaws, especially the flaw of not following the mainstream view, and the other flaw of being extremely prolific (er...talkative ?). He also has one or two very strong opponents, who hold anti-cult views. His last passage on the fr generated a trail of arguments. In one of the discussion page, one of his opponents tried to guess his real name. Wrote down examples. Of course, some can also try to track his id. And mixing facts together, it is indeed possible one could come with the name, even though Papotages would not give it himself. If the name is made public, and Papotages ask for it to disappear from the archive (there are cases in France of people who have been fired after their employer found some facts about them), by french laws, he has the right to ask. Note that I do not think he would ask us to remove it, and I am sure he would not try the legal way. Still, that is one of the example that come to my mind. Given that many french think the best way to handle problematic users such as Papotages is hard ban, it is very unlikely they would accept a request of name deletion. However, by most western standards, Papotages has not done anything that might be said illegal, other than holding another point of view that the one hold by the majority of current french speaking wikipedians. So, if his name is found and displayed, possibly resulting in troubles in his private life, and no legal option is possible to clean the database, and most wikipedians refuse to offer him the kindness of privacy, I think I will consider that Wikipedia is not something I wish to have anything with. My last hope would rely on the humanity of Jimbo. I think this is damn important. Anthère

That is using the Wikipedia to harass Papotages. That's not what the Wikipedia is for and is abusing it. If such harassment happens, it's time to seek warning or banning of those who are misusing the Wikipedia in that way. Harassing others is an indication that someone is not trustworthy and is showing poor judgement. Time also to consider whether they should keep any sysop capabilities they have. If Papotages is a problem, harassing Papotages by posting personal information isn't the solution. JamesDay 06:50, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
Even threatening to post personal information is delictual behavior. It should not be tolerated because it is wrongful tortious action. Alex756 15:29, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
tortious?? M
Tortious (from Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed., 1990 at page 1389 reproduced here as fair use) Wrongful; of the nature of a tort. The word "tortious" is used throughout the Restatement, Second, Torts, to denote the fact that conduct whether of act or omission is of such a character as to subject the actor to liability, under the principles of the law of torts. (§ 6).
tortuous ? A
See Tort. Angela
Ah ! A french word, yes of course. "être en tort".
you both are right. Fortunately, none are sysops (the current situation on fr is not to push people to be sysop, though we give it quite easily, hence we have rather few sysops, and most are reasonable people). I consider those harassing just as problematic than Papotages himself. In particular, as they are very good at using fallacious arguments, without good editors always realizing they are being manipulated. It does not help that Papotages himself practices manipulation. Maybe should we teach editors to recognise manipulation...In any case, warning editors they are misusing wikipedia and perhaps having "delictual" behavior is one thing, banning them is another. Another that require consensus. But I thank you for the answer, which I will use if attempts at uncovering identities are made again. Handling official difficult users is one thing. Handling those abusing difficult users is even tougher. Anthère

This discussion seems to have strayed somewhat off-topic, but I'm not sure where to move it. -- Cyan 22:33, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Maybe Wikipedia:Personal information (which doesn't exist yet), or Wikipedia:Privacy policy. Maybe worth noting the draft policy on Meta says :

If you or someone else adds personal information to a wikipedia page, such as your user page, it will be stored indefinately, even if you subsequently edit it to remove it. Do not publish information that you don't want published! Wikipedia is not a private chat room.

Perhaps this should be on Meta for now? Angela 22:46, 27 Sep 2003 (UTC)
It is not exactly about privacy policy, that has more to do with specific rights only under database privacy laws, this is more about personal information that is listed by one user about another user or for removing someone's personal information after they have given due consent to post it in public view. I vote for moving it to a Wikipedia:Personality rights issues]] page.Alex756 20:18, 28 Sep 2003 (UTC)