Wikipedia talk:Proposed deletion of biographies of living people

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Category:BLP articles proposed for deletion  · Template:Prod blp  · Template:Prod blp/doc  · Template:ProdwarningBLP

Old BLPs (2004) and BLPProd?[edit]

What's our current practice of BLPPROD for old BLPs? 20004 creation, barely a stub, nothing contentious on an academic whose obvious publishing history is a clear pass for BLPN. However it's not easy or quick to find secondary sources on well-cited academics - if there are any, they're hidden behind the primary sources, and their citations (which aren't the type of secondary coverage we need).

I've just reverted a PROD on this - I can't see any way in which the encyclopedia is improved by such a deletion. But where does our policy stand on such? Andy Dingley (talk) 20:08, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

  • BLP PROD doesn't distinguish between different kinds of sources, as long as the source supports a statement in the article. So non-secondary sources such as the subject's academic website or papers written by the subject would mean the subject doesn't qualify for BLP PROD. Complete lack of third-party reliable sources would be a serious problem (see Wikipedia:Verifiability#Notability), but that's the kind of thing that would be dealt with using regular PROD or AfD. Also there was a point in late 2011 where there were no articles tagged as unreferenced BLPs (aside from a few in the deletion process), so if this one is completely unreferenced then either it wasn't recognised as an unreferenced BLP back then or it used to have some sources which have been removed since. Hut 8.5 20:50, 9 August 2017 (UTC)
It doesn't seem to have hit the BLP radar until 2015. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:18, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
@Andy Dingley: Given that there was at least one reference in a previous revision (in fact, from the first version of the entry), this entry was never eligible for BLPPROD and you were definitely correct to remove it. Even if it had been without sources in all revisions, adding a primary source would still usually be enough to remove the BLPPROD (e.g. if the entry says he worked on X and you can reference a paper he wrote on X, that's a reliable source supporting a claim in the entry--it's ok if that that source is primary.) As for other deletion processes that might apply, I think the relevant policy would be WP:NACADEMIC; if I'm not mistaken, this special notability guideline exists pretty much exactly because of the issue you're describing re: secondary sources.
But in any case, no need to worry about secondary sources for the BLPPROD process specifically, just other processes like AfD, regular PROD (which you can still use on BLPs), etc. Hope that helps! Innisfree987 (talk) 17:11, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
That (his academia homepage) is too primary to really support it, IMHO. Plenty of stuff gets deleted with less.
I put some work in on it last night, but was still having trouble finding good secondaries on him personally. Someone today clearly disagreed anyway and re-prodded it. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:33, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
His academia homepage, though deadlinked now, (since fixed!) at least confirmed his place of employment as stated in the entry, so definitely the page was ineligible for BLPPROD. Whether it should be deleted under a different process is probably a subject for the entry's talk page; I'll weigh in there, if I can get a handle on what the debate even is, I'm honestly confused by the blanking. Innisfree987 (talk) 18:12, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
There is such a rush to delete this article today: [1] [2] [3] that I'm wondering if I shouldn't just AfD it and leave them to it. Welcome to Wikipedia. Why do we do this again? 8-( Andy Dingley (talk) 20:09, 10 August 2017 (UTC)
I actually had the same thought about AfD, that there it would attract the attention of folks who deal with academic notability all the time and the matter'd be easily settled. But it looks like a good number of folks are weighing in at the talk page so hopefully it can be resolved that way... Yeesh! Innisfree987 (talk) 20:42, 10 August 2017 (UTC)


I've boldly closed what I believe to be loopholes in the policy to make it consistent with the placement requirement as well as the removal requirement. I'm open to wording improvements and whatnot. Hopefully, this'll put an end to the confusion once and for all, but I still fear there's only one way to do that... Adam9007 (talk) 00:30, 11 August 2018 (UTC)

  • Support as sensible clarification of what is already established policy, thanks Atlantic306 (talk) 17:50, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Support, ditto, thank you. Innisfree987 (talk) 18:42, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Adam9007: Can you give examples of the loopholes? What does the cryptic Hopefully, this'll put an end to the confusion once and for all, but I still fear there's only one way to do that... mean? Sam Sailor 18:53, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Sam Sailor: I'm not actually sure whether it's multiple loopholes, or one loophole scattered across the page :). But much of the policy didn't distinguish between a valid tag placement and an invalid one, and parts of it (especially the 'Objecting' section) could have given the impression that it doesn't matter whether a placement was valid or not. That distinction was really only made on the lead and the 'Nominating' section. Yes, in an ideal world, people will use common sense and take 'placement' to mean 'valid placement', but we're unfortunately not in an ideal world, and people do make invalid BLPPROD tag placements, whether that's through ignorance, or because they think they can loophole their way around the spirit of this policy. In fact, I think I once saw someone try to circumvent the placement requirement by claiming that unreliable sources don't qualify as supporting, despite this policy's context making it clear that (for BLPPROD's purposes) they do. As for the last bit, it means I fear even this won't help much in the long run, and the only way to really end the confusion will be to make the placement and removal requirements match each other. I'm fairly sure that has been proposed several times in the past. Adam9007 (talk) 22:45, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Yeah, I don’t even know if it’s loopholes so much as chronic misunderstandings leading to recurring, unnecessary friction. But any clarification that might to reduce that... Innisfree987 (talk) 23:58, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Innisfree987: Well, given what's happening at James Willcock, I fear there may well be another RfC on the matter, even though there was one not that long ago (well, I say I fear it, but I'm not actually afraid of an RfC itself, but rather the accusations of disruption because we keep having them and they always have the same result). Adam9007 (talk) 02:34, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
  • Whew, yep, all of the above is just exactly the kind of disruption I’d love to avoid...! Innisfree987 (talk) 03:32, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
  • @Innisfree987: I think I can have a pretty good guess at what'll happen if this continues and/or it does go to another RfC: People will get fed up with them and it'll be speedily closed, or it'll go the same way as they always have and for the same reasons, and of course nothing ever changes. The placement requirement will still need to be explained over and over and over again and will even be treated as something that's just been made-up on the spot. Those enforcing it will be accused of violating WP:BLP and blocked or topic banned. And who will get the blame for causing disruption? (clue: it won't be the people knowingly and wilfully violating policy. I can tell you that for nothing! :)). Adam9007 (talk) 03:52, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Reliable sources...or not?[edit]

I'm confused by this passage in the lede of this guideline:

Unsourced biographies of living people (BLPs) are eligible for a special proposed deletion process, BLPPROD. To be eligible for a BLPPROD tag, the entry must be a biography of a living person and contain no sources in any form (as references, external links, etc., reliable or otherwise) supporting any statements made about the person in the biography. Unlike standard proposed deletion, the BLP deletion template may be removed only after the biography contains a reliable source that supports at least one statement made about the person in the article. If the biography remains unsourced after seven days, the biography may be deleted.

Soooo, the guideline says that ANY source, reliable or otherwise, means that the BLPPROD tag is not appropriate. But then it goes on to say that BLPPROD tag can only be removed if a reliable source is added.

I don't understand why an unreliable source is acceptable in the first place but then a reliable source is required to remove a BLPPROD tag. Can someone clear this up for me?

What I'm coming across are one sentence biographies with IMDb as a source. IMDb is considered to be an unreliable source but according to this guideline, it doesn't matter, BLPPROD is not valid. EXCEPT if there was no source at all and an editor added IMDb as a source, then that would be unacceptable. This seems uncharacteristically inconsistent for Wikipedia, especially for policy pages. Liz Read! Talk! 01:50, 8 June 2019 (UTC)

  • It's a policy not a guideline so it's strange you are not aware of it ? Atlantic306 (talk) 14:11, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
    A thought: maybe rather than being strange, the fact that even Liz hadn't come across it 'til now indicates it's really not a very much used or needed tool (and so arguably more trouble than it's worth?) Innisfree987 (talk) 19:51, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, to be blunt, when I was writing this query, I wavered about calling BLPPROD a "guideline" or a "policy" and since I was in the edit mode/screen, I was lazy and didn't want to go back to the Wikipedia page to see which it was and lose my comment. So, I took a guess and called it a guideline. My bad for not checking and being more precise.
As for not being Wikipedia omnipotent, well that's just the way it is with us mortals. I've been editing for almost 6 years and I'm still learning new things every day. If you are expecting complete, comprehensive knowledge from admins, I know several very experienced admins (and also a few regular editors) who seem omnipotent to me but I think that even they might object to that implied level of perfection. You can find a few editors/admins with superior wiki knowledge putting in time at AfD and ANI. Those of us with "good enough but not perfect" knowledge are usually here, on policy talk pages, asking questions so we can be sure we act in line with Wikipedia policies. Liz Read! Talk! 01:02, 9 June 2019 (UTC)
  • It's a compromise, and there are various discussions about it in the archives. On the one hand people don't think BLP PROD is a good tool to use for evaluating poorly sourced articles as opposed to unsourced ones. Whether something is unsourced is unambiguous and easy to evaluate, whereas whether something is poorly sourced is subject to a lot of interpretation and therefore better suited to processes which allow discussion and objections. On the other hand people don't want unsourced BLPs to escape deletion because someone added an unreliable source, since that doesn't deal with the main problem. The difference in standards between adding a BLP PROD and removing it is intended to accommodate both of these. There have been proposals to allow BLP PROD of articles which contain a select list of common unreliable sources, such as IMDB, but they've been rejected on the grounds of keeping the policy simple. Hut 8.5 15:14, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
  • It’s not great in that it leads to this conversation over and over, a huge editor timesink and in a couple cases, editors even getting blocked over resulting disputes. I think we should get rid of it and just have regular PROD for everything (in addition to the abovementioned source quality issue, lots of people don’t understand they could use regular PROD on BLPs even though there’s also this thing called BLPPROD.) Anyone who brought a proposal to get rid of this option altogether would have my support. Innisfree987 (talk) 18:16, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
    • Not sure, if there was no BLPPROD new page patrollers would most likely move unreferenced blps to draft for AFC but that could lead to abandoned drafts full of BLP violations lingering for 6 months before deletion by csd G13 Atlantic306 (talk) 20:27, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
      • That seems not so different from what already happens, if the BLP with vios is submitted through Article Wizard rather than directly to mainspace? If we are ok with that happening there, this doesn't seem particularly worse. Seems it'd actually be less of a problem for mainspace submissions, since at least the NPP reviewer has A7, PROD, AfD nomination available to them, none of which can be used if the potential BLP-violating entry arrive as a draft (or at least, so it was the last time I checked; I have not closely followed the effort to combine NPR and AFC.) The only mainspace BLPs that should be draftified are the ones patrollers turned up indicia of notability for--which is the kind of thing draftspace is intended to incubate. No?
All that said, I do wish we had some hard numbers on how often BLPPROD is actually used. It's not that I don't understand the intention, it's just that I only rarely see it used successfully (by which I mean any result--whether deletion or sourcing improvement--other than having to explain why the tag was improperly placed), while causing what seems to me to be a disproportionate amount of friction. But maybe the successful uses are just not in my line of sight, I don't often review other NPP patrollers' work. Innisfree987 (talk) 23:52, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
Well, I should have guessed that this wasn't an entirely new question. Seems like this will continue to be a bit of a contradiction. I'll say that I'm coming across these articles when I look at Database reports or Special Pages that list the shortest articles on Wikipedia. They are almost always just one sentence and many list either IMDb or some "Directory" (often with no page listed) as sources. I had hoped that these situations had some clear cut solution but I think I will just start using PROD rather than BLPPROD.
Thank you Hut 8.5, Innisfree987 and Atlantic306 for taking the time to respond to my question. Much appreciated! Liz Read! Talk! 01:19, 9 June 2019 (UTC)