Wikipedia talk:Protecting children's privacy

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Wikipedia is not censored. As much as I want to protect little children, especially little girls from pedophiliac danger, they should no better and follow the wikipedia guidelines. They should learn these kind of things from their parental units, not just looking it up. Horny jerks could show up on here pretending to be a little kid like them yes, but as I said, this is information they should receive from the parents. It will mean more to them and they'll be more careful. I'm not sure why this is a guideline if wikipedia is not censored, yet protecting little children. ALL user should protect their personal info. --Alisyntalk 01:34, 25 January 2008 (UTC)

First of all, WP:NOT#Wikipedia is not censored applies primarily to articles. Personal information about users (real or fictitious) does not appear in articles, but rather on user pages, user/talk pages, and sometimes article/talk pages. So "not censored" doesn't really apply here. Second, the "not censored" policy is not absolute. It mentions several types of information that are typically removed. I don't think it specifically mentions "disruption", but disruptive material is typically removed from Wikipedia as well. And disruptive material is what this "essay" (officially it is not a guideline, though in many ways it really is, but let's not go there right now) and the arbitration decision on which it is based, are all about. (The original versions of this page were about something more than just limiting disruption, but I am talking about the current version; if you want to see something to which you will probably really object, see WP:YOUTH, which is closer to what this page was originally about.) You may also want to look at WP:PRIVACY, which encourages people to protect their privacy. (Though even that is not a guideline, it is just a suggestion.) 6SJ7 (talk) 04:01, 25 January 2008 (UTC)
Still, kids should learn this stuff from their parents, not wikipedia. If they are exerting too much personal info, that shouldn't be wikipedia's problem, but the parents. I don't even add so much personal info, and I'm 17. All there is is my name and age. So little children should first of all not be allowed to come on here if it's just for explaining themselves. --Alisyntalk 04:18, 25 January 2008 (UTC)


Removing personal information? Deleting categories of 1996 birth dates? Oh, come on. Warnings are perfectly fine. But if after a warning the user does not want to remove the information, why on earth must we interfere?

Believe it or not, being born later than 1993 does not automatically make you incapable of using your discretion. Privacy is voluntary. If I don't put a photograph of myself on my userpage nobody has the right to add one there. But once I've added it, how can I still rant about privacy?

This is an overzealous implementation of what would originally be reasonable. I don't think I'm breaking new scientific territory when I say that children are aware of their actions. People who add a photograph of themselves onto their userpage are voluntarily doing it, even if they're children. When their birthday happens to fall doesn't change the fact that their action was not an involuntary muscle twitch that forced them to log on to Wikipedia, download a picture of themselves, hit "edit this page" and put the relevant wikimarkup on their userpage.

"But they may not be aware of the *consequences* of their actions!!" I hear somebody screeching. Fine, so tell them. Inform them, in case they somehow didn't know, that Wikipedia is an international website, so whatever they post will be visible by people worldwide. Warn them of the possible dangers. But forcibly infringing on the userspace rights that other users have simply because of their age is going one step too far.

Categories of birth dates in 1996 are not inherently dangerous. It's not like once some pedophile finds their way to a child's userpage from that category, the child is overwhelmed with an invincible force and is compelled to spew out volumes of personal information and deliver themselves into the arms of danger. Some people are forgetting that internet safety knowledge is increasing, even among "naive children" totally innocent of knowledge of the world. It is extremely myopic to suffocate all children with forcible removal of userspace material never denied to other users in the name of "privacy" just because some members of that age group happen to be naive.

Being of the above age group (born in 1996), I am not merely an overly optimistic and unrealistic extremist ranting about ageism and dredging up ancient memories previously repressed but summoned for the purpose of this little rant. And nobody should remove this brief essay for misguided reasons such as "OH NO! BORN IN 1996! WE MUST PROTECT THIS INNOCENT NAIVE IGNORANT LITTLE CHILD!!!!!!" I knew what I was doing when I typed that. I was quite aware that many Wikipedians have basic arithmetic skills with which they can subtract 1996 from 2008 and get my age this year. Of course others in this age group may be lagging severely behind (I doubt any of my friends would actually endanger themselves this way, having the intellect to read between the lines and deduce that the creepy 40-year-old guy on their talk page asking them whether they're free on Friday night may not be a kindly smiling altruist after all), but forgive me for believing that suppressing rights given to all other Wikipedians simply because of a minority of extremely naive children who don't know better may not be the best policy after all.

Sorry to whomever I've offended; please don't take this personally. I just don't agree that my blog profile was inserted there because of an involuntary muscle twitch that forces me to disclose my age. --WPholic 10:13, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, the children should actually KNOW that Wikipedia is free for all to see, since they managed to enter this website in the first place. Plus, with all the hits, how can they NOT know? Some children might also take; 'WIKIPEDIA, THE FREE ENCYCLOPEDIA' in that way, you know?
If I choose to put in my own information there, then I should accept the consequences. I agree with WPholic about the warning/disclaimer thingy. :)If we forcibly take any information the child WANTS to disclose down, that'll be a clear infringement of the child's privacy in that particular account! D: FEI HUA. 11:07, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

Dreadful assumptions[edit]

  • Your birthday decides your maturity.

I trust I do not need to elaborate much on this. Just because I was born in 1996 does not mean that I am totally incapable of reasoning, nor does it mean that I am totally naive and innocent of any information about online predators. Using "deletion and oversight" against legitimate Wikipedia users (using a sledgehammer to crack a nut?) because these users want to exercise the same userspace rights that other Wikipedians have but are forbidden from doing so owing to when their birthday falls is an exercise in suppression, prejudice and ageism.

  • Children are incapable of stopping themselves from walking into the arms of predators.

Categories like "14-year-old Wikipedians" and "Wikipedians born in 1996" have been deleted from Wikipedia because of one-liner reasons like "pervert magnet". But there is nothing inherently wrong with anybody knowing that I was born in 1996 because that information does not help them in locating me. There are millions of people born in 1996 around the world and not allowing others to know that I am one of them does not help the problem of sexual predators online whatsoever. More personal information is needed to locate a child than their birth year, and to argue that children will automatically spew out such information at a request on their talk page is a fallacious slippery slope argument that has no place on Wikipedia.

  • Adults write better than children.

Which adult? Which child? I have seen adults write with typos, grammatical errors and incoherent sentences strewn throughout a brief post, and I have seen children holding their own in a flame war with remarkably eloquent language and rhetoric to firmly establish their stand. Pit the former against the latter and the winner would be obvious. Anyway, writing skills do not justify adding measures that might discourage Wikipedians from contributing simply because of an arbitrary line in the sand.

Again, apologies to whomever has taken offence at my little rant directed at nobody in particular, rather directed at improving this essay. Thanks. ----WP<spanstyle="font-size:small; color:White; background:Black;">holic 11:40, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

I'll have to agree with you on a number of those points. On my userpage, I state my age, and where I'm from (a city of over 1,000,000 people). that narrows it down to, say.....40,000 individuals. If you are able to pick me out in that entire group, you've got skills.
However, I do applaud Wikipedia for taking an effort to address this. Cheers! Cam (Chat) 05:49, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Projecting a sexually provocative persona[edit]

There's a ban on people identifying as children and projecting a sexually provocative persona, but there's no finding of fact that this occurs. Isn't this instruction creep? Andjam (talk) 01:14, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Clarification request / wording changes[edit]

Having encountered a user who has self-identified as being nine years old, I started looking around for the community's views on such an issue because I vaguely remember seeing other children being blocked for age-related issues. While I don't personally have any opinions on the matter, this page, even as an "essay" contains some clearly ambiguous content that I'd love to see cleaned up. Examples follow:

All users, including children, are permitted to edit anonymously without submitting identifying information This is unclear, as anonymous editing is commonly referred to editors who don't create accounts, and the contribution history shows just their IP address. That is in fact, less anonymous than an editor who creates a username. Hence I can see someone falsely sugesting that a logged-in user who identifies as being a child should edit with an IP address. My user name "Neil916" is clearly anonymous since you would be hard-pressed to put a real identity even with the personal information I have disclosed in my user pages, contribution history, or even the user name itself.

Users who disrupt Wikipedia by posing as children, projecting a provocative persona, and disclosing personal information may be banned on a case by case basis This seems to imply that posing as a child, or even accurately self-identifying as a child is considered "disruptive", which I don't think was the intent of this statement. The "and" statement towards the end of the statement seems to indicate that all three conditions are necessary for a "disruption" but perhaps the wording can be clarified if this is, in fact, the case.

Just some thoughts. Neil916 (Talk) 20:10, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

status of this page[edit]

I'd like to link here from Wikipedia:Advice for parents - but find the tags currently applied thoroughly confusing! It would be great if someone could confirm the status of this page to the point where we can actually apply it usefully - I'm really not happy linking to a page which says at the very start that editors aren't obliged to take any note of it! - cheers, Privatemusings (talk) 23:55, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

This page is not usefully applicable. It is not policy, it did not reach consensus. At best it is an essay by various users representing their own viewpoint on the issue of children editing Wikipedia as logged-in users. Copysan (talk) 02:36, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Actually, it is more than that. It really should be a guideline, but due to edit-warring by certain people, it is tagged the way it is. In any event, Privatemusings, there is no reason why you shouldn't link to it if you wish. The fact that it says "editors aren't obliged to take any note of it" is irrelevant. "Advice", by its nature, is something that the reader is not obliged to take into account. So I wouldn't worry about the status of the page. 6SJ7 (talk) 02:56, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
I don't really care a whit for the official 'status' of the page - but I do think that the two large(ish) boxes at the top of the page significantly undermine the effectiveness of this page to communicate. I agree that there's much of value in the page, and might think about a better way to 'mine' it - because I don't in good conscience believe someone looking in good faith for help or advice would be anything other than confused at the mo..... I'll think on.... best, Privatemusings (talk) 04:58, 25 June 2008 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the confusion is inevitable due to the fact that this is a contentious subject on Wikipedia and there is no consensus on how to deal with it, which leads to a confusing set of tags on this page, WP:YOUTH and perhaps others... as well as the ongoing deletion discussion regarding the page you created, Wikipedia:Advice for parents. Take a look at the edit histories and talk pages for this page and WP:YOUTH and you may get a better understanding of why things are the way they are. 6SJ7 (talk) 14:23, 25 June 2008 (UTC)

13 Year Olds[edit]

I was just wondering if you are 13 years old, could you post it on your user page? EvilWendyMan 21:09, 5 October 2008 (UTC)
It's not recommended, but there's no rule from stopping one from doing so. -- Ned Scott 23:09, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

A suggestion...[edit]

I don't think anyone has suggested that there should be a welcome page into wikipedia so that all newly made account holders will know that it's not safe to divulge personal information, whatever that is. (This page, of course would also include information that would make it easier for new users.) Being a minor myself, I think that most of us who even bother to edit articles, etc (besides vandals) are of sufficient intellectual capacity to know what not to reveal. There are many more social networking and 'fun' sites out there for minors, and most would not use a a site like wikipedia except for homework. And yes, American law should not apply to a site like this. I don't think that's fair to the international users (myself included). Pardon me if I've misinterpreted or overlooked anything. (And of course, this pardon would be based on the fact that I'm quite a new user, not that I'm a minor and therefore have to be ignorant.) singlish_speaker (talk) 01:06, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Template welcome message?[edit]

It would be useful to have a template welcome message for children that have put personal information on their user pages. --Apoc2400 (talk) 12:37, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

In it's new form, a new proposal.[edit]

Since this page is now basically a case-law piece from arbcom, can it be made an information page?--Ipatrol (talk) 15:40, 22 March 2009 (UTC)

How old is a child?[edit]

This may seem like a dumb question, but what the word "child" can have different connotations with regards to an age. Are we saying under 18? Under 16? 13 and under? 12 and under? Angryapathy (talk) 15:21, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't see specifying a specific age as being all that detrimental. The page is basically meant to address behavior that exhibits immaturity characteristic of children, rather than to draw a bright line that prescribes a change in the treatment of an editor based solely on age. Equazcion (talk) 16:07, 4 Mar 2010 (UTC)
The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is arguably the most applicable law since the Wikipedia servers sit in the US. COPPA sets a bright line at "under 13 years of age". I believe Australian law also sets a bright line at 13. I am not aware of an equivalent standard in the EU but their privacy laws are structured so differently that many of the COPPA considerations are moot. Rossami (talk) 16:21, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
Without wishing to reignite the debate about how relevant to Wikipedia the COPPA is or isn't, this is one of the big problems in this area - there is no agreement on exactly who we are trying to protect. Certainly in the UK, whether anyone between about 14 and 21 is a child or a (young) adult depends on many factors - not least what tabloid 'journalists' think will sell more papers. This is without getting into anything about how mature an individual is or the culture they come from, let alone trying to agree what it is we're trying to protect them from... Thryduulf (talk) 17:16, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

Projecting a provocative persona[edit]

What does "projecting a provocative persona" mean? Being argumentative? Picking fights? Calling for community de-sysop? Engaging in mass deletions of unreferenced BLPs? All of these are provacative. DuncanHill (talk) 10:35, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

I believe this was all taken from the arbcom wording (Wikipedia:Requests_for_arbitration/Protecting_children's_privacy). They seem to have meant "provocative" in its more colloquial definition of "sexually suggestive". Equazcion (talk) 16:27, 6 Mar 2010 (UTC)
But what is it being used to mean in this essay? I doubt very much that Arbcom would be capable of knowing what it meant in a case nearly 4 years ago. DuncanHill (talk) 16:46, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
It seems to mean sexually provocative. In the arbcom wording, "provocative" is only used in conjunction with adults posing as children. I'm not sure how else an adult posing as a child would choose to be provocative, but I suppose it would still apply as disruption. Deliberate provocation is never a good thing. Equazcion (talk) 16:53, 6 Mar 2010 (UTC)

WP:COPPA link[edit]

I think this shortcut may be inappropriate. It rather suggests that this is either a legal document or an interpretation of one. It's neither: it's user opinion. We should consider removing it an discouraging future use to refer here. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 15:23, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

I agree that it is inappropriate - I'll nominate it at WP:RFD. Thryduulf (talk) 16:06, 17 April 2011 (UTC)