On 4/8/07, Jeff Raymond <jeff.raymond(a)internationalhouseofbacon.com> wrote:
Slim Virgin wrote:
Along the lines of "John Smith is a British
came to public attention after being discovered on the floor naked
during a geography class, having asked his pupils to draw a map of
Europe on his genitals."
The point is that no news organization or
encyclopedia would publish a
biography of the geography teacher just because of that one incident.
Well, if a news organization isn't reporting it, we're not including it.
They might report the incident. They wouldn't rush off to write a
biography of the person on that basis alone.
That seems to be a valid standard to work with in
terms of biographies
of living people, even if we go way too far with it already. We're more
than your standard encyclopedia, and we cover what's possible to cover.
If John Smith is in the news, he's notable and we should consider
You seem to be saying we should have a biography on every single
person who has ever been in the news.
We're currently asking the question "Why
shouldn't Wikipedia publish
biographies on everyone for whom reliable sources can be found?" but I
think we should turn that on its head and ask "Why *should* we, given
that no else does?"
Because we're better than everyone else, and we're better than to cow to
the demands of our subjects.
Well, another way of looking at it is that it's because we're worse
than everyone else, and that we don't listen to our subjects'
If we were to adopt an opt-out clause for borderline notables, I think
it would generate significant goodwill among the public, because this
is seen as one of our major problems.
Among who? Our problems deal with reliability, with vandalism, and with
trust. "Borderline notability" is hardly on the radar when you consider
factual issues, Sinbad/Sieganthaler-style vandalism, and issues like the
There's a perception that we're not reliable, and that we don't take
sufficient editorial responsibility for the material produced by our
thousands of anonymous editors. If we were to announce that we
recognize biographical material on living persons is an area where the
open-editing model can be inappropriate, and that therefore we're
going to allow certain types of subjects to opt out, we'd be seen as
responsible and self-regulating.
Building an encyclopedia is about building a wealth of knowledge, not
creating some goodwill. If we're in the market for goodwill, then start
a goodwill project, not an encyclopedia.
It's the goodwill of the public that's financing us.