2008/4/30 David Gerard <dgerard(a)gmail.com>om>:
said a few times, I was *solely* responding to the claim that BLP
can be nutshelled as "do no harm". That was my *sole*, *lone* and *only*
counter-argument I was making.
Indeed. I'd nutshell it as "immediatist application of NPOV,
verifiability and NOR." Our basic content policies, applied
It's a little more complex, really; there's two different things we're
discussing here, but the "censorship!" end of things tends to get all
It's unhelpful that we use the phrase "BLP" to mean a number of subtly
different things, but context is key. Basically, we have BLPs as a
special class of articles; and then we have BLP as a policy on what we
put in them.
In the context of the posted article, we're talking about the first
one - the idea that BLPs as a class are more risky for routine
vandalism, because whilst they may get no more of it than other
articles, the impact of "normal" vandalism is higher. There's a real
person out there to suffer - and to complain!
It has *always* been accepted by the community that biographies of
living people need more care and attention, in the routine way of
things, than the average article. The reason they have this special
status is that vandalism to them can do more damage than other
vandalism; potentially far more serious damage, but in general terms
just... well, generally ickier.
To all intents and purposes, "BLPs are a vandal risk" is not so much a
proposition as a physical law. So we don't say that special things
need to be done because of what they are, just that they [should] get
a higher priority, perhaps dedicated monitoring, etc. More of the same
thing we're doing already.
However, much of the time, we deal with the second issue - the problem
that these articles have their own *types* of abuse. BLPs as a class
don't just get normal vandalism; they get explicitly targeted
defamation and they also get highly motivated whitewashing. As such,
we get a policy on how to deal with these special kinds of abuse, and
we call that BLP.
This policy is hotly debated, mainly over to what degree we should
allow it being a BLP to influence our editorial decisions - *those*
questions are the core of what passes for our "BLP policy", they are
open discussions. "Do no harm" is... perhaps not the best summary of
this policy, shall we say.
But whilst this second aspect is related, it's not really relevant to
the original post, because we're not talking about editorial decisions
on the article. We're talking about plain and simple janitorial
process, routine observation and maintenance, and how we can drop the
ball a little less.
And when *just* dealing with vandalism, "do no harm" is a pretty fair
summary of what we need to do. Clean it up quickly, discreetly, and
neatly; the reader (and the subject) need never know.
- Andrew Gray