[Foundation-l] Request for your input: biographies of living

Steve Smith sarcasticidealist at gmail.com
Mon Mar 2 16:50:10 UTC 2009

I'm very pleased to see this discussed at the Foundation level, and
even more pleased that this discussion includes the use of technical
features to prevent BLP violations.  The discussion that's taken place
so far surrounding improving the BLP reporting is good, but I'd rather
focus on the ounce of prevention side of things.  For that reason, I
believe the following:

* the WMF should mandate that all projects adopt a technical
configuration (of flagged revisions, or semi-protection, or what have
you) that prevents edits made by unregistered users from going
immediately live.

* at the very least, the WMF should clarify that its policy that no
account is needed to edit does not preclude the default
semi-protection of BLPs (or any similar configuration of flagged
revisions).  This has been one of several stonewalling responses at
en-wiki when protection of BLPs has been proposed: "Sorry, we can't do
it; Foundation issue".

* with regards to the significant criticism, it might be worth
exploring the creation of some kind of clearinghouse for reporting
these, for projects that don't have their own Biographies of Living
Persons Noticeboards or equivalent (sort of a meta-BLPN).  Obviously
language issues are going to be problematic, but it might at least
help get light shining.

* something like en-wiki's BLP policy should be mandated an all
foundation projects, but I don't honestly think that'll do much.  The
problem isn't in policy not mandating the right content, it's in
policy not being consistently applied.

Again, I'm pleased to see that this is receiving attention at the
levels it should be.

Steve Smith

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