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

Michael Snow wikipedia at verizon.net
Tue Mar 3 07:28:38 UTC 2009

Jimmy Wales wrote:
> Let me repeat that in a different way, for emphasis: I think that a 
> great number of our biographies, and bad in a particular way.  Minor 
> controversies are exploded into central stories of people's lives in a 
> way that is abusive and unfair, and games players have learned how to 
> properly cite things and good people have a hard time battling against 
> violations of WP:UNDUE.
I've made this observation before, but I think it bears repeating. At 
least on the English Wikipedia, a frequent practice is to start a 
section called "Criticism and controversy" or some variation thereof. 
This indicates to me an utter failure to write an actual biographical 
article. If we can't figure out how to integrate something into the 
overall picture of someone's life, then we're definitely failing to 
provide the context to actually understand the controversy, probably 
giving it distorted emphasis, and possibly lacking the material to treat 
the person as the subject of an independent article. Quite often, of 
course, the back-and-forth in that section ends up overwhelming any 
other content instead.

--Michael Snow

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