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

Andrew Gray andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk
Tue Mar 3 13:16:49 UTC 2009

2009/3/3 David Gerard <dgerard at gmail.com>:
> 2009/3/3 Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org>:
>> Can I ask: does anyone reading this thread 1) think raising the notability
>> threshold is a bad idea, 2) believe defaulting to deletion upon request is a
>> bad idea, or 3) disagree with the notion that other Wikipedias should shift
>> closer to the German Wikipedia's generally-less-permissive policies and
>> practices, particularly WRT BLPs?
> Deletion upon request is a terrible idea. It will lead to only
> hagiographies - violations of NPOV - being kept. (This has been
> discussed at length on wikien-l, fwiw.)

That said, reacting the other way and *prohibiting* deletion on
request is also counterproductive - we've skirted close to this on
enwp in the past, where people have interpreted "subject has asked us
to delete it" as being an automatic cast-iron reason to keep it in
place. I mean, I've seen cases where someone's stood up and said "this
article is atrocious, subject wants it deleted" and it's been kept
(with a variety of snide comments), whereas had they just said "this
article is atrocious", it'd have been killed with no objections.

We can go too far; after all, when someone says "delete this please",
it's at least as common that they're reflecting that the article has
major fundamental problems as that they're making a frivolous request!

We do need to recognise that the subject of an article is often one of
the people (counting readers and editors together) who has the closest
knowledge *of the article*, and is well-placed to see real problems -
finding some way of using that is potentially an excellent tool in
identifying the real dross that we ourselves don't want, and keeping
the material we *do* want up to a high standard.

The trick is taking advantage of their perspective, without turning it
into a (real or imagined) conflict-of-interest issue, or letting it
degenerate into the kind of thing that breeds automatic assumptions of
bad faith.

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

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