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

Erik Moeller erik at wikimedia.org
Tue Mar 3 18:33:40 UTC 2009

2009/3/3 Fred Bauder <fredbaud at fairpoint.net>:
> With respect to biographies of living persons, unless there is sufficient
> reliable published information about a person to flesh out a well
> balanced article we shouldn't have one.

This is an important principle, I think. Not necessarily in this form
- but IMO the discussion has suffered a bit from a one-dimensional
focus on notability. Let's say there's a three-step test:

1) The article is not a balanced and complete biography of a person's
life an work;
2) The person is marginally notable;
3) The person wants the article deleted.

If all those three tests are met, the article would be deleted. If
only 1) and 2) are met, at the very least, the article would be
templated for improvement, with a clear note saying that if you're the
subject and you want it deleted, you can request that through a simple

Essentially, we've often said that an article which only consists of
"An apple is a fruit" can become a masterpiece overtime, but I think
when it comes to one-sided biographies, we need to take into account
that our happy little article workshop is also used by nearly 300
million people as a one stop reference. What's the justification for
publishing poor quality biographies of marginally notable people, even
against the subject's wishes?
Erik Möller
Deputy Director, Wikimedia Foundation

Support Free Knowledge: http://wikimediafoundation.org/wiki/Donate

More information about the foundation-l mailing list