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

Gerard Meijssen gerard.meijssen at gmail.com
Wed Mar 4 12:19:34 UTC 2009

What is:
* encomium
* hagiographical
* saccharine sentiment

PS You lost me.

2009/3/3 Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <cimonavaro at gmail.com>

> Michael Snow wrote:
> > 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.
> >
> While I find it impossible to disagree with your characterization
> of the current situation in any depth, and for sentimental reasons
> don't wish to engage teh view expressed by Jimmy Wales above
> your reply; I am bound to note that this state of affairs does
> present a certain historical irony, in that "Criticism and controversy"
> sections did not originate as a way of "starting" a biasing against
> a person whom the article was about, but as a way of keeping the
> main body of the biographical wholly hagiographical, and all the
> seamy sides being able to be rebutted in the "controversy" section,
> with none of the encomiums and even the worst saccharine
> sentiments in the hagiographical portion challenged at all
> by even the gentlest critical glance. "Yes, we won't be removing
> that sourced information, just moving it out of the way of the main
> flow of our sweet article about this wonderful person."
> Yours,
> Jussi-Ville Heiskanen
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