[Foundation-l] Biographies of Living People: a quick interim update

Nathan nawrich at gmail.com
Mon Mar 9 01:50:14 UTC 2009

On Sun, Mar 8, 2009 at 5:12 PM, Sue Gardner <sgardner at wikimedia.org> wrote:

> 1)  There is a big unresolved question around whether, if
> marginally-notable people ask to have their articles deleted, that
> request should be granted.  My sense -both from the discussion here
> and other discussions elsewhere- is that many Wikipedians are very
> strongly protective of their general right to retain even very
> marginal BLPs.  Presumably this is because notability is hard to
> define, and they are worried about stupid across-the-board
> interpretations that will result in massive deletionism.  However,
> other people strongly feel that the current quantity of BLPs about
> less-notable people diminish the overall quality of the encyclopedia,
> reduce our credibility, and run the risk of hurting real people.
> There seems to be little consensus here.   Roughly: some people seem
> to strongly feel the bar for notability should be set higher, and
> deletion requests generally granted: others seem to strongly feel the
> current state is preferable.  I would welcome discussion about how to
> achieve better consensus on this issue.
I would quibble with this statement a little bit. There is a difference in
my mind between raising the notability bar and granting weight to subject
requests for deletion. There seems to be a growing agreement that marginally
notable subjects make for bad biographies and greater risk; there is very
little appetite for beginning deletion discussions or deleting articles upon
subject request.

So these two issues need to be separated, because indeed they are quite
separate. One asks whether the subject of an article (be it a person,
corporation, or any other entity with living representatives) should be
afforded some control over encyclopedia content, even as little as the
ability to request a deletion nomination; most Wikipedians would be against
this, I believe.

The other issue, of marginal notability and the risk it poses to Wikipedia,
is much more relevant for this discussion.


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