[Foundation-l] Blackout at Italian Wikipedia - What exactly does the proposed law say?

Andreas Kolbe jayen466 at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 5 18:04:20 UTC 2011

--- On Wed, 5/10/11, Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <cimonavaro at gmail.com> wrote:
From: Jussi-Ville Heiskanen <cimonavaro at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Blackout at Italian Wikipedia - What exactly does the proposed law say?
To: "Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List" <foundation-l at lists.wikimedia.org>
Date: Wednesday, 5 October, 2011, 12:16

On Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM, Milos Rancic <millosh at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 5, 2011 at 12:49, Andreas Kolbe <jayen466 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Even this corrected version does not seem to be right. As I understand the proposed law,
>> the subject would have the right for a statement to be shown, unaltered, on the page (which
>> actually would be possible for Wikipedia to do, via a transcluded and protected template).
> That's enough crazy and against NPOV.

Speaking as a citizen of a country with a fairly stringently worded
"Right of reply law." I don't think it has ever been applied against
an encyclopaedia, or a blog or Usenet thread or anything remotely like
that. I think it is very cogently only applied to publications with an
editorial plate that says the publishers stand behind every word
printed on it. Which is not the case for Wikipedia, and would be
ludicrous to even contemplate.
Given that a Wikipedia biography is usually the first google hit to come up for a name, it 
doesn't actually strike me as *that* ludicrous. What Wikipedia writes about a person reaches
more readers today than a New York Times article. As someone else mentioned recently,
there is a responsibility that comes with that kind of reach. Saying that "we don't 
necessarily stand behind what our article says about you the way a newspaper publisher 
would stand behind an article of theirs" is frankly little consolation to an aggrieved BLP

There is no question that it is better to go through OTRS and reach an amicable
agreement on what an article should and should not say. But I'd be more sympathetic if 
we hadn't had cases like Taner Akçam and Philip Mould, or if we didn't sometimes have

editors involved in personal feuds off-site with BLP subjects they are writing about. One
recent such case (about a former Playmate of the Year) took five years to resolve (by
deleting the article). 

So while I'd agree that there are clearly *better* solutions than being forced to post a
statement from the BLP subject, I disagree that the idea is *that* ludicrous. I also think
that our readers would recognise a self-serving and lying statement from a BLP subject
if they see one.


More information about the foundation-l mailing list