[WikiEN-l] Criticism sections on bios of living people

Fred Bauder fredbaud at ctelco.net
Sat May 6 14:55:46 UTC 2006

On May 5, 2006, at 11:06 PM, A wrote:

> 1. Is a "____sucks.com" blog a notable or reliable source?

I would say it depends on its content and readership. It might be,  
but you have to take a look at it. In this case there seems to be  
substantial readership and contents could probably be used in the  
context. "Hostile critics, writing on ...sucks point out blah blah."  
In some cases sites like this may engage in serious research which  
can lead you to reliable verifiable material. (For example Xenu.net,  
an anti-Scientology site).

> 2. If an editor is engaging in vicious personal attacks offsite, then
> coming here and demanding civility, is that a violation of the letter
> and/or spirit of the project?

All users are entitled to the assumption of good faith and to  
courtesy regardless of off-site activity.

> 3. Are "criticism" sections valid in general, or do they just become a
> repository for quibbles and an amplifier of relatively insignificant
> hatecruft about a person?

In general they are valid, however in cases where there is political  
or social struggle in progress, criticism can transgress bounds of  
verifiability, rationality and good taste, sometimes simply being  
mean or spiteful, sometimes reflecting personal grievances.

> 4. If they are valid, do blogs count as notable or reliable sources?
> What if they are anonymous? Are there criteria in place for
> determining this?

Generally not for facts; they are a source regarding their own  
contents. The criteria in place is our requirement that for material  
to be included in Wikipedia it must have been published in a reliable  

> 5. Should we formulate a guideline regarding living persons and this
> kind of criticism in their biographies?

We have a guideline Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons which  
includes a section on Malicious editing and another on Opinions of  
critics, opponents, and detractors. This guideline could be further  
refined. Your experience somewhat qualities you to at least begin  
discussions on the talk page.

I hope these responses are a start on some answers.


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