[Wikimedia-l] Resolution: Media about living people

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Thu Dec 12 19:40:30 UTC 2013

On Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM, Jane Darnell <jane023 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Thanks for this, but even with the amendments it sounds pretty weak.
> The closing text just shows how helpless we are in helping subjects
> when their article is under the watchful eye of some Wikipedia editor
> who feels that they "own" biography articles they have been watching
> for years. Though I support the intention behind this statement
> ("Treating any person who has a complaint about how they are portrayed
> in our projects with patience, kindness, and respect, and encouraging
> others to do the same"), it still offers no indication of a path
> forward for such subjects.  I would like to know where subjects can
> post their complaint besides on the talk page, since putting
> complaints there is still a form of publication and only serves to
> propagate the sensitive information that subjects want removed. Also,
> the text coming after "People sometimes make edits or add media
> designed to smear others" also doesn't address the problem. There are
> lots of unnecessarily sensitive edits made that are not made
> maliciously, but if they are sourced, are practically impossible to
> have removed, if the "personal owner" disagrees. I guess for major TV
> personalities and such it may be easier because there are more people
> watching and editing such biographies, but in the case of marginally
> notable people, they have no recourse whatsoever, as far as I can see.

All good and important questions, Jane -- and yes, all of this is left
unaddressed in this resolution. As careful readers have noted, this is
just a small update to the 2009 resolution, meant to clarify the
Board's original intent. We did not change the other parts of the text
or tackle the process-related parts of handling BLPs, which remains a
hard issue -- although one that has been addressed by various policies
and processes, such as our fantastic OTRS team.

BLPs remain one of our big challenges, and will continue to be so as
long as Wikipedia is popular. With a nod to Andy's comment, as a
community I think we may want to review our progress in the last few
years on the BLP issue, and have a broad community consultation about
where we are still falling short and ideas for going forward, given
our constraints and changing environment of readers and editors.

-- Phoebe

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