[Wikimedia-l] Resolution: Media about living people

Mark delirium at hackish.org
Thu Dec 12 20:25:49 UTC 2013

On 12/12/13, 8:40 PM, phoebe ayers wrote:
> 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.
A slightly broader study I'd be interested in that regard boils down to: 
are our BLPs any good? If the answer, as I suspect, is "sometimes they 
are, sometimes they aren't", can we say anything about how often, and in 
which kinds of cases?

Undue or unsourced negative information about living people is one 
aspect of that, and what most of the formal BLP-related policy, and the 
process around things like OTRS, is intended to address. The flipside is 
undue or unsourced *positive* information about living people: in 
comparison to biographies about non-living people, BLPs draw a huge 
proportion of puffed-up, COI, and sometimes outright paid editing.

Between tendentious negative information and self-promoting positive 
information, I worry that the overall quality level of our biographies 
of living people ends up poor in a great many cases, especially cases 
outside the top tier of biographies visible enough to draw significant 
third-party editors (Barack Obama, Fidel Castro, that kind of thing). 
But it would be better to understand the problem, if it is one, in more 


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