[Wikimedia-l] Resolution: Media about living people

Craig Franklin cfranklin at halonetwork.net
Sat Dec 14 11:08:18 UTC 2013

Hi Jane,

I am concerned about the issue surrounding the comment "the real BLP
> problems happen when heavyweight (in edit count terms) Wikipedia users
> swing their weight around"

I think the problem is that if you ask ten different people about the
reason why we have BLP problems, you'll get ten different answers.  All ten
would probably have some truth in them, but any one in isolation would be

My own point of view is that our policies and procedures are actually
pretty good on paper, but they're just very unevenly and inconsistently
applied in the real world.  The "Tier 1" biographies, such as those of
Messrs Obama, Cameron, and Abbott are pretty safe from BLP hijinx, but
there is a massive underbelly of poorly defended BLPs on minor celebrities,
local politicians, and the like, which are not watched consistently and
where hagiography or defamation can take root.  This is why, while things
like the BoT's declaration are not unwelcome, I feel that they don't have
any practical effect in fixing the problem.  All it takes is for one
negatively written bio to slip through the net to do real harm to someone
in the real world.

My preferred way of dealing with this on en.wp would be to massively
tighten the notability criteria where they related to biographies of living
or possibly living people, but this would no doubt be met with cries of
"deletionism!".  Indeed, I don't think it's possible to adequately address
the issue on large projects like en.wp or commons without a massive
cultural shift and sweeping changes to policy that would cause immense
disruption in the community; something the BoT is understandably reluctant
to do.


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