[Wikimedia-l] Resolution: Media about living people

Jeevan Jose jkadavoor at gmail.com
Sat Dec 14 17:01:54 UTC 2013

"Is there a discussion happening on Commons somewhere about the
implications of this resolution? - John Vandenberg"



On Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 10:24 PM, John Vandenberg <jayvdb at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM, Craig Franklin
> <cfranklin at halonetwork.net> wrote:
> > 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
> > inadequate.
> The list of problems becomes even longer for images.
> The 2009 resolution on biographies of living people was about
> identifiable people, given they were the subject of a biography.  This
> new 'media about living people' resolution doesn't make any such
> distinction for media, which I guess will result in lots of confusion
> about whether the scope includes images of unidentifiable people.  It
> should, but ...
> This resolution appears to be asking for verifiability regarding
> images of living people.  We are going to need some clarity around
> what the board considers to be verifiability (how do we prove the
> photo was taken at a public event and it is real? etc), and whether
> that includes unidentifiable people.
> "Ensuring that all projects in all languages that describe or show
> living people have policies in place calling for special attention to
> the principles of neutrality and verifiability in those articles;.."
> On English Wikipedia we have some guidance regarding photos of living
> people, but I can't find anything relating to verifiability or
> neutrality.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:No_original_research#Original_images
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Biographies_of_living_persons#Images
> Wikimedia Commons has a policy which rejects 'neutrality', and it
> doesnt have a verifiability policy.
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Project_scope/Neutral_point_of_view
> https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Photographs_of_identifiable_people
> Is there a discussion happening on Commons somewhere about the
> implications of this resolution?
> > 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.
> I agree with you Craig up to here ..
> > 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!".
> And agree your preferred approach could help.  On English Wikipedia, I
> think we have an article/editor ratio problem, which is only getting
> worse as articles increase and editors leave, and is meaning
> watchlists are less useful to scan for problematic edits.
> The test for this is what is the average length of time between an
> edit of an old page (e.g. created in 2005) to the point in time that
> the edit a) appears on a watchlist, or b) is viewed as a diff, or c)
> is loaded as a page view, or d) leads to another edit.  Then compare
> those averages with the averages from a year before, to determine
> whether edits are slipping past watchlists and recentchanges. I'm
> guessing that the length of time from edit to (a) or (b) is
> increasing, while (c) may be decreasing as Wikipedia readership
> increases.
> A smaller Wikipedia scope means there are less articles, with more
> editors watching and editing the pages the BLP problems appear on.
> I think it is necessary to add here that FlaggedRevs (Pending Changes)
> also helps, as any BLP problems are held in a queue.  The 'volume of
> edits' can be a problem with FlaggedRevs in practise, but a) the
> 'size.
> > 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.
> Another way the board can get serious about this problem is to mandate
> that each project write a BLP management strategy that needs to be
> approved by the WMF board, which would involve some type of periodic
> review of all content.  The strategy would differ for each project
> based on their policies, scope and the size of the project.  e.g.
> Wikisources would need to review only unpublished sources added each
> year; Wikipedias using FlaggedRevs could do spot checks annually;
> Wikipedias which have chosen to not use FlaggedRevs would be required
> to come up with feasible alternative solutions to verify the existing
> BLPs are clean of significant BLP problems.  Projects which failed to
> complete their periodic reviews of the content would be put into
> maintenance mode(s) until they have completed the review.  e.g. The
> devs might be asked to disable 'creation of new pages in mainspace' on
> the wiki as a first step measure to focus the community on the task.
> More generally, we should have tiers in the notability system, by
> which we agree that not everyone is as notable as Barack Obama, and
> therefore their 'living' bio should not contain every detail that is
> ever published.  The lowest tier is bios about people with
> questionable notability or low notability and avoid publicity, such as
> (most) referees, sports people who only played a few matches, most
> academics, which should only include facts that are relevant to their
> notability and their brief appearances into 'public life'.  On English
> Wikipedia, those articles should all be put under FlaggedRevs, and
> edits that increase the scope of the biography are
> rejected/held/not-approved until there is consensus on the talk page
> that the subject is notable enough that other aspects of their life
> are of general interest to understanding their achievements or actions
> which have become notable.
> Perhaps not just yet, but Wikidata should bring new solutions to this
> problem.  We may have more consensus to remove classes of living
> people biographies from Wikipedia as the basic details of their life
> can be placed into Wikidata.
> For example, only a few of these referees deserve a proper 'biography'
> - for the others, their bio exists on Wikipedia only because it is
> useful to have a unique identifier for the person, and we like to
> record a list of a person's public appearances.
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Australian_soccer_referees
> In a few of those articles, there are unsourced claims that the
> referee made a significant mistake.  Besides official honours awarded,
> there is not similar commentary describing all of the times that
> sports commentators spoke highly of the referees decisions.  i.e.
> these articles are either BLP problems now, or will be in the future.
> A referees decisions are usually only relevant within the context of a
> match, and don't belong on their bio.
> In almost every case, the details in those articles can be moved to
> claims in Wikidata once a few Wikidata properties are created, and a
> non-editable page could be automatically generated on Wikipedias to
> describe the subject and list the events the person appeared in.
> --
> John Vandenberg
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