[Wikimedia-l] Resolution: Media about living people

Craig Franklin cfranklin at halonetwork.net
Sun Dec 15 01:49:02 UTC 2013

On 15 December 2013 02:54, 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 ...

Part of the problem in my view is that there is no notability requirements
for identifiable persons appearing in images.  While in the great majority
of cases this is not really a problem, it does lead to very problematic
things like pictures of people in states of undress, engaging in sexual
activity, or doing something else their employer, family or local community
might not be okay with, without any evidence of ongoing consent for that
image to remain available.  The only mechanism for getting rid of these is
effectively for the subject of the image to email a stranger, provide
evidence that they're the person in the image, ask nicely for it to be
taken down, and hope to hell that the person is reasonable and doesn't play
the "It's educational and under a free licence, sorry!" card.  This is an
issue that needs to be addressed because the status quo is entirely

Of course, the immediate reaction on Commons to this seems to be
Wikilawyering as to whether the resolution applies to galleries or not.
 Given that the BoT's intent is clearly that this should apply to
everything, everywhere on all Wikimedia projects, this doesn't fill me with
a great deal of hope that the Commons community as a whole is capable of
adequately dealing with this.


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