Thursday, March 20, 2008

More on notability and the BLP

Dave Winer, in his blog piece "Whats Wrong with Wikipedia" opines (after pointing out what is good about the project) that his bio entry on Wikipedia is in bad shape. His thesis is that it doesn't give him enough credit for things he was involved in, and moreover, that articles which should mention him, don't.

This is, of course, kind of the opposite of the beef Don Murphy has, as I described in Notability and the BLP policy... Don wants less said about him, not more.

It is easy to dismiss both of these complaints as meaningless, or to say that they balance each other out. But the WikBack threads (among them "removing marginally notable BLPs" and others), the discussions elsewhere, the activity on new proposals (among them SirFozzie's latest, "BLP-Lock") suggest that while the project may have come a ways from Siegenthaler, it still has farther to go. Consider the biographies of Ashley Alexandra Dupré (of client #9 fame... hopefully that won't mean anything in 3 months), or of Abigail and Brittany Hensel... Does Wikipedia have too much detail in those?

I won't be so full of hubris to say that I know the answer. Heck, I am not sure I even know the right question... But my unease that Wikipedia is not doing right by living persons remains.

What do you think?


Random832 said...

I spent some time a little over a year ago trying to counteract attacks on Winer's article by someone who had an external dispute with him (the article had been on my watchlist from god-knows-when and I happened to see the page get blanked) and at the time I wasn't very focused (the vandal was very persistent, and I was feeling a bit burned-out by the end of it) on other articles that maybe should have mentioned him. It might be worth checking the history of those articles from around that time period to see if there was any damage to them.

(You don't allow anonymous posting? I usually sign mine anyway, but meh)

Stilicho said...

It is interesting that Dave Winer comes up in this discussion. I would say that in their respective professions both Winer and Murphy have, shall we say, "difficult" reputations.

That Winer feels he has received insufficient credit for things is a recurrent theme over the years. Most people would be happy to have the credit that he in fact deserves to have for what he's done but he tends to see himself having a more central role than the record (or at least the other participants) will verify.

There has to be some sort of cognate here back to Murphy, but I can't suss it out just now.