Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Notability and the BLP policy

Given the name of my blog, you'd think I'd have written about notability before this... The issue of how to judge notability has arisen at Wikipedia again, as it does from time to time.

This time, the person in question is Don Murphy, producer of Natural Born Killers and the Transformers movie, who had an article that survived 2 previous deletion discussions (1) (2), and who has been agitating all along that he wants his article gone, and using socks and an army of meatpuppets he raised at his site, to try to effect his will. Administrator Viridae, perhaps influenced by this discussion at Wikipedia Review, deleted it without any prior process and was promptly reverted, sparking charges of wheel warring. The article matter is now at Deletion Review.

As I said there, I'm conflicted. I am very sympathetic to the notion that Wikipedia should do no harm. For non notable individuals we should have no article, for individuals who are notable because of a single event we should mention them in the context of the event, if at all. Clearly, notable people (George W. Bush, Steven Spielberg, et al) need articles. But the borderline area is where it's hard.

Don Murphy contends that despite being a producer, he's not notable. Directors are usually more famous than producers, it seems, generally speaking, and he contends he's no more notable than any of the other 300 credited people in a film.

Others contend that yes, producers of big grossing films are indeed notable.

Me, I don't know. We need to solve the problem though, It's been suggested that if someone living doesn't already have an article in at least 2 other printed encylopedias they are either not notable, or at least marginally notable and thus can ask that their bio be deleted.

What do you think?

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