A biography, although
not of a living person :)
Image via Wikimedia CommonsYes, this is the 4th time I've written about the topic of Biographies of Living Persons (or BLP for short) , and unfortunately, I expect it won't be the last. (here are screeds one, two, and three)
Wikipedia user Doc Glasgow has written an excellent summation of the problem on a user subpage The_BLP_problem. It also includes analysis of several of the possible solutions that have been offered in various places lately. Those who say there is no problem really really need to read this page, it's very well done.
Wikipedia Review folk thought so highly of it that they reproduced it, verbatim (as of when it was copied) as one of their editorials. This topic is now getting more and more attention so I'm hopeful that some progress will be made. As I've said before, the stakes are too high, and the injuries possible to those affected by BLP too risky, not to do something.
To see the magnitude of the problem, take a look at the Some Statistics section in the WR editorial (reproduced from somewhere else I can't find at the moment):
|Total BLP articles |
|Cat:Articles lacking sources||13908||5.37%|
|Cat:Articles with unsourced statements||13740||5.30%|
|Cat:Articles needing additional references||5475||2.11%|
|Cat:Articles to be expanded||2511||0.97%|
|Cat:Articles with topics of unclear notability||1971||0.76%|
|Cat:Articles lacking reliable references||1918||0.74%|
|Cat:Articles with trivia sections||1510||0.58%|
|Cat:Wikipedia articles needing style editing||1420||0.55%|
|Cat:Articles lacking in-text citations||860||0.33%|
Data from March 12 2008
5% lacking sources, 5% unsourced statements, 2% needing references (some overlap there to be sure)... that doesn't even track the articles that are coatracks or hatchet jobs. 5% isn't bad, you say??? except that is 13 THOUSAND articles that may well have problems.
There have been a fair few proposals to address this recently... semi-protection, BLP-Lock, (by SirFozzie, et al) Opt Out (by PrivateMusings, et al) AfD rejiggering (by Doc Glasgow) , dead tree standard, (by many folk) and some I've forgotten.
Some ideas are more radical than others of course... perhaps one of the more interesting offers related to this was Daniel Brandt wagering Hivemind. Probably nothing will come of it. (I made Hivemind myself recently, but that's probably the topic for another posting)
So what do you think? Has the tide turned and we are going to see change in this area at last? Or do you think there's no problem at all?