Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More on the BLP policy

Cover of Gissurarson’s biography of Prime Minister Jón Þorláksson (1992)A biography, although
not of a living person :)
Image via Wikimedia Commons
Yes, 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):

Maintenance category Articles Percent
Total BLP articles
(Category:Living people)
259210 100.00%
Cat:Articles lacking sources 13908 5.37%
Cat:Articles with unsourced statements 13740 5.30%
Cat:Articles needing additional references 5475 2.11%
Cat:Orphaned articles 3157 1.22%
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?

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