More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

classic Classic list List threaded Threaded
57 messages Options
123
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
I'm posting here an argument I made in a recent AfD, explaining why I
think more stringent notability requirements are needed for
biographical articles:

"The right point to assess someone's notability and write a definitive
article about them is at that point (or sometimes when they retire).
Any BLP is only a work in progress until that point is reached. [Some
say] "Notability, once attained, does not diminish." That might seem
true, but what is being assessed is not the subject's true notability,
but a fluctuating 'notability during lifetime' that can wax and wane
over time, with the true level of notability not being established
until someone's career or life is over. Some people gain awards and
recognitions and have long and diverse careers and have glowing
obituaries written about them, and pass into the history of the field
they worked in. Others have more pedestrian careers.

The point is that it is rarely possible to make an accurate assessment
until the right point is reached. What you end up with if you have low
standards for allowing articles on BLPs is a huge number of borderline
BLPs all across Wikipedia (heavily weighted towards contemporary
coverage [...]), the vast majority of the subjects of which will not
have prominent (or any) obituaries published about them, and in 50
years time or so the articles will look a bit silly, cobbled together
from various scraps and items published during the subject's lifetime,
but with no proper, independent assessment of their place in history.

It has been said before, but that is why specialist biographical
dictionaries often have as one of their inclusion criteria that
someone has to be dead before having an article. I'm not saying we
should go that far, but there is a case for many BLPs of saying 'if
there is no current published biography, wait until this career/life
is over and make an assessment at that point', and until then either
delete or have a bland stub."

The above is why I rarely edit BLPs. It is far easier (and more
satisfying) to edit about a topic once it is reasonably 'complete',
not ongoing. The latter statements applies to more than BLPs
(biographies of living people), for example it applies to any 'news'
topic, but it does apply especially to BLPs as they are a minefield
because they require careful maintenance.

To give some examples of articles I've edited or created that are BLPs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Mestel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Lieberman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_W._Moore
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._M._Hedges

Those aren't very good examples. What I'm really looking for is a way
to illustrate how some people become notable, and then fade into
obscurity, while others maintain notability and accumulate coverage in
reliable sources throughout their lives, rather than only briefly. The
latter are good topics for encyclopedia articles, but the latter tend
not to be. Is there a way to argue for more stringent notability
requirements that won't get shot down? Essentially, what I'm saying
Wikipedia needs to avoid is bequeathing a lot of stubby articles to
future generations of editors who will get stuck trying to find out
anything more about people who have faded back into obscurity and for
whom it is often difficult to ascertain if they are still living.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Fred Bauder-2
> I'm posting here an argument I made in a recent AfD, explaining why I
> think more stringent notability requirements are needed for
> biographical articles:
>
> "The right point to assess someone's notability and write a definitive
> article about them is at that point (or sometimes when they retire).
> Any BLP is only a work in progress until that point is reached. [Some
> say] "Notability, once attained, does not diminish." That might seem
> true, but what is being assessed is not the subject's true notability,
> but a fluctuating 'notability during lifetime' that can wax and wane
> over time, with the true level of notability not being established
> until someone's career or life is over. Some people gain awards and
> recognitions and have long and diverse careers and have glowing
> obituaries written about them, and pass into the history of the field
> they worked in. Others have more pedestrian careers.
>
> The point is that it is rarely possible to make an accurate assessment
> until the right point is reached. What you end up with if you have low
> standards for allowing articles on BLPs is a huge number of borderline
> BLPs all across Wikipedia (heavily weighted towards contemporary
> coverage [...]), the vast majority of the subjects of which will not
> have prominent (or any) obituaries published about them, and in 50
> years time or so the articles will look a bit silly, cobbled together
> from various scraps and items published during the subject's lifetime,
> but with no proper, independent assessment of their place in history.
>
> It has been said before, but that is why specialist biographical
> dictionaries often have as one of their inclusion criteria that
> someone has to be dead before having an article. I'm not saying we
> should go that far, but there is a case for many BLPs of saying 'if
> there is no current published biography, wait until this career/life
> is over and make an assessment at that point', and until then either
> delete or have a bland stub."
>
> The above is why I rarely edit BLPs. It is far easier (and more
> satisfying) to edit about a topic once it is reasonably 'complete',
> not ongoing. The latter statements applies to more than BLPs
> (biographies of living people), for example it applies to any 'news'
> topic, but it does apply especially to BLPs as they are a minefield
> because they require careful maintenance.
>
> To give some examples of articles I've edited or created that are BLPs:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Mestel
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Lieberman
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_W._Moore
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._M._Hedges
>
> Those aren't very good examples. What I'm really looking for is a way
> to illustrate how some people become notable, and then fade into
> obscurity, while others maintain notability and accumulate coverage in
> reliable sources throughout their lives, rather than only briefly. The
> latter are good topics for encyclopedia articles, but the latter tend
> not to be. Is there a way to argue for more stringent notability
> requirements that won't get shot down? Essentially, what I'm saying
> Wikipedia needs to avoid is bequeathing a lot of stubby articles to
> future generations of editors who will get stuck trying to find out
> anything more about people who have faded back into obscurity and for
> whom it is often difficult to ascertain if they are still living.
>
> Carcharoth

We can delete articles whose subject had only ephemeral notability. In
such cases nearly the only notable event, viewed in perspective, is that
they once had a Wikipedia article.

That is no reason to not have an article while there is public interest
in them. We determine notability by information published in generally
reliable sources which is not that difficult to ascertain.

Fred


_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On 23 March 2012 14:04, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> It has been said before, but that is why specialist biographical
> dictionaries often have as one of their inclusion criteria that
> someone has to be dead before having an article. I'm not saying we
> should go that far, but there is a case for many BLPs of saying 'if
> there is no current published biography, wait until this career/life
> is over and make an assessment at that point', and until then either
> delete or have a bland stub."


Define "published biography". Two paragraphs? A page on a notable
website? A news media article? A detailed criticism with life story
mixed in? A whole book on them?

(Define "book".)

You've come up with a criterion that seems cut-and-dry to you, but is
actually horribly subjective and will be a matter for endless
irresolvable disputes. It's not like arbcom is in *need* of more work
...


- d.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
n Fri, 23 Mar 2012, Carcharoth wrote:
> [Some say] "Notability, once attained, does not diminish."

Unfortunately, WP:N says that too.  What you're saying makes sense, but it is
contradicted by our policies.  If someone can meet the requirements for
notability at one moment in time, they are notable according to our rules.

Good luck changing the notability rules.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Fred Bauder-2
> n Fri, 23 Mar 2012, Carcharoth wrote:
>> [Some say] "Notability, once attained, does not diminish."
>
> Unfortunately, WP:N says that too.  What you're saying makes sense, but
> it is
> contradicted by our policies.  If someone can meet the requirements for
> notability at one moment in time, they are notable according to our
> rules.
>
> Good luck changing the notability rules.

What we need is better procedures for changing rules. I've been bogged
down anytime I tried lately. One or two folks come along and the
situation is little better than one of these discussions. No close.

fred



_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
I would second this. In addition, I believe we should allow
borderline-notable people to opt out of having a biography, to prevent the
sort of drama we are currently having with the Hawkins biography.

Otherwise, we are digging our own graves. As we all know, editor numbers
are stagnating, or positively diminishing, while the number of biographies
rises daily. We are already too stretched to look after biographies. Johann
Hari's slurs remained in the vandalised biographies for days and weeks on
end.

In addition, for little watched biographies, our biography writing process
is often little more than dirt accretion – anonymous people who have no
interest in producing  a balanced biography adding derogatory information,
or random stuff they read and found "interesting". The results are not
pretty:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Charles_M._Blow&oldid=482965680

More than half of a biography about an alleged religious slur? This stuff
is typical of the anonymous dirt accretion method (ADAM) of biography
writing. It's the sort of process that's resulted in a 1,500 word biography
about a US politician of which 1,250 words were about alleged complicity
with Scientology (because she had once looked at a Scientology drugs
rehabilitation programme), or a BLP of a UK member of parliament that was
50 per cent about expense investigations and cherry-picked to create the
false impression he had financially profited to the tune of over £10,000
from an error in his expense claims.

That's the sort of thing that will really endear Wikipedia to legislators.

- We need fewer biographies.

- We need to give borderline-notable people (people like Hawkins; not MPs)
an easy opt-out.

- We could probably benefit from making real-life name registration
mandatory for BLP editing, and hosting them on a different project, or at
the very least introducing flagged revisions for BLPs, and making the right
to approve BLP changes one that requires familiarity with BLP policy, and a
commitment to uphold it.

- We need to abandon ADAM and make sure, somehow, that biographies are fair
and balanced. We can't do that with the amount of biographies we currently
have.

Andreas


On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 2:04 PM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]>wrote:

> I'm posting here an argument I made in a recent AfD, explaining why I
> think more stringent notability requirements are needed for
> biographical articles:
>
> "The right point to assess someone's notability and write a definitive
> article about them is at that point (or sometimes when they retire).
> Any BLP is only a work in progress until that point is reached. [Some
> say] "Notability, once attained, does not diminish." That might seem
> true, but what is being assessed is not the subject's true notability,
> but a fluctuating 'notability during lifetime' that can wax and wane
> over time, with the true level of notability not being established
> until someone's career or life is over. Some people gain awards and
> recognitions and have long and diverse careers and have glowing
> obituaries written about them, and pass into the history of the field
> they worked in. Others have more pedestrian careers.
>
> The point is that it is rarely possible to make an accurate assessment
> until the right point is reached. What you end up with if you have low
> standards for allowing articles on BLPs is a huge number of borderline
> BLPs all across Wikipedia (heavily weighted towards contemporary
> coverage [...]), the vast majority of the subjects of which will not
> have prominent (or any) obituaries published about them, and in 50
> years time or so the articles will look a bit silly, cobbled together
> from various scraps and items published during the subject's lifetime,
> but with no proper, independent assessment of their place in history.
>
> It has been said before, but that is why specialist biographical
> dictionaries often have as one of their inclusion criteria that
> someone has to be dead before having an article. I'm not saying we
> should go that far, but there is a case for many BLPs of saying 'if
> there is no current published biography, wait until this career/life
> is over and make an assessment at that point', and until then either
> delete or have a bland stub."
>
> The above is why I rarely edit BLPs. It is far easier (and more
> satisfying) to edit about a topic once it is reasonably 'complete',
> not ongoing. The latter statements applies to more than BLPs
> (biographies of living people), for example it applies to any 'news'
> topic, but it does apply especially to BLPs as they are a minefield
> because they require careful maintenance.
>
> To give some examples of articles I've edited or created that are BLPs:
>
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Mestel
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Lieberman
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_W._Moore
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._M._Hedges
>
> Those aren't very good examples. What I'm really looking for is a way
> to illustrate how some people become notable, and then fade into
> obscurity, while others maintain notability and accumulate coverage in
> reliable sources throughout their lives, rather than only briefly. The
> latter are good topics for encyclopedia articles, but the latter tend
> not to be. Is there a way to argue for more stringent notability
> requirements that won't get shot down? Essentially, what I'm saying
> Wikipedia needs to avoid is bequeathing a lot of stubby articles to
> future generations of editors who will get stuck trying to find out
> anything more about people who have faded back into obscurity and for
> whom it is often difficult to ascertain if they are still living.
>
> Carcharoth
>
> _______________________________________________
> WikiEN-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
>
_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On 23 March 2012 14:04, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> I'm posting here an argument I made in a recent AfD, explaining why I
> think more stringent notability requirements are needed for
> biographical articles:


And I see that the specific example you're talking about is:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jim_Hawkins_%28radio_presenter%29

This is a rather broad and (as I've noted) hideously vague proposed
solution to a very specific problem, viz. someone who is apparently
well within notability guidelines wanting an article deleted because
he doesn't have control of it, and is abusive towards anyone who tries
to help.


- d.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 4:48 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 23 March 2012 14:04, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> I'm posting here an argument I made in a recent AfD, explaining why I
>> think more stringent notability requirements are needed for
>> biographical articles:
>
> And I see that the specific example you're talking about is:
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jim_Hawkins_%28radio_presenter%29
>
> This is a rather broad and (as I've noted) hideously vague proposed
> solution to a very specific problem, viz. someone who is apparently
> well within notability guidelines wanting an article deleted because
> he doesn't have control of it, and is abusive towards anyone who tries
> to help.

I've written on this topic before, well before this AfD. If you want,
I can dig up the diffs, but I'm looking at the general case here, not
this specific one (I'll post a response to your previous post that I
had been drafting). I should have made it clearer that this is a
proposal intended for all BLPs, not any specific one (but I thought
that was obvious). And yes, I know any concrete proposal will have to
be proposed on-wiki. I just wanted to bounce ideas around here.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 2:18 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 23 March 2012 14:04, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> It has been said before, but that is why specialist biographical
>> dictionaries often have as one of their inclusion criteria that
>> someone has to be dead before having an article. I'm not saying we
>> should go that far, but there is a case for many BLPs of saying 'if
>> there is no current published biography, wait until this career/life
>> is over and make an assessment at that point', and until then either
>> delete or have a bland stub."
>
> Define "published biography". Two paragraphs? A page on a notable
> website? A news media article? A detailed criticism with life story
> mixed in? A whole book on them?

I know that this is the critical point, and I never said it was
cut-and-dried. It would need discussion, but let's actually discuss it
(with examples) instead of dismissing it. What I would say is that
Wikipedia biographies should have at least one source that

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Mestel

For Leon Mestel, the qualifying sources would be his entry in Who's
Who and in Debrett's People of Today. Those are UK-specific sources.
What would the equivalent be in the USA?

2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Lieberman

For Philip Lieberman, you have brief biographical paragraphs in lists
of the contributors for volumes he has contributed to, plus the pages
published by his university that summarise his career. I haven't been
able to find anything else, but this will be the situation for a lot
of academics. While they are still actively engaged in research, you
often won't find anything beyond their university pages and brief
biographical summaries for conferences they speak at as invited guests
and in publications they contribute to. Ironically, his son has an
entry in Encyclopedia Britannica, but he doesn't:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1798503/Daniel-Lieberman

3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_W._Moore

For Norman W. Moore you have an entry in Who's Who, an entry in
Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, biographical information in books he
has published. The example of this in the article is now a dead link,
but it can be seen here:

http://www.nhbs.com/oaks_dragonflies_and_people_tefno_117959.html&tab_tag=bio

You also have the example of a festschrift (this is a form of tribute,
which would in most cases count as a solid biographical reference).

4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_E._M._Hedges

The final example, Robert Hedges, is more difficult. There will likely
be suitable material out there, but I haven't been able to find
anything that would really satisfy me yet.

By the way, having some suitable level of biographical material
published doesn't mean someone is automatically notable in terms of
Wikipedia inclusion criteria. But what I'm saying is that if someone
*doesn't* have some level of biographical material published, then
that (and the type of material it is) should weigh heavily in whether
to keep an article, how to treat deletion requests from the subject of
an article, and how to edit articles that are kept.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

David Gerard-2
On 23 March 2012 17:10, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> For Leon Mestel, the qualifying sources would be his entry in Who's
> Who and in Debrett's People of Today. Those are UK-specific sources.
> What would the equivalent be in the USA?


Who's Who might say "this guy is notable", but the actual content is
completely self-sourced. It's effectively a sponsored blog entry.

This still looks way like you're saying "We must do something, this is
something, therefore we must do this." And that doesn't make a bad
idea (which this really strongly resembles) into a good one, at all.


- d.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 5:16 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 23 March 2012 17:10, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> For Leon Mestel, the qualifying sources would be his entry in Who's
>> Who and in Debrett's People of Today. Those are UK-specific sources.
>> What would the equivalent be in the USA?
>
> Who's Who might say "this guy is notable", but the actual content is
> completely self-sourced. It's effectively a sponsored blog entry.

You miss my point. What I'm saying is that if someone who *could* have
a Who's Who entry doesn't have one, then we should be asking why.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 5:10 PM, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> What I would say is that Wikipedia biographies should have at least one source that

I knew I should have finished the draft before posting it... That
sentence was meant to say something like "should have at least one
source that is recognisably biographical". But really just delete that
unfinished sentence.

I also forgot to say that it would be simpler to just forbid the use
of news sources on BLPs that lack non-news sources. It is the
aggregation of factoids from various news sources to "make" a
biography that is really unprofessional. No reputable biographer would
do that. I'm trying to remember what I said in an earlier discussion
(years ago now): if no-one else has attempted to write a biography,
Wikipedia shouldn't be the one to attempt it first.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

David Gerard-2
In reply to this post by Carcharoth
On 23 March 2012 17:20, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 5:16 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

>> Who's Who might say "this guy is notable", but the actual content is
>> completely self-sourced. It's effectively a sponsored blog entry.

> You miss my point. What I'm saying is that if someone who *could* have
> a Who's Who entry doesn't have one, then we should be asking why.


Oh yes, it's definitely missing articles list stuff. Agreed.


- d.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 6:25 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 23 March 2012 17:20, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 5:16 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>>> Who's Who might say "this guy is notable", but the actual content is
>>> completely self-sourced. It's effectively a sponsored blog entry.
>
>> You miss my point. What I'm saying is that if someone who *could* have
>> a Who's Who entry doesn't have one, then we should be asking why.
>
> Oh yes, it's definitely missing articles list stuff. Agreed.

No, I'm not asking why those with Who's Who entries that lack
Wikipedia articles lack Wikipedia articles. I'm asking why those who
chose to opt out of Who's Who (by not sending in an entry) are not
allowed to opt out of Wikipedia. Sometimes the reasons for not wanting
to be publicly listed in a publication like Who's Who are the same as
for not wanting to be listed in Wikipedia.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

David Gerard-2
On 2.3 March 2012 18:45, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> No, I'm not asking why those with Who's Who entries that lack
> Wikipedia articles lack Wikipedia articles. I'm asking why those who
> chose to opt out of Who's Who (by not sending in an entry) are not
> allowed to opt out of Wikipedia. Sometimes the reasons for not wanting
> to be publicly listed in a publication like Who's Who are the same as
> for not wanting to be listed in Wikipedia.


Because Who's Who is requested self-written entries, and the people it
covers are a large part of its market. Wikipedia is third-party
coverage for the benefit of third-party readers. That is, they're a
completely different species of thing. It's not clear to me how your
comparison of the two actually makes sense.


- d.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Ken Arromdee
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Fri, 23 Mar 2012, David Gerard wrote:
> This is a rather broad and (as I've noted) hideously vague proposed
> solution to a very specific problem, viz. someone who is apparently
> well within notability guidelines wanting an article deleted because
> he doesn't have control of it, and is abusive towards anyone who tries
> to help.

He's not "well within notability guidelines", he falls under BLPs of
marginal notability.  Marginal notability BLPs are supposed to take the
wishes of the subject into account with respect to deletion.

Moreover, this BLP has been violating BLP policy for years.  It doesn't
matter how abusive he is off-Wiki; Wikipedia has failed here.

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Charles Matthews
In reply to this post by Andreas Kolbe-2
On 23 March 2012 15:06, Andreas Kolbe <[hidden email]> wrote:

<snip>


> - We need fewer biographies.
>
> - We need to give borderline-notable people (people like Hawkins; not MPs)
> an easy opt-out.
>
> - We could probably benefit from making real-life name registration
> mandatory for BLP editing, and hosting them on a different project, or at
> the very least introducing flagged revisions for BLPs, and making the right
> to approve BLP changes one that requires familiarity with BLP policy, and a
> commitment to uphold it.
>
> - We need to abandon ADAM and make sure, somehow, that biographies are fair
> and balanced. We can't do that with the amount of biographies we currently
> have.
>
>
I think a serious "position paper" on BLP is possible.  There are several
aspects:

* We are currently not very good at recognising when biographical
information is "indiscriminate" (see
[[WP:INDISCRIMINATE<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:INDISCRIMINATE>]]).
We could get better at that, as a way of addressing what Andreas is calling
ADAM.

*We can certainly look at special notability guidelines for classes of
individuals (e.g. politicians, employees of the media, entertainers,
sportspeople, reality TV stars). Some divide-and-conquer to understand the
more problematic areas in their own terms would be good.

*We are currently lousy at judging "ephemeral notability", and issues
around it seem to be classic time-sinks. There is a bigger picture here,
and digging around in older biographical dictionaries can help to explain
what is going on.

*Certainly extending control of revisions to all BLP pages is an option to
consider; naturally this is a major step requiring wide community support,
and that in turn probably requires a reasonable amount of preparation, not
phrased in too much immoderate language.

*Tools and techniques. I'm a fan of the idea of using "Related changes"  on
chunks of BLP, so that patrolling say 1% at a time becomes easier. Hiving
off BLP into its own community isn't a solution that is clearly going to
work, let's say. Technical concentration on the material, on the other
hand, might do quite a lot to highlight the difficult cases.

Charles
_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Andreas Kolbe-2
In reply to this post by David Gerard-2
On Fri, Mar 23, 2012 at 4:48 PM, David Gerard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 23 March 2012 14:04, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Jim_Hawkins_%28radio_presenter%29
>
> This is a rather broad and (as I've noted) hideously vague proposed
> solution to a very specific problem, viz. someone who is apparently
> well within notability guidelines wanting an article deleted because
> he doesn't have control of it, and is abusive towards anyone who tries
> to help.



That's a bizarre statement – and quite untrue – as well as absolutely
appalling PR. I see someone linked to that comment of yours on Hawkins'
Facebook thread yesterday.

http://www.facebook.com/jimhawkinsltd/posts/303015339764646

(Not sure if that link will work for people who aren't on Facebook.)

As for notability, Carcharoth posted a salient analysis of the article's
sourcing:

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia%3AArticles_for_deletion%2FJim_Hawkins_%28radio_presenter%29&diff=483663317&oldid=483632586

Andreas
_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

Carcharoth
In reply to this post by Charles Matthews
On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 9:22 AM, Charles Matthews
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> *We are currently lousy at judging "ephemeral notability", and issues
> around it seem to be classic time-sinks. There is a bigger picture here,
> and digging around in older biographical dictionaries can help to explain
> what is going on.

This is an excellent point (along with the rest of the posts from
Charles and Andreas). I was thinking explicitly of the sense you get
of what constitutes a 'proper' biography when reading how it was done
in the past (especially the 19th-century Dictionary of National
Biography and the 2004 update/expansion/revision of that, the ODNB).
If you spend your time reading and looking at numerous biographies
across a wide range of subjects (as I do, both on Wikipedia and
elsewhere, and as Charles does), then you get a good sense of what
sources are used for a genuine biography, and what sources are
features of more ephemeral biographies.

Other biographical sources I'm familiar with include the Australian
and Canadian dictionaries of national biography, the Biographical
Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society journal, the similar
publication in the USA, produced by (I think) the National Academy of
Sciences for their members, and the Dictionary of Scientific
Biography.

The point about Wikipedia (for BLPs) being ahead of the proper sources
to use is another excellent one. There is a natural progression to
biographical sources that (for obvious reasons) parallels the
subject's life. People record their own lives at first (diaries,
letters, CVs and the like), and then gradually others start to write
about that person and you get short descriptions such as author and
contributor biographies, and short news items. Then, as someone
becomes more prominent, you get more considered material, such as
interviews, feature articles, and so on. Very prominent people get
official and official biographers that document that person's life
(e.g. US Presidents and some other politicians). Towards the end of
someone's career, you may get tribute articles and the like. Then,
when the person dies, you get obituaries, and then (possibly) entries
in the histories relevant to that person. Very prominent people get
entire books written about them. Others get less.

If Wikipedia jumps into that natural progression too early, and tries
to establish, or maintain, a biography before there are sources to
support one, the result can be a mess. Even if done carefully, it can
still be a problem. I mentioned the example of Robert E. M. Hedges,
who's article I've just been updating. If I hadn't updated that
article, it likely would have remained without an update until more
material was published. In all four cases I've given as examples of
BLPs that I've created or edited extensively, I've felt uncomfortable
at times that I was doing what should, properly, be left until the
right moment for those people's colleagues and peers to do - write
that person's life story (in some ways, the difference between an
authorised and unauthorised biography). That is why it is important to
have the foundation of a proper biographical source to build on, not
go too far, and to be clear that BLPs are always a work in progress,
waiting for the definitive accounts to be written by others (and then
summarised and incorporated into the Wikipedia article).

There are other examples, but I'll leave those for another time.

Carcharoth

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
Reply | Threaded
Open this post in threaded view
|

Re: More stringent notability requirements for biographical articles

geni
On 24 March 2012 11:25, Carcharoth <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 9:22 AM, Charles Matthews
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
>> *We are currently lousy at judging "ephemeral notability", and issues
>> around it seem to be classic time-sinks. There is a bigger picture here,
>> and digging around in older biographical dictionaries can help to explain
>> what is going on.
>
> This is an excellent point (along with the rest of the posts from
> Charles and Andreas). I was thinking explicitly of the sense you get
> of what constitutes a 'proper' biography when reading how it was done
> in the past (especially the 19th-century Dictionary of National
> Biography and the 2004 update/expansion/revision of that, the ODNB).
> If you spend your time reading and looking at numerous biographies
> across a wide range of subjects (as I do, both on Wikipedia and
> elsewhere, and as Charles does), then you get a good sense of what
> sources are used for a genuine biography, and what sources are
> features of more ephemeral biographies.
>
> Other biographical sources I'm familiar with include the Australian
> and Canadian dictionaries of national biography, the Biographical
> Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society journal, the similar
> publication in the USA, produced by (I think) the National Academy of
> Sciences for their members, and the Dictionary of Scientific
> Biography.
>
> The point about Wikipedia (for BLPs) being ahead of the proper sources
> to use is another excellent one. There is a natural progression to
> biographical sources that (for obvious reasons) parallels the
> subject's life. People record their own lives at first (diaries,
> letters, CVs and the like), and then gradually others start to write
> about that person and you get short descriptions such as author and
> contributor biographies, and short news items. Then, as someone
> becomes more prominent, you get more considered material, such as
> interviews, feature articles, and so on. Very prominent people get
> official and official biographers that document that person's life
> (e.g. US Presidents and some other politicians). Towards the end of
> someone's career, you may get tribute articles and the like. Then,
> when the person dies, you get obituaries, and then (possibly) entries
> in the histories relevant to that person. Very prominent people get
> entire books written about them. Others get less.
>
> If Wikipedia jumps into that natural progression too early, and tries
> to establish, or maintain, a biography before there are sources to
> support one, the result can be a mess. Even if done carefully, it can
> still be a problem. I mentioned the example of Robert E. M. Hedges,
> who's article I've just been updating. If I hadn't updated that
> article, it likely would have remained without an update until more
> material was published. In all four cases I've given as examples of
> BLPs that I've created or edited extensively, I've felt uncomfortable
> at times that I was doing what should, properly, be left until the
> right moment for those people's colleagues and peers to do - write
> that person's life story (in some ways, the difference between an
> authorised and unauthorised biography). That is why it is important to
> have the foundation of a proper biographical source to build on, not
> go too far, and to be clear that BLPs are always a work in progress,
> waiting for the definitive accounts to be written by others (and then
> summarised and incorporated into the Wikipedia article).
>
> There are other examples, but I'll leave those for another time.
>
> Carcharoth
>


Zee problem with this standard is that it would preclude having an
article on the person currently running mali (admittedly the article
isn't up to much but I think it could be argued that we should at
least try).

--
geni

_______________________________________________
WikiEN-l mailing list
[hidden email]
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, visit:
https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikien-l
123