On Thursday, January 19, a new category for "Living People" was added to Wikipedia. Despite vocal protest from the community, Jimmy Wales insisted on the category being kept and the vote being deleted.

Should there be such a category?

Pro v. Con




Comments and 2 suggestionsEdit

I have started over a hundred biographies of living golfers. Let's say that someone adds a line to one of them saying that he was arrested for possession of child porn at college, but released without charge. Let's also say that all 200,000 or whatever articles have been placed in this category (and it will soon be 2 million). How is this category going to help? Are we expected to believe that there will be enough people monitoring it, and clicking on all the articles regularly, including the most obscure ones, to significantly improve the chances of libels being removed promptly compared to what they are now? These monitor hits will only be a tiny fraction of total hits, and unless the monitors only click on people they have heard of they will know nothing whatsoever about most of the people they have clicked on, so they will have to research every seriously negative comment. It just isn't going to happen.
Another point to take into account is that there are plenty of places to libel someone apart from their biographical article. For example next time I update a golf tournament article with this year's winner's name, I could state that he won despite having spent the Tuesday of tournament helping police with their investigations into a child pornography ring, but was let off without charge. This proposal seems to be a response to the recent controversy about... er the American journalist with the long name that no one in the rest of the world had ever heard of before and who doesn't have an article in Encarta or Britannica. But that doesn't mean the next libel will be in a biography, and anyway I though it was all agreed all round that he couldn't sue wikipedia.
Two alternative suggestions, they aren't very good, but then Jimbo isn't putting forward alternatives to this dud, so someone else will have to try:

1) create Category:Controversial biographies. It will miss some people, but then so will the existing category. Put all American lawyers, journalists and politicians in it as a start.
2) acknowledge the reality that there is no way that all bad edits out of a current rate of around a million edits a week (soon to be ten million no doubt) will be caught. Not only a slim chance; zero chance. If legal issues make this intolerable, instead of making a pointless and annoying gesture, do something concrete and move the servers to an offshore jurisdiction, as PartyGaming operates from Gibraltar due to the dubious legal status of online poker in the U.S.

All of this is assuming that libel concerns were the motivation for the category - since we haven't been told, we have to guess. Osomec 22:43, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

  • This will go no where towards helping NPOV the articles, having such an enourmous (it will be roughly 1000 times the size of a normal category, based on 70,000 living bios, which is itself wildly optimistic) category is helpful in now way, it will just waste the time of good editors. How about we have a category whereby we could add it if the article doesnt have a NPOV, actually make it a template so its more obvious to the reader, we could call it {{POVArticle}}, no I've got a better idea still- call it {{NPOV}}.

NO. I'd give this one a definite NO. We already have too many goofy categories.

I would assume that it would be policed by People who read an article about some guy and notice that at the bottom it says
 Categories: Golfers, Living People

Bawolff 21:29, 30 January 2006 (UTC)