Resolution:Media about living people

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Resolutions Media about living people Errors?
This amendment to the 2009 Biographies of living people resolution, including media as well as text, was passed at the November 2013 meeting.

The Board of Trustees wishes to amend the 2009 resolution on biographies of living people to clarify that the resolution applies to all Wikimedia project content, including both textual pages and media.

The amended resolution is below. The Board urges the global Wikimedia community to uphold the principles articulated in the resolution.

Original resolution

The Wikimedia Foundation takes this opportunity to reiterate some core principles related to our shared vision, mission, and values. One of these values which is common to all our projects is a commitment to maintaining a neutral point of view.

In our efforts to offer a source of knowledge that is valuable and useful to all, we have a responsibility to uphold these values by also providing accurate information. Participants in Wikimedia projects have created resources of vast size and scope. As we have emphasized for several years, in addition to the quantity of knowledge that is available, its quality is also an essential matter. The generally high quality of information in Wikimedia projects has been confirmed by a number of studies, but it is important that we always strive to improve. As with any endeavor that provides educational and informational material, errors need to be avoided, especially when they have the potential to cause harm. One area where this applies is when writing about living people.

Increasingly, Wikimedia articles are among the top search engine results for just about any query. That means that when a potential employer, a colleague, friend, neighbor or acquaintance looks for information about a person, they may find it at the Wikimedia sites. As the popularity of the Wikimedia projects grows, so does the editing community's responsibility to ensure articles about living people are neutrally-written, accurate and well-sourced. As our popularity has grown, some issues have become more prominent:

Many people create articles that are overly promotional in tone: about themselves, people they admire, or those they are paid to represent. These are not neutral, and have no place in our projects. Generally, the Wikimedia community protects the projects well against this common problem by deleting or improving hagiographies.

People sometimes vandalize articles about living people. The Wikimedia community has developed tools and techniques for counteracting vandalism: in general they seem to work reasonably well.

Some articles about living people contain small errors, are poorly-written or poorly-sourced. Articles about people who are only marginally well-known are often neglected, and tend to improve much more slowly over time, if at all.

People sometimes make edits designed to smear others. This is difficult to identify and counteract, particularly if the malicious editor is persistent. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees urges the global Wikimedia community to uphold and strengthen our commitment to high-quality, accurate information, by:

Ensuring that projects in all languages that describe living people have policies in place calling for special attention to the principles of neutrality and verifiability in those articles;

Taking human dignity and respect for personal privacy into account when adding or removing information, especially in articles of ephemeral or marginal interest;

Investigating new technical mechanisms to assess edits, particularly when they affect living people, and to better enable readers to report problems;

Treating any person who has a complaint about how they are described in our projects with patience, kindness, and respect, and encouraging others to do the same.

Amended resolution

The Wikimedia Foundation takes this opportunity to reiterate some core principles related to our shared vision, mission, and values. One of these values which is common to all our projects is a commitment to maintaining a neutral point of view.

In our efforts to offer a source of knowledge that is valuable and useful to all, we have a responsibility to uphold these values by also providing accurate information. Participants in Wikimedia projects have created resources of vast size and scope. As we have emphasized for several years, in addition to the quantity of knowledge that is available, its quality is also an essential matter. The generally high quality of information in Wikimedia projects has been confirmed by a number of studies, but it is important that we always strive to improve. As with any endeavor that provides educational and informational material, errors need to be avoided, especially when they have the potential to cause harm. One area where this applies is when writing or adding media about living people.

Increasingly, Wikimedia articles are among the top search engine results for just about any query. That means that when a potential employer, a colleague, friend, neighbor or acquaintance looks for information about a person, they may find it at the Wikimedia sites. As the popularity of the Wikimedia projects grows, so does the editing community's responsibility to ensure articles about living people are neutrally-written, accurate and well-sourced. As our popularity has grown, some issues have become more prominent:

Many people create articles that are overly promotional in tone: about themselves, people they admire, or those they are paid to represent. These are not neutral, and have no place in our projects. Generally, the Wikimedia community protects the projects well against this common problem by deleting or improving hagiographies.

People sometimes vandalize articles about living people. The Wikimedia community has developed tools and techniques for counteracting vandalism: in general they seem to work reasonably well.

Some articles about living people contain small errors, are poorly-written or poorly-sourced. Articles about people who are only marginally well-known are often neglected, and tend to improve much more slowly over time, if at all.

People sometimes make edits or add media designed to smear others. This is difficult to identify and counteract, particularly if the malicious editor is persistent. The Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees urges the global Wikimedia community to uphold and strengthen our commitment to high-quality, accurate information, by:

Ensuring that all projects in all languages that describe or show living people have policies in place calling for special attention to the principles of neutrality and verifiability in those articles;

Taking human dignity and respect for personal privacy into account when adding or removing information and/or media, especially in articles or images of ephemeral or marginal interest;

Investigating new technical mechanisms to assess contributions , particularly when they affect living people, and to better enable readers to report problems;

Treating any person who has a complaint about how they are portrayed in our projects with patience, kindness, and respect, and encouraging others to do the same.

Approve 
Phoebe Ayers, Bishakha Datta, Samuel Klein, Patricio Lorente, María Sefidari, Ana Toni, Jan-Bart de Vreede, Stu West, Alice Wiegand
Not present 
Jimmy Wales