Forum:On blanking of articles by covered parties

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Forums: Index > Watercooler > On blanking of articles by covered parties

I have no prior involvement whatsoever in it, but I think that, after reading through the "request for exclusion" concerning Chibiabos and all her RPed characters' articles on WikiFur, I think I'm further convinced that Wikipedia took the more functional "pro-freedom-of-speech" route in discouraging the subjects of biographical or synoptical articles from actively editing or creating articles about themselves or requesting a blanking of such articles.

I don't think that WikiFur should do away with blanking (unless it is willing, by committee, to do away with the ability to fulfill such requests), as the damage has already been done and the chilling effect is permanent, but I do heavily disagree with the belief that users should have such personal overreach over biographical articles outside of their own userpages. It is a massive waste of time and data to careen toward every user's capricious, flighty whim on a dime for the sake of censorship, and it does nothing except keep their butts soft and their heads hard, so to speak.

I'll partially agree with protecting a bio page if it is repeatedly vandalized, and I'll agree less with letting registered users request "exclusive ownership" over editing rights to their own biographical article (it still sucks, and it should only happen if that person covered in the article is the only known editor and creator of the article).

But I think that the requests for blanking articles is a step too far towards censorship of other users' contributed work, since other hands are usually at work in creating or editing an article on WikiFur. The people covered in bio articles which involve the contributions of other editors should, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, have the right or privilege to censor or blank such articles from view or editing. Not only is it censorship, but it is also the infringement of the contributing rights granted by policy-abiding WikiFur editors who contributed to such articles.

Even articles which have been vandalized should be protected from editing unless the would-be contributors have been registered for more than a recent time. They should not be blanked from viewing.

I ask that the above should be henceforth solidified as policy for WikiFur for future contributors or protection requests. --RayneVanDunem 20:41, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Thank you for reopening discussion on this topic. I'm not strongly in favour of personal-exclusion either, but it can be difficult to come to conclusions on policy. I hope other editors will add to discussion here, although it may be a while in the future; I know various people are busy with aspects of the upcoming move to -- Sine 16:42, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
The reason we currently perform exclusions is because we feel doing so causes less harm than not doing so. What matters is not the effort that went into making the article, or whether we can legally keep it up, but whether the benefit to the fandom in publishing it outweighs the harm to an individual that might be caused by doing so.
Most of the people who make such requests are not "users". They are members of the fandom who find that they have had their private lives written up on a public website for all to see - a site which is heavily indexed and which comes up prominently in searches under their nicknames (or possibly even their real names). And they freak out.
Yes, it is censorship - of a form which has been generally agreed to, although I admit it's rarely been unanimous. No, it is not an infringement of the rights of any contributor - while they licensed their work to us, we made no promise to host it in perpetuity, or at all. Don't mix freedom of speech with the right to use any particular venue for such speech - they're not the same.
What you say about Wikipedia is true, as far as it goes. We're not Wikipedia, though. In particular, most of our biographies are not about people who have done something to thrust themselves into the public light, but are about regular people. The vast majority of them (~98%) would not have articles at Wikipedia because they are not notable. In practice, Wikipedia also has a custom of deleting "borderline notability" articles on request from the subject, so we're not exactly alone in that.
On wikis, policy is determined more by what is done than by what people think should be done. What you would need to reverse the current policy is to find a case where you think it was wrong to perform an exclusion, and convince others. Then it would be reasonable to say "well, maybe it's not right that we exclude people, at least in this kind of case."
I don't think it's a good idea for us to allow people to have creative control over the articles about them, to the exclusion of others. We tried this before. Occasionally, it worked. More often, it resulted in a stagnant and/or highly unbalanced article which nobody feels able to edit. The solution we've used instead has been to say that they requested exclusion and nothing else. That way, we're sure the information we're presenting on them is neutral, because there isn't any.
Do you have any suggestions as to how to avoid excluding people, while at the same ensuring that information that fandom members reasonably expect to be private does not make it onto the article, but not giving them actual control over the contents of the article? Requiring published third-party references from a reliable source might be one way, but given that most people have nothing published about them, the article about them would have no content.
I'd also be interested in knowing your thoughts about offering the option to not to have certain pages indexed as an alternative to exclusion. This may be possible in the near future. --GreenReaper(talk) 07:03, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
A couple of further thoughts from me: I'm inclined to think exclusion is offered more often and more quickly than it should be, and I don't like the cycle of people creating articles about themselves, being displeased at change or cleanup by others, and going for blanking / personal exclusion. I think offering that option when someone expresses displeasure with the (editing of) an article about them gives the wrong message about control of articles. -- Sine 21:55, 8 September 2008 (UTC)