WikiFur:Personal information

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This page is an official policy on WikiFur. This policy serves as a place to record previous consensus actions, and should be followed except when consensus dictates otherwise. Significant changes to this policy should first be proposed on the discussion page.

WikiFur is a place for the furry community to store information about itself. As a result, we have many articles about members of the community. Occasionally, this can lead to problems.

Personal animosity and vandalism[edit]

A common cause of reverted edits on pages about people is personal animosity between the subject of the article and the contributor. Typically these edits contain assertions which are untrue (which is why they are classed as vandalism and removed), but they provide concern for the subjects of the articles, who fear such assertions might be taken at face value. These people may not trust WikiFur contributors to revert all such edits in a timely manner.

Some people just don't want other people writing about them[edit]

In addition, not everyone is a public personality, and some take offense at the idea that other people would be able to write anything they want about them on a public site. Yes, this is the wiki way, but remember that WikiFur is not intended to hurt anyone. In general, it is sensible not to include people who do not wish to be included in WikiFur. This is usually not a problem if they really don't want to have a presence here.

The main problem are those people who would permit articles on themselves here, but who ask for restrictions to be placed on what edits can be made, usually due to the possibility of what could vaugely be defined as "negative comments" (both libel and facts which might put the person in an unfortunate light).

One point of view is that that's just too bad, at least in the case of the facts - we should be able to write everything true about people (even if it's not something they want known) because, legally, there's nothing to stop us. Taking that view goes against our principle of not harming those in the community, though.

Another view is that it is against the wiki spirit to have non-editable pages, and even more against it to have pages that are only editable by the person they're about. Proponents of this view point out that WikiFur is not a free hosting site, and that if people want a page about them that they alone can edit they should just be happy with their home page. This leaves us with the problem of how we can ensure that we have an article that accurately points at that page, and the reality that WikiFur users are going to want more than just an external link - they want context.

If there was no need to have pages about people, there would be no problem. However, these people are (in some cases) important members of the furry fandom who have been involved in various activities and deserve mentioning.

A compromise: Privately editable pages about people[edit]

As a result, we used to offer a compromise - on request, editing of a page about a person was potentially restricted for that page (and that page alone) to their wiki user plus curators. This restriction was not automatic - it was be granted in many cases, but the final decision was at the discretion of WikiFur administration. In practice, less than ten pages were protected using this method.

These pages were not excluded from monitoring, given that they could not be directly edited by most users. Like any other article, curators were still expected to remove information that appeared to be particularly non-neutral, or which would be considered inappropriate elsewhere.

The result: Pages which nobody edited[edit]

However, the above policy failed to achieve its goal. What actually happened was that a very restricted amount of information was present on the pages, and it was not updated. It was clear that most of the people concerned had no interest in WikiFur, and therefore no interest in keeping the pages updated.

Therefore, our only current option is for those who simply do not wish to be included at all is total exclusion and blanking of the page about them, replacing it with the {{Protected-Excluded}} template:

This article left blank by request.

The subject of this article has contacted WikiFur and asked not to be included. To respect their privacy, we have blanked and protected this page.
If you are the subject and wish to be unexcluded, please contact a curator.

It is usually preferable to avoid this. People considering exclusion should consider that they could just register an account with an email address and watch the page instead, which would give them immediate notification of edits to the page. In addition, real-life information about individuals may generally be excised on request without complete exclusion, unless there is some overriding public interest justification to keep it.

Exclusion is not automatic, though most requests are fulfilled. When curators are not sure that the community would agree, they will open it to public debate. This is particularly likely in the situation where an person active in the furry fandom appears to be trying to avoid a bad reputation that some would consider deserved by their public actions, particularly if they have physically or monetarily harmed others, and/or committed crimes. In this case, users have in the past felt that the public interest is better-served by keeping the article, as long as it presents information in a neutral fashion.

Exclusion must be requested from a curator through a means which provides positive identification of the person concerned (email is usually best for this). For more information on full exclusion, see WikiFur:Personal exclusion

Mentions on other pages[edit]

Note that no provisions entails total removal from WikiFur. People may still be mentioned and linked from articles - indeed, ensuring the usefulness of these links is why we prefer to have some information on people.

Information in other articles will only be removed if it is not relevant to the article concerned and would normally have gone on the page about the person. This would include stuff like:

  • home page links
  • a person's RL location
  • real names
  • other personal details (particularly if they suggest a user is trying to get around the restrictions)

Differences from the Wikipedia approach[edit]

Wikipedia also includes some articles about people - they tend to be uncompromising about the inclusion of information about people in the quest for the ideal encyclopedia. Here at WikiFur, though, the situation is different:

  • Wikipedia has specific criteria for inclusion which tend to exclude those who are not at least used to public scrutiny. On the other hand, the average member of the furry fandom is at least somewhat private, many with justifiable cause, and some may not wish to have a publicly-edited article page about them. We would like to respect their wishes as far as possible, because they're members of our community too.
  • Wikipedia articles about people are mostly written by those who do not directly know them. Given that we are people in the community writing about other people in the community, it is highly likely that those people are personally known to the authors, which has numerous ramifications in terms of personal bias (both "good" and "bad").
    • Bear in mind the potential pitfalls of writing your own autobiography, although that should not dissuade you from doing so if you think you can do a good job.

Example cases[edit]