WikiFur talk:Personal information

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Hmm... this a really huge tough one. I'm a clinger to the wiki ideal that no page should be protected. However, considering the content we cover I understand this is a problem that won't go away if we just say write about anyone. I suppose having the second proposal is a good idea, however the one editor must understand that administrators will retain the right to edit their words, first for the point of style (we need to set up style guides on writing biography or autobiography pages) and secondly for the point of ensuring correct article tone (eg, third person) and correct POV. Likewise, it might be worth asking if any particular administrator would like to become official locked articles representative or some title like that. Basically a SysOp that editors will accept as the trusted guardian over POV and so forth if they feel an article is not the full story. That SysOp then will raise the concerns in an anonymous manner (no identity of the editor in question is revealed) and a plan for the edit is reached.

Likewise there needs to be policy if contact fails. For example, a user could request this protection. Write a nice looking article and then disappear. A quibble of the article is raised and the SysOp queries it with the author. The e-mail bounces, the IM's are rejected or generally, the author no longer is able to be contacted, even after following through communication channels that are open to editors (Googling for alternative contacts etc). What is the policy then? Are people warned that if they no longer respond after a fair amount of time that their protection is hence forth receded and the article is unlocked? Following that if they suddenly appear again and complain, should they be penalised if they on purposely ignored the proposed edits and not be allowed to take soul control again?

Some thoughts and possible refining their of the policy, I'll be keeping watch over this conversation and the page. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 22:07, 28 Aug 2005 (UTC)

On its face, I think the personal-protected idea is a pallatable compromise, but it is virtually the same as article blanking since the user could just blank the article and disappear. Whether two templates are needed is a different discussion, but I still think treating people articles differently from other articles is a dubious double standard. Protecting pages is alright as long as the content is factual and informative. However, because they are locked the community can no longer to strive for either. Censoring pages of any useful information, or in the extreme case - blanking them, is devastating to the entire wiki resource. It reduces the overall value of the knowledge base and prevents users from sharing information that may be common knowledge in the fandom -- wasn't that the whole goal of the wiki? For instance, let's say Uncle Kage suddenly decided to blank his page. Plenty of information about him exists in the public domain, and now users leave the wiki to Google information that isn't secret, or are left confused and may assume he must not be a prominent person in the fandom. That's just a random example, but by removing useful information or locking it from community contributions, we reduce the value of the resource and may cause users to draw incorrect conclusions. I think all articles should be treated as public articles, and the revision cycle should set the community standard for what is included on a page. My two cents. BlueOtter 19:08, 29 Aug 2005 (UTC)
Firstly, this is not intended to replace the blanking option. The person could indeed just request that and be done with it. The point is to get articles about those people who don't want this - that is, they do want to have a wiki page with the common knowledge about them, but they don't want the private stuff leaking through.
Uncle Kage is a bad example, because I doubt he would do that. Indeed, he's just the sort of person I would feel safest giving this power to in the case that his page became a target of vandalism (which I can imagine happening, although I hope it doesn't) as he's "earnt" the goodwill of the community, and I would trust him to be reasonable about what was included on the page. A better example is, perhaps, Sibe . . . but in that sort of case we would simply deny the request. And there aren't really all that many people like that. --GreenReaper(talk) 05:00, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
As for your first point, I'd lean towards giving people protected access over their pages but requiring a very minimal, basic level of content if a relevant and appropriate article has been previously posted. I think this would be a fair compromise and a way around the blanking of pages, which I think is an all-round bad idea.
It's one possibility. Any ideas what would be appropriate? See also the discussion in the Wiki Ideal section about the possibility of having stop-lists of things that people do not want. --GreenReaper(talk) 23:40, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
I think basic factual information would be appropriate, like if an artist, where they have sold or displayed their art. If prominent furs, where they have been Guests of Honor, or any groups they may have started. This would exclude any linking to their real-life names (unless they are only known by their real life name), and no location information would be provided. If contentious, an entry could be very terse, linking to other topics that might better explain something. But if for instance someone was responsible for starting the Burned Furs movement and wanted that stricken from their record, I say we link that person page to the Burned Furs page so someone really researching it could find out a simple factual association that way, but the association would be less clear under their name title. Thoughts? BlueOtter 03:12, 31 Aug 2005 (UTC)
For your second point, I disagree. The difference between Kage and Sibe that you highlight brings up the fact that this whole process of deciding when to allow this is highly subjective. Perhaps Kage has earned the goodwill of the majority of the community and Sibe has not, but most people to whom this applies to would fall into a grey area where there is no real clear basis for trust from the community at large. An in any case, I think it's wrong to, for instance, give Kage protected power over his page and deny the request from Sibe. What if Sibe wanted his page blanked? Any policy on personal information should be applied unilaterally and not just to everyone except those the community generally dislikes. BlueOtter 19:09, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
Why? If the community generally dislikes them, shouldn't it have the right to decide whether or not information on them should be preserved? Yes, this is subjective, in that other people's opinion would matter. So what? The policy for who gets the right to control the page about them or not could be the same for everyone, but the decision could be different based on what people thought was important or "right". Ideally I would like this to be judged by members of the community, rather than admins. We have enough to do, and consensus is the wiki way. :-) --GreenReaper(talk) 23:40, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
I think the community should have the right to decide on what information to display on the person-pages regardless if that person is liked or disliked. My point was just if you let people request their pages become protected, all such requests should be honored, no matter who's asking. I sure wouldn't want Sibe's page blanked -- even if dubious, he's still an important topic of the fandom which a wiki on the subject of all things furry would be empty without. But, if you let some people do it, you have to let them all. I personally think a better option is to just leave all pages to be moderated by the community at large (occasional vandalism protection measures aside). Yes, you might get a fight, like what's going on in babyfurs right now, but actually I think that's a good example of a healthy wiki at work. Through constant revisions, maybe we never reach a complete consensus, but we do get a better one by working together than by blanking a page, and the discussion history it generates allows someone to understand the significance of the different viewpoints about its interpretation. I realize it's hard not to feel different about person-pages, but they're really the same thing. Someone could come along and enter a bunch of annoying stuff about me on my page, and if it's factual and relevant, well, it is a public wiki, and I'd have to swallow it. If someone really cared, they could just cross post it to a zillion newsgroups. NPOV is a great goal, but we should avoid censorship. BlueOtter 03:12, 31 Aug 2005 (UTC)

Contents

'The Wiki Ideal'

(responding to Nidonicu)

I've said this in other places, but it belongs here too: the 'wiki ideal' is crap. Being editable at any time is only the means, not the ends. I would love to know more about LoupGarou, based on his fantastic art; however, if he asks to be excluded, his rights to privacy trump our right to use WikiFur as a platform to say whatever we want about him.

Besides, look at it in this light. If we create pages about people or include things that they explictly asked to have excluded (such as real names or LiveJournal addresses, for example), that will make us look rude and inconsiderate, and will cast doubts both on our intentions here at WikiFur and on the factual accuracy of the rest of the site. It doesn't matter what justification we use for it, such as 'you can find it on Google' or 'it's publically available' or 'it goes against the wiki ideal'; it's just a bad idea. Almafeta 20:06, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)

Being editable by anyone at any time is a key pillar of communities like this. You can't remove that without making wikis no longer wikis. I think the problem has been that the people who are now excluded did feel vulnerable suddenly when a contributor posted what they thought was a personal detail and went on extreme defense. I belive in the Wiki-idle and GreenReapers plan is a good compromise. I think that with careful explaining of this new policy if we update them on the status, then they may be willing to have the non-personal information re-included on the wiki under the guarantee that their entry is guarded by admins to ensure no slurs or personal information is added. And I say "guarded" not "protected" as articles will continue to be updated when an update is passed to an administrator to handle, but I propose that the article's subject give us a 'Do Not Post' list with the details that they don't want shown (No LiveJournal link, no location, no real name, etc). We can set up a system where proposed updates to an article are posted to a separate page to a WikiFur: namespace page out of the default search-able wiki and are qued to be given attention by admins. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 22:41, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
So how do we go about this? Informal consensus about the standard things people can ask not to have on their page? Voting for particular items if someone disagrees with their removal? Not saying this is a bad idea, but we need a process behind it. --GreenReaper(talk) 23:40, 30 Aug 2005 (UTC)
I like the idea of a list of "do not post" items per personal-wiki on request rather than restrictin the page updates. I think the list of what one does not want to allow posted should be limited to a predefined list of things they can request, but generally I like this compromise. BlueOtter 03:20, 31 Aug 2005 (UTC)


Updated the page with a diagram of a possible process for dealing with DNP articles. Not complete by any means but a start. Will be changed and updated as this discussion continues, has been placed on the policy outline page. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 03:54, 31 Aug 2005 (UTC)
Note: I've not made a distinction between blanking (DNP = Anything) and some content removal as this process can be applied to both. In both cases an editor could have something significant that justifies the article no longer being blanked or guarded.

The Compromise: Privately editable pages?

I don't like this compromise. It allows people to take complete private control over their article pages, and does not allow for the ability to "fact Check." I do not think people should have the ability to completely control the contents of their article pages, because that ability/right can be abused. It needs a check. To that end, I think a proper check would be to require that all private self controlled article pages be with STRICT NPOV. By Wikipedia's definition. Otherwise, I request we not even include that template and instead leave the page completely blank.Redcard 00:35, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)

You're wrong when you say there's no check - there's nothing to stop people saying "this is wrong" on a talk page, and attempting to bring an admin's attention to it. Indeed, that's exactly what it suggests on the template. NPOV is already required of articles, and these are really no different except that people may choose to exclude some information. You could argue that that's not "strict NPOV" as it's not including the other side of the story, but then Wikipedia's definiton does not account for this possiblity, as there free editing is non-negotiable.
Most features can be abused - the ability to freely edit pages, for example, and that's one of the points of the proposed policy. Which abuse is worse, and which is more likely? Well, that's the question under discussion. We haven't seen how the idea of privately editable pages will be used yet, so until we try it, it's hard to say. We do know that abuse of pages about people happens; sometimes it's obvious, sometimes subtle. We also know that sometimes they just say things people don't want said, and the result of that is that we lose all the information said about them when they ask for the page to be blanked. --GreenReaper(talk) 03:20, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I am still very non-plussed about the idea of people who are actively editing and commenting on other people's pages and other article pages deciding that they don't want anyone editing THEIR pages. This could have the long term effect of turning article pages into User: pages. We already should have safeguards in play that stop people from posting bad things.. and we already have safeguards in play that allow people to be completely exempted. This middle ground will create another class of users here.. those that can say what they want about themselves in the article and also have the ability / right to edit other peoples article pages. It's not a good idea. Could we do this on a 90 day trial run or something and then look back and decide if it's really a good idea? Redcard 13:17, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)
I thought NPOV Above All Else was one of those things that we left behind at Wikipedia, as well as such topics as You Must Be This Notable To Ride The Wiki. Besides, if you've got a 'privately editable' tag on a page, you'll already know to take it with a grain of salt, and to look at the 'what links here' section to get a fuller picture. Almafeta 13:22, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)
Actually, we are holding very strongly on to the NPOV clause here. If we didn't, this place would dissolve so quickly in to a drama fest and edit wars, the anti-furries would be laughing all the way to the bank. Also, What links here is far more a tool for editors than readers, you don't notice it hiding in the Toolbox, its why we've made the functions of Special Pages more accessible in Central. I do agree though that the this is locked box provides a warning that the article may present an incomplete view and the word might need to be changed to reflect that. Regarding the other thread and comments above, it might indeed be wise to run this as a trial and pursue the users to ensure they do actually write something in their pages. If we have too many problems or at the end of the trial, we should reevaluate the system and see what worked and what didn't. --Nidonocu - talk Nidonocu 13:47, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)
My suggestion is we change this text in the template box: The subject of this article has asked WikiFur for personal control over the entry about them. We have accepted their request and protected this entry, which must still conform to WikiFur policies. To the following: The subject of this article has asked WikiFur for personal control over the entry about them. We have accepted their request and protected this entry. This article has a single editor, and therefore has less wiki-style editorial control than other articles on this site. Redcard 21:47, 7 Sep 2005 (UTC)

Definition of "Personal" / Policy on total content

Two recent incidents (the entries on Something Awful-related behaviour at Anthrocon 2005 and the art auction at Further Confusion 2004) have shown that the issue of "personal information" and when to supress it involves more than the control of articles about individual people. There are some issues that I feel we should discuss, and this is probably the best place to discuss them.

  1. What, exactly, constitutes "personal information"? My list would be:
    • Real name
    • Location
    • E-mail address, telephone number, etc
    • Employer/Educational institution
    • Websites, LiveJournals, and other publications (books, magazine articles, etc) unrelated to the fandom
    • Medical or social issues (sexuality, "romantic" attachments, popularity or otherwise within social groups, etc)
  2. When should this information be considered public?
    • This is the difficult one. Obviously, if the person him/herself has made the information available, it's public. Who else is "entitled" to do this?
  3. If someone requests that public, personal information is removed from an article other than one specifically about them, should their request be honoured? I don't think that the removal of _private_ personal information is an issue.

Discussion invited. Tevildo 08:00, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)

Might I suggest a starting point would be to consider the common, "back of the jacket" author biographies seen in the publishing world? The particular nature of Furry fandom is such that a large number of the people involved in it are "content producers" in *some* way. Not just artists - writers, administrators/staff of boards, IRC networks, Mucks, or one could say, contributers in the community of role-playing that is a foundation of the fandom. Due to this, I wonder if the basic activities involved with all this might not make many people more "public" than say, the typical fantasy reader fan, but usually in ways most similar to content creators such as authors.
Therefore, I consider public author biographies: such biographies that I have read typically list:
  • The author's name
  • The genres in which their work is known
  • Number of years the author has been working/published
  • Noteworthy awards or public honors
  • Websites related directly to the author's work or genre
  • Notable publications/associations which the author has written for/is a member of (related to the author's work)
  • Generic personal anecdotes about the author, such as "he has a dog named Berry and plays tennis"
The general theme usually seems to be, to describe an author enough to give some sembalence of their gross public identity without really singling out personal details that could violate in-person privacy or reasonably be used against the author by say, your average psycho stalker. In a Furry translation, something such as the author's name could be replaced by common fandom nickname if applicable. Personal anecdotes could be left open to be volunteered by the person in question, or gleaned from only the most public statements by the individual, not hearsay, rumors, or what Phil said he saw in Dave's bedroom when he was looking for the bathroom that fateful Saturday night.
Some authors and celebrities of course, volunteer a lot more information than that if they wish, feel comfortable, or are just plain narccisistic :) Following the principle of Wikifur not existing to harm anyone however, that would be something left up to the individual in question to come and offer themselves so that the responsibility for consequences would be in their hands. If somebody aside from the subject of the article posts information which goes beyond the most "safe" definiton of public information, the subject individual should have full rights to request that information removed or have their own edit of it be honored even if it removes some information. Yeah, there are tricky situations like the ever-popular (?) Sibe, but - there are cases were a person's outrageous behavior is made so public themselves.
Even so, certain personal information should, perhaps, be avoided even if the person in question may have blabbed it at some point, five years ago, on one IRC channel. The flipside of a person "not being allowed to re-write history" in a Wiki article, should, I think, be them not being "punished" for something they did so long ago that a: it seems no longer relevant to anyone aside from those who may hold personal vendettas and wish to use Wiki a way to pursue them, or incidents that while publicly known at the time, were largely personal in nature. -- ToyDragon(talk)
I agree with this approach. Two questions, though.
(1) What _is_ "the most safe definition of public information"?
(2) Should this apply to _all_ information, or only information that a reasonable person would consider "personal"? For example, would the fact that someone had attended a convention (without having been involved in any sort of "incident" there) be subject to their veto? Tevildo 17:36, 1 Oct 2005 (UTC)
Whee! Well...
(1) That's probably something we should open up for sub-debate here :) My off-the-cuff thought is what hopefully seems like common sense. Examples might be:
  • That somebody plays a minotaur character and appears in public on an MU* with description based on the publicly offered descriptive text of their character.
  • Things that an artist or author states in generally published form - on a website, in a fansize, on public convention materials. Things that people "just hear about" or that the person in question has casually spoken about to friends, but not broadcast might fall under erring on the side of caution in not including them usually.
  • Notable public appearances by an individual. Attending Anthrocon for instance, though if somebody attends a convention under a name or identity that isn't their usual fandom handle, caution might suggest they wished remain relatively incogneto. Again, no hearsay - no gossip that so-and-so was at the con under an assumed name.
  • Obviously, details involving oficial positions an individual has that are on the public record. Admins of MUCKs, IRC networks, or events. We might want to *not* consider individual, non-formalized acts the business of the general public. For example, if a given person outside a con decides to donate a huge sum of money to fund it, they likely would NOT want the world to start theorize that they have lots of funds laying around and so forth.
  • "Fights" and so-called drama episodes in public are perhaps one of the most tricky things to deal with - and I know there are some people who would like to use venues such as a wiki to perpetuate drama with details that aren't fair or appropriate to publish. I would honestly feel most comfortable limiting such things to the rare Sibe case, rather than encourage the habit of listing whatever "he said, she fire back" willy-nilly even if the exchange did happen in a public place. Perhaps a rule of thumb here is that fights between individuals - duels - might rarely be relevant to the public even if some shots were fired in the park. So to speak.
(2) I'm just... not totally sure. Anyone else have thoughts? Using the convention example I would be normally given to say that identifying a person's attendence *under the identity they attended as and no more* might be pretty safe public information for most people. It might be up to individuals to raise special issues - for example, I know that for sometimes legal reasons, certain people might not want it published that they attended an event due to restraining orders (for just one instance) against other people that they do not want to be aware of their own whereabouts. But I'm not sure yet about this point. -- ToyDragon(talk)

Regional categories for "People"?

This may not belong here, but I haven't found anywhere else to discuss this: Should furries (Category: People) be grouped in regional categories? Right now we only have those for pages discussing regional organisations/mailing lists. But it would be good to have a regional overview for all featured furries (people). What do you think? Unci 16:46, 4 Nov 2005 (UTC)

That could work. Feel free to start it up - be bold! :-) I'd suggest something like Category:People living in X, where X was wherever. --GreenReaper(talk) 04:28, 5 Nov 2005 (UTC)
I started putting mostly European furries directly into the categories for their country (Austria, Germany, whatever). With the great number of furries living in the USA, I suggest that we make categories for states (California, Texas, whatever) later on, but I'm not going through the whole alphabet - too much work. I just categorize what I find. - Unci 01:34, 8 Nov 2005 (UTC)

Protected pages - verifying identity

When granting someone a protected page (either privately editable or excluded), do we currently undertake any steps to insure that the person requesting the protected page is in fact the person the page is about? I wouldn't put it past some people to claim to be someone else (registering their name, etc.) as a way to harass that person. It's also not unheard of for people to take on an "I'm the only real so-and-so" attitude upon discovering that there's someone else in the fandom that goes by the same alias they do. --mwalimu 20:31, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Personally, I tend to follow the maxim - "Trust, but verify" . . . assume that people are those that they say they are, but do a quick check to see whether it seems reasonable as well. For example, I might confirm people's email addresses elsewhere, or look at their internet activity to see whether or not. If they come in just as a username I might try to find a public email or other contact details for that person and confirm it via that. To my knowledge, it has not yet been a problem.
As for the "I'm the only real so-and-so", this has already come up with Tigerwolf. Disambiguation is the answer. --GreenReaper(talk) 20:44, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Standardized rules for when content about individuals can or cannot be protected

I really think this needs to be set, to differentiate between individuals like Sibe and private furizens who haven't harmed anyone. I think those who have done VerifiableBadThings(tm) shouldn't have any right to maintain anonymity of their RL information on wikifur. The question is .... what qualifies as a VerifiableBadThing(tm)? Should a violent or felonious criminal record be an automatic disqualifier against a right to maintain anonymity?

I don't expect it to be a popular notion. Most furs seem to want to remain ignorant that there are some very bad, rotten apples in the community (Sibe is very far from being the only one). A lot of furs seem to take the bury-head-in-sand, "we don't want to hear about it, let bygones be bygones" approach with a "forgive all abuses" because (in my opinion) they don't want to think our nifty cultural niche could have evil people. I have naysayed the Christian community, as an atheist, who hide, aid and abet others who call themselves Christian while abusing children, etc. I have come to realize its very hypocritical for me to say that if I don't take a stronger stand against those who claim the same labels I do, but are abusive individuals that are a threat and a menace to my Furry brothers and sisters. A violent criminal who abuses trust in furrydom shouldn't have the anonymity protection of someone who is innocent and just shy and quiet.

So to sum up: I think anyone with a violent public criminal history should automatically have no rights to hide/protect their RL identity, and I think there should be a standardized guide or ruleset to abide by. GreenReaper and the other wikifur staff/admins are a fine bunch of folks, so far as I can tell, but I think the theme of wiki is NPOV, and no one is "above" anyone else, and I think having a standardized set of guidelines for when someone's identity will and will not be protected in a wikifur article. A written rule, I think, is easier to understand than "administrator's choice." --Chibiabos 20:21, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree that explicit written rules are easier to understand. That doesn't make them right in all cases, though. Some things just aren't cut and dried. The issue I have with this is that we simply haven't had many cases that cover this situation yet. WikiFur policy is written down in response to consensus developed over time, not in an an attempt to direct it - it's common law based on precedent far more than it statutory law. You do not see much discussion of the statutes that do exist, in part because we have very few of them, and in almost all cases they are taken as non-negotiable assumptions (for example, all text edits must be placed under the GFDL).
Conversely, matters relating to what information we include on WikiFur are, to a large extent, negotiable. That means that until we have enough cases to base a decision on the experience of past cases, we don't make general rules about them. The only two cases I can really think of where we've definitely made decisions of this sort is Sibe and Bart Bervoets - and these are both notable special cases. I'm not about to make really wide decisions by myself about other cases that haven't happened yet.
As I understand it, you suspect someone has a violent history and you want an assurance that if you find something specific about that someone who you think is dangerous, we'll do what you've outlined about it. That's not how it works. If you bring up material, then it will be considered by everyone in that particular case, and everyone is welcome to help form the opinion that affects that particular article (it's not just "administrator's choice", as you can see over at Talk:Sibe - that's just there to note that we have the ultimate authority to enact decisions once we think there's consensus about it, or to put in place temporary measures until it's complete). The decision made can then be used as an example of what's been done in the past. Over time, such examples make it easier to make similar decisions in the future.
Or, if people really wish to talk about this in abstract rather than with an actual example, we can have some debate right here - but I would caution that abstract rules often seem different than intended when you place them in context. There's also going to have to be some agreement on a few basic terms - what "violent public criminal history" is, for a start. Getting into a fistfight ten years ago is a lot different from beating a significant other last year. What if there's been no actual assault, but evidence of stalking phone calls and emails? What is evidence of stalking in a mostly online community? Etc. --GreenReaper(talk) 04:58, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Conducting public records searches costs both time and money, and if I conduct one, find a record of violent criminal behavior on someone in a public record, but then find Wikifur will bar its inclusion in an article on someone because it violates some inherent right that individual has to control (selectively prohibit) verifiable facts about them in such an article, then the time and money spent conducting such a search is wasted. A general rule of thumb is the only way to be fair, in my book. --Chibiabos 19:50, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
We already have such a rule of thumb: In general, we allow people to be excluded. Exceptions are subject to public debate.
If you really want to obtain and publish information about a person, WikiFur is not the only place where you could do it. The facts that you find will be useful in confirming or denying your claims whether or not they were relevant to WikiFur's decision for inclusion. Indeed, a separate site is far more likely to get hits for a specific topic, as it can be focussed on that and include relevant keywords. WikiFur has over 1,500 articles on people, and while some of them rank reasonably highly, few of them are the first hit for their topics. --GreenReaper(talk) 00:01, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I don't know about Bart Bervoets, but I know that isn't true about Sibe. I've directed a lot of "Who is Sibe?" requests to the wiki article, as have a lot of other people. A page I put together won't gather much interest and could go down for any number of reasons. I could post it on a newsgroup, but it'd get buried and lost rather quickly. You denied Sibe's requests to have the page on him wiped, why should he and Bart be lone "at administrator's discretion" exceptions instead of developing a testable set of rules? --Chibiabos 03:50, 9 September 2006 (UTC)
I can comment on the on-line stalking aspect, also known as "Cyberstalking". The department of Justice Defines cyberstalking as "the use of the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to stalk another person. Stalking generally involves harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property.". According to Working to Halt Online Abuse (a group I am also involved with), "Cyberstalkers frequently follow their targets around the net, frequenting in chat rooms, message boards, newsgroups or mailing lists in which the target participates. At times they will also attempt to form relationships with those who are friendly with the target in order to get more information about the target.".
Hope that helps for the purposes of discussion here. --Douglas Muth 13:22, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Links to pages that are not complimentary about a group or person

Some websites or pages on websites are dedicated specifically to criticism of something or someone. Almost all of Encyclopedia Dramatica is a good example, but it's not the only one - certain posts on LiveJournal, Crush! Yiff! Destroy! and Nothingkat.com come to mind. Often, this criticism reflects poorly on the group or person concerned, and they may seek to remove links to it where they can, including WikiFur.

The thing is, often these pages are actually telling part of the truth about a group or person that is not readily available elsewhere, even though it is not the whole truth and definitely part of a point of view. Often they feature copies of material because the author has removed the original evidence, and may therefore be the only source.

Should we allow links to such pages to be removed at the wish of the person concerned? Should this trigger the requirement of a notice to readers about the removal ("This page has been edited to remove links to content that the person doesn't like")? Should it not be allowed at all? Should we keep the links, but add a warning to them? Should we agree to remove the links on the condition that the information is put in the article itself in a NPOV form? Is this something we can make a reasonably firm rule out of?

Thoughts on a postcard . . . --GreenReaper(talk) 05:25, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

This is a tricky subject. On one hand, it's very true and important, I think, that external links might make available information for people to get the full story on certain issues; even if off-wiki information has a flavor of POV. On the other hand, so many sites have articles that are mostly attacks on people or false information, it could, in theory, present a problem and a way for individuals to be indirectly trolled or slandered using Wikifur as a referral portal. Perhaps any official decision on this should involve consideration as to whether the external source appears to contain information that that compliments the wiki article, or appears to be predominantly a personal attack, or distortion for the purpose mockery or deception. Maybe an example of an external link to be avoided would be a person making a personal rant to the effect "I hate John D Furry because he has funny teeth, grr! And I hate all furries with funny teeth!" versus a link that contains further information about say, how John D Furry is currently being sued for fraud in connection with a furry convention.
Not sure if there is a clean way to deal with this, but those are some thoughts at least. --ToyDragon
If we remove the links and move the material in question into the article, then we're having uncited material in an article, and I think that leaves us worse off.
I'm wondering if maybe we need a template called "take this with a grain of salt" or something along those lines, that we could put next to links that contain biased info, such as the above sites. --Douglas Muth 13:26, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
A couple of thoughts come to mind. As noted elsewhere, tf there are not-so-nice things about a person that are in the public interest to share, it is within bounds, and some might say even our responsibility, to share that information. But if we do share such information, it is certainly our responsibility to validate said information, knowing that people will sometimes try to harass or disparage others unjustly. And along with that it is important to be able to cite sources to back up any negative claims about a person. --mwalimu 15:48, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
A little further thought here - if the claim is simply that a person is annoying or has some unpopular opinions, or something along those lines, I don't see a need to reflect that here, especially if the person in question doesn't want it reflected. I think most of us are that way to some people some of the time, perhaps only rarely, and not many of us would earn the right to cast the first stone. Now if someone's behavior crosses over the line into harassment or criminal behavior, that's a different story, but as long as they're acting within their rights and not violating anyone else's, I don't see a point in allowing WikiFur to become a conduit for airing other peoples' dirty laundry. --mwalimu 17:40, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
I think my primary view on it is mostly concern about dirty laundry. On the whole, I haven't really seen a lot of stuff on the Internet in fandom circles which is negative and doesn't boil down to dirty laundry, rumor mongering, and personal conflicts between a few individuals which are irrelevant to the community. (Even if some of the people involved might feel it should be promoted as if it's everybody's business.)
In cases where a page is has potentially valid criticisms but they are used as an excuse to attack, embrass, or shame people, I also think we should be skeptical of including it unless it is truly of importance to the public. Giving such criticism a promotional link seems to me as if it kind of helps do its small part to validate ad hominem based, political-style mud slinging. --ToyDragon
In fact, now that I think of it, Encyclopedia Dramatica has that dirty laundry issue covered. :-) --Douglas Muth 18:03, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Some kind of "This link contains alot of negative POV"-template is a good idea. I'm not sure we should create a definite rule for this, tho. There are alot of variables keep in mind in each case, so it makes sense to me to decide on a case-by-case basis. I think we should differ between sites that criticize someone and sites that make fun of someone, we certainly don't need to link to the latter in any case. Of course, most sites make fun of someone while criticizing the person at the same time, so we need to look at each site individually and then decide whether we should link to it or not. If there is more than one site on a controversial subject/person, we can simply choose the most neutral ones. Whatever we do, it's probably impossible to satisfy everyone here, tho. --Conti| 15:52, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
Remember that would apply to the Sibe article as well which has a lot of public records-verified facts. --Chibiabos 19:58, 8 September 2006 (UTC)
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