Pensapedia:Biographies of living persons

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Green check.png This page documents an official Pensapedia policy, a widely accepted standard that all users should follow. When editing this page, please ensure that your revision reflects consensus. If in doubt, consider discussing changes on the talk page.

Biographies of living persons (BLPs) must be written with particular care, with regard for the subject's privacy. Pensapedia is an encyclopedia, not a tabloid; it is not our job to be sensationalist, or to be the primary vehicle for the spread of titillating claims about people's lives. Writing about a living person requires a high degree of sensitivity, and must adhere strictly to all applicable laws and to all of our content policies, especially:

Failure to adhere to laws and policies could result in charges of libel and harm the Pensapedia project.

Be very firm about the use of high quality references. Unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material about living persons — whether the material is negative, positive, or just questionable — should be removed immediately and without waiting for discussion, from Pensapedia articles, talk pages, user pages, and project space.

Biographies of living people should be written responsibly, conservatively, and in a neutral, encyclopedic tone. The article should document, in a non-partisan manner, what reliable third party sources have published about the subject and, in some circumstances, what the subject may have published about themselves.

Criticism and praise of the subject should be represented if it is relevant to the subject's notability and can be sourced to reliable secondary sources, and so long as the material is written in a manner that does not overwhelm the article or appear to take sides. Be careful not to give a disproportionate amount of space to particular viewpoints.


Material about living persons must be sourced very carefully. External links and references cited in biographies of living persons must be of high quality.

Editors should avoid gossip and content published anonymously or by disreputable sources. Where a reliable news organization publishes the opinions of an individual but claims no responsibility for the opinions, the writer of the cited piece should be attributed.

Editors should remove any contentious material about living persons that is unsourced, relies upon sources that do not meet standards specified in Pensapedia:Verifiability, or is a conjectural interpretation of a source.


Category names do not carry disclaimers or modifiers, so the case for the category must be made clear by the article text. The article must state the facts that result in the use of the category tag and these facts must be sourced.

Caution should be used in adding categories that suggest the person has a poor reputation.

Category tags regarding religious beliefs and sexual orientation should not be used unless two criteria are met:

  • The subject publicly self-identifies with the belief or orientation in question;
  • The subject's beliefs or sexual orientation are relevant to the subject's notable activities or public life, according to reliable published sources.

Dealing with edits by the subject of the article[edit]

In some cases the subject may become involved in editing the article, either directly or through a representative. Although Pensapedia discourages people from writing about themselves, a tolerant attitude should be taken in cases where subjects of articles remove unsourced or poorly sourced material.

Anonymous edits that blank all or part of a biography of a living person should be evaluated carefully. When the subject is of ambiguous notability, such edits should not be regarded as vandalism in the first instance, and recent changes patrollers should bear in mind that they may be dealing with the subject.

Privacy of personal information[edit]

Pensapedia articles that present material about living people can affect their subjects' lives. Pensapedia editors who deal with these articles have a responsibility to consider the legal and ethical implications of their actions when doing so. An important rule of thumb when writing biographical material about living persons is "do no harm." BLPs must be written conservatively, with regard for the subject's privacy.

Exert great care in using material from primary sources like public records. Do not include, for example, detailed information such as social security numbers, home addresses or property values, personal phone numbers or email addresses, non-relevant court records, traffic citations or other public documents, unless a reliable secondary source has already cited them. A good rule of thumb is to stick to information that is relevant to the subject's notability.

Even basic information such as a date of birth may be deleted if the subject is not well known and the only source is a public record. With identity theft on the rise, people increasingly regard their dates of birth as private. When in doubt about the notability of the subject, or if the subject complains about the publication of his or her date of birth, err on the side of caution and simply list the year of birth.

Preventing BLP violations[edit]

From both a legal and and ethical standpoint it is essential that a determined effort be made to eliminate defamatory and other undesirable information from these articles as far as possible. On the other hand Pensapedia's standing and neutrality must not be compromised by allowing the editing of articles to show an excessive bias in their subject's favor, the inclusion of articles about non-notable publicity-seekers, or the removal of appropriate and well-sourced information simply because the subject objects to it.

Administrators who suspect malicious or biased editing, or who have reason to believe that violating material may be re-added, may protect or semi-protect the page after removing the disputed material. It is generally more desirable in the medium and long term to obtain compliance with this policy by editors, in order that the article may be kept open for editing wherever possible.

Biographical material about a living individual that is not compliant with this policy should be improved and rectified; if this is not possible, then it should be removed. If the entire page is substantially of poor quality, containing primarily unsourced or poorly sourced contentious material about living persons, then it may be necessary to delete the entire page as an initial step, followed by discussion. Page deletion should be treated as a last resort, with the page being improved and remedied where possible and disputed areas discussed.

Dealing with articles about yourself[edit]

If you have a concern regarding an article about yourself, please make a note of it at the administrators' noticeboard or by contacting the administrator directly. You are welcome to correct typos or other factually inaccurate information. However, please refrain from making any other significant changes to the content without first discussing it on the article's talk page.