Wikidata:Living persons (draft)

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As we value the dignity of living persons, the information that we store about them deserves special consideration. Instead of striving to provide all possible information living persons we strive to provide only information in which's veracity we have a high confidence and which doesn't violate a person's reasonable expectations of privacy. Statements that can reasonably be expected to be challenged should be supported by a reliable source. When exercising editorial judgment we should always consider the possibility of harm to living persons.


Addressing problems[edit]

We take violations of this policy seriously. Repeated or egregious incidents by a user may lead to blocks. Page protection can be applied to pages that receive violations of this policy. If serious, page revisions in violation of this policy may be hidden as well. Items about living people which are not notable can be deleted.

Requests for the removal of private information[edit]

If the subject of an item is unhappy with specific information in the item about themselves, they can request the removal of specific information via the Administrators' noticeboard or by emailing When the information isn't of public interest, an administrator may revision delete it. Information that's revision deleted is not visible for normal users who visit the history of a item but only visible for our administrators. In special cases where information is particularly sensitive, an oversighter may be contacted to oversight the information, so that even our administrators can't access the information from the history.

When a user sents an email to a new ticket will be created in OTRS. Everybody who wants to help with the handling of those requests is happily invited to apply as a volunteer for OTRS.


Definition of living person[edit]

This policy considers an item to be about a living person if all of the following four criteria apply:

  1. item is instance of (P31) human (Q5)
  2. date of birth (P569) is missing, date of birth (P569) is completely deprecated, date of birth (P569) contains a value less than 115 years ago, or floruit (P1317) contains a value that is less than 10 years ago
  3. floruit (P1317) contains no nondeprecated value that's more than 115 years ago or floruit (P1317) contains a value that is less than 10 years ago
  4. date of death (P570) is missing, completely deprecated or has NoValue
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Labels, aliases and descriptions[edit]

Labels, descriptions and aliases need to be neutral and well-sourced (ideally based on referenced statements on the item) and particular care should be taken in editing these for items about living persons. Derogatory names, even when used in reliable public sources, should not be added as aliases. Descriptions should focus on facts, not opinions.

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Statements likely to be challenged[edit]

Almost any piece of data about a living person might be controversial; anything that's individually challenged or might be challenged should be supported by a reliable public source or may be subject to removal. In particular properties that are instance of (P31) property likely to be challenged (Q44597997) should be supported by suitable references when applied to living persons. In the case of a dispute, the burden of evidence rests with the editor who adds or restores material.

The automatically updated list of properties likely to be challenged can be found at WikiProject Properties. In individual cases, information that's likely to be challenged might also be added to other properties and users who add information to the items of living persons should always think about the privacy implications of the data that they are adding.

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Statements that may violate privacy[edit]

Living individuals with records in Wikidata are for the most part not famous or celebrities; their privacy should be respected. Values for living individuals should generally not be supplied unless they can be considered widespread public knowledge or are openly supplied by the individual themselves (otherwise hidden supporting references are not sufficient). As an example, the fact that someone's address is accessible by looking at a domain name registration doesn't imply that it's considered widespread public knowledge for the sake of this policy.

There is also a list of properties that may violate privacy at WikiProject Properties, as above in individual cases it's also valuable to be mindful when using other properties.


Adding and removing Q44597997 and Q44601380 from properties[edit]

While it's okay to add the instance of (P31) property likely to be challenged (Q44597997) or property that may violate privacy (Q44601380) statements to additional Wikidata properties without seeking consensus beforehand, such statements must not be removed from existing properties without consensus.

If a Wikidata property had it for fewer than 7 days, the statement can be preemptively removed but the person who removes it should open a new discussion on the talk page of the property and include the {{Ping project|Properties}}-template to discuss whether the property should have the statement.

To request the removal of the class from a Wikidata property that had it longer than one week, you must open a new discussion on the talk page that includes the {{Ping project|Properties}}-template. The removal of the class must only be done by an admin or property creator and only if least 7 days have passed since the request for removing the class was started and there is a consensus for removing the class.

It's also possible to request replacing property likely to be challenged (Q44597997) with property that may violate privacy (Q44601380) or vice-versa on a property through the same process.

Given that bots will rely on the data it's recommended to semi-protect the properties that subclass property likely to be challenged (Q44597997) or property that may violate privacy (Q44601380).

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Bot interaction with items for living persons[edit]

Bots that create or add statements about living people or that edit their descriptions or aliases should be particularly carefully scrutinized. The Wikidata:Bots policy already requests sourcing for bot-entered information. For bots that will be editing items about living people, it's recommended to explicitly address the following concerns during the bot approval process:

  1. If the bot will add information to items about living people that contains statements that use properties that subclass property likely to be challenged (Q44597997) and property that may violate privacy (Q44601380) the bot approval discussion must explicitly address the issue of why it's in this case okay to add the information. Such bots should not copy data from closed databases or books of limited circulation for this purpose.
  2. If the bot is importing from a Wikimedia project, does that Wikimedia project have an adequate policy for biographies of living people? If not, further steps to verify the data before import are warranted.
  3. If the bot is pulling information from another source, is that source a reliable source for this data? Note that this is also important when adding statements with properties that don't subclass property likely to be challenged (Q44597997) or property that may violate privacy (Q44601380).

See also[edit]


The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119.