When writing about a person noteworthy only for one or two events, including every detail can lead to problems—even when the material is well sourced. When in doubt, biographies should be pared back to a version that is completely sourced, neutral, and on-topic. This is of particular importance when dealing with living individuals whose notability stems largely or entirely from being victims of another's actions. Wikipedia editors must not act, intentionally or otherwise, in a way that amounts to participating in or prolonging the victimization.
In the case of public figures
, there will be a multitude of reliable published sources, and BLPs should simply document what these sources say. If an allegation or incident is noteworthy, relevant, and well documented, it belongs in the article—even if it is negative and the subject dislikes all mention of it. If you cannot find multiple
reliable third-party sources documenting the allegation or incident, leave it out.
- Example: "John Doe had a messy divorce from Jane Doe." Is the divorce important to the article, and was it published by third-party reliable sources? If not, leave it out. If so, avoid use of "messy" and stick to the facts: "John Doe and Jane Doe divorced."
- Example: A politician is alleged to have had an affair. It is denied, but multiple major newspapers publish the allegations, and there is a public scandal. The allegation belongs in the biography, citing those sources. However, it should state only that the politician was alleged to have had the affair, not that the affair actually occurred.
If the subject has denied such allegations, their denial(s) should also be reported, while adhering to appropriate due weight
of all sources covering the subject and avoiding false balance
Privacy of personal information and using primary sources
With identity theft
a serious ongoing concern, many people regard their full names and dates of birth as private. Wikipedia includes full names and dates of birth that have been widely published by reliable sources, or by sources linked to the subject such that it may reasonably be inferred that the subject does not object to the details being made public. If a subject complains about our inclusion of their date of birth, or the person is borderline notable
, err on the side of caution and simply list the year, provided that there is a reliable source for it. In a similar vein, articles should not include postal addresses, e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or other contact information for living persons, although links to websites maintained by the subject
are generally permitted. See § Avoid misuse of primary sources
regarding the misuse of primary sources to obtain personal information about subjects.
Consensus has indicated that the standard for inclusion of personal information of living persons is higher than mere existence of a reliable source that could be verified.
If there is a situation in which multiple different independent reliable sources
state differing years or dates of birth in conflict, consensus has been found to include all birth dates/years for which a reliable source exists, clearly noting discrepancies. In this situation, editors may not include only one date/year for which they consider "most likely". In this situation, editors may not include merely a single date from one of two or more reliable sources. Original research cannot be used to extrapolate the date of birth.
If you see personal information such as phone numbers, addresses, account numbers, etc. in a BLP or anywhere on Wikipedia, edit the page to remove it and contact the oversight team
so that they can evaluate it and possibly remove it from the page history. To reduce the chances of triggering the Streisand effect
, use a bland/generic edit summary and do not
mention that you will be requesting Oversight.
People who are relatively unknown
"WP:NPF" redirects here. For information regarding newly created pages on Wikipedia ("New Pages Feed"), see Wikipedia:Page Curation
Many Wikipedia articles contain material on people who are not well known, even if they are notable
enough for their own article. In such cases, exercise restraint and include only
material relevant to the person's notability, focusing on high-quality secondary sources
. Material published by the subject may be used, but with caution; see § Using the subject as a self-published source
. Material that may adversely affect a person's reputation should be treated with special care; in many jurisdictions, repeating a defamatory claim is actionable, and there are additional protections for subjects who are not public figures.
Subjects notable only for one event
- If reliable sources cover the person only in the context of a single event.
- If that person otherwise remains, and is likely to remain, a low-profile individual. Biographies in these cases can give undue weight to the event and conflict with neutral point of view. In such cases, it is usually better to merge the information and redirect the person's name to the event article.
- If the event is not significant or the individual's role was either not substantial or not well documented. John Hinckley Jr., for example, has a separate article because the single event he was associated with, the Reagan assassination attempt, was significant and his role was both substantial and well documented.
The significance of an event or the individual's role is indicated by how persistent the coverage is in reliable sources. It is important for editors to understand two clear differentiations of the people notable for only one event
) when compared with this policy (WP:BLP1E
should be applied only to biographies of living
people, or those who have recently died, and to biographies of low-profile individuals
In addition, some subject-specific notability guidelines, such as Wikipedia:Notability (sports)
, provide criteria that may support the notability of certain individuals who are known chiefly for one event.
A living person accused of a crime is presumed innocent
until convicted by a court of law. Accusations, investigations and arrests do not amount to a conviction. For individuals who are not public figures
; that is, individuals not covered by § Public figures
, editors must seriously consider not
including material—in any article—that suggests the person has committed, or is accused of having committed, a crime, unless a conviction has been secured.
If different judicial proceedings result in seemingly contradictory outcomes that do not overrule each other,[d]
include sufficient explanatory information.
Privacy of names
Caution should be applied when identifying individuals who are discussed primarily in terms of a single event. When the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed, such as in certain court cases or occupations, it is often preferable to omit it, especially when doing so does not result in a significant loss of context. When deciding whether to include a name, its publication in secondary sources other than news media, such as scholarly journals or the work of recognized experts, should be afforded greater weight than the brief appearance of names in news stories. Consider whether the inclusion of names of living private individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value.
The presumption in favor of privacy is strong in the case of family members of articles' subjects and other loosely involved, otherwise low-profile persons. The names of any immediate, former, or significant family members or any significant relationship of the subject of a BLP may be part of an article, if reliably sourced, subject to editorial discretion that such information is relevant to a reader's complete understanding of the subject. However, names of family members who are not also notable public figures must be removed from an article if they are not properly sourced.