This is an essay on the policy on biographies of living persons.
It contains the advice or opinions of one or more Wikipedia contributors. This page is not an encyclopedia article, nor is it one of Wikipedia's policies or guidelines, as it has not been thoroughly vetted by the community. Some essays represent widespread norms; others only represent minority viewpoints.
|This page in a nutshell: In light of BLP, editing about minors and persons legally judged incompetent should be especially protective of their rights.|
If a person is below the age of majority in their nation or locality or has been adjudged to be incompetent, editing about that person should be done with even greater care than in an ordinary biography of a living person, because in many jurisdictions, privacy and publicity rights require even greater protection than they do for competent adults. These people typically have less ability to protect their own rights, so we need to be more careful.
To whom it applies
This is not about editors who are considered by other editors or by the Wikimedia Foundation to be incompetent to edit. This is about persons who might be legally incompetent or minors who are written about (or might be written about) by us in the encyclopedia.
This is not about persons whom someone believes to be incompetent by any standard, no matter how authoritatively, except that it is about persons who have been adjudged by lawful authority (for example, a court authorized to make such decisions) to be incompetent generally to manage their major personal decisions without supervision.
Editing on a person who must be identified
Edit what is said about the person so that it is even less contentious than would be acceptable for a competent adult or not contentious at all. Do so not just by adding sources but by toning down the content in a way that remains consistent with sourcing.
Editing on any other person
This applies to someone who is incidental to an article, but significant enough to mention even without identifying them, such as the minor children of celebrities.
Do not name or otherwise identify the person, even if good sources do publish the name, when a more general description will suffice. Be careful of partial identifications, as a reader might assemble only a few facts and thereby use your information to identify the person who should not be identified, or might even misidentify someone else.
Laws governing a person's rights and duties
A person who is a national or citizen of one nation but located or residing in another may be subject to either nation's set of laws. A person who holds nationality or citizenship of more than one nation may be subject to either nation's set of laws. Likewise, a person who is domiciled in one nation but located or residing in another may be subject to either nation's set of laws. Within a single nation, similar differences can govern a person who has a permanent residence at one address but is temporarily at another.
Where the laws applicable to a person might be those of two or more jurisdictions, apply the law that gives the person the most protection. For example, if the person is a minor until age 18 under one set of laws but 21 under the other and the person is age 20, assume they're still a minor for purposes of Wikipedia.
Whether someone is incompetent is generally decided by a state court authorized by state law to make such determinations, typically a probate or family court. A person is presumed competent unless a court has formally deemed them incompetent.
- Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons § Presumption in favor of privacy (guideline)
- Commons essay on personality rights (right of publicity)
- Wikipedia:Competence is required (essay on editing)
- Wikipedia:Children's, adult new reader, and large print sources questionable on reliability (essay)