The Wikimedia Foundation and its Board of Trustees recognize that individual projects must have proper ethical responsibility and proper advice regarding hosted content on dealing with issues surrounding living people (which should be broadly construed to include article talk pages and discussions on other, on-wiki forums).
The Wikimedia Foundation and its Board of Trustees also believe that our moral responsibility is to deal with living people in an ethical manner, albeit that coverage will reflect the consensus of reliable independent sources and may therefore be unflattering overall. This includes recommendations on how maintaining a healthy environment as well as how to utilize technical features available through the MediaWiki software and approved extensions as provided. These recommendations also apply to dealing with the subjects of content as well as working with others in the collaborative environment of the Wiki format.
Individual projects hosted on Wikimedia servers are welcome to develop their own policy and guidelines; what follows is the Board recommendation. We strongly encourage the projects to build out their guidelines in concert with these.
The Board mandates that:
- All projects maintain stringent policies in respect of articles on and pertaining to living persons.
- All projects treat the subjects of content with fairness and courtesy, taking particular care when subjects attempt to repair errors in the article themselves.
- Assistance must be rendered to article subjects who may be unfamiliar with policy, guidelines and practice.
- Channels of communication, including email addresses, should be maintained wherever practicable, especially if the individuals have had difficulty acclimatizing in Wikimedia culture.
- Meta discussion should be conducted in a manner as if the subject were present or reading.
- All projects ensure that readers and especially subjects of content are readily able to point out flaws in relation to how they are represented in content and context. Examples might include biography noticeboards, talk page templates, identifying and encouraging volunteers and groups within each project to focus on biographical content issues, as well as identifying and working with issues that may be e-mailed to the Wikimedia Foundation.
- All projects carefully examine the use of the software capabilities of MediaWiki and approved extensions, and how they may be appropriately implemented in areas that deal with living people. A list of useful extensions can be found at m:Living People MediaWiki extensions.
- All hosted content is examined and continually monitored by projects in a timely and effective manner to ensure the quality, relevance, and treatment of the content.
- All projects ensure that neutrality in text and format, including the issue of undue weight, is appropriately enforced.
- All projects take care that images and quotations related to living people are properly sourced. They should also make sure that such use are properly developed into local policy when possible.
- All projects examine their deletion policies in an effective manner to deal with living people. This includes the care of the subject's concerns should their notability be deemed minor. Projects must have due diligence with valid issues pertaining to living people, and content is suggested to be removed if the result of a debate determines that, by local policy, there is no consensus to keep the hosted content. Content is encouraged to be created in a new form by users or undeleted by administrators if proper sourcing and notability is found within local policy. If no such policy exists, projects are encouraged to create them.
The Board of Trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation issue these recommendations to aid in project growth and health, both internally and externally. Issues relating to living people are not encompassed by different language Wikipedias, but by all personal interaction by volunteers in dealing with hosted content on all Wikimedia projects.