Wikimedia Ethics/Case Studies/Biographies of Living People

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This page was created with contents from Case Studies1 (which was originally named "/Case Studies"). This page should be expand to be more specific about what problems or issues exist with Biographies of Living People, as well as suggestions for addressing them.

Biographies of Living People[edit]

A neutral Wikipedia editor asked Moulton to provide information, and sources to support the claim in the Rosalind Picard Wikipedia article that she supported Intelligent Design. Moulton believes that the Rosalind Picard article misrepresents what Rosalind Picard believes. Moulton claims to have personal knowledge of the individual, and states that the article misrepresents what the individual believes. Wikipedia's policy on original research prevents changes from being made without reliable sources. Some people believe if Rosalind Picard were to directly complain to Wikipedia, changes would likely be made, but believe she has not yet made a direct complaint. Moulton believes that Rosalind Picard has directly complained about her article.

Here is the evidence and information Moulton provided:

Identifiable People Who Have Published Claims That R. Picard Supports Intelligent Design

After reviewing the above, Moulton's correspondent replied:

I'm sorry, but I couldn't find one reliable source. All I see is original research that extrapolates her signature to mean something besides her signature.

I need statements in news articles that directly mention her signing, not lists her among many. They also need to discuss what it would mean.

Moulton responded:

There are no published reliable sources upon which to accurately establish what her signature in 2001 on an untitled 2-sentence 32-word statement means. However, I have an E-Mail from her that does explain what her signature means. While that E-Mail is ineligible as a WP:RS on WP, it (privately) establishes that all the haphazard speculation and WP:Synth is utter bollocks.

There is exactly one recent news story (cited in the BLP) wherein Picard comments on ID in response to a reporter's question on the subject (but not on the meaning of her signature in 2001).

In particular, take note of this compilation of all of Picard's edit summaries on her own biography:

IP Edit Summaries

  • 23:20, February 4, 2007 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ (focus on the entry)
  • 23:19, February 4, 2007 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ (the deleted material has nothing to do with the person in the entry)
  • 22:35, June 29, 2006 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ ("anti-evol" is POV of the writer. the organizers of the petition support many aspects of evolution such as microevolution so to label it anti-evolution is an attempt to sell more newspapers)
  • 23:29, April 27, 2006 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ (Read the petition. Calling it anti-evolution is not accurate, even if the NYT tried to label it that way.)
  • 23:24, April 27, 2006 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ (→Intelligent Design Support: The petition does NOT say anything about intelligent design. Read the petition.)
  • 00:21, March 31, 2006 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ (→Showing Skepticism and Asking for Critical Examination of Evidence)
  • 15:28, March 13, 2006 (hist) (diff) Rosalind Picard ‎ (→Showing Skepticism and Asking for More Critical Examination of the Evidence)

The above edit summaries make it abundantly clear that Picard's on-wiki complaint (spanning 11 months from March 2006 to February 2007) coincides in substance and detail with Moulton's complaint (spanning 13 months from August 2007 to September 2008), that the Picard BLP erroneously connects her (and the notorious petition) to Intelligent Design, and fails to explain the 2001 pre-publication petition, as circulated in private email among academics, to be a sincere and sober call for rigorous adherence to the protocols of the Scientific Method when examining the evidence for any theory.