Help:Living Notables

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Living Notables are a subset of Project-Protected Profiles. They are profiles of public figures for which we make an exception to our rule that profiles of living people must be Unlisted unless they are managed by the person themselves.



Respect for privacy is a fundamental value of the WikiTree community. Point five of our Honor Code reads:

We respect privacy. We privacy-protect anything we think our family members might not want public. If that's not enough for someone, we delete their personal information.

As a general rule, we do not allow any information about a living person to be made public on WikiTree without first recording the person's explicit consent to our Privacy Policy. However, we make an exception for highly-visible public figures if we can safely assume that they have consented to the public distribution of at least some of their personal information.

Even for these public figures, we have privacy protections that go far beyond other websites. Their profiles are tightly managed by WikiTree Projects in accordance with the policies described below. If there is any reason to suspect that the notable person or their nuclear family members would not want certain information made public we do not include it.

Eligibility Requirements

Living Notable Profiles should only be made for very well-known public figures for whom personal information has been widely reported elsewhere.

Basic eligibility requirements:

  1. the notable person is at least 18-years-old, and
  2. there is a Wikipedia article about them, thereby showing that they meet Wikipedia's guidelines for notability, and
  3. the Wikipedia article appears in at least three languages, and
  4. the Wikipedia article, in more than one language, includes information about at least one nuclear family member (parent, sibling, spouse, or child), and
  5. we are not aware that the notable person would prefer to keep the information we are putting on WikiTree private.

Beyond this basic eligibility there must be a WikiTree Project that is willing and able to manage it according to the rules described on this page and other WikiTree rules and policies.

How to Create a Living Notable Profile

Any member can start a profile, but to have it covered by this policy it needs to be set as a Project-Protected Profile and managed by a project.

Any topical or regional WikiTree Project can manage Living Notables. Our Notables Project covers notables that don't fit within other existing projects.

If you believe that the person meets our eligibility requirements, contact the leaders of the appropriate project about having their profile project-protected. Post in G2G if you're not sure which project to contact.

Be aware that many notable people do not have Living Notable Profiles because of the strictness of the policy described here. Projects will not project-protect a profile unless they have project members who are willing and able to properly manage it. Consider becoming active in the project so that you can help.

Privacy Settings

Living Notable Profiles should be set as Private with a Public Family Tree and Biography. They may be set at a more-restrictive Private privacy level if it is requested by the person themselves or a member of their nuclear family. As living people, they cannot be set as Public or Open.

Privacy of family members

Living Notable status has no effect on the privacy levels of the notable's family members. Profiles of living family members should not be created or should be Unlisted unless they themselves meet the eligibility requirements for notability or are members. Profiles of non-living family members can be Public or Open and managed by the project or not.

Personal data in biographies

Certain personal data fields are always private on profiles of living people. This includes the formal first name, full middle name, exact birth date, and place of birth. This information may be revealed in the biography of a Living Notable Profile or elsewhere if it meets the content requirements described below.

Trusted List access

As Project-Protected Profiles, Living Notables are managed by Project Accounts.

Project Accounts manage Living Notable Profiles on behalf of the notable person. The person's profile may contain information or family connections that are not public. Therefore, Trusted List access is generally limited to close family members, which we define for these purposes as second cousins and closer.

If a person's family relationship to a notable is not well-established through public sources we cannot allow Trusted List access.

In addition to the Project Account, projects may add individual project members to the Trusted List or as co-managers. These project members act on behalf of the project. This practice is at the discretion of the projects.

Content on a Living Notable Profile

Content on the Living Notable Profile should not include anything that we might reasonably expect the person themselves or their close family members to not want to appear on WikiTree. Project members should think of themselves as acting on behalf of the notable person until the day that the person becomes a WikiTree member and takes over management of their own profile.

WikiTree's mission is to provide accurate genealogical information. It is not our mission to provide accurate information about living people and current events. Although we use Wikipedia to determine notability, what is appropriate for a person's WikiTree profile is different from what is appropriate on Wikipedia. Controversial information is almost never appropriate. If there is any question about whether or not a person would want certain information about themselves here on WikiTree it should be removed.

See Help:Recently_Deceased_Strangers for a parallel policy on what is considered appropriate for profiles of people who aren't family members, and see Discussion Rule #1 for a parallel policy on controversial content.

We have no further rules regarding what type of content is appropriate for a notable's profile or the sources from which it is obtained. Even DNA information may be appropriate if it was released by the person themselves and is widely available elsewhere.

These guidelines apply to all content about the person, including comments posted on the profile or in connected G2G posts. Although we make an exception to Discussion Rule #3 ("Don't Discuss Anyone's Personal Information") for Living Notables, any content that we can reasonably expect the person themselves would not want to see on WikiTree should be removed.

How to Identify a Living Notable Profile

Living Notable Profiles do not have the Project-Protected badge or any other unique identifier. If a profile is for a living person and is managed by a project instead of the person themselves, it is a Living Notable Profile.

How to Remove a Living Notable

Notable people, like anyone else, can request to manage their own profile, have the privacy level changed, have content removed, or have the entire profile deleted.

Take-down requests can be made by designated representatives, but they cannot usually be made by third parties. However, since we are only assuming the consent of Living Notables, we will generally take the word of their documented relatives if they report that the notable prefers to keep information private. As explained in the content section above, we do not want any information on WikiTree that we suspect the notable or their close family members would prefer to keep private.

When information is removed or Living Notable status is removed, a sticker or notice should be placed on the profile so it won't be changed in the future.

Living Notable status may also be removed if the project that covers it is no longer able to properly the manage the profile.

This page was last modified 13:45, 30 March 2022. This page has been accessed 2,444 times.