Help:Living Notables

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Living Notables are profiles of public figures for whom we make an exception to our standard rule that profiles of living people must be Unlisted unless they are managed by the person themself.



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, WikiTree prohibits 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 exceptions 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, however, we enact privacy protections that go far beyond those of other websites. The profiles of these individuals 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 for Living Notable Status

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 Identify a Living Notable Profile

If a profile is for a living person and is managed by a project instead of the person themself, it is a Living Notable Profile.

How to Establish a Living Notable Profile

For a profile to be covered by this policy, it needs to be a Project-Protected Profile and managed by a project. Be aware that many living notables do not have Living Notable Profiles because of the strictness of the policy described here.

Any top-tier regional or topical WikiTree Project can manage Living Notables. 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. Note that 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.

Our Notables Project covers notables that don't fit within other existing projects. The Notables Project encourages being added as a co-manager or to the trusted lists of all Living Notables, including those managed by other projects, as it assists the Project in maintaining a master log of all Living Notables for various cross-project purposes. Having a Notables project box or a Notables Sticker on the profile of a Living Notable also allows the Notable's CC7 and connection status to be seen at the top of the Notable's profile page.

Living Family Members of Notables

Generally speaking, you should not create a profile of a living family member of a notable unless they themselves meet the eligibility requirements for notability or you have their explicit permission, as described in our Privacy Policy.

However, profiles of close relatives of notables may be created if their identity and relationship to the notable has been made public and you can reasonably assume the subject has had the opportunity to have their name removed from your public source. For example, acceptable sources would include obituaries, interviews, and other reports where the subject has a right to have their name removed. It would not include official records if the subject does not have that right.

Even in these cases, the profile must remain Unlisted and be managed by a project unless the subject creates a password.

There are no special privacy policies regarding non-living family members of notables.


Privacy setting

Living Notable Profiles should be set as Private with a Public Family Tree and Biography (Yellow Privacy). They may be set at a more-restrictive 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.

Personal content 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.

WikiTree's mission is to provide accurate genealogical information. It is not our mission to provide 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.

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. 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. 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. 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. These guidelines apply to all content about the person, including comments posted on the profile or in connected G2G posts.

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.

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.

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 immediate family members, which we identify for these purposes as a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, grandparent, sibling, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, or 1st cousin,

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 project leaders.

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 15:25, 15 September 2023. This page has been accessed 4,998 times.