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Fame without proof on Wikipedia

By Gregory Kohs

Wikipedia contains a little-known project page called “Unreferenced BLPs”. These are a collection of biographies of living persons (BLPs) that lack any links to independent, third-party sources that verify what’s said in the Wikipedia article about the subject person. That is, these are Wikipedia biographies that might blather on about someone, and you have no idea if what’s being said is even close to true.

However, in a charitable moment, let’s review how Wikipedia came to house these (currently) 372 biographies without references. The problem used to be much worse! Back in January 2010 there were over 50,000 entirely unreferenced biographies of living people. The editing community set a goal to get this number down to a more manageable 20,000 by September of 2010, but that met with failure. Fully a month after that milestone objective, over 24,000 biographies of living people still lurked on Wikipedia with not so much as a

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