Lookup directory wiki

This is a project proposal for a Lookup Directory Wiki.

This is a proposal for a new Wikimedia sister project.
Lookup directory wiki
Status of the proposal
ReasonFor the relevant data, there is Wikidata. For the non-relevant data, there are too many privacy issues. --Sannita (talk) 12:59, 18 September 2013 (UTC)[reply]



A "lookup directory" is defined here as:

A database of information about individuals
"Individuals" are either "people" or "bodies".
A "person" is any human individual on the planet.
A "body" is any abstract group of people like a company or organisation that is generally treated as an individual.



This wiki stores "who's who" information about all people, and "what's what" information about all bodies. Exactly what kind of information this includes is described below. However the essential flavour of the wiki is to:

  • have an article for every and any person on the planet
  • have an article for every and any body on the planet
such that every and any person can know about every and any other person or body.



This wiki is for every person or body, be they famous or not.

There are four main questions that arise from this:

  1. How is this useful or meaningful?
  2. What's to stop absolute nobodys from throwing on silly information about themselves?
  3. What's to stop attacks on people/bodies through misinformation on their articles?
  4. What's to protect an individual's privacy?

These four questions are addressed in the sections: "Usage", "Vanity", "Attacks" and "Privacy" respectively.



All information on the wiki abides by US Data Protection Laws. Just as on Wikipedia it is possible for a user to upload unlawful material, so too will it be possible for that to happen here, and, as on Wikipedia, such material is removed. Users will be alerted (via a checklist) of what kind of material it is unlawful to add to the wiki.

If a person or body expressly states that it releases the right for the wiki to display certain sensitive information, then it is permitted.

An article about a person or body could contain:

  • Contact information
  • Biographical information
  • Genealogical information (i.e. family)
  • Corporate information (in the case of bodies)
  • Plus anything else the data subject expressly releases, or wishes to be said of them

To protect the veracity of data subject's data, the wiki will have a strong emphasis on verifiability and citing sources, like Wikipedia. In the case of bodies, or famous people, this will be easy to reference. In the case of lesser bodies or non-famous individuals, even home-made websites or local telephone directories may be referenced (albeit stringently in the latter case). In the case of unverifiable information, it will be removed more ruthlessly than such information is removed on Wikipedia.

If a data subject requests it, their page may be deleted, locked (protected), or both blanked and locked (prevent recreation; "ex-directory").



The Wikimedia Foundation's goal is to give free knowledge and information to everyone on the planet, in their language. If there is information or knowledge out there that isn't free, Wikimedia is automatically at least interested in trying to rectify that. However, it is also interested in making this information easy to retrieve, and "free" in the freeflowing sense (i.e. using wikis). Hence a wiki lookup directory is within its goals, as the information will update itself (unlike any paperback directory), will be extensive, and there'll be entries for far more bodies and people than any Yellow Pages could manage.

Everyone is included in the wiki because anyone may be interested in anyone else. It isn't a "wiki for vanity", where any Joe Bloggs can give himself a page: but it does respect that Joe Bloggs is just as much an individual human being like anyone else - and this wiki is interested in individuals. And just because you haven't heard of Joe Bloggs, Jane Doe may be looking for him. Here she'll find him.

Due to the type of information that the wiki will store, this project covers many of the other proposals that have been made, e.g. a "family tree wiki", a wiki about businesses, etc. As a simple directory (with non-abbreviated pages, unlike in a normal directory), this kind of demographic information is brought together. For instance, the family tree idea can be simply implemented by a person-article listing the mother, father, and children. The tree is thus generated purely through the inline links, and could be more sophisticatedly generated through categories generated from these values.



Each article in the Main namespace is one individual, be it a body or person.

Standard information may be added manually, or through recommended templates (which will also automatically generate categorisation for the article). Articles may be categorised in a number of ways:

  • Individuals situated in certain locations (countries, states, cities, towns, districts, streets, post- or ZIP-codes)
  • By characteristics (e.g. Males, Ethnic origins, Marital status; Number of employees, Gross turnover)
  • Chronological data (e.g. born/established in, died/liquidated in, 2000s, 1990s)

The categorisation will allow for improved directory-lookup, and will also be able to provide a count of the number of people with given characteristics.



The wiki is almost guaranteed to succeed as:

  • People will be fuelled initially and immediately to add themselves to the wiki.
  • Shortly, information on famous companies and individuals will start to be added.
  • The gaps are filled throughout the wiki's life.



How will the wiki stop people from created vanity pages that say silly things like "I am TEH Le3tz0rz!"? The same way that Wikipedia stops this kind of behaviour: RC patrolling, CSD, deletion. People are always going to try to be silly on a wiki, but that's not usually a problem. If someone wants to add silly information about themselves, then they can enjoy reviewing a deletion log. However, due to the nature of this wiki I have an inkling that the urge to do this will not be as strong as on Wikipedia.



What's to stop people from disparaging other individuals on their article? Nothing, just like on Wikipedia - but, like Wikipedia, this kind of behaviour is reverted. Most attacks are obvious in nature (e.g. "This person is TEH h4x0rZ!!") and represent blimps in a page history. Subtle vandalism will be a lot harder than on Wikipedia, however, as the wiki will have a much more stringent emphasis on citing sources and verifiability, meaning that an edit which changes information must cite a new source - in any case, article watchers can simply follow the source for the information to immediately corroborate or falsify it.



An individual's privacy is protected on the directory by:

  • All of the wiki abides by Data Protection laws.
  • The stringent verifiability/source-citing policies: only if a public source can be cited for information can it be added (if it's sensitive information like contact details). The reason that this protect's privacy is that all information on the directory is merely a collection of sources that were otherwise public anyway (hence not private).
  • An individual may ask to be ex-directory, have information removed, or have his/her page locked.
  • In the case of an individual simply not knowing that they are listed in the directory, as long as the information is public, what's the difference? As soon as they discover they can have themselves removed if they wish.

What's to stop all this policy stringency from just being ignored? As usual, nothing - just like Wikipedia, the community upholds its policies. If people/admins see unsourced information, they can remove it.



Discuss the name for this wiki at /Name. Suggestions with some consensus include:

  • Wikidirectory
  • Wikiwho



Please add discussion to the Talk page, and see the proposal's place on the Project Proposals Page.