We have had a few questions and or answers which include information concerning living individuals.Since many of the subjects of our questions are passed, privacy information shouldn't be an issue. Also we must consider that most individuals of historical significance are probably covered by the same rules that allow paperazzi to operate.

The recent question here concerning notability, an answer to the question which prompted that meta discussion, and some previous questions concerning if 'recent' history is on topic, leads to the possibility of our publishing information which might be construed as of a 'private' nature.

I also participate on the Genealogy stack, where there is a strict policy concerning not showing any information concerning living individuals. A recent concern over this was addressed in a Meta topic there.

To me the issue is unclear for our purposes, especially considering that any information we 'dig up' will generally be accompanied by sources, so it is 'public' information, previously published elsewhere. I just raise the issue here due to how strongly it is addressed in the genealogical community. Do we need to address privacy concerns here?

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    Another thing to keep in mind that in the EU at least people have the right to be forgotten, which can lead to takedown requests. However, all such requests are SE's problem, not that of the users. Users (and user-moderators) aren't equipped to handle legal problems.
    – Mast
    Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 17:31

1 Answer 1


First off, you do have to realize that different sites are, well, different. For example, the Politics site is almost entirely about people who are still alive, and frankly could not exist with that same rule Genealogy uses. We do have some things in common with Genealogy, but we also have some things in common with Politics. Of course we aren't either.

This site largely concerns itself with things that happened out of most (if not all) of humanity's living memory, almost always involving public figures. So personal privacy issues isn't something that should really be coming up a lot on History.

There is general StackExchange network policy on not displaying excessive PII. If you think that has happened, edit it out and flag it. Diamond moderators have the ability to "redact" content from the revision history of posts, for just this reason.

In the example question given, there's no real PII involved, and the only person involved who isn't a public figure is deceased.

However, this is probably the single site on the SE network where this problem is least likely to arise. So I don't believe there's a real need for any special site-specific policy. But certainly if you see something that in your judgement looks like a privacy issue, bring it up.

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    That sounds an awful lot like a policy. ;-) Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 0:31

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