Category talk:Criminals

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Cat renaming[edit]

Please see the discussion on the Category: Murderers page about the POV nature of these categories when the convictions are widely disputed.--Jack Upland 07:46, 21 February 2006 (UTC)


  • Originally posted to User talk:Psychonaut: I actually disagree very strongly and challenge you to come up with some statistics - ie WP:Cite (ensuring not related to a particular country) to prove your case - I do not believe that most disbarments are to do with criminal convictions. Hence I will revert again. Being disbarred is done by professional associations not criminal courts.--A Y Arktos 07:31, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
I should clarify that I do not claim that most disbarments in general are for criminal misconduct, but rather that most notable disbarments (i.e., those worthy of being mentioned on Wikipedia) are for criminal misconduct. Of the 18 disbarments listed at List of disbarred attorneys (the article itself drawn solely from mentions of disbarment on Wikipedia), 10 are for criminal convictions or pending criminal proceedings.
Having established that a significant number of notable disbarments are the result of criminal misconduct, I therefore posit that information on disbarments may be useful to mention in certain Wikipedia categories, lists, and articles involving crime, and in particular on Category:Criminals. Some other factors to consider:
  1. Disbarable offences, disbarment proceedings, and disbarment are the extrajudicial equivalents of crime, trials, and punishment for lawyers. There is clearly a relationship between the two, even though the former is not a kind of the later.
  2. There is as yet no article dealing with lawyers who are criminals; Category:Disbarred attorneys and the List of disbarred attorneys are the closest resources available.
  3. Many readers may be unaware that disbarment is not a criminal matter, but may wrongly assume or guess that it is because it involves lawyers.
  4. Given the three points above, it is reasonable to assume that many Wikipedia readers may look for information on disbarment topics in crime-related articles and categories, such as Category:Criminals.
  5. Many category pages have "See also" sections for links to articles or other categories which are not proper members of that category, but are still in some meaningful way related to it. Such links provide a valuable service to readers.
This discussion has been moved from User talk:Psychonaut to Category talk:Criminals in case other editors wish to opine. —Psychonaut 08:02, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
10 out of 18 disbarments, a small sample, does not justify its inclusion in this category - any article which mentions disbarment for criminal reasons can link but others should not - it taints people who are not ciminals as criminals in a way that is not appropriate. The see also link is not appropriate in my view. A raised earlier, the first two people in the category disbarred attorneys werre not disbarred for criminal reasons, 10 out of 18 is only just over half - there are another nearly half who are not criminals. as per above disbarment is not a criminal matter - it is not appropriate to link it as though it is. Disbarment is a matter for professional associations and can be done for a number of reasons, including tax evasion, eg Spiro Agnew and a very large number of Australian barristers or even failure to pay professional association fees.--A Y Arktos 08:30, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
18 disbarments is the entire population, not a sample—we're discussing the categorization of information on Wikipedia, not every disbarment ever to have taken place. Furthermore, it doesn't matter that "only half" of disbarments are for criminal misconduct; even a large minority is sufficient to establish a relationship.
As the rest of your message simply restates your earlier claims and fails to address my reasoning, I'm going to reinstate the links for now. (And what's your obsession with Australia? You've mention it three times now. Whether or not a given disbarred lawyer is Australian has absolutely no bearing on this discussion.) —Psychonaut 08:56, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
Why Australian? - I am Australian and I am prepared to use my own experience to test assertions - disbarring of lawyers has been over the years a prominent subject in the Australians news and I am aware of quite a few cases, none of which are criminally linked. There is a significant issue of systemic bias shown by your inappropriate linking of not significantly related categories. I don't see any evidence of an encyclopaedic viewpoint in your edit. When asked to cite sources, your response with a sample of 18 as per above does not meet any reasonable interpretation of Wikipedia:Reliable sources, certainly not when it is only 10 out of those 18 who have criminal links. Your reasoning is based on the small number of articles that have been thus categorised to date, not a reliable measure of notable disbarments, or of course disbarments overall - it is not the entire population of disbarments by any stretch of the imagination, nor the population of all articles that will in future be thus categorised on wikipedia! I shall revert again and consider mediation if you persist with your inappropriate links. As per the policy at Wikipedia:Citing sources: "What this means is that any material that is challenged and has no source may be removed by any editor" - you have not provided a reliable source - therefore effectively you have in my view provided no source.--A Y Arktos 10:00, 26 March 2006 (UTC)
With all due respect, have you even bothered to read anything I've written here? Can you even follow a line of reasoning? You are doing nothing more than restating the same claims over and over again instead of responding to my arguments. For example, you keep saying that disbarments are not necessarily criminally linked, as if that point were in dispute; it's not! Let's enumerate every major claim I am making, along with their respective reasoning and/or evidence, so that you can address them individually. (Addressed in italics by AYA)
Claim 1. Lawyers can be disbarred for noncriminal behaviour.
Evidence: See "disbarment" for a summary of primary sources.
  • I am not really interest in addressing individually but will do so - agreed - hence my argument.
Claim 2. Some lawyers have been disbarred for noncriminal behaviour.
Evidence: See "List of disbarred attorneys" for some examples.
  • A significant proportion
Claim 3. Lawyers can be disbarred for criminal behaviour.
Evidence: See "disbarment" for a summary of primary sources.
  • But not all by any means, you were asked to cite sources and came up with 10 out of 18 - just over half of notable disbarments for this reason
Claim 4. Some lawyers have been disbarred for criminal behaviour.
Evidence: See "List of disbarred attorneys" for some examples.
  • only about half
Conclusion 1. The set of disbarred lawyers is not necessarily a proper subset of the set of criminals.
Reasoning: Logical consequence of Claims 1–4.
Recommendation: Category:Disbarred attorneys should not be a subcategory of Category:Criminals.
Recommendation: "List of disbarred attorneys" should not be a member of Category:Criminals.
  • nor even associated with the category
Claim 5. If a lawyer is notable enough to have an article on Wikipedia, then her disbarment for criminal behaviour is probably also notable.
Evidence: Wikipedia editors routinely mention criminal disbarment in lawyer biographies; see "List of disbarred attorneys" for links to such biographies.
Evidence: To my knowledge no editor has removed a mention of criminal disbarment on the grounds that it was not notable.
Claim 6. Though a lawyer may be notable enough to have an article on Wikipedia, her disbarment for purely administrative reasons, such as failure to pay law society dues on time, is probably not in and of itself notable.
  • What about Spiro Agnew the first member of the cat disbarred lawyers? - do you actually read anything I write?
Evidence: Of the lawyer biographies returned by a Wikipedia search for the term "disbarred", none of them mention a disbarment for purely administrative reasons.
  • I can't feel you are trying - use the cat
Conclusion 2. A significant number of disbarments meeting Wikipedia's notability requirements are for criminal behaviour.
Reasoning: This is a logical consequence of Claims 3–6.
  • only half
Claim 7. Criminal prosecution and disbarment are both procedures whereby an allegation of misconduct is investigated, its merits judged by an authority, and a corrective or disciplinary action taken.
  • I see a significant difference between courts and professional associations who self-regulate and in my country are held not in high respect for their endeavours in this area
Evidence: See "disbarment" and "legal system" for a summary of primary sources.
Claim 8. Criminal prosecution and disbarment both involve lawyers, courts, and the legal system.
Evidence: See "disbarment" and "legal system" for a summary of primary sources.
  • so what! Lawyers are involved in contracts, taxation and mny other things besides criminal matters
Conclusion 3. People unfamiliar with disbarment may assume or guess that it is a criminal matter.
Reasoning: From the associations given in Conclusion 2 and in Claims 7 and 8.
  • why should we cater for ignorant people by putting false information about - would you classify a planet, eg Mars, as a star because somebody might think it was a star? category:Planets does not work this way.
Claim 9. Wikipedia categories help direct users to related information which they could not otherwise find.
Evidence: According to Wikipedia:Categorization, "Categories… help users find information, even if they don't know that it exists or what it's called."
  • cannot be a false categorisation, eg a planet as a star
Conclusion 4. Some Wikipedia readers will go to Category:Criminals to look for disbarred lawyers.
Reasoning: Logical consequence of Conclusion 3 and Claim 9.
Recommendation: As a service to our readers, "List of disbarred attorneys" and "Category:Disbarred attorneys" should be mentioned on Category:Criminals. (Though not as a member/subcategory, as indicated by Conclusion 1.)
  • why don't you create and correctly categorise a relevant sub cat as per below?
Psychonaut 00:46, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
  • I have indeed read what you have written, I have also read a number of the biographies in the category you are attempting to link. To link Spiro Agnew (the first entry in the category you are linking) based on the wikipedia entry to the criminal category for example seems inappropriate. The second entry is also a notable disbarment and was not for criminal reasons. Users should not be looking for lawyers amongst criminals unless they are specifically categorised as such for appropriate convictions, not a judgment by their professional association.--A Y Arktos 00:51, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
OK, now that you've read, please try also to comprehend. I'm not sure how I can possibly put things any more clearly and logically than in my last posting, so here's a concise summary: The difference between listing Category:Disbarred attorneys as a subcategory of Category:Criminals and listing it as a see also link is that the former implies that all members of the category are criminals, while the latter does not. Therefore whether or not Spiro Agnew is a criminal is irrelevant. As for your claim about where users "should" be looking for information, this is completely contrary to the spirit Wikipedia style and of good information systems design in general. Editors of information systems should make it easy for users to find information where they do look for it, not where someone decides they should look for it. This is the whole point of disambiguation pages, disambiguation links, see also lists, and article redirects! —Psychonaut 01:18, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
See above for comments dot by dot - I cannot comprehend fallacious reasoning. You could of course create a subcategory of Category:Disbarred attorneys called something like Category:Disbarred attorneys for criminal reasons and I would have no objection. That sub cat could then be a sub cat of Category:Criminals. My objection is the tainting by association of the significant proportion of attorneys who are not disbarred for criminal reasons and it is not only the criminals who are notable. I have commented throughout your evidence - still does not meet my interpretation of reliable sources and the reasoning is no substitute.--A Y Arktos 01:26, 27 March 2006 (UTC)
You commented on each claim, but none of the comments disputes its factual accuracy. You commented on each conclusion, but none of the comments disputes the specific claims or reasoning used to arrive at that conclusion. In all cases the comments were limited to noncontradictory qualifications or statements of opinion. (For example, your statement that "only about half" of lawyers from "List of disbarred attorneys" are criminals does not contradict my claim that "Some lawyers have been disbarred for criminal behaviour"; rather, it affirms it!) Therefore, since you made no effort to actually refute my argument, I am reinstating my edits.
Please don't take this the wrong way—I'm not trying to be insulting—but it really seems that you have a problem with comprehending simple arguments, logic, and even mere statements of fact. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that you can challenge an assertion without contradicting it, or that isolated anecdotes trump statistics. I am willing to admit that my position on this editing dispute may be wrong, but I no longer have any faith that you have the ability to argue that claim. If you still feel strongly about this dispute, then I suggest you take it to WP:RFC so that my argument can be judged on its merits. —Psychonaut 02:52, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

RfC 28 March 2006[edit]

outline of issue[edit]

When asked to cite a reliable source for his assertion that disbarred attorneys should be linked to criminals, User:Psychonaut has used the sample of the List of disbarred attorneys. There are 30 pages in the category and 18 on the List of disbarred attorneys. On the list, of 18 which summarises the reasons for disbarment, User:Psychonaut suggests 10 are for criminal matters. I disagree. Of the list of 18, there are three duplicate names (separate disbarments). Of the 15 individuals only three of those are categorised on Wikipedia as criminals or a subcategory of criminals, for those that should be so categorised, it is a mattter for editors to fix, but one can assume that to date no editor has assumed their criminality was notable enough to categorise accordingly. There are others on the list who quite clearly would not and should not be categorised as criminals.
My objection is the linking to criminal matters where such a link does not necessarily exist. Bill Clinton is on the list. He has not been classified as a criminal, nor has Richard Nixon nor Spiro Agnew, who has been categorised as a disbarred attorney. James Alexander (lawyer) was disbarred when defending somebody else on sedition charges, hardly perceived to be a criminal act in this day and age. Similarly I would question if William Smith (chief justice) should be regarded as a criminal and is certainly not categorised as such. There are a number of prominent politicians who have been disbarred, such as David Durenberger, who have not been charged with criminal matters but rather "denounced for unethical conduct". There are others who have been charged with criminal offences such as John Dean and Bill Janklow. Those latter people are already categorised as criminals. That a subset of this group are criminals, and have been categorised as criminals, does not mean the category should be linked and all those within it tainted.
Because Ron Karenga is categorised as a criminal and as an activist does that mean we should suggest to see also the category of activists? Similary with Leona Helmsley does that mean other people who are similarly categorised as business-people should link to as a see also from criminals, or with Robert Downey Jr., one should link a category for actors under see also of category criminals? I don't think so.
User Psychonaut claims that some readers "unfamiliar with disbarment may assume or guess that it is a criminal matter". Disbarment is not a criminal matter, it is not even a matter for government (crime is), it is a matter for professional associations. "Disbarment is imposed [by an organisation to which one belongs voluntarily, eg the American Bar Association] as a sanction for conduct indicating that an attorney is not fit to practice law, such as being convicted of a felony, willfully disregarding the interests of a client, or engaging in fraud which impedes the administration of justice." Spurious categorisation is analogous to classifying planets as stars because some readers might be confused about astronomical objects - therefore we had better put Venus as a star because some refer to it as the "Evening Star"! (we haven't categorised it that way - I checked)
There is also a current issue about systemic bias: almost all of lawyers currently categorised as disbarred are north American. Disbarment of course crosses all continents and jurisdictions, it remains as far as I am aware a matter for professional associations and can be for a number of reasons. The contents of the category are linkely to expand and with an increase in non-north-American entries, linking to criminals is not necessarily appropriate.
I feel very strongly that the categories should not be linked, not even by a See also reference. User Psychonaut has failed to provide reliable sources that most disbarments, or even notable disbarments, are related to criminal matters. A significant proportion of those in the category and in the list are not criminals . The relevant statistics are that disbarments currently recorded on wikipedia may be for criminal reasons, in which case the criminality will be categorised. They may be for other reasons, and in fact more often that not are for other reasons, and because they are for other reasons, the category should not be linked here. Spurious categorisation is innappropriate.
As a compromise I had suggested above that the subcategory Category:Disbarred attorneys for criminal reasons be created as a sub cat of Category:Criminals as well as Category:Disbarred attorneys. --A Y Arktos 00:46, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
I see that A Y Arktos has again simply restated his claims instead of addressing my arguments, so rather than responding to them all again here I'll just refer readers to the discussion above. I will note, though, that many of his points above are completely specious—for example, there is an undeniable correlation between criminality and disbarment, because the former can be (and often is) grounds for the latter. That is, a criminal conviction can cause disbarment. On the other hand, crime does not cause one to be an activist or an actor, nor the converse, so it's ridiculous to suggest that Category:Actors be listed along with Category:Criminals. Being a criminal and being an actor are always two independent events, whereas there is certainly a dependent relationship in many cases between disbarment and criminality.
In conclusion, the debate here is not over whether there is a relationship between disbarred attorneys and criminals, but rather whether this relationship is important enough to list on this category page as a "See also" link. —Psychonaut 07:43, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Category:Disbarred attorneys should not be linked to this cateogory about criminals via a see also reference[edit]

  • Support--A Y Arktos 01:18, 28 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support -- any article on a lawyer disbarred for criminal reasons would usually find themselves categorised within the criminal category tree anyway. I see Psychonaut's point, but I don't think the linking is appropriate either. Criminals are dealt with according to law, whereas disabarred lawyers are dealt with by their relevant professional association. Disbarring does not equal a criminal conviction. -- Longhair 02:03, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
  • Support-- only lawyers who have been convicted of criminal offences should be listed under or linked to category:criminals. Those who have been disbarred but have not been convicted of any criminal offence should not be linked in any way to that category. There are defamation issues that could arise from implying that disbarred lawyers are inherently criminals. Lawyers disbarred for recorded criminal reasons should be independently listed under category:criminals but that is as far as it should go. Sarah Ewart (Talk) 02:26, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
    Additional comment-- I'm not sure where I should respond to comments made in the above sections, so I apologise if this the wrong place. User:Psychonaut stated above:
    Of the 18 disbarments listed at List of disbarred attorneys (the article itself drawn solely from mentions of disbarment on Wikipedia), 10 are for criminal convictions or pending criminal proceedings.
    Anyone who has been accused or charged but not convicted of a criminal offence, including people still before the courts, should be referred to as alleged criminals. Anyone, disbarred lawyer or not, who has pending criminal proceedings but no convictions, should not be listed in a category for "criminals." Sarah Ewart (Talk) 02:52, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
  • What visitors to Wikipedia may or may not believe is irrelevant to the way we decide to display information. Most visitors may believe that Greenland is a sovereign nation but that does not mean we should put it in that category just because most people will look there - it sends an erroneous message fundamentally contrary to the vision of Wikipedia to display unbiased information neutrally and correctly. Conclusively, disbarred attorneys are not per say criminals and as such it would be erroneous to make that link. Regards, Gardar Rurak 03:11, 12 April 2006 (UTC)
  • Support, not all disbarred people are criminals, simple as that. Of the ones that are we should have them in a different category. VegaDark 19:21, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

Category:Disbarred attorneys should be linked to this category about criminals via a see also reference[edit]

  • Support.Psychonaut 07:45, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

Other positions/Outside views[edit]

Conclusion of RfC for time being[edit]

During the last week, the RfC has not attracted a lot of interest, however there are three editors who support the view that Category:Disbarred attorneys should not be linked to this cateogory about criminals via a see also reference and only one editor who supports the view that Category:Disbarred attorneys should be linked to this category about criminals via a see also reference. One week is generally sufficient time for comments to be gathered. Accordingly I propse to remove the link.--A Y Arktos\talk 11:43, 4 April 2006 (UTC)

Use of this category[edit]

I would like to propose that we do not use this category directly, rather that we use the appropriate sub-category for the crime committed. These are my reasons:

  1. The category is to wide-encompassing and does not discriminate between someone being convicted for stealing a pair of jeans at WAL-MART and a mass murdererer, or a rapist
  2. Some bios were added to this category for people that that were indicted of crimes in non-democratic countries. For example, Mahmoud_Asgari_and_Ayaz_Marhoni were listed as criminals because they were hanged in Iran for having engaged in gay sex.
  3. If a person comitted a crime, it should be categorized on the specific crime sub-cat to have any meaningful encyclopedic value. Otherwise we are doing a diservice to readers by allowing POV pushing and asserting guilt by association

≈ jossi ≈ t@ 22:54, 10 May 2006 (UTC)

An alternative discussed on the WIike-EN mailing list is to change the name of this Category to People convicted of a crime. ≈ jossi ≈ t@ 16:20, 11 May 2006 (UTC)

I would agree with renaming the category to the above. There is less room for argument there, as there is with simply calling someone a criminal. VegaDark 19:23, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
I agree that this category needs to be renamed at the very least; or better still, that living people should not be added to it. I can't actually think of a single reason the category might be helpful. SlimVirgin (talk) 05:18, 17 May 2006 (UTC)
If I may zombify this thread, I'd agree one or other would be at least a start, though I'd have the opposite preference as to which, as regards precision and NPOV. Not that one should neglect the BLP and "suing the Foundation to smithereens" aspects entirely, of course. If the bald statement "<X> is a <Y>" would be inappropriate (or is unsourced) in the article text, we really shouldn't be adding [[:Category:<Y>s]] to [[<X>]], and having categories that are suspectible to such concerns is better avoided altogether for "occasion of sin" reasons, even if there are some clear-cut examples by any measure. (e.g. person known to be a career criminal, has multiple convictions for a range of violent offences, and has been quoted as saying "I'm a criminal" by a reputable news organisation.) The previous CFR was half a year ago, so revisiting it now is by no means out of order, especially given the lack of a clear consensus either way, IMO started at the wrong place (i.e. here, at the root of the hierarchy would have been better), and didn't attract all that many eyeballs anyway. Alai 19:38, 24 August 2006 (UTC)

Debate about threshold for inclusion at Category talk:American criminals[edit]

There's a debate at Category talk:American criminals about the threshold for including that category in articles. The issues raised are relevant to this category and all of its sub-categories, so I thought I'd direct attention to it. Sarcasticidealist (talk) 02:52, 20 April 2008 (UTC)