Talk:Aurora, Illinois shooting

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RfC: Victim names[edit]

Should the article include a list of the deceased victims' names? 11:59, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

There appears to be some confusion regarding naming the victims. WP:NOTMEMORIAL is clear that articles for non-notable subjects is against policy, but it doesn't seem to take a position on whether or not they can be included in the article body itself. There was an attempt to codify restricting their addition altogether a couple of years ago, but that attempt failed to gain community consensus. I've added the victim names as well as a reliable source/ref for that specific aspect. If someone finds a better source for other details (specifically, age of the victims), feel free to replace/add to the refs. All that said: if there is a compelling reason to not include the victims, I'm open to being convinced. —Locke Coletc 05:57, 19 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Oppose. None of the victims were notable prior to their death. Readers' understanding of the attack is not enhanced by knowing the victim names. It is sufficient to report their age, gender and role in the company. There is no need to memorialise the dead by publishing their names. WWGB (talk) 06:23, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    I see we're voting already... literally every single mass shooting article I checked prior to expanding the list in this one contained a list, with full names, of the victims. If anything, we should be denying recognition to the assailants in these situations, rather than giving them their name in lights for posterity. Having names, and other minor details of the victims, personalizes the event for readers in a way that simply listing off occupations, genders and age do not. —Locke Coletc 06:30, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Obviously you did not check Aberdeen, Maryland shooting, 2018 Cincinnati shooting, Nashville Waffle House shooting and Thousand Oaks shooting, none of which include victim names ... and that is only from 2018. It's always a case-by-case !vote whether to include victim names. WWGB (talk) 06:46, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
I mean, I could post a list of articles with listings, but... can you point to a policy or guideline that says the listing of victims must be debated on each article? So far we have two links to proposals to ban them explicitly that both failed. —Locke Coletc 07:25, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
@Locke Cole: First, you're mistaken as to the word "ban" (at least in my finite experience in this area). If anybody has proposed an outright ban, it has gotten no significant traction. Reasonable editors have proposed the establishment of a default, include or omit, to avoid time-consuming debate at upwards of 90% of these articles. Even that has been repeatedly rejected (failed to gain consensus) at community level. Unless one side gives up, which doesn't seem very likely, that means that yes, this must debated on each article. Since the factors don't vary in ways relevant to the issue of listing victims' names, and the arguments are always essentially the same, I skip most or all of the debating and just !vote, which I will do below. I don't expect to change anybody's mind, and I don't expect anybody to change mine. ―Mandruss  09:47, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment. I think this would be a more recent discussion. Bus stop (talk) 07:12, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Per WP:ONUS and WP:NOTEVERYTHING, verifiable RS reporting alone is not enough. I ask myself how much real reader value there is in these names, and myself answers, "Not much". The names are completely meaningless to all but a very few readers. The criterion for inclusion of any information in the article is whether it adds to a reader's understanding of the event; these names do not and cannot. Genders and ages could be summarized in prose and that would add to reader understanding.
    I ask myself whether I would want my name in such a list, or whether I would want my sister's name in such a list, and myself answers with a resounding "F no" to both questions. These victims are not "public figures" who chose to waive their privacy, they had absolutely no say in their selection. And "well it's available in the news anyway" has never been an accepted reason to include something in Wikipedia. ―Mandruss  09:55, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    Nice. Why include the name of the perpetrator then? It's just a name, after all, and our readers knowing it doesn't enhance their understanding of the topic being discussed (I mean, unless his name was "Johnny ImGonnaGoKillSomePeople"). Sure, maybe in situations where there's a trial and the perpetrator goes to prison or is executed, maybe then. But this guy is dead, and he's not going to go on trial or spend years on death row. And how do you reconcile the exclusion of the victims with WP:NPOV and specifically giving WP:UNDUE weight to including some details from our sources, but choosing to dismiss an entire class of information because (in your opinion, original research that it is) it doesn't add value to the article? —Locke Coletc 10:01, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    Why include the name of the perpetrator then? As I said above, the factors and arguments are always the same. Your question has been asked and answered numerous times in discussions at previous articles. Somebody else may feel like rehashing that yet again here; I don't. ―Mandruss  10:14, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
    Mandruss—you are saying "the factors and arguments are always the same" but that isn't at all true. It would be more correct to say the factors are always different. Is a shooting at music venue the same as a shooting at a workplace? You certainly don't know that the factors pertaining to one incident apply to what may superficially seem to be a similar incident. We write separate articles because we assume each article is on a separate topic. Bus stop (talk) 16:48, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
    Blatantly fallacious reasoning in both of the above response to Mandruss.

"Then why include the shooter's name?" is childish false equivalence and slippery slope; the perpetrator is always and automatically not indiscriminate to include in the article on a notable crime, and the article may focus entire sections on that person and their background. But a bunch of non-notable victims may well be indiscriminate to include, and would not dwell on them or have section on them. They are not comparable. Next, "one was at work and one at a concert" being taken to mean "factors and arguments are different" in this context is the fallacy of equivocation, here substituting the obvious meaning "encyclopedically relevant factor that could affect whether a name-list is appropriate" with "any factor whatsoever, just so I can say they're different and hope people will fall for my Jedi mind trick". In point of fact, a concert and jobsite mass shooting of these sorts are precisely the same from a WP perspective: a bunch of non-notable people died. It's only going to be a different factor that we care about for this kind of analysis producing a different actually on-topic argument about this question when non-notable people are killed. A mass-shooting in the New Zealand Parliament would obviously be a good case for a name list and perhaps some additional information on the victims besides names, because parliamentarians are notable. But no special case can be made for a list because it was a school versus a restaurant versus a bus stop versus a political rally, if no one died but random people with no non-local news coverage other than having been killed. I've decided to support including the list, for consistency with a larger number of articles on such events, but the question overall cannot be settled with bogus hand-waving like what you've offered. You're doing more harm than good to the keep argument when you engage in such tactics.

 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:27, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Thank you for a complete response to my point. I apologize if you don't consider it "critical thinking" (from something else you said in this thread). I'd argue that the victims lost their indiscriminate status the moment they were involved in this type of event: sure, the perpetrator may have chosen then randomly, but the fact that they were all involved in the event discussed by the article makes them (IMO) cohesive and notable (the notability precisely because they were the target of the subject being discussed). To be clear though, victims aren't notable enough for their own article just because of their involvement. And to the extent possible, WP:NOTMEMORIAL should still apply to victim information within these articles. I am currently building a list of mass shooting articles (working from United States shootings, if I can I'll expand it out from there) at User:Locke Cole/Mass shooting victim statistics. During my research thus far, I have come across a few articles where victim names were hijacked to include extraneous and unencyclopedic information about the victims (which I suppose is the risk with including that information at all). —Locke Coletc 17:00, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
WP:NOTVOTE, and the closing admin will have discretion to not count opinions that can't be justified. Between this and John from Idegon (talk · contribs) displaying a curious unwillingness to discuss why he chooses to revert something he doesn't care about, I can tell already we're going to be getting along great. :D —Locke Coletc 10:19, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
You are misinterpreting and misapplying NOTVOTE. A vote is a Support or Oppose without an argument. I have not-voted, or !voted. You are also apparently under the false impression that my argument "can't be justified" because you disagree with it. I'm rapidly losing patience with your aggressively uninformed style, so don't be surprised if I just disappear at some point. ―Mandruss  10:23, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
When someone challenges your argument (with what I believe to be a good challenge) and you choose to disengage, it does leave the impression of not actually being a good argument. And it's not that I disagree with it, it's that you refuse to defend it, and that's when it will just be a vote. As for disappearing, that is entirely your choice. —Locke Coletc 10:35, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
My argument speaks for itself. Per WP:SATISFY, I am not required to defend it to your satisfaction, even if I could. I've seen countless closes and I've yet to see a closer discard a well-articulated !vote because it wasn't defended to the satisfaction of some other editor; but enjoy your fanciful delusion. Bye bye, I'm out. ―Mandruss  10:43, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Locke Cole's "good challenge" is basically just noise. This is not how consensus discussions work here. Or debate generally, for that matter. Simply asserting and re-asserting you disagree without actually providing a substantive rebuttal, then claiming other people's arguments are weak without demonstrating them to be so, are the classic fallacies of proof by assertion and appeal to ridicule, respectively. I'm not sure what it is about this topic that brings out the "I badly need a refresher on critical thinking" in people, but damn.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:27, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
This issue has been a cause of disagreement on many articles. Differing consensuses have been reached depending on which editors were involved in each case. I was not aware of the 2017 discussion linked above until late last year. I propose starting a new discussion on the matter, to make a guideline so as to prevent this dispute being raised on hundreds more articles. My view remains that names of victims (with the exception of notable people) should not be stated on articles about mass killings. The names add nothing of usefulness or relevance for the reader, and it could bring unwanted attention by the media & general public to the survivors & the families of those killed. Jim Michael (talk) 12:22, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
@Jim Michael: It was last raised at community level in November at Village Pump, linked above by Bus stop. The discussion was open for 53 days, far longer than most, and the result was the same as in all previous community-level discussions about this: No consensus for a guideline of any kind, which means we handle this case-by-case at article level. It is far too soon to raise it again, and doing so too often may result in a new entry at WP:PERENNIAL. ―Mandruss  12:40, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
That was Oct-Nov 2017; since then, this topic has been disputed on many talk pages & in edit summaries. How long should we wait before opening a new discussion on the matter? Jim Michael (talk) 12:48, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
I repeat, linked above by Bus stop. Bus stop is a username which you will find in the signature following that link. Nov 2018–Jan 2019. ―Mandruss  12:50, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Which Bus stop are you referring to, Mandruss? Bus stop (talk) 12:56, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Please don't ping me with inane questions. I haven't the time. ―Mandruss  12:59, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
Touchy, this morning. Bus stop (talk) 13:01, 19 February 2019 (UTC)
The main counter I can think of (or have seen – it's not like I invented it) to Jim Michael's central argument against inclusion, "The names add nothing of usefulness or relevance", is that the information is reliably sourceable and frequently found in news coverage, ergo both readers and editors are liable to consider the article incomplete without it. I don't even slightly buy Jim's second argument, the "could bring unwanted attention by the media & general public to the survivors & the families of those killed" one, since a) we got this from the media not the other way around; b) the media already provided all this info to a much wider general public, when the news was hot; and c) we are not providing enough information to be able to contact any of these people, while local media often go right down to "Long-term resident Jane Smith (neé Garcia) of Serkajian Blvd., was killed in a mass-shooting on Thursday while visiting Detroit. She is survived by her mother, Janet Garcia, the proprietor of Hair by Janet on 43rd Street, and ...". This privacy angle is just super-mega-ultra-weak, sorry. The encyclopedic relevance angle is a much easier sell, and we use it all the time against various kinds of "I think the article will seen incomplete without [whatever]" stuff. I'm kinda neutral on it for this particular kind of thing, and have leant pro-inclusion just for consistency with a larger number of extant articles on mass shootings. I think on the question of should they all change to have or not have such lists I would leant exclusionist.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  07:27, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - Per WP:NOTMEMORIAL. This always seems to come up and the answer is always not to include victim lists. Not sure this tragedy is any different. Meatsgains(talk) 04:04, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
"This always seems to come up and the answer is always not to include victim lists." No, that is incorrect. See here. By my estimation victim lists are included about 90% of the time. Bus stop (talk) 04:19, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support including the names of the victims. I think a little bit of common sense and a sense of proportion is in order here. Including a name, age and a sentence about a victim is a far cry from violating WP:NOTMEMORIAL. I would certainly not want to include extended biographical details, tributes, etc, but providing a name is not a problem. The names of the victims have been reported by all the news outlets covering the story, and they constitute a basic factual aspect of the story. Not including the names strikes me as an artificial decision and essentially a WP:NPOV violation. There are various difficult to predict ways in which the names may become relevant/useful. Some people will do a Wikipedia search using the victim's name if they read a story about a victim that they found compelling (there were such news stories in this case). In the current U.S. political climate the immigrant background of a victim may become relevant in the surrounding political discussion about crime. In this specific case one of the victims, Vicente Juarez, was originally from Mexico. I have already seen the discussion of the fact that he was a hispanic immigrant, killed by a U.S. born assailant, come up in the TV coverage of the event (probably somewhere in the print coverage as well). There may be some other ways, unexpected and difficult to predict now, where the names themselves may become more important in the coverage of the event. It is easier and simpler to include the names now. Nsk92 (talk) 23:17, 20 February 2019 (UTC)
  • OPPOSE - no offered reason for mentioning names let alone such a high prominence in article or as a bland list. Lacking any obvious reason to name — Seems most coverage does not include victim names so not DUE; there is not a noted person involved; and it is not from the narrative describing the event. — so do not list. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 00:47, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
    @Markbassett: the offered reason is that all the sources talk about the victims, by name, so our article should not give undue weight to the perpetrator over the victims in these situations. Plus it just looks weird listing people by their age and occupation, but omitting their name (the thing that uniquely identifies them, and makes it clear it's an actual person, and not just some random person). —Locke Coletc 06:27, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Locke Cole Mmmm, incorrect/belated and factually off — That reason was not offered in the proposal, and wouldn’t help now as most coverage seems to NOT name the victims. My simple bing first screen had with USAToday and Chicago Tribune without names, second screen had NYT and CNN without, and BBC with names and home towns, and third screen has Reuter’s without.... I’m just picking on the big names in press. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 08:20, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Locke Cole Not sure what the intent is there, still not stating reasons, perhaps to argue back that names was not typically in the papers or their more prominent hits but eventually several search pages on you find that they did somewhen ? e.g. googling I see #1 article has no names, ditto #2, #3 mentions 1, #4 does name the 5 workers, #5 none, #6 none, #7 Yes, #8 no, #9 no, #10 no, #11 yes, #12 no.... That’s perhaps enough to say most coverage does NOT name the dead (and if any name the wounded it’s too low to notice) and that mentions are typically a low profile small part of the article or included in the narrative... That still matches my “most coverage seems NOT to name the victims”, particularly the more prominent hits, and RS *do* spend far far more coverage on the shooter and far far more on the event or about the valve company response or that the pistol had a green laser ... Victims just seem not DUE being named prominently as the second subsection, or being named at all in an article of this size. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 13:11, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Markbassett—what reason is there to omit this information? Even if every source does not contain this information, what reason is there to omit this information? Bus stop (talk) 02:37, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • You have been present for enough of the previous discussions to be well aware of those reasons. We don't have to keep repeating them for you, nor do we have to convince you that they are good reasons. As I have told you many times before. See WP:SATISFY—again. ―Mandruss  15:25, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Mandruss—we don't just omit information willy-nilly. I'm asking you if you know of a substantial reason this information should be omitted. Bus stop (talk) 15:40, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't know of a "substantial reason" that I expect would convince you. The reasons that convince me and others have already been given. They are there for your reading in this and all previous discussions about victims' names, so stop demanding that we repeat them. You STILL don't get how this stuff works, and I'm beginning to believe that you are pathologically incapable of doing so. ―Mandruss  15:53, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • You cut-and-pasted your "oppose" reasoning to this article from another article's Talk page. Why is that? And you are saying on this Talk page that "the factors and arguments are always the same". I think the factors are different, or at least that is the assumption I have. Are you really engaging in this discussion? Bus stop (talk) 16:08, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • The factors relevant to my position are the same. I don't engage in repetitive discussion, as I've told you before. I am not required to discuss until you think I've discussed enough, as I've told you before. If you have a problem with that, feel free to take it to the community at the Village Pump. ―Mandruss  16:13, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • If you don't engage in discussion then how are you a participant in the consensus-building process? Is it your understanding that the mere tallying of votes results in consensus? That is not my understanding of consensus. Bus stop (talk) 16:47, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Bus stop - your insert above a bit out of time-order? Anyway, you’ve got WP:ONUS backwards. It is those seeking to include disputed content who must produce reasons and evidence. Most articles do not. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 05:50, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Markbassett—you were arguing that "most coverage seems to NOT name the victims". I was asking you why that should matter? Even if every source does not contain the information, does that constitute a reason to omit the information? Isn't it standard practice to assemble an article by deriving material from multiple sources? And the reason I posted "a bit out of time-order" was because I did not know that I could ping you when I posted the first time due to the fact that your User page has not been initiated. My mistake. So I then posted a second time with the ping included. Bus stop (talk) 07:01, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Bus stop ONUS - the lack of policy reasons to include is the larger issue... and raising the general level of scrutiny in the discussion is not going to help that. And actually yes, when most external web items do not give names then DUE indicates that WP should not. Even the articles that have name(s) generally have them as a small part and for a narrative reason — not at the prominence of second section and ~ 20% of the entire article screens as a list. Now... I’ve given a RFC !vote with policy and evidence explanations, multiple times ... please move anything else to your TALK. Over & out. Markbassett (talk) 12:52, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • "when most external web items do not give names then DUE indicates that WP should not" Markbassett—we commonly assemble articles from multiple sources. All of the sources used do not necessarily contain all of the information necessary to assemble an article. We don't automatically exclude information that is only found in some of the sources or even a minority of the sources. It is certainly my contention that the names of the deceased are pertinent to the subject of this article. We can have a conversation, but that is reliant on your participation. As I've asked you before—why do you want to exclude this information from this article? There is no need to invoke WP:ONUS or any other policy. I am a reasonable person. I am inclined to engage in friendly conversation. Just pretend that we were sitting on barstools or in any comfy setting. This is a simple and conversational question: why do you want to omit the names of the deceased from the article? Bus stop (talk) 13:28, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
  • You said all those organizations did not have a full victim list. I showed you they did, thus refuting your "factually off", "most coverage does not include the victim names". Also, again, this is NOT A VOTE, I wasn't expecting to have to lead out with every exhaustive reason to include the names in my "proposal", otherwise I would have surely written it far differently. Remember, it's Bold, revert, DISCUSS, not Bold, revert, VOTE. I wouldn't trust Google/Bing/etc. on this either, as their search results tend to vary wildly, which is why I went to the actual websites you said didn't list victims to find the actual victim lists. —Locke Coletc 17:22, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Locke Cole Well I did feel “all the sources” was misleading, and didn’t understand the point of your list... Accept middle ground of they do but most of their articles seem not to? As to reaction to a proposal or question ... it is going to be against what was written, and I do expect at least plausible effort and the editor to put forward why and their best info or main points. It was phrased as a question, though responses ran into the Yes/no and why type response. Mine back as why not would be ONUS at the moment lacks consensus, and generally not DUE the position prominence in question. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 01:59, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break[edit]

  • @Mandruss:, @Meatsgains:, @WWGB: RfC stands for "Request for comment", not "Request for votes". Just because you visit, put a bolded vote and then disengage from the discussion doesn't mean you just get your way from the numbers. That's not a consensus, and that's not how discussion is meant to work. From WP:NOTVOTE: Polling may be divisive and cause factionalism. While a poll may occasionally make it a lot easier for people to find a mutually agreeable position, in other cases it can undermine discussion and discourse. In the worst case, polls might cause participants not to civilly engage with the other voters, but merely instead to choose camps. By polarizing discussion and raising the stakes, polls may contribute to a breakdown in civility, making discussion of controversial issues extremely acrimonious. This makes it difficult for participants to assume good faith. In many cases, simple discussion might be better at encouraging careful consideration, dissection and eventual synthesis of each side's arguments than a poll would. Also, threats on my talk page are unwelcome. Please, if you really think you can make a case at WP:AN/I, don't waste time coming to my talk page, go make your case and then leave the mandatory notification on my talk page. Thanks! —Locke Coletc 16:24, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
    The situation looks a bit different to most of those of us who have participated in a dozen or so protracted debates on this subject. No, I'm not going to submit to your demands to repeat that yet again, regurgitating the same old arguments. Experience shows that the odds of changing enough editors' minds to change the outcome closely approximate zero, and that would simply be a waste of my time. Editors who have not participated much or at all in prior discussions should research the archives, that's what they are for. I would be willing to help you find some of the related discussions in the archives, but your attitude would have to change significantly for me to feel like going to that trouble for your benefit.
    As for your talk page warnings, that's part of the standard process for disruptive editing: Issue warnings first, then resort to ANI if they are not effective. In fact, ANI cases are usually thrown out if there were no warnings first. This applies equally to all editors, so don't attempt to dictate special rules for yourself. This is not a "threat": Do not attempt to add victims' names here until there is consensus to do so, assessed by an uninvolved editor. ―Mandruss  16:50, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
I believe that your reason for wanting to keep the information out of the article is because you feel that the inclusion of this information in the article doesn't help the reader understand the subject of the article. But that can be said about any specific detail. Does it matter whether the shooter might be named Joe Doe or John Smith? We provide the perpetrator's name because it is a fact pertinent to the article's subject. Why do we name the workplace? We say that it took place at the ABC Pipe Company. Couldn't we just say the incident took place at a workplace, and leave it at that? Or merely a setting in which people were going about an activity? Why do we prefer specificity concerning these parameters?

We provide specifics because there is value in specifics. That value does not have to be justified. The burden is not on me to explain how a specific helps a reader to understand the subject of an article. And inarguably the people who died in an incident are not so peripheral to the incident that their names do not even warrant inclusion. We include other proper names so what is the great problem that you perceive in naming the deceased? Bus stop (talk) 17:15, 21 February 2019 (UTC)

  • comment I am not giving a "Yes" or "No" vote. I am just saying that, if you want to, do it with the 2017 Las Vegas shooting first. That one has 800+ victims. Wikipedia is very serious about accuracy. I wonder how can you get the accurate names of all the 800?
  • Obviously Category:Victims of the September 11 attacks is incomplete info. Maybe we can create a category of this kind (for noteworthy victims of any gun violence since the beginning of US history)? The category can "grow" big, but it can be sub-divided to smaller categories as appropriate. Tony85poon (talk) 22:35, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Tony85poon—there are not too many to list at this article. There are 6 deaths including the perpetrator in this incident. In other incidents there are too many to list. But that isn't the case here. Bus stop (talk) 23:20, 21 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Be consistent with other articles. This keeps coming up over and over and over again at articles on mass shooting, accidents involving mass deaths, etc. I'm leaning oppose, as both a general matter and in this particular case, but if the prior consensus has been (or someday becomes) to include lists of the dead in such articles (I've lost track), then do it here, too: This case is not magically different from other cases.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:56, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

    Changed to support, per discussion below. Since a supermajority of similar articles (after lots and lots of similar discussion) contain such lists, there should be a genuinely compelling reason to do it differently here, or it confuses readers (and editors for that matter) into thinking the article is faulty. I'd be opposed to using a fancy list for this, or a whole section for it, per NOTMEMORIAL; just use an inline list in a sentence, following an introductory phrase and a colon, and do not go into details about them (age, gender, occupation, yadda yadda).
    Update: A footnote would be even better. The victims were not specifically targeted because of who they are or what roles they play or what demographics they fit, and they are non-notable, so their names and occupations and ages and so on are not encyclopedically relevant in the main prose.
     — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:37, 22 February 2019 (UTC); updated  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  05:19, 26 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Support names and ages This article is about people dying, without whom it wouldn't be here. We relay how they did, when they did, where they did and a bit of why. Omitting who five were by that point is ridiculous, especially contrasted with the section devoted to one. InedibleHulk (talk) 00:12, February 24, 2019 (UTC)
  • Support inclusion of names of victims plus additional basic information at editorial discretion such as age and occupation. I think some information on the identities of the deceased is called for in this article. This sort of information falls squarely within the scope of this article. I don't think there are any policy-based reasons that this information should be omitted. And I don't think there is any impropriety in including this information. Death is commonly tragic but we have little capacity to sanitize death and we cannot edit it out of an article by means of omitting the names of those who've died. The best that we can do is treat this information with sensitivity to the best of our ability. We are not trying to heap additional pain on the next of kin or loved ones. I think that we are simply trying to give a thorough accounting of a thoroughly tragic incident. Bus stop (talk) 01:44, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support including names of the victims, and other minor details (age, role within the company). Clearly it's a violation of WP:NPOV and provides WP:UNDUE weight to the perpetrator as written. I remain unmoved by the arguments put forth so far, especially in light of my research on similar articles that all seem to have complete named victim lists (hovering over 90+% for articles where there were fatalities). Comically, and contrary to what the editors here claimed, there was no talk page discussion on most of those other articles, and where there was discussion, there wasn't any argument over naming the victims. —Locke Coletc 21:14, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
This repeated canard about "90%" is WP:UNSOURCED, WP:MADEUP or WP:OR. Anyway, it is just WP:OTHERSTUFFEXISTS and irrelevant here. In accordance with Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)/Archive 138#WP:NOTMEMORIAL and victim lists in tragedy articles, inclusion of victim names "should be handled on a case-by-case basis". WWGB (talk) 23:43, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)Do you even Wikipedia? WP:UNSOURCED, WP:MADEUP and WP:OR is for our article content, not internal statistics. And uh.. you can go and look yourself if you don't believe me, I've started a list at User:Locke Cole/Mass shooting victim statistics. —Locke Coletc 01:42, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose addition of names as per WP:NOTMEMORIAL and not WP:NOTABLE, and I’m not convinced by WP:OTHERCONTENT. Names do not help gain an understanding of the event. We can add a link to a list somewhere. O3000 (talk) 21:33, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
    WP:NOTMEMORIAL explicitly says non-notable subjects may not be used, however, given the widespread media coverage, they are most certainly notable enough for inclusion. And as stated, over 90% of articles about shootings like this list the victims by name, so there is strong precedent for this already. More importantly, WP:NOTMEMORIAL is clear that it is subjects of articles that it applies to. We are not creating an article at Victims of Aurora, Illinois shooting, nor are we creating articles for each individual victim. They are simply being listed, by name, as our sources already do. —Locke Coletc 22:19, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
    Yes, I saw your arguments. They didn’t convince. O3000 (talk) 22:30, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
    (edit conflict)I see. So all the other articles are surely just anomalies. —Locke Coletc 01:42, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Locke Cole, it would be so much nicer for all of us if you could turn down the snark a bit. Drmies (talk) 02:41, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Locke Cole—I don't perceive the above as "snark". Let me take this occasion to thank you for compiling this list. Bus stop (talk) 11:49, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
So, at some point in the editing ebb and flow, a majority of articles are handled in a certain manner. Editors use this fact to force additional articles to follow the same path. Thus, even a larger number of article follow that path, and this logic continues until all articles follow that path – not because it makes editorial sense, but because a snowball gathers more snow as it rolls downhill. This is why we don’t base arguments on WP:OTHERCONTENT. O3000 (talk) 13:20, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Well said. And, if the early decisions didn't involve thorough scrutiny of the question—and they generally don't because the issue hasn't yet gotten the attention of the wider community and become controversial—the self-reinforcing snowball lacks much real basis. Somebody should start an essay (sorry, the shortcut WP:SNOWBALL is already taken). This is my problem with giving a lot of weight to precedent, in particular doing so indiscriminately which is what the much-vaunted 90% number represents. ―Mandruss  14:00, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Ok, so that essay already exists at OTHERCONTENT. Change the above to support for that essay. ―Mandruss  14:14, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Objective3000, Mandruss—no, we need not base arguments on the content of other articles. That is correct. Although other articles can reflect the good sense of other editors. And in this case I think those other articles do reflect the good sense of other editors. You think that you have great wisdom in this area and that you have the one true light to illuminate the future paths of articles of this sort. But you are simply wrongheaded and misguided and you are doing damage to a particular subsection of Wikipedia.

This is the area of crime writing. I think most of you objecting to the mention of victim names really don't like the fact that this project covers the area of crime-writing. I think you find it scandalous and gossipy and tawdry and too gritty for your refined tastes. So, to take a swipe at an area that you do not like anyway, you figure you will lop off the "head" of the article, as it were, because in a certain figurative sense, the victims are the head(s) of these articles. The simple fact is that the victims, however randomly-chosen they may have been, become the basis of a story that is reported with a high degree of thoroughness in reliable sources.

To write about a crime, you do not say that a person was killed, rather you name the person that was killed. I think it is somewhat humorous that you all are deluding yourselves into thinking that you write about a death in an article about a crime and you only say that a male of 32 years old who was an accountant was killed. That is a contrivance. Every reader would perceive that as a contrivance. A name is a "handle" by which one comes to grip with who it was that died. The ending of life is too stark a notion to be relegated to generalities. And the very basis of these articles are the endings of lives in these incidents. We don't have to look to other articles to see that this article should be listing victim names. You all could do the project a favor and stop your crusade against articles that report on crimes and other tragedies. This is a legitimate area of Wikipedia. Perhaps you could take your crusading ways to another area of the project. Have you considered making Wikipedia's coverage of pornography sex-free? That might be a good next project for you to consider. Bus stop (talk) 14:21, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

That is quite enough. You are completely out of line, you are begging for a permanent topic ban, and I am not going to engage such drivel with a response. ―Mandruss  14:40, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Mandruss—I'm going to say it very simply and hopefully not offensively—the removal of the victim names is damaging to these articles. These are gritty articles. You cannot clean them up. People died and those people had names. These people are central to these articles. Nothing expresses the centrality of the person more than the name. The names of the deceased happen to be integral to the article. It is an artificial thing that you are doing. Removing names is a contrivance. We are expected to be informative. When you remove information, you damage an article, as a general rule with some notable exceptions. Your effort to redact names contradicts what we are trying to do which is provide an abundance of useful information. Bus stop (talk) 16:30, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm certainly not offended by your stating your position. I'm offended by your persistent belief that there is only one correct answer to such complex and nuanced questions, that we should keep discussing until one or the other is swayed by the other's arguments. I've tried and tried to explain to you that this is not how it works, and all one has to do to see that is to take an honest look around at other discussions involving experienced editors. I've exhorted you to take it to the community if you disagree, and you refuse to do so, instead trying to keep me and others discussing until you release us from discussion, a behavior indistinguishable from trolling. That offends me, and you need to stop cluttering talk pages with this. ―Mandruss  16:46, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
We have the 9 out of 10 articles reflecting the good sense of editors choosing to enumerate victim names. You should not be casually dismissing that precedent as you and Objective and WWGB are doing at various points in this thread. You are trying to institute a change to a solidly represented precedent. You cannot minimize the importance of a significant precedent. I am saying that the editors at those 9 out of 10 articles that include the victim names had it right. They wrote those articles properly in choosing to tell a little bit about the victims including their names. I am not simply saying what I personally think. I am heartily embracing our past practice. Bus stop (talk) 17:25, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
In other words: "My position is inherently and objectively correct. Therefore any other position is patently without merit." Bull. Shit. Just go away. ―Mandruss  17:34, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Well I certainly will not be responding to that. Bus stop (talk) 17:37, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Bus stop, do you think that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is dumbed down? Drmies (talk) 17:40, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
No, of course not, Drmies. Every article is different. There are many differences between Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and Aurora, Illinois shooting. One of those differences would be 5 fatalities vs 298 fatalities. Do I have to go into the logistics of enumerating 5 identities vs 298 identities? A lot of names takes up a lot of space, plus it would be emotionally exhausting for any reader. You can't always compare one article to another. Bus stop (talk) 17:58, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I agree with Mandruss, but will respond once for the benefit of others. Personally, I am anti-gun. I’d like to see them all melted down. It would suit my personal beliefs to talk in depth about the victims – perhaps how one just graduated from college, one was about to celebrate their child’s first birthday, etc. But, we aren’t here to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS, write human interest stories, tear at readers’ heartstrings, convince readers that mass killings are bad. That is, it is not we that are on a crusade. We just want to document an event. And, like it or not, the shooting is the focus of this article, and understanding the shooter is more important than understanding the lives of the victims. O3000 (talk) 14:47, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Objective3000—from where are you deriving that anyone has argued that the inclusion of the victims' names is for the purpose of the righting of great wrongs or "understanding the lives of the victims"? I never said anything like that and presumably you are responding to me. Bus stop (talk) 15:17, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I cast my !vote and provided my reasoning. Bludgeoning the process rarely works. O3000 (talk) 17:52, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. NOTMEMORIAL applies. There is no good reason other than "it can be verified" and "other articles have it" for including these articles. The victims were not notable, and no one, like no one, benefits from their names being included here. Drmies (talk) 02:41, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
WP:MEMORIAL doesn't apply and expunging information in this instance equates to dumbing down the article. Bus stop (talk) 03:58, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Yeah sure whatever. Thanks for linking "dumbing down", Bus stop--I had no idea what it meant. Like for realsies. Drmies (talk) 17:25, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Information should only be omitted if there is a good reason to omit it, Drmies. There is no reason to omit it in this situation. Why deprive the reader of information? The name of the victim, along with the name of the perpetrator, are of central importance to these sorts of articles. And there is ample precedent for including the names of the victims. Just look at the many other similar articles. Bus stop (talk) 17:43, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I did. I just linked one for you, which judiciously excludes the names of almost three hundred victims. But, you know, if I may also be categorical, even though I'm of course completely wrong, NO, those names are not "central" to anything in Wikipedia. Drmies (talk) 17:47, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Drmies—I responded to you there, where you placed the link. But there is a simpler answer—all articles are not the same. Must we discuss the differences? I would never argue that the 300 victims of the plane crash should be included in that article. The differences are enormous. And that is part of the problem with the present approach. You are running roughshod over the specifics that are applicable to a given article. Readers read articles because they want to feel the fabric of the article. They don't want the sanitized version. They have chosen to read about a gruesome incident. I don't want to go overboard with this line of reasoning. But it is counterproductive to redact what is arguably one of the most interesting aspects of these tragedies. Bus stop (talk) 18:18, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Bus stop, so many words (by you, on this talk page--almost 44% of all content) and so little argument. Let's see. a. NOTMEMORIAL has for years also been taken to include content. b. Don't see why from the point of view of the victims of a plane crash there would be any difference--in neither case were the victims actively trying to be victims, for instance. c. The fabric of the article--whatever, that's just a bunch of BS about what some readers might feel. d. Yes gruesome incident--just like Las Vegas, just like a plane crash, and it means nothing. e. If somehow the names of the victims are that interesting to you, I really wonder about you, and I think that you are projecting yourself into the position of these imaginary readers you keep bringing up. Drmies (talk) 03:12, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose / leave out (invited by the bot) Guidelines lean against inclusion. Also, it's not enclyclopedic. North8000 (talk) 13:55, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
    @North8000: I'm unaware of any guidelines that suggest leaving it out. It's encyclopedic because of our WP:NPOV voice, and because we base our articles on what our sources provide. And our sources are not just covering the event and the perpetrator, but also the victims. Often with their own articles. —Locke Coletc 20:58, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
    {{ping|Locke Cole} I just mentioned "lean". IMO a list of names is more likely to be there for a memorial purpose than to serve as providing info that readers are looking for. BTW, if a victim had their own article and it passes wp:notabilty, then I'd say that that is a rare situation and then it should be be put in. BTW, I don't think that this is a slam dunk either way. I just gave my thoughts. North8000 (talk) 12:41, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose / Omit Oppose addition of names as per WP:NOTMEMORIAL and not WP:NOTABLE. Whilst primary sources such as newspapers will often include such lists, it's rare to see these in neutral academic texts. WP:OTHERCONTENT is unconvincing, guidelines suggest we should not include and in any event it's not encyclopedic content. WCMemail 15:45, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
    @Wee Curry Monster: WP:NOTMEMORIAL: 1) is concerned with articles about non-notable individuals, and 2) is concerned with only including details and information meant to memorialize people. In this instance, we are not including their names, age and occupation to memorialize them, we are doing it because our sources are also highlighting this information. WP:NOTABLE is already satisfied (in so far as naming them in the body of an article, not giving each victim their own article of course). —Locke Coletc 20:58, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
  • WP:NOTMEMORIAL has been widely accepted over the years as reason for not including the names of non notable casualties. However as you rightly point out the wording can be construed to only affect the subject of articles and not the content. Therefore lets look beyond it and reconsider what we are trying to provide in articles. We want articles whose content is relevant and of interest to a general reader looking at that subject. Individual names of those who died without further context might be considered relevant but does it offer any interest to a reader, is it just skimmed over, could the same information be better imparted by just giving a total and any other significant fact. You might also wish to read WP:BLUDGEON, commenting on every single oppose comment indicates a compulsion that isn't necessarily healthy. WCMemail 08:29, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose per WP:NOTMEMORIAL, WP:NOTEVERYTHING, and WP:NOTABLE; if other articles have such lists, they should probably be removed (with the caveat that if a victim becomes noteworthy for some reason - eg. because of lobbying by their parents or a bill named after them or something - they should be mentioned in prose), but either way, WP:OTHERCONTENT is not a convincing argument. It's reasonably clear there's no general consensus in favor of such lists (thankfully, since they are a terrible idea in general.) It's hard to see how such a list serves readers; and including it as a memorial is against policy. Note that by my reading, none of the comments supporting inclusion have presented a policy-based reason for doing so, failing WP:ONUS. --Aquillion (talk) 20:27, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
    @Aquillion: WP:NOTMEMORIAL is concerned with articles, not names within an article. We also aren't memorializing them, i.e. no details of their funerals/death rites, no information on where or if the bodies were interred, etc. WP:NOTEVERYTHING is in a similar situation: this isn't everything, this is what our sources discuss when talking about this event. Some sources have devoted entire articles to the victims (which I am in no way suggesting we do here). WP:OTHERCONTENT is an essay, and while it's cute, tradition is a very strong reason to do something. But don't let that be what convinces you: WP:NPOV, WP:RS should be sufficient. At the moment the article is biased towards the perpetrator of the crime by only naming them, and not the victims he killed. —Locke Coletc 20:58, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Incorrect on every single point. WP:NOTMEMORIAL (and its larger section and page) refers to all content within an article, including lists of names. I disagree with your assessment that this is an accepted tradition - it is clearly extremely controversial; if this were an accepted tradition, this RFC would be more one-sided. And no one has given any valid reason to include the names; your argument here certainly doesn't pass muster. Mentioning someone in an article does not carry any endorsement of them, and is not intended to be a "positive" thing that we do in order to call attention to them - by arguing from the position that we need to name them to give them equality with the person who killed them, you are implicitly admitting your desire to turn the page into, in part, a memorial to them, some sort of good-natured token we give their memories to WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS in the way coverage of these events play out and to avoid giving too much attention to the murderer relative to them. I can sympathize with that desire (though I think it's wrong-headed for the reasons I outlined above; attention is not an automatic positive), but either way your argument is entirely unencyclopedic and completely without grounding in policy, and based on that (and my assessment that it really is the only reason anyone wants them included) I've upgraded my opposition to strong oppose. Also, please stop WP:BLUDGEONing these discussions; your arguments are, frankly, so weak and so clearly without grounding in policy that you are only weakening your own case by bothering people with them - the fact that you would actually ping me with such nonsense is irritating, especially when a glance over this page shows that your arguments have been shot down repeatedly by the people you're trying to convince with them (so what, exactly, did you expect to happen by pinging me? Were you that eager to have them dismissed again?) WP:NOTMEMORIAL 100% applies, and you've repeatedly failed to come up with even a scrap of argument otherwise or to present even the slightest valid policy-based argument for why their names should be included on the page. --Aquillion (talk) 00:39, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Aquillion: quoth WP:MEMORIAL: Memorials. Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy Wikipedia's notability requirements. Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet such requirements. It is an accepted tradition, as you can see by the fact that 90% of articles of this type include a list of victims in them. WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS has absolutely no relevance here, and it seems you just like the shortcut name, as the linked page adds nothing to this discussion. As to your other comments, thank you for the personal attacks! I look forward to your well reasoned objections, and not just a bunch of WP jargon tossed out hoping I'd ignore the fact that, at the end of all your talking, you never actually addressed my argument. =) —Locke Coletc 05:25, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Mixed – Valid points on both sides, and although I'm usually against inclusion, I'm stuck on the fence with this one. Adding the names of random victims doesn't change or enhance a reader's understanding of the article's subject. If you truly believe it does, then you wouldn't make an exception for the example Drmies gave above. This "lack of value added" is especially true when a victim's involvement is random, for the simple reason another victim would have been chosen in their place had they not been there; the incident in such an example would have still occurred. On the flipside, however, I believe targeted victims should be weighed differently. Mentioning them on a more specific level can benefit the overall consumption of an event's details (the who/what/where/when/why). In this article, the three victims in that termination meeting were clearly targeted. We can't say with any certainty about the other two. While names are still less important than details describing who that person was in relation to the shooter, they do have more relevance. What keeps me on the fence is a lack of confidence that this added relevance is enough to tip the scales. --GoneIn60 (talk) 10:40, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose for lack of value added to the article. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a memorial site, a newspaper, or a collection of uninformative facts. (Summoned by bot) HouseOfChange (talk) 04:54, 5 March 2019 (UTC)
  • oppose per WWGB. As Nsk92 states, listing names is really meant to help readers establish a political narrative in their imaginations. (Summoned by bot) Chris Troutman (talk) 14:48, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose a list of victim names and their ages/hometowns/some other random bio snippets. When this has come up in articles about plane crashes, we don't list non-notable crash victims, per NOTMEMORIAL. The same logic applies to all mass casualty events. But if I were to compromise, it's mostly the list format itself that I have a problem with. I don't like lists generally, and lists of the deceased inherently tend to resemble online memorials. But in instances like this one where you have more than three victims but fewer than 10, you may be able to include all the names inconspicuously and in encyclopedic prose in the article. If so, I'd be okay with that. I see NOTMEMORIAL as applying to presentation as well as inclusionism. Geogene (talk) 16:27, 17 March 2019 (UTC)

Extended discussion[edit]

@SMcCandlish: Repeated attempts to establish a default, include or omit, have failed to reach consensus; the mantra is generally that this needs case-by-case evaluation. Case-by-case evaluation means inconsistency between articles, or it wouldn't be needed. So your comment conflicts with the current community view. ―Mandruss  04:13, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

Such "no consensus yet" stuff most often boils down to one way or the other over time. If we're going to continue arguing it out repetitively, we need to look at what other articles are doing again, periodically, and when it gets to the point that, say, 75% or so of cases are one way rather than the other, then the community will in fact have arrived at a consensus on what the default is, from which we should not diverge without a good reason. In the interim, my "leaning oppose" will suffice. I agree with the gist of the opposition above and in similar prior discussions (primarily on WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE and WP:NOT#NEWS grounds in addition to the more obvious WP:NOTMEMORIAL).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:31, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
SMcCandlish—90% of eligible articles include all victim names. You are saying "when it gets to the point that, say, 75% or so of cases are one way rather than the other..." You participated in this thread. If you look at the lists I and others have compiled I think you will agree that roughly 90% of articles meeting reasonable criteria for consideration contain all victim names. Bus stop (talk) 05:35, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Works for me, then.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  06:37, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Whoa, Nelly, not so fast. On Tuesday you said, "By my estimation victim lists are included about 90% of the time."[1] You provided no substantiation for that number, and there is no substantiation for it in the linked discussion. As far as I can see, your lists there included nothing but articles that include the names, which is obvious cherry-picking. Now your statement has mysteriously morphed into "90% of eligible articles include all victim names." Apparently, since nobody bothered to dispute your 90% estimation, you are now presenting it as fact. What's with that?
My estimation is that the number would be far below 90% if you included only articles where there was discussion with a fair amount of participation, say, eight editors or more. Consensuses like 3–1 are not significant enough for the purpose of determining all future content, and de facto consensuses without discussion (or even much editor involvement at the article) even less so. ―Mandruss  06:49, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Mandruss—I did not list the 10% of eligible articles that did not include all of the victim names. I only listed the 90% of eligible articles that included all of the victim names. My numbers are only rough estimates. Please examine this thread. Bus stop (talk) 08:32, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
Thinking about this further and expanding on what I said above:
If we were to let precedent determine the future, a rigorous methodology would be critical. Not only would I limit the sample to articles where there was a discussion with a minimum of participation, but I would also exclude consensuses that were too narrow. So we would need to agree on a minimum number of editors in the discussion and a minimum consensus percentage—both should be required for a local consensus to be considered statistically significant. If that reduced the sample to 10 or 15 articles, I wouldn't see a problem with that; they would be the 10 or 15 most significant existing examples, the wheat separated from the chaff. (I'm not gaming this, as that sample could dictate inclusion of the lists just as easily as omission of them. And my first goal has always been to eliminate these repetitive debates at one article after another, not to get these lists omitted.)
More problematic is that we couldn't make a decision affecting all future articles locally on this page. After selecting the sample, we would still have to take the proposition to the community, and the odds are high that the community's response would be the same as always: No one-size-fits-all, discuss case-by-case, and stop bothering us with this. There's no way around that that I can see. ―Mandruss  08:48, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

──────────The issue I have with this sort analysis (including especially the demand to exclude from consideration a lot of actual practice if it doesn't have an exactly-defined big pile of drama I mean discussion behind it) is that guidelines and such do not tell us what consensus has to be, they reflect what consensus already is, and the vast majority of consensus on WP is just actual practice, not a bunch of rules-mongering and arguing until one side or the other is routed. Hair-pulling RfCs aren't how most consensus is established, either; they generally are only used when various parties have made a mountain out of molehill (it's the difficulty of human editors, not of topics and solutions, that makes RfCs and formal closes sometimes necessary). Most of the time – and by design – we write down what we're already doing and don't have a cow about it; that's how we got almost all of our guideline material. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; we don't bother writing it down unless it's necessary to do so to curtail recurrent strife. (Consequently, it cannot possibly be the case that we can't establish a guideline if there is strife about it; the latter is what leads to us doing the former in the first place.)

If we're already almost always including the names of the deceased in articles like this – despite some heated but reasoned objection – then that really should be a guideline (since there obviously is recurrent strife, but it's not having any effect on the amount of articles with these lists in them). If the community to date has been unwilling to codify it, it's because the idea was proposed poorly (without stats – until someone else provided them, incompletely and very late into the thread – and without making it clear that we're simply establishing a default, in a guideline (to which exceptions may sometimes apply, as always), not writing an immutable policy. Or, in some cases, it's because a tiny handful of editors have pulled off a WP:FAITACCOMPLI and the community doesn't agree with it. I don't think the latter is really likely; in the cases I can think of, there was already a general principle settled by consensus that the "accompliteers" were defying with a topically specific variance of their own devising. That's not the case here. We don't have a codified rule that gets anywhere near this, so there's nothing for a WP:FACTION to be defying.

Immediately below the last WP:VPPOL RfC about this list-o'-the-dead matter is another RfC that illustrates how to take a "we haven't settled on this in 10 years yet" matter and actually get it settled. It requires studious neutrality, and it helps to provide an index of past discussion, and a summary of pro/con arguments that is actually fair, and a reason to settle it. As the opener of that, I even refused to !vote in it. That said, I concur that re-RfCing the list-of-mass-death-names stuff would not go over well this soon after the last one. Give it a year. PS: I say all the above (which sounds rather pro-inclusion) despite personally feeling exclusionist about it, because the roughly 90% rate of inclusion tells me that my preference doesn't comport with the operational consensus, even if the community is loath to make it a codified one. WP teaches one to divorce subjective preference from objective observation of community norms (and politics).
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  10:21, 22 February 2019 (UTC)

That may be how consensus currently works, and I'd have to take your word for that, but that doesn't mean it's the best way to do things. It's difficult to make much improvement in anything if status quo is our guide.
I don't know if you or anybody else claims otherwise, but the recent change at MOS:JOBTITLES was NOT a clarification of how things were being done; rather it correctly changed the encyclopedia's direction based on careful consideration and rigorous analysis of the relevant sources. The status quo was the cumulative result of a bunch of uninformed editor opinions. My earlier attempt to get local consensus to decap in the first sentence at Donald Trump had failed precisely because of arguments that it would be inconsistent with the status quo elsewhere—arguments which we now know to have yielded the wrong outcome. Only after the guideline was changed and those arguments evaporated have we been able to make any progress in correcting these errors.
There is no guarantee that eight editors will produce a higher quality answer than three editors, but the chances are greatly improved—and even more greatly improved over no discussion at all, the outcome representing nothing but one or two editors' personal preference (effectively a democratic vote clearly inconsistent with WP:NOTDEMOCRACY). That's no way to build a quality encyclopedia.
I have some issues with looking to precedent as our guide. I have serious issues with doing so indiscriminately, and I'd be an opponent of that approach. ―Mandruss  16:25, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
The JOBTITLES thing was a different kind of case. There was no actual status quo other than random chaos – the guideline had been drifting in its wording about this due to years of undiscussed edits to it, with people thus implementing very different things depending on when they did it, and people were in fact fighting about it frequently and over a long period of time (more so and worse lately because of Trump-related ranty behavior on all sides), and at any given time there were people actively defying, on purpose, whatever the erstwhile rule said. So it did actually need an RfC. Maybe this also does, due to heat level, but it's different in that there's no rule being defied, and practice is remarkably consistent in the aggregate. It's also different in that there is not a body of RS telling us that including or not including such a list in an encyclopedia article is a good idea (how could there be such RS material?), but there is a body of RS telling us that over-capitalizing job titles is poor style. They're just not parallel cases.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:17, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
SMcCandlish—I view my role as that of someone who is assembling information. I understand that we don't include all information, even if arguably it falls within the scope of the article. But there has to be a good reason for excluding it. So what I'm asking is what is the good reason that you are "personally feeling exclusionist about it"? Bus stop (talk) 16:39, 22 February 2019 (UTC)
The names are basically meaningless trivia in an encyclopedic context (with 7.5 billion of us on the planet, names of the non-notable are just noise). Even a international or national-level news article would most often omit this material; it's mostly local to state/province/county coverage that is going to include it, because there's a reasonable likelihood that some readers will have a connection to the deceased or their families. When reading of a train wreck in Indonesia, or a terrorist-bombing Munich (or Virginia), the average en.wp reader is not going to have any reason to care about the victim names; we do not have national much less local editions. There's nothing the reader can "do" with the names, as it were. My support of the inclusion, for now, is simply a matter of pragmatics: until we articulate, in a successful guideline-revision proposal, why not to include such lists, the average editor's take is going to be that the article is faulty, is incomplete, by not having such a list, simply on the basis that most such articles have such lists. (An alleged local consensus to exclude one is apt to be repeatedly challenged.) It has become a de facto norm, even if it arguably should not be and maybe someday will not be (like date linking and auto-formatting, or wrapping plot summaries in spoiler tags, or putting ethnic and religious labels on everyone in infoboxes – things that also used to be norms here until we had to community will to undo them and not at all best practices). A compromise position is also possible: Put them in a footnote for the sake of completeness + sensitivity to relevance, instead of in the main body prose. Make a template for it, even.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:17, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
SMcCandlish—names convey information. We do not know who our target reader is; we should not pretend we do. The inclusion of victim names—Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard, Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez, Trevor Wehner—aids the reader in understanding this incident. A novelist does not choose a name for a fictional character randomly. A considerable amount of thought is likely to go into choosing a name for a fictional character. Realistically, we do not know that a novelist or future novelist is not reading our article. We write articles for all types of readers—we don't write articles only for idealized readers that we have concocted in our imagination. We should be openminded about who our target reader is. Our target reader could include a future novelist or anyone else interested in knowing the actual names of the people killed in this incident. I for one would like to know the actual names of the victims killed in this incident as well as the perpetrator's name, and I think many more readers would also prefer not to have this information redacted by well-meaning but shortsighted editors. 90% of the articles I examined contained all victim names and only 10% of the articles I examined failed to contain all victim names. There does not happen to be anything improper about including the victim names in this incident. This is not tabloid journalism. There is nothing tawdry about the inclusion of this information. There is nothing secretive about this information. Inclusion of these names does not run afoul of any Wikipedia policy. WP:MEMORIAL does not apply to content within articles; WP:MEMORIAL concerns itself with article-creation. Furthermore the bare inclusion of a name would constitute the most minimal form of memorialization—therefore hardly an egregious sin in an article purporting to be informational. The names of the deceased constitute information that is entirely pertinent to this article and fall clearly within the scope of this article and therefore should be included. Bus stop (talk) 20:38, 23 February 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) SMcCandlish—a little bit more has to be said. You say "A compromise position is also possible: Put them in a footnote for the sake of completeness + sensitivity to relevance, instead of in the main body prose. Make a template for it, even." Please explain to me how on the one hand we can say that the inclusion of the names constitutes memorialization and on the other hand say that the inclusion of the names in the body of the article is somehow at odds with issues of "sensitivity". Wouldn't it be one way or the other? Memorialization is something that is done with sensitivity; that is the only way it is done. As I touched upon in my first post, immediately above, the mere mention of the name of a decedent is the most minimal form of memorialization. Policy actually does not say that we can't memorialize the deceased. It simply is not done. It is not in our DNA to wax eloquent and sentimentally about a decedent. Doing so would be anathema to the Wikipedia culture. I looked at many of these articles. I did not see one instance of anything I could consider memorialization. Everybody who edits Wikipedia knows better than to attempt to introduce a eulogy into an article on a tragic incident such as this one. In all instances the information on the deceased is limited to a few rudimentary facts: name, age, gender, occupation, home town. This is not excessive as concerns memorialization and I don't think this runs counter to issues of sensitivity. Bus stop (talk) 00:23, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Everything factual "conveys information", and we have WP:NOT#INDISCRIMINATE policy to address this. "It's verifiable" doesn't equate to "it must be included". I am "open-minded" about it; I am considering that there's perhaps just enough expectation of inclusion that some kind of templated footnote is the best solution, so the information can be found if someone really wants it, but is not in mid-article as a pile of clutter that is useless to 99.99% of readers. There's also the argument many have advanced that it's actually better to link to an article at some other site that has this information; it's going to a be a very rare case that no online source can be found (and archived at Wayback Machine), so for almost every case such an "External links" entry obviates any need for WP itself to maintain the list.

PS: Your view that MEMORIAL cannot pertain to in-article content is not borne out; it is routinely cited and acted upon to remove content and to cause revision to the tone of content. It may not focus on this, but there is no question at all that the community accepts the broader interpretation. That whole section of WP:NOT (more often cited as WP:NOTWEBHOST) is in fact not constrained even in its explicit wording to the whole-page level, anyway, but also addresses in-page content (e.g., in its discussion of what is not permissible in userspace). You're mistaking an example of the kind of content WP doesn't want for a rule about what form it must take before we don't want it. See also WP:WIKILAWYER and various other pages (GAMING, POLICY, etc.) on bending policy interpretation to try to reach conclusions, on the basis of nit-picking over wording technicalities, that were clearly not the actual intent.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:12, 24 February 2019 (UTC)

SMcCandlish—you do not know that the names of the victims are "useless to 99.99% of readers". The names of the victims are squarely within the scope of the article. That is the basic argument for their inclusion. Plus the fact that there are no reasons for omitting this information. I did not argue that "It's verifiable". I would never make that argument; it goes without saying that a prerequisite to including such information is that it be verifiable. Bus stop (talk) 00:55, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
There's a fairly simple test to quantify usefulness to readers as it pertains to our purpose in relaying them information. Just check each source we already rely on to discriminate for us (starting at NBC Chicago and ending on NPR) to see whether they (the editors and reporters, not the specific linked articles) think "who" is fit to print. Divide the ones that do by the total, multiply it by one hundred and add an "%" on the end, eliminating all subjective doubt. InedibleHulk (talk) 01:19, February 24, 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) And don't get hung up on "99.99%"; it's common tongue-in-cheek hyperbole for "the vast majority". We do in fact know that the vast majority of these sorts of articles do not need a list of victim names and that people do not come here looking for them, because various such articles do not have these lists, and continue for years to not have them, without frequent complaint, often without any complaint whatsoever (other than internally generated by editors, not readers, on a warpath to get their one true way in these articles). When readers are convinced that an article is sorely lacking they say so or they fix it themselves (it's how most of us ever became editors in the first place).

Separately, I'm intrigued by InedibleHulk's idea, though it will actually tell us what news publishers think news readers in a particular market want to see when the news is fresh, which isn't exactly equivalent to what global-encyclopedia readers want to see years later. And as I indicated above, the more local the news coverage is (to the event's locus or to places of residence of one or more victims) the more likely it is to include names and other personal details of victims because of local interest (greatly increased likelihood that this publication's readers knew a victim, or know a family member, or frequented a have business the victim owned, or whatever). It's common for smaller-distribution newspapers to publish obituaries of alumni of the local high school even if they haven't lived in that town for decades. Still, an analysis of how major national newspapers treat such events would be informative.

PS: There's also a scale issue we don't talk about much or at all: It's much more sensible to include the names of three victims of a mass shooting that barely qualifies as one, than to list all the victims of the September 11 Attacks, to pick some opposite-extremes examples. This actually makes it really, really clear why NOT:MEMORIAL is pertinent: we have real-world memorials for "big bunch o' deaths" incidents, carefully researched by committees for creation of such memorials. They are doing a very different job and serving a very different purpose from an encyclopedia's. The passage of time also makes it clearer and clearer why name lists are not encyclopedic; for example, Saint Patrick's Battalion could easily provide a list of names (they're well documented, as least as to known members), at least of those who were executed by the US Army (an action questionably legal under then-extant international agreements about courts martial, etc.). But our article does not do that, and no one appears to consider it a problem.
 — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:16, 24 February 2019 (UTC)

The link idea makes perfect sense, and I've added it.[2]Mandruss  01:07, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
We should probably do that at all such articles, even those with such lists in them (since our own lists need sourcing anyway).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  03:16, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
SMcCandlish and Mandruss—the article at the moment contains gender, age, and occupation for the 5 deceased victims. I have a question for both of you as well as anyone else who cares to weigh in. How does gender, age, and occupation add to reader understanding of the event in a way that the name of the victim does not? Bus stop (talk) 13:26, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Easy. Gender, age, and occupation are descriptive of the person. Name is an arbitrary label. Something tells me that answer won't satisfy you. ―Mandruss  13:29, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Satisfies me. O3000 (talk) 13:33, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't think you really addressed the question I was getting at. Please let me rephrase the question. How does gender, age, and occupation add to reader understanding of the event? Bus stop (talk) 13:54, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
I was right. They describe the victims. Whether that's important enough for inclusion is open to discussion, and this is not that discussion, and I'm not the one who added them, but it clearly distinguishes them from names. ―Mandruss  14:04, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Mandruss—you wrote above "The criterion for inclusion of any information in the article is whether it adds to a reader's understanding of the event; these names do not and cannot." You are telling me that gender, age and occupation describe the person. But how does gender, age, and occupation add to reader understanding of the event? Bus stop (talk) 14:26, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
I would think age, gender, or occupation could be factors in victims of a multiple shooting. Names generally wouldn’t be. O3000 (talk) 14:39, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Objective3000—you say "I would think age, gender, or occupation could be factors in victims of a multiple shooting". But are they factors in this shooting? Bus stop (talk) 14:59, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Position and gender are often relevant elements in workplace shootings and therefore are often of interest to readers as possible motivating factors, or in eliminating such. I don’t mean to be insensitive to survivors; but names are usually arbitrary in nature. O3000 (talk) 16:14, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Do you have a source that supports that position and gender have some sort of applicability in this incident? Bus stop (talk) 16:19, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, since the people he killed were in his termination meeting; it appears position was related. More likely than names. In any case, I think it's of interest to readers as possibilities. Just my opinion on content. O3000 (talk) 16:31, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
"I think it's of interest to readers". And I think the names of the deceased are of interest to readers. Plus the fact that in nine-out-of-ten similar articles (by my estimation—see here) the names of the deceased are included. This is not counting articles where the number of decedents is so large that including the names would be impractical. Bus stop (talk) 16:43, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
I've given the best answer I know how. If you can't see how understanding is improved slightly by knowing those things about the victims, I can't help you. ―Mandruss  14:42, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Mandruss—you are saying that gender, age, and occupation are descriptive of a person but what you are not saying is how this adds to reader understanding of this event. You are not touching that question with a ten foot pole. Bus stop (talk) 14:59, 24 February 2019 (UTC)
Re: "Gender, age, and occupation are descriptive of the person" – Doesn't work for me. These are trivial details that don't pertain to encyclopedic coverage of the event. That would be different if someone were specifically targeting women, children, doctors, etc., but it's completely irrelevant, at an encyclopedia level, when the victims are random. Then again, so are their names. I wouldn't object to such info being included if we shunted the name list to a footnote, but if the argument is to include the name list in the main article body, then including this other clap-trap actually makes the argument to do so much weaker.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:46, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: How do you know what the "event" is? You are referring to "encyclopedic coverage of the event". Why wouldn't the deaths of Clayton Parks, Josh Pinkard, Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez, and Trevor Wehner be part of the "event"? I can hear your argument that they were shot "randomly" but I don't think that eclipses the snuffing out of their lives. Death is a significant event whether random or not and considerable support is easily found in reliable sources for the ending of their lives in an incident of workplace violence. Sources do not exclusively describe the event from the perspective of Gary Martin, the perpetrator. Furthermore we are not glued to sources. Yes, we adhere to the findings of sources. But this can be taken to a ridiculous extreme. We are not in lockstep with sources. Nevertheless sources give ample support for the victims as part of this "event". Bus stop (talk) 15:07, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
About 62 million people a year die worldwide. O3000 (talk) 15:23, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
From where do you derive your understanding of the delineation of the event? You write above "Names do not help gain an understanding of the event." Bus stop (talk) 15:55, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
We know what the event is and how to interpret it because RS tell us (WP:NOR, WP:NPOV); same as with everything else. All this "I don't think that eclipses the snuffing out of their lives" sentimentalism is precisely why we have WP:NOT#MEMORIAL and WP:NOT#NEWS. WP is the place to summarize, very dispassionately, only those things of global encyclopedic interest. It is not any kind of place to hand-wring about tragedy and loss.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  18:03, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: You are mentioning our very important policy of WP:NOR. Is it your opinion that inclusion of the victim names constitutes original research? If not then why are you mentioning WP:NOR? Bus stop (talk) 15:05, 27 February 2019 (UTC)
Obviously not. The OR problem is deciding on your own that a list of names, the individual names on it, and personal details pertaining to them (age, gender, occupation, etc.) are central to public perception and understanding of the event, when sources often indicate otherwise by generally omitting them. In particular, it's a form of WP:SYNTH, using undue weight on particular details to try to "steer" reader re-interpretation of the facts to reach a non-neutral conclusion that dwells on particular non-notable individuals and trivia about them (a "human-interest story" heartstrings approach), instead of dispassionate encyclopedic focus on broader societal impacts and concerns. It also entails elements of WP:COATRACKing, of trying to "rub-off" a level of WP:Notability of the event onto non-notable victims, to make them seems individually of more encyclopedic interest than they actually are. Notability does not transfer.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  04:15, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
@SMcCandlish: The victims are content within this article. No one is contemplating writing an article on one or more of the victims. "Notability guidelines do not apply to content within an article." The content that we are discussing—the victims—need not be notable. Bus stop (talk) 14:18, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
I decline to continue this circular argument with you. I have a solid policy (many policies) basis for my position; you do not. I have nothing further to say on it that I can think of.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  17:27, 28 February 2019 (UTC)
SMcCandlish—you are mentioning WP:SYNTH. Does WP:SYNTH apply here? No, it does not. This is what WP:SYNTH is: "Do not combine material from multiple sources to reach or imply a conclusion not explicitly stated by any of the sources." Are we combining material from multiple sources to reach a conclusion not supported by any of the sources? Bus stop (talk) 09:10, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
The results of the simple test McCandlish was earlier somewhat intrigued by came back from the lab. Fourteen of fourteen reliable sources here include the victim names. That's roughly 100%, the same glaring normality found when screening for the company name, shooter name, town name and month name. This suggests we should either follow suit or begin trimming our schmaltzy memories of lurid excessive crap like "February 15". InedibleHulk (talk) 15:51, March 4, 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary section break[edit]

  • They... they, already contributed to this article. In which universe is that canvassing? And do we need the talk page semi-protected too? —Locke Coletc 07:42, 26 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Looks like not a consensus, not progressing closer, and very much not favoring a general principle on the topic. Hat it as done. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 00:49, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
  • User:Bus Stop this RFC is pretty well done, hat it and move on. I think I was generally clear in my input that the RFC had not stated a reason to do so let alone at what seems a high placement and large portion of the article. (Second section and about 20% of the content lines.). But I think you are asking about that I later pointed out that the most prominent articles by google order of major news readership did NOT include names - USAToday, ChicagoTribune, NYT, CNN, Reuters. A publisher with many articles does seem to have at least one article with names but it’s just an infrequent occurrence and not given much space even in those cases. So the proposed list also seems UNDUE quantity of text and prominence of placement. I’d say the amount in external coverage generally indicates there should not be a victims section at all, or that to be consistent with external prominence it should be about 4th or 5th section and less than 5% of the content. And not include a list. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 19:11, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
  • @Markbassett: The argument was made that there were no international sources listing the victim names but clearly there are international sources providing this information. A cursory search turned up 3 international sources and I mention those 3 sources in my previous post. I would guess there are many more international sources providing information on the identities of the victims. But the Wall Street Journal, the BBC, and the Guardian are good enough for our purposes. By the way, our article says "The Wall Street Journal is a U.S. business-focused, English-language international daily newspaper based in New York City." (Just in case you doubted the veracity of its international status.)

    This argument pertaining to local versus international coverage seems to have been presented by one editor. These are the instances in which they made such an argument:

    *if no one died but random people with no non-local news coverage other than having been killed"

    *local media often go right down to "Long-term resident Jane Smith (neé Garcia) of Serkajian Blvd., was killed in a mass-shooting on Thursday while visiting Detroit. She is survived by her mother, Janet Garcia, the proprietor of Hair by Janet on 43rd Street, and ...". This privacy angle is just super-mega-ultra-weak, sorry.

    * Even a international or national-level news article would most often omit this material; it's mostly local to state/province/county coverage that is going to include it, because there's a reasonable likelihood that some readers will have a connection to the deceased or their families. When reading of a train wreck in Indonesia, or a terrorist-bombing Munich (or Virginia), the average en.wp reader is not going to have any reason to care about the victim names; we do not have national much less local editions.

    I only just looked, today, or else I would have responded sooner.

    The BBC even uses list form, which is the form I think we should be using. The BBC writes

    "Who are the victims?"

    "Police named the five as:"

    "Russell Beyer from Yorkville, Illinois"

    "Vicente Juarez from Oswego, Illinois"

    "Clayton Parks of Elgin, Illinois, the human resources manager"

    "Josh Pinkard from Oswego, the plant manager"

    "Trevor Wehner, a 21-year-old student at Northern Illinois University and a human resources intern on his first day at Henry Pratt"

    "Three of the victims died in the room where the suspect's termination from his job was being announced, a fourth close by and the fifth on another floor."

    The Guardian, also a British publication, uses prose form, writing:

    In a press conference, Aurora police chief Kristen Ziman said Clayton Parks, Trevor Wehner, Russell Beyer, Vicente Juarez and Josh Pinkard – all employees of the Henry Pratt Company, where the shooting occurred – were killed.Parks was a human resources manager while Wehner was an HR intern. Pinkard was a plant manager, Beyer a mold operator, and Juarez a stock room attendant and forklift operator. Bus stop (talk) 20:52, 2 March 2019 (UTC)

  • No idea why this pinged me - I had seen BBC articles, both with and without naming victims, and while there was not this specification of proposed structure before, I don’t think it changes the RFC status. Looks like not a consensus, not progressing closer, and very much not wanting a general principle on the topic. Hat it, it’s done. Over & out. Cheers Markbassett (talk) 23:58, 2 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Markbassett—I'm not pinging you this time, but you should just concede that the material under discussion is adequately sourced. It is clearly on-topic. Either that or you should simply present a reason—any good reason—this material should be omitted from this article.

    I can only go by what you have said already—that "most coverage seems to NOT name the victims". Haven't I shown you an abundance of sources that do name the victims—including "international" sources? As I have already asked you—would it be your understanding that information only warrants inclusion in an article if a sufficient number of sources contain that information? And I followed that up with another tough question—what would that sufficient number of sources be?

    Rather than engage in any kind of dialogue you seem only interested in winning. The most interesting thing for me at this point would be to hear an actual heartfelt reason that you feel this information should be left out of the article. 90% of similar articles do not omit some form of victim identification. I have listed 190 articles here that include victim identification. I examined well over 200. Please tell me, at this article, why you feel that the identities of the victims don't warrant inclusion.

    Writing an article isn't about getting your way. It is about dialogue when there are disagreements. And it is about compiling well-sourced and on-topic information. Please consider just conceding that in the best interests of the reader, the names of the victims should be included in this article, plus rudimentary other details about their identities. Wikipedia should be adhering to reliable sources. That means including that which is widely reported in the best quality sources. Bus stop (talk) 01:08, 3 March 2019 (UTC)

  • I agree, from the arguments above it's clear there's no reason to exclude the victim list. We also have a strong and lengthy tradition of this, so it should be clear to any editor that while it's clear some editors object, they don't really have a good reason for it. It's unfortunate that so many people misread WP:NOTMEMORIAL to say what they want it to say rather than what it actually says. —Locke Coletc 20:58, 3 March 2019 (UTC)
  • WP:NOTMEMORIAL (like all the content in WP:NOT) unequivocally applies to all article content, including lists of names like these. It is 100% relevant here (as you admitted at the start), and I'm baffled that you've managed to somehow convince yourself otherwise - the applicability of WP:NOT to all article content is central to the understanding of the policy. --Aquillion (talk) 00:50, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • WP:NOTMEMORIAL: Memorials. Subjects of encyclopedia articles must satisfy Wikipedia's notability requirements. Wikipedia is not the place to memorialize deceased friends, relatives, acquaintances, or others who do not meet such requirements.. {{ping}} me when you can show me where it says all content, and not just entire articles. —Locke Coletc 05:32, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • And by trying to put the names in this article, you are trying to make them some of its subjects; it says "subjects", not "topics". This is straightforward. --Aquillion (talk) 16:24, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Aquillion—the terminology "Subjects of encyclopedia articles" is virtually synonymous with "titles of articles". How do we indicate the subject of an article? We do so by the title as well as by the lede. In this case the lede reads "On February 15, 2019, a mass shooting took place at Henry Pratt Company in Aurora, Illinois. Six people including the perpetrator died and six others were injured." Bus stop (talk) 16:33, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • I agree, from the arguments above it's clear there's no reason to exclude the victim list. None of us gets to play judge as to the relative strength of opponents' arguments, for obvious reasons (ever met an editor who didn't think their position was the strongest?). If you are thinking of adding names without an uninvolved close assessing a consensus to do so (again), I would advise against it; you've already received one block at this article. If you want to request a close at WP:ANRFC, I don't object; I think this has fairly well played out. But the only way to avoid a formal close is to agree that there is no consensus to include, based on numbers alone; i.e. it takes an uninvolved closer to close against the numbers (and even that almost never happens). ―Mandruss  01:34, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Aquillion—I think WP:MEMORIAL is irrelevant to this discussion. I think you've been grasping at straws by citing that particular policy. WP:MEMORIAL is about subjects of articles. We are not contemplating the starting of a new article on any of the victims. We are discussing content in this article. The victims are content within this article. As content, they need not be notable. "Notability guidelines do not apply to content within an article."

    Additionally, if WP:MEMORIAL applied to article content, the mere mention of a name and other rudimentary facts would not constitute memorialization. We don't engage in sentimentalizing anywhere on Wikipedia and we are not engaging in sentimentalization here. I don't think it is in our DNA to "memorialize". This is strictly content within the subject area of an article. The aim is to write a complete article as opposed to an article that is missing relevant information.

    This is not an article on Workplace violence or Mass shootings. Articles such as those take a more distant view of these sorts of incidents. At this article we are not trying to draw conclusions about causes unless our sources suggest theories specific to this incident—and such theories are in short supply. It would be an understatement to say that these sorts of incidents are very baffling. Our purpose in this article tends to be simple and direct. Our purpose involves mostly the stating of applicable facts. And we don't deliberately omit relevant material.

    In any event, it is the constellation of specific details that give that event an identity distinct even from similar events. The names of the victims are one such specific detail. In this article we are trying to provide the reader with a resource on this specific incident. Sources of impeccable quality, too numerous to mention, provide information about the victims, therefore I think we should too. Bus stop (talk) 03:56, 4 March 2019 (UTC)

  • As I said to Aquillion further above, WP:NOTMEMORIAL is irrelevant here. Full stop, end of sentence. Omitting the names puts the article in violation of WP:NPOV (giving WP:UNDUE weight to the assailant over the victims in the event), which is simply untenable as a local consensus cannot override a global policy. If it was a simple vote count, I'd agree: but so far the majority of those opposing are doing so using faulty logic and ignoring the 90% precedent of other, similar articles. —Locke Coletc 05:32, 4 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. We have six victims here - so a listing or naming them does not result in a long unmanageable list (so this doesn't fail NOTMEMORIAL). It does add to the reader's understanding of the event and furthermore helps editors in locating additional coverage on the event via the victim names. Were the list much longer, then I possibly would have !voted otherwise, but in this case we are talking about six entries in a list or 2-3 sentences - which pass WP:V. Icewhiz (talk) 14:09, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
A point I would make is that "memorialization" can be coincident with providing valid information. "Memorialization" can overlap with good information. We wouldn't throw out good information on the strength of an argument that the information constitutes "memorialization". Bus stop (talk) 21:50, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - This has been discussed many, many times. Every time it is brought up WP:NOTMEMORIAL is invoked, but WP:NOTMEMORIAL refers to the subject of the article itself, not to the content of the article. When describing a murderer's actions, where reliable sources tend to name the victims, the victim's names are clearly a notable part of the story and should be included because reliable sources treat it as such. To do otherwise is to editorialise based on subjective criteria independent of what is supported by reliable sources. Moreover, look at what the effect on the page of exclusion of the names of victims has - the section where the victims would be named has become "The five victims fatally shot were male workers at the Henry Pratt plant: a 32-year-old human resources manager, a 37-year-old plant manager,[9] a 46-year-old mold operator, a 55-year-old stock room attendant and forklift operator, and a 21-year-old student of Northern Illinois University on his first day as a human resources intern". So it's OK to give ages, occupations, gender - but not names? FOARP (talk) 22:45, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
    @FOARP: As stated previously, ages, occupations, and genders are descriptive of the victims while names are arbitrary labels. And, whether you agree or disagree with the privacy argument—NOTMEMORIAL is far from the only aspect of Oppose arguments as you appear to believe—there is clearly no privacy issue around ages, occupations, or genders; there is no way for a reader to derive identity from that information. ―Mandruss  23:26, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
    No, names are not "arbitrary labels". The names are specific to the incident that took place on February 15, 2019 at the Henry Pratt Company. We are writing an article about what transpired at the Henry Pratt Company on February 15, 2019. Why should we omit the names? Bus stop (talk) 23:56, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
    Why should we omit the names? See Oppose !votes and prior discussion. ―Mandruss  00:01, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
    I am well aware of the supposed reasons given. One reason notes that inclusion of the victims' names fails to enhance the reader's understanding of what transpired. But it is not really a reason. We do not weed through facts to see if they enhance the reader's understanding of an event. We are not omniscient. We supply applicable facts, not facts that enhance a reader's understanding of an event. If a reader wants to know the names of the deceased individuals, our omission of that information does not enhance anything. Omitting information that is entirely relevant only makes an article deficient in that information. It accomplishes nothing else. Bus stop (talk) 00:12, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
"We do not weed through facts to see if they enhance the reader's understanding..."
Sure we do. If we included everything on the basis that it was verifiable and factual, then we wouldn't have WP:VNOTSUFF. We weed out information that's deemed extraneous or non-beneficial all the time, and "enhancing a reader's understanding of an event" can be one factor in determining relevance. Considering the number of times this discussion pops up and gets punted to a case-by-case RfC, name relevancy in events like this isn't as obvious as your tone implies.
"...omission of that information does not enhance anything"
Spinning it around doesn't really work here. If a detail fails to enhance an article, it doesn't necessarily mean that an article is better off without it. Something with little or no impact may simply fall short of the threshold for inclusion. As an article expands, details are being added, so by default, they are not there. That's why we are speaking on the merits of inclusion, and not on the merits of omission. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:32, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
We don't decide what is and isn't relevant based on purely subjective criteria. We rely on reliable sources to tell us what is and is not relevant. Reliable sources tell us the names are relevant by using them. The names are relevant because they tell you who was killed in the same way the occupations and ages do. In a racially-motivated killing they may communicate something about the ethnicity of those killed, similarly in a crime targeting people of a specific gender, they can communicate the gender of those killed, even if the sources omit to state that the attacks did target a particular group or that the people killed belonged to that group. Even in this case the reader may understand something about the nature of the crime simply by the lack of anything in the names to indicate that they belong to a specific ethnic minority. FOARP (talk) 05:25, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
You're right, we don't. Our decisions are based on both objective and subjective criteria, and it's no surprise we end up in debates like this quite often. Keep in mind that an assessment of reliable sources is more than simply tallying the number of hits. We also take the source type into account (primary, secondary and tertiary). Media coverage of current events is mostly primary, often bloated with details that are unlikely to remain significant over time. Per WP:RECENTISM, we don't necessarily need to wait for secondary sources to tell us what to filter. Some of it can be done proactively, as we are entrusted to use good editorial judgment and common sense, and expected to reach for the discussion stick when it's not obvious. I do agree that targeted victims have more leverage when coverage in sources confirms they were targeted. However, I don't subscribe to the extreme that we should always include names under the guise of "just in case" for the reader. --GoneIn60 (talk) 07:26, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
GoneIn60—how would omitting the victim names benefit the reader? Bus stop (talk) 13:18, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
You can see my "mixed" !vote I posted above this discussion section to see how I feel about this specific instance. You can also read my last couple responses to see why this isn't about defending omission. The onus to obtain consensus falls on the editor(s) advocating inclusion, not the other way around. --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:13, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
I'm aware of your "mixed" !vote. You favor a distinction between "targeted" victims and "random" victims. But do sources make that distinction? Bus stop (talk) 14:53, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
I do favor a distinction, but ultimately it's not enough for me. If secondary, academic sources writing about the subject months or years later mention the names consistently, then I would certainly take that into consideration. Unfortunately, we don't have any to really look at here. --GoneIn60 (talk) 03:44, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
I have to admit I have always found the 'targeted' v 'random' distinction somewhat unconvincing, since the killer was not simply pointing their gun in any direction and firing it but clearly aiming at their victims. However, in this particular case, there is a very clear case of targeting even in the sense that the victims belonged to a group of people that the killer had animus against - specifically they were people involved in terminating his employment. FOARP (talk) 08:25, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this is a clear case of targeting, at least for three of the five victims. --GoneIn60 (talk) 09:22, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Anything relevant as to targeting can be fully explained without naming the target, and the name would add nothing to the reader's understanding of the targeting. All the name would do is infringe the privacy of the dead individual, their family, and their family's descendants, without their consent, presumably for as long as Wikipedia exists. This is in line with the spirit of WP:BLPNAME and so can't be characterized as a WP:RIGHTGREATWRONGS or WP:JUSTDONTLIKEIT argument. ―Mandruss  09:25, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Mandruss—the "spirit of WP:BLPNAME" is that "when the name of a private individual has not been widely disseminated or has been intentionally concealed, such as in certain court cases or occupations" we should omit it. But the information on the deceased, including their names, has been "widely disseminated".

It should be noted that memorialization and WP:BLPNAME serve different purposes and those different purposes are almost mutually exclusive. One does not memorialize at the same time that one infringes on privacy. Bus stop (talk) 13:39, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

No, that's the letter of BLPNAME. In my view the spirit of BLPNAME is: "Don't name a person who is not a public figure unless (1) naming them adds to reader understanding or (2) they have otherwise sought publicity or waived their right to personal privacy."
But if you want to quote BLPNAME, let's quote this part too: When deciding whether to include a name, its publication in secondary sources other than news media, such as scholarly journals or the work of recognized experts, should be afforded greater weight than the brief appearance of names in news stories. Consider whether the inclusion of names of living private individuals who are not directly involved in an article's topic adds significant value. While it says "living", I reject the notion that a person loses his right to privacy when he is killed, and his living family's privacy is not insignificant.
Given that a name cannot add to reader understanding of the event—for example, my understanding of the Columbine event is not lessened one iota because I can't remember any of the names of the dead—the only conceivable reasons for victims' names are (1) to personalize them, giving them weight closer to that afforded the killer, or (2) to serve as a permanent memorial to them, no different from a stone memorial marker at the site of the event—both contrary to Wikipedia principles and/or policy.
This is not a debate that can be won, and it's past time we agreed to disagree. ―Mandruss  22:22, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
Mandruss—how would the omission of the victim names from this article benefit the reader versus the inclusion in this article of the victim names? Bus stop (talk) 22:47, 14 March 2019 (UTC)
As has been pointed out to you multiple times, Wikipedia needs a valid reason to include content, not omit it; the default is omit. Therefore that is not a legitimate question to ask.
(You know, you don't have to start a reply with my username when it's obvious who you're addressing. If context is not enough, the fact that you indent one additional level indicates you are replying to me, per WP:THREAD.) ―Mandruss  23:03, 14 March 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── We have ample reason to include the victim names just as we have ample reason to mention that the shooting took place in Aurora, Illinois on February 15, 2019 at 1:30 pm at the Henry Pratt Company and that the perpetrator was Gary Martin and that six people were killed, including the perpetrator. This is all information that falls squarely and solidly within the scope of the article.

90% of similar articles include information on decedents, including names. Do you think that this sort of information should be removed from Stoneman Douglas High School shooting or Pittsburgh synagogue shooting? It is standard to include victim names and ages. See also 2016 Oakland warehouse fire.

I favor the inclusion of information unless there is a good reason to omit information. Our role is to supply an abundance of verified, on-topic information for the reader. Our articles should be complete to whatever extent possible. There has to be a good reason to omit on-topic information. I don't think the reader benefits from omitting this information. Bus stop (talk) 00:42, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

At some point, you need to drop the stick and find more fertile ground. Make use of your talents elsewhere. O3000 (talk) 00:57, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Do you think that this sort of information should be removed from Stoneman Douglas High School shooting or Pittsburgh synagogue shooting? I think that goes without saying—the situation there is no different than here—which is not to say that I intend to propose that anytime soon. Both result from local discussion (although the Stoneman Douglas result was "no consensus" and so would have been an omit if a couple of editors had not edit-warred to include the list prior to the start of that RfC). But your precedent argument has already been made and countered by multiple editors, so it's entirely circular to keep mentioning it again and again. As I've tried to impress upon you to deaf ears, circular and repetitive discussion is not only unconstructive but actually impedes other discussion that might actually be useful, and reduces the chances of new arrivals reading much prior discussion. Never mind the sheer amount of text, now approaching 19,000 words, who wants to spend their limited time reading the same arguments over and over?
I favor the inclusion of information unless there is a good reason to omit information. Which is directly counter to a fundamental Wikipedia principle—as I previously said (see also WP:IDHT). ―Mandruss  01:08, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
I've asked you a simple question at 22:47, 14 March—"how would the omission of the victim names from this article benefit the reader versus the inclusion in this article of the victim names?" Your response was that it "is not a legitimate question to ask." Now you are talking about "circular and repetitive discussion". Do you not see that I am having a difficult time engaging you in straightforward dialogue? On previous days, perhaps on other pages, you have more than once told me it is not your responsibility to WP:SATISFY me. This is a Talk page. Its purpose is improving an article. But you seem averse to plain and simple and on-topic discussion.

And by the way, I'd rather not be talking about you or me or any other editor. But you are persistently referencing me, as if I were the topic of conversation. Am I exhibiting bad behavior? Gee—I guess one can't try hard enough. Even normalcy is construed as bad behavior. You tell me not to ping you. Fine—I don't ping you. You even tell me not to address you by your Username. You wrote "You know, you don't have to start a reply with my username when it's obvious who you're addressing." What will be next? Will you soon be telling me not to debate the question that we are debating? If someone else posts after your post it might not be clear who I was addressing. I haven't read in policy that one should not address another editor by their Username. But I will certainly comply with your request. I will not address you by your Username again. Bus stop (talk) 01:52, 15 March 2019 (UTC)

Am I exhibiting bad behavior? Absolutely. You persistently abuse article talk pages and I find that offensive. (Please, please don't ask me "How do I abuse article talk pages?", a question already answered more times than I can count, including just above.) I can't think of a single other editor with your amount of experience who does that, or at least to that degree. You seem simply unable to agree to disagree, with no sense of when further debate would almost certainly be fruitless, and that's important in all Wikipedia discussions.
I have NOT told you not to ping me, I told you not to ping me with inane questions [that have nothing to do with the issue at hand and contribute exactly nothing to an already-unconstructive circular discussion.][3]
I have NOT told you not to address me by my username, I merely pointed out that it's unnecessary.[4] It might help if you actually read what others wrote and refrained from misconstruing their comments with your own negative interpretations. I'll let you have the last word since that seems important to you, and then I'll collapse today's off-topic. ―Mandruss  02:22, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
You are bringing these debates to article after article. You even say this above, in reference to the articles containing victim lists that I mention immediately above. Correct me if I am wrong but it is your present mission to go from article to eligible article to object to the inclusion of victim lists. You will notice that I am not doing this. I am not going from eligible article to eligible article endeavoring to include victim lists. I have joined these discussions after they were well underway. Correct me if I am wrong but haven't you been instrumental in spearheading the initiative to omit victim lists? And you don't engage in dialogue. That is what a Talk page is for—dialogue. When I pose a difficult question to you, you typically deflect the question. This is frustrating. I wish to engage with you in straightforward dialogue without carping about one another's perceived personal flaws. But this is very difficult for me to bring about without your cooperation. I am unable to find anywhere you told me not to ping you aside from the playing around instance that you mention so I stand corrected. My apologies. Bus stop (talk) 02:55, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Off-topic collapsed by me at this point, which did not preclude further off-topic within the collapse.[5] The main point is to isolate the off-topic, not to stop it. ―Mandruss  17:12, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
I can count the number of victim name discussions I've engaged in during my tenure on Wikipedia easily on one hand, and I believe this is the first time you and I have encountered one another. With that in mind, the following is meant to be constructive in the sense that it's coming from a more objective point of view:
Some of the questions you've posed seem a bit snide, and self-proclaiming them "difficult" smells of arrogance. We all get that way in heated debates, but own it. No one's going to buy that it was a sincere attempt to engage in meaningful dialogue or move the discussion forward. It has been explained in multiple ways that inclusion, not omission, must be justified by those who support it. Per WP:ONUS, "The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content." There are three basic outcomes to any discussion: consensus for, consensus against, or no consensus. Only "consensus for" results in the disputed content's inclusion. Omission is the default.
When you state, "I favor the inclusion of information unless there is a good reason to omit..." or ask repeatedly "how would the omission of the victim names from this article benefit the reader", it leads me to believe you don't agree with or fully understand that portion of the Verifiability policy. When you pose these difficult questions of yours, you're essentially slapping this concept in the face. --GoneIn60 (talk) 05:24, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Collapse removed by Bus stop at this point.[6]Mandruss  17:12, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
GoneIn60—do you support the inclusion of the 5 victim names or do you oppose the inclusion of the 5 victim names? This RfC asks "Should the article include a list of the deceased victims' names?" I understand you !voted "Mixed", and you feel that only "targeted" individuals should be named and not "random" individuals. But perhaps you could weigh in with a more definitive articulation on where you stand on the RfC. Bus stop (talk) 06:21, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
The last post was meant to provide a little insight from an unbiased editor who doesn't have a horse in this race. Feel free to disregard, of course, but you might want to consider passing the mic to someone else. As for my !vote, it represents a neutral stance. My contribution here is essentially a comment. And if you read that comment again, I think you'll realize that I give "targeted" victims more leverage than "random" ones, but that additional leverage is still not enough for me to recommend inclusion. Although your assessment was inaccurate, hopefully this helps to alleviate any remaining confusion you might have. --GoneIn60 (talk) 07:26, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Have you come across any sources that mention by name "targeted" individuals but fail to mention by name "randomly chosen" victims? Bus stop (talk) 09:02, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
"There are three basic outcomes to any discussion: consensus for, consensus against, or no consensus. Only "consensus for" results in the disputed content's inclusion. Omission is the default." - Disagree as in this case, inclusion is the default when reliable sources show information to be supported and presented by reliable sources as relevant. The initial state of this page was that it included the names until they were deleted by Mandruss, so we are not defaulting back to the original position by defaulting to exclude this information. Alternatively you are punishing the proposer for phrasing their question positively ("should it include names?") rather than negatively ("should names be excluded?"), which seems ill thought out. Wikipedia does not, generally speaking, default to deleting information where there is no consensus to keeping it - for example, it is well established that in AFD discussions "No consensus" has the effect of keeping the page. FOARP (talk) 09:29, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@FOARP: You are correct that information can be included with proper sourcing at will, but when it is challenged, WP:ONUS comes into play. If the proposer fails to achieve consensus through discussion or some other form of dispute resolution, then the information is not added to the article. In other cases, such as when there is simply a disagreement with how content should be presented (not whether it should be included), then that's when a "no consensus" would retain the status quo. That doesn't apply in this situation. --GoneIn60 (talk) 13:47, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
The initial state of this page was that it included the names until they were deleted by Mandruss - Sorry, I'm not going to let that patently false statement stand. The initial state of this page was this.
Anyway, your theory contradicts WP:ONUS, part of a Wikipedia policy, which says, "The onus to achieve consensus for inclusion is on those seeking to include disputed content", not "The onus to achieve consensus for omission is on those seeking to omit disputed content." I shouldn't need to link to a bunch of past discussions where precisely that principle was applied. ―Mandruss  13:59, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@Bus stop: I don't have specific examples for this article, and every source currently cited is a primary source. Have you come across any secondary, academic sources in past discussions that demonstrate names are consistently mentioned long after the "breaking news" reporting period is over? Have you noticed a difference between targeted vs random, or is the number of victims a factor in how secondary sources treat that information? --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:03, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
@GoneIn60—in general we don't write our own articles. We write the articles that sources give to us. This is not our article. This is the sources' article. We adhere to sources. Bus stop (talk) 14:21, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
I wholeheartedly agree. That's why I've asked about how secondary, academic sources are presenting the information. --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:24, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
To the best of my knowledge there are no scholarly journals or similar type sources available at this time in relation to this incident. Bus stop (talk) 14:38, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
Since you've participated in past discussions for other articles, have any trends been identified previously that would lend some precedent to this article? --GoneIn60 (talk) 14:44, 15 March 2019 (UTC)
For the record I responded to this here. Bus stop (talk) 23:35, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

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