Talk:Darwin Awards/Archive1

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I think this page has been greatly outpaced by Darwin Award. Should this become a redirect page?

I take that back. =) However, I would have liked for it to be discussed before DavidLevinson redirected it.

Website ad or cultural phenomenon

I don't really think it's appropriate to make this article be worded like one particular site created the term and is the experts on them, as they just rode a wave that was already in creation. We can link to the site as a main example, but this article reads more like a promotional service for one site that claimed to be the official one instead of discussing the topic itself more evenly. DreamGuy 23:31, September 11, 2005 (UTC)

Agreed. It reads as if Ms. Northcutt wrote this page herself. 14:38, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree, just marked it probably not having a neutral point of view.

--Vincent 09:31, 24 March 2006 (UTC)

Nature vs nurture

I removed the reference to nature vs. nuture, because the way it was presented, it was logically wrong. It said that Darwin Awards must assume that genetics affect intelligence MORE than environment. This is wrong, as natural selection can still work as long as their is ANY variation in intelligence due to genetics. (and of course there is, if not, intelligence could not have evolved in the first place....still, though, I left the sentence about the assumption)

Robbrown 20:52, 2 February 2006 (UTC)

More men than women?

I've noticed that there are only few female Darwinists. Why is that? Maybe it's due to the reason, that nobody cares that much about the death of a female human and nobody records the cases of stupid female self-killing...

Or perhaps women just aren't stupid enough to win the award?
It's not never -- Wendy has several chapters of women Darwin Award winners.
Which are often the only females in the book. I say it's because most Darwin Award winners are often victims of testosterone poisoning.

Missing History?

I think that there must be a great deal of the history of the Darwin Awards missing from this entry. The first mention of the Awards in Google's Usenet archive is from August 1985 and implies that that they had been awarded in the past. Does anyone know where they started and what happened between 1985 and 1993?

If I recall correctly, the Darwin Awards initiated with the Naval Safety Center and Rear Admiral Dirren, its director. I know they were circulated during my time in the service through Naval Safety Center message traffic. You might contact the Naval Safety Center and attempt to confirm this. I do not know for a fact that Admiral Dirren was the first originator, but heard that he was. Hope this helps. ElectricJoe 04:32, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

What years were you in the navy? Greg 02:31, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
I tried to email Dirren, he didn't answer. Greg 21:20, 25 March 2006 (UTC)


Needs to be a section outlining the lack of verification in most Darwin Awards and the fact that most Darwin Awards are ficticious.

Er, which ones? In Wendy's books & on her website, she gives sources. Greg 03:26, 27 March 2006 (UTC)

And what about the unethical nature of the Darwin Awards? Somebody is making money through the celebration of human death and/or mutilation. Why is that so rarely mentioned?

Someone added an opinionated argument to the article about that subject. Because we have policies against "original research" and requiring verifiability, and because we must describe criticism neutrally I have removed it. What we need first is a source for that specific criticism -- a name to put behind it -- that is published somewhere besides Wikipedia. Then we can work on fixing the wording. Thanks. 21:28, 5 April 2006 (UTC)

Fine, have it your way. N. G. McClernan April 10, 2006

Whoever keeps putting this bit in - "However, it should be noted that people who could be easily manipulated or are gullible would be removed from the gene pool in nature, as they would end up falling victim to a clever deception made by a predator for the purposes of capturing prey."

That does NOT fall under the topic of "criticism" so stop putting it in there.

As far as the substance of what you said - if mass delusion and the manipulation of crowds was a genetic liability, humanity would be extinct by now. It's called "the banality of evil." Are you familiar with the concept? Here's the Wikipedia entry: banality of evil

In addition to the unethical nature of profiting from people's deaths, there's the fact that plenty of the stories are NOT examples of mental unfitness. One of the stories used in this Darwin Awards Wiki, about the lawyer and the window, is not even about stupidity, it's about plain misfortune:

(1996, Toronto) Police said a lawyer demonstrating the safety of windows in a downtown Toronto skyscraper crashed through a pane of glass with his shoulder and plunged twenty-four floors to his death. A police spokesman said Garry, thirty-nine, fell into the courtyard of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower as he was explaining the strength of the building's windows to visiting law students. Garry had previously conducted the demonstration of window strength without mishap, according to police reports. The managing partner of the law firm that employed the deceased told the Toronto Sun newspaper that Garry was "one of the best and brightest" members of the two-hundred-man association.[1]

So we see that the lawyer had previously demonstrated the window strength without mishap, so he had every reason to expect the same results. It could have happened to anyone, including "one of the best and brightest."

But in case you aren't sufficiently amused by the story, the Darwin Awards web page on which it is displayed has a little cartoon mocking the guy's death. And then there's the the cutesy title "Lawyer Aloft." Well I guess it's OK to laugh at a lawyer's tragic death. I wonder if his family thinks it's funny that the Darwin Awards thinks he's doing us a favor by dying at age 39.

What further proof does anybody need that the Darwin Awards are nothing more than laughing at others' misfortune? Too bad there isn't an award for callousness and shamelessness. N. G. McClernan April 10, 2006

-> Hahahaha!!!! Sorry but that thing the guy wrote is one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen in my life! And: "Who keeps putting this in?"... lol, and it's so ironic that he kept putting that in.. oh god... okay sorry, but that made my day/week/year. <- —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

On Above note what would you call the News Channels, Newspapers ect....most of what they talk about is Death, Crime ect in other words bad news yet no one complains about their ethics. Using your logic we could award them the award of callousness and shamelessness. I say we sould just drop it. Aeon 15:11, 12 April 2006 (UTC)

It's absolutely stunning that you don't understand the difference between reporting on a death and celebrating a death by proclaiming it an example of spectacular stupidity and a good thing because the deceased is doing us a favor by removing themselves from the gene pool. Do you really not understand the difference? N. G. McClernan April 10, 2006

No, the stunning thing is that you don't understand humor. Please stop removing criticism of your criticism, or, preferably, find some other article to vandalize. Greg 01:34, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

First off, your adding criticism of my critical remarks violates Wikipedia's policies, as described above:

"What we need first is a source for that specific criticism -- a name to put behind it -- that is published somewhere besides Wikipedia."

So actually you vandalized MY contribution.

Secondly - it's odd that fans of the Darwin Awards cannot tolerate criticism of the Darwin Awards. But of course if a person celebrates the death of strangers who never did them any harm, imagine the hatred that person must feel for a stranger who actually disagrees with them in a public forum.

Finally, as far as your claim that I don't understand humor: well I find the fact that you can't tolerate ANY critcism of the Darwin Awards incredibly funny.

But I think Al Franken said it best in his recent opening remarks about Ann Coulter's concept of 'humor':

Ann recently told an audience:
“We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee,” Coulter said. “That’s just a joke, for you in the media.”
Here’s my question. What’s the joke? Maybe it’s a prejudice from my days as a comedy writer, but I always thought the joke had to have an operative funny idea. I’ll give you an example of a joke.
Like they do every Saturday night, two elderly Jewish couples are going out to dinner. The guys are in front, the girls riding in back. Irv says to Sid, “Where should we go tonight?”
Sid says, “How about that place we went about a month ago. The Italian place with the great lasagna.”
Irv says, “I don’t remember it.”
Sid says, “The place with the great lasagna.”
Irv says, “I don’t remember. What’s the name of the place?”
Sid thinks. But can’t remember. “A flower. Gimme a flower.”
“Tulip?” Irv says.
“No, no. A different flower.”
“No, no. A basic flower.”
“No! Basic.”
That’s it! Sid turns to the back seat. “Rose. What was the name of that restaurant…?”
That’s a joke. What exactly is the joke in “We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens’ creme brulee?” Is it the crème brulee? Is that it? Because Stevens is some kind of Francophile or elitist? Is it the rat poison? See, I would have gone with Drano. I’m really trying here, Ann. Please, when you come up, explain the joke about murdering an associate justice of the Supreme Court. One who by the way, was appointed to the Supreme Court by Gerald Ford, and who, also, by the way, won a Bronze Star serving in the Navy in World War II. What is the joke? ‘Cause I don’t get it.

So tell me, Greg Lindhal, what is funny about somebody dying? A lawyer fell out a window and died. Did that just make you giggle? Explain the joke - 'cause I don't get it.

My beef isn't really with people laughing at an absurd incident that ends with death. My beef is with Wendy Northcutt turning it into a profitable industry, and publicizing the dead/dismembered person's name. You have a problem with that?

So what's the deal, Greg? Why can't I post a criticism of the Darwin Awards without you sticking your 2 cents in? Why are you so intolerant of my criticism that you have to stick your objection right into the "Criticism" section of the article, instead of just whining in this comment section? Is The Darwin Awards a sacred cow?

But what do you want, Greg? You want a Wikipedia flame war? Bring it on, suckah. N. G. McClernan April 13, 2006

And if Greg and Mikkalai don't stop vandalizing my "criticism" section of the Darwin Awards, I'm going to talk to the Wikipedia people about it.

Why are the Darwin Awards above criticism?

Why is your criticism above criticism? Go ahead and talk to the Wikipedia people about it, I suspect they'll think you're a nutcase. Greg 05:53, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

My criticism is within Wikipedia's parameters. Your vandalism is not.

You can criticize my remarks here - you can't keep putting crap in the Wikipedia article

But thanks for your permission - I will go to the Wikipedia people. You've already violated several of their guidelines, with your inflammatory comments and edit summaries.

  • * * *

Just as you wished, Greg, I emailed the people at Wikipedia and asked them to check into your vandalism and inflammatory comments. Hopefully they'll do something about your violations of their rules.

FYI, your claim that the Darwin Awards is "profit driven" doesn't square with Wendy's history: she edited the awards for 9 years before writing the first book. The content of the books are still available for free at Greg 06:16, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

If she didn't care about profit she would have stuck to the web site alone. Are you a friend of Wendy Northcutt's? Is that why you can't stand to see a criticism of the Darwin Awards?

As I mentioned a half-dozen times, I think you're a lunatic and at the least want to criticize your criticism. Do you think that if you repeat that I can't stand criticism enough times, that it will be true? Why can't you stand criticism of your criticism? Greg 06:28, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Do you think if you repeat that I'm a lunatic enough times that will make it so? Wikipedia is not about the opinions of Greg Lindahl, so get over yourself. I have every right to contribute to the Darwin Awards article, no matter what you think about me. My post abides by the Wikipedia rules. Your vandalism, removal of my contribution and insults do NOT abide by the Wikipedia rules.

I can stand criticism of my criticisms. Unfortunately you can't be bothered to argue in a reasonable fashion about my criticisms. Your tactic is to insult me and vandalize my contribution. Well, of course I did expect this. One doesn't expect sweet reason or consideration from Darwin Award obessives such as yourself.

If Wikipedia has any standards or integrity at all, they will agree that I have a right to contribute to this article. But why don't you create a site, and call it Lindahlipedia? You can be the king of that site. You ain't the king of Wikipedia.

Find an article, any article, criticizing the Darwin Awards. Then create a Criticism subsection which discusses that. Wikipedia isn't about your opinions about the Darwin Awards. If you hate them so much, please publish a real news article about why they are evil & then point to it. --Thalia42 06:49, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

I followed the rules of Wikipedia. I mentioned the Darwin Awards on my blog. I linked to that comment, and provided attribution. Why is that not acceptable? What constitutes a "real news article"?

Wikipedia is a source for factual information, not for publishing ideas or opinions. If you want to complain send an e-mail chain letter. MafiaCapo 14:47, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Resolving disputes

I suggest that you both read Wikipedia:Resolving disputes. From what I can see, you are both in violation of WP:3RR. It is time to tone down the personal insults, step back, and take some deep breaths. Ted 06:42, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Ted, I would be happy to restore the Darwin Awards page to include her criticism and the other items that were part of the criticism section. (She nuked them.) Greg 06:44, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Ted - I added a heading "Criticisms" - the meaning of which is clearly criticisms of the Darwin Awards. Greg's comments about my contribution do not fall under the category of criticism of the Darwin Awards. I don't know how he doesn't understand that. Furthermore, his comments were unattributed - which as I understand the Wikipedia rules, is not acceptable.

So, basically, no disagreement with her criticism. That squares with her deleting other people's comments... Greg 07:06, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Once again Greg - if there is a heading entitled "Criticisms" in an article about the Darwin Awards, clearly the content under that heading should be criticisms of the Darwin Awards. This has nothing to do with whether or not someone can disagree with my criticisms - and of course I've already said previously that I welcome reasoned criticisms in the discussion section here.

Posting anonymous remarks about my criticisms does not properly go under the category "Criticisms" of the Darwin Awards.

Now, seriously - do you not get that? Do you disagree with this common convention of reference entries? Do you seriously think that if the heading says "Criticisms" it means any old random comments, as long as they are critical of SOMETHING?

I disagree that a single external blog entry means you can put something in Wikipedia with no response. The average human being sees humor in the Darwin Awards -- the average human doesn't know what dehumanization is, and wouldn't care if they did know. NPOV applies to everything on Wikipedia - so how about including text other than your own writings in the criticism section? Greg 07:27, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
You (both) may want to read WP:NOR and WP:CIVIL. An encyclopedia is a compilation of experts. Attributing to experts is essential. If nothing else, it slows us down so we don't simply respond without thinking. For the most part, blogs entries are not considered experts (unless about blogs). Choosing experts in the field is important.
You should also sign your comments on this page by adding ~~~~. It helps to keep things straight. Ted 07:31, 13 April 2006 (UTC)
Attribution to an expert is not required for every statement in Wikipedia. Obvious, NPOV comments about Nancy's criticism don't seem to be things that need to be said by an expert, and attributed as such. Greg 07:39, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Who do you consider an "expert" on the ethical nature of the Darwin Awards. What exactly constitutes an expert? I think that the Darwin Awards are unethical and a type of dehumanization, and I will be glad to make a reasoned case for it. Is every single entry of Wikipedia the work of an "expert?" Nancymc 07:45, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

I have added nothing about expert opinion on the ethical nature of the Darwin Awards. You're so busy arguing that you don't seem to have read what other people actually said. Most people consider the Darwin Awards funny -- go ask the 1,000,000 buyers of the books -- and the website was available for 9 years before the books, and all of the book content is on the website AVAILABLE FOR FREE. None of these statements are controversial, and these are pretty cogent comments on your criticism. Greg 07:51, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Greg, I'm not interested in what "most people" think of the Darwin Awards. Ethics isn't a popularity contest. In any case, I have nothing more to say to you - clearly we have no basis for agreement on anything - and you've questioned my sanity several times, so why should you care about what I have to say about anything?

All comments here on out are directed to Ted or anyone else with some Wikipedia arbitration or decision-making authority

On the wiki about postmodernism, Charles Murray, the "right wing American policy writer and researcher", according to Wikipedia is cited under criticisms of postmodernism. Is Charles Murray an expert on postmodernism? I don't think so. I'm a playwright, so I think that makes me at least as much an expert on the ethical nature of the Darwin Awards as Charles Murray is an expert on postmodernism. Or is notariety the basis for expertise? What level of notariety must I achieve before I am considered expert enough to be cited in a criticism section of the Darwin Awards? Does being mentioned in the New York Times count? Or do I have to have a Broadway production or win a Pulitzer?

I can create a web site examining the premises, practices and ethics of the Darwin Awards. Will that qualify me to add a section on criticisms of the Darwin Awards on Wikipedia?

If notariety counts, what about people like Katha Pollitt or Niles Eldredge? If I can cite them on the ethical nature of the Darwin Awards, is that sufficient? What about Maxine Margolis? She's a professor of anthropology - would her opinion of the Darwin Awards count? Nancymc

Yes, please do cite Niles Eldredge or Katha Pollitt, or a religious authority. I don't know you from Adam, so I don't know if you're an expert. Feel free to become one, however, and write something about the Darwin Awards.

Niles Eldredge and Katha Pollitt aren't necessarily experts on the Darwin Awards. But apparently as far as Wikipedia is concerned, all you have to do is be famous to opine on any subject at all.

And I don't consider a "religious authority" to be a likely candidate for ethics discussions. That fact that none of them have said word one about the Darwin awards tells you all you need to know about their cowardice. Plus, most of them are too busy trying to outlaw birth control, or shake their congregation down.

FYI, I did a Google search, and found nothing about the ethics of Darwin Awards in over a million hits discussing it.--Thalia42 21:23, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Why do you think I didn't cite anybody else on Darwin Awards ethics? But just because nobody else has criticized the Darwin Awards publicly - or nobody famous, which is the only people who count in Wikipedia apparently - doesn't mean that the point is invalid.

But don't you worry, I am working on an essay right now. If nobody else wants the job, I guess I'll have to become the foremost critic on the unethical nature of the Darwin Awards. I'm currently going over Hannah Arendt's "Eichmann in Jerusalem: a Report on the Banality of Evil" - I intend to make the case that banality of evil is well-illustrated by the mindset of the Darwin Awards - that barely submerged hatred covered with a smirk. The Nazis didn't create the dehumanization of the "other" in the average person's heart - they merely got it worked up and then channeled it for their own purposes.

When I'm done the essay I'll link to it from this the article. Nancymc

I agree criticism of the Darwin Awards in the article is welcome. I think I understand where you're coming from with your own criticisms. I don't think it would be appropriate to link your own offsite article to this article. Two of the primary problems I see with that are notability and vanity. Perhaps if you create a webpage criticizing DA and it achieves a certain popularity, it might become appropriate to link it, although even at that point it would be better for someone else to add the link than you.
You might be able to get a criticism of the DA published in a newspaper or a magazine as an op-ed piece.
I'm surprised the DA article doesn't link anywhere to Black comedy. I'll look later for a place to fit it in if nobody adds it before I do. Шизомби 06:05, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

What does that mean "certain popularity." Who determines that vague standard?

The new material I posted to the article - the "Criticisms and Ethical Considerations" makes it clear that Wendy Northcutt does get complaints. But obviously she isn't going to go out of her way to document them and report on them. Why should she do anything that harms her business? She must make excellent money from the Darwin Awards - not only has she sold millions of copies of the books - as it claims on the web site - she sells Darwin Awards-related merchandise and uses the site to get opportunities for herself:

Interviews and Events Want to interview Big Cheese Wendy? She's keen on radio, print, events, syndication, and the like. Please contact Wendy "Darwin" using this Contact Form.Press kit page

It's interesting that you never see a photo of Wendy Northcutt's entire face. Every photo I've ever seen has obscured the upper half of her face. What's that about? And notice that she's interested in radio and print, but not television. Has she upset so many people that she wants to be as unidentifiable as possible? Or maybe she does have a rudimentary sense of shame.

I've always despised the Darwin Awards, but the reason I'm paying more attention now than usual is because a liberal blogger has engaged Northcutt to participate in some seminar of his. I don't want liberals to be associated with, as the right-wing interviewer described it to Wendy, "making fun of tragedy." I associate that kind of heartless, uncompassionate attitude towards outsiders, strangers or the "inferior" with conservatives. I'd like it to stay that way.


I don't know the answers to your questions about the author, but WP's standard for websites is: Wikipedia:Notability (websites). The other thing I mentioned about is Wikipedia:Vanity. Шизомби 16:29, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

If I write a researched, verifiable analysis and reasoned critique of the Darwin Awards and post it online, and it's the only study of its kind in the world, that alone should qualify it for inclusion - as an external link if nothing else - to the Darwin Awards article. The argument of Lindahl on this comment thread, that the fact that positive public comments about the Darwin Awards outnumber negative renders the negative views invalid or irrelevant - or makes those who object to the Darwin Awards "kooks" - is wrong. And in fact, the popularity of the Darwin Awards is an important aspect of my critique.Nancymc

I'm not trying to give you a hard time, just mentioning the policies and guidelines WP has. Certainly Lindahl's comment, at least as you have paraphrased it, is incorrect. However, I think you are also incorrect about what would qualify your analysis for inclusion. I mentioned trying to publish your criticism as an op-ed, did you give that any consideration? That might qualify it.
In relatively little time I did find a criticism of the DA online, at jsm, "The Real Darwin Awards,", August 2, 2001. I leave it to others to decide whether it is worth quoting or linking. That I found one so easily leads me to believe that there may be other criticisms to be found, provided you hit upon the right search terms. You might also look for printed reviews of the book.
I don't think it's kooky to criticize the DA. I do think it a little odd to pick on the author for supposedly never having her whole face pictured or for not appearing on TV. The photo on your website doesn't show the right side and back of your head and I've never seen you on TV, but that doesn't mean anything. Шизомби 17:37, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

I almost believed you when you said you weren't trying to give me a hard time, but you blew it by claiming that I'm picking on the author for pointing out that her face is always obscured. Comparing that to the fact that there's a photo on my web site that isn't a full face shot of me is absurd. You can see my entire face, including my eyes - and if you Google my name you can find other photos showing my entire face. Wendy Northcutt, by contrast, is a famous public figure and yet I have never discovered a single photo of her where her face isn't partially covered by a hat.

Check out the Wikipedia entry for Wendy Northcutt to see what I mean. There are no photos of Wendy Northcutt online where you can see her eyes. That's pretty unusual, don't you think? What other million-copy-selling author do you know of whose face is never fully shown?

Feel free to prove me wrong. If you find a photo of Northcutt in which you can see her eyes, please let me know.

As far as my not adequately searching for DA criticism, I did dozens of Google searches without finding anything. What proof do I have that you found it "in relatively little time"?

But more importantly - this article is authored by "jsm" which makes him/her more obscure than even little old me. If Wikipedia considers the posting of my opinions in the article invalid, then this must be invalid too. But I'll put an external link to it in the article - maybe Wikipedia is OK with one obscure person citing another obscure person, they just can't cite themselves.

But I am glad you found this DA criticism, thanks for providing it. I think jsm is right on the money and recommend that everybody check out the site. I don't care if a criticism of the Darwin Awards uses my words or not - I just want SOME criticism to be represented. I only linked to my blog because I wasn't aware of any alternatives. I think it's important that an entry on the Darwin Awards includes the fact that some people find the commercial Darwin Awards a repugnant enterprise.Nancymc

UPDATE - I went back and read the article at more thoroughly and although the author makes excellent points, I wouldn't consider it the definitive critique of the Darwin Awards, and jsm's responses to his/her critics are very weak. But still, I am glad that somebody has articulated their distaste. Too bad I don't actually know who.

The critical remarks in response to the article are good examples of the hostility many DA lovers have for DA critics:

I really wish I had more time to spare here so I could write a decent review of your essay and tell you why you are wrong, but it appears several people have beaten me to it anyway.

Let me just say that you have completely failed to find the humor in the darwin awards, which, by the way, is satire.

From satire - A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

From the bits that I've read from the darwin awards, I'd have to say there is plenty of wit, derision, and irony to go along with the human vice and folly.

And on a personal note, you are a horrible monster and I pray for your death.
I wasn't singling you out for criticism for not finding criticism of DA online, that was directed at everybody here who denied it existed. What could it possibly matter to you how long it took me to find it, why would you bother questioning that? As you can see above, there was about an hour between the post in which I gave the WP links about notability and vanity and the one in which I gave the Adequacy link; I found it in a fraction of that time which was also spent on other things.

The time your search takes matters because I had already done Google searches using various keywords to try to discover critiques of the Darwin Awards. If you spent more time looking than I did that might account for why you found something I didn't. That's why it matters how long it took you to find the information.

I don't know who jsm is and I'm not familiar with Adequacy, but a search of the site or the net might turn up the full name. I was guessing jsm was a regular adequacy author or even the webmaster, but I could be wrong.

DO you really think you need to explain to me that a search of the site or the net might turn up the full name? I did look for more information about jsm. I only spent a few minutes on it though - if you want to put more time into the search feel free.

I still think your comment about Northcutt's appearance is strange and tends to undermine the seriousness of your criticism of the DA; your argument is better without it. I hadn't looked at her picture before, and it is odd, but reading meaning into it is WP:OR. Maybe she has a scar she's ashamed of; maybe she's goofy, who knows? Why don't you ask her?

Well since I don't know you or anything about you, and your Wikipedia user page offers no information, why should I care whether you think my comment on the dearth of Northcutt photos (not "Northcutt's appearance") undermines my criticism?

Especially when you agreed with me that her photo "is odd"?

And once again, why do you think you have to offer obvious suggestions like "why don't you ask her"? I already DID ask her, via the Darwin Awards comments form. If I get a response - although I think it's extremely unlikely - I'll post it here.

Continue searching for more criticism online; I'm sure you'll find some that is worth citing, but it may be better to find some in print, and I'm sure that's possible to find too. Шизомби 19:42, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Why may it be better to find something in print? And do you really think I have so much free time that I can spend it scouring libraries looking for critiques of the Darwin Awards, especially when I seriously doubt I'll find much of value?

You might also check out Boys are stupid, throw rocks at them!. Your criticism of DA, and Franken's criticism of Coulter are similar to the ones made of that, and some of the counter-criticism is similar too. That article did find notable criticism to cite, despite that topic being much less well-known (AFAIK) than the DA, so I think there must be criticism of the DA out there just waiting to be discovered. Шизомби 22:03, 14 April 2006 (UTC)

Where is your proof that the Boys are stupid t-shirts are less well-known than the Darwin Awards?

The Boys are Stupid article found notable criticism because more, and more vocal critics exist for that than for the Darwin Awards.

And it's easy to understand why. "Boys are stupid" t-shirts are perceived as an insult to males. Glenn Sacks is a member of that group. Attacking the "Boys are stupid" t-shirts is defending himself. That's why there are more vocal critics for "boys are stupid" than for the Darwin Awards - fully half the human race might feel insulted by the "boys are stupid" t-shirts.

The people targeted by the Darwin Awards are mostly dead, and therefore can't speak up for themselves.

The Darwin Awards are much more specific than "boys are stupid" - the Darwin Awards often identify the person by name.

The Darwin Awards equivalent of the "boys are stupid" t-shirts would be a t-shirt that reads "John Doe is stupid - humanity is better off now that he's dead. Let's throw rocks at his memory."

Because they're dead, and because some people have declared them stupid, Darwin Awards winners are easy to pick on - possibly even their families don't want to be publicly associated with them, now that they've been given an award for stupidity said to be determined by genetics deficiency - deficiency that the family members might be presumed to share with the Award winner.

And of course the classic scapegoat technique is to pick on a group of people who are least able to defend themselves.

But even though the Darwin Awards impacts only a miniscule portion of humanity, it is still an exercise in callousness and dehumanization.Nancymc

Criticizing the DA is reasonable. Wanting to have criticism of the DA included in the article is reasonable. Beyond that, I think you are incorrectly perceiving the tone of my comments: Wikipedia:Assume Good Faith. From many of your comments above and on your website, it seems you are only interested in a flame war. I'm not. Write your "researched, verifiable analysis and reasoned critique" and others can take it from there. Шизомби 00:26, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

It's not the tone of your comments - it's your apparent assumption that I need to be told obvious things like "look for more information on the web site" or "ask Wendy."

I'm not "only interested in a flame war" and my responses to you have been about explaining my actions and attitudes. I don't know on what basis you are claiming I'm trying to have a flame war with you - I posted the remark about "flame war" on my blog on Thursday, when I was wrangling with someone else - it really was a flame war at that time. But since it was Thursday, and our discussions have been post-Thursday, you needn't assume that I'm talking about my discussion with you. Just as you needn't assume I need to be instructed in the most basic research techniques. If you can't understand why I might take offense at your apparent assumption I need such instruction, well, I don't know why - I have no information about you and so no basis to form a theory.

But yes, I do intend to write my critique. I'm not sure why you've been raising other issues besides that one. I did appreciate your finding that other DA critic - and I thanked you for it too. If I was simply trying to flame you, why would I do that?Nancymc

Visiting from the RfC

Eeek!! Time for a cuppa methinks. WP:NOR Applies in spades here, methinks. OTOH, DA is as deserving of criticism as anything else. But let's not go creating sources just to make a point. I'm also not sure why the enumeration of younger victims falls under criticism - statistically, the young are most likely to die from {stupid} accidents - leaving them out of the awards would only serve to suggest to them that they are immortal. Mentioning names is IMHO prob the thing that deserves criticism - but in terms of serving a purpose - amongst the testosterone overdose crowd, DA's have served as somewhat of a sanity check, and as they provide frequent fodder for safety briefings they have probably saved a number of lives (then again, we can't say that - WP:NOR ;-) Bridesmill 01:10, 16 April 2006 (UTC)

First off, if you want to argue that children should be eligible for Darwin Awards, take it up with Wendy Northcutt. One of the rules of the Darwin Awards, as explained on the web site is that "The candidate must be capable of sound judgment" which the site determines as over 16.

I actually think you're right - children are the best candidates for the Darwin Awards. The fact that children are excluded is a public relations move - although many people, apparently, are capable of laughing at the deaths of adults, some draw the line at laughing at the deaths of children.

The "no children" rule is one of the many reasons why the Darwin Awards has nothing whatsoever to do with science. It simply uses science as justification for cruelty.

But besides that aspect - the reason I list the deaths of children is because the CNN article claims that "But some bizarre deaths -- usually involving children -- won't be seen on her site." Clearly this is not true - you can see bizarre deaths of children - defined as 16 and under by the Darwin Awards, on the web site. That's why the enumeration of younger victims is a valid criticism. I should remove the death of the 17-year-old though, since that is considered an age of sufficient maturity according to the Darwin Awards.

I will address the pseudo-science and general incoherence of the Darwin Awards in my paper.Nancymc

Nancy, you obviously feel very strongly about this, and I appreciate your enthusiasm, but Wikipedia is meant to be an encyclopedia. Maybe a more dynamic encyclopedia than most, but an encyclopedia. To create a parallel, imagine if I took great moral umbrage at, I don't know, sexism in The Flintstones. I call Encyclopedia Britannica and demand that they insert a paragraph in their Flintstones article (!) about sexism. They refuse, on the reasonable grounds that there is no common notion, or scholarly evidence, for the notion that the Flintstones was particularly sexist outside of the norms for its circumstances and time. So I self-publish a large tract in which I fume at length over the sexist attitudes of Fred Flinstone, print this out on my printer at home, and turn up at the Britannica offices waving my tract, demanding that they add a paragraph to the Flintstones article because here is published! evidence! that! the Flinstones! is sexist! They would throw me out on my ear. And they would be right to do so.
Writing your own paper on the nefarious and e-e-eeevil Darwin Awards does NOT equate to there being responsible, coherent, commonly accepted discourse on the negative aspects of the Darwin Awards. If such an article were to be published by a reputable cultural studies journal, that might speak to the point quite well. But I suspect that it's going to turn up as a blog post somewhere, by somebody with no credentials worth noting, and you'll have spent a lot of time trying to create (a harsher person might say "falsify") criticism of the Darwin Awards to justify inserting your personal screed into an encyclopedia article. If you can't FIND any criticism of the Darwin Awards other than your own, then it is logical to conclude that NONE EXISTS. If none exists, it is not NOTEABLE criticism. If it is not NOTEABLE, it should not be INCLUDED.
Wikipedia holds itself to these standards because it is trying to be an encyclopedia. As such, it should be a repository of reputable information from trustworthy sources. You can't "write an article" on how much you hate the Darwin Awards and then use it to justify inserting your own, personal, unsupported, non-noteable opinion of them in this article for the same reasons that I can't create my own "George W. Bush is a Poopy Head" article and insert "George W. Bush Is A Poopy Head" into his entry. Nor can I go on tangental rants in the Flinstones entry about sexism if there is NO NOTEABLE, REPUTABLE SOURCE to back that opinion.
If anyone with a strongly-held opinion is permitted to alter any Wikipedia entry ad nauseum to reflect their own, personal, indvidual and unique, uncommon beliefs, then Wikipedia will become an endless series of rants about various subjects, with no accountability and no intellectual authority whatsoever. I hope you understand this, because I just spent a GOD-awful long time typing it. --MattShepherd 15:10, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Nancy, could you please sign your articles as per wiki practice (4 tildes), otherwise it doesn't show as the page having been updated.

'No children' winning the DA does not preclude children from being part of a listing - as per offspring being an unfortunate part of their (winning) parent's misadventure. And if you ask the average 16yo, they are perfectly capable of sound judgement ;-) I'm also not sure how it qualifies as a 'criticism' when the real criticism you have is 'she doesn't follow her own rules consistently' - it certainly read as if you had issue with the inclusion of minors. Nor do I believe the DA makes any claim to science - therefore to call them pseudo-science is the same as calling any newsmedia 'pseudoscience'. Plus, if I may humbly suggest, your publishing a paper is not nec. going to make it a reputable source - for one thing, reputable source would have to be qualified, peer-reviewed, & notable (in the field).Bridesmill 15:34, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Slightly offtopic - the weblink as a link for 'criticism' - can a self-styled troll blog, admittedly satirical and shut-down for four years, be used as a valid criticism? (sort of like using a SNL skit methinks).Bridesmill 15:44, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

you'll have spent a lot of time trying to create (a harsher person might say "falsify") criticism of the Darwin Awards to justify inserting your personal screed into an encyclopedia article.

I have no intention of either creating or falsifying criticism - but thanks for the vote of confidence. I believe criticism exists but hasn't been collected. Even Wendy Northcutt admits to getting "massive flames" over one particular case, and is quoted as saying people do complain when they see somebody they know mentioned in the Darwin Awards.

My latest contribution to the present article, "Criticisms and Ethical Considerations" provides examples of Northcutt admitting to criticism and Northcutt being questioned on ethical considerations, and I'm happy with that. I just wanted to make sure that the article notes those things. Otherwise it's just a great big web ad for Wendy Northcutt.

I'm not sure why you assume I'm incapable of writing a scholarly, researched article - perhaps because I feel strongly about the subject and so that means I can't do analysis and research? Well I am capable, and not only that, I'm confident I can meet the Wikipedia standards of notability. It's easy enough to contact people who meet the celebrity-worshipping standards of many of the people here and get their opinions of one or more aspects of the Darwin Awards.

And I wouldn't be so quick to assume that just because something is published on a blog it fails the notability test and is automatically invalid as a work of scholarship. That attitude will certainly be proven wrong as the Internet increasingly becomes the publishing medium of choice for many.

Not that receiving Wikipedia's approval is my goal though. This incidient with Wikipedia has spurred me into writing a paper on the Darwin Awards, which is what matters. I've been annoyed by the Darwin Awards for at least 10 years, but not enough to spend any time on seriously analyzing the concept or studying the attitudes of the people who love them. But now that Wendy Northcutt is being treated as a legitimate expert on natural selection thanks to her Darwin Awards notariety, it's time to do something. The Darwin Awards type of pop-science is damaging to science, as well as being an exercise in cruelty.Nancymc 15:59, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Nancy, could you please sign your articles as per wiki practice (4 tildes), otherwise it doesn't show as the page having been updated.

I thought I was, but apparently I was doing only 3 tildes. Thanks for the tip.Nancymc 16:13, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Plus, if I may humbly suggest, your publishing a paper is not nec. going to make it a reputable source - for one thing, reputable source would have to be qualified, peer-reviewed, & notable (in the field).Bridesmill 15:34, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Yes, well I'd like to see you make a case that everything cited in Wikipedia is peer-reviewed.

But apparently there's some consensus here that I'm not notable, never will be notable, am incapable of writing a work of note or a scholarly article and need to be instructed in some of the most basic concepts of scholarship, research and discourse. I have to wonder if it has something to do with Darwin Awards fandom. How about it - what are your thoughts on the Darwin Awards people? Do you like them? If so, what do you think about people who object to them?Nancymc 16:08, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I'm also not sure how it qualifies as a 'criticism' when the real criticism you have is 'she doesn't follow her own rules consistently' - it certainly read as if you had issue with the inclusion of minors.

I have an issue with anybody being included in the Darwin Awards. I don't see how the meaning could be misread - directly above the list of children mentioned on the Darwin Awards is a statement by CNN that you won't be reading stories about children on the Darwin Awards. Public perception of the Darwin Awards does not match reality. I think that's something worth noting.Nancymc 16:33, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Nor do I believe the DA makes any claim to science - therefore to call them pseudo-science is the same as calling any newsmedia 'pseudoscience'.

But if you read the comments on the DA web site you'll find that many people there DO believe it's scientific. And Northcutt is being asked to sit on science discussion panels. So I think there's definitely a perception among some people that the Darwin Awards are scientifically significant.Nancymc 16:33, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Ummm - once people stop naming names in DA, I don't see the cruelty. In terms of the rest of the world, it's pretty inane. Am I a fan? probably, I've used DA entries in safety briefings, and if that's made folks think twice about unsafe behaviors, then that's at least one DA winner who's life wasn't totally in vain. Will you ever be notable? who knows; right now you have potential notability as a playwright(?). I'm not saying you aren't capable; you may be a very accomplished and scholarly writer. But here you, I, and everyone else are but humble editors - we can argue on the talk pages, but in the articles we remain the printers of knowledge - not the creators. I have many things I stumble upon here (esp through the RfC pages) which I find repulsive (e.g. Lolicon, which I think more worthy of a lambasting than DA) but (sometimes unfortunately) we keep our comments to the talk pages - unless we can dig up some good scholarly work on the subject. I really don't sense a serious claim to science on the site - the only thiong then that could be called pseudoscience is people referring to it as science, not the DA itself. The fact she is asked to sit on panels, hey, I've sat on panels as well, and some of what I do is not scientific eiterh, so I fail to see a serious connection. Unfortunately, (right, wrong, or otherwise) what we have issues with, in terms of WP beyond the talk page, is totally irrelevant. Whether you like or dislike the DA is on a personal level reasonably not relevant - I chose my friends for their intellect, not their politic.Bridesmill 16:45, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

In response to an above question, I don't give a hoot about the Darwin Awards one way or the other... the RfC drew me here. But do you understand why your ability to write something somewhere and blog it does not meet Wikipedia criteria for verifiable notability? Just because you can write something, and that blogs may "one day in the future" be a more recognized publishing medium, does not mean that anything you blog is solid reference material. The "criticism" section that has recently been added is pretty weak, too. A tip: anyone that includes =P in their hard-hitting critical interview questions is probably not a "noteable" source. --MattShepherd 16:58, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Am I a fan? probably, I've used DA entries in safety briefings, and if that's made folks think twice about unsafe behaviors, then that's at least one DA winner who's life wasn't totally in vain.

Really? Which cases?

My impression is that you think that unless their deaths are appropriated as cautionary tales, DA Award winners lives were totally in vain. Is that correct? If so, why do you think so?Nancymc 17:15, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I really don't sense a serious claim to science on the site - the only thiong then that could be called pseudoscience is people referring to it as science, not the DA itself. The fact she is asked to sit on panels, hey, I've sat on panels as well, and some of what I do is not scientific eiterh, so I fail to see a serious connection.

I wasn't making a case that the site makes a serious claim - only people's perception. Although they certainly have no problem dropping the names of scientists like James Watson on the home page of their web site. But even if the DA people admit it's pseudoscience doesn't make it any less psuedoscience.

Oh, and I was reviewing the DA web site and found that Northcutt's obscuring her face is a deliberate decision - my suspicions were correct:

Although her success is built around publicizing the final, embarrassing details of people’s lives, Northcutt is adamant about protecting her own privacy. She doesn’t do book signings, swears me to secrecy about which city she lives in and refuses to have her picture taken in a way that she can be recognized. Recently, People magazine told Northcutt that it would not run a planned profile of her unless she agreed to a photo showing her face. Northcutt decided she could live without having People tell her life story. Some weird encounters on the Internet, she explains, have made her cautious.

So Northcutt is afraid of people who are angry about the Darwin Awards. So the Darwin Awards are not as universally beloved as some people seem to believe.Nancymc 17:15, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

But do you understand why your ability to write something somewhere and blog it does not meet Wikipedia criteria for verifiable notability? Just because you can write something, and that blogs may "one day in the future" be a more recognized publishing medium, does not mean that anything you blog is solid reference material.

Being posted to a blog is certainly not a sign that something is solid reference material. But it doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't. Posting a paper to the Internet only is not sufficient to disqualify it as a work of scholarship, assuming it is scholarship. Do you understand now what I'm saying?Nancymc 17:24, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

The "criticism" section that has recently been added is pretty weak, too. A tip: anyone that includes =P in their hard-hitting critical interview questions is probably not a "noteable" source. --MattShepherd 16:58, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

So what are you saying? Only "hard-hitting critical interview questions" qualify for Wiki citiation? And the important point of the interview is what it reveals about the Darwin Awards and Wendy Northcutt's attitudes. Unless you're suggesting that the interview is fabricated, you have no reason to object to it.Nancymc 17:24, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Except that it is, itself, not a reputable or notable source. I'm bowing out of this... Nancy, you obviously have a lot of time to spend debating these things, but I can't commit more to this RfC. I recommend you read more on Wikipedia, especially the Talk pages for extremely contentious issues like abortion or the Plame affair, to get a feeling for what "verifiable," "noteable" and "NPOV" mean. A string of editors have now dropped by this talk page to offer helpful advice towards building a better encyclopedia, and you're persisting to debate minutia and not listen to their hopefully constructive points on Wikipedia policy. I'm afraid I don't have more time to spend on this. Have you read all of Wikipedia's policy guidelines? If you haven't, this would be a good time to start... you're not displaying very good judgement or a strong understanding of how Wikipedia works or what "concensus" and "NPOV" mean. Could you do that, please? You have a lot of energy and I think you could be a strong contributor here, but I feel your emotional engagement with this topic is a clear sign that you should back off, read up on how this site works, and maybe solicit other people's opinons as to whether or not you are being clear-headed and fair. Could you do that, please?MattShepherd 17:36, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

and maybe solicit other people's opinons as to whether or not you are being clear-headed and fair. Could you do that, please?MattShepherd 17:36, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Please support your belief that I'm not being "clear-headed and fair." Feeling strongly about an issue does not preclude clear-headedness or fairness.

If Wendy Northcutt is interviewed online then that is a valid source of information about Wendy Northcutt. I strongly object to your editing my contribution. I think it's you who are being emotional. I'm willing to debate and discuss, you say - this is how it is, now I'm bowing out, no more discussion.

I think you're miffed because I won't bow down to your expertise - and since I know nothing about you I don't see why I should.

I think you're being high-handed and I will investigate next steps in getting your edit removed.Nancymc 18:00, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Time out? Nancy, you almost started a flame-war with Shizombi, Now it looks as if you are attempting the same with Matt & myself - this may not bbe the case, but the perception is certainly coming across that you are saying somehow you have greater qualifications than the rest of us, and everyone else's opinions or interpretations of Wiki policy here on the talk page don't count for squat. We're not out here to get you; we're here to make this a better encyclopedia (good faith & all that) - Wiki not the usenet; suggest that perhaps we all ought to take Matt's advice & have a cuppa.Bridesmill 18:09, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Oops, forgot - the reason you don't want to bow down to Matt's expertise (and we're talking wiki expertise here which is easily verifiable by looking at his contributions) is precisely why your expertise doesn't count on the article page - your word that you know what you're on about is as verifiable as mine or Matt's; in other words, we can show our wiki-quals, but not our real-world quals, QED we have no place to 'comment' on the article pages. Going for that coffee now.Bridesmill 18:13, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Speaking of trying to start flame wars.Nancymc 18:22, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I am being attacked through innuendo - little remarks about my lack of notability, being spoken to as if I'm a drooling idiot. I think I've actually responded with relative equanimity, considering. But Wikipedia policy is not an interesting topic of discussion to me. I'll pursue my disagreement with MattShepard elsewhere. I do think there's a little "Wikipedia insiders always know best" attitude here, although that is standard human behavior. In any case, I've moved onto a different, DA-relevant topic of discussion. If you're interested in the topic, feel free to join in. Thank you. Nancymc 18:22, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

I too am visiting from the RfC. Erm, wow. Two things. First, I don't find the Darwin Awards at all funny. I don't care for the tone this article is written in, and I really don't like the tone a related article is written in. But: WP:NOR, WP:V, and WP:RS. I recognise that I need to find credible sources as criticisms of the things. And to my surprise, there's not that much immediately appearing on Google which counts. Perhaps psychology literature might have something. But, User:Nancymc, please note that writing your own article and linking to it is not sufficient for Wikipedia in itself. Wikipedia doesn't consider blog entries to be credible sources on any subject other than themselves. 'However, Wikipedia:No original research#What is excluded? does say clearly, "If you have an idea that you think should become part of the corpus of knowledge that is Wikipedia, the best approach is to arrange to have your results published in a peer-reviewed journal or reputable news outlet, and then document your work in an appropriately non-partisan manner." So, if you are determined to do this, that's the level you're aiming for. It's going to take some time and work. (And, for my part, good luck.) Telsa (talk) 06:43, 25 April 2006 (UTC)

Am I the only one who finds it very odd that although the Wikipedia insiders are obsessed with "peer reviewed" sources and determining who is "notable" enough to express an opinion of worth, these arbiters of reputable sources operate, for the most part, under cover of strict anonymity? Why should the rest of us accept them as judges of anything? Nancymc 22:06, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

The rationale for that policy is simple. If there was no standard for the insertion of new claims, then basically any harebrained nut job could show up and throw down all manner of freshly fabricated nonsense without any regard at all for the truth. It is thought (perhaps optimistically considering how that Bosnian pyramid story played out in the mainstream press) that news organizations and peer reviewed journals engage in some sort of fact checking before going to press. This should filter out crazy random personal opinions and constrain content to that which has been screened by professionals. Then Wikipedians, operating in the amateur way we all do, can harvest information from such sources while relying on their legitimate professional/institutional credibility rather than our own (in most cases unknown) level of personal credibility. I hope all that makes some sense and sheds light on the reason why official policy discourages tainting this noble project with opinions unsusbstantiated by anything like a sound journalistic or scientific finding. Demonweed 07:18, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

So you don't see the irony in the fact that Wikipedians are obsessed with peer reviews, at least when it comes to critiques of the Darwin Awards - peer reviews are not done anonymously - but Wikipedians are anonymous in many cases. And I don't see why the opinion of right-wing crackpot Charles Murray on the subject of post-modernism is at all valid, although he is cited in the Wikipedia article on post-modernism. Basically, if a person is famous their opinion is valid, for any subject, according to the star-struck Wikipedian philosophy.

The trick is determining how Wikipedians decide who is sufficiently famous. Clearly these judgements are based on rule of the anonymous mob, and an anonymous mob does not have to explain the reasoning behind its decisions, does it? Really it's just based on enough people having a feeling that a person is famous enough to permit their unvetted opinions in Wikipedia articles.

Why DO so many Wikipedians choose to remain anonymous? What are they afraid of?Nancymc 03:38, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

Note that Wikipedia editors being anonymous does not make them disreputable as Wikipedia editors, because their track record on Wikipedia (which is the thing that's relevant to reputation as Wikipedia editors) is readily available. This does not mean that they are authorities on the subject matter, but that they are familiar with the process of writing Wikipedia articles and the relevant rules to observe when doing so.

Also, this article is about the Darwin Awards, not Wendy Northcutt, so personal attacks on her are not relevant. Just because she values her privacy doesn't mean that it's a notable POV that Darwin Awards is unethical. It does not even mean that she believes it to be a notable POV. It merely means that she prefers her face not to be general knowledge. Not everyone wants to be recognized by random people on the street, and who knows, maybe there even are some kooks who might want to get at her. There are even hit lists of abortion doctors, so it's a pretty insane world. Heck, even Pamela Jones values her privacy, and she has nothing to do with dead people. 19:28, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Are the Darwin Awards scientific?

There is some debate about whether the Darwin Awards is scientific and whether the Darwin Awards claims to be valid science. An interview with Wendy Northcutt doesn't help clarify. In an "interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Northcutt says:

“There is apparently a fairly strong contingent of people in the U.S. who think evolution is something they can dismiss,” she says. “If you think about a guy who blows off his testicles, you can laugh at it, but he’s not going to be around to reproduce again. As long as you can laugh at that kind of story, you get natural selection. That’s the essence of evolution.”

This quote sounds to me as though Northcutt is saying that a case likely to be listed in the Darwin Awards is indeed proof of natural selection.Nancymc 18:22, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Please note - I am not a creationist. I think that natural selection exists. My point is that Northcutt presents the Darwin Awards as proof of natural selection.Nancymc 18:30, 18 April 2006 (UTC)

Evolution is an established theory, it does not need further proof. Saying that the anecdote here is proof of natural selection is no more "science" than saying that "snowflakes falling is proof of gravity" is science. Perhaps it was "science" in Newton's day, but nowadays it's everyday knowledge even kids have. That there are kooks who dismiss evolution just means that they are inviting snide comments, and Northcutt is making fun of them here. If I were selling kitchenware and said that "many people in the U.S. believe flying saucers exist - well, they're right, and you can buy some from us", it doesn't mean that I'm trying to advance the little-green-men science (or ufology or whatever they call it) but that I'm just making a weak attempt at humor. 19:43, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

You're confusing evolution and natural selection here...

I don't think Northcutt is making fun. I think she's in earnest. Only Northcutt knows for sure. But she has no problem selling herself as a scientific expert, and so I would not be a bit surprised. She's currently appearing on a panel called (http://yearlykos.or/node/279 Championing Science) so it's in her self-interest to promote the idea that the Darwin Awards, the source of her personal notariety, has something to do with science, when it really does not, other than as a thin veneer of respectability over lucrative cruelty.

evolution =/= natural selection MafiaCapo 14:45, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Nancymc 03:25, 9 June 2006 (UTC)

--> Calling the Darwin Awards in any way valid is an UNBELIEVABLY stupid and ignorant thing to say. She didn't say anything close to that because she knew she's be crucified, and yet she hinted at it because she knew some stupid people would decide that's what "she was trying to say". Listen, IQ hasn't got the slightest sub atomic particle in the universe to do with natural selection today. Being sensible hasn't really got much either in the wider scope of things. Today natural selection is determined by people who are of the philosophy/carrying out of that they want to have children, the more the better. Also the huge immigration is causing natural selection based on the fact that (unfortunately I would say) the indigeneous race of some countries like Ireland is being wiped out. All of these things are going on in the world because of economic/power decisions allowed by us (you included)... and then there is this nonsense.. what a joke.

User:Anonymous 05:35, 17 September 2006 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)


The Darwin Awards? A website, three books and a Hollywood movie featuring Metallica (the same Metallica who have lost bassist Cliff Burton with a Bus crushing him to death on the second attempt? - isn't that FUNNY shouldn't we all LAUGH/"rofl" and write an e-mail to THE DARWIN AWARDS now?), providing a negligible part of humanity with a subculture of their own? People laughing about other people's death... it's things like this that I cannot and do not want to understand but combat. I strongly oppose such utter bullshit. Part of western society thinks it has total freedom, a radical misunderstanding, creating such wonderful things as MTV's Jackass, The Darwin Awards (Ladies and Gentlemen!) et al. Evil spirited minds would go on and wish someone specific to recieve a Darwin Award herself. LIllIi 00:10, 3 January 2007 (UTC)

No one can tell you that you have no right to your opinion. However, Wikipedia is a place where people come to understand things. If you want to pick a fight instead, you have come to the wrong place. Combative antagonism is both unwelcome and unhelpful here. I hope this makes some sense to you. Demonweed 04:39, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

--> The Darwin Awards mightn't be so bad if most of them (the more interesting ones) weren't purely invented bullshit, and if the whole "doing a service to humanity by ridding their genes from the genepool" complete nonsense was gotten rid of.

Wikipedia as a Reference

The editor at may be unaware of this, but accuracy matters here. Changing the text of an actual quote from an actual source introduces inaccuracy. Characterizing bestselling books as "not a commercial success" introduces inaccuracy. Insisting that there is a dispute about the origin of the phrase "Darwin award" when Wendy Northcutt herself does not claim to have originated it also introduces inaccuracy. In this round of cleaning up I did try to respect whatever actual information might have slipped in along with this recent campaign of misinformation. However, it is not "advertising" to try and keep blatant lies out of an encyclopedia. No doubt many people have many points of view on this subject. If we want to keep the article neutral, a fine start would be to let ourselves be constrained by the facts. I hope that standard, which is part of the project rather than one of my own imposition, is not too high for anyone to reach. Demonweed 17:56, 20 June 2006 (UTC)

Certain hoaxes

You dress up as a alien, Bigfoot, demon, some monster where I'm at, you'll get a Darwin Award for sure. Where I'm at, it is legal to kill anything considered a threat to persons, property, loved ones. As if that is not bad enough, some people out here are armed all of the time and do drink booze. Martial Law 00:08, 11 July 2006 (UTC)


Aren't most Darwin awards unverifiable rumors and urban legends (I don't mean the ones on the original website, but the others)? Smith Jones 22:34, 2 September 2006 (UTC) does address urban myths circulated as Darwin awards from time to time. While procedural rigor at has improved much over the years, anonymous sources of popular messages floating around the 'net are crafted by processes known only to those sources. I would imagine that some of those minor memes are rooted in actual news accounts and that some of them are pure fiction. That appears to be the case with the few examples I've encountered that have nothing to do with the project. Demonweed 00:17, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Encyclopedic tone

I bet one of the reasons some find the Darwin awards humor funny is the mock pretentious or mock scientific wording of the website etc. But we should at most quote the wording. The pretentiousness, mock or otherwise, should not be the tone of the article.Rich 14:04, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Hear, hear. -- I@n 04:53, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

This article needs rewriting

This thing is disorganized with stuff in the wrong section etc. I'm not a skillful writer, I just try to fix bits and pieces.Rich 14:34, 7 October 2006 (UTC)

Rewrites destroying info

The current round of rewrites is destroying info. For example, info about the 4 Darwin Awards books has been removed, yet the movie info is still there. Given that Wendy is the source of almost all Darwin Awards material, don't you think it's important to mention that the Snopes criticisms are NOT about Wendy's writings? And so forth. Greg 04:33, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

The article is about Darwin Awards, not specifically about Wendy Northcutt's website of the same name. Her books are listed in Wendy Northcutt, as they should be (although I have strong reservations about whether she is notable enough for a page of her own, but thats a separate argument). Its a matter of balance, and the previous versions of this article would lead a casual reader to believe that Northcutt invented and owned the term "Darwin Awards", which was wrong. -- I@n 04:43, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
You didn't actually answer my query: why is the movie treated different from the books? Almost all usage of the term Darwin Awards nowadays does revolve around her website and books, so I think you're trying to rewrite reality here. And your claim that a best-selling author isn't notable is, well, bizarre. Greg 06:34, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
My main concern about Northcutt's article is that there's no citations. And I could find none (serious ones anyway) that could verify what had been written. The interview is a poor substitute I suppose. In this article I'm trying to make it more balanced and to give a historic perspective of what DA's mean rather than it sounding like she created and owns Darwin Awards (whatever that is). It sounded like a fan club page rather than an encyclopaedia giving out meaningful facts. "Requirements" is just a cut and paste job from her website and therefore specific to Also has a significant section called (from memory) "honourable mentions" which don't comply with those requirements anyway. -- I@n 07:08, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Her bio (which are the 3 items labeled lacking citations) is in her books. This article never, ever said she created the awards, that's the whole point of the Usenet history section, which you have not added anything to. All you've done is destroyed info. You should finish the job and delete all the examples, since they're from Wendy's pages. Then you'll have a nice, empty article, which says nothing about the actual Darwin Awards today, which do revolve around her website and books. Greg 07:29, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
Greg, citations written by herself are hardly citations. See WP:VERIFY. -- I@n 07:34, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
She's a best-selling book author published by a major publishing house, who vetted her bio. Her books are not self-published. I really don't understand how you think you're improving Wikipedia with weird statements like this, but I am beginning to understand why you disagree with so many other Wikipedia contributors about what ought to be in Wikipedia. Greg 20:19, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

It's always amusing to see how hard-core Wikipedians worship the 20th-century cultural gatekeepers. Northcutt was published by a "major publishing house"! Oooh. It doesn't matter whether your web site gets millions of hits, whether you pop up on Google first pages, or anything else. Electronic media means nothing compared to the might of a bunch of editors and a printing press. Does anybody else see the irony of Wikipedia being so enthralled by institutional, 20th-century-technology based standards of notariety? Or was Wikipedia nothing until the The New Yorker published that article about it? Nancymc 00:07, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedians worship the 20th-century cultural gatekeepers. It doesn't matter whether your web site gets millions of hits, whether you pop up on Google first pages, or anything else. Electronic media means nothing

cnn interview w/WN

I've been tweaking and adding to the interview section because I do think the information and quotes from it are worth being on Wikipedia, rather than just in a source. But would it be better to put it in Wendy Northcutt's article?Rich 05:49, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

I think the whole of the requirements section and the interview would be better at Northcutt's page as they specifically deal with the website. I'd support that. -- I@n 06:02, 9 October 2006 (UTC)
The interview is now moved to Wendy Northcutt. -- I@n 08:35, 10 October 2006 (UTC)
The interview was only there because of the Local Troll, who was using it to make Wendy look bad. You can delete it if you think it isn't worthwhile, instead of just moving it around. Greg 06:35, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

More information destruction

Removing the "requirements" has gutted the article, why don't you just delete the whole thing? You should definitely remove al the examples because they're at Wendy's site. Greg 06:38, 12 October 2006 (UTC)

see above -- I@n 07:09, 12 October 2006 (UTC)
The above didn't explain why you didn't remove the examples, since they all come from Wendy's website. The above didn't explain why Wendy's book info got moved to her own page, while Finn's movie info was left here. Greg 01:55, 14 October 2006 (UTC)
IMO the examples are useful in helping to describe what the awards mean, but if you disagree, remove them - I certainly won't object. The books seem more Wendy specific than the movie. Again, revert me if you feel strongly about this. -- I@n 13:35, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, but I don't engage in revert wars. You should add back the information you destroyed yourself -- I think the criteria section described what the awards mean even better than the examples. The book info is a small issue compared to nuking the criteria. And if the criteria should go because they promote Wendy's website too much, so should examples of Wendy's awards. Greg 23:36, 15 October 2006 (UTC)
I don't engage in revert wars either and have no desire to quarrel with you - its not my style. IMO I haven't destroyed any important information and do feel that the two articles are now more balanced than they were. I'll not be reverting mine or your changes, so if you feel the same, then its up to others to decide. -- Moondyne 07:46, 17 October 2006 (UTC)
Which others, the ones who created the content you deleted? It's too bad you never actually answered the question I asked about why the examples should stay but the criteria should go, but I guess it's just not important. Greg 23:24, 22 October 2006 (UTC)
Anyone can edit a Wikpedia article, as long as they conform to our editing rules. The examples illustrate what a DA can be regardless of who posts them, whereas the criteria is specific for
This conversation bores me and is way out of whack with the importance of this article in the scheme of things. It's only a tiny piece of pop-culture trivia for God's sake and I have no intention of wasting any more of my time discussing it. Do what you want to the article, I'm past caring. — Moondyne 02:38, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

But Greg, you have engaged in revert wars. You did so with me a few months back. Do you deny it? Or when you say you "I don't engage in revert wars" do you mean you turned over a new leaf? Nancymc 23:14, 18 November 2006 (UTC)